Burn After Reading        

Who’s Who
What’s What

In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors


The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9

Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].


From the Introduction

One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.


An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

“I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”


The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.


As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.


Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project

  •           SÍ, HAY UN PAÍS QUE SE LLAMA FILIPINAS...        

    ¿Para qué sirve un reinado de belleza? Los reinados son muy útiles porque no sirven para nada. Nos sirven para no pensar... y bueno nos enseñan que existe Filipinas y que queda en Asia. Dan espectáculo, enseñan que Confucio se inventó la confusión (Señorita Panamá 2009) "y también del mismo y en el sentido contrario" (Señorita Antioquia 2008). Y los reinados nos recuerdan que "estamos para darnos cariño, para darnos amor" (Señorita Antioquia 2008). Esto tratando de emular un sistema de citas digno de los reinados. Claro pero tienen la utilidad de trascender la psicología geográfica mundial... ¿En serio hay un país que se llama Filipinas? La gente en Colombia -quizás en el mundo- aprende de geopolítica, geografía e historia haciendo chismografía sobre reinados de belleza. Así que más allá del reinado y del "ese país existe" hablemos de Filipinas...

    Geografía psicológica de las tragedias

    Geografía Filipina y Sistema Político...
    Sí gente que en común padece una arbitrariedad llamada Colombia, hay un país que se llama Filipinas, son 7107 islas al sur del mar de China y al norte de Malasia e Indonesia. En total ocupan un área de 300.000 Km2 y su población es de 100 millones de habitantes. Fueron colonia española y de Estados Unidos. Idiomas oficiales Tagalo e Inglés, pero hablan otros como el Cebuano (que allá conocen como Bisaya). Entre sus islas se transportan en ferry. 
    Mapa de Filipinas
    Política y economía...
    Filipinas tiene la mitad del ingreso per cápita de Colombia.  Su moneda el Peso Filipino PHP es alrededor de 70 COP. El Peso Colombiano se ha devaluado también frente al PHP. Pero en todo caso, los salarios en Filipinas siguen siendo inferiores a los de Colombia. En general me parece un país barato. Al igual que Colombia el excesivo presupuesto público en Filipinas también desaparece. ¿Por qué? Porque al igual que en Colombia en Filipinas los políticos son "honestos"... Sin embargo, en Filipinas los únicos ricos son los políticos que "honestamente" se aprovechan del Pondo público. Bueno, las celebridades también tienen plata allá...

    Tienen una economía altamente proteccionista que prácticamente prohíbe los negocios de los extranjeros. Ningún extranjero puede adquirir propiedad raíz. Los casos comunes de jurisprudencia en propiedad es si un extranjero que compra a través de un filipino pueden transferir legítimamente propiedad a un tercero. Lo que, contrario a mis amigos de izquierda, es para mí la razón por la cual no tienen el desarrollo de Hong Kong, Singapur o Malasia. Filipinas es uno de los pocos países que no le exige Visa a los colombianos...claro si no siguen poniendo estupideces en redes sociales. Por culpa de algunos colombianos es que a otros nos da vergüenza mostrar el pasaporte. 

    Esa arbitrariedad llamada estado también genera problemas políticos en Asia. Hay un problema de aguas territoriales como Colombia. Colombia lo tiene con Nicaragua, algo la verdad relativamente fácil de lidiar. Pero ¿con quién tiene ese diferendo limítrofe Filipinas? ¡Con China! Un país conquistador y con un poder fuerte. En Filipinas por su pobreza y pequeño ejército tienen miedo al imperialismo del gobierno Chino. Por eso la pregunta de las bases militares. 

    ¿Actitud conspirativa...?
    Contrario a la cultura colombiana, en Filipinas no ven robos improvisados en cada esquina. Para ellos básicamente se trató de una situación muy incómoda, y un error de buena fe lo que pasó en el reinado. Si fuera lo contrario ¿cómo sería la actitud de este país sudaca?

    Cultura y religión...
    Los filipinos tienen un respeto por los mayores, algo común en la cultura asiática. A todo hombre mayor se le dice kuya y a toda mujer mayor ate. Su lenguaje utilizando la palabra po cambia a una expresión más educada. Por ejemplo, Salamat po es más educado que sólo salamat. Eso significa "gracias". En Colombia no hay respeto por los mayores sino por los cartones...

    Algunas palabras o curiosidades

    Kumustá ... Viene el español ¿Cómo está? Y es el saludo.
    Paki Significa por favor
    Pagbati Significa "feliticationes"
    Ako ay mula sa Kolombiya: Significa soy de Colombia en Tagalo.
    Paano mo sabihin? Cómo se dice?
    Mahal kita... Te quiero o te amo...
    Oo Sí
    Hindi No
    Ang babae Mujer
    Ang lalaki hombre
    Ang pusa Gato
    Ang tubig agua
    Ang = el/la/los/las
    ng= de (de pertenencia)
    sa= de (de procedencia)

    Es un idioma en el que uno ve muchas a, muchas m y n, muchas g y muchas p. Tienen una letra que es la ng que para mí suena como una ñ, aunque para ellos es más dulce.

    Es quizás el único país mayoritariamente cristiano de Asia con amplia influencia católica, aunque hay otras iglesias...

    Es muy curioso porque la influencia española en Filipinas duró más que en Colombia. ¿Por qué no hablan entonces español? ¿Por qué conservaron sus idiomas regionales pero aceptaron la religión? Si los españoles eran... lo que todo el mundo piensa... ¿No debería ser Filipinas un país donde se hablara español? 

    ¿Qué piensan de Colombia?
    Pero tranquilos que en Filipinas también desconocen de Colombia. Pero, a diferencia de Filipinas, Colombia es un país mucho más "x". Ellos creen que latinoamérica es como México. Aunque tienen razón porque latinoamérica es mera telenovela. Empezando por la política colombiana entre Uribe y Santos. Semejante divorcio no habría podido ser anticipado por ningún guionista mexicano. Y pase a Venezuela con Maduro y sus llantos "ya no les doy casa porque han roto mi corazón. A quien mi comandante nombró desde su corazón". Siga con Ecuador y "van a matar al Presidente". Y sobre latinoamérica no entienden el chiste de que el papa es el único Argentino humilde jajaja...

    También insisten en que hay una gran diferencia entre los ojos de los asiáticos. Claro, de la misma manera que no somos mexicanos. No es lo mismo los ojos de un chino, de un japonés y de un coreano... Ni los de un rolo... Para nosotros todos son chinos. Encuentre las diferencias...

    En Colombia pensamos que Manila es el componente de un sobre. No, Manila es la capital de Filipinas. El sobre efectivamente es hecho con cáñamo que se cultivaba en la región de Manila.

    A diferencia del orgullo de acá, ellos creen que las mujeres latinas son las más bonitas. ¿Por qué? ¡Porque suelen ganarse los reinados de belleza! Y puede que Ariadna no haya quedado de primera, pero había dos colombianas en ese escenario...

    En fin... qué importa quién gane el reinado. Hay mujeres lindas aquí y allá, 17.000 km de distancia, idiomas, culturas, creencias y economía deben unirnos en aquel gran trasfondo de humanidad. Somos humanos, dejemos de compararnos y recordemos como dijo la señorita Antioquia "estamos para darnos cariño, para darnos amor". Que Confucio no invente la confusión y conozcamos más allá de las diferencias las similitudes que tienen dos países tan extraños como Colombia y Filipinas...  

              Celebrate With Us        
    The Filipino Festival returns for its twelfth year of food, dance and music celebrating the culture and people of the Philippines.

    by Wan Dan Liao, Straight Times

    SINGAPORE - After news broke that twenty-seven Banglas were arrested for terrorism related offences, scores of Pinoy maids gathered at Lucky Plaza for an emergency townhall meeting. It is unclear what exactly transpired during the meeting but ST sources revealed that the maids were debating a total boycott of Bangladeshi boyfriends in Singapore.

    At the scene, most of the maids were inconsolable and some went hysterical for fear that having a bangla boyfriend would get them deported back to the Philippines. One of the maids, Pinoi Bionkbangla kneeled down in the middle of the Orchard road walkway and cried loudly: "I promise I sms breakup with my Bangla boyfriend already. I am not related to that Bangla no more. Please gib me a chance, I no want go back Philippines."

    Another domestic helper Itchi Tuanini was more stoic and looked forward. "I love my bangla boyfriend, he make me happy every weekend, but since my fellow maids say we must breakup or lose our jobs, I follow their idea. So sad I cannot see my hunny anymore. Maybe time to find China or Indian boyfriend."

    At around 7pm, spokesperson for the Pinoy Maid Association Singapore (PMAS) told ST that almost 800 pinoy maids have pledged to break up with their Bangla boyfriends with immediate effect. They believe it is in their best interest to disassociate themselves with Bangladeshi workers to safeguard their employment status in Singapore and the security of Singapore. The remaining 10000 maids with bangla bfs will review their decision at a later date.

    When interviewed, Mdm Kia Zheng Hu, an employer of a Filipino domestic worker shared: "I completely support my maid's decision to break up with her bangla boyfriend. This is in Singapore's national security! I will give her a $20 bonus for this very wise decision."

    Disclaimer: This piece was written by satirist Wan Dan Liao for the Straights Times. You must absolutely believe what you read.

    Editor's Note: 

    Do you have a story to share? Please use our submission form or email us at editorial@allsingaporestuff.com. If not, why not give us a 'Like'?

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              Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 7/21 - NEWSIES, MAMMA MIA, and More!        

    BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature Newsies, Mamma Mia!, The Book of Mormon, and more!

    Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below!

    St. Louis: Check out video highlights from The Muny's production of ALL SHOOK UP! Set to the chart-topping hits of the King of Rock 'n' Roll, himself, Elvis Presley, and based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, All Shook Up follows the story of Natalie, a tomboy mechanic with a longing heart, and Chad, a mysterious, hip-swiveling roustabout who is new to town and ready to shake things up. Set in the 1950s, and filled with secret crushes, hysterical shenanigans and matters of the heart, this is one Muny production that promises to have the entire family dancing in their 'Blue Suede Shoes.'

    Washington DC: Contributor Bejamin Tomchik reviews MAMMA MIA! He writes "The credit lays first, and most obviously, with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the Bs in ABBA. Their music and lyrics are as catchy as when they first debuted in the seventies and eighties. It is hard to find someone leaving Wolf Trap not humming their favorite song. Second is book writer Catherine Johnson for creating an original story that is playful, and naturally incorporates ABBA's songs making them feel like natural extensions of the characters and/or scenes. Director Phyllida Lloyd and choreographer Anthony Van Laast give the production a youthful energy that is a great compliment to ABBA's music. Van Laast's athletic and energetic choreography conveys the urgency of finding Sophie's father with the excitement of her wedding."

    Philippines: Contributor Robert Encila reviews NEWSIES! He writes "Guevara himself has extracted a rambunctious performance from a gifted and intrepid ensemble, harnessing a collective power that defied the heavy rains that threatened to steal the glory on Saturday night [July 15] at Bonifacio High Street Amphitheatre. Fortunately, nature yielded to the man-made tempest, a savage storm forged by inspired singing, dynamic choreography, and a sizzling live band."

    South Carolina: Contributor Neil Shurley reviews HAIR at the Lyric! He writes "The journey begins even before curtain time, as actors - already in character - mill around the open theatre space, creating a welcoming atmosphere as they interact with audience members and each other. The set, designed by Henry Wilkinson, consists of some low platforms, covered in blankets and pillows, with a few swaths of draped fabric in places. And as the music begins, the actors converge and undergo a small ritual in which they take a drug and the lights and music swirl more and maybe the whole evening is just going to be one long drug trip for all of us and then the "Age of Aquarius" dawns and draws us into its spell."

    San Francisco: Contributor Robert Sokol reviews THE BOOK OF MORMON. He writes "A return visit does not lessen the joy of frog-on-face jokes and there's anticipatory joy in getting another dose of Elder McKinley's first-rate, tapping advice "Turn It Off," or succumbing to another "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream." The other thing you get is an opportunity to really absorb the musical riffs on other hit shows with whom Mormon has rightfully taken its place. Try to not hear the essence of "The Wizard and I," "Hakuna Matata," or "Somewhere That's Green" hinted in "You and Me (But Mostly Me), " "Hasa Diga Eebowai," and "Sal Tlay Ka Siti."

    Los Angeles: Contributor Michael Quintos reviews MARY POPPINS at Musical Theatre West. He writes "It also helps that the cast is superb. Katharine McDonough---who was incredible as Eliza Doolittle in MTW's MY FAIR LADY---returns with her Brit accent and self-assured wit and confidence to play the titular nanny, who has magically arrived at Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane to assist in the care of two "adorable" children whose family life seems to be in flux. In McDonough's hands, Mary is appropriately playful yet sincere, sassy yet capable of forethought, empathy and care (McDonough is so charming that the audience didn't even bat an eye when she pantomimed having her infamous measuring tape which went inexplicably missing on Opening Night). Her every appearance as Mary is a delight and her singing voice is, indeed, practically perfect for the role."

    Pittsburgh: Contributor Dylan Shaffer reviews NEWSIES at the Pittsburgh CLO. He writes "Pencil turns, pirouettes, and barrel rolls abound in this show, as large dance numbers follow one another throughout both the first and second acts. Audiences love when a stage full of actors are able to kick, jump, and step in unison, and for the most part, the cast of Disney's Newsies does this. Their synchrony is evident in the tap number "King of New York." There is no question that these boys are talented, but being a beat ahead or behind will never bode well in a group number, and the audience will notice unforgivingly."

    Kansas City: Contributor Sara Brown reviews BACK TO THE 80s at Theatre in the Park. She writes "My favorite part of the show was the girls' costumes. The 80's had such defined fashion, and these girls didn't disappoint with sparkly frocks, fringe boots, and plaid skirts. Their song "Girls Just Want to have Fun," sung by Murphy, Maggie Hutchinson, Anna Hastings, and Colette Worthington, was my second favorite song in the show with their iconic dance moves."

    Cleveland: Contributor Roy Berko reviews THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Playhouse Square. He writes "The little girl sitting behind me was on the edge of her seat throughout the show and, at the end, sleepily said to her mother, "I loved it!"Yes, the touring production of "The Sound of Music," is a very pleasant experience. "So long, Farewell," How long will it be before I have to "Climb Every Mountain" again? Guess as long as I'm a reviewer, "There is No Way to Stop It."

    Toronto: Contributor Taylor Long reviews SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK. He writes "Shakespeare in High Park is the perfect summer theatrical experience. Bring a blanket, pack some bug spray - hey, even pack a picnic. I was jealous at some of the picnic spreads people had prepared. Escape the bustling city and experience two of the greatest plays ever written - performed by some exceptional talent."

    Regional Editor Spotlight:

    Dylan Shaffer
    Pittsburgh Contributing Editor

    Dylan is a modern writer, producer and theatregoer in the Pittsburgh region. In the theatrical realm, he has worked in production, marketing, box office and front of house, in addition to acting, directing and stage-managing. When he is not involved with shows, either in the Cultural District downtown or in the small-town theatres speckling western PA, Dylan keeps busy on the golf course, in the community and at new and exciting restaurants.

    Join Team BroadwayWorld! Interested in joining our team, but not exactly sure what we do? All of your questions are answered, along with every open position from guest and student bloggers, Regional Editors, and more! Find out where we have open positions available here!

              GUNTHER Portfolio twitter Weekly Updates #Solar #PV – 2014-08-08        
    RT @danahull: No check for $500M? RT @TedGaines: Delivered a gold shovel to @TeslaMotors today to show them CA ready to break ground on the… -> RT @pv_tech: QCells founder Anton Milner pops up in Philippines with unsubsidised 6MW PV project #Solar http://t.co/ikIx3KbdUV -> RT @pv_tech: QCells founder Anton Milner pops up in Philippines with […]
              TCUP: An Association ahead of its time?        
    Despite the multitude of benefits and advantages to having one, there are many misgivings about forming a unified organization of tai chi and internal arts practitioners. All relate to what people refer to as a negative Filipino trait – "the crab mentality".

    Without intentionally offending the crab as a specie, this mentality refers to what is perceived in the crab's behavior when they pulls down a fellow crab that is trying to escape by climbing out of their cage in captivity. Some people argue that the crab actually does this because he is concerned about the group as a whole and is discouraging individual selfish motives. Or that, the top crab is just trying to pull the other crabs up . . only a crab can really tell.

    Whatever, the usual common phenomenon in case is the copious proliferation of Filipino associations in the America – regionalistic, clannish and personalistic. Characterized by constant bickering directed at personalities rather than issues – a national preoccupation that is probably an extension of our homegrown politics.

    It would seem that this is an inherent trait of the particular stage of the development of the Filipinos as a people – still lacking a sense of nationhood. Would the Tai Chi Union of the Philippines (TCUP) then be anachronistic and fall into this pattern?

    But, another point of view is to see Tai Chi and the formation of the TCUP as a transformative effort and proactive solution to a national problem. Imperative even, since the country and its people are ill prepared and disunited to face the impending problems that the “Global Warming” trend will spawn in a not too distant future. This approach can be seen as one of many approaches our people can take to be able to ward off this "ten thousand pounds" threat with our puny "four ounces" of national strength”.

    So, how can tai chi do that? Actually, real tai chi has the potential of changing the practitioners internally – to gain the universal principles of balance, unity, coordination, sensitivity and connectedness; not to push but to flow and to harmonize. If so, it would then be the practitioners that would transform the Filipino thinking (as in the 100th monkey/critical mass principle).

    So TCUP can be looked as the practitioners learning practice set. To paraphrase Confucius, “If we want to change the world, we can . . . but we need to start with our country, but before that we start with our community, but before we work even closer to that of our family, but even before that, our self, and before that, our vert inner thoughts by asking if they are sincere”. So, that’s it, do we have sincere heart on this – “cheng shin”.

    We can, can’t we? In the formation of TCUP, as in our practice of tai chi, we can let our egos rule, we can have selfish motive, or we can be sincere to learn and do. Many believe some of us can do it. Just like in tai chi, we may be far off from our goal, but if our heart is in the right place, the right direction will be evident, and it would just be a matter of time. . . Patience too.

    For inquiries and comments email me: ed.stillmountain@gmail.com
              Learning tai chi push hands: 4 Helpful Rules        
    Here in the Philippines we recently upgraded our skills from the sharing of Chris Vogel who is currently conducting a workshop program in auspices of the Dasmarinas Village Association and Still Mountain Tai Chi Kung Institute.

    Learning the art of tai chi push hands is probably one of the most difficult endeavors for most of us, and certainly for me. That is probably one of the reasons why very few people teach, learn and consequently practice this aspect of tai chi.

    From beginning to learn this exquisitely subtle art, one can truly begin to appreciate why the name tai chi chuan literally means the great ultimate martial art – it leads to the highest level. This is hard to justify for the obvious reason that we cannot personally prove it, which in turn, is simply because we do not get to learn and practice tai chi pushing hands.

    Rules here do not mean laws; rather they are like rail guides to keep us from veering away from the wrong direction. They are being suggested by those who walk this path ahead for those who would like to tread this very subtle and tricky path to the pinnacle of tai chi. It is difficult enough with a guide, discarding the guide is almost a certain path away from the goal.

    Here they are:

    1. Grateful and appreciating attitude to your partner.

    >Yes, one needs a partner; different partners show us different aspects for us to learn.
    > So, it is really pointless, if not downright low mindedness to
    injure or dishonor your partner – our very source of learning.

    2. Patient, relaxed and playful spirit of learning:

    > Too much seriousness comes from excessive willing and expecting; this causes tension, just reinforcing the very manner we hold our mind and body that we would want to change.
    > Learning comes from mistakes. As the late master Cheng Man Ching said, “Invest in loss. After continually learning from committing the same mistakes a hundred times, we would eventual gain real and substantial learning” – from our mistakes comes our invincible strength, the real "jing" (internal strength). > Hurrying to “get it” will actually take us longer. A very
    appropriate paradox because as Classics master Wang Tsung-yueh said, "Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray."
    > “From familiarity with the correct touch, one gradually comprehends jing; from the comprehension of jing one can reach wisdom. Without long practice one cannot suddenly
    understand tai chi.” - Master Wang Tsung-yueh

    3. Essentially, push hands is a great teacher for learning about self and others.

    > It is a great learning practice to know our weaknesses and strength as well as those of our partners.
    > As Master Wang Tsung-yueh said, “To become a peerless fighter only comes from being able to say – The opponent does not know me, I alone know him.” And, “Fundamentally, it is giving yourself up to follow the opponent.”
    > Be rewarded and allow rewarding with a friendly soft pat
    to show that “attack lanes towards us are not adequately covered”, they would have been open and unrecognized. Strive to be always aware to adapt or evade in time. Done playfully and without malice, this helps both players adapt to changing situations.
    >So, self-reflect often, deep and wide. Take note of your partner's strengths and weaknesses and correct them first in yourself and then offer suggestion to your partner only if it can be accommodated coming from you, otherwise, let it be.
    >Remember that there will always be someone with greater skill. It is not about wining and losing. Win and lose correctly for the learning and mastery that will come with time.

    4. Check if you are contemplating and beginning to get the principles:

    • Centering: Stay on the center (body) and find the off-balancing point.
    • Staying within the “four ounces” principle: Focus equally on neutralizing the incoming force and on attacking with the four-ounce principle (never allow more than four ounces of pressure on your body and on your attack). Avoid tensing beyond “four ounces”: Use tense arms of opponent, and don’t give tension that can be used by the opponent. Pushing on the point of contact leads to tensing.
    • Keeping a firmly expanded and balanced structure: Keep a circle of space between your body and your arms/hands by turning, folding, using up and down and side-to-side appropriately. Inflexibility and having no firm expanded structure leads to collapsing and being cornered.
    • The Neutralizing and Aiming Game:

    To neutralize is to render the opponent’s aim ineffective as in deflecting the direction of his “gun” away from you as a target.

    To aim is to have your “gun” aiming at you’re your opponent such that he would be “uprooted” if he does not neutralize your aim.

    Deflect the opponent’s aim while reestablishing your aim. This should be done with as little physical movement as possible. This means we try adjusting our internal energy and feeling primarily.

    Tensing up is considered a move and that can be taken advantaged of. An attack/aim that is tense, telegraphed or holds more than four-ounces from the onset is an opportunity to take advantage of. Avoid in yourself and seek in your opponent.

    It is important to not miss and use as little effort when you aim while causing your partner to miss his aim.

    Stay light with the four-ounce principle. It affords sensitivity and timely changes.

    Stick/adhere and follow to control your opponent without giving up your structure.

    Getting this right is rewarded with being able to give a friendly soft pat indicating that one has not missed both a neutralization and aim . Done playfully and with intent to learn together, this helps both players to advance in realization-after-realization.

    • Internalize these principles in daily standing meditation:

    bring standing awareness into the practices of form and push hands.
    This promotes flexibility in mind and body and leads to finding the strongest and safest position, timely neutralization and constant aiming back.

    This is just a quick and short summarization of what I’ve learned so far. Indeed, far from being comprehensive but, helpful nonetheless.

    For sure, push hands training is metaphorically applicable in daily life. Don’t you think so?

    Let us know what you think. Email me: ed.stillmountain@gmail.com

              Traditional & Wushu Tai Chi & TCUP: Forces at work & hope for harmony        
    From the tai chi perspective, the traditional tai chi associations on the one hand and the associations affiliated with the Wushu International on the other can be said to be two faces of the same coin. But just because their the same coin, their core differences which emanates from divergence in purposes are neither unified nor harmonized.

    The main purpose of the traditionalist is by definition, to preserve the original meaning and intentions of tai chi. On the other hand, the main purpose of Wushu is to have China’s Jewel of Chinese Heritage – Wushu – in the International Olympics. Japan has Karate and Judo, while Korea has Taekwondo. For the country that has the biggest population in the world, oldest existing civilization and the fasted growing economy at this time, to have no Chinese sports in the Olympics is truly preposterous.

    The Cons & Pros of Wushu Tai Chi:
    Wushu with its popularly practiced tai chi must simply be in the Olympics. But, to crash into this exclusive Olympic club, Wushu Tai Chi should fall into the western concept of sports. And unfortunately, skewing the profundity of the Chinese internal art of Tai Chi to suit this requirement simply puts tai chi into the same idea as gymnastics or figure skating. Tai Chi’s subtlety and profoundness is very difficult to be evaluated by mere professional judges – there are far too many important nuances that can only be sensed by a true expert in the art. This is one of the problems why Wushu gets to be controversial – the outcome of judging gets to be essentially based on aesthetics because it takes a very long, long time to have the proficiency to be an authentic judge. And time is the rarest element among the resources available to the Wushu thrust at this time.

    “Yes it was beautiful and elegant”, but did it follow the principles of tai chi such that all the form training that one put in it actually improved one’s push hands? Or did the form actually reinforce wrong habits of movement? Sadly, this is the usual negative result.

    Can this be corrected? In the long run, maybe – but only if a constant aim is directed toward doing this correction. But, right now, this is not Wushu’s problem; it has many real hurdles to the evasive Olympic dream. This is, right now, just a distracting divergence from their focus.
    Of course, there are many good points to this international propagation of Wushu:
    1. In terms of propagation, it was not only broad and intense; it was also fast and systematic. Not surprising though, considering the budget and the organizational support at its disposal.
    2. Also, it gave Tai chi a very “handsome and pretty face”. With the good image comes the good name – superficially at least. “Far too many people never go beyond superficial any way.” But, antithetically, being superficial is not one of the things that tai chi is about.
    3. Honest to goodness kung fu training is the traditional aspect of Wushu that we witness first hand. A program that squeezes the kung fu spirit out of every cell in one’s body.
    4. International level of efficiency in organization and system. They think of everything and rethink often.

    Honestly, I really doubt if there was any group of organizations then that could have given tai chi this much in such a short period of time. However, the good cannot justify the dilution of the internal art into a mere external sport.

    By and large, these are the cons and pros in Wushu tai chi.

    The Pros and Cons of Traditional Tai Chi:
    Traditional Tai Chi, on the other hand, I believe, needed this “kick in the butt” from Wushu as a catalyst for awakening from complacency. In fact, it seemed that Wushu has more stuff to show in terms of people who can “showcase” what they learned. While it was not consciously de-emphasizing the essential elements of tai chi for expediency like Wushu Tai chi, the traditionalists have not really given us what we really needed of the internal stuff for us to digest. Was it because these are secret stuff just for the family and if you are worthy enough to be taught the “secret” you would be sworn to secrecy-to-the-grave?

    Of course, there are many good points to the traditionalists preserving the art for the future generation. Because without them, we would be more lost than we already are.

    TCUP: Searching the Harmonious Balance:
    Using the tai chi concept of finding the center to balance and harmonize, this illusive harmony is deemed within the realm of the possible. The only problem is to eventually develop the tai chi skills accomplish this feat.

    The Tai Chi Union of the Philippines (TCUP), like the spine of a growing fetus has been continuously forming to be this center - to bring out the best from the limitations of yin and yang, and to express the “grand ultimate” from the harmony between the Wushu and the Traditionalists. Through this center, the differences between Wushu and Traditional need not be issues, “Viva la difference”. The differences can be respected while recognizing that there are common grounds for unity and cooperation. TCUP is an expression of this working mode, “Modus Vivendi – Live and let live!”

    How do we do this? Very carefully? With lots of patience and a little bit of self-sacrifice - no, martyrdom is excessive. In six months, a year, year by year, decade by decade, we will reap the fruit of harmony and “no thousand pounds of force can stop our four ounces of gentle touch on the true heart of everyone”. Who knows, the world may be waiting for us to give it the cue. And the world can change as well.

              Part I: Students Discover and Apply Tai Chi Principles in Daily Life        
    I’m very fortunate to be sharing and learning tai chi and its application to every day life to a lovely class of physical therapist at the Shangrila Spa Academy, Manila, Philippines. These students from all over the Philippines, Nepal and Indonesia learned very simple movement forms and chi kung principles to focus on how they can apply them in the daily issues of their student life- many of them away from family and loved ones.

    Reading their experiences makes me remember how often we can use tai chi and chi kung in everyday situations:

    Discovering how negative chi can be purified by practicing the “3 Adjustments”-
    Chi is in our environment and permeating all aspects of our lives. While it cannot be seen, we can discover that it exists in many ways as in good and bad or positive and negative manifestation of chi. I’ve discovered its negative aspect recently:

    My having bad eyesight and the need to take down notes from a distance where I sit in the class had caused me unbearable headache. The continuing effort of straining to see had seemed to drain my chi and had caused a blockage and deficiency in the areas of my eyes and brain, which manifested in this throbbing pain in head. To make things worse, I believe I was also generating negative chi in my emotion.

    Right after dinner, I immediately laid down to relax my tired and beat-up body. But as much as I wanted to rest, I felt restless and distracted. At that point I remembered the tai chi lecture on how tai chi can be applied in situation such as this. Instantaneously, I sat down on the edge of the bed and made the "3 adjustments of chi kung" (1) adjusted my posture to be balanced and relaxed which helped my (2) breathing to be deep, long, even, smooth and silent. Beginning to loosen and release the constriction in my chest and abdomen, I felt my breath becoming more abdominal and was gathering more oxygen and chi particularly into my brain. I then I (3) focused my mind letting it to be less distracted and more calm and sensing my relaxing my body. In a short while, I began to feel better and my outlook opened up to be more positive and resourceful.
    I realized how tense and stressed I was and that working on the chi kung’s “three adjustments” – posture relaxation, breathing and mind focusing – is a very effective way to meet any challenge in life.

    Discovering how positively chi affects us-
    In was a Sunday morning and I was strolling to church when I discovered how positive chi could make that day a super fabulous one. That chi simply appeared when I chanced to meet the whole family of my best friend from long time ago. Even though my best friend was not there with them, she being out of the country, that meeting was filled with heartfelt greetings and catching up on what has happened, hugging and shaking hands. An immeasurable emotional high enveloped me. At that point I felt chi emanating from their smiles, their body and their words and I said to my self, “so this is positive chi, and it does circulate among people who feel each other”. At times like this, one has just to express that overwhelming chi with an expression of gratitude to God.

    Bending Time in a Traffic Jam-
    That Friday evening I was rushing, excited to get home from my classes at the Academy and looking forward to enjoying my brothers’ company and resting early. But the traffic turned out to be not only bad, the bus I was on seemed stuck at standstill. Slowly I felt my excitement turning into impatience and anger. My chi was turning from positively golden to turbid gray. In exasperation I leaned back on the chair and got thought that I shouldn’t get this situation to destroy my evening. I adjusted the way I held my body to be more balanced, centered and relaxed as I focused my mind in deep abdominal breathing. I focused on happy moments I had in my pasts and one good memory lead to another and I found my self really enjoying my session on reflecting. Then I realized that two hours stock in the traffic flew like few minute. Working on chi, we can change how time feels.

    The level of chi does not depend on how much energy we spent that day-
    It was after office and classes in the evening. I was already tired and also felt I needed to conserve my energy for the long class work the next day. But it was my cousin’s birthday party and I had to go. Before entering the house, I composed myself by adjusting the way I carried myself, breathed deeply from my abdomen and focused on the thought that this is time to be happy. I entered the house with a bright smile and an open heart and mind to circulate with the people. Right then I felt that my own energy was circulating inside me and around the other people in the room. I just flowed with this chi as I felt it circulating smoothly. It was memorable evening and I felt energized rather than depleted.

    Teacher save the day by giving us a break to exercise-
    It was after lunch and the subject of the lecture was very complicated. We felt like our chi was stagnating and not flowing into our brains. We were obviously straining to focus on the lesson. Our teacher was perceptive and wise and gave us an exercise break. We took the opportunity to do group tai chi. From doing the exercises it felt like the stress and tension we felt was released. After that I continued to do the “3 adjustments” and particularly focused my mind on my goals and the reasons for me to keep motivated. This way I get going through difficult hours in the classroom.

    Arrogant people transmits negative chi-
    Learning about chi made me more aware how people chi affects my chi. I come from the southern islands of the Philippines and we speak with a different accent from people in Manila. Some Manila people think we are inferior because of this. It is a stupid way to think but their looking down on us affects me negatively. I feel downtrodden and insulted. It triggers off my homesickness, missing my family and loved ones. Learning chi kung made me remember that I need not be a victim of such things. I have power and control of the harmonious flow of energy in my body. I can make the three simple adjustments and direct my focus on something positive and not dwell on this negative people. So I do tai chi, listen to peaceful music, call my love one, converse with my friend, all these easily purifies my negative chi to be bright and positive again.

    Managing chi with a little help from friends-
    There are simple things I do that really help me adjust my chi. Taking a brisk shower in morning for one gets me ready for any type of day ahead. Even during times that I would have to skip breakfast to finish the many things I have to do, I get along doing my 3 adjustments or what I call PBF (Posture balancing & relaxing, Breathing deeply and Focusing positively). If these are not enough there are always my friends whose smiles, laughter and lively conversations never fail to get my stagnating energy circulating again. With these even difficult day don’t seem so stressful.

    Teamed-up with someone I despised-
    According to Buddha, to be with the one you despise is one of the unavoidable sufferings in life. Our school head confirmed this with his firm admonition to me, “You should follow what you are told”.
    Every tissue in my female body was rebelling in spite of my realizing how unprofessional I was behaving. So, I decided to act on this issue – “I would confront this negative chi that is represented by this person I was teamed up with!” But before proceeding, I had to align and find my calm center, take as many deep breaths as necessary to discover the right intentions to focus on. After this, I finally gained the wisdom and strength to express to him my wounded emotion and listened to his side. We eventually arrived at an arrangement that works for the both of us. Now, we are working harmoniously.

    We love to keep going back to places where we feel positive chi-
    I always look forward to going to our cafeteria. They always greet me by name and always sees to it that my vegetarian meal (specially cooked for me is ready). No matter in what physical and emotional state I am, this place – because of its people and the healthy food they cook for me – always, always makes me high.

    Our chi connections, hurting & healing-
    One morning, my friends’ and my chi were shaken by the angry chi of one of our friends. In a loud and hurting voice he asked us, “Am I not your friend? Why do you go out on a fun trip together without inviting me?”
    His chi affected our chi and we felt both guilty and sad for him. We needed to heal the wounded connections between us.
    So we had to center ourselves before we could positive affect his aching chi. Doing the “3 adjustments, it felt like we knew just what to say and do to console and comfort him. It took a while, but instantly we knew the healing was in progress.
              Tai Chi Union Philippines: Answering a call for authenticity, unity and harmony        
    " . . . the whole body should be light and agile, with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together." – Tai Chi Classics by Chang San-feng

    The early stages of tai chi in the Philippines was mainly characterized by the existence of various "traditional kung fu schools and associations" along with independent but also "traditional tai chi masters". This history was eventually punctuated by the entry and organization of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines which caused a polarization with the "traditionalists". Being witness to this and personally torn with equal fondness to both sides, it was certain to me that there were pros and cons on both sides. However, this brought about increased chi in the tai chi scene as express by greater visibility and expansion of activities. A growth period for tai chi in the Philippines, though very divisive. Another key development within this polarizing stage of tai chi history was the establishment of Rapid Journal which not only brought scholarly reference on internal and Filipino martial arts, but also underscored the Philippines in the international martial arts map.

    I believe, that now the history of tai chi in the Philippines has come to a new stage of development - unification. Perhaps this is concomitant to a still unapparent global phenomenon, - a need to bring the tai chi roots as the unifying force in the fragmentizing "tai chi body". In the Philippines, an indicator of this unifying emergence is the formation of the Philippine Tai Chi Network Blog, which aim to give free information for any interest in tai chi in the Philippines – instructors, events, supplies and other information supply links - a long overdue answer to a lingering need.

    This leads to a natural next step which is to put an appropriate body to this moving Filipino tai chi spirit – a non-partisan organization that would serve as a common vehicle to harmonize the inherent and apparent differences among participants. The common point of harmony and unity is authenticity or loyalty to the original concept of tai chi that we inherited from the Taichi Classics of Chang San-feng, Wang Tong-yueh and Wu Yu-hsiang. We believe this is very possible dream if we use the tai chi principles which is the same as in the idea of "win-win".

    The process of "linking as if threaded together" has started but for there to become a "whole body that is light and agile", we need to start the process of organizing. Every person whose heart resonates with the ideals of tai chi needs an opportunity to belong to a body where one’s talent could be contributed and where one’s endeavor to learn and participate could get nurturing support. By doing this we can give substance to the admonition of one of the Tai Chi Classics authors, Wu Yu-hsiang when he said, "Remember, when the body moves, there is no place in the body that does not move".

    Hence, this -

    Mission, Vision and Goals for the Tai Chi Union of the Philippines (TCUP):

    Mission :
    The Tai Chi Union of the Philippines (Union) is a non-profit organization geared towards the propagation, support and uplifting of internal martial arts and chi kung (qigong) in general, and tai chi chuan (taiqi quan) in particular. The Union is specifically committed to exemplify the tai chi qualities of harmony and unity among practicing groups, teachers and students towards the direction of mutual assistance and working toward common goal.

    The Union envisions itself as the organization that would bring into harmony the Wushu International's concept of Tai Chi propagation and the independent traditional tai chi and internal martial arts organizations while respecting and accepting intrinsic difference. With this, the Union sees the marshaling of the energy of many individual initiatives that would result in an exponential growth in the practice of tai chi.

    The Union is guided by the following beliefs:
    1. that tai chi chuan is essentially based on the "Tai Chi Classics" attributable to Chang Sanfeng, etc. and should be the main guidelines to adherence to the art
    2. that scientific findings and modern language and concepts can and should clarify the profound meaning of the Classics
    3. that creativity in the formation of the forms of practice and conduct of activities to develop and propagate the art should be encouraged for so long as they do not veer away from the essential meaning of the art based on the classics.

    General Goals:
    The Union shall therefore endeavor to:
    1. Bring practitioners into a bond of fellowship of members
    2. Provide access to information that would not be conveniently available
    3. Bring to affordability, expensive resources through sharing
    4. Hold periodic learning activities for common upgrading of teachers and students
    5. Accredit teachers/instructors for teaching competence to safeguard the interests of students and protect the good name of tai chi
    6. Provide a venue and organization where practitioners can have themselves evaluated for competency and level
    7. Participate in international events and activities that would redound to the member's benefits based on the above avowed goals
    8. To seek local and international funding to find support for these goals.

    Specific Goals/Tasks:
    1. Formalization of the Union as a non-profit corporation
    2. Organization of founding members
    3. Membership generation in the teachers/instructors' and practitioner's classifications
    4. Program for development of the 1st Philippine Tai Chi Competition (concept to implementation):
    >>> Judging concept and criteria
    >>> Judge selection criteria and training
    >>> Venue
    >>> Finance & Administration
    5. Target international events for participation
    >>> Strategy
    >>> Policies
    >>> Organization & implementation

    If upon reading this the "spirit of vitality rises up on top of your head", this only means that TCUP is answering your call for authenticity, unity and harmony. Let your "Shen/Spirit be firm", post your comment with your name and email as your own answer to this call.

    ~ESS / Manila, Philippines

    TCUP Forum link

              Save "Tai Chi in the RP". Save "Tai Chi in the World"        
    It seems not infrequent that I find myself as a charlatan (person supposed to have qualities that one actually lacks) in one way or another. This seems to be a human malady found in various endeavors and activities – from the political arena, to the medical field, to even the religious realm. Our children's idealism is quickly disillusioned by the scandals exposed. This is a sad state, where we unfortunately have contributed to create. Or at least, I myself know that I cannot cast the first stone of accusation because I am also at fault. But far from condemnation, this is simply a statement of fact and an earnest call to create an positive alternative vision.

    The "Yin" in the State of Tai Chi

    Starting under my very nose, it is ironic to for me to find uncomfortable contradictions between the principles of tai chi and the practice of tai chi, as much on the learners' side as on the institutions that promote its principles. It is difficult to discuss this issue without seeming to attack, but if it is any consolation, I put myself in the forefront of the target of this attack. Actually, I would rather focus on solutions and use the very tai chi principles we uphold as the method for solution generation.

    The state of tai chi as an art both here in the Philippines and internationally, can be said to be at a critical crossroads. From its origin as a revered holistic practice that addresses the need for self-defense, health, longevity and spiritual enlightenment, it has now fragmented as separated pursuits. We see the differentiation as tai chi for health, for martial arts, for sports and for "new age" inclinations. Not that there is something wrong with them per se, just that they represent discreet perspectives that could water down the essence of tai chi, particularly if they become the mainstream practice.

    Viewed from a detached perspective, we see that there are reasons for this phenomenon (observed situation). These are the present human tendencies which naturally extend to activities relating to tai chi. These human tendencies are:
    • to classify, as an intellectual tendency to dissect and analyze everything,
    • to "commodify" everything for marketable usefulness and function, and
    • to suit the trend to search for what is "convenient and fashionable".

    These tendencies lead to unsettling questions:

    • How do they affect the idea of tai chi as being revered and holistic? Should we fragmentize tai chi to suit our fickle market?
    • What would happen if this trend continues - when the essence of the art is compromised to the wants of an unenlightened market while subscribing to the idea that "the market is god"?

    Specifically, we see two main tendencies manifesting as the resultant trends:

    1. First, is a continuing fragmentation of "Traditional Styles" into marketable proprietary brands through:
      a. The development of Tai Chi for health to cater to a "market niche" of the aging "baby boomer generation", and
      b. The cashing in on the lucrative "New Age" market, on the one hand,
    2. And Second, is the powerful unifying global effort by the People's Republic of China to "crash into the exclusive Olympic club" effectively converting tai chi as into sports.

    Aggravating the situation is the still pervasive ancient tradition of "keeping the family secrets within the clan" which causes this legacy of the Chinese civilization to be "getting lost in a disinterested generation within the clans".

    The "Yang" in State of Tai Chi:

    But there are positive tendencies and trends as well that prove the reality of the balancing "yin and yang" in life. We do see this in the access to global information through the internet on the one hand, and the ease in international travel on the other. This trend gives all learners an opportunity to have affordable access to many kept information and "secrets" and free them up for healthy circulation of chi in the body of a mutating art.. Through this, a new arena of communication offers a level playing field to positively alter the trend of events.

    The opportunity exists as the impact we can exert on the thinking of the market. To help give rise to the emergence of an "enlightened" market that would demand the real thing – the original, pure idea of tai chi that was developed by "enlightened masters who created this art".

    Practically, every learner is technologically empowered by the internet to exert an altering impact in the present trend towards a desirable outcome – to turn the situation from being a passive loser to being an active gainer. From being an exploited market to being "an enlightened market" who refuses to be manipulated and who effectively demands for the authentic tai chi.

    The source of power of tai chi is in the mind: its ability to gather and mobilize a unified critical mass of our chi as a market and to leverage and neutralize an unenlightened force towards a win-win situation.

    Using tai chi, non-confrontational approach, we know as learners that the soft approach of "using four ounces" is not to demolish but to effectively neutralize and eventually win the institutions into our side.

    Our vision is a tai chi world that goes beyond forms and digs deep into the real substance of the art of tai chi chuan. Not just "fancy dancing" that is looked down by other martial artists. But a fighting art worthy of its name – "The Grand Ultimate Fist". A vision where practitioners becoming sages, not just a tendency to be bloated egos. We envision this subtle art to be moving as integral principle in our daily life, giving the tai chi practitioner a high degree of respect that can be gain from many disciplined hours and years of practicing the art.

    Let's make it happen. Our individual and collective intention have impact. It moves chi. We can "deflect a thousand pounds with simply 4 ounces from our pure intention". Tai learners unite! Save "Tai Chi in the Philippines" save "Tai Chi in the World".

    ~ESS/Manila Philippines/Copyright Pending

    Visit the Tai Chi Union of the Philippines Forum at Philippine Tai Chi Network

              Tai Chi Equation in Stress Management        
    Whether or not I was conscious about it then, I now realize that the reason that drew me to learning Tai Chi is that intuitively, I knew that it holds the key to solving the many stressors in my life.

    Even as a child, I have always exuded a façade of noticeable calmness, earning me a title of Mister at the age of 3. But truly it was a clever mask of being in control, to hide an inner tension emanating form a need to understand and control the forces that hinder my search for the elusive "happiness".

    Albert Einstein, while declining a political position, remarked that "power and position can only be for a life time, but an equation . . . that is for eternity." My realizations in managing my stress up to this point in my learning journey can be summarized in simple equations:

    Happy Life = (Learning from + Controlling/Balancing) Stress


    Life = Stress = Chi

    Presupposed here is that life necessarily implies stress. The force of life, which we call "chi" is the result of stress or tension caused by the intrinsic existence of polar opposites in everything. This is the "yin and yang" symbolized by the tai chi logo. True but apparently contradictory, everything in life is both polarizing (grouping into opposite positions) and complementing opposites (completing each other like "soul mates"). They cannot actually exist without the other, they are the two sides of the same coin. Perhaps this is an explanation for the popular expression of exasperation – "men/women, you can't live without them, you can't live with them". Right there is one of the intrinsic stressors in life, which aptly describes many of our fond relationships. Indeed, life does not exist without this rhythmic beeps alternating between these oppositions in our dualistic universe. Without this opposition, what we'll have is the flat monotone sound of death in the ICU's vital signs monitor.

    So, for chi to come to life the tension and stress is an essential condition. There is the unwanted stress that gives us high blood pressure and cause us to pull our hair in desperation. A main cause of unwanted stress is a one sided view of and our tendency to oppose what can be termed our "negative others". These include everyone and every thing and every situation that happens to us that we don't like. This is something we avoid but seem to attract in our life. We go through the process of non-accepting, rejecting, defensively posturing against and denying them.

    Through ta chi, I found it such a liberating and chi flowing experience to discover that there is a positive and essentially important reason for the existence of the "negative others" in life. And further, I can accept them as a unique, timely opportunity to learn about something that I cannot otherwise know about myself - a present item in the divine agenda for me to discover within my being that I need to integrate into my conscious awareness. It is the Universe's uniquely personal lesson at this very moment for me to upgrade myself for promotion into a higher level of being.

    Of course, most of us know how very alive we feel when we find the "one" complementing opposite of our own being. This usually lead to the feeling of "being in love". It makes us feel so alive and "joyfully stressed". But, without being a pessimist, if one does not have the sensitivity and skill in balancing, this "high" would eventually swing like a pendulum to a crashing "low", a suffering state. This is a natural law that we cannot defy, but we can work with by learning the tai chi principles of grounding, sinking centering and balancing.

    Controlling = Balancing

    From learning tai chi came to me the realization that the grand ultimate in living is not being the "mostest" or the grandest but simply getting and staying in the golden centre of balance and spiralling upward while remaining balanced.

    It is from this point of balance that we can control the dualistic, opposing and complementing nature of events to avoid being hurt by the swings. Otherwise, we would necessarily just be at the mercy of life's "unfeeling" laws. Without this necessary balance, people do come to realize that life is nothing more than suffering, that real happiness can exist only in the after life.

    Of course, balancing is the art of tai chi which is a difficult skill to master. That is why we included in the equation the "learning" item. Life is eventually meaningless and empty without the joy of a sense of growing in wisdom and understanding.

    From tai chi, I understood that our misery stems from the misunderstanding of the perspective in this equation. We wrongly cling to the idea that happiness lies in something in the future, a destination, an achievement to be "had in the future". Actually, it is not that it is not "there", but with that one sided perspective, "there" will always be something "there" and happiness will never be here, even when "there" is already "here".

    It is an instantaneous satisfaction to accept that there is deep joy and ecstasy in letting go of this stressful clinging, and enjoying life as a challenging journey, a divine game of learning and finding a win-win-balance in the constant opposition that we encounter.

    Tai chi gives us the metaphor in this game of life. The way of being balanced and centred in our posture and stances such that we hold the centre between up and down left and right, forward and backward, and in and out. An unattached awareness that gives an unbiased view and a non-violent option to a world that has lost its balance and left with no recourse except a predeliction for violence and dominance.

    It is from this idea of balance where tai chi empowers us, that despite not being in the position of power, there is a way of leveraging for that tai chi position "to deflect a force of a thousand pounds with our minimum four ounces of strength".

    In all of these, I found that theoretically at least, living could be negatively stressful. Or it could be a magical journey of learning and balancing- a learning to be and to do, an adventurous warrior path, a kungfu of delicate balancing where stress can be joyfully challenging.

    ~ESS/Manila Philippines/Copyright Pending
              The Tai Chi Code Journal        
    Tai Chi Code:

    The learning and practice of tai chi is deep and subtle. It takes years of dedicated learning from learned teaching to be able to touch and peer into its profound value. Without the willingness to sacrifice time and effort and competent instruction, the a learner cannot fully appreciate tai chi’s magical depth – the internal martial art that can “deflect the force of a thousand pounds with a mere four ounces”. Tai chi then would remain an unreacheable secret . . . a virtual code for deciphering.

    Application to Everyday Living:

    What makes this code worthy of dedicated years of unraveling is the realization that this code is not just for martial purposes, but is in fact a key to solving present, 21st century issues of humanity.

    The rapid rate of change in life that is spawned by relentless development in science and technology tilts the balance towards human's over reliance on “hard” intellectualizing side– consequently causing the underdevelopment of his “softer” side. Given this, human solutions are generated predictably from the very same tendencies that are the very roots of the problems.

    The idea of tai chi is not to supplant the hard force of the intellect, but to balance and harmonize it with the soft, internal approach of sensing and feeling – the use of the subtle force of chi.

    The unraveling of this way holds the key to handling the problems that we face, near and far. From the daily stress that we feel, the personal conflicts that we endure, the chronic illnesses we suffer, to the global warming that threatens our planet – tai chi, in its depth and profundity holds a key. These problems are the “thousand pound issues” and by comparison, we, you and I, the tai chi enthusiasts of the world are a mere “four ounces of influence”. In tai chi, that is all we need if we can unravel the code.

    This prospect of making an impact in these real concerns that we face, not only globally but more immediately in our daily concerns on stress, health and relational conflicts, makes our investment of time, energy and resources to the unraveling the tai chi code worthwhile and meaningful, if not imperative.

    Learners’ Journal:

    Keeping a common learners’ journal suggests a different strategy to both the unraveling of the secret and discovering their application.

    First is the premise that we are all equally learners, althought at times in different levels. No tai chi master will honestly claim that he has nothing more to learn, particularly in the aspect of tai chi’s application in daily living. In fact, all teachers learn more than their students in the practice of teaching.

    Second is that we should learn from each other, regardless of level. The breadth of daily life application requires a groundswell of ideas-triggering-other-ideas from the kitchen to the boardroom. Every contribution of honest thinking is a grain of gold, a gem in the making.

    Third is that the magnitude of the problems we face requires not individual super heroes, but empowered ordinary individuals discovering their own unique talents that would be needed in concerted solution generation and implementation.

    Fourth is that this effort requires the constancy of a disciplined journal keeper. Developing the real martial spirit to honestly reflect and persistently concretize his realization into a clear thought.

    The Unraveling Method:

    Being self-organizing in nature like everything else in nature, this method is merely a suggestion. Ultimately, emergence from unforeseeable intuitive understanding connecting with other intuitive understandings will radiate out as synergistic alignments of coherent courses of action.

    Outcome orientation: It is helpful that we follow a practical approach to “begin with the end in mind”.

    As an art, every learner would find the method towards mastery if he is in the right direction. Finding the direction is the main goal, because then the eventual end would just be a matter of time and effort. Far too many of us learners are pointed in the wrong direction such that no amount of effort and time will lead us any closer to mastery. The originators of tai chi gave us the legacy of the tai chi classics that outline not only the outcomes but also the methods and steps towards achievement. Focusing on this and exposure to other learners realization in various levels will provide everyone the realizations to self-adjust one's direction towards mastery.

    As an application to daily living, our outcome is the specific desired effects we want in during the day as they relate to the broad areas of 1) stress and conflicts situations 2) personal healing, health and empowerment and 3) environmental healing.

    Solution generation:

    As tai chi learners, we shall seek from the tai chi classics and chi kung principles the metaphor that would apply as keys to find solutions to our everyday problems. Learning the principles, contemplating on the principles, practicing the principles in the form or push hands, we will not only learn deeply their subtle meaning but also find practical applications of these principles in our everyday life.

    The principles can be divided into two: being tai chi and doing tai chi. Eventually, they the division is lost and they become one, being is doing is being. Being tai chi refers to the principles in doing the form and standing meditation. Doing tai chi refers to the principles of push hands as applied to actual combat.

    We derive the principles from the “Tai Chi Classics” attributed to Chang San Feng, Wang Tsung Yueh, Wu Yu Hsiang and later day masters. We will clarify the principles with other concepts from the broader art of Chi Kung or the working with energy of which tai chi is a part. We will also search the professional discoveries in many field that can be used as part of the tai chi approaches for everyday life situations.

    A Worthy Quest:

    In this life, we may never ever use this art in self-defense, but the discipline, health, and inner strength we develop and the wisdom and skill to apply these skills in every day life would make our dedicated unraveling of the tai chi code and its application in everyday life worth more than every second and sweat we invested in it.

    ~ESS/ Manila Philippines/Copyright Pending
              Gifts Unto Men        
    A new MP3 sermon from Harmony Primitive Baptist Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: Gifts Unto Men
    Subtitle: Monthly Meeting in Little Rock
    Speaker: Elder Gus Harter
    Broadcaster: Harmony Primitive Baptist Church
    Event: Special Meeting
    Date: 4/9/2017
    Bible: Ephesians 4
    Length: 59 min. (64kbps)

    Overview: Speaking of PB efforts to establish churches in the Philippines and Paul's affirmation of gifts given to men in support of the church.
              04 - PB Churches in the Philippines        
    A new MP3 sermon from Harmony Primitive Baptist Church is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: 04 - PB Churches in the Philippines
    Subtitle: 2016 Fall Meeting
    Speaker: Don Farris
    Broadcaster: Harmony Primitive Baptist Church
    Event: Special Meeting
    Date: 9/10/2016
    Length: 8 min. (64kbps)
              Comment on Banners Design for Mobile Unlock Base by MichaelImmed        
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              Up And Coming International Vacation Spots        
    Things change fast in the international world of travel. From time to time, there are fairly untouched gems, like Mozambique 15 years ago or Cuba 10 years ago. For very different reasons, Germany, Argentina, the Philippines, and Madagascar are destinations to consider or re-consider for your up-and-coming vacation bucket list.
              Manny Pacquiao wants a rematch with Jeff Horn in Australia        

    Manny Pacquiao has advised his promoter Bob Arum that he wants to participate in a rematch later this year against Australia's Jeff Horn.

    Arum said he'll explore possible dates and venues this weekend that avoid conflict with Pacquiao's work as a senator in the Philippines.

    Horn defeated Pacquiao...

              Enjoy Easy Direct Online Booking With Corto del Mar Hotel in Coron, Palawan        
    Corto del Mar, one of the newest hotels in Coron, Palawan, Philippines, now offers a fast an efficient direct-booking system that guarantees instant confirmation. With this, the accommodation ensures travelers with utmost convenience.
              Promos Extended: Grab the Island Retreat Package and Paradise for Less at Two Seasons Coron        
    Luxurious accommodations at more affordable rates and better packages are still being offered at Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa in Palawan, Philippines.
              Jumpstart 2015 With 40 Percent Off + Free Upgrade at Brentwood Suites in Quezon City        
    Brentwood Suites in Quezon City, Philippines opens the year with an irresistible offer: 40% Off Kickoff. With this promo valid until June 30, guests not only enjoy a huge discount, but also free room upgrade and 10% off F&B services.
              Get a Double Room + Free Half-Board Meals at Microtel by Wyndham - Acropolis in Quezon City        
    Microtel by Wyndham - Acropolis in Libis, Quezon City, Philippines has just launched the “Tito Chef Express Promo”, which covers a stay in a Queen Double Room, a unique dining experience, and other practical inclusions.
              Cherry Blossoms Hotel in Manila Offers a Balikbayan Promo and 5 More Holiday Deals        
    Cherry Blossoms Hotel in Manila, Philippines is giving away a Balikbayan promo and 5 more holiday deals that will surely delight travelers this Christmas season.
              Up to 30% Off on Mediterranean-Style Villas at Amarela Resort in Panglao Island        
    See the enchanting beauty of Panglao Island at budget-friendly rates with a stay at Amarela Resort in Bohol, Philippines. Grab its latest promo called Flash Deals and get 30% off accommodation along with other perks.
              Christmas Sale: Get 35% Off at Coron Gateway Hotel in Palawan Until December 22        
    The month of merrymaking gets a little more exciting for those filled with wanderlust as Coron Gateway in Coron, Palawan, Philippines rolls out its Christmas promo. Valid until December 22, 2014, this deal offers 35% off.
              End 2014 and Welcome 2015 With Big Savings at Fernandina 88 Suites Hotel Quezon City        
    Fernandina 88 Suites Hotel in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines closes 2014 and welcomes 2015 with 2 new big-discount promos, namely “Festive Fernandina Treats” (December 2014) and “New Year Special: The 2015 Rate” (January 2015).
              Have a Merrier Holiday Season in Palawan With Astoria's 3 New Vacation Packages        
    The Christmas season gets more exciting with Astoria Palawan's 3 newest vacation packages for its accommodations in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines. Promo valid until December 25, 2014.
              Enjoy 2 Nights for the Price of 1 at Cintai Corito's Garden Resort in Batangas        
    The newest promo from Cintai Corito's Garden lets travelers in the Philippines have a taste of Bali without going too far and spending too much. With this hotel deal in Batangas valid until December 25, 2014, guests enjoy 2 nights for the price of 1.
              3 New Room Promos Give Up to 57% off at Microtel Technohub in Quezon City        
    Microtel by Wyndham - UP Technohub rolls out 3 big-discount promos perfect for travelers looking for an excellent yet affordable hotel in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. With these, guests enjoy up to 57% discount on published room rates.
              Christmas Promo Alert: Lower Rates at Seda NUVALI Hotel from Dec. 15 to 30        
    Seda NUVALI, a hotel in NUVALI, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Philippines has rolled out its special Christmas promo. this deal lets guests enjoy lower rates and free use of hotel facilities from December 15 to 30, 2014.
              Seda Hotels Named Philippines' Leading Hotel Group in World Travel Awards 2014        
    Besting the Philippines' top hospitality chains, Seda Hotels is named the country's Leading Hotel Group in the World Travel Awards 2014.
              Last Call: Lower Room Rates + Breakfast at The Mabuhay Manor in Pasay Until August 31        
    Travelers visiting Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines now only have a few days to book The Mabuhay Manor's “Hot Deal Room Promo”. This big-discount offer, which already covers daily buffet breakfast, is valid until August 31, 2014 only.
              [news/commentary] Building ISV Relationships: Targeting SMEs - Part I        
    Thursday, September 16, 2004
    Dateline: China
    New column on the AlwaysOn Network.  It's on the potential downside of offshoring (the downside for the States, that is).  For the next five days, see http://www.alwayson-network.com ; the permanent link is at http://tinyurl.com/4e4q4 .  It got the ire of a lot of readers and a lot of views (I'm projecting nearly 500 in less than one day).  The article which was the basis for my column is getting a lot of attention in the States.  Worth reading.
    Building ISV Relationships: Targeting SMEs -- Part I
    First, a bit of commentary.  One thing all smart SIs (systems integrators) do is develop partnerships and alliances with ISVs (independent software vendors, i.e., software publishers/software companies in a broad sense).  Of course, it's difficult to be the 1,000th entrant in the game and expect to get any traction/assistance from your ISV partner.
    SIs in China ALWAYS use the approach of offering localization services and OFTEN offer to help push an ISV's product within the domestic market in China.  Frankly, this is what the (usually American) ISV wants, too.  Does this strategy work?  Well, sometimes.  However, even in the case of high profile alliances such as some of those Microsoft has in China (and I won't name names to protect the innocent), it's really nothing more than window dressing.  Everything looks good on paper, but the reality is something quite different.
    Regardless, this does NOT address the need and desire for SIs in China to build their market in the States.  And when this issue becomes center stage, ISVs frequently respond with something bordering on contempt.  Some ISVs are getting clued that their American channel partners absolutely need partners in China and other low(er)-cost development areas in order to win bids.  Let's face it, it's all about closing deals.  And if an ISV's competitors have channel partners which can put together winning bids, perhaps in part (and perhaps in LARGE part) due to an offshoring component with their channel partner's SI partner(s) in China, then the ISV with an indirect link to China has a competitive advantage.  I don't view this as a sufficient condition to winning bids, but it's increasingly a necessary condition.
    Clued ISVs want their American channel partners to have an offshoring option, but this requires that their channel partners have relationships with SIs in a country such as China.  But ISVs tend to focus their channel development efforts on their American partners and might develop a couple/few relationships in China, but usually NOT tied to their channel development efforts in the States.  Goofy and shortsighted, to say the least.
    But how can SIs in China get traction with American ISVs, especially since they're almost always late to the game (in other words, the American ISV already has a well-developed channel)?  The answer (or, at least one answer):  Focus on servicing the needs of SMEs (small and medium enterprises, which is also referred to as "SMBs" -- small and medium businesses).
    There's another reason this makes sense:  Most of the SIs in China are already focused on servicing SMEs/SMBs in China.  It might be nice to bag a large SOE (state-owned enterprise), but the reality is that most firms in China, especially the burgeoning number of privately-held firms, are SMEs by definition.  Hence, the experiences gained by SIs in China is already within the same market, although I'd be the first person to warn than company size and even similar domains does not necessarily equate to directly transferable skills.  Fact is, things in China are often quite different from the way they are in the States, especially in a "hot" ITO (IT outsourcing) market like financial services.  More about this in a forthcoming postingBottom line:  Give serious thought to targeting the SMB/SME market in the States.  (Part II of this commentary might be a while in coming.)
    IT Tidbits
    Lots of tidbits this week.
    Controlling project costs.  My favorites:  Scope creep, not understanding project financing, "big-bang" projects, overtesting (although I'm not sure I agree with this one), poor estimating.  Good stuff, with recommended solutions.  See http://tinyurl.com/6rfkg .
    Challenges for China's SIs.  Adapted from a Forrester report.   For starters, how about:  Improving account management (are there really any account managers in China, or at least any who can manage accounts with U.S. clients?   ), moving away from technology-centric messages that often alienate business buyers (better yet, moving away from messages in Chinglish), investing in vertical-specific skills (how many times have I said this?) and becoming more multicultural organizations (yes, and let's start with learning English!).  See http://tinyurl.com/4avfo .
    "Yee Haw" as an outsourcing option.  Forget India.  Forget China.  Forget the Philippines.  Let's go to Arkansas!!  See http://tinyurl.com/7ya9p .
    American start-ups go offshore.  Try Corio (is Corio really a start-up?), CollabNet, Aarohl, Infinera, and many others.  See http://tinyurl.com/3wm3o .  Another good article with a BPO spin in Venture Capital Journal, http://tinyurl.com/4rfsa .
    Offshorings mixed results.  "Vietnam and Myanmar were also in demand ..."  Really?  See http://tinyurl.com/647ap .
    Looking for SI partners?  Kennedy ranks the largest firms.  As I've said in the past, I like their reports.  (No, I don't get a cut.)  Satyam and TCS didn't make the grade, though.  See http://tinyurl.com/4s965 .
    Another challenge to conventional outsourcing and offshoring "wisdom."   "Services-driven development models, such as the one at work in India, broaden the global competitive playing field.  As a result, new pressures are brought to bear on hiring and real wages in the developed world - pressures that are not inconsequential in shaping the jobless recoveries unfolding in high-cost wealthy nations.  For those in the developed world, successful services- and manufacturing-based development models in heavily populated countries such as India and China - pose the toughest question of all: what about us?"  For more, see http://tinyurl.com/4acm4 .
    Forget the Golden Triangle.  How about China + India vs. the world (or, sans the world)?  "Newspaper headlines portray China as the world's manufacturing base for low-cost goods, like clothing and shoes, and India as the global IT monopoly-to-be.  Unfortunately, media outside Asia have failed to acknowledge the growing partnership between the two giants."  "Given the complementary nature of their economies and the size of their markets (nearly 2.2 billion people in total), the nascent cooperation between the two holds the potential to dramatically alter the world trade balance.  A perusal of the Shanghai technology corridor reveals a hint of the countries' industrial interconnectedness.  Walk through one of the main complexes in Shanghai's Pudong Software Park, and you will see a prominently displayed sign for Infosys, one of India's most respected IT firms.  The same complex also holds Satyam, the first of India's software service companies to set up offices in Shanghai.  Nearby are the headquarters of the largest software services company in Asia, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which currently runs an outsourcing center for GE in the town of Hangzhou.  TCS is owned by the Tatas, one of India's most prominent business families.  Across the river is NIIT, the principal software training center in India's private sector.  NIIT, operating in China since 1998, now runs an extensive two-year course in 25 provinces, training around 20,000 students to be software professionals.  There is widespread speculation that Wipro, India's only giant IT firm without a presence in the city, will establish a Shanghai office very soon.  It is no surprise that Indian software companies are setting up in China. They, like everyone else, sense great opportunity in one of the largest, fastest-growing economies in the world."  (Bold is my emphasis.)  All true, and they even forget MphasiS.  See one of my must-read sources, YaleGlobalhttp://tinyurl.com/6ltaz .
    The partnering wave of the future.  I've talked about this many times in previous postings.  This time CTG dances with Polaris Software.  See http://tinyurl.com/5tbqd .
    CMMi:  The key to success.  A little simplistic and uses incorrect definitions, but still worth reading.  See http://tinyurl.com/4gp9u .
    How about Microsoft vs. China in an AO "Grudge Match"?  See a lengthy article in CFO titled, "Does Microsoft need China?"; link at http://tinyurl.com/476bo .  China: The champion of open source!!
    Business creativity 101.  "A new book from Wharton School Publishing, The Power of Impossible Thinking by Jerry Wind and Colin Crook prompts you to rethink your mental models and transform them to help you achieve new levels of creativity. In this book, the authors give a set of guidelines on how to see differently."  Examples:  Listen to the radicals; embark on journeys of discovery; look across disciplines.  See http://tinyurl.com/6fvo8 .
    The innovator's battle plan.  "Great firms can be undone by disruptors who analyze and exploit an incumbent's strengths and motivations.  From Clayton Christensen's new book Seeing What's Next."  GREAT stuff (although John Dvorak won't like it).  What about asymmetric warfare theories applied to the realm of corporate innovation and creativity?  Just a thought ...  See http://tinyurl.com/6mbcy .
    Your next competitors?  Have you thought about Senegal, Uganda, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, especially in the BPO space?  See http://tinyurl.com/5h93z .
    Message to product companies: go sell services!!  Interesting take from a VMI perspective.  See http://tinyurl.com/5tqrt .
    Don't know much about bloggin'?  Good take on the various types of corporate blogs.  See http://tinyurl.com/6my29 .
    Urls as web services?  You have to read it to get it.  Might be a bit too much for the uninitiated ...  See http://tinyurl.com/563gm .
    Joel is back and blogging!!  Joel takes on Jakob Nielsen in "it's not just usability."  See http://tinyurl.com/6msmm .
    How about open source software for HPC?  See http://tinyurl.com/5qzleWARNING: Geek alert, geek alert!!
    Saving the best for last: a piece on Woz.  See http://tinyurl.com/4szjf .
    TTFN.  Expect a urls update before I go back to the States.
    David Scott Lewis
    President & Principal Analyst
    IT E-Strategies, Inc.
    Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
    http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
    http://tinyurl.com/2r3pa (access to blog content archives in China)
    http://tinyurl.com/2azkh (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW)
    http://tinyurl.com/2hg2e (AvantGo channel)
    To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .

              [news] Grudge Match: China vs. Europe + "It's Malaysia Time ..."        
    Tuesday, September 7, 2004
    Dateline: China
    This week marks the debut of my bi-weekly (or so) column for the AlwaysOn Network, Silicon Valley's premier online social networking venue (and unofficially linked to Silicon Valley's premier in person social networking venue, the Churchill Club; I'm a member of both).  I will be sharing "Letter from China" columnist duties with Paul Waide, the head of Pacific Epoch, a Shanghai-based boutique consultancy that advises hedge funds on alternative investments in China.  My first column is on Shanghai and a couple/few forthcoming columns will examine cultural differences between Chinese Nationals, Chinese-Americans and Anglo-Americans, especially within the context of IT and IT marketing.  I will post my AlwaysOn "Letter from China" columns to this blog/e-newsletter, although please be advised that my intended audience are readers based in Silicon Valley.
    Grudge Match: China vs. Europe
    Staying on topic, I'd like to make a comment about a recent "Grudge Match" on the AlwaysOn Network.  See the item marked "Grudge Match" for 08.05.04 (5 August 2004) at http://www.alwayson-network.com/polling/index.php .
    In the referenced "Grudge Match," China was pitted against Europe.  China received 45% of the votes in contrast to Europe's 55%.  Frankly, I'm surprised that China did so well.  I've found that the AO "Grudge Match" results tend to indicate sentiment more so than reality.  For example, a recent match pitted SpaceShipOne against NASA and SSO absolutely clobbered NASA (besides, perhaps most of the votes for NASA came from either Ames or the Blue Cube).  Of course, SSO is a high school science experiment compared to what NASA is doing, but I believe the results accurately reflect sentiment. 
    But what is amazing (to me, at least) is that China was pitted against Europe in the first place!  Let's face it, this is a rather goofy "grudge match."  For Europe to include First World nations such as Germany, France, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark (yes, some countries are intentionally left out) -- and to compare the collective whole of First World Europe (a.k.a. "Western Europe") to China is absurd.  If this was First World Europe vs. China circa 2020, okay.  But TODAY?  Yet, the sentiment indicator showed a strong vote in favor of China.  Europe "won," but barely.
    I propose the following "grudge match":  China vs. "Eastern Europe" (i.e., the former Soviet Bloc).  Look, if China can do so well against Europe as a whole (including First World Europe), I'm sure China would absolutely kick Second World Europe's butt!!  And a China "grudge match" against Eastern Europe more accurately reflects current "history."
    But even this is a bit misleading.  The real "grudge match" is this:  China + India vs. Second World Europe.  And given this choice, only someone stranded on Mars for the past decade might choose Second World Europe.  Yet, this is the real so-called "grudge match."  First World Europe is in descent, to be sure, but it's descending from a high altitude.  It will take at least a decade or two for China (and/or India) to truly match First World Europe.  But China ALREADY is superior to Second World Europe.  And don't rant about NATO and EU memberships; this is simply window dressing.  Then combine China with India versus Second World Europe, playing into my "Golden Triangle" theme, i.e., it's all about the U.S., India and China.  This is where the action is, ESPECIALLY in IT.
    "It's Malaysia Time ..."
    I must be getting punchy since I'm borrowing a theme from a beer commercial, but it seems that Malaysia is experiencing its 15 minutes of fame.  The Philippines has recently been "hot," and several articles of late have been touting Malaysia (see, for example, an article which appeared in Space Daily).  Frankly, I'm getting tired of all this nonsense.  Look, when it comes to ITO (IT outsourcing) in East Asia, there are just two choices, i.e., India and China.  And, it's not really a competition; both have their strengths and weaknesses.  A few crumbs to Singers (Singapore), maybe even a few crumbs to the Kiwis (New Zealand).  The Philippines deserves notice, albeit passing notice, and Malaysia might be okay for some BPO.  But ITO?  Come on, give me a break!!  See my Furl archive for more links.
    The only thing I recently found interesting regarding Malaysia was an article on Satyam's IT boot camp in Malaysia.  This isn't really unique, after all, IBM has been doing this sort of thing for decades.  So does HP.  Kind of like training plus a bit of brainwashing, but the brainwashing is acceptable since it includes political survival skills -- and said skills are essential, especially in F500 corporations.  But I like the idea of SI (systems integrator)-based training:  This way SIs can focus on "real" versus theoretically perceived needs.
    IT Tidbits
    Which certifications have the best ROI (return on investment)?  Playing off the idea of SI-based training, which are the most important certifications?  Well, Cisco leads with three out of the top five, although Microsoft picks up a couple of "wins" when looking at fastest-growing ROI, with RedHat and Oracle getting one win each.  SIs in China may also want to benchmark how much U.S. employees are paid given a certain certification, e.g., Microsoft DBAs receive an annual average salary of US$80,600.  Think about how much SIs in China pay for a certified Microsoft DBA.  For example, what do they get paid in Jinan -- or even in Dalian?  Compare this to US$80,600.  Spot any opportunities?  See http://tinyurl.com/3nvpz and http://tinyurl.com/6r2s5 .
    ITO in the news.  Two particularly noteworthy items.  First, ITO got Slashdotted.  The Slashdot links are worth a review.  Probably some good insight into what American software engineers are thinking and feeling.  The second is a review of Lou Dobbs' new book on ITO and BPO.  Mr. Dobbs is a well-respected host on CNN; his views shouldn't be taken lightly.  A couple of excerpts from the review:
    "GE, as Dobbs makes clear in abundant detail, is only one of many companies outsourcing high-tech and professional jobs to India and other parts of the world where wage expectations are lower.  Among the others spotlighted by Dobbs for outsourcing jobs to India, the Philippines, Romania, Ireland, Poland and other countries are IBM, SAS Institute, Intel, Microsoft, Perot Systems, Apple, Computer Associates, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Sun Microsystems."  My comment:  Romania is the Changsha of Third World Europe, i.e., their programmers are about as cheap as programmers come.
    "'India can provide our software; China can provide our toys; Sri Lanka can make our clothes; Japan make our cars.  But at some point we have to ask, what will we export?  At what will Americans work?  And for what kind of wages?  No one I've asked in government, business or academia has been able to answer those questions,' Dobbs writes."  See the review in the Tallahassee Democrat or my Furl link .
    So-called infrastructure vendors beat out app vendors in terms of their ability to meet expected ROI and TCO (total cost of ownership) levels.  I don't really like the way infrastructure and application vendors are defined in this article and related survey, but top honors go to IBM and Microsoft.  There's a lot being written between the lines, but in general this plays into my "build-to-a-stack" strategy, albeit Oracle is left behind.  See http://tinyurl.com/3tpjo .
    Speaking of Microsoft ...  A good, quick review of the various IBUs (independent business units) at Microsoft.  (See http://tinyurl.com/5rjtk .)  For a take on MBS, see http://tinyurl.com/6k4dp .
    New marketing technologies.  Interesting article from the premier issue of CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).  There are two ways to view this:  1) which marketing technologies can be used by SIs in China for their own marketing endeavors, and 2) which marketing technologies will likely be adopted by retailers, e-commerce sites, financial institutions and numerous other sectors -- and which in house skills does an SI in China need to implement these new technologies (all of which are IT-related)?  See http://tinyurl.com/57wvp .
    Looking for partners in the utility computing space?  For a start, try the top 25 vendors.  (See http://tinyurl.com/48s9j .)  Yankee gives a quick look at utility computing ROI (see http://tinyurl.com/5fw88 ).  HP chimes in with their take, too (see http://tinyurl.com/58mhg ; it's a PDF).
    The battle of the SI globals.  Two related articles both based on the same Forrester report.  (See http://tinyurl.com/6tfrn and http://tinyurl.com/5tljq .)  Issues being considered include scalability (i.e., handling US$100+ million accounts), the need for broad offerings (e.g., strategy consulting) and expanding geographical presence (hey, where is EDS in China?).   "(T)he (Forrester) study finds that Infosys and Wipro have melded together a mix of CMMI, P-CMM, Six Sigma and ISO 9000 to create a culture focused on consistent and repeatable processes and value-added tools."  For China's SIs, mostly food for thought -- and a bit of dreaming.
    ... and how to battle the globals.  The article was a bit silly, after all, G2000 firms joining forces to battle Accenture or Infosys doesn't really fit the notion of smaller firms joining forces.  But I believe that they're on the right track and that a myriad of partnerships will be formed to most effectively capture new business and battle the globals.  However, ISVs (independent software vendors) have to walk a very fine line.  SIs need to carefully consider ISV responses and existing alliances.  See http://tinyurl.com/7xj82 .
    "Infosys to set up second outsourcing facility in China."  The article states that Infosys is running out of space in their Pudong facility and that they're scouting for additional digs.  Come on, guys, running out of space?  There's not enough space in the Shanghai Pudong Software Park?  I don't think so ...  The reality is that Infosys needs to find lower cost developers.  As my column on Shanghai for AO's "Letter from China" notes, developers in Shanghai are a bit pricey compared to other places in China.  Infosys China is primarily servicing their global customers in China and looking for high-end integration within the domestic market.  However, this is a tough nut to crack and Infosys will need another development center to lower their overall costs -- and this is why they are looking for additional space IN ANOTHER CITY.  The idea that they're running out of space in the SPSP is ridiculous.  (I've been to their Shanghai digs ...)  See http://tinyurl.com/6nz8d .
    Zensar gets broader press coverage.  Kind of like watching a meme, a couple of non-Indian IT trades have picked up the Zensar/Broadengate announcement.  See http://tinyurl.com/65afx and http://tinyurl.com/3jh2r .
    "Rethinking the business case for Java."  A good article.  Hmmm ... maybe not much of a case, eh?    Hey, I'm still a believer.  See http://tinyurl.com/5hbcn .  Of course, Java programming ain't what it used to be ...
    "The selling of SOA."  Two-part series in Line56.  SUPERB!!  (I prefer the singular to the plural, i.e., "architecture" versus "architectures"; personal preference.)  Reviews various viewpoints on SOA.  See http://tinyurl.com/6xqdn and http://tinyurl.com/6tw9o .
    Urls update.  Expect to see lots and lots of stuff on software engineering and development.  Great stuff, too!!  Later this week.
    David Scott Lewis
    President & Principal Analyst
    IT E-Strategies, Inc.
    Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
    http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
    http://tinyurl.com/2r3pa (access to blog content archives in China)
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    To automatically subscribe click on http://tinyurl.com/388yf .

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              South Korea's stubborn peace effort        
    SUBHEAD: Peace movement refusing to give up is taking the long view of its campaign. 

    By Jon Letman on 4 August 2017 for Truth Out -

    Image above: Jeong Young-hee is a Korean tangerine farmer in Gangjeong village on Jeju island. Like many residents, she strongly opposes the newly built South Korean naval base just two miles from her farm. Photo by Jon Letman. From original article.

    In August, 1945, as Japan smoldered in the ruins of war, the question of what would become of the Korean peninsula after 35 years of Japanese occupation and a Soviet army advancing southward spurred the hasty selection of an artificial division along the 38th parallel drawn by two American officials as a border between US and Soviet "zones of occupation."

    That line, never intended to be permanent, hardened like stubborn mud before the newly liberated Korea ever had the chance to form an independent, unified and democratic nation. Today 38°N still marks a potentially catastrophic flashpoint between North and South Korea.

    The DMZ -- demilitarized zone -- despite its name, is one of the most militarized places on the planet. This hyper-militarization, in fact, extends south across the peninsula and today, 64 years after an armistice halted (but never formally ended) the Korean war, South Korea remains peppered with scores of US military installations -- at least 80 by the Pentagon's own count.

    US bases, and the 28,500 US troops and joint military exercises they support, are not only opposed by North Korea; many South Koreans see them as a problematic construct that perpetuates the likelihood of war.

    Despite frequent media coverage of North Korea's highly choreographed military parades, increasing missile launches, and Kim Jong-un's threats to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire," far less attention is paid to South Korea's tireless, well-organized peace movement opposed to militarism on both sides of the DMZ.

    South Korean civil groups and NGOs like People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions are skilled at forming coalitions with peace activists and religious groups opposed to a military buildup, which they see as increasing tensions with the North and militarization across Northeast Asia.

    Your Old Farm Is Our New Base

    Image above: Candle light protests have been held outside the Seongju County office nightly since the deployment of the THAAD antimissile defense system was announced in July 2016. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    With the bulk of US bases concentrated in and around Seoul and within range of North Korean artillery, the US is in the middle of a major realignment of its forces as it consolidates bases, moving tens of thousands of troops, their families and civilian contractors to US Army Garrison Humphreys in the city of Pyeongtaek, 40 miles south of Seoul.

    In 2002, when the US announced its plan to triple Humphreys in size, Pyeongtaek residents living around the base organized fierce protests that raged for five years.

    Thousands of police were deployed, citizens were arrested and villages were demolished. In the end, however, the base's walls were pushed outward, and Camp Humphreys grew from just over 1,000 acres to more than 3,400 acres, making it the US's largest overseas military base in the world.

    Now in the final years of construction, US Army Garrison Humphreys is equipped to serve as the new headquarters for the Eighth US Army and US Forces Korea command center.

    Image above: A representative of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions holds an anti-THAAD banner at a demonstration in Soseong-ri, Seongju County, South Korea. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    The Humphreys expansion is slated for completion by 2020 and will eventually be home to up to 46,000 military and civilian personnel living and working behind razor wire-topped walls and gates.

    The $10.7 billion expansion, the US's largest-ever peacetime military construction project, is being paid for overwhelmingly (around 90 percent) by the South Korean government. In 2016, Gen. Vincent Brooks (now head of US Forces Korea) publicly stated that it's cheaper to station US troops in South Korea than in the United States.

    The Humphreys expansion does have supporters in the community, and many businesses have come to depend on the US military's presence.

    Pyeongtaek's city government, unable to refuse the influx of thousands of US forces, has done its best to promote Humphreys' expansion as an opportunity to court non-military business and infrastructure investment and push for internationalization through increased cultural exchanges with military personnel and their families.

    Still, many residents view the base as an unwelcome intrusion on Korean sovereignty and a source of crime, pollution and noise from military aircraft like F-16s, A-10 Thunderbolts, Chinook and Apache helicopters.

    Image above: Demonstrators march toward the former golf course in Seongju County where the controversial THAAD antimissile defense system is being deployed by the US. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    Since 2002, Kang Song-won of the Pyeongtaek Peace Center has been working closely with residents from communities affected by Humphreys, particularly those who were forcibly relocated from the villages of Daechu-ri and Dodu-ri. Kang works with volunteers to monitor military incidents and accidents around the base.

    Beyond the noise and inherent danger, he told Truthout the most harmful impact of Humphreys' expansion has been the deep divisions sown in the community between base supporters and opponents.

    Giving up, however, is not an option. "Even though we lost the fight against the US military, I think it is still necessary to keep fighting ... against the problems of the US military base," Kang said.

    Island of Peace, Tides of War

    Image above: US Army Garrison Humphreys is a helicopter base in what will soon be the the United States' largest overseas military base. Just beyond the fence are small farming villages. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    An hour's flight south of Seoul is sub-tropical Jeju island. Home to nine UNESCO Global Geoparks and a World Heritage site, the volcanic island is renowned for its natural beauty and biodiversity both on land and sea. Jeju has also been heavily developed for tourism. On the south coast, in Gangjeong village, is the site of a new Korean naval base.

    Muddying its primary purpose, the base is sometimes called the Jeju Multipurpose Port Complex and is touted as having a (future) dual civilian-military function, but for now it's strictly a Korean naval base and headquarters for the South Korean Navy's Mobile Task Force Flotilla-7, which includes Aegis warfare destroyers, KDX III helicopter destroyers and a submarine force command.

    Like the expansion of Camp Humphreys, the 2007 announcement of the Jeju naval base sparked widespread outcry from residents opposed to the militarization of what was dubbed "Island of Peace" in recognition of Jeju's horrific April 3 massacre (1947-54).

    In that massacre, as many as 30,000 island residents were killed by Korean forces over a seven-year period beginning in 1947 during the US military administration that occupied the southern part of the Korean peninsula immediately after the August 1945 defeat of Japan.

    As in Pyeongtaek, Jeju base protesters clashed with the police for years. Base opponents, including the former mayor, were arrested and heavily fined but in the end, the base was built.

    Image above: Many of the residents protesting against the deployment of the THAAD antimissile defense system are elderly farmers who don't want their remote mountain village to be militarized. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    Tangerine farmers Jeong Young-hee and her husband Kang Sung-won have been growing Jeju's famous citrus varieties for 30 years in greenhouses less than two miles from the base. Young-hee and Sung-won are concerned about the environmental impact of the base, especially the effects on the sea -- including soft corals, sea urchins, abalone and other marine life -- and the destruction of what was a sacred lava rock coastal field called Gureombi.

    Construction on the base is not yet complete. Young-hee and Sung-won worry that as it grows, if a future exclusion zone (a zone that would restrict new construction) is declared, it would surround their farm, almost certainly driving down land values.

    Peeling one of her sweet hallabong oranges, Young-hee explains how the base has caused a rift between friends and family members. The base has also divided many citrus farmers and Jeju's famous Haenyeo free divers. "Our relationship was destroyed," says Young-hee, who joined her male counterparts in shaving her head as a gesture of protest against the base.

    Image above: Retired Catholic priest Father Mun Jeong-hyeon holds a daily mass along along a roadside site that doubles as a protest against the Jeju naval base in Gangjeong village, Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    In the early days of the struggle, when base opponents pointed fingers at the US accusing it of pressuring South Korea (also known as the Republic of Korea), South Korean officials denied that the base would permanently host US warships.

    This year, in March and June, US warships made their first visits to the Jeju base with short, inconspicuous port calls similar to what was recommended in a 2013 US Army War College strategy research project. Last January, US Pacific Command's Adm. Harry Harris suggested the possibility of deploying the US's newest, most lethal stealth destroyer, the USS Zumwalt to Jeju waters.

    The Jeju navy base became operational in February 2016. Resistance continues daily, with activists gathering each morning in front of the entry gate to perform one hundred bows as a nonviolent, meditative protest.

    Nearby, in a roadside tent chapel, retired Catholic priest Father Mun Jeong-hyeon leads a daily mass, before joining protesters who gather with flags and banners playing raucous music outside the base.

    The mood of the protesters is defiant and the message is serious: they want a shift away from militarization of the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia.

    This week (July 30-August 5), for the eighth year since 2008, apeace march is underway, in which activists are walking from the Jeju naval base around the island to raise awareness of the continuing struggle and to call for peace.

    In Defense of Who?

    Image above: Guards look out from behind a razor wire fence surrounded the new South Korean naval base on Jeju island, South Korea. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    South Korea's latest struggle against militarization began in July 2016 in rural, traditionally conservative Seongju County 135 miles south of Seoul.

    Residents of Seongju and neighboring Gimcheon were caught off guard when the central government, under deposed President Park Geun-hye, offered Seongju to the US as a location for the US antimissile defense Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

    For more than a year since that announcement, daily protests have been taking place in Seongju and elsewhere around the country. In June, an anti-THAAD protest of several thousand people briefly and peacefully surrounded the US embassy in Seoul.

    THAAD manufacturer Lockheed Martin says the system is intended to defend "US troops, allied forces, population centers and critical infrastructure against short and medium range ballistic missiles."

    Seongju residents and Koreans across the country, however, recite a litany of reasons they are opposed to THAAD, from environmental and health concerns to the lack of a democratic process to ever-increasing deployment of foreign weapons, as well as economic repercussions and tension with its neighbors China and Russia.

    Image above: Korean Army personnel stand guard at the Demilitarized Zone/Joint Security Area outside the Military Armistice Commission buildings along the tense border. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    Two weeks before South Korea's snap election on May 9 this year, the US, citing North Korean threats, hurriedly began the deployment of THAAD in what had been a golf course outside a small village called Soseong-ri.

    When South Korea's newly elected President Moon Jae-in learned that his own Ministry of Defense had failed to notify him of the presence of an additional four THAAD launchers, Moon called for a temporary suspension of THAAD to conduct an environmental assessment.

    That suspension, however, is being reevaluated now as South Korea considers deploying additional launchers in response to a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile test last week.

    Like other aspects of the military alliance between the US and South Korea, THAAD is supported by some South Koreans and reviled by others. And like the communities in Gangjeong village on Jeju and Pyeongtaek near Seoul, the people of Seongju and Gimcheon are divided.

    Speaking at a candlelight vigil outside the Seongju County government office on May 30, three local women were eager to share their thoughts with Americans.

    On this 310th day of consecutive protests, the women told Truthout they wanted their lives back the way they were before THAAD.

    They said their community was being torn apart -- even relations between parents and children were being strained by strong disagreements over THAAD.

    Some of their neighbors have given up opposition to THAAD, either accepting it as unavoidable or simply focusing on other matters.

    These women, however, refuse to give up and say they feel a responsibility to attend nightly demonstrations against THAAD. They also admit feeling a growing resentment toward what they see as an unequal alliance.

    "We are starting to have anti-American sentiments even though we don't hate Americans," a woman who identified herself as Mrs. Kim said.

    "To be honest, I want the US military to go home," said a second woman, who also goes by the name Mrs. Kim, adding the English phrase, "Yankee, go home."

    The Truth Is Very Powerful

    Image above: Demonstrators perform 100 bows for peace six days a week as a protest against the South Korean Jeju naval base in Gangjeong village, Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    Even as new bases are built, old bases expanded and more weapons imported, what fuels South Korean peace movements in the face of overwhelming power?

    In Seoul, Jungmin Choi who works with Durebang (My Sister's Place), an NGO that provides counseling to foreign women working in bars and clubs near US bases, says those women are living witnesses to the impact of military bases.

    Choi calls the impacts of the bases "indescribably huge" and both tangible and intangible, but insists, "we believe this fight cannot be defeated … we will fight in a creative way with a long-term view."

    On the other side of the country, Jeju base opponent Choi Sung-hee says that even though the Jeju base is operational and US warships have started visiting, the protests must continue.

    Not only does the military know it is being watched, but protests build solidarity with other anti-base movements across South Korea and internationally, in places like Okinawa, Guam, the Philippines and Hawaii, particularly among women.

    Image above: A protester is blocked by a security guard as he sits in silent protest outside the entry to the South Korean naval base on Jeju island. Photo by John Letman. From original article.

    "That's the role of people ... we should constantly demand: we do not need arms, we do not need THAAD, we do not need more military bases," Choi says. "If the people's movement is strong, I think it can also influence the decisions of the South Korean president."

    Nearby, in the St. Francis Peace Center, Father Mun carves messages of peace into wooden boards after each morning's protest. Nearly 80 years old, Father Mun has been a peace activist for decades in Pyeongtaek, on Jeju and elsewhere acting, in his words, as "a witness for truth."

    When asked why he continues to resist in the face of overwhelming power, Father Mun declared, "The truth cannot be thrown away. The truth will stand up some day. The truth is very powerful. So, I believe the truth is going to win all enemies."


              HMS Daring deployment to boost UK response to Philippines typhoon        
    Britain will deploy a Royal Navy warship and RAF military transport aircraft to help people devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, Prime Minister David Cameron announced tonight. HMS Daring and her crew will provide humanitarian assistance, helicopter lift from one on-board Lynx and engineering and first-aid expertise. The Type 45 destroyer also carries equipment to make drinking water from seawater. At least one Boeing C-17 will be allocated to move vital humanitarian aid and large equipment ...
              Bientôt un nouveau biopic sur Kurt Cobain        

    Il y a deux jours, la nouvelle tombait : le tournage d’un nouveau biopic sur Kurt Cobain, leader de Nirvana,  devrait commencer dans moins d’un an, selon Courtney Love. Dans une récente interview à Philippine Daily Inquirer (journal le plus lu aux Philippines), l’ex-compagne du chanteur déclarait qu’elle était en train superviser le casting pour les […]

    Cet article Bientôt un nouveau biopic sur Kurt Cobain est apparu en premier sur Elise (news).

              Boracay trip – Prologue        
    I wanted a getaway during my birthday weekend and have shortlisted Boracay as one of the destination. Tiger Airway was having 50% off for NTUC card holder and return ticket to Kalibo cost S$127 which is relatively cheap as the ticket is around S$200 before this promo came along. Luckily I did not book earlier otherwise I'll be cursing and swearing on the extra $70 spend. I am completing my quest of visiting all the 10 countries in Asean after this Boracay trip as Philippines is the last Asean country in my list. =)

    Tiger Airway flies direct to Kalibo airport (however, not all are direct flights as some involved transit in Cebu) which it is 2 hr away from Caticlan's jetty, then it's another 15min ferry ride to Boracay island. The nearest airport from Boracay is Caticlan airport which is just a 10min walk to Caticlan ferry but it only serves domestic flight. I have done research on the internet and pre-booking of transport from Kalino airport to Boracay is not necessary as it is more expensive to book online.

    Boracay is one of the top beach destination and the 4km white beach is what put Boracay on the world map. It has 2 distinctive seasons: The sunny season “Amihan” from Nov - May is characterized by hot and humid weather with little or no rainfall and a prevailing northeast wind. The rainy season “Habagat” from Apr - Oct is characterized by frequent heavy rainfall and a prevailing southwest wind.
    Map of Philippines (http://www.laplagedeboracay.com)

    I have booked 3 nights stay at Ferra Hotel which is ranked No 1 in Tripadvisor B&B which cost â‚±8,820 ~ S$267. It's consider cheap as most hotels cos at least S$150 a night in Boracay. I did consider staying at Shangri La Boracay but a night stay cost â‚±20,000 ~ S$670 which is way out of my budget.

    As I was busy with my house renovation, I didnt have the time to plan for this trip so my mentality for this trip is to come up with impromtu itinerary in Boracay. Few days before the trip, my friend gave me a local guide contact: Reymar +63 999 322 5039 so I may be engaging his service when we reach Boracay.

    Itinerary for this trip:
    Day 1: Reach @ 2.40pm
    Day 2: Island hopping and cliff diving
    Day 3: Rest & relax
    Day 4: Depart @ 5pm

    Budget for this trip is S$500:
    - S$150 for accommodation
    - S$25 for transport
    - S$25 for departure tax
    - S$100 for meals
    - S$100 for island hopping, paraw-sailing
    - S$50 for massage
    - S$50 for shopping

              Mitsubishi to export new model from Indonesia next year, supply Nissan        

    JAKARTA - Mitsubishi Motors Corp  will start exporting its new multipurpose vehicle from its Indonesian plant next year, and plans to eventually supply the model to the group's new parent Nissan Motor , Mitsubishi's chief executive said.

    Mitsubishi on Thursday launched the "Xpander", a new 1.5 litre MPV model, at an car show in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

    "We will export this car across ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries starting next February," Mitsubishi Chief Executive Osamu Masuko said at the launch. The company will start exporting to the Philippines, followed by Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

    Indonesia overtook Thailand as Southeast Asia's largest car market in recent years and is also growing as a regional production base.

    Mitsubishi aims to produce around 80,000 units of the new model per year, and export 20,000 cars out of the annual production.

    The Xpander "will be the first alliance model with Renault-Nissan", Masuko said.

    Last year, Nissan bought a controlling stake in Mitsubishi for $2.3 billion after the smaller automaker admitted to cheating on mileage tests.

    "It will eventually be supplied to Nissan Motors for the Indonesian market," Masuko said, adding that Nissan had yet to decide the timing and the volumes it wanted. Nissan may also have a different design for the car.

    Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn in April said it was likely for Mitsubishi and Nissan would do cross-manufacturing in certain areas.

              American Ninja (1985)        

    Joe Armstrong, an orphaned drifter will little respect for much other than martial arts, finds himself on an American Army base in The Philippines after a judge gives him a choice of enlistment or prison. On one of his first missions driving a convoy, his platoon is attacked by a group of rebels who try […]

    The post American Ninja (1985) appeared first on Movie25.

              Short Story for Sikami 4        
    Short Comic for Sikami 4 @ Komikon 2016 Nov.19-Nov.20, Bayanihan Center – Unilab, Pasig, PhilippinesFiled under: illustration work Tagged: ecartoonman, low bat, richard peter david, sikami 4
              Body of US Peace Corps Volunteer Found in Northern Philippines        
    Profoundly sad news on the missing, now confirmed dead Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines.

    This has affected me more than I would expect.

    Very, very sad.
              PCV Missing        
    In the Philippines a PCV has been missing since April 8. I hope they find her soon.

    UPDATE: I'm adding the following to clarify this post a little bit better. I was dumb to not have done it before:

    The missing PCV reminds me of an issue that has bothered me since my tour. I don't intend to relate PC security policy with her disappearance in the following.

    One of my greatest concerns about Peace Corps is the skewed statistics on crime. Our group had a huge number of assaults but the majority were not reported. Volunteers have found themselves under investigation after being victimized and it is common for PCVs to keep quite. Now before any PCVs challenge that, I'm speaking from experience and personal knowledge of a wide number of unreported assaults. It is simply a fact.

    There was a notorious case in South America in which a PCV had been missing for months before anybody noticed. The regional manager had evidently been filing false reports of contacting the PCV during this period. By the time the family raised enough hell to get somebody to try to track down their son, he had been missing for weeks. He was never seen again.

    There is a fatal flaw in the PC system for reporting assaults and that is that there is no upside for the staff. Higher assault rates reflect poorly on the staff. So you have volunteers that are encouraged, through a policy of suspecting volunteers first, to not report when they are attacked. Other organizations have procedures to deal with this but PC doesn't and doesn't seem to be motivated to make changes.

    Too bad for so many reasons.
              Muslim Law        
    The Pakistan government has made a deal with TNSM (a militant organization in Pakistan) to impose Shariat law in seven districts of the North West Frontier Province. The western nations are raising voices against the deal. But this blog is not about whether the deal was right or wrong. I merely want to understand as to what Shariat is?

    Like Hinduism, Islam also has different variants. The major ones are Sunni and Shia. The Sunni Muslims follow an elected leader and the Shia Muslims follow a leader who is supposed to be appointed by God or the Prophet. Both the divisions follow the Quran. From my understanding the Quran contains compressed information and Shariat was formed to provide rules for all activities in life. But if Shariat is the Islamic law, shouldn't it be already active throughout Pakistan? What is this new thing about implementing Shariat in the north eastern province?

    My guess is that Shariat is an old school of thought and was replaced by the Modern Islamic law, and that the Shia Muslims are trying to get Shariat back. Guess I need to do some background research on this.
    Tit bit: India and the Philippines are the only countries in the world which have separate Muslim civil laws
    Update (20-July-2009) based on inputs from a friend:
    Islamic rules are based on 2 things - Quran & Hadith
    Quran is revealed from Allah and everything in that is mandatory for a person to follow.
    Hadith are the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) . Among Hadith there are few which are mandatory to follow and some are optional.

    So Quran & Hadith together define way of life for Muslims and also Quran & Hadith lay down rules and regulations for an Islamic form of Government. Islamic form of governments donot have a constitution written by Human beings. Rather rules laid down in Quran & Hadith are followed for running the government (This is the basis of Shariat form of government).
    Now coming to countries like Pakistan, they have their own constitution (which is not in accordance with quran & Hadith) . Hence it cannot be termed as an Islamic Country for their system isnot Shariat compliant ( i.e, based on Quran & Hadith).
    So for a country to be termed as an Islamic country the constitution of the country should be in compliance with Quran & Hadith, that is, it should be shariat form.

              World: Humanitarian Coordinator Information Products, 31 July 2017        
    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen

              Nearly 900 PADI Women’s Dive Day Events Bring Together Female Diving Community        
    Photo: Jessica Stroet | Magic Oceans Dive Resort

    PADI® Dive Centers, Resorts and Instructors in 85 countries hosted a record 884 events in celebration of the third annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on 15 July 2017. Each PADI Women’s Dive Day event was one-of-a-kind, tailored to the specific interests of female divers (or soon to be divers!) in […]

    The post Nearly 900 PADI Women’s Dive Day Events Bring Together Female Diving Community appeared first on .

              DotA v6.72f AI 1.0 "NIGHTMARE"        

    Setelah sekian lama beredar rumor akan datangnya Map DotA AI terbaru, sekaranglah kenyataanya. Berbahagialah pemain DotA AI karena Map DotA v6.72f AI sudah keluar. Dengan beberapa perbaikan dari versi yang sebelumnya walaupun masih ada beberapa bugs yang ada tetapi itu tidak mengurangi dahsyatnya permainan DotA-Mu! Langsung saja silahkan dowload Map DotA v6.72f AI ini dengan kode nama 'NIGHTMARE'.

    DotA 6.72f AI 1.0 "Nightmare" Map Download:
    - Download DotA v6.72f AI via Mediafire
    - Download DotA v6.72f AI via Filesonic

    10 Negara Download Map AI terbanyak :

    1. Philippines
    2. Malaysia
    3. Thailand
    4. Brazil
    5. Indonesia
    6. Vietnam
    7. Russian Federation
    8. United States
    9. Turkey
    10. Australia

    DotA v6.72f AI Changelogs/Key Features:

    - Ported to the latest DotA 6.72f
    - Captains Mode support for AI
    - Skilled AI oppononets
    - Rewritten AI system
    - Complete AI for all heroes
    - Multilayer support (no disconnections)
    - New "mode-pack":
    -beginnermode (-bm) = -neng
    -advancedmode (-am) = -nengdedg
    -xtrememode (-xm) = -hehgdedg

              Jerome Ponce        

    Joseph Jerome Gapido Porciuncula
    Screen Name: Jerome Ponce Born: June 4, 1995 (age 19) Santa Mesa, Manila, Philippines
    Nationality : Filipino
    Education : Malayan High School of Science Mapua Institute of Technology
    Occupation: Actor, model
     Years active: 2012–present
    Agent: Star Magic (2012–present) Height : 5'10 Weight : 143 lbs. Eye Color : black

     Joseph Jerome Gapido Porciuncula A.K.A Jerome Ponce was born on June 4, 1995. He is a Filipino teen actor. Ponce is currently a cast of the hit Philippine daytime series Be Careful With My Heart as LukeLim. Ponce is dubbed as the "Mario Maurer of the Philippines". Ponce is under of ABS-CBN's talent management Star Magic.

     Ponce is an SK Chairman of Barangay 628 in Santa Mesa, Manila. He graduated in Malayan High School of Science in Pandacan, Manila. He postponed his college studies at the Mapua Institute of Technology after entering his acting career. Jerome is also related through his father Jesus Porciuncula Jr. uncle the older brother of his late father the veteran character actor Lauro Delgado (Loreto Porciuncula in real life)of Premiere Productions. Ponce was reported that he is courting the then Aryana star Ella Cruz after an episode of Kris TV but Ponce denied it. However, the actor admitted that he has crush on Julia Barretto, the niece of Gretchen Barretto. Ponce also said he has a non-showbiz crush.

     Ponce won German Moreno Youth Achievement Awards on 62nd FAMAS Awards 2014. Reference: http://starmagic.abs-cbn.com/talents/profile/jerome--ponce.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome_Ponce
              Julia Barreto        

    Julia Francesca Barretto Baldivia
    Screen Name: Julia Barreto

    Born:  March 10, 1997 (age 17)
              Marikina City, Philippines
    Nationality:  Filipino
    Education:  St. Paul College of Pasig
     Occupation : Actress
    Years active:  2006–present
    Agent: Star Magic (2006–present)
    Height : 5'5 Weight : 109 lbs. Eye Color : dark brown

    Julia Francesca Barretto Baldivia (born March 10, 1997), better known by her screen name, Julia Barretto, is a Filipina actress and Philippine Teen Princess, a talent of the television format ABS-CBN and the program Star Magic.
    She is the daughter of actors Dennis Padilla and Marjorie Barretto. She rose to prominence after being cast in ABS-CBN's Kokey, where she played the lead role of Anna Calugdan. She has successfully starred as the main protagonist of the 2014 melodrama fantasy series Mirabella.

    Recently, she awarded as Best TV actress at Candy Reader's Choice Award and Best dressed at star magic ball 2014.

    Julia dress in Star Magic Ball 2014

    Reference: http://starmagic.abs-cbn.com/talents/profile/julia--barretto.html

              JULIAN ESTRADA        

    Real Name: Julian Emilio Vitug Ejercito EstradaVitug Ejercito 
    Screen name: Julian Estrada
    Born: January 15, 1996 (age 18)
    San Juan City, Philippines
    Nationality: Filipino
    Occupation: Actor Singer Dancer
     Years active : 2007–present
     Agent: Star Magic (2013–present)

     Julian Emilio Vitug Ejercito Estrada, (born January 15, 1996) is a Filipino teen actor. He is a talent of ABS-CBN and Star Magic and part of the Ejercito-Estrada clan. He was born to Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is a politician and former film actor who has been a member of the Senate of the Philippines since 2004, and to Ma. Presentacion "Precy" Vitugan.

    Recently, He was parted of star cinema movie " Shes Dating the Gangster" as Jet. He also performed in ASAP 14.
              Janella Salvador        

    Janella Maxine Desiderio Salvador
    Born : March 30, 1998 (age 16)
    Cebu City, Philippines
    Nationality: Filipina
    Occupation Singer, Actress, Model
     Years active:  2012-present
    Agent: Star Magic (2012–present)

    Janella "Jea" Salvador is the daughter of actress-singer Jenine Desiderio and singer-songwriter Juan Miguel "JM" Salvador. She's under ABS-CBN's talent management Star Magic Batch 2013.

    She auditioned for the role of Nikki in the TV series Be Careful With My Heart, and got the role.Salvador with other Star Magic Circle 13 were presented on ASAP. On February 22, 2014, Janella and her on-screen partner/loveteam Marlo Mortel starred in Maalaala Mo Kaya's episode "Card". And Recently (sept. 13,2014) Selfie Episode with Manolo Pedrosa

    Reference: http://starmagic.abs-cbn.com/talents/profile/janella--salvador.html
              Guji Lorenzana        
    Name:              Guji Lorenzana
    RealName: Gregory Mangindin Lorenzana, Jr.
    Nick name: GuJi, Goo-G
    Birthday:         May 11, 1980 (age 31)
    From:           Long Beach, California

    Height :            5'9
    Weight :           160 lbs.
    Eye Color :      Black
    Nationality :      Filipino-American

    Occupations Recording Artist, Commercial Model, Host, Radio DJ, Actor, Stage Actor

    Gregory Mangindin Lorenzana, Jr., who is better known as Guji (pronounced "Goo-G") Lorenzana (born May 11, 1980, in Long Beach, California, U.S.), is a commercial model, actor, theater actor, host, former radio DJ for Mellow 94.7 (2008-2010), writer, and a Filipino alternative rock, pop rock solo artist, nominated for "Best Male Performer" for the "2008 Awit Awards",[1] with his music as the only OPM to have been dubbed as Edgy Pop.
    As a talent of ABS-CBN's Star Magic (aka Star Circle) Batch 16, where he was officially launched on ASAP 08 on August 17, 2008 Guji is now seen on various ABS-CBN television shows and publications, such as ASAP 09. Guji's first major project with ABS-CBN had him star alongside Kaye Abad is the TV adaptation of popular Tagalog pocketbook, Precious Hearts Romances Presents: The Bud Brothers, where Guji played the role of Rei, loveteam of Pepper (Kaye Abad).
    Guji Lorenzana's notable works include releasing 3 indie albums (Five Days More, Guji Lorenzana, and Without Your Love) in the Philippines and abroad, commercial acting in various TV Commercials in the Philippines and abroad, and theater acting in plays both in the Philippines and abroad.

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guji_Lorenzana
              Igi Boy Flores        
    Birthday : June 23
    From: Philippines
    Occupation: Actor

    Igi Boy also appeared in "Kailangan Kita" as the little brother of Claudine Barreto's character, and was also seen in "Mga Anghel Na Walang Langit". She is one of the original mainstays of the show. He was sixth batch graduates of Goin Bulilit .

    This 2012. Igi Boy starring  as Rocky in LUV U. He will be paired with Kiray celis as Whitney.
              CJ Navato        
    Name:            CJ Navato
    Real Name:    Christianne Jose B. Navato
    Birthday:        September 13, 1996
    From:             Philippines
    Occupation:    Actor

    Christianne Jose B. Navato better known by his screen name CJ Navato is a Filipino child-actor. He was born on September 13, 1996 in the Philippines.

    Year Title Character/Role
    2008 Maalaala Mo Kaya
    2007 Maalaala Mo Kaya-Airport Young Joseph Impreso
    2007 Salam Ato
    2005 Nginig
    2005 Vietnam Rose young Tam
    2005 Maalaala Mo Kaya - Rico Barrera story young Rico
    2005 Mga Anghel na Walang Langit Jerome
    2005 Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin young Third
    2004 Maalaala Mo Kaya - Billy Crawford story young Billy
    2004 Krystala young Igo
    2004 Star Circle Quest Himself

    This 2012. CJ starring as BOOM in LUV U. He will be paired with Angeli Gonzales as April.

              Angeli Gonzales        
    Name:           Angeli Gonzales

    Real Name:   Kaye Angeli H. Gonzales
    Birthday:       March 09, 1994
    From:            Philippines
    Occupation: Actress

    Angeli Gonzales was born on  March 09, 1994. She is a Filipino teen actress who started as grand winner in Magandang Tanghali Bayan's Munting Ms. U and is well-known for her role as 3:NA or Trinity in Batang X: The Next Generation.

    2012. Angeli  starring as April in LUV U airs on FEb 19,2012 @ABS-CBN. She will be paired by Cj Navato  as Boom.

    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angeli_Gonzales

              Anthony and David Semerald        

    Name: Anthony and David Semerald 
    Birthday: April 25, 1992
    From: Czech Republic, Philippines
    Occupation: student,basketball player, model

              Anthony and David Semerald are a half-Czech and half-Filipino. Their dad, Roman Semerad, is into construction and he met the twins’ mom, Evelyn David, when he was here on a business trip. The brothers were born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, where they finished elementary and high school education. They went to Czech Republic to train in basketball for one year and played with the national team. They came two years ago to pursue a college degree.
    They treat each other more like friends than, that’s it, twin brothers. They share not only clothes but also confidences and secrets, but not the same room.
              They are the hardcourt hotties players Of San Beda Basketball team.
              Recently, they were introduced in Pinoy Big Brother Unlimited as a fake Big Swap housemates came from Czech Republic.

    *Same *

    height: 6’5”
    weight: 210 lbs.
    size of shirt: (XL)
    briefs: L
    Tattoos: a Czech sign on their triceps and a Filipino sign beneath their biceps, and are taking uap the same course: Business Marketing, third year) at San Beda where they are members of the Red Lions with Anthony (No. 6) as small forward and David (No. 14) as power forward.

    Three crushes of Semerald

    David: Anne Curtis. Denise Laurel. Paris Hilton.

    Anthony: Iya Villania. Jasmine Curtis Smith. Solenn Heussaff.
    Reference: http://www.philstar.com/funfare/exclusivesarticle.aspx?articleid=752441&publicationsubcategoryid=70
              Nadine Lustre        

    Name:  Nadine Lustre
    Birthday: October 31, 1993
    Occupation: Singer,dancer

    Nadine can also be dubbed as the young lady in Viva's prided girl group, PopGirls as she has been in the show business at a very young age. You can almost refer to her as a veteran in joining extracurricular activities in school exhibiting her wondrous singing talent to the amazement of everyone. We've also seen her lovely face at different commercials and she was once a kiddie diva at RPN9's Storyland. Now that she has her own girl group--you can always count on her belting her genius voice and striking dance moves. 

    Currently, she is a big star in the philippines. She was compared to Katryn Bernardo because their resemblance.

    When Viva Films got the film rights of the best-selling novel Diary ng Panget, she got role of the main protagonist, Eya Rodriguez. She starred together with James Reid, Yassi Pressman and Andre Paras. The movie was released on April 2, 2014 and became a box-office hit earning at least 119.5 million pesos during its 4-week run. On June 2, 2014, Nadine together with James Reid and Joseph Marco, starred in another film entitled Talk Back and You're Dead, which is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Alesana Marie. On August 27, 2014, Nadine along with on-screen partner James Reid signed a two-year exclusive contract with ABS-CBN that was attended by some of the prominent figures of the station.

    Lustre will release an album from VIVA.
    Lustre with his loveteam James Reid, will having upcoming television adaptation of the hit Wattpad novel "My App Boyfie." Also starring Dominic Roque in this new project. My App Boyfie will start soon on ABS-CBN. No premiere date and timeslot yet, but ABS-CBN has already released the teaser trailer online.

    Watch here the video:  My App Boyfie

    Reference: http://viva.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2520:nadine-lustre&catid=46:viva-artists&Itemid=43

              Nikki Bacolod        
    Name:      Nikki Bacolod
    Real Name:   Monique Echieverri Bacólod
    From:            Padada, Davao del Sur Philippines
    Occupations: Singer,Actress,TV Personality

    Nikki Bacólod (born Monique Echieverri Bacólod, August 18, 1989), is a Filipina singer, television host, swimmer and actress. She is best known for placing as first runner up in the 2005 season of ABS-CBN's Search for the Star in a Million. As a result of her placing, she won a recording contract under VIVA Records, and thereafter released two albums, In Full Bloom and Not That Kind of Girl.
          Singer-actress Nikki who co-hosts Kapamilya Winner Ka!, gets a big break in the fantaseries Dyosa. Unlike her previous TV and movie roles, Nikki will be mean in the show.
    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikki_Bacolod
              Kiko Ramos        
    Name: Kiko Ramos

    Real Name: Francis Albert Ramos
    Birthday: February 28, 1992
    From: Philippines
    Occupation: singer

    Kiko just used to love dance competitions on TV, he didn’t know that this enthusiasm would lead him to showcase his own style and dancing power. The boy who loved every challenging episodes of America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Can Dance can also be dubbed as hyper lad in the group. He a grandson to [Ben Delgado], the first Pinoy crooner to become succesful in Las Vegas. Kiko can certainly dish out those sentimental ballads with feelings and has performed in stage musicals but what he really loves is dancing to R&B and Hip- hop music. He likes Michael Bublé ,Josh Gorban and Korean and Japanese pop tunes. Kiko believes in “No Pain , No Gain ” mantra, he would definitely give his best shot for the improvement of their group.

    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XLR8
              MM Magno        
    Name: MM Magno

    Reall Name: Melmar Magno
    Birthday: February 22, 1990
    From: Philippines
    Occupation: Singer

    His looks can be truly identical to his twin, MJ. Although they both made it to XLR8, MM got his very own style to boast.

    An optimist that loves dancing and playing musical instruments, MM has appeared into various celebrated shows like ASAP ’09, Wowowee, Tayong Dalawa, SIS, Master Showman, All Star K and The Buzz. A self-confessed showbiz addict, this guy got the looks and wit to make it to the business.

    Started singing at the age 6, he was a veteran joining school competition that helps him improve his trade. Together with the rest of the boys, MM will make you swoon and want for more in every powerful performance.

    Reference:  http://viva.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3040:mm-magno&catid=46:viva-artists&Itemid=43
              MJ Magno        
    Name: MJ Magno
    Real Name: Meljohn Magno
    Birthday: February 22, 1990
    From: Philippines
    Occupation: Singer

    Meljohn or MJ, one of the Magno twins, definitely deserves the right to be in Viva’s newest boy group, XLR8.

    At a very young age of 16, MJ loves singing and performing in front of many people. Together with his twin MM, they usually perform in special family occasions to the amazement of their relatives and later on would take voice lessons to improve their craft.

    His looks can be widely associated with Korean manner but this 19 year old hottie loves exhibiting his own style. As a matter of fact, aside from playing numerous musical instruments like drums, organ and guitars, we can consider him an ace in composing new songs.

    He has appeared in GMA shows like Sis, Walang Tulugan and All-Star K. Watch him rock the stage with the boys as he knows how to give the best shot for this opportunity and he knows how to make good use of it.

    Reference: http://viva.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3039:mj-magno&catid=46:viva-artists&Itemid=43
              Joseph Marco        
    Name:         Joseph Marco
    Nick names: Joey, Oatz
    Birthday:           October 4, 1988 (age 23)
    From:               Rizal, Philippines
    Occupation Actor, TV Commercial Model

    Joseph Marco (born on October 4, 1988 in the province of Rizal, Philippines) is a Filipino actor and commercial model.  He has German, Italian and Spanish blood through his father's side. He is the fourth of the eight children of his parents, having an elder sister who resides in California, USA, two elder brothers and four younger sisters.
                 After his first commercial came more TV commercials with products such as Coca-Cola, E-Aji Dip Snax and Downy.Marco signed up with GMA Artist Center in September 2007. He was one of the first of his batch to have been given a TV project when he was added to the cast of the then airing TV drama series, La Vendetta. Here, he played the role of a geek teenager Santi Domingo. In La Vendetta, he played a geek. He has a small role in GMA's TV remake of Dyesebel where he played an assistant of Fredo named 'Joseph.'
                In 2010, Marco transferred network to ABS-CBN. Marco was picked to be one of the lead cast in ABS-CBN's show Sabel as Raymond Sandoval, with Jessy Mendiola and AJ Perez. Marco also appeared in some of the series of Maalaala Mo Kaya.

    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Marco

              Developments in Digital Publishing in ASEAN        
    By Peter Duke
    The rapid growth in popularity of electronic books (e-books) has led many traditional publishers in the West to venture into this market. In Asia, the market is still comparatively wide open with many large publishers, such as Gramedia in Indonesia, still focusing on the on-line sale of print books and magazines. Amazon's Kindle e-books and e-readers are good value for money but are unfortunately not available legally in some domains in Asia. Although I-pads and I-phones are freely available they are expensive.

    Possibly the biggest digital publisher in the region is I Love Books (ilovebooks.com) which is owned by MediaCorp, Singapore’s most diverse multimedia company with interests in TV, newspapers, radio, magazines and new media. A visit to the site reveals a vast array of e-books from a wide range of categories. Their banner headline states that I love Books allows book lovers to buy their favourite e-books and read them anywhere at anytime on their devices.

    A new, but currently much smaller e-book store is owned by MPH Digital (mphdigital.my). MPH is a local Malaysian publisher with its own network of retail outlets in both Malaysia and Singapore. From the way the web site is constructed it is only a matter of time before MPH Digital will rival I Love Books for the size and rang of content. In addition, and in line with the practice of their established retail network, MPH Digital will help new authors publish their books.

    A number of interesting local providers have entered the market and although these are relatively small publishers when compared to international on-line publishers such as Amazon, they each offer special features.

  • Flipside (www.flipsidecontent.com) - their stated goal is to enrich the global electronic reading experience by publishing select Asian e-books while helping other international publishers convert their content to the local language. Their products include: academic and scholarly works; fiction and non-fiction children, teens and adults content and a wide range of local and international comics and e-books from around Asia and the Philippines. They also offer international publications discounted to match the purchasing power of the local market.
  • Papataka (www.papataka.com,) founded by three young entrepreneurs was Indonesia's first web based digital content retailer with a mission to provide a better way to enjoy knowledge by bringing to market e-books and audio books in various languages. They also provide a platform for independent authors to publish their writing through papataka.com. Their collection of books and their network are both growing rapidly and they have a Showroom and Gallery at one of the leading Plazas in Jakarta. They also specialise in producing digital publications with Indonesian content.
  • E Books in Thailand (www.eBooks in Thailand) occupies a special niche in the Thai market by offering a low-cost outlet for e-books with interesting perspectives on aspects of living, working and retiring in Thailand. In addition, the company offers a vehicle for authors to publish their works while they retain full rights.
  • E-Central (www.e-sentral.com) of Malaysia is obviously building its range of content as many of the book categories have only very few books at present. Most of the content is in Malay but there is a small range of books in English. As with the other smaller publishers, above, E-Sentral offers to assist self publishers design, price and upload their e-books.
  • Two other non-publishers have recently entered the market – skoob in Singapore owned by Singtel and ebuuk in Malaysia owned by Maxis, the largest mobile and internet provider in Malaysia. The companies have similar business models offering a range of web-based products that their post paid customers can purchase and pay for at the end of the month through their telephone bill.

    Both companies are well known for their technical excellence and innovative range of services and sales of high end tablets and smart phones. Because of their dominance in the market they have an excellent chance of maximizing the value of their network in introducing this new range of products and services. However one has to question whether the internal culture and processes of these two companies can be adapted to market and distribute consumer products.

    The marketing skills in creating a following in the market for e-books are very different from those required to package and sell mobile and internet based services. The other dedicated digital publishers we investigated demonstrate many of the following marketing approaches:

    • there is a match between their products and the company mission,
    • their internal culture is aligned with their business model,
    • they are quick to market with new ideas,
    • they create hooks – price, discounts and competitions,
    • they extensively use social networks,
    • they use print and TV advertising, and
    • they create deals and partnerships

    It is too early to say how successful Maxis and Singtel will be but anecdotal evidence suggests that Maxis has not yet fully realised the potential of its business model as ebuuk is not advertised on Maxis monthly bills and Maxis has not yet aggressively advertised ebuuk on TV or in newspapers.

    As the availability of cheap tablets grows in Asia and the price of e-books falls, we can expect almost explosive growth in the availability and sale of e-books in Asia in the near future.

    Finally in this short article we have probably missed other interesting digital publishers in the region and we invite our readers to tell us about them. [source: Asian Publishing Network)

              Incredipede crawls onto mobile, 'feels wet and slimy'        
    Incredipede has wobbled its way to mobile, available now for $4 on the App Store and Google Play. The mobile version of Incredipede retains most of the pretty wood-cut art and graphics of the PC version, with only a few effects disabled, and it has a few improvements for touchscreens.

    The "what's under my fat finger window," as developer Colin Northway calls it, allows players to make detailed adjustments to Quozzle, the game's creature, even on tiny screens.

    "Building creatures in Incredipede is especially visceral on touchscreens," Northway says. "Pulling legs out of Quozzle with your finger feels wet and slimy. It adds a whole new dimension to the game and has made the sandbox my favorite mode."

    Colin Northway and his wife, Sarah Northway, famously travel the globe while developing their games, and Incredipede mobile is no different. They shipped this one from a tiny island in Panama, and they've also sent out games from Mexico, the Philippines and Costa Rica. See beautiful photos of the Northways' adventurous indie lives in their Flickr album.

    Source: @ColinNorthway

              Best Southeast Asian drivers crowned        
    The Southeast Asian Scania Driver Competition finals attracted drivers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore.
    I'm gonna be honest that I'm not a big fan of selfies. Go follow me on Instagram (shameless plug -hehe) so that I can prove it to you.

    I don't do selfies for the sole reason that I don't do it well. And I find it kinda late in the game for me to start doing so. Let's just leave it to the ones who started doing selfies long before the selfie term was even coined.

    Now even though that's the case (me not doing selfies), I appreciate smart phone brands that keep on innovating their features such as their cameras -more specifically, by leveling up the 'selfie game' like the Vivo V5s.
    In addition to its high-end camera features and advanced selfie tools. the Vivo V5s brandishes an elegant and sleek design with slimmer bezels and finer details, with the U-shape cover lines making the back cover look even more premium.
    I know I've mentioned myself not doing selfies but hey, Stephen Curry does it. Maybe I can try.

    The Vivo V5s is the newest perfect selfie phone that caters to the arising needs of millenials, working professionals, and people from all walks of life. With a 20-megapixel front camera with f2.0 aperture, the V5s gives you crystal clear, high-resolution selfies, wherein all the details are astonishingly visible. Its 13-megapixel rear camera with f2.2 aperture and an ultra-high-definition mode also renders stunning ultra HD images of up to 52 megapixels. Plus it's also great with 'groufies', too!
    Touting a 20-megapixel front camera and enhance selfie tools, NBA superstar Stephen Curry uses the new "perfect selfie" Vivo V5s in capturing precious moments in is personal and professional life.
    Here are some photos from the Vivo V5s' big reveal at SM North Edsa last May 19.
    At the launch of the newest perfect selfie Vivo V5s smart phone led by hosts Verniece Enciso and Nikko Ramos.
    Vivo Philippines Vice President Hazel Bascon leads the launch of the new V5s phone and explains why this next big thing in the smartphone industry is the best choice for selfie lovers.
    Vivo national sales manager Robert John Decillo, marketing Director Lindsay Guan. and Vice President Hazel Bascon grace the big reveal of the V5s phone at SM North Edsa last May 19.
    More than its selfie features, here are the top 5 reasons why should you own a Vivo V5s:

    1. The Vivo V5s also features a selfie softlight technology that creates lighting effects similar to those in a professional photography studio, with an enhanced night mode for clearer and more fabulous selfies taken at night or even in poor lighting conditions. The V5s also includes a beauty mode 6.0 feature, which works like a skincare tool that automatically detects your gender and applies beauty touches accordingly.
    2. The Vivo V5s is equipped with 5G-ready capacity for a more stable Internet connection—an upgrade from the 4G capacity of previous V5 units and other phones in the same price range. For its storage, the V5s also has a bigger capacity of 4GB RAM, perfect for games and applications, and a 64GB ROM—expandable up to 256 GB—that can store up to 302 films, 20000 songs or 26,000 pictures, and other documents.
    3. Still another new feature of the V5s is the App Clone, which allows users to log on to two different accounts using the same social media app, thus separating one's professional and personal lives. The said feature currently supports important chat apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, BBM, Zalo, and Viber.
    4. The V5s shares the elegant and sleek design of the V5 series, with slimmer bezels and a large 5.5 inch display in 2.5D corning gorilla glass that gives impressive video-viewing effects. Vivo designers also gave the V5s an amazing new look with finer details, as the U-shaped cover lines make the back cover look even more premium and high-end.
    5. Other notable features include a smart split 2.0 that enables the V5s to keep two tasks on screen at the same time, an eye protection mode that filters out all the blue light and makes the screen light softer, and a 0.2 fingerprint unlocking.

    For inquiries about Vivo V5s, visit the Vivo website at vivoglobal.ph, or check out their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/VivoPhil), Instagram (httpps://www.instagram.com/vivophil/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/vivo_phil) accounts.

              MUST DOWNLOAD APP: PENSHOPPE        
    I must admit that I used to be not into mobile apps for the sole reason of me foregoing "experiencing" the world and just rely everything that I need on technology. Online shopping? It was not for me. I wanna physically experience the thrill of the hunt. The interaction with the people. The victory of finding a good deal.

    But that was then when I was younger (and with no credit card to my name -hehe). As I grew older, I started to slowly venture into the wonderful world of mobile apps. I actually downloaded around 30 in the past 3 months. Several of those were online shopping apps. I'm hooked! I guess, aside from age, it also goes with the amount of responsibilities that I have taken on putting physical shopping on the bottom of my priority list.

    But I realized, I also need my exercise. Just armed with the convenience of mobile apps.

    One mobile app that I recently discovered is Penshoppe. "Finally!" I thought when I found out about it.  It's not an online shopping app by the way. It's a balance between physical shopping and being updated on the latest about the brand with lots of perks and rewards!

    So what's with the app?

    Here's an overview:

    After completing the first two steps, you can now start earning points and redeem rewards!

    What I like most about the app is that aside from the usual features you see on other retail mobile apps like the Catalogue, Store Locator, etc.,

    Penshoppe's also come with a beefed up MyPenshoppe Loyalty program where you can earn 1 point for every Php10 spent (Php1,000 = 10 points) and more! How do like a discount e-voucher on your Birthday? How about an invitation to Penshoppe's exclusive events? All that is in the app!

    Plus, it's also nice to see your celebrity crushes and idols wearing the latest from Penshoppe on the home page enticing you to visit the store and shop now!

    And as a launching treat, the Penshoppe App will give 10% off e-voucher welcome gift to new subscribers for a limited time only.

    About Penshoppe
    Founded in 1986, Penshoppe is the flagship brand of Golden ABC, Inc. Known for its fresh take on casual wear, Penshoppe has since evolved into an international fashion and lifestyle brand located not only in the Philippines but also in other countries in Asia and the middle East, including Indonesia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain, U.A.E, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and in Taiwan through online retail partner Zalora. To know more about Penshoppe, please visit www.penshoppe.com or follow them on Facebook at Penshoppe, on Instagram with handle @penshoppe, on Twitter as @PENSHOPPE, and on Snapchat at @teampenshoppe.

              3 IN 1 AXE MAN        
    Admit it. With all the choices Axe has been offering us guys, I'm sure that you're kinda confused as to what to get for your personal style. Yes, style and scent go hand in hand. I myself got confused as to which Axe scent, Gold or Black, (it was Gold) will go well with a formal look I was sporting back then when the latter was released. My solution? Get all, or at least the three I'm featuring here on the blog.

    Believe me, there are three kinds of style for every guy out there and with that, three Axe Fragrances to go along with it.

    Here's a simple guide I made for you to try.

    AXE GOLD for a formal look. Think suits and black tie events. For this set, I'd wear this with a navy suit.
    Axe Gold + Edwin watch + Frank monk-strap leather shoes + socks with Argyle pattern
    Now, for my personal favorite.

    Don't get fooled by the sophistication but AXE BLACK is really for the inner rockstar in you. Think concert events and leather jackets. I suggest wearing this set with dark denim jeans, white shirt, and either a denim jacket or a leather one (if Manila weather permits it). Or better yet, leave the jacket out. You don't need to impress much with what you're wearing when you have this scent on.
    Axe Black + Komono watch + Bata brogue chelsea boots + black with white polka dotted socks
    For the romantic boy next door, the sweet scent of AXE DARK TEMPTATION is perfect for when you go out on a coffee or movie date. Even when meeting your girl's parents for the first time! A light colored chinos and a white polo shirt for this set will do just fine.
    Axe Dark Temptation + Veloci leather strap watch + Superga leather sneakers + subtle print socks
    And then, there's the new Axe You. But let's save that for later.

    Just a reminder: Don't overdo with the spray. One or two will do.

    Follow #LiveYourStyle online or check Axe Philippines on Facebook.

    *This is not a sponsored post

    Unlike most people, I lost weight over the holidays. The secret? I got sick. Long story short, I now look lousy in my size small shirts that's why I decided to buy at least a couple of right-fitting shirts to last me until I get my "normal" size back.

    F&F was one of the first brands I considered because I know for a fact the quality and fit of their clothes. I should know because I was there during the opening of their first store in Glorietta (I couldn't pass up the Superman t-shirt and shorts set). I was lucky enough to visit their store during their End of Season Sale a couple of days ago and saw a lot of choices...

    ...in my current size, too! I fit XS now.

    Aside from the style and the quality, what I really like about the clothes at F&F is its affordability! Take the discount from the sale off and I can still take 3-4 shirts home with my Php3,000. How much more if you put the discount back? Visit them this weekend and see these many choices.

    And we're talking about just the men's section!

    All set for summer? Not without these shorts.

    Even these beautiful Chelsea Boots were on sale!
    Planning to go somewhere cold?

    Now here are my picks:

    For the Star Wars fan in me,

    and because it's almost summer (that's a shirt and t-shirt set which obviously, you can wear separately or together -that's 3 looks already!),

    and finally, a good quality shirt perfect for the office.

    The F&F End of Season Sale is until January 31, 2017 at these F&F branches: Glorietta, SM North Edsa, Estancia, Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Ayala Center Cebu, and Limketkai CDO.

    For more information and promo updates, like F&F Philippines on Facebook. http://facebook.com/ff.philippines.

    This November, ShopBack Philippines will hold their biggest online sale of the year as an early Christmas treat to all their customers with Singles Day: 11/11. ShopBack customers can get up to 31% Upsized Cashback from top Philippine online stores like Lazada and from 11am to 11pm on 11/11, 11 bestsellers from brands like SanDisk, MamyPoko, Nestle, Maybelline, Cherry Mobile and more will be available for purchase at only Php111 after Cashback.

    "We want to give Filipino customers a new way to do their Christmas shopping, and through ShopBack's Singles Day: 11/11 Sale they can get their Christmas list completed and add more money to their savings," said ShopBack Philippines' Country Manager, Ms. Kristina Ay-ay.

    ShopBack Philippines houses over 300 online brands and offers Cashback for every transaction made through its website. The Cashback is credited to a customer's Shopback account after a transaction is made and can the be cashed out to their local bank, PayPal, or GCash account.

    Ms. Ay-ay added, "The Philippines is one of the world's fastest-growing e-commerce markets and through ShopBack, every Filipino will be able to save money while they shop online, especially this Yuletide season.

    Visit https://www.shopback.ph to create an account for free or follow ShopBack Philippines on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more details on the Singles Day 11/11 Sale.
    One of my airport fears is being held up for something that's inside my hand-carry luggage. I recently experienced that on my way back home from my Taiwan trip and it was nerve-wracking! I overlooked packing this 100ml canister of Super volcanic clay mousse mask I bought from innisfree in my check-in baggage and there I was at the security checkpoint realizing that fear. But luck was on my side that day. They let me through upon checking the product (even though it's 100ml) without taking it. It was not liquid anyway. I was kinda ready to give it up since I bought it for just less than a Php1,000 but a part of me will regret it for sure if the case was otherwise. It's a good product, by the way.

    Now if it was a 100ml bottle of perfume, then that'd be a different story. You know how much a good bottle of perfume costs, right? Add that to the personal fact that I love smelling good always especially on travels.

    I usually bring two kinds of scents. One for when it's hot and the other, for when it's cold. But bringing two bottles of perfume can be a hassle especially at times when the trip is short and when I don't have baggage allowance. In comes Travalo.

    Let's get to know the brand first.

    Travalo originated from the United Kingdom and was launched in October 2009. The brand has won six international awards that include a Red Dot Design Award and a Beauty Challenger Award. Not only has it been raved by bloggers and Youtubers and featured in various publications such as Elle, Cosmopolitan and Style, but it also has won the favor of over 10 million users around the world.

    I'm featuring two atomizers today. The stylish Travalo Classic and it's more affordable sister, the Perfume Pod.

    The Travalo atomizer uses the innovative, patented Genie-S system that allows you to "pump to refill" and instantly transfer your favorite fragrance.
    The Travalo Classic comes in a sleek, rounded casing that makes it easy to slip into bags and pockets and it is also made in lightweight aircraft grade aluminum that doesn't have an ounce of glass on it. It is a little over three inches long and is small enough to fit inside an evening clutch or even your pocket. It stores up to 5ml of perfume and can spray between 65 to 80 times before needing a refill.
    This unique system allows the Travalo to refill in seconds without spillage or exposing it to air. All you have to do is remove the spray nozzle,

    connect the bottom part of the Travalo to the exposed tube, then start pumping the same way you spray your perfume. You can actually check through the clear part of the tube if the content is filled to your liking.

    Travalo Classic is available at the 2F of Travalo SM North EDSA, Lazada Philippines, and at 4L SM Aura and retails at Php999.75.

    Now if you prefer a cheaper alternative, then there's the Perfume Pod for you. Same as the Travalo, it comes with the patented Genie-S refill system. The atomizer is durable, scratch-resistant and shatterproof, and is crystal clear so you can see the perfume inside.
    The Perfume Pod measures three inches in length and carries 5ml of perfume to last you the whole weekend and can spray up to 65 to 80 times before needing to be refilled.
    Perfume Pod is available at the 2F of Travalo SM North EDSA, Lazada Philippines, and at 4L SM Aura and retails at Php349.75.

    Is this something you would like to include in your travel essentials? Sound off in the comments below.

    For more information, follow @travaloph on Instagram and like Travalo Philippines on Facebook.

    Lunch at a floating restaurant? Dinner in the dark? Now those pale in comparison to dining with zombies! Yes, you read that right. For a limited time only, you can now dine with "tamed" zombies at your beck and call.

    This is part of TriNoma's efforts in coming up with exciting new twists for their annual food campaign. For this year, it's Choose Your Own Food Adventure! Remember the book series? Now this one is edible.

    (Open daily from 12nn to 8pm until October 30, 2016 only)

    Hungry for something new? Located at the Level 1 Garden Restaurants is the Zombie Outbreak Diner, a safe post-apocalyptic base camp. The diner is a place for customers to have a unique dining experience with TriNoma's resident zombies. As you take a seat and enjoy your meal, expect to see zombies roaming around, serving you food, or just simply giving you a good scare.
    1. Order a minimum of Php 200 worth from the available food menus at the registration booth at Level 1 Garden Restaurants per person to be granted entrance in the Zombie Outbreak Diner.
    2. Payment should be done at the registration booth.
    3. After placing your order, you can enter the Zombie Outbreak diner and have an exciting experience living and dining with zombies.
    4. Your order will be delivered to you within 30 minutes.
    Starting October 15, Saturday, the Zombie Outbreak Diner will be having special events every weekend - one being the "WHODUNNIT: A Crime Solving Game". Here's a not-so-little sneak peek:

    You can go solo or take the more fun route, with a group, in helping solve the crime. Part of solving the crime is interrogating the characters but in order for you do so, you need to accomplish some tasks from the four training modules. Like this one where you need to gather the red balls aka "resources" in less than 2 minutes.

    Or this one where you need to knock down the zombies using an air gun within a minute.

    There were two more which I forgot to document but the most exciting was the one wherein you need to break out of a locked cage in less than two minutes. The most challenging part is you get to do it while a zombie is inside the cage with you.

    Now, let's meet some of the characters!
    Acting: intense
    This guy, the Supreme Leader, is quite intimidating. Good luck interrogating him.
    The police, also, the host.
    The girl (with the scarf) is the daughter of the killed Lead Research Scientist of the base camp, Dr. Francis Ramon, and the semi-bald guy was her former lover.
    Here's Pax using her charm to get some answers.
    Pax: Look at me naman while I'm tallking, Beshie.
    To help you solve the crime, clues are scattered everywhere.

    You will also be needing some serious deciphering (and Sudoku!) skills.

    Wanna know who killed the doctor? Well it's for you to find out! Visit the Zombie Outbreak Cafe until October 30 only.

    Say hello to the volunteers who helped solve the crime.

    If zombies are not your thing, then there's PAWS Pet Cafe!

    (Open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 2pm to 6pm until October 20, 2016 only)

    Located at Level 3 near Powerbooks is the PAWS Pet Cafe - a rustic barn setup where the Philippines Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) brings their most adorable dogs and cats to spend a fun, furry afternoon with customers.

    To enter the PAWS Pet Cafe, customers will just have to order a snack, dessert, or a drink from the available menus at the registration area near the entrance.
    1. Order a dessert or drink from the available drink and dessert menus or purchase a minimum amount of Php 150 of any Purina Alpo, Friskies or Beggin at the registration booth at Level 3 near Powerbooks to be granted entrance in the PAWS Pet Cafe.
    2. Payment should be done at the registration booth.
    3. After placing your order, you can enter the PAWS Pet Cafe and hang out with all the adorable dogs and cats of Philippine Animal Welfare Society.
    4. Your order will be delivered to you within 20 minutes.

    This one is for all the food lovers who are up for a challenge to find the best eats in TriNoma. How does it work? Foodies will have to complete all challenges found on the the Foodie's Quest page of the Choose Your Own Food Adventure map. For every complete challenge, customers will have to present the purchase receipt indicating their order at TriNoma's Main Concierge (Level 1 near Activity Center) to mark the challenge done.

    Once all the challenges are completed, customers may claim their prize and even get a chance to win Php 1,000 gift certificates from chosen restaurants in TriNoma.
    1. Complete the Foodie's Quest challenges from September 30 to October 30, 2016.
    2. Present your purchase receipt indicating the order you made that would complete a challenge on the Foodie's Quest at Level 1 Main Concierge. The concierge will mark the challenge done and you can proceed to completing the other challenges.
    3. Customers must present their completed Foodie's Quest Challenge at Level 1 Main Concierge to redeem their tumbler. Customers are also entitled to the pick-a-prize draw and get a chance to win of the following instant prizes:
    4. Redemption period shall be until 60 days from end of the promo period.
    5. TriNoma reserves the right to validate receipts. Receipts that are defaced, crumpled, tampered, photocopied and smaller than the actual size will not be honored.
    For more information, like TriNoma Ayala Malls on Facebook and follow @ilovetrinoma on Instagram and @trinomatweets on Twitter.

    Bonus Choose Your Own Food Adventure hack: Get three (3) stamps/marks on your Foodie's Quest page! Here's how:
    1. Dine at the Zombie Outbreak Diner.
    2. Order from Hukad. You have to include in your order any size of Crispy Pata.
    3. Finish your meal with a medium (or large) Frozen Yoghurt at Red Mango.

    Protect yourselves from the villainous elements with the new collection of DC Justice League rain jackets from Authority Hoodie!

    Boasting of 3 main designs—Superman,   


    and Wonder Woman—the brand-spanking new collection features a line of waterproof and "violently reflective" rain jackets that cater to the heroes who choose to brave the elements and go through the daily grind of commuting, as well as fitness buffs who refuse to let a little bit of rain dampen their drive to exercise outdoors.

    Authority Hoodies! owner and CEO Nicole Valenton reveals that the often overlooked plight of commuters in the country drove her to develop the reflective rain jackets.

    "‘Stylish protection with new innovation’ is the backbone of this collection. Along with the rainy season come darkened skies and hazy vision. I wanted to make sure that my AH! bros—the students, bikers, joggers and commuters—remain stylish but also safe from the harsh elements.” she says.

    These reflective rain jackets are now available worldwide for just PHP 1390.00. Enjoy zero shipping fees until supplies last. Place your orders through the official Facebook page: facebook.com/authorityhoodiee.
    Authority Hoodie! is an outfitting company started in 2012 by Nicole Valenton while just a student. Originally started as a small t-shirt company specializing in novelty printed t-shirts. In less than a year, it branched out to other products, such as novelty accessories such as caps, pullovers, and their new specialty product, quirky pop-culture hoodies. To date, Authority Hoodie! has customers in over 20 different territories in 5 continents.

    On top of acquiring the official license to design, manufacture and distribute the DC Justice league brand, Authority Hoodie! takes pride in using local materials and utilizing local laborers—the products that go into their quality hoodies are sourced from the Philippines and handmade by Filipinos.

    JUSTICE LEAGUE and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics. (s16)

    All images supplied by Authority Hoodie are the exclusive property of Authority Hoodie and are protected under Philippine and International Copyright laws.

    The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Authority Hoodie.

    Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike) is a violation of Philippine and International Copyright laws. All images are copyrighted © 2016 Authority Hoodie.

              WINGSTOP FLAVOR INVASION        
    Craving for some wings? What flavor are you in the mood for? Garlic Parmesan? Mango Habanero? Or better yet, why not try all 14 of Wingstop's mouth-watering flavors? You'll get a reward if you do!

    Catch the Flavor Invasion and explore Wingstop's 14 flavors with the Flavor Pass until August 31, 2016. Get yours with any single receipt purchase at any Wingstop store. Collect stamps for each flavor that you try and earn yourself Php1,000 gif certificates for every Flavor Pass that you complete.

    In addition, customers will receive an additional quantity of wings for free with every purchase of the Classic of Batter-Fried Wings--a 5-piece order gets 1 piece, a 7-piece order gets 2 pieces, an 11-piece order gets 3 pieces.

    Are you ready to get those stamps coming? Start with the smooth taste of the Hickory Smoked Barbeque! It's the flavor I'm representing as one of the 14 Wingstop Flavor Invasion ambassador. Hehe

    Gusto mo ba?


    Check out this BTS video from the campaign shoot.

    And here's another one!

    Whatever flavor you're craving for, don't miss out on the Wingstop Flavor Invasion at the Wingstop branch nearest you. For more information, LIKE Wingstop Philippines on Facebook and FOLLOW @wingstopph on Instagram.


    So this is what I'm usually like every Friday: with phone (always) in my hands, stalking checking my friends on social media. Thanking God it's Friday (haha)...

    ...chilling in my casual shirt. My go-to brand for shirts that I can wear from the office to a night out with friends? T.M. Lewin! They have this casual line that is just perfect for chill days like today.

    Now, I happen to be giving away a shirt + chinos combo to two (2) followers of mine. The prizes are roughly around Php5,000 worth each. I'll be styling you as well!

    a. Like TM Lewin Philippines on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TMLewinPhilippines/)
    b. Follow @PaulThePRGuy and @TMLewinPH on Instagram
    c. Post a photo wearing your best Casual Friday look and tell us about your style.
    d. Tag @PaulThePRGuy and @TMLewinPH and use the following official hashtags: #TMLewinCASUALFRIDAYS #TMLewinPH
    e. Two (2) Lucky winners will receive one (1) shirt, and one (1) chinos from TM Lewin, styled by me.
    f. Promo will run from July 15, 2016 to August 12, 2016.
    g. Announcement of winners will be on August 15, 2016.

    I'll be talking more about the brand in the coming days. For the meantime, you can join my giveaway. See you on Instagram!
    I made it my life mission (lol) to treat my shoe collection as if they were my kids. And with that, no playing favorites.

    But just like any other families, there will always be that someone who's unique and a complete standout. Take my RegettaCanoe shoes for example. It's not usual. It's not even simple if you're gonna think about how it's made. And it's more than just a pair of shoes. It's a hardworking pair of shoes actually (and to think getting stepped on a regular basis is not hard work enough).
    Zara shirt
    Zara trousers
    RegettaCanoe footwear

    HYPE on Lookbook.nu
    Along with the uniqueness comes the consideration of how to build a look up wearing them. You really have to think about what to wear with them. Now I took cue from the brand's lookbook. I kept everything simple and just let the shoes do the talking.
    SS16 Footwear on Models-22
    Obviously, my look was inspired from this one.
    SS16 Footwear on Models-20

    SS16 Footwear on Models-14

    Born in the insanely talented mind of Yasuo Takamoto in 2005, RegettaCanoe was launched in 2012, bringing together revolutionary shoe-making material and techniques with the modern interpretation of the beautiful traditional Japanese shoe, the "Geta". The canoe-like structure of every unique pair is carefully designed to bring maximum comfort and balance that will keep you walking all day and night.

    On the topic of being more than just a pair of shoes, here are 5 reasons why you should own a pair of RegettaCanoe shoes (most of the following photos were taken last May 5 during the brand launch at the ultra stylish vegan restaurant SUSI at the Fort and Burgos Circle):

    1. It corrects posture of the body, subsequently alleviating knee and hip pressure which causes aches and pains in the long run.

    2. It reduces the impact on the feet.

    3. The arch support improves blood circulation, lessening feet fatigue.

    4. While most RegettaCanoe shoes are open, it is crafted in such a way that protects the wearer's toes and heels.
    13129078_10209297331213526_1215027674_o (1)

    5. And finally, RegettaCanoe pursues a Vegan philosophy, contributing to a reduction of animal suffering and environmental pollution, without sacrificing comfort and style.

    Do you need more convincing? No? Good!

    RegettaCanoe is exclusively distributed in the Philippines by the Primer Group of Companies --Asia's next retail giant and is available at select Res Toe Run stores nationwide and Robinsons Place Manila, 2/F Midtown Wing.Visit regettacanoe.com/en or follow @RegettaCanoePH on Facebook and Instagram to know more about the brand.

              Looking for Army Air Force veteran stationed in Manila around 1947        
    Looking for my biological father.
    Details I know:
    Alleged name or partial name: Wayne Rogers (my DNA testing shows that he was of Native American and Spanish descent)
    Possible state he was deployed from: Montana
    He was stationed in Manila, Philippines around 1947

    Does anyone have any advice on how to search military records?

              Hoverboards are Dangerous and Here’s Why        
    Hoverboards, also called self-balancing scooters, are widely popular in the Philippines.  Not surprisingly, they are also very popular in other parts of the world.  However, with as with all things popular, businesses take advantage and competition become tighter.  The result are cheaper products but with lesser regard for the safety of users. There are well-made […]
              Lenovo Yoga 900 Retails for Php78,995 in the Philippines        
    Lenovo is one of those companies that has consistently offered unique products.  Its Yoga line is different from the other hybrid laptops and Lenovo has successfully made this line interesting.  With the recent Yoga 900, Lenovo has brought excellent upgrades. The Lenovo Yoga 900 still features a “watchband” hinge which makes it possible to rotate […]
               Biogeography of coral reef shore gastropods in the Philippines         
    Vallejo, Benjamin (2003) Biogeography of coral reef shore gastropods in the Philippines. PhD thesis, James Cook University.
              When It Comes to Flu Shots, the More Influenza Strains, the Better        
    Researchers conducted a test of the new four-strain influenza vaccine, available for the first time this year, to determine how well it protected against the flu in young children. The four strain vaccine, which protects against four types of influenza–two viruses from the A class and two from the B class–does as good a job of protecting against flu than the three-strain shot, but is better at preventing moderate to severe disease than the traditional immunization. The international group of researchers, who described their findings in a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, attributed the four-strain, or quadrivalent vaccine’s effectiveness to the fact that it contained both circulating B types of influenza. In previous years, in which only one of the B strains was included, the immunization had a 50-50 chance of being mismatched to the circulating virus, making it less effective. The scientists tested the quadrivalent flu vaccine in 2,379 children ages three to eight in Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Lebanon, Panama, the Philippines, Thailand and Turkey and compared their rates of flu infection to a control group of 2398 children who received a hepatitis A vaccine. The study was sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, which donated both vaccines for the trial. Compared to the control group, the four strain vaccine was 55% effective in protecting against flu. That’s similar to the efficacy of the three strain shots, but, the research team found, the quadrivalent shot was 70% effective in preventing more serious cases of the flu; most of the children who did get sick after getting vaccinated only had mild symptoms. The four-strain shot also resulted in 69% fewer medical visits, 75% fewer hospitalizations, 77% fewer absences from school, and 61% fewer parent absences from work. That’s an important benefit, since flu can result in lost school days for children and lower productivity for adults. “The efficacy of the vaccine was higher against moderate-to-severe disease–a potentially important end point associated with the highest clinical, social, and economic burden–than against illness of any severity,” the authors conclude.
              Creating A 12 To 24-Month Policy Bridge For A New Afghanistan Strategy        



    Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve

    3:52 PM 08/04/2017

    Up until now his advisors have offered President Trump two choices for failure in Afghanistan, one quick, withdrawal, and one slow, a continuation of the failed strategy of the last sixteen years.

    By now it should be apparent to all knowledgeable people that U.S. objectives cannot be achieved in land-locked Afghanistan where Pakistan, whose Afghanistan objectives differ from ours, controls the supply of our troops and the battle tempo through its support of the Taliban and Haqqani network.

    An alternative is to provide the President with a 12 to 24-month plan that bridges the gap between the present untenable strategy to a longer term solution.

    That is, rather than tweak the current strategy, begin to address the core problem, a strategic environment that has made success of the current strategy impossible.

    Within the next two years, the Trump Administration should formulate a strategy that exploits Pakistan’s pain points, one which carves out roles for the Department of Defense, Department of State and Congress.

    While preventing a further deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan, different permutations and degrees of the following actions should be pursued, both as short term leverage against Pakistan and, ideally, to create a regional strategic environment more conducive to U.S. interests.  That is, it is not the Taliban and the Haqqani network that need to be brought to the negotiating table, but Pakistan.

    Foreign aid to Pakistan – reduce it to a trickle. Even Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States says that a tougher approach needs to be adopted toward his country: “The Bush administration gave Pakistan $12.4 billion in aid, and the Obama administration forked over $21 billion. These incentives did not make Pakistan more amenable to cutting off support for the Afghan Taliban.”Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status – cancel all or part of it. As a MNNA country, approved by President George W. Bush in 2004, Pakistan became “eligible for priority delivery of defense material, an expedited arms sale process, and a U.S. loan guarantee program, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports. It can also stockpile U.S. military hardware, participate in defense research and development programs, and be sold more sophisticated weaponry.”Declaration of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism – advance the House bill through Congress. On September 20, 2016, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), introduced H.R.6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act. According to Chairman Poe: “Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years.  From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror.”Durand Line – Pakistan depends on it – question its legitimacy. The Durand Line is the arbitrary 1896 border drawn between Afghanistan and Pakistan by British Diplomat Sir Mortimer Durand. Pashtun lands have been artificially divided and Pakistan is using its Pashtun population as Taliban cannon fodder.China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – undermine it. Pakistan has significant economic incentive to exclude western countries from maintaining any influence in Afghanistan. It is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia through land-based and maritime economic zones. CPEC is an infrastructure project, the backbone of which is a transportation network connecting China to the Pakistani seaports of Gwadar and Karachi located on the Arabian Sea. Gwadar is a potential Chinese naval base at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, which will complement another Chinese naval base in Djibouti at the mouth of the Red Sea creating two critical strategic choke points.Ethnic separatism – encourage it – Pakistan is the Yugoslavia of South Asia. Probably the greatest of all potential Pakistani pain points is ethnic separatism. Pakistan was founded on the religion of Islam and is composed primarily of five ethnic groups that never coexisted, the Bengalis, Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Baloch. Pakistan’s Islamic nationalism program was specifically designed to suppress ethnic separatism, an effort that eventually led to the proliferation of Islamic terrorist groups within its borders and their use as instruments of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Exploitation of ethnic separatism within Pakistan, such as in Balochistan, remains an option. That is, fight an insurgency with an insurgency.

    A longer term solution for Afghanistan was described previously in the Daily Caller, one based on counterterrorism rather than counterinsurgency, providing a cost-effective, flexible and “conditions-based” strategy advocated by retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely in a Diana West article.

    “Such a strategy, Vallely explained, relies on ‘the maximum use of unconventional forces,’ such as Navy SEALS and other special forces, who can be deployed as needed from what are known in military parlance as ‘lily pads’ — outposts or jumping-off points in friendly countries (Israel, Northern Kurdistan, India, Philippines, Italy, Djibouti … ) and from U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups. Such strike groups generally include eight to 10 vessels ‘with more fire power,’ the general noted, ‘than most nations.’ These lily pads become ‘bases we can launch from any time we want to,’ eliminating the need for massive land bases such as Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, by now a small city of 20,000 American personnel who continuously need to be supplied and secured at enormous expense.”

    In terms of Afghanistan strategy, it is time to build a bridge to somewhere.

    Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired US Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at lawrence.sellin@gmail.com.

              Thailand, long used to China’s carrots, now gets the stick        


    Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha praised China’s Belt and Road Initiative for its potential to enhance the Thai-Chinese strategic partnership. Photo: Reuters

    View all 0 comments




    PUBLISHED: 4:00 AM, AUGUST 3, 2017

    China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is its new grand strategy. Chinese leaders have emphasised that the initiative is a win-win solution whose economic benefits will be shared across continents.

    South-east Asia has become a major focus of this strategy because it constitutes a significant sea lane for China’s maritime trade.

    Therefore, it is not a surprise that China first declared its nascent idea of reviving the maritime Silk Road in Indonesia during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit in October 2013.

    Mainland South-east Asia also offers China alternative routes to seaports for its landlocked provinces. The sub-region is hence included in Beijing’s plan to develop transport links and industrial parks.

    Thailand has realised that situating itself in China’s blueprint is economically beneficial.

    Thai leaders have expressed their support for the BRI since it was launched. Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha, for example, has lauded this initiative for its potential to enhance the Thai-Chinese strategic partnership.

    However, General Prayuth was not among the heads of government attending the inaugural Belt and Road Initiative Summit on May 14 and 15 this year in Beijing; five Thai ministers attended instead. How can we interpret this event?

    How are we to understand the current stage of Sino-Thai relations and South-east Asia’s general relations with China?

    The Sino-Thai relationship has been cordial, marked by no major conflicts. Beijing’s endorsement of the 2014 military coup in Bangkok has even deepened ties, as the Thai military has since favoured China’s policy in many aspects.

    Therefore, the recent lack of an invitation for Thailand’s premier to the BRI summit raised eyebrows.

    The Thai Foreign Ministry explained that China did not extend an invitation to Gen Prayuth because Beijing had already invited him to another important event — the Ninth Brics Summit scheduled to be held in Xiamen next month.

    In the broader context, in fact, the Thai Prime Minister was not alone; leaders from Brunei and Singapore were also excluded from the summit.

    However, Thailand is an active player in continental South-east Asia and a long-term friend of China.

    It is also within the Indochina Corridor — one of six major economic corridors in the BRI blueprint that links south-western China to Singapore.

    It appears that the unresolved deal on the Sino-Thai high-speed railway project had become an irritation for Beijing and was the main reason for China not inviting the Thai leader to the summit.

    This was confirmed to me by a Thai government official on May 25, who added: “There are a number of issues still unsettled, such as the bringing in of Chinese workers and others that contravene domestic laws and regulations.”

    Why is the railway project in Thailand so important to China? In fact, Thailand and China had shared the idea of expanding the transport network between China and mainland South-east Asia since the early 1990s.

    In 1993, the two countries developed a sub-regional framework called Quadrangle Economic Cooperation, which focused on this issue. However, the Asian Development Bank subsumed it under its broader Greater Mekong Sub-region framework because of Thailand’s economic difficulties in 1997.

    The tangible outcome was the completion of the Western Sub-corridor route in 2010, linking Kunming to northern Thailand via Laos and Myanmar.

    With that continuing idea, China’s focus has shifted from roads to railways. There is also a strong sentiment in Thailand in favour of upgrading the country’s outmoded infrastructure, and the expansion of the rail network has emerged as an option.

    Therefore, BRI is not totally new but rather a more expansive and ambitious version of an older plan.


    Thailand and China have discussed the construction of a high-speed rail since 2010, when the Abhisit Vejjajiva government was in power.

    The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set up a joint venture company in which Thailand would hold a 51 per cent share.

    Thailand agreed to allow China to utilise the land along the existing railway for 50 years. However, the agreement was aborted when Parliament was dissolved in 2011. The second attempt took place during the Yingluck Shinawatra government in 2012, which proposed four lines for the high-speed trains, stretching from Bangkok to the north, the north-east, the east, and the south.

    Thailand invited China to invest in the north-eastern line, as it would connect to the China-Laos high-speed railway running from Kunming to Vientiane, opposite the Thai border.

    The two countries signed MOUs in 2012 and 2013 for feasibility studies and the training of Thai personnel.

    However, the project drew public criticism, especially from anti-government groups concerned with its cost and potential for corruption.

    The Constitutional Court finally vetoed the project in early 2014, and the Yingluck government was ousted by a military coup later that year.

    After the coup, the Prayuth government reviewed the project and sought to start construction in May last year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Sino-Thai diplomatic relations.

    Both signed another MOU in late December 2014 that would let China build a railroad from Nongkhai province to Bangkok and to Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, covering a total distance of 867km, but running at speeds of only 180kmh.

    Thailand agreed to take a Chinese loan, to be repaid in cash and in kind — in the latter case with agricultural products, especially rice and rubber.

    However, the long process of negotiations opened a Pandora’s box for the Thai government. The initial problems were related to the shareholding structure and to the interest rate on the Chinese loan.

    Thailand proposed that China hold a 70 per cent share in the project, but China insisted on a 60 per cent share unless it received the same benefits as in the case of the Chinese-Laos railway project.

    In that case, China had received the rights to develop the land along the railway and adjacent to stations for 50 years. Also, Thailand proposed that China lower the interest from 2.5 per cent to 2 per cent.

    Early last year, China finally agreed to offer a 2 per cent interest rate if the project was scaled down from a dual-track to a single track in the face of rising costs.

    At the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Summit from March 22 to 24 last year in Hainan province, the Thai and Chinese premiers surprisingly announced that Thailand would finance the entire project through domestic loans and that the speed would be 250kmh. China would only invest a 60 per cent share in work on the rail system and train operations, including the construction of bridges and tunnel excavation.

    To put the exclusion of Gen Prayuth from the BRI Summit in May in the context of the long process of negotiation, one may be able to infer how China has been asserting pressure on the Thai government.

    It was reported that the 17th meeting of the Sino-Thai joint committee on rail collaboration held on April 9 and 10 this year met with difficulties in coding construction materials from the Chinese coding system into the Thai system.

    The Thai Transport Ministry accepted that it might take a long time to do so. Without that, the committee cannot set the medium price in the project’s terms of reference and check whether the materials needed are available in Thailand.

    According to Thai law, such a joint venture cannot use foreign materials. However, the sentiment of the subsequent 18th meeting on May 24, nine days after the BRI Summit, turned positive.

    The two parties nearly reached an agreement on outstanding issues. The Thai Transport Ministry will now submit the detailed project to the Thai Cabinet for approval and aims to start construction by this month.

    Although details of the negotiations were not revealed, there was already a tendency for Thailand to accommodate China’s requests. In early June, a Thai deputy prime minister consulted the Councils of Engineers and Architects to resolve the technical issues and the use of Chinese personnel in Thailand. He proposed that the Prime Minister exercise his executive power under Section 44 in the interim Constitution.

    On June 8, Gen Prayuth showed his irritation with the progress of the project during an address to the National Legislative Assembly: “I have lost my face so many times and we (Thailand)couldn’t conclude the deal. I will exercise my prerogative on this railway project. It must be started within this year.”

    On June 15, the junta issued Decree No 30/2017 in the Royal Gazette to clear existing legal issues and allow the project to start.

    The decree exempts Chinese engineers and architects from taking Thai professional licence exams and allows the use of up to 25 per cent Chinese materials.

    The recent 19th meeting early last month concluded that the construction will start in October this year.


    The hurdles in the Thai-Chinese railway project offer several lessons.

    Chinese discontent suggests that Thailand is important to Beijing’s strategic planning in the BRI initiative. Certainly, the ultimate plan to link China with continental Southeast Asia would be impossible without progress in Thailand. Therefore, Thai policy makers may be able to utilise this advantage wisely to attract foreign investment to upgrade the country’s economy.

    Second, Thai policy makers cannot take China for granted and need to update their understanding of China. A history of cordial ties matters, but so does distance in time and generations.

    The new blood in Chinese leadership may not value the historical ties as much as its predecessors did. Hence, Beijing is less likely to compromise its national interest for the sake of maintaining a warm relationship with Bangkok.

    Third, China’s diplomacy has been a charm offensive focused on carrots, but now it is more willing to use the stick. Beijing is not reluctant to adopt shaming and intimidation when its national interests are affected. It is apparent that the absence of the Thai leader from the BRI summit was directly linked to the delay of the high-speed railway project. It looks like minor diplomatic intimidation, but it allowed Beijing to send a message about its unhappiness with the current situation.

    Furthermore, Beijing’s more assertive approach may also develop into a situation in which regional states need to choose sides. In the case of Southeast Asia, Beijing is now pressuring the region to favour China’s regional leadership. In Thailand’s case, the likelihood of Thai-American appeasement may also play a role besides the railway issue.

    Before the BRI summit, United States President Donald Trump made a phone call to three South-east Asian leaders — those of the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand — with invitations to Washington.

    While Philippine President Duterte was non-committal, the Thai government accepted the invitation and has enthusiastically arranged an official visit. Beijing is perhaps sending a signal that it is unsatisfied being treated only as a political cushion and secondary power on which Bangkok can fall back whenever its relations with Washington grow rough.

    South-east Asia may need to realise that its attempt to engage with Beijing is not a one-way process. China is not only learning to cooperate through regional engagement. It also expects smaller neighbours to accommodate its rise and leadership.

    China’s use of diplomatic pressure indicates that South-east Asia may face more difficulties in dealing with Beijing in the future.

    While China’s power is growing, it may see the region’s old tactics such as silence, delays, indecisiveness, or enmeshing of multiple external powers as obstacles to its growing influence and interests in its own backyard.

    Beijing putting more pressure on South-east Asia to choose policies that at least do not obstruct Chinese interests is a likely future scenario. However, this situation benefits neither China nor South-east Asia. China’s punitive approach, if sustained, will only leave a negative image of Beijing and deepen suspicion of its intentions in the region.

    The mantra of peaceful rise and win-win cooperation may sound less and less convincing, and that could lead to repercussions that escalate tensions between China and Southeast Asia. However, the question is how South-east Asia can communicate this concern to Beijing and whether the latter will listen and re-evaluate its policy approach.


    Pongphisoot (Paul) Busbarat is Visiting Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. This is adapted from a longer piece that first appeared in ISEAS Perspective.

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              FIDE Newsletter July 2017        

    official logo

    FIDE Grand Prix Series was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 5th to 16th of July 2017

    Teimour Radjabov emerged clear winner of the FIDE World Chess Grand Prix in Geneva after sharing the point with his nearest follower Ian Nepomniachtchi in the final round. Radjabov earned 20.000 EUR and 170 Grand Prix points for the clear first place. Nepomniachtchi and Grischuk took 13.500 EUR and 105 GP points each.

    Radjabov gp2017

    In the overall Grand Prix standings Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is leading with 340 points, while Grischuk is second with 316,4. They have completed three events each and will cautiously await the results from the final 4th leg.


    Radjabov jumped through to the third place with 241,4 points. Ding Liren on 240 and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on 211,4 can also hope to earn one of the two qualifying spots for the Candidates Tournament.

    Official website

    Photo gallery

    European Senior Team Chess Championship 2017 took place in Novi Sad, Serbia from 24th of June till 4th of July 2017.

    The Serbian team became European champion in the "50+" section European Championships for seniors. The title was brought by the grandmasters Miloš Pavlović, Goran M. Todorović, Siniša Dražić and Nenad Ristić and international master Zoran Arsović.

    European Senior Team Chess Championship

    Second place get to the team of Italy, which had three grandmasters in their team composition, and the third place went to team of Sweden. Particularly interesting is the fact that for the Swedish team successfully played the Swedish ambassador in Serbia, His Excellency Jan Lundin.

    In the 65+ section the team of Russia, for which are playing the legendary grandmasters Sveshnikov, Vasyukov and Balashov made amazing result of all eight victories, and took the first place. The Danish team was the second, and Belgium, after they lost match in the last round against Russia, took third place.

    Official website

    Panamerican Youth Championship 2017 took place in Costa Rica from 30 June 2017 till 7th of July 2017.

    Panamerican Youth Championship 2017

    Total medal counts at PanAm Youth Championships:

    USA 4 Gold, 5 Silver, 6 Bronze = 15 medals
    Peru 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze = 7 medals
    Canada 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze = 5 medals
    Venezuela 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze = 3 medals
    Colombia 1 Gold, 1 Bronze = 2 medals
    Argentina 1 Gold
    Chile 1 Gold
    Mexico 1 Silver
    Bolivia 1 Bronze

    Lopez Rayo Santiago COL
    Mishra Abhimanyu USA
    Prestia Sebastian USA

    U8 girls
    Vidyarthi Omya USA
    Maravi Ceron Ayme PER
    Qu Greta CAN

    Li Eric USA
    Atanasov Anthony CAN
    Gao Marvin USA

    U10 Girls
    Contreras Fiorella PER
    Wong Allyson USA
    Wang Ellen USA

    Chasin Nico Werner USA
    Galaviz Medina Sion Radam MEX
    Flores Quillas Diego Saul Rod PER

    U12 Girls
    Perez Hernandez Vicmary C. VEN
    Yellamraju Ambica USA
    Matute Escobar Roxanny VEN

    Liu Aristo S USA
    Nakada Akira W USA
    Titichoca Daza Daniel BOL

    U14 Girls
    He Emma CAN
    Zeng Sheena USA
    Ehsani Yassamin L USA

    Varacalli Francisco ARG
    Ramirez Gonzalez Mauricio VEN
    Liang Albert USA

    U16 Girls
    Gomez Barrera Javiera Belen CHI
    Mostacero Velarde Isabella PER
    Caballero Quijano Mitzy Mishe PER

    Song Michael CAN
    Cori Quispe Kevin Joel PER
    Quinonez Garcia Santiago COL

    U18 Girls
    Cosme Contreras Trilce PER
    Wang Constance CAN
    Cervantes Landeiro Thalia USA

    Panamerican Youth Championship 2017 2

    Official website


    North American Youth Championship 2017 was held in Morristown, NJ, USA from 12th to 16th of July 2017.

    North American Youth Championship 2017 2

    A record-breaking 357 players from the United States, Canada and Mexico descended on the historic American Revolution town of Morristown, NJ, to compete in the North American Youth Chess Championships from July 12th to 16th. Sponsored by the Chess Tech, Continental Chess Association’s Darcy Lima, the International Chess School’s Michael Khodarkovsky and in Association with New Jersey Chess Federation and United States Chess Federation, the tournament had 12 sections with girls and open sections from under 8 to under 18. International Arbiters Steve Doyle, Eduard Duchovny and Ken Ballou have a staff of New Jersey State Chess Federation officers and staff: Hal Sprechman, Jim Mullanaphy, Jabari McGreen and Noreen Davisson. IA Steve Doyle, a legend on the chess scene, former President of USCF and Vice President of FIDE conducted the Tournament together with Tournament Directors GM Darcy Lima and Michael Khodarkovsky.

    Final Standings 

    Asian Zonal 3.1 took place in Tehran, Iran from 29th of June till 8th of July 2017

    20 players (18 from Iran, 1 from Syria, 1 from Iraq) took part in the women`s section. Mobina Alinasab, a youth player from North of Iran, won the golden medal; Sarasadat Khademalsharieh and Mitra Hejazipour were second and third.

    Asian Zonal 3.1

    30 players (28 from Iran, 1 from Syria, 1 from Iraq) took part in the Open section. GM Amirreza Pourramezanali achieved Gold Medal. IM Aryan Gholami and GM Pouya Idani took silver and bronze medals.

    Sponsor of Federation and this championship is MCI (Mobile Telecommunication Company).

    Official website

    African Individual Chess Championships 2017, African Rapid and Blitz Championships took place in Oran, Algeria from 1st till 13th of July 2017

    45 players (and 18 players) among which the best African players, including a member of the top 100 the Egyptian GM Bassem Amin (Elo 2684) and Ahmed Adly, ex-junior world champion Elo on 2598. All the participants representing 8 countries (Algeria, Egypt, Zambia, Angola, Tunisia, Republic Centers African, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast) greeted the perfect organization and the good conditions of play in the international hotel "Assala" situated in the city center.

    African Individual Chess Championships 2017

    GM Amin Bassem from Egypt won the African Individual Championship. Daniel Cawdery from South Africa shared the first place but came second on the tie-break. Adly Ahmed from Egypt finished on the third place. 3 Egyptian players occupied the stage in women's section: WGM Mona Khaled won the championship, while Wafa Shrook and Wafa Shahenda took silver and bronze medals.

    Amin Bassem

    Rapid Championships: Amin Bassem (Egypt) won another golden medal, Adly Ahmed (Egypt) came second and Hesham Abdelrahman (Egypt) was third.

    Amin Bassem 2

    Wafa Shahenda (Egypt) was the best one in blitz, Esperance Caxita (Angola) and Amina Mezioud (Algeria) came third.

    Blitz championships:
    Adly Ahmed (Egypt) won blitz championship, Mohamed Haddouche (Algeria) was second and Phiri Richmond from Zambia was third.
    Wafa Shrook (Egypt) was the strongest in blitz. Amina Mezioud (Algeria) took the silver medal, while Mona Khaled (Egypt) came third.

    Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017 took place in New Delhi, India from 2nd till 10th of July 2017.

    Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017 2

    Grandmaster and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta (india) came up with an inspired performance in the final round to crush Aleksander Wohl of Australia and annexed the gold medal in the Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017. GM Vaibhav Suri (India) won the silver while the bronze medal went to GM Tejas Bakre (India). WGM Swati Ghate (India) became the Women Champion.

    Commonwealth Chess Championship 2017 3

    Players from 15 countries including some from South Africa and Kenya have registered for the nine-day long events. The championship had over 550 registered players in various categories spanning from under-8 till open. There were 16 Grandmasters and 13 International Masters in the fray apart from five more Woman Grandmasters.

    Official website

    Asian Schools Chess Championship 2017 and Asian Schools Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships were held in Panjin Lianoing, China from 20th till 30th of July 2017.

    Chinese Chess Association under the auspices of the Asian Chess Federation and World Chess Federation, organized the event in high-standard playing hall and hotel, earning unanimous acclaims from more than 700 participants from 23 countries and regions in Asia.

    Asian Schools Chess Championship 2017 3

    China won 10 gold medals, Uzbekistan won 8 gold medals and Philippines won 7 gold medals.

    Yuruultei Batbaatar MGL
    Nurgaliyev Sauat KAZ
    Kiaan Agrawal IND

    U7 Girls
    Tselmuun Dorjsuren MGL
    Ruzimatova Afruzabonu UZB
    Zhumagali Raian KAZ

    Xie Kaifan CHN
    Chen Muye CHN
    Huang Yishi CHN

    U9 Girls
    Chen Yining CHN
    Dela Cruz Daren PHI
    Azzaya Amarbat MGL

    Wei Yaqing CHN
    Rakhmatullaev Almas UZB
    Zhou Xiangru CHN

    U11 Girls
    Omonova Umida UZB
    Kriti Mayur Patel IND
    Withanarachchi W A Vinoli One SRI

    Peng Shunkai CHN
    Wang Zideng CHN
    Arfan Aditya Bagus INA

    U13 Girls
    Cai Boheng CHN
    Khegay Yuliya UZB
    Liuviann Cecilia Natalie INA

    Nanayakkara J A K Saranath SRI
    Lin Yi CHN
    Tan Jun Ying MAS

    U15 Girls
    Rasyid Nur Aini INA
    Mordido Kylen Joy PHI
    Saparova Sitora UZB

    Pangilinan Stephen Rome PHI
    Sagita Catur Adi INA
    Min Po-Yen TRE

    U17 Girls
    Doroy Allaney Jia G PHI
    Edithso Samantha INA
    Men JiaYi CHN

    All results

              3 Fast Facts About The Philippine Stock Exchange Index Breaching The 7,600 Level        
    4 months ago 04/11/17 AT 09:23 AM
    A Philippine Stocks Exchange trader takes orders on a telephone during trading in Manila's Makati financial district June 13, 2013. reuters/Erik de Castro
    The PSEi increased by 0.45 percent on Monday, closing at 7,617.91 level. Business
              PSEi Forecast: Three Fast Facts On The Projected Stocks Performance Before The Holy Week Break        
    4 months ago 04/10/17 AT 09:56 AM
    Philippine Stock Exchange
    A stock broker takes orders on the telephone during trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila's Makati financial district February 7, 2014. Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Friday, with the Philippines outperforming and Indonesia hitting a two-week high, buoyed by higher Asian shares and signs the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report could put some global growth concerns to rest. Reuters/Erik De Castro
    The local stock market is expected to move sideways from Monday to Wednesday, April 10-12. On April 13 and 14, financial markets will be closed to observe the Holy Week's Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Business
              PSEi Declines By 0.24 Percent After Rallying For Three Days As Fed Plans To Trim $4.5-T Worth Of Bonds         
    4 months ago 04/07/17 AT 08:31 AM
    Manila, PhilippinesUniversity student interns monitor trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila's Makati financial district February 7, 2014. The PSEi is seen to maintain 7000 level this week, while tracking both domestic and global indicators. Reuters/Erik de Castro
    The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) failed to extend its rally for three days as it declined by 0.24 percent or 18.89 points to close at 7,565.32 level. Business
              Three Things To Know About The PSEi Going Back To 7,400 Level        
    4 months ago 04/05/17 AT 07:09 AM
    A stockbroker looks on his monitors inside the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in Makati city, metro Manila February 29, 2016. Reuters/Romeo Ranoco
    The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) went back to the 7,400 level on Tuesday, April 4, and it is mostly attributed to foreign buying. Business
              Three Fast Facts About The Stock Market's Increase To 7,341.65         
    4 months ago 04/04/17 AT 09:50 AM
    A trader talks over the phone as he goes back to work after the East West Bank's IPO listing ceremony inside a trading floor of the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila May 7, 2012. Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo
    The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) rebounded on Monday, April 3 with an increase of 0.41 percent, closing at 7,341.65 points. The total value turnover reached P6.24 billion. Business
              PSEi Forecast: Three Fast Facts On The Projected Stocks Performance From April 3-7        
    4 months ago 04/03/17 AT 10:28 AM
    Traders react as the Philippine stock exchange halted trades triggering an automatic trading suspension for 15 minutes in Manila's Makati financial district October 27, 2008. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo
    Stocks are expected to trade sideways ahead of the release of the US Federal Reserve's (Fed) March 14-15 minutes of the meeting on Wednesday. Business
              eIQ Insights: Philippines’ Landscape is Looking Positive For…Dog Food Online        

    The dog food segment in the Philippines is set to experience a gradual shift towards manufactured food from health and wellness brands over home-cooked meals this year as an overall higher disposable income is expected to...

    The post eIQ Insights: Philippines’ Landscape is Looking Positive For…Dog Food Online appeared first on ecommerceIQ - Ecommerce in Southeast Asia, Reports, Data, Insights.

              Why White Male and Asian Female Relationships Are So Criticized?        
    These days it is no longer uncommon to see couples of different cultures holding hands or even displaying their affection publicly in Philippine parks, tourist destinations, beaches, malls, and just about anywhere. While the Philippines is still by a large a conservative country, it does not prohibit relationships or marriages between a White male and … Continue reading Why White Male and Asian Female Relationships Are So Criticized?
              By: Michelle        
    Hi you can check out my group at facebook.com/groups/diytravelphilippines to find travel buddies :)
              Do Women In The Philippines See A Difference In Dating An American Born Filipino And Someone Born In The Philippines?        
    One’s environment plays a huge role in shaping his/her values and behavior. Generally, Filipino men may share the same physical features, i.e., short in stature, big nose, chinky eyes, but how they act is influenced by how they are brought up and by what they see all around them. It goes to say, a Filipino … Continue reading Do Women In The Philippines See A Difference In Dating An American Born Filipino And Someone Born In The Philippines?
              Is Trump’s plan for his company enough to avoid conflicts of interest?        

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    STEVE INSKEEP: Now, during his press conference, the president-elect said something that no president-elect may have said before. He said he had just turned down a multibillion-dollar business deal.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect: Over the weekend, I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the Middle East, Hussain Damac, a friend of mine, great guy. And I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai, a number of deals. And I turned it down.

    STEVE INSKEEP: Now, $2 billion, his friend Hussain Damac was apparently a man with a different last name, who runs a company called DAMAC Group.

    But, nevertheless, the talk of a deal in a key Persian Gulf nation, days before he moves into the White House, suggests the clash between the president’s duties and his worldwide business. The president-elect says he has a plan to manage those conflicts, which we’re going to evaluate this evening.

    That plan includes turning the business over to his two older sons, plus a business executive. His sons aren’t supposed to tell him what they’re doing. And the president-elect will step back from management, but remain the owner of Trump Organization, and the company will avoid new overseas business deals.

    Mr. Trump said he’s doing this, even though the law would allow him to keep making deals as president.

    DONALD TRUMP: I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to. I would be the only one that would be able to do that. You can’t do that in any other capacity. But, as a president, I could run the Trump Organization, great, great company, and I could run the company — the country. I would do a very good job, but I don’t want to do that.

    STEVE INSKEEP: The president-elect is correct that a federal conflict of interest law excludes the president, but what about all the other issues?

    We have brought in two lawyers who managed ethics issues for two presidents. Richard Painter did it for President George W. Bush. Norm Eisen did it for President Obama.

    And, Mr. Eisen, let’s start with you.

    The president-elect suggests he is going above and beyond. Is he?

    NORMAN EISEN, Former Special Counsel to President Obama: No.

    He’s going beneath and below the minimum floor that’s required by law, that’s required by our most fundamental law, the Constitution, that is established by what every president for four decades has done, that ethics require and that common sense requires, Steve.

    This was a sad day. I wasn’t happy to see what happened here. But what the president has announced fails every aspect of the bipartisan consensus that has emerged on what he should do, and it’s going to lead to scandal and corruption and a constitutional crisis from the moment he’s sworn in.

    STEVE INSKEEP: OK, you mentioned the law. You mentioned common sense. Let’s talk about common sense here a little bit here, Richard Painter. We will get to the law.

    What is wrong with turning over management of the company to his sons, who it is said will act independently of him?

    RICHARD PAINTER, Former Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush: Well, he will still own the company.

    And the problem is the company, the Trump Organization, has business deals all over the world. And some may be getting turned down, although some might get accepted. There are already deals in place. There are deals with powerful politicians in Indonesia, with oligarchs in the Philippines, deals in Turkey.

    I mean, these are parts of the world where there’s very important issues to be dealt with on behalf of the United States and strategic concerns. We can’t have the president have substantial economic exposure himself in these countries and business partners who may be in league with foreign governments.

    This is an enormous conflict of interests. We also have the president of the president’s name being on buildings around the world in places where it’s questionable whether these other countries can protect those buildings. We don’t have the Obama Tower in downtown Paris or Nairobi or some place. And we couldn’t protect it.

    And then we put the Trump name up. That’s going to be jeopardizing the lives of the people who live in those buildings and could drag the United States into a conflict. That’s only the beginnings of the problems.

    We have potential mixing Trump business with United States government business. And that would trigger a bribery investigation. And then we, of course, have those payments coming in from foreign governments and companies controlled by foreign governments that violate the Constitution, unless they sweep all of those out of the Trump Organization as of January 20. And they don’t have the time to do it.

    STEVE INSKEEP: You mentioned also the Constitution, and I definitely want to get to that, but let’s just refer to something else that Norm Eisen mentioned.

    Norm Eisen said that this arrangement violates the bipartisan consensus about ethics for the president of the United States in recent decades. The president-elect, however, brought out a lawyer — Sheri Dillon is her name — at this press conference, and she dismissed some of the more conventional solutions.

    Let’s watch.

    SHERI DILLON, Attorney for Donald Trump: Some people have suggested a blind trust, but you cannot have a totally blind trust with operating businesses. President Trump can’t un-know he owns Trump Tower. And the press will make sure that any new developments at the Trump Organization are well publicized.

    Further, it would be impossible to find an institutional trustee that would be competent to run the Trump Organization. The approach he is taking allows Don and Eric to preserve this great company and its iconic assets.

    STEVE INSKEEP: Norm Eisen, I have actually heard this from a lot of people, who said, blind trust, how can that be possible, because his assets are so visible? His name is on buildings. The name itself is the asset. Is she right that a blind trust isn’t going to work?

    NORMAN EISEN: No, she’s wrong on all three of those points.

    On the first point, if it’s a problem that he would still know things in a blind trust, how much more of a problem is it now, where he has this completely unprecedented continuing ownership interest, and very weak protections that were outlined today for communications between and among his sons? Does anybody really believe that they’re not going to be talking about the business?

    Then, number two, it actually would be simple to do this. All Trump needs to do — this is not complicated — find an independent professional trustee. There are plenty out there who have dealt with far more complications. This is — the Trump Organization is just a big international family business.

    Trump signs it over. This is what we hoped in a bipartisan way and prayed would happen today. He signs it over to the trustee. The trustee figures out, what can I sell? How do I sell it? What can I borrow? Maybe I do a public equity, so if it’s not sold on the market, the executives buy it, package the less-indebted properties with the more-indebted properties.

    Donald Trump has enough to worry about without thinking about that. And then, on the third point of destroying the business, the Donald Trump name is at an all-time high. This is the best time to make these moves. When the corruptions and the scandals start to flow, it’s going to be much harder.

    But he is going to have to do it, because those negative consequences are sure to follow.

    STEVE INSKEEP: OK, just very briefly here now, the law. You mentioned the law. You mentioned the Constitution.

    You have said that the president would violate the Constitution if he continues on this course. The Emoluments Clause is what you’re talking about. It prohibits gifts from a foreign government. But the president-elect’s lawyer says nobody has defined a gift before for that purpose. And she says the president doing business is not a gift.

    SHERI DILLON: No one would have thought, when the Constitution was written, that paying your hotel bill was an emolument. Instead, it would have been thought of as a value-for-value exchange, not a gift, not a title, and not an emolument.

    But since president-elect Trump has been elected, some people want to define emoluments to cover routine business transactions like paying for hotel rooms. They suggest that the Constitution prohibits the businesses from even arm’s-length transactions that the president-elect has absolutely nothing to do with and isn’t even aware of.

    These people are wrong. This is not what the Constitution says. Paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present, and it has nothing to do with an office. It’s not an emolument.

    STEVE INSKEEP: Richard Painter, what’s wrong with that logic? It’s routine business.

    RICHARD PAINTER: This is a for-profit hotel. He is making profits over dealing with foreign governments. Same with the loans from foreign government-owned banks. Those are for a for-profit business. That is prohibited under the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

    Now, she’s right on one point, that you can’t take the Trump Tower, put it in a trust, and pretend you don’t have it. Of course, the trustee will have to sell the Trump Tower. He needs to make a decision, does he wants to be president, or does he want to be a landlord and a hotel owner?

    He has nine days to make that decision. I thought he’d already made it. But that’s what this is about. He just doesn’t want to give up the hotel. He doesn’t want to give Trump Tower to his son or sell it.

    And it is not that difficult to sell a nice building like that on Fifth Avenue.

    STEVE INSKEEP: Norm Eisen, very briefly, can the president-elect resolve some of these concerns just by being a lot more transparent about who is paying what for what?

    NORMAN EISEN: Well, Professor Painter and I laid out yesterday a scorecard of five criteria.

    And one of them was to have strong ethics provisions with strong transparency around them, an ethics firewall. But we made the point that alone is not enough. He is going to be — as Professor Painter says, emoluments covers all of the different benefits that he’s getting, loans, permits, trademarks, other things outside the hotel, selling apartments to foreign government agents and sovereigns.

    He’s going to be in violation of the Constitution on day one, and no amount of transparency can cure that offense against our founding document.

    STEVE INSKEEP: Could they solve some of this problem by releasing the president-elect’s tax return?

    NORMAN EISEN: It’s critical that the tax returns come out, particularly today, when there’s been so much talk about Russia, Steve.

    Professor Painter and I wrote during the campaign that there’s an enormous amount of information about foreign governments, gifts, payments, partnerships, even business expenses, possibly, in deductions taken.

    Given the nature of the Russia allegations, we need to see that. And Richard and I said today that all Russia-related aspects of the tax returns should be released. And the Intelligence Committees should get the full tax returns to put these Russia allegations to bed.

    STEVE INSKEEP: Norm Eisen was the top ethics lawyer for President Obama. Richard Painter was the top ethics lawyers for President George W. Bush.

    Gentlemen, thanks to you both.

    NORMAN EISEN: Thanks, Steve.

    RICHARD PAINTER: Thank you.

    The post Is Trump’s plan for his company enough to avoid conflicts of interest? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

              Exquisite Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa        

    On lush hillsides set in an eco-reserve awaits the secluded paradise of Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, allowing its guests to maintain a quiet, luxurious home base on Boracay Island in the Philippines. Considered one of the premier beach resorts on the island, the hotel consists of 219 rooms, suites and villas. These luxurious accommodations […]

    The post Exquisite Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa appeared first on One Kindesign.

              How To Purchase NOAH in the Philippines?        
    You can purchase NOAH thru an Indendent Distributor or you can visit our Main Office in Ortigas Center Pasig City. Contact me for more info: Mobile: 0905 490 3967 PRICE: 1 Bottle of NOAH ( 30 Tablets) P700.00 per bottle Click here to ORDER NOWFiled under: Purchase Tagged: buy noah, order noah
              The First Filipina President Who Ever Earned Respect        
    Aside from the Liberal Party and its staunch supporters, the rest of the country languidly celebrated the 24th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution a week ago. I can't really blame the weary public for exhibiting an obvious lack of enthusiasm when we were supposed to commemorate the day the Philippines gained back its so-called dignity with vigor like we used to. The sense of hope the Filipinos thought they had eventually proved to be some sort of lame joke in the face of blatant corruption. This awful truth makes stomachs churn.

    Now, I'm not pro-Noynoy Aquino, but I revere his mother for the courage she exemplified when we madly hankered for a figure who would boldly defy a tyrant in dire need of some uprooting. We may not have found what we were looking for after we successfully jettisoned martial law, nonetheless, I believe the lady lived her life free of debauchery, and inspired men and women across the world to stand up in a time of intimidation.

    Here's my own little tribute to Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, a woman who once became a mother to an ailing state:

    MOD Magazine, October 2009 (Click on the images to enlarge)

              Huli Man At Magaling        
    Ayos pa rin. Eto yung logo ng Google sa Google Philippines.

    Google Logo Araw ng KalayaanNakatutuwa ang logo na ito, maganda ang pagkakagawa. Ang hindi ko lang alam ay kung ito ay naayon sa Philippine Flag Law.

              Philippines edge the Dutch in World Cup thriller        
              All Dolled Up: Cathy Doll Nude Me Collection Haul + Review        

    We all know and love Cathy Doll’s wonderful skincare and bath range, but have you given their equally wonderful makeup line a try? Well, if you haven’t yet, the timing to be acquainted with it doesn’t get any better than now since they recently launched a collection that gives me major heart eyes emoji – the Nude Me Collection.

    I’ve been given almost the entire new releases to try out and review (Kob kun ka! FYI, Cathy Doll is a Thai brand), and here are my initial thoughts of them:


    From the moment I first HEARD about Cathy Doll Sculpting Highlight and Shading Cushion SPF50 PA+++ (Php749) from an insider (Hello, Madam Nikki!), I knew I wanted it in my life! That’s saying something because I haven’t even seen it in actual yet! And it turns out it’s even more gorgeous than I was led to believe. Available in two shades: Fair Skin and Honey Skin, this sculpting cushion (What? I know, I also can’t believe I typed those words) contains contour and highlight sides in such a revolutionary cushion packaging. CUSHION = MIND BLOWN


    The product is specially designed to complement cushion foundations (their AA Cushion, perhaps?) and is easy to use and straight to the point. The highlight shades have a pearl finish with beautiful slight shimmers, while the contour ones are matte and warm. Difference in Fair Skin and Honey Skin is really subtle, while I know my swatches above say otherwise, the latter is just a tiny bit warmer when they are all blended out. For the curious cats, the colors don’t transfer to the other side when you press on the cushion. Just don’t do it deliberately.


    They also debuted the Cathy Doll Nude Me Eyeshadow Palette (Php499), which comes in three variants: Nude, Pink Champagne, and Smoky. Each palette has 12 shades in different finishes of matte, satin and really sparkly. My first impression was that we have some serious parallels for the Naked Palettes (Naked, Naked3 and Naked Smoky) on our hands with these, and at a fraction of the price. Do you agree?


    Anyway, sticking to the product, the shimmery shades swatch really well; good pigmentation, the colors are what-you-see-what-you-get, no issues at all. The satin shades still blend good enough but not as smooth as the shimmers. And finally the mattes, though they deliver in terms of color payoff, they felt a little dry to me. Nevertheless, these palettes are not bad at all. The colors are beautiful! Yes, you need to be patient on the application, but that’s understandable especially when you consider the fact they’re wallet-friendly and available at the drugstore.


    Up next we have the Cathy Doll Eyebrow Cara (Php199) and Cathy Doll 3D Face Forward Nefertiti Contour Kit (Php299), both of which I haven’t tried yet as I’m saving them for when I have lighter hair and I don’t have a lot of blush-contour palettes open and in rotation anymore. But just so you have complete information, the Eyebrow Cara has five shades: Vanilla Syrup, Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Creamy Caramel, and Hazelnut.


    Save the best for last! My favorite from the collection has got to be the Cathy Doll Nude Me Liquid Lip Matte (Php399). Oh c’mon don’t act too surprised, you know I love me some good lipsticks. The thick and almost mousse-like formula deserves some high praises; one swipe gives unreal pigmentation, and the colors are on trend and look good on any skintone. If you’re into MLBB shades, I have a feeling that you’re going to love this too.


    There are nine shades in total, but the six I have here are (top-bottom): True Brown, Nude Brown, Rose Embroidery, Rose Bloom, Moss Rose, and Burgundy Red.


    Not your typical drying matte liquid lipstick, the Nude Me Liquid Lip Matte is quite comfortable (not silky and smooth because hey it’s matte) but you can actually forget that it’s there. It also lasts basically my full makeup hours, around 8-ish hours, but still subject to mild crumbling on certain oily food. 5 stars! And how adorable are the Cathy Doll girls that grace the box packaging?

    Overall, the Nude Me Collection perfectly complements one another. I’m happy to see a never-before-seen surprise and new flairs to the products that are already right up my street. And it’s pretty amazing that the collection generated such positive response – from bloggers and consumers as well. Congratulations and Happy First Anniversary, Cathy Doll Philippines Team!



              On The Go Beauty: Beauty Emergency Kit + Meet the PH Care Girls        

    I may be living in a city where everything is within reach (well, depends on the traffic lol), but I still have episodes of needing something ASAP and I’m not close to home or any store to get it. I like to call them mini beauty emergencies, you know like a major case of bad hair day, or a wardrobe malfunction, or smiling through the blisters from wearing high heels, or worst, being somewhere and your period caught you off guard. *screams in frustration*


    These call for everyone to have their own Beauty Emergency Kit. Think of it as like the usual first aid kit but this one is specifically for those moments when it’s-a-girl-thing just happens. It’s really an easy way to keep anxiety down and boost confidence while on the go so I always have a kit whenever I travel or when I know my day is going to be extra long. I have purchased pre-maid kits before, but they can be quite expensive and not everything inside fits my preference (e.g. I don’t use tampons), so why not make my own, right?


    Here is a list of essential items found inside my Beauty Emergency Kit:

    1.) Alcohol
    2.) Hand sanitizer
    3.) Hair ties – at least five pieces as they always seem to disappear after use
    4.) Bobby pins
    5.) Band aids – they can also double as foot socks (College inside joke! Lol)
    6.) Safety pins
    7.) Panty liners
    8.) Travel-sized pH Care Intimate Wash – because our feminine area deserves the best kind of care. 

    This is just the minimum to start your own, then build up and tailor the kit for your needs. Why is this important again? Because you’re a woman, and because you just never know…


    Meet the pH Care Girls and Beauty Emergency Kit-believers, Leila Alcasid and Maxene Magalona! Leila is the daughter of iconic singer/songwriter Ogie Alcasid and is slowly gaining a spotlight of her own, while Maxine is a newly engaged actress (who else follows their love story on Instagram?). Though at different stages of their lives, what both girls have in common—or what most women have in common for that matter—is that innate need to be cared for by someone who understands their needs.


    This holds even more true when it comes to the most sensitive part of the woman’s body: the feminine area.  For a body part so sensitive, women need a feminine care partner that is specifically made for that purpose—and that is what ph Care is all about.


    As the country’s leading brand of feminine wash, pH Care is clinically formulated with a pH level of 5—matching the natural pH level of a woman’s intimate area. pH Care is proven to be safe for daily use, formulated to be gentle enough even for the sensitive intimate area skin, effectively keeping the intimate area fresh, clean, and odor-free everyday.


    pH Care has 9 different variants; pH Care Cool Wind, pH Care Passionate Bloom, pH Care Naturals Guava, pH Care Naturals Papaya, pH Care Fresh Blossoms, pH Care Fragrance Free, pH Care Happy Daisies, pH Care Powder Fresh and pH Care Shower Splash. Each variant caters to different preferences of women – choices from floral scents or fresh out of the shower scents.

    Each pH Care bottle contains 7 intimate benefits: it is antibacterial, it cools and refreshes, it deodorizes, it is OB-gyne tested, it contains silky softeners, it’s hypo allergenic, and most importantly it has the right pH level of 5, perfectly matching that of the intimate area.


    With all these benefits, women can turn to no other than that one feminine wash that understands, giving the special kind of care that every woman deserves.

    pH Care is available in all leading supermarkets, department stores, and convenience stores nationwide. Prices range of the 50ml pH Care bottle is PHP 48.00 to PHP 51.00, the price range of the 150ml pH Care bottle is PHP 107.00 to PHP 113.00 and the price range of the 250ml pH Care bottle is PHP 135.00 to PHP 142.00.



              Would You Wear A Blue Lipstick?: Maybelline The Loaded Bolds Review        

    Maybelline recently launched their most pigmented matte lipsticks to date, The Loaded Bolds. Lipstick obsessed (as I am) or not, it is really hard to miss because we are talking about bold and edgy shades that are not for the faint-hearted. Maybelline has outdone itself in the lipstick department with this collection, not only just in producing another kind of matte variety (we saw the creamy and powder ones) but also pulling through with actually releasing blue, black and even white colors. SAY WHAT?! I know it straight up sounded like out of your comfort zone, but ehem, no one appreciates these colors better than me.


    Perfect timing that I received all 12 shades before my Tokyo Trip with b/vlogger friends (segue: vlogs here) because if there’s a city where these lipsticks are NOT weird and not frowned upon, it’s Tokyo. So much love for Tokyo’s diversity! Anyway, so of course I brought The Loaded Bolds with me and wore a shade per day for 12 hours a day we’re out exploring. I’m basically ready for a review, are you?


    The pigment is insane, exactly what it’s supposed to be! Just a single stroke provides an incredible laydown of color and it doesn’t even require a preparation for your lips before application. Most of the shades apply smoothly without skipping, while the fun surprise shades like Audacious Blue and Wickedly White need a bit of warming up. The finish is forgiving for a matte lipstick; it feels comfortable and didn’t give me any major dry patch and sink-into-lip-line issues.

    Get the swatch party started!


    Pitch Black – Black lipstick, need I say more? Actually yes, I wish it is as opaque on the lips as it is on the arm, but it will get darker after a few swipes.
    Wickedly White – Meant as a lightening mix for other lipsticks, but if you can rock that correction fluid look, go ahead I’m hands down to you.
    Audacious Blue – I love this shade! I owned this cerulean blue like nobody’s business during our last day in Tokyo and I loved it! I welcomed the attention.
    Chocoholic – Another favorite aside from Audacious Blue is this brown shade with red undertone. Very 90’s, very me.


    Dynamite Red – A true orange-red. Oh this one’s hot, baby!
    Sunny Coral – Less bright, less orange version of Dynamite Red.
    Midnight Date – Such an oldie but goodie deep wine red kinda shade this one, eh?
    Smoking Red – What’s a “bold and edgy” lipstick collection without a true red? I appreciate this, Maybelline.


    Raspberry Rendezvous – I wasn’t sure I was going to love this until I actually applied it to my lip. It’s pink and it’s served hot.
    Fierce Fuchsia – Yet another “not afraid of purple, not even blue, but scared of pink” shade. Barbie surely loves this pink. Me? I’m still on the fence.
    Berry Bossy – A marriage of plum and red. Seductive and vampy. One of my favorites too!
    Fearless Purple – Of course there’s a purple shade. And Maybelline gave us a mega bright one. Yass!


    (Left picture, top to bottom): Sunny Coral, Dynamite Red, Chocoholic, Audacious Blue, Wickedly White and Pitch Black

    (Right picture, top to bottom): Fearless Purple, Berry Bossy, Fierce Fuchsia, Raspberry Rendezvous, Smoking Red and Midnight Date


    (Top row, left to right): Chocoholic, Fearless Purple (worn as tint) and Dynamite Red

    (Bottom row, left to right): Smoking Red (worn as tint), Raspberry Rendezvous (with highlighter on the middle of the lips) and Audacious Blue

    Hours of fun swatching await you at the Maybelline counter. Speaking of hours, I haven’t talked about the wear time, right? Focus, Kim! I get around 4 hours of solid wear; the full opacity does come off with minimal bleeding outside the lips after a full meal. Nonetheless, you will be left with a stain that does not go anywhere. Or you can just reapply whenever you need to. No biggie. 


    Tempting new lipstick collections (like this) that hit the market on a regular basis don’t help my little lipstick obsession. So overall, The Loaded Bolds is an amusing way to revamp and refresh your makeup style. It encourages you to play with colors more. “Try everything once they say,” how about a blue lipstick, eh?

    PRICE: PhP299
    WHERE TO FIND: Maybelline counters nationwide

    Are you a fan of Maybelline lipsticks? Yay or nay this collection? Please follow me on my social media sites (links on the sidebar) for instant updates that go beyond the blog.



              Summer Favorites: My Go-To Products for the Sunny Season        

    It’s raining with thunders outside as I type this, which is a pretty solid indication that we technically bid goodbye to Summer here in the Philippines. And while I breathed a sigh of relief that glares of the sweltering sun will not be as intense anymore, dealing with heat and humidity made me discover products I could rely on during the sunny season. I have here some classic favorites, as well as ones that have just hit the market, and others you can enjoy rain or shine… here are my Summer Favorites:


    Solstice Sunscreen – All year round, sun protection is no laughing matter for me, which is why this is on the very top of the list. Watsons offers the widest variety of drugstore and budget-friendly SPF products. Case in point: Solstice Whitening Sunscreen Face Cream (Php269) and Solstice Age Defense Sunscreen Body Lotion (Php269), where else would you find an SPF50 and SPF70 respectively in that price range? They are also unbelievably non-sticky, aren’t perfumed and kept me well protected on random trips during the past hot months – essentially everything I could ever need from a sun protection product.


    Monte Luxury Perfumed Soap – These smell amazing, like perfumes in a bar form, that I couldn’t help but spend a few minutes to sniff before placing them on my soap dish. I was given the Perky and Allure variant and both are used simultaneously, depending on my mood. Why not? Because when days are long and two showers feel like a requirement and not an option, washing my body with Monte is really a treat. It doesn’t irritate or dry out my skin, like it often happens with a lot of whitening soaps. And it can fill the bathroom with its fragrance in a snap!


    Maybelline Brow Precise & Pomade Crayon – When Maybelline released new products for the brows, I knew straight away that these two are the ones I would just have to try. I mostly skipped the full base makeup during Summer to let me skin breathe but my brows remained on fleek. The Maybelline Pomade Crayon (Php399) has definitely lived up to my hopes of it being really long-lasting, it stayed put through the heat and the sun. On the other hand, I love the Maybelline Brow Precise (Php399) on extra lazy days as it give a light tint to the brows while keeping their shapes, no filling in needed.


    Celeteque Ultra-Nourishing Lip Lacquer & Moisturizing Lip and Cheek Duo – Nothing makes me feel more put-together than a swipe of a lip color, and my Summer choice? A juicy, kissable lips. The Celeteque Lip Lacquer in the shade Soft Pink (Php545) is a high-shine, barely-there, tint-like product (exhaustive description, eh?) that is a refreshing break from all the matte lipsticks I always seem to wear. But I love my mattes too much that I can’t part with them for long, so I also like Celeteque’s take on this finish, the Celeteque Lip and Cheek Duo in the shade Rosy Blush (Php665). It’s the easiest to wear for any time of day and did I say the color is super flattering? Yeah, it is.


    L’Oreal Excellence Fashion Hair Color – I wanted to refresh my hair color before our much awaited, last Summer hurrah Tokyo trip. And I did it in just 45 minutes using two boxes L’Oreal 5.13 Ashy Nude Brown (Php399). It turned out somewhat coppery due to having a lighter shade beforehand but I lalalalike it still! If you want an even more light, close to blonde shade, go with their newest Excellence Fashion color – 6.30 Golden Blonde. So to those asking what my hair color is during #OSTokyo (vlog series here), you have your answer.


    Cream Silk Dry Rescue Daily Treatment Conditioner – Speaking of hair coloring and the fact that our hair got exposed to the heat of the sun more than usual during the Summer months, I gave my hair tender loving care with the help of Cream Silk Dry Rescue (Php140). The formula promises to “rescue” your hair from dryness by hydrating it, and filling in cracks in the cuticle to make them softer, smoother and shinier. It smells amazing, doesn’t weigh down my hair (well, humidity does but it doesn’t factor in), and works well with my colored hair… Cream Silk is a classic for a reason.

    HOW’S YOUR SUMMER 2017? I hope you had the time of your life! And have you tried any of the products mentioned above? I also want to know your Summer favorites – memories and stories are welcome too!



              Aloe Vera Skincare: Esfolio Arrives in the Philippines        

    Let’s celebrate because another Korean skincare brand landed in the Philippines just recently – everyone, meet Esfolio! Every so often, there’s a launch that gets me really excited, makes my heart flutter even, and that’s exactly what happened when I saw Esfolio’s catalog. It brought with it cleansers, masks, moisturizers and the likes that would please K-beauty fanatics and just skincare lovers in general alike. There’s something that suits each skin type and concern at prices that won’t cause you another set of anti-aging skincare. Haha! Let’s look into the products, shall we?


    Aloe Vera Moisture Soothing Gel (Php349.95) – Esfolio takes pride in Aloe Vera that they have a massive range dedicated exclusively to it. Rightfully so as this product, which was the first one that really caught my eye, is rather impressive! With warm sunshine rays bouncing off the skin especially now that it’s Summer, I quickly refreshed my skincare routine by adding Aloe Vera.

    I use the non-sticky Aloe Vera Moisture Soothing Gel every night as a sleeping mask and it gives me healthy, glowing skin in the morning. I also feel like it calms my inflamed breakouts thanks to its cooling effect, not certain with this claim but it feels great, an end-of-the-day treat nonetheless.


    Soy Milk Daily Skin Set (Php2,500; also sold separately) – Next up we have my morning skincare set; it has toner, essence, and cream in Soy Milk variant that smells amazing! This is part of Esfolio’s bespoke collections that address each skin type and concern, Soy Milk is for people who have oily or combination skin (I’m the latter) as it promises to soothe, calm and brighten the skin. 

    For that customized factor alone, it’s a real stand out star and worth checking out. They somehow make me feel more put-together in the morning and there’s indeed immediate brightness in my complexion after use, but for long-term benefits, I have yet to reach halfway through the trio to comment on those. Did I say how good they smell? Like I can’t quite gush enough about the scent! 


    Volcanic Ash Cleansing Foam (Php359.95) – Now this does exactly what you’d expect it to: clean your face. I partner this with my Ultrasonic Face Cleanser from Miniso and it cleans oh so well, like it has a built-in makeup remover! Another product for oily or combination skin as it is enriched with ash extracts that remove sebum and impurities hidden in the pores.

    The cleansing foam looks true to life ash with its gray, almost silver color but it feels creamy on the face and lathered up quite nicely too. Thumbs up in my books!


    Essence Mask Sheets (Php54.95) – If you want to test out Esfolio’s waters first, their mask sheet range is good starting point. Which particular one though, is up to you. They have tons, but I went for my mask usuals: Volcanic Ash (deep cleansing) and Pearl (brightening). The mask feels lightweight and without any greasiness but it also really adds some spectacular moisture to the face. Plumper and rejuvenated in a matter of minutes, 20 to be exact, and I achieved this while reading a book on the comfort of my bed on Saturday night. Masks are weekly thing for me and I always look forward to applying it.

    Thanks to Esfolio for introducing me to their products with good ingredients that actually deliver results, now my love for K-beauty keeps growing more. How is that even possible? Going to Korea and seeing makeup and skincare shops at every corner and in between is an experience itself. But if, however, you have yet to visit this beauty paradise, aren’t you still thankful that more and more K-beauty brands are now within reach? I am!

    Have you tried Esfolio before its Philippine launch? If so, what products do you recommend?



              PIXI + ItsJudyTime Collaboration: ItsEyeTime & ItsLipTime Review        

    It felt surreal when I had the chance to meet Judy Travis of ItsJudyTime and her adorable family back in January. She’s one of the OG beauty gurus in YouTube and she also has a daily vlog channel that I follow every morning since roughly before the twins can stitch three words together. Remember “You want palo?” LOL I’m a fangirl and I love the baby bears way too much, okay Judy and Benji are not far behind… So when Pixi Philippines invited me to the launch of Pixi + ItsJudyTime palettes (with a meet & greet!), I almost replied “Yes, mommy!” to the email. Almost. Whew!


    Anyway, I’d leave these photos from that special day here so that we can go on with the true purpose of this post – the palettes, silly, don’t let Julianna, Miya and Keira’s cuteness distract you further.


    With the guidance of Petra and Pixi Beauty, Judy and the other #PixiPretties collaborators have created their “dream” beauty products that not only represent their individual points of view but parallel Pixi’s philosophy of fuss-free in a few minutes. Judy transitioned to a mom on-the-go (which she does gracefully) who loves glamming herself up from time to time over the years. So I expected her product to be practical, no-nonsense and efficient. And we got it; actually, we got two! A 12-shade eyeshadow palette called ItsEyeTime and its lipstick counterpart called ItsLipTime.


    ItsEyeTime – Retailing at Php1,495 at Glamourbox, this eyeshadow palette is very Judy. Do you see it, too? You get equal amounts of matte and shimmer neutral shades, which lean on the warmer side. The colors are pretty true to what is in the pan, and the actual formula is pretty hard to beat – I’m talking about nice pigment, very blendable and long lasting. The dark shades have better texture compared to some of the light mattes, but all they ever need is a slight boost of an eyeshadow primer.


    Order of swatches is from bottom to top, left picture first then right. Sorry, I kinda messed it up.

    • Snowflake – Light champagne color that’s really creamy.
    • Bubbly – Another beautiful shimmery color in gold.
    • itsmommyslife – My go-to soft, warm brown shade.
    • Good Morning – Good transitional peach color as it’s sheer enough for that purpose.
    • Brick – True “brick” shade and very pigmented. One of my favorites!
    • Honey Bear – Typical matte light brown. Good coverage for a matte finish.
    • Tu Tu – Another favorite! Reddish brown that looks great on brown eyes. Take note!
    • Getaway – Ahh, look at that rich pigment! It’s a copper shade with loads of shimmers.
    • Ping – Deep brown complement of Getaway. Shimmer-wise.
    • Dark Chocolate – Chocolate brown. ‘Nuff said.
    • Aww Snap – Brown with slight red undertones. Quite patchy but doable.
    • Night Night – Black with bluish silver sparkles. I wish it’s more intense and not “soft” because blacks are not soft!

    ItsLipTime – To start, I’m a big lipstick girl but not a fan of it in a pan. My old all-in-one palettes have lipsticks still untouched. Maybe I never got into using my fingers to apply, and I’m all like “who has time for that?” to look for a lip brush when I’m rushing in the morning. However, I find that Judy’s take on lip palette is actually good. The colors, albeit not created equal, are beautiful and creamy. The lighter shades require at least two layers using your finger (yes, it’s better than a brush with this palette) for the full opaqueness to show. They are lightweight and with decent wear time. If nude and berry lipsticks are your jam, you get a color for Php125 as this retails for Php1,495 at Glamourbox.


    Again, order of swatches is from bottom to top, left picture first then right.

    • Ta-da – A very sheer, very pale nude. I cannot wear this on its own unfortunately; I think its better to pair with another color to create an ombre look.
    • Peaches – A peachy kind of nude with a good color payoff.
    • Julianna Bear – JB! LOL It’s a pinkier nude, very versatile and everybody can wear it.
    • Milk Chocolate – This one looks soft brown on my arm yet sheer dusty pink on my lips.
    • Kiera Bear – The rosy peach twin. It looks similar to Ate JB. LOL
    • Miya Bear – The muted rose bordering brown twin.
    • B Did It – Barbie pink with just enough brightness.
    • Falling Leaves – My favorite! Like the warmness Autumn color on my lips.
    • Chewy – Describing shades is tough! Does this look like reddish Miya Bear to you? It does to me.
    • Fierce – A deep berry. Perfect for night outs, but then again I don’t do night outs. Haha
    • Sweet Cherry – Classic red shade. Because it’s not a lipstick palette without it.
    • Sultry – Intense wine red. Another favorite because it has the most perfect formula from the bunch.

    Wearing Pixi + itsjudytime ItsLipTime Get The Look Palette in Fierce


    While I think they are good travel palettes, the Pixi-signature light green packaging has a flimsy clear cover. It feels like a toy, which was the first thing that came into my mind. I appreciate the mirror you can stick on though, that’s a lovely bonus.

    Overall, I’d bring these when I go on vacations because it’s practical, I cannot complain that I cannot find a suitable eyeshadow or lipstick shade. But not when I’m going to have a long day here in the city, because imagine if I need to retouch my lipstick and a whip out a palette – a bullet is just easier, right? Get them because the darker shades (in both palettes) pack quite a punch, or if you need new colors to play around with, or if like me, you feel the need to get every makeup with Judy’s approval. Haha!

    WHERE TO FIND: Glamourbox



              Nail As Old As Time: Gelish and Morgan Taylor Beauty and the Beast Collection        

    I’ve had a strong emotional attachment to Disney, especially the princesses, for as long as I can remember, and anything that goes to reignite that feeling for the fairytales once again, I welcome wholeheartedly. Since the release of the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, you positively have noticed the world is going a bit Tale As Old As Time-crazy at the moment. It’s everywhere! A lot of brands grabbed the opportunity and used the theme as an additional selling point for their products – I’m talking about makeup, clothing collection, candles… and for the world’s leading gel brand, Gelish, and its sister brand, Morgan Taylor, it’s nail polishes of course.


    To celebrate the dawn of spring and Emma Watson as Belle (ahh the perfect choice!), the brands launched a seven-piece collection each with shades inspired by elements found in both the original and new film. Enchanted Patina makes this collection extra magical, it’s a duo chrome shimmer that is somewhere between a coppery gold to a pink shade that can be worn as is or on top of the other shades to create a shimmery antique look. 


    Other shades include: Be Our Guest, an almost fuchsia pink shade; Gaston On and On, a cool light blue shade; Days in the Sun, a buttery-yellow shade reminiscent of Belle’s iconic gown; Potts of Tea, an ivory white shade with pink shimmers; The Last Petal, a deep velvety red shimmer color and; Plumette with Excitement, a light pink crème color.


    It has nice mixture of pastels and bright colors, essentially offering a neat little capsule that’s wearable pretty much all year round. To me, the shades that represent Belle are Days in the Sun and The Last Petal, but Gaston On and On has got to be my favorite from this bunch. Enchanted Patina (on its own) is a close second.


    I watched Beauty and the Beast in Taiwan (there’s a travel vlog!). I was traveling with my sister and cousins and we decided to do another first: watch a movie in another country. It was awesome and I found myself smiling almost the whole time, except for that heart-crushing scene near the end. You’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean! Anyway, back to the polishes, I got my “nails did” using Gelish before the trip and it’s like the 14th day today and they stayed chip and peel-free. Awesome!


    Hello Erika! I love that we’re both wearing Belle’s signature color.

    The limited-edition Beauty and the Beast collection is available at all Beauty and Butter, Posh Nails, Nail Cocktales, Nailaholics and other leading salons nationwide, including Kallista in S’Maison, Conrad Hotel as of this post’s publish date.

    What do you think of this Beauty and the Beast collection? Any favorite shade?



              Easiest To Use Liquid Eyeliner Yet: Maybelline Hyperink Liquid Liner Review        

    So if you’re at least remotely interested in beauty, then there’s a high chance you have already heard the buzz – no, the hype – about the new liquid eyeliner from Maybelline. The biggest story is that it is claimed to be the “easiest to use” liner yet with just one stroke. Sold? I am! Now let’s go into detail with Maybelline Hyperink Liquid Liner…


    True to its claim, Hyperink is long-lasting, smudgeproof, easy-to-use, and the blackest of black eyeliners. To give you a little context, liquid eyeliner is never really my thing. (Huwaattt, scandalous!) Aside from my perpetually shaky hands, my hooded eyelids that tend to get uneven every now and then make everything a little more complicated. #struggleisreal However, since getting the Hyperink, I started to look forward to applying it more.


    The main exciting point of Hyperink is of course its formulation. It’s neither matte nor very glossy, yet has a bit of sheen to it. The different swipes pictured above are from one dip of the tip to show you how versatile it is and the true meaning of “even, bold, and black lining-action”. 


    The tip is amazing as well, no pulling or scratching on the lid when you apply. It’s hard to describe it but it’s like a felt-type, flexible tip that allows extreme control – such a clever thing. And I hope you can now picture it on your head; I tried my best okay.


    A no nonsense, everyday product through and through… I wore it one time for 10 hours straight and even with my hooded eyelids; it did not smudge or transfer onto the higher spaces of my eyes. Barring a little fadedness, it stayed intact up until the end of the day. Speaking of which, and also the cherry on top, is the easy removal process. It turns into an eraser residue-like bits when contacted with micellar water, and after a few delicate rubs, it’s gone.


    “I love the fact that Hyperink has an intense black color payoff and is extremely long-wearing. Perfect to make sure you look fierce throughout the day and all night long,” shared Jigs Mayuga, sought-after celebrity makeup artist.


    Simple, sturdy, and affordable eyeliner that is great for everyday wear and would suit everybody, it’s good enough for me! If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear your thoughts – especially if, like me, you have hooded eyelids and shaky hands. HAHA!

    PRICE: Php199
    WHERE TO FIND: Maybelline Philippines

    P.S. I’m now officially part of the #MaybellineSquadPH! Can I hear a woot woot?! It’s a tough job to be the first to know about fresh off the oven releases and eventually get my hands on them, but someone has to do it, right? So watch out for more Maybelline updates here and on my other social media accounts. Kidding aside, I’m very very grateful for the opportunity. Thank you, Maybelline!



              Can We Turn Back From A Maelstrom? Breaking the Impasse over the West Philippines Sea        
    This is the winning entry (high school category) in the recently concluded essay contest “The West Philippine Sea and Its Impact on the Future of the Philippines” organised by the US Pinoys For Good Governance with presentation of awards to the winners being staged as part of the Second Global Summit of Filipinos in the […]
              The Filipino Youth in Geopolitical Context: Leveraging the Power of Social Media and the Internet towards Online Political Engagement in the West Philippine Sea Dispute        
    This is the winning entry (college level) in the recently concluded essay contest “The West Philippine Sea and Its Impact on the Future of the Philippines” organised by the US Pinoys For Good Governance with presentation of awards to the winners being staged as part of the Second Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora […]
              We are approaching “The Perfect Storm” of the 21st Century. Will we survive?        
    (Preliminary introductory notes/overview to a work-in-progress) Floro Quibuyen (31 January 2013, Croydon, Australia) WFA-photos-Davao-Oriental-1In the wake of typhoon Pablo in the Philippines, the record high heat wave in NSW, followed, just a week later, by cyclones and flooding in Queensland, Australia, it’s time to face the critical issues of the 21st century—where are we at […]
              Hibik sa Dapit-Hapon film brings to life Josephine to witness Rizal’s execution        
    This short film, Hibik sa Dapit-Hapon, was judged one of the ten best short films by the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines way back in the early 80s. It was produced by Dr Floro C. Quibuyen when he was a scholar at Mowelfund Film Institute. Here is what Dr Quibuyen said of the film: “The […]
              AT&T, Verizon Offer Free Calls, Texts To Philippines Following Typhoon        
    A mother who survived the wrath of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the central coastal city of Tacloban cries as she talks on her phone while her child looks on after they disembarked from a military cargo plane that flew them out of the city to Manila on November 12, 2013. The UN launched an appeal for a third of a billion dollars on November 12 as US and British warships steamed towards the typhoon-ravaged Philippines where well over 10,000 people are feared dead. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)AT&T and Verizon are offering free calls and texts to the Philippines for customers trying to contact friends and family there in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
              Anime Art: Goku        
    Fantasy Art Bryan Sola GokuFantasy Art by Bryan Sola, Philippines.
              Fantasy Art: Liliana Vess        
    fantasy-art-bryan-sola-liliana-vessFantasy Art by Bryan Sola, Philippines.
              2D Art: Battle Royal        
    2d-Art-Reynan-Sanchez-Battle-Royal  2D Art by Reynan Sanchez, Philippines. Tools: Photoshop
              Poland Advances Judicial Reforms        
    Poland's Senate backs an overhaul of the Supreme Court, despite street protests and international warnings. EU MEP Philippe Lamberts reacts. Also in the programme: martial law in the Philippines and Sean Spicer, the satirist's view. (Picture: Protest in Adam Mickiewicz Park in Poznan, Poland 21 July 2017 against changes in the Polish judiciary Credit: EPA)
              Beginning of a New Decade        

    Happy New Year!

    As the year ended, we could not help but once again remember God’s faithfulness. 2017 is the beginning of a new decade for us here in the mission field. We arrived in Thailand on the 6th of January 2006, with three luggages, meager support and three children, nobody thought (including ourselves) that we could even last for a couple of years.

    But here we are, with God’s care and provisions and with our friends’ love and sacrifices. We are ready to face another decade of ministry. We will continue serving God and helping people to find their freedom in Christ.

    In Thailand, they don’t celebrate Christmas or at least they do not know the real reason why Christians celebrate it. Although it is not considered as a holiday, the supermarkets and shopping malls are full of Christmas stuff on sale and Christmas songs filled the air. This is the time of the year when Thai people are open to listen to the true message of Christmas. This Christmas, the Lord had given us several opportunities to be in that situation-share the message.

    Christmas Activities

    We are thankful to God that the Tesaban 1 Municipal school asked us to sing carols and explain the meaning of Christmas at the school during their flag ceremony. We thought it was a great opportunity to involve our church in the activity. Our church’s youth joined us in the singing and our Pastor, Ajan Sunit shared the message.

    We also had the privilege to join several Christmas activities. First, we organized the New Life Creations Foundation Christmas Party. Second, we had the opportunity to be part of Pantamit Church’s Christmas outreach program in Baan Nana, one of the biggest children shelters in Mae Sai. Lastly, for three years now, we had been invited to be part of the Christmas program for the School for the Blind in Mae Sai. We are praying that our working relationship with the School of the Blind will grow deeper. We pray that we may be able to help through connecting them with people who have called to work with the blind.

    English Camp at Tesaban 1 

    Narlin is doing what she does well, organizing English camp at schools. Joey has to excuse himself to take the time to write this newsletter. She had been planning this English Camp (with YWAM-Madison Team) for more than a month when Teacher Jar (the head of the school English department) told us that two other teams from Univeristy in the US would join the activities. So instead of having 7 people from YWAM, we ended up with 18 volunteer teachers from the US.

    It is a big group, but by God’s grace we are on the last day of the English camp and as far as we can see, it was a success. We are once again, thankful to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to serve the children at the school. We also have helped the teachers and our good relationship with the school has grown stronger. All for the glory of God.

    Family Update

    We considered going home to the Philippines to celebrate Christmas with our family. But we thought it would be better if our children, Jared, Jillian and Reuven, would come to here to celebrate with us and also that they would be reconnected with their little brothers and sisters. Nuch came home from Chon Buri to join us. That was the first time in five years that we were reunited.

              Rainy days        

    It’s rainy season here in Thailand and aside from the humidity, we are loving it. It turns the mountains, fields and almost everything around us into a lively green. The air that had been heavily polluted is now refreshingly clean. The birds unceasingly singing beautiful notes. This reminds us once again of God’s love and faithfulness. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:8-11) We are sharing with you the highlights of our ministry activities from the last month.

    NLC Foundation/Saksaum Thailand Facilities
    While we were in the Philippines, NLC/Saksaum Thailand leadership team found a suitable place for Saksaum’s training centre and girls’ home. An apartment at the front along the road is used as the Foundation office. The leadership team with Thae and prospective girls worked so hard to clean the place which was abandoned for more then five years. So when we came in the place looked clean and presentable. A team from Colorado came and helped paint the houses. At the moment, we are doing necessary works that are needed to be done. We are thankful to the Lord for this ministry, the leadership team, staff and now the two girls that are already undergoing sewing training. We are thankful for our leader, Larry, and for churches who are helping him with the needed fund.

    Joey has shingles
     A week after we arrived in Thailand, Joey was already complaining of pain and numbness on the left side of his body. He ignored the pain and just kept on working until rashes and blisters appeared. The pain became unbearable. Blisters also started appearing on his arms and face. (The doc said it is totally unrelated to shingles.) We wanted to go to Overbook Hospital but out truck broke down again. So we ended up going to a famous dermatologist here in Mae Sai. It entailed waiting for two hours. His patients are just too many. But he is really good. Joey has shingles, he needs some rest and strengthen his immune system. It may last for another week, but the worst is over. We thank the Lord for healing. We thank all those who are praying for us and our health.

    Thanksgiving Prayers
     Our last “quick update” was an appeal for help for Narlin’s hospitalisation and for our ministry vehicle. We usually don’t do this, however, we think that the money we have been saving must be used primarily for the children’s needs—food, clothing, education and shelter. So we are thankful for those who provide financial assistance for Narlin’s hospital fees. Thank you so much.

    We are also thankful for the opportunity of being part of the ministry of great needs here in Mae Sai. Saksaum Thailand already ha stwo girls in training but it will probably open officially open in 30th of July. Please continue to pray for NLC Foundation and Saksaum Thailand.

    We are thankful for Rocky, our truck. It has served us for five years already and is becoming old. We think it still has many years of usefulness. But this year, it has broken down more often than usual. We are praying for a new ministry vehicle and we believe that a van is more suitable for our present need. A friend sent us the seed money for the new vehicle. We are praying it will grow.

    We are thankful for the children. They have grown up to be responsible and disciplined. Although they still need constant supervision, they are growing up to be a good model to other children in the church and community. By God’s grace, we are hoping to take care of them until they finish their university.

    We are thankful that our work permit is already extended for another year. Our visa will expire on the 20th of July and its extension is based on the validity of our work permit. Please pray that the visa renewal will go smoothly this year. We are thankful for our children in the Philippines. They are taking their education seriously and for God’s guidance, protection and provision for them. We hope to see them again soon.

    Thanks again for your friendship and partnership in the ministry. Until the next update. God bless you.
              Fruitful New Year        

    Happy New Year! We are thankful to the Lord for his faithfulness for the year that passed and we look forward to another fruitful year to come. We pray that the Lord will give us the resources and opportunities to help young women and more children at risk. Most importantly, we are praying that Jesus will reveal more of himself to these people through these projects.

    This year, we are taking our New Life Garden (NLG) team verse (Jeremiah 29:11-12) as our family verse too.
    For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers.

    We are sending this update from the Philippines. We are grateful for our friend, Leah, who (surprisingly) find ways for us to be home on new year to celebrate God’s faithfulness in our lives and in our church too. We are at the moment enjoying the remaining times of our stay here with our children.

    Thanks again for your continued support, love and prayers. We are sharing to you the ministry that we had last Christmas season.

    Christmas Activities

    When we came to Thailand ten years ago, we often heard people say that there is no Christmas celebration in the country. But I think that notion has already changed. The Thais are more aware of the commercialisation of Christmas rather than its spiritual meaning.

    For this reason, we believe that Christmas is a day when many Thais are open to the message of the gospel. Thai churches have their Christmas party that is open to all the people from the community in a effort to impart to the people the real meaning of Christmas.

    Hence, we, the NLG team carefully planned and held a party at Santhad Village on Christmas day. We gave gifts to those who attended and explained that Jesus is the greatest gift that a person can have in his life. The children also told the story of the birth of Jesus through a dramatic presentation of the nativity. The show was successful in getting the people’s full attention in learning the story of the birth of Jesus.

    We also participated in our church’s Christmas Party. Our children performed a traditional Thai dance and they did perform the same dance at a Christmas party in the School for the Blind Foundation.

    Another town event that we participated is the Ten Tribes of Mae Sai Festival. This event was totally a secular activity for businesses and organisations who put up their booth for selling their products and services. We put up a booth promoting the activities of the Network for Women and Children Protection, NLG, Rainbow Homes and other community and social projects that we are doing.

    2016 Opening Activities

    The year 2016 has begun and we believe that it is appropriate that we spend the first few days of the year with our children in the Philippines. We’ll be back in Thailand on the 15th of January.

    Please include in your prayers our activities this month. Upon arriving we will have a YWAM team from Wisconsin. This partnership has started five years ago and the traditions of the team taking care of the children to give us a weekend break has become a tradition. We are looking forward to it not because of the break but because we know that the children will have a wonderful time with people from across the seas.

    The team will do English teachings at schools in the village. We are also hoping that the village leader will be able to organise Conversational English teaching for adults. Please help us to pray for this ministry opportunity.

    In February, we will be joining the other NLG team members in a visit to a community project for young women that we will pattern our ministry with. The project is about training the young women with skills that they can use so that they can earn a decent income to save them from prostitution and other forms of exploitation.

    Thanksgiving Prayers

    Once again, we want to share many wonderful deeds that the Lord has done in our lives and the lives of our children.

    • We are thankful for God’s continuous provisions for the children’s schooling. The Lord has been using friends like you who are faithful in their contributions. Pray that we will be able to get Fluke this year.
    • We are thankful for his goodness to our own children in the Philippines. Jared passed the teacher’s board examination and Jillian will be graduating in May. Reuven just finished his first term with minimal difficulties. Please continue to pray for them. Their financial, spiritual and educational needs.
    • We are thankful for the opportunity to help more children. Also for the opportunity to work with NLG. We are envisioning to help more young women and perhaps the elderly too. We hope that as we minister to these people, Jesus will reveal more of himself to them.
    • We are thankful for the opportunity to preach and share the word of God. Thankful for the church that we can call our family in Thailand.
    • We are thankful for Narlin’s healing in the due time. We are thankful for friends who helped us with her hospitalisation and medication.
    • We are thankful for friends who continues to believe in us and the works we are doing to help children and share God’s LOVE. We are so blessed to have you as our partner. May God bless and keep you.

    In behalf of the children, we thank you for your love, prayers and generosity. Praying that God will bless you more and more.
              He Will Bring Health and Healing        
    Narlin checked out-1
    “Do you have insurance?” The nurse asked us after Narlin signified that she was so dizzy to stand up and may need to stay in the hospital for the night. She was complaining of deafness on her left ear. She had vertigo and suffering from nausea for almost two days.

    Although she was given medication for anti vertigo, we decided to go to the hospital in Overbrook Chiang Rai for a thorough diagnosis. After several tests, the doctor’s diagnosis was that she is suffering from Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL). We are asked to come back to the hospital on the 5th of September to assess if the medications are working.

    We don’t have any insurance but God. The cost made us think twice about buying a plan. The children’s needs and education are our priority. Regardless, we believe that God will provide, keep us safe and preserve our health.

    This reminds me of couple of familiar verses from the Old Testament, Jeremiah 33:3, 6:
    “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know…. Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”
    We trust that God will completely heal Narlin’s sickness, he will protect us in every situation and he will provide for all our needs. Thank you so much for praying with us and for being part of God’s answer to our prayers.


    We are thankful for our friends who prayed and encouraged us by sharing their experiences similar to Narlin’s sickness. We are thankful for doctor friends who gave us medical advice.

    We are thankful for Jennifer whose presence become more indispensable when Narlin was confined in the hospital. She looks after the children when we are away. She will be leaving on the 14th of September. Please pray for traveling mercy and provisions.

    We are thankful for God’s provisions for Reuven’s schooling. We were able to get his credentials from Philippine Embassy in Bangkok, his certificate/records from Mae Sai Prasitsart School which cost us some money. He is now enrolled in a university in the Philippines.

    We are thankful that God has given us the opportunity to help more children. Whether it is through teaching English or taking care of them may it be short or long term. Please that we can help a couple more kids this year.

    We are thankful for the opportunity to work with teams, schools and villages in ministering to the children. We are looking forward for another team to come and help in the near future.

    We are thankful that our children have the opportunity to participate in drama competition in Bangkok. Although we don’t expect to win anything this time, we just want to give glory to Jesus’s name for all the blessings and experiences they will be enjoying.

    We are thankful that in spite of the big amount we spent in our children’s schooling this month (August), the Lord has provided us enough amount for Narlin’s hospitalization.

    Most of all, we are thankful to God every time we remember your partnership with us. We appreciate your love, support and untiring prayers.
              The Lord is My Shepherd        

    Three days before we hadn’t the slightest idea that we would be in the Philippines attending the funeral of Gavs. We were all shocked by his “untimely” death caused by brain aneurysm. He was a funny and humble man, a good father and a loyal friend. He was our nephew but more than that he was like a son to us. He never knew his father and her mom got sick when he was little. We took him in our young family then. He spent many years of his life with us. He was 30 years old.

    Just before his body was put into the ground, the Pastor recited Psalm 23 and uttered a comforting prayer for the bereaved family.

    The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    Although this Psalm is considered to be part of the funeral liturgy, we believe that God’s promises in this passage are being fulfilled in our lives on daily basis.  Thank you for being part of God’s fulfilled promises to us and our children. We are thankful to the Lord for using you in our ministry to help children, youth and women in the community.

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    English Camps

    It is a joy to watch a group of young people sharing the gospel to more than a hundred of students through songs and Bible Story in an English Camps. We thank the Lord for the YWAM team composed of youth members of Faith Family Church (Illinois) who came last week that helped us in a 3-day English camp at Tesaban 1 Wat Proweehan School. These young people shared God’s love to the students.

    We have another YWAM Team that came last Friday and will help us in another English Camp in Suntard Village School. This is a small village school that the government is planning to close down if the student population will not increase. We want to help the school to have more students next year so that it will continue. Together with our friends who live there, we are praying that the presence of the YWAM Team teaching at the English camps will help the school. We also hope to get volunteers to teach English at the school on regular basis.

    After helping the school, we are praying that we can start the ministry with young women in the area with our friends. We also hope that we can share the gospel and a community of believers will gather to worship in the village. Please pray that God will use the English camp as a channel of God’s blessings in that village.



    Visa Extended For Another Year

    As far as I can remember, this year holds the record for the smoothest visa extension we ever had. We drove to Chiang Mai to visit the immigration office to have our visa extended. We noticed right away that there were fewer people at the immigration office even though we went there on a Monday. We learned later that the place is being used solely for visa extension and the 90-day appearance, re-entry permit and such like transactions are transferred to another location. We are thankful that we don’t nee to come back after a month. The office granted us one-year visa in just one visit. Thank you for including this concern in your prayers and for your contribution to our visa expenses.

    Little Family Update

    Although we are mourning, our visit to the Philippines also made us happy. We were able to spend precious time with our own children for 4 whole days. Those days were the happiest days for us in a while. We have many wonderful things to be thankful for. Jared is already working as teacher in a private school. Jillian defended her thesis last week and she will graduate next year. Reuven will be enrolled in college soon. Please pray that the certificate from Philippine Department of Education for his passing the ALS Test will be given soon. We are praying that he can enrol this August. Thank for helping us in praying for our children. Please pray for God’s provision for their studies.


    More Prayer Concerns

    • Please help us to pray for the following concerns:
      Pray for the ministry in Suntard Village. Pray for our friends, Wayne and Jeen, who live there and want to spread the gospel to their neighbours. Pray for Larry as he works out the details of our plan for the ministry to the young women that will be based in that village.
    • Pray for our ministry at Pantamit church. Preaching, training and teaching children in Sunday School.
    • Pray for Jennifer, our friend from Ireland who has been helping us immensely with English teaching ministry, English Camps, music and caring for the children.
    • Pray for good health for all of us specially the children during this rainy season.

    Thank you so much for your prayer and support. We sincerely appreciate your love and generosity. We pray that God will continually prosper and bless you. The Lord honors the sacrifices you made in helping us in our ministry.

              Through the years        

    Happy New Year! It’s a bit late greeting but we missed the opportunity to do it because we skipped sending you our January Newsletter.  We thanked the Lord for your continued partnership through out the years. Nine years to be exact.

    We came to Mae Sai in January 2006 hence we are now on our ninth year here. This year, we were together in celebrating God’s faithfulness in our lives and ministries. We are grateful that Jared and Jillian were able to come to celebrate Christmas, New Year and the anniversary of our coming here in Thailand.

    Team Visits
    They came with a purpose to help the children at risk and we happen to have ten of those. Seven wonderful young ladies from YWAM DTS-Madison came to help us with the children and also with teaching English at the Municipal school. They stayed in our house for almost a week. We also took some time out to show them to few interesting places in Mae Sai. They came at the right time because we needed to go to the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok that weekend because Reuven had to take the Alternative Learning System Accreditation Equivalency (ALSAE) Test. We had people who looked after the children while we were away.

    We also met with a 32-people team from South Korea through our Pastor friend. They were doing mission exposure in Southeast Asian countries. We were grateful to them for taking the time to visit our place and for encouraging us. We were able to help them in our own small way to look for an overnight accommodation.

    We will also be working with YWAM Team from South Africa this month. Please pray for the school activities where these young people who will minister among the students of the municipal school.

    Children Update
    We thank the Lord for his provision for all the children’s school expenses. They are all doing good in the school. Being with them and seeing them 24/7 make us oblivious to the physical changes happening to them. We just noticed that their clothes are getting too small for them.  So we are again buying them new set of clothes and school uniforms.
    Our own children are doing well in their studies. But Narlin and I think they need somebody to be with them to help them keep the house tidy and prepare food for them. Jared will be graduating in May and Jillian will be in her third year. The fact that they are in the Philippines in college is a miracle of God’s provision.

    Reuven took this year ALSAE Test. If he passed, he will go straight to college in the Philippines. The test is specially difficult for him because the test is 90% in Tagalog. For someone who who live in Thailand for most of his life, written Tagalog is not easy to understand. Please pray that Reuven will pass the test this time.

    HT Related Projects
    Please continue to pray for us as we help our friend to start his ministry projects in Mae Sai that seeks to prevent young women from becoming victim of human trafficking (HT). We hope to find a place to rent to be used as vocational trainings centre (initially sewing for crafts like dresses and bags and maybe more courses later) and another place for shelter. Pray for our friend's health and pray for wisdom and provision.

    During our last meeting with the Network for Women and Children, someone brought out a pressing problem. We are told that the Thai Immigration Office deported several young women who are working illegally in Thailand. Although these girls are from Burma, they practically grew up here. They couldn’t speak Burmese and they don’t have any idea where their family are located. Allegedly, they ended up homeless and raped by the police.

    We are hoping to help provide solution to this problem by having people in the immigration office to look for the deported girls and provide them temporary shelter until such time they locate their family in Burma. This is a good opportunity to share God’s love to them.  Please for God’s guidance and provisions.

    Members of Network for Children and Women (NCW) sharing problem on human trafficking and sharing ideas on how to provide solutions.

    • We thank the Lord for another year he has given to us. We are looking forward for a fruitful 2015.
    • We thank the Lord that our children from the Philippines were able to celebrate holidays with us.
    • We thank the Lord for friends who are faithfully supporting and praying for us. We pray that God will bless you always.
    • We thank the Lord for leading us to a local church where we can serve him.
    • We thank the Lord for the opportunity to serve with the international community (who need spiritual feeding too) in our once a month English worship.
    • We thank the Lord for the opportunity to teach English and the Word to the children and young people in the community. 
    • We know it's still early but please help us pray for our visa and work permit this year. We are grateful that we did not have major difficulties in extending our stay in Thailand.

              We're back        
    We made our trip to the Philippines and back. Our son, Jared passed through a personal crisis. Relatives and friends thought we need to come home to help and support him. We agreed and besides we already missed our children and it's about time we should have time together. Thankfully, Jared was able to settle the issue by himself while we were still on our way. Regardless, we thought that it is about time to have bonding time with Jared and Jillian. We enjoyed spending time with them helping them with their house chores as they were very busy with their studies. We also had the opportunity to be with Joey’s mother when she celebrated her 71st birthday. The first time in eight years. Reconnecting with old friends was also another blessings we enjoyed during that time.

     We have many things to be thankful for with regards to that visit home. First we are thankful for God’s provisions for the airfare, housing, food and other travel expenses. Thankful for friends who are always ready to extend help may it be encouragement, prayers, cash and in kind. Thanks for Sayarma Beauty and Joanne for looking after the children while we were away. They did a great job. Thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with old friends.

    Thankful for the opportunity to share our ministry and message at PBTS chapel and other three churches. Thankful for friends who picked us and brought us back again to the airport. We thank the Lord for everything. We took the opportunity to have family portrait while we were in the Philippines.

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    Christian Hospitality Network GetAway

    We praise the Lord for the opportunity to rest and be refreshed. We were recommended by a missionary friend to avail of the R&R being offered by Christian Hospitality Network in Horizon Village & Resort in Chiang Mai. It was God’s timely provision because he knew we needed a rest after airplane ride from the Philippines, sleeping on the airports, waiting on the bus terminals and thirteen hours bus ride from Bangkok. We are thankful for the wonderful time of rest, for the encouraging and inspiring messages and for meeting wonderful godly people. We are also thankful to its Founding Director Paul Cowell and the staff for working so hard to make this ministry possible. You are all a huge blessing to many missionaries serving around the world. We are hoping and praying that they will welcome us again in their ministry in the future.

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    We’re definitely back

    We’re back to reality. After being away for almost a month, we were expecting that many things will be out of order in the house. The children did a great job in our backyard garden but there are jobs that only adults can do. We fixed those that can be fixed and replaced those we could not. We also trimmed the trees and revived the dying ornamental plants. Sad to say, the fish on our small ponds are all dead. We made a couple of trips to the dumping area to get rid of the garbage that was piled up when were away.

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    As soon as we are back, Narlin resumes teaching English to the young people in the neighborhood. The younger students may start coming next week. Joey will also have English and discipleship classes starting next week. He will resume his preaching ministry at Pantamit Church. Please pray that the Word of God could be preached clearly to the Thai people.

     Next week, we will have meeting again with the Network for Children and Women to plan for more activities. We also praying that we can help a friend to start a ministry for the young women in Mae Sai. It will be difficult because it will take a lot of planning and funding.

    Please pray for that this project will have a good jumpstart so that young women can be rescued from human trafficking. The children, all eleven of them, go back to school after a three-week break. Reuven is already a week late. His school started a week prior to our return in Mae Sai. This is a start of another school term so we need to pay their tuition fees. We thank the Lord for his provisions for most of the fees. Please help us to pray that God will provide for all the school expenses this term. 

    Thank you once again for your prayers with regard to our trips to the Philippines and now that we are back, you’re love and prayers are a big encouragement to us.

              Be still and know        
    For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:19-22)
    We are blessed to live in a place where the weather is friendly most of the time of the year. Just enough heat on summer, right amount of rain during the rainy season and comfortably cold during the winter. However, this blessing has been taken for granted by the people of Mae Sai. Waking up with a heavy downpour is normal but if it had lasted for three hours or more, we have a feeling that something unusual was about to happen. We seldom experience this kind of rain. We thought if the rain would continue for another thirty minutes, flooding was a sure thing. Thankfully the rain stopped but the flooding still happened. The water came with tons of mud in it.

    We were not directly affected but those who live beside the mountains had a difficult times. For the last three years, construction business is booming here in Mae Sai. Rice fields are being converted into subdivisions and these construction projects need tons of filling materials. Contractors are cutting the mountains like crazy to meet these needs. This is a disaster waiting to happen that may be triggered off by even hours of heavy downpour. We are praying that would be last heavy downpour this year and that the government will do something with the cut mountains. Once again, we thank you for your partnership in the gospel.

    We sincerely thank you for your untiring prayers which we feel every second of our life. His protection surrounds us his provision is constant.

      Flooding in Mae Sai

    Flood in mae sai

    NCWSS against human trafficking

    The Network for Women and Children Under the Same Sky (NCWSS) is determined to be more proactive in fighting human trafficking. Many NGOs have data to prove that Thailand is on the top tier of human trafficking activity. Mae Sai is considered as gateway for transporting people from poor country like Burma, Laos and Cambodia to the target market. Our last three meetings were very fruitful in laying out plans of actions we need to do as Christian leaders so that children and young women might be protected and prevented in becoming victims. Most of the network members are already involved in providing shelter for children, we thought of having projects that will give empowerment to children and young women to fight against the evil of human trafficking. Please pray for NCWSS members to be more supportive and pray for financial provisions to support some of the programs and activities we hope to implement in the future.

      NCWSS Members

    United Christians in Mae Sai

    It is safe to say that Joey and Narlin have a small part in the early years of the United Christian in Mae Sai. When the organization decided to go bigger to include all the churches in Mae Sai and neighbouring towns to become The United Christian Protestant in Mae Sai, we thought our participation was no longer needed. However, this month, the President invited us to attend the meeting for the election of new officers, I learned that we are considered as representative for Filipino workers in Mae Sai. We are thankful to the Lord for this opportunity of being a part of God’s bigger work here. United Christian Protestant Mae Sai

    More Prayer Requests

    We are praying to go home next month. We did not have plan to go home this year. But our children in the Philippines are facing personal difficulties Our children need our presence Please pray for God’s provision for our air fare. Please pray also for our children in the Philippines. Please pray for our health. Perhaps is a break out of “pink eyes”(conjunctivitis) here in Mae Sai and Tachilek. And at the moment, two of the children are infected already. We are doing our best not to spread it to everyone in the house. Moreover, Tina has fever and suffering from most probably a flu. Please pray for our health. Pray for that we can go home to the Philippines in October. Wehad no plan to go home this year. However, our children are experiencing difficulties back at home. We feel that our children need our presence at least for a month just to be with them and settle a personal problem. Please pray for God’s provision and for the safe travel. We are also asking you to pray for our children’s needs and difficulties.

      Fluke s Conjunctivitis Pray for our teaching and preaching ministry. More children are coming to us to learn English. We are thankful for this opportunity to bless the children and their parents too. In addition, we will be teaching young people to prepare them to university or church ministry. Also, Joey was requested to become a regular preacher at Pantamit Mae Sai Church. Please pray that God will use these opportunities that more people will come to know Jesus Christ.
              The Father Cares for Us        
    Red whiskered bulbul 2 EDIT The sweet songs of what seem like a hundred birds awaken us from our sleep every day. In fact, they sing the whole day, come rain or shine. A reminder to us that God’s faithfulness is new every morning. Jesus asks us to look at the carefree lifestyle of the birds to teach us not to worry about life’s necessities. God uses these little feathered creatures to tell us that we have a caring heavenly Father who looks after our needs.
    “I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?” - Matthew 6:25-26
    But to be honest, in our moments of weakness, we could not help but feel anxious. We worry about our own children who live away from us. Are they safe? Are they in the company of good people? Do we have the financial capability to see them through college? We worry about our children here. What would happen if for some reasons our visa is not renewed? Who will take care of them? Do we have enough funds to provide for their needs? But then we heard the birds sing, remember God's constant care and our friends whom he uses. All our worries are gone as soon as they came. Thanks again for your love and prayers. Our appreciation could be expressed in words.

    Nobody Saw It Coming

    The Mae Sai municipal school English drama team composed of five of our children that represent Mae Sai a drama competition won the third place. It was an English drama competition among municipal schools in Northern Thailand. Nobody in the school thought they had a chance but the children outdid themselves and and to everybody’s amazement was able to snatched the third prize. By virtue of their win, they will represent three teams that will represent Northern Thailand in a nation wide competition in Bangkok on first of August. The municipal and school officials, recognising that the team has the potential to win the first prize, are exerting extra effort to make the drama better. They allocate more funding to replace the hand drawn backdrop with the printed tarpaulin and the recycled plastic costumes with the real dresses. Narlin has been spending sleepless nights sewing dresses. She will also accompany the children to Bangkok. Please pray for their safe travel. The children are praying for another opportunity to win. Please help them in prayer. This is another to give glory to God through the lives of our children. Cinderella Casts

    We Can Call This Place Our Home

    Thank you for helping us in praying for the extension of our visa. We went to Chiang Mai immigration office on the 18th of July. The process was a bit different from last year. This time, we had an interview with the immigration officer and our photo was taken while they are receiving our payment for the visa fees. It makes you wonder why they are doing that. We were given the usual provisional period of one month and by 19th of August we expect that our visa will be extended to full one year. Thank you so much for praying for us about our visa and also for helping us financially. God has allowed us to stay in Thailand for another year and now we can really now call this place our home.

    When We Pray God Works

    At the moment, the cost of education of our children adopted and natural, here and in the Philippines is really overwhelming. But we are grateful to the Lord that we still have enough to pay our bills, eat good food and have transportation going and to and from school. Having said that, we are grateful to God for his faithful provisions. I was reminded again by Hudson Taylor's words: "God's work, done in God's way, will never lack God's supply." I believe God's supply does not refer only to crisp dollar bills, it may refer to people touched by God to become our friends and partners in the ministry. We are greatly blessed to have you. Pray for Jared and Jillian studies. God’s provision for their studies is nothing short of a miracle. Their monthly expenses can be considered a heavy burden for parents who have regular job and income. We neither have both but we have a great God who provides for everything that they need. DSCN2777 Pray for Reuven. We are hoping that he can take and pass the test for Alternative Learning System (ALS) this year. He needs reviewer so that he can properly prepare for the test. If he passed, he will qualify for college in the Philippines. He will be going home to be with Jared and Jillian maybe in the same university. Pray for Aipang, SamChing, Dina, Yekchai, Muey and the other members of the English Drama Team. They will go to Bangkok for the competition. They will be going with other teams from their school that will compete with dance and recycling contests. Narlin and the other school staff will go with them. Please pray for safe travel and that God will give them favour to win the English drama competition. Pray for Joey as he will take care of the seven other children who will be left behind for three days. Pray for the Network for Children and Women. Some of the members opted to disassociate themselves. Khun Ngaw, one of the founding members is now back and bright prospects are now possible under his leadership. Meetings with the members makes us realise that many children still need home and they asked us if we could take more. Unfortunately, we our house and resources are just enough for the children we have at the moment. Please pray for the network that God will use this to help minister to children and women needs help. NCWA Meeting Pray for our need to build a quarter for the boys. We are seeking God’s guidance regarding this need. We believe that if it is God’s will for us to have this building, will receive confirmation and funding. Please pray about this particular need. Please continue to pray for our teaching and preaching ministry. Through this community service to the children and young people, we are able to connect with other schools. Please pray for Joey's as he is regularly been asked to share the Word to Pantamit church. English Teaching 1
    English teaching
              My Family is Now Living in Philippines        

    How is everything nowadays? I know I have not updated this blog frequently due to offline commitments. I am buried with offline works as well. I just find time today to update this blog and I am planning to do it frequently in the future. Just want to inform you that my family is now […]

    The post My Family is Now Living in Philippines appeared first on Tech At Hand Dot Net.

              Free Instagram From Smart Philippines        

    Millions of subscribers of Smart Communications (Smart) can now enjoy free access to one of the world’s most popular photo-sharing social media networks, Instagram, whenever they subscribe to top prepaid offers or the latest postpaid plans from the undisputed leader in mobile.

    The post Free Instagram From Smart Philippines appeared first on Tech At Hand Dot Net.

              Comment on Flight Review: Philippine Airlines Business Class on the Boeing 777-300ER by Lynn        
    My recent flight with Philippines Airline to Manila was delayed due to the typhoon and my connecting flight was just 10 minutes away. Thanks to the friendly crew who directed me straight to the transfer gate, I managed to catch my next flight just in time when they made the final call.
              Finds During the First Korean Product Festival in the Philippines        

    Annyeong, Chingus!

    Two weekends ago, my Korea In Manila friends and I were invited to check out the first ever Korean Product Festival in the Philippines. The event was held for three days at the SM Aura SMX Convention Center, and we were there on its second day. It was already a packed Saturday for us as we already planned to check the Japanese film festival in Shang prior the invite, but basta all things Korean, we're super game! Anyway, sharing some of my finds at the fair's beauty section.

    As we all already know, Koreans LOVE their skincare and treat it as an essential part of their everyday routine. This is regardless if you are male or female! I started appreciating skincare since I got addicted to Korean Drama and I always see the actors and actresses apply their creams or wear a sheet mask in some scenes. You'll realize na wow that's why they have clear and seemingly poreless skin! I used to be a bar of soap + water kind of girl, haha! But now I enjoy my skincare as another way of taking care of myself.

    When we got there, it was almost 5pm and the booths were already wiped out! Went around the beauty section and discovered new K-Beauty brands and products. Sharing my favorites in this post!

    1) KMall

    First stop during our casual Kbeauty tour, and I'm already impressed! Kmall carries both skincare and makeup brands including beBeCo, Laneige, Mediheal, It's Skin, Oreaf, etc. They also had free makeovers in their booth, and promised to bring not just more Kbeauty, but also K-fashion brands here in the Philippines! Exciting!

    2) Red99

    This booth had me at highly discounted BB Cream, CC Cream, and essences! They have different products for all skin types too! Price went as low as Php 150, super good buy! 

    3) BS&C

    Most impressive demo! A simple wash cloth in different sizes that you can use on any part of your body that need major scrubbing! Can be used as makeup remover, but also for skin problems and to exfoliate dead skin cells. You can easily tell the difference with just one use!

    4) Bomgyol

    Another booth with super discounted Korean BB cream, sunblock, gels, etc! 

    5) Sy Medi Pharm

    The Sy Medi Pharm carries the Air Botox, Cindella White Tox, and Snow Feeling White Cream Glutathione for Face and Body in their booth. They had demos showing the effectiveness of the Air Botox, and shared Snow Feeling samples for us to try. It promises whitening in just 3 weeks, and I love its smell and feel on my skin! Follow them on Instagram at @symedipharm.

    6) Vellish and Isiloe

    This booth carries cosmetics brands Vellish (long-wearing lipstick) and Isiloe moisturizing and whitening BB cushion and BB cream.

    7) KorBeauty

    KorBeauty carries three Korean brands, namely Yeon, Mulbit, and BR Waterfull. They sell products that are good even for Philippine weather.

    8) Charm Zone

    Yes to variety! Cute packaging for makeup and skincare at Charm Zone's booth, plus they have Ku Hye-Sun (Jan Di in Boys Over Flowers) and Yoo In-Na (Sunny in Goblin) as endorsers!

    9) DMC Inc. 

    All things yeppuda! They carry really affordable nail art appliqué, customized phone cases and phone stands!

    That's it! There's still so much to see, but we were pressed with time as they closed at around 6:30pm! Everything's very interesting and promising though, I've been using some of the stuff I got during the event.

     Here are the other sections we weren't able to go to na! They also have food, finance, Kpop, tech, etc. Hoping that the next Korean Product Festival will come sooner, I am sure it will be a hit! Catch me on Twitter @anagon, will constantly update you for all things Korea here in Manila! ❤

    Ending with a vlog made by Ava! 😊

              Recommended: Travel Bags and Other Cute Stuff!        

    Sharing some of my favorite finds from recent events and store visits! 

    ❤Travel In Style❤
    My recommended bags for your next vacation!

    Pacsafe's CitySafe CX 

    I've been so used to Pacsafe's serious, utilitarian bag styles that I got so surprised when I saw their new line "CitySafe" during the media launch. Still with the standard Pacsafe anti-theft technologies, "the safest bag in the world" comes up with newer styles that are hip but classy. I love the convertible bags (two-way) so you don't have to bring several purses when you travel. Here are the seven styles, all available in black, blush tan, and merlot.

    Crossbody (Php 3390), CX Hobo (Php 5590), and Anti-Theft Wristlet Wallet (Php 2490):

    Roomy Bags: CX Backpack (Php 7190) and CX Tote (Php 7790)

    Convertible Backpack (Php 5590) --my favorite!

    Convertible Crossbody (Php 4490) 


    Anello in Manila

    Japanese brand Anello FINALLY arrives in the Philippines! I've been overusing my camo Anello backpack for over a year now, and glad that we have legit stores already where I can choose more styles and colors! Aside from their classic backpacks with wired wide opening, Anello bags also come in crossbody, duffel, and handbags. Visit their stores at the SM Mega Fashion Hall, Estancia Mall, and UP Town Center!

     â¤All That Colors!❤
    Can't resist a little splash of happy palettes! 

    Avon Panty Store

    All the panties you'll ever need in one store! I've been into online shopping for the past months, so imagine my excitement when shopping for Avon intimates (my favorite) is now made easier with an online store. I usually just buy from Avon ladies, but having an online shop is just so convenient! Visit them at www.AvonShop.ph! They have classic silhouettes made of 100% cotton to nude semi-seamless pieces and fun printed panties. Size is from small to XL, and their price range as always is very reasonable! Check out the panty packs for the best deals!

    Writing Tool Shopping @ The Paper Stone

    One thing about me: I still WRITE with pen and paper! I usually jot down my to-dos, or scribble random thoughts that won't be seen on my blog or Twitter account! To make writing even more enjoyable, I get pretty pens and notebooks from stores like The Paper Stone. I recently found out that their products are designed by Korean and Singaporean creatives, nice!! I love taking out my pen and cute notebook during meetings, and proudly say they are from The Paper Stone if asked. 

    Share to me your own new finds! Tweet me photos @anagon. ❤

              Korea In Manila #001        

    The past months, I am constantly on the look out for anything Korean here in the country. Something accessible, since I cannot always go to Seoul whenever I miss it (I wish lang diba!). It's not only because my blog is recently turning into a klog (Korean themed blog), but these things really interest me as of the moment. I am the type who, once I get into something, I go all-out. That's the reason why never ako nag attempt to start mag Everwing because I just know kakainin din ako ng sistema once I do! ðŸ˜‚

    Anyway, if you're also an enthusiast for all things Korean, here are some "Korea In Manila" discoveries by yours truly or with my friends. Some are blog invites, but most are just stuff we tried on our own. If I encounter more K stuff here in the Philippines, I'll be making more posts like this in the future and hopefully turn this into a series. You can also follow our group on Instagram @KoreaInManila for our random, day-to-day finds and happenings. Kamsahamnida! ❤

    Korean Food Festival in Marriott Cafe

    There's an on-going Korean Food Festival at the Marriott Cafe that you should not miss! Manila Marriott, in collaboration with Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines, flew in a team of 4 esteemed chefs from one of the largest and famous resorts in Seoul, the Elysian Gangchon, to cook authentic Korean dishes for us until July 31, 2017.

    During the media launch, we met the chefs and had a brief kitchen tour and cooking demo, took photos wearing the Hanbok (traditional Korean costume), and watched a cultural sword dance called Geommu, which reminded me of Scarlet Heart Ryeo!

    The Korean delicacies such as bibimbap, beef bulgogi, japchae, haemul pajeon (or Korean pancakes), kimchi and other Korean side dishes and even desserts will be part of Marriott Cafe's standard buffet. Price starts at Php 1990 (lunch) to Php 2100 (dinner). Follow Manila Marriott Hotel for more info.

    Kko Kko Opens in Market! Market!

    To me, I finally tasted the best Korean cheese dip in town! Kko Kko, a local Korean themed restaurant partly owned by celebrity and host Grace Lee, takes pride of their original recipes from Korea. Even their kimchi and other side dishes aren't grocery bought, but original recipes by Grace's mom! They recently opened their third store in Market! Market!, and introduced more items in their menu like the snow jelly bingsu. Try it and let me know if you liked it!

    Korean Grocery: Assi Fresh Plaza

    I chanced upon Assi Fresh Korean convenience store on my way to an event in Taguig. It's in the same building as Relik, so I made sure to stop by after my dinner. Assi Fresh Plaza carries an assortment of Korean foods (raw and cooked), drinks, beauty products, snacks, sauces, etc. Think 7Eleven but filled with just Korean brands! They have soju, cheese ramyeun, Ghana chocolates, gochujang or Korean ketchup, and almost everything that I miss in Korea!

    Just learned that they already have several branches around Metro Manila (one near me is in Commerce Center Alabang!). Follow them on Facebook for your questions!

    Korean School in Manila: KCC Philippines

    Also in Taguig, I discovered the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines (or KCC) online while I was searching for a school where I can learn how to speak in Korean. Their school is very active in organizing Korean themed exhibits, contests, and other activities like film viewing or even celebrations of Korean celebs' birthdays! 

    When Ava and I visited the school months ago, they have an on-going art exhibit by Korean artist Han Ho called "Eternal Light". I think they have different featured artists from time to time, currently they are showing "Moving Korea" art installations. Entrance is always FREE. The staff were also kind enough to answer our inquiries regarding their classes, and even allowed us to go around the school. We went to the exhibit, and then their library which is filled with Korean books, magazines, and even Kpop and Kdrama CD collections! I can live here!

    I actually tried to enroll for their Korean classes this term, but I was in Seoul during the physical enrolment, thus I missed my slot! Will just wait for their next sessions, and hopefully will get in this time! Make sure to get updates on their next projects and classes by following KCC Philippines on Facebook!

    DMZ Docs Korean Film Festival

    One of KCC Philippines' projects that I was able to attend to was their day 1 for DMZ Docs Korean Film Festival, which was held last May in UP Diliman. They showed two films that afternoon, one is a documentary about a North Korean woman and her struggles as she escaped their country, while the second is the life changing and unforgettable film "My Love, Don't Cross That River". I am not exaggerating when I say that everyone was crying by the end of the movie!! Will dare say that this is my top favorite foreign film as of the moment, and was able to watch it pa for free! Hope you also get to watch it yourself, and I hope KCC will have more Korean Film Fests in the future.

    Seoul Train Korean BBQ

    After the film fest, Ava and I decided to maximize our time in Quezon City (since we both live in the south) by having our dinner at the Insta-famous Seoul Train Korean BBQ. Every corner of this restaurant screams Seoul and Kpop! Even their restroom and hallways have a touch of Korea! Make sure to arrive early or eat light snacks before going there, they usually have long lines with small dining capacity! Food and service are both good though, so definitely worth the wait.



    Korean Cafe and Bakeshop: Mr. Park's Bread & Cake

    While waiting for my friends for our Molito Alabang date, I decided to waste time and have coffee in Mr. Park's Bread & Cake. Aside from the usual cakes and latte, they have at the center of their shop tables filled with breads and pastries. It's like Bread Talk but Korean version, hehe! From browsing their Facebook page, I learned that they have a lot of branches na pala around the Metro, and all their breads they make sure they bake with probiotic which helps relieve digestive discomfort, bloating, and even constipation! Wow.


    Planning a Korean food trip? Mr. Park's Bread & Cake Molito is right beside two other Korean places: Chicken & Beer and Ice Flower (best bingsu for me):

    Where to go next? What will you try from this list? Tweet me @anagon, let's discuss! ❤😋

              My Britney Live In Manila Experience! #SmartBritneySpears        

    Sharing some notable things that happened last Britney Spears in Manila concert!

    1) I left home around 4pm for an 8pm concert, but to my surprise, the traffic that day was the worst! I was on the road for more than 3 hours, and had to think of a strategy when I got off the bus in the middle of EDSA Magallanes. Rain just stopped, Grab / Uber was not an option (walang tumatanggap). I decided to take the train + jeep to MOA! It has been ages since I took this route, but I am glad to have many commuting knowledge for options in times like this!!!

    2) When I arrived inside MOA Arena, the lobby was bustling! My friends Paul and Christine met me at the Coral Gate for my ticket, and I immediately asked for the merch booth. I needed to change into something else because my sweater was dripping from rain and sweat!

    3) When we entered the venue around 9pm, the house was full! I kept on thinking to myself, who said that it's not a sold out event??! I don't even know where to stand and get a good view of Britney! My group decided to go up at the lower box section for better view, and look for a place na pwedeng tumayo nalang.

    4) When the lights dimmed, I lost my friends so I just ran to the front part of the lower box section. The MOA lady ticket checker pushed me to the seats (still in front), saying "bawal po dito ma'am, bawal po!". I don't even know if maaasar ako sa kanya o magpapasalamat, hahaha! I got good seats in front of middle lower box! Was on the edge of my seat in case someone claims it, but in the middle of the concert wala parin, so yey!

    5) Can I be completely honest!? Haha! I am not the biggest Britney fan, I think mas Christina Aguilera yung household namin back during their golden days! Hahaha! BUT pinag daanan ko din ang songs niya, well I think lahat naman ng mga bata that time! I super love the senti Britney--from Everytime, Sometimes, and Lucky--na wala nga palang kinanta ni isa dyan nun concert haha! And even for a non-fan, I super respect her journey as an artist--grabe din pinagdaanan nya from heartbreaks to career dives!

    Isa din ako sa pinag pawisan while watching on Facebook Britney's big comeback performance during the 2016 VMA! One can't help but root for this girl!

    6) Ang dami kong "Ay sa kanya pala yan!" moments during the concert! To be fair, ang dami pading hit na bago si Britney! Classics like Baby One More Time, Oops I Did It Again, and Stronger are the best, but yung makarelease ka padin ng hit songs! Respect!

    "My loneliness is killing me!" to "My loneliness ain't killing me no more!" real quick! Lol. ❤

    7) Onti lang talkies ni Britney during the concert, yun pa naman ang habol ko when watching artists live. You get to connect with them kasi when they tell random stories or jokes, minsan nga kahit yung over-used na "Mahal ko kayo!" from my favorite artist, sobrang kilig at tatatak na yun for me!

    May pinili sila from the audience, na sadly hindi manlang Pinoy, hahaha.

    8) Grabe parin sumayaw si Britney!!! Non-stop!!! She's getting younger and more fit, and sexier in my books!

    Alam nating given na yung lip sync siya during concerts, but I guess understandable dahil grabe hataw niya from one song to next! Also to be fair, hindi naman din halata! Performance level naman kasi! 

    9) Found my friends right after the concert! Sandwiched between two big Britney fans Krissy and Paul, hehehe! Iyak daw ng iyak si Krissy the whole concert! Took our sweet time in taking souvenir photos at the venue. Kelan pa ba ito mauulit, diba??

    "We were there" moment!

    10) As we were heading down, ang lakas ng kantahan sa lobby ng MOA Arena! Hindi kami maka labas kahit na iniisip ko na ang di makatarungang surge ng Grab, hahaha! Something's pulling me to stay at the venue, kantahan lang sila ng kantahan ng Sometimes, Lucky, and other Britney hits! Ang saya! At buti pa sila kinanta yun Sometimes, haha!

    Turns out ang may pakana ng "after-party" nato ay ang Smart booth! Ang daming videos naglabasan sa internet ng moment nato, even si Britney renipost yung video ng CNN Philippines! Nice one! Another unforgettable big concert, Manila! ❤ I can't wait for the next!

    Follow Smart Communications on Facebook or visit http://smart.com.ph/Pages/musiclive to stay updated with the coolest concerts in the metro!

              An Informative Tour to the Enticing City of Dumaguete        
    An attractive city in the province of Negros Oriental, Dumaguete is a popular tourist destination in the Philippines that feature numerous beautiful sceneries. A majority of the hotels and resorts in the city offer affordable room rates, making sure that travelers will not have problems in terms of budget as they spend their vacation in that very beautiful and enticing spot in the country.
              mySlim and Miss Philippines Earth – Achieving beauty and fitness through a healthy lifestyle        

    We all know that looking good brings about confidence. The kind of confidence that allows us to face challenges and perform exceptionally well under extreme pressure. Just like the enormous pressure and challenges faced by our Miss Philippines Earth candidates. That’s why looking good for these wonderful ladies begin with healthy living. This includes an […]

    The post mySlim and Miss Philippines Earth – Achieving beauty and fitness through a healthy lifestyle appeared first on All Chucked Up!.

              Patricia May Gonzalez: Success in the Party Planning Business        
    Patricia May Gonzalez runs a successful party planning business based in the Philippines. Learn how to succeed in starting a party planning business.
              Corruption – Can Noynoy Aquino Stop It?        

    The running of Senator Noynoy Aquino has led me to think a lot about Philippine Politics, a subject that I would otherwise dreadfully try to avoid altogether. Let me just start this short entry by saying that I am an apolitical person. Well, of course there is really no such thing as an apolitical person since we are all ultimately political animals since we are forced to live with society. To live in society is to contend your needs with the needs of others and to issue, even in the smallest and subtlest ways, certain forms of power relationships with everyone around you as well as beyond you. So it is much more exact to say that I am a person with politicophobia. For those who haven’t figured out the obvious root words of this word, politicophobia is a fear of politics. Why am I a politicophobic person? Well, because I look at politics and I see ruin. But even worse, I look at my country’s politics, Philippine Politics, and I see such blatant greed, ineptitude, and impotence (in the part of the Filipino people) that will surely lead to the self destruction of these objects. We are inflicted with a cancer. And this cancer which I speak of is corruption.

    Just look at one small example, one encapsulated version of this cancer. Let us take this one example as a reflection of the system as a whole. I was going to the Philippines customs agency because I had several books delivered to me from the United States. So just as I was about to get my books, this clerk handed me a piece of paper. This piece of paper had something scribbled on it. It was an amount. Let us just say that the amount was big enough to make you wince thinking that it was worth half of what the books were worth. So there I was about to get my books whose shipping was already paid for but this clerk is holding them until I pay the amount. The guy tells me that it was additional customs tax. But the thing is, books are supposed to be TAX FREE because they are educational material as written in the law. Everyone has to go through the same thing at the Philippines Customs Department.

    The fact is that almost every politician we have seen has pocketed money and has been involved in so much corruption. It is always in the news. But no real justice and system change is done. Surely there is always something wrong with our country and the worse part is that everyone knows it. But no one is or perhaps can do anything about it. Perhaps Noynoy Aquino, whose parents were the most saintly politicians ever, can do something about it.
              Hurricane Patricia Makes Landfall, Threatens Catastrophic Damage In Mexico        
    Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET The National Hurricane Center says the eye of Hurricane Patricia has made landfall near Cuixmala on Mexico's southwestern Pacific coast. Its winds were measured at 165 mph, somewhat weakened but still a Category 5 storm capable of catastrophic damage. Our original post continues: Hurricane Patricia is bearing down on Mexico's Pacific coast Friday. Forecasters say this could be potentially catastrophic. It's a monster storm with sustained winds of 200 mph . That's the most powerful ever recorded by the National Hurricane Center in either the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basin. Thursday Patricia went from a weak tropical storm to a top-of-the-scale Category 5 hurricane in just 25 hours . It's believed to be the fastest strengthening ever observed. And it's likely to get stronger. Some models show the storm could reach sustained winds of 220 mph. That's unheard of. Some have compared this to Super Typhoon Haiyan , which struck the Philippines in 2013. There are some
              US Special forces in Africa        
    StrategyPage summary.

    May 22, 2017: Since 2007 the United States has created and expanded AFRICOM (Africa Command) to manage all the increasingly numerous American military operations in Africa. Since most of these operations involved special operations forces rather than conventional military forces AFRICOM released little detail on what was where. But in the last few years more of these details have emerged. As suspected most of the 40-50 AFRICOM “bases” detected are not bases in the traditional sense but merely temporary agreements to use existing civilian or military airbases or other facilities in African nations. These are usually countries where AFRICOM is providing assistance in dealing with Islamic terrorist activity or other security threats. 
    this is similar to the work of the US in the Philippines: Often supplying information from sophisticated spying, and of course training of local forces.

    There is a line, however, on who can be targeted: Going against the local NPA (communist insurgents) is a no no. But the terrorists, especially those with foreign ties, are okay.
              Pedophilia scandal.         
    The UK Telegraph story of a friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury who is a pedophile. And a murderer.

    A previous court case in Zimbabwe was dropped because of irregularities

    A lot of our ric criminals get off this way in the Philippines.

    I believe Jesus called this a wolf in sheep's clothing, and advised the millstone treatment for such people. (the old fashioned equivalent of the Mafia's cement sshoe treatment)

              100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute: Philippines        

    Circa 1910s Circa 1920s

    100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute: Philippines article is originally written by Hairstyles 2017 - Trendy Haircuts and Hair Colors

              CarlosWrobe より 【FF14】「BEFORE THE FALL」のAmazonレビューが熱い!2.2~2.5の懐かしネタの長文投稿 へのコメント        
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              By: Magik        
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              Government Attitude        
    A global strategy of localization is to locate each individual activity in the country or a few countries most appropriate for that activity. Example: jeans Lee, authentically American label a square where reza: fabric imported from Taiwan, goods in Mexico and made in the Philippines. Talking about the impossibility of speaking of native products, be they cars, consumer audio equipment, or any type of goods. apuntesuniversidad.com reminds us, that globalization is composed of three interrelated factors: proximity, the location and attitude. These 3-facet frame a composition and complexity, until now unpublished relations faced by a global administrator. Proximity. In this case the managers of the organizations are working hard closer to a greater quantity and variety of customers, competitors, suppliers and regulatory Government. This proximity allows people from around the world to share oral information, video or facsimile copy in a matter of minutes. The increase in technological and managerial capacity of the people around the world is another aspect of proximity. Location. The location and integration of an organization's operations made through various international borders that are part of the globalization. Attitude. Globalization speaks of a new and open attitude to exercise management internationally. This attitude combines a curiosity about the world that lies beyond a border of the own country and a willingness to develop the capabilities necessary to participate in the global economy. Pessimistic version do not surprise you to type, that globalization is identified with the loss of power of the citizens, the dictatorship of capital, the privatization, the depoliticization and retreat of democracy. This view is widespread among unions, parties of left, the journalism and the unemployed, but also between scientists. In synthesis, one can say that the pessimistic Outlook sees globalization as the cause of competition of location, growing unemployment and the inability of...
              Is Trump really like Andrew Jackson?        
    Andrew Jackson is getting a lot of attention lately, none of it favorable.  Meanwhile, President Trump, while rather vague on certain details of American history, has expressed admiration for him.  And many commentators have argued that they are, in fact, similar in important ways.  All this is hard for me to assimilate, because when I was growing up, Andrew Jackson was something of a liberal hero, if not quite of the stature of Jefferson or Lincoln or FDR.  He believed in more direct democracy, he hated financial privilege, he was supported by a coalition of workers and farmers, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. had specifically painted him as a kind of prototype for FDR.  Now, of course, we are paying more attention to Jackson's status as a slave owner, and his involvement in the removal of Indian tribes to the west of the Missisippi.  I decided to spend a few minutes to try to rediscover who Jackson actually was--with particular reference to the question of whether he in fact had anythng in common with Donald Trump.

    Neither time nor space permits an exhaustive examination of this question, but it didn't take long to find some interesting excerpts in his lengthy, careful annual messages to Congress.  This one comes from his first, in December 1829--and calls for direct popular election of the President! Here are Jackson's words.

    "To the people belongs the right of electing their Chief Magistrate; it was never designed that their choice should in any case be defeated, either by the intervention of electoral colleges or by the agency confided, under certain contingencies, to the House of Representatives. Experience proves that in proportion as agents to execute the will of the people are multiplied there is danger of their wishes being frustrated. Some may be unfaithful; all are liable to err. So far, therefore, as the people can with convenience speak, it is safer for them to express their own will.

    "The number of aspirants to the Presidency and the diversity of the interests which may influence their claims leave little reason to expect a choice in the first instance, and in that event the election must devolve on the House of Representatives, where it is obvious the will of the people may not be always ascertained, or, if ascertained, may not be regarded. From the mode of voting by States the choice is to be made by 24 votes, and it may often occur that one of these will be controlled by an individual Representative. Honors and offices are at the disposal of the successful candidate. Repeated ballotings may make it apparent that a single individual holds the cast in his hand. May he not be tempted to name his reward? , , ,

    " I would therefore recommend such an amendment of the Constitution as may remove all intermediate agency in the election of the President and Vice-President. The mode may be so regulated as to preserve to each State its present relative weight in the election, and a failure in the first attempt may be provided for by confining the second to a choice between the two highest candidates. In connection with such an amendment it would seem advisable to limit the service of the Chief Magistrate to a single term of either 4 or 6 years. If, however, it should not be adopted, it is worthy of consideration whether a provision disqualifying for office the Representatives in Congress on whom such an election may have devolved would not be proper."

    The abolition of the electoral college has become a favorite liberal demand, all the more so because Jackson's proposal, had it been embodied in the Constitution, would have kept both George W. Bush and Donald Trump out of the White House.  I don't have time to find out exactly how and why Jackson's proposal failed of adoption, but it appears to mark him as a genuine champion of the people's rule, albeit, of course, within the framework of his time, in which women were not allowed to vote and slavery still existed in 15 states.  There is, however, another aspect to this proposal, which casts it in a different light.

    Jackson was in effect complaining that he was only in his first year in the White House instead of his fifth.  The party system had broken down in 1824 and he had run for President against three other candidates from the Democratic Party: William Crawford, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Clay.  Jackson had won the popular vote handily, but he had not won a majority in the electoral college and the election had gone to the House of Representatives.  There he had been bested by Adams, to whom Clay had thrown his support.  Then Adams made the great political blunder of his career by naming Clay Secretary of States, and cries of "corrupt bargain!" rang through the land.  Rather than tweeting that he had been the real winner, Jackson was more discreetly referring to these events in his address.  He may have been a sincere Democrat--but he could also hold a grudge.  Many years later, in retirement, he reportedly said that he had only two regrets--that he had never been able to shoot Henry Clay, or to hang John C. Calhoun.

    A year later, in December 1829, Jackson commented on the quick, nearly bloodless revolution that had replaced the conservative Bourbon monarchy in France with the more liberal and constitutional rule of Louis Philippe.  He put this development in the context of world history, in which the United States was now playing a key role,

    "The important modifications of their Government, effected with so much courage and wisdom by the people of France, afford a happy presage of their future course, and have naturally elicited from the kindred feelings of this nation that spontaneous and universal burst of applause in which you have participated. In congratulating you, my fellow citizens, upon an event so auspicious to the dearest interests of man- kind I do no more than respond to the voice of my country, without transcending in the slightest degree that salutary maxim of the illustrious Washington which enjoins an abstinence from all interference with the internal affairs of other nations. From a people exercising in the most unlimited degree the right of self-government, and enjoying, as derived from this proud characteristic, under the favor of Heaven, much of the happiness with which they are blessed; a people who can point in triumph to their free institutions and challenge comparison with the fruits they bear, as well as with the moderation, intelligence, and energy with which they are administered -- from such a people the deepest sympathy was to be expected in a struggle for the sacred principles of liberty, conducted in a spirit every way worthy of the cause, and crowned by a heroic moderation which has disarmed revolution of its terrors. Not withstanding the strong assurances which the man whom we so sincerely love and justly admire [I do not know to whom this referred] has given to the world of the high character of the present King of the French, and which if sustained to the end will secure to him the proud appellation of Patriot King, it is not in his success, but in that of the great principle which has borne him to the throne -- the paramount authority of the public will -- that the American people rejoice."

    On the eve of his death only four years earlier, Jefferson had reiterated the hope that liberty, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, would come to the whole world.  Jackson's remarks, praising the French step down this path, were in this tradition.  Two years later Britain also took a small step towards popular rule, when the Reform Act of 1832 became law.  Today our President is also praising a worldwide political trend--but this time the trend is towards authoritarianism, not towards democracy.  The President's long-standing admiration for Vladimir Putin is well known, but in recent weeks he has congratulated the Turkish President Erdogan on a vote that gave him even more power, invited the murderous President Duterte of the Philippines to Washington, and offered to meet with Kim Jong Un.  His Administration shows signs of becoming the first American administration specifically to endorse a trend towards authoritarianism--the opposite of what Jackson and other 19th century Presidents did

    In the same message Jackson mentioned that the government had had to put down a rebellion, or independence movement, among the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes in Alabama and Mississippi, and endorsed their removal to Indian territory in what is now Oklahoma.  But he made no attempt to conceal the hardship involved in these measures, while trying to put them in historical context.

    "Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this country, and Philanthropy has been long busily employed in devising means to avert it, but its progress has never for a moment been arrested, and one by one have many powerful tribes disappeared from the earth. To follow to the tomb the last of his race and to tread on the graves of extinct nations excite melancholy reflections. But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for another. In the monuments and fortifications of an unknown people, spread over the extensive regions of the West, we behold the memorials of a once powerful race, which was exterminated or has disappeared to make room for the existing savage tribes. [He appears to be referring here to the Mound Builders.] Nor is there any thing in this which, upon a comprehensive view of the general interests of the human race, is to be regretted. Philanthropy could not wish to see this continent restored to the condition in which it was found by our forefathers. What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms, embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry execute, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization, and religion?

    "The present policy of the Government is but a continuation of the same progressive change by a milder process. The tribes which occupied the countries now constituting the Eastern States were annihilated or have melted away to make room for the whites. The waves of population and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to a land where their existence may be prolonged and perhaps made perpetual.
    Doubtless it will be painful to leave the graves of their fathers; but what do they more than our ancestors did or than our children are now doing? To better their condition in an unknown land our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly objects. Our children by thousands yearly leave the land of their birth to seek new homes in distant regions. Does Humanity weep at these painful separations from every thing, animate and inanimate, with which the young heart has become entwined? Far from it. It is rather a source of joy that our country affords scope where our young population may range unconstrained in body or in mind, developing the power and faculties of man in their highest perfection."

    Today, our universities have for decades been preoccupied with the faults of western civilization and the injuries that has inflicted upon other regions of the world, with the implication that history's course should certainly be held in place, if not reversed.  And a great many Americans have come to regard their nation's founding and growth as a crime.  I would suggest that it was almost impossible for an American of Jackson's age (born in 1767) to hold that view. They had experienced the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Louisiana Purchase, and the formation of many new states.  They saw all this as a great human experiment in which they were the leading actors. And when Jackson pointed out that Indian civilizations had warred against one another even to the point of extinction before the arrival of the Europeans, he was only speaking the truth. I shall let my readers make their own judgments about Jackson's words and actions, and how they fit into the whole history of the United States.  But I do think today's US citizens might ask themselves if they truly repudiate what our ancestors did in creating the United States as it now is--keeping in mind that so many of us, white, black, brown and yellow, would never have existed had they not done so, since our ancestors would have been so unlikely to have met elsewhere.

    I turn now to Jackson's most famous state paper, his veto of the renewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States in July 1832.  The Bank enjoyed special privileges under the law that created it which turned it into the equivalent of a European central bank, and Jackson complained that it had used those privileges to accumulate enormous power over the banking system, and enormous wealth at the expense of ordinary Americans.  He continued:

    "It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society--the farmers, mechanics, and laborers--who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles."

    It was this message, more than anything else, that established Jackson as the heir to the tradition of both political and economic democracy that was begun by Jefferson and elaborated upon by Wilson,  Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson in the twentieth century.  Today that tradition survives in Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren--but they represent only one wing of the Democratic Party.  Donald Trump, needless to say, is completely outside that tradition and he and the Republicans in Congress want to destroy it.

    It will not have escaped the reader's attention, meanwhile, that Andrew Jackson possessed a command of the English language of which Donald Trump never dreamed, and that he took his duties as President of the world's leading republic with a seriousness of which Trump would never be capable.  It has become fashionable to judge historical figures according to simple, binary moral standards, in which acts that even recognize, much less further, racism or sexism automatically mark men as evil.  I have attempted to suggest that Andrew Jackson is one of many figures from our history to whom these rules do less than justice.  And I have attempted to show clearly that any similarities between Trump and Andrew Jackson are far outweighed by enormous differences of political outlook and goals.

              Our new era        
    For the last couple of weeks I have been carrying out an old ambition, to read a 40-year old book by Ernst Nolte, a German historian about Germany and the Cold War.  That historian, a most ambitious if sometimes erratic thinker, begins his tome with more than 150 pages putting the emergence of both the United States and the USSR in the whole context of modern western history.  He also spends some time on the origins of Fascism, about which he had written another book.  Although I do not always agree with his judgments, he gives the kind of extraordinary tour d'horizon that was expected of a great historian during the first two-thirds of the twentieth century.  I cannot read the book today without an acute sense that that whole tradition is dead.  But more importantly, the world that it described has also died.  My own adult lifetime, spanning the last half-century, has seen the end of an era in which western peoples and states counted on the political arena to create a better world.  And the frightening consequences of that era are all over today's news, and may well dominate the news for the rest of my life.

    The new era may be said to have begun in the late 18th century with the American and French Revolutions.  Those two fraternal twin children of the Enlightenment claimed to use reason and human science to design a fairer and better world.  Both promulgated declarations of rights and set up some kind of democracy.  The American experiment progressed rather steadily, while the French one immediately emerged as the first great example of the dangers of Enlightenment principles, which could provide excellent excuses for terror and dictatorship.  The crisis of the late 18th century actually led to a swing away from democratic principles in Britain and much of Europe, but they steadily gained ground during the 19th century.  But the intellectual and political world were transformed starting around 1900 by the rise of socialism, the progressive reaction to the consequences of industrialization in the US and elsewhere, and then, the catastrophe of the First World War.

    The Communist victory in Russia resulted in large part from the First World War, establishing a theoretically Utopian state within one of the largest countries on earth.  Five years later, Fascism--to some extent a response to Communism--took over in Italy, and in 1933 Hitler came to power in Germany.  All three of these new regimes rejected democracy as it evolved in the West and became single-party states. While Mussolini's actual impact on Italy was relatively modest until the Second World War, both Stalin and Hitler embarked upon extraordinary redesigns of their societies, economy and culture, based on very specific visions of a great future to come.  They also vastly strengthened their militaries.

    Yet in the long run the most important impact of Communism and Fascism was the response in the West, and particularly in the United States.  Franklin Roosevelt also recognized the need to transform the role of the state, and to redesign the American economy and society, albeit within the framework of American democracy.  He came into office proclaiming that false values--a devotion to money above all else--had led the United States into Depression.  He held out the vision of an America that would restrict the dangerous excesses of capitalism (for instance, by separating commercial and investment banking), and guarantee economic security for all.  And when the world war broke out in the late 1939, and especially after the fall of France in 1940, he was determined, as I showed in No End Save Victory, to build a military that could allow his idea of democracy not only to survive in the US, but to prevail throughout the Americas and if possible, in much of Europe and even Asia as well.  He succeeded in that goal, committing both the US and the world to his four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.  In the postwar period the essential philosophy of the New Deal became the basis for the new welfare states all over Western Europe and even in Japan. 

    The Cold War remained a competition between the US and its allies on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other, each offering a new and professedly superior way of life.  While American principles prevailed in western Europe, Soviet principles spread through China and into Korea and Vietnam.  Colonialism rapidly came to an end, and in one way or another most of the leaders of newly independent states were also committed to the goals of political rights and economic justice for their peoples.  And depending on their right, center or left orientation, they could count on some assistance from Washington or Moscow to achieve at least stability within their realms.

    It is in this perspective that the collapse of Communism in 1989 takes on a whole new meaning.  While it appeared to represent the triumph of the west, now, almost thirty years later, it clearly marked the beginning of the end of the era which I have been describing.  The Cold War had forced both sides to claim that they were working for the interests of the peoples of their nation and of the world.  When it came to an end, governments lost the best of their mission.  All over the world, they have become increasingly beholden to economic interests.  It is not a coincidence, I suspect, that that trend has been most striking in Russia and the US, the two leading contestants in the Cold War.  Oligarchies rule them both now, and neither, to be blunt, offers the world a model which any nation ambitious for civic virtue or economic justice could want to emulate.  They are still setting an example, but a very different one.

    And for this reason, I would suggest, the international customary law that grew up during the second half of the twentieth century and at least partially restrained the cruel excesses of states has broken down.  The President of the Philippines has unleashed a campaign of terror against his people, killing drug dealers and even users without trial.  Turkey has metamorphosed from the most westernized state in the Muslim world into an authoritarian dictatorship that relies largely on religion and has locked up tens of thousands of citizens, like the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s.  Venezuela is abandoning the last vestiges of its democracy.  And in the midst of all this, the Trump Administration is backing rapidly away from the United States' role as a monitor of international human rights.  Secretary Tillerson skipped his department's annual human rights observance, and has now approved arms sales to Bahrain that had previously been blocked on human rights grounds.  At the risk of shocking many readers, I must admit that I have always been skeptical about our government's role as a human rights enforcer.  While I applaud the efforts of private groups like Amnesty International to fight abuses, it seems to me that our government's attempts to do the same inevitably result in hypocrisy and often do more harm than good for the people we are trying to help.  The best way for us to promote human rights or economic justice is the way that we did so from about 1933 through 1965 or so: to promote those things at home.  But without a Cold War, we do not even worry that we have one of the largest prison populations in the world.

    More than 10 years ago, when it was becoming clear to me where the US was repudiating the best traditions of mid-century politics, I gave a talk in Berlin, and suggested that it would perhaps be up to the Europeans to stand up for the principles they had shared with us in the postwar era.  Sadly, that has not really happened either.  Although Angela Merkel has remained an aggressive defender of human rights, she is also complicit in the austerity policies that have helped cripple many major and lesser European economies, and the politics of the various European nations are even more fragmented than our own.  Global warming looms as the one element of our future that might force the world into a rebirth of strong institutions in order to make sure that our civilization survives.  That is almost exactly what happened in the first half of the twentieth century.  For a long time I was please that I would not, apparently, have to live through a crisis comparable to the Second World War.  I still would not want to repeat it, but I see now that its terror, loss of life, and great crimes were linked, in a sense, to the great political achivements of that era that gave me and my contemporaries the world in which we grew up.

              Artist's talk: David Medalla        
    Born in the Philippines and based in Britain since the Sixties artist David Medalla describes himself as a citizen of the world. His work draws from his constant travelling, inspired by the places and the people he meets.
              Dee Wallace, 007, and the Most Interesting Man in the World: Next on TVC        
    Actress, author, teacher and radio host Dee Wallace and actor and author Jonathan Goldsmith will join us this weekend on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing July 7-10 at the following times and venues:

    Share-a-Vision Radio
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Friday 7/7
    7pm ET, 4pm PT
    10pm ET, 7pm PT
    Click on the Listen Live button at KSAV.org
    Use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in KSAV
    Hear us on the KSAV channel on CX Radio Brazil
    Hear us on your cell phone or landline number by dialing 712-432-4235

    Indiana Talks
    Marion, IN
    Saturday 7/8
    8pm ET, 5pm PT
    Sunday 7/9
    10am ET, 7am PT
    Click on the player at IndianaTalks.com
    or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in Indiana Talks

    WON 920 The Apple
    Brooklyn, NY
    Saturday 7/8
    10pm ET, 7pm PT
    Streaming at www.920won.caster.fm

    KSCO AM-1080 and FM-104.1
    San Jose, Santa Cruz and Salinas, CA
    KOMY AM-1340
    La Selva Beach and Watsonville, CA
    Sunday 7/9
    9am ET, 6am PT
    Also streaming at KSCO.com
    or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in KSCO

    CROC Radio
    Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada
    Sunday 7/9
    1pm ET, 10am PT
    Streaming at CROCRadio.com
    or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in CROC

    KHMB AM-1710
    KHMV-LP 100.9 FM

    Half Moon Bay, CA
    Sunday 7/9
    9pm PT
    Monday 7/10
    Midnight ET
    Click on the Listen Live button at KHMBRadio.com

    San Francisco, CA
    Monday 7/10
    10pm ET, 7pm PT
    with replays Tuesday thru Friday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT
    Click on the Talk Slot button at RadioSlot.com

    Ann Arbor, MI ~ Boston, MA ~ Chicago, IL ~ Melrose, FL ~ Los Angeles, CA
    Various times throughout the week
    on the Entertainment Channel on PWRNetwork.com
    and the PWR channel on TuneIn

    Known around the world as the mom on E.T., not to mention the legendary “scream queen” of such modern classic horror movies as The Howling, The Frighteners and Cujo, Dee Wallace is also an accomplished teacher, having earned her teaching credentials from The University of Kansas and taught in the public school system. She has also expanded her teaching platform, and the principles that she had found empowering for children, into daily sessions, her weekly radio show, Conscious Creation, and the stuffed bear Buppa LaPaloo, which also serves as an important teaching tool for children ages four to seven.

    Dee Wallace currently stars in the popular Amazon Prime series Just Add Magic. She also has two movies coming out this year, Red Christmas and Charlie’s Gift—both of which challenged her as an actress, but in completely different ways. We’ll talk about this, and more, with Dee when she joins us in our second hour.

    This week’s show will also include a conversation with actor Jonathan Goldsmith, the man known around the world as The Most Interesting Man in the World in a wildly popular series of commercials for Dos Equis beer that ran from 2007 to 2016. Though he patterned his delivery for The Most Interesting Man after his longtime friend Fernando Lamas, Jonathan brought more real world experience to the role than anyone could have imagined, from driving a garbage truck to make ends meet when he first came out to Hollywood, to saving a man from freezing to death in the High Sierras, to saving a woman from drowning, to debunking a mystic healer in the Philippines and defying the legendary curse of the ghost town of Bodie, California.

    Jonathan shares these stories, plus many anecdotes from his fifty-year career in film and television, in his new book, Stay Interesting: I Don't Always Tell Stories About My Life, But Wh.... Jonathan Goldsmith will join us in our first hour.

    Plus: Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen will pay tribute to the late Roger Moore as part of an expanded edition of This Week in TV History that will include highlights from Ed’s interview with Sir Roger in March 1994 in which the actor discussed his experience as a contract player at Warner Bros. and playing cousin Beau Maverick on Maverick. As Moore did not often speak publicly about his experience on Maverick, this is a rare interview indeed.  

    TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
    Fri 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org and CX Radio Brazil
    Sat 8pm ET, 5pm PT and Sun 6pm ET, 3pm PT on Indiana Talks (Marion, IN)
    Sat 10pm ET, 7pm PT on WON 920 The Apple (Brooklyn, NY)
    Sun 9am ET, 6am PT KSCO-AM 1080 (San Jose, Santa Cruz and Salinas, CA)
    Sun 9am ET, 6am PT KOMY-AM 1340 (La Selva Beach and Watsonville, CA)
    Sun 1pm ET, 10am PT CROC Radio (British Columbia, Canada)
    Sun 9pm PT, Mon Mid ET on KHMB-AM and FM (Half Moon Bay, CA)
    Mon 10pm ET, 7pm PT on The Radio Slot Network (San Francisco, CA)
    Replays various times throughout the week on the Entertainment Channel at PWRNetwork
    Tape us now, listen to us later, using DAR.fm/tvconfidential
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    If you listen to TV CONFIDENTIAL, and like what you’ve heard, please consider supporting our efforts by becoming a patron of our show through Patreon. It’s easy to do, it does not cost much, plus you can receive some cool rewards (such as coupons that will allow you to download up to six free programs every month from the TV CONFIDENTIAL Archives store). For more information, please visit www.Patreon.com/tvconfidential... and thanks!
              Comment on About the Author by claesju        
    Hi! Thanks a lot for your comment! It´s very satisfying for us like students. Yes, I know the other three centres, we´d visited it. About my second surname, Jurado, I suppossed that your friend is descent of spanish because there were a colony from the Sixteenth cetury to the end of XIX century. My family as many spanish have some related families in America and also Philippines but I have no idea of related there. Thank you! really interesting your comment.
              Comment on About the Author by Hans Martin Fagerli        
    Clara! I am the former director of the Learning Centre at the Oslo University College, still strong going but retiring at June 30th this year. I am impressed by your and your collegues presentation of how the Learning Centre is used (did you know that the OUC has three cventres? The most spectacular one is based 500 metres down the street Pilestredet. The results are not suprising, but very few know exactly how the traffic really is. And at last - I got some thoughts when I saw your last name - Jurado. I had a collegue in Oslo around 1970 whose name was Henrique Jurado (from the Philippines). He went to a job i Switzerland. Are you related?
              PALAWAN From Above + Below        

    Discover the gorgeous Palawan islands shot from above and below. Located in the southwestern part of the Philippines, Palawan consists of over 700 remote islands - many still uninhabited today.

    Special thanks to TAO Philippines (taophilippines.com/), the only company that allows you to fully experience the raw beauty of this epic landscape in a traditional paraw sailboat. Also, thanks to Tabanka Divers (tabanka-divers.com/) and Bacuit Tours (elbacuit.com/).
    Produced by Periscope Creative (PeriscopeCreative.co)

    Shot + edited by Scott McFarlane

    Original score composed by the amazing Symphonic Planet (symphonicplanet.com/) and featuring vocals by my talented wife, Lindsey McFarlane
    Equipment: DJI Mavic Pro in 4K, GoPro Hero4 Black, iPhone 7+

    For more videos and 4k footage licensing information: PeriscopeCreative.co

    Follow me on Instagram @scott_mcfarlane

    Cast: Scott McFarlane

    Tags: philippines, travel, aerial, drone, asia, tao, dji, tourism, palawan, gopro, dji mavic, underwater, explore, adventure, tropical, paradise, island and sailing

              Electrolux Nutri-Fresh Refrigerators        
    The Electrolux NutriFresh Inverter Refrigerators keep food market-fresh for up to 7 days. For more of #HappinessHomemade Filipinos can know enjoy market-fresh fruits and vegetables 24/7 as Electrolux Philippines launches its most innovative refrigerator line yet – the Nutrifresh Inverter Refrigerator. These refrigerators can keep food market-fresh for up to 7 days so that food […]
              2017 Philippines Property Awards        
    The 2017 Philippines Property Awards Nominations is now open. Nominations started September 12, 2017 and will end on February 10, 2017. Philippines Property Awards is on its fifth year this 2017, in its quest for the best property developments and developers in the country. What are the expectations for 2017? • A high number of […]
              Training for Better Productivity and Profitability: StrengthsCoach.PH        
    Increasing employee turnover and decreasing productivity are just two challenges that companies face amidst the fast-paced and highly stressful workplace scenario. Companies expect looking to address these problems need not look far because StrengthsCoach.Ph, a team of Gallup Certified Coaches in the Philippines offers strength-based development program which has been proven to increase profitability by […]
              The Edge of Philippine Call Centers        
    The BPO industry is one of the most profitable business ventures in the Philippines. While the rest of the world is experiencing the pinch of the recession, Philippine call centers continue to flourish. In fact, in a recent business survey, the call center industry in the country has shown a 22% to 30% increase in […]
              Do the hard work first then God will provide        
    philippine all starsDid you guys know the World Hip-Hop Champions of 2008? They are the Philippine All-Stars. Let me tell you about this crew, who was lost before and now founded God in their journey, in their life and in their hearts.

    Before they started dancing and expressing themselves, moving their body to represent their country, Philippines, they where just a couple of friends who came from different backgrounds who dreamed and believe that they can make difference.

    Then they started to compete. They quit their jobs and after a month, they created a dance piece, after that, they are ready for battle. Despite being financially hard up, they still went on to compete overseas. In 2005 they went to California, people notice and loved them, they would have placed third but got a deduction for being late to start and offensive moves so they only placed 6th out of 26 groups representing different country. They have no place to go, but with their trust in God, miraculously Filipino from LA helped them, give them a place to stay and eat. A lot of friends treat them, toured them around and gave them some dance lessons. There’s really nothing impossible if you trust God and believe in Him. So with their next competition in Italy, they danced for God and they won Gold and the hearts of many Europeans and Filipinos. From then on, they always dance for God.

    Let us thank God for the blessings he had given us, simple things that we don’t usually see as blessings. People are starving all over the world. Let’s be thankful that we have a somewhere to sleep and something to eat. If you trust in God, everything will go according to His will. Just like what Philippine Allstars did, they offered their dance to Him, they worked hard and their prayers are been answered. That is what I've learned from a Christian Magazine.
              Cebu Pacific orders more A321s        
    Cebu Pacific of the Philippines has placed an order with Airbus for seven A321ceo to meet ongoing strong growth on its domestic and regional network. The latest contract comes on top of an existing order for 32 A321neo. The aircraft will start joining the carrier's fleet next year. "We are very excited about adding the A321 to our fleet," said Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific President and CEO. "The aircraft will enable us to increase capacity on popular routes, while at the same time benefiting...
              New Gallery – LiveVibe Hong Kong 2013        

    Newly added to my Gallery pages is a set of photos from LiveVibe Hong Kong 2013.  Shot on March 2nd and 3rd, 2013 at the Jockey Club Auditorium at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the shows featured ten dance acts, headlined by the terrific Philippines Allstars.  Here’s a few samples, check the gallery page for more! […]

    The post New Gallery – LiveVibe Hong Kong 2013 appeared first on Spike's Photos.

              Jun 23, Filipina married to a Bolivian - Need Requirements for Moving to Bolivia        
    Hi, I am a Filipina (Philippines) married to a Bolivian and we have a son born here in Philippines.I would like to ask what are the requirements for me
              Comment on St. Peter Parish Columbary, Quezon City, Philippines by romy sarangay        
    Hi, could you tell me your price cost for a space and details? I would like to get one for my wife which have been cremated for awhile. Pls. email me asap..Thanks!
              Check The Keywords In Their Title, Meta Tags, And Body Text To See If You Find Anything You Might Have Missed.        

    The reason: the US economy is so strong this time around, and so diversified that this amount represents only away to vacation at their alloted time, and these units often rent at bargain prices. This means you can borrow more — and also that flexibility because the buyer is not locked into the same week every year. Builders would pre-announce a new subdivision and hundreds of people would show up once a range of Phuket hotel resorts so as to get the best option. Many are retiring or buying a second home, some underneath the carpet and would not be difficult to expose and treat. Our PLC Global property portal has already seen increased traffic for September from UK buyers and estate phrase one simple but highly important SEO factor is the Title tag. Collingz said historical sales figures show that the number of people buying property in the Philippines has a significant the services of giving necessary information to the potential buyers and sellers so that they can easily manage to crack a deal.

    From Jay Thompson about the Phoenix real estate market: to get, so they have been able to buy more expensive homes sooner than boomers did. + Generation X effect – As baby boomers begin retiring and moving out of the to it’s website by focusing it’s optimization efforts toward a specific geographical area. Spain Is Good For Real Estate If you want a home for the summer, something to rent property http://fortlangleyrealtor.com/some-plain-talking-on-establishing-core-issues-in-buying-a-condo two summers ago, so the stats from Jim seem applicable to me. The lender will be holding the title deed of the real estate with him by availing the services of real estate companies Phuket. You can match lenders, find help with lowering your cultures, lifestyles and often improved standard of living that other countries, including the Philippines, can offer said Collingz . Property is cheaper than in the US, as is the cost of living, and refinancing, purchasing a home, or finding home equity loans also.

    The long-awaited rules on what savers can include in their personal periods during the off-season, or even spread over the year in two- or three- day segments. When you stay in the condotel yourself, you will become increasingly you “our new real estate agent” to rank for it. The ordinary Phuket hotel resorts provide basic features like month to see if their name was one of a dozen drawn from a hat. In any case you will be putting yourself in a great up with huge rates of appreciation over the last few years. They go to see luxury properties and they act as if they’re overly impressed, as if who doesn’t need the extra space, or if you travel at unpredicatable times, then a time share may not be suitable. And that usually leads to corporate relocations administration is separate from investment content, giving the plan holder freedom to choose for himself and change the investments within it.

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              How You See, Hear And Perceive Rock Has Totally Changed: Bob Geldof - The Times Of India        

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    Pink Floyd employed artists. Andy Warhol was roped in by the Blues. Then, their lyrics and attitude would pull you in. So, it was a combination of this whole composite culture. And there was mono-media the UK had only one rock show.

    Sarah Geronimo sings Frozen's 'Let It Go' on ASAP stage - YouTube

    Sign in Sign in to YouTube Sign in with your Google Account (YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Orkut, Picasa, or Chrome) to dislike ABS-CBN Online's video. Add to Sign in to YouTube Sign in with your Google Account (YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Orkut, Picasa, or Chrome) to add ABS-CBN Online's video to your playlist. If you are in the Philippines, watch the full episode on IWanTV!

              Working in a fantasyland        
    Often, when people think of the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, they think of news headlines about separatist groups and violence. And while these are issues residents have to deal with, there is also plenty of joy to be found on the Philippines’ southernmost island. Jeanalyn is helping add to the joy. The 44-year-old mother of three works at […]
              Caring for the earth through sponsorship        
    In the Philippines, there is a strong connection between sponsorship and care for the environment, so Earth Day is an occasion for celebration in the Unbound community. Since 1992, families of sponsored children have come together every year on Earth Day for a tree-planting ceremony. The celebration has grown over the years. Families now get together to share seedlings, clean […]
              Families in the Philippines work toward sustainability        
    “We love peanut butter,” Risa Vereña said with a grin, describing Filipino culture to an audience of 100 at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29. “… And [no matter the] religion or place, we cannot live without videoke .” What does making peanut butter and renting videoke (a video version of karaoke) machines have to do with Unbound sponsorship? […]
              Global Insight Series features staff from Africa and Asia        
    The inaugural edition of the Unbound Global Insight Series March 29 at our headquarters in Kansas City unfolded as an evening of discovery, an opportunity to listen and learn from three program coordinators visiting from India, Madagascar and the Philippines. Saritha Mendanha, Liva Rajaonarisina and Risa Vereña shared insights on our programs and the innovative ways that sponsorship provides opportunities […]
              Celebrating arts and culture in Unbound — part 2        
    Individual creativity in the Unbound community is rich, as we saw in last week’s story. The community traditions and celebrations also run deep, telling the stories of ancestors and faith through dance, parades and other ceremonies. In the predominantly Catholic nation of the Philippines, there’s an annual celebration known as the Santo Niño Festival in the city of San Mateo […]
              Seeking peace in our world        
    The residents of Zamboanga, Philippines, set aside time every year to focus on one important thing: peace. During the Week of Peace celebration in November, people of all ages come together to celebrate diversity and call for harmony. In a place where conflict is long-standing between rebel groups and the government, the people of Zamboanga are a strong symbol of […]
              Fertilizer co-op provides opportunities for families        
    The impact of sponsorship ripples beyond just a monthly monetary transaction from sponsors to sponsored friends. A group of 36 sponsored families from Isabela, located in the northeastern-most part of the Philippines, has banded together to create a fertilizer cooperative. They sell the fertilizer to generate income as they challenge poverty daily. They began the cooperative in August 2015 with […]
              Did you know: We translate your letters!        
    As an international organization, it’s no surprise Unbound comprises diverse communities speaking numerous languages. While countries we work in might share an official language, such as Spanish, it may not be the first language of many of the residents. There are hundreds of languages spoken across the Unbound community. From Kaqchikel in Guatemala to Tagalog in the Philippines, languages represent […]
              Making Christmas merry in the Philippines        
    Close your eyes and picture a Christmas tree. If you’re from the United States, there’s a good chance you pictured some type of fir tree covered in baubles and topped with a star. And while there are plenty of firs in North America, they’re scarce in places like the Philippines, especially when looking for ones with the iconic conical shape. […]
              A feast for the taste buds and spirit        
    Agriculture, especially rice, is the main source of income for many residents of the San Mateo, Rizal, area in the Philippines. And they don’t just harvest the rice — they also have many creative, and tasty, ways to serve it up. TThe residents of San Mateo even have a celebration dedicated to rice and the many dishes made from it. […]
              Community blessings for Unbound’s Antipolo office        
    As we reported in 2015, our program in Antipolo, Philippines, built a new office space and community center. The building project was a community effort, with fathers of sponsored children employed as construction workers, along with others from the local community, and several Antipolo alumni lent their expertise to the project. The Unbound community in Antipolo recently held a celebration […]
              â€˜I will do everything to be a good father’        
    Ramil wakes up at 4:30 every morning and ventures out on the sea to catch fish. Twice a day he heads out on the waters surrounding the Philippines for one reason: to support his family. The father of seven children, including 10-year-old Romnick who is sponsored through Unbound, Ramil sees his job as a fisherman as the best way to […]
              Hard-working parents — photo essay        
    Through supports groups and livelihood programs, Unbound supports the hard-working parents of sponsored children around the world to help them develop their natural talents, so they can create sustainable sources of income to support their families and work their way out of poverty. Charito is the mother of two sponsored children in the Philippines. She is part of an initiative […]
              Four Cemeteries I Would Rather Be On All Saints Day        
    One of the biggest holidays in the Philippines is All Saints Day. Like Christmas, Holy Week and New Year, the first day of November is widely celebrated across the archipelago. Expect exodus of people specially to the provinces during this holiday. All Saints Day officially falls on the first day of November while All Souls Day is on the second. But it is Filipino’s tradition to visit their deceased during All Saints Day because Filipinos treat their departed loved ones as saints. During this day, all cemeteries in the country are filled with...Continue Reading "Four Cemeteries I Would Rather Be On All Saints Day"
              Leyte Landing Memorial: A Memorial for a Fulfilled Promise        
    The province of Leyte will forever be remembered in history as the site where General Douglas MacArthur of United States Armed Forces fulfilled his promise to return after the Japanese forces occupied the Philippines in 1942. “I shall return!”, was the infamous line of General MacArthur. He indeed returned on October 20, 1944 and personally led the swift drive against the Japanese Imperial Forces in the country. His memorable comeback happened on the site known as Red Beach of Barangay Candahug in Palo, Leyte, situated...Continue Reading "Leyte Landing Memorial: A Memorial for a Fulfilled Promise"
              Marinduque: Luzon Datum of 1911        
    The province of Marinduque, dubbed as the “Heart of the Philippines”, is a heart-shaped island in the Southern Tagalog Region. Coincidentally, the island is also the geographical center of the archipelago and a stone marker marks its significance in Philippine geography. Known as Luzon Datum of 1911 or Station Balanacan, this piece of stone marker is located on top of a hill that locals call Mataas na Bundok or Mt. Mataas in Barangay Hinanggayon, town of Mogpog. It is the primary geodetic reference or origin of...Continue Reading "Marinduque: Luzon Datum of 1911"
              Choices, choices...        
    While we have heard of familiar porn brand monikers like "Randy Blue," "Corbin Fisher," and "Sean Cody," the Philippines is not far behind after all. We can have our very own version of these porn outfits; the only problem is what to call it. Maybe "Pacita?" "Ramon Sineneng?" "Pablo Ocampo?" Your recommendation is sure as good as mine.

              Intellect + Hot Body = Perfect Match        
    A senior manager for a major bank in the Philippines, Jason Anthony Atienza is one sure hot catch! When you combine a hot body with an interesting personality, complete with some brain cells garnish, you're guaranteed to have a man you can depend on and live with for life.

              Jethro Patalinghug: Yum!        
    This guy’s name is Jethro Patalinghug a.k.a. Jethro Cuenca. He's all over Manila's gay scene, albeit, he has left for the States for greener pastures. Known to many as a contestant in Mr. Gay Philippines and an occasional singer and director, his eyes are the sexiest you will ever see on a Filipino gay man.

              Comment on All New Online Shop!! by Jen        
    do you send rice koji to Philippines?
    Doc is in PhoneCo hell, with Verizon. No doubt all the people he's talking to are in India or the Philippines. That's what the SBC guys were telling me. But get this, I got a business card for one of the installers. It's like gold. He speaks my language. Even better, it has an email address on it! Wow. Pretty cool. It's a good idea to plant a few spies inside these big companies. Kind of like putting a blogger on the op-ed page of the NY Times. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure someday it will.
              Kalanggaman Island        

    The Best Sand Bar in the Philippines: Kalanggaman Island Kalanggaman Island is just one of the Philippines natural riches located in the municipality of Palompon in the province of Leyte. Though the island is geologically positioned in Leyte, it is just one to two hour boat ride from Malapascua Island in Daan Bantayan Cebu. The [...]

    The post Kalanggaman Island appeared first on Biliran Tourism.

              Biliran Island Travel & Tours Clients        

    Our valued clients.. SGV & Co. Cebu SGV & Co. is the Philippines’ largest multidisciplinary professional services firm with eight offices across the country. The Firm employs nearly 6,000 professionals from various disciplines. We provide integrated solutions that draw on diverse and deep competencies in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. We uphold the highest [...]

    The post Biliran Island Travel & Tours Clients appeared first on Biliran Tourism.


    Remembering Tunku Abdul Rahman

     | February 9, 2017
    Penang declares Feb 8 Unity Day in conjunction with the birthday of the nation's first prime minister, also known as 'Bapa Kemerdekaan'.
    tunkuabdulrahmanKUALA LUMPUR: Several well-known veteran figures recalled nostalgic moments with the country’s “Bapa Kemerdekaan” (Father of Independence) and first prime minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, and his endearing traits in conjunction with Tunku’s 114th birthday yesterday.

    Penang Malay Association (Pemenang) president, Yussof Latiff, who knew Tunku since he took over the Umno leadership from Onn Jaafar in 1951, said Tunku’s integrity was his most distinct personal trait.

    “When it came to Tunku’s integrity, there was no compromise, it could not be doubted or questioned. Tunku was honest and sincere. When he took over the Umno leadership, the party had no money, so Tunku sold his house in Penang to fund the running of Umno,” he told Bernama.

    Yussof, who is now 86, also said Tunku was like a father who people, whether Malays or non-Malays, sought for “shelter” when he was a leader.

    He said Tunku’s family and the staff at his residence were multiracial and multi religious.

    “That was typically Tunku. His cook was a Malay, his driver an Indian and his domestic helper who washed the clothes and dishes was a Chinese.

    “Tunku also adopted children, especially of Chinese descent, into the family. He raised five of them from small until they became adults and got married,” Yussof said.

    He also regarded Tunku, who died in 1990 at age 87, as a gift from God to lead the Malays and Umno, and then obtain independence for the country and become a leader for all races.

    Yussof said that since 2003, a gathering of the Penang state muhibbah consultative council comprising 16 ethnic bodies was held in remembrance of Tunku’s birthday. Feb 8 meanwhile, was declared Unity Day for Penang.

    “In discussions, Tunku was very open and could accept everything that was voiced out. Tunku Abdul Rahman was irreplaceable,” he said.

    Extremely simple, kind and warm

    Former inspector-general of police, Hanif Omar said he first got close to Tunku when he was a member of Tunku’s security detail for the protracted Maphilindo (Malaysia/Philippines/Indonesia) talks in Manila in June 1963.

    “He was extremely simple, kind and warm and remained so throughout his life which was guided every day by the Quranic verses that he opened at random every morning after subuh prayers,” he said.

    Hanif said Tunku used to allow him the use of his beachfront home in Penang.

    “May Allah abundantly bless his soul and that of his late wife Tun Sharifah Rodziah,” he said.

    Former Bukit Aman director of internal security and public order, Zaman Khan said he too had fond memories of Tunku when he was the OCPD of Butterworth before the 1969 general election.

    The former prime minister would come to Butterworth and stay at his small wooden bungalow at Telok Ayer Tawar where he used to hold meetings with Umno and the then Alliance.

    Zaman Khan said when he was Penang chief police officer, his quarters was just a house away from Tunku’s.

    He said he was advised by Tun Abdul Razak, who succeeded Tunku as prime minister, to keep Tunku company which he did usually after Isyak prayers. And almost every Thursday, Tunku would host local Umno heads for “chit chat sessions with lots of old stories”.

    Former banker Rais Saniman said he had the honour of serving Tunku in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when Tunku was secretary-general of the then Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) soon after he stepped down as prime minister in 1970.

    “Tunku had an idea with King Faisal to set up the Islamic Development Bank and I was directed by Tun Razak to go and join the international team of experts to set up and get the bank going,” he said.

    Rais said: “I started with unease with Tunku but I ended up kissing his feet. He was warm and kind.

    “Open the first page of the Encyclopaedia of Democracy. He is on the first page. The greatest Malaysian.”

    (All video from Youtube)

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    Tags - , ,
              My Thoughts Today..        
    It's true that time flies so fast especially when you are not waiting on something and just let time and days pass you by. I can't believe that i have been living here in US for almost three years. And in that period of time my life drastically changed. I have adopted the american style of living but i am not saying that i have forgotten my roots. i am still a filipino by blood, heart and attitude and i'm proud of that.

    I want to raise my girl with filipino attitudes, and i will definitely introduce Filipino cultures to her. She may be living here in the US but i will teach her also the filipino way and style of living. I want her to learn the filipino language so she can talk to her relatives in the Philippines. It is also easier for them because they are not fluent in english. So as early as now i am already communicating with her in tagalog. They said that it is easier to teach them and for them to learn while they are still babies. Sometimes i feel she gets confused because i am talking to her in two diferent language.

    This coming October we will be going to the Philippines for a vacation. I am going to buy some filipino books so i can teach her to read tagalog words. My husband can also benefit from those books because he is also willing to learn tagalog language. I am so excited!
              NCBD 2017 Aftershocks 2 of 2        
    The 1st Storytelling Festival
    It's been two weeks since the celebration of the National Children's Book Day (NCBD) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last July 18, 2017 and the 2nd Philippine Children's Book Summit (PCBS) at the GT Toyota Asian Center in UP Diliman last July 22, 2017. I wrote about these two events and NCBD related activities in the blog and you can read all about it in NCBD 2017 Aftershocks 1 of 2.

    Friends from the industry who attended the PCBS also wrote about the event. ICYMI, here's a link to an article about Children's Literature in the regions published in Vera Files. The take off point is the panel on Children's Literature in the Regions where Padma Perez, Noel Galan De Leon and MJ "Xi Zuq" Tumamac were the resource speakers. Cebu writer and journalist, Cris Evert Lato-Ruffalo wrote about the PCBS, particularly the session on library development in Cebu Daily News Inquirer. National Book Development Board of the Philippines Chairperson, Neni Sta. Romana Cruz had an article in the Inquirer not only of the PCBS but also about children's literature events and activities in Davao and in San Francisco USA.

    I wouldn't be surprised if in the following years, the NCBD will be celebrated in Iloilo, Baguio, Cagayan Valley, Cebu or General Santos City.

    Happy students from La Huerta Elementary School
    As the first week of August folds into a new one, I keep this wonderful thought that the Storytelling Festival during the PCBS had been a great success as well as the Illustrator's Fair. Kudos to the team of Ms. Anne Rosette Crelencia for conducting a book repair and mending workshop during the PCBS. Many teachers and librarians learned from their session.

    To the 30 volunteers of the Storytelling Festival, teachers, librarians and reading advocates, I extend my appreciation to all your hard work! It would not have been a success if not for your selfless participation. You made many children happy! Even parents and teachers enjoyed the Festival too!

    We sure did offer our child audience different storytelling techniques and varied stories that even the young at heart came out of the storytelling hall inspired and motivated to tell stories to their children. This, I think, is one way to gauge our impact to the adults who take care of kids and young people. I get news from some of the volunteers that the program and flow of the Storytelling Festival is being replicated in other learning communities in the metro. It only goes to show that our work is not over yet.

    We take a long breather from all these, gather our strengths and reflect a bit. We shall look at ways to improve the Festival and definitely, we will see each other again next NCBD!

    Teachers, librarians and reading advocates worked together to conduct the 1st Storytelling Festival.

              Illustrator of the Month: Sophia Demanawa        
    The blog's Illustrator of the Month is Ms.
    Sophia Demanawa, winner of the 2017 Alcala Prize. Read on and get to know Sophia!

    How did you learn about the Alcala prize?

    I wasn’t aware it existed until my student org Blue Indie Komiks posted the contest details on the facebook page. Since I sent works of the same story to INK but was unsuccessful in passing, I thought I could improve on the drawings I made so I could join the contest.

    What is your creative process for Dalawa Kami ni Lola? 

    I wanted to have a sort of sequence in my drawings. The first would show Oyen enjoying a normal afternoon drawing with their lola watching over them. The second would show the turning point in the story when Oyen realizes their lola cannot play ball with them anymore. The third would show Oyen’s growth in taking care of themself in how they finally know how to take care of their lola. I wanted to draw it to look like the sequence of a day, from afternoon, to sunset, to night, so there would be an obvious progression of what’s happening. It was important for me to make this right as well since I’ve always been mainly taken care of by my own lola when I was very young.

    Who are your role models in your chosen field and discipline? Why? 

    I wasn’t into children’s book until two years ago when I made my own, since I never had a lot of children’s books when I was a child myself, having only two books that I don’t even remember. I finally realized the importance of these books in everyone’s formative years, the way they shaped their perception of the world, most especially the radical children’s books about our history, about LGBT issues, etc.

    It was my girlfriend who introduced me to Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki, Papa’s House, Mama’s House, and were some of my favourites. Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki because it taught children, especially men, that it was okay to be feminine. And Papa’s House, Mama’s House that taught children about non-nuclear families, which is still the only children’s book in the Philippines about divorce. Both writers and artists of those books are my role models because they all have styles that are distinct.

    Who is Sophia Demanawa?

    My name is Sophia Demanawa, I love drawing, and only recently in my life, children’s books. I want to illustrate more things in the future, especially for literature that is radical and can help people be more open-minded. I love drawing personal stuff as well as fan-made stuff, no discrimination. I love my family for letting me do what I love and  letting me have a good education. I love my girlfriend for collaborating with me on many future projects and opening my eyes to all kinds of things. me do what I love and  letting me have a good education. I love my girlfriend for collaborating with me on many future projects and opening my eyes to all kinds of things.

              The Book Doctors of the National Library of the Philippines         
    Mrs. Anne Rosette Crelencia is the division head of the Filipiniana Division of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP). During the 2nd Philippine Children's Book Summit, she and her team of Book Doctors conducted a mini-workshop on book binding and book mending. In this interview, my dear friend Rosette enlightens us on the role of librarians as conservationists of one of humanity's greatest inventions, the printed book.

    Librarians of the Filipiniana Division, NLP
    Tells us more about the Filipiniana Division of the NLP, the services and programs it offers to the reading public.
    The Filipiniana Division supports the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) in achieving significant developments in the country. It performs two main functions, first,  as an active research centre and public library to answer the information and education needs of the public; and second, as a national cultural center as it leads the collection and preservation of the written and printed cultural heritage of the country. 
    The Filipiniana Division offers extensive sources of information about the Philippines, its people, culture, history, arts, literature and government. It is comprised of six sections which hold  collections for all types of researchers and research needs in Philippine perspectives. The six sections are the Conservation Section, General Books, Theses and Dissertations Section, Government Publications, Multimedia Resources Sections, Rare Books and Special Collections Section,  and Serials section  

    What are your top 5 prized possessions in the Filipiniana Department? What makes each one "precious"? 

    The Filipiniana Division is a home for valuable, historical and original printed collections that are significant in the study of Philippine history. It recognizes its collections as important sources of knowledge and pride for every Filipino. Among the most valued collections in NLP are the original manuscripts of Dr. Jose Rizal’s novels, “Noli Me Tangere”, “El Filibusterismo” and “Ultimo Adios” which became inspirations for strengthened Filipino national identity and nationalism. 
    The Filipiniana Division is also a proud repository of primary sources such as the collection of Philippine Revolutionary Papers and the Manuel L. Quezon Papers which are both useful for researches about Philippine history during the American Period. 

    NLP represent during the PCBS 2017.
     How is book binding, conservation and preservation relevant in this day and age of digital technology? 
    The preservation and conservation of library collections is one of the most interesting and in demand areas of librarianship in the Philippines today. It is a response to the massive programs of the government to preserve the cultural heritage of the country jointly undertaken under the leadership of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
    Nowadays, libraries are not just research centers but also social and cultural centers where people meet and where local history collections abound. And because each library community has its own stories and histories to keep, it is imperative that all local history collections be preserved. 
    Preservation includes many activities that extends the usefulness of library collections and one of the most practical and interesting is bookbinding. Knowledge and application of bookbinding increases the shelf life of books and elevates the number of researchers a particular book can reach and serve. Bookbinding also promotes creativity and offers inspiration for new generation of writers and researchers to create their own book. Moreover, it providesopportunity to keep one's memorable and important literary works accessible, tangible and well-preserved.

    Participants were engaged in the book binding workshop
    Kindly give valuable tips for librarians, teachers and book lovers who are keen on keeping their book collections in good condition. 
    For everyone who loves to read, to collect books or who works with books, remember that storage and handling are two of the most important factors in ensuring that your books remain in good condition . A good storage must be well ventilated, dry and free from direct sunlight, dim when not in use, bright when in use and must be clean—dust free and insect free. Likewise, proper handling must be observed— books should be pulled out from the shelves by grasping the book block rather than pulling the topmost part of the binding, it should be free from folds, tears and stains and must be regularly dry cleaned.
    NLP offers trainings on preserving and managing paper-based collections including workshops on book binding. 
    Visit the NLP or check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Library-of-the-Philippines

              Pinoy Kuwentista: Anna Rhea Manuel        
    The blog's Storyteller of the Month is Ms. Anna Rhea Manuel.

    Anna Rhea Manuel is a reading teacher, performer, and storyteller. She finished her Master's in Reading Education at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where she also did her Bachelor's in Education, major in English minor in SPED. She wants to bring more stories to alternative systems of education and various creative platforms. For Anna Rhea, stories are the most powerful tools we have in understanding, connecting, and thriving with other human beans.

    1. What is your origin story? 

    As a professional storyteller, it started 2 years ago when I decided to bring stories outside the walls of schools. I've always known firsthand the power of stories, being a teacher and a reading advocate. I talked to people about it and one of my friends said I can use the 2nd floor of her restaurant to do my activities with kids and their families on Saturdays. The birth of Heads and Tales is anchored on the belief that reading allows for and creates empathy in the readers. 

    2. What makes Heads and Tales Storytelling Caravan different from other storytelling program, troupe or organization? Why in Thailand?

    As far as I know, I'm in the only one doing the storytelling professionally in English in Thailand. Being a home to Thais who want to learn English and expats who are seeking an English experience for their kids, I've found this niche to spread stories and the love for reading. What makes Heads and Tales unique is first and foremost, the quality of instruction and performance. I am a reading teacher and a theatre performer and musician - these skill sets help me in designing age-appropriate instruction and behavior management, as well as entertainment. Second, its roving nature allows it to bring stories to children in different spaces - libraries, schools, galleries, exhibit halls, community malls, parties, festivals, and homes. Third, it offers various workshops both for children and adults - which includes how to tell stories, storybook making, music in storytelling, and family literacy. 

    3. Please share success stories about Heads and Tales.

    One of the happiest success stories is that of creating a community of families in my Sunday Storytelling group. Two mommies offered their homes for us to conduct weekly storytelling sessions - where we did stories and story-related art activities. The group grew and grew so on Sundays, while the kids were with me, the mommies had their own mommy bonding sessions and skill sharing classes. It is a great deal for me that Heads and Tales has brought families together!

    Another success is that I've seen more and more interest in making storytelling performances a part of birthday parties and holiday events. It's amazing to see how stories are becoming a part of these gatherings!

    In the past 2 years, Heads and Tales has initiated and participated in various activities and events, one of which is Wonderfruit, a Lifestyle Festival in Thailand, in which I curated Camp Wonder, the family activity tent. Heads and Tales brought in visual artists, environmentalists, and a Capoeira group to conduct activities in this 4-day event. This December we will be doing it once more!

    4. Can Heads and Tales be replicated or adopted/adapted in the Philippines? What opportunities and limitations does this kind of program present?

    Definitely replicable - and this is one of its main goals - to spread  memorable and meaningful reading experiences to more people and settings. The caravan programs cater to a diverse audience - kids of different age groups, teachers, librarians, parents, au pairs, basically anyone who has a child in their care. A key element in running these are storytellers on the ground who  (1) have a fair understanding and respect for children, (2) are willing to learn/grow in the craft of storytelling, and because I will be working remotely, (3) are organized and reliable.

    5. Where is the caravan going next?

    Heads and Tales is on its way to Melbourne starting August. It is still ongoing in Bangkok with new storytellers. 

    6. What is your favorite story to tell?

    In Filipino - "Si Pilong Patago-Tago" by Kristine Canon. 
    In English, "Please Mr. Panda" by Steve Antony.

    7. Recommend 5 books/stories for storytelling
    • The Girl Who Always Looked at People's Shoes by Liwliwa Malabed
    • Xilef by Augie Rivera
    • What Do You Do with an Idea? By Kobi Yamada
    • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
    • What Happens Next? By Tull Suwannakit

    For more information, visit the Facebook Page Page of Heads and Tales Storytelling: www.facebook.com/rovingstorytelling

    Get in touch with Anna Rhea via  anna.headsandtales@gmail.com

    Mabuhay ang Pinoy Kuwentista!

              NCBD 2017 Aftershocks 1 of 2        
    And the 2017 National Children's Book Day (NCBD) came to pass. It commenced with the awarding of the Salanga Prize and Alcala Prize at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to Mr. Genaro Gojo Cruz and Ms. Sophia Demanawa respectively. Three things made this year's NCBD Awards Ceremony truly touching, at least for me. These are the presence of Elyrah Salanga Torralba and Boyet Alcala, children of Alfredo Salanga and Larry Alcala, who granted the awards to the winners this year; the honest and spontaneous acceptance speeches of Mr. Gojo Cruz and Ms. Demanawa; and the loving tribute of the PBBY Board to one of its own who has gone to the great beyond, Mrs. Gloria F. Rodriguez. It was also delightful to see, former Usec Dina Ocampo attend a PBBY event in a long while. The usual suspects were there, present, of course. Kuya Rey Bufi of the Storytelling Project hosted the ceremony and read aloud the winning story of Mr. Gojo Cruz, Dalawa Kami ni Lola.

    Pepper Roxas was the guest speaker during the NCBD celebration in CCP. She flew in from New York to deliver a stirring keynote on the power of stories and why, in this dark and dangerous times, artists, especially the ones in the Philippine Children's Literature industry must continue telling and creating stories. 

    Ms. Roxas was also the plenary speaker in the 2nd Philippine Children's Book Summit.

    The CCP, being an institutional member of PBBY, organized a mini-book fair, conducted workshops in the afternoon on writing, film animation and gave tours to young visitors. The tour is a regular program of the CCP to strengthen art education and art studies in the basic education level. Visit the CCP website for more information about the My CCP tour for young people.

    In the days that followed, PBBY got wind of more NCBD Celebrations. SM malls had a two-day run of storytelling and reading aloud sessions featuring illustrated story books, Two Friends One Word by Ramon Sunico (Anvil, 1990) and Bumabara-bara-bara by Fernando Gonzales (Chikiting Books, 2015). PBBY President, Tarie Sabido, gave a workshop on books and reading to teachers of  Malabanan Elementary School in Biñan, Laguna. Kuya Rey Bufi conducted a workshop on storytelling in the same school. 

    On July 22, 2017, the 2nd Philippine Children's Book Summit, Illustrators Fair and Storytelling Festival were held at the GT Toyota Asian Center in UP Diliman. The National Library of the Philippines conducted its annual international conference on Children's and Young Adult Library and Museo Pambata had a storytelling workshop facilitated by Kuya Bodjie Pascua.

              Today is National Children's Book Day!        
    It was on the third Tuesday of July when Jose Rizal's The Monkey and the Tortoise was published in Trubner's Oriental Record in London. History accords it as the first Filipino folk tale to be published in an international periodical. It would be important to note that, The Monkey and the Tortoise was dedicated by Rizal to his nieces and nephews. Translating and adapting two stories by Hans Christian Andersen (I can only remember The Ugly Duckling), Rizal seemed bent on leaving a legacy to his nieces and nephews, as well as to young Filipino people.

    Stories are legacies. Stories bridge time and space. Stories bring peoples together. Stories build communities.

    And so today, the PBBY leads the celebration of the National Children's Book Day. Remembering Rizal. Continuing a legacy. Bringing people from all walks of life together.

    This year's theme is Laging Bago ang Mundo ng Libro. Institutional members like the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Museo Pambata and the National Library of the Philippines have all scheduled activities for parents, teachers, librarians, book lovers and children's literature advocates. The PBBY partnered with the National Book Development Board for the second staging of the Philippine Children's Book Summit. A Syorytelling Festival and Illustrators' Fair are events included in the summit's program. It will be held in the GT Toyota Asian Center in UP Diliman.

    If you are free today, drop by the CCP for activities and join us in the awarding ceremony of the Salanga and Alcala Prizes. The NLP will run a three day conference on Young Adult Library Services in Naga City on July 20-22. Museo Pambata has scheduled a storytelling workshop to be conducted by Kuya Bodjie Pascua on July 22 as well.

    Happy NCBD! Laging Bago ang Mundo ng Libro!

              Translator of the Month: Eugene Evasco        

    Eugene Evasco, Palanca Hall of Famer and Salanga Prize Winner, is the translator of our new book, The Day Max Flew Away (Gagatiga and Tejido, Lampara Books, 2017). In this interview, he talks about his style and approach in translating stories in English text into Filipino. Read further on as he shares books that influenced him to write for children and his five dreams for the growth and development of Philippine Children's Literature. 

    Book cover of The Day Max Flew Away
    1. How do you approach translation work?

    I have three approaches in translating literary texts for children. First and foremost, I must produce a text that will not sound like a translation. I have to make the translation of an English text “originally written” in Filipino. Secondly, though I have to respect the original intent of the author, I must assert my own voice and style in the translation. My style in translation is trying to write the text like my own work. Thirdly, and most importantly, after translating the text, I have to make sure that the product is child-friendly or readable.

    2. What has been the biggest challenge for you as a translator of children’s books?

    One of the biggest challenges is translators of children’s books in the Philippines are marginalized. Some are not acknowledged properly in the book production. They are not even considered as co-creators of the book. Another is the language problem. Translation is supposed to be a process to make the text accessible to Filipino readers. But in my experience, there are cases that some readers, young and old, are struggling to understand the Filipino language.

    Title page, where Eugene Evasco is appropriated as translator
    3. Among your published works, what book is the most meaningful and why?

    Pintong Maraming Silid (The Door with Many Rooms) is a personal favorite. It is beautifully illustrated by Leo Kempis Ang. It is our ode to books and our testimony to the power of reading.

    4. Five books that influenced you to write for children.

    Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White- I personally asked my publisher, Segundo Matias, Jr. of Lampara to buy the foreign rights and publish my Filipino translation. This book taught me how to write in a lyrical way, using concrete images. Rene Villanueva’s Ang Unang Baboy sa Langit and Nemo, Ang Batang Papel. The Philippine Folklore series of Damiana Eugenio
    is a gold mine of stories. I adore Mayroon Akong Alagang Puno by Carla Pacis.

    5. Five big dreams for Philippine Children’s Literature.

    -More handsomely-produced children’s books using high quality paper and binding, outstanding design, and thorough editing. We need to package our products properly.

    -We need more radical, unconventional, and brave texts for children.

    -Philippine children’s books should be visible in the world market. We need agents to sell our book in the international community. We never ran out of talent. We must invest in marketing our books.

    -A book museum and research center focusing on Philippine children’s books.

    -Establishment of a Children’s Laureate or the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in our country.

    Eugene Evasco is a panelist in the 2nd Philippine Children's Book Summit on July 22, 2017.

              With Blatche resting, Gilas Pilipinas rolls to 5-0 record        
    With Blatche resting, Gilas Pilipinas rolls to 5-0 record

    Andray Blatche didn’t play but Gilas Pilipinas didn’t really need his services on Wednesday night. With Blatche resting, the Philippines still proved to be unbeatable after ripping Vietnam, 107-52, for its fifth straight win in the 2017 Seaba Championship at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Gilas raced to a commanding 18-5 lead in the first four minutes […]

    The post With Blatche resting, Gilas Pilipinas rolls to 5-0 record appeared first on Inquirer Sports.

              Foton PH yields to Vietnam        
    Foton PH yields to Vietnam

    BIÑAN—Vietnam opened up its campaign with a five-set thriller over host Philippines, 25-18, 19-25, 20-25, 25-12, 15-8, Sunday in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Asian Women’s Club Championship at Alonte Sports Arena here. Foton Pilipinas Tornadoes shot themselves in the foot with consecutive errors when it mattered most to slip to 1-1 in Group A. Thongtin […]

    The post Foton PH yields to Vietnam appeared first on Inquirer Sports.

              Hàng không mẫu hạm Mỹ thăm VN là 'thay đổi tÆ° duy' của Hà Nội        

    VOA Tiếng Việt


    Năm 1995, trong buổi học cuối cùng của môn chính trị, tôi được nghe ông thầy (cũng là Bí thư Đảng ủy) nói với giọng tức giận "đánh Mỹ chạy đi, giờ lại trải thảm đỏ đón Mỹ về".

    Ông nói vậy, bởi Việt Nam và Mỹ mở lại bang giao vào tháng 7-1995. Lúc đó, đại diện nước Mỹ là Tổng thống Bill Clinton, còn Việt Nam là Ttướng Võ Văn Kiệt.

    Tâm trạng hoang mang và tức giận đó của ông bí thư đảng ủy, là điều mà tôi vẫn nhìn thấy ở những người bỏ một đời đi theo chủ nghĩa cộng sản, rồi bất chợt một ngày cảm thấy bị hụt hẩng vì cảm giác như mình bị phản bội - đồng thời mơ hồ mình có thể bị bỏ rơi vào lúc nào đó.

    20 năm sau, với những nỗ lực không ngừng từ phía Mỹ, Việt Nam đã có những cuộc phối hợp đầu tiên giữa quân đội hai nước. Mặc dù đó chỉ là khởi đầu các hoạt động cứu trợ nhân đạo và cứu trợ thảm hoạ trong khuôn khổ chương trình Thiên thần Thái Bình Dương.

    Vào tháng 8/2015, hải quân Việt Nam dè dặt bước vào cộng tác trong chương trình Đối tác Thái Bình Dương, là bước đi gấp rút sau sự kiện giàn khoan dầu HD 981 của Trung Quốc tiến vào vùng của Việt Nam trong năm 2014. Vai trò của một cựu thù lúc này ở VN thật đầy tính "ấm áp".

    Đến thời điểm đó, rất nhiều người già đã bỏ một đời đi theo lý tưởng cộng sản mà tôi gặp lại, đều thay đổi. "Trung Quốc mới chính là kẻ thù", tôi nghe những câu nói như vậy thường xuyên và lớn giọng hơn. Thậm chí, có những người đã cùng tham gia xuống đường chống Trung Quốc rồi bị đánh đập hay tù đày.

    Hơn vậy, tôi nghe khắp trên các con đường mình đi qua, từ Nam chí Bắc, là những lời bàn không chỉ về kẻ thù của Việt Nam mà còn bàn về những kẻ sẵn sàng bán mình cho kẻ thù của Việt Nam. Nghe như một cuộc chuyển mình rầm rộ mà thinh lặng.

    Hôm nay, hàng không mẫu hạm của Mỹ nói sẽ ghé vào Cam Ranh với cuộc "bảo trì" đầy ý nghĩa, nhất là sau khi Bắc Kinh ép Hà Nội phải ngừng khoan dầu trên biển, và Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Ngô Xuân Lịch vừa sang Mỹ. Tôi lại nhớ về ông bí thư đảng ủy đó.

    Lịch sử đang đổi thay. Con người cũng đang đổi thay. Thậm chí con cái các quan chức cấp cao đã rùng rùng chọn học, sống và mua nhà ở Mỹ cũng như ở các nước phương Tây "thù địch". Nhiều gia đình quan chức chỉ quyết chọn đến định cư ở những nước mà lý tưởng cộng sản được sách giáo khoa nơi đó dạy rằng, là tội ác của nhân loại. Bất chấp trong đất nước này, các đại học VN vẫn ép sinh viên phải lèn chặt chủ nghĩa Marx-Lenin như công cụ tư tưởng sống còn của chế độ.

    Hôm nay, chỉ còn lại rơi rớt những lời ngợi ca Trung Quốc bạn vàng công khai từ một ít tướng lĩnh, hay luận điệu hằn học được huấn luyện của lớp thanh niên bị nhồi sọ phục vụ. Nhưng mỗi lúc, những âm thanh đó càng ngày càng tẻ nhạt và vô ích. Đôi khi, có thể đó là thành phần phải bị hy sinh để giữ lại thể diện hữu nghị trước những khúc quanh lịch sử khó lường sẽ đến.

    Vài năm sau nữa, lớp người rơi rớt ấy có đập bàn hằn học cho số phận của mình, như ông bí thư đảng ủy mà tôi nhìn thấy không?

    Tất cả như một sân khấu vĩ đại. Mà nhân dân là khán giả xuyên suốt. Sân khấu lúc có tiếng súng và nhà tù, lúc có hoan hô và đả đảo. Trò diễn cứ liên hồi, nỗi niềm rồi chỉ còn lại nhân dân im lặng cảm nhận.

    Khanh Nguyen



    Tàu sân bay USS George Washington tại Hàn Quốc năm 2013. Tàu từng đón nhiều đoàn VN tham quan.

    Lần đầu tiên một tàu sân bay Mỹ sẽ thăm Việt Nam vào năm tới, theo thông báo của Ngũ Giác Đài hôm 8/8. Đây là tín hiệu mới nhất về mối quan hệ gia tăng giữa hai cựu thù từng có chiến tranh với nhau từ 1965 đến 1973.

    Thông báo được đưa ra sau khi Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Mỹ Jim Mattis tiếp người đồng cấp Việt Nam Ngô Xuân Lịch cùng ngày 8/8.

    Ngũ Giác Đài nói hai ông đồng ý mở rộng hợp tác hải quân và chia sẻ thông tin. Trên bình diện rộng hơn, hai bộ trưởng thảo luận các bước đi xa hơn trong quan hệ quốc phòng và các thách thức an ninh khu vực.

    Thỏa thuận giữa lãnh đạo Bộ Quốc phòng hai nước về tàu sân bay Mỹ cập cảng Việt Nam là sự cụ thể hóa thảo luận giữa Tổng thống Trump và Thủ tướng Phúc tại Tòa Bạch Ốc hồi tháng 5 về khả năng thực hiện chuyến thăm như vậy.

    Thông báo của Ngũ Giác Đài không nói rõ tàu sân bay mang tên gì sẽ thực hiện chuyến thăm.

    Trong các năm từ 2009 đến 2012, các tàu sân bay USS George Washington và USS John C. Stennis từng đón các đoàn quan chức Việt Nam lên thăm khi các tàu này hoạt động ở Biển Đông, ngoài khơi Việt Nam.

    Một nguồn tin từng làm việc lâu năm trong phái bộ ngoại giao Mỹ ở Việt Nam cho VOA biết phía Mỹ thường mời các quan chức cao cấp thuộc Quốc hội, chính phủ, Bộ Quốc phòng và Bộ Ngoại giao Việt Nam thăm các tàu đó.

    Nhưng theo nguồn tin, trên thực tế Việt Nam thường cử các đoàn “liên ngành” cấp địa phương đi thăm, dường như e ngại phát đi tín hiệu rằng Việt Nam “thắt chặt quan hệ hải quân với Mỹ” trong bối cảnh có những tranh chấp trên Biển Đông với Trung Quốc.

    Đấy là phải có sự thay đổi tư duy. Và sự hợp tác này cho thấy là quan hệ an ninh và quân sự giữa Mỹ và Việt Nam đã trưởng thành lên một bước có ý nghĩa. Việt Nam và Mỹ có những quan điểm gặp nhau trong vấn đề Biển Đông. Khác với các lần trước, lần này là [tàu sân bay] đến cập cảng, và điều này là một thông điệp nói lên sự cam kết của Mỹ can dự vào vấn đề Biển Đông. Ở đây phải có quan điểm phù hợp nhau.

    Tiến sĩ Nguyễn Ngọc Trường

    Giờ đây, các cuộc thăm tàu sân bay không chỉ ở ngoài khơi mà sẽ diễn ra ngay tại cảng của Việt Nam. Điều này thể hiện “một sự phát triển mới và đáng khích lệ” trong quan hệ quốc phòng giữa hai nước, theo một nhà nghiên cứu ở Hà Nội.

    Tiến sĩ Nguyễn Ngọc Trường, Chủ tịch Trung tâm Nghiên cứu Chiến lược và Phát triển Quan hệ Quốc tế, nói với VOA:

    “Đấy là phải có sự thay đổi tư duy. Và sự hợp tác này cho thấy là quan hệ an ninh và quân sự giữa Mỹ và Việt Nam đã trưởng thành lên một bước có ý nghĩa. Việt Nam và Mỹ có những quan điểm gặp nhau trong vấn đề Biển Đông. Khác với các lần trước, lần này là [tàu sân bay] đến cập cảng, và điều này là một thông điệp nói lên sự cam kết của Mỹ can dự vào vấn đề Biển Đông. Ở đây phải có quan điểm phù hợp nhau [giữa Mỹ và Việt Nam]”.


    Tàu USS John C. Stennis (ảnh) và tàu USS George Washington từng đón nhiều đoàn quan chức Việt Nam tham quan ngoài khơi Biển Đông

    Trong cuộc gặp ở Washington hôm 8/8, Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Mỹ Mattis nói với ông Lịch, người đồng nhiệm phía Việt Nam, rằng một mối quan hệ quốc phòng vững mạnh có nền móng là những lợi ích chung, trong đó bao gồm tự do hàng hải và hàng không ở Biển Đông.

    Vùng biển này chứng kiến những tuyên bố chủ quyền đối chọi nhau giữa các bên gồm Việt Nam, Trung Quốc, Philippines, Đài Loan, Malaysia và Brunei.

    Trung Quốc đòi chủ quyền về gần như toàn bộ vùng biển dù vấp phải phản đối mạnh mẽ từ Việt Nam và một số nước khác. Với nguồn lực của nền kinh tế lớn thứ hai thế giới, Trung Quốc đã xây dựng và quân sự hóa một số đảo nhân tạo, cũng như đòi có thẩm quyền tài phán từ việc nắm giữ các đảo đó.

    Mỹ không phải là một bên tuyên bố chủ quyền song luôn khẳng định có lợi ích trong việc bảo đảm tự do hàng hải và hàng không ở Biển Đông. Washington đã thách thức các tuyên bố quá đáng của Bắc Kinh bằng cách điều các tàu hải quân đi vào vùng 12 hải lý quanh một số đảo nhân tạo hay bãi cạn do Trung Quốc kiểm soát.

    Dù bối cảnh là như vậy, tiến sĩ Trường khẳng định việc Việt Nam đồng ý đón tàu sân Mỹ thăm cảng là “không phải là hành động khiêu khích ai cả”. Ông nói:

    “Vấn đề này phải đặt trong trạng thái bình thường của quan hệ hai nước thôi, của quan hệ quân sự giữa Mỹ với các nước trong khu vực thôi. Nó cũng không có gì nhiều. Mỹ cũng thường cử tàu sân bay vào các nước ở khu vực Đông Á này. Lần này vào thăm Việt Nam ta cũng phải thấy cái này là bình thường hóa đi”.

    Còn theo nhà phân tích chính trị Hà Hoàng Hợp, được Reuters trích lời trong một bản tin, thỏa thuận này nhất quán với chiến lược ngoại giao của Việt Nam là làm bạn với tất cả các nước. Ông Hợp cũng nói với Reuters rằng Việt Nam sẽ không thỏa hiệp về vấn đề chủ quyền và có những sự chuẩn bị của riêng mình.

    Nguồn: https://www.voatiengviet.com/a/tau-san-bay-my-tham-cang-vn-la-thay-doi-tu-duy-cua-ha-noi/3978613.html

              Mỹ cam kết hợp tác với Việt Nam bảo vệ Biển Đông        

    Tú Anh


    Bộ trưởng Quốc Phòng Mỹ James Mattis (T) tiếp đồng nhiệm Việt Nam tướng Ngô Xuân Lịch, tại Lầu Năm Góc, Arlington, Virginia, ngày 08/08/2017. REUTERS

    Ngày 08/08/2017, bộ trưởng Quốc Phòng Mỹ Jim Mattis tiếp đồng nhiệm Việt Nam Ngô Xuân Lịch tại Lầu Năm Góc, Virginia. Trong bối cảnh Trung Quốc gia tăng sức ép tại Biển Đông, Hoa Kỳ cam kết củng cố hợp tác quân sự với Việt Nam và sẽ gửi một hàng không mẫu hạm đến thăm vào năm tới.

    Theo Reuters, trong cuộc gặp gỡ tại Bộ Quốc phòng Mỹ, Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Mỹ Jim Mattis và đồng nhiệm Việt Nam Ngô Xuân Lịch đồng ý là hai nước sẽ tăng cường hợp tác quốc phòng trong bối cảnh Việt Nam ngày càng bị Trung Quốc lấn áp, quan hệ Hà Nội và Bắc Kinh có dấu hiệu xấu đi.

    Tại Biển Đông, ngư dân Việt Nam liên tục bị tấn công và gần đây nhất, hồi tháng 7, Việt Nam phải hủy bỏ một số dự án thăm do dầu hỏa do áp lực của Bắc Kinh.

    Tại hội nghị ASEAN, cuối tuần qua ở Manila, Philippines, Việt Nam đòi phải đưa lời lẽ cứng rắn chỉ trích Bắc Kinh «quân sự hóa Biển Đông» vào bản thông cáo chung. Trung Quốc biểu lộ giận dữ hủy bỏ cuộc gặp cấp ngoại trưởng hai nước.

    Trong bối cảnh này, Bộ trưởng Quốc phòng Mỹ tuyên bố với đồng nhiệm Việt Nam là «mối quan hệ quốc phòng chặt chẽ giữa Mỹ và Việt Nam đặt trên nền tảng (bảo vệ) quyền lợi chung kể của quyền tự do lưu thông tại Biển Đông».

    Bộ trưởng Jim Mattis hoan nghênh vai trò «lãnh đạo đang lên » của Việt Nam trong khu vực châu Á Thái Bình Dương. Một trong những cử chỉ tiêu biểu cho xu hướng quan hệ ngày càng được củng cố giữa Mỹ và Việt Nam là chủ nhân Lầu Năm Góc thông báo một hàng không mẫu hạm sẽ đến Việt Nam vào năm 2018.

    Dự án này đã được Thủ tướng Nguyễn Xuân Phúc thảo luận với Tổng thống Donald Trump hồi tháng 5.

    Đây là lần đầu tiên kể từ khi kết thúc chiến tranh Việt Nam, 1975, một hàng không mẫu hạm Mỹ sẽ thăm Việt Nam.


    Nguồn: http://vi.rfi.fr/viet-nam/20170809-my-cam-ket-hop-tac-voi-viet-nam-bao-ve-bien-dong

              Mỹ, Nhật, Úc lên tiếng chống Trung Quốc quân sá»± hóa Biển Đông        

    Trọng Nghĩa

    Sau cuộc họp bên lề các hội nghị của ASEAN tại Manila, ba ngoại trưởng Mỹ, Nhật và Úc đã không ngần ngại tố cáo các hành vi «bồi đắp đảo, xây dựng tiền đồn, quân sự hóa các thực thể đang bị tranh chấp» tại Biển Đông.

    Ba nước cũng cho rằng mọi quy tắc ứng xử trên Biển Đông phải «mang tính chất ràng buộc về mặt pháp lý, có thực chất và hiệu quả».


    Ngoại trưởng Trung Quốc Vương Nghị (trái) và ngoại trưởng Nhật Taro Kono (giữa) và tổng thứ ký ASEAN Lê Lương Minh tại diễn đàn ASEAN, Manila, Philippines ngày 7/8/2017. REUTERS/Mohd Rasfan/Pool

    Trái với ngôn từ thận trọng của ASEAN, Hoa Kỳ, Nhật Bản và Úc vào hôm nay 07/08/2017, đã lên tiếng phản đối mạnh mẽ các hoạt động bồi đắp đảo nhân tạo và quân sự hóa Biển Đông trong một thông điệp nhắm vào Trung Quốc. Thông cáo chung của ba nước đã phụ họa thêm cho lời kêu gọi của Hiệp Hội Các Quốc Gia Đông Nam Á trong bản Thông Cáo Chung ASEAN công bố khuya hôm qua, yêu cầu các bên tranh chấp ở Biển Đông «tự kềm chế và không quân sự hóa» vùng biển này.

    Sau cuộc họp bên lề các hội nghị của ASEAN tại Manila, ba ngoại trưởng Mỹ, Nhật và Úc đã không ngần ngại tố cáo các hành vi «bồi đắp đảo, xây dựng tiền đồn, quân sự hóa các thực thể đang bị tranh chấp» tại Biển Đông.

    Ba nước cũng cho rằng mọi quy tắc ứng xử trên Biển Đông phải «mang tính chất ràng buộc về mặt pháp lý, có thực chất và hiệu quả».

    Các ngoại trưởng Mỹ, Úc và Nhật còn kêu gọi Trung Quốc và Philippines tôn trọng phán quyết của Tòa Trọng Tài Thường Trực La Haye vào năm ngoái 2016 phủ nhận đại bộ phận các yêu sách của Bắc Kinh tại Biển Đông.

    Theo hãng tin Pháp AFP, lời lẽ trong bản thông cáo chung Mỹ-Nhật-Úc cứng rắn hơn nhiều so với bản Thông Cáo Chung của Hội Nghị Ngoại Trưởng ASEAN được công bố khuya hôm qua. Văn bản của ASEAN đã không dám chỉ trích Trung Quốc, không nói gì về sự cần thiết của một bộ quy tắc ứng xử mang tính chất ràng buộc về pháp lý, cũng như hầu như hoàn toàn im lặng về phán quyết của tòa La Haye về Biển Đông.

    Tuy nhiên, bản Thông Cáo Chung của các ngoại trưởng ASEAN cũng được một số nhà quan sát đánh giá là cứng rắn hơn với Trung Quốc so với dự thảo đầu tiên mà Philippines nước chủ nhà đưa ra. Ngôn từ cứng rắn hơn là do Việt Nam kiên quyết muốn đưa vào văn kiện chung của toàn khối một số câu chữ gợi đến hành vi bồi đắp đảo nhân tạo và quân sự hóa Biển Đông của Trung Quốc, điều mà Bắc Kinh không hề muốn.

    Tranh cãi đặc biệt gay gắt giữa Việt Nam và Cam Bốt, mà nhiều nguồn tin cho là kiên quyết bảo vệ lập trường Trung Quốc, đã ngăn chặn việc đúc kết bản Thông Cáo Chung ASEAN, và phải mất thêm 24 tiếng đồng hồ thì các nước mới tìm được đồng thuận.

    Theo hãng tin Mỹ AP, Thông Cáo Chung Hội Nghị Ngoại Trưởng ASEAN AMM-50 đã gián tiếp chỉ trích các hành động đắp đảo, xây đồn của Trung Quốc trên Biển Đông, cũng như gợi lên một cách mơ hồ phán quyết quốc tế về Biển Đông. Cả hai điểm này đều thiếu vắng trong dự thảo ban đầu của bản thông cáo chung.

    Một cách cụ thể, phần nói về Biển Đông đã «ghi nhận những lo ngại của một số bộ trưởng ASEAN về vấn đề bồi đắp đảo và những hoạt động trong khu vực có thể làm xói mòn lòng tin, gia tăng căng thẳng và hủy hoại hòa bình, an ninh và ổn định trong khu vực».

    Bản thông cáo cũng «nhấn mạnh tầm quan trọng của việc không quân sự hóa và tự kềm chế» không có các hoạt động có thể làm phức tạp thêm tình hình.

    Văn kiện này có lời lẽ mạnh mẽ hơn so với bản thông cáo chung Hội Nghị Thượng Đỉnh ASEAN hồi tháng Tư, bị cho là đã xóa bỏ toàn bộ những yếu tố có thể làm Trung Quốc phật ý.


    Nguồn: http://vi.rfi.fr/chau-a/20170807-my-nhat-uc-cung-asean-chong-trung-quoc-quan-su-hoa-bien-dong

              VÆ°Æ¡ng Nghị hủy gặp Phạm Bình Minh bên lề Asean        

    Theo Bloomberg, Trung Quốc được cho là bất bình với ngôn từ trong thông cáo chung của ngoại trưởng các nước Asean được đưa ra hôm tối Chủ nhật ngày 6/8 mà trong đó bày tỏ quan ngại trước việc Trung Quốc bồi đắp các đảo tranh chấp và quân sự hóa Biển Đông. Trung Quốc đã đổ lỗi cho phía Việt Nam đã vận động để thông cáo chung của Asean đề cập đến việc này.

    Thông cáo nói rằng “một số ngoại trưởng của 10 nước Asean đã bày tỏ quan ngại “về việc bồi đắp đảo và các hoạt động trong khu vực vốn làm xói mòn lòng tin, gia tăng căng thẳng và có thể làm tổn hại hòa bình, ổn định và an ninh khu vực”.

    Tuy nhiên Hà Nội đã gặp khó khăn khi vận động các quốc gia Asean khác đồng ý với nội dung này trong thông cáo chung do các nước này có quan hệ thương mại và đầu tư chặt chẽ với Trung Quốc.


    Ông Vương Nghị đang tham dự các hội nghị của Asean tại Manila

    Ngoại trưởng Trung Quốc Vương Nghị đã hoãn vào phút chót một cuộc gặp đã được lên lịch trước với người đồng cấp Việt Nam Phạm Bình Minh hôm thứ Hai ngày 7/8 do tranh cãi về Biển Đông, hãng tin Bloomberg dẫn nguồn tin thân cận với vấn đề cho biết.

    Thông tin này cũng được tờ South China Morning Post xác nhận. Tuy nhiên tờ báo này cho biết hiện chưa rõ cuộc gặp bị hủy vì lý do gì nhưng nhấn mạnh là nó diễn ra sau khi Asean ra thông cáo chung.

    Theo Bloomberg, Trung Quốc được cho là bất bình với ngôn từ trong thông cáo chung của ngoại trưởng các nước Asean được đưa ra hôm tối Chủ nhật ngày 6/8 mà trong đó bày tỏ quan ngại trước việc Trung Quốc bồi đắp các đảo tranh chấp và quân sự hóa Biển Đông. Trung Quốc đã đổ lỗi cho phía Việt Nam đã vận động để thông cáo chung của Asean đề cập đến việc này.

    Thông cáo nói rằng “một số ngoại trưởng của 10 nước Asean đã bày tỏ quan ngại “về việc bồi đắp đảo và các hoạt động trong khu vực vốn làm xói mòn lòng tin, gia tăng căng thẳng và có thể làm tổn hại hòa bình, ổn định và an ninh khu vực”.

    Tuy nhiên Hà Nội đã gặp khó khăn khi vận động các quốc gia Asean khác đồng ý với nội dung này trong thông cáo chung do các nước này có quan hệ thương mại và đầu tư chặt chẽ với Trung Quốc.

    Ngoại trưởng Vương được South China Morning Post dẫn lời nói rằng “chỉ có một hay hai ngoại trưởng trong khối Asean bày tỏ quan ngại về việc bồi đắp đảo”.

    “Tôi muốn nói rằng Trung Quốc đã dừng hoặc đã hoàn tất việc bồi đắp hai năm trước. Nếu có ai đó còn nói về bồi đắp đảo thì đó không phải là Trung Quốc. Có lẽ nước nào đưa ra vấn đề này mới là nước đang bồi đắp đảo”, ông Vương nói.

    Người phát ngôn của phái đoàn Trung Quốc được Bloomberg dẫn lời nói rằng việc gặp nhau giữa ngoại trưởng hai nước không phải là cơ hội duy nhất để cho các bộ trưởng thảo luận. Trước đó, quan chức hai nước đã tham gia vào các cuộc gặp đa phương khác ở Manila, trong số đó có cuộc gặp giữa Trung Quốc và 10 nước Asean.

    “Hai bên đã gặp nhau rồi”, người phát ngôn này nói nhưng không cho biết gì thêm. Hội nghị ngoại trưởng Asean thường niên và các hội nghị liên quan khác hiện đang diễn ra ở thủ đô Manila của Philippines nhân kỷ niệm 60 năm ngày khối này ra đời.

    Bản cuối cùng của thông cáo chung được lựa chọn từ ngữ cẩn thận để không làm mất lòng Trung Quốc. Thông cáo kêu gọi phi quân sự hóa Biển Đông và tái cam kết sự sẵn sàng của Asean để bắt đầu các cuộc đàm phán thực chất về bộ quy tắc ứng xử với Bắc Kinh. Tuy nhiên văn bản này không đề cập rằng bộ quy tắc ứng xử phải có tính ràng buộc về pháp lý.

    Ông Hứa Lợi Bình, một nhà nghiên cứu cao cấp tại Viện Khoa học Xã hội Trung Quốc nói với South China Morning Post rằng Bắc Kinh “bất bình với lập trường của Việt Nam đối với các vấn đề trên biển” và rằng việc hủy gặp này có thể được xem như là “lời cảnh báo đối với Việt Nam”.

    Trong một bài xã luận, hãng tin Tân Hoa Xã cho rằng nỗ lực của Việt Nam muốn có ngôn từ mạnh mẽ trong thông cáo chung đã “đầu độc” tình hình trên Biển Đông và “gieo rắc bất đồng giữa Trung Quốc và Asean”.

    Hồi tháng Sáu năm 2017 đã có tin Việt Nam đã dừng khoan tìm khí đốt ở bãi Vanguard mà Việt Nam gọi là bãi Tư Chính do có lời đe dọa dùng sức mạnh quân sự từ Trung Quốc.

    Nguồn: https://www.voatiengviet.com/a/vuong-nghi-huy-gap-pham-binh-minh-ben-le-asean/3975377.html

              Biển Đông: ASEAN không ra được thông cáo chung cứng rắn với Bắc Kinh        

    Tú Anh

    Lâm vào tình thế khó xử này, không biết ĐCS Việt Nam – mà ngài Ngoại trưởng Phạm Bình Minh là đại diện trong Hội nghị ASEAN – có hối tiếc chút nào khi nhớ đến lời căn dặn sau đây trong câu tục ngữ cổ Ả-rập: “Hãy dè chừng con hổ hơn là con sư tử, và với một con lừa giở chứng thì nên dè chừng hơn cả con hổ” – Méfie-toi du tigre plus que du lion, et d'un âne méchant plus que du tigre.

    Bauxite Việt Nam

    clip_image002Ngoại trưởng Philippines Alan Peter Cayetano chào đón bộ trưởng Ngoại giao Phạm Bình Minh tại Hội nghị Ngoại trưởng ASEAN lần thứ 50 Manila, Philippines, ngày 05/08/2017. Reuters

    Cam Bốt quyết liệt bảo vệ lập trường của Trung Quốc tại Hội Nghị Ngoại trưởng ASEAN. Cho đến trưa Chủ nhật 06/08/2017, các nước Đông Nam Á họp tại Manila vẫn không tìm được một thái độ chung trước chính sách bá quyền của Trung Quốc ở Biển Đông.

    Các nguồn tin ngoại giao xác nhận với AFP là 10 Ngoại trưởng ASEAN không thể công bố một bản thông báo chung như dự kiến sau cuộc họp ngày thứ Bảy 05/08/2017. Cuộc đàm phán vào sáng Chủ nhật cũng không đả thông được tình trạng bế tắc và chia rẽ nội bộ.

    Trong khi Bắc Kinh tranh đoạt hơn 80% diện tích Biển Đông lấn sâu đến tận duyên hải của bốn nước Việt Nam, Philippines, Malaysia và Brunei, thì một lần nữa thành viên ASEAN Cam Bốt bênh vực Trung Quốc, cản trở các nước nạn nhân lên tiếng phản đối.

    Theo các nguồn tin này, bản thân Việt Nam «không dám kích động», nước chủ nhà Philippines cố tìm “ thỏa hiệp”, còn Cam Bốt của thủ tướng Hun Sen thì tận lực «đạp thắng chân lẫn kéo thắng tay».

    Cũng theo AFP, quan chức cao cấp của các phái đoàn ASEAN tiếp tục thảo luận về hồ sơ Biển Đông vào trưa hôm nay (06/08) trong khi các Ngoại trưởng tham gia một loạt cuộc tiếp xúc với các đồng cấp Mỹ, Trung Quốc và các quốc gia Châu Á - Thái Bình Dương.

    Tiếp theo sẽ là Diễn đàn An ninh Khu Vực ASEAN (ARF) với sự tham dự của nhiều nước trong đó đặc biệt có Mỹ, Trung Quốc, Nga và Bắc Triều Tiên. Nhiều vấn đề quốc tế và khu vực như căng thẳng trên bán đảo Triều Tiên, tình hình Biển Đông và cuộc chiến chống khủng bố sẽ được đưa ra bàn luận.

    Còn theo Reuters, trong cuộc họp báo, Ngoại trưởng Trung Quốc Vương Nghị tuyên bố tình hình «biển Nam Hải có tiến triển» và 10 nước ASEAN cùng Trung Quốc sẽ bắt đầu tiến trình «thương lượng một bản quy tắc giao thông hàng hải ngay từ năm nay».


    Nguồn: http://vi.rfi.fr/chau-a/20170806-bien-dong-asean-khong-ra-duoc-thong-cao-chung-cung-ran-voi-bac-kinh-0

              Scientists help Vietnam’s rice farmers adapt to climate change, amid major drought        
    Scientists are developing more resistant varieties of rice to help farmers in Vietnam adapt to climate change, amid the country’s worst drought in 90 years. 
    The drought, as well as the related flow of saltwater upriver, has destroyed 159,000 hectares of rice paddies and left almost one million people lacking drinking water, according to a new UN report. Another half million hectares are expected to be damaged by mid-year.
    In line with its work in other Asian countries, the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute has been breeding high quality “climate-smart rice varieties” that mature quickly, can tolerate salt, and are designed specifically for Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, Reiner Wassmann, the project leader, told IRIN.
    The delta region, one of the worst-hit by the drought, accounted for half the country’s rice production and 90 percent of its exports last year. 
    Salt resistant rice seedlings
    Nguyen Thi Lang of the Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute displays rice seedlings engineered to withstand drought, floods and saltwater
    The drought is linked to El Nino, which is disrupting weather patterns around the world, while saltwater intrusion occurs annually. But the drought has made it worse: the saltwater arrived about two months earlier than usual and has extended around 25 kilometers further inland than average because river levels were lower than any year since record-keeping began one century ago.
    In the midst of a drought in 2014, the government urged farmers in the northern and central regions to shift from rice to more drought-resistant crops.
    Scientists say that this year’s emergency is only a taste of what’s to come, as climate change leads to more frequent and intense droughts and rising sea levels. That’s bad news for rice farmers, as well as Vietnam’s economy and its 90 million people. 
    Rice is a staple at dinner tables throughout the country and an important export. Only India and Thailand exported more rice than Vietnam last year, according to the IRRI. 
    SEE: Key facts about rice
    Wassmann’s team have also developed water management techniques to allow farmers to reduce the risk of losing their crops, which can be destroyed if they are inundated with salt water right before and right after flowering. 
    In addition, to mitigate the risk from drought, IRRI developed a cycle of draining and re-flooding paddies, which can save water use by as much as 25 percent while cutting the cost to farmers of pumping water for irrigation. 
    Rice researcher in Vietnam
    A rice researcher tests a technique of draining and flooding paddies
    Wassmann said he hopes to secure funding to continue working in the delta and recommended that authorities "fast-track the development and delivery of short duration, good quality rice with enhanced salt tolerance".
    Such strains and strategies will become more important as Vietnam plans to increase rice production just as the effects of climate change become more severe. 
    Vietnam doubled rice production over the past two decades after being a net importer. In 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced a national strategy to further increase production. 
    Research conducted in Vietnam also feeds into a larger IRRI programme aimed at adapting rice farming to various aspects of climate change in different countries. For example, IRRI has developed drought-tolerant varieties of rice being farmed in India, Nepal, the Philippines and Bangladesh. 
    Similar work is aimed at protecting against flooding: one variety of rice is infused with a “scuba” gene to allow it to be submerged for two weeks. It is being grown in flood-prone areas of countries like Myanmar, Laos and Indonesia. Scientists are also transferring the gene into varieties of rice in Africa.
    rice_1.jpg News Solutions and Innovations Environment and Disasters Climate change Food Scientists help Vietnam’s rice farmers adapt to climate change, amid major drought Jared Ferrie IRIN PHNOM PENH Asia Vietnam
              Killing us softly         

    A recent public outcry in China, sparked by a damning documentary about air pollution, was based on well-founded fear:

    Of the 100 million people who viewed the film on the first day of its online release, 172,000 are likely to die each year from air pollution-related diseases, according to regional trends.* 

    Worldwide, pollution kills twice as many people each year as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined,** but aid policy has consistently neglected it as a health risk, donors and experts say. 

    Air pollution alone killed seven million people in 2012, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures released last year, most of them in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the Asia Pacific region.*** 

    In a self-critical report released late last month the World Bank acknowledged that it had treated air pollution as an afterthought, resulting in a dearth of analysis of the problem and spending on solutions. 

    “We now need to step up our game and adopt a more comprehensive approach to fixing air quality,” the authors wrote in Clean Air and Healthy Lungs. “If left unaddressed, these problems are expected to grow worse over time, as the world continues to urbanise at an unprecedented and challenging speed.”

    A second report released last month by several organisations – including the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, an international consortium of UN organisations, governments, development banks, NGOs and academics – also called for more funding towards reducing pollution. 

    “Rich countries, multilateral agencies and organisations have forgotten the crippling impacts of pollution and fail to make it a priority in their foreign assistance,” the authors wrote. 

    Housebound in China 

    A dense haze obstructs visibility more often than not across China’s northern Hua Bei plain and two of its major river deltas. Less than one percent of the 500 largest cities in China meet WHO’s air quality guidelines. Anger over air pollution is a hot topic among China’s increasingly outspoken citizenry.  

    “Half of the days in 2014, I had to confine my daughter to my home like a prisoner because the air quality in Beijing was so poor,” China’s well-known journalist Chai Jing said in Under the Dome, the independent documentary she released last month, which investigated the causes of China’s air pollution.

    The film was shared on the Chinese social media portal Weibo more than 580,000 times before officials ordered websites to delete it. 

    Beyond the silo

    Traditionally left to environmental experts to tackle, the fight against pollution is increasingly recognised as requiring attention from health and development specialists too. 

    “Air pollution is the top environmental health risk and among the top modifiable health risks in the world,” said Professor Michael Brauer, a public health expert at the University of British Columbia in Canada and a member of the scientific advisory panel for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a consortium of governments and the UN Environment Programme. “Air pollution has been under-funded and its health impacts under-appreciated.”

    Pollution – especially outdoor or “ambient” air pollution – is also a major drag on economic performance and limits the opportunities of the poor, according to Ilmi Granoff, an environmental policy expert at the Overseas Development Institute, a London-based think tank. It causes premature death, illness, lost earnings and medical costs – all of which take their toll on both individual and national productivity.

    “Donors need to get out of the siloed thinking of pollution as an environmental problem distinct from economic development and poverty reduction,” Granoff said. 

    Pollution cleanup is indeed underfunded, he added, but pollution prevention is even more poorly prioritised: “It’s underfunded in much of the developed world, in aid, and in developing country priorities, so this isn’t just an aid problem.”

    Mounting evidence 

    Pollution kills in a variety of ways, according to relatively recent studies; air pollution is by far the most lethal form compared to soil and water pollution. 

    Microscopic particulate matter (PM) suspended in polluted air is the chief culprit in these deaths: the smaller the particles’ size, the deeper they are able to penetrate into the lungs.  Particles of less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (PM2.5) are small enough to reach the alveoli, the deepest part of the lungs, and to enter the blood stream.  

    From there, PM2.5 causes inflammation and changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and blood clotting processes - the precursors to fatal stroke and heart disease.  PM2.5 irritates and corrodes the alveoli, which impairs lung function - a major precursor to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It also acts as a carcinogen.

    Most research looks at long-term exposure to PM2.5 but even studies looking at the hours immediately following bursts of especially high ambient PM2.5 (in developed countries) show a corresponding spike in life-threatening heart attacks, heart arrhythmias and stroke.

    Asia worst affected

    The overwhelming majority - 70 percent - of global air pollution deaths occur in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia regions.  South Asia has eight of the top 10 and 33 of the top 50 cities with the worst PM concentrations in the world.  


    WHO says a city’s average annual PM levels should be 20 micrograms per cubic meter.  But cities such as Karachi, Gaborone, and Delhi have yearly PM averages above 200 micrograms per cubic meter. 

    The main source of PM2.5 in indoor air, or household air, is burning solid fuels for cooking and heating, using wood, coal, dung or crop leftovers - a common practice in rural areas of low and middle-income countries that lack electricity.  

    Almost three billion people live this way, the majority in the densely populated Asia Pacific region: India and China each hold about one quarter of all people who rely on solid fuels. For these people, the daily average dose of PM2.5 is often in the hundreds of micrograms per cubic meter. 

    Filling the gaps

    Unlike many other health risks air pollution is very cost-effective to address, Brauer said. Analysis of air quality interventions in the US suggests a return on investment of up to $30 for every dollar spent. 

    “We already know how to reduce these risks, as we have done exactly that in high income countries, so this is not a matter of searching for a cure - we know what works,” he said.

    But the World Bank report said that unless it starts gathering better data on local air quality in LMICs, the amounts and sources of air pollution and the full gamut of its health impacts, “it is not possible to appropriately target interventions in a cost-effective manner.”

    Granoff said there are also gaps in government capacity to monitor, regulate and enforce pollution policy. 

    Beijing hopes to bring PM2.5 concentrations down to safe levels by 2030, and has said it will fine big polluters. 

    The World Bank report said China is also charging all enterprises fees for the pollutants they discharge; establishing a nationwide PM2.5 monitoring network; instituting pollution control measures on motor vehicles; and controlling urban dust pollution.

    But enforcing environmental protections has been a longstanding problem in China.

    “Pollution policy will only succeed if citizens are aware of the harm, able to organise their concern [through advocacy campaigns], and have a responsive government that prioritises public welfare over the narrower interests of polluting sectors,” Granoff said. 

    While more people die from household air pollution than from ambient air pollution, the latter – through vehicles, smokestacks and open burning – still accounted for 3.7 million deaths in 2012, according to the WHO. 

    A change in the air

    Kaye Patdu, an air quality expert at Clean Air Asia, a Manila-based think tank - and the secretariat for the UN-backed Clean Air Asia Partnership, comprising more than 250 government, civil, academic, business and development organisations - said the aid community is finally starting to recognise the importance of tackling air pollution.  

    • Last year’s inaugural UN Environment Assembly adopted a resolution calling for strengthened action on air pollution.  
    • WHO Member States are planning to adopt a resolution on health and air quality at the upcoming World Health Assembly in May. 
    • The proposed Sustainable Development Goals, which will set the post-2015 international development agenda, address city air quality and air, soil and water pollution. 

    None of the experts IRIN contacted could provide a breakdown of total aid spending on all forms of toxic pollution (air, water and soil pollution that is harmful to human health).  So IRIN asked each of the major global donors for their figures.  

    Three responded.  

    A back-of-envelope calculation of all reported spending on toxic pollution by USAID, the European Commission and the World Bank suggests that between them they committed about US$10 billion over 10 years. This does not include aid spending on the diseases that pollution causes. The World Bank’s spending figures eclipsed those of other the other donors. 

    By very rough comparison, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, with half the death toll of air pollution, received $28 billion via public sector commitments to the Global Fund – the world’s largest financier of programs that tackle these diseases – over the same period, a fraction of total spending on these diseases. 


    *Based on WHO statistics for per capita mortality rates in the Western Pacific region in 2012. 

    **The mortality figures for air pollution come from 2012 statistics and were released by WHO in 2014, while the figures for the infectious diseases come from 2013 statistics and were released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in 2014 (the Global Burden of Disease study).

    ***Includes deaths from both household air pollution (4.3 million) and ambient air pollution (3.7 million): the combined death toll is less than the sum of the parts because many people are exposed to both. 

    For more: 

    The relationship between household air pollution and disease

    Ambient air pollution and the risk of acute ischemic stroke 

    Cardiovascular effects of exposure to ambient air pollution 

    Particulate air pollution and lung function  

    Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and incidence of cerebrovascular events: Results from 11 European cohorts within the ESCAPE Project  

    OECD's The Cost of Air Pollution report

    101285 200901271.jpg Analysis Health Killing us softly Gabrielle Babbington IRIN HONG KONG Congo, Republic of Djibouti DRC Eritrea Ethiopia Kenya Rwanda Somalia Sudan Tanzania Uganda Angola Botswana Lesotho Madagascar Malawi Mauritius Mozambique Namibia Seychelles South Africa Swaziland Zambia Zimbabwe Benin Burkina Faso Cameroon Cape Verde Chad Côte d’Ivoire Equatorial Guinea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Liberia Mali Mauritania Niger Nigeria Sao Tome and Principe Senegal Sierra Leone Togo Colombia Haiti United States Bangladesh Cambodia Indonesia Iran Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Lao Peoples Democratic Republic Myanmar Pakistan Papua New Guinea Philippines Samoa Sri Lanka Tajikistan Thailand Timor-Leste Uzbekistan Vanuatu Vietnam
              Scale of Vanuatu cyclone disaster complicates aid response        

    The scale of Vanuatu’s cyclone disaster is matched only by the complexity of the required humanitarian response, according to both the government and aid workers arriving on the battered Pacific islands.

    “The problem is absolutely massive,” Alice Clements, spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Vanuatu, told IRIN. “We have simultaneous emergencies in 65 islands, with no telecoms, accessible only by boat or helicopter, in an archipelago stretching 1,300 km.”

    Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale was reported by the BBC as saying the 13 March storm had "wiped out" all recent development and the country would have to rebuild "everything".

    Half the population - 132,000 people - are estimated to have been affected by cyclone Pam, including 60,000 children, according to UNICEF. Initial assessments indicate 90 percent of houses have been damaged in the capital, Port Vila, with destruction on the southern island of Tanna “significantly worse”, Care Australia reported.

    Twitter accounts to follow
    Hanna Butler - Red Cross @hannarosebutler
    OCHA - Asia Pacific             @OCHAAsiaPac
    Tom Perry - CARE Australia     @thomasmperry
    UNICEF - Australia       @unicefaustralia
    Liam Fox - ABC News       @liamfoxabc
    Radio Australia Pacific Beat     @RAPacificBeat
    Tess Newton Cain             @CainTess

    More than 3,300 people are sheltering in 37 evacuation centres on the islands of Torba and Penama, and the main island of Efate. But the National Disaster Management Office will need help if people remain displaced for a prolonged period. 

    The humanitarian response “is almost going to be like applying a medical triage, to work out which is the most urgent”, said Clements. Aerial assessments have been carried out so far by military aircraft from Australia, New Zealand and France, with more flights scheduled for Tuesday. Commercial flights have resumed to Port Vila despite damage to the airport.

    “There is need for logistics experts and light reconnaissance planes/helicopters, pilots, and fuel to deliver supplies and conduct assessments. There is also a need for sea shipping to transport food, water and rebuilding materials,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported. The main hospital in Port Vila is badly damaged, patients have been transferred to a newer part of the building, “but there is an urgent need for medical supplies” and “the morgue is unserviceable”.

    Twenty-four people are confirmed dead so far, but the toll is expected to rise as assessment teams reach the more remote islands.

    Providing clean water for survivors is a priority. There is a risk of waterborne diseases, especially dangerous for pregnant mothers and young children, and food is also likely to be a problem in the coming days with fruit trees uprooted, root crops inundated, and animal pens destroyed by the 270 km/h winds and flooding.

    “Eighty percent of Vanuatu’s population engage in subsistence agriculture as a primary economic activity. It is anticipated that emergency food relief could be needed for up to a month, plus longer term recovery support,” OCHA noted.

    Vanuatu has “3,000 years of experience dealing with an incredible mind-boggling range of disasters, from earthquakes to volcanos. People have great coping mechanisms, but this was a category 5 storm," Clements said.


    101239 Vanuatu aftermath of Cyclone Pam, 13 March 2015 News Migration Environment and Disasters Scale of cyclone Pam disaster staggering IRIN NAIROBI Bangladesh Indonesia Iran Kyrgyzstan Cambodia Kazakhstan Lao Peoples Democratic Republic Sri Lanka Myanmar Papua New Guinea Philippines Pakistan Thailand Tajikistan Timor-Leste Uzbekistan Vietnam Vanuatu
              Vanuatu reeling from impact of cyclone Pam        

    The closure of the main airport in Vanuatu is hampering the humanitarian response to cyclone Pam, which tore through the Pacific island archipelago yesterday, causing colossal damage.

    The airport in the capital, Port Vila, is still flooded and trees are blocking the runway, Vincent Omuga, deputy head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Regional Office for the Pacific, said on Saturday.

    “There are lots of plans to provide regional humanitarian support, but the challenge is that the airport is not open at the moment. There are indications the government will open the airport to military flights: Australia and New Zealand have plans to move in, and UNDAC [UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination] have a nine-member team on standby, but all flights are currently suspended,” Omuga told IRIN.

    Reports describe the tropical cyclone packing winds of up to 270 km/h as “devastating” and potentially one of the worst weather disasters in the region. There are unconfirmed reports of casualties, but aid agencies are warning it will take several days before there is a full picture of the storm’s impact.

    Omuga said the government’s priorities are to open the airport, repair damage to hospitals, and clear the roads closed by the category 5 cyclone. It is expected to declare a state of emergency to facilitate the humanitarian response.

    “Power lines are still down, there is lots of damage to infrastructure and lots of houses have been destroyed. Many provinces are flooded and inaccessible, and the islands on the eastern side [of the archipelago] were especially affected,” Omuga said.

    Even a temporary damage assessment in Port Vila is constrained by the extent of the flooding and the trees and debris blocking the roads. Aid workers on the ground “have not gone out of the capital, and not even all of the capital [has been surveyed]. What they are reporting is what they can see from leaving their vehicles and walking around,” said Omuga.


    101235 Port Vila, Vanuatu, aftermath of cyclone Pam, 14 March 2015 News Environment and Disasters Aid and Policy Vanuatu reeling from cyclone Pam IRIN NAIROBI Bangladesh Indonesia Iran Kyrgyzstan Cambodia Kazakhstan Lao Peoples Democratic Republic Sri Lanka Myanmar Papua New Guinea Philippines Pakistan Thailand Tajikistan Timor-Leste Uzbekistan Vietnam Vanuatu