Hong Kong disappoints with dismal voter turnout
A photo essay explores the one
day of the week that Filipinos in
Hong Kong look forward to
Yaya stands as mother of
the groom at his wedding
in an emotional moment
hong kong / manila edition
Issue 7, Volume 1
Opposition puts eight in Magic 12 as Gabriela cements its lead
The opposition has sent eight
candidates into the Magic 12 in
partial unofficial results released by
Namfrel even as Gabriela has firmed
up its lead in the party-list race.
Two independents and as many
administration candidates were in
the running for the 12 senate seats
as Filipino Globe went to press on
Loren Legarda led the senate
race with 2.79 million votes, Chiz
Escudero had 2.73 million and Ping
Lacson 2.48 million, followed by
Francis Pangilinan (2.33m), Manuel
Villar (2.31m) and Noynoy Aquino
Rounding out the top 12 were
administration bets Edgardo Angara
(2m) and Joker Arroyo (1.8m);
Gringo Honasan, Peter Cayetano,
Antonio Trillanes and Aquilino
Pimentel III, who each had slightly
over one million votes, with a flimsy
difference separating them.
Women’s rights group Gabriela
continued to dominate the contest for
party-list representatives, according
to Comelec figures.
Meanwhile, Jejomar Binay was
declared winner over former senator
Lito Lapid in Makati, and ex- mayor
Alfredo Lim took Manila after Ali
Atienza conceded defeat.
Poor result overshadows election itself
and clouds future of absentee voting
Gilda Medina Bernal in Hong Kong
The results are in. Filipinos in Hong
Kong voted with their feet, choosing
to stay away from the polling precincts and delivering an outcome that
worried officials and rekindled debate
over the future of absentee voting.
Only 19,185 of the more than
96,000 registered voters cast their
ballots. That’s slightly over 19 per
cent of the total, in contrast to the 77
per cent turnout when absentee voting was introduced during the 2004
The low turnout overshadowed the
result of the voting itself, in which
eight opposition candidates swept
into the Magic 12, led by Loren Legarda with 16,384 votes.
She was followed by independent
candidate Francis Pangilinan with
Manuel Villar (GO) came in third
with 13,263 votes while Ralph Recto
carried the banner for the Arroyobacked Team Unity with 10,823
votes. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
Tuason looks to cyberspace for
answers to questions on the fate of
absentee voting amid growing voter
apathy towards the exercise
Saudi shows global OAV trend
(GO) took the fifth slot with 10,585
votes while Peter Alan Cayetano
(GO) received 10,025 votes.
Rounding out the top 12 were Aquilino Pimentel (GO) 9,941; Panfilo
Lacson (GO) 9,303; Edgardo Angara
(TU) 8,879; Francis Escudero (GO)
8,716; Sonia Roco (GO) 7,515; and
Michael Defensor (TU) 6,190.
“We could have done better in being more proactive with our information campaign, especially on exercising one’s right to vote,” said Daphne
Ceniza-Kuok of the Filipino Community Services Network, who was
also vice-chair of the OAV board of
“We did not feel the presence in
Hong Kong of our election officials
Consul General Alejandrino Vicente accompanies Consul Kira Danganan as she leaves the consulate to
deliver the returns to Manila by hand as mandated by law. Photo: Paolo Sandino
this time, compared with 2004, which
was a good year for OAV,” she said.
Last-minute appeals from Consul
General Alejandrino Vicente and a
lightning visit by Comelec Commissioner Florentino Tuason during the
last week of the month-long exercise
went largely unheeded.
A rush of voters on May 6, the penultimate Sunday of voting, did little
to boost the turnout.
Tuason earlier expressed confi-
dence in the future of absentee voting
despite moves by politicians to either
suspend or scrap it for lack of support
from overseas nationals.
Hong Kong still topped other jurisdictions with the highest number of voters. Riyadh came second
with 7,519 voters; Jeddah, 5,041; Al
Khobar, 3,902; and Kuwait, 2,395,
according to reports from the OAV
“We really worked hard to keep
the number of voters up,” said Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, chairperson of
the Hong Kong Chapter of party-list
candidate Gabriela, which advocates
“We distributed sample ballots and
explained the importance of party-list
representation in the government,”
Gabriela dominated the party-list
contest in Hong Kong with 7,557
Tuason: future lies in internet voting
Comelec official pushes for online ballot as fallout from low worldwide turnout begins to hit home
Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong
Philippine election officials have
turned to cyberspace for answers after
a month of disheartening voter turnout in Hong Kong and elsewhere left
the future of overseas absentee voting
under a cloud.
Comelec commissioner Florentino
Tuason began the push for a shift to
Internet voting as turnout in the second overseas voting in the country’s
history fell way below the most cynical projections.
“It’s a little disappointing,” admitted Tuason, head of the Comelec’s
committee on overseas voting, after
a four-day inspection tour of the drab
Hong Kong balloting confirmed a
sharp decline in voter turnout that was
consistent around the world.
“Let’s just say [the turnout] didn’t
meet our expectations, and I fear that
the poor results have given opponents
of overseas voting more reason to
work for its repeal.”
Tuason, though, believes the internet offers a brighter future for the
OAV since online voting can lure
more overseas Filipinos to the election process with its decided edge in
terms of accessibility over the current
systems in place – precinct balloting
and voting by mail.
The Comelec has scheduled a pilottesting of an internet voting system
on June 10 in Singapore which, if
successful, could make it one of the
best options for the OAV in the next
election in 2010.
But more than the voting system, it
is the palpable apathy and cynicism
among overseas Filipinos on the political process that migrant leaders
insist are the biggest reasons most
registered voters stayed away.
They offered a combination of factors – a general feeling that Philippine
elections are an exercise in futility,
disinterest in the senatorial and partylist elections and a sense of resignation that their votes would make no
difference in a hopeless political situation.
“We have to accept the fact that
there’s a feeling of cynicism on the
political process,” said Daphne Ceni-
More Filipinos in Hong Kong registered
this year than in 2004, but getting
them to vote was another matter.
za-Kuok of the Center for Migrant
Advocacy. “I think (the turnout in the
OAV) will always depend on how the
government will perform in the future.”
Whatever the reasons, they caused a
drop so steep that Hong Kong – which
in 2004 posted the highest voter turnout percentage-wise among all overseas posts at around 77 per cent or
around 65,000 – could lure no more
than 19,185 of its 96,510 registered
voters this time.
Overall Comelec officials were
projecting no more than 80,000 votes
cast from 504,110 registered voters
worldwide, down from the 233,092
of 359,297 (65 per cent) that took part
in the 2004 polls.
The situation became so gloomy
there were days when the Bayanihan
Centre in Kennedy Town had the eerie feel of an abandoned warehouse,
the funeral silence occasionally broken by chatter from bored volunteers,
Our state of
was that we were
confident we could
have handled the
situation even if
in Hong Kong had
CONSUL KIRA DANGANAN
Board of canvassers chair
were the norm rather than the exception.
Except for Sundays and holidays, it
was not uncommon for some of the
22 precincts to serve fewer than 10
voters on a given day.
A fervent plea from Consul General
Alejandrino Vicente and emergency
meetings that mobilised migrant
groups in a last-ditch campaign to
convince Hong Kong voters to come
out and vote improved the numbers
over the final three weeks but failed
to arrest the decline.
Some of the flak fell on the consulate which militant groups rapped
for its alleged failure to encourage
Hong Kong-based voters to troop to
the polls – accusations officials were
quick to refute.
“We did our job,” said consul Kira
Danganan, chairwoman of the special
board of canvassers. “In fact our state
of preparedness was that we were
confident we could have handled
the situation even if all 96,000-plus
registered voters in Hong Kong had
However, Eman Villanueva, secretary-general of the United Filipinos
in Hong Kong, pointed out that it was
one thing to announce the elections
and another to convince voters to cast
“Overseas voting is something that
is not yet ingrained in the system of
migrant workers. Pangalawa pa lang
na OAV ito so bago pa sa kanila ito,”
Villanueva said. “So it’s not enough
na sabihan mo lang sila na may eleksiyon.” he said.
“A bigger effort should have been
made to encourage them to vote, to
inform them why they should vote.
And I think that’s where the consulate failed.”
During a meeting with migrant
groups in Hong Kong, Tuason backed
calls to assign election attaches in
overseas posts in the future to smoothen the overseas voting process.
But he added a Comelec request
for such had previously been rejected
by legislators citing budgetary constraints. There were also proposals in
Manila to legislate a law that would
require migrant workers to register for
the OAV prior to departure and mandate them to cast their votes, although
Tuason immediately cast doubts on
whether such a move would fly.
In the end, Tuason was the first to
admit that the lackluster turnout had
only served to give opponents of the
OAV law – “And there are many in
both the Senate and Congress,” he insisted – added ammunition to shoot it
Tuason said: “I fear the poor turnout will boost the cause of opponents
of the OAV who want to suspend,
overhaul or totally repeal the law that
paved the way for overseas voting.”
However, OAV proponents, like
Kuok, are not ready to concede defeat. “The turnout is disappointing,
but we can always be hopeful so long
as we are involved,” she said. “Some
people will always find a reason to
oppose the OAV, but we have to keep
on showing them the merits of the
“The OAV, afterall, is people power
for overseas Filipinos.”
Volunteers brighten up drab days at polling precincts
Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong
For the past month, Sister Jo has
hit the sheets past 1 am, was up
by 6 am for the early ferry ride
from Lamma to Hong Kong island
and was at the Catholic Centre in
Central by 7:30 for the mass.
By 9 am and for the next eight
hours, she was at the Bayanihan
Centre in Kennedy Town dutifully
manning her post on precinct No 2.
On the other side of the booth sat
Pastora Lorna, a cheerful lady from
the Assemblies of God ministries
whose smile and enthusiasm
never failed to brighten up the
drab atmosphere inside the voting
Their stories showed how faith
had brought forth a glimmer of
hope amid all the cynicism and
indifference and disappointment
that marked the second overseas
absentee voting in the territory.
“It’s a pleasure and a joy to be of
service to the country,” said Lorna
Abellano, 52, a resident in Hong
Kong for the past 10 years.
“Kaya when I heard that the
consulate was having a hard time
finding volunteers who can serve
full-time sa overseas voting, I
immediately put my name on the
list,” she added.
The 2007 voting was Pastora
Lorna’s second tour of duty
as an OAV volunteer, and was
therefore in a position to compare
the enthusiasm that greeted the
2004 voting to the lukewarm
reception it got this time. “Medyo
An election volunteer does her
bit for the country.
nakakalungkot,’’ she said. But
that hardly dampened her spirits.
She assisted voters with the same
zeal and diligence, and even went
beyond her job description by
phoning acquaintances whose
names she saw from the voting list,
encouraging them to cast their vote.
And of course, she threw in a lot
of prayers for good measure.
“Marami kang naririnig sa
mga tao na wala naman daw
mangyayari kahit bumoto sila,”
she said. “I kept telling them na
mayroon mangyayari, at mas
walang mangyayari kung hindi tayo
For Sister Jo, who is on a oneyear hiatus from her congregation,
the OAV offered her the perfect
opportunity to feel the pulse of
Filipinos in Hong Kong from a
political point of view.
But, throwing a glance at the
empty voting booths on a lazy
Monday at the Bayanihan Centre
precincts, Sister Jo said she could
not help but doubt if the month-long
process had been all worth it. “If the
purpose of the overseas voting is to
let overseas Filipinos exercise their
right to vote, papaano kung ayaw
naman nilang i-exercise ang right
Sister Jo said she had read in
newspapers how successful the 2004
voting was in Hong Kong. “Pero
parang namatay ang apoy na ‘yon,”
she said. “So kung titingnan mo,
parang nasayang lang ang effort.”
But just like Pastora Lorna, Sister
Jo did her job the best she could,
clinging to the belief that regardless
of the apathy from voters, they were
doing a service to the country. “We
did our share,” she said, “and all we
could do now is hope that something
good will come out of it.”
Saudi shows global OAV trend
Questions over expense as officials begin to wonder if the exercise is worth it
Chito Manuel in Jeddah
You can bring a horse to the river but
you cannot make it drink.
A senior foreign affairs official gave
this succinct analogy on the seeming
indifference and apathy of OFWs towards the absentee voting being held
for the second time worldwide.
“The government is spending oodles
and oodles of money and yet the OAV
doesn’t seem to generate as much support and appeal among OFWs,” said
the official who requested anonymity.
His frustration is borne out by the
dismally low turnout in Saudi Arabia
and other parts of the globe, where
absentee voting is being conducted.
In Riyadh, the so-called OFW
Congress made plugs on The Filipino
Channel exhorting Filipinos in the
Kingdom to exercise their right of
Ambassador Antonio Villamor issued an appeal to Filipinos to vote in
a newspaper report two weeks after
the OAV began on April 14.
But that did not seem to work.
Barely a week before the period for
absentee voting ended on May 14,
Saudi Arabia reported a measly total
of 11,065 (8 per cent) from the three
This total is broken down as follows: 5,042 in Riyadh, 3.179 in Jeddah and 2,844 in Alkhobar.
Saudi Arabia has the highest number of voters in the Middle East. The
total number of Filipinos eligible to
vote in the Middle East is 218,242.
The disappointing turnout led some
officials to say that the OAV is in-
creasingly becoming a waste of resources.
The amount being spent by the Department of Foreign Affaris alone to
conduct the OAV is close to P20 million.
This is on top of the budget allocated by the Comelec for the exercise.
A waiter in Jeddah best reflected the
disinterest of OFWs in the OAV when
he said: “Bakit pa tayo boboto, eh di
rin naman nila bibilangin ang ating
boto at papalitan din naman nila ang
A momentous day for Filipino
women has faded into memory, but
before it is consigned forever to the
archives, some have fittingly marked
It was exactly 70 years ago when
more than 300,000 Filipino women
voted for the first time in a plebiscite
that eventually paved the way for
their participation in government.
“On account of the heroic and
dynamic struggle and fight for
women’s right by women leaders in
the ’30s, women voted in favor of
whether or not the right of suffrage
would be extended to them,” election
lawyer Romulo Macalintal said.
Macalintal said that under the
original version of Article V, Section
1 of the 1935 Constitution, the right
of suffrage was limited to male
citizens aged 23 or older.
Those opposed to giving women
the right to vote said there was
no popular demand for women’s
suffrage and that it would only
disrupt family unity and plunge
women into the vicious quagmire of
Unfazed, women leaders, in a
petition to the delegates to the 1935
Constitutional Convention argued
that suffrage is a “right earned,
deserved and, therefore, claimed.”
Registration of female voters for
the holding of a plebiscite was held
April 10 and 17, 1937.
It was a first in Philippine history
and a precedent that has since
expanded Filipino women’s roles in
the arena of politics and in nationbuilding.
The plebiscite results, as cited in
www.wikipedia.com, were: 447,725
yes votes for giving women the right
of suffrage and 44,307 no votes.
The voters who had cast their
ballots were all women.
On March 29, 1984 former
president Ferdinand Marcos issued
Proclamation No 2346 declaring
April 30 of every year as “Woman
This enabled Filipino women to
“renew their advocacy and support
for clean, honest and free elections
and pursue with greater zeal their
efforts towards this direction.”
The momentous day, however,
seems to have faded from memory.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye
lamented as “uncalled for” the
statement of foreign observers
of last Monday’s midterm
elections comparing Mindanao
with the situation in warwracked Afghanistan.
In a statement, Bunye said
the foreign observers, who
have stayed in the country for
only a few days, have a lot to
learn about Philippine culture,
heritage and politics.
“While we welcome foreign
observers, we also must
recognise their limited exposure
to national and local politics in
the Philippines,” he added.
Bunye was reacting to
media reports quoting the
foreign observers from the
Asia Network of Free Elections
(Anfrel) that vote-buying and
other irregularities marred the
election in Mindanao.
Former Representative Robert
“Dodot” Jaworski Jr, who is
running for mayor in Pasig City,
and congressional candidate
Noel “Toti” Carino of the Partido
Pasigueno said they will file a
petition before the Comelec to
stop the canvassing of votes
and declare failure of elections
in Pasig City due to alleged
incidents of vote buying and
Jaworski, Carino and
their allies claimed they
have evidence to prove that
incumbent Mayor Vicente
“Enteng” Eusebio was
involved in vote buying, having
distributed envelopes containing
P1,500 each, and tampering of
The group also said they have
photographs that would prove
that the mayor made the rounds
of schools and barangays
announcing that Jaworski had
Military officials have appealed to the public to help safeguard ballot boxes in the wake of attacks by NPA
rebels on army convoys bringing election returns from remote areas to Comelec offices in urban centers.
Rebels ambush army ballot convoy in Samar
NPA rebels ambushed a military
convoy on its way to collect election
returns in Silvino Lobos town,
The troops led by second lieutenant
Rosuelo were on their way to
barangay Giparayan De Turag when
they were attacked.
One soldier was killed, but it was
not known if the rebels had any
A brief gunfight ensued that
lasted 15 minutes before the rebels
The military said the incident was
another “barbaric act” of the CPP/
NPA leadership intended to disrupt
the honest and orderly conduct of
Meanwhile, military troops
from the 46th infantry battalion
encountered a band of suspected
terrorists while on security patrol in
A five-minute firefight ensued,
resulting in an undetermined number
of casualties from the rebels.
Military officials said the incidents
had the hallmarks of the NPA
strategy to sow terror in their areas of
operation to ensure victory for their
This is also designed to influence
the wider outcome of the voting.
Reports reaching defense officials
said the CPP/NPA would resort
to kidnapping and assassination
of candidates who did not pay
Major general Armando Cunanan,
AFP commanding general of the 8th
infantry division, asked the public
to be vigilant and help the military
ensure security in the transport of
Special elections in 13 Lanao
del Sur towns, which were
suspended on election day
are scheduled to be conducted
next week, according to
The municipalities involved
are Bayang, Lumbatan,
Madalum, Binidayan, Puales,
Kapai, Lumbayanague, Butig,
Maruging and Kapatagan,
He said five places in
Basilan and Indanan, Sulu will
also hold special elections.
Special elections are
conducted by the Comelec
when “there has been a
semblance” of the election
process but voting was stalled
because of harassment,
threats or violence.
in Macau as
One-man team in enclave not enough
to serve growing number of nationals
Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong
Official figures show Macau is home to about 10,000 OFWs. The number does not include undocumented workers.
Consul general Al Vicente is hopeful
a Philippine consulate will soon rise
in Macau to better address the needs
of a rapidly growing number of Filipinos that have descended on Asia’s
The Hong Kong post currently has
jurisdiction over Macau, but Vicente
is the first to acknowledge that the rising number of Filipinos either working or looking for jobs in the former
Portuguese colony has necessitated
the creation of a full consulate.
“We’re all for it,” said Vicente, who
for years now has been batting for a
Philippine consulate in the enclave.
“And I’m hopeful our officials will
soon find a way to make it happen.”
The Philippine government has in
fact committed to putting up a Macau
consulate during high-level talks with
Chinese officials, who not only are
receptive to the plan but have been
pushing for its implementation.
However, it has not been easy for
the Department of Foreign Affairs to
convince legislators to appropriate
a budget for a consulate in Macau,
which could easily run in the millions
of pesos annually.
The latest estimate by the Macau
government placed the number of Filipino migrant workers in the territory
at 10,000 – a figure that swells when
undocumented Filipinos, lured to Macau by job opportunities spawned by
its thriving gaming business, are included.
At the moment, the Philippine government’s only presence in Macau is a
labor extension office manned by assistant labor attaché Carlos Sta Ana,
complemented by consular missions
held once a month.
Anything beyond that the consulate
cannot commit, Vicente said, with its
staff stretched thin attending to the
needs of the almost 150,000 Filipino
migrant workers in Hong Kong.
“Mr Sta Ana is a one-man team over
there,” Vicente said. “But he’s finding
it harder and harder trying to address
the problems of our kababayans.”
His view was seconded by new labor attaché Romy Salud, who needed
only a one-week working stay in the
territory to be convinced of the pressing need for a separate consulate in
“I think it’s high time we have a
consulate there,” said Salud, noting
that most of the problems brought
before him were distress cases that
could be better addressed by a fullstaff consulate.
“Hindi mga labor-related issues,”
he said. “What the Filipinos in Macau need is an Assistance to Nationals
section like the one we have here in
The availability of cheap flights to
Macau and immigration laws that allow tourists to apply for working visas once they land jobs have encouraged a steady stream of Filipinos to
try their luck in the territory.
“They go there to find jobs so they
can convert their tourist visas into
working visas,” Vicente said.
“But once they are there, we all
know that a lot of things can happen.”
While legislators debate whether
a consulate in Macau is necessary,
more and more Filipinos are rolling
the dice of life in Asia’s gambling
capital, with a lot of them ending up
losing their shirts.
Salud pointed to one case where
four Filipinos from northern Luzon
paid P25,000 each to a recruiter who
promised them high-paying jobs in
Macau – only to desert them after a
After a few weeks wandering
around looking for opportunities that
never came, seeking shelter in homes
of kindhearted Filipino residents in
Macau, they left with nothing to bring
home but dirty clothes – and memories of a nightmare experience.
“All I could do was file an illegal recruitment report and send it to Manila
to warn authorities there,” said Salud.
“The worst part was, I was told
that four more people were set to be
brought in by the same recruiter the
very next week.”
Consular missions play key role
The Philippine consulate general
in Hong Kong conducts monthly
consular missions to Macau.
The missions are normally headed
by a key consular official and include
representatives from the labor office,
SSS and administrative staff.
The delegation provides a range of
consular services, including passport
processing and documentation.
Part of the itinerary is prison visits
and giving assistance to nationals.
The Philippine Labor Extension
Office in Macau is headed by
assistant labor attache Carlos Sta
Ana. The consular missions are
part of an outreach program of the
consulate and attached agencies
providing consular assistance and
services to the Filipinos.
Free Tesda training hailed but ...
Migrants doubt scheme’s long-term benefits due to limited number of centers
Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong
Migrant groups in Hong Kong see the
Department of Labor move to provide free skills training to first-time
domestic helpers as a step in the right
direction but have reservations about
its long-term impact.
Their apprehension stems from two
major concerns – the limited number
of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) centers
offering free services, and the quality
of training these institutions provide.
“Hindi kami against training per
se, in fact we welcome it,’’ said Edna
Aquino of the Filipino Community
Services Information Network (Filcomsin).
“We believe that if done properly,
the training could enhance the work
opportunities and the ability to cope
of our household service workers.
“But we’re also for good, quality
and highly regulated training for migrant workers. If the government now
wants to do it, for free, they might as
well do it properly.”
Dolores Balladares, chairperson of
the Unified Filipinos in Hong Kong,
echoed Aquino’s view. “Maganda
‘yan, kung iimplement ng tama,” she
Aquino, however, expressed doubts
if the 13 training centers set up by
Tesda are enough to cope with the
demand or help drive down what she
said are exorbitant fees commanded
by privately owned training centers.
The fees collected by private training centers are dictated by market
demand and are not subject to government regulation – something that
rankles with migrant groups.
Since the labor department announced free skills training offered by
Tesda on April 20, Filcomsin claims
fees collected from domestic helpers
by private training centers remained
in the P7,000 to P15,000 range.
“That’s the problem when a policy
lacks regulation,” Aquino said, pointing out that most of the privately run
training centers are either allied with
or owned by travel agencies – putting
them in a position to corner the market and overcharge.
“There should be strict regulation
on the fees charged by these private
centers and the fees should be based
on the workers’ capacity to pay.”
The groups also questioned the adequacy of the Tesda centers’ facilities
The Muslim community in Hong
Kong has thrown its full support
behind Muhammad Jamail Sultan
(right), drawing the three-year-old kid
closer to getting the liver transplant
needed to save his life.
The Sultans planed in on April 16
still short of the HK$1 million required for the surgery but have been
heartened by the support and generosity of people from all walks of life in
Among those who have responded in a big way to the Sultans’ plea
for help were Muslims of all races
who at press time have raised over
The Department of Trade and
Industry has added at least
22 stores and service outlets
in Region XII or Southwestern
Mindanao to its list of DTIcertified or consumer-friendly
business establishments in the
The DTI’s Bureau of Trade
Regulation and Consumer
Protection gave the 22
establishments the agency’s
seal of excellence for
“upholding consumer rights and
ethical business practices” in
simple awarding rites.
“These seals essentially
symbolise the continuing
efforts of these business
establishments to promote the
rights of the consumers and
practice responsible business,
where consumers indeed get
value for money,” said Carmen
Avendano, consumer welfare
division chief of BTRCP.
Authorities believe the latest
explosion in the city is not
election-related based on the
statements by the management
of a bus company here.
The Weena Bus said they
have been receiving threats
from an extortion group prior to
Friday’s deadly bombing that
killed a boy and injured as many
as 34 others.
A raft of reforms introduced by the POEA
includes training of household workers
under Tesda. The agency is now offering
free training to first-time domestic helpers.
BY THE NUMBERS
Tesda training centers nationwide offering
free skills training to first-time HSWs
and the competency of their trainors.
Their misgivings about government-run training centers are understandable.
Tesda had earned a dubious reputation at the height of the controversy
over the rampant deployment of en-
tertainers in Japan who end up as sex
At that time, Tesda became no more
than a stamp pad for Japan-bound entertainers and Tesda certificates were
exposed as a major source of corruption.
“Tesda has a long history of lowquality training for entertainers in Japan,’’ Aquino said.
Balladares also pointed to several
gray areas in the labor guidelines that
tend to make the process harder than
it already is for domestic helpers.
“For example, just last week mayroong domestic worker na nakapagtrabaho dito sa Hong Kong for six
straight years, tapos nagbakasyon
ng ilang buwan sa Pilipinas. Nung
magaapply na uli, for whatever reason gusto na naman nilang dumaan
s’ya sa training,’’ Balladares said.
Balladares also insisted domestic
helpers have hardly felt the benefits of
the Supermaid policy since its implementation late last year.
“Despite the new guidelines, majority pa rin ng mga domestic helpers
na pumupunta sa Hong Kong nagbabayad pa rin ng placement fee,” she
said. “In fact, we’re now in the process of documenting all the violations
committed by agencies so we can
present it when the time comes.”
Muslim community throws lifeline to MJ
Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong
HK$100,000 to help defray the expenses of MJ’s
“Hindi lang po mga
Pilipino ang mga tumutulong sa amin,” said Sally
Sultan, whose husband,
Jamail, is a Muslim from
Lanao del Sur. “Pati rin po
mga Chinese Muslims at
mga ibang nationalities.”
A Pakistani Muslim has provided
the Sultans living quarters in Wanchai
while MJ awaits surgery.
The Islamic Union of Hong Kong
has also started a fundraising campaign for MJ, Sally Sultan said. A donation box for MJ has been set up at a
mosque in Wanchai.
and other migrant advocates who have also
come to the aid of the
Sultans have set up an
HSBC account (593 540
016 001) where donations for MJ’s liver transplant can be coursed.
Once the required sum is completed,
MJ, who is suffering from end-stage
biliary atresia, can have his liver surgery with his aunt, Rowena Barcelo,
serving as the donor.
Doctors at the Queen Mary Hospital
have performed workups on MJ and
Barcelo through the help of Dr Van-
essa de Villa. A lump found in MJ’s
liver was excised for biopsy on May
Surgery had been scheduled for
De Villa, an assistant professor and
surgeon at the Queen Mary Hospital,
has previously helped two other kids
from indigent Filipino families get
their liver transplants in Hong Kong.
Liver transplants have yet to be performed in Philippine hospitals.
The Filipino community in Hong
Kong has come to the aid of two kids
who got life-saving liver transplants
– Mark Mendoza in March 2006 and
Louie Perez in August. Both are now
recovering well back home.
A nearby police sub-station
received a call from the extortion
group an hour before the
A powerful bomb exploded
shortly before noon at the bus
terminal here, killing a child
identified as Adrian Tangao, 5.
He died before reaching the
The number of casualties rose
to 34 as more vicitims were
transferred to the Cotabato
Regional and Medical Center
from private clinics around the
The Department of Agriculture
is ready to provide assistance
to farmers who may be
affected by the La Niña
phenomenon, according to
Agriculture Regional Technical
Director for Research Planning
Parohinog said as of now,
there is no advice regarding
the possibility that Western
Visayas would be affected by
the phenomenon even as it
was predicted to occur after
However, if Western Visayas
will be one of the areas to be
affected, he said the DA is
ready to assist the farmers
under the rehabilitation
The assistance, Parohinog
said, includes the provision of
seeds, fertilizers for lowland
farmers and vegetable seeds
for upland farmers in the
Nina Wang used to drive them
Pinoy helpers fondly remember enigmatic multibillionaire they served for 14 years
Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong
For 14 years, Ate Mina and Osmond
had a ringside view of what the rest of
Hong Kong had been curious to see:
An inside look at the life of Asia’s
richest woman – and one of its most
The Nina Wang they saw was, they
said, nowhere near the woman she
was made out to be by the media.
“Ikaw nga ang tatanungin ko. Kung
masama ang ugali ng amo mo, tingin
mo ba tatagal ka ng labing-apat na
taon sa kanya?” said Mina Biangzon,
weeks after the death on April 3 of
her longtime employer after a losing
battle with ovarian cancer.
Ate Mina and his brother-in-law
Osmond Velasco served in the Wang
household during the most tumultuous period in the life of a celebrated
billionaire whose net worth at the time
of her death was placed at US$4.2 billion by Fortune magazine.
The two were hired on the recommendation of Mina’s brother – who
previously worked for the Wang family and has migrated to the US, in late
1989 – months before the kidnapping
of Nina’s husband Teddy, who was
never found and has since been declared dead.
They were there during the very
public feud between Nina Wang and
her father-in-law and stayed until
2003, when Nina let them go after
losing the court battle for control of
Chinachem Corp – a decision Nina’s
lawyers succeeded in overturning on
appeal years later.
During that time, Ate Mina said
they had been able to separate the
chaff from the grain on newspaper reports about the secretive life of Nina
Wang, finding some of it close to the
truth, a lot of it exaggeration and most
of it no more than plain rumors.
Digging from the rubble of untruths,
Ate Mina said the Nina she had come
to know was a simple woman who,
for all her wealth, lived a plain life.
“Workaholic s’ya pero simpleng tao
lang, madalas ni manicure wala s’ya,”
Sa 14 taon naming
paninilbihan sa kanya,
kahit minsan di kami
pinagalitan, says Mina
Biangzon of employer
Nina Wang (right).
said Ate Mina. “Madalas nga, napapansin ang manicure ko. Sasabihin
sa akin, ‘Oh, Mina, they look great,
where did you have them done?’ Isasagot ko pinagawa ko lang sa kaibigan ko for 20 dollars.”
Nina Wang had her quirks, Ate
Mina admitted, recalling seeing her
take 30 different medicines in a single
day. “Iyong iba vitamins, ‘yong iba di
ko alam para saan,” she said.
But stories about her frugality were
grossly exaggerated, she added.
“Matipid s’ya, pero hindi naman
totoo ‘yong balita na gumagastos
lang s’ya nang HK$3,000 a month,”
Osmond, whose wife Gina is the
twin sister of Ate Mina, remembered
the billionaire’s adherence to fung
shui; how she maintained a giant image of Buddha, and how groups of
fung shui experts routinely arrived at
her home once or twice a week.
He also recalled that Nina Wang
stopped going home to their conjugal
home at The Peak after her husband’s
disappearance, and from thereon
spent most of her time in a den next
to her office at the Chinachem Golden
Plaza building in Tsim Tsa Tsui which
she turned into her living quarters.
Most of her trips outside the office,
Osmond said, were largely confined
to on-site visits to buildings being
constructed by her real estate company. But he dispelled reports that
Nina Wang had become paranoid and
had often surrounded herself with as
much as 50 bodyguards.
“Madalas nga, siya lang ang nagda-drive papunta sa office, kaming
dalawa ni Mina nasa likod,” Osmond
said. “Isipin mo kami ang pinagdadrive n’ya.”
No, they did not have as much luck
as Tony Chan, the medical practicioner turned fung shui expert whose
lawyers have claimed that he had
been bequeathed Nina Wang’s entire
But the two Filipino helpers still
treasure memories of a lady adoringly
called “Little Sweetie” in Hong Kong
for her fondness for wearing ponytails, and remember her innate kindness with fondness.
“Lahat naman ng tao may mga
mood swings. Minsan wala rin s’ya
sa mood,’’ said Osmond, 52, from
Atimonan, Quezon. “Pero ni minsan
hindi mo ‘sya mariringgan na magsasalita ng masama.”
He continued: “Alam n’ya na active ako na nagse-serve sa St Joseph’s
church kapag day off ko. Kaya minsan, sasabihan pa ako n’yan, ‘Osmond
please pray for my husband’.”
Ate Mina said she cried upon hearing about her former boss’ death and
joined the rest of her family, friends,
employees and Hong Kong’s elite
during the wake and funeral.
“Siyempre hindi ko s’ya makakalimutan,” she said. “Isipin mo naman, sa labing-apat na taon kaming
nanilbihan sa kanya, ni minsan hindi
n’ya kami pinagalitan.”
Woman of many guises meets
her match – or has she really?
Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong
Stepping out of prison for the first
time in almost three years, the
Filipina declared that her days as one
of the most notorious, and colorful,
criminals in Hong Kong are finally
Nobody is exactly taking her word
The reservations are
understandable, considering the
50-something Filipina has been
previously jailed four times, deported
after each offense, and vowed to
mend her ways only to come back
under a different identity each time.
“Iyon din daw kasi ang sinabi n’ya
noong una siyang naaresto,” said an
official who requested anonymity.
“But let’s hope she really means it
when she said na magre-retiro na
A chameleon-like existence that
seemed lifted from an old Palos
movie saw her slipping in and out
of the territory for the past 29 years
using five different identities. And
those, acquaintances said, were only
the bogus names the police have
been able to keep track of.
There were more, they said,
not to mention the corresponding
alterations on her appearance.
Her first brush with the law
happened in July 1989 when she
was convicted for theft and ordered
deported – for life. It would not be
the last the Hong Kong police would
Over the next 20 years, the Filipina
was arrested, convicted and then
deported on three more occasions
together with a partner in crime who
sources said is still serving time in a
Hong Kong jail.
Acquaintances described her as a
cheerful and amiable lady, not the
kind you would suspect to snatch
your belongings when you’re not
looking. But that has been exactly
The Department of Agriculture
is eyeing Mindanao to become
an export hub for Philippine
pork and processed meat
products since it is the country’s
top animal feed producer and is
free of foot and mouth disease
“With its distinct comparative
advantages as being FMD-free,
and with the establishment
of breeder farms and meat
processing plants, we look
forward to the transformation
of Mindanao into the ‘export
hub’ of Philippine pork and
processed meat products,” said
Agriculture Secretary Arthur
Yap on the sidelines of a major
While in Davao City, Yap
also visited the facilities
of the Southern Philippine
Development Authority and
in Mintal and toured his
department’s regional offices.
The Department of Foreign
Affairs Regional Office 6 will
resume its mobile passport by
June after it temporarily stopped
during the elections.
Officer in charge Rutas
Patricio said his office is going
to resume the mobile passport
next month to save applicants
transport fare in going to DFA
Regional Office 6 in Iloilo City to
apply for a passport.
Applicants are required to
pay P500 under regular
procedure which takes five days
processing of passport.
If an applicant wishes to
expedite the release of passport,
the DFA charges P750.
Patricio said that last year,
their regular issuance was 300
passports daily which could
increase with the number of
applicants this year.
Patricio said the DFA is now
required to issue certification on
the authenticity of passports.
her trade for most of the past three
“Masayahin at mabait,’’ they
said. “Hindi mukhang gagawa ng
She was last ordered deported for
life by Hong Kong officials in May
2005. But in no time, she was again
back in the territory with a new
passport, an assumed name and a
When she was arrested for theft
two months later in July 2005,
sources said, only her finger print
record enabled police to link her to
the same woman they had arrested
and deported three times before.
“Normally, theft doesn’t carry a
long prison sentence in Hong Kong,”
said the source. “But since they
were able to establish that she was a
many-time offender, they sentenced
her to 32 months in prison.”
She was released from prison on
May 4 and has been furnished new
travel documents – “Hopefully, with
her real name,’’ said an official – by
the consulate in preparation for her
As you read this, chances are she
is back home, enjoying the company
of her children and grandchildren,
just as she had wished; and the life of
crime and deception behind her, just
as she had vowed.
Then again, we’ll never know.
Prices of gasoline have soared
in the past few days following
the reported shortage of fuel
supply in this city.
Sidewalk gasoline peddlers
are taking advantage by
selling gasoline above the
after all gasoline stations
have temporarily stopped
their operations due to nonavailability of supply.
Drivers of motorized
tricycles, the main mode of
transportation in this city,
disclosed that the price of
gasoline started shooting up
two days before the May 14
“No fuel tanker has arrived
to deliver gasoline to this city,”
one of the local drivers said.
Another driver disclosed that
the gasoline peddlers have
jacked up the prices from the
government-regulated price to
P50 and later to P60 per liter.
Online woes burst tourists’ bubble
holiday not much
fun after e-tickets
run into problems
My husband and
I were forced to
buy businessclass tickets on
a different airline
really had to be in
Hong Kong that
Jose Marcelo in Hong Kong
Tess Obamos and her family had a
pleasant and hassle-free vacation in
Bacolod last month, until it was time
to return to Hong Kong.
Tess and her husband were told at
the airport – to their dismay – that
their return booking could not be honored, and so was their children’s.
“My husband and I were forced to
buy business-class tickets on a different airline because we really had
to be in Hong Kong that same day,”
Obamos, executive director of the
Bayanihan Centre, said.
“Our children were even told thrice
that their return flights were confirmed. But when they got to the airport, they were told the credit card
used for the purchase of their tickets
was fraudulent, and they, too, were
forced to buy one-way tickets just to
be able to go back.”
More and more Hong Kong-based
Filipinos have been complaining
about similar experiences.
A nun based in Central said she, too,
had been forced to purchase a return
ticket at the Manila airport when told
that her return flight had in fact not
The emergence of online ticketing
Bayanihan Center executive director
Flying out of Chek Lap Kok is not a problem, but the return trip can be tricky and costly as passengers have found.
has made booking flights a lot more
convenient, especially for tech-savvy
travelers. But it has also caused a lot
of confusion in airports and inconvenience for travelers.
Worse, some customers claim electronic ticketing has also left an opening for unscrupulous travel agents
preying on Hong Kong-based Filipinos.
Allen Velasquez of the Pacific Ace
travel agency said they have received
several complaints from migrant
workers who previously booked
their flights home through what she
described as “fly-by-night” agencies
and end up being scammed.
These travelers, she said, realise too
late that their e-tickets are worth only
one-way trips home and are forced to
buy one-way tickets back, which cost
a lot more.
“Ito ‘yung mga colorum na mga
travel agents,” she said. “Nakakaalis
naman ang mga pasahero pero pagbalik, saka lang nila nalalaman na wala
pala silang booking pabalik ng Hong
Most of these unlicensed agents
take advantage of tickets sold for a
bargain online, purchase them using
the agents’ credit cards and pass them
on to customers at padded prices,
sources at another Hong Kong-based
travel agency said.
Hong Kong has strict policies on
unlicensed agents which are barred
from buying tickets directly from the
Other shady agents altogether dupe
customers into believing they have
been booked two-way tickets.
“By the time na nagrereklamo sila,
nawawala ng parang bula ang mga
agents nila,” said Vasquez.
In the case of Obamos and her family, their tickets were purchased from
an agent-friend who has since apologized and refunded the cost of their
return flights. But she puts part of the
blame on the airlines and their unwieldy online ticketing process.
Flights, she claimed, are often
overbooked because the airlines’ online ticketing systems have yet to be
Military steps up Sayyaf hunt
Army moves on terrorist group after being sent heads of rebels’ latest victims
The Philippine military has stepped
up its campaign against the Abu
Sayyaf after the Muslim terror group
beheaded seven men and sent their
heads to two army detachments, a
The gruesome delivery, in two
bloody sacks, was a message from
the Muslim rebel group that it is still a
menacing foe despite an eight-month
ground offensive to flush it from the
southern island of Jolo.
“The commanding general of the
Philippine Army issued a guidance to
the army field commanders to intensify the military operations against the
Abu Sayyaf,” said army spokesman,
Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres.
“We really have to stop and put an
end to such barbaric acts.”
The military suspects the Abu
Sayyaf may have beheaded the men
this week in retaliation after troops
killed more than 70 of its members,
including two top leaders, in a campaign backed by US advisers and
The armed forces estimate that the
Abu Sayyaf’s core strength has been
halved from around 400 fighters due
to the operations.
To fully root out the Abu Sayyaf,
the military needs the support of local
communities but analysts fear that a
recent offensive against another rebel
group, the Moro National Liberation
Front, could jeopardise local cooperation.
The commander of military forces
on Jolo said that they will continue
to track MNLF commander Habier
Malik despite opposition from Mus-
lim countries. After carefully avoiding airstrikes in their pursuit of the
Abu Sayyaf, the military dropped 250
pounds on Malik’s camp, triggering
the evacuation of more than 40,000
“We cannot allow him to go unpunished. We want this cycle of violence
to end soon,” Major General Ruben
Rafael said in an interview.
Around 30 rebels, three soldiers
and one civilian have been killed and
more than 100 people have been injured in the violence.
The British government is
introducing biometric data collection
(fingerscans and digital photographs)
as part of a worldwide biometric
The move is designed to protect an
individual’s identity, facilitate future
entry to Britain, combat visa fraud
and abuse of the UK’s immigration
and asylum systems.
From May 31, there will be two
major changes to the application
Applicants for UK visa must lodge
their papers through the British
embassy’s commercial partner, VFS
Global Ltd at the new UK Visa
Application Centre in Makati City.
All visa applicants, irrespective
of nationality, will have to apply in
person to the UKVAC and have their
fingerscans and digital photograph
Applicants will be able to lodge
applications and seek general
immigration information at the VFS
Visa Application Centre at the above
given address. There is no charge for
this service in addition to the visa
fee. Applications will not be taken
at the British Embassy other than in
Unless advised, all visa applicants
must have their fingerscans and a
digital photograph taken.
The application cannot be
processed if an applicant refuses,
or cannot provide, acceptable
biometric data. Finger scans will be
collected from each applicant using
an electronic scanner. No ink, liquid
or chemical will be used. A digital
photograph will be taken at the same
time and the whole procedure should
take no more than five minutes.
Applicants should ensure that
their fingertips are free from any
decoration, abrasions or other
markings, and that any facial
cuts and bruises have healed or
disappeared before providing their
biometric data as these may affect
their ability to provide acceptable
fingerscans and photographs.
Digital photographs cannot be
taken with applicants wearing head
coverings.face or neck coverings.
Personnel of the city
government’s Oplan Linis are
cleaning up areas in the city
which candidates utilised as
poster areas during the 45-day
election campaign period this
Mayor Edward Hagedorn
ordered the clean up,
particularly in the city’s
Mendoza Park where most
posters and other campaign
materials were put up.
The Department of Public
Works and Highways is helping
remove campaign materials,
including banners, along the
Hagedorn created Oplan
Linis to spearhead the cleanup operations especially along
roads, in parks, the cemetery
and public market.
It has three components,
namely, cleanliness and
beautification, landscaping and
In an effort to provide greater
access to education, the
provincial government of
Bulacan (PGB) has alloted a 25
percent increase or a total of
P5 million for the scholarship of
thousands of Bulakeños.
Provincial Administrator Ma.
Gladys Sta. Rita said almost
4,000 students will benefit from
the program this coming school
year compared to the only 3,000
grantees last year.
This is because the province
allocated P25 million for school
She said the additional fund
is equivalent to a 30 per cent
increase in the numbers of
The province is in the process
of finalising the results of
the preliminary interviews,
screenings and competitive
exams they conducted last
Pedestrians and motorists compete for space in this busy side street in Manila. Authorities rerouted
traffic after a water in the main thoroughfare pipe burst, causing extensive flooding in the area.
Mothers chase breast feeding mark
About 10,000 mothers gathered last
week in nearly 300 state and private
hospitals, day-care centres and parks
across the Philippines to raise awareness of breast feeding and try to set a
Guinness record for the event.
Only 16 percent of mothers in the
Philippines were practising breast
feeding, an extraordinarily low rate
for a poor country, said the United Nations Children’s Fund, which warned
of serious health risks for infants.
“Breast feeding is on the decline in
the Philippines,” Dale Rutstein, Unicef’s chief of communications, said
at an open-air basketball court in Manila, where more than 1,000 mothers
took part in the simultaneous breast
Nearly 9,000 women were taking
part in the event elsewhere across the
archipelago, aiming to set a Guinness
record for the most number of mothers simultaneously breast feeding
their children. Guinness were to rule
on the record attempt in three weeks.
Unicef said breast feeding provided
the required nutrition for babies, and
also reduced the risks of exposing
them to diseases arising from unhygienic preparation of infant formula.
“It’s a beautiful way to relate to
my child,” Elvira Henares Esguerra,
a dermatologist and mother of a fiveyear-old boy, told Reuters.
“It’s not only food, it’s not only the
perfect food for any infant from zero
to six months, but the perfect milk for
The Department of Agriculture,
through the National Food
Authority, will link farm
production areas directly to
major consumption centers
with its P2 billion “national
grains highway” project to be
implemented this year.
“We commend this project of
the Department of Agriculture
so that farmers can easily
transport their products to the
consumers,” said local NFA
Information Officer Rolando V.
He said that agricultural
areas in the province need road
And through the national
grains highway project, the gap
between farmgate costs and
retail prices of basic food items
will be bridged.
“This will be good for farmers
in areas like Basay, Bayawan
and Mabinay who have to cross
to the areas in the Occidental
side,” Lazalita said.
Surging peso hurting OFWs
Small exporters also to feel the pain of strong currency, warns global think-tank
Beting Laygo Dolor in Manila
Overseas Filipino workers and small
exporters are reeling from an overly
So says a paper issued this month
by the Global Filipinos Coalition
comprised of major overseas Filipino
organizations and leaders.
“The progressive drop of the peso/
US dollar rate from roughly P55:$1
to the current level will reduce, on an
annualized basis, the net remittances
received from OFWs by about P10.5
billion, or about one-eighth of their
previous take home receipts,” the co-
alition said. In the most basic terms,
their families back home are making
do with less. The family of an OFW
who remitted, say, US$1,000 a month
would now be receiving only P48,000
compared with P55,000 five years
It is not just individual Filipino
families which are hurt by the government’s fiscal policies that strengthen
the local currency. Exporters are also
feeling the crunch as they are now
earning less for the same volume they
exported five to six years ago.
While the big exporters have the
strength to wait for better days, their
small and medium-sized counterparts
“Policymakers reason out that small
and medium entrepreneurs do not
have a competitive advantage vis-àvis producers in China and even Bangladesh,” the group said.
They suggest that Philippine producers “need to scale up their products to higher levels not currently
reached by competing countries.”
The tourism industry will also suffer, as leisure and business travelers
would be drawn more to destinations
where the greenback can get more in
terms of goods and services paid for.
In effect, the losers in having a too
strong currency are an estimated 50
million Filipinos who are directly or
indirectly dependent on the remittances of the 11 million to 12 million
OFWs spread throughout the world.
The big winners would be the oil
companies and utility firms such as
the National Power Corp, Meralco,
PLDT and the cellular companies due
to the “reduction in the peso cost of
One measure recommended to alleviate the lost value is for all OFWs
to increase their remittances to their
families by US$20 per month.
After its supposed opening on March
31, the controversial Ninoy Aquino
International Airport Terminal 3 will
not be operational anytime soon.
Naia General Manager Alfonso
Cusi told reporters the delay in
the airport’s operations is purely a
legal matter due to technical issues
regarding its safety.
“We wanted to open the terminal as
soon as possible but technical issues
restrict us from doing it,” Cusi said
on the sidelines of the 2nd National
Government Infrastructure Forum.
The airport, which is unused for
almost six years, has structural
defects that prompted officials to
cancel the test run last March.
“We can’t put the lives of people at
risk here,” Cusi said.
“We want to repair it but the
condition of the terminal will affect
the value, and at the same time, we
want to respect the rights of other
parties. There’s a process to follow,”
The terminal was built by Takenaka
Corp, the Japanese company
contracted by Naia 3’s developer,
the Philippine International Air
Terminals Co consortium.
He said the opening of the
new airport will depend on when
Takenaka can finish the repair of the
Last year, a portion of the airport’s
ceiling collapsed, further delaying
the opening of the terminal.
The Department of Education
in the Davao region is eyeing
at least 400 new teacher-items
under the 2007 national budget.
DepEd regional director
Susana Estigoy, however, said
the number is not yet final.
The number may increase as
some 10,000 new items were
created under the 2007 national
The expected 400 new items
is only 40 per cent of total
teacher requirement of Davao
Estigoy also said the new
items will still have to be filled
and may not be ready for the
June 2007 school year.
Last year, despite their
requirements for 600 more
teachers, only 166 were
approved, Estigoy said.
The ideal ratio of teachers
and students is1 is to 40, but
the actual ratio is 1 is to 57 or
even 60 in some schools.
Some 32,000 indigent families
in the province have availed of
the Philippine Health Insurance
Corporation (PhilHealth) free
health insurance since January
this year in line with the program
of President Gloria Arroyo to
make health services accessible
to more Filipinos.
The program is helping
more indigent families
because of the support of
various local government
units. Aside from the city and
municipal governments, Capiz
governor Vicente Bermejo,
congressman Fredenil Castro,
and sangguniang panlalawigan
member Esteban Contreras
II have expressed continued
support for the program.
Recently, President Arroyo
instructed the Department
of Health to accelerate the
issuance of Philhealth cards to
With Terminal 2 reaching capacity, the government is under pressure to open the new Naia terminal.
Philippines wins reelection to UN rights body
The Philippines has been elected
to a three-year term in the United
Nations Human Rights Council in
what President Arroyo hailed as
a recognition by the international
community of the government’s
efforts to address human rights issues
Philippine Ambassador to the UN
Hilario Davide reported to Foreign
Secretary Alberto Romulo that the
Philippines obtained a total of 179
votes, 43 more than it received in last
year’s HRC election when the country
was elected to a one-year term in the
Romulo welcomed the confirmation
of the Philippines’ election and
thanked the Philippines’ partners for
their “overwhelming support.”
“The Philippines reelection
to the Council is a clear vote of
confidence for the Philippines and
President Arroyo’s efforts to move
further forward the global agenda
of upholding and protecting human
rights,” he said.
“With this fresh mandate, the
Philippines has been given another
opportunity to strengthen further its
advocacy in key human rights areas.”
He said the fresh mandate
“underscores our foreign service
posts’ success in harnessing and
sustaining global support for the
Philippines’ initiatives in the United
In congratulating Davide and
Romulo, Arroyo said in a statement
that the Philippines’ election to the
UN Council was a “recognition by
the member states of our sincere
efforts to address issues of human
rights, promoting conflict resolution
through interfaith dialogue and our
strong advocacy for the rights of
In its bid for reelection the
Philippines cited its commitment
to strengthen efforts to address
politically motivated killings of
media members and political
activists, as well as sustain its
leadership in promoting interfaith
Other newly-elected members
of the UN HRC include India,
Indonesia, Qatar, Denmark,
Italy, Netherlands, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Slovenia, Belarus and
One hundred forty-four
beneficiaries from different
barangays and municipalities
in Iloilo received their land
patents from the Department
of Environment and Natural
Resources through its Handog
The 144 patents cover a land
area of 154.9141 hectares,
which the awardees have been
tilling for more than 30 years
or have inherited from their
parents or grandparents without
The DENR – Community
Environment and Natural
Resources Office in Barotac
Nuevo had the highest number
of patentees with 61, followed
by Cenro-Sara with 49 and
Cenro –Iloilo City with 34
Meanwhile, DENR regional
executive director Lormelyn
Claudio urged the public to help
popularise the Handog Titulo
US Pinay fights the good fight
A broken promise
is driving a war
to take the cudgels
for his comrades
Laura G Perez in Sacramento
A number of battle-scarred Filipino
soldiers are still fighting a war that
rages in their subconscious. To them,
the convoluted road to inner peace
starts in the US Congress.
By all indications, the right person
to claim the US promise to Filipino
World War II soldiers is the daughter of a war veteran herself, recently
elected to head the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffaa) composed of more than
500 Filipino-American institutions in
12 regions all over the United States.
Alma Quintans Kern – social worker, newspaper publisher and businesswoman – said that she would fight for
the passage of the Veterans Equity
Bill with all her might.
“I am basically fighting for justice
for our countrymen. It has been 61
years since the US government reneged on its promise with the signing
of the Rescission Act.”
It is estimated that only 20,000 Filipino veterans are still alive, from the
hundreds of thousands who joined the
US Armed Forces to repulse the advancing Japanese army in 1941. Reliable sources put the figure between
120,000 and 250,000.
Kern, who replaced Loida Nicolas Lewis as chair of Naffaa, comes
from a clan of community leaders and
politicians in Pangasinan. Along with
cousins and her sister Dulce Saguisag
(Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and wife of former Philippine senator Rene Saguisag), Alma
immersed herself in community work
in Manila, a passion she had pursued
since her school days at St Scholastica’s College.
Alma was working as a social worker in one of Tondo’s slums when she
met her would-be American husband,
a consultant for Harvard Institute of
As soon as she came over to Washington in 1974, Alma made her mark
in the community. She got involved in
a tutoring program for underachieving Filipino American students in
Washington. Her indefatigable spirit
had likewise led her to work with the
Asian and Pacific Islander Women
and Family Safety Center in educating their community on human trafficking and domestic violence.
She currently serves as vice-president of the Filipino Community in
Leading international business
process outsourcing solutions
provider eTelecare Global
Solutions, Inc announced it will
open in July its sixth delivery
center at the Annex @Shaw
facility in Mandaluyong City
and recruit more than 3,000
The new facility sits on a
13,000 sq m site on Shaw Blvd
which will be the 13th overall
and sixth in the country, after
existing sites in Makati City,
Quezon City, Muntinlupa City
and two in Cebu City.
The firm intends to increase
the current number of
from 7,300 to more than
Another batch of 2,600
employees work at the
company’s seven US centers,
of which three are based in
Alma Kern (right) continues to fight for her father’s
World War II comrades (below), 46 years after his
death. Photo: Carol Vu, Northwest Asian Weekly
Seattle, raising US$2 million for its
renovation – they have added 5,000
square feet and put up a second floor
for a library and rooms for their comprehensive youth programs.
It is expected to be finished this December. She also heads a non-profit
organization that has provided scholarships to 32 students attending Pangasinan State University.
During last February’s hearing on
the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of
2007 in Washington DC, Alma’s voice
was firm: “The time is here, now, to
show the whole world that the US has
not forgotten the courage and bravery
of those who fought for its freedom.”
The Philippines was an American
colony when Japanese forces attacked
in 1941. Thousands of Filipino sol-
BY THE NUMBERS
Estimated number of Filipino-American
war veterans thought to be still alive
diers were tapped to fight the Imperial
army under the command of General
President Franklin D Roosevelt
promised Filipino soldiers that they
would be accorded the same health
and pension benefits given the American soldiers after the war.
This was reaffirmed by General
Omar Bradley, the Administrator of
the Veterans Administration in October 1945.
However, the US Congress reneged
on the promise when the Philippines
gained independence in 1946. Newly
elected President Harry Truman then
signed the Rescission Act or Public
Law 70-301 saying that the service of
Filipinos “shall not be deemed to be
or to have been service in the military
or national forces of the United States
or any component thereof or any law
of the United States conferring rights,
privileges or benefits”.
“My father was in the Bataan Death
March and suffered from war-related
ailments until his death in 1961. My
three uncles were also war veterans
who never got what was due them.
Supporters have gone on hunger
strikes and organized protest rallies
to no avail,” Kern said. “The Naffaa
has been working on the passage of
the bill for ten years but it is only now
that we have taken it this far.”
The Filipino community has high
hopes that the change of leadership in
the US House of Representatives is a
harbinger of great things. Many feel
that the time has come for the passage
of the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of
2007 or HR 760, maybe as early as
Representative Bob Filner, the
chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, is a keen supporter
of the equity bill and co-sponsors are
increasing, notably Senate Veterans
Affairs Committee chairman Daniel
Akaka, also a Democrat.
Senate panel reaches deal on illegal immigrants
US Senate negotiators from both
parties have announced that they
have reached agreement on a
comprehensive immigration bill that
would offer legal status to most
of the nation’s 12 million illegal
immigrants while also toughening
If the bill becomes law, it would
result in the biggest changes in
immigration law and policy in
more than 20 years. That would
provide President Bush (above)
with a political lift
and a tangible
for his second
term. It would also
be a legislative
achievement for the new
Democratic leaders in Congress,
though they said they would seek
changes in the measure.
At the heart of the bill is a
significant political trade-off.
Democrats got a legalization
program, which they have sought
for many years. Republicans got
a new “merit-based system of
immigration,” intended to make the
United States more competitive in
a global economy.
But the politics of the deal are
precarious. Democrats are already
trying to tamp down concerns of
Hispanic groups, who fear that the
bill would make it more difficult
for immigrants to bring relatives
from abroad. At the same time,
Republican negotiators face
blistering criticism from some
conservatives, who say the bill
would grant a virtual amnesty to
people who had broken the law.
Bush praised the Senate
measure, which incorporates many
of his ideas, saying, “I really am
anxious to sign a comprehensive
immigration bill as soon as I
The bill goes to the Senate floor
The Summer Festival in
Zamboanga will culminate on
May 26 with the Festival de
las Bellas y Flores that will
showcase the city’s beautiful
senoritas in their artistic arcs or
Some 15 local designers are
expected to participate in the
competition for the best gown
competition. There will also be
the search for prettiest senorita
and the most outstanding arco.
Organised by the tourism
office, the affair will kick off with
the parade of arcos along the
city’s main thoroughfares at 5
pm and the fashion show at the
National Museum Courtyard at
The best gown will be judged
according to the following
criteria: craftsmanship 45 per
cent, concept and design 30 per
cent, aesthetic appeal 15 per
cent and impact 10 per cent.
A Cebu business group said
newly-elected public officials
should reform policies to
improve the Philippine economy
amid a strong economic
rebound brought about by
the strengthening of the peso
against the US dollar.
Eric Mendoza, president
of the Mandaue Chamber of
Commerce and Industry, is
calling on newly elected public
officials to fast track pending
bills that will drum up investors’
interest in the country as well as
”It’s high time that they listen
to the call of the business
community,” Mendoza said.
He said the government
needs to amend the antismuggling law, review the
proposed bill on legislated wage
increase, prioritize the Biofuels
Act and seek for means to
reduce electricity cost. He said
biofuels will bring big savings.
Dammam steps up hiring of engineers
Demand for Filipino skilled workers
and design engineers is increasing in
the Saudi province of Dammam, labor attaché Delmer Cruz said.
Cruz said he has been getting inquiries about Filipino workers in the
eastern province, particularly for ongoing petrochemical projects.
However, many companies complained that they could not hire manpower in the Philippines as there are
no available workers who fit their
requirements. “There is huge demand
for skilled workers, particularly welders, pipe fitters, and oil riggers. But we
are short of these skilled manpower to
supply their needs,” Cruz said.
He has sent a report to the Department of Labor and Employment in
Manila recommending Tesda develop
training programs to enable skilled
Filipino workers to compete in the
burgeoning oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
Recently, Samsung Saudi Arabia,
a South Korean company engaged
in the construction of a multimilliondollar petrochemical project in Jubail,
approached the Philippine embassy
for help in recruiting qualified Filipino design engineers.
Cruz said Samsung had 40 ready
visas in Manila. These are for design
engineers for process, rotating and
stationary equipment; fired heater,
piping, electrical, instrument and con-
trol, civil, structural engineers; modelers and drafters.
Kang Shin-yul, SSA vice-president, said the company is about to
be awarded two major petrochemical
projects in Jubail.
However, Kang said that until now,
they have not found any experienced
Filipino design engineers in the Philippines. “Perhaps the qualified ones
are already working with other companies abroad,” he said.
“We would like to ask the Philippine government to help Samsung to
hire Filipino design engineers,” he
Park Sung-jin, SSA corporate administrative manager, said they are
hiring 20 fresh engineering graduates. The new engineers, once hired,
would undergo on-the-job training in
the Jubail for two months before being sent to South Korea for further
Raul Acedre in Manila
South Korea has increased its import
allocation of Filipino workers, which
will bring 2,000 more OFWs into the
The present allocation is 10,000,
which has been in place since last
The increase comes after South
Korean employers expressed
satisfaction with the quality of
Filipino workers in the country,
Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration chief Rosalinda
The new allocation is a 20 per cent
increase on the import quota under
South Korea’s Employment Permit
System. The scheme covers workers
from 14 countries.
The new allocation makes the
Philippines the biggest source of
foreign labor for South Korea.
Baldoz said Thailand and Vietnam
have 11,000 each, Indonesia and
Mongolia 9,000 each, and Sri Lanka
Other countries have been given
quotas ranging from 1,000 to 5,000
Meanwhile, a memorandum of
understanding has been signed
between labor officials of the
Philippines and the United Arab
Emirates to protect the rights of
The agreement prohibits “contract
substitution” that encourages illtreatment of workers
Consul general Maria Teresa
Taguiang, said: “The MOU
prescribes employers in the emirates
to draw up individual labor contracts,
for Filipino workers sign them,
and the authorities to verify the
agreements and put them in the
The process would eliminate
contract substitution, which happens
when employers force Filipino
workers to sign contracts in which
the terms have been unilaterally
Kimpo Airport ... More Pinoys are
allowed to work in South Korea.
Are we about to lose out to personal robots? We had better watch out
Egay Serrano in Manila
Our policymakers may have to be
on the lookout. Manila’s doggedness
in looking for ways to increase the
salaries of our domestic helpers
abroad and finding the means to
extract more money from employers
and recruiters might serve as the last
straw that broke the camel’s back.
Filipino domestic helpers or
household service workers (HSWs)
and teachers may soon face a new
threat to their long-term employment
opportunities abroad from thousands
of intelligent robots who can think
and move by themselves once
industrialized countries like South
Korea and Japan start commercial
production of these Star Wars-like
In South Korea alone, the sale of
robotic vacuums popularly known
as cleaning robots soared from 6,000
units in 2004 to 100,000 units last
year and is expected to jump to
200,000 units at year end 2007.
I believe demand for intelligent
robots will surge due to the lack
of labor resulting from an aging
population and a fall in the birth
rate in most leading Asian countries
most notably Japan, South Korea,
Singapore and Hong Kong.
Korea Commerce, Industry and
Energy Ministry official Yoo Chungyeol, proclaimed that there will be
one robot per family and that sales
volume of the domestic Korean robot
market is expected to grow from the
estimated 420 billion won in 2005 to
100 trillion won by 2020, exceeding
that of the car industry.
Yujin Robotics was fast at
work on the development of the
educational robot “Jupiter” at its
institute in Gasan-dong in Seoul.
It is programmed to read English
children’s books and can even resort
to singing and dancing once a child
under its care gets bored. The robot
can download 200 children’s stories
and songs from a computer via the
In recent years, South Korea’s
start-up companies and state-run
labs rolled out highly sophisticated
yet reasonably priced robotics
products. At a projected price tag
of only US$1,000 by the second
half of the year, personal robots are
rapidly evolving to substitute for a
growing number of complex human
tasks. Whereas an industrial robot
is designed to perform a routine task
in manufacturing, a personal robot
is designed to work and perform
activities for its user.
With sophisticated and affordable
robots, a Taiwanese, Hong Kong
resident or Singaporean might think
twice before hiring a caretaker or a
domestic helper to do house chores
considering that as an employer, he
has to spend about US$1,500 per
month; a total of US$36,000 for a
household service worker hired for a
contract period of two years.
A hefty sum indeed, thus he might
just decide to spend a one-time
investment of US$1,000 for an
Angus Lacayo in Sydney
Despite the risks to their safety, not to mention
frequent brushes with immigration authorities,
Pinay bar workers make a good living in Japan
ilipina bar worker Jun panicked
when she heard British hostess
Lucie Blackman had been
killed and mutilated in a horrific
attack that sent shockwaves through
famously safe Tokyo’s bar industry.
But Blackman’s death did not
stop the 32-year-old Filipina from
working as a hostess, a job that has
provided a lucrative income ever
since she first came to Japan 17 years
“I don’t go out on dates with
my customers,” said Jun, who
only disclosed her first name, at a
“Philippine pub” in a desolate Tokyo
suburb. “If they asked me out, I
would make sure to bring a friend
Blackman, 21, disappeared in July
2000 while working as a hostess in
Tokyo’s seedy Roppongi district,
hoping to earn quick money to fund
a trip to Australia. After seven
months of searching, with her photos
pinned up on poles across Tokyo,
her dismembered body was found
buried in a seaside cave in Misaki, 50
kilometers south of Tokyo.
“I’ve heard one of my younger
friends had a similar problem,” Jun
said. “She was about to get drugged
and taken to a hotel.”
Wealthy businessman Joji Obara
was indicted for drugging 10 young
women and videotaping sex with
them, including Australian hostess
Carita Ridgway, who later died in a
Obara was sentenced to a life in
prison last week for the assaults on
five Japanese and four foreigners
– from Australia, Britain, Canada and
Ukraine. But he was acquitted due
to lack of evidence in the Blackman
Japan has increasingly cracked
down on bars hiring foreign women
after Blackman’s death and an
embarrassing US State Department
report which blacklisted the close
ally over human trafficking.
Japan issued nearly 135,000
“entertainer” visas, long a convenient
shield to bring in girls to work as
bar hostesses, at the peak in 2004, of
which 61.3 per cent went to people
from the Philippines.
The number shot down by more
than 26 per cent in the following
year. “Westerners used to work on
their tourist visas casually as they
backpacked the world,” said Ryuji
Demachi, a 51-year-old former
freelance writer who specializes in
“There is still a market for Western
hostesses, but the places where they
can work now have gone down to
one-tenth from their height.”
Filipinas, other Asians and
Eastern Europeans are the most
determined to make money and
send it back to their parents or buy
a house back home, he said. Jun
is overstaying her entertainer visa,
while her friend Gina, 35, is only on
temporary release from immigration
authorities, a status that could lead to
her detention at any time.
A growing number of Asian bar
hostesses seek the safer option
R2D2 DH that he can require to do
a 24/7 work schedule without any
complaints, for a maximum period
of five years. This also practically
solves the cultural differences and
personal problems that usually are
present in an employer – foreign
Knowing the Korean government’s
accuracy in sticking to its long-term
plans and goals, it would be safe
to assume that by 2015, Korean
manufacturers will be able to flood
the world market with R2D2-like
personal robots for household use.
The Philippine government is
left with a single option, and that
is to find alternative employment
opportunities for a good number
of workers deployed as domestic
helpers or caretakers abroad who
may soon be replaced by household
robots by 2015.
Tokyo’s pulsating nightlife offers an opportunity
for foreign bar workers to make good money from
entertaining ‘harmless’ Japanese men.
They earn plenty
of money without
Prostitution is not
a prerequisite of
Freelance journalist and bar client
of marrying a Japanese man to
camouflage their work in the world’s
Tomio Ota, 58, who frequents
foreign hostess bars and pubs, said
he did not think many of the girls felt
“There is no country that has the
same high demand for hostess girls
as Japan,” he said. “Even if they are
not smart, they can make a lot of
money as long as they are a bit cute.”
“You have to keep in mind, they
are from a country where they would
get one-tenth of what the yen gets
them,” Ota said.
Demachi said foreign women
found the work of a bar hostess to
be a good deal – they earn plenty
of money without selling sex.
“Prostitution is not a prerequisite of
this industry,” he said. “They only
chat, drink and sing karaoke with
Japanese men, and they can earn a
Jun and Gina both said that
Japanese men often came off
as perverts but were essentially
harmless. But asked what they would
do if they were victimised, the two
Filipinas paused for a moment as
they watched the disco ball revolving
from the ceiling. They said they
would not trust the police. If anything, Samuel and Lai-Lani
Aum’s frequent meetings with fellow
Filipinos in Wondonga, Australia, is
keeping a tradition alive.
“It’s a modest effort, really, but who
knows what it might become,” Samuel said.
The couple have met 50 of their
compatriots in a month and there will
be meetings with 650 more.
The flurry of activity is keeping
the Filipino community in AlburyWodonga up to speed in preparation
for the Fiesta Filipina, a celebration of
traditional dance, music and dress.
It comes in perfect timing for the
Aums, who moved to Wodonga a
month ago under the skilled migration program.
“We were here for two days before
the Filipino community contacted us
and already we have a fiesta to celebrate our traditions, so we have not
had the chance to miss home yet,”
Mr Aum said. “When we had fiestas
at home, everyone would come and
although we have already met about
50 people we hear there are more than
700 Filipino people in this region.”
Many members are looking forward
to a speech from Victoria’s Philippine
consul general Raul Hernandez.
Mr Hernandez will speak on becoming an Australian citizen without
losing Filipino citizenship.
“I became an Australian citizen
years ago and did not realise there was
the option of keeping citizenship in
the Philippines,” Filipino community
vice-president Josie Maxwell said.
Ms Maxwell said it was vital that
the Filipino community gave each
“When people come over through
the skilled migrants program, they are
expected to know what to do when
they get here – and as far as work
goes, they do,” she said. “But when
it comes to Australian systems, they
are often lost on how to get a tax file
number, how to access the health system or how to set up a household.
20 May 2007
editorial & features
Kaibigan kong weyter sa Qatar
Naging suking weyter ko si Duds sa
iniinuman naming ihawan sa Shaw
Boulevard sa Mandaluyong. Isang
malaking tolda ito na di na kailangan
ang air-con. Tagos-tagusan ang
hangin at maraming pulutang inihaw
kung kaya kung tawagin ito’y Tolda
Minsa’y may ilang buwan ding
nawala si Duds at nabalitaang kong
nagpunta sa Qatar. Weyter din daw
ang trabaho at malaki ang suweldo.
Natuwa rin ako’t nakipagsapalaran
si Duds sa pagtratrabaho sa ibang
Naganyak siyang mangibang
bansa dahil ang mga kapwa weyter
na kaibigan niya ay umasenso nang
Si Caloy na kaibigan na ang asawa
ay isang titser ay nakapagtrabahong
weyter sa California.Nakaipon at
nang magbalik ay nakapagpagawa ng
Gayundin si Jim na umalis noon sa
gulang na 19 na taon, nakapag-asawa
na nagtratrabaho sa “call center.”
Lumipas ang siyam na taon
sa pagtratrabaho sa Saudi ay
nakapagpatayo rin ng magandang
bahay sa Mandaluyong at umasenso
Si Jojo na suki ko rin sa inumang
ito ang hindi sinuwerte. Ang ginastos
niyang 25,000 piso na inutang ay
nadugas ng ilegal rekruter. Kaya’t
hangga ngayon ay binabayaran niya
ang inutang at nangangarap pa ring
makapagtrabaho sa ibang bansa
Tunay na ang pagtratrabaho sa
ibang bansa ng manggagawang
Pilipino ay di sinusuwerteng lahat.
May umuuwing tagumpay at ang
iba’y naloloko ng ilegal rekruter.
Matagal ding nagtrabaho si Duds
na weyter sa Qatar. Pero hindi inabot
ng isang taon. Ang ilang buwan
niyang pagtratrabaho sa ibang bansa
ay kung bakit biglang nagbalik si
Duds sa sariling bayan.
Pero ... bawat
Nagulat ako nang muli siya ang
weyter na umaasikaso sa akin. Wala
akong inisip kung bakit nagbalik si
Duds. Pero habang umiinom ako
ng malamig na serbesa ay nagkakuwentuhan kami.
Nasabi ni Duds na tinamaan siya
ng matinding lungkot at pangungulila
sa pamilya. Apat ang anak at maliliit
pa. Nasa elementarya ang dalawang
lalaki at ang dalawang babae ay
alagain pa. Empleyada sa pribadong
opisina ang kanyang asawa.
Matinding lungkot o
“homesickness” ang nararamdaman
ng maraming OFW pagdating
sa ibang bansa. Pero si Duds ay
hinangaan ko, dahil mas pinili niyang
manatili sa piling ng pamilya.
Nasabi niya sa akin, “Sir, di
baleng gumapang sa hirap, kasama
ko naman ang aking pamilya. Di ba
Ngumiti ako at sinabing, “Tama
May kanya-kanyang paniniwala
ang bawat Pilipinong nagtratrabaho
sa ibang bansa. Ang iba’y
nilalabanan ang matinding lungkot
upang matupad ang pangarap na
umunlad ang kabuhayan.
Mas nakararami sa ating
kababayan ang nagtitiis upang
labanan ang paghihirap sa sariling
bansa. Katwiran nila’y dadalawin
ka rin ng lungkot at kawalang pagasa sa ating bansa.Mas masarap
makipagsapalaran at makakita ng
magandang pagkakataon ay limpaklimpak na salapi ang maiuuwi sa
Pero bawat pangarap na pag-unlad
ay may kapalit. Maraming pamilyang
Filipino ang nagkakahiwalay sa pagalis ng ama o ina upang magtrabaho
sa ibang bansa.
Umuuwi minsan ang isang amang
OFW na malaki na anak na noo’y
sanggol pa nang iwan.halos hindi
na siya kilala ng iniwang anak sa
Sa mahaba-habang bakasyon
ng ama, doon niya pupunuin
ng pagmamahal ang anak at
mararamdaman ang init ng kanyang
Walang kapalit ang pamilyang
lagi’t laging naroroon sa tabi mo.
Pero ang muling pagdalaw ng
lungkot ay darating sa mag-anak ng
umuwing ama mula sa pagtratrabaho
sa ibang bansa. Magpapalam siya
sa anak na nakilala na siya.Aalis
siya upang bigyan ng magandang
kinabukasan ang buong pamilya.
Sa paghahatid ng pamilya sa
airport ay mababasa ng masaganang
luha ang pagpapaalaman ng aalis
na ama. Doon muling dadalaw ang
matinding lungkot sa aalis at iiwan.
Matagal bago malimutan ang lungkot
na iyon. Hanggang sa paglipas ng
mga buwan at taon ay matanggap
na, nang umalis at iniwan na bahagi
ng kanilang buhay ang mahabang
paglalayo at pagkakahiwalay sa ama
o inang nagtratrabaho sa ibang bansa.
Nigeria ordeal weapon for hypocrites
By the time this piece sees print, the
eight Filipinos abducted by Islamic
militants in Nigeria might have
already made it home safely.
There is reason to be optimistic.
Last January, 25 Overseas Filipino
Workers were sent home unharmed
and in good shape after a few weeks
of captivity by presumably the same
group of criminals and militants
who used them as leverage to extort
cash from their government. Nigeria,
by the way, is Africa’s largest oil
It is a source of hope and comfort
for the families of the kidnapped
OFWs to know that the Philippine
government is abreast of the situation
and is in continuous negotiations
with its Nigerian counterpart to attain
a happy ending to their common
The Department of Foreign Affairs
has been on its toes since news broke
out on the abduction of the eight
Filipinos, together with three Korean
nationals, who were working for a
South Korean power company.
It has warned nationals seeking
employment abroad to avoid Iraq
and Nigeria for security reasons. The
virtual civil war raging in Iraq has
killed hundreds of thousands and
displaced almost two million Iraqis
from their homeland, according to
latest reports. Even innocent noncombatants, like foreign workers and
civilians, were not spared from the
We can just imagine the hypocrites
whose hearts are bleeding for
the OFWs and blaming the
administration for not providing
enough jobs for Filipinos that they
have to risk their lives in foreign
shores and endure the pain and
loneliness of separation from their
If it were up to them, they shall
give all the 88 million Filipinos highpaying jobs and such other amenities
to raise their living standard and
release them from their age-old
misery. The patriots who would love
this country to death conveniently
forgot that even the world’s richest
nations have their share of overseas
and foreign workers who are
searching for their own version of
the promised land in every part of the
The results of the May 14 polls
would have been known by the time
you are reading this newspaper. The
senatorial winners, since they are
only 12, may soon be proclaimed.
Those who did not make it to the
magic number were cheated as it has
become a humongous culture in this
country that no candidate ever lost an
election. Even a two-bit politician,
say, a city or town mayor, must be
cheated of victory or risk losing face
with his constituents and deprive him
of his plinth from which he could
look down and feel superior.
A modern thinker, dissecting
Plato’s The Republic, coined the
term “political hygiene” as applying
to the great philosopher’s ideal
of a Philosopher-King to run the
government. We doubt very much
if the politicians in this benighted
country would even care to
More questions than
answers – what’s our
world coming to?
Looking at the state of the world
today, isn’t it obvious that we live
in an age of uncertainty? One in
which there are more questions than
Questions like what’s to become
of Iraq, or whether next year’s shoe
styles won’t be pointy but squarish,
or where exactly is Kyrgyzstan, and
why it is that men who gel their hair
in spikes look like utter drongos?
Meanwhile, here in Hong Kong,
haven’t we been wondering how long
it will be before we can walk across
from Queen’s Pier to Tsim Sha Tsui
without getting our feet wet? In fact,
won’t they have to rename “Queen’s
Pier” to “Central Promenade”?
And who was it spreading rumors
that developers are thinking of
demolishing the HSBC building (it’s
more than five years old, after all)
to be redesigned so that the decibel
levels of Pinays chattering beneath it
on Sundays can be modulated?
Is the story that Chater Road
along the Mandarin Hotel and
Legislative Building will be renamed
Luzviminda Drive just a cruel joke?
Isn’t another conundrum the one
about people wagering when the
Chief Executive will finally appear
in public wearing a regular necktie,
thus putting an end to silly remarks
that he resembles that cute Disney
fowl? And will it ever be revealed
that the late zillionaire Nina Wang
bequeathed a neat sum to her Filipino
amah who had been faithfully styling
More to the point, what about
newspaper reports that the Hong
Kong government may raise the
minimum wage, perhaps also
restoring foreign domestics’ salaries
to their former levels? Wouldn’t
this be a vindication for the
migrant workers whose wages were
arbitrarily and unjustly slashed when
the economy was in the doldrums?
Weren’t those local workers and
unionists who demonstrated by
marching backwards to Government
House on April 29 to press their
demands a gutsy bunch?
So why is it, now that Hong
Kong’s economy is booming, that
the fat cat officials aren’t thinking of
spreading some of the wealth around,
particularly among the lowest wage
earners? Is it fair that street sweepers
earn HK$4,500, toilet cleaners earn
HK$4,850, while domestics entrusted
with the care of Hong Kong’s
families, earn a mere HK$3,400?
On top of which, why were
demoralised Pinoy migrant workers
viewing the senatorial elections in
Manila by saying “Wala namang
mangyari, mandadaya pa rin sila”?
Why is everyone so jaded this year,
compared to the fine enthusiasm
displayed during 2004’s presidential
election? Hadn’t we been clamoring
for absentee voting not too long ago,
so why are we being so perverse
now? Is the reason many won’t
bother voting this May because the
winner of the 2004 presidential
election (that one on whom great
hopes were invested) turned out to be
a huge disappointment – especially
for female voters?
Was it foolish of us to dream
of having an intelligent female
president rejuvenating her country,
instead of yet another male leader
ruining it? Why is it, whenever some
slick senators turn up in Hong Kong
to take a breather from the quagmire
in Manila, many folks line up with
them to smile into the cameras as
though the junketing politicians were
God’s Gift to the Philippines?
By calling themselves the Genuine
Opposition (GO – also termed
GaGO by a prominent Manila
Do we prefer to
live in a fantasy
because real life
is such a snakepit?
analyst), are those pols implying that
oppositionists in the Party List are
bogus? Does the Pinoy tendency to
vote for vacuous filmstars and flakey
athletes prove that we simply refuse
to take life seriously, which is why
we’re forever cracking jokes?
Has this state of affairs been caused
by a meltdown of our brain cells
because our eyes are forever focused
on moronic TV shows, our ears
constantly glued to banal cellphone
chatter and our fingers incessantly
tapping out illiterate text messages?
Do we prefer to live in a fantasy
world peopled by clueless celebrities
and smarmy preachers because real
life is such a snake-pit? Is it all really
an escape from the daily grind of
wiping kids’s bottoms, scrubbing
toilets, cooking noodles, walking
dogs, haggling with vendors and
putting up with cranky employers?
Isn’t all of life just one big
Election violence shows our immaturity
A sure sign of our political
immaturity is the violence that
invariably mars our elections.
This one is no exception.
Too many lives are wasted in our
politicians’ (and their supporters’)
pursuit of their agenda, which
screams victory at any price.
It’s bad enough that our politics
have failed to transcend personalities,
and, in many instances consigned us
to an exercise no better than Tic Tac
More disturbing is the fact that
after our heroic struggles to regain
democracy and the freedom to vote
our conscience, we have settled
back to a kind of comfortable
acquiescence, refusing to become a
force for change.
There is no shortage of issues in
the national agenda. We all know
what these are, and we all know our
But they will have to muster the
will to champion them in a way that
shows resolve and conviction, even
if it is at the expense of political
Nothing in our present
circumstances has moved us closer to
that situation, and we continue to be
mesmerised by names and held down
Because it is easier to remember
the “who” than the “what” and
“how” in our political culture, we
contribute to our own stagnation.
Political immaturity is the price we
This is not to say we are a hopeless
case, or that we have become
incapable of change.
But first, we must survive our
failings: the killings must stop.
OFWs a powerful force
for change – but when?
Conventional wisdom says
overseas Filipino workers should
be a potent voting bloc.
Not only are they a combined
10-million strong, but also have
a lot at stake in every election
held in their homeland. After
all, they are sacrificing a lot to
improve the lot of their relatives,
but are also expected to deliver an
OFWs are mostly college
graduates and their exposure to
other cultures places them at an
advantage. Since they work in
economically more advanced
countries than the Philippines,
they are able to see where
their taxes should go. In the
Philippines, too much goes to
Whether as a colony of the
UK or as an autonomous part of
China , for example, Hong Kong
continues to be one of the most
progressive places on earth. Tax
collections are plowed back to
constantly improve and modernise
that small parcel of land.
This is also true of such places
as the United States, Britain, Italy
and the Middle East, which host
large numbers of OFWs.
If only we could say the same
thing about the Philippines …
But every election offers a ray
of hope that more qualified and
incorruptible leaders can be voted
into office. The recent polls are no
The OFW vote can make a
difference, especially where
the last few senate slots are
concerned. It is generally
conceded that there are eight or
nine sure winners, more or less.
All the rest can be considered also
If there are four or five
candidates vying for the 11th
and 12th slots based on the latest
surveys, the votes cast by the
OFWs could conceivably make a
world of a difference.
As a former OFW myself,
I’d like to see the day when
the majority of Filipinos living
and working abroad take the
opportunity to vote.
The numbers will continue to
grow in the short term, so today’s
nine Filipinos based in foreign
shores will expand, what with the
one million or so being deployed
Think of it. OFWs are not
exposed to the silly commercials,
the cheap politicking and
gimmickry, and the awful attempts
to score “pogi” points.
Planted rumors will not reach
their ears. They can detach
themselves and appraise each
candidate based on his or her
Once the OFW vote hits the
millions, they will be a very, very
powerful force for change. For the
better, folks, for the better.
Then the Republic of the
Philippines can really go places.
Isa po ako sa hindi nakaalam
sa pagsasara ng Konsulado sa
kalagitnaan ng halalan.
Kaya nung nagpunta po
ako roon para magsumite ng
papeles, nasayang ang oras ko.
Ano po ba ang patakaran ng
Konsulado para iparating ang
mga ganitong importanteng
anunsyo sa publiko?
City One, Shatin
I recently came across an
incident involving a taxi driver
and a Filipino tourist couple.
They were having an argument
over what the couple said was
excessive fare from being given
The cabbie was insisting he
had taken the shortest possible
route, or something along
those lines – if my smattering of
Cantonese can at all be trusted.
I tried to help smooth things
out, but not being able to speak
Cantonese, my effort left much
to be desired.
Which set me thinking: Should
not taxi drivers be required
to speak reasonable English,
given that Hong Kong is an
international city and one in
every four people you encounter
is a foreigner (tourist or not)?
Hindi ko na mabilang kung
ilang beses nang na-delay ang
pagbubukas ng bagong Naia
terminal. Sa huli kong uwi sa
Pilipinas noong nakaraang
buwan, maugong ang usapan
sa airport na malapit nang
Unang na-delay and
pagbubukas nito sa usapin sa
kontraktor, hanggang lumawig
pa nang biglang madiskubre ang
“structural defects” ng terminal.
Nakakadismaya na ang mga
Habang nagsisiksikan sa
domestic terminals at parang
sardinas na ang mga pasahero
sa international terminal kapag
dumarating ang eroplano, meron
tayong dambuhalang terminal
na nakaupo lamang na parang
white elephant. May palagay
akong marami sa ating kapwaOFW ang nagsasawa na rin.
Unmoved by political gimmickry at home, overseas Filipino
workers are capable of delivering an intelligent vote.
Executive EDITOR: Rex Aguado PUBLISHING CONSULTANT Philip Evardone ADVISERs Therese Necio-Ortega, Prof Dr Maurice Teo BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Ricky Sumallo
CORRespondents Eddie Alinea (Manila), Celeste Terrenal (Manila), Terrie Fucanan (Manila), Chito Manuel (Jeddah). Rick Sumallo (New Jersey), Loi Liwanag (Los Angeles)
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Bernie Domantay, AccessPoint (Philippines) Josephine Miranda (Philippines), TJ Badon-Doble (Philippines), Bob Waterfield (Hong Kong)
EDITORIAL BOARD Rex Aguado, Philip Evardone, Prof Dr Maurice Teo CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Beting Laygo Dolor, Teo Antonio, Chito Manuel, Danny Vibas, Dante Vino
Filipino Globe is published once a month by Apex Services (HK) Ltd, Suite 1905, Lippo Centre Tower 2, Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, telephone (852) 2918 8248, email [email protected] No part of this publication
may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. Printed by Premier Printing Group, Yuen Long, New Terrories, Hong Kong
ONE SUNDAY IN CENTRAL
A PHOTO ESSAY BY PAOLO SANDINO
6.15 AM THE LANDMARK EARLY BIRDS
11.25 AM CHATER GARDEN MORNING PRAYERS
1.10 PM CHATER ROAD LUNCH BREAK
Early comers unpack their goods and settle down for the long haul. This will be their spot for the day.
7:15 AM CONNAUGHT ROAD THE RUSH
Lunch time always brings a welcome break. But even then, not everyone is thinking about food.
4.37 PM WORLD WIDE HOUSE IN BUSINESS
In a blur, a Filipina hurries to a meeting place where she and her friends will leave for the beach.
10 AM QUEEN’S ROAD CENTRAL WORK DAY
A queue forms outside a money exchange shop, while
outside, a Filipina pitches phone cards to passersby.
8:48 PM NEAR WORLD WIDE HOUSE BEAUTY STOP
It takes a lot to fill a box to the full and these
Pinays know exactly how to do it.
It’s business as usual for this yaya, who is not
taking the day off. She prefers a weekday off.
Reaching out for divine blessing, a group prays as the main highlight of the day. Around these faithful, other people go about their own affairs.
With one last stop before heading home, these Pinays check out some Filipino beauty products.
26 May 2007
Meet the mother of the groom
A powerful bond brings an unexpected, emotional reunion, writes Adan Magnaye
alentine’s Day 2007, for Lolita
Rozon, was a time to mend a
Her date was a kindly doctor, and they
spent an afternoon in a room at Queen
Mary Hospital: The cardiologist performed
angiosplasty on the 58-year-old Bicolana
after she had suffered a stroke while on
holiday in Hong Kong.
Lita had been bothered by chest pains
days before. Acute enough to require a
visit to the doctor but not so severe to keep
her from attending a wedding ceremony in
Central where she stood, proudly if quietly,
as “mother” of the groom.
It was one occasion she didn’t dare
miss, but days after the ceremony, the pain
returned and she experienced shortness of
breath. Her doctor had no choice. He had to
peer into a heart bursting with love for the
son Lita never had and the family she calls
Lita is not an ordinary tourist. She is a
former domestic helper who left her heart
in the SAR. In 25 years and four months,
she had known only one employer – the
family of Boon Kiew Chan, a businessman
Three years ago, Lita returned to Naga
City to care for her ailing mother. She
was made to understand her job would be
waiting for her once her mother’s condition
improved. Lita’s mother died one month
later and, despite offers of support from
the Chans and their persistent invitations
for her to come back, Lita decided to stay
home and take care of her family’s small
but thriving copra and coffee business.
Happily settled in a spacious two-storey
house with her three dogs and a couple of
nieces to keep her company, Lita did not
see any reason to go back to Hong Kong.
Until she got a wedding invitation from
William in January.
William is the only son of Mr Chan and
his wife Sue, a mathematics professor
at Canossian College. He is three years
younger than the couple’s firstborn, Peggy.
Mrs Chan was pregnant with William when
Lita arrived to work for the household on
August 26, 1979.
From the time William was born, he and
Lita were inseparable. In the soft-spoken
but stern-looking Bicolana, the boy found
a yaya, friend, confidante and more. As
loving and devoted as his mother Sue
was, William, it turned out, had room for
another caring older woman in his life.
At the wedding banquet, after families of
the newlyweds had offered toasts, Mr Chan
told the guests that William had a “second
He then asked Lita, the only non-Chinese
in the room, to stand up. “Di ko maexplain ang feeling. Very proud ako.”
When days later, Lita learned she had to
have angiosplasty, the Chan family made
sure no expense was spared – even if Lita’s
Learning a world
about my children
Gabby Alvarado in Hong Kong
from the day
he was born,
araw ang mga
Kasi mga Pinoy
Yaya, friend and ‘mother’ to her ward
siblings in Australia and Canada had also
offered to help.
When she joined the Chan household in
1979, Lita recalls, the fare from Central
to Robinson Road was a mere 30 cents,
nothing but murky harbor water existed
where the imposing IFC towers now stand,
door-to-door cargo services were still not
available and there were only about 7,000
Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong.
The monthly pay back then was a mere
“Si Blackman rin ang paboritong
tambayan, pero mabibilang mo ang mga
Pilipino. Puwede ka pang sumayaw doon
na wala kang mababanggang tao,” she says.
As Lita doted on him like a watchful
mother, so did William become closer
to her. Their bond endured even when
William left for the United States to take up
engineering and, later, the Filipina had to
tend to her mother back home.
Lita, who is unmarried, has fond
memories of her alaga when he was
“Tuwing bago ako mag-holiday sa
Pilipinas, nagkakasakit iyan. Nilalagnatlagnat. Wala naman diperensiya sabi ng
doktor. Siguro napi-feel ng bata na aalis
ako at mawawala ng matagal,” she says.
“Minsan nagigising ng hatinggabi iyan,
hahanapin ako. Di titigil ng iyak hanggang
hindi ko siya kukunin.
“Pag magha-holiday naman ako ng
Linggo, kailangan magtaguan pa kami bago
ko siya maiwan. Minsan isinasama ko na
siya, nagsisimba kami sa St Joseph. Doon
natuto siyang tumulong at maglimos. Kaya
lumaki siyang napaka-generous.
Following her departure in 2004, William
as well as Mrs Chan would periodically
call Lita to make sure she was fine. After
typhoon Reming devastated parts of
Bicolandia late last year, mother and son
were gripped with anxiety for three weeks
until telecommunication lines in the region
were restored and they could finally speak
to Lita. Lita could not help but be touched
by the Chans’ kindness and thoughtfulness.
And so this time when William asks her
to return once more and help care for the
baby he and wife Annie are planning to
have, Lita readily agrees.
“Darating ang panahon ang mga Intsik
magiging ugaling Pinoy. Kasi mga Pinoy
ang nagpalaki at nag-alaga sa kanila.”
am no different from most OFWs coming home for a
holiday. I shop for pasalubong – dress for the wife, toys
and chocolates for the kids.
Nothing amuses me more than seeing my two daughters’ eyes widen over their tatay’s gifts. Only later do I realize it is I who is really taken by surprise by the constant
changes I come upon on these periodic trips.
One thing I’ve found out from this time-honored practice of giving pasalubong: a cheap toy from Mong Kok
can draw the kids’ attention just as much as expensive
items, say micropets from Toys `r Us. It does not take
long for them to wisen up, though. The flea-market imports are soon discarded and the girls turn their attention exclusively to interactive toys, like Game Boy – a
quantum leap from the Game ‘n Watch consoles of my
Nowadays, my eldest daughter Abigail, 8, is asking
when I will buy her an iPod. Marion, 4, wants her tatay to
surprise her with a Play Station 2.
Vacations are pleasant eye-openers for fathers like me
who are away from their growing children most of the
time. These precious, fleeting moments teach us a world
about our kids.
Abby, who will be in Grade 3 when school starts in
June, feels at home at Starbucks. Just buy her a glass of
orange juice and a chocolate donut to go with an Enid
Blyton book. She dreams of driving her own car as soon
as she is old enough, and take her friends to Starbucks on
their free time. Sosyal!
Like me, Abby wears eyeglasses for astigmatism. The
result, probably, of reading Ibong Adarna books, almanacs and trivia books, playing video and computer games
and, I hope, from doing her schoolwork.
Mayong speaks fluent English for a girl her age, mostly learned from watching Disney Channel and Cartoon
Network programs, Mr Bean being one of her favorites.
She even speaks a little Spanish. For that, I have to thank
Dora the Explorer.
And this has come as a surprise to old me, a member
of the Voltes V and Kulit Bulilit generation: Barbie Doll,
her blonde locks and hourglass figure notwithstanding,
is getting to be old like the 50-something that she is; and
Dora the Explorer and Winnie the Pooh, though both
relatively young, also lose their appeal from time to time.
These days the stuffed character of choice for Mayong is
Mayong has had crushes already. When she was
three years old, she said she was going to marry Vhong
Navarro, a comedian, but for her father’s disapproval.
“In-erase ko na siya,” she would say later.
Once she sidled up to me and asked: “Kung si Daniel
ba, papayag ka?” She was referring to Daniel Radcliffe,
that cool teenager playing the boy wizard Harry Potter
obviously casting a spell on her. Laughing, I told my
wife Jean: “At least marunong siyang magpaaalam sa
magulang niya.” Paolo Bediones, Jay-R and a goodlooking character in a popular Korean telenovela named
Martin are, according to Mayong, also boyfriends. Sus,
may gatas pa sa labi.
On my last trip, I learned she has developed a fixation
on Dennis Trillo, a GMA-7 Kapuso hearthrob. She is
so possessive she wouldn’t even let her nanay, an avid
Trillo fan, express her admiration for the young actor.
Makes her tatay afraid that the next time he visits from
Hong Kong, a fresh-faced stranger will be waiting with
the rest of the family at the airport to kiss his hand.
Anthony Hui and
Vivi Binondo, (third
and second from
left), owners of
Hung Hom receive
Tindahan’ Award for
the month of
March 2007 from
PLDT (HK) Ltd. With
them is Manny
Alde (left), sales
executive of PLDT
home, health & beauty, stars & sports
I’m in the dark. Could you shed some light on three-way switches?
Participants in a legal workshop organised by the Philippine Association of
Hong Kong get together at the end of the session at Grappa’s Cellar, Central.
We rarely have three-way
switches in the Philippines,
but it’s part of everyday
elsewhere. Are they that
frustrating to fix?
You have to know how
a normal light is wired to
understand basic residential
wiring for a light switch.
When the switch is on, current
flows along the black wire through
the switch to the light, and then
returns to ground through the
white wire to complete the circuit.
The electrician who wires the
house normally uses Romex to
do it yourself
run power from the fuse box to the
switches and outlets in the house.
Romex consists of an outer
plastic sheath with three wires
inside. The black and white wires
are insulated, while a bare, third
wire acts as the grounding wire for
Most normal household
applications use 12- or 14-
gauge Romex. To create lights
that operate with two separate
switches, the electrician uses two
special pieces of equipment in the
A normal switch has two
terminals that are either
connected or disconnected.
A three-way switch has
three terminals, and the switch
connects the first terminal to
either the second or the third
terminal. You use two three-way
switches to control the light.
A normal piece of Romex comes
from the fuse panel to the first
The black “hot” wire enters the
switch on the left. Three-way
Romex (which includes red, black
and white wires) runs from the
switch on the left to the switch
on the right, with the white wire
carrying ground and the red and
black wires carrying the output
from terminals in the left switch.
Normal Romex runs from the
right switch to the light. With
the switch up, terminals 1 and
3 are connected. If the switch is
down, then terminals 1 and 2 are
If you flip either switch, the light
will turn on. And if you flip either
switch again, the light will turn off.
There are several other ways to
wire three-way switches to a light.
For example, the power from
the fuse box could come in at the
light fixture and there could be two
switches in series running from
there. Or power can enter at the
fixture and then two switches can
be arranged in parallel from the
Send your questions or comments to
Now for the
tricky bit: how
to order from
Nothing is spared in Willie Nepomuceno’s irreverent act, not even (make that especially) the seat of power.
Today’s toxic environment
coupled with the high-fat, highsugar diets that are so common
among most people combine to
make it very difficult to achieve
optimal health, slow aging and
prevent chronic illness.
In many ways, conventional
medicine has failed to fully
address the problems we face in
email [email protected]
mobile +63917 5390486
MXI Corp Philippines pick-up and training
center: (632) 637 5279
fax (632) 634 7909
Willie stands up to all
the presidents’ men
Comedian wears a different hat in fund raising by UP alumni
Gilda Medina Bernal in Hong Kong
Popular comedian, satirist and impersonator Willie Nepomuceno takes
center stage on May 26 in a benefit
show organised by the University of
the Philippines Alumni Association of
Nepomuceno, regarded as one of
the Philippines’ most versatile comedians, will perform at the Grappa’s
Cellar in Jardine House, Central.
“There will be a lot of Philippine
humor, touching on issues happening back home. The audience will be
treated to the kind of satire that I am
known for,” Nepomuceno tells Filipino Globe in an interview.
He is referring to his acerbic impersonations of former presidents
Joseph Estrada and Fidel Ramos, and
the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos
“whom I’ve been impersonating for a
very long time now,” he adds. “The
audience will also have a dose of oldtime music. Parang nostalgia,” he
says, adding that the trip down music
lane would cover songs popularised
by Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams and
Nat King Cole, among others.
He said he is looking forward to
this particular performance because it
is for UP, where he graduated with a
Fine Arts degree “a long time ago”.
“When President Edgardo Angara
was still the UP president, I was with
him on tour in the US to raise funds
for the university,” he recalls.
Nepomuceno is doing it again,
helping the UP alumni local chapter
to raise funds for a faculty grant.
UP President Emerlinda Roman,
who is doing a worldwide tour to raise
funds for the UP Centennial celebrations in 2008, will be in Hong Kong
for the show.
“We are supporting President Roman’s goal to set up 100 professorial
chairs and faculty grants in UP next
year. We are targeting to raise at least
HK$120,000 for the faculty grant and
other community projects of the association,” says Gilbert Legaspi, president of UPAA-HK.
The show will also feature special performances by the UPAA-HK
members and the Hong Kong International School Faculty Jazz quintet.
“We are inviting the Filipino community to come and watch the show,”
Last year, the association sent a
son of an overseas Filipino worker in
Hong Kong to UP on a full scholarship grant.
The group will be also be involved
in the 2nd Philippine Arts Festival
and the first Pinoy Photography ClubHK photo exhibit in June.
Etiquette consultant Christa Koch-Kessler
takes us to a full meal, from soup to wine, main
course and dessert – and more. Bon appetit
t is a common sight in Hong
Kong. After guests have taken
their seats in a restaurant, they
put their mobile phones on the table.
Mobile phones are not a part of the
table setting and it should stay with
The wait staff approaches your
table and will unfold your napkins to
put them on your lap.
Again, this is something you will
experience in Hong Kong only, as
it is not a custom in other countries.
Usually, you will unfold your napkin
by yourself as a napkin is something
very personal: you use it to wipe
Other cultures frown upon other
people touching others’ napkin.
Next, the service staff distributes
the menu cards to each guest, but the
wine list is handed over to the host.
Usually, they also will ask if
you would like to have an aperitif,
depending on the type of restaurant
you are in.
As we are in an Italian restaurant
today, the wait staff may suggest a
Prosecco is the Italian version of
a sparkling wine and it is served in
champagne glasses. They may also
suggest a Campari soda or Campari
Campari is an Italian spirit, which
as a napkin is
is slightly bitter. The bitterness in this
drink stimulates your appetite. It is
served like a long drink and has very
little alcohol as it is topped up with
soda water or orange juice.
If none of your guests take an
aperitif when you as the host ask, and
if any of your guests would like to
drink wine, you will choose from the
wine list once everybody has ordered
Knowing what your guests have
ordered will help you to pick a wine
which matches their food.
You might not be able to do it
exactly as everybody might have
chosen something different, but at
least you can choose a wine which is
suitable and enhances the flavour of
the dishes ordered. Nowadays, it is
also expected that bottled sparkling
or still water is offered during the
meal. Please ask your guests what
Now comes the tricky part. How
do I order from an Italian menu card?
What are all these strange names
such as carpaccio, fusili, pappardelle,
tortellini, bisteca, tartuffo, tirami su?
You do it according to the classical
menu order. In days long gone, it was
common that you had 14 courses or
more during a meal.
Nowadays, we would not have
even the time to serve so many
courses nor are we used to eat so
many dishes. You start either with
a cold or hot appetizer, followed by
a soup or salad, then a main course,
cheese and dessert.
Christa Koch-Kessler is a
consultant on social graces. Visit
her at www.classact-online.com
Hong Kong are
frowned upon in
But there is
ordering from a
Men over 50 need to
watch their prostate
The kidney harvested from Reynaldo (below) went to a patient in Canada (above) who had been on the waitlist.
to stop kidney trade
Even as the illegal practice spreads among the poor,
officials say an effective response remains far off
eynaldo Yap has spent yet
another uncomfortable night.
After long hours working on
a Manila dock, the scar on his side
would not let him find the rest that he
It has been a little more than one
year since the 29-year-old sold his
kidney. Even though he generally
feels well, and can carry heavy loads,
something seems different.
On cool days and nights, he says he
feels numb where the operation was,
sometimes it hurts.
His story is only one of many in a
place called Isla Walang Bato, or NoKidney Island, in the Baseco section
Running short of money and
hope, Reynaldo decided to sell one
of his kidneys to pay off a loan on
a piece of land. He also bought
some household appliances and sent
money to his parents.
A broker arranged a deal under
which Reynaldo received about
US$1,740 – a lot of money for a
laborer making about US$6 a day.
A Canadian received the organ.
This is not unusual in the Philippines,
where medical authorities estimate
that in some large hospitals, more
than 50 per cent of all organs go to
If a donor wants to make a private
arrangement to sell a kidney, there
is no law to stop him. However, it is
illegal for a third party, or broker, to
arrange the sale. To get around the
law, the relationship is hidden, and it
is difficult for the authorities to arrest
Police Inspector Norberto Murillo
works in Baseco. “We hardly detect
the brokers because [what] the
We hardly detect
the brokers do is
donor to doctors
A Manila police inspector
brokers do is to accompany the donor
to the doctors. So the brokers serve
as a companion,” he said. “And
they don’t put them as a broker,
only a companion. It is only a secret
agreement between the two of them.”
How many residents of Baseco
have sold their kidney over the
years? Getting an accurate figure is
difficult, although one University of
the Philippines study estimates the
number may be as high as 3,000.
According to Manila’s National
Kidney and Transplant Institute,
or NKTI, there were just over
2,300 transplants in the Philippines
between 2000 and last year. It is not
known how many of those kidneys
As with any major surgery, there
are serious risks to removing a
kidney. Donors can get infections
or suffer other complications. And
although most people can live
healthy lives with only one kidney,
there is always a chance that donors
may later develop kidney disease or
other health problems.
A few years ago, the government
began a program to educate poor
kidney donors about the risks. This
includes counseling for potential
donors, twice-monthly transplant
seminars at NKTI, brochures, and
speeches around the country.
But Dr Remedios de Belen-Uriarte,
manager of the Philippine Organ
Donation program in the Department
of Health, says the effort has to be
intensified because the commercial
kidney traffic still goes on.
“We have to concentrate really on
the indigent, or poor people, for them
to know the consequences on their
health, on their way of living after
organ donation,” said Belen-Uriarte.
A regulated approach to donations
has been set up through the Kidney
Foundation of the Philippines, a
private organization. It offers a
package of benefits worth about six
thousand dollars to qualified donors.
This includes free annual check-ups,
life insurance, and cash. But the
program is just over a year old, and
its reach so far is limited.
That means the poor continue to
take the risk. Many benefit little from
the money they receive by selling
part of their body. Baseco community
councilor Rey Campenera says
people frequently spend the money
on short-term benefits.
rination problems may be a
sympton of something, an
infection or a condition that
is more hideous and sinister.
Timothy Sobrepenas, 51, writing
in from Macau, wonders whether his
situation might be prostate-related.
We asked Dr Jeff Jubilado,
urologist at the Mandaluyong City
Medical Center, to address Timothy’s
concerns with basic information
about the prostate.
The prostate is about the size of a
walnut and lies at the base of your
bladder. The front of your prostate
surrounds your urethra, the tube that
carries urine from your bladder and
out through your penis.
Any change in the size or shape
of the prostate can narrow this tube,
making it difficult for you to urinate.
The back of your prostate presses
against your rectum.
A prostate tumor is a lump created
by an abnormal and uncontrolled
growth of cells.
It can either be malignant
(cancerous) or benign.Cancerous
tumors can grow through your
prostate and spread to other parts of
your body (through the bloodstream
or the lymph system) where they
may grow and form secondary
This is called a metastasis. The
outer part of the prostate is most
likely to get a cancerous tumor.
Prostate cancer often has no
symptoms, particularly in the early
stages. Some men may never have
any symptoms or problems from the
Some types of prostate cancer
can be slow-growing and may not
become a serious threat to your
health. Whereas others are a fastergrowing and aggressive form and can
be more harmful. Symptoms include:
· problems urinating such as
difficulty in starting to pass urine, a
weak, sometimes intermittent flow of
urine, dribbling of urine before and
after urinating, a frequent or urgent
need to pass urine or a need to get up
several times in the night to urinate
· a feeling that your bladder is not
· pain during orgasm
· rarely, blood in the urine
These symptoms are similar to
those produced by a common noncancerous disease where the prostate
becomes enlarged (benign prostatic
hyperplasia). If you experience any
of these symptoms, you should visit
your physician for advice. If prostate
cancer is found early, it can often
be cured. If prostate cancer spreads
to other parts of your body, other
symptoms can develop.
The most common site for prostate
cancer to spread to is one or more
what the doctor says
bones, especially the lower back,
pelvis and hips. These bones can
become painful and tender.
The risk of prostate cancer
increases steadily with age and it is
rare in men under 50.
Your risk is higher if you have
close relatives (a father, uncle or
brother) who have had prostate
Your doctor will ask you about
your symptoms and will examine
you. He or she may do some of
the following tests or refer you to
a hospital specialist (urologist) for
A digital rectal examination is
an examination of your prostate.
Your doctor will insert a lubricated,
gloved finger into your rectum and
feel your prostate through the wall
of your rectum. If there is prostate
cancer it may feel harder than usual,
A PSA blood test will test the
amount of prostate-specific antigen
in a sample of your blood. PSA is
a chemical which is made by both
normal and cancerous prostate cells.
If you have an abnormally high
level of PSA, prostate cancer is a
However, a high PSA score does
not always indicate cancer and can
be caused by other prostate diseases.
In a prostate biopsy, your doctor
will surgically remove a small piece
of tissue using a needle.
The sample will be sent to a
laboratory for examination to find
out if it is a tumor and how fast it is
Your treatment for prostate cancer
will depend on a number of factors
such as your age and whether the
cancer has spread and if so, how far.
Sometimes, particularly for slowgrowing tumors, no treatment is the
best course of action. This is often
called active monitoring or watchful
Surgery-is a common treatment for
prostate cancer. It is most suitable
for otherwise healthy men (usually,
those under 70) whose cancer has
not spread beyond the prostate. The
most common technique is a radical
prostatectomy. Brachytherapyinvolves implanting radioactive
seeds into, or next to, the tumor in
May 2007 31
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If you have questions about health, send them to us and we
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closer together ... closer to home
just the tip of
nature adventures rightfully take its
place on the itinerary of any visitor.
There are plenty of activities for
the visitor to indulge in; from diving,
snorkeling, island hopping, trekking,
camping or simply watching a
beautiful sunset from one of its many
white sand beaches.
Lying off the west coast of
Marinduque, the Tres Reyes Islands
named after the three kings Melchor,
Gaspar and Baltazar are ideal for
diving and snorkeling.
The secluded beaches found on all
three islands also offer an ideal venue
for picnics. Poctoy White Beach is
also a popular tourist attraction with
a fine white sand beach that stretches
almost a kilometer. Beach side huts
are available to those seeking shelter
Inland, Mt Malindig is
Marinduque’s highest peak at 3,167
feet. It is an ideal camping and
trekking destination and wildlife can
be seen here especially raptors in
flight. At the foot of Mt. Malindig,
one can take advantage of the warm,
slightly sulfuric water that flows in
the pools of Molbog Springs. The
water is said to have therapeutic
qualities and is a popular choice for
those seeking a relaxing dip.
A must see for anyone traveling
to this province is Paadjao Falls. It
is a series of gently cascading falls
covering 100 feet and ending in a 15
foot drop. Natural Jacuzzi-like pools
are formed downstream from the
falls and are perfect for taking cool,
Spelunking enthusiasts can marvel
at the multi-storied Bathala Caves.
There are seven caves in this system
and they are said to be a repository
of psychic powers emanating from
the universe. Another is the Tarug
Caves, a natural wonder found within
Sitio Remedios: A step back in time
A native son’s dream to reclaim his lost childhood resulted in this charming heritage village. Mike Mina gives us a tour
One of the country’s best-kept secrets is a
lush rural destination that offers a break from
the concrete jungle, writes Tess Mauricio
here’s more to the heartshaped province of
Marinduque than just the
famous Moriones Festival. Despite
being the smallest province in the
Southern Tagalog region, it is a lush
rural destination that offers a break
from the concrete jungle and instead
gives the traveler an opportunity
to enjoy a more natural and simple
Like the rest of the country,
Marinduque is filled with gracious
and hospitable people who are
always ready to offer assistance,
smile and make sure the visitor
enjoys his or her stay in the province.
Marinduque was first peopled by
Malays and was called Malandik
after the province’s highest peak.
Having a hard time saying Malandik,
the Spanish conquerors changed it
to Marinduc which then evolve to its
The province is mainly agricultural
composed of the provincial capital,
Boac and the municipalities of
Buenavista, Gasan, Mogpog, Santa
Cruz, and Torrijos. Along with rice
and coconuts, fishing plays a big
part of the local economy. It is also
known as the “Butterfly Capital
of the Philippines” because of the
butterfly farming practiced there.
Marinduque’s culture and customs
are part of the tightly woven tapestry
of Philippine culture. Their unique
practices offer the traveler a different
view of the culture fabric of the
Philippines. Immediately noticeable
among these are the putong, tawak
drinking and Kalutang.
Putong is the Marinduquenos’
way of greeting friends and honored
guests. A group of men and women
called mamumutong chant greetings,
sing, dance and offer coins and
garlands to the visitor and treat him
or her like a deity.
Tawak is local liquor made of mint
leaves, spices, herbs and local vodka
prepared on Good Friday by local
healers and imbued with healing
powers through a bulong (whisper).
The bulong should be done before
the stroke of 12 noon on Good Friday
because this is when the power of
the healer ends. The potion is good
for a year. Mostly men drink this
concoction but women have been
known to take a sip or two as well.
Kalutang on the other hand is a
native musical instrument comprised
of two wooden sticks. Its varying
sizes enable a group of 10-12 people
to perform intricate musical numbers.
Natural attractions abound in
Marinduque. Having no cities and
being so far from the urban sprawl,
preserved as a
no cities and being
far from the urban
take its place on
the itinerary of any
a limestone formation that rises to
just over 900 feet. Its summit has an
area of barely 3 square meters.
Marinduque is likewise known
as the “Lenten Mecca of Southern
Tagalog” because of the Moriones
Moriones draws its name from
Morion which means mask or visor
such as those worn by Roman
This century-old, week-long
celebration done every holy week is
a re-enactment of Christ’s passion
and death though with an added
element – Longinus.
He was the blind centurion who
regained his sight after he stuck the
spear on the side of Jesus and the
blood from the wound fell into his
The festival’s widely known
trademark, the Moriones mask is
a prized souvenir for any traveler
visiting the province. It is made of
wood and quite heavy. Along with
a Roman soldier’s costume, it must
be worn for the entire duration of the
festival. Marinduque can be reached
by air from Manila via Asian Spirit
Airlines. These flights bring the
visitor to the Marinduque airport in
the municipality of Gasan.
Another way to get to the province
is by land transportation to Lucena
City’s Dalahican Pier then by ferry
to either Balanacan Pier or Buyabod
Private vehicles can also be
brought to the province via the
same route using the roll-on, roll-off
ferries. Jeeps, tricycles as well as
vans-for-hire are widely available for
those without private transportation.
For more information, you may
contact the provincial tourism
coordinator Gerry Jamilla at
telephone number (63 42)
332-1018 and e-mail [email protected]
marinduque.gov.ph. You can also
visit their website marinduque.
The face of the Moriones Festival, Marinduque’s pride and joy and centerpiece of its tourist calendar. At right is Maniwaya island. Photos: Joven Lilles
locos Norte is known for its
magnificent and charming
architectural landmarks such as
the world famous Burgos Lighthouse
and Paoay Church, both Unesco
World Heritage Sites. These treasures
from the past have also become
symbols and icons of their respective
Tucked in a small corner along the
coastline of Currimao in Ilocos Norte
is Sitio Remedios, an 18,000-square
metre sprawl of a gem in a turn-ofthe-century Ilocos setting.
Sitio Remedios is a beachfront
“heritage village” resort owned and
developed by Dr Joven Cuanang,
medical director of St Luke’s
Opened in May last year, this sitio
has a chapel, a plaza, and seven old
houses – all dedicated to Our Lady of
Peace and Good Voyage and Nuestra
Señora de los Remedios, patron saint
and namesake of the resort owner’s
While sipping tsokolate and
munching on scrumptious biscochos
(another Ilocos Norte delicacy) on a
moonlit night under the shade of a
centuries-old tamarind tree, we asked
why he did it.
He replied: “Because they’ve taken
away my childhood memories. After
graduating in the States, I came
home to find that my ancestral home
had been torn down and replaced
with a modern structure. Since then, I
vowed to rebuild, and here it is.”
Born in nearby Batac, in the
neighborhood of the late strongman
Ferdinand Marcos, Dr Cuanang
graduated from the University of the
East-Ramon Magsaysay Memorial
School and Harvard Medical School.
Orphaned at age 15, he has since
nurtured a passion for the art.
To date, he owns leading art
galleries, including Pinto Gallery
in Antipolo. By developing and
opening Sitio Remedios, Dr Cuanang
has once again re-established
connections with the past.
The experience begins at the
heavy wooden gates of Sitio, which
opens to Avenida de Azucao, a
grand walkway with a replica of
an antique brick-clad bridge paved
with old stones from the town of
Pasuquin and flanked by reflecting
pools with azucao lotus plants, once
in great abundance in the mythical
Paoay Lake. Large cacti, frangipani
(kalachuchi), maguey, and other local
flora line the sides of the avenida.
The 14 Stations of the Cross are
carved on cement plinths shaped like
the buttresses of the famed Paoay
Ascending the steps at the end of
the walkway, one is greeted with a
sweeping and picturesque view of the
entire sitio against the azure waters
of South China Sea: the stone-paved
Plaza de Manzanilla flanked by
rows of old Iloco houses; the rough
hewn Capillla de San Miguel that is
reminiscent of the Paoay Church, all
surrounded by centuries-old trees.
Dramatically lit at night, the plaza
and chapel grounds transform into a
venue that sets you back to the days
of old Ilocos where, then, with the
absence of modern trappings like
television and computers, friends
would gather around for tête-à-têtes
or rounds of the lively game of
Sitio Remedios sits on the Currimao coastline. It was built around a church (below) and has the amenities of a resort, from reception to accommodation.
The seven houses, a labor of love
by Dr Cuanang and Ilonggo architect
Rex Hofilena, each reflect the
traditional Ilocano look of the ’50s
and were built from old wood, bricks
and other architectural details like
old carved doors, capiz shell-inlaid
windows, balusters and railings all
retrieved and painstakingly preserved
from torn-down old houses around
Their namesakes come from their
places of origin like Bacarra, Batac,
Dingras, Piddig, and San Nicolas.
Apart from air-conditioning and
shower-fitted ensuites, the only
modern conveniences you will find
in the houses are water dispensers.
DR JOVEN CUANANG
On why he built Sitio Remedios
True to their original form, the
houses also come with authentic ’50s
furnishings: vintage lighting fixtures;
crocheted bedspreads; embroidered
heirloom tablecloths; heirloom
glassware, dinnerware and cutlery
in antique display cabinets; the
ubiquitous butaca plantation chairs
with elongated armrests.
Locally woven inabel sheets,
pillowcases, towels, and curtains to
complete the spare and traditional
A must in savoring the heritage
of Ilocos in Sitio is indulging
on empanada (stuffed pastry),
longganisa (sausage), pancit miki
(rice noodles), biscocho (biscuit),
and the unbeatable freshness of
its vegetable dishes like pinakbet,
dinengdeng, and abraõ that go with
cholesterol-filled bagnet (deep-fried
pork belly) and the ever-present
trio of KBL or kamatis (tomato),
bagoong (anchovy paste), lazuna
Staying in Sitio Remedios is taking
a step backward.
Backward in the sense that it is
visiting our roots where history
returns to life.
For reservations, please log on to
www.sitioremedios.com. You may
email the author at
As an absentee investor, you can
insist on being always informed
or those who may not be
inclined to starting their
own business or taking up
a successful franchise, I would
strongly recommend that they
consider investing their hard-earned
money in an existing company that is
showing some promise.
Some small and medium-sized
enterprises are always on the lookout
for investors. Your investment
consideration should not be based on
your familiarity with the owner in the
case of a sole-proprietor company,
or the board members of a formal
corporation, given that they may be
long-time friends or relatives.
One should have a checklist before
acting on an investment proposition.
This checklist should have the
1. Company profile – the company
should show a commercial promise
for the market it serves. It can prove
to you that it is worthy of your trust
and money. It can likewise show you
that it can be successful and is geared
towards that aspect.
2. Financial stability – the firm
should be progressively profitable
over the past three years. Ideally, the
company should be able to at least
achieve a 12 per cent net income
be your own boss
over the gross income generated.
The company should also be able
to manage its cash flow so that it
does not have to necessarily borrow
money from banks.
3. Good governance – the company
should be paying the right taxes in
order to avoid costly entanglements
with the BIR. It should have the
right organizational structure that
has a simple system of checks and
balances so that it is able to run
smoothly and profitably with the
least management supervision.
4. Strong and viable product – the
success of the company highly
relies on the product it produces
and sell where it has a favorable
image of value and satisfies its target
consumer’s wants and needs. The
product should have a strong growth
Don’t look now but Europe will
soon be tucking into Kalinga’s
famous native unoy rice, an
aromatic and delectable brown
This comes as a private
foundation in Tuscany, Italy
expressed interest in marketing
the indigenous staple in Europe,
Tabuk mayor Camilo Lammawin
“This is a breakthrough for us.
people know that Kalinga’s unoy,
aside from Ifugao’s tinawon rice,
has been exported to the United
States in the past two years. Here
now comes Europe as a likely
market,” he said.
Lammawin said unoy
is considered one of the
“extraordinary products around
Since 2005, the unoy has been
exported to Montana in the United
States by Revitalized Indigenous
Cordillera Entrepreneurs (RICE),
a non-government organization.
The Tabuk farmers’ cooperative,
Kalinga Organic Unoy Rice
Cooperative, in Barangay
Bulanao, has been the main
shipper of unoy abroad.
The 201-member cooperative
has been tasked to harvest 25
kilos each to meet the 5,025-kilo
quota for shipment every year,
Felicitas Balmores, agricultural
technician and coordinator of
unoy rice program, said Italybased Slow Food Foundation
for Diversity, encouraged unoy
farmers to register the product
through their foundation.
Thanks to incentives from the local government and national agencies, textile makers in Aklan have been producing export-quality merchandise. This also benefits the domestic market.
Aklan textiles loom big in world
Local weavers turn industry into major dollar earner as importers snap up merchandise
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Kalinga’s unoy rice set to conquer European tastes
potential in the market that it serves.
5. Owners Profile – the partners or
the shareholders should be a group of
individuals who are working together
for the success of the company. They
know what they are doing. They are
able to make sound decisions and are
committed to the business goals of
6. Investment payback – the
company must be able to present a
payback forecast for you to gauge
whether or not your investment will
yield a good dividend at a reasonable
period of time – possibly in not more
than three years
Since you are working overseas,
your local absence will not be
a deterrent where you may not
know how the company is faring.
Your arrangement as an investor
should include that you will be kept
informed of the company’s business
As a final consideration, working
for that company as an active partner
will be ideal should you finally
decide to return home.
Herbie Sancianco is a professor in
the graduate school for continuing
education, De La Salle College of
St Benilde, Manila
Or subscribe through our website
klan is weaving its way into
the world textile market,
thanks to its burgeoning loom
Proof of its attraction to foreign
buyers was a highly successful fair,
which brought together local suppliers and textile importers.
Aklan governor Carlito Marquez
said they would like to introduce their
products to the Chinese market where
there is a huge demand.
He was speaking on the sidelines
of the Eighth Piña and Fiber Festival
earlier this month.
Foreigners trooped to the exhibit
and went on a tour of the various
loom weavers in the province. The
five-day festival was held on the Capitol grounds.
Singapore-based Catherine Deane
of Fair Trade Interiors expressed in-
The quality of
with the others
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terest in the products, particularly
women’s accessories made of piña,
abaca and raffia fibers.
Deane, who supplies materials to
textile firms in other countries, said
the United Kingdom could use some
of these products.
“They have a huge potential in the
UK,” she said, after going around the
Michael Hailey of Amba Nature
said a British firm, Ethical Weddings,
has started to showcase scarves and
shawls made of Aklan plant fiber as
among its wedding-related merchan-
dise. He has also imported a volume
of bags made of Aklan plant fibers.
Hailey suggests though that the
loom weavers find a way to improve
the colors and the design of the products.
Importantly too, international brand
Calvin Klein has placed an order for
cushions produced by Heritage Arts
and Crafts, a loom weaver based
Calvin Klein saw the products on
“That means that the quality of our
products is comparable with the others internationally,” Marquez pointed
Advocate of Philippine Free Trade
executive director Rommel Agustin
said there is a huge demand in the
international market for Philippine
products made of plant fiber.
“This is something unique to us. It
is only the Philippines that produces
these,” he said.
Marquez and Agustin, however,
both lamented the limited production
“The only thing is that the production capacity is not enough to supply the demand. Several orders were
cancelled because these could not be
met,” he said.
The governor said the provincial
government would meet with loom
weavers to devise ways to increase
their output. “There’s a gap between
the demand and the supply,” he said.
Marquez explained that the products are made manually, without the
use of machines. “These are done
manually because no machine has yet
been invented that would turn leaves
into fibers,” he said.
The provincial government has
increased its financial assistance to
loom weavers to enable them to acquire more looming machines.
Department of Trade and Industry
provincial director Ermelinda Pollentes said they are coordinating with the
Fiber Industry Development Authority and doing a “backward linkage”,
a strategy they devised to increase
asarap managinip. Masarap mangarap.
Lahat tayo ay may naisin sa ating mga
puso, mga pangarap na nagbibigay
lakas sa ating magpatuloy at magpakatatag
bilang mga Expat Pinoy.
Ngunit paano kung mabigo ang mga pangako
ng ating mga panaginip? What happens when
our dreams are shattered? Na-terminate;
nabuntis ang panganay na anak, iisang taon na
lang bago grumadweyt; nagkasakit ang isang
minamahal sa buhay; nangaliwa ang asawa.
Do we give up on life and just stop dreaming?
Isinasantabi na lang ba natin ang ating mga
plano? Sinasabi na lang ba natin sa sarili natin
na wala nang pag-asa and proceed living
defeated lives? Yun bang nabubuhay ka nga,
ngunit nawala na ang sigla – ayaw mo nang
umasa, ayaw mo nang mangarap.
Tandaan, ang mga pagsubok ay parte ng
buhay. There is no such thing as a problem-free
Maging mahirap ka man o mayaman, hindi
madaling dumaan sa isang pagsubok. It is
never easy. Ngunit sa kabilang banda, ang
mga pagsubok ay may mabuting idinudulot.
Ang mga pagsubok ang nagpapatatag sa ating
How we respond to the problems we face
determine the kind of people we become.
1. Continue to Dream – Huwag mawalan ng
loob. Ipagpatuloy mong aksyonan ang iyong
mga nais marating – ang iyong mga goals. Our
dreams go hand in hand with the actions we
Kaya’t alalahanin at aksyonan natin ang ating
desisyong mag-umpisang mag-ipon sa sariling
BPInoy account. Alalahanin at aksyonan ang
tamang budgeting. Alalahanin at aksyonan ang
tamang pag-gastos. We should not give up on
our resolution to take control of our finances.
2. Resist the Temptation – Huwag
magpadala sa temptation o tukso. Katulad ng
pagsubok, marami ring temptation o tukso ang
humaharap sa atin. Lalo na sa mga panahon
ng pakiramdam natin ay wala nang nangyayari
sa ating pagpapagal. Hindi ba’t nakakaengganyong pakinggan ang mga pangako ng
malaking kita sa madaling panahon?
There are so many “get-rich” schemes out
there. Halimbawa na lang dyan ang mga text
scam at mga email na nagsasabing nanalo ka
ng napaka-laking pera. Kahit paulit-ulit nang
mga “warnings” ang nailabas sa mga ganitong
klaseng scam ay marami pa ring nagiging
biktima ito. O di kaya’y mga imbitasyon para sa
kung ano anong investment scheme.
Resist the temptation to “invest” just because
you heard someone got rich because of that.
Yun bang gaya-gaya ka na lang at hindi mo
na pag-aaralan. Napakaraming nagbibigay ng
“advice” kung paano ka kumita ng mas malaki.
Dapat maging mapanuri. Alamin at pag-aralan
ang impormasyong nakukuha patungkol sa
iyong pananalapi. Iwasang pumasok sa isang
bagay na hindi mo pinag-aralan.
3. Learn to Overcome the Setbacks – Sa
iyong pagpapatuloy umaksyon sa iyong mga
plano, huwag hayaang maging hadlang ang
mga nakaraan. Kapag nadapa, tumayo muli.
Patuloy umusad. Ika nga, take two steps
backward and three steps forward. Laging may
bagong araw at sa bawat biyaya ng bagong
araw, ito ay may dalang bagong pag-asa.
Personally, one of the things that give me
strength to overcome setbacks is the belief that
God has a plan for each one that loves Him and
it is a plan for good and not calamity, to give a
future and a hope.
Mayroon tayong Diyos na laging mabuti. So
let us learn from life’s lessons, believe in the
goodness of God and take that step forward to
pick up the pieces of our shattered dreams.
Ang Gawaing Expat series ay handog ng BPI
Remittance Centre. Ito ay mapapakinggan
sa AM 1044 Metroplus at mababasa sa Hong
Kong News, Filipino Globe at Kayumanggi
BPI contact number 2527 2289.
Homes within OFW’s reach
Pag-Ibig Fund steps up effort to reach market with affordable loan packages
Edgar Serrano in Manila
Food, clothing and shelter – these are
the three basic needs that drive a Filipino worker to go abroad and become
an OFW. The first two are easier to
come by, but buying a decent housing
that is affordable on an OFW’s budget
still remains an elusive dream.
Linda Moreno, vice-president for
Pag-Ibig International Operations
Group, said this could become a thing
of the past with her group’s renewed
effort to reach the nine million-strong
overseas Filipino workers worldwide.
She admitted that membership from
the OFW community is not yet extensive with only about 250,000 overseas
contract workers out of its six million
members. Very few among the OFWs
have also availed of its housing loan
Moreno said an overseas Filipino
worker can avail of up to P2 million in
housing loan through the fund’s PagIbig Overseas Program, a voluntary
savings scheme open to all land and
sea-based contract workers, including
permanent residents and immigrants
abroad. The member’s savings earn
tax-free dividends yearly.
To become a Pag-Ibig Fund member
and qualify for the housing and multipurpose loans, an OFW can go to any
Pag-Ibig Overseas Program post at
any Philippine embassy or consulate
general, Moreno said.
For Hong Kong and Macau workers, the POP office is on the 14th
floor, United Center Building, 95
Queensway. Its information officer is
Raymond Francis Ramos.
In Singapore, the POP office is in
Lucky Plaza with Eric Elloso as information officer. Workers in Taiwan
may go to any Philippine National
Bank branch or I-remit office to apply
Those applying for membership
and intending to get a housing loan
must bring their passports or work
contracts, 1x1 ID picture and pay in
lump sum the required monthly contribution equivalent to 24 months.
For a P200,000 housing loan, a
member is required to pay the minimum P200 monthly contribution for
24 months; P500 per month for a million-peso loan; and P960 monthly
for the maximum loan of P2 million,
Moreno said. Interest rates are from
6 per cent to 11.5 per cent.
Joseph Pimentel in Glendale
With higher loan amounts and more
reasonable interest rates, the Pag-Ibig
Fund hopes to attract more OFWs to
invest in property in the country.
The Pag-Ibig housing loan may be
used to finance any one or a combination of the following:
1. Purchase of a fully developed
lot not exceeding 1,000 sq m, which
should be within a residential area;
2. Purchase of a lot and construction
of a residential unit thereon;
3. Purchase of a residential house
and lot, townhouse or condominium
unit, inclusive of a parking slot, which
may be old or brand new;
4. Construction or completion of a
residential unit on a lot owned by the
5. Home improvement, or any alteration in an existing residential unit
intended by a homeowner to be a permanent integral part thereof, which
will enhance its durability and material value;
6. Refinancing of an existing mortgage with an institution acceptable to
the fund, provided that the loan is not
as US metro
in default within 12 months prior to
the application and has a repayment
history of at least two years with the
original mortgagee; and
7. Combination of loan purposes
limited to the purchase of a fully developed lot not exceeding 1,000 sq m
and construction of a residential unit.
Visit the fund’s website at
With real estate prices in singlefamily homes and condominiums
continuing to soar in California,
many Filipino-Americans are
investing their money in real estate in
“We have seen an exponential
spike in the number of Fil-Ams now
buying property in the Philippines,”
said David Rafael, general manager
of Ayala Land, part of Ayala Corp.
“Right now there’s a boom in
Philippine property and one of the
drivers of the boom is the improved
Rafael, along with other
representatives of Ayala Land, held a
presentation in Glendale this month
to answer questions about investing
in the Philippine property market.
Rafael said that in 2005, only 26
per cent of the company’s sales were
to overseas Fil-Ams, but last year,
the number surged to 37 per cent.
“There are nine million Filipinos
living and working abroad and nearly
3,000 migrate yearly to work abroad,
a lot are here in America,” Rafael
said. “Overseas Filipinos remitted
US$12.8 billion last year.
That’s more than U$1 billion a
month. Of that, nearly 30 per cent
went into savings and real estate
“That is a huge amount coming
into the Philippines. That’s why
demand [for real estate] is growing,”
This is the reason many real estate
companies in the Philippines are
aggressively selling in the US to
the Fil-Am market, especially in
California, where an estimated 1.1
million Fil-Ams live and work.
Also, with investment opportunities
limited due to California’s high
home prices, many Fil-Ams who are
retiring, and investors, are looking to
invest their money in the Philippines.
According to the US National
Association of Realtors, home prices
in metro home prices and state sales
may have hit bottom.
But for the homebuyer in
California, the bottom has not fallen
The NAR report says the median
price for a single-family home in the
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area
Professional team tackles common land problems
Investing in real estate in the Philippines is sometimes a cause for
worry due to the inherent problems
in the system.
There are many properties in the
Philippines that are not titled or not
registered under the torrens system.
Buying untitled properties, (usually
evidenced by only a tax declaration) pose a higher risk than buying
titled properties. A tax declaration
does not signify ownership of the
It assigns temporary “rights” over
the property to the declared owner.
There is still a risk that others might
claim the property. You might be
forced to investigate for yourself
the “chain of ownership” from present owner up to the first to ensure
that the owner of the property is that
which is stated in the tax declaration.
Liens and encumbrances
There are many titles in the file
with the register of deeds with annotations of “involuntary liens” (ie,
claims of third parties and the government, road right of way, etc).
Although the title may still be
registered in the name of a person,
ownership might have been transferred, questioned, or otherwise affected. It is very important to secure
a certified true copy of the title from
the register of deeds to verify the
status of the property.
Property owners are encouraged
to verify the status of the title in the
file of the registry of deeds to make
sure that the property is still free
from liens. Sometimes, there are instances wherein the lot owners are
unaware that the title of their property lodged in the registry of deeds
might be involved in unscrupulous
transactions. Through title verifica-
tion, OMI can assist you to monitor the status of the original copy of
title lodged at the registry of deeds
to ensure that your property is free
There are a lot of instances wherein
the boundaries and location of the
property does not match what is
stated in the title.
Sometimes, there is a discrepancy
between the area stated in the title
and actual area of the property. Other times, overlapping of boundary
occurs between adjoining lots.
Through OMI’s Relocation Sur-
vey, you can be assured of the metes
and bounds of the property and that
the property you are buying is actually that stated on the title.
Unpaid real estate taxes
Unpaid real estate taxes could
lead to the foreclosure of the property in favor of the city government.
It is very important that real estate
taxes are paid on time to avoid additional penalties and interest.
Through OMI’s assessment and
payment of real estate taxes, you
can be assured that the real estate
taxes of your properties are paid
correctly and on time.
Family pressure may also have
contributed to annulment decision
Danny Vibas in Manila
as Ruffa Gutierrez
influenced, if not
pressured, by her mother,
the feisty Annabelle Rama, in her
seemingly sudden decision to get her
marriage with Turkish businessman
Yilmas Bektas annuled?
Some people suspect Ruffa
merely relented to her mother’s
loudly uttered wish to have her
only daughter move back to the
Philippines for good, four years after
Ruffa settled in Turkey with her
People recall that about a month
ago, when Ruffa had a one-onone interview with her outspoken
mom on the ABS-CBN 2 Sunday
afternoon show The Buzz, Annabelle
blurted out that she would be happier
and feel less anxious about Ruffa
and her two very young daughters if
Ruffa would come home to Manila
In that same interview, when Ruffa
later asked Annabelle who the latter
thought was the most plastic person
she had ever met in showbiz, the
irrepressible Cebuana exploded: “Eh
di sino pa kundi ikaw mismo Ruffa.
Kahit ayaw mo yung tao, kahit galit
ka na, ngiti ka pa rin nang ngiti, pasweet ka pa rin nang pa-sweet.”
Was Annabelle hinting at how
Ruffa has been behaving towards
her MusIim husband and in-laws in
In a recent ambush interview
with Annabelle, she was quoted as
saying she was surprised that Ruffa’s
marriage to Yilmas lasted four years.
She said she had expected it to last
only one year since she knew that
the cultural differences lead to daily
fights between the couple. There is
talk that some of the fights have been
physically violent. But when one
broadsheet columnist mentioned this
to Ruffa, she firmly said she would
neither confirm nor deny the talk.
She asserted that whatever
happened between her and her
husband in their bedroom would
have to stay within the four walls of
Even now, though, Ruffa maintains
that she and Yilmas deeply love each
other and that her in-laws love her
very much too.
Ruffa began her prolonged visits
in Manila about September of last
year to host the reality show The
Philippines Next Top Model which
Solar Entertainment produces
independently for RPN 9.
This columnist recalls that at
the press conference for the show,
Annabelle admitted that it was she
who had to initially persuade Yilmas
to allow Ruffa to accept the hosting
job – because her dearest daughter
would not have the nerve to ask for
her dear husband’s permission.
Since September, Ruffa has gone
back to Turkey only about three
times, and the first time she did, she
made sure to bring her two daughters
to the Philippines when she came
The older daughter, Lorin, three
going on four, was born in Istanbul,
Turkey’s capital and premiere city
where, Yilmas’ family is said to be
very rich and very famous – although
some quarters say the Bektases are
somehow notorious due to some
supposedly questionable business
The second daughter, Venice, two,
was born in Los Angeles, where the
Ruffa Gutierrez has made two quick trips to Turkey (below, right) in the past seven months or met her
husband in another country. She has brought her two young daughters (below) back to Manila.
Kahit ayaw mo
yung tao, ngiti ka
pa rin nang ngiti,
pa-sweet ka pa
rin nang pa-sweet
Replying to Ruffa’s question
Bektases have business interests, too,
according to Ruffa.
Since she got her two girls to the
Philippines, Ruffa seems to have
never taken them back to Turkey.
Eventually, she appeared with the
two of them in a milk commercial,
but with the permission of her
husband and in-laws.
In December last year, her husband
decided to come to the Philippines
and spent Christmas with the
Gutierrezes at their home in White
There is no Christmas in Islamic
Turkey, of course.
There were many things that Ruffa
could not do and enjoy in Turkey
because of its traditional Islamic
culture. And as Ruffa herself has put
it, the culprit in her failed marriage
is not a third party but the cultural
difference between her and Yilmas.
Ruffa maintains up to now that
despite Yilmas being a Muslim who
is allowed at least four wives, she
remains the only Mrs Yilmas Bektas.
Since December, Ruffa has done
one or two lightning visits to her
husband in Turkey or met with him
in one country or another where he
has business to conduct.
By now, however, she has been
staying in the Philippines for about
And just like their mom, Lorin and
Venice have become at home in the
Sarah graduates from high school, eyes UP next
Danny Vibas in Manila
Sarah Geronimo (right) has
graduated from high school at
the Angelicum College (home
study program). Other stars who
graduated from high school last
month were Lovi Poe and Fred
Payawan, both from Colegio de
Since Sarah is the official
endorser of Senator Ed Angara
for his re-election bid, he is now
helping her to get into the UP
Open University, just like Sharon
Cuneta, who even got a very high
grade of 1.25 in her philosophy
class last semester. The entrance
exams have long been over but
Sarah might be given a special
exam upon the request of
Senator Angara, who is a former
UP president. General course
in first two years, and after that,
she will decide which course to
Maraming aabangan ang fans
ni Sarah dahil sunud-sunod
ang gagawin nitong projects
sa telebisyon, pelikula, at
may concert pa. Hindi totoong
natatabunan na siya ni Yeng
2 na naging
reality show na
Magna-19 years old na si Sarah
at si Yeng naman ay nag-18 nung
nakaraang Disyembre. Halos
magkaedad sila at parehong sa
pag-awit sumikat, kaya parang
sila ang magkakumpetisyon
sa bakuran ng ABS-CBN 2.
Isinasalang na rin si Yeng sa
acting jobs sa iba’t ibang shows
ng Dos. Si Yeng ay mina-manage
ng Dream Big Productions, na
isang division ng ABS-CBN 2. Si
Sarah ay talent actually ng Viva
Entertainment. Ang Viva Artists
Agency ang nangangasiwa sa
Magtatambal sina Sarah at
Jericho Rosales sa primetime
musical soap ng ABS-CBN 2 na
Pangarap Kong Bituin, kasama
sina Rica Peralejo at Maja
Tuloy na rin daw ang pelikula
nila ni John Lloyd Cruz, na ikoco-produce ng Star Cinema at
Viva Films. Hindi nabanggit sa
amin kung remake pa rin ito ng
Dear Heart dahil nagpahayag
na si Sarah na mas pipiliin
niyang original material ang
gawin. Nakarating kasi sa kanya
na hindi comfortable si Sharon
Cuneta na i-remake ang kanyang
Magkakaroon din ng concert
sa Araneta Coliseum si Sarah
sometime in July. Wala pa itong
Cheap talk, Ryan says of rumor that he had venereal disease
Danny Vibas in Manila
Juday Ann Santos laughs off rumors
that actor boyfriend Ryan Agoncillo
(right) had a sexually transmitted
disease (STD), which was why he
had to be confined in a hospital
“What he had was a viral infection
that caused rashes all over his face
and body,” she said.
“Pati nga ako, nagkaroon din, pero
hindi kasingtindi ng sa kanya. Both
of us had to take medication.”
Ryan, on the other hand, called
what he had as “tigdas-hangin” and
wisely chose to ignore
talk that what he had was
some kind of STD.
He met the press
separately just a few
days after Juday did.
Ryan’s huddle with the
scribes came during the
launch of a new men’s
Going back to Juday, she was also
grilled by the press about the other
rumor that she doesn’t like Ryan
being paired with Pauleen Luna in
My Kuya’s Wedding, which Ryan is
shooting for Regal Entertainment.
“Cheap na issue,
that’s what I can say.
Nagseselos daw kasi
ako? Baket? Never
akong magseselos as I
trust Ryan completely.
Ako nga ang nagsuggest kung sino ang
mga puwede sa role
ng bride ni Ryan, but I
admit hindi ko naisip si Pauleen kasi
I think she’s too young for the role at
18 lang siya,” Juday said.
Meanwhile, Judy Ann is turning 28
on May 11.
She and Ryan, along with some
friends, were set to go to Tubbataha
Reef in Palawan for a pre-birthday
She and Ryan were expected to
be back in Manila in time for her
birthday celebration with her family,
that of Ryan, and their close friends.
It would just be a quiet dinner in an
The originally planned guesting
of Juday on GMA 7’s Sunday show
SOP would push through. (Juday is
largely identified with rival network
It would be a birthday celebration
for her and a promo for her movie
Kris had thoughts of
dying during ordeal
Danny Vibas in Manila
Kris Aquino and her husband,
Purefoods cage star player James
Yap, are excited about their
firstborn’s christening. Kris and
the baby got out of the hospital
the last Sunday of April after
Kris survived a critical surgery
to remove a blood clot in one of
“May 19, a month exactly
after [I gave birth], but it’s very
small. It’s for the family talaga,”
said Kris about the baptismal
celebration for the baby to whom
she gave premature birth by
caesarian section. The baby was
born only 4.3 lbs in its 35th week
in its mother’s womb.
Kris and James have also
decided not to make Baby James
his daddy’s junior. “Ang nasa
birth certificate is strictly James
Aquino Yap. That’s it. ‘Yon na
‘yon. Ganoon kasimple. Kasi
in-explain ng mommy ko sa akin
na kung sinunod sa pangalan
ni James, na James Carlos
Agravante Yap, at naging junior,
mada-drop ‘yong Aquino.”
In a separate interview,
Kris’ mom, former president
Cory Aquino, said, “Noong
una iniisip din ni Kris na baka
nickname Jay – J-A-Y for James
Aquino Yap. Pero nung hindi
pa napapanganak, si Josh kept
saying Baby James. Pero sabi
ko kasi after, huwag nang ‘baby’
iyan kasi mamaya ang laki-laking
Mrs.Aquino gave this advice
to her TV host-actress daughter:
“Basta unang-una sabi ko sa
kanya, ‘Kris, makinig ka kung
ano’ng sasabihin ng mga duktor
mo dahil medyo maselan yung
pinagdaanan mo. Dalawang beses
ka inopera at nawalan ka pa ng
dugo. Binigyan ka pa ng blood
transfusion.’ Sabi ko, ‘Intindihin
mong mabuti [ang sinasabi ng
Kris is staying in their rented
home in Oakwood with her
baby and James until she fully
As of the first week of May,
she still has marks in her arms
caused by the many tests she had
Kris recalled what she went
through in her second surgery.
“Inoperahan ako ulit para itigil
‘yong pagdugo dito sa tiyan. And
then, siyempre in a span of four
days, dalawang operasyon ang
She had an anxiety attack
before the operation.
“Naalala ko I told James
na magdasal kami ng rosary,
nagdasal kami together. Tapos
umiiyak na ako talaga kasi
natatakot na ako dahil first time
in my life na kinailangan ko ng
“Alam mo ‘yong mga morbid
na thoughts pumapasok pala
sa utak mo: ‘Paano kung mas
lumala? My baby will never
know me.’ Yung mga ganu’n.
Tapos sabi ko, ‘Naku, si Josh,
sino na ang mag-aalaga? Si Mom
[Cory Aquino] na lang siguro’.”
Kris Aquino clutches baby James after a difficult childbirth.
Josh (inset) had a hand in naming his little brother.
with Jolina Magdangal – Ouija,
produced by GMA Films.
Juday and Ryan are busy taping
for their ABS-CBN 2 soap opera
Ysabella, which might start airing
either in June or in July.
Meanwhile, it’s practically
confirmed that the couple will do
a sequel of their top-grossing and
award-winning Kasal Kasali Kasalo,
which will also be Star Cinema’s
entry in this year’s Metro Manila
The sequel will be titled Sakal,
Sakali, Saklolo and will still be
scripted and directed by Joey Reyes.
Sharon Cuneta has
made millions for
producers, but not
for Mother Lily. She
has not made a
film with Mother’s
Goma firm faces tax evasion charges
RAUL ACEDRE in Manila
The Bureau of Internal Revenue has
filed tax evasion charges against an
entertainment firm founded by movie
actor Richard Gomez (right).
The complaint is aimed at Harte
Beest Corp’s officers, including its
president, Douglas Quijano, Gomez’s
A certification obtained by the
agency from network giant ABSCBN shows that Harte Beest
received multimillionpeso payment
talent fees from 20002003.
The movie actor was
also identified as the
recipient of talent fees
amounting to more than
P18.25 million during
the years he and Harte
Beest failed to declare income tax
“Duplicate copies of the
income tax returns of Harte
Beest for 2000 and 2001
showed ‘no operation’
claim and penalty payment
of a thousand pesos for late
filing for each of the two
years,” BIR commissioner
Guillermo Parayno, Jr. said.
“The San Juan revenue
district where Harte Beest is
registered as a taxpayer also showed
that the company did not file income
tax returns for 2002 and 2003,”
The BIR earlier sued Gomez for
failure to declare his income from
2000 to 2003.
Finance Undersecretary Emmanuel
Bonoan said Harte Beest was paid a
total of more than P35.28 million by
ABS-CBN and GMA Network from
2000 to 2003.
Harte Beest is registered with
the Securities and Exchange
sarili sa mga
Danny Vibas in Manila
Mother, Juday reduce
Sharon Cuneta to tears
Megastar is overwhelmed by unexpected gestures, writes Danny Vibas
egastar Sharon Cuneta went
into a fit of quiet crying
in front of showbiz press.
No, it wasn’t for anything sad or
heartbreaking but out of a deep sense
She was deeply moved by movie
producer Mother Lily Monteverde
for tendering a party for her and
husband Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
to celebrate their 11th wedding
And since it was still very much
campaign period in the Philippines
at that time, Sharon lost no time
to pitch for her husband who is
seeking reelection to the Senate as an
independent candidate of the Liberal
It was actually the second time
during the campaign season that
Mother Lily sponsored a gettogether with showbiz press for
her “senatoriable” husband. The
megastar couldn’t help but be deeply
touched by the film matriarch’s
generosity because as the former
herself put it: “You, Mother, have
not earned a single centavo through
me since I have never done a movie
The megastar, however, mentioned
for the first time that the Regal Films
producer was actually one of her
ninangs (principal sponsors) in her
first wedding – that is, with her first
husband, Gabby Concepcion, who
was actually among the first contract
stars of Mother Lily’s company and
was then known as a “Regal baby.”
(However, it was at Sharon’s then
mother studio, Viva Films, that she
and Gabby did several movies as onand off-screen sweethearts.)
The megastar cried again when
she recalled how Judy Ann Santos,
who turned up at that 11th wedding
anniversary celebration, texted her
several times to offer not only her
services for Kiko’s campaign but also
that of boyfriend Ryan Agoncillo.
The megastar said that even
Juday’s mom, Carol, offered to
campaign for Kiko.
Sharon shed tears again when
Alfie Lorenzo, Juday’s manager,
revealed to her that Juday turned
down three political endorsement
offers worth P10 million but offered
her endorsement services to Kiko for
That night at the second-floor
function room of the Monteverdeowned Imperial Palace hotel at
Morato Avenue, a political ad for
Kiko was shown in which Juday and
Ryan are endorsing Kiko. Later, at
home, we also heard on the radio
Ryan’s endorsement of Kiko.
The megastar and Juday became
close to each other about three to
five years ago when they did the
movie Magkapatid in which they
portrayed sisters. Since then, Sharon
has always referred to Juday as
“my sister Judy Ann” or “the young
superstar Judy Ann.”
About her bouts of crying, the
megastar readily admitted: I am
sorry that I really am like this. I cry
when I’m happy and I cry when
I’m sad. Hindi ko po ito gusto, pero
talagang ganun po ako. Sino ba
naman ang may gustong mawalan
siya ng composure sa harap ng tao
at magkasira-sira ang eye make-up
Masaya si Regine (ibaba) na
makatambal si Piolo Pascual sa isang
pelikula sa wakas. Ito’y sa Paano
Kita Iibigin, co-production ng Star
Cinema at Viva Films.
Directed by Joyce Bernal,
maraming “firsts” na ginawa si
Regine sa pelikula. Ito’y mga
eksenang hindi niya akalaing
papayag siyang gawin.
Una, nag-wet-look siya at bakat
ang dibdib n’ya sa eksena dahil nang
hiniling ni direk Joyce na lumusong
siya sa tubig, nakausot lamang siya
ng manipis na puting t-shirt.
Alangan daw siya sa una na
pagbigyan ang kahilingan ni Direk
Joyce. Ganunpaman, natakot din
siyang makantiyawan ng mga
May mga eksena
ring naka-twopiece bathing suit
siya. Feeling niya,
Karamihan kasi ng pelikula ay
kinunan sa isang resort sa Zambales,
kaya sila ni Piolo ay nakasuot ng
Ano naman ang masasabi ni Ogie
Sagot ni Regine: “Actually, hindi
ang reaction ni Ogie Alcasid ang
worry ako, kung hindi ng mommy
ko. May pagka-old-fashioned kasi
siya, eh. Kaya, ilihim natin ang
katotohanan tungkol dito. Sabihin
nating computerised ang lahat ng
daring scenes ko sa pelikula.”
Kahit na marami ang excited
sa unang pagtatambal na ito nina
Regine at Piolo, hindi pa rin talaga
maiwasang kulitin si Regine sa
patuloy na pagkakaugnay n’ya kay
Nung unang press conference
para sa Paano Kita Iibigin, para na
lang tigilan siya ng mga reporter
sa pangungulit tungkol sa umano’y
romansa nila ni Ogie, nagdeklara si
Regine na: “Hindi ba sabi ni Ogie
may ia-announce siya sa June na
posibleng ikagulat nang lahat. So
bakit hindi n’yo na lang hintayin
kung ano ang ia-announce n’ya?
“Pag nakapag-announce na siya,
saka n’yo ako tanungin uli kung ano
ang namagitan sa aming dalawa. Sa
ngayon, ang masasabi ko lang talaga
ay malapit kami sa sa isa’t isa.”
Its incorporation papers on March
29, 1994 showed Gomez owning
2,400 of the 3,000 total shares of
Quijano later took over as majority
stockholder with 2,400 shares of
The talent manager faces 10-year
imprisonment and payment of fines if
found guilty of tax evasion.
It is not known what liability
Gomez faces as a result of the new
is no toy for
it’s a dream
to dead son
Young actress also tries her hand
at producing her very own movies
Danny Vibas in Manila
Angel Locsin has bought herself a
new vehicle which one can’t call a
car: it’s a Hummer II that’s worth
more than P5 million. The actress
is reportedly the only woman in the
Philippines who has such a vehicle.
A Hummer actually doesn’t look
feminine at all, although Britney
Spears and other female Hollywood
idols also go around in such an
A Hummer II looks like a small
truck, which is why it’s very
masculine. More so that of Angel,
because it’s all black. At first sight,
you’d think Angel’s Hummer II is
owned by a man, or even a soldier
out for combat.
Ito talaga ang dream ko, Angel Locsin says of her new Hummer (below). It’s also the favorite toy of Britney Spears.
Halos palaging ‘yon na ang gamit
n’ya saan man siya pumunta. Of
course, may driver siya. Hindi siya
mismo ang nagmamaneho nito.
Bakit ba niya naisip na bumili ng
“Para mas astig, ’di ba?” aniya.
“Saka noon pa talaga, gustung-gusto
ko nang magkaroon nito, bata pa ako
pangarap ko na ’to.”
Kaya naman kahit mahal at presyo
na ng isang bahay at lupa, pikit-mata
itong binili ni Angel kesa lifetime na
pagsisihan na hindi niya pinagbigyan
Besides, Angel deserves it dahil
todo-kayod naman ang dalaga sa
Aside from her fantasy adventure
Asian Treasures with Robin Padilla
on GMA 7, one of the things she
got busy with recently is dipping
her fingers into the business that
Regal matriarch Lily Monteverde
has mastered all these years being a
Angel has set up her own Eagle
Eye Productions, along with
manager Becky Aguila and some
Angel’s first movie as a producer is
aptly titled Angel, a trilogy with no
less than three of the country’s most
promising directors to handle each
story. The movie is now in its postproduction and is slated to be shown
Dingdong Dantes directed Marvin
Agustin and Paolo Paraiso in
Daddy’s Angel, Mark Reyes was on
top of Angel Love with Jennylyn
Mercado and Patrick Garcia, and
Gina Alajar helmed Angel of Mine
in which Angel herself stars with
Ketchup Eusebio, Aiza Marquez,
twins Bianca and Katrina Aguila, and
Eunice “Charming” Lagusad.
So how was the experience of
producing a movie?
“Mahirap na masaya in a way,”
admits Angel. “Kasi kahit na
producer ako, gusto ko pa ring
maramdaman na artista ako. Kaya
‘eto, kasali pa rin ako [sa movie].
Pero sa lahat ng shooting, I made
it a point na I was there to see how
things were going.
“Like nung maaksidente si Paolo
sa set, sa scene he was doing
with Marvin. Narinig ko na lang,
sumisigaw na si Marvin, nakita ko
may dugo na. Medyo nadala ‘ata sila
sa eksena nila. Ako, nasa gilid lang
ako. Until sabi ni Marvin, dalhin na
namin sa ospital si Paolo so he got
three stitches,” recalled Angel.
Six-year-old papers also name father
of former model’s infant daughter
Four months after she died of an
accidental drug overdose, Anna
Nicole Smith’s six-year-old will was
filed Monday by her attorney and
companion Howard K. Stern.
The document leaves assets
estimated at US$710,000 to Smith’s
now-deceased son, Daniel, and also
gives Stern custody of Daniel, who
was a minor in 2001, when the will
In a probate petition signed May
7 by Stern, he asked a judge to
recognise the document as Smith’s
last will and him as its main
The petition also names Smith’s
Dannielynn, as her survivor, and
Larry Birkhead as the infant’s father.
Daniel was 20 when he died in
September in the Bahamas from a
lethal combination of drugs.
His death came just days after
Smith gave birth to Dannielynn.
The girl was briefly thought
to be fathered by Stern before
paternity tests showed the father was
Birkhead. The probate proceeding
to sort out Smith’s assets, debts and
taxes will lead to the establishment
of a trust with Dannielynn as its sole
beneficiary, said Stern’s attorney
Bruce S. Ross.
With the trust, the girl could inherit
the estate of Smith’s late husband,
Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall
II, estimated to be worth US$500
Birkhead also filed papers Monday
to ask a judge to appoint him as
guardian of Dannielynn’s estate.
“As the child’s father and
caregiver, [Birkhead] is in the best
position to protect and safeguard the
interests of his child as guardian of
her estate, including her interests in
the estate of her deceased mother,”
the petition said.
A June 19 hearing was scheduled
to hear both petitions.
Smith was 39 when she died Feb. 8
in Florida from a mix of prescription
young lives, Nicole
Smith and her son
Daniel were close
to each other.
School lawsuit over gay movie
A lawsuit has been launched in Los
Angeles against a school teacher
who showed Brokeback Mountain
to a class of young students.
Twelve-year-old Jessica Turner
and her grandparents, Kenneth
and LaVerne Richardson, are
seeking US$500,000 against the
Chicago Board of Education after
the homosexual cowboy movie
was shown at Ashburn Community
The lawsuit, filed in Cook County
Circuit Court on Friday claims
Turner “suffered psychological
distress” after viewing the R-rated
film, which was viewed by the
class without permission from
the student’s parents or legal
Turner’s grandfather Kenneth
Richardson, who complained to
in 2005 over
says: “The teacher
knew she was not
supposed to do
this. It is very important to me that
my children not be exposed to this
kind of material.
“This was the last straw. I feel the
lawsuit was necessary because
of the warning I had already given
them on the literature they were
giving out to children to read. I told
them it was against our faith.”
R-rated certificates denote the
film in question contains one
or more adult themes – adult
language, strong sexuality, nudity,
violence or drug use
K Stern, who is
named in the
will as its main
who filed the
papers in court,
was a minor at
No special treatment as LA judge jails Paris Hilton
A judge sentenced Paris Hilton
(right) to 45 days in jail Friday for
violating her probation, putting the
brakes on the hotel heiress’ famous
Hilton, who parlayed her name
and relentless partying into
worldwide notoriety, must go to
jail on June 5 and she will not
be allowed any
work release, no
furloughs, no use of
an alternative jail
and no electronic
monitoring in lieu of
jail, Superior Court
Judge Michael Sauer ruled after a
The 26-year-old heiress arrived at
court 10 minutes late in the back of
a black Cadillac Escalade and swept
into the Metropolitan Courthouse
with several men in suits, ignoring
screams of photographers lining the
route into a rear entrance.
Her parents, Rick and Kathy
Hilton, also came with her.
Wearing a gray jacket and white
shirt over black slacks and with a
black headband on, she said nothing
and appeared serious.
The celebrity case brought
an unusual scene to the austere
courthouse south of downtown
in a commercial area, giving it a
The prince and
who would not
be his queen
e is the man who would be
king, but she will not be
So Prince William has moved
on with the affairs of royalty after
his public break-up with longtime
girlfriend and college sweetheart
“It’s very likely the pressures of
royalty contributed to the demise of
a beautiful romance,” royal observer
Tina Bateman said.
The highly publicized falling out
came in stark contrast to the public
excitement that swirled around the
engagement of Prince William’s
parents, Prince Charles and Diana,
Princess of Wales, 25 years earlier.
The end could only have been
written for the movies.
“It’s as if there’s some force
at work in these startling
circumstances,” Bateman said.
But unlike the acrimony that
followed the break-up of his parents’
marriage, no such bad feelings got
in the way of an amicable parting
of ways between the 24-year-old
prince and his 25-year-old would-be
On the day of the break-up, Prince
William went with friends to a
screening of Blades of Glory.
“They were laughing and joking,”
the British tabloid Sun reported. “It
must have been a nice way to relax
after the last few days.”
No doubt, given that the last few
days have been filled with intense
speculation over what prompted
the Prince to end his nearly fiveyear romance with Middleton, with
everything from geography to the
royal family rumored to have played
According to People magazine,
factors in the split included William’s
desire to hold onto his bachelor
status (he announced a couple of
years back that he would steer clear
of the altar until he was at least 28)
and the difficulties in navigating a
long-distance relationship (William
is training at an army camp two
hours away from London, where
Kate works at a fashion firm).
Middleton, who was snapped
putting on a brave face – and a
smile – last week, was “surprised”
by his decision to call it quits, but
“she knew that he was not ready for
Echoes another insider: “She
knows [the split] was the right
Meanwhile, there are conflicting
opinions as to whether the royal
family meddled in William’s love
life, with a “friend” insisting
William made up his own mind:
“He is a strong character and won’t
be told what to do.”
But a Middleton source told Us
Weekly that the prince’s family may
have asked him to cut her loose.
“Kate wanted an assurance that
there was going to be a future for
them, and William wasn’t ready to
give that,” says the source.
“His family advised him not to
rush into things, and so in the end, he
couldn’t give her what she wanted.”
Still, at least one former college
friend of Middleton’s says good
riddance to the future king.
“Kate never felt like William
put her in first place,” a Middleton
Spider-Man 3 expectedly came
in at No 1 in its second week
of release, but the numbers
dropped considerably from its
record-breaking grosses last
weekend. The web-slinging
superhero took in US$60 million
at the North American box office
this weekend, a 60 per cent
“After a record-breaking
opening weekend, to me this is
an appropriate second-weekend
drop,” Paul Dergarabedian,
president of box-office tracker
Media By Numbers said.
“Any studio would be happy
with a US$60 million opening,
let alone a second weekend
with US$60 million.”
Brooke Shields plea
His family asked
him not to rush
into things, and
so in the end, he
couldn’t give her
what she wanted
On the cause of the break-up
classmate told the magazine. “To
meet up for dinner, she would have
to run four or five different dates
by him before he would say he was
“Usually when you are in a
relationship, you drop everything for
your loved one, but William wasn’t
And while the nightlife-loving
Prince isn’t likely to be hurting
for company, a Kate confidante is
holding out hope that they could find
their way back to one another.
“I don’t think it’s really over,” the
“I don’t think this is the last you’ll
see of the two of them.”
Spidey cleans up
An internet parody of The
Simpsons featuring O.J.
Simpson has infuriated bosses
at 20th Century Fox.
The studio has asked online
video site broadcaster.com to
take down three animated clips,
titled The OJ Simpsons, that
re-imagine the series with the
The three clips are titled Black
and White Christmas, Warzone
and If I Did It,which features
Fox’s decision to withdraw
publication of Simpson’s
proposed book about the
murder of his ex-wife, Nicole
Brown Simpson, and her friend
The clips also parodyThe
Simpsons opening credits.
Kate Middleton is said to have been surprised by Prince William’s
decision to end their relationship. Below, the couple in happier days.
Not so funny
It’s over between Prince William and Kate Middleton
but friends insist they will be back together again
Brooke Shields is calling on US
lawmakers to pass legislation to
help new mothers combat postnatal depression.
The actress, who was
famously criticised by Tom
Cruise for using antidepressants
from the condition
after her first
child was born,
says the illness
needs to be taken
seriously and is
to give “an easy gift to give to
She says: “There is an entire
population of women suffering
and it’s time, I believe, for
Congress to step in.”
Hugh in the can
In case you haven’t heard, just
a few days ago, the actor Hugh
Grant was arrested for allegedly
throwing a container of baked
beans at a photographer. No
doubt, Grant is pursued around
the clock by paparazzi and
stalkers from all walks of life.
Yet, before he tossed the
beans, he should have really
considered paying a visit to
the offices at the Los Angeles
Police Department’s “Threat
known as, “The Celebrity AntiStalking Unit.”
This special unit of the LAPD
is run by a 44-year-old detective
named Jeff Dunn.
“My team works on 250 cases
a year,” Dunn tells Hollywood
Matapos magtamo ng
sugat sa mata si Pacquiao
sa sixth round (kaliwa),
pinursige na niya ang
laban kay Solis (ibaba).
Nilaro lamang ng People’s Champ ang
kalaban na malayo sa kanyang kalibre
Celeste Maring in Manila
Maaaring nagtagumpay si Manny
Pacquaio kontra kay Jorge Solis.
Pero ang Filipino world champion at
karamihan ng kanyang taga-hanga ay
hindi gaanong nasiyahan sa laban.
“Hindi ako 100 per cent na masaya.
Siguro mga 80 per cent lang,” pagamin ni Pacquiao.
“Hindi kasi ako 100 per cent na
handa sa style niya.” Gayunman,
aminado rin ang kampo ng champion
na wala sa kalibre niya si Solis. Katunayan alam ni Pacquiao, bago pa man
napanatili nito ang kanyang WBC
International super featherweight
title, na kayang-kaya niya ang Meksikanong boksingero.
“Manny knew from the start he
could take Solis’ punch,” sabi ng
trainer niyang si Freddie Roach. “Solis just isn’t in his class.”
Tila nilaro lamang ni Pacquiao ang
unang mga round ng kaniyang laban,
dagdag pa ni Roach.
Sa pagtunog pa lamang ng bell sa
first round ay alam na ng lahat kung
sino ang dominanteng boksingero.
Nagkaroon lamang ng kaunting pagdududa nang tumama sa mukha ni
Pacquiao ang matutulis na kaliwa’t
“There was no challenge and so he
was playing with the guy. So, after he
took a cut in the sixth round, I told
him to be serious,” ani Roach.
“After the cut, I told him to step
it up,” wika ni Roach. “He was just
playing with him. I told him to quit
fooling around and finish the fight.”
Ayon sa malalapit na kaibigan ni
Pacquiao, nais sana nito na pahabain
pa ang laban at bigyan ng kasiyahan
ang mga panatiko sa boxing. “He
wanted to prolong the fight and entertain his fans and supporters just a wee
bit longer. He was so confident of his
victory that he felt it would be an extra treat for everyone if the fight lasted longer much like the Larios fight
at the Araneta Coliseum,” pahayag ng
Nang masugatan si Pacquaio sa kaliwang talukap sa ikaanim na round,
tila doon lamang ito nagseryoso.
Siguro 80 per
cent lang akong
masaya. Hindi kasi
ako 100 per cent
na handa sa
After outclassing Jorge Solis
Sumuntok ng 516 punches si Pacquiao kumpara sa 351 amang ni Solis
at nagpatama ng 32 sa 29 porsiyento.
May roon ding 109 na power shots si
Pacquiao kumpara sa 63 ni Solis.
Maging si Justin Fortune, na pansamantalang nagsanay kay Pacquiao
habang si Roach ay sinasanay naman
si Oscar dela Hoya, ay tila bahagyang
natawa nang makita na tila nilalaro ni
Pacquiao si Solis. “Maybe he wanted
to get some rounds. I told him ‘what
are you doing?’ He can’t do that because he can put himself in trouble,”
wika ni Fortune. “The guy [Solis]
came to fight. So when Manny took
the cut he took the fight seriously. Did
I get nervous? No,” sabi ni Fortune.
“Noong nakita ko na groggy na siya
noong unang knockdown, alam ko tapos na ang laban,“ ani Pacquiao.
Napasama si Solis sa mga Meksikanong biktima ni Pacman na ngayon
kilala na bilang “Mexican assassin.”
Bernabe Concepcion sumusunod sa yapak ng People’s Champ
Marami siyang natutunan kay
At lahat nang ito ay ginamit ni
Bernabe Concepcion (kanan) sa
kanyang laban upang makamit ang
“Marami akong natutunan
kay kuya Manny. Hindi lang sa
pakikipaglaban mismo, pati na rin
sa training,” wika ng 19-anyos na
Binalewala ni Concepcion ang
injury sa kanang kamay upang
makipagsabayan kay Joksan “El
Torito” Hernandez at mapanatili
ang World Boxing Council Youth
super bantamweight crown sa
undercard ng Blaze of Glory card
sa Alamodome sa Texas.
Nanakit ang kamay ng tubongCatanduanes na si Concepcion
matapos tamaan ng straight
kasunod ng uppercut si Flores.
Gayunman, tiniis ni Concepcion
ang pananakit ng kamao upang
manalo sa unanimous decision
makaraan ang 10 round.
Nagawa pang windangin
ni Concepcion si Flores sa
pamamagitan ng upper cut sa
fourth round pero hindi niya ito
nasundan kaya’t tumagal pa ang
sa ating mga
sa ating bansa
na ito,” sabi
na ayon sa marami ay
katulad ni Pacquiao sa tindi at
Ayon kay Concepcion hindi
naging madamot si Pacquiao sa
pagbibigay sa kanya ng kalaaman
sa boksing at ito ay kanyang
Bukod dito, nakitira rin si
Concepcion sa mamahaling La
Palazzo apartment kung saan
tumigil si Pacquiao habang
nagsasanay sa LA.
Tinulungan din siya nina Aljoe
Jaro at Buboy Fernandez sa
laban. Bukod dito, sinagot din ni
Pacquaio ang pagkain at bitamina
Sa bisperas ng laban,
binigyan pa ni Pacquiao ng tip si
Concepcion – hindi lamang sa
boksing kung hindi pati na rin sa
“Ilagay mo sa isip at puso mo
lahat ng sinasabi ko sa iyo,” sabi
ni Pacquiao na nagsabi ring
naniniwala siyang may potensyal
si Concepcion na kuminang sa
larangan ng boksing.
Sa panalo ni Concepcion kay
Flores, pinapirma agad ito ng
Top Rank Promotions upang
mapasama sa kanilang mga
“Our matchmakers really, really
like Concepcion and we are thrilled
he is on the Top Rank team,” wika
ni Bob Arum. Inaasahan na mas
malalaking laban at mayamang
premyo pa ang kanyang
First batch of Olympic trainees picked for China grind
Raul Acedre in Manila
Eight divers and as many fencers
dominate the first batch of 29 athletes chosen by the Philippine Sports
Commission to undergo elite training in China for next year’s Beijing
Also on the list released by the
PSC last week are six athletes in
wushu, three each in gymnastics and
swimming, and one in weightlifting,
They will be accompanied by 10
PSC chairman Butch Ramirez said
most of the first batch will train in
Guangdong, which produced the
most number of athletes who won
gold medals for China in
the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“The first batch of the
athletes and coaches
will be leaving on May
28 as promised earlier,”
Except for those in wushu, the rest
of the athletes from diving, weightlifting, gymnastics, swimming
and fencing will train in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, for six
They are divers Sheila Mae Perez,
Nino Carog, Dhayna Lemay, Nicole
Lemay, Jaime Asok, Rexel Ryan
Fabriga, Kevin Kong and Zardo
Domenios along with diving coaches Rommel Kong,
Lawrence Ifurong, Rodolfo
Pahoyo and Brian Pallatao.
Also bound for Guangzhou
are weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz
and coach Ramon Solis; gymnasts Roel Ramirez, Raissa
Saguisag and Danica Calapatan with
coaches Sonny and Normita Ty and
Antonio Valenzuela; and swimmers
Kendrick Uy, Gerard Bordado and
Ernest Dee under coach Carlos Brosas.
The fencing team composed of
Michelle Mancenido, Maria Del
Carmen Galvez, Michelle Bruzola,
Mary Rose Alfonso, Bryant Ca-
bantac, Bonifacio Jacintos, Ralph
Ramos and Harris Orendain, with
coach Walter Torres, will also train
The wushu squad composed of
Benjie Rivera, Eduard Folayang,
Rhea May Rifani, Mary Rose Estimar, Willy Wang and Janice Hung
will train in Beijing.
Ramirez said the 10 coaches have
been included in the Olympic training program to ensure the transfer of
knowledge to the other athletes who
are not part of the program.
“We want to make sure that other
athletes will benefit from this program through the transfer of techniques through our coaches who
will be part of our China training,”
The training program will be funded by the First Gentleman Foundation of First Gentleman Jose Miguel
Arroyo, who promised to raise P250
million for the country’s quest for
the elusive Olympic gold.
PSC is also planning to send athletes in taekwondo to Iran, shooting
to Australia, rowing to Romania, archery to Egypt and some swimmers
to Los Angeles.
Long jumper Henry Dagmil and
runner Ralph Soquillon have already
started their Olympic training at the
University of California in Berkely,
Layon ni Miguel Molina na magbigay
dangal sa bansa sa Beijing Games
Celeste Maring in Manila
anggol pa lamang si Miguel
Molina nang maisipan ng
kanyang ama na ilagay siya sa
bathtub na puno ng tubig. Sa halip na
matakot, tuwang-tuwa na lumutang
at tila lumalangoy na agad si Molina,
isang patunay na ipinanganak nga
siya upang lumangoy.
Muli, ipinamalas ni Molina,
tinagurian sa ngayon na “Prinsipe
ng swimming sa Pilipinas,” ang
kanyang husay sa sport ng maging
unang Pilipino na makakuha ng tiket
papunta sa Beijing Olympics na
gagawin sa Agosto ng susunod na
Nakamit ni Molina, Southeast
Asian (SEA) Games triple
gold winner, ang karangalan na
makasiguro ng slot sa Olympic
team nang magsumite ng oras na
dalawang minuto at 03.73 seconds
sa men’s 200-meter individual
medley sa World Championships sa
Itinakda ng Fina, ang world
governing body sa aquatics, ang
qualifying time sa dalawang
minuto at 05.65 seconds para sa
mga gustong makasama sa Beijing
Olympics sa susunod na taon.
Isa si Molina sa tatlong best
performing athletes sa 2005 SEA
Games na idinaos sa Maynila
makaraang manalo ng tatlong
gintong medalya sa swimming.
Bunga ng pagkakakwalipika ni
Molina, kasalukuyang nagsasanay sa
Estados Unidos, sa 2008 Olympics,
umangat ang kanyang pandaigdigang
ranking sa 24th mula sa dating
puwesto na 30th.
Kahit pa lumaki si Miguel Molina
sa Estados Unidos, pinili pa rin nito
na lumangoy sa Olympics para sa
Ang kanyang dahilan, mahal niya
Ipinanganak si Molina sa Quezon
City pero pumunta ang kanyang mga
magulang na sina Tomas at Mitos
Molina sa Tokyo, Japan nang siya ay
tatlong taong gulang pa lamang bago
siya nag-aral sa California.
Nagsimula siyang lumangoy
noong siya ay anim na taong gulang
pa lamang at ang unang torneo
na kanyang sinalihan ay isang
swimming competition para sa first
“I’ll be swimming for the
Philippines in the 200 IM (individual
medley). Mostly all my relatives live
in the Philippines, except for two
of my aunts. For the most part, my
aunts and uncles and grandparents
are in the Philippines,” wika nito.
Ipinagmamalaki niya ang kanyang
performance sa 200 individual
medley na ayon sa kanya ay isa sa
paborito niyang event.
“ I have 2:04.9 in the 200 IM,
1:52.8 in the 200 free and 2:20.8 in
the 200 breast. I think one of my best
event is the 200 IM, but it is going
to be really tough competition.
“Since the last Olympics, the IM is
one of the disciplines in swimming
that has improved the most in four
years,” wika nito.
Ngayon pa lamang ay aminado
na si Molina na sabik na siya sa
kompetisyon kahit pa pinipilit
niyang hindi muna isipin ang 2008
“I am excited, however, to see
medalya si Miguel
Molina (itaas) sa
sa Maynila noong
ang puwesto sa
niya ang Olympic
ng Fina noon
I just try not to
think about it too
much so I don’t
lose sleep over it.
I don’t think I’ve
fully realized the
fact that I’m going
to compete again
in the Olympics
On his Olympic stint
all these great athletes I only see on
TV. But I don’t want to be that guy
who is in the Olympics just to see
other athletes and get pictures and
“I want to compete, too, and take
the races seriously,”
“I just try not to think about it too
much so I don’t lose sleep over it. I
don’t think I’ve fully realised the fact
that I’m going to compete again in
the Olympics yet, though. Perhaps
when I get there, or maybe even after
I do my swimming, the fact will
settle in,” pahayag ni Molina
Sinabi rin nito na mas huhusayan
pa niya ang kanyang performance
kumpara sa nagawa niya noong
2004 Olympics nang magtala siya
ng 2:05.28 upang pumangatlo sa
kanyang heat sa 200 IM.
Ang ibang kasamahan ni Molina sa
national swimming team ay tutungo
naman sa China para magsanay
kasama ng kanilang coach.
Mahabang panahon ang gugugulin
ng mga trainees sa Guangdong
Big hurrah for Red Bull back-up guy
Pambihira ang ginawang
pagbulusok paitaas ni
Cyrus Baguio sa isang
koponang nakatuon ang
game plan lagi sa team
play, ayon sa ulat ni
inatunayan ni Cyrus Baguio
na ang tunay na magaling ay
nagniningning kahit ano pa
ang gawin. Mahirap umangat ang
indibidwal na laro sa sistema ng Red
Bull. Mas pinapaboran dito ang team
play kumpara sa individual game.
Gayunman, nagawa ni Baguio na
iangat ang sarili sa pamamagitan ng
pagiging back-up ng kanilang import
na si James Penny.
Sa kalagitnaan ng kasalukuyang
Fiesta Conference ng Philippine
Basketball Association, humahakot
si Baguio ng statistics na higit sa
inaasahan sa kanya ng koponan.
Sa unang dalawang linggo
ng Fiesta Conference, nagtala si
Baguio, tinanghal na 2004 Slam
Dunk King, ng 14 na puntos, limang
rebounds, anim na assists at isang
steal kada laro. Ang mga numerong
ito ang tumulong sa Red Bull upang
sa kasalukuyan ay pagharian ang
season-ending conference sa anim na
panalo sa pitong asignatura.
“Ginagawa ko lang kung ano ang
dapat gawin. Gusto ko ring ipakita na
kahit na local player sa conference
na may import, puwede pa ring magstandout,” pahayag ng 26-anyos na
Hindi naman maitanggi ni Red
Bull head coach Yeng Guiao ang
paghanga sa kanyang player na
nagsabing mahirap makawala
sa kanilang sistema na mas
pinahahalagahan ang team play.
“Mahirap sa sistema namin ang
maging kapansin-pansin dahil
even halos ang exposure ng lahat.
To distinguish himself in the Red
Bull system means Cyrus has truly
matured,” wika ni Guiao na nakaleave sa koponan dahil sa pagtakbo
niya sa eleksyon.
Maging si assistant coach Gee
Abanilla na pansamantalang
humahalili kay Guiao, ay
humanga sa ipinapakitang husay
at determinasyon ng 6-foot-2 na
si Baguio, dating miyembro ng
University of Santo Tomas Tigers.
“I sometimes marvel at the
strides he made. And to think this
is only his fourth season in the
league,” wika nito. “Bata pa siya
Excitement builds up (above) each time Cyrus Baguio (left) makes a
move. He provides an excellent back-up to Red Bull import James Penny.
marvel at the
strides he made.
And to think this
is only his fourth
season in the
On Cyrus Baguio coming of age
at naroon ang kanyang willingness
na matuto at tumulong sa team,
kaya siguradong mas malayo pa ang
“Talagang nag-mature na si Cyrus
bilang isang mahusay na player.
Nagtatarabaho at nagsisikap siya
nang husto para iangat pa niya ang
kanyang skills and his attitude,
knowledge and passion for the
game is worth mentioning,” sabi ni
“Napaka-energetic niya, he can
spark a big scoring run as an off-thebench player,” wika pa nito.
Lalo pang tumatag at humusay
ang outside shooting ni Baguio
bukod sa kinakitaan din ito ng
pagiging epektibo sa one-on-one
plays. Katunayan, kayang paglaruan
ni Baguio ang kalabang koponan sa
iba’t iba niyang mga galaw.
Habang kinakamada ni Penny ang
kanyang double doubles, inaasahan
na ng Red Bull na naroon si Baguio
upang plantsahin ang iba pang
sagabal sa Red Bull.
“Ginagawa ko lang naman yung
makakaya ko. Kailangan kasing
magtulungan lahat, hindi naman
dapat umasa lang tayo sa imports
kasi may limitasyon din naman sila
lalo na kapag natatali sila ng depensa
ng ibang team,” wika ni Baguio.
Sa ipinapakita ni Baguio, lalong
nagsisilbi siyang inspirasyon sa mga
local na manlalaro ng Red Bull.
Kaya’t ngayon pa lamang ay
asahan na magiging maningning ang
pag-asa ng Red Bull na mapanatili
ang titulo sa Fiesta Conference.
Higante sa PBL ang ‘small man’ ng Teethmasters
Matagal naghintay si Jason Castro
(kanan) para mapatunayang
nakamit na niya ang tagumpay.
At nang mahawakan na niya
ang minimithing tropeo para sa
Most Valuable Player award, alam
ni Castro na dumating na ang
“Tatlong conference yata akong
naiwan, kaya napakasarap ng
pakiramdam nang mapanalunan ko
iyon, isa na yata yun sa memorable
experiences ko,” wika ni Castro.
“I’m deeply honored for being
named MVP of the tournament.
This is very special for me,” sabi ng
20-anyos na si Castro.
Si Castro, taga-hanga ni Olsen
Racela ng PBA, ang pinakamaliit
na player na nakakuha ng MVP
kasunod ni Paolo Mendoza,
naglalaro na ngayon sa Sta
Lucia Realty, walong taon na ang
“I have to thank my teammates,
my coaches and Mr Cecilio
Pedro for the trust they gave to
me. If not for their support and
encouragement, I would not have
won this award,” sabi ni Castro na
tubong Guagua, Pampanga.
“My main goal was actually to
help the team win a championship,”
said the soft-spoken Castro in
winning the MVP
is a bonus for
ni Castro sa
round ng PBL na naging dahilan
para makaakyat agad sila sa
Tinalo ni Castro, umani ng
579.42 puntos ang 6-foot-6 center
na si JR Quinahan ng Mail & More
at Marvin Cruz of Toyota Otis.
Pumangalawa lamang si Castro
kay Jojo Tangkay sa 2006 Heroes
Cup MVP race at fourth sa Unity
Cup at ikalawa muli kay Nigerian
center Sam Ekwe sa NCAA derby.
“Castro has blossomed into one
of the league’s versatile players.
He’s one of the players we want,
very exciting and hard-working,”
wika ni head coach Jun Noel.
Bagama’t may taas lang na
5’8”, naging higante si Castro sa
mga tirador ng Teethmasters sa
halos average na 15 points at
siyam na rebounds sa kanyang
pagmamando sa team .
“It was almost always the allaround performance of Castro that
spelled the difference whenever we
are in crunch time,” ani coach Noel.
“He always carried the team again
Hindi kaila kay Noel at sa halos
lahat ng coach sa PBL na marami
at iba’t iba ang skills ni Castro
na dahilan upang maging madali
sa kanya ang pumoste ng triple
Kaya rin ni Jason na maglaro sa
dulo’t dulo ng court.
Katunayan ay itinutulad siya
kay Alaska Ace player Willie
Miller, pero, mas angat si Castro
dahil mas mahusay ang kanyang
defensive skills kumpara sa dating
fire on all
from the water
US swimmer Amanda Beard has stunned her
sport with her prowess. The striking beauty is
also cutting a figure on magazine covers with
a lot to show for her much-hyped beauty. In
New York, Rodel Almazan puts
it into perspective
irst, you notice the teddy bear
clutched in her arm as she
takes to the starting block. You
could hardly have missed the striking
figure in a 5-foot-9 frame in a wetsuit
that flatters her physical assets to
their nearest millimeters.
If you are stunned by the sight,
you’re not alone. You have been
taken by Amanda Beard’s beauty, the
one thing that moved editors at the
men’s magazine FHM to pick her as
the world’s sexiest athlete.
In July, Playboy weighs in with
its own tribute to Beard, who will
appear on its cover and in a nude
pictorial inside the magazine.
But so much for the looks. Why the
fuss over the woman?
Amanda Beard is to swimming
what Tiger Woods is to golf. Okay,
the analogy might be overdone, but
you get the point.
Beard, like Woods, is a child of
the commercial revolution that
is sweeping top athletes off the
winner’s podium to the altar of
brand advertising. Their name is
their badge of honor – and fortune.
Incredibly good fortune.
Consider this: US$1 million to
pitch Speedo swimwear, millions
more to say a brand of bread and
water and US$15,000 per speaking
engagement. That’s more than
US$100 million splashed out on
Beard’s name and image this year
Beneath the riches and glitter is a
clutch of credentials that confirms
her athletic prowess and makes her
bankable at any price.
Beard has won seven Olympic
medals, including gold in Atlanta and
Athens. She holds the world record
in the 200m breaststroke and the
American record in the 100m, 200m
breast and 200m individual medley.
In training with the US Olympic
team, Beard looks forward to the
Beijing Games next year.
Beard made her first Olympic
appearance at the 1996 Games in
Atlanta at the age of 14. She won
I’ve still got
skills. I’ve got
mad skills. I’m
still motivated to
had editors at FHM
falling over each
other to get her
for this pose as
their choice of the
On her staying power
silver medals in the 100m and
200m breaststroke, and gold in
the medley relay. Her young-teen
manner captured the imagination
of the media, and she was often
photographed clutching her teddy
bear which joined her on the starting
blocks and on medal stand.
Beard attended the University
of Arizona, where she captured
an individual NCAA National
Championship in 2001.
In 2003, she became the world
champion and world record holder
in the 200m breaststroke. She made
a splash in 2004 Athens Olympics,
where she won a gold medal in
the 200m breaststroke, her first
individual gold medal.
Beard has won eight US titles and
has been first in world ranking of
200m breaststroke since 2003.
Most athletes would consider
themselves old at 26, but Beard has
a lot of kick left in her legs and she
conceivably could be looking beyond
“I’ve still got skills. I’ve got mad
skills. I’m still motivated to swim,”
she tells FHM. “The one place I feel
completely at home is in the water. I
might as well be a mermaid.
“I’ve been doing it for 20 years
now, and it still feels good.”
... but an Australian torpedo loses fire
What happens when a torpedo
You do what Australian
sensation Ian Thorpe did: quit
with a bang.
When Thorpe (right)
announced his retirement
from competitive swimming
in November last year, the
move was not only notable
for its boldness and timing. It
was theater. “I
decided I would
not be swimming
he told a press
Sydney. “I also made a very
difficult decision that I am going
to discontinue my professional
swimming career. I’d been
working towards this decision for
quite some time. I’m a 24-yearold, and I’m only just 24 as well.”
Patriotic headline writers
who earlier nicknamed him
Torpedo, called it “A sad day
for the nation” and the sports
establishment forthwith went
into a kind of mourning. But
you don’t have to be Australian
to feel a sense of loss. Thorpe
is regarded as one of the
greatest swimmers of all time
after winning 11 world titles, five
Olympic gold medals and setting
13 world records.
To the sport at large, he was
an icon right up there with the
likes of Mark Spitz, the US
legend who mesmerised the
world during the1968 Mexico
Done hard by on the road, the Detroit
Pistons can kick up their heels, hang
their sneakers and sleep soundly.
Reason: There won’t be a Game
7 in their Eastern Conference finals
against the Chicago Bulls.
For that, the Pistons have Richard
Hamilton to thank.
Hamilton scored 23 points as the
Pistons beat Chicago, 95-85 in Game
6, clinching a series that turned
tense after Detroit won the first three
“We thought that we let one slip
away in front of our home fans,”
Hamilton said. “We knew that we
had to come out here tonight and
No NBA team has lost a best-ofseven series after taking a 3-0 lead,
and the Pistons rejected the Bulls’
shot at history. Now, Detroit can
focus on its fifth straight conference
Down 48-43 at halftime, the
Pistons outscored the Bulls 31-21 in
the third quarter to take a 74-69 lead,
and Chicago could not sustain any
momentum in the fourth.
Rasheed Wallace had 16 points
and 13 rebounds for Detroit, while
Tayshaun Prince added 17 points and
nine rebounds. Chauncey Billups
was just 3-for-12 from the field but
he scored 11 of his 21 points in the
“We never talked about having a
Game 7,” Prince said. “We wanted
to really make a statement with this
A jumper by Wallace, who had
received a technical foul just over
a minute earlier, and hook shot by
Prince made it 85-73 with 2:20 left,
and Detroit hung on from there.
“We were moving the ball,”
Wallace said of the difference in
Detroit’s offense in the second half.
“In the first half we were stagnant
and didn’t move the ball. That’s what
we talked about at halftime.”
Chicago’s P.J. Brown attempted
just three shots in the second half
after scoring all of his 20 points
in the first two quarters, matching
his playoff career-high. Luol Deng
added 17 points, but the Bulls were
off target after shooting 57.3 per cent
in Game 5.
This time, they were 28-of-75
(37.3 per cent), with Ben Gordon
(19 points) going 7-for-18 and Kirk
Hinrich (11 points) 3-of-13.
Wallace said the Pistons didn’t do
anything special against Brown in
the second half.
“He was getting the same shots.
We were still contesting, he just
didn’t hit them,” Wallace said. “He
was on fire in the first half.”
The Bulls were trying to become
the fourth NBA team to force a Game
7 after falling behind 3-0, and keep
alive their hopes of joining another
exclusive club. Only the 1942
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New
York Islanders and 2004 Boston Red
Sox have rallied from 3-0 deficits to
win a best-of-seven series.
The Pistons put the Bulls in that
hole by blowing them out in Games
1 and 2 at home and rallying from 19
down to take Game 3.
ARIES Mar 21-Apr 19
You have a really good
month coming up. So
much favor is heading
your way. Once Mars
enters Aries, a wonderful phase
begins that will continue until June
25. This will mark one of your very
best periods of 2007 and allow you
to initiate an important new twoyear cycle.
You’ll be determined
to get your finances
in order, and with
the Sun now moving
through practical, prudent Taurus,
you’ve chosen one of your very best
months to get out your calculator
and do a bit of savvy planning. The
full moon will bring a need to pay a
Apr 21-May 20
It’s your time of the
year again, and you
couldn’t be happier.
Your chart reveals
that you will be filled with bountiful
energy and you’ll have a strong
sense of purpose. This month,
you should find things calmer and
slightly more predictable. That has
to be good news.
Oct 23-Nov 22
You enter the month
with high hopes and
perhaps feeling a bit
or someone has managed to get
your full attention and whatever it
is, the matter will be all-important
to you. You may be finishing up a
major initiative, or you may uncover
What a time you’ve
had lately in your
career. Over the past
few years you’ve
hosted Uranus, the planet of
sudden, volcanic, and revolutionary
change. It’s clear that since 2003
you’ve probably suffered a few
professional setbacks, but you also
scored several stunning victories.
You seem to be ready
to give yourself a
dazzling mind-bodyspirit makeover. On the
full moon, give up a bad habit. No
matter what it might be, know that
you don’t have to do things alone.
Reach out to friends and family, but
if you feel you need a professional
coach or doctor to help you, do so.
Nov 23-Dec 22
Dec 21-Jan 19
You’ve been concerned
about money lately,
but happily, help is on
the way. Your career
is about to enter a truly dazzling
stage, because Mars, the energizer
planet, will enter your tenth house
of fame and honors for the first time
in two years on May 16. Mars is set
to stay there for seven weeks.
This should be a great
month, one that allows
you to breathe, grow,
and enjoy life without
fear that something will pop out of
the bushes to suddenly pull you off
course. For once, you’ll feel a lot of
support from others in all parts of
your life, and that will energize you
to do more.
LEO Jul 21-Aug 21
Money has been so
erratic that you are
tired of the ups and
downs. You’ve been
able to keep your sanity throughout
this period. The eclipse that
occurred two months ago may have
created havoc in your cash flow in
regard to a form of regular income
that you depended upon.
The month opens
with a bang. Great
career news has you
humming a happy
tune, as accolades, honors, and
praise come to you as a reward
for past efforts. You may get a
promotion, or find that your industry
will, from now on, view you in a
whole new light.
VIRGO Aug 22-Sep 22
This may be your best
month that you’ve had
in some time. The Sun
is now moving through
Taurus, a fellow earth sign, so you’ll
feel much more “in your element”
and in tune with your world. Despite
recent challenges, you’ll know that
there is much right with your life,
and plenty to be grateful for.
It’s an exciting time to
be a Pisces because
you are apparently
reaching out to the
world in a sure, dynamic way.
Uranus is making you much more
independent, creative, bold, and
brave, and you certainly have an
abundance of creativity and vision
to show off, too.
Int’l Social Services
Caritas Filipino Serv
Asian Migrant Center
Mission for Fil Mig
Unifil Hong Kong
Race Relations Unit
Fil Mig Work Union
Sep 23-Oct 22
GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Jun 20-Jul 21
Sangkaterbang Pinoy humor at iba pa
Anak: Itay, ano ang kaibahan ng
confident sa confidential?
Itay: Anak kita, confident ako
d’yan. ‘Yung bespren mong si
Tikboy, anak ko rin, confidential
po kasalanan kung hindi pa rin
Wife: Honey. Ibili mo ako ng bra.
Husband: Honey, huwag ka nang
magbra ... liit naman dede mo eh.
Wife: Eh ba’t ikaw, naka-brief?
Kustomer: Ano ba naman itong
tutpik nyo, iisa na nga lang, ang
dali pang mabali.
Waiter (inis): Alam n’yo, sir, ang
dami nang gumamit n’yan, pero
kayo lang ang nakabali.
Anak: Inay, totoo ba na first love
Nanay: Aba, oo. Tingnan mo ‘yang
tatay mo, hanggang ngayon, buhay
Kriminal 1: Pare, sigurado ka
bang dito dadaan yung papatayin
Kriminal 2: Oo, nagtataka nga
ako, isang oras na tayo dito.
ana naman walang nangyaring
masama sa kanya.
Misis 1: Suko na ako sa mister ko,
lagi na lang ako binubugbog bago
Misis 2: Mas grabe yung mister ko.
Binubugbog ako tapos si Inday ang
Husband: Shall we try a different
Wife: That’s a good idea. Doon ka
sa may plantsahan at ako naman sa
sofa at manoood ng TV.
Judge: Ikaw na naman? Sampung
taon ka nang humaharap sa korte
Swindler: Your Honor, hindi ko
Jan 20-Feb 18
Feb 19-Mar 20
Pinakamainit na laro ngayon, hamon sa kakayahang mag-isip at magbilang. Punuin ang mga square ng
numero mula 1 hanggang 9 na hindi umuuulit. May dalawa kayong tsansa para hamunin ang sarili. Suko?
Tingnan ang sagot sa aming internet edition (www.filglobe.com).
Filipino Nurses Association
Hong Kong NCLEX
graduates), May 20, 12-6
pm. Lorna S Pagaduan
9518 0835, 6438 4464,
or Gladdys Albarillo 9202
AMA graduation, Mariner’s
Club, TST. Reservations
and other details: 2167
7473 to 74.
and interpretative dance
contest. Gemma 9546
4686, Len-Len 9270 5271,
Close 9878 7310
NOPT HK team building
workshop, 1-6 pm
Kennedy Town. Maritess
Evangelical community free
Cantonese lessons, first,
second and fourh Sundays,
2.30-4pm, church ministry
centre, 3/f Hong Kong
Pacific Centre, 28 Hankow
Road, TST. Fe 9145 1937
Tacfil-Tuklas Talino 2007,
Laguna Achiever Workers
Association Beauty Fat
pageant. For details 6335
Hong Kong dollar
Nelra Hong Kong
basketball (men) and
volleyball (women) listup. Bernard 6150 3147,
Ventura 8202 6538,
Dondon 9458 4087.
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shoot, show & tell
the big picture
GREECE HERE AND NOW
The Greek island of Crete commands a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. It draws local and foreign tourists to its idyllic, unspoilt setting. Greece is home to an increasing number of
overseas Filipino workers. Not long ago, it stirred a diplomatic incident when a local dictionary defined a Filipina as a domestic helper. It asked the publisher to withdraw the entry, and apologised.
We can export our election expertise – to Iraq
his month, Filipinos are
getting a chance to choose
their national and local leaders
in the midterm elections.
Did I say “this month”? I meant
“sometime this year.” While the
election was held on May 14, nobody
really knows when the counting will
It’s all part of the mystery
and excitement that go into the
extravaganza called “Philippine
Other countries divide their
elections into a few parts: selection
of candidates, the campaign, election
day, counting, proclamation of
Our system, more sophisticated,
consists of the following phases:
selection of candidates, murder of
candidates, pre-campaign violence,
the campaign, more murder, election
day, election day cheating, even more
murder, counting (allow three to four
months), more cheating, declaration
of winners, protests, investigations,
view from home
Alan C Robles
We can teach their
to dress up as
protests against investigators. It’s
entirely possible that by the time the
dust settles, preparations for the next
election will be starting.
If a typical election is dirty,
inefficient and violent, why do
Filipinos take the whole thing so
seriously? I have a few guesses. One
is, it’s probably the only time we get
to see politicians grovel. Usually, all
we do is breathe their fumes as their
heavily escorted vehicles zoom past
us, or watch at the airport as their
family and 16 pieces of luggage are
instantly waved through by customs.
During this election campaign,
one senatorial candidate actually
compared himself to a green and
leafy vegetable. It doesn’t get any
better than that. Of course, he was
probably just confirming widespread
suspicions, but even then, he’s shown
the way. With the vegetable barrier
broken, how long can it be before a
candidate likens himself to garden
A second reason is that while
elections are murderous, most
of those being rubbed out are
politicians. I think most Filipinos
will find any reduction in the overall
politician population a good thing.
Also, at least for a while, it takes the
heat off journalists – traditionally the
most popular assassination targets.
The third reason is that an election
provides lots of weird entertainment.
A pre-election police raid on a
Laguna house turned up unlicensed
guns, blank official Commission
on Election ballots and bottles
of indelible ink, used for voter
fingerprinting, with “Comelec”
stamped on them.
What did the man in the house,
a supporter of one candidate, say?
He thought the bottles of ink were
medicine for his diabetes. Comic
scriptwriters wouldn’t dare make
It’s difficult to imagine, but there
was a time last decade that our
polls ran so smoothly we even sent
Comelec officials as consultants to
other countries. I think we still can
– in Iraq. They already have violence
Our experts can teach their
candidates how to dress up as
vegetables. And claim indelible ink is
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