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MICA (P) 199/01/2011




Marcelina Abalos Angeles: Filipina Domestic Helper in Singapore, BAGONG BAYANI (Pinay na Kasambahay sa Singapore, MODERN-DAY HERO)

We make opportunities. We create positive results. We build better futures. Business Development Job Creation Financial Planning Student Services Legal Assistance Documentation Support

304 Orchard Road, #04-65 Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863 Mobile Number: +65 9388 6515 | Telefax: +65 6235 8153 Email:

Publisher’s Note


he birth of this pioneering magazine is a dream come true for anyone who cares about being called a Filipino. Being a Filipino is like a brand that is timeless, unique, durable, dependable, authentic, and worldclass. That said, I am proud to be a Filipino and I will always be. Leaving the Philippines was not a matter of circumstance for me but one of choice. I made a conscious decision to venture for work in Singapore close to five years ago, and I bear no regrets. Being an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) made me realize and understand the realities of life. The small city-state of Singapore has afforded me countless opportunities to grow personally and professionally and to this day, I continue to be grateful. I consider it both an honor and a privilege to be in a profession where I am able to lend guidance and counsel to OFWs. Needless to say, my work in Singapore has given me the chance to observe the plight of fellow OFWs at a closer range, having served them in their needs and heard them share their stories of perseverance and triumph. In fact, this magazine project is a classic example of a thousand and one tales. As I write this Publisher’s Note, I will never forget the person who planted the seeds that grew into a wonderful idea. Her name is Andee. She used to be an OFW in Singapore and in the Middle East. All she ever wanted was to be of help, in her humble way, to every Filipino she encounters, especially those who were in distress. The problem was, she did not know how. While she would attempt to do something, disappointments and frustrations would soon overpower her desire to make things happen. I am sure that there are thousands, and even millions of Andees out there who are

more than willing to help. Her idea is a simple one - To help. My idea is as simple - To serve. The marriage of these two aspirations heralded BAGONG BAYANI (Modern-Day Hero) magazine. Bagong Bayani magazine is especially dedicated to the more than 11 million OFWs worldwide, including the 160,000 OFWs in Singapore. The journey will start from here and eventually, we will conquer other parts of the world where there is a selfless, dedicated Filipino worker. This once a month publication will serve as a mouthpiece for everyone who sends money back home. This magazine will be given for FREE as I do not want to deprive anyone from getting hold of Bagong Bayani just because they have an empty pocket. This magazine is for every OFW. More than a tribute to you, it is your voice and your medium. While sustaining a free publication may be an uphill battle, I am certain that, as with all good causes, this project will not lack of support. Bagong Bayani magazine will tell your stories. We will empower the powerless. We will inspire the hopeless. We will celebrate what is good in being a Filipino. So, let us stand tall and be proud! AKO, IKAW, TAYONG LAHAT ang mga BAGONG BAYANI. We are the MODERN-DAY HEROES of our time. Let us work together to achieve our dreams and aspirations not just for ourselves and for our families, but also for our beloved country. Let us not forget that one day, we will all come home, and this time, richer in every sense of the word. God bless us all and God bless the Philippines. Mabuhay po tayong lahat!


EDITORIAL BOARD Publisher MARYJANE SALOMON (Singapore) Editor-in-Chief BERNARDO S. BALANQUIT, JR. (Philippines) Associate Editor MA. CONSOLVIA A. ACOMPAÑADO (Philippines)

January 2011 3 5 16 18 19 20 22 24 26 28 30 31 32 34 37 38 41 42 44 46 47 48

Publisher’s Note Messages The Birth of Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero) Magazine Balitang ‘Pinas, Message Board Social Conscience Congress Whispers OFW, atbp The Filipinos’ Gift to the World Cover Story OFW Confessions, Letters to the Editor Usapang Legal Cyber Friends Money Matters Lifestyle Entertainment Mga Kursong Patok sa Mga Nais Magtrabaho Abroad Balitang Sports Kulturang Pinoy The Making of UAP-Singapore Chapter: A Bayanihan Way Munting Pangarap Snapshots: Singapore’s Wonders The Men and Women of Bagong Bayani

4 Bagong Bayani January 2011

Editorial Consultants OMAR L. SIERVO (United Kingdom) SANKIE SIMBULAN (Philippines) TALA MARALIT (Philippines) Columnists ATTY. HAZEL RIGUERA (Philippines) CRISTY VICENTINA (Singapore) MA. TERESA SARMIENTO (Thailand) MANDY GRATA (Philippines) Copy Writer CYPRUS JAKE MALINAO (Singapore) Contributing Writers PAMELA WILDHEART (Singapore) RUNDDY RAMILO (Singapore) RHODORA BERNABE-OSBORN (US) MA. LADONNA DELA CRUZ-SZWEDYC (Australia) EDDIE PICARDAL (China) PAMSY TIOSECO (Philippines) CLENNETTE ONG (Philippines) Art Director LANCE SISON of ARS NOVA DESIGNS (Singapore) Circulation Managers ELVIRA CINCO (Singapore) ANDEE BARCO (Singapore) Creative Consultant CESA FRAMIL (Singapore) Photographers PINOYGRAPHERS (Singapore) Circulation: 10,000 copies Advertising Enquiries: Email: Mobile: +65 9078 8597 | Office: +65 6235 8153 Published monthly by Salomon Publishing Singapore Pte Ltd.

Business Address: 304 Orchard Road, #04-65 Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied either in whole or in part without prior permission from the Publisher. MICA (P) 199/01/2011 Printing By: KEPMEDIA INTERNATIONAL PTE LTD Printed in the Republic of Singapore

Photo by Jeffrey Avellanosa, available under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Message froM the Poea adMinistrator

On behalf of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, I would like to congratulate the management and staff of Salomon and Associates for introducing a new magazine for Filipino workers in Singapore. Every person has a right to choose a place for his employment or livelihood. When a Filipino decided to work in a distant place, he is putting his fate in the hands of the host country, hoping that his rights and dignity are protected. Conversely, the worker is expected to respect its laws and culture. In the same vein, every sector in our society should make sure that Filipinos who leave the country for overseas employment are empowered and secure, including setting up support systems in the job sites. A Filipino publication in a foreign land is one of them. We hope your magazine, “Bagong Bayani� serve its purpose of giving our OFWs in Singapore relevant information that would be worthwhile reading for them. Mabuhay po kayo at ang mga Filipino sa Singapore at ibang bansa! May God bless you!

CARLOS S. CAO JR. Administrator

The Birth of BAGONG BAYANI MAGAZINE in Singapore As fate would have it, one’s country of origin is not his or hers to choose. But for an expat, Singapore would be a top choice to live, to work, and to play. By Bernardo S. Balanquit, Jr.


or many years, Filipinos yearn for comfortable life. Opportunities back home, however have been elusive so that quite a number of them moved out to seek greener pastures. Against the backdrop of a corruption-ridden government, crime rate on its height, and overall quality of life in a miserable state, they left their country to where the exact opposite of these realisms are found. Singapore, hence, has become a top destination for Filipinos seeking the good life. Singapore is a country whose solid foundation is buttressed by global recognitions as a place offering the best and maintaining to be at the top of all spheres of human endeavors. Samples worthy to mention are the following: along with Denmark and Sweden, Number 1 least corrupt among 178

16 Bagong Bayani January 2011

countries ranked in the 2010 Corruption Perception Index; Crime rate which is one of the world’s lowest; and a top spot in the Quality of Life Index worldwide. These are the backgrounds where the Neo-Filipinos chose to be reborn. Assuming their ascribed role as BAGONG BAYANI, their lives in the citystate and the rewards they are getting from hard work are all shared with their families and kababayans back home. OFWs have been known all over the world as BAGONG BAYANI, and a magazine of the same name taking a fresh breath of life in the Singaporean soil is neither a sheer coincidence nor a concept from nowhere. It’s by choice. And the wonders of Asia’s best, either tangible (state-of-theart infrastructures) or intangible (integrity, service, and excellence) shall reverberate in the deepest seas and

the tallest mountains of the Philippine archipelago – transforming every single person and every single institution into what the likes of Lapu-Lapu, Rizal, or Ninoy want the Philippines and her citizens to become. Singapore offers herself as the best model and the finest product of modern-day social, economic, and political transformations. One thing more, which needs to be emphasized since BAGONG BAYANI (Modern-Day Hero) MAGAZINE is into publishing business, Singapore is first in the world for having the best protection of intellectual property. For BAGONG BAYANI (Modern-Day Hero) MAGAZINE, taking the first step in Singapore is a giant leap to conquer the world and be of service to the rest of the 11 million OFWs all over the world seeking the good life in this time and space.


Hmmm . . . Want Pinoy Food? Try JoLogs!


By Bernardo S. Balanquit, Jr.

or Pinoy expats who consider Singapore as their second home, the taste of Filipino delicacies is a sure treat. Through the Pinoy cuisine, the thought of missing their loved ones is somehow lessened and to some extent, they feel rejuvenated to continue working and earning for their beloved back home. To Sheryl Boquiren and husband, Jojo Boquiren, this background inspired them to establish a business venture, and presto. . . Calle Real Gastronomic Styles P/L came to life with JoLogs bistros (Café Calle Real Group P/L) and kiosks/ outlets (Calle Real Culinary Concepts P/L) gracing the whole city-state. JoLogs is a Filipino bistro under the umbrella of Café Calle Real Group. The word “JoLogs” is the short form of Jojo’s many Silogs. The word “SiLog” is the acronym of Sinangag (Garlic Fried Rice) and itLog (Sunny-side-Up Fried Egg). The bistro offers an array of traditional Filipino meats in various marinades complimenting its house-special garlic fried rice and home-made pickled green papaya, called “achara”. Stirred by its mission to preserve the Filipinos’ love for food as an important and integral part of local art and culture as well as communal existence, food trip at JoLogs

JOLOGS BISTRO 304 Orchard #04-03 Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863 • Tel No. 6887 5724

is an awesome experience to share with its commitment to maintain a reliable standard of service by delivering Philippine cuisine of consistent superior gastronomic quality without compromising tradition. JoLogs aims to start a chain of Filipino bistros offering branded rice dishes freshly prepared and cooked to perfection. It promotes and represents Philippine cuisine initially in Singapore and eventually, in the region and other parts of the globe. Towards this end, it will supply Filipino products to competitors (direct and indirect), to supermarket shelves, to local and foreign owned cafes, and to import the varied products as far as the USA targeting cities with large Filipino community. Truly, the Filipinos’ entrepreneurial acumen is going global with a touch of Pinoy culture. The Boquirens’ JoLogs opens it doors to the international market by offering them the taste of foods which are genuinely Pinoy, another example of the Filipino ingenuity. The JoLogs bistro is located in Lucky Plaza, Orchard Road. JoLogs Xpress is located at Novena Square 2 Basement, and JoLogs Kusina is at the Gourmet East Kitchen (Bedok area). Come… and let JoLogs serve your discriminating taste. . . .

JOLOGS EXPRESS 10 Sinaran Drive #B1-121/123 Singapore 307506 • Tel No. 6397 7121

KUSINA NG JOLOGS Blk 3017 Bedok North St. 5, #02-19, Singapore 486121 • Tel No. 6440 9227

For Catering and Bulk Orders: Email JoLogs at JOLOGSByCALLEREAL@GmAIL.COm or give them a call at 6440 9227. January 2011 Bagong Bayani 17

balitang pinas


Legislators Seek Establishment of Migrant Workers Hospital

ep. Diosdado Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and his mother, Rep. Gloria MacapagalArroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) authored House Bill 1474, which aims to address this dilemma and to complement the present package of health services provided by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) so that a more comprehensive health care package can be extended to OFWs and their dependents. "Many OFWs are in immediate need of medical attention or hospital confinement due to various physical or mental illnesses sustained abroad," Arroyo said. The bill creates a special hospital to be known as the Migrant Workers Hospital, which shall be under the supervision and control of the OWWA. The special hospital shall provide for comprehensive or total health care services to all migrant workers who are


OWWA contributors and their dependents. It shall conduct medical examinations to ensure the physical and mental capability of all the would-be overseas Filipino workers duly covered by an approved job order. Under the bill, the special hospital shall be administered by a board to be composed of the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as Ex-Officio  Chairman and the Administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) as Ex-Officio Vice-Chairman.  All donations, contributions or endowments which may be made by persons or entities to the hospital and the importation of medical equipment and machineries, spare parts and other medical equipment used solely and exclusively for the Migrant Workers Hospital shall be exempt from income, gift, direct and indirect taxes, wharfage fees and other charges and restrictions. (excerpt from an article written by Lorelei V. Castillo, MRS-PRIB,

BI Prevents 9 Women from Illegally Flying to Lebanon

ANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration said it has intercepted nine Lebanon-bound women who attempted to leave the country via Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) using passports with fake immigration departure stamps. BI officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma, in a statement, confirmed that the women—stopped by immigration agents as they were about to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Singapore—were indeed victims of human trafficking. Ledesma said the would-be OFWs were hurriedly walking past the immigration counters when they were spotted by members of the BI's travel control enforcement unit (TCEU) at the NAIA and accosted them.

The agency said the women planned to work as domestic helpers and would use Singapore as a jump-off point to the Lebanese capital Beirut. The Philippine government maintains a ban on the deployment ban for overseas Filipino workers to Lebanon because of security concerns and rampant labor rights violations there. "It is obvious that the human trafficking syndicates are feeling the pinch of our intensified campaign that they are resorting to all means to bring their victims out of the country," Ledesma said. (excerpt from a news written by Sharon Johnnette M. Agduma, Public Information Services Unit, DFA as posted in

Message Board Editor’s Note: Ang pahinang ito ay inilaan para sa anumang anunsiyo o impormasyon na nais iparating ng mga kinauukulang ahensiya ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas kagaya ng POEA,OWWA,CFO, DFA, Embahada ng Pilipinas sa Singapore, at marami pang iba. Maaari din itong gamitin ng ating mga OFWs o mga organisasyon ng Filipino Community 18 Bagong Bayani January 2011

para sa kanilang iba’t ibang mga gawaing pampubliko, mga pagtitipon, mga kawang-gawa o kahit anong gusto nilang iparating kaninuman. Sa mga naglalayong gamitin ang espasyong ito, ipadala po ninyo ang inyong mga anunsiyo o mahalagang impormasyon sa email address na ito:



Paper & People Blizzard By: Mandy Grata


blizzard is a storm. Alvin Toffler, a Sociologist who has a fancy for reading the future of societies, probably in an effort to precisely state a desired meaning, used the concept paper blizzard. I am adding a new concept here, people blizzard, although to others, this may sound similar to the “Filipino Diaspora” that other writers use in describing the Filipino emigration. Toffler believes that societies are created by waves of civilizations. The First, Second and Third waves. The first was accordingly characterized by face


n addressing the unique dimensions of the demands of the Filipino migrant, there is a need to settle the idea on Filipino emigration. Just like the general idea of migration, which is a tale of human settlements, Filipino emigration evolves, recorded as an institutionalized activity in the transformation of the Filipino nation. However, the story of Filipino emigration, commonly intertwined with Filipinos working abroad, more popularly referred to as OFW, have its own perplexities. When the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 was signed into law, the floodgate for


his group of workers, the OFW, is widely revered as a workforce of the world. At home he sometimes displays a lesser interest in his work, but abroad he shines with his expertise at par with his counterpart from the host country and workers of all other nationalities. The individual OFW desires to succeed and never comes home without the bacon. Assimilating himself with his foreign counterpart, he manages to be purveyor of sort. However, the Filipino is unique, he sells not goods but services. Unlike the Chinese merchant,

to face communication, the second institutionalized the postal service, and the third saw the emergence of the media that addresses the specific needs of people. Thus the surge of papers specifically for politics, business, religion, etc.. And now, for Overseas Filipino Workers, Bagong Bayani. Thus, just like consumer products, services, entertainment and even institutions, periodicals go blizzard. By going blizzard, the media expands and diversify to cater and satisfy just about every demand of readership of the public and its many groupings.

Partly brought about by the demands of business, but more importantly, brought about by the natural progression of societies and their need to communicate. As in consumer products, services, entertainment and of course institutions, publications like this paper, are born to respond to the needs of a sector, Filipino communities outside of the Philippines. Being away from home, these communities abroad have more specific demands, and of course different from those who choose to remain home.

Filipino migration was opened. This institutionalized the so-called wave of migration. By its very wordings, “An act to institute the policies of overseas employment and establish a higher standard of protection and promotion of the welfare of migrant workers, their families and overseas Filipinos in distress”, the law, certainly, has only the best of intentions. Looking back decades after it was enacted however, Filipino emigration faces challenges that even the amendments to the law could not possibly immediately provide. The Filipino “Diaspora”, as many would want to call it, inspired by the Jewish Diaspora, has evolved towards

two directions. If we ask why one Filipino goes out of the country, the more common reason would be that there is no work available for him back home, and more often the blaming finger points to the government. More often economic, precisely, the popularized “OFW” phenomenon, that by the way is a concept constructed by the government. The other one, which I would consider a more serious one, is the permanent settlement, thus, the “dual citizenship” phenomenon, which we have codified into the Dual Citizenship Law and of course, the more “American” way of looking it the “Green Card”.

the Japanese manufacturer, and the corporate American, the Filipino is more of a worker, thus the label, Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). As it is, this act of purveying, which do not only stop in the borders of our country but has conquered virtually the entire planet is sanctioned by the government. It serves not only the microcosm of the Filipino family, but inures to the benefit of the Philippine economy through the remittances to the beneficiaries back home. As the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported, around $ 17 Billion has been remitted by overseas Filipino workers last year, reaching a record high

increase of 10 % from the preceding year. Surely, these moneys, are a cause of a bundle joys. Who would not want money? But the social costs, which no statistics could accurately measure, may far outweigh the gains. Surely, the “people blizzard” may be doing us some temporal salvation. But in the long run, the sacrifices of the Filipino family may hopefully be an equal price tag that one day may evolve to narrow down the levels of social divisions among us, and not pull us down the terrain of social disintegration.

congress whispers By Pamsy Tioseco

Senate Flips New Page in History - New Budget, Welcomes Sen Trillanes


ound of applause for the Philippine Senate and its counterpart, the House of Representatives, for successfully passing the General Appropriations Act for 2011, or the P1.645 trillion National Budget, the first time in 11 years, signed and approved by the President, on time. Previously, the nation had to make do with what was called a “re-enacted” budget, which was detrimental to our country’s economic development. In his speech during the signing ceremonies, President Benigno Aquino said, “The budget is the most important act of any Congress. Its early passage means that the much-needed programs for poverty alleviation and development can be implemented earlier.” Aquino said the early signing of the budget “will enable us to address the urgent needs of our people in a timely manner. Such needs include building more rural health units and providing immunization for children. This also allows us to construct new classrooms and hire new teachers, as promised to the Filipino people.” This year’s budget boasts of: P110 million for the maintenance and operating expenses of 80 state universities and colleges (SUC) and

20 Bagong Bayani January 2011

P200 million in subsidies for local government units (LGUs).


nother welcome news is that with Senator Panfilo Lacson gone and still missing, the composition of the Senators will change with the release of Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes. Senator Trillanes is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Civil Service. He would hold his Senate Committee hearings inside Camp Crame where he is detained. I remember Senator Trillanes presented to the public his first 100 days accomplishment report even if he was behind bars, to prove that he is seriously trying his best to serve and honor the trust gifted to him by the millions of voters who put him at the 11th slot during the May 2007 elections. In welcoming Senator Trillanes to the Senate, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said certainly the discussions on the Floor would be more colorful.


eanwhile, the public continues to keep a sharp eye on the new comers - Senators Bongbong Marcos, TG Guingona and comebacking, Senator Tito Sotto. Disaster after disaster is what the

country seems to get itself into. As of this writing, damage to infrastructure, crops and property has been pegged at P140 million as flashfloods and landslides ravaged through the Caraga Region. President Noynoy Aquino as Chair of the Climate Change Commission should convene the body to discuss how to judiciously utilize the recommended allocation pushed by Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, during the budget deliberations to build disaster-resilient infrastructures such as “green” classrooms, which are also used as evacuation centers. Legarda cited the World Bank report, which stated that, “every dollar invested in disaster reduction measures saves US$7-10 in losses from disasters.” This year, Legarda will be spending her free time going to different schools all over the country to start planting “pakbet gardens”.

ofw atbp

ga Bagong Bayani ng akabagong Panahon Bernardo S. Balanquit, Jr.


aalala ko no’ng imungkahi sa akin ng butihing Publisher ng magasing ito, si MJ Salomon, na gumawa kami ng isang babasahin para sa mga Pilipinong nag-tatrabaho sa ibang bansa. Ang sabi ko, magandang ideya yan. Malaking hamon ito para sa amin, subalit sa pagdaan ng mga araw, maraming mga kaibigan at kakilala ang nagpahayag ng suporta sa adhikaing ito. Serbisyo publiko ang maituturing na puno’t dulo nito. Ang pagkakaroon ng isang daan upang maisapubliko ang mga hinaing ng ating mga kababayang OFWs ay siyang pinakatampok na dahilan kung kaya’t nagpupursige kaming mailathala ang Bagong Bayani. Maraming mga malulungkot na karanasan ang ating mga OFWs. Subalit marami din naman ang matatawag nating success stories na magbibigay ng inspirasyon sa lahat

22 Bagong Bayani January 2011

upang magpunyagi at magtagumpay. Sa panahon ngayon kung saan karamihan sa mga nalalathala sa mga babasahin ay puro katiwalian, krimen at iba pang walang katuturang balita, mas maigi siguro na magkaroon ng isang alternatibong babasahin na nagpapakita ng pag-asa, tagumpay at kaginhawaan sa buhay ng mga itinuturing nating Bagong Bayani. Laman ng mga pahayagan ngayon pati na rin sa internet ang House Bill na naglalayong magtatag ng Migrants Workers Hospital. Magandang adhikain. Subalit nakakalungkot isipin na ngayon lamang naisip ito. Ang mas nakakalungkot ay kung bakit hindi ito nahanapan ng paraan ni dating Pangulong Arroyo na ngayo’y kongresista ng Pampanga at nasa likod nito kasama si Cong. Dato Arroyo, noong siyam na taon niyang panunungkulan? It took her nearly two (2) decades, if we are to consider her stint as a senator and vice-president

to finally realize that indeed there is a need for a Migrant Workers Hospital. Ngunit dahil maganda naman ang hangarin, suportahan nalang natin ito kasabay ng ating panalangin na sana gawin itong prayoredad ng kasalukuyang administrasyon. Kalungkutan. Ito ang nararamdaman ng halos lahat ng OFWs dahil sa kawalan ng magandang oportunidad sa ‘Pinas. Lumalabas sila ng bansa upang kumita ng medyo malaki-laki. Ngunit ang pangingibang bansa ay isang risk na tinatawag dahil sa napakaraming dahilan. Delikado ito sa seguridad lalo na sa isang babae. Subalit tinitiis ito ng karamihan para sa magandang kita. Marami pa tayong pwedeng pagusapan sa susunod na isyu ng Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero) magazine. Patikim pa lamang ito. Maraming dahilan kung bakit mga bayani sa makabagong panahon ang turing natin sa mga OFWs.

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special feature

The Filipinos’ Gift to the World Filipinos are a great people. Throughout the globe, they are admired for their world-class professionalism, brilliant talent and ardent care, earning pride for the motherland. More than just being global Pinoys, Filipinos are modern-day heroes. Their gift of self for the betterment of their families, their country and the world is indeed truly worth celebrating and proclaiming. By Sankie G. Simbulan


istance gives perspective, I remember hearing one wise man say. When you travel outside of your country, it is often then that you begin to understand and appreciate it more. Recently, I had the good fortune of being selected by Rotary International to be a representative of the Philippines for their vocational program -- the Group Study Exchange (GSE) program. The GSE gives young professionals the opportunity to study their vocation in another country, experience other cultures and build a strong, ongoing international network of friends and business contacts.

AmbAssAdors of goodwill Our Rotary GSE Team from the Philippines was composed of five members from different fields -- an NGO director for an educational foundation, an account executive for a pharmaceutical company, a television producer for one of the Philippines’ leading television networks, an educator/ textbook author, and myself -- a corporate communications manager for a global energy company. We were all tasked to represent our country well as ambassadors of goodwill and understanding to our host countries, which were Switzerland and Liechtenstein. For a month, we were given the opportunity to study our host country’s institutions and way of life, observe our own vocations as practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas. We were introduced in Rotary club meetings as the GSE team from the Philippines, traveling halfway around the world to tell them about our country and extend our message of friendship and peace. We even sang a popular Filipino song that captured our message so perfectly, “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo (The Filipinos’ Gift to the World)”, which brought tears to the eyes of our newfound European friends, after learning about how we Filipinos have inspired a peaceful call for change through People Power and lighted the world through our gifts in the arts, sciences, sports, etc. Dressed in the traditional Filipiniana terno, we proudly sang in our native tongue as we held the Philippine flag, 24 Bagong Bayani January 2011

With Rotary International District 2000 Governor Hans Butikofer

accompanied by a video with a Swiss-German translation of the song showing images of Filipino personalities, places and historical events that evoke Philippine pride.

A diverse life experience Both Switzerland and its neighboring micro state Liechtenstein (the smallest but richest German-speaking country in the world) are ranked by the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) 2010 Report as belonging to the roster of “Very High Development Countries” in terms of providing high Life Expectancy (a long and healthy life), Education (access to knowledge; expected years of schooling), and Per Capita GDP (a decent standard of living). Switzerland is known for its financial services (Swiss banks were reportedly running out of storage space for gold bullions held by international investors and institutions in their vaults) and manufacturing industries specialized in high technology and knowledge-based production. Inflation is low and unemployment is negligible in Switzerland. For Liechtenstein, there are even more registered companies than citizens! Apart from the vocational tours and interactions with various Rotary clubs, the GSE allowed us to visit local businesses, government offices, international organizations, and cultural and historical sites in our host country. Our GSE area coordinators told us we were fortunate to have seen more of Switzerland than the average Swiss! Throughout our stay, we lived with host families who were

special feature very much interested to know more about the Philippines lacking in struggles and challenges, yet remains to be one of and its people. After-dinner conversations with our host the happiest countries in the world, according to the Happy families were filled with interesting exchanges about the Planet Index. differences and commonalities between our countries. They were delighted to hear about our beautiful tourist spots, our A shAred humAnity respect for the elderly, our patriotism and the more than 101 “Exchange visits made possible through The Rotary ways that make us a uniquely endearing people. Foundation’s Group Study Exchange program last for only We also learned much from them and their journey towards a month, but the impact of these visits on the promotion financial independence. Our host mom and dad told us that of goodwill, understanding and peace will be felt for many because the Swiss did not have as much natural resources generations as paired districts plant the seeds of peace and as other nations (mineral resources are scarce, for example), develop the friendships that are built during their teams’ they did not live with a sense of entitlement but learned to tour in each other’s country,” said our GSE Team Leader Ester work hard and smart to develop their industries (machinery, Florendo, Past President of the Rotary Club of Tomas Morato chemicals, watches, jewelry, textiles, precision instruments and Rotary International District 3780 Chief of Staff. and diverse high-tech products) with an economy based I learned from the Rotary GSE that while we may live in mainly on the transformation of imported raw materials different countries, we still share the same issues and ideals, into high-added-value finished products mainly destined such as caring for the environment, maintaining peace and for exports. What they do have in abundance is water, which living a purposeful life. flows from the Swiss alps, and this they learned to harness “The GSE experience inspired me to dream big for our for electricity through hydroelectric power, and even supply nation. The beauty and progress of our host countries excess capacity to their neighboring states. They are an gave me hope that someday, though diligence, goodwill, extremely disciplined people and are well regarded for their and unity, the Philippines will also be as developed and punctuality. progressive as they are now,” said my GSE teammate Riz The people of Switzerland and Liechtenstein also have a Figueroa. high level of environmental consciousness. Understandably, Our presentations, discussions and conversations with the as they live in such beautiful surroundings anyone would people we met in Switzerland and Liechtenstein allowed us want to keep its pristine state. They are far advanced in to see ourselves and our situation as a people from a deeper recycling waste material. They also follow the pay-as-you- perspective. We saw a Philippines filled with promise, with its throw principle and non-recyclable rubbish are collected at vast wealth of natural resources and human talent, a country a price, so that families pay for each bag of rubbish they leave destined not just for happiness but also for prosperity and out on the road for collection. Recyclable materials such as abundance. paper, carton, glass, plastic, cans, textile, chemicals and oil are all collected separately for free. Despite their wealth and advancement, however, prosperous countries do have their share of problems. In some affluent societies, for example, the benefits of economic growth begin to dull an individual’s sense of purpose. One of our host moms, who is a practicing psychotherapist, shared that economic prosperity can be a boon for some, as the absence of life’s challenges can lead to feelings of complacency and depression. Contrast this to our country, which seems to never be At the United Nations office in Geneva rotary Rotary is an international association of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service, promote high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. With over 1.2 million members in over 32,000 clubs in nearly 170 countries, Rotary initiates community projects that focus on the most serious issues confronting people around the world: poverty, conflict resolution, health, hunger, illiteracy, and the eradication of polio.

GSE ProGram The Rotary Group Study Exchange program is one of the professional educational programs of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. It provides a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for professional men and women between the ages of 25 and 40 who are nonRotarians. The program provides travel grants for teams of participants to exchange visits in different countries. For interested applicants, visit: January 2011 Bagong Bayani 25

cover story

MARCELINA ABALOS ANGELES: Filipina Domestic Helper in Singapore, MODERN-DAY HERO (Pinay na Kasambahay sa Singapore, BAGONG BAYANI)

The choice of subject for a cover story is a tough job for any publication. More so for a maiden issue, because it spells the magazine’s thrust, creates an impression on the reading public and, most importantly, defines the values of the men and women in the editorial board. By Bernardo S. Balanquit, Jr. Photo credits Jo Bennette Mercy with her employers and their three children.

A Story of LoyALty At 51, Marcelina Abalos Angeles, who hails from Isabela, would have opted to retire from her job. All her three daughters are now professionals. The eldest, a graduate of Central Luzon State University, is now based in Greece. “Habang kailangan pa ako ng amo ko, dito muna ako sa kanila. Sila ang aking pamilya dito sa Singapore (While my employer still needs me, I will continue to work. They are my family here in Singapore),” she explains. Marcelina, or “Mercy” to her friends, started out as a kasambahay (domestic helper) of Mrs. Helen Mak in 1987. And, 21 years later, she is still with the same employer. She quips, “I am very fortunate to have a good employer who regarded me as a family member and has not treated me badly or unfairly, even once.” Mercy revealed that her “madam”, the word she uses to regard her kind employer, is very thoughtful and that she is always there whenever she needs help. She took care of her madam’s parents and looked after her three kids, in addition to her main task of doing the household chores. The warm treatment she receives from her host family makes her work less exhausting and even becomes a source of strength for her to cope with the feeling of being homesick. “Missing my family, especially my children, wasn’t easy. It was a very sad and depressing thought being away from them,” she said. Her employer’s children are now grown-ups, the eldest of whom is already an electrical engineer. All of them are equally fond of her, having been like a second mother to them. “Di ko sila maiwan-iwanan. Love na love ko ang mga alaga ko (I cannot bear to leave them. My employer’s children have grown to be very dear to me),” she shares, holding back the tears from falling down her cheeks.

Second Home Mercy considers Singapore as her second home. She fondly recalls her first few days in the country, which she describes as a “melting pot of many races.” “Iba’t-iba ang kultura dito, and you have to adapt to it. At tsaka istrikto ang batas nila dito kaya dapat hindi ka gumawa ng labag sa batas (There are different cultures here and you have to adapt to it. And laws are strict here so you must 26 Bagong Bayani January 2011

never do anything against the law)” When asked to describe Singapore in just one word, she quips “successful”. “Maraming magagandang halimbawa ang Singapore na dapat pamarisan ng Pilipinas. Kagaya ng disiplina, pagsunod sa batas at pagiging masipag sa trabaho (There are many good examples here in Singapore that the Philippines can take from, things like discipline, observance of the law and being industrious at work). Here in Singapore, the government is very firm in implementing laws, but look at where they are now. It has transformed itself into a first-world country. Masarap mamuhay dito. Kaya lang napakataas ng standard of living dito. Pero ang maganda dito kahit maglakad ka sa hatinggabi, walang gagalaw sa iyo. Talagang protektado ka ng gobyerno (It’s nice to live here, although the cost of living is high. But even when you walk outside at midnight, no one will harm you. You are really under the protection of the government),” she says with a smile.

GreAteSt AcHievement Mercy loves to play the guitar. Sometime in 2008, she asked her employer if she could enroll in a music school in Singapore. Her employer, being ever supportive, permitted Mercy. During her graduation, the music school personnel distributed pamphlets inviting employees enrolled to nominate their employers in the forthcoming search for 2008 Employer of the Year. Mercy looked at it as an opportunity to somehow repay her debt of gratitude to Mrs. Mak. She then submitted a two-page nomination letter. A couple of days later, officers from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Employment Association of Singapore (EAS) came to her employer’s house to conduct a validation visit. Another two weeks later, her employer received an invitation for the awarding ceremony at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Mercy’s confidence and eagerness paid off as her employer was declared as no less than the big winner. To her, that was the greatest gift she could offer her employer, and the greatest achievement she could boast of in her entire life.

With the family pet, “Pepsi.”

Pinay Maid as Bagong Bayani Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), for quite some time, have been referred to as Filipinas or Pinays who work as kasambahays (domestic helpers) in foreign countries. So that when the term Bagong Bayani was coined, they were the first to whom the honor was ascribed. Through the years, the title of Bagong Bayani has become a status symbol for every single Filipino working overseas. For Mercy, being a maid is not something to be ashamed of but rather something to be very proud of. “If I were to be reborn, I would still choose to be what I am today,” Mercy says with conviction. There was a time when Pinay was used as a general term to refer to maids but Mercy does not look at it negatively. “Proud pa din ako sa ganyang pagkilala dahil marami ding mga trabaho ang kayang gawin ng maid na hindi naman kaya ng mga professionals (I am still proud of that generalization because there are many kinds of work that we domestic helpers can do that cannot be done by professionals).” She continues, “Ito lang ang masasabi ko sa lahat ng mga maid dito sa Singapore at sa buong mundo: marangal ang trabaho natin, ikarangal natin ito. Maid tayo, pero tayo naman ang the best na maid sa buong mundo. Ang mga pagpupunyagi natin, ang sakripisyo para mabigyan ng magandang buhay ang ating pamilya, ang ating pagmamahal sa ating bansa ay kayamanang hindi kayang tumbasan ng anumang materyal na bagay. Tayo ay mga bayani sa makabagong panahon na dapat pamarisan at tularan (This is my message to all the domestic helpers here in Singapore and in the whole world: We have a decent and noble job, and it is only right that we be proud of it. Yes, we may be domestic helpers but we are the best domestic helpers in the world. Our perseverance, sacrifices to give a better life for our families and love for country are invaluable treasures that cannot be equated with any material thing. We are the modern-day heroes of our generation that are worthy of being emulated).”

cover story

and backgrounds living therein. She has become an ate, tita, lola, kaibigan, kapatid at karamay sa lahat ng panahon (older sister, aunt, grandmother, friend, and comrade for all seasons). Parting words? Without batting an eyelash, Mercy says, “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Singapore! (Long live the Philippines! Long live Singapore!)” Our conversation ended with a few laughs and sighs. The Pinoy ambience of JoLogs Bistro (a Filipino restaurant) at the 4th floor of the famed Lucky Plaza along Orchard Road in Singapore provided a very open and wholesome atmosphere which lasted for a little more than half-an-hour. All throughout the interview, Mercy exuded confidence. She could express herself well, which owes to her sincerity and authenticity. She is a real person through and through. When we walked towards the Salomon Publishing office nearby, she kept on thanking me and MJ, our publisher, for considering her for the magazine’s maiden issue cover story. Jokingly, I asked her, ‘Tita, cover ka sa magazine namin, ano sa palagay mo ang dahilan at napili ka namin? (You’re going to appear on the magazine cover, why do you think you were the one we chose?) You know what, I flew to Singapore all the way from ‘Pinas and on top of my itinerary is to have this interview with you.” She smiled at me and said, “Siguro naman deserving ako, yung achievements ko, kinonsider ninyo (I would suppose I am deserving and that you considered my achievements).” I nodded in agreement. “How was the interview, Ate?”, MJ, who was standing in front of her

FaMily as a source oF insPiration Pinoy culture dictates that the be-all and the end-all of one’s sacrifices is his or her family. True as it is, when asked about her family, Mercy became emotional, her voice broke but she was able to maintain her poise. After a long sigh, she said, “Sila naman talaga ang dahilan kung bakit ako nandito e, ang mga anak ko. Nakakalungkot talaga dahil minsan every four years ako kung magbakasyon. (My children are the real reason behind my working here. It’s really sad that sometimes it is only every four years that I get to come home for a vacation).” Kung magugunaw na ang mundo bukas at isa lang ang pwede mong sagipin at nasa harap mo ang dalawang mga mahal mo sa buhay, ang pamilya mo at ang amo mo, sino ang pipiliin mo? (If the world were to come to an end tomorrow and you could only save either your family or your employer, who would you save?) She retorted: “Of course, pamilya pa rin! (my family, still!) Pero sana pwedeng both (But I hope it could be both),” she jokingly replied.

selF-Worth According to Mercy, there are two words which could describe her: patient and tolerant. “If I were not patient and tolerant, I would not have spent so much of my prime years in a foreign land. I would not have met my employer who taught me to become strong, reminded me that I can go through the many problems that come along, and instilled in me a deep sense of self-worth. What makes us Filipinos stand still despite life’s difficulties is our sense of self-esteem which is extraordinarily high. We do not easily submit to pressures. Palaban tayo, Pinoy e! (We never surrender because we’re Filipinos!)” To her neighborhood at Eunos, Mercy easily won the trust, not only among her fellow Pinay maids but also among the employers of varied races

Mercy’s employer, Mrs Helen Mak during the awarding rites of the 2008 Employer of the Year. office, asked. “Oh, it was great! Sana maraming matutunan ang ating mga kababayan sa aking buhay (I hope my fellowmen learn many things from my life story).” Before she left, she gave me some photos of herself, her family and her employer. I bade her goodbye, firmly holding the pictures in my left hand and the brief account of herself written in two sheets of bond paper she submitted to me earlier, in my right hand. I went over said narration when I began writing this piece. I said to myself, “no wonder, she made her employer win.” With her storytelling prowess, she could be one of our contributing writers in the next issues of Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero) magazine. Mercy’s story may be all too ordinary to deserve a prime space in the maiden issue of Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero) magazine. There may be other stories of OFWs out there whose lives are more inspiring. But the bottom line is, we are reaching out to all Bagong Bayanis worldwide to give them a renewed sense of hope and a firm grasp of their mission in life, not only for their families but for our countrymen, wherever they may be. Mercy’s life as a Pinay maid captures the struggles and the sacrifices which every Overseas Filipino Worker go through. Some of them go back to the Philippines in the twilight of their lives as successful persons, while others go home as not-so-successful. But either way, Mercy’s life offers some nuggets of wisdom to ponder on. After all, it’s never easy to be called a Bagong Bayani. January 2011 Bagong Bayani 27


What I Should Have Done Before I Left By Ma. Ladonna dela Cruz-Szwedyc


he day I got my Australian visa remains to be one of the most emotional moments of my life. As a child, I was surrounded by friends and school mates whose family members worked abroad and they all seemed to be living a more comfortable life than others. I myself had an older brother who worked in Saudi Arabia and his homecomings are fondly remembered as the only day that we get to finally indulge on fancy chocolates, apples, grapes, and other products that were otherwise not readily available to us in Bulacan at that time. So I grew up thinking that it must be really good to live abroad where all those goods which, in my standards as a child, I considered luxurious. In February of 2006, I packed up and left for Australia to join my husband, Shane, and realized it’s not as exciting as I thought it would be due to one minor thing that I overlooked, I never learned how to drive before I left. My husband works away at sea and I was stuck alone in a new country with no one

transportation but it’s not like in Manila where there are tricycles or jeepneys that you can hail in front of your house

Letters to the Editor to take you to the nearest bus stop or train station so it’s quite a trek from my house just to get on a bus. Shane has always encouraged me to start learning

“I felt so isolated because the few friends that I got to know are so far away and being homesick was compounded by the fact that I can’t even go anywhere.” else to talk to. I felt so isolated because the few friends that I got to know are so far away and being homesick was compounded by the fact that I can’t even go anywhere. Sure there’s public

With the New Year comes my new hope that I’ll pass the rigorous tests in getting my driver’s license. How? When I spent the Christmas holidays in the Philippines, I enrolled in a driving school so I practiced while Nanay did babysitting duties. I sent my 3-year old son to nursery so Nanay won’t have to take care of both kids the entire time I was driving and I’m happy to say that my instructor reckons I can now handle the wheel. It was a team effort, I must admit. It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my mother and my nephew who looked after my children while I was away. That’s another thing I miss about the Philippines – the bayanihan spirit. Sure, I need to practice more driving to secure a license in Australia but when I do, I have my family to thank, for they made everything possible for me, as always. Now, if only I can take them all with me when I go back to Oz.

how to drive, but along came 2 kids and while I was able to go for a few driving lessons, I have to stop whenever Shane is at sea because there’s no one to take care of the kids.

Editor’s Note:

Maaari po ninyong ipadala ang inyong mga sulat upang mailathala sa pahinang ito. Bukas po ito sa mga OFWs, indibidwal man o organisasyon kung saan pwede nilang ilahad ang kanilang mga hinaing, mga problema, at iba pang mga suliraning nais nilang idulog sa mga kinauukulang sangay ng pamahalaan ng Pilipinas. Ipadala po ninyo ang inyong mga sulat sa email address na ito: THE EDITOR, BAGONG BAYANI MAGAZINE, bagongbayanimodernhero@

Amazing Touch: One Amazing Success Story



By Bernardo S. Balanquit, Jr.

hat started out as a Home Décor Business a favourite hub of Filipino community. True enough. When called “Ni’che Total” for the past 25 years gave Amazing Touch graced the portals of Lucky Plaza, Filipino clients rise to a top notch derma clinic, AMAZING flocked to it. Mrs. Seng found Singapore as an amazing place to TOUCH, which has been making waves in do business because of the superb protection system which the the global health and wellness market with government gives to business establishments. For those who are just starting out a business, Mrs. Seng five (5) branches in Malaysia, one (1) in Singapore, two (2) Hong Kong, one (1) in India, and seventeen (17) in the Philippines. said that they have to be truthful, honest, and a good example When asked about what inspired her to put up her business, Mrs. to others. Her description of herself? “I am a very determined Mia Seng, its proprietor has these to say: “I was just looking for person and God-fearing. I am a Christian too. You see, all that’s something that I can do for myself besides being a housewife. happening to my business is “amazing grace,” she smiles. In the next 10 years, Our target market when she foresees Amazing we started out in Malaysia Touch taking its toll in was practically everyone franchising and in the because for every 10 long run, she hopes that persons there, 8 were some of her employees, having warts or other skin who are deserving, can problems. Six months become part-owners of after we opened our first the business. clinic, we saw a need With her being to open up for another considered as a Bagong branch, and months later, AmazingTouch herbal cream is 100% Natural. Bayani, she said: “It’s the third branch was The preparation derives from plants extracts, always an honour to be likewise opened until offers relatively painless,bloodless and scarless able to give employment we’ve got the fourth and method to remove WARTS,MOLES,SKIN TAGS, to our countrymen, and to the fifth branches in just SYRINGOMA and other skin imperfections. give them the opportunity a couple of years. And the to become part owners of rest is history,” Mrs. Seng a business venture”. This is explains. my way of “giving back” for Amazing Touch came the many blessings that to mind to carry Mrs. God has given me through Seng’s business line in the years.” reference to the feedbacks Our conversation lasted from various clients after for nearly 45 minutes only. they went through the But that very limited time, clinic’s various processes gave myself a refreshing or treatments. When thought on how a Filipina the result comes out, from Pangasinan made they’d exclaim, “Wow, it in a foreign land. In it’s amazing!” Mrs. Seng FREE CONSULTATION between our exchange added: “We will not last in of words, she’d always this business for quite long utter punch lines which time if we’re not giving 304 Orchard Road #03-66 I was just too amazed to the best to our clients. Lucky Plaza Singapore 238863 hear about. What stuck to Good service, world-class my mind is this: In order treatment procedures, and great ambience are the characteristics which made us a “cut to succeed, you have to be reliable, matalino (intelligent) and maganda (beautiful). But a beautiful face is not the end of it. It above the rest.” Her tagline, “Deliver what’s being promised.” Opening up a branch in Singapore was a sheer coincidence opens doors for you, but your determination is what makes your for Mrs. Seng. She had to accompany her son who took a journey to the top quite certain.” No wonder, her wit, beauty, and determination made her government exam in Singapore some 10 years ago. Inspired by the success of the company in Philippine soil, she thought a precious and priceless jewel to her two sons and architectof putting up a branch in Lucky Plaza since it has become husband, who is a Malaysian. January 2011 Bagong Bayani 29

usapang legal


t has been said that overseas Filipino workers are the new national heroes (“mga bagong bayani”) of our country. The 1987 Constitution has underscored the importance of this sector by providing a separate article on labor aside from that provided for in the Declaration of General Principles and State Policies found therein. The Constitution affirms labor as a primary social economic force and mandates

established a strong legal framework to reinforce their rights despite the odds against them. Noteworthy is the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 or Republic Act 8042, which has recently been amended in 2010 by Republic Act 10022 in order to answer the clamor for a better-protected overseas workforce. This law has a lot of new points that will surely benefit all of our migrant workers.

Furthermore, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the law also emphasizes stronger bilateral and multilateral relations with receiving nations for better protection of migrant workers. R.A. No. 8042 requires the Department of Foreign Affairs to assess all labor markets in terms of protection to migrant workers in their national laws, bilateral agreements, ratified

National Heroes on the Rise Atty. Hazel R. Riguera

“Invest in our country’s top resource, our human resource, to make us more competitive and employable while promoting industrial peace based on social justice.”1

the protection of workers’ rights and the promotion of their welfare. (Section 18, Article II). Section 3, Article XIII states that “the State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.” President Aquino’s 22-Point Plan for Labor and Development has 11 points concerning the “new heroes”. The Supreme Court in a number of cases has also been mindful of the importance of our overseas labor force in our socio-economic life by deciding cases in their favor. As one of the strongest and basic building blocks of our economy, migrant workers are strong forces in national development and therefore must be protected at all cost. Sadly, the irony is that, they may be a strong national force but they are also the most vulnerable to abuses from receiving nations as well as from our own countrymen. The migrant workers are preyed upon by a host of human traffickers, drug syndicates, abusive foreign employers, and illegal recruiters. The government, while not fully equipped to deal with the rising need to protect our migrant workers, has 30 Bagong Bayani January 2011

The following are the salient points of the said law: 1. The law now includes seafarers in its definition of overseas Filipino workers. 2. It provides for the protection of irregular and undocumented workers. The implementing rules and regulation of the amended RA No. 8042 defines Irregular or undocumented workers as those workers; a) who acquired their passports through fraud or misrepresentation; b) who possess expired visas or permits to stay; c) who have no travel document whatsoever; d) who have valid but inappropriate visas; or e) whose employment contracts were not processed by the POEA or subsequently verified and registered on-site by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), if required by law or regulation. 3. The law also mandates the government to give free and accessible skills development programs to those planning to work abroad or those who are currently working abroad to make them competitive in the world market. 4. The law has increased the penalties against illegal recruitment.

international conventions, and to take positive, concrete measures to protect the rights of OFWs. R.A. No. 8042 likewise provides for an OWWA Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) of P100M for OFWs which is set aside to pay the services of a legal counsel and other litigation expenses in the country where the migrant worker is based. The OWWA Board initially allocated P10M for ready utilization. The Repatriation Program is being redesigned to make it more responsive to the requirements of OFWs and their families and on-site assistance will be expanded and institutionalized to include psycho-social counseling for repatriated workers housed in OWWA halfway houses. Admittedly, this will be a welcome relief to thousands of migrant workers who are currently in prison overseas for immigration-related charges and other common crimes. At a minimum, the reinforced law should now adequately and amply protect our countrymen who are working overseas to help their families. Its success in providing the protection the law promises will now be in the hands of a good and compassionate government. How to utilize the amended law in making sure that our OFWs will not toil in vain is another question that has yet to be answered.

wanted: cyber friends

Editor’s Note: Ang pahinang ito ay para sa mga OFWs at maging sa mga Pilipinong nasa Pilipinas na naghahanap ng kaibigan sa iba’tibang panig ng mundo. Ipadala ang inyong kumpletong pangalan, email address, residence o business addresses, email address, twitter o facebook account o celfone/landline number sa


January 2011 Bagong Bayani 31

business treats MONEY MATTERS

MaxiMizing ‘Dollar’ Value thru Fx by Cristy M. Vicentina

dollar is appreciating faster than the Philippine peso because of the better than projected economic numbers for Singapore. And most likely, we will then ask: will the rate still go up? Let me walk you thru the SGD/PHP rates for the last fifteen (15) years (see figure from Bloomberg).

Whether we like it or not, OFW is now becoming synonymous to dollars and remittances. Charge it to Filipino culture or call it our love for the family, but it has always been a part of being an OFW to send money back home. Now, knowing and accepting the fact that sending money is part of our OFW journey, we should try to maximize the value of our dollars. But why is it that every time we go to the bank to send our hard-earned money to our loved ones, the FX (Foreign Exchange) rate seems to be moving against us. Maybe we would want to know when is the best time to go to the bank. Is it on a Monday? Sunday? Should we avoid the month ends? Let me take you through some factors affecting FX rates.

ECONOMIC FACTORS Inflation stability and the increase of the economy (GDP, GNP, Dollar Reserve, BOP) are some of the important factors that influence FX.

POLITICAL FACTORS Every country has its own climate of political activity. If there is too much instability or conflict in a particular country it will reverberate all the way through the foreign exchange market. Unstable politics is seen as disturbing the economy.

MARKET FACTORS The views and alertness of the traders to current events is important to what takes place in the foreign exchange market. What the traders are thinking will influence their decisions and therefore the whole market is affected. And of course, just like any other commodity, the price of ‘dollar’ (being a commodity currency) follows the “Law of Supply and Demand” which states that, ceteris paribus, when supply goes up and demand is constant, price will go down and vice versa. That is why generally, the USD/PHP exchange rate goes down during December or June or March because OFWs send more USD during these months for the Christmas, enrollment and graduation of loved ones back home, hence the appreciation of PESO. But if you are reading this article in Singapore, you will definitely argue with me that the exchange rate of SGD/PHP actually went up this whole month of December. Most likely you also know that one of the answers is that the Singapore 32 Bagong Bayani January 2011

The highest rate is 34.4879 on December 31, 2004 while the lowest rate is 16.6154 on January 13, 1995 with an average of 27.7924 and doing at 34.0626 level. On a shorter range of four (4) years from 2006 to 2010, the highest rate is about 34.00 and lowest rate is about 27.50 or 6500PHP per 1000SGD opportunity loss if you hit the low instead of the high. While the chart actually tells us that the current rate is near historical high already, the question remains – will the rate still go up or down? Will the 34.48 serves as a resistance? Or will it serve as a new base for a formation of a new high? As an OFW and knowing that sending money back home is an inevitable component of our OFW journey, FX is a complicated animal on its own, its not as simple as up or down or head or tail for a coin. Always consider all the factors we have listed and whenever you are happy with the prevailing rate, exchange more or all your dollars but do not send them to family’s account yet. I’m pretty sure they won’t reach Valentine’s day. Instead, make your money earn in Singapore with PESO Time Deposit in your friendly bank or park them with your own account in the Philippines while waiting for the next remittance date for your beneficiaries. In this case we can still send money regularly or on a monthly basis to the family back home but it gives us the opportunity to be locked in the FX rate whenever we deemed it good enough for us, thus, maximizing the value of our hard-earned dollars. Provided we have dollar reserves or savings to do this. We can then say, it pays to plan and save after all!


Way to the Top

elling clothes, accessories and bags in a competitive market as Singapore, one must be an excellent trader. For FASHRUS’ owner, Jennifer Adeline Patungan, 37, nothing is impossible if you work hard. It is very difficult to sustain a business in Singapore,” Jen confessed. Her secret? She innovates. Unlike traditional merchandisers, she doesn’t settle for local suppliers. Instead, she goes overseas to look for items. This style does not only mean lesser cost but also ensures quality and relatively trendy items. Just like any Filipino entrepreneurs, Jen had her own tale to share in terms of the ups and down of her business. She started from selling watches and other “small” items and then eventually tried her current clothing line in 2004 at Little India, one of Singapore’s busiest districts. In 2006 when her business started to make waves in the market, she went through a lot of “belt-tightening” to save enough capitalization. She had experienced staying and living at her shop for more than a year to save rentals and utility bills. In later years, her efforts paid off. To date, she owns three stores serving three diverse markets at Buffalo Road, Tekka Center and Lucky Plaza. Jen first set foot on Singapore soil in 1996 to work as a nurse attendant. Over the years, she has managed to change her career path and was able to establish a name for herself in the Filipino business community. Asked whether she considers herself as successful now, she said: “At some

By: Bernard Balanquit

point, yes but I still have a lot of dreams to accomplish.” To her, Singapore opened a gateway to countless opportunities in the realm of business. Her contribution to Singapore’s economy has been recognized and she’s getting a lot of support from the government. “That is the advantage of doing business here. The government has put in place enough safety nets for investors. Dito, kahit maglakad ka ng madaling araw, walang gagalaw sayo. Isang pindot mo lang sa celfone mo, andyan kaagad ang pulis. Di nakikita ang ganyang serbisyo sa atin,” Jen added. Putting up a business back home is not in her priority list. “In the Philippines, there is no clear-cut support system for traders. Businessmen really have to take the risk. That is something traders do not want to jump into. Protection from the government is what they need,” Jen added. Singapore’s business atmosphere is the exact opposite. Hence, in just a couple of years, her prospect for profit grew in an unprecedented level. Jen does her share of public service as a form of giving back to Singapore by being an active volunteer in the Grassroots Residence Committee. Is Jen a Bagong Bayani? Yes, she is. “Masaya ako dahil kinikilala ako ng Filipino community dito,” Jen giggles. She is an inspiration to other struggling Pinoys and Pinays in the distant lands.

Visit us at any of our shop outlets: Lucky Plaza: #03-87 662 Buffalo Road: #01-21 Tekka Centre: #02-21


Lose Weight Fast and Maintain It By Denden Acompanado


ost of us may have gained weight throughout the holiday season. Now, it is time to get back in shape and prepare for summertime. So, get yourself ready for these natural ways of losing extra calories in just a few days.

MORE FIBERS IN THE DIET Skipping a meal will not help you lose weight. Rather, it would help you crave for more food. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet, which are not only rich sources of vitamins and minerals but also fiber and less fat. Fibers detoxify the body from free radicals and increase metabolism, which speeds up elimination process. These organic foods are complex carbohydrates and are good sources of energy that gives one a feeling of fullness. Get rid of junk foods. Make it a habit of snacking on fresh apples, oranges, banana, papaya, watermelon, sweet potato, and cassava. An apple a day makes one feel full all day, remember that.

KEEP MOVING Any form of exercise like walking, jogging, running, biking, window shopping, or simply doing household chores may help burn more calories to keep us maintain our normal weight. If the supermarket is just blocks away from home, walk through it, rather than commuting. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator 34 Bagong Bayani February 2011

when at work. A 30-minute brisk walking will help us lose 250 calories per day. It is recommended to increase the distance of walking/running/ jogging or intensity of our workout if we wish to shed off weight fast. The benefits of moving our body not only help lose extra weight but also prevent development of age-related diseases such as hypertension, stroke, and heart attack. So, encourage your friend, wife, husband, and child to a stroll at the park, beach, or track. The more you move, the faster you burn calories.

TAKE A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP Sleep-deprived individuals tend to eat more and gain weight than those who follow an eight-hour sleeping schedule. Taking 7 to 9 hours of sleep stops you from eating too much as well as makes you more active so you burn off more energy. Sleep reduces feeling of hunger because of the increase of leptin, an appetite suppressant hormone, and a decrease of hormone ghrelin, an appetite stimulant. This is based on a study conducted by Western Reserve University where there is an imbalance of these two hormones. The result shows that those who sleep less than 5 hours a night gain more weight over time than those who sleep 7 hours a night. You may cut back extra time navigating the browser of your favorite social networking site. Remember, A good night sleep is a pound off your weight.

MAINTAIN A POSITIVE OUTLOOK Maintaining a standard weight takes a consistent effort to keep it throughout life. There will be instances of failure to follow the regimen and draw back to previous lifestyle. Hence, keeping a balance of physical and mental self is very important. Harbouring negative thoughts draws feelings of depression, a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts. Physiological manifestations of depression contribute to increasing our weight than losing it. Keeping a positive outlook in life despite setbacks would help us increase our well-being, give us more energy and enthusiasm to go on with our work and living in high spirit of the future. One way of deflecting on negative thoughts is to find a hobby, which you enjoy and keep your interest. You may start some of my proven ways of distractions like gardening, cooking, reading, writing, meditating, photography and travelling. Eat right. Keep moving. Enough sleep. Positive thinking. Make them a part of your daily life and you are now ready to jumpstart a revitalized self this new year.

Prayer of an

food for the soul

This section offers space to the reflections/ meditations of OFWs. Bible passages and value-laden quotations shall likewise be published here. Email your contributions at - Editor

Overseas Worker By Jocelyn Soriano

ather God, it’s so lonely out here. Many times I’ve asked myself why I had to go here in the first place, and why I can’t go back yet to where my heart truly is, where my true happiness resides. Why must I walk these streets alone? Why must I eat this bread without my family? Many sights have so amazed me since I got here and yet no beauty has ever succeeded in wiping away the tears from my eyes. For without my loved ones, what can all these things mean

to me? I’d rather be blind, I’d rather tire myself to sleep so I won’t have time to remember, to cry, to long so painfully for the people I love so much. Help me O God. Give me strength to bear such a terrible longing. Give me hope so that the vision of your blessings for my loved ones always be before me. Give me faith so I can cling on that hope on my darkest and loneliest days. Let me never forget the reason why I came here for. Let me never forget who I am and to whom I really belong. Save me from my weaknesses and snatch me away from the many temptations

that lurk along the way. I have not come here for my own sake. I have not come here for defeat. I came here for my beloved ones. I came here to make a sacrifice. And I came here to be victorious though you Most Holy Name! Guide me O Lord each step of the way, protect me from all dangers that I may come home safely, full of your wonderful blessings and overflowing with gratitude for all that you have done for me and my family. Amen! (Source: http://itakeoffthemask. com/prayers/prayer-of-an-overseasworker/)




By Professionals

             

Hair Cut Iron Rebonding Perm Hair Treatment Hair Spa Hot Oil Cellophane Colour Highlight Hair Styling & Make Up Manicure Pedicure Foot Spa February 2011 Bagong Bayani 35



am so enthralled being part of the birthing of this magazine and I was giggling with delight with the anticipation of its output that it somehow took 10 years off my age. At the outset, may I salute the enterprising guts of our publisher, MJ Salomon, and the journalistic legerdemain of editor-in-chief, Bernard Balanquit, in putting up this ambitious venture. This undertaking marks a milestone in Filipino journalism and shows that the ingenuity and talent of Filipinos excel even in ultra-modern competitive state such as Singapore. Business and media is a potent combination and Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero) Magazine

island since the 16th century. Chinese businessmen and Chinese workers were employed in the mines. Most were Hakka Chinese, and their influences on Phuket culture and cuisine can still be felt today. With falling tin prices in the global market, the mining has been stopped. Today, Phuket’s economy rests on two pillars, the rubber tree plantations, making Thailand the biggest producer of rubber in the world, and tourism, of which Phuket is considered one of the top global holiday destinations. For me, Phuket’s real wealth is its people. It is more than just the land of smiles. It is a land of trusting, accommodating and always willing to

incorporated the English language into their school curriculum. Considering that millions of tourists visit Thailand every year, the demand for English speaking Thais in various businesses is very high. Comparatively, the natural beauty of Phuket and the Palawan or Boracay is at par as both are endowed with creamy beaches, mystifying caves, islets and waterfalls and stunning eco-tourism attractions. However, our country lags far behind in terms of infrastructures, grandiose hotels and resorts, ultramodern holidays homes and villas, and efficient tourism-related activities that make Phuket a haven for tourists and expatriates.

The Phuket Connection Ma. Teresa Sarmiento PHOTO: STOCK.XCHNG / XSASSIN

is an effective medium to crystallize, to inspire and to share the rich experiences, aspirations, trials and tribulations and the success stories of our modern-day heroes, the Overseas Filipino Workers. When I was invited to join the editorial team, I accepted without hesitancy as I saw it as my break to share with them the stories of Pinoys here in Phuket, Thailand. The Phuket Connections is not just all about Phuket. It will be about life of Pinoys in Phuket, their aspirations and dreams, their frustrations and determination, as well as their life in a borrowed country. But first, a short review of the land of smiles, my present habitat. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is approximately the size of Singapore. It is situated off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and has a tropical climate with a dry season from November to April, which is considered the high season for tourist influx, and a rainy season from May to October or the low season period. Historically, Tin mining has been a major source of income for the 36 Bagong Bayani January 2011

help people. How many times have I run out of gas in the middle of the street in the wee hours and someone would stop and give us their extra gasoline. There was a time when our motorbike was even loaded to a new D-Max pick up and brought to a gasoline station, small details depicting Thai’s “good heart” culture that continuous to amaze me. This is one major reason why Filipinos love to live in Phuket. Admittedly, the visa runs is somehow hateful and tiring, but Pinoys here have been staying for long years mainly because the work and home conditions here are much better than those in our country. I will dwell on these on my next writings. Filipinos and Thai have so many things in common. Physically, they have similar built, skin tone and facial features. My Thai friend says that we are “same-same”, but the similarities stops when it comes to language. Thais still have difficulty in spoken or written English language. We are considered here as competent English speakers and there is a great demand for Filipino teachers in this field as Thailand’s education has now

At the core of Phuket’s marketing package is entertainment and this is where the Filipino musicians are in great demand in several hundreds of hotels, pubs, bars, and restaurants. These are the unsung bagong bayani of our time who are not really considered OFWs as they are not registered in the OWWA as such. A great number of them has been working here for several decades, some with proper work permits while others have no legal documents but they all have one thing in common, every payday they send the sweat of their music to their families at home. For them, Phuket is just a transit residence until their children finished school, or until they have redeemed their mortgage loan, or when they have saved enough to start a business at home. The stories of Filipino musicians in Phuket are epic stories of success and frustrations. It is an experience worth sharing with other Pinoys around the world. Watch out for the Phuket Connections and I will connect you from Phuket, to Singapore, the Philippines and around the globe.

entertainment (Editor’s Note: Kung meron mang tatlong pinaka-sikat sa entertainment industry ngayon na dapat balik-tanawin ang naiwang mga yapak sa nakaraang taon, sina Kris, Ai Ai, Dolphy at Charice na ang mga iyon. Ating balikan ang mga mahahalagang mga balita na natunghayan ng milyong-milyong Pilipino saang dako man ng mundo) Kris Aquino ecstatic over success of ‘Dalaw’

Dolphy thanks PNoy for grand award

MANILA, Philippines – “Dalaw” lead star Kris Aquino could not be any happier after her first produced movie made it to the top 3 of the box office among the 8 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entries.

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III conferred the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart on actor-comedian Rodolfo “Dolphy” Vera Quizon at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall in Malacañang on Monday, November 8, 2010.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News on Tuesday, Aquino shared that “Dalaw” has consistently been doing well and it has already reached its break-even point during the film’s first showing day.

“Maagang aginaldo ito para sa akin, salamat President Noy... Dadalhin ko ito hanggang sa aking memorial park. (Laughs),” said Dolphy.

In the same interview, Aquino excitedly divulged her upcoming shows in the network. According to her, the auditions for “Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2” will soon be starting as the new year enters. She also divulged that in February, she will be hosting a new game show titled “The Price is Right.” “Bago ako mag-birthday, simula na sa February ang “The Price is Right.” Abangan niyo ‘yon because for the first time talaga, araw-araw puwedeng manalo ng brand new car,” she excitedly said. (Source:

Ai Ai emotional over MMFF best actress victory MANILA, Philippines – Comedy Queen Ai Ai delas Alas on Sunday thanked God after she won the best actress trophy in the 36th Metro Manila Film Festival on Sunday. The actress said that she never expected to win the trophy. She said the award is the most beautiful Christmas gift she received. “Hindi kami makapaniwala. Tignan mo lahat kami ay hindi makapagsalita. Hindi ba last year Baler ang nanalo pero kami ang box office. So, ngayon sanay na kami. Dala-dala ko ang bag ko kasi gusto ko ng umuwi. Sabi ko uuwi na ako ayaw nila akong pauwiin sabi ko uuwi na ako kasi nakakahiya baka lahat manalo ako hindi,” delas Alas shared. The actress also shared her award to all the people behind her film “Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To” especially to its producer, ABS-CBN’s movie outfit Star Cinema. (Source: www.

The Order of the Golden Heart was established in 1954 by the late President Ramon Magsaysay. It is given to those who have rendered distinguished services or those who have given noteworthy monetary or other material aid for the improvement of the moral, social, and economic conditions of the Filipino masses. (Source:

Charice, pasok sa ‘11 to watch in 2011’ ng US magazine Pasok si Charice sa listahan ng “11 to watch in 2011.”Ayon sa Entertainment Weekly, malaking tulong ang suporta sa Pinay nina Oprah at Ellen de Generes. Pero pinatunayan ni Charice ang kanyang singing prowess sa US TV hit na “Glee” bilang Sunshine Corazon. Aabangan sa mga susunod na episode ng “Glee” ang iba pang eksena ng karakter ni Charice. Kabilang din sa listahan sina Rooney Mara sa pelikulang “The Social Network” at Rosie Huntington Whiteley na papalit kay Megan Fox sa “The Transformers” series. (Source: Charice still hopeful of getting a Grammy award MANILA, Philippines - International singing sensation Charice is still hoping to get a Grammy nomination. “Hindi ako na-nominate pero marami pang taon, let’s wait for that,” Charice said. For the 53rd Grammy Awards, Charice could have been nominated in two categories: Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. This year, nominees for the Best New Artist are Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Esperanza Spalding, while Sara Bareilles, Beyoncé, Norah Jones, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category. (Source: February 2011 Bagong Bayani 37


Patok Na Mga Kurso Sa Mga Nais Mag-Abroad Ikaw ba ay naghahangad na magtrabaho sa ibang bansa? Nais mo bang maging kasapi sa liga ng mga bagong bayani? Kung “oo” ang sagot mo sa mga katanungang ito, alamin ang mga kursong patok sa mga nais mag-abroad. Isinulat ni Clennette Dy Ong.

Sa Gitnang Silangan lalo na sa mga bansang Saudi Arabia, engineers. Pero, malaki din ang pangangailangan sa mga Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, at United Arab Emirates, patok ang sinasabing blue collar workers tulad ng aircon technicians, mga trabaho sa mga sektor ng enerhiya, konstruksiyon, auto mechanic, carpenter, generator operator, mason, transportasyon, petrokemikal, pangkalusugan, turismo, painter, plumber, tailor, sofa maker, television technician, telekomunikasyon, edukasyon, at information technology. water treatment plant technician, chef, baker, pastry maker, Kaya’t kumuha ng mga kurso sa Engineering; Health Sciences cake artist, massage therapist, beautician, hairdresser at tulad ng Nursing, Medicine, Medical Technology at iba pa; marami pang iba. Kaya kung trabaho sa ibang bansa ang target mo, alamin Tourism at Environment; Edukasyon lalo na sa preschool at ang mga trabahong patok sa mga lugar primary school teaching; at Information Kaya kung trabaho na nais puntahan. Dagdagan ang teknikal and Communication Technology at iba na kaalaman at kumuha ng mga kursong pang kurso sa Computer Science. Dahil sa sa ibang bansa ang napipintong konstruksiyon ng malalaking target mo, alamin ang teknikal at bokasyonal. Sa ibang bansa, mas maraming nangangailangan ng mga industrial and commercial estates sa mga trabahong patok teknikal na trabahador kaysa sa tinatawag Saudi Arabia at UAE, mangangailangan sa mga lugar na nais na mga desk jobs. din ng libo-libong mga technicians na Huling habilin lang, mag-ingat sa bihasa sa welding, refrigeration and aircon puntahan. Dagdagan ang nang hindi madaya ng illegal maintenance, heavy equipment operators, teknikal na kaalaman pag-apply recruiters. At kapag nakaalis ka na, construction and building designers, at at kumuha ng mga padalhan mo naman ako ng sulat para marami pang iba. Kung sa Asya lang ang nais mong teknikal at bokasyonal maikuwento ko din ang istorya mo sa iba pang nais maging mga Bagong Bayani. puntahan para hindi ka maging masyadong na mga kurso. malayo sa mga mahal mo sa buhay, kumuha ka ng kurso sa Engineering, Education, Medical Science, ICT, at Banking and Finance. Makakatulong din ang Sanggunian: teknikal na mga kurso tulad ng Welding, Machine Operation, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Pipe Fitting and Rigging, Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, Overseas Filipino Workers Still in Demand in 2010 and Beyond, at Repair and Maintenance of Various Equipment. Ang News Release, 07 January 2010 Malaysia, Taiwan, at Singapore ay bumabangon mula sa epekto ng pandaigdigang krisis noong nakaraang taon at OFW Abroad: News, Views, Stories for the OFW, ‘Job Openings’, nangangailangan ng mas maraming trabahador sa sektor viewed 29 December 2010, ng edukasyon, konstruksiyon, industriya, pangkalusugan at category/in-demand-jobs manufacturing. Sa Oceania naman tulad ng mga bansang Australia at New OFW Guide, ‘Latest Job Openings for OFWs’, December 13, Zealand at sa Hilagang Amerika at Canada, kailangan din 2010, viewed 30 December 2010, ang highly skilled workers tulad ng nurses, doctors, teachers, article_item-1454/Latest-Job- Openings-For-OFWs.html 38 Bagong Bayani January 2011

You take your business seriously. You only work with the best. You always make sure that you leave a lasting impression on your clients. Then why in the world would you consider letting amateurs brand your business?

web & graphic design


Specializes in ladies/gents/children wears; Range of Philippine Products & Barong Tagalog,Top-Up Cards, Calling Cards and Nipper Sharpening.

#04-08 Tel: 6333 6239

#03-84 Tel: 6737 7417

304 Orchard Road Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863 Owned and Managed By: NARCISA P. LIM

February 2011 Bagong Bayani 39



THE TIMES The Climate Change Phenomenon

CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLACIER MELTING – LATEST DATA There have been studies conducted with the purpose of determining the level of glacier melting and shrinkage in years to come, and the latest comes from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Here are some of the most interesting conclusions of this study: 1. Mountain glaciers and ice caps are projected to lose 1527% of their volume by 2100, though this will significantly vary by region. It is expected that European Alps and New Zealand will shrink the most (by more than 70%) while on the other hand shrinkage is predicted to reach about 10% in Greenland and high-mountains in Asia. 2. Melting of the glaciers will threaten the water supplies of cities such as Kathmandu in Nepal and La Paz in Bolivia, which depend substantially on glacial meltwater for drinking and farming. 3. Melting glaciers and ice caps will be responsible for increases in sea levels of 8.7 to 16.1cm by 2100 (this doesn’t include ice loss from calving). 4. Total sea level rise is likely to be considerably higher but glacier melting has made a growing contribution to sea level rise over past decades. 5. Mountain glaciers and ice caps include less than one percent of all water on Earth bound in glacier ice but despite this, their retreat has caused half of sea level rises from melting ice over the past 50 years. (Source: http:// climatechangearticles.

THE MOST MENTIONED CLIMATE CHANGE THREATS Here are some of the most mentioned climate change threats: • More frequent extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and hurricanes which will not only create huge

40 Bagong Bayani January 2011

environmental but also huge economic damage. • Arctic totally free of summer ice and rapid melting of Antarctica’s ice, this could cause serious sea level rise and threaten many coastal areas around the globe. • More hunger in the world because of new pests and new diseases that will have the negative impact on crop health. More hunger in the world could lead to new wars. • Severe water shortages in some parts of the world, this, just like hunger issue, could lead to new wars. • More refugees. Climate change has the potential to make living impossible in certain areas of our planet, which could turn lot of people into refugees. • Extinction of many animal and plant species. We are not talking only about polar bears but many other animals, which will find it hard to adapt to rapid changes in climate. Biodiversity loss is already a huge problem, and in years to come it could reach catastrophic proportions. (Source: http://climatechangearticles.

CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE PHILIPPINES The Philippines has experienced temperature spikes brought about by climate change. It has been observed that warming is experienced most in the northern and southern regions of the country, while Metro Manila has warmed less than most parts. In addition, the regions that have warmed the most (northern Luzon, Mindanao) have also dried the most. Largest precipitation trends are about 10 percent during the 20th century. Hot days and hot nights have become more frequent. Extreme weather events have also occurred more frequently since 1980. These include deadly and damaging typhoons, floods, landslides, severe El Niño and La Niña events, drought, and forest fires. Adversely affected sectors include agriculture, fresh water, coastal and marine resources and health. (Source: Presidential Task Force on Climate Change.

balitang sports

Walang Madaling Laban, 09 Jan 2011

(Editor’s Note: Ang inyong mababasa ay hango sa KUMBINASYON, kolum ng Pambansang Kamao, Manny Pacquiao na inilalathala ng at ng Abante Online.)


ANILA -Isang magandang araw ulit ang ipinaparating ko sa inyong lahat lalung-lalo na sa mga masusugid kong tagahanga at mga tagasubaybay ng kolum na ito. Sana ay nasa mabuti kayong kalagayan saan man kayo naroroon sa mundo. Kababalik lang namin sa Pilipinas matapos ang isang mahabang bakasyon na nagsimula sa Boracay at naituloy sa Japan at Australia. Lubhang kasiya-siya at nakakarelax ang panahong ginugol ko kasama ang aking buong pamilya. Masayangmasaya ako sa paglalambing ng aking dalawang anak na babae na lubos ding nag-enjoy kasama ang kanilang dalawang kuya. Kaybilis ng panahon at ngayon, mas kalugud-logod na ang ganitong mga family trip namin ng aking asawang si Jinkee. 

lubos akong nasisiyahan at sa wakas, masisimulan na rin ang ospital ng lalawigan. Bukod dito, marami pang proyekto ang nakasalang, gaya ng aking naipangako sa aking mga kababayan. Malapit na rin ang laban namin ni "Sugar" Shane Mosley sa May 7 at sa susunod na buwan, uumpisahan na namin ang pagpo-promote nito sa America. Uumpisahan ko na rin kahit na papaano ang paghahanda dahil alam ko, mahirap na laban ito.  Marami kasi ang nagsasabi na madali ang laban na ito, iyong mga umano’y mga ekspertong manunulat na simula pa man sa una ay hindi na naniwala sa kakayahan ng isang maliit na Filipino. Magmula nang manalo tayo kontra sa mga dambuhalang kalaban ay lalo naman nila tayong kinukutya. Madali raw ang laban na ito kaya "basura" raw, ani ng isang maimpluwensiyang writer na sa tingin ko

every single time? I am no superman. When I get hit, I pretend I did not get hurt so as to frustrate my opponent. That's part of the sacrifice! Funny, these same writers who ask for a boycott almost always cover my fights, anyway. Noong laban namin ni Margarito, marami ang hindi nakakaalam na ito ang isa sa mga pinakamahirap kong laban. Nang tamaan niya ako, naramdaman ko ang lakas ng dating kampeon na 5 inches at 17 pounds ang bentahe sa akin. Kaya naman iniiwasan siyang makaharap ng marami. Gaya ni Mosley na dati ring kampeon, mas mahirap sa aking

“There is never an easy fight. Every time I step into the ring, I risk my life and my future. I had to find ways to negate the advantages in size of Diaz, Dela Hoya, Hatton, Cotto, Clottey and Margarito. I have stepped up to face men easily bigger and taller than me.” Dati, mahirap ang maglakbay dahil maliliit pa ang aming mga anak. Ngayon, pati ang aking bunso ay kasama na sa saya. Maraming mga ala-ala ang hindi mababayaran ng anumang salapi at ang ginintuang oras namin sa isa't-isa ay bunga na rin ng pagsisikap naming mag-anak. Lahat ay nagsasakripisyo dahil na rin sa aking trabaho bilang boxer at Congressman. Dahil minsan lang magiging bata ang aking mga anak, kinakailangan kong ibigay ang nararapat na oras para rin sa kanila gaya na rin ng oras ko sa pag-eensayo at sa pagtulong sa aking mga nasasaklaw sa lalawigan ng Sarangani. Balik ulit ako sa pagsubaybay sa mga proyektong aking sinimulan at

ay hindi pa nakaranas ng totoong away o di kaya ay magsuot ng gloves o maglagay ng benda sa kamay. Kaya naman daw dapat ay i-boycott ang laban na ito, gaya na rin ng kanyang panawagan na i-boycott din ang laban namin ni Antonio Margarito na isa raw na mandaraya. Ito lang ang masasabi ko: There is never an easy fight. Every time I step into the ring, I risk my life and my future. I had to find ways to negate the advantages in size of Diaz, Dela Hoya, Hatton, Cotto, Clottey and Margarito. I have stepped up to face men easily bigger and taller than me. To say that every fighter I face in the ring does not deserve attention talks about ignorance. How can a fight be easy when I have been working my hardest efforts

pananaw ang laban na ito dahil may taglay na bilis at talino sa ring si Shane. At dahil nakataya pa rin ang aking pagiging No. 1 pound-for-pound, sigurado akong maghahanda ng lubusan ang sinumang makakalaban ko para pabaksakin ako sa trono. Noong nagkaharap si Margarito at Mosley, marami ang tumawa sa akin nang sabihin kong kayang tatalunin ni Mosley si Margarito. Si Mosley ang pinili ko at ako ang nanalo at tumatawa sa huli. Now I say, Shane Mosley is still very much more dangerous. Bernard Hopkins is much older at 45 years old but I think he won that fight which ended in a draw!  Hanggang sa muling Kumbinasyon. God Bless Us All.  January 2011 Bagong Bayani 41

Kulturang Pinoy (Kulturang Pinoy gives emphasis on the most widely practiced customs and traditions, which are distinctly Filipino. For Bagong Bayani’s maiden issue, three practices reflective of Pinoy culture is featured – the Bayanihan system, Pinoys’ most favorite dish, the lechon, and the most popular folk dance, the curacha. – Editor)


Bayanihan is a Filipino term taken from the word bayan, referring to a nation, town, or community. The whole term bayanihan refers to a spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a particular objective. The origin of the term bayanihan can be traced from a common tradition in Philippine t o w n s w h e r e community members vo l u n te e r to help a family move to a new place. The process involves literally carrying the house to its new location. This is done by putting bamboo poles forming a strong frame to lift the stilts from the ground and carrying the whole house with the men positioned at the ends of each pole. A mural by Filipino National Artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, illustrates the process. The tradition also features a small fiesta hosted by the family to express gratitude to the volunteers. In society, bayanihan has also been adopted as a term to refer to a local civil effort to resolve national issues. In teamwork, one of the first groups to use the term is a world acclaimed dance group (Bayanihan Dance Company) which travels to different countries to perform the various traditional folk dances of the country with the objective of promoting Philippine culture. Bayanihan is taken from the root word bayani, meaning “hero”. Thus, bayanihan means being a hero to one another. As in the classic tradition of carrying a house, each man carries a portion of the weight of the house and in effect, becomes a hero for all the others because he lightens the load for the others. Each man thus becomes a Hero to everyone as all the others become a Hero to him. (Source: 42 Bagong Bayani January 2011


The lechon, from the Spanish word meaning “suckling pig,” is the most popular specialty food among Filipinos, especially during town fiestas, Christmas celebrations (Pasko), family reunions, and gatherings. Originally, the term connotes a roasted pig that has been skewered by a bamboo spear. Today, it refers to the method of roasting pigs, chickens, or cows using heat from charcoal. Lechon was declared by Time magazine as the “Best Pig” on its Best of Asia 2009 list. The lechon is prepared by stuffing herbs and spices inside the pig’s body after it has been cleaned and skewered. The pig is then placed in position and

slowly hand roasted above the heated charcoal. It will be rotated slowly until its skin turns reddish brown and its flesh becomes tender. After several hours, the lechon will then placed on top of a table and will be chopped into pieces. In some areas, an apple or orange is placed into the pig’s mouth to make it more appealing. It is often served with thick liver sauce cooked with vinegar, sugar, and herbs, popularly called the sarsa. Traditionally, the head of the lechon is given to the host or organizers of the celebration, the tail goes to those who always stutter when they talk, while the remaining parts of the lechon are given to the guests for consumption. (Source:


KURATSA - Kuratsa Binisaya from Tacloban, Leyte found on the book Philippine Folk Dances V.1 by Francisa Reyes-Aquino. It is highly favored by the Visayan people

especially the Waray people of the Eastern Visayan region in the Philippines. Strictly speaking, only one couple dances it at a time. Philippine dance researchers, however, point either to the “Kigal” and the “Bikal” as the ‘ascendant’ of the Kuratsa. The Kigal (spelled “Quigal” in early Spanish writings on Samar culture and lifeways) is like a battle-of-sexes couple dance that imitate mating birds. The Kigal is in fact called by another name, Binanug or Kiglun (Kigalun?) that’s according to a 17th century Samarnon dictionary by Jesuit missionary to Samar, Fr. Alcazar. It is interesting that Banug is the Waray word for the Hawk. Popular versions of this dance existing in Samar can be classified as the Kuratsa Menor (the usual favorite) and the many versions of the daring Kuratsa Mayor. New genres of Kuratsa evolved as a result of necessity, like, as the name implies, Kuratsa kanan Kadaman and a very funny Kuratsa nga Pinayungan appropriate for rainy days. The most intelligent explanation that I have known so far is that Curacha is dance of cour tship between a man and a woman, w h i c h echoes the behavior Governor Paul Daza (Northern the Samar, Philippines) interprets the of curacha dance with a lady partner chicken. during a fiesta celebration. Indeed, (Photo credit: Conrad dela Cruz) t h e explanation above is a reflection of a dance itself. Curacha is already part of the tradition of the Sulatnons such that the same is always part of any gathering. What is peculiar in the dance is that the performers and the town people would literally scatter money, which is called `gala` in the dialect. The dance is a form of recognition to the performers. Hence, visitors are usually given the chance to dance Curacha. (excerpt from sulatnon-curatcha)



January 2011 Bagong Bayani 43

special feature

The Making of UniTed archiTecTs of The PhiliPPines

Singapore Chapter: A Bayanihan Way By Runddy D. Ramilo, UAP, ASIA, IDCS


n Singapore, the efforts of Filipino Architects like myself have paid off since we have been acknowledged as collaborative partners by our Singaporean counterparts recognizing our contribution to the country’s rapid development in such areas as architecture, interior design, urban design, digital architecture and other allied services.

Singapore iS an architectural hub in SoutheaSt aSia As one of the greatest cities, Singapore boasts of the best airport and great seaport in the world. It is home to the highest tower, the largest mall catering to prestigious local and international architectural firms like Aedas, HOK, RMJM, DP Architects, RSP and many more. It is an architectural capital marked with uniquely designed architecture of large public and private buildings.

Singapore iS a popular DeStination to Filipino architectS With its proximity to the Philippines, the country is one of the most popular destinations of Filipino Architects in South East Asia (and even the world) particularly those who have already worked from other countries like Dubai, India, China, Malaysia and many others.

continuing proFeSSional Development while in Singapore As Filipino Architects working in a foreign land, a number of us are not provided with continuing professional education that is accredited by our UAP National Secretariat. It is a mandatory requirement for all Filipino Architects seeking to renew their PRC Licenses. And without a UAP Chapter in Singapore, there will be no charter which can facilitate and 44 Bagong Bayani January 2011

provide accredited seminars for said purpose.

globalize with a heart anD exchange oF iDeaS Considering our culture, we are always hospitable in serving international brothers in the profession. Their success in Singapore will be our success too. Our talents and skills must not be just mere imports to Singapore architecture but something that would transform and strengthen our camaraderie as brothers.

the making oF uap Singapore The United Architects of the Philippines Singapore Chapter was initiated by Archt. Runddy Ramilo and spearheaded by Archt. Glenn Gillera, during the midst of global recession. On May 1, 2009, an informal meeting was attended by eleven (11) architects namely, Runddy Ramilo, Reggie Medestomas, Mark Gil Santos, Ryan Dela Cruz, Franz Joseph Gonzales, Rogelio Tungol, Nonito Villarosa, Glenn Gillera, Dandriv Perez and Christian Canonigo. On May 19, 2009 a proposal “The Creation of United Architects of the Philippines, Singapore Chapter” duly signed by forty one (41) architects was prepared by Archt. Runddy Ramilo and Archt. Glenn Gillera. It was electronically filed on May 20, 2009 and subsequently endorsed by UAP-Centrum Chapter headed by Arch. Paolo Manalansan. The first informal assembly was held on May 25, 2009 at Pan Pacific Hotel and was headed by the National President Medeliano Roldan Jr, wherein thirty one (31) have attended consisting Filipino Architects and visitors from Toto Oceana Private Limited,Singapore. The following day a meeting with Arch. Medeliano Roldan, Jr., was held and the election of the chartered chapter officers followed with architects Franz Joseph Gonzales, Nonito Villarosa, Glenn Gillera, Jesus

special feature

Lobaton, Jr., Rogelio Tungol as Founding Officers and Allan Dela Cruz, Naths Alcedo, Jay Jose Purpura, Dandriv Perez, Reggie Medestomas, Christian Canonigo, Mark Gil Santos, Johny Ibarolla, Ryan Dela Cruz as Founding Directors, with Runddy Ramilo at the helm as Charter President. The UAP Singapore official Charter certificate was approved by the UAP National Board under Board Resolution 0809-No. 7-05 during the National Board meeting on June 29, 2009 at UAP National Headquarters, Quezon City, Philippines, which was signed and sealed by UAP National Secretary Arch. Gil Evasco on July 15, 2009. Charter President Arch. Ramilo’s term was the dawn of an era of globalization. He leads an active chapter of architects in the area of continuing education, sustainability, digital architecture, sports, fellowships and collaboration with Singapore Institute of Architects. He set the strict precedent of regularly holding board meetings every first Tuesday of the month in a regular venue; submitting committee’s reports to the board; membership campaign, networking with foreign architects and getting a pool of year long sponsors. During Arch. Ramilo’s term, he petitioned that architects and environmental planners’ board examination would be held in Singapore. Not resting on its laurels, UAP Singapore also aims to be among the hub of UAP’s digital architecture, urban design, sustainable design and hospitality design. Its officers and members are fully equipped with the expertise of the knowledge of digital technology ranging from digital visualization, animation, walkthrough, parametric

modelling and generative design. This precedence of expertise is evidenced by the Chapter Director Allan Dela Cruz, Giojo Tungol, Franz Joseph Gonzales and Runddy Ramilo’s international research involvement and collaboration with Deakin University, Australia on parametric and generative design. Urban design and architecture also marked the strength of the chapter led by Glenn Gillera, Nonito Villarosa, Jesus Lobaton and Nats Alcedo having seen to have exemplary delivered successful project with Surbana International, SRSS, and Ong & Ong Pte. Ltd. respectively. Sustainable design also highlights the youthful and energetic architects Dandriv Perez and Mark Gil Santos being honed in landscape architecture from the world’s best landscape architects. Hospitality design is also one of UAPS’s strengths which could be credited to our Directors Reggie Medestomas, Christian Canonigo, Johnny Ibarolla and likewise to the Charter President Runddy Ramilo that have gained vast hotel and resorts projects from leading hospitality designers Wilson and Associates. With the theme “COPING WITH GLOBALIZATION”, the first year of UAPS is focused on giving the membership professional seminars to provide them additional knowledge in the practice of their profession. The chapter has forged collaboration with Singapore Institute of Architects for which the members can obtain CPE units by attending SIA accredited seminars; providing freeseminars for members to acquire additional knowledge and become competitive in their global practice. January 2011 Bagong Bayani 45

munting pangarap

Munt ing Pangarap

Layunin ng pahinang ito ang magbigay katuparan sa mga munting pangarap ng mga OFWs. Ang kanilang mga kahilingan ay sisikaping tuparin at bigyang katuparan ng Bagong Bayani sa pamamagitan ng pakikipag-ugnayan sa ibat-ibang tao, organisasyon o ahensiya ng gobyerno. Ang mga may “munting pangarap� ay ina-anyayahang sumulat sa Siguraduhin lamang ninyo na ang inyong sulat ay may nakalagay na tamang pangalan, edad at address. – Editor

46 Bagong Bayani February 2011

SNAPSHOTS: Singapore’ssnapshots Wonders

Photos By PinoyGraphers

Merlion Sunrise; Below: Happy New Year 2011 Singapore © Ally Laurente 2010

Lightning at Singapore Skyline

Singapore National Library

PinoyGraphers @ Canon Photo Marathon 2010

January 2011 Bagong Bayani 47

The Men and Women Behind Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero) Magazine


very single journey begins with a single step. But for Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero) Magazine, a single step means a thousand leap. Since the Global Filipino Community serve as the target readers of

MARYJANE SALOMON Global Entrepreneur. Political Strategist. Business Consultant. Public Servant. MJ is the Founder and CEO of Salomon and Associates, Singapore and Managing Director of Salomon Publishing Singapore Pte Ltd. She served as a legislative officer at the Philippine Senate. She worked as an executive to Singapore’s largest local bank and as a  financial consultant to one of the largest banks in the world. She studied political science and law.

OMAR JACINTO SIERVO A civil engineer by profession (BSCE, FEU), Omar served as municipal engineer to an LGU and project engineer of various infrastructure projects back in the Philippines. He is now based in Sunderland, United Kingdom with wife, Nena, a registered nurse and two kids. He works for Unipres, Ltd, United Kingdom.

ATTY. HAZEL RIGUERA Atty. Riguera is a graduate of the San Beda College of Law.  She is the managing partner of the Riguera & Riguera Law Office, and the CEO of Jurists Bar Review Center, a leading bar review center in the Philippines and a Supreme Court-accredited provider of  continuing legal education  programs for lawyers. 

the magazine, efforts have been made to invite members of the editorial board from the different parts of the world. Coming from various backgrounds and convictions, they converge together for one common vision – to serve the OFWs elsewhere in the world via



MA. TERESA SARMIENTO Teresa is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Phuket, Thailand. She writes for magazines and web reviews for hotels, resorts, villas and tourist attractions, as well as research writing for academic papers. A passionate activist for women's rights, Teresa also writes features about Filipinos whose lives inspire, move and make a difference in the foreign land . 48 Bagong Bayani January 2011


AB PolSc (cum laude); campus journalist, editorin-chief, columnist and editorial consultant of various newspapers and magazines; speechwriter and chief of staff to topnotch politicians in the Philippines. Known for his sharp and straightforward views on the ills of Philippine socio-political milieu, he has developed special interests to such underprivileged sectors as the OFWs, women, youth and cultural minorities.

Sankie is the Business and Corporate Communications Manager of a multinational energy company operating in the Philippines, and is Editor-in-Chief of the company’s multi-awarded official publication. Previous to her current role, Sankie worked as a television producer and writer for the Philippines' leading broadcasting networks and as a legislative officer and speechwriter in the Philippine Senate. Outside of her corporate career, Sankie enjoys contributing feature articles to magazine publications and engaging in social entreprise ventures.

the print media. Writing for a cause. To them, this is what Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero) Magazine is all about. Outlined in this space are brief accounts of their various backgrounds.

BSN (cum laude); RN (18th place); technical adviser to a student publication and coordinator to a university official newsletter. In 2009, Ms. Acompañado published her first book, The Silence of the River: Thoughts and Reflections. She’s now working on his second book, Serendipity.

TALA MARALIT Tala Maralit has been working in the Philippine Senate for 13 years now. She loves her job which she considers a privilege as she gets to learn from the brightest minds in Philippine politics and witness the nation’s history unfold right within the halls of the Senate.

MANDY F. GRATA Mandy is a Sociology Professor at the University of Perpetual Help System -DALTA,  Las Piñas City, Philippines.  He  has worked in various media organizations in the Philippines, including print and broadcast media.   

CYPRUS JAKE MALINAO Cyprus is a graduate of Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila with a degree of Bachelor of Arts major in Communication Arts. In the Philippines, he worked with some of the biggest advertising agencies. Currently, he works for a Singaporebased design consultancy agency, as a creative consultant/account executive.

men & women of bagong bayani PAMELA WILDHEART PILAPIL Master of Arts, Mass Comm Macquarie University, Australia, Bachelor of Arts Mass Comm, University of the Philippines. Cebuana Pamela Wildheart Pilapil is a songwriter, concert performer, recording artiste, celebrity showhost and an associate lecturer in Mass Communication, Strategic Branding, Asia Pacific MarComm, PR, Advertising and others. Voted one of the Most Outstanding Filipinos in Singapore in 2010 (only five are selected from 130,000 or more Filipinos in Singapore), this petite charmer was former head of radio programmes for 7 years in a Singapore radio station and celebrity deejay for English and Japanese shows.

EDDIE PICARDAL An EFL Instructor in Guangdong, China for over 9 years, Eddie is currently working for a Chinese firm as International Trade and Communications Specialist. He holds an AB major in Language and Literature degree (summa cum laude). He is a lover of nature and enjoys being single.

RUNDDY RAMILO Runddy holds a Bachelor and Masters degrees in Architecture and currently a PhD in Architecture candidate at Deakin University, Australia. He is an Associate at Aedas, Singapore. He has published several local and international journals in computer-aided architectural design and design management. He is the Founder and Chartered President of United Architects of the Philippines, Singapore Chapter and an active member of Singapore Institute of Architects and Interior Design Confederation of Singapore.



Pamsy L. Tioseco has been working for the Philippine Senate for the last 23 years. She is currently working as Public Relations Officer of Senator Loren Legarda. A former columnist at the Times Journal and Mirror Magazine, she is at present a contributing writer for Woman Today. She was elected President of the Public Relations Officers of the Senators for three terms. She is a breast cancer survivor and active member of the I Can Serve breast cancer advocacy group.


Having worked as Protocol Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and as an Information Officer for a local government unit, Clen has developed an inkling to document the lives and experiences of the Overseas Filipino Workers, the Philippines’ modern heroes. Her brief stint at the Australian National University in Canberra as a Master in Public Administration student further opened her eyes to the realities of cries and joys that are distinctly Bagong Bayani’s.

“Kuya” as she is fondly called by her friends spent more than a decade as an OFW in the Middle East as Food Service Supervisor and in Singapore as a Marketing Sales Executive. Her natural friendly persona made her a well-loved figure in Singapore’s Filipino Community.

AB Psychology & Education (cum laude), PNU; LLB, Lyceum of the Philippines. Dang spent over 5 years as a Paralegal Officer in Saipan, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands as an active leader in initiating outreach activities for Filipinos and a supporter of children of former OFWs. She was Legal Researcher (Philippine Senate) and Senior Labor and Employment Officer (DOLE, Philippines). Since 2007, she works as Equal Employment Opportunity Analyst at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Donna worked for then Senator, now Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as media relations officer while attending law school at the Lyceum of the Philippines. After passing the bar in 2001, she became a legal consultant to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) and later joined the Project Development Group of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). In 2006, she left for Australia to join her husband and two kids.




Lance is a ‘Rockstar for Hire’ with over 8 years experience in Publishing, IT, and Marketing Industries specializing in prepress; designing, styling and directing photo/fashion shoots for a broad range of publications, designing user interface and enhancing usability of web applications, and providing creative design solutions to a wide spectrum of clients. For what it's worth, his blog was chosen as one of the finalists in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards.

CESA FRAMIL Cesa has written several books, magazines and newsletters. For a number of years, she has held managerial and supervisory positions in the publishing, advertising, and realty industries.

Elvie was an Account Executive to a leading tabloid newspaper back in the Philippines. Over the past six years, she has found a new home in Singapore with her whole family. Currently, she is a very active mover and shaker in Singapore’s Filipino Community.

PINOYGRAPHERS Pinoygraphers@SG is a group of Filipino photography enthusiasts based in Singapore. From its humble beginnings as a group of 15 in 2007, its members have increased to more than 200. Today it has evolved into an organization known to many Filipino communities and organizations in Singapore, the Filipino Association of Singapore, UPAAS Organization, and the Philippine Embassy in Singapore. January 2011 Bagong Bayani 49

in focus

GO REGIONAL TRADING IMPORT AND EXPORT PTE LTD (Tale of a Successful Business Venture)


ingapore’s renowned identity as haven for investors lured Mrs. Milagros Escarilla Santia , a native of Bacolod City, Philippines, to put up GO REGIONAL TRADING IMPORT AND EXPORT PTE LTD in Singapore. Over the past 17 years, Singapore has become her second home. Her persistence and hard work effectively jived with the country’s efficient and systematic business platform. To date, she is the biggest supplier, distributor, importer, and exporter of Filipino goods to more than 400 clients not only in the famed Lucky Plaza along Orchard Road but likewise to other business establishments and offices, Filipino shops in the mainstream market, and ocean-going vessels across the city-state. Her merchandise include practically all brands of Filipino goods from the biggest manufacturing establishments in the Philippines like Universal Robina Corporation, Unilever, MySan, and few more others. Not too long ago, she expanded her business venture as far as the Middle East and the United Kingdom in Europe. Her natural entrepreneurial inclinations back in the Philippines where she started out as a supplier of small merchandise helped her a lot when she finally ventured into Singapore soil with the Filipino community as target market. Like an ordinary tale of Filipinos looking for greener pastures in distant lands, Mila, as she is known in the market has sacrificed a lot of her prime years as an employee in the government and private sector before moving to Singapore. “Mahirap sa ‘Pinas, parang kahit ano’ng kayod ang gawin mo, di ka talaga aasenso,”(It’s difficult in the Philippines, even though you are working so hard, you will not succeed) she explains. “Here in Singapore, everybody has the chance to make it in life if he/she is diligent, intelligent, and hardworking. Whoever you are, whatever your background is, under the law, you are on equal footing with the locals and foreigners alike. And if you are a hardworking trader, the likelihood to succeed is great because meritocracy is practiced here. Walang shortcuts dito,(There are no short-cuts here), the Singapore government is effective and 50 Bagong Bayani January 2011

By Bernardo S. Balanquit, Jr.

efficient and society is law abiding” she added. The good thing about her business is that since it’s very difficult to do, local businessmen are not likely potential competitors. But the downside of it is the need for huge manpower because it is labor intensive. Does she consider establishing the same business in the Philippines? “No,” she retorted. For such a difficult business as hers, inventory would be very difficult in the Philippines, unlike in Singapore where she doesn’t have any problem because most people are honest. According to her, she has no regrets doing business and living here for the rest of her life. The soft-spoken and low-profile top merchant describes herself as having a soft heart for the not-so-successful souls coming her way. She is a very generous person. Most, if not all, Filipino tenants at the Lucky Plaza could attest to that. “Her personal comfort comes last,” confirmed one Filipina businesswoman at the Lucky Plaza who has known Mila for years. Para kanino ba ang pagpupunyagi mong ito? (To whom have you been working hard for?) She responded with spontaneity: “Para sa mga trabahador ko. Para sa mga proyekto na tinutulungan ko. Para sa mga religious organizations at charitable institutions na umaasa sa akin.”(For my employees. For the projects that I am helping out. For the religious organizations and charitable institutions which depend on me). Mila’s two daughters are already professionals. They are managing the family business in Europe. When asked if she still has something to prove, she said with conviction: “None,

I don’t have anything more to prove. What I have proven though, after all these years is that, life is not all about material things.” Her philosophy in life: “Laging magtrabaho ng todo, maging honest ka, at palaging tatawag sa Panginoon.”(You should never stop working, you have to be honest and you must call upon God always). For Mila, “success is all about my personal relationship with the Lord.” What advice can she give her kababayans who want to work, study and are beginners in the business world? She said, “Be honest, responsible, hardworking and abide by Singapore laws, rules and regulations. Do not boast of your accomplishments.” She felt honoured and proud to be called a “Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero).” According to her, every body can be accorded with such an accolade because “ if you are working in a foreign land, you have every chance to succeed. Kahit ano’ng status mo (whatever status you will have), struggle or difficulty that you will go through, if you know your priorities, you know what you want, you’ll keep going even though it’s hard.” What makes Mila’s story inspiring is that despite what she has accomplished, her feet remains firmly grounded. She frequents Lucky Plaza oftentimes in plain jeans and blouse, and quite unrecognizable to many. But the “luck” she brings upon Lucky Plaza tenants especially among Filipinos illuminates everyone. Her warmth as a person cannot be contained. Indeed, she’s blessed. She’s a blessing to the Filipino community, a paragon of hard work and a living image of a Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Hero).

Importer, Exporter, and Wholesaler of Filipino Food Stuffs, Cosmetics, and Other Asian Products GO Regional Trading Import and Export Pte Ltd 196 Pandan Loop #01-25 Pantech Business Hub, Singapore 128384 Tel: (65) 6776 0953 | (65) 6776 0965 Fax: (65) 6776 9076 | Email:

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Bagong Bayani eMagazine Issue #1 January 2011