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Issue 57, Volume VIII I November-January 2018



A Conversation with Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas

Q&A Pocholo Paragas, COO & GM of TIEZA CULTURE Religious Tourism on Limelight THE NATION The First PH Subway System FASHION Rene Salud BUSINESS Social Media Trends for 2018 HISTORY How Do Filipinos Celebrate Christmas? AMAZING ESCAPES Club Balai Isabel


Montemaria, Batangas, the Philippines

The Mother of All Asia and the Rise of Batangas’ Religious Tourism

the asian journal’s quarterly briefing on the growth, development, and progression of the philippines.

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on the cover:


Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel

great getaways

Club Balai Isabel; A Perfect Nautre And Wellness Retreat

amazing escapes

Why Do We Need Travel Insurance

The Guide Lima Park Hotel

the weekender

A Filipino Milennial’s Guide To Ultimate Journey

balikbayan journals

culture Keeping Faith: Religous Tourism On Limelight

features | leaders Pocholo Paragas - Chief Operating Officer/ General Manager Of Tourism Infrastructure And Enterprise Zone Authority

TOURISM | OCULAR Philippine Tapestry 2017 In Canada Indegenious Fabrics Showcased In Our Four Canadian Cities

business | outlook Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Hire Their Children

Investment | Insights & analysis A Beginner’s Guide To Condo Buying

Business | Radar Social Media Trends For 2018

aesthetic | style Stylish Pieces You Need To Look Classy And Elegant

culture How Do Filipinos Celebrate Christmas?



*(55<3$/$%<$% 86QR  






Have any questions, feature ideas, comments, ideas, or complaints? Or simply wish to join our team of global correspondents and photographers? Email our Editor-in-Chief at




































Issue 57, Volume VIII I November-January 2018


A Conversation with Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas

Q&A Pocholo Paragas, COO & GM of TIEZA CULTURE Religious Tourism on Limelight THE NATION The First PH Subway System FASHION Rene Salud BUSINESS Social Media Trends for 2018 HISTORY How Do Filipinos Celebrate Christmas? AMAZING ESCAPES Club Balai Isabel



Montemaria, Batangas, the Philippines

The Mother of All Asia and the Rise of Batangas’ Religious Tourism

the asian journal’s quarterly briefing on the growth, development, and progression of the philippines.




discover the gems of the philippines with app Boasting of natural resources and scenic destinations, the Philippines is an undeniable tourist attraction. Whether you’re in the countryside or in the city, there will always be a sight to see and a place to visit. The Philippines is home to countless pristine beaches, worldrenowned hotels, and top-notch resorts in addition to its burgeoning art, nightlife, and food scene, making it all too easy to get lost and overwhelmed with choices for your itinerary., proudly presented by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and powered by Asian Journal Media Group, is a digital platform that aims to be a guiding hand for travelers searching for the best places to eat, drink, shop, and stay at in the country — including hidden gems that are frequently overlooked. Its mobile app will be launched on the App Store and Google Play in 2018. Once downloaded, users can enjoy downloadable coupons, new and past issues of Balikbayan Magazine, and interesting travel destination tips and information.


Stay up to date and discover new favorites, with any destination is only one tap away.



60 countries. 101 cities.


hink about that for just a moment. 60 countries and 101 cities. Our tagline isn’t simply about highlighting how our magazine is distributed all around the World—it’s a lot more nuanced than that. It’s about acknowledging how there are Filipinos living in so many places throughout our beautiful planet. Our great nation, comprised of thousands of islands has managed to send its greatest asset—and export—it’s people—to live and work in almost every corner of the World. Your family, your friends, and your colleagues— it’s remarkable. But it’s also very sad. We leave each other for brighter pastures, exploration, to help provide for loved ones back home—or in search of something meaningful for our lives. Recently, however, I’ve renoticed this movement per se—of reverse migration—a concept I wrote about in a past issue a few years ago.



Each time I meet college students in the Philippines I try to gage the pulse of their generation—asking them if they aspire to live and work abroad. More and more than previously before (or ever) the next generation who is going to lead our country are saying how they would much rather live and work in the Philippines—to help the country. It makes me very happy to hear this because this signifies that whatever we and you are doing is actually working. It means that our country is getting better and better and we must keep going—continue to push ourselves. We all must continue to create and develop more programs to sustain this momentum. And this is precisely why in 2018 and beyond we have prepared several new programs to help the Philippines and Overseas

Filipinos with our Travel, Trade, and Consumer Multi-City Promotional Marketing Roadshows which aims to provide small, medium, and large businesses in the Philippines a platform to promote their businesses in the United States starting in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. Our second initiative is our Love of Country Global Ambassador’s Competition. With this program, we hope to inspire and change the future of the Philippines through the beauty, intellect, grace, and power of Filipino Women. Our delegates will compete to be the Global Leaders representing their own age brackets and win life changing awards and opportunities. We truly hope that you join us in making these projects as great as they can possibly be. Earlier this year, we launched our travel directory website, which helps international and local travelers seamlessly discover all of the gems of the Philippines. In just a matter of a few months, we had over 1,000 businesses enlisted, from hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, real estate—you name it, you’ll find all of the amazing places to go in the Philippines in there. Also part of our Love of Country Network are and which are both slated to launch in 2018 as well. I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe Holiday Season. Cheers to new heights and collaboration—see you in 2018—the year of the Philippines.

ROGER L. ORIEL Ceo & publisher, asian journal media group









And The Rise Of Batangasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Religious Tourism WRITER Jennifer Soriano PHOTOGRAPHERS Godwin Gasacao Pia Rozul





oday’s fast-paced world can be exhausting due to never ending day-to-day responsibilities. Because of this,most people often sacrifice their time to reflect—to get in touch with inner peace in solitude and devote time to ponder the real meaning of life. Somehow, we long for spiritual encounters, not only for Christians, but also from mystics and other religious beliefs. We long to experience something that is beyond tangible and concrete, something that is larger than life. This unique experience is the objective of religious tourism, which Batangas is now embarking on . With Batangas’ serene landscapes, pilgrims can come full circle as spiritual beings hurdling with human experience. Montemaria, a 130-hectare uphill property in the south eastern part of the province is developing the newest religious tourism destination, and is set to bring the pilgrims’ and tourists’ journey towards renewing their faith to the next level. With the upcoming developments within the area, pilgrims and tourists can enjoy holistic experience-- from dining, accommodations and recreation services. Positioned to break a world record by creating the world’s tallest Virgin Mary statue, set to out tower that of Brazil’s Statue of Christ the Redeemer and the U.S.’ Statue of Liberty. Infusing environmental protection and international heritage around the globe, this development is expected to intensify and complement the spiritual dimension of Batangas, a quiet, yet booming province otherwise known for its ancient basilicas and old churches.

MOTHER OF ALL-ASIA TOWER OF PEACE While other nationalities speak of the Virgin Mary or Blessed Mary, Filipinos fondly call her “Mama Mary”. In an article by Josemaria Luat, entitled, “For the Love of Mama Mary: Who Mother Mary is to Filipinos, Fr. Reuter said, ”Only the Filipinos call her “Mama” Filipino Catholics are so much devoted to her that you can find relics of Mary literally everywhere-- from small statues placed in jeepney and taxi dashboards, grottos in houses, and images in prominent areas in Filipinos Catholics’ houses. Filipino Catholics’ devotion is so deep and unique that Spaniards have this phrase about Filipinos: pueblo amante de Maria (people in love with Mary ) The statue is set to be finished in December 8 this year, in time for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which will finally mark Batangas City a home to Montemaria’s icon, the promising 96-meter (316 feet) tall monument of Mother of All Asia-Tower of Peace.

“ [This will be the] tallest statue of Virgin Mary In the world. ” said Arnold Gutierrez, the vice president for business development and marketing of Abacore Capital Holdings, Inc., the company that owns and is developing Montemaria. The Mother of All Asia-Tower of Peace is taller than the current tallest statue of Virgin Mary, which is the Peace Sculpture, more popularly known as Our Lady of Peace, located in Santa Clara, California which measures 32 feet. The Mother of All Asia -Tower of Peace is “dedicated to Unity and Peace of the people and countries of this part of the world.





It will be the icon and pilgrimage destination not only of the entire Philippines and eventually of all Asia and the World, as the Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Statue of Liberty in New York, USA,” reads the official description of the shrine. This “livable” monument is a first of its kind in the Philippines. With its spacious floor area, amounting to 1.2 hectares or 12,000 square meters, the monument is equivalent to 32 floors when compared to a regular building. The monument houses the St. John Paul II Shrine at the ground floor, reception halls, 21 Marian chapels on the third floor, a food hall on the fourth floor, two mini theaters on the fifth floor, conference rooms on the sixth floor with balcony displaying the national flags of different countries in Asia, commercial and residential spaces which will serve as a second home and weekend office at the seventh to the tenth floor, and a view deck located on the seventeenth floor.

verde island passage (vip) marine sanctuary, inc. Considered the “Center of Marine Biodiversity of the World,” Verde Island



Passage Marine Sanctuary is a resort which aims to preserve Batangas Bay, and of course the Verde Island Passage through its environmentally-sustainable practices. According to research, this is where shore fishes in the world thrive. A good number of Philippine-documented fish, including those considered threatened species, are found here.

international cuisine Cenacle, derived from the word “cenakulo” is the site where the last supper was held. The seven-floor building which will be dedicated to restaurants that will focus on international cuisine such as Italian, Chinese, American and Filipino, to name a few. Aside from international gastronomic treats, religious merchandise will also be sold here.

“Gusto namin, mas madami kaming ma-accommodate, ma-please na bisita, pilgrims na pupunta dito. So idea is covered everything parang Sentosa, may mga shops, mga religious artifacts,” said Gutierrez. (We want to accommodate more, and please visitors and pilgrims who will come to visit. The idea is like the one in Sentosa where there are religious artifact shops.)

comfortable ambiance

When fully operational by March 2021, in time for the celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines, Montemaria intends to have around 3,000 rooms within the vicinity of the property to accommodate the influx of both local and foreign tourists. One can be a member to this promising religious tourism development and enjoy exclusive perks. There are two kinds of membership scheme that a potential member may choose from— proprietary and associate membership.

Montemaria’s targets are the baby boomers, whom Gutierrez said, belong to the generation who has proclivity for spiritual matters. With the holistic approach to the needs of the pilgrims and devotees, Montemaria likes to take religious tourism to a whole new level. “We like to make them [devotees, pilgrims] comfortable when praying,” said Gutierrez.

is to build religious tourism, a pilgrimage destination. [This is] the only tourism destination which will provide you first class facilities, ”


“ Our goal



• •

Directors or as Officer and has a pro-rata share in the assets and properties of MAPI Assign, sell, or dispose his rights, and transfer membership when fully paid. May invite guests and extend the privilege to use the facilities of MAPI, subject to the rules and regulations prescribed by the Board of Directors. The same entitlement goes to associate members, except for the qualification to vote or be voted as a member of the Board of Directors or as Officer.

retiring to a divine place Montemaria also aims to be a “retirement village”. According to Gutierrez, most of those who apply for membership are from the different parts of the world. The majority of them, of course, are Filipinos. Indeed, there is nothing more comforting than hearing the words, “ I’m finally going home and rediscovering the country we missed for several years.”



for proprietary (founder) member: • •

Entitled to enjoy the use of the facilities Exclusive use and disposition of a Memorial Vault for valuables, memorabilia, and other personal and family relics or equivalent Entitled to vote and be voted as member of the Board of

“Oo, mga balikbayan. Yung iba ay ginusto nila na ‘dun na manirahan at magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Pero habang sila ay tumatanda ay nangungulila sila sa kanilang mga kamaganak at kaibigan na naiwan nila sa Pilipinas (Yes, these are the balikbayans. Some of them wanted to stay and work there for good. But as they grow old, they are longing for their loved ones and friends and wish to come back to the Philippines),” Gutierrez said in retrospect.

Relaxing Things To Do In Montemaria

WRITER Jennifer Soriano



PHTOTOGRAPHERS Godwin Gasacao and Pia Rozul


o appreciate the world’s beauty and mystery, you need to pause and get in touch with your inner peace. More than just accomplishing daily tasks and deadlines, it is essential for you to take breaks—to rejuvenate and to stay sane. This is why at Montemaria in Batangas, anyone who wants to get in touch with his or her inner peace may choose from various activities and amenities available at their facilities, to complement one’s journey to a relaxing trip. Not a religious buff? No problem. (We’ve heard they’re planning to even build a diving resort and an executive golf!) Here are some relaxing or de-stressing things to do while in Montemaria.


go near the miracle stone for healing There is this huge stone near the chapel that is believed to have healed thousands of people from different illnesses. Arnold Gutierrez, the Vice President for Business Development and Marketing of Abacore Capital Holdings, Inc., the company that owns and develops Montemaria—a skeptic himself, affirmed that a lot of people told him of the Miracle Stone’s alleged healing power. “There is this one big stone that gave us a hard time to move. We’re supposed to bring that to Manila, but it seems immovable. We have attempted it several times. The chains of the payloader get broken. I don’t know, I’m a skeptic, but they say that there’s a miracle in the stone.” said Gutierrez. The big stone is now locked inside a steel bar since there were some people who tried to chip the stone in an attempt to bring home a piece of the miraculous stone. According to Gutierrez, a scientist visited the place to examine the stone and found out that it is some kind of a meteorite.


They say that life is too short to be anything but happy. Rejuvenation and inner peace are great contributors to real happiness and satisfaction. Take your time to embrace the stillness of nature and appreciate a calming backdrop of gentle slopes that are made perfect for reflection and meditation.

Seek Mary’s intercession at the Marian Chapels. Filipino Catholics have this special devotion to Mary whom they fondly call “Mama Mary.” To quote Jesuit theologian and mariologist Fr. Catalino Arevalo: “To understand Filipino Catholics, one must understand their love for Mary.” Located at the third floor of the Mother of All Asia-Tower of Peace is an exhibition area of different devotions of the blessed Blessed Virgin Mary. Considered as a gallery, it showcases 21 different Marian chapels including Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Lourdes.

Gaze in awe atop the viewdeck overlooking the Verde Island Passage. The panoramic view of the Verde Island Passage can be seen in most parts of the Montemaria. But for a more dramatic view, climb up the 15th floor of the Mother of All Asia-Tower of Peace and appreciate the beauty of God’s creations.


Taking It Easy:

Meditate or have a serenity walk on the Meditation Ground.





Flags of the countries of Asia will also be placed once the construction of the tower is completed, which is targeted to be finished in December 2017.


7 8 9

Named after the late Pope John Paul II, St. John Paul Shrine has been operating for a year now and is being ran by the Archdiocese of Lipa. The resident priest is Father Julius Lacaran, also the parish priest of Isla Verde. The church has a life-size relic of the Pope, which can be found at the church’s entrance. The Blessed Virgin Mary has a special place in the Pope John Paul II’s heart. Pope John Paul II lost his mother at the age of nine, which led him to get closer to the Blessed Virgin. He once said that we always have our spiritual mother on our side. In fact, his deep trust to the arms of the Blessed Virgin Mary is expressed in his apostolic motto, totus tuus (completely yours).

Watch religious films at the auditorium or mini theater. Expect to watch life-changing religious films at Montemaria’s auditorium, which also serves as a mini theater located at the 5th floor of the Mother of All Asia-Tower of Peace. Two more auditoriums/ mini theaters are also targeted to be operational by March 2021, just in time for the celebration of 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.

Visit the Sto. Niño Chapel. The Santo Niño Chapel’s gold and blue altar is a replica of the altar in the Chapel of the Holy Infant Jesus in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Masses here are held regularly. Two masses are held here every first Friday, two on Saturdays, and three messes on Sundays.

Go diving at montemaria’s dive resort. This remains part of the master plan for the Montemaria development. Because there’s always more to see beneath the surface, Montemaria lets you see what’s down in the deep waters through diving and snorkeling.

Play golf with your family. The famous diva Celine Dion once said that “golf is a search for perfection, for balance. It’s about meditation and concentration.” With a plan to develop approximately 30 hectare-wide executive golf course, family golf trips can soon be one of the things to look forward to on your Montemaria trip.



Attend a Sunday Mass at St. Paul Shrine.



A conversation with

batangas governor

hermilando mandanas WRITER Jennifer Soriano PHOTOGRAPHER Noel Ty




atangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas lives at a hectic pace. We caught up with Gov. Mandanas during his dialogue with the Catholic clergy led by Archbishop Gilbert A. Garcera, D.D. of Lipa, Batangas. They were discussing various issues concerning their province over lunch after a Monday mass held at St. John Paul II Shrine Chapel located in the 130-hectare Montemaria. The governor was enjoying the company of the priests. While waiting for his interview, his wife, Regina Perez Mandanas, accommodated us. In between administering the event, she introduced various guests to her mother, the 85-year-old Marinduque Governor Carmencita Perez. When Governor “Dodo”, as he is fondly called by his family and close friends, finally finished his discussion with the priests, he stood, looked at his watch before sitting with us for an interview. We had a quick conversation regarding his political career and his vision for his fellow Batangueños. Despite building a stellar reputation working in the private sector, Mandanas said he chose to pursue a career in politics due to his passion for “development” and helping people, starting of course with his fellow Batangueños. Mandanas’ life as a public servant began when he served as the 1st General Manager of the Human Settlements Development Corporation under the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos. From 1995 until 2004, he served as Governor of the Province of Batangas for three terms and concurrently became the President of Federation of Regional Development Council of the Philippines. Also, he served as Chairman of the Regional Development Council (Region IV-A,) from 1995 to 2004, Regional Peace and Order Council (Region IV-A) from 1995 to 2001, and from 2003 to 2004, and CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Coordinating Council from 2001 to 2004. He was elected as Batangas governor after topping

the five-man race for Batangas province’s top post in last year’s national elections. Armed with an expertise in investment and development, stayed true to his promise during campaign to further strengthen the province’s economy through livelihood development, efficient fiscal management, and continued investment in health care and education. “We started our program regarding health, education, livelihood, and also infrastructure projects in disaster mitigation,” said Mandanas. Mandanas also takes pride in Batangas being the “most powerful province” in the country by supplying 60 percent of Metron Manila’s electric requirement equivalent to serving around 40 million individuals. When asked about retirement, the 73-year-old governor made a clarification first of what retiring means to him.

“Retiring does not mean doing nothing. Retiring means doing what you want. So if you’re going to ask me about retiring, I have retired at the age of 25, ” “I feel like a 60-year-old,” he added. “I just want people to enjoy,” he explained when asked what legacy he wants to leave to the people of Batangas. Truly a man of action, Mandanas said: “It’s not all about speeches. It is about performance. People should see how you perform.”

For news and updates on the official platform launch, follow us on NORTH AMERICA I EUROPE I MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA I ASIA I AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND I SOUTH AMERICA ISSUE 56 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 075


Keeping Faith:

Religious Tourism On Limelight WRITER Jennifer Soriano


aith-based attractions has been on the rise lately. As many travel analysts and spiritual studies have noted, more and more people of every faith are visiting places for religious purposes. This means more than just purely leisure, people are now seeking for spiritual renewal or to some extent, the deeper meaning of their lives, among others. According to the World Religious Travel Association, faith-based travelers and groups spend $300 million flocking to pilgrimage destinations including Jerusalem, Mecca, the Vatican, and other significant spiritual sites. Here are some three interesting facts you need to know about religious tourism:




One Of The Oldest Type Of Tourism In The World Even before the term “religious tourism,” “spiritual tourism” or “ faith-based tourism” was coined, human beings have been traveling to pilgrimage sites. Pilgrimages to holy places were evident as early as the dawn of humanity. According to the encyclopedia of Religion and Society, in the pre-Christian times, “The oracle at Delphi played an especially important role in ancient Greece. The panhellenic religious feasts held at Olympia every four years and at Delphi led to the two sites becoming famous outside Greece. The oracle at Delphi, in particular, exercised a strong attraction, drawing a large number of pilgrims.”


faith-based tourism, one of the fastest business growth areas in holiday industry Even before the term “religious tourism,” “spiritual tourism” or “ faith-based tourism” was coined, human beings have been traveling to pilgrimage sites. Pilgrimages to holy places were evident as early as the dawn of humanity. According to the encyclopedia of Religion and Society, in the pre-Christian times, “The oracle at Delphi played an especially important role in ancient Greece. The panhellenic religious feasts held at Olympia every four years and at Delphi led to the two sites becoming famous outside Greece. The oracle at Delphi, in particular, exercised a strong attraction, drawing a large number of pilgrims.”

Faith ignites inner strength, all for the hope of a good outcomes. We’ve read a lot of headlines about steadfast pilgrims who, despite typhoons and other hindrances, remained unfazed - thanks to their unceasing faith and devotion. In fact, in 2015 almost 1.2 million faithful attended Mecca amidst three serious threats--increased violent extremism, a surge of the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, (MERS-CoV) and with Saudi Arabia at war with Yemen. The Philippines, too has a somewhat similar case. Just look at the the frenzied devotees of the Black Nazarene procession which seems to grow each year, despite reports of injuries due to overcrowding. But of course, we need a separate article for this colorful Filipino religious practice.



economic downturn and disasters have less effect in religious tourism compared to other types of tourism


Building Our Hopes On The

First PH Subway - A Potential Relief To Metro Manila

Traffic Congestion WRITER Jennifer Soriano PHOTO BY



he World Economic Forum recently released its Global Competitiveness Report for 2017-2018 where the Philippines ranked 56th overall. One of the categories is infrastructure where the Philippines scored a notch higher from that of last year’s, however, its rank declined two steps and landed at 97th. Unsurprisingly, the same report revealed infrastructure is one of the top five most problematic factors for doing business in the Philippines. Taking into consideration the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration focus on infrastructure development, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has earlier approved the most “ambitious” infrastructure project of the Duterte administration, the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP). As of this writing, Japanese companies are queuing to win the contract of the Php 355.6 billion (roughly $7 billion) cost of the Philippines’ first-ever subway touted also as the country’s most expensive infrastructure project to date. Having the features of Japan’s extremely efficient subway system like flood prevention, earthquake detection, waterstop panels and an advanced train stop system, the MMSP is regarded as the most “ambitious” infrastructure project yet initiated by the Duterte government .

Hitachi, one of the potential takers went to Manila last September for a press briefing to discuss their plans to engage in the Philippine rail sector. “We have a very strong turnkey engineering solutions,” Asia Pacific Hitachi Ltd., Railway Systems Business Unit Shinya Mitsudomi said in a press briefing on Friday. The project will be implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) headed by Secretary Arthur Tugade, who announced the approval on September 13. Designed to run more than 30 kilometers , this soon-tobe longest mass railway transit in the country will run from Quirino Highway in Quezon City to the NAIA Complex in Paranaque City, Initially, the project is scheduled to break ground in the middle of 2018 and is expected to be completed by mid2025. But due to the recently-held Third Philippines-Japan High-Level Meeting of the Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation held in Tokyo on September 25, 2017, Japan and the Philippines agreed to fast-track the plan to build major infrastructure projects, including the MMST. “Now that our plans have progressed, we intend to lay out specific plans on how to expedite the processing and implementation of the flagship projects,” said Finance

South Commuter Line and its extension, Php 151 billion PNR South Long Haul Line. These big-ticket infrastructure projects, cumulatively worth Php 643.25 billion, form part of the Mega Manila Dream Plan, a transport network roadmap by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The government’s Build, Build, Build campaign launched earlier this year promises to mark the start of the “golden age of infrastructure.” As part of its plan, it intends to spend between P8 to P9 trillion in the next six years. That’s almost double the proposed national budget for 2018, which is P3.7 trillion pesos. In his arrival speech following his second official visit in Japan late October, President Duterte announced Tokyo’s affirmation to a pledge of a total $9 billion in assistance for economic and infrastructure projects to the Philippines, including MMSP. Japanese foreign ministry said this amount forms part of their earlier commitment to provide 1 trillion yen or roughly equivalent to P456 billion worth of economic assistance to the Philippines. In a statement following his meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday, October 30, President Duterte reiterated the Philippines’ strong commitment to the strategic partnership with Japan. “This covers huge impact social infrastructure projects that our country needs to sustain economic growth and improve the quality of life of our people,” Duterte said. “Prime Minister Abe committed to give flesh to Japan’s special assistance program. I am committed to work closely with him to ensure that projects proceed soonest and it will be Done, Done, Done,” Duterte added Portion of this amount amounting to 104.53-billion yen loan will be used for the first phase of the MMSP, with Japan agreeing to a 0.1 percent per annum interest rate, payable for 28 years on top of the 12 years grace period.


Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III , who headed the Philippine delegation. According to the DOTr, MMSP will be partially operable by 2022, and fully operable by 2025. After NEDA Board’s approval of MMSP on September 2017, Governments of Japan and Philippines signed the Exchange of Notes (EN) for infrastructure, which includes MMSP, during the recently concluded 20th ASEAN Summit in Manila in November 2017. In accordance to the timeline of the MMSP provided by DOTr, a loan agreement is expected to be signed in January after the exchange of notes. “The EN will set forth Japan’s commitment to finance MMSP, including the terms for such financing,” said DOTr. “That [Exchange of Notes] should start things rolling,” said DOTr Undersecretary Thomas Orbos in an ABS-CBN interview. Funding for the project will come from Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan with an interest of 0.10 percent per annum payable in 40 years, with a grace period of 12 years. ODA is a scheme adapted by the Duterte administration’s Build Build Build infrastructure program. The NEDA Board has also approved P134 billion Philippine National Railways (PNR)-



Pocholo Paragas Chief Operating Officer/general manager of Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority WRITER Ritchel Mendiola PHOTOGRAPHER Pia Rozul


Balikbayan magazine (bm): What is your vision for TIEZA?

Paragas: My vision for TIEZA is making sure that we continue the mandate. To accomplish this, we have established the travel tax centers and improvement of Five Pillars of TIEZA: 1) Enhancement of the travel tax payment system; 2) Building targeted tourism infrastructures around the Philippines; 3) Rehabilitation and assessment of assets for public-private partnership; 4) Accreditation and expansion of Tourism Enterprise Zones (TEZs); and 5) Development of the Manila cruise port. That’s what we’re focusing on.


BM: How does TIEZA contribute to the country’s economic development?

Paragas: We are guided by the National



Pocholo Joselito Paragas currently has his hands full as Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA’s) Chief Operating Officer (COO) and General Manager (GM). Paragas, a landscape architecture graduate from the University of The Philippines in Diliman, has honed his administration and management skills from two decades worth of experience with private enterprises and consultancy in banking and finance, land development, and tourism service industry. As the COO and GM of TIEZA, Paragas is expected to not only implement policies and programs to develop, promote, and supervise tourism projects in the Philippines, but to also improve the country’s tourism infrastructures as well. Paragas had just finished signing the Memorandum of Agreement with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) for the feasibility study and master plan for the development and operation of a cruise port in Manila when he sat down with Balikbayan Magazine for a quick interview in October.

Tourism Development Plan. What we want to do — and basically our contribution — are these: 1) working on the cruise program, which is very much needed in the country; and 2) working on developing the countryside. Tourism should go beyond the main islands that we’re used to. Bring the tourists to the different places. Looking back, Batanes used to be small and unknown, people didn’t go there. But because of tourism, people are now visiting the province and enjoying its beauty. We want to replicate that in different places of the country and we have 7,000 places to do that. 7,000 islands. We can do it everywhere.


BM: What are the challenges you are facing in TIEZA? Paragas: The biggest concern that we

have with regards to TIEZA is that we have a lot of catching up to do. We can’t afford to have the mindset of “tourists will be coming here in two to three years so let’s build now.” Tourists have been coming here for two to three years, fifteen years, twenty years, and we should have built it a long time ago (so that’s what we’re trying to do).


BM: What are your future plans for TEZ s ? Paragas: In terms of Tourism Enterprise

Zones (TEZs), our biggest plan is to find ways to make it economical — not only for the government, but also for the private sector looking for investments in other countries. Bring them in. Go inside our Tourism Enterprise Zones. Build our hotels, build our facilities and make sure that we all enjoy the country but we all protect it as well. Protect our country and make sure all the laws of the land are complied with but still give them an environment conducive for development. Bring in growth. What we want to say is “Come here and build — but build it correctly.”


Bm: What is the role of infrastructures to tourism sector?

Paragas: I will always say this: I am a family

man; I have two kids and with one on the way. We want to make sure that 1) kids are safe; 2) the places are accessible; and 3) the places are maintained properly. In terms of infrastructures for tourism, these are my rules. These are the things we have to do: make sure that the places you go to have police presence and have the pathways for accessibility, among others. One of our tourist markets that we have to look into are the persons with disabilities. We need to bring them out, we need for them to appreciate what our country has to offer. Another thing are the senior citizens, the retirees. They cannot climb walls so find a way to make the place more accessible so they can see the beautiful views of the country. One of the biggest concerns of this country is wheelchair accessibility. What I want to happen is this: you don’t have to keep on putting out new technology. When you go to Japan and ride the train, you will

see that the machines that dispense your tickets are the same machines that were there in the 60s. It’s reliable, accessible to everyone. When you go to Japan, you’re safe. We want to do that in this country — we will do that in this country.


BM: As the head of the new management of TIEZA, how do you envision the agency in 2018 in terms of helping the PH tourism industry?

Paragas: As I earlier mentioned, in terms of tourism, we have a lot of

catching up to do but the biggest concern right now is direction. We need to make sure that the direction is set, that no matter what happens, moving forward — many years down the line — it is continued. We will not reinvent the wheel, we will just make sure that things are done correctly, on time and continuously.

five pillars of tieza Tourism Infrastructure and TIEZA was created by virtue of Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009. Responsible for implementing policies and programs of the Department of Tourism (DOT) pertaining to the development, promotion, and supervision of tourism projects in the Philippines.

builder of tourism infrastructures TIEZA brings development to areas with high cultural, historical, religious, heritage and/or eco-tourism values, helping shape a deep sense of awareness and pride for the Filipino’s traditions, natural bounties and uniqueness as a race. TIEZA restores and rehabilitates historical churches and landmarks, and construct access roads and tourism facilities in accordance to the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP).

operation and management of tieza assets TIEZA operates and manages tourist facilities from Luzon to Mindanao. These facilities offer services ranging from hotel and restaurant to specialized sports such as golf and scuba diving. TIEZA also developed partnerships with the private sector and with local governments in the management of some of its assets to empower them and their communities.

The new management of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) seeks to embrace the continuously growing and dynamic Philippine tourism industry by providing much needed infrastructures and facilities. TIEZA aims to fulfill this through its Five Pillar roadmap. The Five Pillars are guided by the TIEZA mandate and the National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2020 (NTDP).

first pillar

As one of the front liners for outbound travelers, the new TIEZA management is currently working on the overall renovation of the travel tax centers in the country, including posting of infographics on where the travel taxes go. In order to create a hassle –free payment scheme, TIEZA is also creating a fully-automated payment system that will be available online, or through payment to our partner airlines.

second pillar

TIEZA is prioritizing the construction of high impact projects through the D.R.E.A.M.S. thrust– Destination, Restoration, Eco-sustainability, Agritourism, Medical Assistance, and Security and Accessibility. Project D.R.E.A.M.S. creates a Menu Board of tourism infrastructure projects which will encourage more tourism activities in the area. Particularly,

travel tax center

project d.r.e.a.m.s

TIEZA is piloting the construction of strategically located, Persons With Disability (PWD)-friendly Tourism Assistance Centers (TACs) in tourism sites. The TAC will house restrooms, emergency assistance centers, police posts, charging and wi-fi stations, and tourism products as well. Tourism sites located in or accessed through bodies of water, will be installed with floating dock facilities. These floating docks will ensure easy accessibility and provide secure embarking and disembarking for tourists.

enterprise zone authority designation, regulation and supervision of tourism enterprise zones (tez s ) TEZs lure private stakeholders to be shared-partners in tourism development. TEZs enjoy fiscal and nonfiscal incentives issued by TIEZA. Their investments will indubitably help create jobs and economic activities for the local communities. TEZs differ from Flagship TEZs in terms of the party initiating the process, the criteria employed, and the management of the projects. In TEZs, the applicant initiates the appliciaton while in a Flagship TEZ, the DOT and TIEZA seeks out areas with tourism potential.

third pillar assets

collection of travel taxes The travel tax is a levy imposed by the Philippine government on individuals who are leaving the country irrespective of the place where the air ticket is issued and the form or place of payment, as provided for by Presidential Decree No. 1183, as amended. The travel tax collection share of TIEZA (Travel Tax Collection distribution - 50% TIEZA, 40% CHED, 10% NCCA) fuels the priority tourism projects, activities and programs which are in sync with the Philippine Development Plan and the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP).

The agency is working on developing the TIEZA Assets through co-operation with the private sector. TIEZA will ensure the sustainability and the preservation of the cultural heritage of these properties as well.

fourth pillar

TEZs are TIEZAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s key in creating an attractive environment for investors, thus after seeking clarification from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the BIR has affirmed that the incentives under the Tourism Act of 2019 may be availed by investors even beyond the sunset provision in 2019, or until the incentives are fully realized. This development which has encouraged more tourism investors, both local and foreign to come in is expected to generate employment, inclusive growth and national economic development.

fifth pillar

Being the lead agency responsible for the construction and development of the cruise-dedicated port in Manila, and in other priority ports in the country, TIEZA is working together with the Cruise Tourism Development Committee (CTDC) in creating Philippines as a cruise-ready and cruise-friendly destination. Most recently, TIEZA signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) for the feasibility study and formulation of a masterplan for the Manila Cruise Port.

tourism enterprise zones (tez)

manila cruise port

San Vicente Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone, Palawan



asian journal launches series of annual events showcasing Tourism, trade and business opportunities in the usa and philippines

Southbay Pavilion Mall, Carson, California. The shopping destination of 2.5 million Americans in the greater Los Angeles County Region

Collaborative Efforts In addition to the support from the Department of Tourism and Department of Trade and Industry, TTC is also proudly in collaboration with E.C. Ferrer Customs House Broker, Inc., American Container Line, Inc., the Pangasinan Brotherhood-USA, and Planet63.

E.C. Ferrer Customs House Broker, Inc. E.C. Ferrer CHB, Inc. is a licensed Custom House Broker, a licensed Freight Forwarder (Ocean Transportation Intermediary), and a Licensed Property Broker for Interstate or foreign commerce in the transportation of freight by motor vehicle. E.C. Ferrer CHB, Inc. started operation in 1985 and evolved through the years to provide a logistic global package solution in the movement of cargo from origin to destination in solid partnership with worldwide reliable and trusted transportation agents and associates.

PANGASINAN BROTHERHOOD - USA PANGASINAN BROTHERHOOD-USA is the avenue for intelligent participation by Pangasinenses in the affairs of their community, state and nation both in the USA and abroad. The association provides people with the opportunity for personal growth and achievements and to develop true friendship. The Brotherhood vigorously works for progress to raise the quality of life in the thriving cities and towns of the province of Pangasinan in general, and helps to preserve and promote its people’s unique culture, tradition and practices, thereby making the Brotherhood a positive agent of change and prosperity.

PLANET63 Planet63 is an international trade management and marketing company that specializes in Sourcing, Shipping, and Selling Philippine products to the United States and the rest of the world. Planet63 provides a full continuum of services to Philippine manufacturers looking to create a market presence in the United States and to global buyers who are looking for Philippine products to sell. Planet63 also consults with Philippine manufacturers in how to market and ship their products into the United States of America and beyond. Due to the business network that they have created with the Philippine’s trade agencies and American trade agencies have enabled them to be effective in facilitating trade transactions between business entities in the respective countries.

In an effort to connect the US and Philippine markets together, the Asian Journal, in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and Trade and Industry (DTI), is organizing multi-city “Travel, Trade, and Consumer Roadshows” on August 4-5, 2018 at the Southbay Pavilion Mall in Carson, California. The Multi-City Travel, Trade, and Consumer Marketing Roadshows (TTC) aim to promote the Philippines and showcase the country’s tourist destinations, culture, food, and local products. These events also intend to propel business-to-business and government-tobusiness marketing as well as activate brand engagement between businesses and consumers. Aside from having industry leaders from both the public and private sector such as Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Wanda Teo as keynote speakers, the events will also have lots of food, music, and prizes — a fun festivity not only for Filipino-Americans to enjoy, but also mainstream Americans as well. “We are greatly looking forward to our Travel, Trade, and Consumer Multi-City Roadshows in 2018. We see this as an incredible opportunity for businesses both in the USA and Philippines to connect not only with our core audience, the fast growing, prosperous Filipino-American market, but also the mainstream American market based in Los Angeles and Orange County through our event at the Southbay Pavilion Mall in Carson, California which is the destination for 2.5 million Americans in the greater Los Angeles region.” Further, Mr. Oriel said, “With TTC, we are providing our clients with yet another unique, cost efficient opportunity to further grow their business. And we strongly believe that providing the public and private sector with the opportunity to network together face-to-face will prove to be significantly beneficial and productive for ultimately the betterment of society.” The Asian Journal Media Group, now on its 27th year in business, is a leading Filipino multimedia agency serving the global Filipino industry. Asian Journal publishes over 7 million weekly community newspapers annually in the USA from California, Nevada, New York, to New Jersey. In addition to this, the Asian Journal also publishes a quarterly magazine that is distributed in 60 countries and 101 cities throughout the world. To know more about the Asian Journal and Travel, Trade, and Consumer Roadshows, visit and www.




02 Business-to-Government

03 Business-to-Customer

Meet, connect, and collaborate with industry partners and streamline your business results.

Connect with leaders in the public and private sector from across the US region and Philippines.

Whether you're shopping for new and amazing products or a vendor looking to promote your product, this event is designed for you.

04 Filipino-Americans in Southern California

05 American Mainstream in Los Angeles County

06 American Mainstream in Orange County




01 Travel Destinations 02 Medical Tourism 03 Gaming & Entertainment 04 Retirement 05 Education

01 Agricultural 02 Real Estate 03 Franchising 04 Small Business Opportunities 05 Financial Management

01 Government Ministries 02 American Businesses 03 Philippine Businesses THE ASIAN JOURNAL



Issue 56, Volume VIII I August - October 2017

people events arts culture entertainment

OCTOBER 6-12, 2017



LEADERS Dr. Edgardo â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Garyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Cortez GREAT ESCAPES Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s More Fun In Batangas AESTHETIC How To Haggle Like A Filipino INVESTMENT Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Just Ask Why, Ask When RETIREMENT Staying Fit As We Age HEALTH Cost Analysis (USA vs Philippines) LIFESTYLE From Employee To Entrepreneur



Friday, September 1, 2017


Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?

Wednesday, OC TO B ER 11, 2017














St. Lukeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Medical Center

Inside One Of The Best Medical Institutions In The World LAS VEGAS

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got you covered from Hollywood to Broadway... and Online!


Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got you covered from Hollywood to Broadway... and Online!

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got you covered from Hollywood to Broadway... and Online!

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THE impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was officially filed in the House of Representatives late on Wednesday, Aug. 30 after 25 lawmakers endorsed



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MANILA â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Forty-five years after the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has assured Filipinos of its commitment to uphold democracy.



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DATELINE N. Korea has no intention to use nukes against other countries â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;except USâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; FROM THE AJPRESS NEWS TEAM ACROSS AMERICA

THE Democratic Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday, August 7, told the international community that it has no

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THE United States does not see any contradiction between its anti-terrorism assistance to the Philippine government and its human rights concerns in connection with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

particularly against the Islamic State (IS)-affiliate that attacked Marawi City in Mindanao, is part of Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;national security interest.â&#x20AC;? This, he said, is not at odds with Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concern about the alleged human rights abuses and summary deaths linked to Duterteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drug war. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I see no conflict, no conflict at all in

they carry out their counternarcotics activities,â&#x20AC;? Tillerson told reporters on Monday, August 7. In a press briefing, the American diplomat called the attack in Marawi as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;tragic situationâ&#x20AC;? but added that the Philippine forces are â&#x20AC;&#x153;beginning to get that situation under control.â&#x20AC;? The fight has been ongoing since the IS-linked Maute rebel group at-

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BOTH Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief Eduardo AĂąo denied reports that members of the military are being recruited to join a coup dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;etat plot against

sow some discord,â&#x20AC;? he added. During the hearing, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV sought to clear his name concerning reports of an alleged destabilization plot. Trillanes cited a Facebook post from a certain â&#x20AC;&#x153;General Kakikalaâ&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;whom he later iden-



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Hurricane Harvey leaves massive cleanup process Hurricane Irma makes a move

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PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte is studying â&#x20AC;&#x153;how best to proceedâ&#x20AC;? on the reported offer of former President Ferdinand Marcosâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; family to return portion of their alleged ill-gotten wealth back to the

the Marcos family to be turned over to the Republic,â&#x20AC;? Duterteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spokesperson Ernesto Abella said. According to him, no clear decision on the proposal has been made yet. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As this matter becomes clearer, we will advise what further action will be taken to finally obtain justice,â&#x20AC;? the Palace


dot’s ricky alegre gives the 411 on philippine tourism

WRITER Jennifer Soriano PHOTOGRAPHER Pia Rozul


t was my first time to meet Department of Tourism’s (DOT) Assistant Secretary and Official Spokesperson Frederick Alegre and the first thing I noticed was his fondness of the color white. From his office interiors, to the person himself who rocks the George Clooney-look with his silver crown, customized short sleeve polo shirt with a simple Philippine-inspired embroidery— everything was white. Philippine indigenous displays, paintings and other artifacts which he acquired from his numerous domestic travels, adorn the otherwise plain white background of his office. More than goodness and innocence, which are often associated with white, the color also represents brilliance and understanding—two characteristics the man himself possesses. During his photo shoot for Balikbayan Magazine, Alegre went beyond aesthetics when he nonchalantly talked about Philippine culture. As an example, he explained that Ifugao houses have stilts to avoid field rats from invading their houses in upland fields. Balikbayan Magazine sat with Alegre to discuss things about him— both personal and professional—from his leadership style, updates on what DOT is up to and more.

PARTICIPATIVE KIND OF LEADERSHIP As the head of the Communications Office of the Tourism Department, he emphasizes the need for participative governance, which through the use of today’s technology, can now be executed with ease. “I give directions, but when we decide, we decide as a team. There are some things that you have to decide right away but with today’s technology, it’s easy to get approval, get feedback, get reactions, before you can make a decision,” Alegre explained. He then recounted how tedious it was to practice participative governance then, saying, “it’s different nowadays, because in the past, we convene, call a meeting. Now you can meet on Viber, so we’re easily able to react to issues that are raised or questions that are being asked.” “How fast you get back to media is the essence of Public Affairs and Communications Office,” Alegre added. What’s a typical day like for him? “I get radio interviews as early as 5am. Usually a day starts early. Then throughout the day, I have interviews from media, especially now that tourism is a very vibrant industry,” Alegre explained.

TOURIST ARRIVALS Alegre said DOT is expecting to meet 7 million international visitor arrivals for 2017, citing the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) for 2016-2022. 76.3 million domestic tourists are also expected, which would yield P473 billion and P2.13 trillion, respectively. Contribution to employment is expected to be approximately 5.6 million or 13.4 percent share of total employment. From January to July 2017, inbound tourist traffic reached 3.92 million, registering a 10.92 percent increase over last year’s 3.53 million for the same period.

ATTAINING SUSTAINABLE GROWTH THROUGH TOURISM DOT is in charge of mandating and overseeing proper development and promotion of tourism in the country. Tourism can only be sustainable if it properly integrates with other sectors’ development plans. Alegre explained that successful management and promotion comes with the help of other government agencies, the private sector and the host communities.

“ Convergence is key in

many facets of tourism... ”

DOT’S NEWEST UNDERTAKING: BRING HOME A FRIEND More of a revival, Bring Home a Friend (BHAF) is the brainchild of then Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor. BHAF is a rewards program aimed at raising tourist arrivals by encouraging Filipinos living here or abroad or expatriates (as sponsor) living to invite friends (invitee) to the Philippines. By joining, both the “sponsor” and the “invitee” will get a chance to win fabulous prizes.

“ After 23 years, this has been

revived also to aid in increasing visitor traffic to the country. If found successful, the program may be extended or even made a regular program, ” However, he also revealed receiving comments that describe the program as somewhat a desperate move. “Some people have told me it should come natural for us to identify l. But i said okay, I know that we should no longer have an incentive but there’s nothing like a good raffle prize and the beauty about bringing home a friend,” Alegre retorted. He added that through this promo, anybody can be a part of tourism industry because “the multiplying effect of Bring Home a Friend [program] is limitless and we know that there is

so much interest to come to the Philippines. What better way to do it now that you have an incentive to win a condo, to win a car, shopping GC from Duty Free. And the one that you invite have a chance to win a trip to El Nido, JPark [Resort] in Cebu and Pearl Farm in Davao.” “It’s timely that we launch Bring Home A Friend part 2. The Sec. [Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo] was clear when she said there are millions of Filipinos abroad. Each one of us, even here in the Philippines can become a tourism ambassador by merely asking friends to come visit us. So, by a stroke of a promo like this, everybody now becomes a part of the tourism industry because if I ask you how many friends do you have in FB? How many of your friends live abroad? If every Filipino invites one friend, I don’t know how we will accommodate a hundred million people” Alegre further said.

TOURISM BUDGET INCREASE The Philippine tourism budget is ten times smaller compared to its Asian neighbors. This was a somber reality enough to push for a tourism budget increase in 2018. The House committee on appropriations agreed to increase marketing funds to P1 billion for next year. After the approval, the DOT plans to go all-out in their promotional activities. Alegre explained that the increase “would most certainly be spent on strengthening the brand through the conduct of marketing studies; mounting international activities to sustain, stabilize as well as develop markets; travel and consumer fairs; sales missions; traditional and digital advertising; media and travel agency familiarization tours should be sustained. Boosting social media presence and brochure support for partner travel trade should also be given attention,” Alegre said. Tourism is a major player in the government as it contributes an equivalent of more than eight percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product. In order to increase this contribution, Alegre explained two major priorities— legislative support and strengthening of convergence projects “First of all, the legislative needs to be convinced of the important contribution of tourism to the economy. Only then can DOT and its attached agencies be justified in raising their respective budgets, “ Alegre emphasized.


“such as in environmental preservation, safety and security, health and wellness, transportation, business development, education and training, labor standards and management, and destination and product development,” Alegre said. On top of these efforts to sustain tourism projects, Alegre also emphasized the vital role of local government units (LGUs). “Apart from collaborative effort to optimize limited budgets, LGUs play very important roles in prioritizing this activity and sustaining it as an effective economic and social development tool towards inclusive growth,” he explained.


“Secondly, the convergence projects need to be strengthened and implemented on time so that succeeding projects are able to take off. Oftentimes, leakages as well as delays in procurement are impediments to pursuing timely improvements necessary for the industry’s full growth potential,” he added.

PH TO STAGE GOLF TOURISM “We want to aggressively promote golf tourism, not only because we have beautiful courses here but we have a country that you can play at for 365 days a year,” he explained. This will be the first time DOT will “aggressively” promote golf tourism. With the weather, Alegre is confident that anyone



can enjoy playing golf all throughout the year. He added that private golf, which consists the bulk of golf courses type in the country, are now “relaxing their rules,” to attract golfers, not only from the country, but also international golf enthusiasts. “The private golf courses, most of the golf courses here are private, have agreed to open up around four years to play--not only for membership,” Alegre explained. Why golf tourism? “It’s a form of exercise and there’s a competitive spirit that goes with it. Plus, when you’re in a golf course, you see how nature is preserved, so there’s an environmental aspect to it that the golfers enjoy. You get to walk, fresh wind, flowers, the grass,” Alegre, himself a golf enthusiast, said.

EXCITING EVENTS IN 2018 Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM), the first and only Asian edition of Madrid Fusión and described as the most important gastronomy event in the world, will resume its fourth run in April 2018. The World’s Strongest Man, a strongman competition for super-human athletes who “continually push the human body past the limits we thought it had,” is scouting a suitable venue for its program in the country. It will again hold its Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship in Cebu while a special edition “Century Tuna” Ironman will be held in Subic. Meanwhile, “The Bachelor”, an American reality television dating game show, will shoot its final episode in the country,

and a Sports Illustrated Magazine cover shoot are some other exciting activities expected to put the spotlight on the Philippines.

GOOD NEWS FROM DOT’S RECENT TRIPS ABROAD In September, a team from DOT visited Japan for the Tour Expo Japan aimed at improving inbound tourism from Japan where they held talks with travel agencies as well as bilateral meetings with the Transportation Ministry. They also went to Spain to attend the World Routes Forum 2017, whose objective is to attract international airlines to fly to the Philippines. Cebu has been chosen to host Routes Asia in 2019.

JOURNALISM BACKGROUND During our discussion, Alegre recounted how life led him towards putting the Philippine tourism at the pedestal. The DOT spokesperson, who started his journalism career at the age of 24, shared his vast background in media and journalism before entering into public service. He remembers his experience as a young journalist, which enabled him to travel the world—an edifying experience that he considers as what brought him to where he is now. “It brought me to places. I always tell to people there’s nothing like the wealth of travel, especially in molding people. This is true most especially in the case of the Philippines where it’s a developing country, you must see what the best practices are part of the world that allows you to understand why they are developing and why we’re still underdeveloped, “ Alegre narrated. “There’s nothing like [the] educational and cultural learning [you gain] from travel. ” Fast forward 2016, Alegre was appointed to the position in September, which coincided with his 30th year anniversary working in the media industry. Earlier this year, Alegre was at the forefront, along with DOT Secretary Teo to defend their otherwise embattled Department when it hogged the headlines and faced two consecutive issues. First was when DOT drew flak for being “excited” over the proposed underwater theme park in Palawan. An online campaign, addressed to the local government of Palawan, Nickelodeon (Viacom International Media Networks), and Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc, was initiated to oppose the proposed underwater project. The complainants asked the companies to “junk their plan to build a 400-hectare underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan.” The project did not push through. Second was about the supposed DOT’s new tourism campaign entitled “Sights”, which was pulled out due to plagiarism accusations. This led to DOT canceling the agency’s P650-M contract over the controversial tourism ad.

IT’S MORE FUN STILL The “It’s More Fun in The Philippines ” tourism slogan of DOT has been around for five years now and it looks like it will stay as the country’s tourism brand. “There are upcoming campaigns still in support of the More Fun brand, ” said Alegre when asked if there are slogan campaign plans being brewed.

For the remainder of the year, DOT will continue with its marketing program targeted at strengthening their position in the traditional markets, penetrating new markets, as well as developing new segments. Alegre said DOT regional offices, together with the local government units and private sector, need to continue the product and destination enhancement to attract more travelers and investments. In the department’s effort to pursue the improvement of facilities and services, the regional offices are focusing on gaining more support for the progressive accreditation system and classification of tourism establishments.

LEGACY With Alegre’s vast experience in the field of communications, he has developed wisdom and relationships. “The fact that I came from the communications industry, from media, it’s easier for me to relate,” Alegre said. “Because now I’m relaying the news because I’m the spokesperson of the Department. I was always on the other side getting the news, now I’m the one relaying the news of our Department.” He also acknowledged the complete backing and support of the senior staff and Secretary Teo. “The most fulfilling part is when you can change lives, when you can help people do what they can do in life, especially if it’s related to tourism, it’s very fulfilling.” He concluded by saying, “You give people hope that things will get better because of tourism. I always say that when tourism grows, the lives of every Filipinos also improve.”


In Paris, France, the DOT was present during the International French Travel Market Top RESA with the aim of increasing arrivals from France and gain interest from various tour wholesalers to mount groups to Philippines. In Cannes, France, the group attended the 2017 Duty Free & Travel Retail Global Summit to prop up Duty Free Philippines (DFP) shops and seek interest of luxury brands to have their products sold in DFP.



philippine tapestry 2017 in canada indegenious fabrics showcased in our four canadian cities fashion shows highlighted new travel destinations to entice more tourists WRITER Momar Visaya

It was very successful. Maganda yung kinalabasan. It has a totally different platform because it is a different way of promoting both the fabric and the destination,” Department of Tourism director Pura Suanding Molintas said. “It is not like an ordinary fashion show, it took a different form.” Renee Salud, the famous Philippine designer, brought his haute couture designs using indigenous and intricate Filipino fabrics to four cities in Canada in a series of fashion shows that highlighted the beauty and culture of the Philippines through its tapestry. From Vancouver to Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, the team behind the Philippine Tapestry project showed that the Filipino talent, design and raw materials are all world-class and topnotch. The fabrics and hand-woven products used in the show came from both north and south Philippines, and it was chronologically presented. From up north are the fabrics of the Cordilleras, then Calabarzon area, Bicol (abaca), Visayas and the Mindanao area. The needlework of some of the colorful fabrics was also highlighted. “This kind of needlework makes the fabrics look more elegant, add to that the exquisite beadwork and you have beautiful material,” Molintas said, adding that the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) area is becoming famous for this. “Aside from the success of the runway shows in the four cities in Canada, I would say that one thing that was achieved was the promotion of both fabric and destination. Traditionally, a fashion show would only present the fabric and the art of designing and presenting it as an apparel.” This time, even the source of the raw material for the fabric was promoted, including the livelihood of the communities that benefit when these fabrics get bought. In these communities, it

is mostly the women who work with the loom, beads and needlework. The show was able to capture the beauty of the destination as well, along with the culture and this is revealed in the presentation of the tourist attractions. Then the products used – such as the pineapple or pina – is highlighted. “This was the only time that I’ve been to a fashion show that blended the fabrics used in the show with the places where these fabrics were sourced from,” Molintas added. One of the goals of Philippine Tapestry 2017 was to showcase the colorful and exotic weaves from the various regions of the Philippines, including the fabrics of the Cordillera, abaca from Bicol, pineapple fiber from the Visayas and t’nalak, inaul, yakan, Mindanao silk, and pis syabit from Mindanao. “I would say that the group was lean and mean. Very few models came from Manila, the rest was local. There’s a Filipino community organizer that we partnered with,” Molintas shared when asked about how difficult it was to stage such a big project. “That’s what made the show more successful.”

On Target “We are on track based on the previous months’ report of tourist arrivals,” she said, adding that the success of the Canadian shows would help in further pushing the number of tourist arrivals in the country. Beyond the travel and trade shows across North America, there are ways to get fresh tourists to visit the Philippines and the series of fashion shows is yet another endeavor of the Department of Tourism to entice new visitors to check out the country and for returning visitors to take another look and book another trip to the islands. “In the four cities that we visited, hindi lang Filipino ang audience natin, we had mainstream guests as well,” Molintas said. “The Filipinos there brought their friends to see the show.” There are more events and activities lined up for the North American team of the tourism department, all being done to make sure that more influx of tourists who get to visit the country. From celebrating with Canada for its 150th birthday to local travel markets and dive shows, the officials are leaving no stone unturned to make 2017 yet another record-breaking year.



reneE salud,

the reluctant fashion ambassador bringing philippine fashion to global stage WRITER Jennifer Soriano PHOTO BY Rupert Jacinto



enee Salud has been referred to as the Philippines’ Fashion Ambassador because of the decades-long of service he has devoted to the industry, but if he were given a choice, he would rather take a different title. “Honestly, I prefer to be called an advocate of Philippine fashion. As an advocate, my goal is to bring Philippine fashion to the world stage – to a level that that there’s a global demand for our work, and this will create more jobs for the people. And it will prove to the whole world that Filipino designers are at par with the world’s best,” so said Renee Salud, one of the Philippine fashion industry’s stalwarts and prime movers. “I always cringe when people call me that! Seriously. It is a title I never asked to be bestowed on me, but ithas stuck – so I have to live with it. ”As a designer, Salud is constantly inspired by the Philippines, from its unique fabrics to its beautiful destinations that continue to reap accolades from travel and lifestyle magazines across the world. He has been toying with the idea of what is now called “Philippine Tapestry” for around 2 to 3 months, in collaboration with his key creative team, like fashion show directors Raymond Villanueva, Cata Figueroa and Concon Sinel – to come up with all sorts of creative ideas for the project. With an aim to raise the bar for Filipino cultural fashion shows abroad, Philippine Tapestry is an ongoing project that is hopping from one country to another. It has been to four major Canadian cities, the Middle East, London and Berlin.

For 2018, the team, in collaboration with community partners, will bring the project to the United States. “My dream is for Philippine Tapestry to grow into an event that is shown in all cities where there is a Filipino community. Our goal is to cement the presence of Filipino culture on all of these places,” Salud said. “Judging from the reaction of Filipinos wherever we go, things are off to a perfect start.” Since the Philippines is home to a lot of regional fabrics, it was a major task to decide which fabrics were going to receive the highlight. For the fashion show where the collection is woven into the culture of the Philippines, Salud chose severalfabrics from each island cluster: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. “I make sure the entire country is represented, in terms of fabrics. But at the end of the of the day, it is all about how a designer works and styles a fabric – and converts it into fashion that a wearer can use in real life,” he said. But when it comes to individualized and personalized design, Salud said he chooses fabrics based on howhe perceives the wearer, the customer. “At the end of the day, it is never about the fabrics – but about what the customer wants. The shapes and the style must be good. The fit must be good,” he

quipped. Asked to play favorites and choose which fabrics he likes to use the most, Salud took the diplomatic card. “I consistently promote Philippine indigenous fabrics: piña, abaca, and handwoven fabrics, inaul. They’re all my favorites!” he shared. And that is what the lucky audience members who have seen the show so far have witnessed, Salud’s capsule collection that the group is showcasing around the world. The collection is inspired by the native weaves of the different regions of the Philippines and for the show, the audience is taken on a visual and musical journey to the different regions of the Philippines through a video presentation highlighting each area’s tourist destinations. As each region is depicted on the screen, entertainers flood onto the stage performing fusion dances inspired by the region’s native dance with a modern twist. “All these serve as an introduction to my collections, which are presented on the runway according to the regions where the materials came from. By so doing, we highlight the rich fabric of our heritage and traditions interwoven into a colorful cultural extravaganza of video art, fashion, music and dance,” Salud said

THe state of ph fashion Through the years, Philippine fashion has evolved and as Salud observed, it is “getting to be more and more interesting.” “I think it will be the Filipino middle class that will drive fashion in this country today. Countries like China or India are changing their whole fashion sense, because these countries have a growing middle class,” Salud noted. “It’s the middle class who has enough money to buy fashion from brands like Zara, H&M andUniqlo. They can buy three sweaters and play with color. Or mix styles and patterns. Everything starts from there.” “I come from a middle class family myself when I was growing up, and I used my knowledge and ability in fashion to change my social status. It’s the same thing in other countries where fashion brands Dolce & Gabanna were middle class, but they used their ability to move up the social ring. We will see the same thing happening in Manila. It’s the growing middle class that’s really

going to change the fashion landscape and not the high-end.”

THe “philippine look” The “Philippine look” is a showcase of traditional, handwoven, or indigenous Philippine fabric turned into global fashion that’s comparable with the work of international designers. The “Philippine look” always underlines my collection: “I try to combine intricate designs with ancient weaving traditions, and fuse it with high fashion to appeal to the new generation. I take pride in the fact that my fashions exemplify Filipiniana, yet melding them into current fashions.”

overcoming adversity For people who see Renee Salud now, they wouldn’t probably think of the hardships he had to endure on his way to achieving his dreams.Renee recalled that he was around 9 or 10 years old when he realized he was interested in dresses, in beautiful things. As a young child, he was bullied and ridiculed simply because he was gay.“Yes, I was bullied as a child, like many gay kids. But I have turned my negative experience with bullying into something positive. As a fashion designer, I want to inspire young Pinoy gays to love themselves inside and out,” he said. Renee also shared that ever since his father died, things hadn’t exactly been easy growing up. “In college, I tried taking up architecture but I had to quit after a year because of lack of finances. But in the end, the numerous obstacles I faced never kept me from achieving my goals,” he said.He persevered and worked hard to build his skill set and knowhow in fashion design. “Over time, I honed my ability to design clothes that would make women feel good about themselves,” he said. “And I also got better at recognizing which things in life are important -- these are lifelong pursuits. But it took me a long time to realize I had always been what people call a designer, and that I could get paid for being me.”“And unlike some designers, I also used my charm,” he said laughing. “At the end of it all, I was able to climb all the way to where I am now. I didn’t let my earlier failures stop me.”

four tips

from rene salud on how to make it in the fashion industry

Many young Filipinos look at Renee Salud as an inspiration, as their peg to succeed. Here, he shares his advice to them, especially to the young ones who want to make a name in the fashion industry.Fashion school graduates and young people who want to be designers have a long, rocky road ahead. Starting a fashion business takes time, talent and a lot of hard work.

My advice: Be true to yourself Don’t be something that you’re not. It’s okay to dream, but realize what you’re good at and really focus on that.

Find clarity Know what you want. You don’t have to know how exactly to get there, but if you know exactly what you want, you can figure out putting together the pieces of the puzzle.

Define your signature Create a signature style that is recognizable, but also plays to your strengths as a designer.

Don’t seek fame Ask yourself: Do you want be famous or do you want to be a designer? If you want to be famous, hope for a lot of people and money to be ready to support your cause!

1 2 3 4


susan del mundo on serving the philippines in and out of the country

WRITER Jennifer Soriano PHOTOGRAPHER Godwin Gasacao




usan Del Mundo has dedicated at least three decades of her life to public service. Today, she is happily looking forward to more years of serving Filipinos and promoting the Philippines. For almost 36 years in public service, particularly in the Department of Tourism (DOT), Del Mundo has acquired sufficient skills, exposure, knowledge and expertise in handling both organizational and management functions—ranging from finance and budgeting, marketing and promotions, planning and research, business development and other related areas of operations—that produced significant accomplishments and contributions in high-impact tourism programs both local and foreign. This unassuming woman has dedicated her life in promoting Philippine tourism to the point of, as she jokingly remarks, forgetting to get herself a husband. “Ang tagal ko na sa industriyang ito. Thirty six years. I’m 50 plus years old Nakalimutan ko nang mag-asawa. (I have been in this industry for so long. Thirty six years. I’m 50 plus years old now and forgot to get myself married),” Del Mundo said, followed by a laugh. She added that during the peak of her career, work occupied most of her waking hours. “I do the bookkeeping at night and attend meetings in the morning. And on weekends, I either attend gatherings or rest. That’s it,” Del Mundo said in Filipino. However, she never regretted how things turned out since she enjoys being single and that her friends never let her feel that she needed to look for a boyfriend or a husband to fill the void. “When it comes, it comes. I’m enjoying,” she said smiling.

inspiration: and essential for both leaders and followers Today, Del Mundo is the outgoing Officer-in-Charge of the Domestic Tourism of DOT and the incoming Tourism Attaché for the DOT in New York. For years, Del Mundo has been practicing management by example. Her style is one that involves making every member of the team a contributor of the vision and mission. “It is important to for me to see my team proud and inspired of what they are doing,” Del Mundo said.

Her work ethic revolves around demonstrating requisite skills, attitude and knowledge in any given endeavor. In doing so, her staff would show the same dedication and perseverance that she performs. Aside from this, as much a possible, she wants to be hands-on in any project to ensure that no areas of concern is being bypassed and neglected. “I may be at times perfectionist to the point of maximizing results to achieve excellence but somehow along the way I must learn to accept that there are boundaries and limitations that cannot be cons,” Del Mundo said. As a leader, she constantly affirms and advocates good team leadership and handson approach as key components in bringing qualitative and quantitative results and benefits. “I’m more of a doer, someone who is always behind the scenes,” she mused, revealing how she always shun publicity. Just as how she inspires her subordinates, it is also inspiration that led her to follow the footsteps of her father. Del Mundo recounted how she admired her father since her younger days. “When I was a child, I admired my father as a very respectable, well-liked and humble public servant,” said Del Mundo, whose father used to be the auditor of DOT. Since then, her father became her model and inspiration, encouraging her to follow his footsteps. “That is the reason I took an Accounting course and passed the Accountancy Board Exams. Reaching this goal was a dream come true,” she exclaimed.

Del Mundo has always aspired for a challenging job that could greatly contribute to the country. After graduating with a degree in Accountancy, she applied at the Philippine Convention Bureau (PCB), now known as DOT. This was during the Marcos era, where tourism, according to Del Mundo, was aggressive mainly because of the conventional centers and international hotels that were put up to cater to international events. “Working for the tourism government for at least three decades has been my lifeblood and my passion,” she said with contentment in her eyes. “I may have other career options being an accountant by profession, a business executive, an academician by practice or may opt to be an events specialist for that matter but I chose not to. I love my country so much that I realized how beautiful and wonderful it is to feel proud of being a Filipino and take pride in the wonders of what our country has to offer,” she said without any hint of regret.

Significant achievements for domestic promotions As the Head of Domestic Promotions Department, she has actively contributed in implementing and pioneering projects that have heaped multifaceted rewards and have successfully helped its beneficiaries. “Most of these projects were the Grassroots Entrepreneurship for Eco Tourism (GREET) program conceived to support eco-tourism livelihood

economy,” said del Mundo.

Goals for the remaining days as OIC of Domestic Promotions Department For her remaining days as the Officer–inCharge of Domestic Promotions Department, Del Mundo hopes to establish the TPB Membership program; Marketing Seminar on Destination Branding for all the regions; production of Regional Brochures, Calendar of Philippine Events; marketing new tourism destinations, and; strengthen the Balikbayan program. Overall, she emphasized the need for constant collaboration with both public and private sectors as well as empowering local communities.

Philippine domestic tourism status De Mundo shared that the Philippines, in terms of domestic tourism has a “very promising upswing” in terms of promotion. According to her, “Under the able stewardship

projects in areas needing both financial and technical assistance to

of Tourism Sec. Wanda Teo and as inspired by the

sustain the community’s economic growth. Before its turn over to DOT,

administration of Pres. Duterte, I could casually

we were able to assist more than 500 proponents in establishing small-

say that the green light is always on when it comes

scale industries to augment their income,” she shared.

to the free flowing of projects geared towards

Del Mundo was also the brain behind the various heritage tours (such as in Cordilleras, Intramuros/Manila, etc.), historical tours (i.e. on

promotional efforts for domestic tourism.” She





the Road to Freedom and Corregidor), and promotions of new tourism

collective efforts both from the government

destinations and packages, among others.

and the private sector coming from airlines,

The hosting of one of the most prestigious tourism bodies, the ASEAN

allied tourism services, regional tourism offices,

Tourism Forum attended by no less than 2,000 ASEAN delegates in 2006

local government units, pro-active tourism

and most recent in 2016, produced positive results in bringing about

organizations, travel media practitioners, travel

income and extensive mileage for the Philippines. Both events earned the DOT favorable remarks and accolades having diligently served its hosting. On the international front, the World Expo Zaragoza held in Spain in 2008 awarded the Philippines as the best in “Small-scale exhibitions” one of the world’s promising eco-tourism destination in the world. At the same time, preparatory work to the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010 have again proven worthy of praise and standing. The Ambassador’s Meet in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) held yearly and the Winter Escapade meant to promote the country’s bests among the Filipino-Americans and FilipinoCanadians, are considered pivotal projects that have encouraged the Filipinos outside the Philippines to revisit their home country. “These and many more have in a way, brought laurels and accolades befitting of a tourism industry serving as formidable pillar of our


with the theme”Filipinas, El Mundo Acuatico” putting the Philippines as


bloggers, and its constituents which immensely contributed to the solid stature tourism now enjoys. The new generation of travel seekers and adventurers gave credence to Philippine tourism and served as an eventual paradigm shift where travelling to the Philippines is no longer strictly confined to the privileged few but able to reach out to all Filipinos. Traveling has now become an affordable and indispensable priority for individuals and families.

The incoming tourism attache for DOT NYC Del Mundo is not new to overseas posts, however, she regards her upcoming post as the “more challenging” one. “Having dutifully worked for overseas posts in the previous years, more specifically in London, UK for almost four years, accepting this NY post is no longer new to me except that the area is more challenging, diverse and unique requiring me to be more open, sensitive and adaptive due its complexities inherent in a thriving and vibrant market,“ she explained. She went further saying, “I humbly expressed my genuine desire to DOT to serve the country best by being assigned in no less than I consider as highly challenging and demanding center of commerce and trade in one of the world’s bustling city, New York.” New York, nonetheless, is the hub of international associations and Meeting, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions/Events (MICE) markets, among others. The DOT New York Office covers US East Coast, US Midwest and Eastern Canada. Luxury markets especially the Caucasians will be tapped and wholesaling the Philippines through the promotion for special interest tours as well as to collaborate tour operators, media, corporate executive, incentive houses, influential personalities, groups and associations will be undertaken. Furthermore, Del Mundo assures Filipinos that she’ll dutifully exercise her duties and responsibilities as officer and front liner of the Philippine tourism industry outside the country. “I have given my best in the past, it will be far more rewarding to share my wholehearted support and conviction in realizing that by serving the interest of tourism best I have served the Philippines and the Filipinos more,” she cheerfully said.

Mission and vision



In direct consonance with the over-all tourism development plan of the Department of Tourism, the PDOT-NY works synchronously hand-in-hand in achieving its goals and objectives. “Our vision is to establish the PDOT-NY as one of the key marketing office of the Dept. of Tourism that will lead in aggressively positioning the Philippines as a much favored and preferred tourism destination in Asia,” Del Mundo said “Our mission is to carry-out an intensified and integrated promotional program that complements all areas covered by PDOT-New York such as U.S. East Coast, U.S. Midwest and Eastern Canada,” she added. Del Mundo aims to make a bigger share in the arrivals from America and to heighten awareness, appreciation and cooperation in target markets. “Together with my colleagues in San Francisco and Los Angeles, we would like to make America as number one or top source of arrivals to the Philippines,” Del Mundo explained.

On Facing obstacles Indeed, victories can be achieved by overcoming challenges. For Susan, she doesn’t care if a task is a daring one. For her, she would just gladly let

the challenge flow. “In my honest opinion, I believe the success of any particular project or program for that matter can be measured in terms of its ability to confront and overcome challenges,” said Del Mundo She explained that every program or project comes with hindrances and obstacles that comes along the way. “I always anticipate those challenges in all our endeavors and come up with workable solutions based on existing government rules and regulations and most beneficial to the Philippine tourism industry,” she explained. With a background in crisis management, she said there will always be room for contingencies and fall back solutions to pitfalls and drawback of whatever gravity. “We will always be ready at all times when the situation warrants remedial actions to be pursued. Vigilance then, becomes the order of the day at all costs in whatever means provided it is in pursuit of the best interest of the government,” del Mundo shared.

Typical day As a tourism practitioner For someone who couldn’t afford to lose a single second doing something unworthy, she explains how she wanted to find fulfillment in her everyday life at work and personal quality time with family and friends. “Time is a gift from God and so precious to me. A typical day cannot be productive if there are no results, “ Del Mundo, who normally spends more than the eight hours a day working, said. “Being a tourism practitioner is a challenging and tough job especially if you are entrusted the full responsibility of carrying-it out given the resources,” shared Del Mundo She recounted how along the way, she met several drawbacks and how her accountability was put to test. She said, “And as a leader I know where I stand. Still it did not waver my faith neither to give up.” “All these years, I realized that for once in my life, along the way I will leave footprints of myself, the person that I really am . Sometimes misunderstood, oftentimes miscalculated but deeply immersed in dedicating myself to be of great service for the love of tourism, to feel proud for the country I belong, earn that dignity of simply becoming a public servant in my own little way,” Del Mundo concluded.

Curated travel programs in the Philippines designed by Balikbayans for Filipinos all over the world. Coming soon in 2018. For inquiries and partnerships, contact I #loveofcountry




You Need To Start Building Your Personal Brand WRITER Ritchel Mendiola




ith the rapid development of social media, building a personal brand has become the best way to stand out amongst your peers â&#x20AC;&#x201D; online or offline. Nowadays, it is essentially the key into growing your business and controlling the trajectory of your career development. A personal brand means the way you present yourself to everyone. It is the legacy centered on your name, the footprint you will leave for others to follow. Having a strong personal brand also opens up a whole new world of professional opportunities. It is the advantage that will separate you from others who are vying for the same position. With a well-established brand, employers and potential clients will soon be running to you. Today, anyone can have a personal brand but not everyone can cultivate and manage it. Here are some signs that should help you consider building your own brand:

You Know How To Stand Out In a society that’s becoming increasingly individualized each day, there’s no longer room for being just another face in the crowd. Being bland will quickly become your downfall. People are attracted to uniqueness, so you have to offer something different and appealing in order to leave a lasting impression.

You are authentic What you have to remember is that your personal brand will always be centered on you as an individual. Being authentic and sincere is the best way to amass a following and gain their trust.

You are patient Building your personal brand and audience takes time and effort. You don’t magically gain a huge following and land career opportunities with just a snap. You have to start small and keep building from there. Impatience and shortterm visions will hinder you from establishing your brand.

You know how to manage your time Contrary to popular belief, you don’t necessarily have to have lots of time in order to build your personal brand, you just need to be wise in managing it. Having an active online presence helps you stay relevant, so you have to set time in updating your social media and keeping a steady supply of think pieces and blog posts for your audience.

You think like a leader When you build your personal brand, you’re also building a following that you can influence and help. Because of this, you need to brush up on your leadership skills. You need to formulate strategies in order to stay relevant and grow as an entrepreneur. You need to communicate in order to connect with other people, and you need to constantly improve all aspects of your personal brand. Ultimately, building your personal brand requires an investment of your time and effort, but it’s worth it. The need for a personal brand will only continue to increase as time passess, if you have recognized these signs within you, then perhaps you should get started.



Reasons Entrepreneurs


Hire Their Children WRITER Charisse Trinidad


POLL on small businesses by Bank of America revealed that 29 percent female and 18 percent male entrepreneurs currently have at least one of their kids working for their business. As a business owner, a situation like this can be a win-win deal for you and your family and may guarantee success. If you are still weighing on the idea of hiring your child as a future employee, here are some reasons may help you reconsider:

SUPPORTING GENERATION GAPS In these ever changing times, millennials opt for a “work to live” motto, which contradicts with their seniors’ “love to work” mantra. There is a huge generation gap which is very much existing in family corporations. Seniors highly believe that their children do not want to engage an 80-hour workweek.



“You may not see eye to eye with your children when it comes to working in the same facility let alone have them work under you. By approving this agreement, [it] will help both you and your kids realize the importance of working in a business. Giving your children a taste of responsibility and learning to understand the younger generation’s personal work ethics can boost and be vital knowledge for the both you and your child.” Levanza, President and CEO of Sapphire Movers Cargo said.

“ It has its ups and downs but in

the end it creates memories and a bond that can not be replaced. ” - Levanza

“It has its ups and downs but in the end it creates memories and a bond that cannot be replaced.” Levanza added.

Tax breaks for your corporation A great advantage for your business would be to hire family members, but most importantly your children. Bringing in your kid saves you up on medical and social taxes. Not only is the cost efficient it also helps reduce your overall family tax bill. As long as you are not implementing services to your child similar to household chores, then you are eligible for tax savings.

Boost your child’s business skills You will receive an incredible amount of praise coming from your family once you’ve increased your children’s office skills by hiring them. Possible job positions that you can consider hiring your son or daughter to do would be social media marketing, accounting, web design, administrative work, or sales; which are all great additions to their growing curriculum. To make the job practical with liability, you could also assign them details on their occupation position.

PROVIDING YOUR CHILDREN WITH PROPER FINANCIAL EDUCATION A huge advantage of rewarding your children is that they can receive an actual financial education. Informing them on how to use the additional earnings to incorporate into some of their own personal costs can benefit their future in many ways. An experience like this can guide them on the difference between gaining assets that pay you versus financial obligations that you owe. If you teach your children in the early stages of their lives on how to manage money properly, the sooner it will be for you to spot relief in your monthly expenses.







WNING your first condominium unit may provide euphoric feelings of accomplishment, but it is a daunting task. These days where condominiums are rising everywhere, it is no surprise that buyers seem to find buying a condo unit a more reasonable and practical option for housing over a house and lot. The decision to buy is just the first step; there are several things you need to consider when delving into condo ownership. It is critical to be conscious of things such as community rules, association fees, management company, and amenities. It may be difficult and overwhelming to cope up once you’ve

taken your first step into the world of real estate, but always remember that the first challenge you must overcome is your lack of knowledge. Here are a few tips and guidelines to help you get closer to purchasing your very own condominium unit.

IS A CONDO REALLY FOR YOU? First things first, would buying a condo really be a perfect fit for you? As in every life decision, you must consider all the pros and cons of having your own condo unit.

Think about the location When it comes to buying a property there are three questions you should always ask yourself. Is the area safe for you and your family? Are you in a hazard-prone area? Are there accessible locations that may provide your day-today needs? Make sure that the building you’ve been eyeing has security system and protocols that are up to date and reliable. Automatically, each condominium is offered with security but some may not be as effective, which

iNQUIRE FOR THE OPERATING BUDGET Most condo buyers tend to leave out this step before buying a condo. Ask for a copy of the association’s budget to get the projecting of the money needed by the homeowners association (HOA) to cover its operating expenses. An HOA does not automatically provide buyers with a duplicate document of the budget, but you may appeal for one as a potential buyer.

Is there insurance on the building? Community insurance coverage is an important factor that condo buyers seem to often overlook. There is a huge growth in condo associations choosing to reduce or drop

community insurance. This choice threatens the investment of all the condominium owners in those projects. Latest buyers should ask the seller to acquire a copy of the building’s master (insurance) policy. Once you’ve received the copy, take it to your own insurance agent and ask is if the given amount would be enough coverage. Inadequate insurance coverage can also make components in a project unqualified for financing. These days, lenders view the condo site itself as collateral, not just your unit. Generally speaking, when it comes to buying a condominium it will always seem like rocket science at first. Having a guideline, keeping a list of questions, and making sure to check things personally are better than purchasing a unit on the spot with no knowledge of any kind. Equipping yourself with the most important knowledge when it is time to invest on a condominium will not only keep you satisfied but will save you more time and give you several options to figure out before whipping out the bank details.


may cause doubts and fears for condo unit owners. Save yourself the hassle by interviewing the security guards and checking security cameras around the building. Check the areas surrounding the building. Choose to live in an area where it is much less of a risk to you and your loved ones. Ask the condominium management if there is a Flood Management Master Plan offered, and other contingency plans in case of emergencies. Don’t forget check for accessible malls, restaurants, and grocery stores that are near the condominium.



How To Invest

Like A Millionaire WRITER Jennifer Soriano




he first thing you need to know about investments is that you can do it even if you’re not a millionaire. Recent studies reveal that many of millionaires were not born rich. In his three decades researching the wealthy, Thomas J. Stanley, coauthor of “The Millionaire Next Door,” consistently found that between 80 percent to 85 percent of all millionaires are self made. To help you get close to counting your first million, here are a few tips that you may want to consider:

FOCUS ON STOCKS HITTING NEW HIGHS Sujan Patel, in his article on said that

(When You’re Not One)

“ Most millionaires are very

conservative with their money. They are focused more on avoiding risk than on the potential gain they might make from an investment. ”

Investing is a volatile field. You have to put your hardearned money in a reputable company, one that has consistently made a strong reputation. Do your research and look for positive patterns. If you are a newbie in investing, consider stocks that are hitting a new high since it indicates that at times, odds are in their favor.

DON’T JUST TAKE RISKS, CALCULATE RISKS This is part of the planning. You have to clearly define how you would accept and measure risk. As opposed to investing in a savings account, the fundamental rule of investing is the direct correlation between risk and reward concept—the higher the risk, the higher the expected returns.

STOP DIVERSIFYING Millionaires are extremely picky. They don’t just put their investment anywhere just for the sake of diversifying. In fact there are self-made millionaires who swear by the rule of focusing on a few stocks. Take for example Timothy Sykes, a well-known penny stock trader and entrepreneur. “So many people talk about diversifying and using leverage. This is not the way to earn millions. I typically keep one to two stocks at a time and don’t use more than 30 percent of my assets in my investments, “ said Skykes in his article entitled “10 Steps to Becoming a Stock Market Millionaire”.

DON’T FALL FOR HOT TIPS Yes, you don’t need to believe everything you hear, even from news or your broker. You have to do your own research and analyze on your own terms. Being an informed investor makes you a successful one in the long run. Simply take time to deeply study how the market works.

CUT YOUR LOSSES QUICKLY In investing, no matter how calculated your moves are, you may still somehow end up on the losing side. When you fail, do not easily be discouraged. Learn from it and move on fast. Just like a millionaire, take time to reflect on your financial goals. As advised by investment experts, you should consider developing a network of like-minded investors to share and receive valuable information and emotional support.





Reasons You Don’t Need A Business Partner WRITER Charisse Trinidad




he initial leap that some young entrepreneurs tend to take when launching their own companies would be to accept partnerships for faster and cost efficient business development. It may seem that way at first, but there several reasons why partnering could bring additional pressure and problems to your future establishment rather than opting to go solo from the beginning. Many successful company owners have flourished without partners. According to Arthur Zenian a guest writer from, “Entrepreneurs are far more likely to get into trouble or fail if they make someone a business partner for the wrong reasons: believing that the person has a certain expertise that they feel they lack or simply because they’re afraid to do it alone.”

OWNERSHIP AND WORK EQUALITY An equal split between two partners can turn out for the best or end up as a complete nightmare. If your partner decides that you should have additional work load just so that he could take the rest of the week off will not only start a quarrel but can very much slow down the business. They may feel that it is alright with you to accept most of the paper work due to the fact that they could be the partner who puts in more money. This goes the same for ownership. If you are not up for something like that then it is best to keep it a one person show.

money Are you ready to commit to a serious relationship? Joint ventures in a business is basically tying the knot to having a shared fortune. There are many situations where one person ends up with suspicions that their business partner might be committing financial infidelity. Fraud in partnerships are one of the main ways to destroy a company. Without a business partner, there would be a decrease in major setbacks for funds in your corporation.

conflict of interest Sharing a company with a partner can result to several conflicts. You can share thoughts, ideas, and even financial income. What if those basic interests are not met? This can cause tension and complications in a joint venture. You may be able to agree on absolutely every idea your partner comes up with, but in reality both of you are two different people and it is bound to happen that one person will have other plans in mind. If you notice that having a business partner will usually end up in a clash of both interests then it is best to keep a “me, myself, and I” motto to prevent further misfortunes.

reputation The way you bring up your business shows a lot about your reputation. If your partner does not meet certain expectations you can lose potential employees, customers, and even investors. By being the only person who has the choice on how the company should be represented can save up future risks of putting the establishment on the line. It’s alright to be extremely careful when protecting your reputation. You should always choose to make your reputation the main priority of the company. If you feel like a joint venture is not the best decision to help boost growth within your organization, then it is best to walk away as early as you can.






To Lead With Effective Communication WRITER Ritchel Mendiola


or some people, communicating with others is akin to driving on a winding, bumpy road: difficult to navigate and stressful. They often struggle with getting their messages across, naturally leading to misunderstandings. The truth is, effective communication skills aren’t innate. They are acquired through experience and must consistently be improved on. We’ve learned the basics of it in school, but it’s only after we’re out of the four corners of the classroom that we get a firsthand experience on how important it really is. Effective communication is a vital element in professional success. Leaders are required to possess interpersonal skills as they are expected to communicate with employees, other managers and investors. Unfortunately, there are still some leaders who are not effective communicators. This may cause the team to fall short, unable to perform to its full potential because the leader failed in asserting a cohesive unit. Here are 10 things that might help in order to improve on much-needed communication skills and leadership.




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get personal Leaders usually keep a strict professional relationship with their employees. Because of this, they usually only get the watered down version of the truth, especially when it comes to office dynamics. There’s nothing wrong with this mentality but keeping everyone at arm’s length just means you’ll never get to develop meaningful relationships with the people you’re working with. Try to take some time to sit down with them and ask about their lives. The more information you have of them, the more you’ll know how to communicate and lead them.

have empathy The best leaders possess a heightened sense of awareness. This allows them to read a person or a situation by perceiving moods and attitudes of those they communicate with. With this, they can immediately handle any abrupt change in their surroundings and adapt their messaging to be effective. Empathizing with your team offers a window to your authentic and caring side, making the people you work with easily trust you.

mean what you say In order to lead with effective communication, it’s your responsibility to always mean what you say. Your employees would less likely trust your words if you fail to follow through on your words.


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know your body language When it comes to communicating, being aware of body language helps in discerning whether the interaction is genuine or not. To reinforce the message they want to get across, great leaders constantly keep in mind their facial expressions, hand movements, body posture and eye contact.

be concise All too often people go off on tangents while they’re talking, too caught up in their own thoughts to notice that their listeners have started to tune them out. When it comes to conversations, it’s usually best to just cut to the chase. Start by being concise to avoid confusion.


listen An essential part of communication is having the ability to listen. This gives you the chance to know what’s going on in your office and what troubles your team, and also allows you to come up with solutions regarding their concerns for a better workplace dynamic.

be open-minded There’s a significant truth in the axiom: “You can’t please everyone.”


be consistent Daniel Marlin, an entrepreneur and marketer from Cape Town, South Africa, said it best: “When you’re consistent with your words, tone and all other forms of communication, you begin to create a personal brand.” With a personal brand, you will be viewed as trustworthy and dependable, making people want to work with you.

be honest As a leader, trust is the key factor in efficiently leading your team. However, trust isn’t easily gained. You can’t just demand for it because of your position, you have to earn it. Being honest through your words, actions and decisions will speed up the process, making for a more comfortable workplace and easier, effective communication among you and your team.

The thing is, not everyone is going to have a high opinion of you — there will always be something you do that will tick people off. A great leader has the willingness to confront these issues and get to the root of the problem with an open mind.

People are more interested in having conversations with someone who has substance. No one wants to listen to a person who just keeps on blabbering inanely, never adding value to a topic nor a situation. As a leader, you should possess subject matter expertise so your team will listen to you and follow your instructions.



Know what you’re talking about



Steps To Making

Networking Easier

WRITER Ritchel Mendiola



or many of us, hearing the term “networking” is enough to make us cringe inwardly. It is inundating, and for some, it is downright scary. If you’re ever looking for a career opportunity or to simply build your connections, knowing how to work a room is

important. The problem is, networking can be stressful — especially for those who are naturally less outgoing. Small talk is awkward and establishing rapport with new people isn’t as easy as it seems. You’d prefer to stay in a corner sipping on your drink while watching everyone else talk. Thankfully, there are steps to making networking easier. Keep these in mind so you can nail your next networking event and expand your professional circle.


PLAN AHEAD It’s always a good idea to plan ahead before going to any event. Being prepared reduces the anxiety and helps in handling specific instances that you might encounter. Come up with an ice-breaker to start a conversation and an exit strategy when you know it’s time to move to another person.



SET REALISTIC GOALS Even in networking, quality is better than quantity. It’s better to set a realistic goal about what you would like to discuss with the people you meet instead of expecting to interact with more than 10 people. This way you’ll feel accomplished that you had in-depth conversations that you can follow up on after the event, rather than disappointed at the end of the day if you didn’t get to speak with as many individuals.

arrive on time You’d feel more intimidated when you come in later and conversations have already started. Going to an event early comes with the advantage of having more time to acclimatize yourself to your surroundings and connect with people in advance.

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Sometimes, people overthink and stress themselves into coming up with something clever to say. Small talk might be awkward but at least it’s not overcomplicated. You’re already in a challenging setting, don’t make things harder for yourself.

Making a habit of following these steps at every event you go to will help improve your networking skills. Will these make you look forward to the next social event you need to go to? Probably not. But having these will make the experience less excruciating and more relaxed.

FIND A BUDDY Having someone you know at the event will keep you grounded. A friend will make you less nervous and give you that reassurance that you have someone you can turn to when you get overwhelmed.

TAKE A BREAK Once in awhile, take a couple of minutes to recharge. Interacting with people can get a bit exhausting so take a short walk or use the restroom. Use this time to take a deep breath, reflect, and reassess.

PRACTICE Try to use common, everyday situations to flex your interpersonal skills. Interact with new colleagues or invite a different co-worker for lunch each week. Take baby steps until you get the hang of it.







Ways A Millennial Can Be


WRITER Ritchel Mendiola



veryone says millennials have it easier compared to what adults faced decades ago. In some aspects, you can say that’s probably true. Thanks to all the technological advances we have today, all kinds of information are now within our fingertips — making life just a tad more convenient. But that doesn’t mean millennials don’t have it rough as well. A recent study from USA Today reveals that millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same age while a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey found that the unemployment rate among millennials in the Philippines stands at an alarming 50 percent — which is pretty bad as far as statistics go. Combine those with the costly living expenses and you’ve got yourself a millennial wondering if he or she will ever be financially secure. The good news is that your dreams of affording to live the life you imagined isn’t impossible. It’s actually doable even though it does sound unlikely. Here are eight ways a millennial can follow to become a millionaire in five years.

LEARN Devote time in reading about the stock market, investing, and moneymanagement. Reach out to money managers and business experts as well. The key here is to collect as much information about wealth-building strategies as you can. This heap of knowledge will be essential to your success; it will lend you a fresher perspective about money and help you strategize better ways to make yourself a millionaire.

connect with a mentor According to John Boitnott of, some of the most successful people in business today admitted that mentors played a significant role in their career growth. A mentor will prove to be beneficial as he or she can listen to you and help you focus on your goals. A mentor can also offer you insights based on his or hers personal experiences in climbing the job ladder.

save money Learning to budget isn’t something that comes naturally for anyone — especially for millennials — but if you want your millionaire dreams to become a reality, learning how to live within your means is a necessary sacrifice. Forget your luxury cravings for the time being and start setting aside a considerable part of your salary. Sacrifice early so you won’t have to sacrifice later.

don’t settle for less According to Manila Recruitment’s research on Filipino Millennial Employees, 80 percent of millennials would rather take a minimum wage job than not have any job at all. But settling for less is actually doing a disservice to you and your



skills. Do your research and find out how much other people in the same role as yours are making. If you are making less, better take it up to your employer. According to Grant Sabatier of Millennial Money, most people don’t get paid what they’re actually worth because they don’t ask. Don’t make the same mistake.

get out of your comfort zone One rule you have to remember is that you have to constantly grow, even if you are no longer in school. To do this, you have to push yourself and explore unfamiliar territories to gain more experience and knowledge. Take courses that challenge you or learn a new skill until you master it. You’ll find that people pay experts a significant amount of money for their skillset, and that you can use this to your advantage.

start a side hussle Having a side job is a way to generate money aside from the salary you get from your job. This can be anything from driving for Uber, delivering pizzas, building websites or starting a blog. This is also a way for people, who currently hate what they do for a living, do what they love on the side. Use the income you get from your side gig for starting up a new business that will not put a strain on your main income — or better yet, use the money for investing. The future value of your money will be exponentially greater than spending it today. Try using a future value calculator to check how much your money today will amount in the future.

start investing Investing has always been a high risk, high reward type of strategy but there’s no denying that it truly is the key to wealth. Apply the knowledge you have gleaned from books and professionals and use it to evaluate opportunities you might get from companies and their products. Put the money you have saved directly into an investment account or index funds and let it compound over time. You can also allocate a small portion of your money into a company you trust and believe in. Remember that investing the money you save is just as important as saving it in the first place.

practice diligence The road to wealth requires hard work, patience and a healthy amount of risk taking. It is a slow and steady process but it is well worth it. Most millionaires weren’t handed their wealth and only a few them stumble upon it by luck. You can’t rely on winning the lottery to fulfill your millionaire dreams — have perseverance and diligence.




Cool And Useful Apps

For Everyday Living

WRITER Ritchel Mendiola


ur mobile phones have already become an important part of our lives. They have radically transformed the way we work and communicate with other people, making life (and all that comes with it) so much more convenient. And with the right apps, you can unlock your mobile phone’s full potential and use it to its full extent. With the influx of apps being churned out by development companies today, there’s no shortage of them that can cater to your specific needs. It’s all in the matter of downloading the right ones. Here are five cool and useful apps that you can install to make everyday living easier.











SAKAY.PH Commuters can now easily find their way to their destinations with the help of It’s a web service and app that provides commute routes for jeepneys, buses, and trains in Metro Manila. It’s like Google Maps or Waze — but for commuting! First time commuters or direction noobs can breathe a sigh of relief as also gives step-by-step transit directions so you won’t be lost on your way.

HONESTBEE Don’t you sometimes wish that someone would just buy your groceries for you? Yes? Then Honestbee is the app for you, Asia’s leading online concierge and delivery service. It lets you shop your groceries from its partner grocery stores while their trained concierge shoppers handpick your order and deliver it to you on the same day, within a one-hour window.

Fitness buffs will find a friend in CustomFit by Fitness First. This app acts as a digital training system designed to keep you healthy and fit while giving support and motivation. It also guides you through your workouts based on training preferences by providing written and video instructions, duration of exercise, number of reps completed and calories burnt. You can even create your own workout from its library that features over 800 exercises.

TripLingo packs a punch in a slick, user-friendly interface. Perfect for international travelers, this app teaches you a foreign country’s greetings, oft-used phrases and even street slang. Currently, the app supports over 100 countries that include France, Germany, Japan, Korea, China, Spain, Mexico and Thailand. It also features a real-time translator, a currency converter and a culture guide — helping you overcome language and culture barriers for an easy, stress-free trip.

For writers, a word processing software is basically their best friend. There’s a wide range of writing apps in the market to choose from such as Evernote, Ulysses and Scrivener but if you prefer a free, nononsense text editor reminiscent of Microsoft Word, Google Docs is the one for you. As long as you have a Gmail account, you can create, edit and share your documents on your phone — even without internet connection.



Social Media Trends For 2018


WRITER Ritchel Mendiola

ocial media has always presented a wide array of opportunities for marketers and brands to reach their audience and distribute content, making it convenient and essential when it comes to business. 2017 has been huge for different social media platforms: Facebook enticed Snapchat users to Instagram with Instagram stories, Twitter has upgraded its character limit up to 280; and livestream videos have now become mainstream. With 2018 just around the corner, it’s time to get your game face on and start working on your social media strategy to generate better engagement and increase brand loyalty. Here are five social media trends that will have a huge impact in the coming year. Better be prepared.




When Apple introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, they also presented the A11 bionic chip that allows the phones to provide its users with stunning augmented reality experiences. Augmented reality elevates the mobile experience by integrating reality with digital information. With this, apps and games alike will reach a new level of fluidity and realism. While this new technology was initially introduced for mobile gaming, social media platforms will surely find a way to incorporate this to their marketing by 2018.

MORE FOCUS ON CONTENT PERSONALIZATION The last thing anyone wants is irrelevant content that doesn’t speak to them, especially online. Online content that are aligned to consumers’ interests are more likely to be consumed and shared. Meanwhile, unrelated ones are more likely to be ignored or even blocked. According to John Hall from an article on Inc., social media platforms’ analytic tools and business-specific features will become more detailed and valuable to brands as they evolve. Marketers will have better insights to create and distribute

personal content to engage audience.

RISE OF CHATBOTS As technology advances, we grow more accustomed to wanting things in the next five minutes—something quick and instant for our impatient selves. A chatbot basically provides a quick response to their audience with a more personalized feel into it, despite being digital. For businesses and brands that have a huge following, leveraging the power and efficiency of social chatbots for customer service will surely win the hearts of their audience and potential consumers. With this, companies can build more meaningful and lasting relationships with their customers.

VIDEOS WILL GROW MORE VALUABLE Video content has always been important in every kind of social media platform. By streaming compelling content, a video can quickly capture attention and amass a following. By 2018, videos will only get more valuable for producing content and building an audience. Businesses and brands will surely need to produce videos to capture their target audience’s attention.

INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING According to Brookings, 89 percent of millennials find it hard to trust traditional strategies when it comes to advertising. In 2017, the rise of social media-based influencer marketing strategy has proven to connect and improve engagement, making it successful. By next year, other brands and businesses will have ditched the traditional strategies and finally employ social media influencers in order to improve their marketing.

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the art of coming back home.


very Balikbayan embarks on a journey with a sense of purpose. Coming back home is a different story. This is a chapter that always brings with it that familiar feeling of joy and a sense of warmth that only family can provide. It is that respite from the world, that much needed calm after the storm. Come home to The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences. You see, there are hotels. And there are hotels. But, there is only one Picasso.

th e a r t o f f a m i l y

We know how important family is to you, and we realize that Filipinos do not just have big hearts, but they have big families. To say that our rooms are roomy is an understatement; all meticulously crafted, all delightfully spacious: offering style, comfort and sanctuary.

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We want to make sure your sleeping environment is the best it can be. We even have a pillow menu for your comfort! At the end of a long day, head on over for a massage at our Qi Spa for some much needed calm, relaxation and balance.

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Filipinos have redefined the word pasyal! The Picasso is centrally located in the heart of Makatiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Business District. Go for a weekend stroll in the Salcedo Saturday Market, or explore Ayala Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s numerous shops and attractions. Pablo, our in-house restaurant, offers a gastronomic twist on Spanish cuisine, while our deli, Cartel, is a healthy and organic alternative for the mindful epicure.


119 L.P. Leviste St., Salcedo Village Makati City, Philippines 1227 (+63) 2 828 4774 MANAGED BY HOSPITALITY INNOVATORS INC. (HII)




f you’re in the mood to change your style and add a little bit of class and elegance in your everyday look, you have to start investing in pieces that help you improve your appearance. The secret to sophisticated dressing isn’t in the price of your wardrobe, it’s actually just about key elements and mixing and matching them appropriately. Perhaps you already have some of these in your closet, either way, here are nine stylish pieces you need to look classy and elegant.


Stylish pieces

you need to look classy and elegant WRITER Ritchel Mendiola



According to Vanessa Rodriguez of, simple jewelry is the best way to go when you’re aiming for a classy and sophisticated look. Small silver or gold earrings, pearl or diamond studs, long pendants, wristwatch, and silver or gold bangles are some staples that you need in your collection to add an elegant oomph into your outfit.

blazer This is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing you could ever own. Not only can you wear it on both formal and casual settings, you can also pair it with jeans, trousers, skirts and dresses. It’s a fashion staple that works on every outfit variation you can think of, all the while elevating your look and making it classier.

black pumps/heels

black pants

When it comes to investing on a pair of shoes, it’s better to forego trends and choose a classic pair that will carry you through every event and season. A pair of black pumps or heels will not only go with anything in your closet, it will also never go out of style. Wear it to work, lunch meetings or even on off-days when you’re just walking around for an added classy vibe to your look.

The more chic and sophisticated sister of skinny jeans, black pants are perfect for both formal events and casual functions. Choose a pair that is flattering to your shape and it’ll easily transform you into a classy modern woman on the go.

clutch bag A clutch bag — whether it’s a day clutch or an evening one — is another versatile fashion staple that will instantly make you look classier and elegant. Simple yet chic, it’ll go with any outfit effortlessly.

LBD (Little black dress) The Little Black Dress. Classic, elegant and timeless, this is a dress that will transform you into a sophisticated lady once you wear it. Regardless of your age or body shape, it can be your go-to piece for any occasion — for work, nights out or even for casual days. This is a staple clothing that every woman should have in their closet.

red lipstick Often called as confidence in a tube, red lipsticks make women feel more empowered and beautiful. It also enhances your natural beauty and makes your teeth whiter. Perfect for every occasion, red lipsticks add a touch of sultry elegance to your look.

crisp white shirt The basic of the basics, a white shirt will never become passé in the sartorial world. It’s the perfect attire building block as it can be paired with anything from blazers to denim jackets to trousers to skirts. It also provides a polished look to your outfit, making you look classy and sophisticated without sacrificing comfort.

Midi skirt For days when you’re not in the mood to wear jeans or a dress, the midi skirt can be your best friend. Falling just below the knees, this skirt immediately gives your look a classic feminine vibe.




Novodental Philippines - Reach The Unreachable

WRITER Charisse Trinidad




hat if you walked into a dental clinic greeted by warm welcomes and bright comforting white walls? Going to the dentist should never be a literal and proverbial pain for patients. A dental chain that would provide such inspiration for relaxation during cleanings and procedures can now be found within the Metro Manila area. Novodental makes it easier for their patients to pull-off their biannual cleaning. With state of the art dental technology, Novodental offers high quality and advance procedures which are all reasonably affordable. Dentists and nurses believe in “Ultimate Patient Care”. Upon entrance, the clinic’s sight and smell automatically gives off a warm toned atmosphere which sets the charts for professional service yet to come. Some may even be able to relate the clinic to a modern day dental establishment in the United States. Novodental not only wants to be your best go-to dental team, but strives to make you feel nothing but comfort for you and your family when choosing the finest dental clinic.



general dentistry procedures


teeth whitening




gap removal


oral surgery

includes professional cleaning, sealants and other preventive treatments, and restorative procedures such as fillings, etc.

Teethâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s whitening removes the discoloration and restores the original whiteness. Novodental is currently using a state-of-art home treatment. The home treatment begins with a casting of the patientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s teeth made from an impression taken at the office.

These are porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of the teeth. They reshape the tooth and make the tooth whiter in color.

This procedure uses tooth-colored plastic that is bonded to places where there should be tooth material. The removal of gaps makes a significant improvement to a smile.

For More Information on Novodental or if you would like to schedule an appointment, you may contact at 0917-115NOVO (6686), 720-9096. Novodental is open from 11am to 9pm, Monday to Sunday, at the 3rd floor, Ayala Malls the 30th, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City or their new branch at the 3rd level of Pedro Gil Wing, Robinsons Place Manila, 917-158NOVO (6686) | 02-740(NOVO) 6686


Procedures such as surgical extractions, Odontectomy, wisdom tooth removal, and dental implants.




Villa caemilla

beach boutique hotel ACCOMMODATIONS: free wifi Free Shuttle service with our eco e-trike pure beach amenities best rate guaranteed when booking directly welcome drinkg and other freebies free access to our exclusive beachfront

For more information on Villa Caemilla or if you would like to book a room, you may contact them through their email and check out their websites at,

Picture yourself sinking your feet in warm white sand that rests calmly alongside clear waters. As you arrive at the doors of Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel you will be given warm smiles and welcoming salutations from their world class staff. They take great importance in greeting guests by serving them a cool towel and a chilled drink of your choice. Villa Caemilla is a tropical paradise nestled at the most peaceful part of the Philippine’s famous White Beach in Boracay Island. Guests from different parts of the world enjoy this picture perfect beach and find pleasure in basking underneath the sun. The hotel gives off an experience quietude from the bustling city. This beachfront situates itself right on the shoreline of Station 3 which has been known to be the most peaceful part of the Philippine’s famous White Beach in Boracay Island. The hotel showcases a completely up to date and modern design fit for any season or occasion. Ideal for families, couples and honeymooners, this luxurious home away from home can provide you with a guaranteed pleasant stay. By hopping on Villa Caemilla’s complimentary shuttle service from the jetty port to the mellow, you will be able to view the astonishing clear blue waters and velvetysmooth sand. For guests to easily access the wonders of Boracay’s sand and shore, Villa Caemilla has been placed to be just a short 15-minute walk. The stroll leads to the station where tourists make memories they can never forget. Station 2 is known to hold a colorful night life and cheerful parties. As you take your first step, the bright and modern rooms compliment the gleaming aura that the hotel offers. As stated by Wesley van der Voort, Villa Caemilla’s Resort Manager: “The Villa Caemilla Family couldn’t be more proud for winning multiple awards since our opening. We have created a family of different nationalities, learning everyday about what our guests want to experience and adjusting and improving to this on a daily basis. We could not be more proud and happy of our team.” Presented as winner of the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2017, Villa Caemilla offers 39 well-equipped rooms and a bar/restaurant designed to satisfy the expectations of any guest. In addition to the rooms, this wonderful beach boutique provides live music while guests enjoy cocktails from well-trained bartenders or relax and enjoy the sun on beach loungers. Villa Caemilla currently offers new and improved high quality cuisines for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not only do they provide the best rates but they guarantee you high-class service. They take pride in their excellent hospitality and strongly believe that you will not leave without remembering Villa Caemilla as your memorable great escape. Enjoy the best of the tropics right at your doorstep.

Gift Ideas

For The Person Who Has Everything WRITER Charisse Trinidad


hat could you possibly give to a person who clearly has it all? There’s not much options to select from for gift givers, but that does not mean that you should lose all hope. Cost efficient and DIY-based gifts could be a great alternative. Here are some ideas that are perfect for that hard-to-gift person you know:

COOK A MEAL Cooking a meal helps connect a person’s emotional life with food. Making a decent home-cooked meal can be a struggle for people living in the city or people who don’t have much time on their hands. This gift can even be a great advantage for the giver who are non-cooks to step up their knowledge in the kitchen. Cooking a meal helps connect a person’s emotional life with food. Letting the receiver know that you gave importance to their meals can surely make for a great gift.




Unfortunately, not everyone have backyards large enough to accommodate a garden. Who says you need a yard to have a garden? By filling up a box that contains planting materials like garden pots, soil, and seeds can be the perfect gift for that wishful green thumb. They’re cute, fun-sized, and require minimum to zero maintenance. Indoor plants compliment minimalistic themes and can bring out the natural earth vibe within a home. For extra points, try adding shelves to the kit. Shelves help expand a growing garden and give life to a once colorless abode.

DIY SCENTED CANDLES Scented candles have always been an appropriate present no matter what the occasion is. To take it up a notch, try making the candle yourself. By gathering essential materials such as a mason jar, soy candle wax, fragrance oil, colorants, and a how-to-make a candle guide available on the Internet, you’re all set for the personalized candle gift for that special someone.

STAY-AT-HOME SPA KIT A little rest and relaxation never hurt nobody. Stay-athome spa kits can be the ultimate present for someone who is rarely in the position to splurge on local spa services. Grabbing a basket and filling it with body butter, body scrub, homemade bath bombs, or even mud masks would simply do the trick.



Lima Park hotel WRITTEN BY Rose Muñoz-Landicho PHOTOS BY Department of Tourism Peter Cons Edison Manalo Paddle a Dragon Boat on Lake Taal

Make 2018 your Visit Batangas year

Go ahead and make a splash on the lake

It’s definitely more fun in the Philippines, where more than 7,000 islands promise sun, surf, and beach. But there’s more to the Philippines than just island life. And when we say it’s more fun in the Philippines, that’s because there’s so much to discover— heritage, culture, natural re-sources, and man-made landmarks. When you’re planning a great escape and got just a few days to spend, you don’t have to go far. South of the metropolis just a couple of hours or even less is a destination that’s heaped with diverse attractions. Head on to the Lakeshore District of Batangas that is comprised of two cities and seven towns around the famed Taal Lake—Tanauan, Lipa, Malvar, Balete, Sto. Tomas, Talisay, Mataasnakahoy, and San Nicolas. Its rich natural attractions—with Taal Lake, the Volcano Island, and Taal Volcano at its core—are incomparable. Its culture and heritage—vivid and intense. Its people—warm, friendly, and gracious. Here’s a serious fun list of things that you can see, do, eat, and experience at the Lakeshore District of rich Batangas the whole year round. Make 2018 your Visit Batangas year.

01 The great escape Your perfect getaway starts at Lima Park Hotel, the first and only 4-star hotel in Batangas and a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee for three years in a row as recognized by travelers worldwide.

02 Wake up to beautiful mornings Before heading out for your day’s activities, take a few laps in the expansive Horizon Pool, or take a quick dip in its two smaller pools. Marian Orchard

03 explore the little rome of the philippines A pilgrim’s haven, Lipa City is dubbed the “Little Rome of the Philippines” for its numerous Catholic churches, convents, seminaries, and retreat houses. Take time to visit any one of these religious destinations for a glimpse of Catholic devotion.

04 enjoy a huge bowl of batangas lomi This local noodle dish is a hot soup thickened with cassava flour. Batangas Lomi first became popular in the ‘80s and is served in carinderias that dot the roadsides. Enjoy its warm rich soup made more flavorful with the generous amount of meat cuts and seafood toppings.

10 take the perfect brew Indulge in perfect perk-me-up artisan coffee from the Brew Company, found at the lobby of Lima Park Hotel. Pair it with a savory bread, a filling sandwich, or a slice of sinfully-delicious cake.

11 dragon boat Try your hand at rowing a dragon boat on Lake Taal. Want a twist? Gather the squad and try a unique tug-of-war (or tug-of-oars, if you please) on a dragon boat. On a corporate mission? Promote teamwork, camaraderie, and friendship through this unique teambuilding on water activity.

12 pedal through the extreme terrain of balete Take a spin on your bike through the winding, picturesque trails of Balete, known as the Biking Capital of Southern Luzon.

05 go on a bisikleta iglesia Are you a cycling enthusiast, a devotee, or both? Get on your bike and head out to visit the beautiful churches of the Batangas Lakeshore District for a unique Bisikleta Iglesia.

06 take with you the delicious goodness of batangas You shouldn’t miss sumang magkayakap, a local delicacy made from glutinous rice (kaning malagkit), wrapped in banana leaves, then bundled together. Best served with a special coconut caramel sauce. Yum!

After a full day, you can quiet down at Lima Park Hotel’s La Terraza Deck while watching the sky turn from fiery orange to a rich magenta before settling to the deep-set blue of the night. Take a nightcap at the La Terrazza Bar and maybe another dip at the pool. Or simply indulge yourself in a drink while watching the splash and shooting fountain by the pool surrounded by well-manicured gardens. Thursdays and Fridays are acoustics nights, while you can enjoy unlimited beer during happy hours every day of the week. When you’re ready to call it a night, our turndown service will simply lull you to a good night of blissful sleep. May all your sweet dreams come true. Have a great stay!

07 explore the beauty of batangas’ world famous treasure Hop on a Taal Lake Cruise and navigate through Taal Lake to discover the numerous islands and rock formations that dot the lake on board the 30-seater Lady of the Lake catamaran.

08 go on a lava walk The trek along the Lava Walk on Volcano Island in San Nicolas will take you over a terrain covered in black basaltic rocks that are actually hardened volcanic materials spewed by Taal Volcano in past eruptions. Before leaving the island, bring home some dried fish that is a source of income for the small local community on the island. Choose from biya, bangus, red tilapia, even shrimps—all caught from the lake.

09 taal volcano, up-close and personal Did you know that Taal Volcano has 47 known craters and four maars? Find out things you did not know about Taal’s lake, volcano, and the islands at the Taal Lake Conservation Center (TLCC).

Batangas Greenvale bike trail

Lima Park Hotel is a four-star 136-room business and leisure hotel located only 60 minutes away from Makati via the South Luzon Expressway and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR Tollway). Lima Park Hotel is in Lima Technology Center, Malvar, Batangas with contact numbers: +763 43 981.1555 and +63 917 504 2385. Send us an email: Visit Like us on Facebook:



Golden Phoenix

Hotel Manila

Sleep For Success (S4S)


ASAY CITY, MANILA 03 November 2017. Sleep for Success or S4S. “We give you comfort above expectation,” says Ms. Christine Urbanozo-Ibarreta, Director for Sales and Marketing of Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila. We encourage a deep, peaceful sleep for a more centered, spirited, productive, driven, and successful individuals.



Along with the present daily strain and pressure of everyday living, what better time to be a wake-up call to give yourself a most needed break. With its prime location right in the business district’s heart, there is no better place to relax after a long day. A warm and welcoming service, delightful food perfect for two, pampering treatments including massage and nails services, together with the spectacular city lights view that complements your stay with us. Our rooms are equipped with signature chiropractic beds that provide heavenly comfort, the S4S sleep kit complete with sleeping masks, slippers, memory disk integrated with calming music, and

your personal choice of aromatic scents for a perfect sleeping experience. Along with the benefits of the S4S, a portion of the promo will be donated to a scholarship fund to send deserving students back to school.

Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila , located in Pasay City, offers a whole new world of distinctive experiences for corporate and leisure tourists. It is conveniently located next to the biggest shopping mall in the Philippines – SM Mall of Asia, as well as sports and concert venues – SMX Convention Center, MOA Arena, and is in the heart of the Entertainment Center of Metro Manila. The hotel comprises of 281 spacious and fashionably designed rooms and suites, overlooking the downtown metropolis through its floor to ceiling windows

For more information, contact Juan Miguel Barrera of Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila – Sales and Marketing at +63-917-817-9540 or email for a detailed brochure and logo & brand material.






t’s no secret that there are still some circumstances beyond our control when we travel despite careful and thorough planning weeks or months in advance. Delayed flights, lost or stolen luggage and medical emergencies are just some of the unpredictable scenarios one can face. Without travel insurance, disruptions during your trip will end up burning a significant hole in your pocket; however, there are still travelers who choose to disregard purchasing that extra protection. Most trips often times go without a hitch so why add an unnecessary expense on top of the already expensive travel fees? Buying travel insurance is a gamble. No one wants to pay for something unnecessary, but no one wants to regret not buying insurance either. It’s a conundrum. To help lessen the confusion, here are some reasons why buying a travel insurance is worth the risk.

YOU NEED TO CANCEL YOUR TRIP If you suddenly find yourself unable to go on your trip for an unforeseen reason such as you’re required to work, an illness, an accident or a death of a family member, you’ll be able to recover your out-of-pocket expenses with the help of trip cancellation coverage.



YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELLED If your flight is delayed or cancelled due to a natural disaster or your travel provider goes out of business, a travel insurance with trip interruption coverage will reimburse you non-refundable travel costs.

YOU GET SICK OR INJURED on your trip In most countries, medical treatment for visitors is costly. If you require medical attention because of an illness or an injury, travel medical coverage has your back. You won’t end up paying an

expensive medical bill and you’ll have assistance services to locate a hospital and arrange transportation.

YOUR BAGGAGE IS LOST This is the most popular reason why people buy travel insurance. Lost, delayed or stolen luggage can be such a hassle when you’re on a trip; thankfully, travel insurance with baggage delay coverage will provide you a certain amount to purchase the personal items until your baggage is retrieved. Meanwhile, baggage coverage will reimburse you for the value of the lost or stolen baggage and the personal effects included inside.

you need an emergency medical evacuation

If, after all this, you’re still not convinced getting travel insurance is worth it, consider how much of a financial disaster it’ll be if an accident does happen. Isn’t it better to be safe rather than sorry?


In case of accidents, it’s important to have insurance that can cover you. If you find yourself needing immediate medical attention, you’ll need a medically equipped flight to return home or a safe transportation to a medical facility. Typically, medical evacuations can cost tens of thousands of dollars but with medical evacuation coverage included in your travel insurance, you won’t need to completely empty your bank account just to afford this.

Boracay Sandcastles the apartments

List of attractions: Panay day tours windsurfing kiteboarding scuba diving



Boracay SandCastles The Apartments is proud to say that they are the only absolute beachfront fully self-contained apartments on Boracay Island. Each unit is named from colorful Philippine tribes: Aeta, Tagbanua, Kankanay, Mandaya, Ibaloi, Maranaw and Hanuno’o. There are four 1-bedroom units, three of which are absolutely facing the beach. Two-bedroom units of different configurations and amenities are the choices for families and friends up to maximum of six members. Mandaya is the pick of those who long for a bit of quiet and privacy as it’s tucked in inspite of the beautiful views of the beach from its balcony facing north. Friends who wish to be together and yet be independent of each other love the 1-bedroom absolute beachfront units Aeta and Tagbanua, just a hop and a skip away from the water! 1-bedroom absolute beachfront Kankanay on the second level provides a tad of privacy while people-watching. Sweeping views of Boracay’s main beach are available on the large L-shaped balcony of Maranaw, a favorite of families. Terrific sundowner venue! Split-level penthouse Hanuno’o has ample room for a family of six. It’s the largest of the apartments, a hedonist’s fantasy with a spa bath and twin showers in the master’s bedroom. This two-level unit has living space of 330 sqm, comprising a large family room, two bedrooms each with ensuite, a guest bathroom, an open-plan kitchen with breakfast nook opening out to a 200 sqm partly covered beach-fronting roofdeck with laundry facilities, offering unparalleled views of Boracay’s famous beach – great for parties or indulgent romantic interludes! Boracay SandCastles The Apartments – only five minutes’ walk to D’Mall where supermarkets, the wet market, a delicatessen, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops are located. So convenient you can shop and cook your favorite meals in your own kitchen just within the hour. Tribal Bar & Café serves fresh fruit juices, shakes and cocktails on the beach. Toast Wine Bar has wide selection

of New World reds and whites. Light meals, grills, Filipino fare, and western food selections served by our friendly staff from breakfast til midnight. When you got time to spare, take the boat back to Caticlan and have an excursion to Kayak Inn, Tibiao in Antique, only over an hour’s drive away. White water kayaking for the novice, with a local partner porter for each one (only in the Philippines!) Trek through rice paddies and tiny forests to the seven-level waterfalls of Bugtong Bato – brave the third level climb. And be back for a relaxing dip on our original Kawa Hot Bath at Kayak Inn. If you have time to spare, stay overnight and feel the magic of a lovely evening with the fireflies, where only the sound of Tibiao River lulls you to sleep. You’re just at the foothills of majestic Mount Madja-as, you might want to explore some more. Back on Boracay, it’s more water-based activities and lots of partying! Aren’t you glad that you chose to stay with Boracay SandCastles The Apartments? Everything is simply a walk away…………. For bookings and inquiries, you can reach Boracay SandCastles The Apartments through their hotline +63 36 288 3207. You may also email them at




he Lake Hotel Tagaytay, a 90-minute drive away from Manila, is a picture of truly serene and resplendent heaven. The Mediterraneaninspired design and fancy interiors speak of luxurious comfort and elegance, complimented by the calming ambiance of nature and the breathtaking view of Taal Lake. The Lake Hotel Tagaytay is a venue ideal for leisure and relaxation escapades, wedding receptions, company meetings and outings, school retreats and other recreation-oriented activities.

About the hotel The Lake Hotel Tagaytay, managed by the The Lake Hotel Inc. (TLHTI), a locally-



owned Filipino company, started its operations during December 2009. The primary activity of this corporation is to own, develop, manage, engage and operate a hotel business and its multiple services. The hotel is located along General Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Brgy. Maharlika East, Tagaytay City. The Lake Hotel Tagaytay offers a myriad of amenities and services readily available during your stay. There is a 24-hour coffee shop called Lake Cafe Restaurant where you can eat vegetarian specialties, delectable pastries, and unique concoctions while gazing at the beautiful Taal Lake. Other facilities include a Shambala Garden, an infinity pool, a bar and ballroom,

co n fe re n ce a n d function rooms, a kiddie playroom, a 24-hour room service, a massage service, family KTV lounges, a currency exchange counter and souvenir shop. The recreational building houses an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center and a sports center for billiards, table tennis and Fooâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ball. High-speed Internet is accessible everywhere.



WRITER Perry W. PHOTO BY @DiscoveringRoutes


tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a refreshing thing to be able to see a country through lens of a first-timer. Meet the Philippines, as seen by tech entrepreneur Garrett Gee and his sister Miristi Gee. The Filipino American siblings star in the new series, Discovering Routes. Check out some of their favorite filming moments.

CORON WATER Coron has features reminiscent of New Zealand, Bohol, and the corners of Europe. But what made Coron so special was the fact that this is where Miristi went on her first open water dive. For the first time ever, Garrett and Miristi met a dugong. They swam with the majestic animal and called it Norman.

TAGBANUA MUSICIANS The Tagbanua tribe has an unbelievably rich culture and tight-knit community. Garrett and Miristi spent a day off the grid, getting to know the elusive tribe and learning from their elders. They made a lot of friends



A Filipino Millennialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Ultimate Journey

there, including these two boys who happen to be some of their most talented musicians.

ILOILO FESTIVAL Iloilo has the sweetest people on earth and any traveler would be best served to party with them like the siblings did! Garrett and Miristi put on traditional costumes as they led the Pintados de Passi festival.

DISCOVERING HALO-HALO Garrett and Miristi can probably say they ate their way around the country. They tried everything from Cebu’s pritchon to the juicy mangoes of Guimaras. And while they were all delicious, halo-halo was definitely THE cast favorite! It’s pretty for Instagram and it’s refreshing during a hot, humid day.

CEBU MARKET The sites and smells of the dried fish market in Cebu definitely woke up the senses! And if one might need a distraction from the sensory overload, the market is also full of knick-knacks and amazingly beautiful people like this grandma selling sweet bananas.

KIDS OF LOBOC There are so many beautiful things about the Philippines but by far, their most awesome experience was meeting people. Meet these awardwinning, uber-talented kids of the Loboc Children’s Choir. Not only did they win multiple international awards in Italy this year, but they have a long history of being one of the world’s absolute best. A new production by ABS-CBN Global Studios, Discovering Routes has a digital series with new webisodes on Mondays and Thursdays on It’s TV series currently airs all around the world on Myx TV and Lifestyle Network and in the Philippines on Lifestyle TV.




how do filipinos


christmas ? WRITER Charisse Trrinidad


ilipinos are known to go above and beyond for the holidays as they mark the Christmas season as early as the first day of September. This season simply brings family and friends together. Here are several ways that Filipinos choose to commemorate the season of joy and happiness.

SIMBANG GABI (NIGHT MASS) Attending this traditional night mass has become a special norm due to the fact that many religious catholic devotees and families are able to come together. During each mass there have been several parishes within the Philippines that ask one or two family members to light a candle. This symbolizes as a celebration and preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ as a Catholic family. When there has been an increase of violence and broken family relationships happening around the world on a daily basis, Simbang Gabi has helped change those incidents by replacing it with heartwarming togetherness. A tradition that begins on December 16 and ends on December 24, Simbang Gabi is usually conducted around 3 AM to 5 AM for nine days straight. Filipinos strongly believe that if they devote and complete all nine days of the Simbang Gabi, at least one holiday wish will be granted.

together in one household for a feast. The food is normally served in the style of a buffet. The most common dishes placed on and at the center of the table are lechón (roasted pig), pancit noodles, fruit salad, queso de bola, spaghetti, and assorted pastries. Filipinos set Christmas dinner from 10pm to 11pm so that the families can attend a midnight mass. Noche Buena is a day of family comfort and warmth, which has been practiced in the Filipino tradition for countless years.

Photo by Father Danny

PAROL (LANTERNS) A Filipino Christmas is never complete without a parol. These star-shaped lanterns have been made to represent Filipino craftsmanship when it comes to Christmas ornaments. Parols are made up of papél de japón (Japanese Paper), bamboo, and brightened with a candle. Filipinos hang the ornament outside of their houses to portray the star of Bethlehem that led the Three Wise Men to reach the manger of Jesus Christ. The festival of lights became a huge event for Filipinos because of these special lanterns. Not only were they made for households, but also for schools and offices.

Photo by Doctony Photography

PUTO BUMBONG One of the most famous delicacies during Christmas season in the Philippines is the puto bumbong. This seasonal treat displays a striking feature of purple colored rice packed in bamboo tubes and steamed. The dish is topped with melted butter then served with a side of coconut shavings and brown sugar. Puto bumbong is usually sold by street vendors near churches. This rice cake is only offered during the holidays so it would be a shame to pass up on a great opportunity to grab a bite. It demands a large amount of effort to make this special dish, which is why it is cherished and enjoyed by many Filipinos during the Yuletide season.

NOCHE BUENA “Noche Buena” or “Night of Goodness” is a Filipino Christmas tradition taken from the influence of Spaniards. This celebration promotes extended families to come

Photo by kerlynb/philippinetravelouge



tips for

highly effective new year’s resolution WRITER Ritchel Mendiola


ith 2017 almost ending, it’s time to create another list of resolutions for the new year. Some might skip, saying it’s a struggle to keep their resolutions — but it doesn’t have to be so difficult! “It’s only hard because people don’t put in enough effort to allow them to succeed,” said Art Markman of Here are five tips for a highly effective New Year’s resolutions.

KNOW YOUR REASON It’s easy to come up and jot down your resolutions for the new year, but you have to know why you’re making it a resolution in the first place. According to Margie Warrell, a contributor on, your resolutions have to go beyond superficial desires and connect with what truly matters most to you. Understanding the reason behind your resolution will give you a deeper sense of purpose and compel you to stay on track despite any hindrance.




Resolutions like have a healthier lifestyle, lose weight, save money are most likely to fail because they lack specificity. After you find out the reason for your resolution, you have to clearly define the direction you’re going to take to get to your goal. You’ll be able to track your progress better with a clear, specified resolution. For instance, if you want to be healthier and lose the holiday weight you put on, schedule workouts that’ll fit into every week and specify how much weight you’d like to shed.

BE REALISTIC There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal at a challenging level; after all, the sky’s the limit, right? But if your resolution for the new year is something along the lines of becoming a millionaire, you might be setting yourself up for failure especially if you don’t have the resources required to reach the goal. According to, an unrealistic resolution is not a goal but a wish. So come up with attainable goals and ground them in reality instead.

FOCUS ON YOUR PROCESS There’s truth in the axiom: “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” The thing is, most people only concentrate on the result of something, which in turn makes them shortsighted and more likely to give up when their efforts don’t produce immediate results. Keep in mind what Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits, said: “You’re more likely to reach your goals if you focus on the steps you need to take to get there, rather than the end result itself.”

GIVE YOURSELF TIME It takes 21 days for a habit to form, and another six months for it to integrate itself

into your daily routine. If you’re struggling with keeping up with your resolution and managed to stray off-track, forgive yourself and get back up! Remember that you still have a whole year to do it. “Slipping is part of the process,” Richard O’Connor, author of Happy At Last: The Thinking Person’s Guide To Finding Joy, reminded his readers. The bottomline is: change is difficult, but don’t forget that each and every one of us has the innate ability to make changes in our lives, no matter our habits and routines. So your resolutions? Keep at it and don’t let anything set you back.

Tap to your destination. Created and designed by locals for travelers searching for only the best places to eat, drink, shop, watch, stay, invest, and play in the Philippines.

0110 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; ISSUE 56

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November 2017 - January 2018 Balikbayan Magazine  
November 2017 - January 2018 Balikbayan Magazine