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Twin-airport tack solution to air, land traffic woes in Luzon
‘Build Sangley-Clark railway link’ A By Lorenz S. Marasigan & Recto Mercene
DOPTING a twin-airport policy—one in the north and another in the south—is the most beneficial strategy that the government can undertake, an official from a party that offered to build a new international gateway in Sangley, Cavite, said on Thursday.
LIM: “We can have two airports we can be proud of, not just one. Clark is underutilized because it really needs to have a new terminal and infrastructure for easy access. It is the one that must be privatized, not Naia.”
Washington, D.C., model
Former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo backed the dualairport proposal system for the Philippines, much like what the former government official saw in
Ragsac19 | Dreamstime.com
All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. (ARRC) Vice President Edmund Lim said the government and the public stand to benefit the most when such a policy has been put in place. He said the country should have two international gateway airports—one in Sangley and another in Clark—for public convenience and to cope with demand growth in the future. “These two are strategically located to serve the northern and southern parts of Luzon. Those in Metro Manila can choose which one is more convenient to them, which will also help ease traffic,” he said.
Continued on A2
Expert: PHL should implement sustainable forest management to end illegal logging
nvironment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez has vowed to intensify the campaign against illegal logging to protect the country’s watershed areas, a campaign which may be doomed to fail unless measures promoting investment in sustainable forest management is put in place, a forestry expert said.
Tonyoquias | Dreamstime.com
PESO exchange rates n US 49.9250
By Jonathan L. Mayuga
The renewed drive against illegal logging is in line with President Duterte’s marching order to enforce a total log ban, especially within watersheds, following massive flooding in Agusan and other Caraga provinces last month. “We will intensify the campaign against illegal logging, and Victor Corpuz will lead the task force,” Lopez told reporters at a news conference, as she announced the cancellation of 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) and the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project Financial and/or Technical Assistance (FTAA) at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) early this week. The official earlier blamed the flooding in Agusan, which prompted the government to implement
Valdez: “The government should allow private-sector investment to come in by opening CBFMs. The private companies will invest and provide technical training while the communities will have jobs. A sharing scheme can be forged for mutual benefit.”
forced evacuation in Agusan del Sur, to the destruction brought by logging and mining in the area. The cancellation of the MPSAs, a preventive measure, aims to protect and conserve the country’s fresh-water supply, against the impact of mining operations, Lopez pointed out. Continued on A2
n japan 0.4409 n UK 62.3463 n HK 6.4345 n CHINA 7.2841 n singapore 35.2453 n australia 38.4023 n EU 53.2999 n SAUDI arabia 13.3158
Source: BSP (17 February 2017 )
A2 Sunday, February 19, 2017
Expert: PHL should implement sustainable forest management to end illegal logging Continued from A1
DENR Undersecretary and National Anti-Environmental Crime Task Force Head Arturo Valdez admitted the resurgence of illegal logging activities, and vowed to mount the campaign in so-called illegal logging hot spots. Executive Order (EO) 23 signed by former President Benigno S. Aquino III prohibits the cutting and harvesting of trees in natural and residual forests. The logging ban and intensified campaign under the Aquino administration, according to the DENR had reduced the number of illegal logging hot spots from 197 to just 27. The DENR donated the confiscated hot logs to the Department of Education and were later crafted to make school furniture. Acknowledging Duterte’s order to study the current policy against illegal logging, Lopez vowed there will be “no letup” in the campaign, with Corpuz leading the charge. Lopez plans to use the budget for the Enhanced National Greening Program to create more green jobs and help would-be affected miners with the impending closure of 23 large-scale metallic mines and suspension of five others, pending a review by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council.
Mining industry’s big players under the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), which has filed an opposition before the Commission on Appointments to block Lopez’s confirmation, had
said that 1.2 million people are “condemned to hunger and poverty” with Lopez’s actions. COMP argued that private sector and mining companies have planted the most number of trees— over 2 million—in the last five years in support of the government’s massive reforestation program. It also claimed that mining companies implement progressive rehabilitation in mine sites and tapped local communities in the creation of green jobs and livelihood opportunities.
Meanwhile, Tom Valdez, president of Society of Filipino Foresters Inc., said imposing a total log ban will not address illegal logging. Instead of a total log ban, Valdez said the government should implement sustainable forest management and allow the private sector to help in the reforestation through the establishment of more forest plantations and public-private-community partnership (PPCP). “Since EO 23 was enforced, did it really stop illegal logging? Baka nga lumala pa,” Valdez, a graduate at the University of the Philippines Los Baños who worked as a forester for 13 years before joining the San Roque Power Corp., pointed out. Speaking mostly in Tagalog, Valdez, who sits as cochairman of the Interim National Government Board for Establishment of a Philippine Forest Certification System, said he supports the massive reforestation of the country’s degraded and denuded forest. The board, which is composed of representatives from the wood industry, non-governmen-
tal organizations, civil-society organizations, and the Society of Filipino Foresters and concerned national government agencies such as the DENR and the Department of Trade and Industry, is currently organizing and building the capabilities of the wood industry and forestry sector. He said the people need wood and cutting of trees for fuel alone cannot be stopped by the government. At the same time, Valdez said the wood industry is already importing more than half of its wood supply to sustain the wood industry. As a forester himself, he added the government has no capacity to protect the country’s vast forest and would need the support of the private sector and the community.
Forest cleared for agriculture in Palanan, Isabela. Antonio Oquias | Dreamstime.com
Valdez said the government should open up its communitybased forest management (CBFM) areas to private-sector investment, reinforcing the program that will be beneficial to the wood industry, as well as the community. This will also help lessen the burden on the part of the government in terms of covering more areas for reforestation. “The government should allow private-sector investment to come in by opening CBFMs. The private companies will invest and provide technical training, while the communities will have jobs. A sharing scheme can be forged for mutual benefit,” he told the BusinessMirror in a telephone interview. Valdez echoed the concerns aired by the Philippine Wood Producers Association on the possible decla-
ration of a total log ban that will include plantation forests established by the private sector, individuals and NGOs in government lands through the integrated forest management agreements and socialized industrial forest management agreements and CBFMAs. “For public-sector investment in forest rehabilitation to flow in, we need the private sector and community support. But first, we need an enabling policy environment to build investor confidence,” he explained. Valdez said measures should be enacted by Congress to protect the private-sector investment in forest rehabilitation that will boost forestry contribution to the country’s growth and development, and its contribution to the economy in terms of exports, jobs and liveli-
hood opportunities. He added the country is now import-dependent and forestry’s contribution to the economy is miniscule. This, he said, is because the country’s forest is already denuded, and cutting in natural forests is prohibited under EO 23. “Kasi wala ng cutting. Walang supply. Halos wala. Meron siguro [supply] iyong imported from other countries,” he said. According to Valdez, forestry’s contribution to the economy will increase, eventually, but this should start with an admission that, in the past, the forests were gravely abused, and that this time we have the opportunity to bring it back. Valdez said the Society of Filipino Foresters and the Philippine Networks of Forestry Schools are
developing the sustainable forestry road map—a private-sector initiative. “We will present it in October during a convention in Davao,” he said. For investment in forestry to come in, Valdez said, the government should ensure that the policy is stable and that forest certification should be implemented. Forest certification is now being done in other countries, he added, and it is high time that the Philippines had its own to ensure buyers that the trees or wood were harvested legally, and in a sustainable manner that does not harm forest ecosystems. With abundant local wood supply and duly certified as coming from environment-friendly sources, demand for illegally logged trees will eventually stop, Valdez said.
‘Build Sangley-Clark railway link’ Continued from A1
Washington, D.C., where he lived for 10 years as a student. He said under a dual airport system, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1 would be gradually phased out and Naia 2 would be converted into a domestic terminal, while Naia 3 remains as an interim international airport. On the other hand, de Ocampo said the government should construct a modular terminal in Clark, which would be built as a tourism hub “and finally move there while Naia 2 and Naia 3 evolve as a combination of domestic airport and terminal for flights by Philippine Airlines and others.” De Ocampo said Thailand and Vietnam have modern airports, and “I can go on and on and on… and [that] I’m sure it has not escaped the notice of our leaders, political and otherwise, that time and time again, we found ourselves [amid] airports [that have gone] from bad to worse. In short, we’ve known this for such a long time and the time has come for us to do something about it.” He added a dual-airport system combining the Naia with Clark “is the logic behind the Dulles and Reagan airports in Washington, D.C.” “Those that are far away land in Dulles and some flights that are more or less nearby also land in Reagan,” he said during a conference at the Asian Institute of Management, sponsored by the Arangkada Philippines and the Joint Chambers of Commerce in the Philippines (JCCP). The two groups forwarded an Air Transport Infrastructure Policy Brief that offers recommendations to address key issues, which hinder the Philippines from becoming the preferred investment destination for air transport and tourism.
Sangley airport push
Lim added that an international airport in Sangley can be up and running in four to five years’ time after the government gives a notice to proceed. “It will be built by our company in partnership with foreign partners without the need for a single cent from the government.
We have already signed all the contracts to make this happen. We are ready, but we need the government to give its nod,” he said. Clark, he added, only needs to be upgraded and “perhaps be the one whose operations and maintenance should be privatized.” The government had planned to bid out the operations and maintenance contract of the Naia, but has shelved the plan in the meantime. The Naia has two intersecting runways and limited space for expansion, especially for a new parallel runway. “We can have two airports we can be proud of, not just one. Clark is underutilized because it really needs to have a new terminal and infrastructure for easy access. It is the one that must be privatized, not the Naia,” Lim said. Some of the recommended reforms include decongesting and improving the Naia; implementing a multi-airport system policy in the greater capital region and accelerating the development of Clark; accelerating the development of secondary international gateways and provincial airports; modernizing and strengthening institutions and regulations (such as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, creation of a national transportation safety board, etc.); and improving the business environment and facilitating travel (i.e., lower application fees, provision of CIQs or Customs, immigration quarantine at international airports, among others). Air transport stimulates economic growth, generating almost 1.44 million jobs in the Philippines, and increasing the GDP by $9.8 billion, including benefits to the tourism sector.
“Twenty-one years have passed and we’ve spent a lot of money and a lot of time for consultants to say something that I said without getting paid,” de Ocampo said partly in jest, adding the idea of a dual airport system was originally proposed during the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos. But how do you transfer from Clark to Manila? A common ques-
tion among many Filipinos, which he answers: “Of course, you build a railway.” Another persistent question that de Ocampo also answered is the expense of building a railway. “You can either look at it as an expense or you can look at it as an investment,” the finance expert said. He added that other countries have done the same thing “for their great benefit”. According to de Ocampo, localities surrounding airports could develop “to such an extent that it expands the tax base if you are thinking of where you are going to get the money and, at the same time, provide opportunities for employment [since] expands the development of the area by quantum leaps.” De Ocampo proposed the construction of a medium-speed rail between Manila and Clark. “We ’re not even aiming for a bullet train, but a medium-speed [train system].”
He, however, junked the idea of using the existing Philippine National Railways (PNR) right-ofway in Central Luzon “because it is convoluted, [and] it passes through highly dense populated areas and you end up chugging along at the speed of a PNR train at 40 kph.” De Ocampo, who was named Finance Minister of the Year by several organizations and was chairman and CEO of the Development Bank of the Philippines in 1989, said we should not be talking of just about airports or transportation. “But if you look at it as only about airports and look at it as only about traffic, you may just miss the bigger picture.” “This is about urban congestion and our chance in a lifetime to solve it to enable to disperse the city outward and to create a new megalopolis that would be the main magnet of economic activity for the rest of the nation. You simply had to disperse the city outward,” he said. He said London did it back in the 19th century, when it was facing the same problem with traffic gridlocks.
Trump, in rambling defense, calls his administration a ‘fine-tuned machine’
ASHINGTON—President Donald J. Trump dismissed reports about contacts between his advisers and Russia on Thursday, and defended his performance in his first four weeks in office in a contentious news conference that showcased his unconventional and unconstrained presidency. At a hastily organized White House event ostensibly intended to announce a new labor secretary, Trump engaged in an extended attack on the news media and boasted that his new administration was a “fine-tuned machine”, not the chaotic operation perceived by many in Washington. The challenges, he said, were a result of his predecessors. “To be honest, I inherited a mess, a mess, at home and abroad, a mess,” he said. Over the course of about an hour-and-a-half, the President revealed that he had asked the Justice Department to investigate leaks, said he would sign a new executive order next week restricting travel to the United States and promised to produce in March a plan to repeal and replace his predecessor’s health care system, followed by another plan to overhaul the tax system. But the session was marked by an extraordinarily raw and angry defense the likes of which has never been seen in a modern W hite House. At times abrupt, often rambling, characteristica l ly boast f u l yet seemingly pained at the portrayals of him, Trump seemed intent on reproducing the energy and excitement of his campaign after a month of grinding governance. He returned repeatedly to his contest with Hillary Clinton and at one point plaintively pleaded for understanding. “The tone is such hatred,” he said, referring to the commentary about him on cable television. “I’m really not a bad person.” Trump disputed any contention that the W hite House was out of control or not fully functional. “ There has never been
a presidency that has done so much in such a short period of time,” he said. “And we haven’t even started the big work that starts early next week.” “Jobs are pouring out of the country,” he said. “See what’s going on with all of the companies leaving the country, going to Mexico and other places.” Overseas, he said, he found “disaster.” “We’re going to take care of it all,” he said. “I just want you to know I inherited a mess.” Trump offered his first extended description of his decision to fire Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and others in the White House about the contents of a conversation with Russia’s ambassador last December. Trump said he was not bothered that Flynn had talked with the ambassador before even arriving at the White House. “When I looked at the information, I said, I don’t think he did anything wrong,” Trump said. “In fact, I think he did something right.” The problem, he said, was that Flynn had told Pence that sanctions did not come up during the conversation, an assertion belied by a transcript of the call, which had been monitored by US intelligence agencies. “The thing is he didn’t tell our vice president properly and then he said he didn’t remember,” Trump said. “So either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me.” But reports about contacts between his campaign aides, other associates and Russia were “fake news put out by the media,” he said. In response to questions, he said he had no contact with Russia during the campaign but did not directly respond to questions about whether some of his advisers had. The New York Times reported this week that phone records and intercepted calls showed that some of his associates had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. New York Times News Service
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Asia trade pact skids onto tricky ground on free migration issue
n Asian trade pact in focus after President Donald J. Trump pulled out of a rival deal has struck trouble over an issue that’s tripped up politicians from Europe to the US borders.
The free movement of people, something India wants for highly skilled information technology workers, remains a major sticking point for the 16-party deal, even as China pushes for an accelerated time line to finalize the agreement. It’s set to come up again at the next round of talks in Japan in late February. Having seen how migration has become a political grenade elsewhere—from Brexit in the UK to Trump’s election win in the US—Asian nations are wary about the liberalization of serv ices. T he A sean, in mov ing toward economic integration, has carefully avoided decisions on allowing the free movement of people. “In Asia the issue of migrants h a s a lw ay s been about con trol, especially in Asean,” said Bhubhindar Singh, an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “It’s not simply an issue of looking at the economic impact of migration.” Some countries have significant domestic obstacles to a more relaxed policy, Singh added. The dispute is expected to dominate talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Kobe from February 27, as China continues to champion free trade and pushes member-states for across-theboard tariff cuts.
India is arguing for the liberalization of services, a sector that contributes over 50 percent to its GDP, while resisting broad tariff cuts, according to two officials. It has agreed to provide similar tariff reductions to all RCEP members, but wants a built-in safeguard regarding China that will involve a different structure for duty cuts, they said. India is also seeking multiple entry visas and a single-visa card to facilitate entry to membereconomies, the officials said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. And it wants an easing of restrictions on ser vices, such as call centers and the establishment of foreign company subsidiaries providing services in other countries, like banks opening branches overseas. The country is under no pressure for an early conclusion of the deal and will protect its interests in the talks, India’s Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Bloomberg on February 9. “We are clear that our commitments
in goods will be as deep as their commitment on services,” she said.
The meeting in Kobe follows Trump’s move to withdraw the US from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), turning the spotlight onto the RCEP, which would account for almost 30 percent of global GDP and over a quarter of world exports. It involves the 10 members of Asean plus its six free trade agreement partners— China, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan. China is expected to lead the talks and exert direct pressure on India to wrap up the deal as soon as possible, said Rajeev Kher, a former India commerce secretary. Still, “since the US has withdrawn from the TPP, the lateral pressure which was building on the RCEP is now gone,” Kher said. “The discussions can now be based on their regional needs and not under the looming tension of TPP.”
gion,” Sally said. “It’s just difficult to believe that China is going to be a champion of global trade given what’s happening domestically” with Xi tightening political control. Added to that, India is “particularly defensive vis-à-vis China because India is flooded with Chinese imports.” Its trade deficit with China widened to $52.68 billion in 2015 and 2016, from $48.48 billion in 2014 and 2015, according to government data. RCEP will cover trade, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition and dispute-settlement mechanisms. Unlike the TPP, it won’t include issues like labor rights or environmental protections. The RCEP negotiations started in late 2012. Biswajit Dhar, an economics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said the meeting in Kobe comes at a “very interesting juncture”.
TPP vs RCEP
Neither India nor China are interested in agreeing to actions that could diminish their domestic interests, said Razeen Sally, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore. For example, China is not going to open up sectors now dominated by its state-owned enterprises such as oil and gas, Sally said. “It’s good to amalgamate the hodge-podge of FTAs in the re-
In Asia the issue of migrants has always been about control, especially in Asean. It’s not simply an issue of looking at the economic impact of migration.”—Singh
“There’s going to be more aggression to bring in services,” Dhar said. “There will be problems—I don’t think Asean members are really prepared to go that way. There is a clear sense that they want to clear goods first and then move onto services.” China and India are the most important elements for RCEP in terms of market access. Kher said with China set to be a major beneficiary in goods, “India should identify products which come from that region and are used as raw materials, and insist on cutting down tariffs on these inputs.” “There should be an understanding that China will not create tariff or non-tariff barriers for these items,” Kher said. “We can have special annexures with China on these issues.” Bloomberg News
US president’s contempt for trade deals spurs anxiety: What’s next? By Paul Wiseman
The Associated Press
A SHINGTON—Donald J. Trump is moving quickly to dismantle seven decades of American policy built on trade deals and multinational alliances that help fuel the US and global economies. And no one is sure what will replace them. The void risks intensifying uncertainty at home and abroad. Without knowing whether trade will be disrupted, business people in the United States and abroad could be forced to rethink their plans. “The big problem comes when there is uncertainty,” said Marcus Moufarrige of Servcorp, a company in Sydney, Australia, that sells office space and technology services abroad. “Uncertainty stops businesses from making decisions. It stops everything.” For now, stock prices are soaring as investors focus on Trump’s pledge to cut taxes and business regulations. But his break with the past is raising worries among some. Fitch Ratings, for instance, warns that the uncertainty surrounding Trump’s policies poses globa l r isks—from disr upted trade relations to confrontations that unnerve investors. The president’s hostility toward existing trade deals and suspicion of long-term allies is also leaving a vacuum in global leadership— one that China seems eager to fill. President Xi Jinping last month became the first Chinese head of state to attend an annual gathering of business elites in Davos, Switzerland. Xi used the occasion to
declare China a champion of free trade, usurping the traditional US role as the leading booster of globalization. China, the world’s leading exporter, wants to expand its global influence. Trump has offered few details of his trade plans, beyond pressuring US companies to keep or create jobs in America, taking a tougher line in forging deals and slapping tariffs on nations that are deemed to exploit the US. “There’s not a lot of substance to his policies,” said Gordon Hanson, director of the University of California San Diego’s Center on Global Transformation. “It consists of two things: Jaw-boning corporate America—‘create more jobs here or else’—and across-theboard trade protectionism.” Companies heavily involved in imports or exports can’t easily develop their business plans without knowing what specific moves Trump will embrace or achieve. Among the uncertainties: n Will Trump insist on taxing imports if he doesn’t get the concessions he wants from America’s trading partners? n If America abandons existing agreements, would allies trust it to adhere to any new trade deals? n Would Trump risk igniting a trade war whereby other countries impose retaliatory taxes and sanctions on US goods? Will America’s old alliances endure? If not, what replaces them? Trump argues that the existing order has short-changed America—especially blue-collar US workers—exposing them to unfair competition with low-wage foreign laborers and to unjust trade prac-
President Donald J. Trump signs an executive order to withdraw the US from the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact agreed to under the Obama administration in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Less than a month into his presidency, Trump is already dismantling seven decades of American policy by pulling back from established trade agreements, such as the TPP, and questioning long-standing global alliances. AP
tices by China and others. The result, he said in his inaugural speech, is “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation”. “From this day forward,” Trump declared, “it’s going to be only America first.” His words resonate among communities that blame low-wage foreign competition for the loss of 4.8 million US factory jobs since 2000 and among families whose incomes have stagnated. Trump has pulled the US out of a 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade accord negotiated by the Obama administration. He’s intent on renegotiating a pact with Mexico and Canada—and dumping it if he can’t improve the version in place since 1994. He’s questioned Nato’s usefulness, considered slashing America’s financial contribution to the United Nations and bickered
with allies Mexico and Australia. Critics say Trump is tearing down an international system that nurtured peace after World War II, encouraged global commerce, lifted much of East Asia out of poverty and empowered the US to become the world ’s leading superpower. “This is the biggest reversal we’ve had since World War II,” said Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think tank that promotes free trade. “It does have echoes of the ’20s and ’30s, when the US said, to its detriment, that everyone else is ripping us off.” In Roseville, Illinois, a soybean and corn farmer named Ron Moore had expected to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 Asia-Pacific countries. The TPP would have pried open Japan’s market to more US farm exports,
thereby benefiting US cattle and hog farmers. Moore provides feed to those livestock producers. “It was going to add value to my soybeans,” said Moore, whose soybeans are shipped down the Mississippi River to New Orleans and often on to China and other foreign markets. “We’re a little disappointed.” The TPP had stalled in Congress. But Trump officially pulled out of the deal, saying he could do better by negotiating with countries one on one. Some critics backed his argument. They argued that the TPP would have killed American jobs by exposing US workers to low-wage competition in Southeast Asia. But the TPP was also a diplomatic effort to counter China’s influence in Asia. Now, writes economist Gareth Leather at Capital Economics, “the demise of the TPP has created an opportunity for China”. “ W ho w i l l negot i ate w it h us if we renege on our deals?” asked Hanson of the University of California San Diego. Also in Trump’s crosshairs: The North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with Mexico and Canada, which he’s called the worst trade deal the US has ever negotiated. Trump says he wants to renegotiate Nafta or scrap it. He’s also threatened to tax US companies that move to Mexico and ship goods back to the US. Since Nafta took effect 23 years ago, the US trade gap with Mexico has surged as factories moved south of the border to capitalize on cheaper Mexican labor. Some analysts echo Trump’s criticism that existing trade deals
have hurt many Americans. “Nafta is packed with incentives to offshore jobs,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, which opposes many existing pacts. “Nafta must be replaced—not tweaked— to actually deliver better outcomes for working people.” But US exporters benefited from Mexican purchases, too. And many companies have built complex supply chains that span the US-Mexico border. Pulling out of Nafta wou ld threaten their operations. Trump says his shift in policy—along with big ta x cuts and looser regulation—would restore countless factor y and mining jobs. Most economists are skeptical. If the US imposes ta xes on Chinese a nd Me x i c a n i mp or t s , t he y war n, those countr ies wou ld impose ta xes of their own on US exporters. The result could be a job-killing trade war. Even if Trump does draw some factories back to America, he’d face another problem: They aren’t the huge employers they used to be. American factories produce more than twice as much as they did when manufacturing employment peaked in 1979—with fewer than two-thirds the workers. “The jobs we lost in manufacturing were in 20th-century factories that employed lots of people,” UC San Diego’s Hanson said. It would also be hard to undo decades of globalization. In 1960 t rade — e x por t s a nd i mpor t s combined—equaled 9 percent of US economic output. By 2015 it was 28 percent, according to the World Bank.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
An ancient Syrian city Isis is destroying, preserved online
A group marches through downtown heading to the Texas Capitol during an immigration protest in Austin, Texas. AP
‘Day Without Immigrants’: Protest closes restaurants in key US cities
HILADELPHIA—The heart of Philadelphia’s Italian Market was uncommonly quiet. Fine restaurants in New York, San Francisco and the nation’s capital closed for the day. Grocery stores, food trucks, coffee shops, diners and taco joints in places like Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston shut down. Immigrants around the US stayed home from work and school on Thursday to demonstrate how important they are to America’s economy, and many businesses closed in solidarity, in a nationwide protest called A Day Without Immigrants. The boycott was aimed squarely at President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to step up deportations, build a wall at the Mexican border and close the nation’s doors to many travelers. Organizers said they expected thousands to participate or otherwise show support. It was unclear how many people participated, but in many cities, the actions were disruptive, if not halting. More actions are being planned for May 1— known as May Day, the internationally recognized holiday honoring workers. “I fear every day whether I am going to make it back home. I don’t know if my mom will make it home,” said Hessel Duarte, a 17-year-old native of Honduras who lives in Austin, Texas, with his family and sk ipped class at his high school to take part in one of several rallies held around the country. Duarte said he arrived in the US at age 5 to escape gang violence. The protest even reached into the US Capitol, where a Senate coffee shop was among the eateries that were closed as employees did not show up at work. Organizers appealed to immigrants from all walks of life to take part, but the effects were felt most strongly in the restaurant industry, which has long been a first step up the economic ladder for newcomers to America with its many jobs for cooks, dishwashers and servers. Restaurant owners with immigrant roots of their own were among those acting in solidarity with
workers. Expensive restaurants and fast-food joints alike closed, some perhaps because they had no choice, others because of what they said was sympathy for their immigrant employees. Sushi bars, Brazilian steakhouses, Mexican eateries and Thai and Italian restaurants all turned away lunchtime customers. “The really important dynamic to note is this is not antagonistic, employee-against-employer,” said Janet Murguia, president of the Hispanic rights group National Council of La Raza. “This is employers and workers standing together, not in conflict.” She added: “Businesses cannot function without immigrant workers today.” At a White House news conference held as the lunch-hour protests unfolded, Trump boasted of his border-security measures and immigration arrests of hundreds of people in the past week, saying, “We are saving lives every single day.” Since the end of 2007, the number of foreign-born workers employed in the US has climbed by nearly 3.1 million to 25.9 million; they account for 56 percent of the increase in US employment over that period, according to the Labor Department. Roughly 12 million people are employed in the restaurant industry, and immigrants make up the majority—up to 70 percent in places like New York and Chicago, according to the Restaurant Op-
portunities Centers United, which works to improve working conditions. An estimated 1.3 million in the industry are immigrants in the US illegally, the group said. The construction industr y, which, likewise, employs large numbers of immigrants, also felt the effects of Thursday’s protest. Shea Frederick, who owns a small construction company in Baltimore, showed up at 7 a.m. at a home he is renovating and found that he was all alone, with a load of drywall ready for install. He soon understood why: His crew, five immigrants, called to say they weren’t coming to work. They were joining the protests. “I had an entire day of full work,” he said. “I have inspectors lined up to inspect the place, and now they’re thrown off, and you do it the day before the weekend and it pushes things off even more. It sucks, but it’s understandable.” Frederick said, that while he fundamentally agrees with the action, and appreciates why his crew felt the need to participate, he feels his business is being made to suffer as a result of the president’s policies. “It’s hurting the wrong people,” he said. “A gigantic part of this state didn’t vote this person in, and we’re paying for his terrible decisions.” There were no immediate estimates of how many students stayed home in many cities. Many student absences may not be excused, and some people who skipped work will lose a day’s pay or perhaps even their jobs. But organizers and participants argued the cause was worth it. A school board official said that more than 1,100 students went on strike at Dallas Independent School District schools. Marcela Ardaya-Vargas, who is from Bolivia and now lives in Falls Church, Virginia, pulled her son out of school to take him to a march in Washington. “When he asked why he wasn’t going to school, I told him because today he was going to learn about immigration,” she said, adding: “Our job as citizens is to unite with
The really important dynamic to note is this is not antagonistic, employee-against-employer. “This is employers and workers standing together, not in conflict.”—Marguia
our brothers and sisters.” Carmen Solis, a Mexico-born US citizen, took the day off from work as a project manager and brought her two children to a rally in Chicago. “I feel like our community is going to be racially profiled and harassed,” she said of Trump’s immigration policies. “It’s very upsetting. People like to take out their anger on the immigrants, but employers are making profits off of them. “ On Ninth Street in South Philadelphia’s Italian Market, it was so quiet in the morning that Rani Vasudeva thought it might be Monday, when many of the businesses on the normally bustling stretch are closed. Produce st a nd s a nd ot her stalls along “Calle Nueve”—as 9th Street is more commonly known for its abundance of Mexican-owned businesses—stood empty, leaving customers to look elsewhere for fresh meat, bread, fruits and vegetables. In New Orleans’s Mid- City neighborhood, whose Latino population swelled after the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 created lots of jobs for construction workers, the Ideal Market was closed. The place is usually busy at midday with people lining up at the steam tables for hot lunches or picking from an array of fresh Central American vegetables and fruits. In Chicago Pete’s Fresh Market closed five of its 12 grocery stores and assured employees they would not be penalized for skipping the day, according to owner Vanessa Dremonas, whose Greek-immigrant father started the company. “It’s in his DNA to help immigrants,” she said. “We’ve supported immigrants from the beginning.” Among the well-known establishments that closed in solidarity were three of acclaimed chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s restaurants in Phoenix; Michelin star R ASA in San Francisco; and Washington’s Oyamel and Jaleo, run by Chef Jose Andres. Tony and Marie Caschera, both 66, who were visiting Washington from Halfmoon, New York, thought a tapas restaurant looked interesting for lunch, but then realized the lights were off and the place was closed. Tony Caschera, a registered Republican whose family emigrated from Italy before World War II, said he supports legal immigration, but added: “I don’t like illegal aliens here.” AP
he Syrian civil war has left nearly a half-million people dead, d ispl aced millions more and turned its largest city, Aleppo, into an open-air slaughterhouse. The war is destroying antiquity, too. For just under a year, from May 2015 to March 2016, the Islamic State (IS) held control of the ancient central city of Palmyra, a boomtown that became a Roman colony in the third century A.D. To their viciousness against the men and women of Syria and northern Iraq, the IS added brutality to culture. In that year they destroyed several temples where Palmyrenes had worshiped a panoply of pre-Islamic gods. They beheaded the archaeologist Khaled al-Assad, the leading authority on Palmyra’s history, and broadcast his death online. The city’s museum was ransacked. Several captives were tied to ancient columns and executed with explosives: crimes against the present and the past at once. Last spring the Russian-backed Syrian army routed the jihadis, but last December the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, retook Palmyra. Last month they blasted a Roman amphitheater, as well as a tetrapylon, an entranceway formed by a quartet of columns. On Monday the Russian defense ministry released drone footage that purports to show new destruction to the theater, as well as numerous trucks circling the heritage site. To understand what’s being lost, spend time looking at The Legacy of Ancient Palmyra, a new digital exhibition of prints and photographs of this pre-Islamic metropolis, at getty.edu. The first online exhibition by the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles—a cousin to the J. Paul Getty Museum—it is organized by Frances Terpak, a curator at the institute, and Peter Louis Bonfitto, a research associate there. The web site evokes the syncretic, multicultural wonders of Palmyra, many of which are now destroyed, through two caches of historical images: 18th-century etchings of Palmyra after the drawings of the architect LouisFrançois Cassas, and 19th-century photographs by Louis Vignes, a French naval officer. The latter were acquired in 2015 by the Getty; they are the oldest known photographs of Palmyra, and most have not been seen widely before. Europeans had encountered Palmyra as early as 1691, when a group of English merchants in Aleppo trekked through the desert to see the ruined city, and reported on the mixture of GrecoRoman and Persian motifs in its religious and civic buildings. A 1753 book on Palmyra by the British classicist Robert Wood included painstaking illustrations of the city’s architectural ornamentation, which became a runaway success among British designers. Robert Adam, the dean of Georgian neo-Classicism, based the ceilings of Osterley Park, a west London mansion, on those of the Temple of Bel, which feature blooming rosettes set in octagonal recesses. But the young Cassas, who had developed a passion for antiquity while studying in Rome, illustrated Palmyra with unprecedented dedication. He was dispatched to the Near East by the French ambassador in Constantinople, who commissioned Cassas to document significant sites in Cyprus, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. He arrived in May 1785, just shy of his 29th birthday, and in less than a month Cassas had drawn every building in Palmyra. Some he depicted as he saw them, bestrewed with marble stumps and fallen capitals. “ There are columns and capitals overturned in the middle of entablatures and door frames,
richly adorned and half broken,” Cassas wrote. “Beyond all these wonder f u l r u i ns e x tend s a n ocean of blazing sand, stretching all the way back to the horizon that appears to shimmer like a blue sea.” Cassas also made careful diagrams of the floor plans and elevations of Palmyra’s buildings, including the Temple of Bel, a monumental house of worship destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Others he retrofitted into capriccios of the multifaith city, whose inhabitants worshiped a collection of Babylonian, Phoenician and Greek gods. Still more of Cassas’s prints captured the ruins of the past amid Orientalist visions of the present: turbaned sheikhs, grinning camels. Nearly a century later, Vignes took part in a French scientific expedition to the Near East, where he photographed the Dead Sea and the sites of Petra. He then continued to Palmyra by himself, and there, in 1864, he took the first photographs of the ancient city. The expedition’s patron died shortly afterward, and so Vignes’s Palmyra images, unlike his Petra photographs, were never widely distributed. Some exist only as single prints. The Getty acquired and digitized them two years ago, as ISIS began to destroy the city. Vig nes’s ha zy, sepia-toned photographs of Palmyra disclose that some of the city’s monuments were in good repair in the mid-19th century—among them the Temple of Baalshamin, now dynamited, where Palmyrenes worshiped a god of Phoenician origin in a Hellenistic setting. Other photographs show antique sites amid piles of rubble. After Syria won its independence in 1946, local and international archaeologists began to excavate at Palmyra, and they unearthed far more of the ancient city—marketplaces, forums, temple foundations—that Vignes’s camera saw only as earth. What enthralled Cassas and Vignes about Palmyra is precisely what ISIS hates about it: They discovered the material vestiges of a multilingual and multiconfessional society, nourished by commerce from East and West. In part, ISIS’s iconoclasm there has flowed from the polytheistic history of Palmyra, which stands in rebuke to their Salafist convictions. (They have also blown up the tombs of Shiite and Sufi saints, whose interpretations of Islam they consider heretical.) Just as much, ISIS leaders destroy cultural heritage as an incitement—“an act of psychological warfare,” as the British archaeologist David Wengrow has said. For all the insights of The Legacy of Ancient Palmyra, its web design is clunky. Thumbnail images are too small to see properly in the mobile version, while in desktop format Cassass prints often appear with severe moiré patterning at lower screen resolution. In one sense, the digital reproductions are no substitute for seeing these prints and photographs in a proper museum show. (More than two dozen of Cassas’s original drawings were on view last year in Palmyra: What’s Left, an exhibition at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne, Germany.) But in another sense, it is fitting that these images should circulate digitally—along the same networks that the IS has so effectively used to advertise its own inhumanity. Its war has been waged through images as well as armaments. We need images, too, from the past and the present, to guard the ideals we so often fail to realize but cannot live without. These prints and photographs are more than just testaments to a threatened archaeological inheritance; they are traces of explorations and cross-cultural exchange too many now seek to shut down. New York Times News Service
Editor: Lyn B. Resurreccion
Sunday, February 19, 2017 A5
Newton Agham award ₧620M in science and innovation grants
he British government, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are providing over £10 million (approximately P620 million) in grants and collaborative projects in the third year of the Newton Agham Programme. The science grants aim to help solve core challenges in long term social and economic development in the Philippines, including energy security, disaster response, health care, environmental resilience and food security. British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said, “While capitalizing on the Philippines and the United Kingdom’s strengths in research and innovation, jointly supporting these projects shall create significant impact on improving living standards and promoting economic growth. Solutions to development challenges are created alongside the advancement of UK and Philippine science and innovation expertise, which are key drivers to economic development.” The awardees were recognized in a recent reception held at the British ambassador’s residence. The UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and PhilRice are cofunding research projects on the sustainable production of rice; two projects are working on improving the nutritional quality of rice and the other two focus on creating greater resilience of the rice plant to diseases and environmental stresses due to climate change. The awards also include eight PhD scholarships and 10 Institutional Links grants cofunded by the British Council and the CHED. C HE D C h a i r m a n Pat r ic i a Licuanan said, “We are pleased to jointly award, in partnership with the British Council-Newton Fund, grants to our top scholars who are paving the way for the deepening of expertise in science and technology, as well as to our best institutions that the are now working side by side with the foremost universities in the UK, to innovate on solutions in the areas of health care, digital literacy and green energy, among others.”
Institutional Links grants develop research and innovation collaborations and support the exchange of expertise among academic groups, departments and institutions in the Philippines and the UK. Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña highlighted the key principles of the Newton Agham Programme that are part of the Philippine government’s new 10-point economic agenda. Particularly, he refers to investing in human-capital development, including health and education systems, to meet the demands of business and private sector; improving socialprotection programs, for the protection of the citizenry, especially the disadvantaged from instability and economic shocks; and the promotion of science, technology and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creativity toward self-sustaining and inclusive development. De la Peña said, “ T hese key items of our economic agenda, centered on creating genuine, positive change in our nation through science and technolog y, underly our renewed and rei nv igorated deter m i n at ion to cont i nue suppor t for t he New ton-Agham Programme”. The DOST is cofinancing two research partnership projects with the Research Councils UK, the 15 leaders ininnovation fellows with the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and the DOST Pagasa-UK Met Office partnership on Weather and Climate Science for Ser vice. The Newton Fund builds scientific and innovation partnerships with 16 partner-countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for longterm sustainable growth. It has a total UK government investment of £735 million until 2021, with matched resources from the partner-countries. In the Philippines the prog ra m is k now n a s t he Newton A g h a m (S c ie nce) P ro gramme to ref lect the collaboration between the UK and the Philippines in science, research and innovation.
PCAARRD joins newly formed Los Baños Climate Change Council
he Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) has joined the Los Baños Climate Change Council (LBCCC) to support its mission to improve the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources (AANR) sector, particularly in addressing the challenges of climate change. Created through Municipal Ordinance 2016-1560 on October 24, 2016, the LBCCC shall be the policy-making body of Los Baños tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the programs and action plans relating to climate change. The council consists of various agencies, such as the University of the Philippines Los Baños, departments of Education and of Interior and Local Government in Los Baños, Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau, International Rice Research Institute, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, Laguna State Polytechnic University, the Laguna Water District Aquatech Resources Corp., the Immaculate Concepcion Parish, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, DOST Calabarzon, HealthServ Los Baños Medical Center, Laguna Lake Development Authority and other non-governmental organizations. Represented by Dr. Engelbert R. Lalican of the Forestry and Environment Research Division of PCAARRD during the LBCCC’s first meeting, PCAARRD was included to be part of the Technical and Monitoring Committee. Capability Building and Research and Development Governance were the banner programs addressed in the first meeting.
As part of its mandate, the LBCCC kicked off its very first meeting by creating a proposal on “Establishing Climate-Smart Barangay for farmers in barangays Bayog and Maahas” to be submitted to the People’s Survival Fund (PSF). The PSF was created by Republic Act 10174 as an annual fund intended for local government units (LGUs) and accredited local/community organizations to implement climate-change adaptation projects that will better equip vulnerable communities to deal with the impacts of climate change. It supplements the annual appropriations allocated by relevant government agencies and LGUs for climate change-related programs and projects. As part of the Technical and Monitoring Committee, PCAARRD will participate in reviewing the proposals and periodic reviews of the projects of the Council. PCAARRD will also be taking an active role in hosting future meetings and activities of the LBCCC. PCAARRD, through the Philippine S&T Agenda on Climate Change (PSTACC), has been an advocate in sustaining the productivity and competitiveness of the Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources sector in the midst of climate change or global warming. PCAARRD drafted the PSTACC as a consolidated response to climate change in consultation with national experts, the member-agencies of the National Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development System, and key national stakeholders. It presents the framework and the holistic set of interventions by which climate-change considerations may be mainstreamed in national and local development efforts. S&T Media Service
A student tries a makeshift earthquake-resilient structure he made on the Science Explorer bus, a Mobile IT Classroom project of the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute. SEI
Geology graduate-student John Warner Carag teaches students about river morphology onboard Science Explorer. SEI
A 15-year love affair with science
By Mark Ivan Roblas | Special to the BusinessMirror
t would have been another school day but he was in for a surprise. Fifteen years ago, in the idyllic city of Tuguegarao in the Cagayan Valley, geology graduate-student John Warner Carag did not expect that his eyes would be opened to the vastness of the universe before him. For the first time, since he began schooling, he saw and used a laptop.
“I was around 9 years old then, and I remember being overwhelmed with the technology, having no previous experience operating computers,” he recalled. Carag then was one of the many student beneficiaries of the Mobile IT Classroom (MITC) bus, a project of the Department of Science and Technolog y-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) that sought to break the digital divide in the regions by br ing ing and teaching IT modules to the students. “The Mobile IT Classroom experience was one of the very few times I saw a laptop computer then. This was the norm for elementary students in a far-flung province in Luzon, where only kids from rich families could afford a PC [personal computer],” he said. Carag said that for him, his first encounter with a laptop was a disaster, because he did not even get to finish his module but, nonetheless, inspirational. “It opened me to the idea that there is a lot more that I can learn and experience with the use of a computer. I knew right then and there that there is a vast body of knowledge and services that was waiting for me to discover and consume. At that moment, I decided that I will get my hands on a computer as soon as I can,” he said.
15K The estimated number of elementary pupils and high-school students who were taught on the Science Explorer bus since 2009
He eventually got admitted to the Philippine Science High School main campus and later on finished a bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of the Philippines Diliman under a DOST scholarship. Carag currently works as a researcher at UP Diliman, working on the development of climate envelope models for assessing climate-change risk for milkfish aquaculture in coastal ponds under the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Meteorology. By some twist of fate, Carag would be riding the same bus again—15 years later but, this time, as a facilitator for the Science Explorer, the Philippines’s first and only mobile science learning facility. The Science Explorer has been
using the same MITC bus but in a different way, as it goes beyond learning IT modules and features topics in other fields of science. Carag remembers the challenges he needed to overcome when he entered familiar grounds but as a different person, a budding scientist in geology. “I learned a lot of things about teaching, handling a class, and managing the power dynamics between facilitator and students. My first time in teaching at Science Explorer challenged me as a student myself. I could only impart as much as I know,” he said. Carag hand les modules on River Geology, Volcanology and, for the first time, Marine Micropaleontology, which he will run in the upcoming Science Explorer Roadtrip to Davao Occidental from February 20 to 24. Since its inception in 2009, the Science Explorer has brought to more than 15, 000 elementary pupils and high-school students an exciting and enticing experience in science through f u n a nd i nterac t ive sc ience, tec hnolog y, eng ineer ing a nd mathematics modu les, facilitated by budding scientists from their respective fields. The Science Explorer has traveled to eight regions in the country, as far North as Dumanleg, Ilocos Norte, and last year to Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan)-stricken towns of Samar and Leyte. Carag said each roadtrip for the Science Explorer is a different experience for him as a facilitator, as he encounters students from different backgrounds. “My most memorable experience was when I saw how enthusiastic a student was when he zoomed in on the Philippines on Google Earth. There, he saw the rivers, mountains and other topographical structures, which are only seen from that vantage point. I saw he was surprised by what he could see on the laptop. I hope that he shared the same enthusiasm as I did when I realized the immensity that could be known and discovered after the
activity on the bus,” he said. Carag ex pressed optimism with the youth ’s eagerness to lear n, especia l ly in the field of science. He said the youth ’s openness to learning, unhampered by the prospects of getting a high-paying job, is a fertile land ready to be sown seeds of curiosity and nationalism. “Young minds are more open to ideas and future careers not so hampered by the thoughts of securing a usual high-paying job. [Many] career options are available to these students. With the additional training, I think module facilitators/developers could be a greater source of inspiration to young students who would rather put their good minds in the pursuit of science to help in nation-building,” he added. Carag said he dreams of being a well-published geoscientist tackling important environmental research aimed at improving the understanding and popularization of science. He said for the immediate future, he intends to get a doctorate degree abroad and bring back to the Philippines the research experience he will be getting through a competent research team and a well-equipped laboratory in a research institution in the country. Carag urged the youth to get into careers in science and be part of the growing community of science professionals in the Philippines. “Be foolish and adventurous! Science is all about reaching for the unknown and discovering new things. Read a book! There is a joy in knowing how things work and come to be. And, of course, consider science as a career path. “Now, more than ever, the country needs people who are interested in knowing the nitty-gritty of how things work, because they will be essential in answering the most pressing issues and challenges in the country: food security and selfsufficiency, national industrialization, public utilities, scientific and mass culture, and caring for the environment,” he said.
Noted Japanese museum expert to help develop Southeast Asian AgriMuseum T he Philippine governmenthosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) is looking to Dr. Eiji Mizushima of the University of Tsukuba, an eminent Japanese museum expert, to provide technical advice in its efforts to establish a Southeast Asian AgriMuseum in Los Baños, Laguna. “ The first of its kind in the region, the SEA AgriMuseum will be a modern interactive facility featuring the histor y and future of agriculture in Southeast Asia,” Searca Director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr said. He added that the AgriMuseum will also “ser ve as a venue
where the poor and the visionaries in agricultural and rural development would come together in one exhibition.” Mizushima will visit Searca from March 6 to 10, with support from the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, under its Expert Dispatch Program to the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (Seameo) centers. Searca is the Seameo center for agriculture. The president of the Japan Museum Management Academy and the Museum and Culture Advanced Research Centre in Asia Pacific will also give a public lecture on “Museums in an Information Society: From Collection to
Digital Archives” at Searca’s Agriculture and Development Seminar Series on March 6 at Searca. The lecture will be at 3 p.m., and it is open to the public.
M i z u sh i m a w i l l sh a re h i s wealth of experience in museology, cultural resources management, and digital archives and collection management. On March 7 Maria Isabel Garcia, curator of The Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City, will also deliver a public seminar at Searca on her experience in putting up and sustaining The Mind Museum. Searca sees the SEA AgriMuseum as a viable approach to educate people on the importance of agriculture and the challenges it faces, in general, and to address the declining interest in agriculture among young people, in particular.
Faith A6 Sunday, February 19, 2017
www.businessmirror.com.ph • Editor: Lyn Resurreccion
‘Killing is stealing lives’
Story & photo by Stephanie Tumampos
he very core of a community is the family. With love and respect, it is inside a family that an individual grows up and learns the values in life and carry it through the rest of one’s life. Everything starts in this small unit. Fr. Atilano “Nonoy” Fajardo, CN, recently shared his insights in Saint Paul’s College Pasig (SPCP) on why the family holds the key toward social progress and morality in the country. “Planting not just honesty but also integrity has to start from the father to the mother to the children, it has to start in the family,” Father Fajardo told the BusinessMirror in an interview. The college holds has been holding its “Drop Ever ything Pray, Thank, Share” (DEPTHS) ever y second Wednesday of the month and tackles the social issues in the country as part of its basic ecclesiastical community (BEC). T his month of Februar y, the school has the theme “Promoting the culture of life to counter the culture of death in the society”. Father Fajardo was the resource speaker.
500 The number of years of existence of Catholicism in the Philippines in 2021
“We want our students and faculty to reflect as a community on social issues,” said Sis.Dedicacion Rosario, SPC, directress of SPCP told the BusinessMirror at the sidelines of the forum. “We cannot live our faith apart from what is happening,” she added, citing the rampant killings in the country after the government has issued an allout war against drugs.
“We believe in human dignity,” she said.
‘Do not steal’
FATHER Fajardo is part of the public-affairs ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila. He is the pioneer in promoting the Seventh Commandment of God, “Thou shall not steal”, by printing the Filipino translation of it on shirts that he has been wearing in public. “When you wear the ‘Huwag Kang Magnakaw [Do not steal]’ shirt, you accept the fact that you are a sinner and that’s when honesty comes in,” he told the faculty and student leaders of SPCP. Father Fajardo told his audience to accept each other as sinners, as thieves. This way, one would become humble and become aware of what is happening around. The school’s main aim is to instill justice and peace into its faculty and students. “We value life,” Sister Rosario said. Father Fajardo, Sister Rosario and Sis. Theresa Asencio, SPC, head of the school’s Christian Formation, later led the march out of the school grounds and put up a big sign written with the words “Huwag Kang Papatay: Huwag Kang Magnakaw ng Buhay [Do Not Kill: Do Not Steal Life].” “We want to make a stand,” Sister Asencio told the BusinessMirror. “We are one with the church [in the stand against killing and death penalty],” she added.
The faculty and student leaders of Saint Paul’s College Pasig are with Fr. Atilano “Nonoy” Fajardo, CN, the resource speaker in their “Drop Everything, Pray, Thank, Share” monthly basic ecclesiastical community spiritual activity, when they put up a sign in front of the school written with the words “Huwag Kang Papatay: Huwag Kang Magnakaw ng Buhay [Do Not Kill: Do Not Steal Life].”
Both Father Fajardo and the school wanted a values-based cultural evangelization. “We have to print this in the hearts of the Filipino, we have to print the word of God in our hearts and it goes back to the family,” Father Fajardo said. “I want to create a critical public mass. Through what Saint Paul’s College Pasig has done, I foresee the academic institutions wou ld fol low and event ua l ly [have a groundswell] at the national level,” Father Fajardo said, referring to the solidarity march at SPCP and the putting up of a sign against killing in front of the school for the public to see. “We have to create that change.”
Why Trump is violating biblical principles
n January 27 President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order that placed a stay on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. Entrance of refugees from Syria, however, will be banned for the next 120 days. Two days prior to that, he committed the United States to building a wall on its border with Mexico. Soon after the order, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled an upcoming trip to the United States. P resident Tr u mp h a s a l so proposed that Mexican goods be taxed at the rate of 20 percent to provide funds for building the wall. This would fulfill his campaign promise that Mexico would actually pay for the wall’s construction, in spite of America’s southern neighbor’s protests. For Christians, the questions about building the border wall or permitting immigrants and refugees into the United States involve a host of associated considerations not just about the specifics of immigration law, the economics of cheap labor coming across the border or potential terrorist threats. At issue are both broader and deeper questions about what it means to welcome the stranger. As a Roman Catholic scholar who lived in South Asia for a total of four years, I know what it is like to be initially considered a “stranger” but be quickly welcomed with open arms. And I, like all Christians, look to the Bible for guidance when asking about how to best welcome the stranger. So, what does the Bible actually say?
We will all be strangers, sometime
The Bible affirms—strongly and unequivocally—the obligation to treat strangers with dignity and hospitality. In “Love the Stranger”, an article written for the annual meeting of the College Theological Society in 1991, biblical scholar Alice Laffey stated that in the Hebrew Bible, the words gûr and gēr are the ones most often glossed over as referring to the “stranger”, though
that in Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female.” From this perspective, being “one in Christ” should be taken literally as acknowledging no fundamental differences in kind among human beings.
Bible is unambiguous in its message
Protesters carry signs and chant in Lafayette Park near the White House during a demonstration to denounce President Donald J. Trump’s executive order that bars citizens of seven predominantly Muslim-majority countries from entering the US on January 29 in Washington. AP/Alex Brandon
they are also translated as “newcomer” and “alien” or “resident alien”, respectively. In the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, the word gēr appears almost 50 times, and the fifth book, Deuteronomy, delineates a number of specific provisions for treating “the stranger” not just with courtesy but also with active support and provision. For example, the book of Deuteronomy sets out the requirement that a portion of produce be set aside by farmers every third year for strangers, widows and orphans. In the “temple sermon” attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, the Jewish people are exhorted to “not oppress the sojourner”. Within the Hebrew Bible the requirements of hospitality are sometimes affirmed in very striking ways, as in the story from the book of Judges in which a host offers his own daughter to ruffians in order to safeguard his guest. Of course, the Israelites themselves were “strangers” during their enslavement in Egypt and captivity in Babylon. The Hebrew Bible recognizes that every one of us can be a stranger and, for that very reason, we need to overcome our fear of those who live among us whom we do not know.
The stranger is Jesus in disguise
W ithin the New Testament,
which Christians read in continuity with the Hebrew Bible or “ The Old Testament”, the most of te n c ite d pa s s a ge de a l i n g with welcoming the stranger is from Matthew 25:31- 40. This section speaks of the Final Judgment, when the righteous will be granted paradise and unrepentant sinners will be consigned to eternal fire. Christ says to those at His right hand that they are “blessed” because “I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me.” The righteous then ask, “When did we see you, a stranger, and welcome you?” Christ replies, “‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.’” As Matthew 25 makes clear, the Christians should see everyone as “Christ” in the flesh. Indeed, scholars argue that in the New Testament, “stranger” and “neighbor” are, in fact, synonymous. Thus, the Golden Rule, “love your neighbor as yourself ”, refers not just to people whom you know—your “neighbors” in a conventional sense—but also to people whom you do not know. Beyond this, in the letters written by Paul of Tarsus (one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries), often known as the Pauline “Epistles”, it is made clear
Of course, in Christianity the strong admonitions toward treating the stranger with dignity have coexisted with actions that would seem to indicate an opposite attitude: pogroms against Jews, slavery, imperialism and colonialism have been sanctioned by Christians who nonetheless would have affirmed biblical principles regarding caring for those who seem “other” or “alien”. Indeed, when it comes to the specific questions concerning building a wall on America’s border with Mexico or welcoming immigrants and refugees, some Chr ist ians wou ld arg ue t hat doing so does not violate any bibl ic a l prece pt s concer n i ng hos pit a l it y to t he st r a nge r, since the issue is one of legality and, of course, a good number of Christians did indeed support Donald Trump’s candidacy for the presidency. Other Christians have taken a diametrically different position, and have called for cities and educational institutions to be set apart as “safe zones” for undocumented immigrants. It is true that the application of biblical principles to contemporary matters of policy is less than clear to the many Christians who have taken opposing sides regarding how the United States should deal with immigrants, undocumented workers and refugees. However, in my reading of the Bible, the principles regarding welcoming the stranger are broad-reaching and unambiguous. Mathew Schmalz, College of the Holy Cross. AP This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Filipinos will be proud in 2021
Doing the r ight thing even when no one is looking at you is honesty, Father Fajardo said. He added that, from the family, the disease of stealing spreads to public service. In discussing the Seventh Commandment, Father Fajardo said talked about the public servants and leaders in the government who were involved in corruption. “What was stolen was the dignity of each and every Filipino,” he said. “It is not just the taxes [which were stolen],” he said. If public officials steal from people’s taxes, the budget for social services will decrease, he added.
The Filipinos will suffer as a consequence and because of this, “there is no money in the country and, therefore, many of our brothers and sisters leave the country because they are not paid of what is rightfully due for them.” Father Fajardo sees that in 2021 the Filipino people would feel proud of themselves. “[The year] 2021 is the 500th year of Catholicism and I am sure the Filipinos will be proud of themselves,” he said. He added that, by that year, the people would not only be reclaiming the Catholic faith but also the power of the Church, and the power to bring back what is to be a Filipino.
Saint Bessarion, holy Christian hermit By Corazon Damo-Santiago
hey left the comforts of the city to live in the wilderness in solitude for religious reasons. These early Christian ascetics who roamed the desert of Egypt and Syria at the end of the second century were hermits. Honored by the church, they were called the desert fathers. They lived in tombs, caves, holes, or makeshift huts. Their environment was a playground of dusts, storms and locusts, and where wild animals roam. Shovel snouted lizards abound roaming on their two feet to avoid the scorching sands.
A n t hon y t he Gre at , who moved to the desert in 270 and 271, belonged to a rich and virtuous Christian family in Coma, Egypt. He devoted himself to prayer, silence and work. After 20 years of spiritual trials from the assault of the devils, the fame of his sanctity and miracles attracted hundreds of followers. One of his early followers is Bessarion, a Christian from Misr, Egypt, who roamed the desert, never lodging in any place. Bessarion’s only belonging is the clothes he wore—a coarse hairy sack cloth. He goes on “mighty fasting”— 40 days without food standing in prayer for days and days. And sleeping, too, while on his feet. Acknowledged as a wonder worker among the her mits, Bessarion was compared to Joshua, Elias or John the Baptist. Before he founded his monastery he wandered among the hermits of Sketis under Saint Anthony the Great, the founder of Monasticism. Bessarion was called Paul of Thebeus/Thebes or Paul, the First Hermit.
Laments Adam’s disobedience
Bessarion, according to the records of the Coptic Orthodox Church Network, goes around
the desert crying while repeating this verse: “ The riches have all been stolen. I have escaped from death, My family has fallen from honor.” Translated and interpreted, according to biblical history, he laments the loss that befell the human race because of Adam’s sin. With Adam’s disobedience, sin came to the world. Called original sin, it affected the nature of man. Everyone after Adam and Eve became inclined to sin called concupiscence because the grace of original holiness was lost. The result—death made its entrance into human history, the Catechism of the Catholic Church said.
Doulas, Bessarion’s disciple, recorded stories and miracles attributed to his master. These stories were collaborated by other religious writers. Several times, during drought, he prayed for rain and made salt water potable for drinking. And he walked on the river Nile, without getting wet. Dou las, likew ise, w rote how Bessar ion hea led people possessed by devils in the wilder ness by pray ing over them while asleep. Walking by the shores of the Red Sea, when Doulas and John, two of his disciples, become thirsty, Bessarion took water from the sea and prayed over it. Their thirst was quenched by the salty water, which become sweet. Saint Bessarion’s feast day is February 20 in the Latin Rite. The Russian Orthodox Church honors him on June 6, while his Coptic Church Memorial is June 17. n Santiago is a former regional director of the Department of Education National Capital Region. She is currently a faculty member of Mater Redemptoris Collegium in Calauan, Laguna, and Mater Redemptoris College in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.
Editor: Carla Mortel-Baricaua
Sunday, February 19, 2017 A7
Batangas Development Summit 2017 highlights rich and dynamic Batangas
Story & Photos by Gretchen Filart Dublin
verybody can be rich in Batangas”, said Batangas Gov.-elect Hermilando Mandanas during the Batangas Development Summit (BDS) on January 27. Spearheaded by First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities, this year’s BDS was held at the Lima Park Hotel and gathered 500 luminaries from the business, government and academic sectors. Each imparted vital insights on appreciation for and creating life-changing improvements in Batangas. Themed “Rich Batangas”, the event explored the wealth, potentials and developments in Batangas’s business, economic, social and tourism industries. Among the panelists for this year’s “Bright Spots in Tourism” session was Department of Tourism Region 4A representative Marvin Malacaman, who said “a collaborative approach, wherein the government and communities in Batangas support its progress,” is the key to tourism success. According to Malacaman, this year’s greatest tourism achievements are programs and efforts that help sustainably develop five new ecotourism sites in Calabarzon, including the Pansipit River and Volcano Island, Masungi karst formations and family-owned agritourism sites in Lobo, Batangas.
Diverse natural attractions
When it comes to tourism, Batangas is a province brimming with possibilities. The province currently ranks nine out of 81 provinces in the Philippines in the Competitiveness Index. Each year there are over 110,000 tourist arrivals in the provincial capital of Lipa alone. Mandanas believes such growth is largely due to the provincial port being “the best in the Philippines. Batangas Bay is truly the best national port. We have here more than double the people using the
port of Batangas than in Manila; double the income for the Bureau of Customs.” Notwithstanding emerging destinations, Batangas is well-known for its rich biodiversity, particularly in the diving spots of Anilao, and Verde Island Passage, a protected marine sanctuary. A mere two-hour drive from Manila, the province is a favorite weekend destination among holiday makers. The reef-rich waters of San Juan and Mabini draw snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, while those who prefer a more relaxed beach atmosphere often head to Nasugbu or Calatagan. Mountaineers find many grassy knolls to explore here, too. There’s Mount Maculot in Cuenca; Mounts Batulao and Talamitam in Nasugbu; and Mount Gulugud Baboy in Mabini, a beginner-friendly hike that can be capped off with a swim on nearby Sombrero Island. However, the most popular of natural attractions here is Lake Taal, an aquatic masterpiece spanning 240 square kilometers. Accessible via the towns of Talisay, Balete and San Nicolas, the lake offers the unique experience of reaching Taal Volcano atop a horse or watching birds in the early morning or at dusk.
Grade A hotels
Complementing these attractions are premier accommodations across the province, such as Nasugbu’s luxury seafront residences. In Lipa City holistic spa treatments and organic meals await visitors at The Farm at San Benito. Malvar doesn’t run short of lavish outfits either. Hotels here, like Lima Park Hotel, offer guests an unobstructed view of the Malarayat
Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo (center) with former Tourism Secretary Dr. Mina T. Gabor of AAP Travel and Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista
Teo tackles cruise tourism, security, urban renewal with metro execs
ourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo on February 9 sat down with Metro manila mayors, local government unit (LGU) representatives, tourism officers, line agency representatives and private sectors to thresh out pressing issues, concerns and plans to revitalize Metropolitan Manila’s thriving urban tourism. She assured the representatives of the LGUs that a cruise tourism program that will greatly benefit Metro Manila is in the pipeline, as well as plans to strengthen the roster of tourist police in cooperation with the Philippine National Police and the Department of the Interior and Local Government. In her keynote speech at the Metro Manila Tourism Forum’s opening ceremony
held at the Crowne Plaza Galleria in Ortigas, Teo directed everyone’s attention to “Metro Manila’s share of challenges—the price that we all seem to be paying for its progress. The traffic, the congestion, lack of urban planning,” she adds that are already “taking its toll on the metropolis”. She said the Department of Tourism (DOT) will continue to be supportive of forums and dialogues as part of the “steps to address these concerns and start the big task of changing the ‘face’ of the city for tourists”. “The successful staging of the Miss Universe pageant gave Metro Manila the chance to remind people all over the globe that it is a thriving city with much to offer. And we at the DOT provided you with a platform to
Tourism leaders and representatives discuss what lies ahead for Batangas tourism at the summit.
The Marian Orchard is a popular Visita Iglesia site in the province.
Lima Park Hotel is a four-star hotel that’s deemed among the best in Batangas.
With lush, manicured gardens, the Marina Orchard has 14 Stations of the Cross for religious activities.
mountainrange and convenient access to golf courses. Lima Park Hotel also houses three dining facilities, a pool and a kid’s playground on site. During Lenten season, the Marian Orchard—a beautifully landscaped hill dotted by 14 Stations of the Cross—a short drive from the hotel can be an alternative destination. You’ll find roadside food stalls vending honeybee products, one of Batangas’s foremost imports, along the way, too.
Must-taste food and historic houses
Apart from being a top producer of feeds and eggs (at least 25 percent of eggs delivered to Manila come from Batangas), the province promises an unforgettable gustatory journey with local dining staples: fried tawilis, bulalo and lomi. In the historic town of Taal, people can also indulge in meals in century-old houses, like Taal reintroduce the cities,”Teo added, banking on big-ticket events, such as the Miss Universe, to get the tourism numbers up and deliver great tourism experience. The tourism chief also shared the DOT’s continuing plans to rehabilitate old Manila’s Intramuros, a “place we are exerting most effort on to ensure that its history is preserved.” According to Teo, Manila’s great potential to survive is quite high, as the city, despite progress, has retained its old-world charm. “And if we can restore its architectural landmarks, it can continue to be the regal queen of the country,”Teo suggested. All these concerns and issues, Dr. Mina Gabor of the Automobile Association Philippines Travel (AAP Travel) said she hopes to get the answer after the two-day forum, while enjoining all tourism stakeholders to “make Metro Manila the next top 20 destination in the world.” For his part, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista takes to heart the “importance of tourism on the economic life of our country’s cities now that travel has become much easier and cheaper. Almost everyone now can be a tourist.” Teo assured all tourism stakeholders the DOT will remain at the forefront of advancing the country’s tourism agenda. “Beautiful destinations are not accidents; they are the results of deliberate, thoughtful planning, careful execution and much passion,” she concluded. The 2017 Metro Manila Tourism was held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Ortigas, and hosted by Quezon City government in cooperation with the DOT and the Tourism Promotions Board.
Bistro and Feliza Taverna y Café, which was previously the home of Emilio Aguinaldo. Here you’ll get to sample heirloom dishes, like La Favorite del Fraile and Adobo sa Dilaw in a Spanish-period setting. A visit to Taal is not complete without a visit to Basilica de San Martin de Tours (Taal Basilica), Asia’s biggest. This 96-meterlong Baroque church prominently stands on Taal Park, only steps away from Taal Heritage Center, and 145 ancestral houses, many of which were homes of heroes and historical figures.
A real-estate haven
As one of the nearest cities to the Metro, real-estate developers find that Batangas is an apt location for building homes. “We are close to the biggest city in the Philippines—Manila, which is getting really congested. It’s natural [that] people will start
to look for somewhere better: a proper location, power and places to enjoy. So it’s a natural choice for us in the real-estate business to choose Batangas,” Italpinas Development Corp. CEO Romolo Nati shared during the summit.
Challenges and improvements for better tourism
Despite these promising developments, underdeveloped transportation infrastructure continues to be one of Batangas’s biggest challenges in tourism. “It’s important that we give more access to tourism to get more tourists, so we have to improve infrastructure,” DOT Provincial Tourism Officer Celia Marasigan commented. To solve such challenges, Mandanas said it is imperative to upgrade the existing provincial port. “We will expand the port and put 280 hectares in addition to what we have now.”
He added that transportation improvements shall be implemented to exploit Batangas’s potentials. “We will also start the development of Batangas Airbase, with a runway of 1,508 hectares, into an international airport. We will increase it to 2,800 hectares so as to accommodate regional planes. We are also planning to revive the railroad from Batangas International Port to Tutuban. A new pipeline to Manila is also under way.” Once implemented, these enhancements are expected to bolster the province’s position as a tourism destination and make it an even richer place to live in, relax and grow. Can anybody really be rich in Batangas? If its attractions, food and location are any indication, then every Batangueño can surely be one. As Mandanas puts it, “Ultimately, anybody here can be rich if we invest on PPP partnership: planet, people, profit.”
Korea welcomes Indonesia’s largest incentive group for an ultimate winter trip this February
orea’s winter attractions prove highly appealing to groups from Southeast Asia, as it welcomes 1,154 MCI (Millionaire Club Indonesia) employees early this month. The cosmetics company is reported to be the largest incentive group from Indonesia to visit Korea. Divided into eight groups, the first set of employees arrived in South Korea on February 2, while the rest of the groups are expected on the following days. During their stay in Korea, the groups will embark on new experiences the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has planned for them. This includes skiing in designated venues for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, cheese-making in Pyeongchang Uiyaji Wind Village, strawberry-picking in Gyeonggi, Icheon, wearing traditional Korean clothing (Hanbok) in Royal Grand Palaces and more. “We are thrilled to welcome incentive groups to Korea’s representative winter destination, G angwon- do province, showcasing to them our state-of-the-art winter sports facilities, dreamy landscapes blanketed with snow, and, of course, offering adrenaline-rush experiences that we hope will spark excitement for them to return to Korea for next year’s 2018
PyeongChang Winter Olympics,” KTO MICE Bureau Executive Director Kapsoo Kim said. Being one of the closest destinations for Southeast Asians to experience the winter season, more groups from the Southeast Asia continues to travel to Korea beginning early this year, including the 860 employees of Singapore’s herbal supplement company Extra Excellence, who will arrive in Korea on February 13. B e a r i n g f u l l s u p p o r t f ro m t h e government for large-incentive groups, Korea continues to provide better and improved services to incoming groups. Early this year it star ted providing
assistance (i.e., souvenirs, free admission to performances or tourist attractions, etc.) to small corporate meetings of at least 10 delegates and offering additional support to certain groups, such as groups, staying in cities outside of Seoul, groups staying in Korea for more than four nights, or groups coming from the Americas, Oceania, India, Middle East and other countries far from Korea. The Korea MICE Bureau of the Korea Tourism Organization puts its best foot forward in finding new incentive markets, creating new suppor t programs and encouraging visitors to return to Korea.
A8 Sunday, February 19, 2017 | Editor: Jun Lomibao
Front-runners stake unbeaten records in UAAP
LESS than six months after the Summer Games ended, the host city’s Olympic legacy is decaying rapidly. NYT
UNFULFILLED PROMISES By Anna Jean Kaiser
New York Times
IO DE JANEIRO—It is not uncommon for the Olympics to leave behind some unneeded facilities. Rio, however, is experiencing something exceptional: Less than six months after the Summer Games ended, the host city’s Olympic legacy is decaying rapidly. Empty Olympic buildings abound, puncturing any uplifting buzz from the competitions last summer. At the Olympic Park, some stadium entrances are boarded up and screws are scattered on the ground. The handball arena is barricaded by metal bars. The broadcast center remains half disassembled. The warm-up pool is decorated with piles of dirt and puddles. Deodoro, a neighborhood in Rio’s poor periphery, has the second-largest cluster of Olympic venues. The canoe slalom course was to be converted into a giant public swimming pool. It closed to the public last December. Now residents fill plastic pools a few hundred feet away. “The government put sugar in our mouths and took it out before we could swallow,” said Luciana Oliveira Pimentel, a social worker from Deodoro, while her children played in a plastic pool. “Once the Olympics ended, they turned their backs on us.” Olympic officials and local organizers often boast about the legacy of the Games—the residual benefits that a city and country will experience long after the competitions end. Those projections are often met with skepticism by the public and by independent economists, who argue that Olympic bids are built on wasted public money. Rio has quickly become the latest, and perhaps most striking, case of unfulfilled
promises and abandonment. “It’s totally deserted,” said Vera Hickmann, 42, who was at the Olympic Park recently with her family. She lamented that although the area was open to the public, it lacked basic services. “I had to bring my son over to the plants to go to the bathroom,” she said. At the athletes’ village, across the street from the park, the 31 towers were supposed to be sold as luxury condominiums after the Games, but fewer than 10 percent of the units have been sold. Across town at Maracanã Stadium, a soccer temple, the field is brown and the electricity has been shut off. “The government didn’t have money to throw a party like that, and we’re the ones who have to sacrifice,” Hickmann said, referring to local taxpayers. In the preparations for the Games, the city of Rio promised “no white elephants”. The arena that hosted taekwondo and fencing was to be transformed into a school. Two other arenas were to be taken apart, and one put back together as four schools in another area. None of that has happened. The mayor’s office said those plans were still in the works, but it did not offer a specific timetable. The decay of Olympic venues is happening as a financial crisis engulfs federal, state and municipal governments. “The nation is in crisis, Rio de Janeiro is in crisis—it’s time to be cautious,” Marcelo Crivella, who became mayor on January 1, told incoming city council members. “Spending is prohibited,” he added. Rio’s mayor during the Games, Eduardo Paes, was among the strongest evangelizers of an Olympic legacy. He said in an e-mail it was too soon to call any of the sites white elephants and that “the path to implementing a legacy has been given”.
After the Games, the city of Rio held an auction for private companies to bid on administering the Olympic Park, but there were no bidders. This left the Ministry of Sport, an organ of the federal government, with the financial burden. The minister of sport, Leonardo Picciani, said in an interview that the agency’s goal was to find a private company to take over the park, but since there has been no interest, it is the government’s responsibility to maintain such venues. Picciani also said the stadiums would not become burdensome relics, pointing to several sporting events at Olympic Park scheduled for this year, along with sports training programs. Renato Cosentino, a researcher at the Regional and Urban Planning Institute at the Federal University of Rio, who studies the Olympic Park region, said the park “was born as a white elephant”, because it was built in a far-flung wealthy suburb that is home to only about 5 percent of Rio’s 6.3 million residents. Having the majority of investment there, he said, proves the Olympics were meant to serve real-estate developers, who took on much of the construction for the Games in exchange for being able to build on the land afterward, in what is known as a publicprivate partnership.
Mountain bike racers traverse the Binabaje Hills in Alicia, Bohol, for recent the “Kinatkatay sa Binabaje 2017” Extreme Mountain Bike Race. The Binabaje Hills is a new off-road trail for mountain bikers and racers in the Visayas. Kinatkay means climbing. Stephanie Tumampos
OINT leaders University of the Philippines (UP) and National University (NU) try to keep their records clean when they face separate opponents today in Season 79 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City. NU and UP never had this best start in a season in recent memory and both teams are hoping to keep their streaks as the favorites—defending champion De La Salle and Ateneo de Manila— have revealed signs of vulnerability. The Lady Maroons tangle with the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses at 2 p.m., while the Lady Bulldogs face the Lady Spikers in the 4 p.m. main match that many say could be a preview of this season’s finals. NU Head Coach Roger Gorayeb and his wards, bannered by Jaja Santiago, Jasmine Nabor, Risa Sato, Jorelle Singh and Aiko Urdas, are trying to shake off the pressure of having to beat the defending champions, who lost to the UP Lady Maroons for the first time in nine seasons last week. “We will approach this match just like our other games,” Gorayeb said. “We won’t pressure ourselves because it’s still a long way to go this season. Just like an ordinary game, we will play simple and basic volleyball.” The Lady Maroons are looking invulnerable. They have never lost a set in beating Adamson University, University of the East and previously De La Salle, 25-22, 25-21, 25-19, on Wednesday. UP never beat De La Salle on 16 occasions in the past. UP won once in January 20, 2008, but that was because De La Salle forfeited its victories for fielding an ineligible player. UP’s graduating players Nicole Tiamzon, Kathy Bersola and Pia Gaiser have been flashing the skills they polished by joining other leagues in the off-season. “We celebrated and congratulated each other after the win [against De La Salle]. We are very happy with the big win but there are still a lot of games to work on,” said Tiamzon, who scattered 16 points against the Lady Spikers. “We’re not yet the champions. We still have a goal to reach.” UP (2-1) faces UST (2-1) at 8 a.m., while NU (2-1) takes on De La Salle (1-2) at 10 a.m. in the men’s division. Lance Agcaoili
Iran loosens up on beach volley
EHRAN—Iranian media say authorities have allowed female spectators at a beach volleyball tournament after organizers threatened to halt the event in protest. The semi-official ISNA news agency reported that women were allowed into the stadium on Wednesday at the start of the four-day international tournament on Kish island. It says authorities backtracked after the international volleyball federation, known as FIVB, threatened to suspend the event in protest. Female fans are traditionally barred from attending male sporting events in the Islamic Republic. AP
»life on the go
A9 Sunday, February 19, 2017
Editor: Tet Andolong
Surface interval in Cebu
By Bernard L. Supetran
HE island-province of Cebu is sanctuary to a diverse marine life that it has become one of the world’s diving havens. With a 600-kilometers coastline in the mainland and its islands, almost every beachfront is a veritable dive spot teeming with schools of sardines, whale sharks, thresher sharks, jacks, stingrays and various forms microaquatic animals, not to mention awesome coral gardens.
Montebello Cebu pool side
The islands of Mactan and Sumilon are among the must-see dive spots where you can get an equally exhilarating “surface interval” after the underwater foray. Surface interval refers to the rest in between dives, usually at least 45 minutes, depending on the depth and duration of the plunge. Among seasoned divers, it has taken on an amusing twist—anytime spent on the surface for an ice-cold or hot drink on the boat, recreational activities on land to nocturnal partying. And in this department, any corner in Cebu is never wanting. One of the old guards of the Queen City of the South is Montebello Villa Hotel in Banilad district, which opened 45 years ago on Valentine’s Day, when scuba diving was still on its infancy. It was one of the pioneer establishments to offer diving to Mactan to its guests through its concessionaire shop. Its current partner is Abyss Scuba Divers, which can take you around Cebu and nearby Bohol and Negros Oriental for an underwater odyssey.
Once adjacent to a vineyard and an expanse of mountains for a view, Montebello’s eclectic charm never fails to dazzle the old-time visitors, and even locals, with its Iberianthemed architecture and interiors, sprawling manicured gardens and cozy open spaces, which are a rarity in this concrete jungle. The garden resort hotel is a secret nook in the city where you can enjoy a cozy poolside meal at La Terraza restaurant for its specialties, such as Monte Burger, Inihaw na Nukos, Grilled Rainbow Fish and Fried Tilapia, as well as international favorites. Let not its Old World charm trick you into believing that it is frozen in time, as its rooms and amenities are on a par with any newly built lodging. And if you are really itching for a taste of Manila-type urban landscape and traffic jam, you can get these just a few blocks away. In the far end of the historic resort city of Lapu-Lapu in Mactan are some of the most exciting dive spots, including Kontiki Reef,
Be Mactan beachfront and view of the Olango Channel
Mactan dive site Imran Ahmad
Marine Station, Marigondon Cave and Tingo Point; the sanctuaries of Shangri La, Hilutungan, Talima and Nalusuan; and the wrecks of Tambuli and San Juan. These sites can easily be reached from Be Resorts Mactan, a 161room boutique hotel in the Punta Engaño peninsula where the posh establishments are located. Just across is the famed Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, which boasts of the country’s largest concentration of migratory birds at 48 species, and another 51 endemic species. They can be seen during the cold months, as they escape the freezing temperature in the globe’s Northern Hemisphere.
Flaming Seafood at Bluewater’s The Pavilion
Boating at Bluewater Sumilon Island
Guests can bask in the glow of the sea and sun on a Jetski, kayak, banana boat or pedal boat; hop around the outlying islands, or go helmet diving through Fun and Sun Dive and Travel, one of Cebu’s biggest aquasport shops. At the al-fresco beachside Salt Bar, sink your teeth in its BE Burger, which is sought for its flavorful juicy patty, crispy pata and BE Pizza, which comes in an assortment of flavors. The resort can also arrange evening bonfires and special intimate setups at the beach for Instagramworthy memories. BE Mactan is currently undergoing a face-lift to give guests more recreational spaces, cozy food outlets and trendy rooms with a commanding view of the powdery beachfront, as well as the Olango Channel and the island in the horizon. Near the southern tip of the province is the beguiling island of Sumilon, which is home to the country’s first marine sanctuary. It was established in 1974, after the Silliman University in Dumaguete City set up its marine conservation program—a municipal ordinance of Oslob subsequently declared Sumilon a marine reserve. The island is also known for its marine wildlife saltwater lagoons filled with assorted tropical fishes, including black tip reef sharks, groupers and clown fishes. For those who don’t dive, snorkeling is a great alternative to view the astounding aquatic life about 20 feet below. In the heart of the island is Bluewater Resort, which has a touch of countryside elegance with its starrated rooms, recreational facilities and delectable cuisine. Guests can tour the island, kayak on the lake; go glamping (glamorous camping); lounge at the payag-payag (bamboo gazebo); be pampered by a soothing massage overlooking the sea; soak idly at the infinity pool; trek to the lighthouse; or laze in its picture-perfect sandbar, acclaimed as one of the best in the archipelago. And just like any diver’s surface interval, you can have a gustatory feast at The Pavilion, which serves local and international fare, and its trademark Adobo Rice, Lechon Kawali and Flaming Seafood. It is a virtual tropical fiesta as it unrolls its buffet during dinner and breakfast. Its high octagonal nipa thatched roofing and al-fresco setting offer a panoramic view of the sea and mainland Cebu, enhancing your dining pleasure. Bluewater also has optional day tours, and can arrange transportation to and from Cebu City for a seamless travel. With the vast array of food to feast on, or leisure activities to do in Cebu, surface interval has never been this exciting.
»life on the go
A10 Sunday, February 19, 2017 | Editor: Tet Andolong
The interior of Arroz Ecija gives diners a rustic, almacen feel.
Lighting fixtures were inspired by the winnowing basket or bilao.
Story & photos by Issa Quirante
N the quiet side of Bonifacio Global City in Taguig is a notso-tucked “Filipino restaurant of Spanish descent” that not only serves delicious heirloom recipes, but also offers diners a taste of hacienda living in the 1900s. Arroz Ecija, a specialty restaurant at the Arya Plaza of the high-rise Arya Residences, is a concept culled from the memories and childhood stories told to Andrew J. Masigan, president of Advent Manila Hospitality Group Inc.—the same group behind XO 46 Heritage Bistro. The restaurant’s name is a combination of the Spanish word for rice (arroz) and the name of a landlocked province in the Philippines’s Central Luzon region, specifically, Jaen, Nueva Ecija, where Masigan’s family had a rice plantation.
Welcome to Albufera de Veléz
The story of Arroz Ecija goes way back to the time of Masigan’s grandfather, Don Claro Veléz, who was part of the last wave of Spanish immigrants to the Philippines. Don Claro settled in Santa Maria, Isabela, and worked as a regional judge while he dabbled in tobacco and rice farming. His passion for agriculture bore fruit, as he found himself living the life of a full-time haciendero as his plantation continued to flourish. He eventually met and married a local mestiza
named Patrocinio Alindada. Lured by the impeccable weather conditions of Nueva Ecija, which made it easy to grow rice, the couple acquired land in Jaen to be the site of an even bigger plantation—the Albufera de Veléz. Life at the albufera was prosperous. And the bounties the Velézes shared with the families of their more than 300 workers. Doña Patrocinio prepared flavorful, savory food at the hacienda’s kitchen and fed those working the fields. Her long dining tables groaned under the weight of the abundant and comforting Filipino-Hispanic meals she cooked and lovingly put together. However, in January 1942, life for the Velézes and at the hacienda changed when the Japanese Imperial Army descended into chaos and attacked. Don Claro and his eldest son, Alfredo, were made to join the Death March from Bataan to Tarlac. Both did not survive. The albufera, too, was no more.
An ‘almacen’ of memories and good food
Masigan was very close with his
Different sizes of bilao line the walls of Arroz Ecija
Celebrate the love month at Flatiron T
HIS February is the perfect opportunity to enjoy comfort food that will surely warm your heart and fill your stomach as you celebrate the love month with your special someone. Looking for comfort food bursting with flavor because they have been prepared the good, old-fashioned way—braised, stewed, baked or grilled—no shortcuts, just slowcooked to bring out the natural flavors of the ingredients used? Something familiar but provide a different kind of twist that excites the palate? Flatiron, the newest restaurant in the 1771 Group of Restaurants chain, offers a lot of urban comfort food, served hot off the griddle with the menu of international comfort dishes drawn up by 1771 Group’s
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Chef Vicky Rose Pacheco. The good news is that, now, diners can enjoy them every day at very affordable prices, ranging from P220 to P230, with the restaurant’s new Weekday Lunch Specials. These are actually rice toppings elevated to a higher level but priced affordably, and the five selections on the menu are Valentina (beef torta sautéed with red bell pepper, green beans, garlic and onions, served with plain rice), Longganiza Griddle (pan-fried slices of smoked longganisa sautéed with onions and tomatoes, served with plain rice and two-egg torta), Chicken Teriyaki (grilled boneless chicken leg brushed with teriyaki sauce and sliced into strips, served with plain rice and two-egg torta),
Beef Tips in Garlic (sliced beef top blade cooked salpicao style, served with plain rice and two-egg torta), and Corned Beef Flakes (sautéed with onions and tomatoes, served with plain rice and two-egg torta). All Weekday Lunch Specials are prepared fresh and served hot, and are available at the restaurant from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Diners may enjoy these care-
fully selected dishes with other comfort-food favorites and bestsellers. A must-try is Flatiron’s specialty of the house, Flatiron Brisket 6, which is fork-tender beef brisket that has been slowcooked for six hours then seared to order on the griddle, and is served in a skillet with brown and red rice tossed in the drippings, with fresh cucumber and
Sinigang na Tiyan ng Bangus sa Mangang Hilaw
late aunt Nenita, from whom he heard all the stories about the albufera and the heirloom recipes that were fortunately passed on for generations and are now the cornerstone of Arroz Ecija’s menu. From the menu, diners can start with Huevos Rotos, crisped potato fries topped with ground chorizo, fried egg and cheese; Chorizo Sampler Platter of Tuguegarao and Vigan chorizo, betamax (blood) and batutay (longganisa); Shing-a-ling; Chicharon Mexico with guacamole dip; Hinornong Mejillones or baked mussels; and Oreja á la Plancha or grilled pig’s ears. Arroz Ecija serves four different kinds of bringhe, the Filipino version of the Spanish paella of glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk—where one, or all, almost always make it to the table—there’s the Bringhe sa Manok, Bringhe sa Gulay at Bigas ng Cordillera, Bringhe sa Tinta ng Pusit and Bringhe sa Sari-saring Lamandagat. The restaurant also offers a selection of all-day breakfast feasts— all served with egg fabada and binawang na kangkong—called Almusal ng Haciendero (chicken tocino, pork longganisa and beef tapa); Almusal ng Mangingisda (binawang na tuyo, daing na bangus at sardinas); and Almusal ng Magsasaka (itlog na maalat, binurong gulay at hinornong kamatis). Diners can also opt for the Arroz Caldo á la Tinola and Arroz Caldo in Bulalo broth. For the main dishes, diners can choose from Bagnet ng Ilocos, Bopis Ecija, Morcon de Queso de Bola, Callos Madrileno, Pastel de Lengua and Fried Pork Adobo, among others. The restaurant also has a different take on the usual sinigang with its Sinigang na Tiyan ng Bangus sa Mangang Hilaw. Diners can also choose from a
list of soups and noodles (pancit). And for dessert, Arroz Ecija ups the ante of the hacienda feel by offering the traditional rice cakes, or kakanin, like Sapin-sapin, Cassava cake, Biko ube, Maja mais or Maja ube, Pinipig sa Bau and Mango Mauhay, among others. “Arroz Ecija is an ode to the memory of Albufera de Veléz…an homage to a time when life was beautiful; a time when a good meal was enough to make up for a hard day’s work…a time when food was prepared slowly, lovingly and with heartfelt care,” Masigan shared. He added, “We wanted the diners to feel like they were in Nueva Ecija. You see, there are two components when you are in a rice plantation: You are either in the villa or spending time in the almacen—the warehouse where rice is stocked. What we really do is celebrate the rice farmers.” This, as Masigan said it was a “conscious decision” to source rice from a farmers’ cooperative to keep the varieties alive. The farmers only plant the rice variety in advance when there is a demand for it. Arroz Ecija, so far, has been serving the jasponica, dinorado, black jasmine, basmati, purple pirurutong and sampaguita varieties. According to Masigan, Arroz Ecija imbibes the almacen feel, as stepping into the restaurant transports the diners back to the simple life at the albufera. Aside from the modern comforts, everything inside Arroz Ecija—from the tables and chairs made of teak wood to lighting fixtures inspired by the winnowing basket, large wood panels boxing in photos of a rice plantation and sacks of different heirloom rice varieties—gives it the feeling of being inside the almacen and looking out to the rice plantation.
carrot slaw on the side. Other specialty dishes include Corned Beef Skillet (browned corned beef chunks sautéed with onions and tomatoes, plus two sunny side up eggs, and potato bread rolls or rice), Giant Gambas (prawns in paprika garlic oil, and served with focaccia or rice), and Pizzaiola Pasta (bowtie pasta with Napolitaine sauce, bell peppers, salami and bacon, covered with cheese and gratinated to achieve a smoky taste). Diners should also try other hotoff-the-griddle dishes, like the Chicken Piccata (succulent, thinly pounded and breaded chicken breast, fried in butter and tossed in lemon-butter sauce, served with lightly creamed spaghettini), Tostado Wings Adobo served with
garlic mayo dip, Battery Park Pork Chop (1-1/4-inch thick grilled pork chop brined for 24 hours, seasoned with spices, and served with mashed potato, and apple, cucumber and carrot slaw), and Flatiron Steak (300-gram US Choice steak cut from beef top blade). “I wanted a place where people can go to if they wanted a good dinein experience or a hot to-go lunch. The griddle will be a busy place, especially when it comes to preparing these lunch meals. A lot of things will be coming from the griddle,” Pacheco explained. Flatiron is located on the Upper Ground Floor of Uptown Place Mall, 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. www.flatiron.ph.
»life on the go
www.businessmirror.com.ph | Sunday, February 19, 2017 A11
Parmiagiano Ristorante brings Italy
Story & photos by Jacqueline Salvador-Marvida
HERE’S another reason to be joyful in the southern district of the Metro, as Parmigiano Ristorante Pizzeria opens its doors, which is on the Lifestyle Extension of Molito Commercial Complex, where “every day is a family day.”
The view at the second floor of Parmigiano Molito and the light-decorated wall of the restaurant The beautiful interior of Parmigiano Molito
Parmigiano, the fast-rising Italian restaurant, offers a wide variety of great Italian dishes and provides an excellent customer service. Parmigiano Molito’s inspiration and motivation for their new venture is the Ristorante Pizzeria in New Port City Mall, Resorts World Manila, which is anchored by a tremendous success. Giulius Lapino, president of Rigatoni Corp., pointed out, “We would like to be the new dining destination of families in the South”. New menu offers 92 Italian dishes, from appetizers to main courses, in addition to a number of sweetest desserts, including their best cakes. Parmigiano Molito introduced an improved set of Italian dishes crafted by pure Italian ingredients, meticulously prepared and served with generous portions that fit perfectly for Filipino families. Serving with pride are two great Tiella dishes that will satisfy our Italian pallet—Tiella Di Carne and Tiella Di Pesce. The Tiella is a Tuscan-style paella cooked in a wood-fire oven with chunks of meat and shellfish topped with cheese. Tiella Di Carne is a tomato-based style paella with a variety of meat, while Tiella Di Pesce is a truffle and cream-based-style paella with vegetables and seafood. Family diners who love cheese will surely go head over heels with the Parmigiano Reggiano Wheel.
The 45-kilo wheel made of Parmigiano, known as the king of cheeses, is prepared for pasta dishes, like Pasta Del Parmigiano and Cacio E Pepe, with an overload of cheesy goodness using this cheese wheel. Parmigiano’s 26 pasta dishes go perfectly well with 17 varieties of pizza items on its menu. Freshly made hand-pulled dough, each pizza is brick-oven baked to achieve the “jaguar spots”. These blackened spots of char on the rim of the pizza simply show how the pizza crust is perfectly cooked. Large group with big appetites can indulge, as well, with Grilled Platters for meat lovers. Festa Platter filled with special pork ribs, rib eye, Italian sausage and, roasted chicken, and side dishes. The Grande Platter that comes with grilled marinated chicken, beef and pork tenderloin, as well as rack of lamb and side dishes. Sumptuous Italian dishes is offered from a variety of seafood, pork, chicken, beef and lamb that is soothing with so much flavors but easy on the pocket. You got your money’s worth. Delightful dishes is also paired with good varieties of premium Italian wines from white wine to rose wine to red wine, a perfect combination to enjoy a very good Italian cuisine. Serving also are beverages that are refreshing, like sodas, fruit juices and shakes, bottled beer, and even hot and cold coffee. Another exciting feature of
Pomodoro Con Polpette
Gamberi Con Rucola
Parmigiano Molito is its modern Italian interior design that creates an indoor/outdoor ambiance for a more relaxed dining experience— having a high ceiling and huge glass
walls add to a welcoming and comfortable dining experience. Their staff provides an excellent service that guests can look forward to another wonderful comeback.
Parmigiano Ristorante Pizzeria is on Unit 10, Lifestyle Exit, Molito Commercial Complex, Madrigal Avenue corner Zapote Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
For the latest updates and promos check their social-media account at www.facebook.com/ParmigianoRistorantePizzeria and their twitter account @ Parmigiano_PH.
Love and Views at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila
ALENTINE’S Day doesn’t stop after the 14th. Celebrate love every day and make the special someone feel the butterflies, high in the sky, with dining options with a majestic view. Located at the 44th floor of the hotel, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s signature Cantonese restaurant Lung Hin transports its guests to Hong Kong through the fine art of Cantonese cuisine cooking with well-trained Hong Kong Chefs that truly excite the senses. Being at the second to the top floor, it showcases a stunning view of the Metro, as you dine and enjoy authentic and specially crafted dishes in pure luxury, perfect to express a love with no boundaries. Let the hearts soar in the sky and celebrate the love month at the hotel’s highest floor and bar, Vu’s Sky Bar and
Lounge. Poised to be a signature Ortigas attraction, it offers an unobstructed 180-degree view of Manila and a remarkable skyline scenery. Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge invites diners to indulge in its vast selection of cocktails, wines and other spirits, together with a well-curated lineup of dishes that is a good mix of Filipino, Spanish and other Mediterranean favorites. With this great location, every night out becomes even more lovely when spent with the partner. Celebrate love and create a meaningful love month at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila. Contact (632) 720-7777 or book online via www.marcopolohotels. com or e-mail manila@marcopolohotels. com. Visit facebook.com/MarcoPoloOrtigasManila or follow @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter or Instagram.
»life on the go
A12 Sunday, Febuary 19, 2017
Editor: Tet Andolong
Beyond ‘Bulalo’ and Taal Lake
With so many lookout points, cafés and hotels situated along the Tagaytay Ridge, Tagaytay treats visitors to an undisturbed look into Taal Lake with the volcano perfectly framed by the lush greenery courtesy of Tagaytay’s many forests.
LTHOUGH summer is still weeks away, a lot of people have already begun planning their summer trips and vacations. From sunny beaches with stretches of shore that can accommodate several beachside activities, to secluded islands that give off the castaway vibe for undisturbed days of relaxation, to hotels and Airbnbs that offer a change of scenery for those unwilling to hop on a plane for a vacation—the possibilities of summer are truly endless.
There is something about summer that just gives Filipinos an energy boost that can help them get to the “ber” months. But with everyone seemingly ready to book his or her flights to beaches around the archipelago, there is an oftoverlooked summer destination right in Luzon that can offer weary urbanites the reprieve they need right now without having to travel a long way. A mere 68 kilometers from Metro Manila, a city high up is waiting with open arms for fatigued guests and weary souls. With an easily accessible route, dozens of familyowned cafés, restaurants and road-
side diners, a cool climate that can chill even the most high-strung person out and a view that is simply majestic, Tagaytay is just one of the most accessible vacation spots for Manila urbanites.
On top of the world
Tagaytay’s main draw is inarguably the view that it offers travelers. Located along a mountain ridge and with an elevation that’s over 2,000 feet, Tagaytay offers a breathtaking view of Taal Lake and the volcano it hosts in its waters. Seeing the whole vista from such a vantage point gives you the feeling of being literally on top of the world.
Not used to the chilly climate of the highlands? No worries. There’s a bulalohan at every corner so you can heat yourself up with some deliciously hot broth, tender beef, and crunchy vegetables. Anj Cansino
If you’re looking to feast your eyes on some local art, Museo Orlina is the perfect place for you. A family-owned museum that features the owners’ intricately carved glass sculptures and a number of other works from local artists, this art gallery is great for finding inspiration. Aimee Chan
The highlands offer a stunning view of the surrounding towns, mountains, forests and, of course, the lake. There are even places that were created specifically for the travelers’ viewing pleasure— you can simply pull over and take in the majestic beauty of the surroundings. Being able to see the sun rise from the east at a height that can only be described as towering is a feeling that cannot easily be forgotten. But if the view is not enough for the adventurer in you, there are also daily trips to the Taal Volcano Island where you can check out the crater and maybe even hard boil an egg in the warm mud surrounding the currently non-active crater. Getting to the crater is already an adventure in itself. Starting with a boat ride from the mainland to a hike through an uncemented trail to a horseback ride toward the crater itself, the trip can prove to be quite the journey for anyone looking for a different kind of fun.
city and modernization catches up to the highlands, more and more eateries with different specialties are popping up to accommodate the influx of hungry visitors. From a hearty breakfast at Tagaytay’s preferred bed and breakfast, Sonya’s Garden, to homecooked style meals at one of the oldest family-owned restaurants, Tootsie’s, to a slice of warm pie with a cup of coffee on the side from Bag of Beans, you can go on an all-day foodtrip around the city with all the great restaurants and cafés there. The downside is, of course, your diet would have to take a back seat.
The new foodie hub
Now, if you are a traveler who’s hankering for some good old-fashioned bulalo, Tagaytay is the right place for
you. Tagaytay is the acknowledged home of bulalo. This delicious beef stew might look simple but there lies the magic of it. This uncomplicated dish is best when it is served piping hot and with all its fresh vegetables still nice and crunchy. Ask anyone who has had a bowl of bulalo in the highlands and his or her will tell you that it truly is worth driving 68 km for. Southerners— those living in Alabang, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Cavite—are more than willing to go on a daytrip just so they can have lunch at their favorite bulalohan. In fact, even those living north of Manila make the long trip just so they can get their hands on a steaming bowl. The owners of restaurants in Tagaytay, like the Green ATS Bulalohan Restaurant, know this, and it is what inspires them to continue to serve the best bulalo they can every single time so that everyone would have the same gastronomical experience. Make no mistake about it, bulalo is not the only gastronomical delight in Tagaytay, which has slowly risen to be Luzon’s new foodie hub. With accessible roads continuously being built toward the
Exploring the highlands
Now, while you and your friends are digesting the delightful goodies Tagaytay has to offer, why not go around and explore the old city. Though I have already made my argument for Taal Lake and the island it holds, there are other places to see in this windy city. If you are looking for some outdoorsy fun with your friends and family, then you’re in luck because Tagaytay is also home to a number of parks perfect for picnics and group sports. For one thing, there
are always the usual go-to classics: the Tagaytay Picnic Grove and People’s Park in the Sky, and the fairly new theme park, Sky Ranch. Not only will these places help you be one with nature but they are great for getting kids to have some fun in the sun minus the sweat. But if you are in the mood for a dose of local culture, then I suggest you head on over to the many museums located around the area. From the mind-boggling pieces in the Puzzle Mansion to the intricately carved glass sculptures in Museo Orlina, Tagaytay residents have ensured that visitors will not only be fed physically but mentally and creatively, as well. However, while these activities are great, Tagaytay is also the perfect place for a staycation. With a number of hotels, hostels, inns, bed-and-breakfast lodges and Airbnb listings, you can easily choose to just chill out and catch up on those missed episodes and movies. Or to simply get away from the stress that comes with urban living. Just make sure you take a break to go outside and breadth some of that fresh mountain air every now and then.