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August 21-September 3, 2016 Vol. XXXIV No. 23



Nowhere to go It’s not just the major thoroughfares that are being incessantly choked by the madding traffic as this scene in one Makati side street on a random weekday shows. It will be interesting to see what granting “emergency powers” can do to this paralyzing daily mess. Photo by Macjanry Imperio

Can emergency powers solve traffic mess? By VIA BAROMA and TIMOTHY JAY IBAY


resident Rodrigo Duterte’s violent war on drugs may be hogging all the headlines barely two months into his administration, but the pervading crisis Metro Manila dwellers have to deal with everyday remains the continually worsening traffic situation. In his first State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte asked for emergency powers to solve the country's paralyzing transportation state; and following this pronouncement, the Senate began deliberations on several measures granting the executive branch special powers to address the traffic mess. Great power = fiscal responsibility Senate Bills No. 11 and 154, filed respec-

tively by Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon and Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, grant the President the authority to go around standard bidding and procurement procedures for the construction, repair, rehabilitation, and the improvement or maintenance of transportation projects. If passed, the bills exempt the executive department from compliance with restrictions imposed by law on purchase of supplies. The proposed measures also prohibit restraining orders against transportation projects unless issued by the Supreme Court. During the Senate hearing with transport officials, Senate Public Services Committee Chair Grace Poe emphasized the importance of the proposed emergency powers to be Freedom of Information (FOI)-compliant, warning that such powers could be easily abused

since power would be concentrated in one person. “We may allow you to take shortcuts for as long as they do not shortchange the taxpayers. There must be no hidden costs, or undeclared conditional debts that will be passed on to several generations,” Poe said. “We will not go for vague powers or blank checks. I assure you, there will be elbow room and wide latitude given, but not wide enough for thieves to sneak in.” Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who also pointed out the need to redistribute flights out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, vowed that all projects implemented through emergency powers will be completely transparent and page 3 will not last longer than two

Local SMEs unaffected by 'surging economy' By RICHARD RAMOS


hile the Philippines was receiving global accolades for its rapid economic growth that has placed the country’s GDP among Asia’s top three in recent years, it is sad to note that the small and medium industries (SMEs) which comprise over 99 percent of the Philippines’ total industries have remained relatively unaffected by the supposed thriving economy. This can be traced to a variety of reasons that is reflective of the one-sided economic growth that has benefitted mainly the upper classes and big businesses, and little else outside their circle of influence. Dr. Ronald Mendoza, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, pointed out that one of the reasons why vast majority of the SMEs have been disconnected to the dynamic growth of the country is that the excellent macroeconomic state has overwhelmed the microeconomic situationer. Risk factors “Factors such as credit rat-

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All systems go for GOAB at Bellevue Bohol By RICHARD RAMOS


o less than 42 distinguished local and international speakers on startups and technology are expected to share their expertise to budding entrepreneurs during the fourth Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) event slated on Aug. 25 to 27 at the Bellevue Bohol Resort. With the theme “Empowering Startups, Leading Change,” the event will feature the cutting edge of the tech world in a laid-back atmosphere where communities of startups or innovation-driven enterprises based on software or apps are highlighted. Panel of experts Local VIP speakers include Mon Ibrahim as innovation consultant from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Sen. Bam Aquino, Diane Eustaquio of, Jocelle Batapa Sigue as board member of the National ICT Confederation of the Phil., Janette Toral of Digital Filipino, Maria Ressa of, Steve Benitez of Bo’s Coffee, Albert Padin of Symph, Tina Amper as instigator of GOAB, and many others. Prominent international speakers include Dave Brown of, Dave Overton, CEO and founder of, Ashran Dato Ghazi, CEO of Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC), Epi Nekaj, founder of Crowdsourcing Week, Arnaud

Bonzon of 500 Startups, Koichi Saito, founder of KK Fund, Timothy Scott Case of Founding CTOUpside Travel, Judah Hirsch, CEO of Salanum, and Frank Denbow, founder of Startup Threads. Talking points Keynote speeches will discuss Empowering and Government’s Role in Innovation; The Global Startup Phenomenon and Its Impact on Emerging Countries; Enabling Disruptive Innovation: The IdeaSpace Story; Nation Building by Supporting Startups; Corporate Startup Engagement, among other topics. Panel and breakout discussions will cover such topics as Are Philippine startups leading change?; How startups are changing the economy; Innovation programs for academe and industry; Geek secrets: How to find the best geek talent and build a rock star team; Why build startups and tech companies in the Philippines; How to build a startup community in your city; Lessons learned from building fashion e-commerce in Southeast Asia; Crisis in Philippine startups? How investors evaluate technology companies, among others. A special highlight is the GOAB International Startup Pitching Competition which is open to all early stage tech startups that have revenue and traction. The Investors Roundtable Dinner will

Photo courtesy of Bellevue Hotel Bohol

Local SMEs unaffected...from page 1 ing, upgrade in investments, excess liquidity, and the widespread preference of banks to lend to big businesses over SMEs have accounted for just some of the reasons why the SMEs have been neglected,” Mendoza said during the annual Mandaue Business Summit 2016 held at the Oakridge Pavilion in Mandaue City. In his speech dubbed “Getting to High and Inclusive Development: Bold Moves under a Duterte Administration,” the speaker observed that banks much prefer to pay the corresponding fines for minimal loans to SMEs since such firms have been viewed by these financial institutions as risks rather than investments. “Banks have paid nearly PhP2 billion in fines yearly for not catering to SMEs. Banks admittedly look more to big industries’ reenlarged loan portfolios due to their perceived capability to pay back their loans promptly,” he disclosed. Aside from this, Dr. Mendoza added that SMEs lack the proper packaging due to shortcomings in the fields of technology, public goods, and investments. Worse, unlike their overseas counterparts, SMEs are not well linked to big businesses since big business in the Philippines is not heavy in manufacturing. This is not totally the fault of SMEs since their lack of access to capital have hampered their growth and expansion, leading to their inability and incapability to match their overseas

counterparts in terms of competitiveness. Hence, Dr. Mendoza cited the need of more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to boost the manufacturing sector, the single biggest factor in the Asean region that can lift families out of their state of poverty. “Job creation is a must. We are losing a lot of our best minds to foreign shores. I throw back the challenge to startups and managers to penetrate more export markets. Yet another problem here is the underemployment and jobs mismatch between the position and the graduate,” the speaker said. Locally, fresh graduates are forced to work in a totally different field just to pursue a paycheck and avoid unemployment. Examples are nurses working in call centers, commerce graduates as restaurant waiters, and engineers ending up as insurance salesmen. Mendoza also batted for the abolishment of the “endo” or end of contract hiring. This is a widespread practice among big businesses which halt the work terms of their new employees on a massive scale just short of the sixmonth period and embark on another huge hiring scheme to avoid the regularization of their employees. The Mandaue Business Summit is one of the highlights of the Mandaue Business Summit as spearheaded by the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

feature exclusive roundtable discussions by investors for investors. There is also a Business Matching session for outsourcing companies in order to meet startups, software development companies, outsourcing partners, mentors, investors, clients, and other related parties. GOAB is organized by, coorganized by the DICT, and co-presented by the PLDT SME Nation, Ideaspace and SmartDevNet. Partners are HappyGaraje,, and PR Works. Silver Sponsors are Zalora, Mynimo, Tera-

door, and PouchNation, while bronze sponsors are A Space, Yoyo Holdings, Payoneer, Eurekloud, USAID-STRIDE, US Embassy, Launchgarage, and StarTechUp Inc. The first three GOAB confabs have yielded positive results which included the formulation of the Philippine startup roadmap which is now pursued by the government and the community paving the way for local startups to achieve success. For more information, vsiit or email Hello@GeeksOnABeach. com.

Respect rights of employees – retail VIP By RICHARD RAMOS


mployees take center stage for Paul Santos, president of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) as he strongly batted for employers to observe proper treatment of their workforce and ensure their well-being in all aspects in order to make for a more harmonious working relationship and establish an upgraded business climate in the country. Santos reiterated the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to strictly respect the rights of employees by giving what is properly due them in terms of wages, benefits, and working conditions and avoid exploitation and abusive treatment. In an interview with reporters held at the sidelines of the PRA Outstanding Filipino Retailer 2016 (Cebu chapter), Santos bewailed the controversial contractualization practices and declared that employees deserve to earn the minimum wage and other full benefits on their first day of employment. End of contract hiring is unfortunately practiced widely in the country wherein companies replace a vast majority of their labor force every five months in order to avoid the regularization of their employees on the sixth month, which would have translated into full employee benefits, job tenure, and higher salaries. Among the most commonly affected jobs here are sales, wait and janitorial staff, assembly line workers, and the like who are on the receiving end of vastly lower salaries, poor employee morale, extended working hours, and job pressures to maintain a positive working attitude. The PRA head also batted for lower in-

come taxes for the lower and middle income wage earners, and higher income taxes for the wealthier classes in order to establish a more just taxation system which draws more from the haves and less from the have-nots. “The more they earn, the more taxes they should pay. It is unfair that the lower and middle classes pay their taxes religiously while the rich pay only a fraction of the real figures,” he told the media gathered at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel. The present taxation scheme however results in widespread injustice wherein the low and middle-income wage earners constitute the bulk of tax revenues since the rich usually get away with paying higher taxes by arranging shady deals with unscrupulous government officials on a regular basis. Regarding the14th month pay which was recently proposed by a senator, Santos disclosed that this depends on the financial health of the company, requires further study, and may even need consultations with Congress in order to complete the picture. He added that if proven not applicable to certain firms due to lower profits and unstable financial standing, the employees may receive non-monetary benefits and compensation to make up for the absence of the cash benefit. The event also witnessed the awarding of top Cebu-based retail companies in various categories. These are Twinbee Print Ads for advertising category, Habagat Outdoor Equipment for fashion category, Lantaw Restaurant headed by Bunny Pages, Aerophone for gadgets category, and Cebu Home Builders Center for Home Improvement Category.

(L-R) James Co and Michael Co of Cebu Home Builders Center, Bunny Pages, and Robert Go-president of PRA-Cebu Chapter, pose proudly during the PRAOutstanding Filipino Retailer 2016 Awards. Behind them are some of the judges led by past Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Tess Chan





DOT eyes integration of terminal fee, plane ticket


he Department of Tourism (DOT) yesterday disclosed that major airlines have agreed in principle to the integration of the terminal fee into departing passengers’ airline ticket payments. DOT Secretary Wanda Teo said the consensus transpired during the third consultation meeting held at the DOT main office, attended by officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) and airline executives. Under the plan, the domestic passenger service charge (DPSC), commonly known as terminal fee, will be collected by the airlines as part of ticket payment in an effort to ease the

queuing and delays at airport terminals. DOT Undersecretary for Development Planning Benito Bengzon, Jr., who chaired the exploratory talks between DOT, CAAP and the airlines said “This one is pursuant to the 10-point agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte. He has mentioned, time and again, the importance of facilitating processes and systems in government. In this case, we are working together with the different airlines and our partner government agencies in making it easier for the traveling public. And we do that by integrating the various fees that are collected.” He noted, however, that adequate lead

time is required before getting the word out, which includes at least a month for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to prepare to ensure "the level of acceptance and support would be higher." The local air carriers and CAAP board must first agree with the terms and conditions in the memorandum of agreement (MOA) presented by DOT. “Hopefully, once we finalize the Memorandum of Agreement we can have the principals all sign the document, and we can make that big announcement, which I am sure the traveling public would appreciate,” Bengzon

added. Local carriers, including Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB Air), Sea Air, Sky Jet, and Air Juan, and Air Asia are expected to submit the draft MOA in time for CAAP’s board meeting next week. If approved, the plan would be implemented in all airports under the CAAP’s management. There are 81 CAAP terminals, but only 38 terminals are doing commercial operations and collecting terminal fees.

Section 7 of the EO provides that “While access to information, public records and official records, responsible officials shall afford full protection to the right to privacy of the individuals as follows: Each government office per Section 2 shall ensure that personal information in its custody or under its control is disclosed or released only if it is material or relevant to the subject matter of the request and its disclosure is permissible under this order, or existing law, rules or regulations.” Sta. Maria pointed out that one “existing law” in relation to personal information is the Data Privacy Act of 2012, which he writes, “essentially provides that, as a general rule, the personal information of individuals shall not be revealed and cannot be printed, recorded, used and disseminated by others. This is applicable both to private people and government officials except that, in case of the latter; information can be obtained relating to their posi-

tions and functions in the government.” What this means, according to Sta. Maria, is that the National Privacy Commission can determine whether the release of information will be harmful to public interest or national security, and therefore can control what can and cannot be revealed. “And so pursuant to the unnamed “existing law” (which inevitably includes the Data Privacy Act of 2012) referred to by the EO, secrecy, not transparency is the governing and general rule when it comes to the private lives of government officials. And this ‘existing law’ can always be used as a scapegoat for non-disclosure by executive officials. It can always say that the “existing law” ties their hands,” Sta. Maria wrote.

Can emergency powers solve...from page 1 years. “I give you my word, whatever we do, not only in relation to the emergency power, we shall be FOI-compliant,” Tugade said. I stand on the spirit of accountability and transparency. It shall be done.” In an interview in ABS-CBN’s Headstart a day after the hearing, Poe said that she sees emergency powers being granted “hopefully before we adjourn in December,” while also pointing out that the Transportation Department has yet to give them a detailed plan of the extent of the powers. “They haven’t even identified the specific roads, how many kilometers of train. They have to be able to give us all of these specifics before we can actually deliberate on the extent of the emergency powers,” the senator said. FOI concerns Last July 23, Duterte signed the executive

order (EO) implementing FOI in the executive branch—an order that grants public “access to information, official records, public records, documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data and used as basis for public document.” The order covers all government agencies under the executive branch, as well as government-owned or controlled corporations and state universities and colleges. The public lauded Duterte’s signing of the FOI just 24 days into his presidency, even if it only covers the executive branch, particularly because it was a measure that languished during the previous administration’s six years. But lawyer, broadcaster and law professor Mel Sta. Maria warned, “the devil is in the details,” writing in an article that “close scrutiny of the EO provides its own causes for infectivity."




In the bloody lap of luxury Just how much did the Marcoses steal from the Philippines? By CHING DEE

With less than a month left before the controversial burial of former president and dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes) on Sept. 18, the country understandably remains divided whether he deserves to rest in peace in the presence of actual heroes. And I thought we've settled this 30 years ago in EDSA. Just in case you need a refresher, here are the simple numbers based on a 2012 published study by historian and professor Michael Charleston Chua entitled "TORTYUR: Human Rights Violations During The Marcos Regime." 2,668 incidents of arrests 306 total number of arrested individuals 398 disappearances 1,338 executions 128 frustrated executions 1,499 killed or wounded in massacres Aside from being responsible for the death, torture, and disappearance of thousands of people during his regime, Marcos and his family also siphoned billions of dollars from the Philippines for 21 years – from being elected in 1965 until the day he was overthrown through the People Power Revolution of 1986. Thirty years on, question remains: How much did the Marcoses actually plunder from the Philippines? Here are just some of the numbers according to the World Bank-UN Office on Drugs

and Crime's Stolen Asset Recovery (UNODC-StAR) Initiative.


According to the estimate given by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth amounts to roughly US$10 billion. That's about PhP462,395,000,000 today. On average, that means they misappropriated – in one way or another – nearly US$477 million every year for 21 years. The Guardian wrote in a May 2016 article about the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth, all Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos "had to do was turn on the taps anywhere in the world and cash would come pouring out; cash that had been washed clean of its connection to crime." No mortal can spend all that money in their lifetime, so concerned organizations and groups are still demanding the Marcoses to return the money to the state.


As of the latest report from the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) dated 2013, PhP166.2 billion has been returned to the Philippines' national treasury. That leaves us with more than PhP296 billion to go after.


Your name doesn’t become an adjective


that means “ostentatiously extravagant, sometimes to the point of vulgarity,” just for kicks. For lack of a more fitting word, "Imeldific" is indeed the correct word to describe the former First Lady's notorious shopping sprees. According to a 2013 article on New York Magazine, Imelda made history when she went on a US$7-million spending spree in 1983 in New York, Rome, and Copehagen. Maureen O'Connor of New York Magazine wrote, "[Imelda] spent US$7 million in 90 days. In a single day in New York, she spent US$3 million. Her New York loot included US$2 million in fine jewelry and US$35,000 on limousines. In Rome, she purchased a US$3.5 million Michelangelo painting. Her travel expenses were also extravagant; she once spent US$2,000 in chewing gum during a stop at SFO. An airplane departing Rome was required to do a mid-air U-turn because Imelda realized she’d forgotten to purchase cheese." An archived receipt from Bulgari in New York, showed that Imelda bought various pieces of jewelry worth US$1.431 million (more than PhP66.2 million today) in a single transaction.

impressionist Paule Gobillard and have an estimated value of at least US$1 million (PhP46,253,500 today).


The Marcoses' had an 18.5-hectare Pasig City property valued at PhP16.5 billion. The property was surrendered by Marcos crony Jose Y. Campos in 1986 in exchange for immunity.

At least US$5 million dollars. That's the value of the incredibly rare 25-carat pink diamond included in Imelda's 300-piece jewelry collection. The collection has been stowed in the vaults of the Central Bank of the Philippines for about three decades, but was recently shown to the public. The pieces will be auctioned off. According to a CNN report, the entire collection is worth about US$21,000,000 (PhP971,407,500 today).


In 1991, 72 boxes of antique silverware and masters paintings were seized from their properties and auctioned off in New York. The total sales came up to US$13,302,604.86 (PhP615,292,035.74 today). Authorities are still hunting down at least 200 paintings that include works by Picasso, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. In 2014, 15 paintings were sequestered from Imelda's home in San Juan City. Eleven of which were works by renowned French


In 1981, five years before they were ousted from the Malacañan Palace, the Marcoses bought the Crown Building in the prime spot of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City, one of the most expensive retail and residential spots in the city. It was auctioned off for US$93.6 million (PhP4,329,327,600 today).


In pesos, that’s just the amount for two of the Marcoses’ auctioned properties in the Philippines. Their 3,900-square meter Baguio City property was auctioned off in 2012 for PhP93 million, while the 4,038-square meter "Mapalad Property" in Pasay City was auctioned for PhP247.11 million. The proceeds were turned over to the Bureau of Treasury.



According to the UNODC-StAR website, a total of US$683,000,000 (PhP31,595,238,500 today) has been turned over to the Philippine treasury in 2004. These were from Marcos' frozen assets (including interest) from his Swiss accounts. Despite knowing these details, the country is still not done fighting for justice and history. Instead of healing the wounds of Martial Law, the Marcos burial on Sept. 18 will be salt on these wounds – the stripes and lashes from a lying, thieving dictator whose lies are perpetuated by his family who continues to revel in the bloody lap of luxury. USD-PHP conversions as of Aug. 16, 2016





Turning Japanese, in the Heart of Manila Okada Manila to combine the finest of Japanese and Filipino hospitality and opulence, under one massive roof By ANGIE DUARTE

OKADA Manila, the newest and largest integrated resort to open in the Entertainment City in Parañaque, promises to take Filipino Hospitality to a whole new level


n the ever-growing, hyper competitive luxury leisure and entertainment industry, there is one name that promises to stand out above the rest, in opulence, grandeur, hospitality and cutting-edge innovation: Okada Manila. Owned by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc., and the brainchild of resort and gaming visionary, Kazuo Okada, chairman of Japanese gaming group Universal Entertainment, Okada Manila sets out to conquer the casino resort and recreation market in the Philippines, and in the Asia-Pacific region. Strategically located along the foreshore of Manila Bay, Okada Manila is a 440,000-square meter (44-hectare) property which is merely four hours by air from neighboring Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong; and just three kilometers away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The massive facility will be a showcase of the Japanese brand of Omotenashi and Magokoro hospitality, which are marked by a respectful spirit, and zeal for efficient and creative innovativeness, combined with the congeniality and cheerful fervor of the Filipino service ethic. “With these guiding principles and values, the resort expects to bring people around the world together through fun and entertainment by providing unique experiences that no one else can deliver,” says Tiger Resort President Steve Wolstenholm. Iconic design, first-rate amenities One will need only to lay eyes on Okada Manila’s iconic design features to be clued in to all the wonders that will lie within this integrated entertainment center. The hotel, for instance, will house the Pearl and Coral wings, which will be joined together in a Y-shape by two sky bridges. Each wing will be comprised of 15 floors, with a combined total of over 900 luxe guest rooms, which will range from sizable 60-square meter cuts, to indulgent

VIP Gaming Area Entrance Lobby

(L-R)Tiger Resort Board of Director Antonio Cojuangco, Okada Manila Chief Operating Officer Takahiro Usui and Manila President Steve Wolstenholme, leading the ceremonial toast at Okada Manila’s media launch

1,400-square meter villas. Each room will afford stunning views of either Manila Bay, or the hotel’s grand fountain. Integral to the hotel’s design are a premium retail promenade with both high-end and casual retail outlets, opulent and spacious gaming floors, a spa and wellness center, domed nightclub and indoor beach club, casual and signature dining restaurants. The entire façade will be painted in hues of gold, intended to reflect the warmth and beauty of Manila Bay’s storied sunsets. “Naturally, it symbolizes abundance and, at the same time, represents the hue of Manila Bay’s famed sunset,” Wolstenholme points out. Something to anticipate, as well, is the dancing water display and light show at The Fountain. This 37,464-square meter centrally located ornamental structure is expected to become the single most iconic of all of Okada Manila’s features, and is likewise projected to be a big crowd-drawer. At a cost of US$30 million, The Fountain will be a one-of-a-kind venue for special events and concerts, aside from a unique and awe-inspiring gathering place for

Beach Club (Day View)

family and friends. Game on Those bitten by the gaming bug will thrill to know that upon its opening, Okada Manila be the largest casino resort in the Philippines. As many 500 table games and around 3,000 Electronic Gaming Machines will be set up on the resort’s luxurious gaming areas. Guests looking to get their game on in other areas or recreation can look forward to a shopping and dining experience like few others with premiere retail and culinary establishments. More than 50 top brands are set to open shop in Okada Manila, and will be occupying a sizeable portion of the complex. Meanwhile, 21 self-operated restaurants for casual, buffet, and international dining – among these, K.O. Dining, which carries signature restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs, The Sky Casino, Sports Book & Bar, Yu Lei, Catch Live Seafood, Fujishiro, Museum Café, Enbu, Goryo Korean Barbecue, Imamura, and Ginza Nagaoka – are poised to please even the most discriminating of palates.

Leisure lovers will find a haven in Okada Manila’s world-class spa facilities, which will be located in each wing of the hotel, and will feature deluxe treatment suites, foot spa thrones, relaxation rooms, spa gardens, and aqua therapy facilities. Clubbing will definitely be on the agenda, as well, with The Cove – a 9,000-square meter entertainment venue, with a maximum capacity of up to 4,500 guests. The club space will be enclosed in a large glass dome, and will allude to a tropical island getaway, in its ambiance. Cabanas and bungalows, 33 in all, equipped with amenities such as private Jacuzzis, dining rooms, media and karaoke rooms, and hotelinspired private restrooms will be located within The Cove. Additionally, a real white sand beach, lily pads, daybeds, luxurious locker and shower room facilities for all guests, a sunset deck overlooking the bay, a 700-square meter butterfly pool, two expansive stages and five distinct bars offering unique artisanal cocktails will all be an exciting part of Southeast Asia’s largest indoor beach club. Well-worth the gamble “Okada Manila will redefine the concept of Philippine entertainment and gaming. We envision it to become the country’s iconic landmark for world-class entertainment and limitless fun that will delight and charm visitors from within the Philippines and all over the world,” Wolstenholme said. Set to open before the end of 2016, at a whopping cost of US$2.4 billion, the gargantuan gaming gambit that is Okada Manila most definitely poses high stakes for its investors and developers, as well as high expectations for lovers of the good life, locally and internationally. However, with a solid commitment to elevate the standards of fun and entertainment in the Philippines, as well as generate thousands of new jobs in the country, Okada Manila may very well be worth the gamble.

Retail Area Lobby Entrance



G RU B H U B Newspaper

The Philippines’ forum for international readers since 1981

Murray Hertz Founding Publisher (1928-2014) Butch C. Bonsol President & Managing Director Timothy Jay Araneta Ibay Editor-in-Chief Suzette Defensor Consultant Angie Duarte Richard A. Ramos (Cebu) Senior Writers Via Baroma Ching Dee Staff Writers Leah Egamino-Palaña Advertising Coordinator Jennifer Codera Billing, Credit and Collection Supervisor Nikki Joy Habana Macjanry Imperio Design & Layout Our Headquarters: Unit 207, Cattleya Condominium Bldg. 235 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City Our telephone numbers: (+632) 840-2996 or (+632) 812-0987; Fax (+632) 840-2988 You can also reach us at: and for sales and advertising: Cebu Mailing Address: MJ. Cuenco Avenue cor. C. Mina St., Mabolo, Cebu City Telefax: (032) 412-8000 Statements, views and opinions expressed by the writers, contributors, and advertisers are their own and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher or the management. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material.


Enjoy the best Canadian beef at New World Makati


ew World Makati Hotel, in partnership with Canada Beef International Institute and with the support of the Canadian Embassy, invites diners to experience the Canadian Beef Advantage once again. A product of Canada’s abundant natural landscape and sustainable ranching techniques, Canadian beef is of the highest quality – wellmarbled, flavorful and nutrient-packed premium food recognized worldwide as some of the best beef in the world. The hotel’s culinary brigade, led by Executive Chef Robert Davis, pulls out all the stops in offering a rich and satisfying dining experience through a hotel-wide food promotion for the whole of September. Diners are invited to visit Jasmine restaurant and be enticed with the tenderness of Canadian beef combined with the flavors of traditional Chinese cuisine. Executive Chinese Chef Wong Kam On presents a special à la carte menu with offerings such as Diced Beef Tenderloin with Cashew Nuts and Dough Stick, Wok-Fried Beef Tenderloin and Coriander Tips, and Black Pepper Beef Tenderloin on Rice, all of-

fered for lunch and dinner. Alternatively, diners can explore Café 1228’s enhanced buffet spread, where each section features dishes handcrafted by the hotel’s culinary artisans to bring out the flavors of premium Canadian beef. Favorites include Whole House Cured Corned Beef and aged Barley-Fed Beef with Roasted Vegetables, Baked Potatoes and Yorkshire Pudding, sure to please even the most discerning palates. In addition to premium Canadian beef dishes, the restaurant features a host of fresh salads, seafood, international cuisines and maple-syrup inspired desserts starting at PhP1,999 per person for lunch on weekdays, PhP2,299 per person for lunch on weekends and PhP2,399 per person for dinner daily. To complete the hotel-wide food promotion, The Lounge presents a three-piece set of Canadian sliders for mid-day snacks paired with an ice-cold beer for just PhP895. Rates include service charge. For more information and reservations, contact the hotel at (02) 811-6888 or visit www.newworldhotels. com/manila.

Canadian beef spread = Divine

Indulge in Swiss bliss at Chesa Bianca Text and photos by CHING DEE


r. Werner Berger, the tireless man behind specialty foods store Santi's Delicatessen, has given the Philippines numerous European restaurants like Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano, I'm Angus Steak House, and Cave Werdenberg Wine Bar. But it's his Chesa Bianca Swiss Restaurant that takes center stage for its one-of-a-kind festival this month. Cheese fest Chesa Bianca is celebrating its Melted Raclette Cheese Festival until the end of September and treating diners to an authentic European delicacy: ooey gooey Raclette cheese. It's the cheesy sensation that has swept New York City and a quick YouTube search will have you drooling for this semi-hard cheese made of pure cow's milk. It is traditionally served over roasted potatoes, cornichon (gherkins or baby pickles), pearl onions, sautéed mushrooms, and toasted baguette. The tangy cornichon and pearl onions naturally contrast the saltiness of the Raclette cheese, creating layers of flavors in your mouth, while the earthiness of the mushrooms brings out the creaminess of the melted cheese. And the potatoes? Well, we all know cheese and potatoes will always be a winning combination in

Seduction on a plate: No one can resist this gooey Raclette cheese

any country. Apart from the thoughtfully created traditional platter, Chesa Bianca's new executive chef decided to give us more reasons to fall even more in love with Raclette. Chef Thomas Heinrich began his path to culinary excellence at the age of 15, working at an Italian restaurant as a dishwasher after school in his hometown in Australia. Two years later, he started his culinary apprenticeship, having the opportunity to meet and work with top chefs in the Land Down Under. In 2000, he took a leap of faith and flew to New York to expand his gastronomic adventures. From there, he had the privilege of working with some of the best chefs in the US and managed to work his way to some of the best restaurants and hotels in North America. Thanks to Chef Thomas' culinary prowess, diners can choose between four variations of Raclette dishes – all served with the traditional Swiss Raclette sides of potatoes, pickles, onions, mushrooms, and toasted bread. Platters of goodness The Smoked Farmer's Ham Raclette Platter features imported smoked farmer's ham. The creamy melted cheese highlights the slight sweetness and smokiness of the ham. This platter is rustic, delicious, and ultimately comforting in its simplicity. The Steak Raclette Platter features chunks of Australian sirloin steak, seasoned and grilled to perfection. Just when you thought high-grade steak couldn't get any better, the Raclette takes it to a whole new level. It is seduction on a plate. The Fried Chicken Raclette Platter is bound to be a crowd favorite. The chicken is covered with crispy, flavor-packed skin that gives way to moist and tender meat inside. The Raclette cheese keeps the chicken moist and its delicate flavors do not overpower the chicken. Filipinos definitely love their chicken fried to golden brown perfection, so this platter is a must-try. The Prawn Raclette Platter is for seafood and cheese lovers. If you think prawns and cheese won't work, think again! The prawns are grilled and mixed with garlic, which complements the saltiness and creaminess of the melted Raclette cheese. Think of your favorite garlic butter shrimp, but with lots of deliciously melted cheese.

Chesa Bianca's Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich

When asked where he gets his inspiration, Chef Thomas told Expat, "With a product this good, you don't need to overcomplicate things... We thought of things that would complement Raclette, but at the same time we want to make sure we do not lose the authentic Swiss flavors." The best of Switzerland is definitely here at this Swiss chalet in the middle of Makati. It's like stepping into a winter cabin in the Alps with its log cabin design, wooden furniture, and Swiss decor. Aside from the Raclette Cheese Festival, Chesa Bianca is also known for its various fondues and Swiss favorites like Zurcher Geschnetzeltes (veal in mushroom cream sauce, served with rosti potatoes) and Roschti Oberland (potato rosti topped with smoked ham, raclette cheese, and fried egg). "We want to give diners a slice of Switzerland," Chef Thomas said. "So we stay true to its flavors, we make sure the ingredients are authentic and we do not skimp." With Santi's Delicatessen just next door, quality imported ingredients are available all day, every day. The Melted Raclette Cheese Festival spreads to Santi's Delicatessen with a special 50 percent discount on Raclette cheese slices, so you can take the goodness home. Chesa Bianca Swiss Restaurant is located at Dining @ Yakal, 7431 Yakal Street, San Antonio Village, Makati. For inquiries and reservations, call (02) 815-1359.





Shang Palace cooks up Cantonese just like ‘Mouh Chan’ used to make It By ANGIE DUARTE

Delight in home-style dishes from Shang Palace’s new Executive Chef, Ben Lam


ne need not necessarily speak or understand Cantonese to have a palate which has perfect comprehension of and appreciation for delicious and hearty Cantonese cooking. These days, the best interpretation of “maoh chan’s” (the Cantonese word for mother; at least, according to the internet) cooking is to be found at the Shang Palace, through the flavorful creations of its new Executive Chef, Ben Lam. A taste of home-style Hong Kong Chef Ben grew up in Hong Kong and has been cooking since the age of 14. Nineteen years later, he finds himself on Philippine shores, eager to take Manila’s gastronomes on a delectable food journey, borne of his passion for traditional Cantonese cooking. ”Cantonese cuisine is very popular in Hong Kong; the taste is light, and the food is nutritious, freshly cooked and very popular with everyone,” Chef Ben shares. “It is the thought of bringing Hong Kong to the Philippines, through my dishes, which inspires me to cook in a more homey or traditional style of cooking. I want to our guests to feel that they are dining in Hong Kong, when they eat at Shang Palace. I want to create that feeling through my dishes.” Since 1993, Shang Palace has been the best Chinese restaurant on the Makati side of the Metro, and quite possibly, beyond that. While much of the menu remains unchanged, Chef Ben’s new creations prove exciting additions to well-loved, classic favorites. A new array of sumptuous treats “Shang Palace is upholding its classic Can-

Assorted dimsum

tonese dishes, but cumber, along with for our latest array the flavorful water of sumptuous treats, pan-fried Shanghaimy new creations are pao, for starters; inspired by a combihearty and comnation of Asian and forting spareribs Sichuan touches, with pumpkin, taro, making them less and coconut milk, formal and less evoccooked in a clay pot ative of Lauriat style, for that authentic but more traditional home-style taste and homey,” Chef Sichuan style shredded sea and feel; deep fried cucumber horizontal Ben explains. prawn balls coated Must-try dishes with oatmeal with include, among other offerings, tasty and thousand island sauce, to evoke the goodslightly spicy Sichuan style shredded sea cu- ness of Cantonese comfort food; and tender

and savory sautéed diced beef tenderloin with Chinese wine, vinegar, and black soya sauce. While all of Chef Ben’s new dishes are a gastronomic pleasure, he says that the highlight of his creations is the Shang Palace fortune chicken, which is said to bring good luck and prosperity. A staple at festive occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, the dish is a gustatory masterpiece which requires a 24-hour advanced order, on account of the meticulous preparation involved in this mouthwatering recipe. A whole chicken is first marinated for hours in a mix of customary Chinese herbs and spices, before it is wrapped in layer upon layer of lotus leaves, then braised and steamed inside a pastry shell. The result is an incredibly aromatic, flavor-rich experience that comes with each whiff and bite of the tender and succulent chicken. Sweet endings include the toothsome mango rice roll with desiccated coconut, and the satisfying red bean paste dumpling coated with green tea powder. Cantonese comfort food “We are more than happy to have Chef Ben and his Hong Kong style in the classic Shang Palace. His creations evoke the same effect as the Filipinos’ adobo or sinigang. Each dish has a familiar flavor that creates a comforting feeling,” shares Agnes Chuah, Shang Palace’s operations manager. Indeed, lovers of home-cooked Cantonese goodness need look no further than the Shang palace to satisfy their cravings for comforting sustenance. To view the complete menu, log on to www.

Redesigned cosmopolitan Japanese awaits at John and Yoko Text and photos by VIA BAROMA


ohn and Yoko, the beloved cosmopolitan Japanese restaurant recently shook things up in a move to make their dining experience more “bold and exciting.” Aside from the revamped interiors, John and Yoko redefines Japanese cosmopolitan dining with delectable and “Instagrammable” menu items boasting of an authentic yet innovative take on Japanese fare. The update comes after eight years in Greenbelt 5, in which time John and Yoko gained steady following for its upscale urban cuisine. “Filipinos have developed a more discriminating palate for Japanese food, from the freshness of their sushi and sashimi, the crispness of their tempura, and the umami of their ramen. Cosmopolitan cuisine has also evolved from urban to trendy [and] into more sophisticated gastronomy with global appeal,” said Ricky Laudico of the Sumo Sam Restaurant Concepts Group. “John and Yoko takes it up a notch with a new look that appeals to a wider crowd, and a more interesting menu for a truly unique flavor experience.” Expat recommends During the media launch, John and Yoko flaunted its 17-course menu—a massive parade of authentic and fresh Japanese cosmopolitan flavors, that started with Salmon Carpaccio (thin slices of Norwegian salmon in soy truffle ponzu, topped with arugula and shaved parmesan) and Truffle Prawns in Asparagus (grilled prawns sautéed with asparagus and

crabfat, drizzled with truffle oil and yuzu). Other must-trys include the Spicy Tuna Salad (mixed greens tossed in onion dressing, surrounded by spicy tuna tartare over seared sushi rice nigiri); Salmon Lasagna (a bed of crispy fried nori and Japanese sushi rice topped with torched ground Norwegian Salmon, Japanese mayo and teriyaki sauce); Unagi Chocolate (chicken fillet, lightly dredged in cornstarch and deep-fried, seasoned with salt and pepper, brushed with unagi teriyaki sauce and served with wasabi cream sauce on the side); Salmon Aburi with Mango Salsa (torched Norwegian Salmon sushi, topped with a salad of mango, onion, and cherry tomatoes and filled with a white cream sauce); Dragon Roll (cucumber and unagi with teriyaki sauce, topped with sweet mango); Scallop Dynamite (minced scallops blended with kani and ebiko in a spicy tuna sauce, baked on top of teppan scallops in shell); Oyster Overload (oyster teppan topped with Japanese Hollandaise sauce and melted cheese, served with ponzu sauce); and Crispy Chicken Teriyaki (crunchy chicken fillet tossed in teriyaki sauce, garnished with spring onions and togarashi served with wasabi mayo), among a slew of other belly-busting treats. Balance of playfulness, tradition and innovation Aiming to balance of playfulness, tradition, and innovation, three chefs collaborated to form a culinary team behind the revamped menu. “We’ve infused bolder flavors into the

menu for some interesting flavor combinations, and employed some new techniques on the bestsellers to bring out more flavors,” Chef Chris Oronce said on behalf of the three-man team that also includes Chef Benjamin Gonzales and Chef Sonny Mariano. Even with the various changes of the menu, John and Yoko has made sure to retain the essence of each dish and the distinct John and Yoko flavor. “At the heart of each dish is still the well-loved classic. The new dishes are simply exciting takes on old favorites, and we hope our guests find a new favorite dish on the menu.” Chef Chris said. John and Yoko Cosmopolitan Japanese is located at the 2nd Level, Greenbelt 5, Makati. For reservations, call (02) 623-7255 or email johnandyokoph@

Crispy Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken & Shrimp Japaella






n recent years, rapid development has bitten away at the allure Tagaytay has built over the decades as the go-to destination for a quick city escape. But despite the congestion that now prevails across the holiday town south of Manila, city folk continue to take the drive down to Tagaytay for its one asset urban development has yet to chew away at – the views. Geographically blessed by sitting on a ridge that overlooks Taal Lake, Tagaytay will always have a corner that offsets the babel of urbanization. And, if it is breathing in the gorgeous views that one wants, one of the best places to do so is in the stylish seclusion that Domicillo Design Hotel affords. Birthed from design Clean, modern lines crafted through a thoughtful mix of concrete, steel and wood environ the eight-room (nine, if you count the lounge) boutique hotel. It doesn’t take long for one to notice the measured sophistication exuded by Domicillo – it is after all, the byproduct of a collaboration between some of the most renowned design minds in the country. “We talked about [having an] organic feel… raw and natural. Our credo was not to disturb nature, but be one with it. The use


The views – imagine days where this view is the default setting


and look of cement, wood and metal satisfies the design [of] organic architecture,” owner Rene Alcala shares of the Domicillo’s design concept. There are three Deluxe rooms, which has

Domicillo’s lounge area and its artful chairs

the garden view and is next to the mod, yet snug guest lounge; two Superior rooms, with an upper lake view and individual verandas; and three Premiere rooms with lower lake view (absolutely gorgeous), veranda (per-

fect spot to soak up the views with a bottle of wine) and garden. The entire hotel is fully furnished using top-shelf materials, while rooms feature furniture pieces from world-class designers like Budji Layug, Milo Naval and Tes Pasola. Domicillo may imbue an unmistakable stylish sophistication in its own minimalistic way, but it is how they’ve seamlessly related that to a welcome seclusion that may very well then be what sets the hotel apart. “More than design, Domicillo is a haven for relaxation and serenity,” says Alcala. “It’s a place where you can commune with nature without any interference and in a different kind of realm – one where your senses are ignited while your spirit relaxes in a sort of magical zone.” La dolce vita For the duration of your stay, there is no need to leave the comforts of Domicillo as it houses two restaurants: La Finca—a restaurant/café whose menu pays homage to organic and seasonal fresh produce bountiful in its environs; and Aozora—a Japanese bistro on the hotel’s top level that has the draw of authentic fare with the utterly romantic backdrop of Taal Lake. And, should you wish to take your relaxa-

Space and style – staples of every Domicillo room





A look at the hotel’s multi-level design

Good food, great views – that’s how mornings are spent at La Finca

Another corner of the lounge shows just how homey the hotel’s subtle sophistication is

Wood and steel mesh beautifully outside the Premier rooms

Photos can’t do justice to the warm treat that is the Aozora Ramen

Aozora’s Dragon Maki

tion up a notch, Domicillo offers a slew of inroom spa services that range from PhP500 to PhP1,050 – quite the steal of a deal. Domicillo also features a home store where collections of fashion and home décor pieces made by Alcala’s circle of designer friends are exhibited and available for sale. Domicillo may have begun as a manifestation of the affinity for design, but as it currently stands, it quite succinctly embodies the good life. Says Alcala, “It is our desire to pamper

guests and customers with excellent service in a carefully cultivated environment of contemporary art, design and architecture. We believe that where these three elements are, good times and great company follow.” Domicillo Design Hotel is located at Km. 58, E. Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City. For inquiries, contact (046) 413-3552, (0917) 6728182 (0922) 884-1532, email or visit

Outside Domicillo’s Deluxe rooms



La Finca offers a variety of fine salad creations that ably manage to be both delectable and healthy. Inspired by the farm to table movement, its signature salad is Ensalada La Finca, which features seasonal pako greens topped with cherry tomatoes, slices of salted egg, kesong puti and crispy pork adobo floss for added crunch and texture. A drizzle of honey-calamansi dressing provides the sweet-tangy finish to the refined Filipino salad.

Aozora’s signature dish is the Aozora Ramen—a blend of Tagaytay staple bulalo (bone marrow broth) and the Japanese noodle dish that results in a unique concoction that carries with it a distinctly delightful taste. You also can’t miss their Dragon maki—giant prawn tempura wrapped and rolled into a maki.

Domicillo’s home store is peppered with brilliant fashion and home décor finds





'We are red, we are white, we are Danish dynamite' By VIA BAROMA

Denmark celebrates 167th Constitution Day


he walls of Baluarte de San Diego in Intramuros came alive with the sound of clinking glasses as guests from the Philippine government, diplomatic and consular corps, business community and Danish friends gathered for the Constitution Day of Denmark on June 6. Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen together with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and Second Councilor of the Embassy of the Holy See Msgr. Kryspin Dubiel hosted the event to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Danish Constitution in 1849, which has served as the steadfast and strong foundation for Denmark’s reputation as a proud democratic and humane state. ”Democracy means adhering to the accepted principles such as good governance, rule of law, transparency, due process of the law, freedom of expression, full respect for human rights, gender and equality, which is a shared value with the Philippines,” Ambassador Christensen said in his opening remarks. Aside from this historic occasion, the Embassy of Denmark also celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the bilateral relations between Denmark and the Philippines. Denmark was one of the first countries that recognized the Philippine Republic in 1946. But the historic relations between the two countries go much further back.

“We have documentation of Danes coming to the country already in the 17th century. I would also like to highlight that Jose Rizal, National Hero of the Philippines, established special link to Denmark by translating in 1886 while he was in Germany, five fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen into Tagalog,” Ambassador Christensen noted. “We’re right now working with Anvil Publishing to having beautiful books printed later this year with fairytales in Tagalog and English,” the Ambassador added. During his speech, Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen also noted that Denmark is one of the leading countries in Europe advocating universal respect, protection, and fulfillment of human rights. It is particularly a champion of the right not to be tortured as provided by the Convention against Torture. “Denmark adheres again and again the top of international comparisons. We are the least corrupt country in the world. We are the top level when it comes to ease of doing business and Denmark comes out as a country with the best balance with work and family life,” Ambassador Christensen beamed and ending it with a famous chant: “We are red. We are white. We are Danish dynamite.” Expat extends its warmest congratulations and best wishes to the government and people of the Kingdom of Denmark. Cheers!

Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen was joined by Msgr. Kryspin Dubiel and DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis onstage for the ceremonial toast

Consul Tony Rufino; Kim del Mundo; British Ambassador Asif Ahmad; and Mita Rufino

Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen; Madam Kieu Phung; and Panama Ambassador Rolando Guevarra

Spanish Ambassador Luis Calvo; Panamanian Ambassador Rolando A. Guevara Alvarado; and Argentine Ambassador Robert Bosch

Pia Salman from the Embassy of Denmark; Counselor and Deputy Head of Mission Jaco Beerends of the Embassy of Netherlands with wife, Stephanie Ketting

DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and Msgr. Kryspin Dubiel serves as the guest of honor during the celebration

Romanian Charge d' Affaires Mihai Sion; Laura Sion; and Argentine Ambassador Roberto Bosch

Simon Hoy; French Consul Christian Hue; Angeles Rubio Santocildes; and First Secretary and Consul Thi Thu Huong Tran of Australian Embassy

British Ambassador Asif Ahmad and partner Kim del Mundo

The Denmark Embassy in Manila celebrated its 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations last June 6





An improved Robinsons Place Ilocos

Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC), the country’s pioneer in mixed-use development under the leadership of president Frederick Go, officially launched its 17th mixed-use development located in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte with the grand opening of Robinsons Place Ilocos Expansion Mall. With the successful track record of Robinsons Place Ilocos for the past seven years, RLC responded to the needs of its customers by adding the South Wing, a four-storey building situated beside the original mall. The first two floors of the South Wing houses the mall expansion with more retail stores, dining options, three new state-of-the-art cinemas, covered parking and part of the BPO office space while the third and fourth floors are reserved for BPO offices as well as more parking slots. Congratulations to the entire Robinsons Land Corporation team for this notable enterprise!

Frederick Go expresses optimism with RLC’s latest project in the province

Actor and model Xian Lim

(From left) Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) Office Buildings Division general manager Faraday Go, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte vice mayor Marlon Valdez and mayor Alfredo Valdez, Jr., RLC president Frederick Go, Ilocos Norte vice governor Angelo Marcos Barba and Business Unit general manager and RLC Commercial Centers Division SVP Arlene Magtibay during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Robinsons Place Ilocos Expansion Mall grand opening

Robinsons Place Ilocos regional mall operations manager Edmund Caparas, Audio Wav business unit director JJ Sison, Arlene Magtibay, Robinsons Malls Accenture Ilocos AWS lead’s Raymund Rivera, CBRE’s Joey Xadova and RLC Office Buildings Division head of Leasing Maricel Cadiz marketing director Eunice Gonzalez and operations director for Luzon Malls Irving Wu

Happiness is in the details Jewelmer Joaillerie has unveiled a new collection that reminds us to value life’s little treasures. Aptly named “Petits bonheurs,” the collection is made of golden South Sea pearl pendants playfully adorned with 18-karat gold charms that represent happiness. A doughnut, a sailboat, a guitar, and an ice cream cone—these are just some of the dainty reminders that ask us to focus on life’s simple joys. The Petits bonheurs collection is another exciting offer from the international luxury brand of exquisite South Sea pearl jewelry spearheaded by group EVP and deputy CEO Jacques Christophe Branellec, SVP and creative director Gaelle Branellec, and executive marketing manager Tricie Legarda. These whimsical gems are available in select Jewelmer Joaillerie boutiques nationwide. For more information, visit

(From left) Jewelmer Joaillerie’s SVP and creative director Gaelle Branellec, group EVP and deputy CEO Jacques Christophe Branellec, and executive marketing manager Tricie Legarda

Marie-Ann Umali wears a Petits bonheurs pendant composed of a golden A walk in the garden with Jewelmer Joaillerie’s Petit bonheurs pendant South Sea pearl set with 18-karat gold with floral design Double the allure of pearls with the layered look

Beach ball and umbrella pendants from the Petits bonheurs collection are dainty reminders to focus on life’s simple joys





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• 10th International Silent Film Festival

• When All Grounds Are Sacred by JC Jacinto

Aug. 25 to 28; Shang Cineplex, Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong City; for more information, visit www.britishcouncil. ph The British Council Philippines will be opening the 10th International Silent Film Festival with Play On! Silent Shakespeare, a 2016 compilation of Silent Shakespeare films from the British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive. Tago Jazz Collective will be performing a live musical score of the film. Play On! Silent Shakespeare pays homage to works of William Shakespeare as the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of his death this 2016. The International Silent Film Festival, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, will also be featuring films from eight other countries. Joining the film festival are the PhilippineItalian Association, the Japan Foundation Manila, Goethe-Institut Philippines, Instituto Cervantes, Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Embassies of the US, France and Austria. On Aug. 26, Philippines and Italy will present their films with Indio Nacional and Maciste in Hell, to be shown at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively. The Silent Film Festival Expert Talk Session scheduled on Aug. 27, 1:30 p.m. at the Grand Atrium will be followed by three films: La Revoltosa from Spain (3 p.m.); The Foghorn from Japan (5:30 p.m.); and US’ For Heaven’s Sake (8 p.m.). On Aug. 28, French film Le Pied de Mouton Le Petit Poucet will be screening at 3 p.m. while Der Balletterzherzog from Austria will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Closing the 10th International Silent Film Festival is German filmThe Last Laugh. Admission will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

Ongoing until Sept. 3, Main Gallery, Artinformal, 277 Connecticut Street, Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City; for more information, visit

•Venture: Capital Ongoing until Sept. 9, 1335 MABINI, Mabini St., Ermita, Manila; for more information, call (02) 254-8498, (0917) 7042962 or visit Venture: Capital is a group exhibition featuring works by Poklong Anading, Carlos Celdran, Tad Ermitaño, Miggy Inumerable, Martin Krenn, Manny Montelibano, and Mark Salvatus. The works are made by those who have navigated through the metropolis and reflect back a myriad of intricacies and subtleties that continue to redefine our relationship with the concrete landscape. The exhibition unveils histories and traces boundaries – whether of physical proximity or virtual power – whilst weighing the role of economic interests in determining the trajectory of urban growth.

In When All Grounds Are Sacred, JC Jacinto presents a visual catalogue for the ramifications incurred from what has virtually become a requisite for city life—dealing with street repairs and excavations. These are presented in an ominous yet captivating atmosphere that defines Jacinto’s art. His paintings, sculptures, and installations transmit a somber mood. Dark and hazy, but at the same time revelatory with its poignant handling of themes, where a sense of foreboding ensues, inviting us to look closer into scenes we may have taken for granted. In another group of paintings and sculptures, a different kind of direction towards ambiguity is used. By using light—as both formal and symbolic element—he adds a different dimension to the existence of these holes. In Jacinto’s own words he observes, “Looking closely, there really is no difference between the act of construction and the preparation for death, between destruction and progress.” In an installation involving shovels that are presented to mimic the structure of tombstones, he marvels at the irony that can be cast through objects: “The act of digging itself becomes ironic through the tool we employ. It is amazing how the shovel can symbolize the shape of a tombstone, which makes itself its own marker, buried by its own doing.”

• Vic Balanon and Alvin Zafra: Fata Morgana Ongoing until Sept. 3, The Big Room, Artinformal, 277 Connecticut Street, Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City; For more information, visit Our overloaded, chaotic, and hustling metropolitan lifestyle can easily turn us into callous pedestrians; forgiving inhabitants to aggravating minutiae of our surroundings; where objects of annoyance become bearable sights and turns to our acquired norms. In Fata Morgana, Victor Balanon and Alvin Zafra, investigate the truth of this predicament by tapping on images that activate the viewers perception of social constructs and contracts through familiar visages of the city and how our social apathy to our surroundings distorts our reality, creating an unconscious mirage. Balanon and Zafra borrows the term Fata Morgana, an optical phenomenon of object distortion, to appropriate their images and relate their concerns. Through his trademark drawing process, Zafra, meticulously encapsulates scenic views in the metro but zooms in on the foregone landmarks of colonial and postcolonial times. Balanon’s ever-immersive panoramic drawings take us straight to each pathway and field as we walk along with him and experience his personal perspective. His seamless insertion of series of bollards in each scene creates a relational tension from the viewer to the immediate image. With the inclusion of this recurring element into Balanon’s outskirt cityscape views, the real turns to imagined and the anomaly turns to familiar. Balanon and Zafra’s Fata Morgana echoes the relevance of contemporary artists to society; that they are not mere ambassadors of aesthetics nor passive observers. Rather, they are conveyors of reality.

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Pacsafe opens first flagship store in the world


o matter how long the journey or what destination your travel leads to, one’s safety, including the protection of personal valuables, is and must always be a primary concern. Keeping in mind this aspiration and the growing demand for safer and fearless travels, globally recognized travel gear brand Pacsafe has finally opened its first flagship store in the Philippines. The boutique – the company’s first in the world – is located at the ground level of Glorietta 5 in Makati.

Sustainability commitments As a way of giving back to the inspiration where its adventure began, Pacsafe has extended its company’s global marine turtle conservation advocacy by providing a kick-off fund donation of PhP235,000 to the Bantay Pawikan Conservation Center located in Morong, Bataan, through the Bataan Tourism Council. Present to accept the donations are Vicky Garcia and Isabel Garcia (Chairpersons of the Bataan Tourism Council). The aid, according to Pacsafe President and co-founder MagnusMcGlashan, is Pacsafe’s sincere contribution to help protect and propagate safe and healthy oceans, coastlines and other environments that support marine life, most especially endangered sea turtles worldwide. “Besides embodying one’s new modern lifestyle pursuit and aspiration, Pacsafe is primarily a brand that strongly resonates among fun, nature-loving folks. Just like the adventurous and majestic turtle, you travel with your life, which is why guarding prized essentials from thieves and intruders at all times are paramount,” he said. Built on the aspirations by Australian founders Rob Schlipper (CEO) and McGlashan, Pacsafe rose to become a name synonymous to smart and safe travel. As the pioneer of the travel security category since 1998, Pacsafe has successfully trotted all over the globe as the world’s most secure anti-theft travel gear. Being the only brand that focuses solely on travel security, Pacsafe has steadily moved up and gained solid industry leadership throughout the years, thanks to its trademark innovations like the eXomesh, RFIDsafe, and other award winning technologies that are the core strengths of its ingenious product engineering.

Right timing Roshiela Sun, COO of United Limsun, said Pacsafe is so thrilled and honored to open its first boutique in the Philippines which is the brand’s top performing retailer-location in the world. Currently, Limsun exclusively distributes Pacsafe products in 200 doors nationwide. “We couldn't be more proud in welcoming its flagship store here. To witness and become part of Pacsafe’s successful growth both as a company and as a premium brand is a huge honor and an incredible achievement for us,” Sun said. “Now, with the growing economy, evolving modern lifestyles and projected tourism boom, we can say Pacsafe’s arrival is truly perfect; it came at the right place and in the right time. It has risen from being an aspirational luxury brand to an everyday travel gear essential,” Eros Enriquez, Pacsafe Philippines marketing manager, added. The new boutique – with at least 10 more retail locations expected to open in three years – will carry the company's full range of products (adventure backpacks, urban and leisure bags, women’s bags, photography bags, luggage and travel accessories such as straps, cables and locks). Pacsafe's first flagship store in the world

Romancing the Mediterranean Come celebrate the finest of France, Italy, and Spain this August, at Rustan’s


he country’s premier retailer, Rustan’s, takes you to romantic Mediterranean shores from Aug. 4 to 31 with its special showcase highlighting some of the best products of Spain, Italy and France. Discover and explore cultures beyond the borders of the Philippines without having to leave the country. Feel the charm of the Mediterranean and get acquainted with the craftsmanship and design of Europe’s finest items featured along the halls of Rustan’s. From hand-sculptured porcelain and crystal accents for the home, to tailored apparel and beautiful accessories, the country’s leading luxury store offers a captivating selection of merchandise originating from the three cultural capitals. This August, Rustan’s has the perfect pieces to add a touch of excitement and romance to any one’s home and wardrobe. From France, the land of love, adore the exquisite dinnerware of Bernardaud, and delight in Lalique’s unique crystals. Fall in love with Clarin’s skincare products and classic scents from Chanel and Diptyque. Ladies can try on the latest shoes from Christian Louboutin, or perhaps pick out a lovely tote from Longchamp, while men can treat themselves to versatile outfits from Faconnable. Pieces from Italy show true affection for

impeccable design and quality crafts. Fendi’s handbags and accessories definitely create a fashion statement, while the collections of Oleg Cassini, Armani Jeans, and Marina Rinaldi bring that straight-off-the-runway feel to everyday wear. A brand that embodies Italian heritage, Visconti has the perfect pens for any occasion, while refined taste is seen in other proud Italian names such as Greggio, and De Longhi, leaders in dinner and kitchenware, Iconic pieces that speak of perfection all hail from Spain. Experience the understated opulence of Loewe’s one of a kind bags and stunning yet comfortable apparel from Pedro del Hierro and Adolfo Dominguez. For the home, Lladro and Nao seamlessly bring a touch of Spanish modernity and warmth through eye-catching figures. Throughout the campaign period, Rustan’s brings forth selections of brands and merchandise by way of styled Mediterranean-inspired vignettes for the home. Furthermore, for the entire month of August, Rustan’s Home will host a series of workshops and events to inspire homemakers. To add to the romance, loyal patrons and customers will get the chance to win incredible prizes. Every purchase from participating Mediterranean brand entitles shoppers to a raffle coupon for the chance to sail away

to the crisp cerulean seas of the Mediterranean aboard Crystal Cruises. Another luxurious treat up for grabs is a 3D/2N love-filled stay at the newly opened 5-star hotel, Shangri-La at the Fort. Enjoy a free staycation with pampering treats at its renowned spa, and a hearty breakfast at the High Street Cafe. Be inspired and discover new ways to not only beautify your home, but

also to transform your life, through Romancing the Mediterranean..

LLADRO Flamenco Flair Red

MODIGLIANI Dinnerware Extra Vergine





Shake, Rattle, and Pour! TGIFRiday’s Philippines takes cocktail flair and finesse to the next level at the 21st edition of its annual bartending championships By ANGIE DUARTE

Phl – The digital nomad’s Promised Land By SAMANTHA BLACK

Among all other benefits that the age of digitalization has endowed us with, liberation is certainly the greatest one. Disheartened by uncertain prospects of modern careerism and endlessly demotivated by cubicles, millions of Millennials are choosing to earn their living in a quite different fashion – through travels and new experiences. Ever since the first blue collars decided to cut their wires and immerse themselves into the endless sea of possibilities, the community of digital nomads has continued to accept new members, discovering, along the way, the most opportune destinations for working remote. For some time now, the Philippines have been holding the title of the community’s Promised Land. Here’s why. The nomadic lifestyle However alluring, the life led by those determined to escape their escapist dreams and take a dive into the unknown is nowhere near easy. For some, success stories continually pile up, while others are returning home disappointed and empty handed. For all of them, still, the rules of the freelance game are the same – in order to live comfortably in a remote location, jobbers are somewhat limited in their choices of destination and reminded that not every exotic shore is equally welcoming for their unique breed. Plenty of factors affect how successful one can get in the world of digital nomadism, and among those—the cost of living, internet access and safety—are pretty high on the list of priorities. For such a lifestyle to make sense and be lucrative in both financial and intellectual terms, the chosen destination has to be cheap, wired and safe. For no other reason, digital nomads fly to the Philippines in flocks. Cost of living The most frequent question of the phenomenon – “Is the digital nomad lifestyle viable?” – is quite an important one. Even though the global economy has seen better days, no one decides to quit their job without having at least some guarantee that freelancing can pay off in return. The much-needed answer can be found in success stories of those working independently for years: if well-organized and thoroughly thought through, a comfortable digital nomad lifestyle is certainly possible. As such, it continues to support both businesses in search of outsourcing and aspiring jobbers in pursuit of a better life-work balance. As a popular destination for digital nomads, the Philippines certainly provides all the guarantee one needs. Freelancers who’ve worked from the country’s bucolic beaches before can attest that all you need for a comfortable lifestyle there, in terms of finances, is around US$800 bucks a month, which makes this stopping place one of the cheapest in the world. Internet access But, a low cost of living doesn’t mean much if there isn’t an internet connection fast enough to earn those US$800 in the first place. In the Philippines, while much is to be

desired in terms of internet speed, this is not an overwhelming problem – as majority of public places like restaurants and cafes provide both a stable enough connection and an enjoyable ambience for focusing on work. And, with the community being (temporarily) settled there, the opportunities for co-working and consulting are truly unique. Culture and safety For travelers addicted to meeting new cultures and getting inspired by their unique philosophies and mindsets, Filipinos are quite an exciting folk. Unlike in the Western countries, where expats are compelled to stay within the boundaries of the freelance community, the Philippines provides a great chance for mingling with the locals. Almost every Pinoy can comprehend english (a large number of city dwellers are conversant in it) and impatient to invite foreigners into their homes. As far as safety is concerned, as long as you remain responsible and savvy, the Philippines is not much different from any other country in the region.


ot only excitement hung in the air, but also bottles, cocktail shakers, and glasses at this year’s edition of TGIFriday’s Philippines much-anticipated bartender championship. The recently held 21st Shake, Rattle, and Pour grand finals saw eight of TGIFriday’s best bartenders duke it out at the final challenge, the Freestyle Round, in a bid to take home the coveted Propeller (a symbol of that which drives and pushes TGIFriday’s forward), the title of nationwide Bartending Champion, and the chance to represent the country at the Asia-Pacific Bartending Championships, to be held this October in Taiwan. Four ladies and four gentlemen, a mix of newbies and veterans, with interesting monikers such as “Noisy Boy,” “Mystique,” “The Mockingjay,” “The Bump Guy,” and “Kickass” took to the stage to impress judges and the audience with their flair for drama and for bartending. Contestants raised the bar – quite literally – as they showed off their best, most breathtaking skills, set to catchy beats and pulsating music. As an added treat, last year’s champion, Rizza “The Apprentice” Umlas performed with coach and Asian Champion, Rev “The Revolution” Bacasno, in a special tandem flair sequence. At the finals, each contestant was judged based on three tests of bartending brawn: the Pour Test, their competency in accurately pouring the right amount of liquor, sans the use of any measuring tool; the Prep Test, the precise cutting of garnish and accuracy

in prepping mixes; and the Speed Round, their ability to make drinks accurately and efficiently within the fastest possible time. Contestants likewise had to work within a specified, highly stringent time restriction, as well as wow the judges with their composure, creativity and chitchat. Competition was as fierce as it was friendly – with each bartender throwing their support behind the other – but at the end of it all, seventh-time contest joiner and crowd favorite, Aldrin “The One” Javar from TGIFriday’s Fairview branch was deemed worthy of the title, as he amazed everyone with his technique, as well as his charm. Last year, Umlas bagged top spot in both the TGIFRidays nationwide as well as Asian bartending competitions. She then went on to win the championship title, Grand Prize Winner, at the World Bartending Championship held in Dallas, Texas; besting bartenders from across the globe. She was the first female bartender and the first Filipina to win the sought-after title. “TGIFridays boasts a different breed of bartenders who are competitive and passionate, and world-class. We are hopeful that another bartender from TGIFridays’ Philippines this year will duplicate Rizza’s achievements and hopefully bring home the world championship title,” Guia Abuel, TGIFridays VP for Operations, said. Cheers, to top-notch Filipino bartenders!

Visas Some of the biggest issues for digital nomads are still visas and taxes. Different countries treat foreign expats according to their state law, but the Philippines are pretty great in this department as well. Once you enter the country, you receive a one month visa and are eligible for extending it up to 16 months. But have in mind that, if you do enjoy your welcome and stay there longer than six months, you’ll need to apply for an exit permit before traveling to someplace else. For digital nomads, low costs of living and a dependable internet connection are enough to provoke inspiration and get the creative juices flowing. When offered in the Philippines, where hopping from one tropical island to another, swimming with the sharks and gazing at the postcard-like landscapes are a daily routine, they are simply too good to pass. Some of this year's semi-finalists to the TGIFridays' bartending championship

Samantha Black is a content writer and editor for Back Office Pro – a business process outsourcing firm delivering range of services all over the globe. She professes passion in writing about the latest in business and technology. The TGIFriday's Propeller





Compiled by VIA BAROMA



Whitney Houston Show starring Belinda Davids Aug. 27, PICC Plenary Hall, CCP Complex, Pasay City. Tickets are available at all TicketWorld outlets nationwide. For more information, call (02) 891-9999 Relive one of the most iconic voices in music history when Whitney Houston tribute artist, Belinda Davids comes to Manila this August. The Greatest Love Of All: The Whitney Houston Show celebrates the magnificent catalogue of hits that Houston made famous during her 30-year career, the include hits like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “Where Do Broken Hearts Go,” “I’m Every Woman,” “I Will Always Love You,” and many more. Tickets are priced at PhP5,505 for Price Zone 1; PhP4,404 for Price Zone 2; PhP3,303 for Price Zone 3; PhP2,202 for Price Zone 4; and PhP1,101 for Price Zone 5.

•Urban Jam: Philippine Hip-Hop Music Festival

Aug. 27, Amoranto Stadium, Quezon City; for more information and updates, visit www. or email Urban Jam: Philippine Hip-Hop Music Festival promises to be a legit gathering of some of the most influential local acts in the annual celebration of the Philippine hip-hop culture. Apart from the local acts, DJs and MCs from around the world will represent their own cities as hip-hop pioneers from New York, Mobb Deep take the stage, along with Los Angeles-based Filipino rapper, Bambu, and one of the hottest hip-hop DJs from Canada, Skratch Bastid. Be prepared to get lit as the celebration of local hip-hop culture promises to get everybody woke this August. Tickets are priced at PhP3,500 for VIP; and PhP1,500 for Patron.

•Hydro Manila Music Festival Aug. 27, Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City; for more information, contact (0927) 898-9511, email, or visit their Facebook page @HYDROmanilaMusicFestival As if the monsoon season wasn’t enough, Hydro Manila Music Festival #MakeItRain amps up the aqueous transmission further this August. Highlighting one of the country’s most anticipated annual festivals are acts that include Ely Buendia, Abra, Up Dharma Down, along with 26 of the country’s hottest DJs like Patty Tiu, Tom Taus, M.O.D., Moophs, Funk Avy, X-Factor, Arra Pascual, Mia Fernandez, kidWolf, Johnny Verse and Skratchmark. Hydro Manila will also be flooded with special performances by Ampalaya Monologues, Philippine All-Stars, Hydro Shuffle Mob, Luminescence Flow Arts Group, Microphone Mechanics, Philippine Shuffle Squad, Altas Perpsquad, and more surprise guests. Hydro Manila Music Festival 2016 is for the benefit of HERO Foundation, Inc. Tickets are priced at PhP1,500 for VIP and PhP500 for Gold.


•Flow in the Farm: Wellness Weekend Market

Sept. 3, The Farm Shed Cafe, Acacia Waldorf School, Hacienda Sta. Elena, Sta. Rosa, Laguna; for more information, visit Go with the flow from the city to the farm and retreat to the tranquil The Farm Shed Cafe and spend a day rejuvenating with yoga, contemplation and natural health. Flow in the Farm is a one-day wellness lifestyle event featuring yoga, holistic workshops, activities, eco products and food that are all natural, wholesome and organic. Flow Retreats invites instructors, artists, crafters, makers, musicians, speakers, foodies to gather, mingle and connect with like-minded individuals by sharing ideas, products and knowledge in wellness, sustainable and mindful living. For Energy Exchange classes, please bring organic fruits and produce or healthy items as “payment” for the class. Flow Retreats also encourage the participants to donate PhP300, which will in turn grant them access to a short organic farm tour, pick and pay harvest, animal encounters, and freebies. Proceeds will go to the farm and its efforts. The workshop fee is priced at PhP880 for three classes except for premium workshops (like Scentplay; Making your own Waldorf doll; Paint your own canvas bag; The Healing powers of Fairy Tales, Archetypes and simple drawings; and Make your own Mala Bead necklace workshop). Farm Shed Cafe workshop rates include coffee and tea.


• Surfista Siargao Surf Camp 2016 Sept. 15 to 20, Turtle Surf Camp, Siargao Island; for more information, or email Sample the world famous breaks of Cloud 9 with Surfista Travels Surfista Siargao Surf Camp this September and experience the the unique Philippine surfing lifestyle in the paradise that is Siargao Island. Surfista Siargao Surf Camp packages are inclusive of guests pick-up and drop-off; 6 days and 5 nights accommodation with five surfer breakfasts; private instruction and five surf lessons; rental of surfing equipment; Magpupunko Rock Pools entrance; Island hopping at Naked, Guyam and Dako islands; exclusive Surfista Travels Philippines shirt, bag, stickers and many more. Experience the island life make lifelong memories with new Surfista friends from all over the world. Surfista Siargao Surf Tour Fee is priced at PhP23,000. To book, please fill up a registration form found in their website and e-mail it to A PhP7,000 non-refundable reservation fee will be asked of you as soon as you send your Registration Form.


• AsiaPOP Comicon Manila 2016 Aug. 26 to 28, SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City; For more information, visit Expect a pop culture explosion as AsiaPOP Comicon Manila 2016 features Hollywood headliners for the three-day event this August. Hollywood Actor Nicolas Hoult aka the X-Men franchise’s Beast, War Boy Nux of Mad Max: Fury Road, R of Warm Bodies, Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown will all be at the country’s biggest annual pop culture convention. Tickets are priced at PhP3,500 for Geek Bundle (which includes 1/12 Scale Shotgun Collectible Figure, 1x APCC 3-Day Pass, 1x APCC Tote Bag, 1x APCC Lanyard, 1x APCC Cape); PhP1,050 for 3-day passes; PhP850 for 2-day passes; and PhP550 for 1-day passes.

EXPAT NEWSPAPER 0821 - 0903  

Expat Newspaper Volume 34 No. 23 August 21, 2016 - September 3, 2016

EXPAT NEWSPAPER 0821 - 0903  

Expat Newspaper Volume 34 No. 23 August 21, 2016 - September 3, 2016