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March 12-25, 2017 Vol. XXXV No. 8


Balbon, a canine tourist guide in Palaui Island, stares into the stunning panorama of Cape Engaño in Sta. Ana Cagayan. The gorgeous island just off the tip of the northern tip of Luzon, rewards the adventurous souls who brave the 15-hour trip from Manila with breathtaking 360-degree views. Photo by Martin San Diego courtesy of the Northern Philippines Visitors Bureau

Losing the concept of irony By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY


he House of Representatives passing a measure to revive the death penalty, a one-and-done Senate hearing on murderous allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte, and yet another threat to declare martial law filled news pages over the past two weeks. And as the measure to restore capital punishment makes its way to the Senate, there will be more discussions about the administration’s curious “priority bill.” But in case you didn’t notice, after seven months of being a fixture on front pages and news tickers, the name of Sen. Leila de Lima and her constant cries against the violation of human rights have been relatively silent, at least for the meanwhile.

Flair for the ironic As a refresher, De Lima was arrested following a five-month investigation of her alleged links to drug lords detained in the New Bilibid Prison. As noted by Rappler, on Feb. 17, the Senator was charged in court for violating Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 – which penalizes the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of illegal drugs.” When the warrant of arrest was issued against De Lima, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella called it “a fulfillment of the campaign promise of Duterte to rid the Philippine society of drugs, crime and corruption,” adding that the arrest of an incumbent

Senator was proof of the President’s strong resolve to rid the country of the “drug menace.” As part of the process, and a blatant display of the administration’s flair for the ironic, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped drug trade charges against five high-profile inmates of the national penitentiary because according to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, “they will be utilized as prosecution witnesses.” Among those five inmates that had charges dismissed against them were Herbert Colanggo and Peter Co. As noted by Rappler, last July, Duterte warned Co to “never try to go out of prison, page 5 you will die.” He also referred

Phl, US partner to conserve wildlife and biodiversity


he U.S. government, through the US Embassy in the Philippines’ United States Agency for International Development (USAID), partnered recently with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to launch a new biodiversity conservation project that will help protect and manage the Philippines’ diverse habitats and species. On the heels of World Wildlife Day on Mar. 3, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim joined DENR Secretary Gina Lopez to inaugurate the five-year, PhP1.2billion project called Protect Wildlife. The project is designed to address biodiversity loss and illegal wildlife trade in some of the most vibrant and vulnerable ecosystems in the Philippines. “Natural resources and biodiversity play an important part in the Philippines’ economy. This is why the US govpage 5 ernment, through USAID, has




MARCH 12-25, 2017

Exercise rights, speak out vs. corruption - Duterte By RICHARD RAMOS


hile most Filipinos prefer to grumble in silence if victimized by corruption, it is much better to air out your grievances to the President rather than just keep it to yourself, where nothing happens since this results in the perpetrator repeating his shady practices over and over again on other victims. Such a vicious cycle can only be broken when the victims speak up, assert their rights, thus catching attention from the highest official in the land who promises to nab the erring public servant and make him pay for the misdeed. “I can’t help the Filipinos if they do not help me,” President Rodrigo Duterte recently declared before the business community gathered at the Waterfront Airport Hotel in Mactan, Cebu. “All you have to do is give me the name and file a case with the Ombudsman and I will take over. While the Ombudsman is already burdened with too many cases, I will help lighten their load.” Urging vigilance In his speech as the inducting officer of the officers and trustees of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the President

urged the public to be vigilant against such shady practices in government offices, especially in immigration and customs. He bewailed that baggage of top politicians are seldom, if at all, searched by authorities while those of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are carefully inspected, and sometimes extorted from by crooked authorities, especially during the Christmas season. Duterte also noted that many offices of public officials, such as mayors and regional directors, are indolent with a lack of activity and take too long to complete business procedures and signatures. “Mayors and other officials should be the first to enter and the last to leave their offices. This is in accordance to their position and responsibilities. Permits should be given a maximum of three days for completion. Remember that computers can also delay the processes even more,” he warned. The President also cited cases of some firemen who sell fire extinguishers to business establishments in order to speed up the facilitation of the building permits and smoothen out office transactions. He warned that officials who complicate the business permits procedures may face a

lawsuit or outright dismissal due to the nature of their misdeeds. Duterte, as he is wont to do, discarded his formal speech and opted to speak in an offthe cuff manner, dwelling lengthily on his favorite topics such as the drug menace, extrajudicial killings, and his negative perceptions of the Church and clergy. Landmark ceremony Earlier in the afternoon, Duterte led a group of high–ranking government officials in the PhP28-billion Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) groundbreaking ceremonies at the Dapitan-Pilipog area in Cordova where a time capsule was buried. In attendance were Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho, Sec. Adelino Sitoy, Presidential Adviser on Legislative Matters; MPTDC chair Manuel V. Pangilinan; Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, and many others. The CCLEX, a public-private partnership, is a toll bridge facility borne through the initiatives of the Cebu City government under Mayor Tomas Osmena and the Municipality of Cordova headed by former Mayor

Adelino Sitoy, which aims to ease traffic congestion, foster economic growth and bring to the entire province of Cebu. The bridge will cover the distance from the South Road Properties to Cordova, thereby providing easy access for residents and vehicles from Southern Cebu to Cordova and Mactan as they no longer need to go to Mandaue City to cross over to the island. Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corporation (MPTDC), through its subsidiary, the Cebu-Cordova Linked Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) will finance, design, build, and operate the eight-kilometer bridge at very little cost to the government. Construction is expected to start by mid-2017 and is estimated to be finished before 2020. MPTDC is one of the country’s leading investment holding companies with a proven track record in designing, constructing, financing, and operating toll facilities and expressways. Some of its projects include the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, and the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway, paving the way for faster and more efficient movement of transportation, goods and services in central areas of the country.

Rediscover the joy of Phl tourist influx surges the streets at BGC M


ake a trip down memory lane as Bonifacio Global City brings us back to a time when the streets were the place where we made friends (and the occasional enemies) in this year’s My Street, High Street, which promises a fun and memorable larger-than-life experience that will surely be enjoyed by kids and kids-at-heart alike. The center of commerce and culture in the Metro and known for its vibrant lifestyle, BGC is once again opening its streets to people to rediscover the thrill of playing outdoors. Covering all Sundays of the year beginning this March, 9th Avenue will be filled with larger-than-life games. Trade away your mobile screens for a giant game of Jenga, Pick-up Sticks, or Snakes & Ladders; try out super-size toys such as Jack and the Giant Stones, dive into an inflatable ball pit; or enjoy classic Pinoy games such as Tumbang Preso and Piko. And if that wasn’t enough, you can gather friends and wiggle your way through a game of Limbo rock, jump through Chinese garter, or shake those hips by hula hooping on the sidewalk.

Chinese Garter

“Here in BGC we always think of ways to promote a healthy and active street life for our BGCitizens,” said Sean Luarca, Marketing Manager at Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC), the developer and master planner of BGC. “All of our projects within the BGC community create street camaraderie and in turn makes the street life of BGC dynamic and vibrant. With this My Street, High Street campaign, we encourage our BGCitizens to go out of their units and embrace the street lifestyle and have some real fun under the sun.” Healthy fun under the sun Outdoor play for kids is highly recommended by experts because it’s beneficial for their well-being and holistic physical development. It lets them explore the environment and helps develop their motor skills, as well as build their self-confidence. Whether you want to convince your kids or yourself to put down that smartphone or tablet for a fun day outside, or you’re just in for a healthy dose of nostalgia, BGC’s giant playground is the place to be during Sundays.

ore foreign tourists have arrived in the Philippines this year, as indicated by the data collected by the country’s Department of Tourism (DOT) for the month of January. DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo disclosed that January arrivals totaled 631,639. This reflects an impressive growth of 16.48 percent from the 542,258 tourist arrival totals for the first month of 2016, generating a sum of PhP1.681 billion in receipts. “We have to keep the momentum going now that we are in the implementation phase of the National Tourism Development Plan for 2016-2022, which aims to unleash the potentials of our tourism industry and make it more competitive,” said Teo, referring to the impetus gained in the country’s successful hosting of the Miss Universe pageant last January. She also noted a sharp increase of arrivals from China, which posted a 76.46 percent growth from January last year and rose to third biggest market. “We are now seeing the fruits of President Rodrigo Duterte’s reaching out to

Tumbang Preso

China. Doors to more economic opportunities and people-to-people exchanges are opulently wide now more than ever that ties between Manila and Beijing have seen a new day,” Teo added. As in previous months, Korea is the biggest visitor market with 154,367 arrivals, followed by United States, 99,435; China, 85,948; Japan, 51,516; and Australia, 27,826. Also posting significant growth in visitor arrivals are Canada, 24,352; Taiwan, 21,926; United Kingdom, 15,747; Singapore, 12,000, and for the first time, India with 11,805. Data also showed an average daily expenditure of PhP3,659, while the average per capita expenditure for the month amounted to PhP38,823, with visitors staying in the country for an average of 10.61 nights. Korea also remains the top spending market with a visitor expenditure of almost PhP6.5 billion. The US comes second with visitor spending of about PhP3.69 billion. Japan is third with PhP2.12 billion; Australia fourth, PhP1.59 billion, and Canada with PhP1.09 billion.




Newspaper The Philippines’ forum for international readers since 1981

Murray Hertz Founding Publisher (1928-2014) Butch C. Bonsol President & Managing Director Suzette Defensor Managing Consultant Timothy Jay Araneta Ibay Editor-in-Chief Richard A. Ramos (Cebu) Via Baroma Staff Writers Angie Duarte Ching Dee Writers-at-Large Leah Egamino-Palaña Sales & Advertising Officer Jennifer Codera Finance & Admin Officer Nikki Joy Habana Macjanry Imperio Design & Layout Our Headquarters: Unit 305 Cristina Condominium, 143 Legaspi cor. V.A. Rufino Sts., Legaspi Village, Makati City

MARCH 12-25, 2017

Cebu Chamber’s thrusts right on target By RICHARD RAMOS


he Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI’s) four respective thrusts have bore tremendous fruit in just a year’s time and promises even more significant achievements this year as the body continues to touch more lives beyond its local and regional spheres of influence. CCCI president Melanie Ng, who recently completed the first half of her term, related that the chamber’s first thrust concerns coming up with an encompassing and efficient communications system to reduce risks to life and property and network better with the agencies concerned. In her speech feting the election of the new set of Board of Trustees and Officers during the CCCI General Membership Meeting, Ng pointed out that for safety purposes, all cellular phone signals were shutdown during the Sinulog Procession and Grand Parade last January 2017. In place of the cellphones were seven units of handheld radios as backup communication tools used by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Police Regional Office (PRO), Cebu Bankers Club (CBC) Smart and Globe, and other government security forces. Likewise, interpersonal communication across the industries and academe in the Technical Vocation, Education and Training (TVET), including curriculum review under the K to 12 Plus Phase Two Project and other training have been significantly upgraded to

elevate the working operations of the parties concerned. Business climate “The CCCI’s second thrust is to represent business better by closely working with government to improve competitiveness, sustainability, and prosperity of business. Here, the business-government relations have improved tremendously due to the positive performance posted by the ICT/BPO, tourism, real estate, and other economic drivers,” Ng explained. Investor confidence has likewise risen not only because of the peace and order situation, but also due to the social lifestyle, cultural characteristics, and environmental protection present in Cebu and the region. Such conditions have attracted the attention of dozens of Japanese companies in a CCCI trade mission to Japan. Japanese intentions were good as it correlates with national and regional plans of the government agencies like the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for agriculture, road infrastructure, tourism, among other value chains. “We also sit in a number of top-level bodies such as official private sector representative (PSR) to the Full Development Council and the Sub-Committees on Power and Energy, and Infrastructure as well as in special bod-

CCCI President Melanie Ng

ies namely, Cebu Provincial Government’s Development Council (PDC), Cebu Provincial Water Resources Authority (PWRA), Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council (PDRRC), Cebu Investment and Promotion Council (CIPC), and the newly created Cebu Province Adopt-a-School Committee (CPASC), etc.,” Ng added. Chamber representation Chamber trustees and officers are also represented in

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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.

Bluewater Maribago presents “Prelude to Summer Dance Carnival” on Saturday, April 1 at 5 p.m. This foamy beach fest welcomes summer 2017 with Marlon Orellano and Marc Marasigan, two of the country’s finest DJs. To be held at the Bluewater Private Island, the event features the best show bands dishing out hi-energy dance music as the resort hails the first break of summer with a bang. Ticket rates at PhP450 (entrance only), P750 (with one complimentary drink), and P950 (with one complimentary drink and a set meal.) Tickets may be purchased from Annabel at the resort office situated at the CRM Building, Lahug; contact (032) 402-4100 and 517-1600. AirAsia features new local flights from Cebu to Davao, Palawan, and Boracay. Daily flights are scheduled between Cebu to Boracay and Palawan while flights from Cebu to Davao have increased to twice daily. At a presser held at Circa 1900 Casa Dos, Capt. Dexter Commendador said the new flights are much needed in the industry due to the huge business potentials within the VisayasMindanao region. The event also featured the airline’s latest destination campaign dubbed “Chasing Wonders,” which showcased the little-known aquatic wonders of the country. Skytrax recently named AirAsia as the world’s best low cost carrier for the past three years running. Atout France, the promotions arm of the French Ministry of Tourism, recently led a group of travel representatives to Cebu to introduce the religious sites of France to

the Cebuano community. Morad Tayebi, regional director for Southeast Asia of Atout France, declared that religious tourism is a promising travel market that reflects much of the spirituality of the Cebuanos. France is home to 50,000 religious buildings, more than any country in the Europe. Likewise, Christianity is the top religion in France, followed by Islam and Judaism. UTrade by UniCapital Securities, Inc. introduces the basics of stock market investing to the Cebuano community by way of its convenient and user-friendly online stock trading platform which gives direct market access, live stock information from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), and personalized customer service. The company believes in early investing to develop good spending habits, cutting expenses when needed, and developing entrepreneurial skills. One also has the option to trade in amounts as low as PhP5,000. Basic workshops are held every Tuesday, 3 to 5 p.m., at the PSE Cebu Satellite Office, 2/F Insular Life Building, Cebu Business Park. Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong hosted a special dinner for selected Cebu-based media writers and bloggers at the posh Ocean Pavilion of the Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa. The Kowloon property was led by its GM Ulf Bremer, Sonny Ang-Director of Sales and Marketing, and Patsy ChanDirector of Communications. We learned of the hotel’s “Cultural Heritage Package” where for only HK$3,800 (US$488), one can avail of accommodations for two in a Horizon Deluxe Room for two consecu-

tive nights, full Horizon Club Benefits with daily buffet breakfast, a guided morning or afternoon walking tour of Tsim Sha Tsui, free Wi-Fi, Chinese tea and fruit platter. Cebu City Marriott Hotel recently held “Glance: Celebrating Timeless Distinction,” a three-day bridal fair highlighting the hotel’s 20th year of existence alongside esteemed wedding industry influencers. Exhibitors included photography and video services, decorators, event planners, cakes and pastries specialists, and other polished industry movers. Special discounts awaited “early bird” couples and were also afforded a chance to win international honeymoon raffle draws, while BPI offered special discounts for its valued cardholders. Finale was a grand fashion show where tributes were bestowed upon the industry wizards for their services. Higher Law is a book comprised of essays anchored on a recollection of different life’s episodes as authored by Manuel “MC” Gordon, a technology and social media lawyer who finds joy in the ordinary and meaning in the simple. He also indulges in branding, writing poetry, and art collection. The book consists of a series of responses to daily occurrence twist of human realities, unfolding as it should be in a most surprising twist of events. According to the author, “Higher Law is simply an enigma, a spiritual experience beyond what lies on human facility, not on the letters of law that slays but on the spirit that whispers the promise of life, to its abundance.”




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Phl, US partner to conserve...from page 1

Losing the concept ...from page 1

been working with national and local governments, the private sector, civil society, and individual communities to strengthen natural and environmental resource management,” Ambassador Kim said. The project will use a comprehensive strategy that combines technical assistance for government and civil society partners, partnerships for conservation financing, behavior change campaigns and social marketing, science and technology, and environmental law enforcement. This holistic approach promotes partnership among environmental stakeholders and empowers those best positioned to address biodiversity loss and the illegal wildlife trade. “The project will demonstrate that protecting and managing diverse habitats and species lead to improved quality of life as well as community-level, sustainable development,” Ambassador Kim added. The project also supports the DENR’s commitment to deliver people-centric programs that sup-

to the drug lords as “beyond redemption.” Of course there always remains the possibility that his comments were mostly likely another of his hyperboles.

port sustainable and inclusive growth. USAID’s Protect Wildlife will commence in Palawan, Zamboanga City, and Tawi-Tawi, which host some of the most biodiverse habitats and unique species in the Philippines. These provinces are also exposed to various human-induced threats such as poaching and trafficking of wildlife, destructive fishing practices, and loss of habitats from widespread conversion of forests, wetlands, and mangroves to settlements and agricultural lands. The project complements other US government-funded projects with the DENR. Collectively, the suite of projects furthers USAID’s mission to promote biodiversity conservation in an inclusive and sustainable way. Protect Wildlife is the first USAID initiative in the Philippines to align with the US government’s newly signed Eliminate, Neutralize and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016, which addresses the global illegal wildlife trade.

(From L to R) Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Mundita Lim, US Ambassador Sung Y. Kim, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Gina Lopez, Sen. Cynthia Villar, and Deputy Mission Director of United States Agency for International Development Clay Epperson pose for a photo at the launch of Protect Wildlife, a new biodiversity conservation project to help protect and manage the Philippines’ diverse habitats and species

Cebu Chamber’s thrusts right...from page 5 the special bodies of Cebu City Government such as Solid Waste Management Board (SWMB), the Economic Development Council (EDC), and the River Management Council (CCRMC); and in the DENR-EMB Region 7 Office’s Metro Cebu Airshed Governing Board (MCAGB), Water Quality Management Assessment (WQMA) Board for the Butuanon River, Central Cebu River Basin Management Coordinating Council (CCRBMC) and the Regional Inter-Agency Steering Committee for Environmental Education (RIASCEE); For the Non-Government Organizations, the chamber actively participates in the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB) dubbed as Mega Cebu, in its Research Program and Organizational Development (RPOD) and in the Execom Meeting. As the voice of the business sector, the CCCI has lobbied various advocacies such as individual and corporate tax reduction, moratorium of minimum wage increase, strict enforcement of applicable laws on job contracting; ease of doing business in the LGUs and NGAs concerning ports, transportation congestion problems, and the international shipping practices. Enterprise assistance For the chamber’s third thrust to help business go to the next level, the CCCI has partnered with the DTI for “The Kapatid Mentor Me Program,” which aims to help our micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs) develop a good business sense, as well as to assist them scale up and sustain their enterprises. The chamber president beamed as she pointed out that the chamber inked a MOA for Kapatid Program Presentation, Kapatid Mentor Me Mentee’s Orientation, Kapatid Mentor Me Roll Out, and modular trainings. This resulted in 26 MSEs completing the program with a resounding success through

the able chamber vice president and Dean Nonoy Espeleta and his team of Mentors and partner ladies, DTI Regional Director Aster Caberte, ARD Nelia Navarro and Provincial Director Nanet Arbon. Last Jan. 24, the CCCI represented in the ASEAN 2017 Launch of the Business and Investment Programs of DTI under Sec. Mon Lopez in partnership with the ASEAN Business Advisory Committee headed by Joey Concepcion. Upcoming trade and investment events lined-up by this present administration this year include the ASEAN MSMEs Mentors Conference, ASEAN Women’s Business Conference, the International Food Exposition, the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival, among others. “We ended up 2016 and carried over to 2017 the Cebu Business Month 2017 theme “STEP UP CEBU” (Sustainable Technology, Entrepreneurship & Productivity for the Upliftment of Cebu), a strategic innovation of bringing our businesses at the level of competitive advantage, resilient and sustainable in the global market. With our young and energetic CBM 2017 Overall Chair Charles Kenneth Co, backed up by his team, we believe we can make a difference,” Ng declared. In the Chamber’s fourth thrust, the CCCI advocates for an enhanced organizational capability of the leadership team driven by striving to improve the daily Chamber operations by organizing activities such as coaching and mentoring the CCCI-Bantayan Island Chapter, the Naga City Chapter and just recently, the Danao City Chamber of Commerce Chapter. “To date, we have a total of 751 individual members and 29 sectoral members. We just inducted 20 new members. With the optimism and even looking forward to more growth this year, as your Chamber president, let me encourage everyone here to capture the opportunities that are before us in this present time,” she concluded.

As pointed out by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, “When convicts serving sentence in the New BIlibid Prison make statements derogatory to Sen. De Lima, the Department of Justice and prosecutors take these statements hook, line and sinker as truth. But when a person like Lascanas, who’s not even a convict, retracts his statement and tells the truth, his credibility is challenged.” Following the Senate’s ending of the probe, public order committee Chair Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it is now up to the Philippine National Police and the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the information presented during the hearing. The lawyer of another confessed DDS member, Edgar Matobato, said that a case will be filed at the end of the month against Duterte for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Reckless imprudence It’s hard to look at the developments as anything other than political persecution. But more importantly, the administration and the justice system has set a dangerously reckless precedent by using criminals as state witnesses. As pointed out by Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Randy David, “The first problem of the government is precisely the credibility of their prime witnesses. In a case, that, by itself, is already heavily tainted by the color of political persecution, the choice of convicted criminals as witnesses for the state is reckless and pathetic.” This brings us back to confessed “Davao Death Squad” (DDS) leader, retired SPO3 Arturo Lascanas, who admitted to the killing of 200 people allegedly under the orders of Duterte – then Davao City mayor. The Senate ended its probe of the retired police officer’s allegations after just one hearing, pointing to his previous recanted statement where he Controversial Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre denied the existence Photo courtesy of Seattlepinoin of the DDS.





Discovering the oft-overlooked province of Nueva Ecija By TIMOTHY JAY IBAY Photos by Martin San Diego courtesy of the NPVB

It matters not how long you’ve been in the Philippines or how many locals you’ve mingled with – there’s a pretty good chance you’ve never gotten an invite/recommendation to visit the Central Luzon province of Nueva Ecija, as apart from ultra travel enthusiasts, not too many have cared to explore what the province offers apart from rice. Recently, though, the North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) organized their sixth edition of Lakbay Norte – a media familiarization tour that promotes the many possibilities to be found in Northern Luzon – featuring the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Cagayan. Expat went along for the ride to find out first hand what Nueva Ecija actually has to offer curious wanderers. Here’s what we found:

MARCH 12-25, 2017


E X P AT N E W S P A P E R MARCH 12-25, 2017



A visit to Minalungaw is ideal for lazy afternoons, where you can enjoy a meal as you cruise along the river—a guitar or just your trusty speakers would be recommended.


1. This different sort of traffic jam quickly flips into a breezy cruise along Minalungaw National Park’s dramatic runnel 2. A taste of the simple life is PMP Paradise Farm’s gift to visitors – a surprisingly welcome respite 3. If you’re uninitiated in its ways, there’s something incredibly calming about fishing that it matters not if you get a bite – calm is a pervading element of a PMP Paradise Farm visit

Minalungaw National Park Ironically enough, I stumbled upon a random Facebook post with a photo of Minalungaw National Park a few days before I was to set foot in it. The photo of the eco-tourism destination jumped out from the screen with the dramatic effect of Penaranda River’s gleaming emerald water, cutting through and around limestone walls as rafts carrying tourists completed the vista. I would find out just as I got to Minalungaw that the picture perfect image I caught was a seasonal one, its brilliance often reserved for the summer. But as I realized that early February afternoon, seeing Minalungaw National Park a couple of months from its best, is akin to that time you swiped right, only to find out that while your match’s profile photos do not quite translate in person, you would both have a fine time. And pleasant is not too rough a consolation from spectacular, as Minalungaw’s dramatic runnel shined through regardless of season. A visit to Minalungaw is ideal for lazy afternoons, where you can rent cottages or a bamboo raft for PhP500 and enjoy a meal as you cruise along the river—a guitar or just your trusty speakers would be recommended. Getting there: From Manila, there are bus lines like Victory Liner that go to Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija. Get off at Bucana in Gapan, then take a jeep to General Tinio (Papaya). From there, tricycles can take you to Minalungao.


PMP Paradise Farm While still only on the verge of tapping into its full tourism potential, PMP Paradise Farm already stands as a perfect respite for weary city slickers. Its expansive 250-hectare estate allows for seemingly mundane, yet surprisingly relaxing activities like fruit/ vegetable picking, sheep herding, horseback riding and fishing – of the catch and cook variety, of course. PMP Paradise Farm offers the above with their day tours that also include options for picnics under the shade of any of its plethora of trees, or via the social lubricant that is the boodle fight. But, what I would recommend is taking their two-day package that includes all of the above, along with options for staying at the farm’s beautiful nipa huts or checking in at a nearby resort. A visit to Minalungaw National Park is also part of the package, making the farm the ideal takeoff point for your Nueva Ecija travels. Getting there: The farm is located at Barangay Nazareth, General Tinio (Papaya). It’s a four-hour drive from Manila via NLEX-SCTEX. From Gapan, the farm can be reached via the Gapan-Penaranda-Magsaysay Road.





MARCH 12-25, 2017



Crystal Waves Resort For a more traditional family-friendly setting, head over to Crystal Waves Resort in Talavera, where its wave pool, Olympic-sized swimming pool and kiddie pool invite you for a welcome cool down from Nueva Ecija’s frequently unforgiving heat. Should you wish to stay the night, there are cottages and suites for rent, while other fun activities include a 200-foot water slide, a zip line, wall climbing and rappelling. The resort is located at Maharlika Highway, Dinarayat, Talavera, Nueva Ecija. For inquiries, contact (0932) 867-5855 or (0933) 863-0138.

Philippine Rice Research Institute And if you’re up for an educational side trip, the Philippine Rice Research Institute’s field tours bring a greater appreciation for the oftoverlooked field of rice farming. Apart from being enlightened by their staff on the growing technologies involved in rice production and the many possibilities surrounding it, the grounds are also open for picnics, kayaking, among other group-bonding activities. For inquiries contact their Visitors and Conference Services Office at (044) 456-0277, located at Maligaya Science City of Muniz, Nueva Ecija


4. Crystal Waves Resorts turns any boodle fight into a celebration of bonds 5. One turn is never enough at the resort’s exhilarating 200-foot waterslide 6. Kids are sure to have a blast under the sun in any of Crystal Wave Resorts’ collection pools 7. It’s tough not to be amazed at the vast research, knowledge and technology that goes on at the Philippine Rice Research Institute 8. Zipping down Crystal Waves Resort 9. The Lakbay Norte 6 crew at the Philippine Rice Research Institute







MARCH 12-25, 2017

7 reasons to treat yourself with Marco Polo Manila’s Afternoon Tea Text and photos by CHING DEE


f you survived the 365-day long Red Wedding that is 2016, then you definitely deserve to treat yourself and a good friend over great food and even greater tea at a classy place. The best part? It’s less than PhP800 for two people. Oh, wait, hold up. The best part is that it’s at the iconic Marco Polo Manila Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City. Here’s why you should experience Afternoon Tea at Marco Polo Manila’s Connect Lounge. Gorgeous and delicious selection of tea time treats This is a great way to pamper yourself. Afternoon Tea at Marco Polo Manila's Connect Lounge comes with an assortment of gourmet sandwiches, desserts, and scones with clotted cream and jam. I nearly finished all of 'em, but it’s really good for two adults. An amusing amuse bouche Afternoon Tea starts with their Amuse Bouche of the Day. For Friday, they served Mango and Watermelon Sherbet. Quite a presentation for a refreshing twist on an otherwise common treat. To say that I was amused with their amuse bouche is an understatement. High quality tea selections My favorite tea is chamomile and I was

pleasantly surprised when they served me loose leaf (or shall I say, loose flower) chamomile tea instead of the bagged variant. Personalized sandwiches — from baguettes to toppings Guests have the choice to customize their sandwiches from several kinds of baguette (including pesto, tomato, and squid ink) to a myriad of toppings like cold cuts, salmon gravlax, cheeses, spreads, fruits and vegetables. This is tea time according to your own taste, but with world class ingredients. Sweet and savory treats to accompany the perfect cup of tea Aside from English scones served with jam and clotted cream, Afternoon Tea is served with an assortment of pastries — each day a different selection from the other. From savory treats to irresistible desserts, Connect Lounge makes sure your tea time is at its most enjoyable. That exquisite Chocolate Fondant Marco Polo Manila’s chocolate fondant cups are

the perfect way to end your Afternoon Tea. The chocolate cake itself is not overly sweet and the addition of vanilla cream sauce or dark chocolate sauce adds a finer, sweeter flavor to the fondant. This is best enjoyed while warm because of its sinfully delicious gooey center.

Afternoon Tea at Connect Lounge is available daily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at PhP 788 for two guests (taxes and service charge included). Connect Lounge is located the 24th floor of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila Hotel, Meralco Avenue, Ortigas, Pasig City. For inquiries and reservations, call (0916) 110-0189.

First-class service All this delectable food would be hard to enjoy if service is horrible. Thank goodness you’re enjoying tea at Marco Polo Manila, where every guest gets nothing but their signature first-class service with a smile.

Amuse Bouche

Artisan Sandwiches

Bistro United: Putting the spotlight on Pinoy flavors A culinarian homage to Filipino cuisine Text and photos by CHING DEE


lot has been done to our beloved Filipino cuisine in an effort to make it more appealing to a wider range of people. It’s been fused with Western and other Asian cuisines, it’s been elevated to hoitytoity fine dining standards, it’s been brought “back to basics,” at times it’s been twisted so much it barely resembles the food of our childhood. And then there are times that culinarians and restaurants pay homage to Filipino food in the best possible way: Using homegrown ingredients as the highlight of the dish. Such is the path executive chef Mia Capay and her team took when they conceptualized Bistro United — The Round Table’s newest restaurant concept in foodie haven Kapitolyo. Currently on their soft opening since Mar. 8, guests will be pleased to know that Bistro United has made the conscious decision to source their ingredients locally and has partnered with small scale producers and businesses to bring the best materials from their farms to the Bistro’s table. “That was the biggest challenge for us – Tilapia Ice Cream finding

suppliers,” Chef Mia told Expat. “We wanted to use and highlight local ingredients and support local businesses, so it was a bit hard to find suppliers who can give us the quality that we were looking for.” “But the struggle was worth it,” she adds, flashing a smile of satisfaction. Bistro United welcomes diners with a green wall – an entire wall filled with plants. The interiors are simple yet pleasing to the eyes — modern yet cozy. Its simplicity renders itself as a backdrop to the restaurant’s food. “Our interiors are meant to serve as the frame with our food in the center,” said Chef Mia. “We made sure our menu features dishes that will give guests a new experience every time they visit.” Here are the culinary masterpieces you should definitely try at Bistro United: Grille Cheese Dunkers Imagine a crisp grilled cheese sandwich filled with locally made Kesong Puti (white cheese), quartered, then dunked into a hearty, homemade tomato soup with a pesto drizzle. The tomato soup was tangy, herby, and a little sweet, while the Kesong Puti grilled cheese sandwich gave the dish the saltiness it needed. Bagnet Sisig Ravioli Perhaps one of the most indulgent dishes in the Bistro United menu, it’s fresh homemade ravioli filled with homemade bagnet-turned-sisig (yes, they made bag-

net and made it into sisig) and cooked in olive oil or creamy aioli sauce. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s topped with bits of bagnet chicharon for an added crunchy texture. And yes, it is every bit as good as it sounds. The Amazing Roast Beef The famous roast beef from The Round Table has made its way to Bistro United. It’s still as tender and as flavorful as I remember it to be. Perfect with the au jus sauce and mashed potatoes. Adobo sa Mangga This is another The Round Table bestseller that was too good to leave out. It’s beautifully grilled chicken sautéed in tangy mango and salty bagoong (shrimp paste) for that salty and sour element that traditional adobo needs. Dalandan Chicken with Ube Rice This duo goes together like any classic dish — except this is the first time I’ve ever tried such a combination. The grilled chicken is still moist and the flavor of the dalandan (a local citrus fruit, like a slightly sweeter lime) marinade bursts into your mouth in every bite. Each piece of the chicken must be savored with a spoonful of the sultry ube rice — made everyday by grating and slow cooking ube (purple yam) with the rice for the vibrant (and all natural) purple color.

Porchetta Kare-Kare

Porchetta Kare-Kare This dish is the love child of a crispy pork belly roll and lipsmacking kare-kare. The porchetta itself was tender and juicy with a perfectly thin and crisp crackling. The peanut sauce was the perfect balance of sweet and salty and nutty. The vegetables made the dish pop, just take a look at the braided string beans. Tilapia Ice Cream Yes, this is made of tilapia — as in the fish. Their homemade vanilla ice cream is infused with tilapia flakes and the poaching liquid used to cook the fish. It wasn’t fishy at all! It’s just your good ol’ fashioned creamy and sweet ice cream with bits of freshwater fish. It was soooooo freakin’ good! One scoop is just not enough. Aside from offering unique Filipino dishes, by April, Bistro United will be adding a delicatessen corner to sell sauces, spreads, and their unforgettable tilapia ice cream. Bistro United is open daily, 12 n.n. to 9 p.m. They are located at the ground floor of D Strip Building, United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For reservations and inquiries, call (02) 706-1668.




MARCH 12-25, 2017

‘Peace at home, peace in the world’ The 93rd Republic day of Turkey By VIA BAROMA


undreds of well-wishers came to Raffles and Fairmont Hotel to attend the auspicious celebration of the 93rd anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. According to Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur, since its foundation, Turkey has undergone comprehensive and far-reaching political, economic and social reforms which have anchored the country among the democratic and modern nations of the world. The Ambassador also reminded the guests about the principle of maintaining and promoting ‘peace at home, peace in the world,’ which continues to guide the foreign policy of Turkey. “The Turkish Republic was founded 1923 with great sacrifices from my countrymen

and women under the reign of leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - taking this opportunity, would like to honor and cherish their memories since their sacrifices are not and shall not be forgotten,” said Ambassador Cankorur during her address. The Ambassador also highlighted their commitment to further and diversify Turkish-Filipino cooperation. Diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Philippines was established with the Treaty of Friendship signed on June 13, 1949. The Embassy of Turkey opened in Manila in December 1990, while the Philippines opened its embassy in Ankara, Turkey in October 1991. There has also been a Turkish Honorary Consulate in Cebu since 1992.

(Ret.) Ambassador Mme. Lizia Lu; DFA Undersecretary Linglingay Lacanlale; and Israeli Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau

Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur, DFA Undersecreatry Linglingay Lacanlale and Papua New Guinea Ambassador Chrstian Vihruri

Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev and Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Jose de Venecia Jr

Belgian Ambassador Roland Van Remoortele; Mme. Sylvia Van Remoortele; Indonesian Ambassador Johnny Lumintang; and Papua New Guinea Ambassador Christian Vihruri

Argentinean Ambassador Roberto Bosch and Papua New Guinea Ambassador Christian Vihruri

Zambian Consul Louie Ablaza; Guatemalan Consul Mellie Ablaza; Grace Glory Go; and German Chargé d'Affaires Michael Hasper

Thai Ambassador Thanatip Upatising; Mme. Monthip Upatising; and DFA Undersecretary Lin- Panamanian Ambassador Rolando Guevara Alvarado; Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur; and Mo- Former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos; ; and Indonesian Ambassador Johnny Lumintang glingay Lacanlale naco Consul Fortune Ledesma




MARCH 12-25, 2017

All about luxury living Leading property developer Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) through its premier residential brand Robinsons Luxuria has partnered with the new combined company of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International to bring in to the country the first Westin-branded residences in Southeast Asia, The Residences at The Westin Manila Sonata Place. The first-rate property will rise in an exclusive and private residential complex in the heart of Ortigas Center. Residential units will be designed in signature Westin style including trademark touches such as The Westin Heavenly® Bed and The Westin Heavenly® Bath shower experience while all kitchens will feature Gaggenau appliances and Leicht cabinets. RLC top executives led by president Frederick Go and business unit manager for Robinsons Luxuria, Residences and Communities Henry Yap warmly welcomed partners including Marriott International vice president for development – Asia Pacific Alexandra Yao, regional vice president for hotel development – Asia Pacific Serena Lim and area vice president for Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia and Japan Karl Hudson as well as esteemed guests to the exclusive launch held at Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila in Bonifacio Global City. Meanwhile, several guests had the opportunity to see and experience The Luxury of Living Well during a visit at The Residences at The Westin Manila Sonata Place’s Show Suites in Bonifacio Global City. Congratulations Frederick and the entire Robinsons Land Corporation team for this noteworthy project! The Residences at The Westin Manila Sonata Place is scheduled for completion in 2021. Visit the model units at The Show Suites located at McKinley Parkway and 21st Drive, Bonifacio Global City. For more information, call 0932-1000000 or visit the website

JG Summit Holdings Inc. president Lance Gokongwei with Meralco president and (From left) Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) business unit general manager for infrastructure and integrated developments Mybelle Aragon GoBio, business unit general manager for Robinsons Luxuria, CEO Oscar Reyes Residences and Communities Henry Yap and president Frederick Go with Marriott International vice president for development – Asia Pacific Alexandra Yao, regional vice president for hotel development – Asia Pacific Serena Lim and area vice president for Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia and Japan Karl Hudson toast to the successful launch of The Residences at The Westin Manila Sonata Place

(From left) Paqui and Lilibeth Campos, Duday Tuason, Marivic Vazquez, your columnist, Jayelles’ Roselle Rebano and Noel Tuason

Xymax Corporation business development officer Karen Barretto, Robinsons Hotels & Resorts general manager Elizabeth Gregorio, Xymax Corporation Singapore branch manager Atsushi Higuchi and RLC’s Joyce Yang

RLC vice president for business development of infrastructure and integrated developments Trina Cipriano, FBEYE International design director Marguerite Casey and RLC associate marketing director Mark Stephen Delumen

Frederick Go (rightmost) with W.V. Coscolluela and Associates founder and principal archi- Carlo Rojas and Patricia Barcelon enjoy the luxurious finishes and fixtures at the dining area tect Arch. Willy Coscolluela and Laneige Philippines owner Winnie Go

All Master Bedrooms are furnished with the renowned Westin Heavenly® Bed

RLC vice president for sales and marketing May Lopez, Handel Architects director of Asia Operations Edward Tachibana, Serena Lim and Alexandra Yao

The Residences at The Westin Manila Sonata Place, a single-tower branded residences development, will rise in an exclusive and private residential complex in the heart of Ortigas Center


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MARCH 12-25, 2017


Compiled by VIA BAROMA


•Madama Butterfly Mar. 14; Greenbelt 3, Cinema 3, Makati; for more information, call (02) 757-7883, (02) 832-3706, or email ccpsalesandpromo@gmail. com The fourth offering of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Metropolitan Opera in HD Season 4 features Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on Mar. 14 at at 6:30 p.m. Anthony Minghella’s beautiful, atmospheric production of Madama Butterfly enhances Puccini’s drama of unfortunate, doomed love. Soprano Kristine Opolais brings all of her passionate commitment to her portrayal of Cio-Cio-San, the teenage geisha who gives up everything for Lt. Pinkerton. Roberto Alagna is the American naval officer who does not understand the depth of Cio-Cio-San’s love, and whose subsequent marriage to an American woman precipitates Butterfly’s suicide. Maria Zifchak is Suzuki, Cio-Cio-San’s faithful servant, and Dwayne Croft plays the American consul Sharpless, who tries to avert the tragedy. Karel Mark Chichon conducts. The CCP’s Met Opera in HD series features screenings of the latest operatic productions of the Metropolitan Opera in New York through High-Definition digital technology.

•The Nether Ongoing until Apr. 9; Power Mac Center Spotlight Theater, Ayala Mall Circuit, Makati; for more information, visit or email redturniptheater@ Red Turnip takes audiences into a bolder theatrical experience with the Asian premier of multi-awarded scifi crime drama, The Nether. Created by acclaimed American playwright, Jennifer Haley, The Nether explores the ethical questions and moral consequences of living out one’s hidden desires and fantasies easily feasible in the virtual world. This thrilling play, which is set in the near future, tackles the impact of technology on human relationships, identity, and desire. It goes beyond today’s usual talk about the known effects of addictive social media, uncovering the thought-provoking, scary web of possibilities in living out a life that otherwise should just be confined in the computers. A world of what-ifs. A world of why’s and why-not’s. In the near future, life is spent more and more in The Nether, a virtual paradise so interactive that it engages all the senses – a tempting haven to retreat from the bleak world. The Nether boasts of powerhouse ensemble led by legendary actors Bernardo Bernardo and Bodjie Pascua with Jenny Jamora, TJ Trinidad, Alba Berenguer-Testa and Junyka Santarin. Tickets are priced at PhP2,000 for VIP or PhP1,500 for Patron. Tickets are available at For ticket inquiries, call (02) 891-9999 or visit ph


•Sacha Cotture: Moments de Creation Ongoing until April 3; Galleria Duemila, 210 Loring St., 1300 Pasay City; for more information, call (02) 8319990, (02) 833-9815, or visit Moments de Creation focuses on the primal elements of life. Chinese ink, Sacha Cotture’s choice of medium is a return to form and a reverence to the centuries-old traditions. The spontaneous handling is a testament on letting things flow, a characteristic evident in nature – the one true permanent thing. The featured works are stills in time. A split-second scene of natural occurrence made in visceral yet assertive strokes make up the whole journey of Moment de Creation. Cotture reveals that in painting he manages to connect to nature, a world away from his rigid construction materials and architectural forms. In this exhibit, he traverses the movements of nature as swift as the wind yet as solid as the rock. He lets the viewer peek in the processes of formation and the beauty of the beginning. Cotture is a Swiss painter and an architect residing in Manila.

•Wynn Wynn Ong: Redefining Boundaries Ongoing until June 15; Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza, cor. Ayala and Gil Puyat Aves., Makati; for more information, call (02) 889-1234, (02) 887-5144 or visit The Yuchengco Museum is proud to host the celebration of Wynn Wynn Ong’s 15 years in fashion and design in a retrospective exhibition entitled Wynn Wynn Ong: Redefining Boundaries. The retrospective will showcase the creative journey of a jewelry designer who is Burmese by birth, but Filipino at heart—from designing handcrafted heirloom jewelry to creating unique collections of art, furniture, couture, and objets d’art. Also on view are 18 portraits of Ong’s muses in their fantasy alter egos captured by model-photographer Jo Ann Bitagcol. Ong continues to redefine what it means to be a woman of style. Her career as a jeweler began in 2001, when she designed pieces for herself that she could not find elsewhere. A lack of formal training was not an obstacle to her success as an internationally lauded artist whose works are now sought after by collectors. Ong’s works are reflections of her family’s roots in Burma, a childhood in Vienna, summer trips around the globe, and her life now in Manila. She incorporates her interest in environmental sustainability through using local woods and recycled materials. She transforms monkeys, geckos, carabaos, birds, and other Philippine flora and fauna created from precious stones and metals into pendants, necklaces, the handles of cabinets, and minaudieres.

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MARCH 12-25, 2017

An icon, remade: The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel in Hong Kong One hotel group’s journey to forge a new path in luxury, in the heart of a bustling city By ANGIE DUARTE


hile legendary Venetian explorer and merchant, Marco Polo, is credited with bringing China to the forefront of early trade and travel routes, it was this father, Niccolo, who first ventured there. This spirit of exploration and discovery lives on in Niccolo Hotels; a subsidiary of the Marco Polo Hotels chain, which is owned by dynamic premier company, Wharf Holdings, Ltd. The group’s latest quest, The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel in Hong Kong, is set to open up a new realm of contemporary luxury for the savvy, sophisticated traveler. The remaking of an icon From the days of Niccolo and Marco Polo to now, Hong Kong has evolved into one of the world’s busiest, most dense territories of the world. As a thriving global financial hub, things move at dizzying speeds, on a landscape that is ever changing. Cultural conservation, sadly, often falls to the wayside, or is lost in the throes of modernization. Niccolo Hotels is helping to change that, with its current undertaking to preserve the Murray building, whilst transforming it into a luxuriant urban oasis. Located on Cotton Tree Drive in Central, smack between the hustle and bustle of the business district and the verdant sanctuary of Hong Kong Park, The Murray building is one of Hong Kong’s distinct icons. Built in 1969, the notable 27-storey office structure has won several awards for its eye-catching, energy efficient architecture. “It’s what I like to call ‘Sexy Sixties Archi-

tecture,’” quips Philip Schaetz, VP for Sales and Marketing, Niccolo and Marco Polo Hotels. “This project is set to be the pride of the Niccolo Hotels group. Building restoration and conservation is still a new thing in Hong Kong. Usually, a building is just torn down and rebuilt from scratch.” Timeless beauty meets urban chic With renowned architects, Foster + Partners, at the helm of the project, The Murray will be a showcase of luxuriant urban chic, seamlessly integrated with timeless integrated with timeless beauty. The hotel will redefine the standards of contemporary opulence with 336 stylish and rooms, a stunning rooftop bar, breathtaking views if the city, and a roster of signature restaurants. Guestrooms will boast spacious accommodations (a rarity in Hong Kong, really) of 50-square meters or larger, and will feature the floor to ceiling, uniquely recessed windows for which The Murray is known. The windows allow for daylight to stream through, without direct heat from the morning sun. Room design will incorporate surfaces covered with rare stones, leather and textiles to create a sophisticated sanctuary for discriminating urban travelers. “I am quietly confident this will become the preferred hotel in Hong Kong for visiting dignitaries, captains of industry and leaders in style,” shares Duncan Palmer, the hotel’s managing director. “They will appreciate the sophisticated and international standard of hospitality that the Niccolo brand delivers,” he adds.

Pond’s launches new formulas for the modern woman


stage of your life. Take a look at the new and improved Pond’s Acne Clear, Pond’s White Beauty, and Pond’s Age Miracle ranges, especially formulated for today’s modern woman.

Everything beautiful begins with change With the new Pond’s formulations, the power to change your skin into something beautiful is always in your hands. The secret lies in looking for the ingredients and technology that your complexion needs at each

Making beautiful changes with pond’s The All-New Pond’s seeks to inspire women and show them that the power to make change beautiful is in her hands. “They say that the most beautiful faces in the Philippines use Pond’s—and I’m proud to be one of them,” shares new Pond’s brand ambassador, Joey Mead. “As women, it’s important that we strive to inspire and empower one another. We all have the strength and grace to transform the toughest changes into something beautiful.” At the forefront of skincare science and innovation since 1846, Pond’s continues to show why it is still a leader when it comes to providing superior solutions for cleansing, anti-aging, and lightening. And now, with the NEW and improved Pond’s Acne Clear, Pond’s White Beauty, and Pond’s Age Miracle ranges, the modern woman can feel confident knowing that she has what she needs to face the beautiful changes in her life with beautiful skin.

re you ready for a beautiful change? If you think about your skincare rituals from five to 10 years ago, the basics were able to keep your skin clear and well hydrated. But if you take a closer look at our environment now and analyze what our skin faces each day—like pollution, harsher UV rays, and stress—you’ll realize that these basics are no longer enough. Today’s woman is in need of modern-day skincare solutions that can keep up with her ever-evolving skin needs and on-the-go lifestyle. “This is why the Pond’s Institute’s recent innovations revolved around developing and improving our formulas,” says Apples Aberin, Unilever Head of PR. “Pond’s wants to evolve with the modern-day [woman]. We want to show her that there is no need to be afraid of the ever-changing environment, because Pond’s is rising up to the challenge and changing with the times.”

A gem on the hospitality scene As the first significant new luxury hotel to open in Hong Kong for many years, The Murray is expected to breathe new life into the city’s hospitality industry. Beyond that, it is expected to make a tangible mark on the global scene as well. Already, there is quite a buzz about the project – the hotel takes its inspiration from the luxury retail market, and is poised to be a platform on which travelers who desire something more and people with a high degree of self-awareness come together.

“If Hong Kong is the Pearl of the Orient, The Murray is the Diamond of Hong Kong. Diamonds are forever, and the Murray will also be forever,” says Stephen Ng, Chairman and Managing Director of the Wharf Holdings, Ltd. In the spirit of Niccolo and Marco Polo, chart your course and set your plans to discover new worlds of hospitality when The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel, opens its doors in October of this year. For more information on The Murray, visit

Dune London tells tale of Spring-Summer 2017 And what a deliciously romantic, fresh, fanciful, and flirty story it is! By ANGIE DUARTE


icture a romance that starts in the freshness and promise of spring, and stretches into the warm, fervent embrace of summer. This is the spirit that popular British fashion brand, Dune, embodies in its Spring-Summer collection for 2017. The brand’s new video, in fact, depicts this with the creative help of renowned photographer and filmmaker Rankin, in a visual narrative starring Game of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel as “the Girl” and model/chef Isaac Carew as “the Boy.” Aptly titled A Love Affair, the short film has the couple cavorting through the streets of London, in a whirlwind romance marked by vivacious passion – and eye-catching, breathtaking shoes.

tinct first (and second, and third) impressions in the color-palette of the season. Vivid tones, such as royal blue, are splashed on the softest of suede, for the more adventurous man. That flirty feel Coy moments are best expressed with the subtlest of pinks and muted reds, as life is viewed through the rose-colored lenses of love. Blush is big, this season, and shows up not only on the cheeks of lovers, but also on Dune’s footwear and accessories. Floral prints, on the other hand, lend a feel of feminine fun, in flirty hues and patterns, and appear on high-heeled, pointy-toed pumps, open sandals, flats, and more. Ballet flats, in an assortment of colors and designs, are the best choice for those in a twirl of giddy joy. Purses, satchels and bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the mini-bag staying strong in the collection. Put a spring in your step, as you step into spring; and let that lighthearted feeling of amour carry you straight into summer, with Dune.

A hint of drama Dune’s latest collection is emboldened by the drama of embellishment, working together to make a dramatic, fierce statement. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a fiery romance? Think: crushed velvet, rose gold metallic leather, glittery gems, sparkly studs, faux pearls, and unique, bespoke trim adorning Dune’s classic block heeled shoes and statement slides. Even sneakers and kicks get a touch of ferocity, this season, in deep, bold colors and edgy accents. For men, all-time favorite leather loafers and brogues in an array of materials make disDarimeya

Dune London stores are located at Central Square in Bonifacio High Street Central, Ayala Center Cebu, Bonifacio High Street, Estancia in Capitol Commons, Greenbelt 5 and Rustan’s Makati. Follow @ dune_london_ph on Instagram for more information.




MARCH 12-25, 2017

That old Spanish house By ANGIE DUARTE


hese days, I look around and everywhere I look I see people – with their gadgets, on their gadgets, holding their gadgets, doing something-or-other with their gadgets. The world is truly a different place, and I know I sound like an old fart, saying that, just now. “These here young whippersnappers…” I see children on gadgets. CONSTANTLY on gadgets – glued to these, almost. Then I am reminded of a time when life was less techie, simpler, and virtually gadget-free. I grew up in those times; a pudgy little kid in a big and beautiful, slightly creaky house. I grew up in an old Spanish house, in the heart of old Spanish Manila. It had a big garden and no shortage of trees, nooks, crannies, "secret" crevices, and hiding places ever-so-perfect for a sneaky eight-year-old girl. I once hid so well, for what seemed like hours on end. It was rather fun and amusing, watching all the adults go by, calling out for me. Until the pitch of their voices started to change. Then it stopped being fun. Too scared to show myself, I mustered my best and bravest "TAH-DAH!" before jumping out of my hiding place. It worked for two seconds. Hugs first, spanks shortly thereafter from the not-too-amused adults. I climbed trees and skinned my knees. More than once. One time, on my way down from my favorite tree, I

caught my leg on a rusty nail. The head left a long-ish, jagged cut on my inner thigh. I knew I had tetanus shots, so peroxide did the trick. I found a hammer in my Abuelito's toolshed and attacked that traitorous nail con mucho gusto. No one messed with my favorite tree. Sometimes, I would pack a sandwich and a book in a little satchel, climb all the way to the very top of the tree, which rested against the roof of the house, and have a picnic for one. Well, for two—the sun and I. If I got caught, there was trouble. BIG trouble. But I climbed again, anyway. These were my special dates with Mr. Golden Sun and his fabulous rays (I’m sure my favorite tree didn't mind) and nothing could keep me away for long. How I longed to be able climb all the way up at night too. Then I could gaze at the stars and the moon. But alas, my fearlessness had its limits. The neighborhood kids and I played war games on sunny days. We fashioned guns from twigs and branches. I was the nurse. ALWAYS the nurse. Until I declared a war of my own, and demanded to be a general. On rainy days, we clogged all the garden's drain holes and played water war games, with me as general. Dog poop sometimes floated by in our garden-cum-lake. We didn't care much. It was our dog. We fried crickets and ate them. EWWW, I know. We ate yummy things,

too. We wolfed down Abuelita's chocolate fudge cake, with ice-cold bottles of Pop Cola. Oh how we all loved Abuelita's cake. I would yell from the kitchen window, as any good general would, "Michael, Kenny!!! There's chocolate caaaaaaaaaaake!" and dutifully, the soldiers ran from across the street. We would sit around the kitchen table Mike, Kenny, me, my brother Joey - and smile despite, more like BECAUSE OF, fudge-covered teeth. Speaking of my brother… We once found a mouse, about to be executed by way of whack-a-sack. We rescued it, hid it in the tiger's cage of our Fisher Price circus set, and fed it cheese. A week later, we were busted. MORE big trouble. Oh, and he – my brother, not the mouse – once jumped out of a still-moving car, while yelling "Superman!!!" This was almost as bad an idea as the time he "dove" into the cactus bush. We would don costumes, for no apparent reason, and live out our superhero fantasies to the hilt. Hours were spent wading in a plastic inflatable pool in the backyard; chasing Abuelito’s chickens; getting chased by Abuelito’s roosters. I would ride my fiberglass Tiger skateboard, and do tic-tacs and other tricks. Again with the skinned knees. I carried that skateboard to school. Boy, how I loved it. My yaya (nanny) would scold me, in a grumbling manner: "Ayan! Gasgas na naman! Hindi ka

na puede maging Miss Universe! (There! Another scrape! Now you can no longer be Ms. Universe!)" Meh. Miss Universe is overrated anyways. On most weekends, my cousins, Gerry and Tonichi, would come for sleepovers. Patintero (a Filipino game played on empty streets, involving a grid drawn on the ground, and two opposing teams of “taggers” or “its”, and “runners”) was the order of the day. At night, it was flashlight tag, hide-andseek in the dark, and of course, ghost stories. Then we discovered my uncle's stash of Playboy... Oh boy. I hardly watched TV (except for Batman with Adam West, and the Hardy Boys). Did not have very many gadgets (my cassette player was all I needed, really). Had no computer (only offices did), no PS3, PSP, MP3, Xbox, Wii, whatever. I don't even know if I got all those names right, just there. AND no social media! I connected with people, face to face, thanks very much! I was rough and tumble. Tomboyish. Rambunctious. Naughty with just the right amount of nice. Learned to make do with what I had, and create or save up for what I didn't have. Learned to play well with others. Most of the time, anyways. I grew up in an old Spanish house, in the heart of old Spanish Manila. Life was quite simple, with neither too many frills, nor complications. And I wouldn't have had it any other way.




MARCH 12-25, 2017

Compiled by VIA BAROMA


•Shawn Mendes Live in Manila Mar. 18; Mall of Asia Arena, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City; for more information, call (02) 470-2222 or visit Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes will be bringing his Handwritten Tour to the Philippine shores this March for his first onenight show in the country. The 18-year-old teen pop sensation promises to bring a playful, yet passionate performance. Mendes is the youngest musician to release a Top 25 debut on Billboard’s Hot 100. Don’t miss out on your chance to see live performances of his hit singles like “Stitches,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” and “Aftertaste,” among other pop tunes. Tickets are priced at PhP6,360 for VIP; PhP5,300 for Patron; PhP4,240 for Lower Box A; PhP3,180 for Lower Box B; PhP2,120 for Upper Box; and PhP1,060 for General Admission.


•Color Manila Challenge Run 2017 Mar. 19; Clark Parade Grounds, Pampanga; for more information, visit www.colormanilarun. com The biggest obstacle fun run in the country is back! Color Manila, currently the most prolific ‘concept fun-run’ organizer in the country today, is setting its sights on its next big event at Clark, Pampanga, aiming to help Clark in growing their sports tourism agenda. CM Challenge Run 2017 offers more interactive activities where runners will go through obstacles, color stations and mazes. Participants can also look forward to the after-party with DJ Franco Zarate that’s sure to fire up the night. Runners can choose between the 3K, 5K or 10K routes. Registration fee is priced at PhP1,050 for Trooper Kit (includes singlet, sunglasses, color packet, drawstring bag and headwear) and PhP650 for Deluxe Kit (includes singlet, sunglasses and color packet).


•AWCP Bazaar Mar. 14; SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City; for more information, visit Time for some much needed retail therapy! The American Women’s Club of the Philippines (AWCP) is back for the third installment of their monthly bazaar. With over 300 vendors under one roof, the AWCP Bazaar is pure shopping bliss! Shop in comfort for some of the best items the Philippines has to offer—art, bags, beauty products, furniture, food, jewelry, shoes, toys, unique gifts, and a lot more. Proceeds go to fund local charities supporting health, education, environment and cultural projects in the Philippines.


•Goût de France /Good France Mar. 21; Apero, CAV, Corner Tree Cafe, Duck and Buvette, Gourmet Bar - Novotel Manila, La Creperie, Lemuria, Mireio, Restaurant 101, Spiral, Vatel Restaurant Manila; for more information, visit www. or For the third consecutive year, Goût de France / Good France will gather more than 2,000 chefs and 2,000 menus from five continents to celebrate French gastronomy— a culinary tradition, which values high-quality, innovative, and environmentally responsible cuisine. Participating restaurants in the country includes your favorite bistros, breweries, contemporary, or haute cuisine restaurants such as Apero (with Chef Jacq Tan), CAV (with Chef Victor Magsaysay), Corner Tree Cafe (with Chef Mabanta Francesca), Duck and Buvette (with Chef Jacq Tan), Gourmet Bar - Novotel Manila (with Chef Michael Schauss), La Creperie (with Chef Chris Bautista), Lemuria (with Chef Kevin Endaya), Mireio (with Chef Nicolas Cegretin), Restaurant 101 (with Chef Justin Baradas), Spiral (with Chef Rion Alain), and Vatel Restaurant Manila (with Chef Pierre Cornelis). Participating restaurants are invited to create their menu according to the following sequence: a traditional French aperitif, a cold starter, a hot starter, fish or shellfish, meat or poultry, a French cheese (or cheeseboard), a dessert, and French wines and digestifs, while remaining free to highlight their own culinary traditions and cultures.


•Travel Writing Workshop 2017 Mar. 15 to 17; Ayala Museum, Makati Ave. cor. Dela Rosa St., Greenbelt Park, Makati; for more information, email or call (02) 759-8288 loc. 8772 How do you capture that moment of wonder as you travel, and how do you share that sense of awesomeness that grabs you? Ayala Museum presents Travel Writing Workshop with April Yap – a multimedia workshop focusing on digital and social media content creation that will help you effectively tell your travel story. Tales of travel have captured the imaginations of people around the world since the dawn of time. Fortunately, travel writing is a skill that can be learned by anyone determined to succeed. Whether for personal or professional purposes, the Ayala Museum Write Now! program is offering a course on Travel Writing with facilitator April Yap. She will go over the basics of travel writing for various platforms. Registration fee is priced at PhP3,000 for Regular and PhP2,700 for Discounted to Ayala Museum and Ayala Group of Companies employees.

•Mobile Photography for Teens Workshop Mar. 18 and 25; Ayala Museum, Makati Ave. cor. Dela Rosa St., Greenbelt Park, Makati; for more information, email or call (02) 759-8288 loc. 8772 Want to take amazing photos? You don’t need expensive camera equipment to take that perfect shot. In fact, you just might be able to capture that using something that’s already in your pocket. In this mobile photography workshop, discover how to curate your shots and learn the basics in finding the right composition and balance. Fun and learning is guaranteed with design director and product stylist Ronstadt Lee. Registration fee is priced at PhP3,500 for Regular and PhP1,050 for Discounted to Ayala Museum and Ayala Group of Companies employees.


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 No. 8 March 12, 2017 - March 25, 2017


Expat Newspaper Volume 35 No. 8 March 12, 2017 - March 25, 2017