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¥0 ee Fr February 2014 Issue 14




Mendiola Her Road to Stardom

Exclusive Interview With

Ambeth Ocampo

When Women Make the Move Valentine’s Day in Japan


Meets Filipino Community in Japan

KathNiel The Loveteam to Beat

February 2014

Table of Contents

Editor’s Pick

The historic Ponte Vecchio is the most famous and oldest bridge in Florence Italy.

4 6 8 9 12 14 4

Photographer: Chino Manding Caddarao

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FilJap M A G A Z I N E

In Focus PNoy Attends ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo

Publisher: Yonei Toshikazu Editor-in-Chief: Florenda Corpuz

6 8 9 12 13 14 15

Cover Story Jessy Mendiola: Her Road to Stardom


Culture & Arts When Women Make the Move: Valentine’s Day in Japan

Associate Editor: Nel Salvador

Faces Bea Rose Santiago: In the Elite Circle of Beauties

Layout Artist: VerJube Photographics Tokyo Office: 114-0004 Tokyo-to Kitaku Horifune 1-26-14-501 Telephone: 03-6903-2100 Fax: 03-6903-2101 Toll-Free Fax: 0800-919-3633 E-mail: Manila Office: 232 Amapola Street, Palm Village, Makati City, Philippines Telephone: 63(2) 403-42-06

Spotlight An Exclusive Interview With Ambeth Ocampo FilCom Watch PNoy Meets Filipino Community in Japan Star Watch Jessica Sanchez: Singing Her Way To Help Philippine Adventures ‘Fili-festivals’

Florenda Corpuz Editor-in-Chief

Advertising Executive: Judith Takahashi Distribution Executive: Genie Omata

Celebrity News ‘KathNiel’: The Loveteam To Beat

Editor’s NOTE

Photographers: Din Eugenio Oliver Corpuz

Digital Edition: Facebook: FilJap Magazine is published by FilJap Consulting. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner without the permission of the publisher.

“Where there is love, there is life.”


ebruary, the month of love, signifies the time when we think about the people we love, care about and come into contact with on a daily basis – be it our family, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers or our significant others. In this issue of FilJap Magazine, we have wonderful stories for all of you – our dear readers.

is ‘KathNiel’. Then we also have a feature story about the recent trip of Jessica Sanchez to the Philippines where she gave hearing aids to Filipinos with hearing impairment. And we close off the issue with an exclusive interview with Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo where he talked about his passion for history and his love for the country. Our hope is that our Valentine’s Day Issue will touch your hearts.

First up is our cover girl Jessy Mendiola who never hesitated to share her rough road to stardom in a very inspiring rags-to-riches story. Next is an uplifting piece about the recent victory of Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago. We follow that with a special feature about the most popular love team of this generation that FILJAP MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2014


PNoy Attends ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo


quino said in his departure speech that he remained committed to work together with ASEAN leaders in carrying out exchange projects in a wide range of fields, including the economy, culture, tourism, peace and stability in the region. Following a working lunch and bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the President expressed appreciation for Japan’s “tireless efforts” to support the peace process in Mindanao. “They were responsible for fostering the millieu through which we made our initial breakthrough, even at a very short notice when they hosted our talks with the MILF here in August 2011. Now we are in the penultimate stage of the framework agreement we are working on with the MILF,” he said. He also reiterated its commitment to uphold the rule of law and promote the peaceful settlement of disputes while ensuring freedom of flight in international airspace. Both the Philippines and Japan have been pursuing peaceful means to resolve territorial disputes with China. Furthermore, he said that


TOKYO, Japan – President Benigno S. Aquino III joined other ASEAN leaders in the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit held on December 12-14.

2013 has been a “banner year” for high-level exchanges between the Philippines and Japan. Meanwhile, Abe lauded the Filipino people for what he called their “admirable spirit” in responding to disaster. The two leaders witnessed the exchange of notes on the post-disaster standby loan amounting to Y10 billion ($100 million) from Japan, loan for the multi-role response vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard worth Y18.732 billion ($187 million) and the revised route schedule for the PhilippinesJapan Air Services Agreement. Aquino also informed Abe that the Philippines has officially adopted Japan’s ISDB-T system for digital terrestrial television broadcasting. In his statement at the session of the ASEAN Japan Commemorative Summit, Aquino also made a new call for a peaceful and rules-based approach to resolving territorial disputes, including those with China. To avoid a repeat of the devastation brought by typhoon Yolanda, Aquino called for an international mechanism to combat climate change.


He also reaffirmed its support for giving women a prominent role in various aspects of society, including spurring economic development. On the sidelines of the summit, Aquino invited the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) to further explore opportunities of investing in the Philippines. He also met with officials of major Japanese companies like Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd., Nidec Sankyo Corp. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. He received an honorary doctoral law degree from Sophia University on the second day of his visit. Before returning to the Philippines, Aquino attended a gala dinner hosted by Abe and wife Akie at the Imperial Hotel. The ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit commemorated the 40 years of ASEAN-Japan relations. The ASEAN and Japan’s cooperative partnership began in 1973 with the establishment of the ASEAN-Japan forum on synthetic rubber. Through the years, ASEAN and Japan have forged close cooperation towards peace, stability, development and prosperity in Asia.

Photos courtesy of Gil Nartea / Ryan Lim (Malacañang Photo Bureau)


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Jessy Mendiola: Her Road to Stardom

Text courtesy of ABS-CBN Photos courtesy of Star Cinema / Jojit Lorenzo

Fame didn’t even cross the mind of then 14-year-old Jessy Mendiola when she joined Star Magic’s workshop back in 2007 together with her older sister. But it seems it was her destiny to become Philippine television’s next big star because out of the many aspiring, young talents in her batch, she was the only one who caught the eye of star maker Mr. Johnny Manahan. 6



can still remember Mr. M asking me ‘Gusto mo bang mag-artista?’ The clueless me back then answered, ‘Is it okay if pagisipan ko po muna? Can you give me three days?’” Jessy recounted. She did think about it for three days and after discussing the matter with her mom and siblings, Jessy signed up with Star Magic, the country’s most prestigious artist management arm. But she did not say “yes” to Mr. M’s offer because she wanted to be an actress, but rather because she felt the need to be the family’s breadwinner. “Life wasn’t easy for us especially before I entered showbiz. I grew up without a dad and it’s only my mom who’s working to support our needs. I’ve experienced very tough times. I have experienced not having much. I even experienced eating instant noodles for dinner for many days,” she shared. Jessy was born in Dubai to a British-Lebanese dad and a Filipina mom. She moved to the Philippines when her mom decided to start anew here. Jessy lived a life apart from her dad and grew up seeing her mom as both a mom and a dad to her and her two siblings. “My mom has been working hard all her life. That’s why it was very easy for me to take a stand and unburden her of the responsibility of providing for our family,” she explained. From being a simple high school student, Jessy’s life turned 360 degrees when she entered show business and began acting on television. Like any other rising star, she went through a series of workshops and did minor roles on various ABS-CBN programs. She waited long hours on the set, with only minimal speaking lines. Slowly, the reluctant star began to embrace her newfound passion – acting. “I have learned to love the craft and it motivated me to do better. I am working not only to provide for my family, but because I have actually started to enjoy acting. I realized that

I really want to become a good actress,” Jessy revealed. She waited patiently for her career to blossom until she finally got her big break. In 2010, she was launched in her first title role as “Sabel”, a show that marked the beginning of her reign as ABSCBN’s next teleserye princess. Her popularity and premium as an actress were bolstered after she did the television series “Budoy” and afternoon soap “Precious Hearts Romances Presents Paraiso” and starred in movies “The Reunion” and “Call Center Girl”. Now tagged as one of Philippine television’s prettiest faces, Jessy has become one of the country’s fast-rising cover girls after being featured on the covers of top glossy magazines such as Metro, Chalk, Men’s Health, Meg, Preview and now Japan-based publication FilJap Magazine. She has also proven to be a sought-after product endorser after brands Head and Shoulders, Myra E, Boardwalk, Bench and McDonalds tapped her to be their image model. Bigger things happened to Jessy this year as she reprised the role of Maria Mercedes played by Mexican superstar Thalia back in the 90s. “This is really one of my dream roles. I grew up watching Maria Mercedes and I still can’t believe that I am now the Pinay version of this character loved by many Filipinos,” she said. Last October 2013, Jessy was appointed as honorary Ambassador of Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), a government agency dedicated to tourism promotion of the Republic of Korea. “I am very honored and thankful that the KTO chose me as ambassador. The Koreans are very nice to me when I visited their country and they instantly became dear to my heart,” Jessy said. Just recently, Star Cinema also announced that Jessy is set to do a movie with John Lloyd Cruz, Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta. Jessy was romantically linked to JM De Guzman, Matteo Guidecelli and Sam Milby. FILJAP MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2014 7


In the Elite Circle of Beauties


riella Arida, the Philippine representative in the Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow, Russia made a good finish as she placed 3rd in the said competition. Mutya Johanna Datul was crowned Miss Supranational 2013 at Belarus while Angeli Dione Gomez bagged the Miss Tourism title in Malaysia. Completing the roster is Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago who made Filipinos proud, especially the Filipino community in Japan where the pageant was held. Amidst all the controversies and tragedies that the country faced last year, these victories were welcomed with much gusto -providing relief even for a short while. In fact, the 23-year-old beauty who hails from Masbate dedicated her win to the victims of super typhoon Yolanda that struck the nation in November that killed thousands of lives. It was the said tragedy that inspired the 30-second speech of Bea Rose in the question and answer portion that garnered praise and applause from the audiences. “The whole world saw how my country, the Philippines, suffered. The agony of my people was felt. But one by one, country to country came to help. I would like to thank all the nations that helped my country. In our darkest hours, you have opened my eyes and my heart and how important it is if we all just support each other. If I become Miss International, I will uphold international camaraderie to sustain the spirit for sympathy and to continually share the message of hope. I believe 8


that whatever calamity may come to us, as long as we have each other, there will be hope. Thank you.” She bested Miss Netherlands Nathalie den Dekker who placed first runner-up and Miss New Zealand Casey Radley who made a second runnerup finish. The other two who made it to the Top 5 were Miss Colombia Cindy Aguilar and Miss Hungary Brigitta Otvos. After the win, Bea Rose came back to the Philippines where she made the rounds including a courtesy call to President Benigno Aquino III where they were snapped doing a “selfie.” It can be recalled that the President has personally wished Bea good luck when he visited Japan in December. Bea Rose also had a motorcade in her hometown in Masbate where she confessed tearing up because of the warm reception that she received from her kababayans. The Filipina stunner was born in Cataingan, Masbate in Bicol and is the eldest among three siblings. She grew up with her grandparents and migrated in Canada when she was 15 years old. Prior to the Miss International pageant, Bea has been doing some modeling stints and is the only Filipino who became a part of the Elite Management. She was also the representative of the Filipino community in Canada at the Mutya ng Pilipinas 2011 pageant. Bea Rose is the fifth Filipina to win the title after Precious Lara Quigaman (2005), Melanie Marquez (1979), Aurora Pijuan (1970) and Gemma Cruz (1965).

Photos by Din Eugenio

Bea Rose Santiago

2013 was the year of beauty queens. The country has produced its first ever Miss World in the person of Megan Lynne Young when she bested 130 contestants in the prestigious pageant held at Bali International Convention Center in Bali, Indonesia last September.

‘KathNiel’ I

Th e Loveteam To Beat

t is without a doubt that the tandem of Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo, collectively known as “KathNiel”, leads the pack of the most popular and most bankable stars of this generation. Their new primetime series, “Got to Believe,” is a consistent top-rater where Daniel played the role of Joaquin who came from a wealthy family and eventually fell in love with Kathryn’s role, Chichay, a poor but optimistic girl who grew up in an amusement park (perya). Their chemistry is palpable, arguably one of the reasons why their team is loved and accepted by adoring fans. Since its airing last August 2013, the series never fails to trend worldwide in social networking site, Twitter. Daniel and Kathryn couldn’t hide their happiness working with each other again in the series with a slew of other credible artists like Manilyn Reynes, Carmina Villaruel, Ian Veneracion, Al Tantay and Joonee Gamboa. “It feels good to be working with Daniel again and I’m happy that our fans like it and that they never fail to watch every episode,” quipped the 17-year-old Kathryn. Most KathNiel fans are intrigued if the love team has gone off-screen but the two are quick to dismiss that they are not yet in a relationship but they already have a mutual understanding. The two admitted that they want to take things slowly because they are still young and are fairly new in the showbiz industry. “Well, we have mutual understanding and we’re contented with that. Our career is our priority because we are still young. Let’s see what the future holds,” Kathryn said. Daniel, nephew of action star Robin Padilla, started his career in 2010 doing minor roles in “Gimik 2010” and “Growing Up” before replacing Albie Casino in the series “Mara Clara”, which starred Kathryn. Kathryn, on the other hand, has done series of acting shows before she was paired with Daniel in the afternoon series “Princess and I”, which became a hit. Their mother network, ABS-CBN, saw the potential of the team and gave them their first solo movie project entitled “Must Be Love.” The two are very thankful to their network for giving them big projects that allow them to learn and hone their craft as artists. They are looking forward to doing more projects together and they are hoping that their love team will overcome the test of time.

CELEBRITY NEWS Love teams play a vital role in show business; many celebrities have reached their popularity by being a part of onscreen love teams. The most popular includes Nora Aunor-Tirso Cruz III, Vilma Santos-Edgar Mortiz, Maricel Soriano-William Martinez, Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion, Judy Ann Santos-Wowie de Guzman, Angelu de LeonBobby Andrews, John Lloyd Cruz-Sarah Geronimo among others.





An Exclusive

Interview With


Ocampo Photos by Din Eugenio

FilJap: Describe yourself in one word. Why? Ambeth: Uncommon. I did not fit the molds in the various jobs that came my way, I always tried thinking out of the box. FilJap: How did you feel when you received the Presidential Medal of Merit from President Aquino? Ambeth: In 2006, as the President of the Philippines conferred the Metrobank Outstanding Teacher medal around my neck, the Secretary of Education, who was assisting, remarked: “napakyaw mo na lahat ng awards ah.” “Meron pa pong kulang Mr. Secretary.” I replied. “Ano pa ba?” he asked. “The Order of Sikatuna.” When the president heard this, she exclaimed: “Sikatuna? That’s for retiring diplomats.” Two presidential awards and two knighthoods later, I have yet to retire and receive the Order of Sikatuna. While I enjoy the recognition awards bring, these actually terrify me. Most people are blinded by the glitter of medals and trophies they fail to see the burden honors actually bring. Recognition is not bestowed on people for merely doing their job, prizes go those who do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Awards are a burden because they challenge people to maintain excellence. The real burden is trying to outdo oneself. FilJap: If you were to deliver a speech during the conferment, what would you say? Ambeth: Thank you for the recognition but the honor is not mine alone but shared with many people and institutions who made and continue to make my work possible. If I had to acknowledge each one, it would take more than an hour, they know who they are so this medal and honor is also theirs. FilJap: How do you find the Filipinos in Japan? Ambeth: The ones I have met bring tropical sunshine and warmth to a people steeped in formality. 12

TOKYO, Japan – After receiving the Presidential Medal of Merit from President Aquino during the Meeting with the Filipino Community last December 2013, Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo, renowned Filipino historian, journalist and author, granted us an exclusive interview, where he talked about his stay in the country, his profession and his commitment to the preservation of Philippine history, arts and culture. FilJap: Being a renowned historian and a visiting lecturer at Sophia University, how do you let your students appreciate our history and make it more interesting for them? Ambeth: In Manila and Tokyo, I make history come alive by telling stories that make students smile, stories that connect past with their present because it is only when students find the link does it become relevant to them. Teaching Philippine history and culture in Tokyo is different because my students have no previous background, I have to teach the basics from ground zero. FilJap: What is your take when people say that history is a boring subject? Ambeth: History is interesting, if you think otherwise that probably means you had a bad teacher. History is one of the most engaging subjects so teacher and textbook should be able to tell a good story. FilJap: The best and worst things about Japan? Ambeth: Best is their sense of order and discipline, the downside is that they sometimes refuse to do things differently or think outside the box.


FilJap: What lessons have you

learned in your stay in Japan that you want to impart to our kababayans back home? Ambeth: I learned many things in Japan but the one that I treasure most is seeing how attuned the Japanese are to the seasons, to nature. From the cherry blossoms and irises in Spring to the changing colors of momiji and gingko trees in the Fall. We often go through life missing out on the simple things that matter, we see but seldom notice. Nature, our environment, the people we are with have to be noticed and celebrated for these are what make life worth living. FilJap: What is your message to all our kababayans in Japan? Ambeth: Speak to your children in Filipino, it not only makes them multilingual, it makes them remember that though they were born, raised, and educated in Japan, an indispensable part of them is Filipino. FilJap: Who is Ambeth Ocampo and what achievements and contributions do you want to be remembered for? Ambeth: That question can be answered by Google and Wikipedia. My real achievements are: my writings, my books, my students. All these will outlive me.

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PNoy Meets Filipino Community in Japan Photos by Din Eugenio




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or the second time since assuming office, President Benigno S. Aquino III met with the Filipino community in Japan on December 12. It was first on his itinerary during his threeday official visit to take part in the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit. The President had the opportunity to interact with several of the 202,974 Filipino nationals living and working in Japan. During the meeting held at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center in Shibuya, Jenavila Shigemizu,

Chairperson of the Philippine Barrio Fiesta Executive Committee and Olive Akatsu handed over a symbolic check worth Y1 million (P426,007) for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda to the Chief Executive. According to Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez, the Y1 million was the profit from the Philippine Barrio Fiesta Festival in Yokohama held last September. The President also awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit to National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairman Ambeth

Ocampo. Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez also delivered remarks as well as Joyce Ogawa, chairperson of the Philippine Assistance Group representing the Kanto region and Jocelyn Yoshitomi, chairperson of the Philippine Community Coordinating Council representing the Kansai Region. Filipinos comprise 10 percent of all foreign nationals living in Japan and are its third largest population of foreign nationals.


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Jessica Sanchez

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Singing Her Way To Help

Filipinos, no matter where in the world, will always find ways to excel, to shine, and to show to people how talented they are. It won’t be surprising if we see in the news or read in the papers about overseas Filipinos excelling be it in sports, music, showbiz or business.


uch is the case of Jessica Sanchez who wowed the audience when she became one of the contestants of “American Idol Season 11”, placing second to Philip Phillips. She was wellapplauded in the said popular reality singing show and there were numerous times when she was given a standing ovation especially when she did a rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Born to a Filipina mother and Mexican father, the 18-year-old singer has since then started to build a singing career for herself. Her American Idol stint has opened up many opportunities for her including singing the American national anthem for U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, a single with Black Eyed Peas member entitled “Jump”, and an appearance in the fourth season of “Glee”. She also released her debut album “Me, You & the Music”, which debuted at number 26 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 14,000 units in the first week. With all the recognition, the Filipina beauty has never forgotten her roots. Aside from visiting the Philippines, Jessica has also reached out to the victims of super typhoon Yolanda by lending vocals to the inspiring single “Lead Me Home.” Jessica and Decca Label have partnered to donate $0.90 from each single sold to the Red Cross. “They asked me to lay my vocals on one of their tracks and I was like ‘of course, it’s an amazing opportunity and


I would love to’, and then we recorded the song and they wanted to release it early for the victims of the typhoon and I was completely all for it.” “Everything has been amazing and I’m so glad to help the Filipino people any way that I can,” Jessica revealed. Recently, she personally went to the Philippines not only to promote her single but also to go to some places in the country to give hearing aids in partnership with Starkey Hearing Foundation. “It’s been, honestly, amazing. We’ve been driving around in these buses and I look at the country and it’s so green and so beautiful and on top of that the people are so welcoming and so kind. I think the Philippines is just so amazing,” she said of her experience going around the country. It can’t be denied that even if Jessica lives in California like thousands of other Filipinos out there, she’ll remain loyal and proud of her roots. “Our food is amazing. My grandma makes the best lumpia ever. On top of that, we’re very family-oriented and we love to have the love of our family around us. I’m very, very proud of that. I’m familyoriented myself and even if I’m 18 and I can travel by myself now, I just like to take my mom everywhere because I’m so used to having her around.” “I love being with my family – when I move, my family moves – and I think that’s how Filipinos are. We love to be together and I’m proud to have that trait.”


Jessica also divulged her willingness to hold a concert in Japan and to meet Filipinos who live and work there. “Oh, I would love to! I’d love to go to Japan; that would be amazing. And to Filipinos in Japan and anywhere and everywhere, I love you guys so much. You’ve been really amazing and I can’t thank you enough.” “ M y kababayans, I love you so much.”

“Fili-festivals” P


Text and photos by Arlene Donaire

Sinulog Festival

Maskara Festival Pahiyas Festival

Talulot Festival

Aliwan Festival

Phil. Hot Air The Filipinos surely know how to Balloon Festival celebrate no matter what the adversities are! Throughout history, Pinoys have demonstrated a unique sense of unity through their shared optimism and love for life, an admirable trait that is depicted in all the festivals and fiestas that are celebrated across the country year-round. The diversity that divides the Philippines into its many geo-political, ethnic, and religious communities is the same thread that unites the Filipinos in their shared yearning to celebrate. There is always a reason or basis to celebrate.

hilippine festivals and fiestas, as numerous as they are, offer a unique source of pride and joy, for the folks in each locality where they are held. They are a welcome respite from the humdrum of daily life but more importantly a collective mark of a nation whose communal psyche is boosted by its strong faith, resilience, and aspiration to rise from the adversities that beset the country year in, year out. The festivities can range from simple to grandiose, solemn to frenzied, and sometimes even elevated to an official holiday category, depending on whether it coincides with a government proclamation like the “chartering” or creation of a city or honoring a person who figured significantly in the country’s history. Festivals are made more attractive in that they naturally set off a chain of benefits for

the locales where they occur as they trigger the local economies into action, even months ahead of the actual event, spurring commercial investments, engendering government support for public infrastructure, and enhancing tourism. For the year 2014, as in past years, the Filipinos continue to enliven the country with a celebration of long-held traditional festivals that are religious and ethno-cultural in nature and those that have been promoted in recent years in keeping with the country’s tourism and economic programs. For the many Filipinos who live and work abroad and foreign tourists that plan to visit the country this year, here is just a sampling of the more popular festivals with their tentative dates and venues. There usually is a dedicated website for these events, so make sure to check online for final details.

It’s more fun in the Philippines; celebrate at least one Fili-festival this year!

January • Feast of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo, Manila; 9th) • Sinulog Festival (Cebu City; 13th to 19th) • Ati-Atihan Festival (Kalibo, Aklan; 19th to 26th) • Dinagyang Festival (Iloilo, 26th) February

• Philippine Hot Air Balloon Festival (Clark; 13th to 16th) • Panagbenga Festival (Baguio City; 26th)


• Paraw Regatta (Iloilo; 2nd) • Sandugo Festival (Tagbilaran, Bohol; 15th)


• Moriones Festival (Marinduque; 14th)



• Pahiyas Festival (Lucban; 15th)


• Mudpack Festival (Murcia, Negro Occ; 14th) • Parada ng Lechon (Balayan, Batangas; 29th) • Pintado/Kasadyaan Festival (Tacloban City; 29th)


• Bocaue River Festival (Bocaue, Bulacan; 1st Sunday)

• Talulot Festival (St. Therese of Child Jesus Parish, Pasay City; Oct 6th) • Lanzones Festival (Camiguin; 18th) •Masskara Festival (Bacolod City; 18th to 19th)


• Higantes Festival (Angono, Rizal; 23rd) • Grand Cordillera Festival (Baguio City; 23rd)


• Immaculate Conception (Intramuros, Manila; 8th) • Giant Lantern Festival (San Fernando, Pampanga; 20th)


• Kadayawan Festival (Davao City; 23rd to 24th)


• Penafrancia Viva La Virgen (Naga City; 20th) FILJAP MAGAZINE | FEBRUARY 2014 15


When Women Make the Move:

Valentine’s Day in Japan

In one of my favorite scenes in the Japanese high rating drama “Gokusen 2” released in 2005, Yankumi, the female protagonist, is surprised when she finds her male high school students in the classroom all chanting together, “chokoreto ga hoshi!” (“I want chocolates!”) with big, hopeful smiles and dreamy eyes. Why? Because it is Valentine’s Day and in Japan it is the women who give chocolates to men on this special day! By Herlyn Alegre The Origin of this Tradition This chocolate-giving tradition in Japan originated in 1958 when a confectionery company, Mary’s Chocolate, sold sets of three chocolates worth 170 yen as “lover’s day treats” at the Isetan Department Store in Tokyo. This marketing strategy further expanded to what we know at present as the Valentine’s Day craze. To further their sales, White Day was invented in 1977 by the company Fukuoka Marshmallow. On March 14 of every year, a month after Valentine’s Day, it is the men’s turn to return the favor. Men are expected to reciprocate women who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day with gifts – usually white chocolates wrapped in beautiful white packages with white ribbons. They also send cards, flowers and jewelries. These gifts are often called “sanbai-gaeshi” (三倍返し) because the value of the men’s gift should be thrice the value of what they received on Valentine’s Day. Japan is regarded by the Cocoa Association of Japan (CCAJ) as Asia’s largest consumer market for chocolate confectionery. In 2012, CCAJ recorded that 208,770 tons of chocolate were produced by Japan. The sales usually peak around February of every year. Chocolate manufacturers from abroad even came up with chocolate variations mixed with fruits like banana, mango and watermelon and more exotic flavors like green tea, ginger ale and soy sauce. A resort in Hakone even offers a hot bath with melted chocolate during this special season that allows people to wallow in chocolate like a little 16

child playing in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! Chocolates: Opportunity or Obligation? In the Philippines, it is the custom on Valentine’s Day for men to give chocolates and gifts to women they fancy, but in Japan, it is the other way around. On Valentine’s Day, women receive the special license to express their real affection towards the man they like by giving them chocolates. This type of chocolate is called honmei choco (本 命 チ ョ コ ), which is given to loved ones such as

boyfriends, husbands or men that women want to date or confess their emotions to. So for women who want to take the driver’s seat in shaping their love lives and quit waiting for Mr. Right, this is the time to make a move! However, in Japan, it is not only loved ones who are given chocolates


but also bosses, male colleagues and friends. This type of chocolate is called giri choco (義理チョコ), which literally means “obligation chocolate.” Giving this chocolate is grounded more on responsibility and paying respect instead of expressing affection and fondness to someone you like. A more recent tradition is the giving of tomo choco ( 友チョコ ), a type given by women to other female friends. Because this is the trend, it is not unlikely for a woman to be shopping several different kinds of chocolates on Valentine’s Day and spending a great sum of money on these. On a common understanding, Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity for women to express their feelings – a license which has not been culturally available to other countries including the Philippines. On the other hand, it also connotes obligation as women are expected, if not totally required, to give chocolates to office colleagues. Adding the layer of over promotion in every shop, top of the line marketing strategies to sell and ubiquitous campaigns to convince women to join the chocolate bandwagon, Valentine’s Day seems to be a very interesting time of the year in Japan. As Yankumi’s high school students herald the coming of Valentine’s Day with their chants, “chokoreto ga hoshi,” it is also every woman’s choice to realize what they want – should they view this interesting tradition as a personal choice or a commercial gimmick; a day of love or a day of unmindful spending; a language of the heart or a continuation of tradition; a gesture of love or a sign of respect?

ADVERTORIAL 日本政府発表    2014年4月から消費税8%に決定 住宅.家賃.車.食料品.衣類.スイカ.パスモ.たばこ.すべて日本で購入す るもの3%値上がりします。   ディズニーランド 1ディパス6200円から   年間パスポート52,000円から  銀行ATM手数料. 引き出し金額1万円以下    引き出し金額1万円を超えると 

6400円 53,000円  105円から108円 210円から216円

フィルジャップ コンサルティングから緊急報告 今まで問い合わせ頂いたお客様で依頼を希望される方へ 還付申告関係書類      2/28必着 (消費税増額前精算希望の場合) 資料請求される方へ フリーダイヤルにて、お問い合わせください。

Japanese Government Announcement The decision of 8% consumption tax from April 2014 All purchases in Japan will increase 3% like House, House Rental, Car, Groceries, Clothing, Pasmo (Suica) and Cigarette. Purchase Disneyland Day Pass Disney Pass for 1 year ATM Withdrawal Service Charge below 10,000 yen Withdrawal of more than 10,000 yen

Now April 2014 6,200 yen 6,400 yen 52,000 yen 53,000 yen 105 yen 108 yen 210 yen

216 yen

Filjap Consulting Urgent Notice For our clients who inquired and for those who want to file their refund must submit the necessary requirements until February 28. For our clients who want to ask for our requirements, please feel free to call our free dial hotline. 18


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FilJap Magazine February 2014  
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