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July / August 2011 Monthly Issue

Volume 2 - Number 07

conquers her fears Page 4

Hiwalay kung hiwalay

Page 8

Coco Martin’s rise to stardom

Page 34

The curious talent of Marcelito Pomoy – Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2 Grand Winner Page 38

The Controversial RH Bill – Miriam Santiago vs Manny Pacquiao

Page 16

Where have all the children gone?

Page 20

Cebu Pacific soars

Page 10

Filipino MMA fighter Mark Muñoz wins in UFC 131 bout Page 42



Cover Story

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

KC Concepcion conquers her fears Esther T. Misa


f there are things or lessons that showbiz royal daughter KC Concepcion will not forget doing in her latest movie, “Forever And A Day” these are not the dramatic scenes, but the stunts. “Yung mga pinapagawa kasi sa amin ay yung mga things na yung ibang artista siguro mauunahan ng takot.” Concepcion said. Asked what stunts frightened her while filming the movie, KC said one of them involved the zipline scene. The daughter of Megastar Sharon Cuneta and 1980s Regal Films heartthrob Gabby Concepcion admitted that she has a fear of heights, and the ziplining scene was very difficult for her to shoot. “Akala ko okay lang yung takot ko sa heights, hindi pala talaga siya okay. Okay ako sa speed, yung mabibilis, pero ‘pag mataas na lalo na yung hindi gumagalaw, nakakatakot. Buti yung zipline nga gumagalaw eh.” she said. Good thing that in this movie, she was paired with off-screen close friend Sam Milby, who was her constant motivator while doing her stunt scenes. “Mas matapang kasi si Sam sa akin so ‘pag nakikita kong ginagawa na niya, mas nagagawa ko na rin.” she said, adding “pag naniniwala si Sam na kaya kong gawin, doon ako nakakakuha ng lakas ng loob talaga (laughs).”

Concepcion had several outdoor scenes, the trickiest of which was the white-water rafting sequence. But her fondness for the water proved to be an ally. “Mahilig naman ako sa tubig. Yun naman ang sa akin, kung si Sam mahilig sa motor, ako tubig talaga. Tapos ayun, matagal ko na siya gusto i-try mag-white water rafting. Ayun, masarap yung feeling na kasi ‘di ba kung sa Hollywood kumbaga nagconstruct na sila ng set ng ilog para laging pareho yung kulay ng tubig, ma-pe-predict mo yung agos ng alon. Kami talagang in the raw, talagang natural na natural naming ginawa yung mga eksena na pati sila Direk natatagalan kasi talagang tatawid sila sa ilog at aakyatin nila yung mga bato para i-set-up yung mga camera. Kaya ayaw mo talaga magkamali kasi siyempre mahirap gawin yung mga eksena na ginagawa namin para dito.” she shared. “Forever and a Day” is the first movie team-up of Concepcion and Pinoy Big Brother graduate Sam Milby. The two celebrities also belied rumours that a special relationship came out in the months that they were filming in Mindanao. Rumors circulated in the industry that Concepcion took a liking to local Philippine entertainment’s “Prince of Romance” since they were always together in Bukidnon province, Northern Mindanao.

“Hindi po, wala pong ganun at all.” Concepcion explained in a presscon held for the movie. The press people present further asked: If she was still free, would she fall for Milby? Concepcion replied, “At this point, Sam and I are friends. I don’t want to entertain that question since I’m in a relationship now.” But Concepcion did not deny that she and Milby are friends, a friendship that goes way back even before she and Philippine showbiz’ Ultimate Heartthrob Piolo Pascual became a couple. To recall, Pascual admitted on national television early this year that he and Concepcion are already in a relationship, after almost two years of courting Cuneta’s eldest daughter. “Yung kuwento po namin ni Sam goes way back. Yung closeness po namin, yung pagkatotoo po ng relasyon namin bilang magkaibigan sobrang wala pong halong kaplastikan.” Concepcion said. “Nagse-share kami ng mga problema. Nakakatuwa lang kami ni Sam parang pareho kami ng kultura. Pareho kami ng hilig. I can say na Sam is one of the people in my life na for keeps talaga.” she added. “Even before we started the movie, close na kami.” Milby said at the same presscon. However, Milby admitted it was hard to get into his character of falling in love with KC Concepcion’s

KC Concepcion and Sam Milby with Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina

character because of that same closeness. “Medyo natakot ako nung nalaman ko na may movie kami ni KC. Kasi siyempre minsan mas madali sa iyo kapag kilala ninyo ang isa’t isa ‘di ba? Mas magiging kampante kayo sa isa’t isa. But at the same time, it’s still work kaya hindi ko alam kung mahihirapan kami sa pagiging professional kasi minsan mag-jo-joke kami kasi magkakilala na kami.” the Fil-Am actor said. Concepcion and Milby immediately hit it off as friends

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ricsson Money, one of the major sponsors of this month’s 27th Barrio Fiesta sa London 2011, recently launched the first of a number of new mobile money services across seven European countries including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and Sweden. Ericsson Money is now working to expand into further European countries and other regions including the Philippines. Ericsson Money is a connected money service that allows money to be sent and received between friends and family from phone to phone. It’s convenient, instant, safe, and as easy as sending a text message – all you have to do is sign up at or When it comes to sending money home, many Filipinos want the peace of mind that the transfer

will reach the recipient quickly. It’s also important that costs are kept as low as possible, and money transfer services are easy to access and easy to use. Ericsson Money on the mobile offers all of this and more and will be useful to many different types of people needing to send and receive money. For many Filipinos working in the UK regularly sending money abroad, Ericsson Money will remove the hassle of using inconvenient postal or personal cash transfers. Now, settling small debts or even sharing the cost of a meal between friends and family can be simple, instant and much more affordable. Taking part in the biggest Barrio Fiesta in Europe, Ericsson Money is looking forward to demonstrating this service to those people for whom it will make a real difference. Adam Kerr, Head of Consumer Services for Ericsson Money Services, said, “It’s great to be a

part of Barrio Fiesta sa London, and we’re looking forward to meeting everyone there. Now with Ericsson Money, simply having a friend’s phone number, irrespective of where he or she is in the world, will open up access to financial services and mobile money in a completely new way.” Stop by the Ericsson Money stand to discover more and to see a demonstration of the new service, which works on most types of mobile phone. You can also enter Ericsson Money competitions which will be running throughout the festival as well as grab the opportunity to record a fun video postcard to send to friends and family in the Philippines and around the world. If you can’t make it to the Barrio Fiesta, find out more about Ericsson Money services, at or

when they first met because of their shared love for outdoor activities. It had been a stable friendship since then. Both also attend the Victory Church Fellowship at Ortigas. “Forever and a Day” is Star Cinema’s 18th anniversary presentation. It is a story about a guy who is caught in a whirlwind romance with a complete stranger. Directed by Cathy Garcia Molina, it also stars Rayver Cruz, Vivian Velez, Dante Rivero, Bembol Roco, Lui Villaruz, Spanky Manikan and Robin Da Roza. ■


Original Creation and Copyright Reserved By: Hello Philippines 2011



Law & Social Issue News

Hiwalay kung hiwalay

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

Vittorio Hernandez


ne of the popular jokes in the Philippines about henpecked husbands is that when the couple has a misunderstanding, the man would tell his drinking buddies – “Eh di hiwalay, kung hiwalay, kung iyan ang gusto ni Misis.” Of course, the man was not referring to divorce or legal separation, but a humourous situation where he – as the one in charge of the family laundry – would separate the white clothes from the coloured ones during washing. The topic of separation among couples, which leads to broken families, is no longer a taboo in the Philippines. While it could be a source of humour like the joke mentioned above, broken marriages in the country is on the rise and is a reality that many Filipinos acknowledge, despite the absence of a divorce law in the country. However, winds of change are blowing in the country’s familial bonds as Filipino legislators plan to revive a bill that would legalize divorce in the Philippines. The trigger was the recent approval by citizens of Malta in a referendum of divorce in the Mediterranean country. Now, why would the suffrage decisions of a tiny nation in Europe influence legislation in the Philippines? The answer is that prior to the May 2011 referendum in Malta, there were only three remaining countries that still did not have divorce. These were Malta, the Vatican and the Philippines. The common thread that binds these three states, aside from the lack of divorce, is that they are all predominantly Catholic countries. The Vatican will surely not allow divorce for two reasons: First, it is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, and, second, most of the city’s inhabitants are clerics who do not need a divorce at all since they are not married. However, the situation is different in Malta and in the Philippines where many citizens were baptized

Not all marriages end happy, a large number of couples eventually separate.

Catholics but no longer follow the Catholic Church’s teachings and regulations on divorce and contraception. About 75 per cent of Maltese favored divorce in the referendum held in May despite the campaign by Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and the Maltese hierarchy against divorce. With the result of the referendum, Gonzi said the country’s parliament would legislate a law to dissolve marriages of couples who have been separated for at least four years. The referendum prompted some Filipino lawmakers to revive a similar divorce bill that was filed in Congress a year ago but did not prosper due to the influence of the Philippine Catholic Church. Among the congressmen supporting the call for a divorce in the Philippines is Gabriela Partylist Representative Luzviminda Ilagan, who sought the revival of the archived House Bill 1799 filed in July 2010. A divorce bill was filed in Congress as early as 1999, but the proposal and subsequent similar bills did not all prosper because of the opposition of the Philippine Catholic Church to divorce. The bill proposes allowing Filipino couples who have been separated for at least five years and whose reconciliation is highly improbably to divorce. According to a recent poll right after the Malta referendum, Filipinos


Universal Infinity Limited Mike McCarthy Sales Director Tel. No.: +44 20 3086 7702 ext. 15 Email: Roselle Collado Operations & Marketing Director Tel. No.: +44 7577 813 104 Hello Philippines is published monthly by Universal Infinity Limited. This publication is copyrighted and all rights reserved.

are almost split right in the middle on the issue of divorce. Fifty-one per cent favored divorce, 47 per cent were against it and 2 per cent were undecided. However, the Church insists the issue of marriage dissolution is not a matter of how many Filipinos would favor it. Former Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines President Archbishop Oscar Cruz pointed out majority vote does not necessarily mean the decision is a moral or correct one. Cruz insisted that divorce is antiFilipino because majority of citizens are still pro-family. It is one issue unlikely to be settled by a referendum or legislation alone. Like other contentious issues that divide the nation – such as the Marcos burial or the gun ban – groups in favor of divorce could not

be convinced to change their outlook and vice-versa. For anti-divorce groups such as Couples for Christ and other Catholic organizations and communities, marriage is an institution they view as sacred. As such, they consider being married as a vow before God because matrimony is one of the seven sacraments instituted by the Church. They will always hold the view that marriage ends only with the death of one’s spouse. Despite bumps in the marriage – which they admit is normal for all couples – these groups would insist on the man and woman sticking it out “for better or for worse, till death do us part.” However, in reality, many Filipino couples have long parted ways even if there is no divorce law in the country. Many of those who favor

a divorce in the country are in this situation because legalizing their divorce would allow the estranged husband and wife to legalize their union with their current partners. While the Church insists that couples could avail of annulment instead, not all bad marriages would qualify for annulment – which is also a very expensive and time consuming undertaking that few Filipino couples would have the means to pursue. Apparently, for anti-divorce groups, Filipinos would never be ready for a divorce law because of the pro-family orientation of the majority. However, for pro-divorce groups, Filipinos have long been ready for it and, in fact, and many couples have long parted ways and pursued different paths they perceive as the road to a second lease in their domestic life. ■



Business & Finance

Cebu Pacific soars

Vittorio Hernandez


lthough Philippine Airlines is still the country’s flag carrier, Cebu Pacific had eclipsed Asia’s oldest air carrier as the largest airline in the country in terms of passengers transported and routes flown. Part of the expanding business empire of FilipinoChinese tycoon Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific first wave in the local aviation industry in 1996 by offering fares much lower than PAL initially in the Manila-Cebu and Manila-Davao routes with 24 daily domestic flights. The granting of a license to Cebu Pacific was the result of a market deregulation by the Philippine government. After two years. Cebu Pacific operations had expanded to 80 daily flights to 18 domestic destinations. In 2001, the air carrier further soared by securing rights to operate international flights to the Asian region, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong and Guam. Soon, Cebu Pacific was taking over some of the routes flown by PAL, such as the ManilaSingapore leg. The air carrier started to offer in 2006 direct flights to and from Cebu to Hong Kong, which eventually expanded to include trips to Busan, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Bangkok. In 2008, Cebu Pacific was allowed to fly out of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport

in Clark to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and to Cebu. As the air carrier, which used to be known always as a bridesmaid of PAL, soared higher, Cebu Pacific also progressed from using old planes to brand new ones. In 2007, Cebu Pacific ordered 14 brand new ATR-72500 aircraft. Because of Cebu Pacific’s fast growth, the airline was named the world’s number one air carrier in terms of growth in 2008. The basis of the global recognition was the almost 5.5 million passengers ferried by Cebu Pacific in 2007, up 57.4 percent compared to the previous year. That year, the air carrier was fifth in Asia for budget airline passengers transported and 23rd ranked in the world. In contrast, PAL suffered a series of strikes which led to its privatization and downscaling. In 2011, after 15 years of operation, Cebu Pacific had flown 50 million passengers in its Manila-Beijing route. The air carrier targets to reach 100 million passengers flown by 2015 – which is not an impossible aim given Cebu Pacific’s growth in a relatively short period of time. To achieve that goal, Cebu Pacific announced in June 2011 that it will buy 30 more A321 neo and seven A320s for $3.8 billion. The key to Cebu Pacific’s phenomenal growth is the budget fares that is significantly lower than PAL’s for many destinations. For instance, Cebu Pacific’s regular fare for the Manila-Cebu route ranges from P1,689 to P2,149 depending on the time of the flight, while PAL charges from P1,568 to P6,288.

Cebu Pacific also frequently offers seat sales to different local and international destinations as low as P488 one way from Cebu to Manila and 19 other domestic hubs. These are to Bacolod, Boracay, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Clark, Davao, Dipolog, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo, Legazpi, Ozamiz, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, Siargao, Surigao, Tacloban and Zamboanga. The fare is just the equivalent of a meal at a high-end restaurant.

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

Three-digit fares are also available during the seat sale promo from Manila to 11 other domestic destinations in Luzon and Visayas, while the Mindanao trips range from P1,499 to P1,999 only. For international destinations, a one-way fare to Hong Kong, Macau or Singapore costs only P999, while a trip to Osaka, Japan costs P5,999. However, with the lower airfare come lesser frills, as is common among budget airfares. For domestic flights, the cabin crew only serves a small packet of biscuit manufactured by Universal Robina – Cebu Pacific’s sister company – worth about P15 at the nearby sarisari store, a small bag of peanut and cheap juice in tetra pack. The lite fare and seat sale tickets also stipulate no checkedin baggage for the traveler, only handcarrys which must be according to standard sizes used by all airlines. There has also been a question of Cebu Pacific compromising safety to lower cost of operations. Two years after the air carrier’s maiden flight, the government temporarily halted Cebu Pacific’s operations for one month because of an accident, which involved flight 387. The ill-fated McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 plane from Manila bound for Cagayan de Oro crashed on the slopes of Mount Sumagaya in Claveria, Misamis Occidental. All 104 people on board perished. The crash was considered one of the deadliest aviation accidents in the Philippines.

But that is not the sole domain of the air carrier because other airlines too are on cost-cutting mode and have been involved in air accidents. According to the website, the air carrier’s RP-1507 flight to Tacloban was also involved in another aviation accident, but there were no recorded fatalities. Other minor aviation accidents that were reported in media involving the air carrier include Cebu Pacific planes overshooting the runway or tires bursting. Cebu Pacific, in many ways, is a reflection of Gokongwei’s business vis-à-vis his main rivals Sy and the Ayalas. Although the Gokongweis’ business empire continues to expand by foraying into real estate, aviation and retail, the Sys and the Ayalas are moving at a faster pace and offering higher quality products. The Gokongweis’ enterprises offer a cheaper, but sometimes lesser quality alternative, albeit, with its own perks. For instance, on a regular weekend, Sy’s flagship store, Megamall, would definitely be crowded by lunch time, while shoppers at the nearby Robinsons Galleria could still enjoy some space. Clearly, Cebu Pacific is not in the league of PAL, Cathay Pacific or other regional carriers; but definitely the airline is a welcome alternative for many middle-class Filipinos with shallower pockets, but who still want to enjoy the benefits of traveling within the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific regions at a lesser cost. ■

Cebu Pacific—The air carrier is part of tycoon John Gokongwei’s growing business empire.



Science, Technology & Environment

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

Filipinos came ready for Typhoon ‘Falcon’

Taken during the typhoon Falcon

Esther T. Misa


he lessons of the worst tropical typhoon depression this country had ever faced in recent years came in handy as Filipinos braced for tropical storm “Falcon”. This, as “Falcon” (international codename: Meari) left two people dead and at least 15 missing following three days of non-stop heavy rains. The statistics are definitely a far cry compared to those left by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 – with more than 1,000

people dead, not to mention millions of pesos in damages to property and livestock. Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways reported that the damage to properties and infrastructure left by Typhoon “Falcon” could easily exceed P200 million. In 2009, Typhoon Ondoy’s damage reached P4.7 billion. So far, more than 10,000 families were affected while several areas in Central Luzon had remained flooded due to heavy rains brought about by tropical storm “Falcon”. As per latest update from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management

Council (NDRRC), 10,106 families or 52,907 individuals in the provinces of Zambales, Bulacan and Pampanga, specifically from the towns of Cabangan, San Antonio, Santo Tomas and Botolan in Zambales, Meycauayan City and Marilao towns in Bulacan; as well as Guagua, Minalin and Lubao in Pampanga were affected by flooding due to continuous rains. The road in Barangay Antipolo, San Antonio, Zambales, was eroded by flood and has since been rendered not passable to all types of vehicles. A road in Bgy San Antonio, also in Zambales, was likewise eroded but remains passable to all types of vehicles. In Zambales alone, damage to crops was estimated at P1,843,211, fisheries at P20,250 and infrastructure at P60,000. In both experiences, the metropolis’ water systems overflowed due to strong, relentless rains. This year, various dams still overflowed and government authorities were left with no choice but to release its water gates, thus contributing to rising floodwaters. But as a nation, the Philippines had met Typhoon “Falcon” better prepared this time. In Marikina City today, some 25,000 people continue to remain in evacuation centres after floodwaters reached dangerous levels. Marikina

Nations ditch nuclear energy Vittorio Hernandez


he magnitude 9 earthquake that rocked Japan on March 11, 2011 was felt the world over. Not so much in terms of the earth shaking in other parts of the world, but the impact of the temblor affecting the lives of other nations. One impact is the expected rise in prices of electronic items and cars. The temblor and the tsunami it triggered caused the destruction of plants of major manufacturing giants in Japan such as Toyota, Nissan, Sony, Toshiba, and other producers of vehicles and electronic goods. With plants closed for several weeks, the production of goods as well as spare parts was halted, causing shortages in supplies and leading to higher prices. The other major impact, which even non-purchasers of Japanese vehicles and electronic gadgets would feel, is the ditching of nuclear energy as a major component of energy mix. The March 11 catastrophe is also remembered for the partial nuclear meltdown of Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The meltdown, classified as a level 7, affected three nuclear reactors in the facility and forced

the evacuation of thousands of residents and businesses within the 12-mile radius danger zone. The damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant caused a reduction of electricity that Tokyo Electric could produce, from 40 gigawatts of electricity to 30 GW. It led to rolling brownouts for several Japanese prefectures for several weeks. Outside Japan, the nuclear disaster reminded the global community of two previous nuclear accidents that made nations to think twice about tapping nuclear energy to produce electricity. These were the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine – which was then still a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - in 1986 and the ThreeMile Island accident in Middletown, Pennsylvania in 1979. The Chernobyl disaster caused the direct death of 56 people, another 4,000 deaths related to cancer, forcible resettlement of 350,000 residents of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia and $7 billion worth of damage to property. The Three Mile Island accident resulted in the release of about 2.5 million curies of radioactive gases and 15 curies of iodine-131. About 140,000 residents left the area after a 20-mile radius evacuation zone was ordered by state authorities. For several years after the two accidents, industrialized nations

which were on the forefront of tapping nuclear energy stopped all plans to build new nuclear facilities and re-assessed their power mix. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, after the Three Mile Island disaster, the number of reactors under construction in the U.S. declined yearly from 1980 to 1998, while 51 orders of nuclear reactors from Babcock and Wilcox – which manufactured the Three Mile Island reactor – were cancelled from 1980 to 1984. However, as the memory of the two disasters dimmed and new administrations took over in these two nations, while nuclear designs and safety features improved, more countries resumed construction of nuclear plants in the light of soaring price of oil – a key component of electricity production – in the international market. The Fukushima nuclear accident again brought the world back to ground zero. After March 11, nations immediately ordered a reassessment and safety checks on existing nuclear plants and a stop to new constructions. By the end of May, Germany announced it will phase out all nuclear plants by 2022. The decision was made after German Chancellor Angela Merkel set up a panel that reviewed nuclear power in the country.

was the city hardest hit in 2009 by Typhoon Ondoy, and local officials here said the tragedy had enabled them to exercise vigilance, so a repeat of the “Ondoy” experience did not happen this time. But it would be too early to send the people home. “They will only be allowed to return home once the water level (at the Marikina River) drops to 15 meters.” said Marikina police chief Senior Superintendent Gabriel Lopez. Thousands of commuters were also stranded in floods when Typhoon “Falcon” slowly inched its way towards Metro Manila beginning Thursday. The NDRRMC reported that they have rescued one of 15 fishermen reported missing at sea in Catanduanes since Thursday. The said fisherman as rescued in Northern Samar. The others have yet to be found. Disaster officials also said they have received reports on three missing fisherman in Camarines Norte. The Coast Guard called off the search and rescue mission for the missing fishermen because of the rough sea conditions. A man and a woman were washed away by raging waters off Manila, while two could not be accounted for amid floods and landslides outside the metropolis.

Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

As part of the phase out, Germany took offline its seven oldest reactors, initially for a safety review, but eventually made the closure permanent. A similar fate was met by the eighth plant, the Kruemmel facility in northern Germany. Six other nuclear facilities in Germany are scheduled to go offline by 2021 and the three newest would close by 2022. Other industrial nations such as the United States, Britain and Canada held safety reviews of their nuclear power plants since a large number are already ageing and need updating. Emerging economies, whose growth rates were two-digits until the global economic crisis exploded in 2008, are among the nations that have moved rapidly into nuclear energy to produce electricity for their growing manufacturing industries. As a result, the tiger economies of India and China are pushing through with their nuclear plant constructions despite the Fukushima disaster. According to data from the World

Typhoon “Falcon” also triggered a tornado in Quezon City and in Meycauayan, Bulacan leaving several houses ruined. Schools in both private and public called for a suspension of classes on Friday due to the bad weather. At least 26 flights were also cancelled that same day.

Precautionary measures advised

Typhoon “Falcon” had exited the country on Saturday without making a landfall, but its enhanced monsoon rains caused massive flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Meanwhile, the state weather bureau warned that the southwest monsoon may cause flash floods and landslides in 12 provinces in Northern and Central Luzon. In its 11am weather bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the southwest monsoon is expected to bring occasional rains over Luzon. Residents in Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Zambales, Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union, Benguet, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, Abra and Ilocos Norte, the weather bureau added, are advised to take precautionary extreme measures against possible landslides and flash floods. ■

Nuclear Association, there are 14 nuclear facilities slated to begin operations this year, five of them are in India and one in China. Next year, another 12 are schedule to commence operations, 15 more in 2013 and 18 in 2014, another 18 in 2015, 12 in 2016 and five more in 2017. However, it won’t be the case for Japan, which has learned its lessons and vowed to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear energy. Prior to the March 11 nuclear accident, Japan planned to rely on nuclear energy for more than 50 percent of its power requirements in 2030. However, with the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tokyo no longer considers nuclear energy and fossil fuels as the two major pillars in electricity production. Instead, Japan will place more emphasis on renewable forms of energy such as solar, wind and biomass, Kan said. Fortunately, the Philippines does not have to make that kind of decision because Filipinos have decided way back in 1986 not to tap nuclear energy for the power needs when they ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, who were behind the graft-ridden mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. The ouster of Marcos swept to power Corazon Aquino, who decided not totally junk the BNPP. ■


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East Meets West featuring Ballet Manila and Prima Ballerina of the Philippines Lisa Macuja-Elizalde

Shaw Theatre 100 – 110 Euston Road, Euston, London NW1 2AJ

The show is presented by the Philippine Embassy, London with the Inter-Cultural Society of London

2 July 2011 (Saturday) 1:00pm to 9:00pm

Tacloban Fiesta in East London 2011

Leyte-Samar Organization in the United Kingdom

3 July 2011 (Sunday) 8:00am to 6:00pm 5 to 15 July 2011

3rd Bradford Barrio Fiesta 2011

10 July 2011 (Sunday) 11:00am

Mass for the Filipino Sailors with their Families (Misa para sa mga Tripulanteng Pinoy at ang kanilang mga Pamilya) 27th Barrio Fiesta sa London 2011

Custom House Hotel, Function Room, 272 – 283 Victoria Dock Road, London E16 3BY Lady Hill Park, Allerton, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD15 7TS Embassy of the Philippines, 6 – 8 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG St. Patrick’s Church, 45 Portsmouth Road, Woolston, Southampton SO19 9BD Lampton Park, Lampton Road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 4DN

For more information, please visit Book tickets at: or 0844 248 5075. Booking & transaction fees apply. Ticket Prices: £22 and £25 and £35 for the Gala Night Note: To be a Patron, for the price of only £45.00, one can have premium seating, his/her name in the souvenir program and in the Ballet Manila websites both in the UK and in the Philippines, and at the end of the show, a chance to meet, greet & have photo taken with Ms Lisa Macuja and the entire Ballet Manila company. Tickets and Inquiries: Eric Go 07919 348 827 / 020 7473 2715 / Maria Lydia Creer 07786 246 096 / Ken Mendoza 07889 370 248 / Lanley Marmita 07967 555 689 / Thelma Montano 07894 708 263

An Actor’s Art Exhibition by Rebecca Grant

23 July 2011 – (Saturday)

OFWinner Caravan with Francis J. Kong (Motivational Speaker)

23 to 24 July 2011 (Saturday & Sunday)

80s Themed Night and Thanksgiving Service 2011 – TAPUK 2011 – Silliman University Founders Day Celebration

24 July 2011 (Sunday)

OFWinner Caravan with Francis J. Kong (Motivational Speaker)

24 July 2011 (Sunday) 9:00am to 6:00pm 29 July 2011 (Friday) 6:00pm

Barrio Fiesta sa Mitcham 2011

30 July 2011 (Saturday) 10:00am to 6:00pm

Fiesta sa Nayon 2011 at East Grinstead

30 July 2011 (Saturday) 4:00pm 31 July 2011 (Sunday) 10:00am to 6:00pm 13 to 14 August 2011 (Saturday & Sunday) 10:00am to 6:00pm

UFCScot Battle of the Band 2011

13 to 14 August 2011 (Saturday & Sunday) 10:00am to 6:00pm

UFCScot Barrio Fiesta sa Glasgow

27 August 2011 (Saturday) 6:00pm

Mr. and Miss Philippines Northern Ireland – Grand Finals

17 September 2011 (Saturday) 6:00pm to 12:00am 30 September 2011 (Friday) 6:00pm to 10:00pm

Miss Philippines UK and Mr. Philippines UK 2011

Mr and Miss Philippines Northern Ireland – Preliminary Heat

Fiesta in Blackpool 2011 Welsh Filipino Fiesta 2011

Launching of Samar Leyte Association Wales UK “Get together party and networking”


July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

30 June 2011 – (Thursday) 7.30pm – Evening Show 1 July 2011 – (Friday) 8:00pm – Gala Night 2 July 2011 – (Saturday) 2.30pm – Matinee 7.30pm – Evening Show

16 to 17 July 2011 (Saturday & Sunday) 10:00am to 7:00pm


Events Diary

Assembly Hall, Pimlico Academy, Lupus Street, Pimlico, London SW1V 3AT Southsea Common, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 Queens Hotel, Clarence Parade, Osbourne Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO5 3LJ Pillgwenlly Millenium Centre, Countrybella Terrace, Newport, Gwent NP20 2GH Three Kings Piece, Commonside West Road, Mitcham, Surrey CR4 4HA St Kevin’s Hall, North Queen Street, Belfast, BT15 1ER King George’s Field, Olympus, Kings Leisure Centre, Moat Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 3LN Adelaide’s Conference Centre, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4HZ Stanley Park, Sports Arena, West Park Drive, Blackpool FY3 9HQ Margam Country Park, Margam, Port Talbot, Wales SA13 2TJ (Between Cardiff and Swansea) Kelvingrove Park, Otago Street, Glasgow G3 6BY

Camden Centre, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE Cardiff City, Wales

British-Filipino Association of Bradford Rebecca Grant – FilipinaBritish Actress and West End Performer Fr Claro Conde

07882 099 306 / 01274 818 681

Fr Claro Conde 023 8044 8671 / /

An Event Organised by ABS-CBN Europe Limited in cooperation with The Philippine Centre Filinvest International Dream Academy

Stalls and Further Information Please Contact: Roselle Collado, Events Coordinator on behalf of ABSCBN Europe Limited - 07577 813 104 /


Filinvest International Dream Academy

Maricel Puso 07720 935 575 Jose Rico Padios 07525 844 909

Maricel Puso 07720 935 575 Jerick Collado 07939 667 251

Andrea Colquhoun 020 8646 4181 Jess Magdaong 07894 824 512 Jeannette Leitch 07881 815 022 / Jayson “Jojo” Belmonte 07966 105 600 / Filipino-British Association of East Grinstead United Filipino Communities of Scotland (UFCScot) Far Eastern Voluntary Group

Alex Pullan 07766 656 856 Yolanda Cabasal 07737 088 253 Zai Martin 07818 043 006 Robin Easling 07891 215 097

United Filipino Communities of Scotland (UFCScot) / Brought to you by GMAKAPUSO in cooperation with Gen Ashley Jeannette Leitch 07881 815 022 / Jayson “Jojo” Belmonte 07966 105 600 / Eva Macadangdang 07983 593 914 Marlowe Macadangdang 07956 944 520 / Facebook: 508140

9 October 2011 Diamond in the Rough – Camden Centre, Camden (Sunday) The First UK All Pinoy Fighting Town Hall, Judd Street, 7:00pm Event London WC1H 9JE FREE LISTING of your events on the Hello Philippines newspaper and if you know of any Events do not hesitate to contact us at all. Please kindly contact us and submit your event via email or text to the following at / 07577 813 104. Date of the Event / Time of the Event Title of Event Venue Address (please kindly provide complete address with postcode) Organiser Contact Details Polite Remarks: any other information you want added, we will endevour to include it if possible depending on space.



Law & Social Issue News

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

Vittorio Hernandez


ith a population growth rate of 2.04 per cent, a land density of 300 people per square kilometre and a headcount of more than 90 million, it is not a surprise that the Reproductive Health Bill debate continues to rage in the predominantly Roman Catholic country, the Philippines. Proponents of the two bills with similar contents are both seeking for the crafting of a national or comprehensive policy on responsible parenthood, reproductive health, population and development. The two bills, authored separately by Albay 1st District Congressman Edcel Lagman and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, are largely premised on the country needing to curb its runaway population growth rate because the nation’s resources such as land and food would soon not be enough to provide for the basic needs of all Pinoys. Those against the bill are composed mostly of Catholic organizations and communities which do not favor the use of artificial methods of birth control to curb the population. Most of them are also of the opinion that the problem is not so much the country’s ballooning population, but more of inequitable distribution of resources. They claim that the country has enough natural resources to provide for the needs of all Filipinos, but these goods are in the hands of only few. They also aver that population is likewise not properly distributed, with the bulk insisting on living in urban areas while there are few who opt to live in the countryside, which is still vast and wide. While there is truth in that argument, city dwellers who have to

jostle daily for a transport ride in the MRT or LRT, pay high rentals for a small room, and fall in line for hours for anything – from groceries, to ATMs – will probably believe otherwise. But clearly, the bigger debate is the use of artificial means of birth control – which boils down to a confrontation between the church and the state because of their opposing stands on the issue. The church, echoing the position of Vatican, adheres to its belief that only natural methods of family planning should be used by married couples. The belief is anchored on the tenet that sex between husband and wife is sacred with the main aim of procreation. To stop procreation using artificial means such as a condom or an IUD is considered a morally wrong act by the Catholic Church because the use of devices goes against nature. As such, the church even goes to the extent of classifying artificial means of contraception as abortifacients. Pro-RH groups decry the equation by the Church of artificial contraception with abortion. They maintained that while they are also against abortion, couples should be given the choice what method to choose for them to have better control of the woman’s childbearing through sufficient information available. Anti-RH groups, however, question the use of government resources to fund and disseminate information and family planning devices to the Filipino public. The debate continues to rage as the anti-RH groups oppose the planned inclusion of family planning modules to public and private elementary and high school students in the country. At one time, there were reports that the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines was allegedly planning to excommunicate Philippine President

The RH Bill has divided the Philippine government and the Catholic Church.

The controversial RH Bill

The distribution of condoms has incensed the church.

Benigno Aquino III, who backs the RH Bill. The bishops decry Aquino’s support for the legislation, which contrasts with the policies of the president’s mother – the late President Corazon Aquino – who towed the Catholic stand on population control during her term in the late 1980s. Recently, other celebrities have joined the discussion, including Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, who spoke against the RH Bill in a congressional session in May. Unfortunately for the eight-world title championship belt holder, Pacquiao dared battle veteran legislator Lagman, the author of one of the bills, in a verbal sparring which saw the champ beaten to a pulp. Pacquiao, who is now a congressman representing Sarangani Province, showed not only how wet behind the ears he is as a legislator and debater, but also provided “pogi” points to the pro-RH Bill proponents because of the weak arguments he raised against the bill. What is ironic is that while Pacquiao served as poster boy against the RH Bill, his beautiful wife admitted she used to take birth control pills. However, Jinkee Pacquiao clarified that when Manny found out that she was using artificial birth control methods, he ordered her to stop and that resulted in the

The country’s population growth rate is one of the highest in the world.

Large number of city residents are indicators of a population boom in the Philippines.

famous couple having two more baby girls the past few years. Pacquiao risked his stellar status to champion a cause he believed in. Soon, Pacquiao’s equally famous mother, Dionesia, joined the fray by defending Manny from criticisms over his towing the Catholic Church line. Manny also earned the ire of the author of the other RH Bill, Senator Santiago, who even challenged Pacquiao to a boxing match, but the feisty senator eventually withdrew in her corner after she heard Mommy D’s defense of her son. Of late, the heat over the RH Bill has somewhat been reduced as other pressing issues such as the national calamities took center stage. For sure, the issue will be revived again, and the endless debates continue. The debate actually goes back to 1967 when 12 nations signed the Declaration on Population, including the Philippines. The signing by then President Ferdinand Marcos of the declaration led to the creation of the Population

Commission. In that same year, the USAID began to pay for 80 per cent of the contraceptive costs of the Philippines, which then was worth about $3 million yearly. As more characters – like Intramuros tour guide Carlos Celdran – joins the debate, RH bill will likely be discussed over and over again until one side finally wins the argument. Celdran recently made news when he condemned the bishops’ meddling into the population control issue. He compared the Catholic hierarchy to the frailes during the Spanish era by calling the bishops “Damaso” during a mass at Manila Cathedral. Celdran was referring to a priest in the Jose Rizal novel, Noli me Tangere, who had a child out of wedlock even if he was a cleric, and who meddled in politics. The comparison is a comic relief to a social-economic timebomb ticking every minute, as the dramatis personae involved engage in verbal matches on who is right and who is wrong. ■

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July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

Happy Feet made people cry Sharon R. Martin


ap dancing is characterized by rapid feet motion… shiny shoes clicking, hitting the floor with energy. It’s a dance movement usually associated with happiness, as depicted in the animated movie “Happy Feet.” Dancing duo Ramon and Lourdito Mata of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2 (PGT2) got their inspiration from the lively tapping of the penguins from the said kiddie

flick, thus naming their tandem Happy Feet. While the brothers did draw out cheers of delight from the crowd, they inadvertently made some of the viewers, including PGT2 judge and local comedienne Ai-Ai Delas Alas, cry.

Sob Story Like majority of reality show and talent search aspirants in the Philippines, Ramon and Lourdito Mata have their own tearjerker life story to tell. They come from an impoverished family from far flung Libona, Bukidnon. Their parents are either

underemployed or out of job. They had to join the labor force at an early age to contribute to the meager family coffers. They auditioned for the show in the hopes of turning their life around by bagging the first prize. So what else is new? Ramon, 21 and Lourdito, 12 showed the whole nation that familial devotion can endure the pummeling of indigence and financial strife. While other couples or families both rich and poor are torn apart by monetary problems, the Mata brothers are living testament that kin can remain cohesive amidst hardships.

PGT judges Freddie M. Garcia, Kris Aquino, and Ai Ai Delas Alas

During the grand finals, a video clip of the brothers unabashedly declaring love and support for each other was played, hushing the whole audience in the arena and even eliciting a teardrop or two. Ramon wished his younger brother, “Basta kapatid ko, kahit ano pa ang mangyari, mahal na mahal kita. Gagawin natin ang lahat para mabigay natin ang best natin.” (Whatever happens, my brother, I love you. Let’s give our whole best.) To which Lourdito replied, “Kahit anong mangyari, pangako ko susuportahan kita.” (Whatever happens I will support you.)

Second Placer but first in Ai-Ai’s heart

Happy Feet placed second in PGT season 2

The brothers may have bagged the second place (only), with 18.32% of the total text votes, but they have unwittingly captured the heart of Delas Alas. “Ang buhay kasi ng ‘Happy Feet’ parang soap opera. Siyam na magkakapatid, mahirap. Hindi ko nga alam kung paano nila natutunan yong ‘Happy Feet’ na sayaw.” delas Alas said. (The life of “Happy Feet” is like a soap opera. They are 9 children in the family, all poor. I have no idea how they learned to dance like [the penguins] Happy Feet.) During the short interview in their audition, the brothers referred to their talent as the Happy Feet dance as they gleaned the techniques from the movie. They had no formal training. They had even no idea that it was called tap dance. They auditioned without proper tap dancing shoes. Delas Alas, who herself struggled on her way to the stardom, volunteered to buy the two with the needed footwear. In the end, Delas Alas vowed to help the brothers in their studies. She pledged to shoulder their education expenses. Local television network ABS-CBN, which airs the Philippine version of the Got Talent franchise, also promised to help support not only the Happy

Feet duo but the rest of the Mata brood as well. “At ang alam ko, papaaralin sila ng ABS-CBN. May mga plano na para sa sa mga kapatid nila para magkatrabaho,” Delas Alas reported. (I think ABS-CBN will support their education. There are plans for them as well as for their siblings for employment.) The comedienne will treat the Mata brothers as her own children. “Happy Feet talaga...Parang mga anak ko na ‘yan eh… Nagbenta pa sila ng kamatis, kumain lang ng tinapay, para lang makapunta ditto.” she says. (Happy Feet…they’re like my own kids already. They ate bread only and even had to peddle tomatoes just to get here.)

A Changed Life Ramon revealed, “Bago kami sumali sa Pilipinas Got Talent mga simpleng tao lang kami. May mga pangarap na gusto naming matupad para sa sarili at sa pamilya.” (Before we joined Pilipinas Got Talent we were just simple folks. We had dreams for ourselves and our family.) The exposure in the reality show made them a household name among televiewers. In fact, Happy Feet has already earned the admiration of numerous fans. Fan bases were already set up on Facebook, Twitter and other popular blog sites. But as much as they have altered the course of their future, they have also serendipitously contributed to the revival of the people’s interest in tap dancing. As co-juror and former ABSCBN president Freddie M. Garcia mentioned, “Tap dancing is almost a dead form of art. But you have revived it here and you have done it excellently.” The Mata brothers have not only left a mark as the Bukidnon natives with unique tap dancing skills. They also bequeathed a legacy of unwavering hope and love to the nation. ■


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Global News

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

Where have all the children gone? China under fire due to toxic tragedy Esther T. Misa


nternational human rights groups are once more hot on the heels on the People’s Republic of China after the country again got involved in another environmental hazard fiasco. Early last month, Chinese nationals figured in a massive lead poisoning incident that included more than 600 people, 103 of whom were children. These victims were identified as workers and their children in 25 familyrun tinfoil processing workshops in Yangxunqiao town in Zhejiang province in eastern China. Laboratory tests showed that 26 adults and all 103 children had suffered from severe lead poisoning, or with more than 600 microgrammes of lead per litre of blood while 494 others have moderate poisoning. The workers and their families were constantly exposed to the element as it is the primary ingredient used in tinfoil processing. Among the body systems that get affected most by lead poisoning are the nervous, muscular and reproductive systems. It could also create anaemia and increase one’s risk of high blood pressure. Children are particularly at risk, as it can lead to learning difficulties and behavioural problems. This is the latest reported case of a toxic waste crisis that has stricken many towns and villages across China, where residents live within meters of sloppy regulated factories and workshops competing to produce cheaply. As cases of mass poisoning and other environmental, food and safety hazard disasters continue, the Chinese government has since called for urgent measures to put a stop to heavy metal poisoning; apparently, however, it still lacks the political will to enforce such measures.

Political experts and even health and human rights groups blame China’s obsessive stance on economic growth and revenue. The speed and size of economic development in China right now has never happened before. Who would have thought that in just ten years, a small emerging market will be transformed into a major economic global player?

China’s economy grew 7 times as fast as America’s over the past decade, making it the world’s second largest economy. Gross domestic product (GDP) increased 10 fold in the last 15 years, which helped lift 200 million people out of absolute poverty since 1978. And at the rate things are going, Chinese GDP could overtake the U.S. in less than 15 years.

Even the Chinese people believe its own government officials need to look into the causes of mass incidents related to environmental, food and safety hazards. Sure, their country’s rapid economic development is hard to achieve by perhaps any other country, but it has also created massive problems for them as a nation. “This rapid economic development has also exacted a steep environmental price; widespread industrial pollution that has contaminated water, soil, and air and has put the health of millions of people — likely even hundreds of millions — at risk. Currently, 20 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in China, states a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch. “The government should think it over.” a Chinese national said. “Is it really worth it to still pursue higher GDP with so many problems across the land?” Just last May, 74 people were detained and production was suspended at hundreds of battery factories in Zhejiang province after dozens of people got sick due to lead and cadmium poisoning. In 2009, protesters destroyed one smelting plant that they blamed for lead poisoning of more than 600 children. It can be recalled that China

had also been involved in a global food security disaster in 2008 when manufacturers put chemicals to watered-down milk to increase protein content. The chemicals made people sick and around 300,000 were hospitalized. The global uproar has ultimately damaged the reputation of China’s food exports, with at least 11 countries no longer importing dairy products from this Asian country. China is the world’s biggest consumer of refined lead and battery-making accounts for 70 percent of that consumption; according to most experts, the same is likely to grow to 4.1 million tonnes in 2011. In May 2011 alone, China exports totalled $157 Billion. Exports of goods and services constitute 39.7% of its GDP. China’s major exports include office machines & data processing equipment, telecommunications equipment, electrical machinery and apparel & clothing. China’s largest exports markets are European Union, United States, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. Indeed, it would not be unreasonable to say that the entire globalised economy has become largely interdependent upon China exports. Moreover, China exports are cheaper than products from other countries, because the cost of labour in China is cheap. ■



Local Community News

A newly opened Filipino shop in Tooting Broadway


M Sari Sari Store has opened it's doors on Sunday, 23 January 2011. It is situated in 812 Garratt Lane, Tooting, London SW17 0LZ. Their opening times are Weekdays 9:00am to 9:00pm and Weekends 11:00am to 9:00pm. They offer free delivery so contact them now on 020 8672 7220 / 07919 025 550.

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition


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Local Community News

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

3rd Pistahan sa Newcastle 2011 Mrs Sharon Afable de Vera (VICE CHAIRMAN OF FILCAN)


ore than thousands Filipinos and Britons joined the Filipino Barrio Fiesta on June 11 in Blaydon Rugby Club, Newcastle Upon Tyne to celebrate the 113th Philippine Independence Day. On its 3rd year now, the “Pistahan sa Newcastle” in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK is one of the most attended Philippine Barrio Fiesta in the UK which Filipinos from all over the Northeast and other cities in UK take time off just to attend this event. As early as 9:00am the Filipinos and Britons trooped to the park to join the mass. Fifteen stalls displaying various Philippine products from canned goods to native delicacies. Philippine remittance companies, banks, cargo forwarders, real property developers, restaurants and catering services, retailers and other service providers also put up stalls of their own. A cultural program featuring various Filipino based in the UK highlighted the festivities on the day from morning through the afternoon. Ma.Theresa de Vega the Consulate General of the Philippine Embassy-UK was also there to support the Filipinos in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Councillor Dipu Ahad was also there to celebrate with us.

Filipino Community Association of Newcastle Upon Tyne (FILCAN)

As we celebrate and enjoy the festive atmosphere of the “Pistahan sa Newcastle” we did not forget to use the occasion as a venue for promoting our rich cultural heritage so that our young generation of Filipinos will not forget our land of promise the Philippines and our British friends will have a great understanding and genuine appreciation of our cultural tradition. We had a Santacruzan to show the different Philippine costumes which we known as Filipiniana dresses for women and Barong Tagalog for men. After the parade cultural show featuring local Filipino talents and our very own Harold King was also there to perform. The afternoon rain did not stop the crowd from taking a glimpse of the Miss Saigon the Cachero sisters Jenny and Jena were also there to share their talents to us.

The Pinoy Radio-UK headed by Mr Sonny Laragan and his team conduct a live coverage of the event as part of their roadshow. The “Pistahan sa Newcastle” is a project of the FILCAN (Filipino Community Association of Newcastle Upon Tyne) consisting of 12 Filipino officers headed by Bong Bangayan, dedicated in promoting Filipino culture through Barrio Fiesta and other cultural activities. The FILCAN OFFICERS would like to thank all the participants, parents, performers, spectators, hard working volunteers and sponsors of the “3rd Pistahan sa Newcastle 2011”, without you the success of this event will not be possible. We hope to see you again next year, “4th PISTAHAN SA NEWCASTLE 2012”. ■

4th Fiesta sa Birmingham-Midlands 2011

Miss Teen UK Winners

One Piece - Battle of the Band Winner 2011

Anita Ward (Lord Mayor of Birmingham), Vivienne Barton (Councillor) and John Lines (Councillor)

Reyna Elena

Pandanggo sa Ilaw

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he Filipino Association of Birmingham (FAB) would like to thank all those who supported the 4th Fiesta sa Birmingham-Midlands 2011 Celebration. To our Major Sponsors who made financial contributions in order for FAB to fund this event – LBC, Sta Lucia Land Europe, Gifto Travels, Lyca Mobile, Asco Foods and Peso Express. To our Media Sponsors – Hello Philippines, Pinoy Radio and specially Mr Chuck Silva of GMA Network for providing us the Philippine artist. To the Lord Mayor’s Office, who is always supportive on this event and making sure that the Lord Mayor of Birmingham is always

available to participate in the event. To the Stallholders – MetLife, IRemit, Metro Remittance, HVN Cargo, B&N Liley, Filinvest Properties, Canary Claims, Kabayan Finance, Belwood, Allied Insurance and April Insurance UK. Without them the association will have a massive shortfall from funding this event. To the Philippine Embassy in London who is always there to support our intentions, events, plans, work, and making sure that they will always participate in this event. To the Licensing Office of the Birmingham City Council, for helping us provide a safe event through the process of Health and Safety program they have implemented. Many thanks for your kindest help and continued support to the following: • Ambassador Stephen Lillie and Maria Mardon (Personal Assistant) / HM

Cultural Dance

Ambassador, for the assistance they have provided to the visa processing by our artist. • Filipino Associations in Leeds, Blackpool, Newcastle, Gloucester, Worcester, Bristol, Nottingham, Brighton and Leicester. • Mr & Mrs Edwin Vargas Group • Mr & Mrs Ryan E. Reyes (Official Photographer) • FAB Officers, Volunteers and Committee Members for their unending dedication and commitment for this event. • Mr and Mrs Mario Flores, Mr and Mrs Rodolfo Rivera, Mr and Mrs Rosendo Malonzo, Mr and Mrs Dennis Cortes, Mr and Mrs Roy Martinez, Mr and Mrs Orlando Banag, Mrs Marivic Phillips, Mr and Mrs Jumel Lalisan, Mr and Mrs Roel Briosos, Mr and Mrs Rey Des, Mr and Mrs Bernard Labao,

Performers - Dance Group

Dr and Mrs Stephan Zygmunt, Mr and Mrs Justina Elloso, Mr and Mrs Martin Mercado, Mr and Mrs Elvin Ruiz, Mr Romulo Palma, Mr and Mrs Edwin Bagasina, Mr and Mrs Trinette Soluta, Mr and Mrs Vicky Valeceria, Mr and Mrs Joey Sumulong, Mr and Mrs Jannet Abaca, Mr and Mrs Phillip Pinero, Mr Rene Manapsal, Mr and Mrs Roa, Mr and Mrs Taylor, Mr and Mrs Messenger, Mr and Mrs Valdez, Mr and Mrs Manansala, Mr and Mrs Gina Johnson, Ms Alex Bisaya, Mr and Mrs Teofilo Fernandez, Mr and Mrs Sandra Samuel, Mr and Mrs Jess Talavera and Tau Gamma West Midlands Chapter. Magkita kita po tayo ulit sa 2012. MARAMING SALAMAT PO! THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU! From the officers of the Filipino Association of Birmingham (FAB) ■

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Showbiz & Entertainment

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

Coco Martin’s Rise to Stardom – Prince of Pinoy Indie Movies crosses over to Mainstream Star Esther T. Misa


urrent Philippine matinee sensation and serious actor Coco Martin has definitely made his imprint felt in local showbiz. Just recently, the dramatic actor received the coveted “Natatanging Aktor ng Dekada” (Actor of the Decade) (20002009) Award from the 34th Gawad Urian Awards, along with seasoned veteran actresses Cherry Pie Picache and Gina Pareño, whom he shared stellar billing with in a primetime teleserye aired last 2009. Needless to say, the Urian Award is such a feat for a young actor who is barely a decade old in the industry. It recognized Martin’s acting “excellence in a decade-long body of work in Philippine cinema”. The lead star of ABS-CBN’s

latest top rating teleserye “Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin” slowly rose to stardom after starring in an independent movie where he played as a doe-eyed masseur, the critically acclaimed “Masahista”. His superb acting performance in his debut film earned him the Best Actor Award in 2006 from the Young Critics Circle. After “Masahista”, Martin continued to do acting jobs for more independent film makers, at the same time enacting more daring characters. These include “Kaledo”, “Foster Child”, “Tirador”, “Tambolista”, “Daybreak”, “Serbis”, “Kinatay”, “Noy”, and “Sa’yo Lamang” and the award-winning and criticallyacclaimed “Jay” in 2008. In the latter, Martin played the ex-boyfriend of a murdered gay teacher, and later on, to a gay producer who happens to share the same name as his former gay lover (Jay). Martin won the Golden Screen Awards for

Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Jay”. The string of independent films under his name earned Martin the title “The Indie Prince of the Philippine Independent Cinema”. In fact, Martin is the only Filipino actor whose independent movies have been included in three major festivals: Cannes (“Serbis”), Berlin (“Tirador”) and Venice (“Jay”). While still doing indie movies, Martin entered mainstream television in 2008. He did “Ligaw na Bulaklak” (with Roxanne Guinoo) and “Tiny Tony” (with John Prats), all with ABS-CBN. Come 2009, Martin played a homosexual opposite Derek Ramsay in “Maalaala Mo Kaya: Boarding House”. But it was in “Tayong Dalawa”, his second soap with ABS-CBN, that Martin finally conquered the pulse of the nation. Playing antagonist to the Gerald Anderson – Kim Chiu love team, Martin received

Coco Martin’s Rise to Stardom

the Best Drama Actor from the Star Awards for Television for “Tayong Dalawa”. In his late 20s, Martin is one of the youngest and most awarded actors in the Philippines. Aside from the Young Critics Circle and Star Awards for Television, the moreno actor had collected more than a dozen awards and recognitions from other prestigious award-giving bodies such as Golden Screen Awards, Anak TV Seal Awards, Gawad TANGLAW, KBP Golden Dove Awards and PMPC Star Awards for Movies, among others. The latest award from Gawad Urian not only further raises his star’s shining power, but also seals Martin’s place in Philippine showbiz history. Born Rodel Nacianceno, a native of Pampanga, started out in showbiz in 2001 as one of the members of ABS-CBN’s Star Circle Batch 9, which also included Rafael Rosell and Heart Evangelista. However, his desire to finish first his education stalled his showbiz career. Martin is a graduate of NCBA (National College of Business and Arts) with a degree in HRM (Hotel & Management). Martin appeared in several TV commercials (BPI, Globe

and Smart) before breaking into showbiz with his debut film “Masahista”. In 2007, Martin transferred and became an exclusive artist of GMA Network. He appeared in several GMA TV shows such as Daisy Siete Season 15. He is also part of the boy-group The Studs. He was also seen in the independent gay-oriented film “Daybreak” with Paolo Rivero. In 2008, he returned to ABSCBN as an exclusive artist and became a prominent celebrity appearing in major TV drama programs. Although Martin had successfully conquered mainstream television, it could not be said the same yet for mainstream commercial movies. In his eight years in Philippine entertainment, Martin did only two movies – “Luv Txt” shown in 2001 (cameo role, credited under his real name, Rodel Nacianceno) and “Sa’yo Lamang” under Star Cinema, shown in 2010. Martin would have been seen in a movie opposite Judy Ann Santos supposedly intended for the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival in December, but it failed to be included in the final line-up of films to be showcased in the festival. ■

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Showbiz & Entertainment

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

The Amazing Asian Dolls with Stage Illusionist Mark Paskell Kriss-Z, Leilani, Rizzy, Jamie and Mark ready to take UK and Philippines by Storm


little bit of history about the Amazing Asian Dolls: Patricia Javier was the original leader, but having a budding family, she stepped down and passed leadership onto Kriss-Z Ramos. As Kriss-Z was in the midst of reorganizing the girls, tragedy struck in the form of a motorcycle accident on the island of Leyte. It was the same kind of crash that the doctor's there usually see fatal results from. A wild dog came out of the jungle like growth surrounding the rutty dirt road and forced her to collide with the dog at high speed. The miracle is not only did she not die but took her battered body back up to its feet and carried her unhurt but petrified young passenger until a passing vehicle picked came to their aid. (The reason this child who was on the back was unscathed is that she landed full force on top of Kriss-z). Within two months Kriss-z was sucking up the pain and working out new singing/dancing routines with the other girl's. The girls went right back to work by June of 2010 and never stopped since then. In the time from the inception of the Dolls, they have collectively worked in Vegas (Treasure Island, Gold Coast) Casinos in Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sacramento, as well as having made appearances on shows for the ABS-CBN television network GMA and Asian La-18 TV. The group performed, including Patricia Javier, in 2010 for the

opening of Island Pacific market which was notable because of a duet by Patricia with Manny Pacquiao. They also had sold out a Cache Creek appearance about a month prior to that. In 2011 the group has already been on 6 different TV shows including as a central attraction for The Year of the Rabbit TV special, which aired in early February and has been licensed world wide. In the special they are performing in front of nearly 30,000 people. Perhaps the most interesting engagement to date was Guantanamo Bay at the request of the United States government. In order to be allowed entrance they had to pass many levels of security checks. After receiving top clearance they were transported to and from the performance in military planes and vehicles. The girls are currently in “top secret” negotiations to return to Guantanamo and are making plans for a sold out tour of the Philippines and adjacent Asian Countries later this year (dates are still being added). They will also appear in London this September and hope to add various other countries in and around Europe before embarking for Britain. The Dolls are presently recording in Malibu California with the highly acclaimed writer/producer Terrence Davis and hope to release the new recordings in time for their next overseas excursion. The Amazing Asian Dolls are "Amazing" because their show is highly involved in using stage illusions. You never know

Asian Dolls with Miss Russia

when someone will disappear, mysteriously change places, levitate or materialize while the girls are putting forth their special brand of song and dance. Illusionist Mark Paskell has worked with and for many celebrities such as Eddie Murphy and Sylvester Stallone now has become a full time Doll. Make no mistake; Amazing Asian Dolls still means pretty, talented girls, but now a mysterious and entertaining shadowy figure lurks around the stage occasionally causing visual miracles for the audience. The other distinctive thing about The Amazing Asian Dolls is their rapport with audiences. A great deal of time is spent mixing off stage with those in attendance. Not only do they sing off of the stage but also regularly drag people watching the show up onto it. It is an experience that everyone walks away feeling they have made new friends and witnessed a 150% percent effort from the performers. Exit comments from a recent show included, “This is the best live show my family has ever seen!” and, “I’ve seen the Amazing Asian Dolls three times and the

production value just keeps going through the roof.” (the last from the FX lighting chief of Lord of the Rings and Journey to the Center of the Earth, Charles Schuman)

Bios for the Asian Dolls Leilani is the Dancin’ Doll of the group. She has appeared on Univision, Telemundo, MYX TV, KTLA, and MTV. Leilani has worked as an entertainment and fashion industry corporate professional for the last seven years. She is also director of the Groovaholixs, a successful dance crew. This Princess is the sexy smiling Dancin’ Doll with all the right moves. Rizzy is the Shop-’till-you-drop Doll. At 12 years old her family moved from the Philippines to Chicago. After graduating school a year early she took her fashion design skills to Los Angeles. Her first week in LA, Jamie came into her life. Before she knew what was happening Rizzy began singing in a band with her new best friend and co-hosting in Los Angeles nightclubs. Her voice has a distinctive quality that adds a rare ingredient to every song

Stage illustionist Mark Paskell

Filipina girl group with a twist direct from California, USA

Performing live around the United Kingdom in September 2011

the Amazing Asian Dolls cook up together. Jamie is the Do-it-all Doll, who plays flute, keyboards, drums and guitar. Her talents extend from one end of the spectrum to the other. She has been a master of ceremonies in LA’s number one Filipino Town club and modeled for Maxim magazine. This Do-itall Doll sings, dances, and is the practical joker of the group. Her Computer Science degree takes a back seat to her God given winning personality and entertaining skills. Kriss-Z Ramos is the Dazzlin’ Doll. Her performances on stage are bigger than life. She is simply magical on stage. By the time Kriss-Z was 10 she had won every local singing contest in her area of the Philippines plus a few beauty contests when she grew up. In High School she hooked up with the legendary dance crew Summer Breakers. They were featured professional performers everywhere they went. After finishing school, her talent as a vocalist in Manila paid the bills for a few years, then Kriss-Z moved to LA. Since that time she has done concerts with, Philippines Showbiz Superstar Nora Aunor, Bernardo Bernardo, Jo Awayan, Leonardo Obal, Patricia Javier and many other notable Filipino entertainers. When Patricia stepped down as the leader of The Amazing Asian Dolls, Kriss-Z inherited the honor. The Dazzlin’ Doll will see you at their next performance. Mark Paskell is the prestidigitator of the Dolls. He supplies magic sparks and mysterious moments. Since turning professional at the ripe old age of 15, Mark has made his “mark” with many high profile figures and organizations in the entertainment industry. The list includes Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Steven Spielberg, Kenny Rogers, and both ABC and NBC television networks. He takes personal pride in having codirected Project Magic, a charitable hospital therapy program which was created by the distinguished mage David Copperfield. Mark has performed and lived in many Asian locations such as China, Japan and Hong Kong. His passion for creating magic for the Amazing Asian Dolls has brought the group's performance to new heights, and his ceaseless array of gags and tricks always keeps the girls giggling and guessing. When the conjuror of the Dolls does his magical deeds, things are never dull. For more information on how you can book them then call or email Peter Burke 07917 821 386 / ■

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Showbiz & Entertainment

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

The curious talent of Marcelito Pomoy Sharon R. Martin


arcelito Pomoy is gifted with the freaky ability to do both male and female voices. This talent paved the way for him to grab the Pilipinas Got Talent second season (PGT2) plum and reunite his family in the process.

Forced Separation Dubbed as the new “male diva”, twenty-five year old Marcelito still couldn’t believe his fortune and new found fame. Prior to PGT2, he was a poor Caviteño lad trying to make ends meet by working in a poultry farm. Like other penniless fellows, Marcelito had the burning desire to escape poverty and live a comfortable life. Although his world seemed to be enveloped by hopelessness, he persevered in his toil, inspired by the thought that once he has saved enough money he will use this to look for his estranged family. Because when he was still a young boy, Marcelito’s father was sent to jail – an event that ripped his family apart. As a consequence, he and

his siblings had to be given up by parents who can no longer afford to raise them. He was then adopted by a policeman. He got reunited with his biological father only when he turned 24.

Curious Talent But hardships could not take away the fact that he is very much gifted with an unusually fantastic singing voice. Marcelito used this to his advantage by joining various amateur singing contests in Imus, Cavite. But in a country where a big chunk of the population are songbirds in their own right (ever wonder why karaoke clubs, videoke machines and microphones are popular in the Philippines?), one has to possess a distinguishing feature or quality in order to stand above the rest. Or else, there is a great risk of being drowned by performers and belters whose powerful voices alone can steal the spotlight. With the Lord’s good grace, Marcelito has the unique ability to seamlessly switch from male to female voice and vice versa. And this talent did not escape the awe of the viewing public.

The journey to triumph Inspired by the rags-to-riches story of Pilipinas Got Talent first season winner Jovit Baldovino, Marcelito decided to try his luck by auditioning with hundreds of thousand of hopefuls for the second season of the Philippine spin-off of the Got Talent program franchise. When he walked on stage, one of the judges, local comedienne Ai-Ai Delas Alas, took note of his province. “Cavite. Wow, kababayan mo si boss.” (Cavite. Wow, you come from the same province as our boss), she said, referring to fellow judge and former ABS-CBN Channel 2 head Freddie M. Garcia (FMG). “Sige Marcelito, sorpesahin mo kami. Caviteño ka ha?” (Okay Marcelito, surprise us. So you are from Cavite?) ABS-CBN is the local channel which aired Pilipinas Got Talent 1 and 2. To which Garcia seconded, “Itayo mo yung bandera natin ha?” (Raise our flag, okay?) Marcelito then belted out his own rendition of Narito Ako (Here I Am), a ballad with difficult-to-reach high notes and which was originally performed by Asia’s songbird Regine Velasquez, the country’s famous chanteuse. The first few stanzas sounded good but not particularly impressive. But when he began singing the lofty tunes without much effort and, strangely, started singing like Velasquez herself did, the crowd went wild, eliciting amazed looks from the panel of judges and even hosts Billy Crawford and Luis Manzano. It was evident from thereon that Marcelito has become an instant crowd favorite. A proof of this is his audition video, which became “a monster hit” on You Tube, gathering a whopping 1.7 million views to date. Delas Alas thought his performance in the audition deserved a grade of 4 (of which the highest grade is a 3). Marcelito responded by segueing to another Velasquez hit, prompting host Manzano to exclaim, “expect the unexpected, guys!”

Family Reunited

The winning moment when Marcelito was declared winner of PGT season 2

Who would have thought that the path to success would be the very same route that would reunite Marcelito with his estranged family? As luck would have it, Marcelito took home the grand prize of 2 million pesos in cash. The standing ovation he received on his audition happened to be a harbinger of good tidings to come. The viewing public consistently supported him with text votes. The same voters buttressed him until the end when

Marcelito brought the house down in Araneta Coliseum with his powerful rendition of The Prayer

he was declared as the grand winner in the PGT2 finale, garnering 19.56% of total audience votes for his version of Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion’s The Prayer. “Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng sumuporta at naniwala sa akin.” (Thank you very much to all the people who supported and believed in me.), he said while holding back tears of joy. For his part, Garcia can’t help but rave about Marcelito. “I have never met someone sing with a perfectly-pitched tone in both male and female voices,” he testifies. His exposure to the millions of viewers via mass media helped his missing relatives know his whereabouts. Perhaps it was his family’s presence at the Araneta Coliseum during the grand finals that pushed him to fly high and go for the gold. “Nagpapasalamat ako, kasi nagkakila-kilala kaming lahat, sana maayos na ‘yung mga away at magbati na ang pamilya ko.” (I am thankful that we are reunited. I hope everything will be set right and that there shall be harmony once again.) he said. Marcelito’s parents also can not hide their joy at their son’s success. “Masayang-masaya kasi nandito

kami lahat, at siya ang nanalo! Nakita ko rin ang anak ko!” (We are very happy because he is the winner. I’m also glad that I saw him again.) exclaimed Marcelito’s father. “Talagang natutuwa kami dahil nanalo siya, at nagsama-sama ang pamilya naming.” (We are really happy that he won and our family is one once again.) said Marcelito’s mother. Marcelito reveals that he will use his winnings to buy a house for his family and start a business. Following his triumph, Marcelito shoot up as the number 1 trending topic in Yahoo as well as a much talked about subject in Twitter discussions.

De Ja Vu Marcelito’s feel good tale mirrors the happy ending in Jovit Baldovino’s quest for success. They both came from the humblest of beginnings but through raw talent, sheer luck and God’s goodness, both Pilipinas Got Talent contestants were able to achieve their dreams emotionally and financially. Let Marcelito’s story be a symbol of hope and inspiration to all Filipinos who ceaselessly strive for success in a morally virtuous way. ■



Showbiz & Entertainment

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

‘In The Name of Love’ – Red Carpet Grand Premiere Night


uesday, 10 May 2011 at SM Megamall is the Grand Premiere Night of the movie “In The Name of Love” starring Angel Locsin, Aga Muhlach and Jake Cuenca. A romantic drama film directed by Olivia M. Lamasan produced and released by Star Cinema. The film is a special presentation for Star Cinema’s 18th Anniversary 2011 offering. “What would you give for one touch, for one glance, for one kiss, what would go give for love. Love takes Your Body, Your Soul, Your Heart, Love takes Your Life. Would you risk losing everything In The Name of Love.” Philip De Vera owner of Philip De Vera Hair Salon in Earls Court, London is a guest in the star studded red carpet Premiere Night. Philip De Vera has been in the business for more than 30 years and known as the makeup artist to the stars, when he is hired to do the hair and make-up of Filipino celebrities when they come to the United Kingdom to perform. ■

Philip De Vera with Aga Mulach, Angel Locsin, Direk Olivia Lamasan, Gary Valenciano and Jericho Rosales.

Pinoy Got Talent Season 2–14 Grand Finalists

2. Madrigal Siblings 3. B4 1. Freestylers

John Michael S. Narag - Singer 16 years old Mabini, Pangasinan Total Votes: 5.30%

Happy Feet - Tap Dancers Ramonito and Lolito Mata (Brothers) 12 and 21 years old Libona, Bukidnon Total Votes: 18.32%

Madrigal Siblings - Singers 3 Members 11 to 16 years old Cainta, Rizal Total Votes: 3.68%

Freestylers - Dance Group 14 Members 17 to 29 years old Calamba Laguna Total Votes: 9.46% 6. Happy Feet 8. Filogram

4. Angel Calalas

5. Jem Cubil

9. DJP Trio 10. Buildex

12. Marcelito Pomoy

B4 - Dance Group 4 Members 19 to 20 years old Baguio City Total Votes: 9.13% Buildex Pagales - Singer 15 years old Digos City Total Votes: 8.25%

7. John Michael Narag

11. NielBeth

Marcelito C. Pomoy - Singer 25 years old Imus, Cavite Total Votes: 19.56%

13. Rico The Magician

14. Skeights

Skeights - Band 6 Members 19 to 23 years old Davao City Total Votes: 3.04% Jem - Singer Jose Emmanuel Cubil 17 years old Talisay City, Cebu Total Votes: 2.86% DJP Trio - Singers 3 Members 10 years old Bacolod City, Negros Occidental Total Votes: 2.60%

NielBeth - Ballroom Dancers Leoniel V. Enopia & Elizabeth Dazo 21 years old Bacolod City, Negros Occidental Total Votes: 7.81%

Angel Calalas - Hula-Hoop 22 years old Cainta, Rizal Total Votes: 1.99%

Rico - Magician Romarico Sanorjo 60 years old Caloocan City Total Votes: 7.59%

Filogram - Dance Group 14 Members 20 to 27 years old Baguio City Total Votes: 0.40%


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Sports News

July/August 2011 – Monthly Issue • UK Edition

Fil-Am Mark Muñoz makes waves in UFC Mixed Martial Arts Claro Pana


ne Filipino went down, but another one goes up. After the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) had announced the release of Fil-Am Brandon “The Truth” Vera among its stable of fighters, another warrior with Filipino roots made up for his absence with a close but unanimous decision win against a formidable Brazillian opponent. Last month, Mark Muñoz, a Filipino-American mixed martial artist based in California, defeated Demian Maia via scores of 29-28, 29-27 and 30-27 in the judges’ scorecard to emerge the winner in their UFC middleweight bout held at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC Canada. The win also moved him closer to a dream match against Anderson “The Spider” Silva, the current UFC middleweight champion. Known also as “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Muñoz used his superior grappling and

wrestling skills to counter the submission attempts of Maia, a deadly Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist, whose claim to fame was his being one of the very few men to have lasted in a fight against Silva. Their 3-round match actually provided a thrilling back and forth, see-saw fight inside the octagon, with Maia dominating the first round with accurate punching to the head and almost submitting the Filipino with the crucifix, a jiu jitsu submission move.

The Filipino, however, found his rhythm beginning in the second and third rounds, using takedown attempts and ground and pound moves to impress the judges. With the victory, Muñoz, one of the emerging stars of the UFC, thus improved his record to 11 wins and only 2 losses. Five of those wins came by way of knock out, one was via submission and another five wins by decision. His only two losses came against Yushin Okami of Japan (split decision) and against Matt Hamill of the UK in his UFC debut. Maia, meanwhile, dropped his record to 14 wins and 3 losses.

A New “Filipino Face” at the UFC

Mark Muñoz

Muñoz started his fighting career at the WEC 34 on June 1, 2008. Fighting at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California, Muñoz defeated Chuck Grigsby via TKO (punches) in the first four minutes and fifteen seconds (4:15) of the first round. He was then slated to fight Steve Steinbeiss in WEC 36 five months later, but due to an undisclosed reason, he was eventually replaced

by Alex Schoenauer, a TUF alumni and an Argentine-American professional mixed martial artist. The cancellation of his fight in November may have actually worked wonders as Muñoz went on to defeat Ricardo Barros of California via TKO (punches) on December 3, 2008 for the WEC’s year-end event. Two years later, Muñoz faced and defeated MMA veteran Ryan Jensen via submission at the 2:30 mark of the first round. It was also during that fight that he showcased some of his vicious ground and pound, a tactic that would soon become his trademark move. Aside from his most recent win, Muñoz’s other major accomplishment include defeating Kendall Grove, The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner, in their UFC 112 bout held last April 10, 2010. The feat, where he won via referee stoppage in the second round, also earned for him “Fight of the Night” honors. Muñoz also defeated Aaron Simpson via unanimous decision in November 2010, C.B. Dolloway via first round TKO on March 3, 2011 and just recently, Demina Maia on June 11, 2011 via unanimous decision.

Climb every mountain Vittorio Hernandez


n the 1960s, in the hit movie “The Sound of Music,” there is a song which carries the line: “Climb every mountain…” That line could very well be the goal of Filipinos who are now getting hooked into mountain climbing. And their numbers could very well be going up as well. Until the 1980s, mountaineering was seen as just a relatively young sport in the Philippines. Most Filipinos were into basketball, but with the growing interest in the country on caring for the environment, more and more Filipinos have since become interested in outdoor activities. Owing to the physical rigors of climbing a mountain, the said activity naturally attracted younger Filipinos who would have the strength to scale heights, the stamina to climb thousands of feet above sea level and the willingness to forego of comfort in exchange for the adventure, the thrill and the personal satisfaction of having reached the peak or the high point of a mountain. Thus, among early adapters to mountain climbing in the country were studentsfrommajoruniversitiessuchasthe University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, where mountaineering clubs were established first. Mountaineering was given a push among professionals in 1975 when Philippine Airlines tried to promote eco-tourism. According to John Fortes,

the founder and first president of the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines, PAL – which was his employer – had asked him to develop trekking tours locally. Fortes suggested organizing a nationwide campaign to encourage more Filipinos to try mountain climbing. PAL agreed to his proposal, so Fortes started holding dialogues with the existing mountaineering clubs in the country; he would try this again later on to convince them to form an alliance with him because at that time, the students’ mountaineering club had already formed an organization called the Mountaineering Association of the Philippines. Linkages with these different groups allowed Fortes to climb major mountains such as Mt. Banahaw in Quezon and Laguna, Mt. Pulog in Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya, Mt. Mad-jaas in Antique, Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Oriental and Mt. Apo in Davao. Fortes also formed linkages with local governments and green organizations like the Haribon Society, which promotes wildlife conservation. When environmentalism eventually became a buzzword globally in the 1990s, mountaineering also gained more adherents. The green movement coincided with many people – especially those who felt they had too much city life realizing they wanted more than just life in the urban jungle. It also coincided with many Filipinos seeking spiritual experiences outside the mainstream Catholic Church.

Mountains like Mt. Banahaw were seen as mystic places. That idea was partly promoted by organizations like the Rizalistas, a cult of women who looked at Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal as a demi-god, as they gathered regularly at Mount Banahaw to conduct their services. Mt. Banahaw, by word of mouth, became a mountain climber’s Mecca especially during the Holy Week. However, with the deluge of local mountain climbers also came commercialization and the climbers’ trash. Local residents saw business opportunities with this rash of mountaineers and sold soft drinks and other easy-to-eat food at the peak at exorbitant prices. Many mountain climbers, in turn, did not follow the generally accepted environmental principle that they should not only bring back memories of the climb but also their garbage. In 2004, because of the environmental degradation of Mt. Banahaw, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources decided to close the “sacred mountain” to climbers for at least five years. Filipinos, who have climbed at least 1 peak in their lifetime, including this author, would know the thrills and joys of scaling the heights – despite the difficulty and sacrifice it involved. Mountain climbing often brings people closer to God, even for those who consider themselves not religious. The beauty of nature, for instance, often draws them to a realization that there

is a higher being that created the trees, wildlife, waterfalls, lakes and scenic views that unfold before their eyes as they reach the peak. Just seeing all these natural wonders makes communing with nature also a communion with one’s creator. The climb is definitely well worth the sacrifices, including physical pain ranging from dead toe nails, being stung by a bee or other insects, no bedroom conveniences such as soft pillows and mattress, and the lack of toilet and other hygienic facilities a city dweller is used to. Mountain climbing is also expensive, very time consuming and risky. The cost of traveling alone to reach the peaks would easily run into at least a few thousand pesos. Then, a climber needs some equipment such as tents, strong backpacks, sturdy shoes and other paraphernalia which also cost money.

Born on February 9, 1978 at a US Military Base in Yokusaka, Japan to Filipino parents from Manila, Philippines, Muñoz was a two-time California State Wrestling Champion at 189 pounds divisions for Vallejo High School, the Asics First Team All American and the 1996 NHSCA National High School Champion. In high school, Muñoz captured two Big 12 titles and earned back-to-back All-America honors at 197 pounds, including his NCAA title as a senior in 2001. He became the first FilipinoAmerican at the Division I Level to win a National Championship. He also made it to the NWCA AllAcademic Team for 3 years and the Big 12 All-Academic squad for four years. Muñoz was also a 3-year member of the FILA Junior World Wrestling Team, where he earned the silver medal in 1998. Muñoz continues to give back to the wrestling community, offering 5 to 10 day wrestling camp for high school athletes in Ocean Side, California. He also brings in wrestlers from Cal Poly, Fullerton, and Oregon to help the kids. ■ There is also the element of time, because it would take at least several hours to days to reach the peaks in the Philippines. Mountain climbers often need to take several days of leave from their work or studies to prepare and engage in the actual ascent. Lastly, there are risks involved, including accidents caused by human error and bad weather, insect or animal attacks, hypothermia, ailments and NPA attacks. Despite these difficulties, mountaineering has gained more followers in the Philippines. To date there are more than 200 outdoor clubs in the country. Most of them are based in schools, provinces and offices. Major Philippine universities and schools such as UP, UST, AMA, Ateneo de Manila, Adamson, De La Salle. Don Bosco, FEATI, Manuel L. Quezon, Mapua, San Beda, San Carlos, San Sebastian and Xavier have mountaineering clubs or societies. Similar organization are found in major companies and government offices such as Ayala, Bureau of Food and Drugs Administration, Congress, Etelecare, Fujitsu, Intel, Loyola, Meralco, Motorola, Ortigas, PAL, Philippine National Bank, Philips, PLDT and Senate. The growing popularity of mountain climbing among Filipinos could perhaps also be explained by the rest of the lines in the famous “Sound of Music” song, which goes: “Climb every mountain, ford every stream, and follow every rainbow, ‘till you find your dream.” Indeed, in one’s life, there are many mountains we have to climb – some are literal peaks and the others could be problems and challenges we need to hurdle as we pursue our dream for a better life. ■

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