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A Reality Check for 2010 Just about everybody puts together a New Year’s resolution – in their heads, in paper, and for some, even on Facebook. These personal plans for the year have become so ordinary and so clichéd that most, if not all, are doomed to the dustbins of our soonto-be-forgotten good intentions. So instead of embarking on yet another listing of vague promises you probably have no real gumption to keep, let me give you instead a cold dose of reality check – an aggressive nudge to get you moving forward into 2010. This time let us take off the kid gloves and get down to the nitty-gritty of our relevant common experiences Are you in a state of panic or depression? You’ve probably been reading a lot of sensational news both here and from the Philippines. Worse, you might have been one of those who received calls from back home inquiring whether we OFs in Dubai are still alive. Well, do not take what you see in the media, especially one-sided sensational doomsday news items, lock-stock and barrel. Check the other side of the coin. Educate yourself; practice your market intelligence; look around you and be more perceptive. Use your head, not only your emotions. All is not bad news. It’s not 2008 anymore and you are you still living a precarious wasteful life. Well, wake up and listen to the payment collectors. People have gotten into trouble with bad debts. Rein in that credit card; do not take another loan. Be smart and cushion your finances. Enjoy yourself and support your family, but live within your means. Enough with past excesses. This is the year when you probably have to deal with the fact that your single salary cannot support yourself, as well as the needs, wants (even luxuries) of your whole clan back home. It’s high time you make drastic lifestyle adjustments and learn to tame that ego. Feel like you haven’t got enough money these days? Well get up! Do not live under a rock. Think of all the other people who have been able to run their business and make money last year. There are opportunities out there, you just need to discover and seize them. Extra income is not going to come to you while you sit on your behind. Did you lose your job last year and are you currently unemployed? The real question is - are you willing to slog it out in the Philippines instead? Bingo! If you already know the answer to that question, you definitely know what to do. Do it well and do it quick. Are you unhappy in your present situation with a low salary and not the best employment conditions you were hoping for? Stop being spoiled. Hold on to that job and work like you never worked before. Be thankful that you have income coming in. Things could be worst. Afraid, depressed, and pessimistic? The financial crisis does not mean that everything will stop and die. The worst thing that anybody, whether an employee or an entrepreneur, can do these days is to stay still and do nothing. And yes, that bad attitude will certainly not get you anywhere. Go on and move, and keep on working with a smile. Are you one of those who keep complaining about your situation, about the Philippines and our “plight as long suffering OFs” especially in this recession? What? Fears of massive lay-offs? Displacement? Millions lost in remittances? Having to go back home to a poor and corrupt homeland? Reality check. Stop the negativity and do something instead; you are not helping anybody, least of all, yourself. My dear kababayans, life is hard, but it doesn’t stop here. The financial crisis is not unique to this country; it is everywhere. Your problems are not exclusive to you – we’re all in this together. So let’s get on with our lives and deal with it. It’s time we claim 2010 as a year that will be successful, exciting and fulfilling for all of us. Let’s make it happen.

Taas Noo, Filipino! LALAINE CHU-BENITEZ Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

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Send your letters to:

The pictures in your magazine are really beautiful… I hope to be a part of this magazine in the future. Bow po ako sa inyo! Yam Monforte

The blameless are succumbing to the ravages of warfare built upon capital and greed. The lords of corruption leave their people to rot in the goreriddened streets of chaos. Education, employment and health, all stolen from the hands that deteriorate at the flesh. The slaving clench their fists pleading and praying for a redesigned future as they reach the brink of renouncement. Ralphy Rodriguez Bulawan

Hello all! We shoot Illustrado Faces in Dubai, so if you are in the UAE, you can e-mail us your picture at illustrado@ You may also send us articles, specific information, or anything else you might want to share with our readers at Kung bigyang lang sana ng daan at gumawa ng resulution ang bayan tungkol sa mga nakatagong the same e-mail for consideration.

A Great December What a nice December issue – a great way to end the year! I was so happy to see that you guys finally decided to include a huge column showing amazing Filipino food. It’s good to see our native cuisine as world class! I’m looking forward to seeing more of our delicious delicacies in your magazine. Keep it up! Anna Quintanilla Thank you for giving me a chance to walk down memory lane during the holidays – especially since I was feeling really homesick last Christmas. The articles, the food, even the fashion pages made me feel like I was somehow, in a way, coming home. It made me feel comforted. And it made it feel like it was really the holidays even if I’m far away from home. Thank you, Illustrado! Ida Marie Marquez Illustrado Participation Hi Illustrado! Greetings! How can I become one of the Faces of Illustrado? Kim Lester Esguerra I wish to be a part of this mag in the near future... Pinoy na Pinoy! Karen Laxamana Hi there! I just want to know how I can be a part of Illustrado Faces. May I submit some of my writings as well? Julie Arianne Ramos Cudiamat I would like to contribute to Illustrado Magazine information about globally competitive Filipino businesses and worthy projects. I would love these to be featured because it’s a source of pride for us. Please tell me, do I need to make an article concerning this? What is the procedure? How do I go about it? Wendy of Dubai

yaman dito sa Pilipinas, at ihayag ang legaledad We hope you can be part of Illustrado in the nito. Hindi sana tayo naghihirap ngayon. Ang masakit dahilang mga nangunguna sa bayan ay future! sakim sa kayamanan. Kung naunawaan lang sana Editor ng lahat ang kabuuan nito? Tayo na ngayon ang pinakamayamang bansa. Hindi pa huli ang lahat. Proud Pinoy Greetings Nick Dolendo Love what you all are doing! Keep up the honest to goodness job uplifting the Pinoy spirit! The Thank you all for your message. world talks, hears and sees! Good luck! From While our country and our people have a lot of problems and it is true that we cannot solve NYC! all of them, EACH ONE OF US has the power Leelee Exarhos to contribute to positive change in our own way Let’s raise Filipino Pride! Stand up and fight for and each small effort adds up to a whole lot of good. your right... Marvin Cendaña Let’s challenge ourselves. What can we do today, by ourselves that would make things better? Let’s Saludo ako sa Pinoy! make good things happen in 2010. Geny Villa-Real Baluyot Editor I’m a true Filipino! Samantha Rose Sayo On Values and True Filipino Beauty Yes, Taas Noo, Filipino! Froilan Manto

I salute the mind of the many Filipinos who are working for the restoration of the true beauty of the Filipino as well as our culture. See to it that Sigurado yan, subok na ang Pilipino kahit saan your concept will restore the true magnificence mo dalhin. Basta ginusto walang makakapigil... of Filipinos. Please do not allow yourselves to be Noypi Ako! influenced and have a bad image because of overtly Albert Quesada sexy pictorials. Nick Dolendo Versatile ang Pinoy. Kahit anong hirap, kinakaya. Kahit anong lungkot, nakakahanap We promote Filipino culture, creativity and ng ikaliligaya. Kahit saang sulok ng mundo mo beauty only in ways that would make Filipinos dalhin, nabubuhay pa rin. PROUD to be PINOY! around the world proud. We do not subscribe Michelle Vasquez to sleaze, the objectification of our women nor believe that we have to sell sex on our pages in Sisikat din ang ating araw :) order to have an interesting reading material. Joseph Manata We are proud to say that we have a magazine that’s relevant, interesting and stylish that is kahit hindi na sumikat ang araw tayo lang pede decent and uplifting. We only hope to contribute na natin pasikatin ang araw natin.... good things to the Filipino mindset and image Marvin Cendaña and are working passionately towards that everyday.

Passion and Positivity

If only we realize that what we do outside our country will reflect the kind of breeding we have starting from our very own family and to our society as well… I’m looking forward to hearing, someday, foreigners saying more pleasant things about us, especially about the Filipino women outside the country. Let’s raise our flag higher despite the global crisis everyone is facing now. I’m proud to be a Filipino! Erlinda ‘Erly’ Cuizon

We invite you to look our issues or visit our online magazine gallery at to see how Filipinos can be beautiful and relevant without having to compromise our good values. Thank you for your support and interest. Editor

CONTRIBUTORS Francisco J. Colayco Krip Yuson

Keeping it real in his Illuminati column, writing legend Krip Yuson takes a tongue-in-cheek poke at real Pinoy ‘inventiveness’ that trumps up even the best in the international category.

Illustrado’s resident financial guru Francisco Colayco starts the year on the right footing for readers with a reminder on observing caution and putting in place long term savings, while keeping an optimistic perspective for a financially healthy 2010 in “New Year, New Life.”

Bernadette Reyes

Businesses in the Philippines are definitely growing with the help of new technology. Writer and GMA TV reporter Bernadette Reyes takes us through some of the interesting ICT developments supporting industries back home in “Growing with Technology.”

Loraine Balita

Freelance writer, DLSU teacher and travel junkie Loraine goes around the world this month looking at Pinoy expat issues and finds out that for Filipinos around the world – it is just a small world.

Sherry Tenorio

These days, Pinoy ‘netizens’ are definitely and hopelessly drawn to the information highway almost 24/7. Writer Sherry Tenorio reveals how the new age obsession for connectivity has changed the lives of Filipinos in “Connected to the WWW.”

Law Diche

Butz Fuentes

Going down-to-earth this month from fashionista heaven, resident Stylemonger Butz Fuentes provides the “masa” with the reason and means to be fabulous in 2010 in his column.

Singapore-based advertising copywriter Law Diche has always had a weird and irreverent take on Pinoy pop-culture. In this issue, Law shares his theory that the Pinoy tongue might well rule the world one day.

46 Publisher & Editor-in Chief Lalaine Chu-Benitez

ART DIRECTORS Tom Bolivar Paula Lorenzo Ron Perez CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS UAE Illuminado Ong Pot Ph Eros Goze Melandro Sanggalang Mac Antonio Jit Sanggalang CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS PHILIPPINES Dr. Marlon Pecjo Glenn Peter-Perez Filbert Kung Parc Cruz CONTRIBUTING STYLISTS & FASHION TEAM UAE Zekundo Chu Basil Yunting Jessie Tabla PUBLISHER - UAE Illustrado Communications FZ-LLC 2nd Floor, Building 2, P.O. Box 72280 Office 20C Dubai Media City, UAE Tel: +9714 365 4543, 365 4547 Fax:+9714 360 4771 E-mail:, Web:, PRINTERS PRINTWELL PRINTING LLC P.O. Box 18828 Dubai, UAE Copyright Illustrado Communications FZ-LLC 2006-2010. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of Illustrado Communications FZ-LLC.


JAN 2010

This month’s fashion feature takes you to another world with the return to Illustrado of fierce Ria Bolivar in ‘Alien Invasion.’

FEATURES Alive in Dubai 8 Growing with Technology 16 Connected in the WWW 18 It’s a Small World 24 The Pinoy Tongue Rules 28

REGULAR COLUMNS Editor’s Note 1 Letters 4 Contributors 6 Contents 7 Illuminati – Pinoy Innovator 22 Pinoy Entrepreneur – Sol Jaraula 30 Kabuhayan: Earning from E-Load 32 Kabuhayan: Money – New Year, New Life 34 Successful Pinoy: Welcoming the Year with Success 36 Spirituality: Changing Our Mindset About Wealth 38 Pinoy Pro 40 Illustrado Profile: Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa 42 Market Round-Up 44 Illustrado Scrapbook 61 Community 64 Onli in Da Pilipins 74 Annie B Chronicles 78 Illustrado Faces: Sultan Al Suwaidi and Tanya Hyde 80 Classifieds Listing: Filipino & Filipino-Oriented Establishments 87

72 8

FASHION Fashion: Alien Invasion 46 Stylemonger: FAB Masa 58

PLACES Trippin’ – 5 Things To Do This Month 66 Pinoy Planet: Cape Town and the Winelands 68 Bakasyon Grande: Kayaking in Abra 72

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS UAE, Philippines, USA Aby Yap Anna Lorraine Balita JR Bustamante Jude Cartalaba Bernadette Reyes Karen Galarpe Bo Sanchez KC Abalos Chayie Maligalig Krip Yuson David Poarch Atty. May Flores Excel Dyquiangco Mike Martin Francisco Colayco Shar Matingka Isabel Warren Sherry Tenorio Isabelo Samonte Sonny Guzman Ivan Henares Jeffrey ‘Ximo’ Ramos Vic Lactaoen Victor Sollorano Jesse Edep


Alive in Dubai

By Lalaine Chu-Benitez

Filipinos survive 2009 and face 2010 with optimism

A difficult year for employment 2009 was marked by hiring and salary freezes, even lay-offs, salary reductions and forced leave for a lot of companies in the country. A survey involving 24,000 professionals conducted by online recruitment company Gulf Talent, released in

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peculators in the Philippines were quick to point out the grim possibility that as many as 200,000 Dubai-based Filipino employees might be displaced in the wake of the of the Dubai World debt problems, resulting to a potential US$300 million loss in remittances. However, although these assumptions might offer a shred of truth on the OF situation in the existing financial climate, they appear considerably myopic and fail to factor other angles on the issue. Dubai, which is merely an emirate in the federation of seven in the UAE, is not unique in suffering the effects of the global economic meltdown; and though Filipinos in the emirates have their share of troubles, all is not lost for Juan dela Cruz in the city of gold.

FEATURE 9 December 2009 revealed that 10 percent of professionals lost their job last year in the Gulf. The UAE suffered the biggest loss at 15 percent, with the real estate sector as the main business segment hit. According to the same study, 15 percent of companies in the GCC are planning further job cuts. However, a significant 51 percent of the companies surveyed said they are planning to hire new employees in 2010. These projections on recruitment are echoed by another survey specific to the UAE released in November 2009 by and YouGov Siraj. According to the latest Job Index Study almost 50 percent of employers in the UAE are planning to hire people in the next three months, while a quarter of the respondents said that they would “definitely” be hiring. Only 19 percent of respondents said that they would not be appointing new staff in the next quarter. On the Filipino community side, although it has been noted that a number have lost jobs due to the recession, no major numbers have been released. Philippine Business Council in Dubai Chairman and CEO of Design Unlimited LLC a project management company, Lucille Ong observes, “The Filipino community as a whole was not as badly hit as the others. The general lay-offs that we saw were concentrated in the immediately affected sectors of real estate and construction - i.e. construction workers.” She adds, “There were a lot of lay-offs but the percentage of Filipino lay-offs against the total number of Pinoys in the UAE will not be a huge number as compared to the Indians, for instance.” Commenting on her own business, Ong stated, “Business in general was not great but not as bad as in the real estate or construction industries. We were able to keep our level of turnover but with very little margin - which is really fine under the present economic condition.” Ben Parco, a Financial Consultant and Sales District Manager for Nexus Insurance Brokers LLC who has been working extensively with the local Filipino community for almost two decades said, “The global financial crisis has indeed displaced a number of Filipino workers here in Dubai. There were also reports of salary cuts, but except for some people, including a few of my own clients who panicked, the majority of the people that I talked with are confident that the worst is over. I have also seen the resilience of Filipinos during these difficult times; they were able to adjust to the situation with aplomb.” In a statement released in December 2009, Philippine Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said that there were no major job losses in the UAE despite the Dubai financial crisis; the anticipated decline

in OF deployment and remittances did not materialize. Continued growth in remittances Providing a dipstick to the OF community’s financial situation, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released promising figures in December 2009, indicating that money sent back to the Philippines in October increased by 6.7 percent from a year earlier to US$1.53 billion. Remittances grew 8.6 percent in September and rose 4.5 percent to US$14.32 billion in the 10 months through October. The numbers are expected to peak in the last two months of the year. Y. Sudhir Kumar Shetty Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Global Operations of leading money exchange company in the emirates UAE Exchange provides an even more localized perspective on the issue. “Despite the slowdown and the negative outlook of the market, we witnessed a significant growth in remittances to the Philippines as compared to 2008. The growth in the UAE has been accounted from across the seven emirates and not particular areas alone. We have seen significant growth in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” he reported. Shetty ads, “Significant uncertainty and the downturn brought about adverse effects on various economies the world over but the Filipino community has been strong regardless of the weak projections. The manifold reasons for the strong inflows of remittances are the sustained demand for Philippine manpower, increased and better access to money transfer facilities as well as the Philippine Central Bank’s revision of forecasts mid-year to project positive growth. Moreover, the typhoon and the ensuing floods in Manila were undeniably a driving factor for Philippine expatriates to send more money back to help their families recover from the wreckage.” UAE Exchange is quite optimistic in their outlook on Philippine remittances for the year. Shetty confirms, “We are looking at a market rebound and expecting the worst phase of the downturn to be over. We are expecting a similar growth pattern in 2010 as well for Philippine remittances.” The other side of the story Despite doomsday stories in local and Philippine-based media about the repercussions of “massive layoffs” which were expected to result to significant repatriation and a contraction of the local Filipino community population, market indicators prove otherwise. Information from Filipino schools in the emirates which cater to some 7,000 families seems to point to a more rational, even positive trend. Philippine National School (PNS) in Abu Dhabi, attended by some 1,200 students, reported a loss of 5% of their students who went back home with their families, but at the same time cited a significant 15% increase in enrollments last year. According to PNS Principal Dr. Ofelia Padilla, “Our school is not affected by the recession.”

10 FEATURE In Dubai, Lizabeth Comia, Principal of the United International Private School (UIPS) confirmed that they have almost the same number of enrollees in 2009. The school has 1,800 students. On the other hand, The Philippine School (TPS) which opened in late 2008 reported a 40% increase in their enrollments last year. Managing Director Letty Samuel had this to say, “We went ahead and opened the school in late 2008 despite the recession because we saw the trend of incoming Filipinos.” Providing further information on the ‘staying power’ of Filipinos in Dubai versus other nationals affected by the crisis is De La Salle Montessori (DLSM), a Philippine managed international pre-school and daycare facility which caters to a multicultural pupil base. DLSM has seen a marked reduction in their enrollments in 2009, with students going back to their home countries for good. However, these were mainly Europeans and other nationals; the number of Filipino pupils has stayed constant. With 2009s financial scare, most residents of the emirates have become more cautious with their spending and now exercise a tighter rein on their purse strings. A Nielsen report released this month has confirmed this conservative trend. According to the survey, consumer confidence in the last quarter of 2009 has dropped sharply by 10 points compared to quarter three. The survey also said that 71 percent of UAE consumers still feel that they are in recession, but 36 percent are confident that it will be over in 2010. Recession or no recession, consumer spending in the Filipino sector continues. Businesses owners catering to the ‘kabayan market’ noted a marginal drop in business in 2009, but are largely upbeat for the coming year. In the foodstuff and supermarket sectors, Dubai has seen the opening of some Filipino-oriented stores early 2008 and 2009 with Philippine Supermarket opening a branch in Deira and West Zone Supermarket in Discovery Gardens and Karama. Onto non-essential spending, entrepreneur Laila Alyas Bin-Hendi comments on her beauty business, Mayumy Salon in Satwa Dubai, which mainly caters to the Filipino market - “Business for 2009 was very good and we are looking for much better sales in 2010.” She adds, “Filipino spending habits in terms of [beauty] services and products has increased in 2009 and continues to do so each month. For Bin-Hendi’s salon business, 80 percent of the customers are Filipinos.

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The UAE is home to an estimated 4,000 photography hobbyists who spend on high-end gadgets and equipments, and the community is growing stronger by the day, despite the crisis. According to Jeff Biteng, President of the Overseas Pinoy Professional Photographers

Society (OPPPS) one of the major photography clubs in Dubai, “I don’t feel or see anything that [will indicate] the trainees were affected by the recent economic slowdown. Every year we always encounter a large number of participants, especially on Digital Photography (DP) classes. Last year, we had to increase our DP classes to three instead of the usual two, in each of the three batches we have annually. So we will have nine classes in 2010 with some 500 graduates. Don’t forget our Digital Imaging classes, where about 100 or more trainees will be graduating this year.” Biteng ads, “We know that Filipinos are resilient in any situation we are in.” Recession start-ups Perhaps providing an even better study in contrasts to drastic market reports is the fact that while some companies folded in 2009, there were also those which opened despite the market’s challenging conditions. The Filipino community has witnessed the opening of one of the Philippines’ foremost restaurant franchises, Barrio Fiesta, in 2009, and that too, in the prime location of Dubai’s Bur Juman Center. According to Ishwar Chugani, Executive Director, ETA-Star Retail Group, holding company of Barrio Fiesta in the emirates, “We realized that Filipinos make up one of the top five growing communities in the region and they did not have a place to meet with their friends and savor the traditional culinary delights from the Philippines.” The company also saw a gap in the market for a restaurant that would give Filipinos a sense of pride and familiarity where they can invite their non-Filipino family and friends, according to Chugani who grew up and lived in the Philippines for 30 years. Commenting on the crisis, he remarked, “When markets are down, business owners and managers can’t afford to do nothing, they must look at whatever opportunities are still there.” The restaurant, which is higher-end compared to traditional Filipino establishments in the country, is usually full and sees a constant queue during the evenings and weekends since its opening. According to Chugani, “We were amazed by the response from the community at the opening of Barrio Fiesta and are now looking forward to opening more restaurants in the UAE this year, and expanding into the other G.C.C. countries. We are very confident that 2010 will see the beginning of many positive things after a turbulent and challenging 2009.” Local events guru Bong Guerrero, is another Filipino entrepreneur who did not allow 2009 fears to botch his business start-up plans. He established BRAG, a live marketing agency with core competencies in turn-key event management, at the Dubai Media City in September last year. “Someone told me there’s no such thing as a good time to

FEATURE 11 start a business. You just start when you feel you’re ready,” Guerrero says. Apparently, despite market uncertainty, marketing budgets, which were always thought of as the first to be slashed by companies during crises, have not completely dried up. BRAG has already successfully mounted a number of events, including high profile parties and fashion shows giving the company a successful headstart in quarter four 2009. “Hoping not to sound trite,” Guerrero explains, “divine providence and a great track record kept me really busy the last few years and even during the crisis. I have a small pool of solid clients that have encouraged me to venture out on my own.” He adds, “In these austere times, business can still be very successful. Keep it real. Keep it small.” Outlook 2010 Despite some clouds of uncertainty still hovering above its skyscrapers, optimism appears to be growing in the city of Dubai as the emirates move forward into the new decade. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), reported that the UAE is expected to see a 2.4 percent growth in real GDP in 2010, in lieu of better economic conditions, higher oil prices and the government’s stimulus packages. Also mentioned in the account were results from a Nielsen Global Consumer Survey, revealing that 45 percent of UAE consumers are confident that the country will emerge from the economic slowdown in 2010. Resident entrepreneurs and individuals who have seen the emirates and the Filipino community develop in the last two decades share the same positive perspective. Ishwar Chugani who lauds the government’s initiative in establishing Dubai as a shopping, tourist and trade destination says, “The UAE’s geographical location

will always be an asset and the continuous growth of regional and international tourism will keep feeding this growth. Another area of opportunity is the current infrastructure developments in the region, which will expand the overall population and increase buying power.” According to Ben Parco, “I feel that 2010 is a year of slow but steady recovery for most economies in the world and looks very promising for Filipinos as far as job opportunities and personal financial planning is concerned.” However optimistic, they point out that Filipinos should have learned a valuable lesson from the crisis and should approach the future with utmost prudence. Lucille Ong comments, “As optimistic as I would like to be, we are approaching 2010 with great caution. If financial and economic gurus are to be believed, we will have more of the same if not worse. But we just have to weather this, the best way we can.” She advises, “Tighten our belts, cut down on costs, be vigilante with your receivables and collections and continue to look after your clients even better than before. Extend your services; it’s very cliché but do the extra mile for them. They will remember you when good times are back.” These key opinion leaders also call for more focus, dedication and smarter approach in how Filipinos deal with their jobs and finances. Chugani shares, “A lot of employees have lost their jobs in many different sectors, but the effects would not have been so dramatic in the first place if people had not simply jumped from one position to another because of a little extra pay. Chasing higher salaries in other businesses can be extremely risky in these highly challenging and unpredictable times.” He adds, “For those planning to set up their own business, test the waters first. Do not end your employment without making sure that being an entrepreneur is the right route for you. Do not be over-dependent on financial institutions.” Calling on Pinoys to improve their financial health, Ben Parco states “The crisis has once again highlighted the importance of frugality and long-term savings. My advice to Filipinos in 2010 and beyond is return back to the four major areas of financial planning and immediately make adequate provisions for family’s welfare and security, comfortable retirement, children’s education and advancement, and other lifetime dreams and aspirations.” He stresses, “I strongly believe that there are no shortcuts to achieving financial wellness. Sabi nga ng isang popular TV host… ‘huwag tayong umasa sa suwerte.”

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Challenges aside, Ong who has called the city her home for over 25 years now, still affirms her confidence in the emirate, “1000 percent - I never had any doubt in my mind. Dubai has achieved what others just dream about in their next life time. Having been here for sometime and having seen all the developments and achievements that have taken place - one cannot help but be awed by the whole thing. And yes, it works as well. Sure, it is not paradise but one has to remember this is a very young city and country all of 37 years! It has to [have] experience and will evolve to a much better place.” Bong Guerrero recapitulates the common sentiments of most residents of the emirate who have lived long enough to believe that Dubai, and they too, will eventually make it through. “The last few months and 2010 will take out the fluff, the icing and the unnecessary trimmings that the speculators and opportunists brought with them during the property gold rush.” “I believe in this city, in this country. If you have something worthwhile to offer, you will thrive.”


2009 Survival and a Bright 2010 Dubai Filipino residents share with us their stories and thoughts on the challenging year that was 2009 and their optimism for the year ahead. Mark Anthony Binas Contact Centre Executive Previously made redundant, now working for a prestigious Dubai company I was hired by one of the biggest real estate companies in Dubai, just a couple of months after I arrived in July 2008. Everything went easily during those days, and every end of the month was like Christmas: I was able to start a new life and career, send generous amounts of money to my family in the Philippines and gradually pay the financial responsibilities I’ve left behind. Everything went well until the fourth month of my employment when the company made me redundant. I was given three months to stay in Dubai and look for a new job. But nobody wanted to hire a new employee then because of the financial crisis. I ran out of time and went back to the Philippines. That’s when the reality hit me - it was devastating. I was unemployed, my cash was running out and financial problems started to pile up. It was one of those experiences in life when I realized how important your loved ones are. They helped me back on my feet and showed me that there’s always a second chance to fight back and win that battle again. And like an answered prayer, I was given a second chance. I was able to return to Dubai after a couple of months of endless application, securing a job with another well known company. At the moment I can see that Dubai is still struggling to cope up with what happened back then during the crisis. We just need to wait and see how things will turn out, and hopefully they will turn out well. I can say that I’m happy and satisfied with what’s happening in my life here in the emirates. It will be a difficult and slow recuperation of my life and career, but I see a very promising year to look forward to. Hannah Gabor Marketing Executive Marks & Spencer 2009 had really made its mark of challenge to most of us with the recession on our doorstep – you could tell that almost everyone in retail was watching the consumer spend and the fierce competition by the hour. This scenario opened doors for us to exercise a more diverse approach to reach out to our customers. I am so blessed to have been working with Marks & Spencer; despite the current economic climate, we were delighted to have opened four more stores across the Gulf. I am thrilled moving on to this year, new years are always full of hope and opportunities for everyone. I am very excited in launching new campaigns, with customer shopping patterns picking up as we entered 2010. Hence, I look forward to see positive outputs, much greater growth within the business and the economy world-wide. Emily Suralta Former Administrative Assistant Currently unemployed I used to work in a real estate company which is, sad to say, the main business affected by the financial crisis, and I lost my job. Worse comes to worst, after few weeks, my husband lost his job also. This changed our lives. We couldn’t find good paying jobs. We needed to cut short our expenses. From living in a flat, we needed to transfer to a villa because we could no longer afford the rent. We avoided going to malls and did part time jobs to survive. And if not for the help of my family, our kids in the Philippines nearly stopped going to school.

But still, we chose to stay. The financial crisis left me with no options. Where will I go? To the Philippines? Life there is more difficult. I’m already here in Dubai, not everybody is given the chance to be here. At least here, I still have a chance, and I’m optimistic about that. I believe 2010 will be a better year for all those who strive hard. Just don’t stop. Success is on its way coming towards us. I believe businesses will come back to life this 2010. Lot of investors will be there and opportunities will be available to many. My bestfriend once sent me an SMS when she learned that my husband and I both lost our jobs, she said – “Laban pa kapatid! Andito na tayo… FIGHT!” Iman Suguitan Former Retail Marketing Manager Turned Entrepreneur in 2009 Retailing in the fashion and beauty industry has suffered in early 2009, challenging me as the marketing manager to find even more creative yet cost-effective ways of reaching out to our customers. I’ve never believed in ostentatious spending, whether in my company nor in my personal life. So those of us who were flexible, who study and implement projects well are the best survivors of this recession. Plus, just like everyone else, I became more aware of how I spend my money because people were getting sacked left and right. I did less shopping and found a new hobby which was very de-stressing and kept me fit – horseback riding at the Dubai Equestrian Club. Instead of holding back, I gained more courage in 2009 to finally put up my own business - Ahsant Enterprises, which is a premium hotel supplies and specialty gifts company. If everyone says 2009 was a bad year then 2010 could only be better, much better! Sharon Estoque Uy Sales Support Executive Emirates Airlines UAE Corp. Sales As an individual, the recession made me realize that in life, we should always be prepared. We should be cautious in every decision that we make and be ready for the consequences. In terms of my career, the recession opened up good opportunities because I was assigned to different departments. During this time, our company did its best to maximize the skills of staff instead of hiring additional manpower. I was not compensated with the extra work but the knowledge and experience was remarkable. I knew that in time I will make use of it and indeed, I did work that I never imagined I am capable of, and got the chance to work with a very good team. For 2010, we should think positive and grab every opportunity that comes our way. Rodelio Austria Certified Architect previously laid-off Now working freelance in the contracting business I have been terminated last year and it was difficult for me to get the same job with the same salary. In my opinion, even if they are not affected by the recession, some companies used it as a reason to cut on employment. I think it will take two years or more to put everything back to normal in Dubai. There is still a struggle this 2010 and some companies, hopefully not all, will have a difficulty in recovering. But I have no choice right now, so I had to continue my adventure here instead. If I go back to the Philippines, I will have more problems since our country is still under-developed. I would like to stay here in Dubai because there is still opportunity to earn money, as long as you are not choosy in finding a job. We have to be optimistic. This is the life here in Dubai. All you need is more enthusiasm and guts to survive in this recession.


Growing with Technology Philippine businesses advance with ICT By Bernadette Reyes

The use of information technology such as the Internet, mobile phones and its application in e-commerce have started to influence the Philippines’ economic growth prospects since the late 90s, albeit nominally. Today however, the key to survival for businesses, especially small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country is the ability to capitalize and effectively adapt to the immense potential of advancing technologies and channel these for future growth.


he Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) follows an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) roadmap which outlines the use of ICT for socio-economic development in the country. Included in the agenda is the provision for strategic business development to enhance competitiveness in the global ICT market. Also, in the Arroyo Administration’s Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), ICT is identified as one of the drivers for job creation and investment. So far the plan is being realized with the government and private sector’s concerted effort. “The private sector should remain the prime mover of the ICT industry with the government playing the role of advocate, laying the groundwork for regulations and policies that level off the playing field for entrepreneurs and providing a business environment that can power and enable the economic dreams of the 21st century Filipino,” says Secretary Ray Anthony-Chua III.

solutions to preferred enterprise clients through its Globe Enterprise Segments Business Consulting Services which covers various business aspects including process reviews and improvements, process re-engineering, audits, trainings and workshops, and technical solutions.

In line with the development, telecommunication providers are hopping on the bandwagon offering more sophisticated products and services on top of the usual SMS, multimedia and calls services. They have embraced EDGE and HSDPA or 3G technologies which facilitate higher data transfer speed including video calls.

Smart also enhanced the use of its Smart Money that has evolved from a mere cash card to a multipurpose card which customers can use to purchase, pay bills, buy airtime, transfer and withdraw money with and shop online. For corporate clients, the company launched Smart Money for business which provides various solutions depending on its client’s needs. The company also assists microfinance institutions by providing solutions for loan disbursement and collection transactions.

Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, two of the Philippines’ largest wireless service providers, have diversified offering business solutions to enterprises and SMEs to meet the changing demands of the business landscape. Globe provides bundled domestic and international voice and data services to cutback operating expenses and corporate internet access services for greater connectivity. The company also offers customized

Meanwhile SMEs can avail of Globe solutions which can increase productivity, manage costs and improve service. Most notable perhaps is the BizMAX service, a prepaid simcard which business owners can use to record daily expenses and manage cashflows, access business information and tips and monitor trends and keep track of business-related events. It can also locate the nearest microfinance institutions which could provide additional funding to SMEs. Business owners can also monitor operations from a mobile phone with the Globe’s Web Eye, a web-based video solutions provider that allows business owners to view the office or store online. Smart on the other hand offers Mobile Eye which serves the same function.

IT expert Jerry Liao says business owners within the metropolitan area and nearby provinces are embracing the use of these new technologies. But while some are cashing in on its gains others are standing on the sidelines. “Businesses located in the city and adjacent provinces are starting or planning to adopt new and better


technology especially those which have the capacity to invest in such. The next questions are what to buy and how to use it. Multinational companies and large scale businesses tend to be more receptive because they can afford a replacement or manage the loss. SMEs on the other hand do not enjoy the same luxury.” While adopting new technology infrastructure may be daunting, business owners should learn to take the risk if they want the business to remain competitive. For 2010, Liao expects a more extensive use of smartphones and its applications for business. “I see more and more people getting hooked on the Internet this year especially since smartphones which has Internet applications will become more affordable. The ordinary Juan dela Cruz can get a smartphone for PHP6,000 to 8,000. Business owners should take advantage of this opportunity and maximize the use of technology,” says Liao. Text messaging service will also be used more extensively in business processes especially in the Philippines which is touted as one if not the most active users of SMS. “SMS is available worldwide. However, its popularity in the Philippines is unprecedented. More business solutions will make use of SMS to place orders or make inquiries for example,” he adds. Most coffee shops and malls in the metropolis these days offer free or limited Wi-Fi service, enabling multiple users to share a broadband connection to get online at the same time increasing the establishment’s business activity. End-users likewise, take advantage of Bluetooth, a short-range wireless connectivity that enables mobile devices to interconnect with another. This year, more business establishments are likely to take connectivity to another level with Wi-Max, a technological breakthrough which allows wireless transmission of data similar to Wi-Fi, only this time it is faster and has a longer range. Local telecommunications companies said they are already working on the installation of this facility in establishments and it shall be made available to users this year. As businesses become more sophisticated, attacks become more damaging and permanent, Liao warns. Consequently, businesses should also upgrade technology that can provide greater security to protect confidential data and information. “Hackers can even go to the extent of stealing data about receivables. If and when this happens business owners can no longer keep track of who owes them money and how much they owe. The buzzword this year will have more to do with data loss prevention,” Liao explains.DLP is a term coined to refer to systems designed “to detect and prevent the unauthorized use and transmission of confidential information.” The availability of such technology in the Philippines and its utilization in businesses demonstrate that the country is catching up with more progressive countries. In fact, its proliferation paved the way for the establishment of more technology-related business such as software, mobile and web development.

Technology start-up companies can also seek assistance from the incubation facility at the University of the Philippines. A PHP10million project developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), the Technology Business Incubation houses a 600sqm research facility for technology start-up companies and provides useful services such as affordable hosting services, computer servers and network equipment. While technology may be readily available these days keep in mind that these are only tools to accelerate and assist in business operations. It is also up to the business owners to find the usefulness of technology in their business to capitalize on its strength. “Technology is just an enabler, andun pa rin dapat yung business sense mo. You might be selling kakanin but you can still apply the latest technology like online advertisement through social-netwroking sites to expand customer base. The technology is there, it is now up to business owners how to take advantage of that,” says Liao.


Living in the WWW

By Sherry Tenorio

These days, your link to the world is but a click away. A computer or a smart phone is all you need to be connected. In fact, connectivity is probably the cheapest, most powerful form of technology available to everybody at the moment. It amazes and amuses. It is so groundbreaking that it has created a whole new ‘world’ – a virtual one, that is, inhabited by ‘netizens’ who kill time, play, shop, socialize, date, work, conduct business, research and express themselves in a platform that was primarily a military tool. Accessible to billions of people around the globe, the internet has changed the way people live. Filipinos, of course, are among the multitude who do just about everything on the world wide web.


ccording to the Yahoo! and Nielsen first-ever Internet Habits Study for the Philippines, a survey conducted in late 2008 and released in 2009, there are an estimated 20 million internet users in the country, up by 5% from previous year’s estimate. This study, however, does not account for the millions of Overseas Filipinos (OFs) who frequent the net to stay in touch with families and friends at home and around the world.

For the Filipinos abroad, internet is without doubt the convenient and practical way of keeping connected. As Alexis Wenceslao, a 24-year old Architect based in Dubai, puts it, “I love the internet. It really made the world small. The world is just right at your fingertips now. Communication is made easy by the internet networking and chat sites, and I admit I am very happy to live in the information age.” The Facebook Revolution

In the same Yahoo! and Nielsen study, social networking emerged as a key online activity. The most popular social networking site among Filipinos, both at home and overseas, is Facebook. This website, ranked by ALEXA.COM as no. 1 in the top 100 websites in the Philippines for 2009, was initially a social website for Harvard students, which became an overnight success with millions of people joining each single day. According, the website is expected to close 2009 with some 300 million users across the globe. Out of which, over 7million people are in the Philippines – again, OFs not included.

The growth of Facebook and the involvement of Filipinos with the technology is phenomenal. In this internet site, people can express what they think and share with the rest of the world what they are doing at the moment. Users can also pop messages to each other, send private notes, share occasional greetings, display photos, create and join interest groups, promote business, invite to events, play games, and a whole lot more. What’s even more interesting is that Facebook has made it possible for millions of Filipinos to get in touch, not only with current friends, and new contacts, but also with old friends, classmates and other acquaintances that they will otherwise never meet again. It has provided a means to keep in touch and updated with friends and families wherever they are in the world – all for free. On the other hand, Facebook is not the only important platform in the WWW. There is also the phenomenal ‘stalker’ site, Twitter. It allows netizens to follow Hollywood celebrities, international pop bands, politicians and other high profile personalities. Fans overkill the forums and share their opinions among almost everything. Karen Atienza, a fashion editor in Dubai, says, “Twitter has fewer features but it’s the perfect networking site for people on the move.” She furthers, “FB (Facebook) and Twitter have helped me strengthen my bonds with friends, rediscover long-lost acquaintances, and get connected to new people who share my interests.” Social networking is not new to us Filipinos since we had Friendster since the late ‘90s. But, the technology and privacy settings of Facebook make it more appealing. Indeed, it is both exciting and interesting to find old and long-lost friends in Facebook. It is equally awesome to find new friends and potential partners in Facebook as


well. There are tons of reasons why Facebook is useful but it could be summed up in one: despite the physical absence of loved ones, Facebook acts as a bridge to send those smiles, hugs and tears to each and every user. Friendships and family bonds are renewed and developed because of the capacity of Facebook. Internet’s Make-or-Break Netizens can create a star, when they want to. They can also wreak havoc, if they want to. And, Filipino netizens have proven power to do such in several occasions. Mundane as it may seem, every time there is a well-publicized online voting of some sort involving a Filipino candidate or contestant, whether for a beauty pageant, the wonders of the world, or even in the case of CNN Heroes where Efren Peñaflorida won with 2.75million votes, you can be sure the deeply patriotic Filipinos netizens will support, log on and vote for the country’s very own. Remember the Ondoy tragedy? Filipinos all over the world, using the power of the internet, have taken the opportunity to assist during and after the calamity. Online information was passed on like wild fire, and in an instant, Filipinos were mobilized either to help physically or to send resources in assistance to the flood victims. A phenomenal YouTube video that showcases inmates at the Cebu Provincial Jail dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller has attracted more than 37 million views. The video even attracted the international press, including news networks CNN and BBC, which sent reporters to visit the jail when the King of Pop died last year. Because of the WWW exposure, Cebu Provincial Jail has become an interesting tourist spot. Blogger Bryanboy also achieved stellar success in the fashion world when Marc Jacobs named an ostrich bag after him. In his popular blog, the über slim Filipino fashionista has smitten readers around the world with his undying passion for fashion. He

was even given a front row seat near legendary Anna Wintour of Vogue US in a New York fashion show. It may be a small gesture of recognition, but to Bryanboy and to all others who follow fashion that VIP treatment says so much about the online revolution – how the internet has commanded power over popular culture, wielding more influence than print and television. Yet, despite the creation of instant Filipinos celebrities over the internet, the same technology also has the capacity to break people’s reputations. Most OFs, especially in the emirates, would remember how writer Malu Fernandez, who wrote ‘From Boracay to Greece’ in People Asia – a derogatory article which angered OFs in the Middle East, was the object of an online and electronic Filipino ‘lynch mob’ which spilled from the www, viral mail and even TV. Just recently on the heels of Ondoy, there was also a certain Jacque Bermejo, who allegedly wrote in her Facebook account at the height of the calamity – “buti na lang am hir in Dubai! maybe so many sinners bak der! so yeah deserving wat hapnd!” As expected, these words created a huge backlash from Filipinos from all parts of the globe, putting Bermejo at the receiving end of protests, hate mails and threats which ran through forums and even television. Bermejo eventually claimed that her Facebook and Multiply accounts were hacked, but that did not put a swift end to the issue, and speculation on the veracity of her claim continued. Beyond the making and breaking of internet personalities, the www is not only a communication tool but also a platform for some Filipinos to be heard, and ultimately create change. Filipinos take pride in national affection, whether they admit or not, and it is very evident in the thousands of internet forums, Facebook groups and websites. Multiply my bucks Tech smart OFs also use the www to earn extra bucks and manage businesses. A case in point is Jim Joquico, a full-time publicist, who created his own website because he has ample time


to manage additional clients. In a matter of two weeks, Jim received inquiries from various marketing professionals in and out of Dubai. At present, he is working on the public relations campaign of a medical company based in the US. Without his website that he registered in Google for an annual fee of US$10 (AED 365), he would not be able to receive thousands of dirhams in his PayPal account. Another successful online venture from an OF is Ria Mendoza’s www. Ria, a journalist and artist based in Dubai, created the website as a one-stop shop for all creative needs drawing on the resources of a group of freelance artists and writers. The site has attracted clients within and outside the emirates. The success of the project is evident in the client testimonials featured on the website. The famous underground Pinoy rock bands in the UAE meet and discuss their business of music, mostly online too. The Blacksheep Production has its own website and blog in where the members of various rock bands talk about events, projects, songs, and etc. The production company, handled on the side by full-time artist Cromwell Ojeda, could not manage the business without the internet. Regular chats, forums and website updates keep the group posted all the time. The Internet definitely is a great platform for promoting and marketing products, services, events, and managing business transactions – and it is one place where big and small business operators both have opportunities., originally a blog site, has become more popular in recent years as an “online tiangge” used by a lot of Filipino businesses, as well as medium and small entrepreneurs to publicize and sell their wares., on the other hand, is a photographers’ haven were professionals and hobbyist can showcase their portfolio. Facebook also has useful functions for those looking more for business instead of just social networking. These are just a few among the millions of possibilities of making it big online. Just log on to any search engine, and learn on how to start your own online enterprise.

Three Powerful Words In this era of information age, we are held by three powerful words: World Wide Web. It is a place from where we get limitless information and recreation; one that connects us to our loved ones in an instant, defying time zones and geographical differences. It is a place where language is not a barrier, not even race, color or shape. It is a venue for fulfilling dreams, opening and operating businesses, and earning more. And although, a there are still a lot of people who have an aversion to technology, it is without doubt that internet is part of our daily lives. The technology changes so rapidly that we try to keep up on the latest and freshest as always. Yet, when we move at a slower pace, we realize that sometimes news is better read on paper, that movies are still better watched in cinemas, shows are better see on the TV and that personal contact is undoubtedly preferred to just a virtual ‘poke’ or ‘hug.’ However as much as the internet helps us in saving money, time and effort, we still crave for a personal touch. As Alexis Wenceslao shares, “Although I love the internet because it is fun and convenient for OFs, I still miss the old-fashioned snail mail, handwritten letters with stamps, and postcards. I appreciate personal greetings through Facebook and Yahoo (not to mention the relentless tagging of people to a picture of a greeting card, or worse a party invitation) but I most appreciate the handwritten snail mail. For a family-oriented person abroad, I treasure the letters from home, knowing that they personally choose the card or stationery, seeing the beautiful handwriting of my parents and siblings, most especially the lousy penmanship of my nephews and nieces who are still learning how to write, kids’ drawings, and even my pet cat’s paw print, and then smelling all these papers sensing the essence of home. These cannot be done through the internet.”


Innovator. The word seems to suggest that Inno Sotto’s just stepped into an elevator. Who’s he? Why, a popular haute couture designer, of course, very high in the echelons. And it so happens that Pinoys are tops in the realm of design — be it good clothes, websites, graphic novels and comic books, fusion or nouvelle cuisine, jazz — as well as sundry other clever ones, in terms of design for self-aggrandizement, that is. Thus, from corporate wizardry of shenanigans to election cheating and plunder, the Pinoy rules as a crafty innovator!

Pinoy Innovator


f course we also have the straightand-narrow types who have advanced world science and technology, rewarded all earthlings with the moon buggy and the fluorescent bulb. Remember Agapito Flores, our “Father of Philippine science”? Until now some of us believe “fluorescent” was named after this Filipino inventor.

In truth, innovation presupposes an add-on beyond invention, a reliance on what is already there, but making adjustments so as to expand or redirect original function/s. In brief, this technique born of adaptability presaged what is now popularly called “tweaking.”

One takes an existing artifact or whatever object, restructures and

By Alfred A. Yuson

reprograms its initial intent, and voila! One has used innovative skills to leap beyond the basic concept. The foremost example of Pinoy innovation may be the ubiquitous jeepney, which saw the transformation of surplus Willys jeeps left behind by the American military upon our “liberation” and “independence.” Mechanics and metal sheet cutters extended the back portion of the trusty, snub-tailed Willys, adjusted the seating arrangement to go face to face — and lo and behold, we suddenly had a mode of public transport fit for cities and countryside. That the King of Philippine Roads eventually took on such trappings as a chrome horse serving as hood icon, garish colors and images on side panels, mottoes and slogans on the same as well as on the one and only glass window, ersatz wire antennae with plastic ribbons and


assorted buntings to fly in the wind, all manner of kitsch drapery including macramé curtains, and finally, religious statuary to top off the interior adornments... ahh, all these only serve notice that with “approtech” or appropriate technology surging triumphant, can the native fascination with the “borloloy” be far behind — indeed, to turn an innovation into folk art expressive of common folks’ predilections?

That the now anti-pragmatic jeepney has become the bane in cities starving for road space and a clean environment is still lost on local leaders — until such time perhaps that they learn to innovate on building up political will. Thankfully, in cutting-edge sections of the metropolis, such as Bonifacio Global City or “The Fort” as well as on Ayala Avenue in Makati, a recent innovation on the jeepney sees great welcome. The e-jeep or electric-powered jeepney is a cuter, tidier version, modlooking with its soft curves, and above all, non-polluting. For the rest of the country, however, on the wheel-heels of the jeepney we have seen the pedicab or trisikad, an adaptation of the old bicycle’s pedal power, before motorcycles got into the picture. And soon that, too, the motorcycle with the sidecar, underwent inspired innovations that in Mindanao have been baptized as the “habalhabal” as well as the “Skylab” — both guaranteed to accommodate (with wooden boards extending on the sides) as many as a dozen human passengers, plus live cargo like some chickens or a goat on the roof. In some Metro Manila streets, the trisikad has either been retained or revived. Rather recently it was brought to the national consciousness by a political advertisement meant to propel Sen. Mar Roxas, employing foot power, to the presidency... er, of late, the vice presidency. Another fine example of Pinoy innovation regarding wheels brought Efren Peñaflorida to global acclaim as CNN Hero of the Year. His feat had to do with turning the lowly pushcart into a roving library to provide education for destitute children. Take that, Toyota Innova! Another of our global heroes, in fact the most prominent, Manny Pacquiao, certainly innovates in the ring, using stinging left leads despite being a southpaw, and even taking a page from Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope tactics in his recent win over Miguel Cotto. It may also be said that “Pacman” innovates on both his ring career as well as conjugal status with extracurricular activities as movie star and lover. Take that, Tiger Woods! Our whole history is replete with innovations. Nick Joaquin makes much of how we transformed the Mexican adobado into adobo, thus opening the way for what is now sometimes called the Adobo Nation. Ilonggo revolutionaries tricked Spanish soldiers into capitulating at the sight of cannons facing them — which turned out to be banana trunks painted black! Take that, El Cid!

From a “heritage of smallness” — again per Nick Joaquin, we have certainly parlayed what in street corners is called “abilidad” into a wealth of infinitely rewarding little triumphs. These may range from the innovative ability to use hairpins to solve a mechanical problem with regards motor engines, to giving a sister’s hosiery new life by attaching it to a metal flowerpot holder for a makeshift basketball goal. Oh, of course it also includes the genius to come up with Harvardian diplomas and fake passports. Take that, world! And watch it. The Pinoy will just keep on tweaking.


It’s a Small World By Loraine Balita


ccording to the last count done by the CFO (Commission on Filipinos Overseas) there are around 8.73 million Filipinos spread across 193 countries and territories. So even if you’re in an obscure country like Mongolia or Sierra Leone, or a war torn nation like Afghanistan, chances are there’s a Filipino just nearby, because like that ubiquitous golden “M” arc and that brown and green coffee shop, we Filipinos are everywhere, right at every corner. Your struggle, their struggle

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that for most Filipinos who have migrated somewhere else around the globe homesickness is a common thing. Thankfully, the adjustment period commonly lasts for only three to six months considering the fact that we Pinoys can adapt to change well. And yes, more than just missing one’s families and friends, the challenge has always been about the language, the weather, the food, the culture; exactly the same things some of you

could be going through at this very moment. And yes, inasmuch as the world has become very globalized, discrimination still exists, and it happens in every part of the world. So relax, know that your struggle is the struggle of your compatriots and let our kababayans tell you more about their side of the world. What they didn’t teach in language class Sure you know your Shakespeare by heart, and yes you ranked second in that declamation/oration/extemporaneous speaking contest ages ago and have a ‘Best in Language’ medal locked in your mom’s trophy case but all these cannot guarantee that once you step out of the Philippines, language will not be an issue. For most Filipinos in the US, language was not so much a problem since our education is still mainly based on the American system. But for the rest of our kababayans who landed elsewhere, language was one of the biggest factors during their adjustment phase. Jake Abella for instance who has been working in Singapore for two years now, felt that language was the most difficult to adjust to. While Singaporeans speak English, it’s the accent that made communicating


difficult for this 26-year old IT consultant. “I remember my first day here, I couldn’t even order at McDonalds. I couldn’t understand the words coming out of the cashier’s mouth.” And while there wasn’t much culture shock for George, 37 who has been working as an NGO employee in Thailand for three years now, language was one thing he had to struggle with. “Thai is a tonal language, which means if you mispronounce a word, Thais would simply misunderstand what you’re trying to say,” he said. “For instance, the word ‘pet’ can mean either spicy, duck or the number eight, depending on how you pronounce it. Needless to say, I have a lot of funny anecdotes about my misadventures with the Thai language,” he added. Even in places where English is the primary language used, most Filipinos still had to grapple with the locals’ accent. Twenty-six year old Ronald Argame who is now fully attuned to life in Australia remembers how he had to struggle with the language for a few weeks. Currently working as an IT Analyst, Ronald, like most others who have been used to American English, had to deal with the distinct Australian way of speaking. “I’m used to the American accent and Aussie is a lot different,” he shares. But other than the accent, Ronald felt that the biggest most difficult thing he had to adjust to was the food. The stomach shall remain Pinoy A Filipino may denationalize himself but not his stomach —Carmen Guerrero Nakpil It’s a known fact that Filipinos love eating, we eat at every time of the day and for us a meal is not a complete without rice. It doesn’t matter what we eat it with, pancit with rice, spaghetti with rice, kape with rice as long as there is rice for us that’s THE meal. And this proved to be the hardest change for Ronald when he found out that in Australia people “rarely eat rice for eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Instead, they serve bread along with meat, fish, or vegetables. He also had to come to terms to having “coffee and toast for brekkie, sandwhich for lunch and steak at night.” For most Filipinos it’s always the stomach that’s the hardest to train. Because while your skin could adjust to the cold weather in a few weeks, your tongue might eventually learn to speak like the locals in a few months, your body clock could catch up with theirs in a year, your palate would always crave for your mother’s home cooking, fresh seafood from the province and tropical fruits not grown elsewhere,

which is the case for Jane Docampo who has been living in the US for the past 21 years. “Nothing can compare to the diverse and abundant supply of fruits we have in the Philippines. I miss the mangoes, the durian, santol, atis,”she said. “I miss the fresh food, the fish, the chicken my mother used to cook,”she added. For Filipinos lucky enough to land in places with a huge Pinoy community, like in here in the Gulf, in the US, and Canada missing Pinoy food is not a problem. In the emirates, kababayans are spoilt for choice when it comes to Pinoy establishments selling their favorite delicacies. In Canada, which is home to some 400,000 Filipinos, 30 year-old Art Cometa says, “Filipinos here brought a piece of the Philippines with them. In Toronto, there are a lot of Filipino restobars, stores and bakeshops selling pandesal, sago, gulaman, taho, and biko,”he shares.


Beyond the lighter side of life, aside from language and food, Filipinos across the globe are also faced with an issue that is much more complicated to deal with — racial discrimination. Racism is not a thing of the past “Racial discrimination - we always like to think that it no longer exist but it does,” Neil, a US-based Filipino engineer said as he recalls how at one time he realized while dealing with a Customer Service Manager over the phone that racism is still present even in progressive multicultural countries like the US. “With our Filipino accent, dealing over the phone will give you minor disadvantages,” he pointed out. Also an engineer, Ken, who is based in Germany recalls how he had to go through some big adjustments in terms of weather, culture, environment, and most importantly in dealing with the people. “I had to prove to the people here that I was deserving of the position I was holding, kasi unemployment is quite high in Germany,” he said. It took a lot of patience on his part, to deal with the seeming lack of confidence in his skill and ability, but his experience, skills and determination helped him get through the situation. “I stood firm and never let any of them break my resolve,” he added. Closer to home, Filipinos in our neighboring countries are also not immune to this phenomena. In Japan for instance, Lalaine 43, who has been living in Toyama for 12 years says that discrimination still exist.“ I was often criticized just because of my nationality, for being a Filipino citizen,” she said. In Thailand on the other hand, most Thais, according to George 38, are very polite and “try their best to be nice to other people.” But still, there are a few who cannot help but discriminate against fellow Asians. He shares how Thai employers prefer to hire Westerners

in the field of education and media. “Schools [here] like to hire Westerners, primarily Americans and British, and compensate them handsomely. Their Filipino counterparts get paid a lower wage, though, because well, they are Asians,” he said. “Even if the Filipino teacher graduated with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English and Education, and had taught in several major universities in Manila for many years, all these are trumped by white skin.” And for Filipinos planning to move to Thailand he had this to say: “The point is, racism exists, even in a subtle manner, where a brownskinned employer will openly show his preference for a white applicant, professional competence notwithstanding. That’s one fact Filipinos coming here to Thailand to land a job must always remember,” he explained. It is true. Making it outside of one’s country is never easy, much more so for a Filipino woman to make her mark in the global arena when her stereotypical role has been written right down in the Oxford dictionary years ago. But times are changing, and the Filipinos continued success in different fields serve to debunk the derogatory label. Breaking the mold Over the past couple of years, even before the release of the controversial definition of “Filipina,” Pinays have already been making their mark in various industries working as professionals abroad, shoulder-to shoulder with their male counterparts. This trend has become even more widespread as more and more Pinays are now occupying high-level positions in various companies across the globe. The proverbial Pinay Maria Clara has now traded her Filipiniana for a corporate suit as she joins cutthroat industries around the world.


Arlene Rossi, 39 who is currently the only female engineer in her company in Switzerland is one of those internationally progressive Filipinas. Right after taking her PHD in Lugano, Arlene went to work for a Swiss Telecom company and is now a Senior Engineer in the Research and Development Department. “We have to try to contribute to the enhancement of the positive image of our country — even in our own small way, we can contribute to that, “she said. “In my case, I have shown to my colleagues and bosses, that Filipina engineers are as competent as their male counterparts. In a way, I think I am opening the door for other Filipinos especially Filipina engineers to work here,” she added. In the city that never sleeps on the other hand, Jane Docampo, 46, who has lived in California for 10 years before moving to New York where she has now been living and working for the past 11 years, is a Controller for a private equity fund. She says that she is proud to be a Filipino. “[I’ve been] distinguishing myself at the same time showing to the other races how we could be competitive. Given the opportunities and the Filipinos inherent hardworking ethic, it is so common to see successful Filipinos [here],”she shares. A lot of these successful Filipino expatriates credit their Filipino heritage for helping them get through the adjustment period and helping them adapt to life on the outside. Take Ariel Matias, for example. Thank God we’re Pinoy Ariel, 37 who works as Director of Customer Support in Costa Rica found out that adjusting to the culture in a Latin American country is much easier thanks to our Spanish heritage.

“My adjustment here in Costa Rica was easier because the foods and the culture are almost similar to ours,” he said. “The country is primarily Roman Catholic and they have foods such as bistek, flan de leche, carne de mechado, tamales that are very similar to ours,” he explained. Adjusting to the language was also not a problem for him “because we have plenty of Tagalog words that were derived from the Spanish language.” Erika Rivera 28, a Pinay Data Warehouse Analyst and Freelance Writer on the other hand credits our innate friendliness for helping her survive life in the Netherlands. “The Dutch are very reserved people. They are cordial and pleasant, but they’re generally not the buddy-buddy type,” she shared. “[But] the Pinoys’ innate warmth and need for camaraderie breaks down those walls of reservation,”she explained. For 28 year-old Meriam Dominos, it’s our ability to still find happiness “amidst crisis and calamity” that has helped her survive life in the US. She thinks that it’s also the enduring faith that has helped most Filipinos outside the country thrive. While we might have been dispersed onto different places from opposite sides of the globe, Filipinos will always have the same struggles, same challenges, and same heritage that will eventually help us adapt to our new life outside the country. So the next time homesickness or challenges hit you, know that you are not alone. There’s a Filipino, not only in your neighborhood, but somewhere else across the globe, going through the exact same thing. Because for Filipino expatriates around the world – it is quite literally a small world after all.


Walk the Talk

The Filipino tongue rules!

By Law Diche

Back in college, I joined a fraternity that was founded and largely composed of Kapampangans. Nothing particularly peculiar about it really - except that I was a Bicolano.


s with most cases, I joined because of this pretty Kapampangan girl who was a member of my fraternity’s sorority counterpart, and ‘smarty’ me reckoned, “Hey, I could get the girl, and learn the language at the same time!” Two birds with one stone. Ok, let’s put that question to rest as early as we can – no, I didn’t get the girl. And frankly, looking back, what was more frustrating was I didn’t learn the language as well.

At our frat’s tambayan, when there’s a non-Kapampangan speaker, Tagalog/Filipino would be spoken, as a rule – something about avoiding being “regionalistic.” And this is why, I would like to think, I didn’t get the girl, while a brod, her fellow Capampangan, did. This is also why I believe one day, remote though it may seem now, we Filipinos will rule the world.

“Filipino” origins But before we go about devising our world domination dreams, a short history lesson. Ours is a literate people long before the Spaniards came. We had a pre-colonial writing system which unfortunately was chiefly lost because of the materials our ancestors used - leaves, wood and rice paper. We owe it though to the former colonial masters who published the Doctrina Cristiana, the first book printed in the Philippines with texts printed in the Roman alphabet as well as Alibata, the pre-colonial script. Yet again, unfortunately, the only copy left is on foreign shores, in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC to be exact.

Filipino, our national language, as it exists today is largely based on Tagalog, also used mainly by Doctrina Cristiana, selected by the National Language Institute in 1937. It was named by then President Manuel L. Quezon “Wikang Pambansa”, but renamed “Pilipino” in 1959. Then as now, it has gone through rough sailing in acceptance especially by non-Tagalog speakers like the Cebuanos, whose language is the second largest spoken in the country. To compromise, it was eventually called Filipino to give it a “universalist” approach. Essentially, today’s Filipino is still Tagalog based but has been extremely enriched by Philippine and other languages. Filipino and the world’s languages Salikoko Mufwene, professor and chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago, estimates that there are about 6,700 languages spoken around the world but within a century or so, there will be just about 3,000 languages left. A couple more centuries and it will drop further to a couple of hundred. Attributed to globalization, major colonial languages like English, French, and Spanish are among those expected to survive. Those from big economies like Japan as well as those with huge numbers of speakers like Chinese and Hindi will prevail. The rest, to put it bluntly, will die. Language death, a part of linguistic studies, reveals that its most common cause is when a community of speakers of one language becomes bilingual in another language. Eventually, these speakers


Tabalu ta keka, ne?!

Gadanghang lang na imong nawng dah!

Echosera! Bahala ka sa chuck-chak chenes!

will move to the second language of choice and cease to use their original language. This abandonment is usually based on economic or utilitarian grounds, favouring languages regarded as having greater utility or prestige.

keeping in touch with loved ones at all times gives our language the vitality it needs to survive no matter where we are. Mufwene further notes that a sign of a language’s vitality is if the community, be it big or small, continues to speak the language and transmit it from one generation to another.

Which leads you to ask…

Win the language, rule the world

Will Filipino die one day? If the courtrooms in Malolos, Bulacan are any indication, we are entering an era of reverse language death. Trials and proceedings there are now conducted in Filipino to both reach out to the masses and promote the national language. Another case in point is the propensity of the Filipino language to gobble up other languages. Our language is rich with expressions that have counterparts from other languages. Bahala na means “Leave things to chance” or if you want, that old ditty, “Que sera sera (what will be, will be). “Walang personalan, trabaho lang” was the late Rudy Fernandez’ take from the movie, “New Jack City”, where, if I remember it correctly, Judd Nelson quipped, “This ain’t business, this is personal.” We Filipinos are in fact so good at using other languages to bring even more colour to our own as each sentence won’t be complete with a sprinkling of a foreign tongue. Dedma ka naman e. Punta tayo sa mall. Text mo na lang ako. Don’t even get me started with d txting phenom. likewise shows how we have done this so creatively with a slew of slang and street language borne from English, Chinese and what-have-you. Words like echosera, abla, skwating, epalots, pipich, jawlo, jowp, windwalk, paput, oning, bernie, suneyo, awts, imo, kimchu, flopsina, and so much more. Another reason not to fear a Filipino language death lies in the Filipino culture itself. The intrinsic quality of Filipinos being family-oriented,

And so here we go thanking yet again, the OF factor for ensuring that Filipino will live well into next millennia or so. An Arab News report by Gloria Esguerra Melencio states Filipino linguists claim that Filipino will not be extinct in the coming decades as it keeps evolving inside and outside the Philippines especially because of OFs. Another UP Professor, Dr. Ligaya Tiamzon-Rubin, claims that “We were not colonized culturally in a sense. We intelligently and skilfully incorporated the Filipino faith into the colonizer’s religion,” which is what happened to Filipino as well. “Ours is not a bastardized language but a language that insists on living.” UP Professor and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Michael Tan puts it, “Courtesy of the many Filipina yayas caring for the children of the world, someday we just might hear a British Prime Minister ordering Parliament to come to ‘votation’ - but only after very properly offering a 10-minute break for people to go to the ‘See Ah.’” And of course, that Prime Minister would most probably have Filipino roots to boot. Impossible? Hello… Obama! Yes master! My pathetic, popped nerves and veins, swollen legs and butt after my initiation was all for naught, loser me. But, it’s rewarding to note how ironic and interesting it is that the language diversity of the Filipino which at times blamed as a cause of our divisiveness may someday lead us to rule the world.


Pinoy Entrepreneur

Sol Jaraula

Ideal Vision Sign Advertising LLC Dubai

Please describe your business. I have an advertising company where we offer above and below-the-line services – from the design and fabrication of exhibition stands, indoor and outdoor signs, to managing events, outdoor media, graphic design, interior design, digital printing, corporate gift items, web designing, and etc. Why did you establish your own business? Can you tell us when and how you started? I came to Dubai in July 2004 and started my business in November 2006. I have always loved this field since, back in Philippines, I was a graphic designer for almost 12 years. Before I put up this business, I was doing freelance graphic and interior designing for different companies and I saw the big potential in this field. What was your start-up capital and your basic operations set-up? My start -up capital was around AED75,000. I shared a warehouse with my sponsor, where I set up our office. I had four sales and marketing staff, myself as a designer, as well as six fabricators. Our office is located in Deira behind the Mercedez Benz showroom.

was able to get my first project with Grand Stores for their Dubai Duty Free and Abu Dhabi Marina Mall projects and with dedication and high quality output, we gained the confidence and trust of our succeeding clients even up to this day. Where are you now? How far have you gone? What are the landmarks in your business so far? My company, Ideal Vision Sign Advertising LLC, is now known in the market as one of the trusted companies with the high quality services that we offer to all of our clients. We have already built-up a good client base, both locally and. Hopefully, in six months we will be able to open a branch office in Abu Dhabi and in the Philippines. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an entrepreneur? First being an entrepreneur, I’m the one handling my time and schedule. On the financial aspects, there is the opportunity for unlimited gain and profit. On the other hand, I need to take all the responsibilities for all situations concerning my business - be it positive or negative. Would you encourage other Pinoys to be entrepreneurs?

What obstacles did you encounter? I encountered difficulties in promoting my company at first, since there are hundreds of advertising companies already existing in the Dubai market. Fortunately, I

Yes why not! If they have the guts, the talent and resources they are free to do so. Even if you don’t have a big capital, you can do it. It all depends on how you handle it. Be strong PINOY!


Earning from E-Load By Bernadette Reyes

Eva Balentoza runs a small sari-sari store in Cavite but aside from the usual tsitseria, sodas, candies and cigarette stacked on the shelves, she sells an electronic commodity for which she never runs out of stock. “Pakiramdam ko lalong lumakas yung kita ko simula nung nagbenta ako ng load. Dito na kase tumatambay yung mga estudyante. Pati mga tricycle driver, dito na nagpapa-load,” Eva said.


va is just one of the many individuals who are taking advantage of the Filipinos’ penchant for texting. Perhaps it is the Pinoy’s voracity for sending SMS that paved the way for the sachet marketing of load. On the other hand, the uninterrupted exchange of text messages between family members, friends and colleagues spelled the need for e-load to provide immediate replenishment of airtime credit. The Philippines currently has three major wireless telecommunication providers namely Globe Telecoms, Smart Communications and Sun Cellular all of which are engaged in sub-dealership of their respective airtime credit or e-load. All three offer various e-load retailing and distribution schemes. You may want to carry only one brand or all but if you have enough capital to earmark, it may well be wise to get

all three brands to earn more profit as you will be able to tap a larger clientele. There are two types of resellership namely: retailing and distribution. Depending on your capacity and resources you may want to engage in the business as a retailer which is suited for entrepreneurial individuals who want to earn income even at the comforts of their own home. If you already have an existing retail business such as a mini-grocery or convenience store, becoming a distributor is the best way to go. You may buy your retailer SIM card directly from Globe Business Center, Smart Wireless Center or Sun Shop or from authorized distributors. You will also replenish your airtime load from these outlets so find the most convenient location for you as you will visit it once in a while. Depending on the network provider, the price of the retail SIM card may vary but it usually cost no more than PHP400 which may or


may not include initial e-load inventory. However you will need to buy credit stock, usually PHP1000 to be able to start selling e-load in bulk. The more stock you have, the more income you get. Ask your distributor to teach you how to sell load, how to check your remaining balance, your profit per transaction and what number to call for help or if you have further questions. You don’t have to have a smartphone to start selling e-load. Almost all mobile phone brands and models that were manufactured at the outset of the year 2000 onwards would probably be able to “read” the special retailer SIM card which means you can put to good use your old Nokia 3210 and its contemporaries that are now collecting dust in your household. The standard profit margin is around 13 percent for every transaction. If you prefer to purchase airtime load from independent distributors, profit margin will likely be smaller at around five to 10 percent but you can enjoy the convenience of being able to sell different brands of e-load and prepaid products with just one SIM card. They not only have cellphone prepaid credits but other products as well, such as internet gaming cards. Sure this numbers may appear small but consider the volume of business turnover especially if you are able to market your product well. Eva earns about PHP500 net income per day from selling eload alone which translates to about PHP15,000 in a month. Distributors are expected to earn more given the amount of each transaction. The rule of the game is to attract as much customers as possible regardless of the airtime load amount they buy. You can begin with word-of-mouth advertising. “Sabihin nyo sa mga kamag-anak, kaibigan at mga officemates nyo na nagbebentta kayo ng load. Yung kapatid ko na nagbebenta ng load sa office, malakas kumita kase sa kanya nagpapa-load mga officemates galing sa ibang department,” Eva said. If you already have an existing business and you would like to sell e-load as auxiliary business, the distributors give away marketing materials for free. Ahyvie Ortega, an OF in Oman, was encouraged by a friend in Manila to augment her income by selling e-load through the Internet. With the use of her laptop, she is able to reload airtime to any prepaid number of Globe, Smart or Sun from anywhere in the world. All the buyer has to do is nominate the mobile number of the intended recipient of the e-load. Ahyvie is just new in the business but she plans to sell Call and Text Cards once she is able to establish her business on solid grounds. “The e-load business is promising especially if you know a lot of

OFs from your area, they will YM or text you for load. I’m earning from my regular job, I get additional income from selling load,” she said. While this business opportunity presents a huge potential to earn additional income, beware of scams and be prudent when choosing a distributor. Some fly-by-night operators might take advantage of your ignorance. Others might be authorized distributors but have weak technical and after-sales support systems. “One time I had my e-load replenished from a distributor but I didn’t ask for a receipt. I waited for several hours for the load to be credited to my account but it never came. I went back to the distributor but they won’t assist me because I have no proof of purchase,” Eva said. With the country’s combined prepaid subscriber base of over 30 Million, the potential of e-load business is just as extensive. All it takes is a little capital and a lot of business sense to make it happen. “My husband and I skipped several movie dates to be able to start the e-load business. I didn’t mind because with the additional money we are getting from this business now, we can enjoy more movie dates together,” Ahyvie said.


New Year, New Life By Francisco Colayco

Let me greet you all a Joyful, Peaceful, Healthy and Prosperous 2010! It is time to take stock and change or reform ourselves for the better. Nobody is perfect and spiritual and inspirational articles abound to lift up our lives. What I noticed though is that we tend to compartmentalize our lives. In particular, our financial lives are considered by most as separate from their spiritual and intellectual activities. The fact is that all of these are intertwined. Since I have focused my advocacy on teaching personal financial management, I frequently interpret these inspirational principles in the light of our financial lives.


orrowed from Mac Anderson’s “The Nature of Success”, Mr. Anderson talks about a lesson he learned from a friend’s grandmother. Mac was having such a rough week and his friend shared with him what his grandmother told him to always remember: ‘Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.’” Mac took the line to heart and took out a piece of paper and listed all the things he had to do in the next three days. As he finished each task, he crossed it out from the list. Three days later, he crossed out the last task left on the list. He felt great! As Mac explains, “Success doesn’t come

cascading like Niagara Falls; it comes one drop at a time through short-term, realistic goals. If you believe you can do something (the goals are realistic), you’re likely to be highly motivated. If, however, you think you can’t (because the goals are unrealistic) your motivation level falls greatly…” The same principle applies in each one’s personal financial life. I keep emphasizing the same principle as explained in “Making Your Money Work.” The quickest way to get rich quick is to get rich slow. Unfortunately, more people prefer to get rich the easy way and as fast as possible. They want to enjoy the money they believe they will be getting very quickly. This is why scams continue to proliferate and fool so many people.

Scams give promises of bigger than normal income every month or even everyday, in some cases. It is so easy to want to believe when the first thought that should come to mind is if the promise is even realistic. If it is not, then why even be motivated to believe in it. This is when the next part of the scam comes in. They give the names of people who have already invested and are already receiving the returns. When you check with these people if the claim is true and they so confirm, the inevitable follows. You end up investing and sad to say, the “Get Rick Quick” becomes “Lose Everything.” In some cases, at the start, the money does come in as expected. As the money comes in though, it is almost automatic that the money is spent in frivolous ‘wants.’ After all, more money is expected to come in regularly so why not enjoy. Some scams last for years and at the end of it all, the scammer tells the investor that the investor got his money back

MONEY KABUHAYAN 35 anyway through the regular interest paid. That is true but it has all been spent. At the end, the Investment is all gone and even the ‘wants’ purchased are no longer important. In a real investment with realistic longterm goals, the returns come in, reinvested (compounding principle) and kept intact. At the end of the period, both the investment and the earnings are kept safe. Now, while you are doing the foregoing, remember what author Swami Avadhutananda says about ‘Two Days We Should Not Worry.’ It is really very important to understand not only for the actual lesson

stated but also for the implications in one’s financial life. It goes this way – “There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone forever. The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with all its possible adversities, its burdens,

its large promise and its poor performance; Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow>s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is yet to be born. This leaves only one day, Today. Any person can fight the battle of just one day. It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities Yesterday and Tomorrow that we break

down. It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad, it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.” This should not be interpreted to mean that we should live day to day without planning for tomorrow. On the contrary, the author simply says that though we cannot change the past, we should and do learn from it. With these lessons, we can plan for our future but act without worrying. Failure should not be feared for it is merely a temporary event. If we are to analyze it, living one day at a time simply means make the most of today. This supports my basic principle that each person should be preparing for his retirement every day. Otherwise, as he grows older, he will precisely be dreading Tomorrow if he did

not prepare. And as he starts worrying that he is not prepared, he will feel all the regret that he did not make use of the time when he was younger. All it takes is an amount set aside daily and invested on a long-term basis without touching the earnings. Even during these difficult times, keep saving 20% of your income. Live within the 80%. Invest your savings regularly in well-managed funds for at least five years. But in doing so, make sure that you set an absolute amount as your goal for specific time periods. This way, you will have a clear basis for determining how much your investments must yield

every year (annual rate of return). This then will be your guide in deciding when to liquefy part or all of your investments in the process of monitoring the progress of your investments. It is easy enough to get into an investment. But the real challenge is knowing when to get out. The typical mistake is to invest with no specific money goal except to maximize growth; to invest based on unreasonable expectations and not on achieving a specific amount for a specific purpose at a certain future date. These investors are able to buy low but end up selling lower because they panic when prices dive unexpectedly. More often than not, they could have sold high but did not, because they assumed that there is still room for additional gain. Visit our websites www.colaycofoundation. com, and www. for a wealth of information to improve your 2010.


Welcoming the New Year with Success By Jeffrey ‘Ximo’ Ramos

Hello sis and bro, bagong taon na naman! Oras na naman ng resolutions, pagbabago, pag iisip ng “kung paano” paano magkakapera, paano liligaya, paano makakabangon sa buhay na aba, paano makikita ang tamang kapareha, paano aasenso, paano makapagbibigay sa kapwa Pilipino, etc... And because it is a New Year, let us start fresh on Success Principles that can guide you in 2010. Define the changes you want to make in life Pagbabago! Sigaw ng Pilipino. Ang tanong pagbabago saan? In our previous article, we have said, that when you ask for something in your life, it must be specific – the amount, the value, the color, the location, you even have to have the “feel” of having that goal. “Change” being one of the desires of our heart must also be clear in our mind to get a clear result. So, when you want change - specify what changes you want to happen in your life this year. “Pagbabago tungo sa matagumpay na Ako!” Personally, you can use this. At, “pagbabago tungo sa matagumpay na Pilipinas! Collectively, we can use this. Then, break them into manageable tasks. Remember that even our intentions must be organized and measurable, kasi sabi nga, “you can not master what you cannot measure.” Categorize the changes into the eight aspects of your success: 1. work/career; 2. finances; 3. recreation and free time; 4. health and fitness; 5. relationships; 6. personal goals; 7. Contribution to a larger community; 8. personal relationship with God, and then do your tasks accordingly.

So, start thinking change towards success, sis and bro, para maganda agad ang direksyon ng bagong taon mo!

Why they want to own a new house? Or why they want to be fit? Why be successful? Why?

Bahay mo, ngayong taong ito

Your answer to that question is a key factor in fulfilling your dream. For dreams are like boats on an open sea sailing through rough currents which are like life’s challenges, and your mission in life is like the anchor that holds you steadfast. So the greater your goal, the stronger your anchor in life should be. Choose a great personal mission.

Gusto mo ng mas concrete na usapan? Isang magandang pagbabago ang Makita mo kung may sarili ka nang bahay or isa muling bagong bahay. Ilagay mo ito sa iyong dream book – sa iyong target- sa iyong personal goals. Dapat sarili – hindi inuupahan. – i-focus na ang kita, lakas at pag iipon. Paano? First, ask why you need to own a house? (This is discussed in the next topic.) Second, look for your dream house no matter how expensive it is; then look for a house closely resembling your dream house – one that you can afford. Look around or better yet, go house-hunting. Meet up with some real estate agents. Then, ask for a quotation and see if it fits your budget or income. When you’ve finally decided, check again the property, the agent and the company. This is a life long investment, so make sure about what you’re investing on. Make sure all the agreements mentioned in the contract are fulfilled. Anchor your dreams on your personal mission I always ask people why they want to be rich.

Tulad ng isang nakausap ko, ang sabi niya kaya niya gustong maging milyonaryo ay para magkaroon siya ng isang magarang auto, etc. Materialism is not a lasting motivation. It fades. Maya-maya, tamad ka na sa pagpupursige! Oo nga pala, bakit mo gustong magkaroon ng sariling bahay? Can I give you some answers given during our seminar: 1. iba ang sa iyo kaysa hiram – kaya mong gawin ang kahit na ano dito; 2. the value of real estate appreciates compared to other investments; 3. ito ay maisasalin o maipapamana mo sa iyong angkan; at 4. alam mo ba na isa itong requirement if you want to become a millionaire? Sa statistics, nauubos ang ipon sa kaka-renta lang at dahil dito ang yumayaman yung landlord mo at ikaw na nangungupahan ay humihirap.

SUCCESS PRINCIPLES SUCCESSFUL PINOY 37 Values strengthen your personal mission ‘Jeff, bakit iyong kapitbahay namin, ang salbahe, pero kita mo naman na asenso ang buhay?’ I need to stress on this. Everyone can be great because we are given the freedom to be successful – so, you can either be a “bad great man” or a “good great person.” It is your choice. Successful Pinoy Ako sees true success in being a great good person. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that you should be a saint but neither a brute – you are a man! You should be a well-rounded man. Your motivation may still come from emotions like anger, revenge, desire, etc. Those are natural. It is true that you can use these to propel yourself faster to your goals. But be warned. You must have a clear direction and control. Here is where values come in. It will be your compass and gauge. With these, you will ask yourself: Is my anger causing me to lose control? Is my desire causing me to sin? Is my drive to achieve alienating me from the people who care for me? Kaya magbalik aral sa kabutihang asal para maging gabay sa iyong tagumpay. One o’clock na…Successful Pinoy prayer time na! Mahirap mag-isa sa pagharap sa iyong inaasam na tagumpay lalo na sa mga oras ng pagsubok. Kaya oras na rin upang magdagdag ng isang success principle sa iyong buhay. Involve yourself in a collective mission by adding this to your personal mission: Every 1PM (Manila time) we will all pray for one collective mission – the protection and success of each Filipinos and blessing to the Philippines! There is power in prayer especially if it is done together. Kaya ang personal mong misyon ating ipapanalangin kasama na rin itong ating collective mission na global na rin! You can email us at to receive reminders for this one o’clock na.. Successful Pinoy prayer time. This year, learn as well to pronounce blessings to others. Ang iba na co-conscious sa pagsasabi ng ‘mabubuting salita’ pero kapag kalokohan at kabalastugan proud na proud pa na pinangangalandakan. Misplaced yata ang pagiging shy ng iba. Napansin mo ba na masagana ang mga kapatid natin sa UAE? “Assalam Alaykum,” ito ang maririnig mo sa kanilang una at huling batian. Merong ding benefit iyan. Lagi nating sinasabi na ang kabutihan dapat ipakita sa sa

gawa. I agree with that. Pero tandaan din natin na mayroon ding kapangyarihan ang spoken word. Focusing in empowering one another with good words, we can attract goodness, progress and success if we verbalize blessings rather than vexing. Kaya sis and bro i-set na ang mind mo, at i-set na ang time mo. Sama-sama tayo na sumalubong sa masaganang bagong taon!


Changing our mindset about wealth By : Bo Sanchez

When I was told that this issue is about Pinoy Innovation, I quickly got my book, 8 Secrets of the Truly Rich. If I may say so, the book is a Pinoy innovation presenting a new view about wealth for Pinoys. I tackled the issue right away in the preface of the book:


This Book Is About Changing Your Inner Software believe we Filipinos have been programmed to be poor. Especially Filipinos with crazy religious beliefs. For over 25 years, I’ve been working among the poor, living in their homes, and helping them get out of poverty. I’ve found out that no matter how much money they receive, unless they change their inner program, nothing happens. They will remain poor forever.

Friend, do you have a money problem? People are not poor because they have no money. That’s merely the result, not the cause of poverty. We’re poor because of a lethal combination of three giant monsters of poverty. First, we really don’t want to be rich. As shocking as this may sound, it’s true. Externally, we seem to want to be rich, but internally, we’re deeply conflicted in our unconscious desires. Second, we are financially stupid. (To put it mildly.) We don’t know how money works. And we don’t know how money grows. Third, we insist on walking, not riding vehicles towards wealth. Even if there are hundreds — no thousands — of vehicles around us. In the pages of this book, I will explain what these vehicles are. Friend, do you want to gain material wealth and spiritual wealth at the same time? Then read this book as, I promise you that you can solve your mind problems — which can lead to you solving your money problems. Money is not my definition of wealth, but it sure comes in handy

For example, every weekly romantic date I have with my wife requires money. And so do my dates with my kids, and my dates with my 83-year old Mom. My wealth is my relationships. Not money. But I can’t deny that money helps me in my relationships. Once upon a time, I was poor. But in the past 10 years, I’ve grown my financial wealth including a small business, real estate, and learned to work the stock market and other paper assets. From being a poor missionary, I now enjoy 16 streams of income flowing into my life. Yes, I used to be one Pinoy who hardly had money, because I thought being wealthy is not the way to live a wholesome life. But I have changed my mindset about being wealthy. I realized I cannot help the poor if I myself am poor. Now I am the new Pinoy who isn’t afraid to be rich and who is brave enough to use that wealth to uplift my fellow Pinoys. Do you embrace change? One day, a guy calls up his Boss at home, but gets the bosses’ wife instead. She said, “I’m sorry, but he died last week.”The next day, the man calls up again and asks for his boss. She said, “I told you, he died last week.” The third day, the guy calls up again and asks for his boss. The wife was mad and shouted, “Don’t you understand? I already told you twice — my husband, your boss, died last week! Why do you keep on calling?” The guy laughed and said, “Because I just love hearing it…” Many people are stuck but they wait for things to change on their own. Don’t wait for the boss to die on you — whatever “boss” means to you. If you want your life to change, then you have to change.

SPIRITUALITY SUCCESSFUL PINOY 39 Today, I want to share fascinating stories to you. This is a story emailed to me by friends about 273+ times already. I’m sure you have heard of this charming parable. If you know this tale, skip it, and read my luminous analysis after the story. If you haven’t read it yet, then enjoy. Here it goes… The Businessman and The Fisherman One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish. About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman to the fisherman, “you should be working rather than lying on the beach!” The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?” Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer. “And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling. The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat which will then result in larger catches of fish!” “And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again. The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat and hire some people to work for you!” he said. “And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman. The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!” Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?” The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!” The fisherman, still smiling, simply looked up, nodded and said: “And what do you think I am doing now?” The greatest joy of life Lovely story, right? I believe the biggest question of life isn’t “Who had the most fun?” The biggest question of life is “Who loved the most?” Being content with where you are is fantastic. But growth, if required by love, is fantastic too. At the end of the day, contentment and growth are important, but not the most important values. Love is! Be content and desire growth, at the same time? This is absurd. But this tension in fact is one of the secrets to extreme happiness. You must learn to be content with what you have, and say “Thank You” often, and take time to celebrate. Yet at the next breath, desire for better things, strive for higher summits, and embrace change. How is that possible? Love is the answer. What Is Your Path? So what is your dream of love? Like the Stream, you too have three choices – Choice number 1: Play small One day, a woman came up to me complaining about her husband. “He’s not had a job for the past six years. I’m earning for the family,”

she said. “What is he doing at home?” I asked. “Praying and reading the Bible and reading your books!” For a moment, I wondered if I indeed wrote about it! He then said something profound. “You see Bo, I’m now at this stage in my life where I’d rather be poor and close to God than be rich and far from God.” For him, life was black and white. If you’re poor, you’re close to God. If you’re rich, you’re far from God. It never occurred to him that it’s possible to be rich and close to God. Choice number 2: Dream big but remain unchanged There are two types of innovations. Sustaining Innovations and Disrupting Innovations. Let’s say you own a skateboard. Perhaps you transform the material to high-grade flexible plastic or change the wheels to titanium alloy. Perhaps you take skateboarding lessons from the masters of skateboarding. Disrupting Innovations are totally different. Disrupting Innovations means throwing away the skateboard and getting a 3000 cc Harley Davidson motorcycle! That’s difficult. Disrupting Innovating believes that what took you to where you are now may not take you to where you want to go. Because Big Dreams require that you embrace Big Changes —another word for Disrupting Innovations. That leads us to the third choice…’ Choice number 3: Dream big and embrace big changes I’ve noticed that people who can embrace big changes are those who know who they are apart from their job titles, positions, reputations, and labels. They know the difference between essence and form. My spiritual family is going through a Disrupting Innovation now. As we celebrate our 30th anniversary this year, we’re throwing away the skateboard and building ourselves not a motorcycle but a spaceship! Because of our dream of reaching 100,000 people by 2020, we’re now overhauling our structure, our meetings, our styles- almost everything we cherished and held dear to us. Nothing is untouchable. It’s unbelievably chaotic! Like a storm passing through us. But I’m so happy that most of our members are going through the chaos with peace. Because they know their essence: they’re people who love God and love others. That will never change. Hey, It’s Your Turn! Look at your life now – Out of these three choices, what choice have you taken? If you can change anything in your life to reach your dream, what will it be? Are there Disrupting Innovations you’ve been putting aside? Believe me. Your answers to these questions will determine your destiny.

40 PINOY PRO Celebrating the Professional Pinoy Joel Monarca Nedamo Health & Safety Advisor Dubai World Trade Center

Joel Monarca Nedamo works as a Health and Safety Advisor for the region’s commercial hub and exhibition industry forerunner - the Dubai World Trade Center. As a safety professional, Joel overlooks all health and safety aspects within the extensive DWTC complex. A self-made professional Joel rose from the ranks, starting his career in contracting in the Philippines through to Kuwait, Taiwan and Singapore, then Abu Dhabi, and now Dubai. Joel is a graduate of the Mapua Institute of Technology with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is also a Nebosh International General Certificate and Nebosh Invigilator by TWI License holder, as well as an approved IOSH Managing Safely trainer. Presently, he is studying for his Nebosh International Diploma. Active in the Filipino Community, Joel is also the President of the Safety Practitioners Organization, a recognized member of Build Safe UAE, which helps Filipino safety professionals improve their skills, and enhance their capabilities for future career advancement, through trainings and seminars. When not working Joel likes to spend time with his wife and five kids and enjoys bowling, jogging and fishing.

Engr. Florencio ‘Jun’ Villarico Jr. Regional Manager, Middle East & Africa Zest-O Middle East Corporation Jun has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and an MBA from the Philippine Christian University Graduate School, where he is also currently pursuing a PHD. Before moving to Dubai, where he is now a resident for the last 11 years, Jun worked as the Regional Manager for Unilever RFM Ice Cream, Inc. In the emirates, Jun was connected with the Arab Beverage Establishment for eight years, holding the position of Brand Manager for Capri-Sun, a leading international brand of fruit drinks for kids. Zesto’s owner Alfredo Yao met Jun in 2007 and promptly offered him the job of managing and marketing the Filipino juice brand , Zest-O in the Middle East and African region.

A spiritual individual who loves challenges and firmly believes that success can be achieved through hard work, Jun’s hopes to create tremendous employment opportunities for kababayans back home and help the country’s economy by making Zest-O’s global operations a success.

Abby ‘Puch’ Sanchez Project Engineer DEPA Interiors LLC Puch Sanchez is one of those professionals who had the rare privilege of being part of a worldrenowned prestigious project that is the Burj Khalifa. As Project Engineer for an interior fit-out company, DEPA Interiors LLC, her key responsibility covers the public areas of the tower’s 89 floors – from level 19 to 107. Coming from a rare breed indeed, Puch who is a graduate of the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID) was previously an entrepreneur who established her own business in the Philippines at the age of 21, with the support of her mother and mentor, who got her started in the field with a two meter steel tape at the age of 12. Her venture, which was initially solely interior design, grew to include construction after two years, as well as furniture manufacturing and refurbishing commercial and residential spaces thereafter. She ran her business for seven years seven years, until life abroad beckoned in 2005. Puch started in the emirates with a Sales and Design job, until the challenging assignment to be part of the team that would work on the world’s tallest building came along. She feels grateful to be part of the landmark project, and proud to be one of the thousands of Filipinos working with different nationalities to finish the iconic structure.

Mila Collado Media Manager - Mediavest Starcom Mediavest Group

Having moved to Jakarta, Indonesia before she could walk, Mila grew up as a “third-culture kid.” She rediscovered her roots upon returning to the Philippines to attend the Ateneo De Manila University graduating with honors in BS Management. She was employed in Starcom Mediavest, a multinational media agency under the Publicis Groupe umbrella, as part of the P&G Planning team here she managed major hair care, fragrance and cosmetic brands for the FMCG giant working closely with regional markets. Getting the urge to broaden her horizons, Mila moved to the Starcom Mediavest office in Dubai to handle the regional Mars account. She is currently managing the portfolio of the biggest chocolate brand in the region, Galaxy, and bringing up Mars’ developing categories. Since moving to Dubai, Mila has already won multiple media and marketing awards in the region and has recently bagged a Bronze award at the Cannes Media Lions for her work with Galaxy.


Mylene Escano-De Guzman Head of Sports Programming Abu Dhabi Media Company Mylene Escano–De Guzman oversees production, acquisition and scheduling of all programming and the transmission of commercial content for sports channels throughout the Middle East and Europe for the Abu Dhabi TV. She has been instrumental in the latest acquisition of broadcasting rights for the US Tennis, Australian Tennis, Wimbledon, F1 and the English Premier League. Mylene has 14 years of relevant professional experience which began at Alta Productions Incorporated (a GMA 7 subsidiary) in Manila, where she started as a Production Accounts Assistant. Mylene moved to Dubai in 1997 and became part of the emirate’s emerging media industry joining Dubai Sports Channel (a.k.a Dubai Media Incorporated), initially handling the acquisition for sports channels, thereafter promoted to Media Rights Manager. In 2002, she joined Dubai Media City-based Ten Sports, a leading sports provider for cable TV operators in the Middle East, South East Asia and North America as Senior Manager for Programming, overseeing eight sports channels beamed in all three mentioned continents. Mylene’s job has brought her to various international sporting markets and facilitated her establishment of high-level relationships with international content distributors worldwide and media companies across the MENA region. A proud mother of two, Mylene is married to Richard, bass player with a popular Dubai-based band, and attributes her success to determination and support from her loving family.

Jonathan Cabrera Corridor-in-Charge for the Philippines Dubai Region UAE Exchange Center

Jonathan has 13 years of experience in the field of marketing and started his career with the emirates’ leading exchange center UAE Exchange in 2006, in operations. He was eventually promoted in 2007 to Corridorin-Charge (CIC) for the Philippines taking care of Business Development for the Dubai Region. Jonathan is a graduate of Bachelor of Science major in Computer Science from the University of San Jose Recoletos in Cebu. He also has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the South Western University and has worked at the local government office in Cebu City, specifically with the Mayors’ Office Revenue Team, City Treasurers’ Office Revenue Task Force and the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

With his current job as CIC, Jonathan says he enjoys working with Filipino organizations and groups in the emirates and having particular involvement in sports, social gatherings, events and charitable projects.


Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa:

Filipina Warrior By Lalaine Chu-Benitez

She is without a doubt nationalistic: her Filipino designed clothes made of Philippine fabric, tell only of a small part of her enormous national pride. She is spiritual and fun loving and has an unexpectedly casual air about her that’s uncommon for a person in her position. She hugs, is easily moved and amazingly breaks into song and dance in expression of her spiritual and patriotic fervor. But make no mistake; the seemingly relaxed and informal lady is as resolute as a bull and tough as nails. After all, her previous achievements involving the high-profile Sarah Balabagan case and the evacuation of Filipinos from Iraq, not to mention bagging a Lingkod Bayan (Public Servant) Award, is no small feat. Meet Grace Relucio-Princesa, the new Philippine Ambassador to the UAE - career diplomat, doting mother of five, servant leader, Filipina warrior. Of fire and ice I sat with the Ambassador at a quiet corner of the Emirates Tower’s 50th floor overlooking cosmopolitan Sheikh Zayed Road; listening to her story as she sipped cream of artichoke soup deftly using her left hand. “I have a natural curiosity about what life is all about, she says, explaining how she makes an effort to manage left-handed activities. There, in the rarefied executive atmosphere of Vu’s, clad in her proudly-Filipino made shirt embellished with ethnic faces, she exuded ease and genuine warmth, not to mention a distinct sense of humor; the same persona I had seen in the several times we have met. Save for that instance when, at a community gathering, she tactfully but very firmly refused to start her speech until everybody in the room (caught by surprise and embarrassment), simmered down and gave her their full attention – offering a glimpse of her strict side that valued discipline, the same side which advocated, “Filipino time is on time. Tardiness is a form of violence.” Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa is the first female Philippine Ambassador to the UAE. Having spent over two decades in the Philippine Foreign Service, she had previous postings in Chicago, Cairo, Geneva and Baghdad. She comes back to Abu Dhabi after 13 years. Then, she worked as Consul under the leadership of former Ambassador Roy Seneres, at which time she attended to the high profile Sarah Balabagan case. In Baghdad, as Chargé D’Affaires and Consul General in 2003, she had the unnerving responsibility of evacuating some 150 Filipinos from the country just two days before US Allied Forces started bombing the city. As an exceptionally approachable government official, I asked the Ambassador if there was another harder-edged side to her - between the fun-loving lady who loves to sing, dance and hug,

versus the resilient diplomat who has gone through quite a number of tough situations in her career in the service. She smiled at me and said, “There should be no dichotomy to who you are. If you know yourself, there should be no need to project something else.” She then proceeds to explain, “I am an ambassador for Christ and country; a servant-leader and handmaid of God. But I am also strict. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I walk my talk,” she said as a matter-of-fact. And the lady does mean business. Since she has formally assumed office in October 2009, the Ambassador has been engaged in a flurry of activities from her diplomatic duties to speaking to community leaders, and doing the rounds meeting Filipino groups and organizations. She has also recently visited Al Watba prison, where she sang and hugged kababayan inmates. Getting on with business Her main responsibility in the emirates is to uphold the three pillars of the Philippines’ foreign policy – national security, economic diplomacy, and the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare and interests of Filipinos overseas. During her stint here, the Ambassador plans on further strengthening diplomatic relations between the UAE and the Philippines and promoting Philippine trade and investment. Furthermore, the Ambassador will also be launching her own initiatives which are not only slated to promote the Philippines and the interest of Filipinos, but also to contribute towards the long term improvement of our country’s migration issues.



Lists to remember Striving to ‘infect’ the community with a more progressive attitude, the Ambassador has also started promoting her advocacies underlining emphatically the importance of national pride and discipline. During her animated and impassioned speeches in gatherings and events, the Ambassador has been zealously driving her message with her list of notable ‘Filipino things.’ For which, she enthuses, “I will keep repeating this until we learn it and it comes out of our ears.” According to the Ambassador, there are “Five Things the Philippines can be proud of” – our sense of God, our rich natural resources, democracy and gender sensitivity. She then adds that the Filipino people are known the world over because of “The Three Fs” – faith, family and friendship. “We believe in God. We love our families, and we are known to be fun-loving and friendly people.” “But,” she counters, “’we often forget that we are ‘maharlika.’ Lahat tayo, ang dugo natin ay pula. We have to remember how rich we are, how royal we are. Dapat tayong magmalaki. Pacquiao is not the only one who is world class,” she asserts. “However,” she says emphatically, “We need get our act together. Starting with our choice of leaders, because we need to look for ‘Three Things’ from the people who lead us – they should be makadiyos, makatao at matino.” She ends her speeches by launching into the ‘Two Songs” she says each Filipino has to learn to sing – “Sino Ako” a spiritual number to remind us that our lives are just borrowed from the Creator, and “Ako ay Pilipino,” the patriotic anthem popularized by Kuh Ledesma that speaks of the richness of Filipino culture. Among her many plans is to transform the Ambassador’s residence into the “Maharlika House” – a showcase for world-class proudly Philippine made furniture and products, promoting the best from our country and encouraging kababayans to “Buy Filipino.” She is also putting together a financial literacy campaign aimed at educating the community through a series of workshops on how to manage and improve finances for the future. But perhaps the most ambitious of her initiatives is one that is close to her heart as a mother of five, and a diplomat who has been privy to the issues of OFs in the area over the years. She will be espousing “Filipinos Para sa Asenso ng Baryo atbp” – an endeavor encouraging locally-based Pinoys to help set-up livelihood projects in their respective hometowns to provide work and earning opportunities for our kababayans, particularly underprivileged women. “There is a care gap because a lot of our women have to work abroad out of necessity. There is a psycho-social cost to this migration which affects families and children in particular. If our families are weakened it’s not good for the country,” says the Ambassador. “Filipinos Para sa Asenso ng Baryo atbp,” she hopes, will ease the pressure on women to migrate out of need by spurring economic opportunity and eventually, development in the Philippine countryside.

In the din of thunderous applause, between Filipinos who were moved by the speech, those in enthusiastic agreement with the ideas put forward, and those who were a bit disoriented and didn’t know what to make of the uncommon approach they witnessed at that moment – one thing was certain, there is a new type of leadership in town; one that does not hesitate to foster a unique intimacy with the community, and one too that does not waver when it comes to telling it like it is and to getting on with what has to be done. It reminds one of the unique talent of the Filipina – the gift of having the soft touch to be nurturing, welcoming and alluring, coupled with the guts to be fierce, resolute and decisive in the face of obligations and ambitions; the multifaceted persona that puts mother, wife, sister, daughter and warrior woman in the same breath. Indeed, there is no dichotomy there. “This [job] is a gift, a blessing and also a challenge. I am here to wash the feet of other people. Yung position na ito - ginagamit sa pagsisilbi at pagmamahal,” the Ambassador tells me, looking out into the panoramic 50th floor view, as restaurant staff shuffled quietly about preparing to close Vu’s, signaling that our interview has come to an end. She says thoughtfully, “I believe there was a reason why I was in Iraq and now here in the UAE.”


Liali’s DSF and Valentine’s Offerings This Valentine’s Day Liali Jewelry will be arranging to deliver a beautiful bouquet of red roses free of charge, to one’s beloved for purchases of over AED5,000. Liali offers great deals to celebrate the Dubai Shopping Festival period from January 28th and ends on February 28th. As Valentine’s Day falls during the month of DSF, jewelry lovers have a double reason to celebrate. There is a choice of jewellery from Liali for every budget – from special heart pendants starting from AED999, to Liali’s 1010 collection with pieces for AED1010 and US$1010. The new “HAPPY AED2010” collection, offers a wide choice of pieces for just AED2010 and of course, Liali’s full circle diamond set including the chain, pendant, earrings and ring is offered at AED10,000. For purchases for jewelry from AED2,000 to AED5,000 shoppers will receive a free Valentine’s Day hamper containing goodies for your valentine celebration, while for every AED1,000 – AED2,000 purchase shopper’s take home a cute and cuddly teddy bear for free. The promotion is also supported with the Easy Payment Plan from various banks.

Pure Gold Jewelers offers Lovely Heart Pendant

Giordano adopts new approach, Explores growth opportunities in niche markets International retailer Giordano adopts a new approach to the apparel world, re-evaluating product lines and focusing on the essentials. While business continues to grow at a steady rate and expansion plans continue, Giordano’s essentials product line, Giordano Junior and BSX presents strong growth opportunities. During November, the Group experienced double digit growth across all brands; a clear indication that key markets are demonstrating signs of recovery. “The growth in these brands reflects consumer preference towards segmented clothing brands that cater to specific needs. The retail world has seen dramatic changes with consumer patterns changing rapidly. In times like this, a corporation needs to evaluate its stance, incorporating lessons learnt and investigating new business possibilities,” said Ishwar Chugani, Executive Director, Giordano Fashions LLC. “Our new essentials range is a renewal of our strongest assets, our understanding of function and form, a selling point to customers who look for durability and quality.” Renowned for their quality, both in their products and services, Giordano’s 2009 strategy has helped them focus on the values that have served the brand well - Quality, Knowledge, Innovation, Service and Simplicity. Earlier this year, Giordano was awarded Best Service Performance Brand by the Department of Economic Development in Dubai as part of the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme. Chugani also commented that despite the market, Giordano’s expansion plans in the Middle East are still moving onward. Having opened 21 stores during the year, the company’s presence in India continues to grow stronger adding seven stores and three shop-in-shops this year and a further five stores in the pipeline. The company also opened two more stores in Armenia and one more in Tbilisi, Georgia and plans are currently being finalized to open stores in Syria, Libya, Tunisia and Iraq. With a global presence of 2000 stores, Giordano has grown into one of the leading retailers in casual apparel.

Selecting a Valentine’s gift that is romantic, unique and symbolizes your undying love is now easy with the launch of a new heart pendant from award-winning jewelry retailer Pure Gold Jewelers. For a Valentine’s Day gift, Pure Gold Jewelers is offering a heart pendant accented with glittering 25 cents diamonds set in yellow gold for only AED899. Available in 18k yellow gold, the unique heart pendant is designed with another heart pendant dangling through the heart’s open center. It comes with a free 18k gold chain. “A Valentine’s Day gift that is romantic, unique and really conveys the depth of your love is not always easy to find. In order to be different you have to look for a gift that will truly express your love to your Valentine. We are offering this unique heart pendant that has another heart pendant in the center symbolizing two hearts and one soul, a perfect gift on Valentine’s Day,” said Karim Merchant, Pure Gold Jewelers Managing Director and CEO. The heart pendant which is the latest addition to Pure Gold Jewelers diamond jewelry collection is now available at all outlets across the GCC. Pure Gold Jewelers is an award winning customer service jewelry retailer. It is now one of the fastest growing jewelry houses in the UAE, with 75 outlets across GCC. It has received prestigious recognitions for its customer service from the Dubai Department of Economic Development and the Dubai Gold and Jewelry Group.


Alien Invasion March into the new decade with fearless sartorial savvy that defies norms and the usual forms, expanding your fashion horizons with limitless de-structured and asymmetrical pieces and bondage wear built to set you free. Photography : Glenn Peter Perez and Filbert Kung - Blackfox Photography Styling : Mike de Guzman and George Palmiano - MGP Make-up : Paolo Maranan - Paul & Joe Hair : John Valle Model : Ria Bolivar


Structural gray ribbed ‘alien’ top by Dimple Lim; black mesh tank top used as inner by George Palmiano; black satin long gloves from Terranova; black liquid ‘eel’ leggings from Topshop; black mesh tube garland used as arm wrap from Carolina’s Lace Shoppe; beige lace-up platforms by Juan of Janylin; black beaded bib necklace c/o Filbert Kung; glass necklace and studded square earrings by George Palmiano


Gray stiff denim strapless dress by Regine Dulay; yellow stockings from Cocco; black lace-up platforms by Juan of Janylin; silver statement ring from Firma; headdress – stylists’ own



Interlaced black and white garter monokini by Estien Quijano; striped black socks from The Landmark Department Store; black lace-up platforms by Juan of Janylin; black cutout earrings by George Palmiano; silver metallic bangles and studded acrylic bangles from SM Department Store


White de-structured dress with pleats and folds by Dimple Lim; long black satin gloves from Terranova; silver chime rod earrings by George Palmiano; black opaque stockings from Cocco; beige laced-up platforms by Juan of Janylin

52 FASHION Baby doll top with polka dots and peasant skirt with liberty print by Jellybean; star-print shawlpink, purple and blue ceramic bangles black opaque stockings, all from Cocco; strappy faux python shoes by Janylin


Brown hunchback jacket by Cheetah Rivera; gray hot pants by Regine Dulay; brown opaque stockings from SM Department Store; polka-dotted socks from Cocco; beige lace-up platforms by Juan of Janylin


Silver-glitter turtleneck top by George Palmiano; purple mini skirt with white piping by Cheetah Rivera; black star-embellished bracelets from SM department store; silver statement ring from Firma; black opaque stocking from Cocco; teal peep-toe boots from Janylin; silver beaded long necklace – stylists’ own


Asymmetrical gray structural top with hot pants by Regine Dulay; black lace leggings from Cocco; crystal chandelier earrings by George Palmiano; black mesh tube garland used as necklace from Carolina’s Lace Shoppe; dark gray knee-high flat boots from Janylin

56 FASHION Black bondage garter dress with metal buckles by Estien Quijano; red stockings from Cocco; black star-embellished bracelets and silver metallic bangles from SM Department store; black lace-up platforms by Juan of Janylin; black lace shoulder armor c/o Filbert Kung; black visor with built-in shades – stylists’ own



Cheetah Rivera +63 917 806 2491 Cocco – SM City North Edsa Annex Dimple Lim – +63 917 574 8381 Estien Quijano – +63 917 324 1010 Firma – Greenbelt 5, Makati George Palmiano – +63 918 451 2772 Janylin – Glorietta 5, Makati Regine Dulay – +63 919 292 6243 SM Department Store – SM Makati, SM Mall of Asia Terranova – SM Mall of Asia The Landmark – Makati Topshop – SM Mall of Asia


Fab Masa

By Butz Fuentes

Despite the economic crunch, budget constraints and endless financial issues, the beginning of a new year is always the best time to ponder on your style sense. A little shopping won’t probably hurt, so indulge and forget the crisis for a while and pamper yourself with some gifts on a stringent budget! Embarking on a quest for bargain chic is a strenuous task, so let me help you go on a fashion splurge without hurting your wallet – with some great finds to jazz up your look in 2010. Updating your wardrobe When was the last time you seriously opened your style armourycum-closet and had an inventory of your clothes? How many jeans do you have? Did you ever check if they still fit? How about your dresses, blouses, shirts, undergarments and accessories? What items need to be removed and must go straight into the pit? Don’ t be too sentimental honey, take those items which you think are outdated and unfit to recycle and ditch them to charity or ship them back home. Give your closet some breathing space for new fashion bargains! Go to a neighborhood ‘costurera’ to alter pieces which you think are too valuable to banish from your wardrobe. Learn basic stitching techniques: add ruffles on the neckline, paste some appliqués to spice up the bodice of your dresses, etc. There are lots of style enhancing ‘do-it-yourself’ items available in the market that will surely liven up your drab apparel, making them look fabulous even for just a moment. Start a detailed and itemized catalog of all your possessions, which items are still considered ‘assets’ rather than ‘overstaying non-useful pieces.’ Replenish! Go shopping go! Style chic for less Smart shopping is the latest trend, without flagrant disregard to the clothes style potential and your self-esteem. Pump up your collection by focusing on valuable pieces, while having total control of your wallet and reining in those ‘plastic’ swipes. But remember, always do it for fun and pleasure. Because what is fashion without the pleasure and shopping without the fun?

individual characteristics and attitude. Borrow your boyfiend’s crisp white shirt, add some bling, a beret or hat maybe, match it with knee length boots and voila!! It’s a new you! There are many wonderful denims at affordable prices in every store and mall. Just keep in mind to select jeans that would look and fit nicely on you. Avoid grandma’s unflattering denims; instead go for slim or regular fit – it’s sexy and has a slimming effect. A pair of blue jeans can be used as casual or elegant attire, and with just the right mix of accessories, it will surely help you shine. High heels remain the secret missing link to every glam and fab outfit. Stilettos, pumps and gladiator shoes create poise and confidence. Take a risk, who knows, every aspiring Romeo might come knocking on your door begging for a dinner date! Christian Louboutin head-turning rocker-chic inspired high heels or Jimmi Choo red carpet shoe replicas incorporated in your wardrobe, would definitely add the ‘wow’ factor. Also, it never hurts to invest in essential items like bags. Totes clutch and shoulder bags or purses, are absolutely an extension of your individual style and personality. A friend of mine once said,“Tell me what your bag is, and I can tell you who you are.” Get a nice leather or canvas bag with a price tag higher than those made in the Far Easter, with a good finish and fine aesthetics. This will not only be a good style statement, but a practical addition to your wardrobe; because really good bags last for ages.

Basic Hunts Looking fab in wallet-friendly designs is possible; many retail outlets offer impressive low budget but trendy clothes with long term customers’ satisfaction. The design techniques are contemporary and the stitching and finishing are commendable. The little black dress is the season’s must have - versatile and a perfect party piece, its sensual qualities are proven to unleash the woman in you. The LBD will always be a style essential. Add a strand of pearl, a brooch or a scarf and it promises an elegant soiree in romantic moods. The best shops to go: Priceless at Maktoum Road in Deira and the Dubai Outlet Mall in Al-Ain Road has lots of famous brands to choose from like YSL, Lanvin and Armani though two or three seasons ago. Still, it’s a good buy. Splash outlets offer a wide range of black dresses with boat necks, halters, strapless style and V-neck in knee-length or maxi crepe and chiffon. H&M and Zara retail outlets have fantastic winter collections in black, gray and cobalt blue. Denim with almost anything is another must have, it reinforces

Improving your style this New Year is a self-esteem booster that will definitely give you a positive aura, promote your individuality and define your image to your friends and officemates. Be aggressive and experimental, mix and match colors and frock elements and try it on in front of the mirror. Select colors that are best for your skin tone and your body shape. Try to discreetly hide or de-emphasize your unflattering features with the smart use of cuts, lines and colors. Remember, style is an integral part of your personality. So bring out some attitude, flash your bubbly persona and live life to the fullest! Be beautiful and stylish! Have a fabulous New Year!!!



90,000 Inspiring Ideas to Add Value to Your Life

Welcome to Daiso - a place filled with anything and everything you might be looking for, with endless options, as well! Offering the most breathtaking selection of products, ranging from miscellaneous daily goods, to food, cosmetics, home décor items, kitchenware, spa products, traditional Japanese art and crafts, all at amazingly low prices. It’s just Daiso’s way of always bringing pleasure and satisfaction to all its customers. Daiso’s broad customer base extends from children to the elderly. In the UAE alone, Daiso has grown to occupy an indispensable place in the lives of the public. As a result, its products can be found everywhere - in homes, workplaces and shops. 900 arrivals every month! Daiso has expanded its product lines and number of shops in the UAE to such a scale that it is now well established as part of everyday life and has become the destination of choice for those looking for value, quality and variety. Its newest store recently opened at the Oasis Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Plans are underway to open many more across the country. With 900 new products being introduced every month, it’s no surprise that more and more people look to Daiso for solutions from homemaking ideas, gift ideas, décor ideas and more! In the future, Daiso aims to continue expanding its network to bring a touch of colour and pleasure to customers’ lives. What’s more, at Daiso you will find items that you need but never knew where to find. From left-handed scissors to special foot packs to remove all the toxins from your body while you sleep… you’ll always be surprised at Daiso! “When I’m looking for something special, I just walk into a Daiso store. I am instantly surrounded by ideas that I had never imagined till then.” - Manisha Ahluwalia

An inspiration for every occasion and moment Whether it’s New Year, a birthday, an anniversary or even a housewarming, Daiso will floor you with an endless variety of items and ideas. From authentic serving trays, ethnic kitchen containers and candles to fashion accessories, makeup, spa treatments and other exciting items, you will find everything you need to bring a smile to your friends’ and family’s faces. And let’s not forget our wide range of colourful boxes, toys and games that are sure to have the little ones jumping for joy! So relax, because at Daiso, we’ve got your wish list and your shopping list covered! “If you know what to say, Daiso will show you how to say it - in thousands of beautiful ways!” - Jeffrey Glover A world that inspires your imagination Running out of ideas? Walk into Daiso and choose from over 90,000 items in endless categories. One of the best things about Daiso, is that you can either spend hours selecting the right item or even walk out with something interesting in just five minutes. And because Daiso’s variety keeps growing at 900 new items every month, you’re in for a fresh new experience, every time you walk into the store! Quality and Price – the unlikely match As Japanese quality marks the standard of Daiso products, they are surprisingly priced at AED6 for most items. With unmatched value at Daiso, you can shower your your life and the lives of those around you, with love and affection.

A platform for budding Filipino creative talent

ILLUSTRADO SCRAPBOOK 61 Marc Anthony Guittap

Marc says his photography is – “first and foremost, an exploration.” An architect by profession, he dabbled with the camera to study light, views, angles and, most importantly to capture beauty. His love affair with the lens started with the need to put together a decent reconnaissance report as part of design requirements. From there, he found himself slowly veering towards more creative pursuits. Marc’s collection of photographs runs the gamut of gritty documentary shots to polished architectural snaps to portraiture. All of them, however, are borne out of the necessity to understand beauty and express it without a single utterance. He says, “I believe that the latter are better left to the beholder- beauty is, after all, universally understood though its expressions and interpretations are utterly varied.” Currently, Marc professes that his over active shutter finger is an apprentice to his vivid imagination. He enjoys sharing his work and receiving constructive criticism from his peers in the field.


A platform for budding Filipino creative talent

Jeff Vergara Jeff had no idea he would eventually end up as a serious photographer when he first handled his dad’s Polaroid and Nikon film as a child. This Computer Engineering graduate discovered digital photography in 1999, when he was tasked to take product shots using Sony Mavica, the first commercial electronic camera that stores images on a diskette. He learned the rudimentary basics of photography through self-study and long internet surfing sessions. Although Jeff’s work is more on graphic and web development than photography, he became serious with his passion for taking photos in late 2004. Over the years he has experimented with different techniques; usually mixing graphic design skills and inspiration from the masters of the craft. He has done numerous projects for company events, individual assignments, weddings and exhibits, and won a number of photo competitions. Lately, Jeff has focused more on portraiture, street and landscape photography which are his favorites. In 2007, he co-founded the Mideast Snipers (, an online photography organization with a vast number of members with whom he shares his photography knowledge. Jeff is also an avid blogger. He writes his online journal, «The Dubai Chronicles» (www. which features his photographic adventures and stories of daily life in Dubai.


Melandro Sanggalang InMelandro Sanggalang is a keen photographer who specializes in portraiture. Working as an Art Director with advertising giant - Leo Burnett Group, where he enjoys professional development and a dynamic environment that fosters creative diversity, has given Melandro a lot of elbow room to practice his inventive pursuits. An active member of Overseas Pinoy Professional Photographers Society (OPPPS), Melandro shares his passion, experience and learned techniques in the art, with new members. Of his portraits, Melandro says “it is about understanding human nature and recording, if possible, the best in each individual.�

Illustrado welcomes entries to Illustrado scrapbook from all photography enthusiasts in the Gulf. Please send your highresolution images and mini-profile to


Bayanihan Festival 09 Goes on Despite Rains Even rain couldn’t stop the Filipino celebratory spirit at the 2nd Bayanihan Festival. Held on the 11th December 2009, the event turned out to be a success attended by some 7,000 guests, headed by Filipino organizations from Dubai and the Northern Emirates, schools and companies, at the Megabowl Amphitheater in Zabeel Park, Dubai. The celebration for which the FILCOM Executive Committee was planning since September was a triumph in ‘bayanihan’ despite the unexpected showers with NAMA, the lead organization selected for 2009s festivities, managing proceedings outstandingly. The much anticipated event started at 9am with the opening of the mini-bazaar officiated by Her Excellency Ambassador Grace RelucioPrincesa together with the Philippine Consulate and Labor Office officials. A grand parade of the national flags of the UAE and the Philippines, including banners of the Filipino clubs and organizations followed. The program started with the singing of the National Anthems followed by prayers. The new Philippine Ambassador to the UAE H.E. Grace Relucio-Princesa gave an inspirational talk and also led the audience in singing. The festival saw a lot of exciting activities from morning until evening, unabated by the momentary bouts of rain. Participating schools dazzled the crowd with rousing drum and bugle performances, coupled with the majorettes’ and silent military drill exhibitions, as well as the energetic cheering squad competitions. Organizations held Palarong Pinoy competitions, while sponsors Singapore Airlines had a ball shooting contest near their booth. The evening sparkled with music, talent and laughter with a program showcasing a spectacular array of cultural dances, with the main highlight being the appearance of celebrities Kris Bernal and Aljur Abrenica from GMA 7.

event from being halted by the rains, moving tents and rearranging logistics to ensure that the show goes on. It was a very difficult decision, but one which was excellently executed by the FILCOM and acknowledged by Hon Consul Benito Valeriano. The festival’s proceeds went to the distressed wards care of the POLO-OWWA and Philippine Consulate in Dubai. The event was sponsored by Singapore Airlines, Orbit-Showtime, Emirates Exchange International and Al Marai together with other participants.

Perhaps the best part of the celebrations was the remarkable show of true ‘bayanihan spirit’ as organizations moved together to rescue the

WPBC Smashes through the 2nd RMA Cup The emirates premier club for Pinoy badminton enthusiasts WPBC (Wow Pinoy Badminton Club – UAE) has recently held the 2nd RMA CUP 2009 Badminton Championship Tournament’ with the theme: Badminton Speaks – Teamwork and Camaraderie, at Al Safa School for Boys Gymnasium, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai last November 6, 2009. The event saw the energetic participation of 142 players coming from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and other parts of the emirates, with a total of 96 teams competing in four categories – men’s doubles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles and the singles competitions. During the opening ceremony, WPBC Founder Edwin B. Lasquite emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and promoting competition with an optimistic attitude. “The games will showcase the spirit of sportsmanship and teamwork among us.” Through the efforts and dedication of WPBC Pioneers’ headed by President Ariel Garcia and WPBC Tournament Committees spearheaded by Tournament Manager Coach Donnie de Dios with major

sponsor – Renato Murcia Ajero the event was grand success. WPBC wishes to acknowledge the following as well – committees: Sherwin Roeger, Evelyn Navarra, Jona/George, Liza Areñas, Michelle Lobingco, Ruth Calugay, Eddie Tan, Arbee Balaba and Kathleen “Kat” Santiago.


Digerati Marks Another Milestone

to the upliftment of the morale and spirit of our fellow OFWs, the event featured the handing of the 6th Term 2009 Ambassador of Good Deeds to Ms. Lucille Ong of the Philippine Business Council for successfully initiating a charity campaign for Ondoy Victims which has raised some PHP8,000,000. The honor was presented by Digerati’s Engr. Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi, Engr. Justino Arciga Sr, Maria Lani Braga-Reyes, outgoing President Arnel G. Ramos, and Her Excellency Grace Relucio-Princesa, the Philippine Ambassador to the UAE . Digerati’s Board of Trustees also presented the recognition awards of ‘Ambassador for Filipino Empowerment’ to two Bagong Bayani 2009 Awardees - Manuel Perito (Most Outstanding Employee, Bagong Bayani 2009) and Engr. Mary Jane Alvero–Al Mahdi (Most Outstanding Employee and Blas F. Ople para sa Natatanging Bagong Bayani 2009). Another highlight of the event was the oath taking ceremony for the associations’ 2010 EXECOM headed by Incoming President, Ms. Rizalina R. Abuel, officiated by the Consul General of Dubai and Northern Emirates, His Excellency Benito Valeriano.

“Unsung Heroes” was the theme of Digerati’s 6th Recognition of Graduates held on the 18th December 2009 at Al Ittihad Ballroom, Sofitel Hotel in Dubai. Dedicated to Filipinos who have contributed

Members of the Philippine Business Council of Dubai headed by Chairman Lucille Ong hosted a “welcome merienda cena” for Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princessa at the Barrio Fiesta in Bur Juman mall- Dubai, on December 12, 2009.

This cycle produced almost 2,000 graduates on various tuition free computer courses offered to Filipinos in the UAE. Plaques of recognition were presented to distinguished students who have garnered the highest marks in each branch, as well as to members recognized for their unparalleled contribution and dedication in serving Filipinos through Digerati.

PBC Dubai Welcomes New Philippine Ambassador



things To Do This Month

By Sherry Tenorio

Are you still on holiday mode? Well, get real. Stop thinking of the places you’ve been to back home during your Christmas visit. Refrain from imagining festive dishes, and from wishing to sit in front of the television watching soaps all day while munching on chips. You’re back to work, and vacation days are over. We at Illustrado can relate to your dilemma, and we sought ways to help you get back your drive. Here are some of the things that you can do locally, that will hopefully, get you on the right on track

Run for Fitness

Spring Clean and Park Sale Throwing old stuff has been proven therapeutic. It actually signifies making room for new things. So, every time you want to start all over, try spring cleaning and organizing your room and/or office cubicle. But remember, there is no need to put out everything in the trash. Just donate them, or give them away. Also, you can opt to earn from good stuff you don’t need any more. There is the Dubai Flea Market where you can get a table for a minimum fee, and you’ll be able to sell your clothes, DVDs, CDs, books, furniture and what have you. It’s happening every Saturday in Al Safa Park. Just visit their website in order to get more information. Who knows you might not only gain profits but new friends and loyal clients as well?


One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to acquire a healthier lifestyle. Here in the emirates, there is no better time to start the healthy habit of running/jogging/brisk-walking/walking than in winter. Take your running shoes out of the closet, and take advantage of the weather. Regardless of your body type, you need to exercise – in fact, we all need to exercise – and running is one of the best cardio work outs. Besides, you owe it to yourself to shed off the excess pounds you gained from attending parties last December. Also, since fitness centers may appear to be costly, running for fitness is the perfect budget-friendly solution. Try walking to-and-from your office if you work near home. Or, ask out some friends to run with you by the Jumeirah Open Beach, Safa Park or Mamzar Beach Park. Or, just simply tune in your iPod to keep you company. Run or jog regularly, at least thrice a week, and soon you’ll see the benefits of it on your slimmer waistline and clearer mind.

TRIPPIN’ 67 Hilot in Dubai It’s New Year yet your body seems sore and tired from all the holiday rush. If you haven’t had the chance to relax last month then it’s high time to book a massage, a spa treatment or a facial. Do not convert those dirhams into pesos, and just deal with the fact that you must pamper yourself every now and then. A totally rejuvenating experience that you can try is the Philippine Hilot that is offered by the Shangri-la Dubai Hotel & Spa. The therapists are well-trained to execute the modern-take on our traditional ‘hilot’, and the spa amenities are just heavenly. But, if you prefer low key, there are a few salons and beauty centres in Karama and spa chains such as Feet First, NBar or NStyle that can keep up with your pockets. Or, if you may, just book for home service – it’s more convenient and an inexpensive way of feeling fabulous at the start of the year.


4 5 Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

Click and Shoot 2009 has seen the dramatic rise of the Filipino hobbyist photographers. There are a number of us seen at the malls, restaurants, parks, etc. carrying cameras and taking pictures. Whether it’s for art’s sake or for Facebook’s sake, we suggest that you continue doing your bit. In fact, clean your lenses and prepare your DSLRs. A little bird has tipped us that there will be an exciting photography exhibition in this first quarter of the year! It will be an outstanding venue to prove your hidden talents in photography, and who knows, you may be exposing yourself to a whole new profession. So, just keep your eyes open, your ears attentive, and your senses ready for one of the muchawaited events in town.

Yes, you read me right. Shopping – what else can regain spirits but the marvelous sight of commercially decorated windows of the shops in Dubai’s huge malls? Not to add the fact that these windows will show you 50%-70% off, then that is breathtaking scenery for you. Yet, it is the time of the year when you wish that you have not spent every dirham in your wallet last Christmas. Dubai Shopping Festival is coming on the last week of January, and you need to guard yourselves from swiping those credit cards. Then again, you will tell yourself that buying during sale period is an investment. Go ahead, indulge yourself. But, do so if you really, really, have excess funds to spare. Window shopping is fun but shopping beyond your means is not. You’ll just feel your blood rushing as the card is swiped, praying hard it won’t be declined, and end up totally guilty afterwards. So, a bit of a warning, live within your means. Buy stuff that you need, and aspire on the things that you want. Save up for those stuff you aspire for, and, sooner or later in your life, you will realize that you have enough cash to buy them in their much sophisticated and classier forms.


Cape Town and the Winelands By Al Manlangit

Cape Town viewed from Table Mountain

Arrive airport – 09.30hrs. Pick up Avis car – 10.00hrs. Drive to Stellenbosch – 1030hrs. Photograph scenic route. That was the itinerary I wrote before we enplaned in Johannesburg for the two-hour flight to Cape Town. And that’s exactly what we did right on the dot. The only thing I didn’t expect was that the scenery along the 50km route from the airport to the Winelands was more magnificent than I could have imagined.


he wine-producing region in South Africa extends through four popular towns: Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, West Somerset and Paarl. All are within a short driving distance from each other through various routes that have breathtaking views of mountain ranges, evergreen valleys filled with fruit orchards and pastoral plains with nothing but grass, sheep and blue sky.

Charming Stellenbosch with its oak-lined streets was one of the first Dutch settlements in the 15th century. Much of that influence remains today in the style of the buildings and old houses dominated by Cape Dutch architecture as well as a sprinkling of Georgian and Victorian. After checking in our stuff in a homey hotel with a terrace overlooking a picturesque view of the Hottentots Holland mountain range, we walked around the town admiring the quaint shops and viewed the exhibits in the museums before settling for a delicious shrimp and lamb braai (barbecue) lunch with red wine in an outdoor restaurant beneath the shade of an old oak tree. Satiated, we drove to Vergelegen (Far Location) wine estate 15 kms away. The estate is one of the finest in the Cape owing to its beautiful manor house and gorgeous English garden with an herbaceous

Mansion in Vergelegen Estate

border enclosing a splendid collection of roses. As if this wasn’t enough, at the back of the main house laid a well-manicured lawn with huge Chinese camphor trees planted in 1700 by the original owner who was also the governor. No wonder the place is Mandela’s favorite and the Clintons went for a visit. It was in the terrace of these bucolic surroundings that we sipped the estate’s wines and nibbled


Entrance to wine cellar beneath the hill

Aging wine in French oak barrels

their exquisite quiches. The guide brought us up to the hill where their state-of-theart cellar was buried underground – there, thousands of French oak barrels held the liquid that would be classified under the names of sauvignon, pinot noir and chardonnay. From the top of the hill we watched the sunset, and saw row upon row of vineyards as far as the eye could see – wine, it seems, thrive in an environment that is as close to paradise on earth. When the French Huguenots were persecuted by the Catholic Church, one of the places where they took refuge was in this small corner of South Africa called Franschhoek (French Corner). They brought with them not only their Protestant faith but their wine culture as well. The town, surrounded by the imposing Drakensburg Mountains, has all

the allure of a French countryside from the street names to the local cuisine. We stayed overnight in a huge villa where we were the only guests and our oversized room had beautiful paintings, a charming mosquito net over a humongous king-sized bed and a bathroom that had exquisite mosaic tiles and a cast-iron bathtub – all for a princely sum of only US$100. Then we had our best meal at a French Bistro where the smoked rainbow trout, Portuguese-style calamari marinated in red wine and wood-roasted chops were to die for – I still smack my lips whenever I remember that fancy dinner washed down with chilled sparkling wine! Visiting Cabriere Estate was fun for its excellent bubbly but also for a demonstration of uncorking the wine bottle by the winemaker who cleanly sliced the

Old church in Stellenbosch

Vergelegen’s surroundings

neck with a saber! A short stop at the stark granite colonnaded Huguenot Monument completed our visit before we headed for Paarl. This town got its name from the shiny granite domes of the nearby mountains which made them look like glistening pearls. It was in this place where Nelson Mandela was released from prison. We briefly passed by Taal Monument – three tall concrete columns which celebrates the controversial Afrikaans language before driving down to Hermanus by the coast. This place proclaims itself to be the world’s best land-based whale-watching site and there is a designated “whale-crier” who blows his horn to alert people to the arrival of the whales. Though it was out of season, we espied a couple of these gentle behemoths breaching and lob tailing (tails

Huguenots Memorial


Simon’s Town

smacking the water) from afar, as we ate our seafood lunch in a patio overlooking the sea. During the calving season in September and October, you can see hundreds of these Southern Right whales down by the seashore putting on quite a show. They migrate from Antarctica to mate and give birth in the warm waters off the Cape. We took the route tracing the contours of the coast for 100-plus kms to Simon’s Town on the peninsula south of Cape Town passing by mist-shrouded mountains that disappeared into the sea and isolated landscapes where we were the only travelers on the road. Arriving late in the day, we couldn’t find suitable accommodation in this pretty town on False Bay lined with Victorian buildings and bougainvillea-bedecked houses so we continued a bit further to Boulder Beach where we checked into a hotel in the middle of a penguin colony. These creatures were a sight to behold as they waddled into boulders after a day’s feeding at sea. But we could hardly sleep at night as their loud braying kept us wide awake. We left early the next morning at the crack of dawn just as the penguins were up and about. In spite of being a nuisance during

the night, I couldn’t help but be amused by their antics as they made a beeline to the sea for their first day’s meal as they turned into graceful swimmers in the water. The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is the farthest point south of the peninsula. This isolated and well-preserved 7,000hectare park has as many plant species as the whole British Isles and abounds with wildlife like antelopes, zebras and pesky baboons that sometimes blocked the road. We slowly drove the 14-kms from the entrance enjoying the scenery until we reached the main parking lot where there were restaurants and a souvenir shop. A funicular brought us up to the old lighthouse which had the highest vantage point to take in outstanding views of where the two great bodies of water met – the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Though this wasn’t technically the last geographical point of the African landmass (that is in Cape Agulhas a bit further south), it was pretty close. Looking into the far horizon, it was easy to imagine the Antarctic continental shelf across the endless blue waters. Heading up north on the final leg of our journey, we passed through scenic

Chapman’s Peak Drive, were we stopped at a number of view points. I could see why numerous car commercials were filmed in this location - the view was spectacular with the sinuous road hugging the steep mountainside whose rocky cliffs disappeared into the foaming sea hundreds of meters below. Table Mountain is the symbol of Cape Town which rises over a thousand meters from the coastal plain; it dominates the whole

Chapman’s Peak Drive


Parade in Castle of Good Hope

city like an omnipresent giant. The name is derived from its flat top that stretches several kilometers and clouds gather above, which looks as if a huge white tablecloth has been spread to cover it. Much of the area is a nature reserve with numerous hiking trails passing mostly through a wild landscape. We climbed the easy route – thru the rotating cable car which gave a breathtaking 360degree view. At our view deck points, one can really appreciate the beautiful spread of the city below surrounded by a gleaming sea as well as formations of rocky massifs stretching south as far as the eye can see with interesting names like Lion’s Head, Devil’s Point and Twelve Apostles. Downtown is pretty compact, but we were able to

Beyond this is Antarctica

explore most of the interesting sights just by walking. Starting from the Castle of Good Hope which is a Dutch fortification, we visited the lively Greenmarket Square with a busy flea market and turned into the charming shopping areas on Long Street and St. George’s Mall. Passing by City Hall’s neo-classical façade we ended up in a large park called the Company Gardens where a wide walkway framed by old oak trees and myrtle hedges led to the gleaming white colonnaded Houses of Parliament. We also paid a visit to the Slave Lodge which was built in 1679 to house the Dutch East India Company’s slaves and has been converted into a Cultural History Museum that focused on the slave history as well as the city’s present multicultural makeup. Another interesting museum was the

Postcard-pretty Franschhoek

South African national Gallery where many artworks reflected the country’s turbulent and painful history. The biggest attraction in the city is the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, which is a huge redeveloped area that integrates the passenger and freight harbor with a shopping complex that houses 400 stores, 70 restaurants, several movie houses and an Imax theater, as well as the Maritime Museum and the Two Oceans Aquarium with its staggering display of marine life. Here, we enjoyed another braai with a bottle of pinot noir to end a remarkably relaxing week that had been surprisingly more pleasant than what we expected.

Victoria and Albert waterfront

Kayaking through the Abra River Text by Vic Lactaoen • Photos by Brian Bravo


ften glossed over in tourist brochures and travel guides on Northern Philippines, the province of Abra holds a storehouse of simple pleasures for the traveler who wants to imbibe nature and adventure in refreshing doses. It’s a pity Abra has never made it to the list of favorite destinations in the north, and hasn’t gained popular acclaim, except for the corny soft drink commercial on television where four traveling teeners passed through a dark and eerie looking tunnel. The tunnel used in that commercial is called the Tangadan Tunnel, one of the official landmarks of Abra Province. Parallel to the tunnel is the river unknown to many, but is one of the exciting new destinations in adventure tourism comparable to the waves with Futaleyu, Chile, Apurinmac in Peru and Ciruh in Turkey. Turning off from the Manila North Road at the junction of Narvacan in Ilocos Sur, one enters Abra through the Tangadan tunnel and is welcomed by the provincial marker, “Ti Kabaly,” (the horse), Abra for centuries has been isolated from the rest of the world by towering mountain ranges of the Cordilleras. There

Tinka | ©


BAKASYON GRANDE 73 act by American Governor Francis Burton Harrison was made into law establishing Abra as an independent province. Kayaking in Abra is practically new as it is only in Pamora Farms where one can rent the kayaks for a ride in the Abra River. The farm which operates this service, only offers the sport during the kayaking season from December up to late May depending on the water levels of the Abra River. As a back stopper to the lean kayaking months, one can try the cultural tours around the province of Abra, including a visit to the home of illustrious hero Gabriela Silang in the town of Tayum. Here, the well preserved house of Gabriela is worth a visit. It was here were the flag of the revolution of 1763 against Spanish domination was organized. Gabriela who had Tingguian blood carried on the revolt when her husband Diego Silang was shot in neighboring Vigan. The couple fought the Spaniards to the last breath of their lives together with the thousands of their followers. In nearby Mary Barbero Park, centuries old acacia trees, natural springs and man made waterfalls await visitors and travelers. Jonjon Morado who supervises the operation of kayaking in Abra, advices beginners to familiarize themselves with the various paddle strokes before attempting their way down the river. While it is true that the lifeblood of kayaking is pure adrenaline rush from time to time, one could not argue that safety is a requisite. One must come fully protected and with great presence of mind. “Never take the trip alone, and remember that the “buddy” system works here,” Jonjon added. No matter what it takes, the role is to successfully ride the rapids and come out in one piece.

natives called Tinguians boasts of rich cultural heritage which colorfully blends with Ilocano customs and traditions. The scenic spots all over the province are tailored for the eyes to behold for indeed these vistas are better seen for words fail to describe them adequately. Traditionally, the whole of Abra is covered with rice fields and fresh farm vegetables, a rendering that weathers over the season from planting to harvesting from the rainy months to sunny dry days. These fantastic colors, diverse but never garish, change quite dramatically over the course of a single day. The landscape is suspended in an ethereal calm, the peace broken only by the toads and the buzz of hopeful cicadas. Abra according to popular theory has been derived from the Spanish word “abrir” which means to open, Spanish expeditionary forces found it difficult to penetrate Abra, the only way to the interior being sail in skiffs - a small sailboat with outriggers on the deep, swift flowing Abra River. The culture, customs and traditions of the Tingguians which have transcended and survived the centuries were first recorded by French writer and traveler Paul P. dela Girroniere in his book “Twenty Years in the Philippines.” The urge to see the Tingguians in their native mountain habitats goaded him to journey to the mountain hinterland in what is now Abra. In about the same time, two German travelers Semper and Schanderberg, who were anthropologists also visited Abra and wrote about the vast natural resources and the culture of the natives in the place. During the Spanish time, Abra was part of Ilocos Sur, until it became a politico-military province in October 1846. In 1917, an executive

The country’s Department of Tourism has lined up kayaking as one of its new adventure Philippines campaign, aggressively promoting kayaking as one of the outdoor sports to do in the country today. “We have thousands of tropical islands which can lure both hobbyists and sports enthusiasts to try this new sport in the country,” according to Ms. Stanie Soriano, Manager, of the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation who is aggressively promotion the sport, not just in the country but in RP’s major tourism market. “It’s just like biking on land, but this time it is paddling or kayaking your way on water,” added Didi Camara of the Philippine Kayaking Association. “Kayaking for an hour or more can take you to a tiny deserted island or further and discover nature in its splendor as well as more interesting facets of the country’s people and culture,” added Val Camara, president of the Philippine Kayaking Association. The Department of Tourism together with the Philippine Kayaking Association has already identified various kayaking routes all over the countries, including nearby islands where kayakers can experience the idyllic comforts of local accommodations and go beyond the usual tourist sites. The Philippines has a natural seascape for kayaking and all forms of paddling. Its archipelagic characteristic has borne numerous routes for tourists to discover and enjoy the beauty of kayaking around the country. How to get there: By plane. PAL flies to Laoag daily and a car transfer can bring you to Pamora Farm. The kayaking service only operates in the daytime. By Bus: Take the Partas Bus going north to Bangued, Abra either at their EDSA Pasay station or Aurora Blvd, Station in Cubao. Buses leave every hour but it’s best to take the late night trip which gets you to Bangued in the early morning the following day. One way fare is PHP585 with stops in Vigan, Ilocos Sur or San Fernado, La Union. Accommodations and tours can be arranged through Pamora Farms Km. 396 Garreta, Pidigan Abra – email:, website:


Onli In Da Pilipins - 1. n. a phrase used to define anything or anyone that only exists anywhere in the 7,107 islands of the Philippines || 2. adj. a phrase used to describe a Pinas episode or a Pinoy persona so rare one would never find anywhere else in the WWW (whole, wide world). It merits a documentation of some sort.

The Wais Pinoy… Bow! By Aby Yap

On the nth day, God said, “Let there be a shower of resourcefulness.” And all Pinoys rushed outdoors, eager to grab the freebie from heaven. Many brought out containers — bottles, tabos, timbas, plangganitas, plangganas, steel drums, and what have you — to save some for the rainy, er, dreary days. Consequently, some have become more amusingly or annoyingly wais than others. Long Live the Lumens (and Lola Obangs)! Recession or not, truly wais Pinoys know how to make tipid all they can! So aside from going to the mall and enjoying free A/C (and free water c/o the fast food, free taste c/o the grocery, free reading c/o the bookstore, free sightseeing c/o the shops), we wait for the magic word that’s “Sale!” Three-day, midnight, factory, bazaar (where “tawad” and “wholesale” are the secret codes) sale: these are the times we look forward to every year of our lives to shop for what we need (or don’t) at half the cost, which is the minimum requirement. Some rolls of tissue paper to last ‘til our next lifetime, bed sheets and bath towels of all sizes, complete sets of frying pans and cooking pots, Christmas cards in April, swimwear in December — as long as they’re on sale, we’ll certainly find a use for them…somehow. Well, what are those balikbayan boxes for? Someone back home may be in dire need of a tissue roll.


With the wais Pinoy, nothing ever goes to waste, too. We find even the cow’s bone marrow, the chicken’s feet, the fish’s eyes, uh, appetizing, don’t we? Never mind aesthetics, anything edible is precious. One meal’s leftover is usually served for the next meal and another and even the day/s after (especially if it’s adobo, the dish that never gets spoiled no matter what), until the platter is licked clean. Even Muning would be too embarrassed to check if there’s a morsel left by any chance. Otherwise, leftover meat and veggies can be chopped into bits to whip up a helping of gourmet fried rice. Oh, and lest we forget, another amazing recycling feat, remember the teabag — that which serves us until its last trace of flavor, giving color to several cups of hot water. We still refuse to toss it aside to put it on our swelling eye bags! Indeed, recycling works wonders. So we bring home plastic utensils and styrofoam cups from fast food chains, along with ketchup sachets, to form part of our “For Kiddie Parties” tableware collection. For our stay-in house guests, any hotel’s complimentary kit (mini shampoo bottles/ bath soap/shower caps/toothbrushes/ toothpaste tubes/matches) and flight “giveaways” (salt/pepper/sugar/butter/jam packets or sleep mask/ear plugs/blankets/ magazines) — which we keep for souvenir’s sake, so we say — come in handy. We turn shopping bags into garbage bags, soft drink bottles into water pitchers, and gin bottles — your choice of bilog or lapad — into cooking oil containers. Glossy magazine pages and even the newspaper’s comics section are transformed into fashionable book and notebook covers. So, careful with unwrapping those presents! The wrapper and ribbon can still be used for someone else’s birthday present or the next Christmas party decor. And if what’s inside the package doesn’t work much for you, recycling gifts—done very discreetly—is a wais practice, too.

Wais the Matter with These Pinoys? Sure, getting as many ninongs and ninangs — preferably CEOs or mayors — to secure your child’s future as one way of being wais is acceptable (a little cheap, though). And the clever methods of cheating, e.g. Morse code (multiple choice: if it’s A, head scratching; B, yawning loudly; C, singing Voltes V), kodigo (written on the hand, stored on the beeper/pager/cell phone, or embroidered on the handkerchief), can be quite entertaining when you go nostalgic over your ancient high school years. But when waisdom goes out of hand, it’s definitely no laughing matter. Especially so when it becomes a serious offense. For those whose “Oy, cheatmate, share your blessings!” line didn’t succeed in school, the “deans” of the Recto University are their wais idols. Why, they can produce the most authentic-looking certificates from NSO and DFA, give you a passbook that boasts of a million savings, or proclaim you a graduate of the most sosyal-sounding school with matching Transcript of Records — all uno grades, of course — for a few hundred pesos. But the terrible grammar in those documents will be your downfall, poseur. You’re better off doing your term paper on the gasgas topic of air pollution than throwing cash away on that archaic report about the political stabilization and economic reconstruction in Yugoslavia. Then there are professional borrowers and beggars, most of them adept at their respective careers. Some will even

put to shame today’s most celebrated telenovela artistas once they start the drama marathon. There’s the borrower’s classic piece called “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. The grandma died last month, the dad got kidnapped last week, the niece fell into the manhole yesterday — all of these people are related to only one wretched individual, who by the way has lost her fare, surprise surprise! There’s also the street production Beggars: Total Performers, whose characters you often see at night running down the road engaged in a shouting bout with motorists. How they miraculously become crippled and mute during the day pleading for coins — CASH ONLY: minimum five pesos, please — from passersby is beyond the average human comprehension, sorry. You’ll even be sorrier when you chance upon the most wais of the pickpocket gangs, so be on the lookout…always! When riding a bus or jeepney, stay away from guys whose jackets conceal their hands (particularly during the summer — honestly, why would you bring a jacket when the sun is at its peak?) or whose backpacks are positioned in front of them (they’re not called backpacks for nothing). Don’t be too helpful when someone suddenly drops a handful of coins to the floor. But don’t be too welcoming when someone offers to wipe off what he says is spit on your hair either. Getting scared of these villains now? Well, don’t be. It’s just part of the crazy albeit exciting Pinas (mis)adventures that would put your innately Pinoy wais skills to the ultimate test. No cheating, please!


Entertainment Round-Up By Sherry Tenorio, Photos by Grace Brutal

The Brilliance of Brillante Mendoza In early 2009, renowned filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Ang Lee were bumped off the Best Director award at the 62nd International Cannes Film Festival. The prized category landed on the hands of a Filipino filmmaker by the name Brillante (or sometimes Dante) Mendoza for the film “Kinatay” (Tagalog for “Butchered”). In the same year, Mendoza garnered another film festival recognition – this time at the 6th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). He bagged the much coveted Muhr Asia Africa Best Feature Film Award, one of the highest award categories, for the film “Lola.” An official selection at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, “Lola” (Tagalog for ‘grandmother’) is a simple tale, yet loaded with emotion and profound moral dilemmas. It tells the story of two elderly ladies and their respective grandsons. One’s lying in a morgue following a brutal mugging, the other is the guilty party, arraigned in prison awaiting trial. The movie was actually the second entry of Mendoza to the DIFF. In 2007, his film “Tirador” (Tagalog for “Slingshot”) made it to Dubai, uncensored, despite the appeal of the festival organizers. Social realism would be a highlight in most of Mendoza’s films. He dared to show Philippine society through realism on film, shooting with raw technique and providing his actors the ability to improvise the lines. Although his style had been acclaimed by a lot, other critics still had a thing or two to say. A fact that did not bother Mendoza as he firmly believes that movies should evoke discussion; and, since his films could do that, he felt quite good enough. Working as production designer for years, this 49-year old director, who hails from San Fernando, Pampanga, made his debut in the industry with 2005 indie film “The Masseur.” It was his film “Manoro” that gave him his first award as the Best Director and Best Picture at the 2006 Cinemanila International Film Festival. Since then, Mendoza has created seven films in four years, and has a future project revolving around the Southern Philippines. As mentioned during his appearance at the recently held DIFF, he is considering doing a film on the lives of Filipino expats in the region, but would need to study and observe first as he could not rely on news items and documentaries alone.

Raymond Red Reveals Cannes Film Festival awardee Raymond Red chats exclusively to Illustrado’s Sherry Tenorio, and shares his views about his films, his personal theory on the mainstream movie industry and his comments on the present and future of the Philippines’ alternative cinema. “The original title of the movie is Himpapawid. That’s why it became Manila Skies, to make it catchy but still appropriate,” award-winning Filipino director Raymond Red explained the title translation of his latest full-length film presented at the 6th Dubai International film Festival (DIFF). Red continued to narrate what made his featured film special, “Himpapawid is fictional, though the story and the characters were inspired by a hijacking incident that happened in a domestic flight in the Philippines. I believe that the strange and, probably, the most surreal thing about this piece of fiction is the fact that it is based on a real person, on a true story.”

Red began producing short films way back in the ‘80s but it was “Bayani” (Tagalog for “Heroes”) in 1992 that launched him to fullfeature filmmaking, followed then by “Sakay” (1993) and “Kamada” (1997), an award-winning television feature. He took a Palme d’Or award at Cannes Film Festival in 2000 for his short film “Amini.” Although his movies spoke of socio-political issues, Red was firm that he’s not claiming to be a social activist. He said that, in a way, social awareness is almost a trendy subject for indie films. But, to him, his films were a means of expressing what and how he visually observes things around him.


The Dawn Continues to Rock’n Shine The Philippines’ ‘80s aficionados would dare not deny that they grew up with the classic hits of The Dawn’s Enveloped Ideas and Salamat. The legendary rock band took on great commercial success in the late ‘80s, almost creating a cult following in the rock arena. Withstanding the challenges in the music industry and changes amongst members over the years, The Dawn remained to be one of the longest running and successful rock bands in the country. Original members Jett Pangan (lead vocals), JB Leonor (drums), Teddy Diaz (guitars) and Clay Luna (bass) broke it off in 1995 when Pangan decided to form his own group. Yet in 1999, The Dawn re-grouped with new members Francis Reyes (former Afterimage guitarist) and Atsushi Matsuura (Japanese guitarist). In 2005, The Dawn was joined by Buddy Zabala, Eraserhead’s former bassist, who gave the group a different taste of his music. Last year, upon the exit of guitarist Francis Reyes, ex-True Faith member Kenneth Ilagan came in to The Dawn and shared his modern take on rock.

Known as one of the pioneers of modern Filipino alternative cinema, Red’s creative plight began in fine arts and photography, resulting to his refreshing and defined style in filmmaking. As a visual artist, Red has been popular for producing clean and precise storytelling which critics lauded as a ‘masterclass’ in filmmaking. His techniques, wellplanned and structured, are considered a breath of fresh air amongst the numerous indie films being produced today. Because of the sudden acceptance of alternative filmmaking, indie directors, especially in the Philippines, had been given the opportunity to create independent films. According to Red, the very raw form of lighting, almost used in documentaries, that could only apply to certain subject matters and locations, had been the trend to most new young indie filmmakers. “Indie filmmaking is exciting because it solved the problem in production. The downside though, was that there became too much of clutter because of too many films. What’s more, the technology actually allowed bad filmmakers to create films,” Red shared. Despite low budgets, indie filmmaking was made achievable, but the dilemma in the alternative cinema industry shifted to the difficulty of distribution and finding an audience. Now, the question of every indie filmmaker is: “where do you want to show it.” Open about his challenges, Red declares, “After all these years, I’m still looking for an audience.” He admitted that his goal in joining international film festivals like DIFF was to find an audience. This would be a window to publicize the film as well. He said, “My films have a more artistic than commercial appeal that make them attractive to international film festivals, since festivals lean towards more artsy films. This is a way of gaining recognition, even without winning an award, as the news and reviews are circulated locally and internationally. But, I still hope that my primary audience would be Filipinos.” Red’ s laments the death of mainstream cinema production in the Philippines due to the monopoly of two huge television broadcast networks. He explained, “If you think about mainstream cinema, it actually broadened its definition. From movies in theaters, it now refers primarily to the art form, the cultural heritage of motion pictures that presently is encompassing everything including internet videos, MTVs, even electronic billboards in EDSA.” Then, he concluded his theory, “Filipino’s mainstream cinema these days is television. In fact, we don’t have movie stars. We have television stars that do movies. Wala ng classic movie stars.”

To quote Pangan in previous reports, “It’s [The Dawn] still loud, it’s still rock, it’s still melodic, but it’s an infusion of different styles from Buddy and our new member, Kenneth.” According to the same Philippine Entertainment Portal report, Ilagan, apparently, was an easygoing lad which made it more comfortable to work with him despite the newness. Ilagan, on one hand, felt that joining The Dawn meant becoming part of his long-time idols as he claimed to have been a huge fan of the band. The Dawn came back to shine with new faces, fresh music and Sound the Alarm, the latest album filled with all-new materials composed and written by The Dawn’s members. And just recently, the group returned to the city of gold for the rock festival in Dubai Festival Centre. They performed alongside Philippine’s prides Rico Blanco and Pupil (with front man Ely Buendia), Lebanon’s The Kordz, Germany’s Xandria and UAE’s Juliana Down and Concast. During the festival, the crowd – of mixed nationalities but mostly Filipinos – had a blast when the band sang its classics but still welcomed the fresh tunes from their newly released album.


Abangan ang susunod na kabanata...


The Annie B. Chronicles

80 ILLUSTRADO FACES Celebrating innate Pinoy charm

Sultan Al Suwaidi Photography by Eros Goze Fashion courtesy of Giordano

ILLUSTRADO FACES 81 Celebrating innate Pinoy charm

Tanya Hyde Photography by Eros Goze Fashion courtesy of Giordano


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ILLUSTRADO Magazine_Jan 2010  

Helping The Filipino Flourish Global Vision, Native Soul Taas Noo FIlipino!

ILLUSTRADO Magazine_Jan 2010  

Helping The Filipino Flourish Global Vision, Native Soul Taas Noo FIlipino!