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Photo by Eros Goze

Letting the Winds Take You

Becoming an entrepreneur is just like

resourceful because you have nobody else

to be defeated by disappointments and

hang gliding.

to truly rely on except yourself. You will

failure. The latter are part of the learning

get tired, you will be stressed. You will

curve towards success.

I should know.

get nervous when you’re not able to make schedules, targets and payments.

I’ve been there. I’ve done that.

Then of course, there are the other perks. There’s nothing like being your own boss;

Jumping into professional independence

of having that feeling of independence

You set your target and prep your

will make you vulnerable to the elements

that you are able to steer your own


Then armed with your

- to unpredictable variables that no

professional fate and fortune, when you




amount of post graduate degrees or

set your own goals, and pursue it in your

experience you have, you jump with your

business planning will prepare you for.

own pace, or of being able to finally make

glider off that cliff, your heart pumping

Just as nobody was ready for the recent

it on your own terms.

a hundred miles per hour, knot in your

economic recession, or when people you

stomach, hoping for the best but fearing

work with renege on their commitments,

And then, more than just the idea of

the worst, and just let the winds take you

or when a change in regulations messes

being free from the corporate rat race,

where they blow.

up with the best laid out plans.

of having financial gains or a potential

It’s probably one of the most unnerving

But it’s also because of the challenges of

affords you the total indulgence of

things in the world - stepping out of your

entrepreneurship that you discover what

following your bliss - of doing what it is

comfort zone, letting go of the “safety

you are truly made of; how capable you

you love.

net” of stable employment and that

are, stripped of your corporate ego and

monthly salary that, for most, is the main

convenient support system. You will find

reason for being in the workforce.

out how tough and even tougher you


future windfall, entrepreneurship also

can get in the face of disappointments,

I should know. I’m here. I’m doing that.

When you start from scratch, you’ll

and how unwavering you really are deep

work hard like you’ve never done before

inside, if you are able to sustain interest

This issue is dedicated to all budding

and employ the utmost discipline to get

and genuine optimism to carry on when

Filipino entrepreneurs out there.

things done. Work is going to invade

things aren’t easy.

most of your waking moments - even

Taas Noo, Filipino!

your sleep if you let it. You will have

To be an entrepreneur, a successful one at

to do everything on your own and be

that, means you should not allow yourself

LALAINE CHU-BENITEZ Publisher and Editor-in-Chief


You’ve probably already read his best-selling books, attended one of his seminars, or even seen him on TV or online. Bo Sanchez – or Bro. Bo, doesn’t really need any introduction. This Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardee, best-selling author and respected speaker shares worthwhile words of wisdom with Illustrado readers in his column on Spirituality. This month, Bo writes about the best investments we can make in our lives.

Francisco Colayco Resident personal finance guru Francisco J Colayco discusses the top investments for Filipinos. Illustrado’s Kabuhayan columnist has several best-selling books to his credit, and is an advocacy on teaching Filipinos how to prosper.

Nahoma and Jacob Maentz Nahoma and Jacob Maentz are currently based in Cebu City where they are working together on the Katutubong Filipino Project. Nahoma’s background is in Mass Communications and Jacob is a working travel and documentary photographer originally from the United States. Together they help to tell unheard stories of the most marginalized or forgotten people of the Philippine archipelago. In this issue, Nahoma and Jacob tell the story of the indigenous people of Coron, Palawan, the Tagbanua.

Aby Yap

Aby believes in the importance of spaghetti, travel, fat cats, and a fast internet connection. Or, if the last one isn’t possible, an extended deadline will almost always do. As a freelance writer, she continually hopes to deliver material that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking. Her work often touches on stories celebrating the exciting uniqueness, the sheer honesty and humor, of Pinoy culture. In this issue, Aby asks the question, “Who’sYour Papa?”and dissects the different men who have at one point or another, been the apple of a Filipina’s eye.

Bernadette Reyes

Bernadette Reyes is a senior reporter at GMA Network covering the business beat. She is an entrepreneur, an artist, a traveler and a dog lover. Every month she feeds the appetite of our readers for ‘negosyo’ talk in her column ‘Kabuhayan – Entrepreneurship’ where she discusses success stories regarding different types of businesses – from small to medium scale, giving useful tips and ideas to encourage budding entrepreneurs.

Anna Oposa Anna Oposa just graduated cum laude with a degree in English Studies fromtheUniversityofthePhilippinesin Diliman. She is passionate about the environment, tourism, thePhilippines, and most of all, learning. Anna is a health buff who runs, swims and does yoga. She also doesn’t eat beef and rice - but she says, “that’s not so much for health reasons, but for environmental reasons”. Anna takes a break from her environmental advocacy endeavors to write about a few good men who have the combined ability to make women swoon, melt and stand open-mouthed with awe.

Filbert Kung and Glenn Peter Perez

The Blackfox boys are at it again – shooting their latest Illustrado fashion editorial-Easy Sunday. The work of young photography duo Filbert Kung and Glenn Peter Perez have not only been featured in Philippine glossies, but also in various magazines around the world including - AksamTurkey, Fashion Quarterly Canada, Schon Magazine London, and The Daily New York.

Excel Dyquianco

Excel Dyquianco interviews the champions of Mixed Martial Arts and shares how MMA is quickly transitioning from phenomena to lifestyle. Excel also writes for various publications in the Philippines, on a range of different diverse topics like travel, men’s health, sports and hobbies, and enjoys the opportunity of being able to explore the country as a writer with appreciative eyes.

Nikka Sarthou

Full-time freelance writer Nikka specializes in lifestyle-related features. She has written for various local print and online publications, as well as corporate clients. She is one of the founders of Writer’s Block Philippines, an organization that aims to provide writers an avenue to hone their skills and make them effective communicators, and content manager of, a website that aims to be the ultimate travel guide to the Philippines. In this issue, Nikka takes us with her on one of her many overseas travels to Bavaria, Germany.


The Magazine for the International Filipino



Abela Al Ain, Abu Dhabi Airport Lobby and Airport Transit areas, Abu Dhabi Coop Society – Khalifa, Hamdan, Meena and Buteen branches, Al Ain Palace Hotel, Albert Abela Superstore, Al Atial Novelty Store – INTCO and Rotana branches, All Prints, Bookplus Store - Al Ain, Books Gallery, Carrefour – Abu Dhabi Airport Road, Marina Mall and Al Ain branches, Hilton Abu Dhabi, Limar Bookshop, Milan Gifts, Raouat Al Reef - Al Ain, Sana Modern Trading, Spinney’s Khalidiya, United Bookstores and Westzone Trading * Distributed FREE to Meritus Club Members


Asia Pacific Cargo – Karama, Books Gallery – Jumeirah, Mall of the Emirates and Sahara Center branches, Carrefour – Ajman, Century Mall, Deira City Center, Mall of the Emirates, Sharjah, Shindagha, Ras Al Khaimah, Choitrams - Emirates Hills, Green Community, the Greens, Rashidiya, Safa Park, Springs and Umm Suqueim, CM Supermarket, Karama, Dubai Airport Duty Free Shops, Geant Hypermarket - Ibn Battuta Mall, Hyper Panda - Dubai Festival City, Jashanmal - Caribou Uptown Mirdiff and Wafi City, Magrudy Bookshop - Deira City Center and Ibn Battuta Mall branches, News Centre - Deira City Center, DIFC, Mall of the Emirates and Sahara Center branches, Philippine Supermarket – Satwa, Spinneys - Al Ghurair Center, Bin Souqat, Meadows Town Centre, Mercato, Mirdiff, Prime Rose, Ramada Bur Dubai and Trade Center Rd. Bur Dubai branches


24 Hours – Al Hamala, Al Zahra Avenue, Busaiteen Muharra and Hoora branches, Al Batra Supermarket, Al Fahad Cold Store – Zallaq, Al Ghadeer Foodstuff – Al A’ali, Al Hilal Administration – Sheraton Complex, Al Jazira Supermarket – Zinj, Adliya and Juffair branches, Al Mena Supermarket – Adliya, Al Shahd Market – Hamad Town, Buheji Center – Budaiya, City Pharmacy – Sitra Mall, Dairaty Market – Duraz, Evershine Supermarket – Rifa’a, Geant Hypermarket – Manama, Hamad Town Supermarket, Hassan Mahmood Cold Store – Opp. Awal Cinema, Hidd Co-Op Society, Jassim Markets – Busaiteen Muharra, Jawad Convenience Stores – Budaiya, Jawad Express Bapco Station – Seef, Jawad Supermarket – Nuwaidarat Sitra, Kaifan Cold Stores – Hamad Town, Little Kingdom Cold Stores – Manama, Manayer Supermarket – Awali, Midway Supermarket – Hamala, Muharraq, West Rifa’a and Gudaibiya branches, Muntaza Supermarket – Muharraq, Muntaza Supermarket – Sitr Muharraqa, The News Stationery – Manama, Universal Food Center – Rifa’a


Ahlan Wassahlan Bookshop, Alam Al Agziya – Landmark, Al Aaela Shopping Centre- Al Nasr, Airport and Al Rayan branches, Al Madina Supermarket, Al Mustaqbal Bookshop, Al Qalam Bookshop, Al Usra Bookshop, Al Waha Marketing Centre, Daheel Food Centre, Dar Al Oroouba Bookshop, Dar Al Thaqafa Al Kitab and Al Nasr, Dasman Hypermarket, Dasman Shopping Centre, Jarir Bookshop, Jehaz Bookshop Al Mansoora, Khayat Fitwell, Lamcy Supermarket, Lulu Al Sharq, Megamart Centre, Newsstand Landmark, Rawabi Food Centre, Strand Bakery, Supermarket Al Taif Al Nasr and Supermarket Sak Illustrado magazine is sold in over 150 outlets around the Gulf, including Oman and Kuwait.


Write to us at: or join the discussion at IIlustrado Magazine’s Facebook page

to downplay ourselves and cut ourselves down. We always hear ourselves saying, “[Occupation] lang ako” or hopelessly declare, “Ganito talaga”.

Dear Editor, I’ve been a fan of shoes for a really long time, even before Carrie Bradshaw made it a trend. I really really enjoyed your feature “Not Your Mother’s Shoes”. I may not be able to wear those shoes, but was fascinated to read that Lady Gaga likes Kermit Tesoro’s shoes. I look forward to seeing more celebrities dressed in Filipino creativity from head to toe. : ) More power, Illustrado!  Janie   Dear Editor,   I was so inspired by the story of Dado Banatao in the August issue of Illustrado. He is a great example of what education and determination can do. Poverty is never an excuse and someone like Dado is a clear example of that. Here’s to reading more stories about how sheer determination and hard work are the essential ingredients to success. Maria Isabel Santana   Dear Lalaine, I have lived in many countries and now live in Manila. Having been able to compare the different cultures, I can honestly say that there is nothing that separates or differentiates the Filipino talent and intelligence from that of other nationalities except for our innate tendency

How much more could we achieve as a nation and as a people if we could omit words “lang” and “ganun / ganito talaga” from our everyday vocabulary. Bangon ‘Pinas. Taas noo, Pilipino.  Anne Santa Maria - Williams   Dear Illustrado Your covers are amazing. I hope one day I will get the chance to work you. Joe Malicdem         Hi Illustrado, Where is the address of FULLY BOOKED where I can get a copy of the Photography Book? How much is it? Thanks!... I’m currently here in Cavite. Bing Lozada   Hi Bing, We’re happy to tell you that our coffeetable book “The Gulf Through the Eyes of a Filipino Photographer” is now available in the Philippines at selected Fully Booked branches: Fort, Rockwell, Gateway, Greenbelt 5 and Eastwood.   Unfortunately, there is no Fully Booked branch in Cavite (I believe the nearest one to you is Makati).  You may want to get in touch with our distributor in the Philippines at +63 917 820 7277 for more information.   The Gulf Through the Eyes of a Filipino Photographer is also available in the GCC through Illustrado Communications FZ-LLC - Dubai Media city +971 4 365 4543 or e-mail:   Dear Ms. Lalaine,  I’m so thankful for Illustrado. It’s not just a style bible for me, but also a great way

to stay connected to all the things I still miss about home. I’ve only just moved to Dubai and nakaka-miss pa rin talaga ang ‘Pinas. The Onli column of Aby Yap always makes me laugh. Salamat po, Illustrado, each page in your mag brings me closer to home. Denise  Dear Denise, Thank you! Letters like yours tell us we’re doing something right by bringing you a little bit of home every month. We hope the stories that we have about the Filipino community here in Dubai will help you get settled into your new home. All the best, Lalaine Dear Sir/Madam, As we say in Bisaya, daghang salamat po. Daghang salamat, Illustrado sapagkat ang dami kong nalalaman, natututunan sa pagbasa ng magazine ninyo. Sana po, makainclude po kayo ng mga article sa Dumaguete. Doon po ako lumaki, nguinit matagal na pong hindi nakakauwi. Nakikita ko na lang sa Facebook yun mga pictures ng mga friends ko dun. Sana lang naman po. Jona Moneva Hi Illustrado, I use your magazine as a guide for getting acquainted to Dubai. I wish though there could be more articles about finding a job here. Most of your articles are about starting your own business—which is great, but for people just starting out like me, it’s not really an option. Maybe you could have something about job hunting in Dubai and staying employed so we can save up and someday be our own boss. Thanks! Juris Dear Juris, That’s an excellent suggestion and definitely something we can look into for our future issues. All the best to you and good luck! Lalaine

Publisher & Editor-in Chief Lalaine Chu-Benitez Associate Editor Ana Santos CONTRIBUTING WRITERS UAE, Philippines, USA Aby Yap Anna Lorraine Balita JR Bustamante Bernadette Reyes Jude Cartalaba Bo Sanchez Karen Galarpe Carlito Viriña KC Abalos David Poarch Krip Yuson Excel Dyquiangco Nikka Sathou Flordeliz Samonte Nina Terol- Zialcita Francisco Colayco Rache Hernandez Isabelo Samonte Rome Jorge Ivan Henares Toni Loyola Jack Catarata Sonny Guzman Jesse Edep Vic Lactaoen ART DIRECTORS Tom Bolivar Paula Lorenzo Ron Perez CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS UAE Eros Goze Mariyah Gaspacho Christina Linaza Illuminado Ong Donald Rosales CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS PHILIPPINES Enzo Mondejar Dr. Marlon Pecjo Alan Desiderio CONTRIBUTING STYLISTS & FASHION TEAM UAE Jessie Tabla Ginno Alducente Jojo Padua Frankie Melendez 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 2006-2012. 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.


64 OCT 2012

Filipino-Dutch model Laurens Foronda eases into fall-winter in this month’s chilled out fashion feature.


Investing in the Philippines Going Solo Passion to Profits Relationships: Internet Dating A Few Good Men In MMA Fighting Form

18 20 26 46 50 58


Editor’s Note 1 Contributors 4 Letters 10 Illuminati: The Business of Being Cool 14 Kabuhayan – Money: Ten Top Investments for Filipinos 30 Kabuhayan – Money: Investing in Condos 34 Kabuhayan – Entrepreneurship Cooking it Up 36 Pinoy Entrepreneur 38 Bayanihan Corner 40 Pinoy Pro 42 Spirituality: The Best Investment in the World 44 Relationships: Internet Dating 46 Illustrado Scrapbook 62 Onli in Da Pilipins: Who’s Your Papa? Who’s Your Papa?! 96


Fashion: Easy Sunday 64


Trippin’: 5 Things To Do 80 Trippin’: Heritage Hotels 82 Pinoy Planet: From the Black Forest to the Bavarian Alps 86 Katutubong Filipino: Calamian Tagbanua 90

86 90



of being Cool by Krip Yuson

I’d rather write about men being cool than hot — which somehow connotes either sexy good looks or an entertainer’s current success. Business success is in turn related to being cool, especially when one has been reaping admirable triumphs on a steady basis. The man known as MVP, for instance, or Manuel V. Pangilinan, may be held up as a cool exemplar of a savvy financial guy, who after quietly bursting into the scene as a portfolio honcho for a foreign company, went on to build his own empire that

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straddles telecommunications, media, medical institutions, power generation, mining enterprises and then some, including sponsorship of sports teams, especially in basketball. There’s John Gokongwei, who’s definitely cool and relatively quiet, but he too has made more than his mark in Philippine business, establishing strongholds for his family in such disparate interests

as shopping malls, airline services and magazine publication. One can’t call Henry Sy hot, and yet his holdings, also now parceled out to his heirs, have been hot—from preeminent malls to manufacturing and processing. He’s been so cool for the past few decades that he’s wound up on paper as the highest-ranked billionaire among Filipinos.


The Zobel de Ayalas have long been the epitome of cool and rock-steady, with a dose of gracious aplomb. Lucio Tan may not be seen at present as being as hot as he was when he spun up an empire that started with tobacco and alcohol. But he’s still very cool. And so are his heirs, now that they’ve been set up for life, and have actually taken over most of the clan enterprises. Many other uber successful Pinoy/Chinoy businessmen epitomize coolness on a grand scale. They are different from you and me, if one may paraphrase the writer who

“I strongly believe that to be happy, one must have freedom of action and peace of mind. And to achieve this, you must have financial stability to do what you want.” focused on tycoons, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Since we’ve made the jump to literature, we can now inform our readers that in the 62nd edition of the storied Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature ceremonies—the annual bash so keenly awaited by Filipino writers, poets, playwrights, essayists and scenarists—the Palanca Foundation director-general, Sylvia Palanca Quirino, announced a new project to supplement their family’s efforts at helping out in nation-building by way of publishing inspirational memoirs. Madame Sylvia Palanca Quirino revealed in her speech at the Palanca Awards Night held last September that “A series of books

that will serve as inspiration toward nationbuilding will be published under the aegis of the Carlos Palanca Foundation.” The series that will be billed as “I Did It — So Can You!” is intended to “celebrate the lives of Filipinos who rose from simple beginnings to achieve meritorious success in their respective fields of endeavor.”

agent and became start-up CEO of Pru Life UK Philippines, which he steered in five quick years to the Top Five of insurance companies in the country. From the manuscript draft of the book to be titled “Business Without Capital: Insurance Selling,” we share an excerpt in Bobby Madrid’s own words:

The following details were disclosed: “The first book is a gem of practical advice from one of the pillars of insurance, Mr. Bobby Madrid, who started his career in the life insurance industry as an agent and rose from the ranks to become the first Filipino president of Manulife and later became the founding President and CEO of Pru Life UK which he built from the ground up and made into one of the biggest life insurance corporations in the country today.

“As you go through your career in selling life insurance, you learn along the way. But what makes your learning more intense is your hunger for success. The pursuit of excellence should always be first and foremost in your mind.

“The second book in the series features the eminent cardiac surgeon Dr. Jorge Garcia who performed the first heart transplant in the Philippines. Dr. Garcia, who is internationally renowned as one of the best heart surgeons in the world, had a vision to duplicate the U.S. system in the Philippines. He established the Makati Heart Foundation to provide for the transfer of knowledge and skills to local surgeons and nurses. He also founded the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, famous for its world-class treatment and facilities. Dr. Garcia is currently a senior Cardiac Surgeon at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C., and Clinical Professor of Surgery at Georgetown University in Washington….

“I listened and learned from the experiences of successful insurance career agents. I read books on insurance, etc. “I was aware that mediocrity cannot be acceptable, and I had a very strong fear of failure. “But to have a positive craving for success, you must have a ‘trigger’ that you can pull to push you into this action. “The fundamental trigger for me was my quest for financial stability to be able to fulfill my dreams. The thought of financial instability and dependence on other people scared the hell out of me. “I strongly believe that to be happy, one must have freedom of action and peace of mind. And to achieve this, you must have financial stability to do what you want.

“These stories of success will also teach others how to do it — how to face the challenges of modest backgrounds and manage to achieve great feats. The lives and pathways of these exemplars of enterprise will then be turned into inspirational literature.”

“And the values of integrity, fairness and equality should always be the principles that you follow in whatever you do, to have peace of mind.”

Both men as subjects of inspirational, how-to memoirs are definitely cool.

And now we look forward to more intimate conversations with Dr. Jorge Garcia, the now legendary Filipino heart surgeon, whose success story has also definitely been no less than world-class cool.

We happen to have had a hand in the crafting of the first book on Mr. Madrid and how he started out as a life insurance

Now that’s cool.



Filipinos’ Fin-Q at an All-Time High Six out of 10 feel they have a “good” or “very good” understanding about money management and personal finances, while four in five say they are optimistic about their financial future Filipinos scored an all-time high of 52.6 out of a possible 100 points in the latest Citi Financial Quotient (Fin-Q) Survey, passing the 50-point mark for the first time since the survey was launched in 2007. The Citi Fin-Q Survey is an annual survey designed to measure the Financial Quotient or financial well-being of consumers. All respondents were over 18 years of age with either a bank account or a major credit card.   The Filipinos’ high Fin-Q score can be credited to a better understanding of money management, according to the survey.  Fifty-nine percent feel they have a “good” or “very good” understanding about money management and personal finances. This also explains why 94% reported attempting a monthly budget, the highest number across all countries participating in the research.   In this latest survey, respondents were scored on 11 different questions closely related to financial well-being for a maximum possible score of 100.  The questionnaire consisted of over 50 questions and covered a range of topics closely related to financial decision-making and smart financial habits.   Citi conducted the survey through research firm Big Picture Qual and Quant Research in late 2011, and results were released this year. The survey covered 4,000 people across 8 countries including the Philippines.  Five hundred interviews were held in each of the participating countries

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that include Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Optimism Up

More than 60% surveyed said they were “better off” compared to 2010, the highest reported level since 2007. Optimism on one’s financial future is also up, with four out of five respondents saying they are “very optimistic” or “optimistic” about their financial future. On savings, 42% reported they save money from every pay.   With better access to financial education, Filipinos are able to manage their current finances, and have become even more conscious about saving for the future.  

Across Asia Pacific

For the fourth consecutive year, the Citisponsored research revealed a year-overyear increase in the Citi Fin-Q Score or financial well-being of Asian consumers. The Citi Fin-Q for the region currently stands at 54.5 out of a possible 100 points, up from 53.2 in 2010, 50.9 in 2009 and 49.5 in 2008. Majority of respondents (74%) in the Asia Pacific region showed increased satisfaction in their current quality of life, while 70% were “very optimistic/optimistic” about their financial future.    Almost two-thirds (63%) of Asia Pacific respondents expressed confidence that their savings will lead to a comfortable life in retirement. Not a surprising fact, since almost half (46%) reported that they set

aside some savings from every pay. More than two in five Asia Pacific respondents also suggest their personal financial situation is “much better off” or “somewhat better off” compared to one year ago.  

Money-Wise, Tech-Savvy

“The survey numbers in the Philippines are indeed very encouraging. The results show that Filipinos are becoming more determined to take charge of their finances and are responsible users of credit,” pointed out Citi Country Officer Sanjiv Vohra. Sixty per cent indicated that they pay off their full outstanding credit card balance on a monthly basis, up 12% from 2010. Filipinos are also looking at investments in the form of cash, real estate and insurance to ensure a comfortable retirement.   Average retirement savings is pegged at P1.56 million, marking an 11% increase from 2010. On the average, Filipinos reported having 10.4 weeks of savings in reserve.   Filipinos have embraced digital banking with 70% saying they use the Internet or mobile phone for banking transactions. Given a choice, a majority (52%) expressed a preference for banking online from a home or office computer – the highest number registered among the participating countries.   “What the numbers tell us is that Filipinos are taking a more active role in planning their finances and choosing the financial products and services according to their needs,” added Vohra. 

KN Retail LLC, P.O Box: 30573, Dubai

Reef Mall, Level - 02 Deira, Dubai






Is there enough proof that the Philippines is indeed bankable or are we banking on pure optimism? Bernadette Reyes talks a closer look.

The first half of 2012 was a good run for the Philippine economy. According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippines posted a 6.1% growth making it one of the fastest and most attractive economies in Asia. With the improving economic landscape, the Philippine Government says it’s high time that investors put their money in the Philippines. “Foreign investors like the Japanese have been looking again at the Philippines as an alternative site for investment,” says economist and University of Asia & the Pacific professor Dr. Victor Abola. This reaction came shortly after Thailand suffered a beating from last year’s flooding that crippled its manufacturing sector. “It dawned into on them that if they put all their eggs in one basket, if they drop it,

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they will have nothing left,” says Abola. The recent floods last August following the monsoon rains is a testament that the Philippines is not immune from natural disasters but Dr. Abola says its effect was minimal. “The industrial areas in CALABARZON were not affected. It had very limited effect.” In fact, the real estate industry remains strong in spite of threats associated with climate change. Big real estate companies are building new properties and selling them for huge profits. Small-scale developers are also lured in the build-andsell business. “Housing is a good area for investment. Many started with one house. Now they are able to build and sell five houses in a year,” Abola says.

Even natural calamities couldn’t take away the country’s comparative advantage over its neighbors. Asian Development Bank (ADB) Philippine Country Office Senior Economist Norio Usui says one of the Philippines’ assets is its labor force. “With tightening labor markets in some countries, recovery from natural disasters in others, and the appreciation of the Japanese yen, there are growing opportunities for the Philippines to attract foreign investors,” Usui explains. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is confident the Philippines will post more foreign direct investments as the world begins to notice Southeast Asia. The numbers have begun to show signs of an uptick. In the first semester of 2012, net inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) s reached $917 million, up by 10.6 percent


from the $829 million of the same period last year. “(The Philippines) is well ahead in terms of macroeconomic concerns, including growth, inflation, banking, public finance and external payments. It’s just a question of time before we really get a big slice of FDIs,” says BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo.

Investment Brings Employment As long as investments continue to increase, employment opportunities will follow. Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Emeritus Donald Dee says Filipinos should wait a while before they feel the improving economy. “More jobs will come. There is a lag time between investment and actual placement of people but there are a lot of investments coming in,” says Dee. “As we rollout services, people will start to feel [progress] by middle of next year. Their outlook will change. They will begin to see the economy moving forward,” Dee adds. Private consumption is also giving the economy a boost. The increased spending of households, says National Economic and Development Authority Director General and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan is a sign that the improving macro economy has trickled down. “When you are able to buy more food, more medicine, if you are able to meet or increase consumption for basic needs that’s when you feel the economy improving.” According to World Bank estimates, the Philippine population has ballooned to 94.8 million in 2011. Even if bulk of the population is considered middle income to low income classes, the aggregate spending of these segments have huge impact on the country’s bottom line.

The government also recognizes the significant role of overseas Filipinos workers in private consumption. Their remittances continue to be a significant source of investment. Dr. Rosemarie Edillon of the NEDANational Planning and Policy Staff (NPPS) says the Philippines is able to supply labor force abroad, which is beneficiary to the country as well. “While the Philippine economy is still considered as developing, it is already in a high stage of human capital development. On the other hand, there are developed countries that require a certain level of human capital, which the Philippines has been able to supply. I think the global demand would always be there.”

The thrust of the government now is to make sure everyone will feel these economic developments. Usui believes inclusive growth is possible but the government has to provide basic infrastructure, remain true to its mantra of good governance, and rollout measures that would improve the perception of doing business in the country. Balisacan admits it has not been long since the economy has shown signs of progress. It was only in recent years that the Philippines began to move ahead of its counterparts. However, these baby steps are crucial to growth. “If average income is increasing by only 3 percent per year that doesn’t take you far but if you have that every year for many years, that’s when you feel the impact,” Balisacan concludes.



For these people, recession has meant SUCESSion The ongoing economic recession has caused a lot of turmoil in different countries: currency depreciation, price increases, unemployment and political unrest. Economists are bleak soothsayers, predicting that a prolonged recession will lead to an economic depression. But there are some people who have been able to make the most out of the current economic environment and have turned the recession into their own SUCESSion formula. Didi Paterno-Magpali reports from Dubai and Mary Ann Santos reports from Manila. LAARNI EUGENIO: Honesty Is The Best Policy Laarni Eugenio’s talent and experience

working as a set decorator in one of the Philippine’s biggest TV networks, partnered with her husband Ariel’s keen eye for detail as a props designer, along with their consistent can-do attitude have helped establish themselves as one of the

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go-to wedding, events planning and design companies in the United Arab Emirates. Ariel’s Designs, which started out with just one warehouse seven years ago, now has expanded into three warehouses with a staff of 15 people of various nationalities-Indian, Nepali as well as Filipino. It took them seventeen years of backbreaking work thousands of miles away from home: enhancing their skills, learning the ins and outs of running a business and gaining the trust and confidence of colleagues; seventeen years worth of savings and one window of opportunity before this husband and wife tandem broke free from the bonds of employment and went solo. And that window of opportunity was when their former employers decided to close down the company. Realizing that she knew how to run the day-to-day operations and could take the company to new heights, Laarni decided to take over the business from the management through a transfer of business license. It was Laarni, who took on the reins of the arranging the transfer of business license, legal documentation and other start-up requirements, while Ariel continued on

as an employee in order to retain and continue their residence status in the UAE. Starting business in the UAE isn’t easy for expats, as the law requires the support of an Emirati business partner on top of the many other business license requirements. But since the husband and wife team gained the trust of their former employer’s local sponsor, setting up shop was a breeze. Though the almost effortless beginnings didn’t mean that their entrepreneurial pursuit went on smoothly. One of the many challenges of owning and running a business in the Middle East is the racial discrimination. Eugenio shares how Filipinos are often stereotyped “Racism has been here since the very beginning (of our business). And we’ve been here in Dubai since 1988. Hindi nagbago yun. May mga kliyente na lalapit sa iyo at hihingi ng proposal pero malalaman mo na lang na pupunta sa iba dahil lang (mas pinapabor silang lahi). Ganun talaga (dito). Tatanggapin mo na lang at mag move on. [Racism has never changed. There are clients who will approach you and ask for proposals, but, in the end, you would get


to know that they’ve decided to work with other suppliers just because they were of a preferred nationality. It’s really like that. You just have to accept that racism is a fact of life and you move on.]” But despite this Eugenio moved forward with her head held up high and it has paid off. Their company has gained the trust of clients, majority of them Arabs, through their natural talent, sheer determination to succeed, and more importantly, honesty. “Naranasan ko na kahit nagawa mo ng maganda yung trabaho at natapos na yung kontrata, pagdating sa bayaran ng balanse, magrereklamo sila, kesho panget at sasabihin sa iyo na babaan ang presyo. Hihingi sila ng malaking discount. [I’ve experienced that even if I’ve done the work well and delivered everything in the contracts, clients will complain that you didn’t do a good job at all. Then ask for a huge discount.]” Though Eugenio had anticipated this, she never had the heart to pad proposals just to secure profits for the company. She is firm in her principles in doing business “I am honest in business. (Sa mga ganung sitwasyon) either kunin

mo yung pera kahit lugi ka (o wala ka makukuha). Basta (importante sa akin) meron ka makuha kaysa wala. Prinsipiyo ko na lang kikitain ko yun sa susunod...Hindi naman ako pumasok sa business para kumita ng malaking pera. [In those situations, you either get the payment even if you lose a lot of money or you don’t get anything at all. It is more important that I earn something instead of nothing at all. I just believe that I will earn that in my next projects...I did not set up the business just to earn huge amounts of money.]” Eugenio stresses how love for the work, rather than love for money, is more crucial for entrepreneurs to succeed “Di naman lahat ng gusto natin makukuha natin. May trials, may challenges talaga...Masestress ka, pero kung love mo ang job mo, you will take (everything) as a challenge, (whether) good or bad. [We won’t get to have everything that we want. There will always be trials and challenges...You will feel stressed, but if you love your job, you will take everything as a challenge.”]

MILO TORRES: Bayanihan Spirit In The Desert Unlike Laarni and Ariel Eugenio, who left employment by choice, Milo Torres had to face entrepreneurship in the UAE head-on because of circumstance. He was terminated by his former employer due to corporate restructuring and budget cutting. But thankfully, the company did not immediately terminate his residence visa, which would have meant losing his permit (along with his wife and son) to stay in the UAE. The company actually renewed his residence visa, which was valid for three years, to allow him to find a job to replace the one he lost “It was a fresh renewal of (residence) visa as I had


just finished 6 years of staying with them. It was actually a good gesture from my employer. I did not ask for it. I was a very good was just unfortunate that my services (were not required by the company anymore).” Torres, though was a full time employee as a senior engineer / network administrator at that time; he started moonlighting as a website designer and photographer. This, little did he know, would be the saving grace of his sudden unemployment. He was an active volunteer in the Filipino community as a computer trainer. In fact, he was one of the founders of the Overseas Pinoy Professional Photographers society and he is the publisher of the currently inactive Overseas Filipino Workers’ portal, OFW Zone ( Torres started to concentrate his efforts on his freelance projects while job hunting. It was then he realized how he could actually make it on his own, that he was earning more as a freelancer specializing in web design and photography than what

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prospective employers were offering him as a senior engineer. After more than a year of freelancing, with the help of funds from his savings, Torres decided to register his business to make it official. Getting a business license would be a springboard to expand his business, an opportunity to work with medium to large companies, apart from his regular clientele. “And since I got my (business) permit from TECOM, I was able to (handle bigger) clients like Dubai Duty Free, Sharjah Duty Free, Patchi Chocolates, British Business Group. Maersk, Air France and Dubai Outdoor Media among others.” “Networking and mingling with the community plays a very important role in any business as you are actually building good (relationships) with people. In fact, until now, I still receive referrals from my computer students from as far back as year 2000.” Torres proudly shares his key learning on entrepreneurship. It was then he truly felt the Filipino Bayanihan spirit, where he indeed experienced the full on

support from the Filipino community “In the first five years of the business, most of (my clients) were Filipinos or were influenced by Filipinos. Now, it is a mix of nationalities.” Torres thinks that being an entrepreneur is “one of the most thrilling and rewarding experiences” in his life. He is extremely proud to be his own boss: being hands on in all aspects of the business, managing his own time and using his skills and creativity to the fullest. Yet he still recognizes that going solo is not a bed of roses. “Going into business is not an easy task. You have to work extra time when the economy is low or when competition heats up. Pressure is always there, unlike being employed where (you) just have to work 8 hours a day without worrying about the business. There are lots of responsibilities and plenty of administrative details that are not fun. You can’t please everyone and have no guaranteed salary.”



Despite the many challenges, Torres remains positive and encourages his fellow kababayans not to be intimidated by going solo. “To start and run a successful business needs a lot of information, but the basics are simple: maintain a positive attitude, stay informed with the current market, stay focused and motivated, plan well, know your customers and keep monitoring all monetary transactions. If you can take that simple advice, you can be a successful entrepreneur.”


OWEN SANTOS, Freelance Writer Owen Santos was previously the Features Editor of Marie Claire Philippines, the local counterpart of the international magazine franchise. When the magazine ceased its three-year publication run due to a new direction adopted by the media company, Owen became a freelance writer. She didn’t scare off at the thought of going independent despite the trying times. The key to overcoming economic difficulties, Santos explains, is to “develop your resourcefulness even more. With freelancing, you not only work on being creative but also on sourcing your own projects.” Although Santos is working independently, she advises it is best not to isolate yourself. “Put yourself out

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there, and keep in close contact with your network. You show people what you’re good at by expressing your ideas on how you can help them. You should not be greedy about your ideas and always expect a certain price on them,” Santos adds. To be highly successful in freelancing, “you should actively pursue projects confidently.” To make the recession work for her, Santos adapted a different kind of attitude. “You do not focus on the negative when you write independently. You should also develop a different kind of discipline when you are freelancing since you come up with your own schedule as against the rigid 9–5 working hours in a company.” It was this discipline and work ethic that allowed Santos to work on a lot of incomegenerating projects and still have enough time with her mother who was recovering from an illness. “I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I was employed. It will be very stressful not only for my but for my mother as well.”

MARTINE COSIO DE LUNA, CHIEF BLOGGER/ Owner, Daintymom.Com Martine Cosio de Luna was previously a teacher in a progressive school for seven years, and an editorial assistant for a small publishing firm prior to that.  When she had her son whom she wanted to breastfeed exclusively, de Luna decided start a blog about her experiences as a new mother.  Her blog, Dainty Mom, began in March 2010, upon her return to the work force.  “It started off as a free website on Blogspot (the free platform of Blogger. com). It all began as a diary wherein I expressed my thoughts as a new mom,” she recounts.   As she got into blogging more regularly, de Luna began to take writing jobs on the side,

while maintaining her teaching position. She started off by working with different Internet marketing and copywriting projects that she acquired from Craiglist. com, a directory site.  De Luna eventually got repeat clients from both Australia and the U.S. that guaranteed a steady income,  enough to cover for the income she gave up as a full-time teacher. In June 2010, she resigned from her job at the school and went into full-time freelance work. In 2011, de Luna bought her own domain,, and established it as a brand that is an inspired lifestyle for work-at-home moms (WAHM).  The blog serves a dual purpose:  (1) To promote values and information on how to be a practical WAHM and (2) to act as a launching pad for her freelance services of blogging and copywriting.  Currently, de Luna is also extending her blog to other platforms offline.  She is organizing an event called It’s a WAHMderful Life:  A Work-At-Home Moms 101, a one-day workshop for is for moms who want to


find their bliss working from home while making a home. (The debut workshop is this October 2012.) How did de Luna successfully overcome the global challenges brought about by the economic recession? First, she became part of two global phenomena: Outsourcing and WAHM-ing.   “Outsourcing is very much in-demand these days.  The Internet has crossed boundaries, enabling clients to search for service providers worldwide,” she says. “WAHMs are also increasing in number as more women are leveraging the Internet to suit their lifestyle.  They are also able to save from the reduced transportation cost and corporate attire expenses which can be allocated to more important expenses.” Through a career style that is flexible and based on her strengths, she is able to craft a work lifestyle that marries well into the family lifestyle she and her husband have agreed on. “By working from home doing freelance work, I am now able to spend more time with my son, even home schooling him.” Secondly, (and in line with this philosophy of location-independent work), de Luna has professionalized the services that she offers as a WAHM. With the many service providers readily available, de Luna advises potential WAHMs to “start brand building and offering your services through online platforms, such as your own website,” in order to differentiate themselves.  “If you want to be a freelancer, you have to invest in marketing yourself as the  right person for the job. Through your blog, for instance, you can market yourself, create a following, and get potential clients to like and trust you. In gaining their trust, you can establish an ideal work-related relationship with them.” She also advises finding clients who are able to pay for services on a retainer basis, which helps bring in a steady stream of income. 

Perlas’ business formula actually works to his best advantage. “The economic recession is working to our advantage. With independent firms operating on the same media with huge multinational PR companies, providing the same and sometimes more superior services, we are certainly at an advantage. We do not incur extremely high overhead costs just to support an international franchise. We provide more personalized services to our clients. With global clients cutting down on corporate communications, a lesser priced but more efficient PR partner is a no-brainer.”

JAYCE PERLAS, Owner, Perlas Public Relations Jayce Perlas was previously employed in a large network company before venturing in a partnership in Public Relations and eventually starting his own private independent consulting firm. “I was looking for new challenges in Public Relations and Corporate Communications,” says Perlas explaining to why he shifted from an employee to an independent consultant. “As an employee, you are just focused on your craft. As an independent consultant, you are challenged to extend your focus to Human Resources, Administrative work and Business Development.”

Perlas further adds, “A lot of companies are looking for alternatives to decrease spending on advertising but still communicate themselves.” He therefore takes on a role of enlightening clients on how Public Relations is a cost-effective communication tool versus using mainstream advertising. “We earn the trust of clients and establish a good working relationship with them. This is how we measure the success of a communications project.”



There are hundreds of stories of Pinoys who quit their nine-to-five jobs, and started their own businesses to ultimately get rich. This isn’t one of them. Excel V. Dyquiangco shares with us how ordinary people have gone into business and self-employment where the main drive was pursuing their passion – and making a profit was just the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’. Janice Villanueva, Jeffrey Hidalgo and Anton Diaz all have one thing in common: they know what they want and they pressed on to achieve what they so desire, with the firm belief that, “If you do what you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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The Mommy Market Janice Villanueva grew up entrepreneurial; her grandfather and her parents owned and managed their own business. When she graduated from college, Janice took a job, working as a sales representative in the Yellow Pages which provided good

training for her. “But the real reason why I got employed was to get away from my dad and his printing press business,” said Villanueva. “It was not because I didn’t like going into business – it’s just that he was difficult to deal with. He was very authoritative.”


probably because his mom was a frustrated one. At five years old, he remembers singing “Kastilyong Buhangin”, which got him started on looking for singing gigs. Eventually, his perseverance paid off and he landed a stint with a musical group known as 14K. The entrepreneurial bug still found Villanueva when her friends started thinking about putting up a publishing business. But it was when she became a mother that the entrepreneurial spirit took over and business ideas came one after another, all driven by some kind of need. Villanueva had to deal with all the problems of motherhood and the absence of certain things made for inconveniences. Once, while she was breastfeeding at the mall, she realized that her breasts were exposed to the public. It was the impetus to start her first business – a clothing line - known as “Mommy Matters”. “These look like regular clothes but they have a panel that opens up,” said Villanueva. “It’s a hidden slip that you just lift up so that when you are breastfeeding, you don’t look like you are.”

the proverbial leap of faith. Her events company “Creative Juice” was then born in 2000. The first event “Mothers in the New Millennium” was a success. From then on, she started to do other events like doctor conferences, corporate events and marathons. Two years ago, she rebranded her mommy events as “Mommy Mundo”, a name that is now recognized as a go-to portal of resources for moms. “All of these are just born out of passion,” said Villanueva. Truly, it takes a village to raise a child, and Villanueva is only too happy providing a Mommy Mundo place where moms can get all the help they can get.

A Brand New Cut

Similar business ideas came to Villanueva as motherhood unfolded. As her child was growing up, she also realized that moms need information. Her being in the publishing industry was her impetus to come out with “Mommy Pages”, a directory filled with everything moms need: party planners, a list of the best child-friendly restaurants, among other things. Later, Villanueva started giving seminars to mothers about proper breastfeeding and did one mall tour. A friend suggested that she start putting up her own events. Hesitant at first, she took

Ever since he was young, Jeffrey Hidalgo always wanted to become a singer,

“I was nine or ten years old back then,” said Hidalgo. “Some personalities who auditioned with me and got in were Rada of the band Kulay, the late Tenten Munoz, and Tony Lambino. After a couple of months with the group, maestro Ryan Cayabyab transferred Tony and me to Smokey Mountain.” Their album was released by June of that year, but the group disbanded by March the next year. After a year long hiatus, Hidalgo started working with Viva and got started in acting. “I enjoyed it [acting] the first time and began considering it as a career. But one thing I realized a couple of years later while I was acting in front of the camera was I got more interested [with the] behind the scenes,” said Hidalgo. “With music, I enjoyed all aspects – being on stage, recording and producing. In cinema, I enjoyed screenplay writing – in fact I joined a workshop under Ricky Lee.” Soon after, he started developing an independent film known as “Piyesa”, a coming-of-age drama mixed in with songs of hope and love. Jeffrey says that in order to build in his directorial image, he first had to start with a passion. “Do what you love. Make an extra effort and research more about what you need to do and then work on that,” said Hidalgo who concludes that for those who know that it is only a matter of time before they reach their goal, patience and perseverance are key to success.


At first, there were no advertisers for “Our Awesome Planet” and no money was coming in. Banking on his savings, Diaz continued doing what he loved and after 18 months, advertisers saw the potential of his blogsite and placing ads. Then, after five years, the big advertisers started coming in. “Our Awesome Planet” is now recognized as a resource on dining trends, the inside news on the latest restaurant to open and even what to order. Diaz’s blog doesn’t just have readers, he has followers, who post encouraging words. “Each one is very unique in its own way. I feel satisfied when I hear people say that my blog posts helped them in planning their dinner or their meetings. And then this is where the motivation comes in; these words fuel me to write and blog some more,” said Diaz, confiding that he never thought his blog would be this big. “I’m always happy especially that my posts can help people.”

Awesome Blogging While working in the IT Department of Procter and Gamble, Anton Diaz started to write about his travels and food tripping with his family and post them on the Internet. It was 2005 and this was called “blogging” and it was something that was virtually unheard of then. But when his blog, “Our Awesome Planet” started to pick up popularity a couple of years later, he was faced with a dilemma:

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Would he quit his job at P&G to go fulltime with blogging or continue with his work? “It was fun working on the blog posts,” said Anton. “Probably the main challenge was balancing my time since I was working on my blog posts in between my work.” His love for travelling and eating won him over so after thirteen years of working in the multi-national company, Diaz decided to put on a different hat.

Aside from “Our Awesome Planet”, Diaz also ventured into Mercato Centrale which began in November 2010, a gathering of food enthusiasts and vendors looking for the best food adventure in town. He also teaches an Internet and Facebook marketing and blogging. “I learned these [blogging] through online courses,” said Diaz. “But back then, there were no resources on the Internet so I had to travel to the United States to learn more about this. It’s still a continuous process, mind you.” So what are his business secrets for success? “Make sure that your business can help other people,” said Diaz. “Monetary purposes are just secondary.”



Investments for Filipinos By Francisco J Colayco

Let me define how I chose the top investments to include in this list. The more financially sophisticated Filipinos, especially those with substantial funds have investment options available to them from all over the world. We are not talking about them for purposes of this article. We are talking about the ordinary income earning Filipinos working from anywhere in the world who want to invest in options within the Philippines. Knowing that one day they would like to return

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to the Philippines, they choose financial instruments they can easily convert to cash. They also visit the Philippines on vacation and have family and relatives here that make it easier for them to monitor their local investments. Generally, legitimate investment products are good. The challenge is really to determine which one is the most suitable given your unique personal situation and your specific personal financial condition. My choices, therefore, are not numbered

according to preference. You need to know where you are, financially, before making any decision on what option to choose. You need to draft your “Personal Statement of Assets & Liabilities & Net Worth” and with this as foundation, you must make your “Personal Financial Plan”. Your plan should give a clear definition of what your “End Goal” is in terms of how much you want, when and why. Your answers must match your financial means. Here are some investment ideas you can consider:


MUTUAL FUND A mutual fund is the ultimate example of collective investing and is probably the only prudent mode for the ordinary income earner to accumulate and grow his wealth. This is the most effective investment vehicle for the small investor who saves and invests regularly. It is based on the idea of leverage or pooling of resources, to maximize investment opportunities for the small investor. There are four general types of mutual funds: 1.) equity, 2.) fixed-income, 3.) money market, and 4.) balanced. Your choice depends on your age and financial goals. All have some degree of risk with equity funds being more risky than fixed-income. However, because of the diversified nature of the investment, if you choose a good, well-managed mutual fund, the chances of a complete loss is unlikely and the chances of a high return over the long-term are probable.

TREASURY BILLS/BONDS Being liabilities of the government, Treasury Bills and Bonds are therefore risk-free. The value of your money could decrease because of inflation, but you will always get back your principal and interest because the government can always print money, if necessary. The longer term bonds will generally give you higher interest than the bills. This investment is best for those who are already or nearing retirement and cannot afford to take any risk. However, “low risk, low return” is the principle to remember. Generally, this investment is suited for those who are averse to taking risks and are content with low-to-modest, but fixed and guaranteed return. These are the investors who are satisfied with regular cash collection in the form of interest earnings.

STOCK MARKET In the stock market, you can find all the major companies which operate in all the segments of our economy, i.e. from banking

to retailing, to agribusiness, to transport and many others. These companies list their shares in the stock market and give investors the chance to own a portion of the company. The valuation of a company’s shares are made by the investing public as they react to company performance in the face of the changing domestic as well as global conditions. As a result, returns from stock market investing can range from very high to complete loss. Remember again, “high return, high risk.” Investment processes can be complicated and need careful study. Furthermore, you need to analyze the particular stock/s you want to invest in. If your investible fund is limited (say P10,000), you will only be able to invest in one particular company. There is no diversification, unlike in equity mutual funds, your P10,000 is pooled with the billions of other investors, and is used to buy shares of many other companies.

MONEY MARKET This investment is usually for those with short-term investment goals and have Php1million or more per investment. Companies who need temporary funding for their operations issue Promissory Notes which are sold in the money market. The choice of company you invest in is very important as a company could renege at maturity date. However, this is unlikely as the financial standing of these issuing companies has already been studied by the financial intermediaries who “broker” these securities.

TIME DEPOSIT This is a short-term-to-long-term bank instrument with rates higher than savings deposits. It is guaranteed by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation up to Php500,000. Over the Php500,000, it is as safe as the bank you choose. This is suitable for those who don’t have large investible funds that they do not need for their year-to-year living.

REAL ESTATE I agree with each man’s dream of having his own home, whether a house and lot or a condominium. Thus, even at an early age, this should definitely be an investment goal. However, most have to save up for at least the down payment. Other investment options can help in saving the amount needed for the down payment. When deciding on your ideal home, remember to include an analysis of the re-sale value of the property. You may want to transfer to a better home in the future and it would be to your advantage to make a good profit on your real estate investment. Some invest in land that they will not live in because they believe it will go up in value. This is more of speculation and is suitable only if you have the ready cash to cover any resulting amortization payments as well as the other costs of ownership such as taxes, maintenance and protection against squatters. You could end up spending much more without realizing it. Real estate is not a liquid investment. Generally, it takes time to sell and collect real properties. Income earning real estate, such as apartment buildings are good investments subject to location, cost of development.

JEWELRY The high price of gold today has made many people who bought jewelry in the past very happy. But will they really sell it? Jewelry is very personal. Design choices are unlimited. The precious metal and precious stone content are critical to establish the price. More often than not, those who sell in a hurry for cash are not able to look, much more, find the right buyers who will put more value in their particular piece of jewelry. They end up selling the melted value of the metal (gold or silver) and the stones. I would suggest jewelry only to those who enjoy wearing them and have the money to keep them until they can be passed on to their children.


WORKS OF ART The art business or industry is a very specialized. The market though sizable in value, is limited in number of players. To begin with, works of art, are not a day-today need. In fact, it is not a need at all. Works of art are very special types of investments and should only be considered by those who have the right education and exposure to appraise them. I am not one of those so I have very few works of art as investment. We acquire them for their beauty and the enhancement they give our home.

YOUR OWN BUSINESS Everyone wants to go into business, even as a sideline for those already employed. If you have the right level of knowledge or skill, the right product and motivation to execute your business plan, why not?

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While it is exciting to be an entrepreneur, one has to understand what it entails before moving into it. New business has the highest risk of all investments and should preferably not be considered by those who are in retirement age. For those who have the right preparation, the current opportunities seem to be in the areas of: personal care and fashion; personal services that offer convenience to working individuals or families, professionals and other income earning entities who have not enough time for their own needs, e.g. house cleaning, laundry, home maintenance, etc. food retailing provided location is correct.

SAVINGS DEPOSIT As children, we are taught that we should put our savings in the bank. This is a good practice for money that has not reached the minimum amount needed for the other

investment options. Savings deposits give some interest, but because of taxes, the interest is minimal. Keep your money in the bank for safekeeping until you have another option open to you. For example, when your savings account reaches more than Php5,000, you can consider a mutual fund. If you have substantial savings, it is always best to have a good combination of several or all of these options to spread out risks and reduce probability of losses. However, the amount you invest in each option should be substantial to mitigate the risk factor. Commissions and fees may just negate the returns or earnings for small amounts in most options. For more information on investing and financial management, visit



By Francisco J Colayco

Luxury is defined as the “state of great comfort and extravagant living.” But what is extravagant for one could be ordinary for another. For example, in some places in the world, a banana is a luxury, whereas we take bananas for granted.

But I think most will agree that having a condominium unit with a club membership as an investment and not just to live in, could be considered a luxury. I was approached on how to evaluate such a potential investment and I suggest the following questions to ask yourself: Have you made your Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SAL), Personal Income and Expense Statement (PIES) and personal financial plan? This is s very important exercise and will help your understand and evaluate whether you should invest in real estate. For example, if all your assets are in real estate already, you might want to diversify into other assets. You also need to assess what percentage of your total investible funds this investment will consume and how liquid or illiquid your existing portfolio of investments is. Note that a condominium unit is not really that liquid. It is even less liquid if you buy it at the pre-selling stage. Compare and evaluate the selling prices per square meter of similar units in the area you are considering. Assess whether the “per square meter” price is fair, expensive or a bargain? Of course, the lower the price, the better. However, it could be that the low price means a lower quality of construction or finishing. Is the condominium developer truly dependable? What is their track record like? Check the other buildings they have developed. Are those buildings properly maintained and are the occupants happy?

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Can you afford the maintenance costs, e.g. association dues, real estate taxes, repairs of common areas? Some of these are not regular costs and you might be surprised when you get a statement of account. In this regard, make sure you also look into the track record of the developer with respect to the honesty and professionalism of the property manager and how his manages projects. The value of condominium buildings is greatly affected by the quality of property management.

Check the type of owners targeted by the developer. These will be your neighbors or the neighbors of your anticipated tenants. Are they the kind that would improve the value of your property? You need to project your income and project costs. You also need to assume that there will be times when the unit will be vacant and will need repair. Rental rates normally hover around 8% of the market value of the condo unit provided rental income is constant throughout the 12 months in a year. Vacancy rates therefore have a very strong impact on the effective return on the rental property. When considering buying a condo unit for rental purposes, you must assume at least a 20% vacancy rate over the life of the property. Understand the interest portion of your amortization by asking how much it would cost if you paid in cash. You can compare the interest rate with lending rates of financial institutions to assess how reasonable the rates are. The life of a condominium association is only 50 years. After that period, all the owners have to vote what will happen to the property.

You must inquire and understand what the rule is for your property. If all have to vote, it might be very difficult particularly, if the density or number of units is very high. Understand the nature of the membership to the club. Do you really need the club? Is the club open to other members who are not condominium owners? If not, then you are actually buying your unit for P2million and the separation of the price is only a marketing gimmick. Be sure you know the maintenance cost of the club share. There are usually monthly dues and the cost of usage could go higher through the years if not enough shares are sold or if members do not pay their monthly dues. You could be stuck with a share that you do not need for which you have to pay monthly dues because you committed to it. Remember that there are capital gains tax and possibly VAT that could be applicable when the unit is sold. All financial investments go up and down in value. If you buy and sell at the right time, you could have windfall profits. However, as a financial investment, condominiums do not generally perform well over the long term compared to stock mutual funds or even balanced mutual funds and other types of securities. Except for a few notable offerings, the costs of owning condominium units drag down the resale value. In addition to the cost of acquiring a condo, the cost of ownership (particularly repairs and refurbishing after every new tenant) and the cost of selling are real costs to the owner. These generally make condo units marginal investments, though if continuously leased, provide good cash flows. There are also exceptional cases, of course.


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Lesoto Catering By Bernadette Reyes

What began as a hobby for Leo Soto is now a business in full swing. Leo Soto is one of those men who love to cook and can cook very well. At first, he was cooking exclusively for family and friends’ special occasions and parties. One day, a friend asked him to cook for a special event. Starting with just Php10,000, he was able to buy food ingredients and pay for rental of tables, chairs and cutlery. “Start small, but buy your own tables, chairs and cutlery once you have enough capital,” Soto suggests. To be able to service 100 people, he says you may have

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to earmark approximately Php250,000 to Php500,000 depending on the quality of your equipment. You can choose to focus on food catering, but by purchasing your own set of tables and chairs, you can earn additional income from rental of these items.

In spite of the failure, Soto didn’t give up. His passion for food and love of cooking were enough to push him to give the business another try. Soon, good words about the taste and quality of his food spread among friends and then friends of friends.

Soto’s first client, however, was not satisfied with his service. “I was late setting up. The guests were waiting to be seated, so the client was really upset.”

Today however, word-of-mouth marketing may not be enough to get a steady stream of clients. “You have to join a lot of food and wedding events to showcase your catering business,” Soto shares.


With more and more people turning to food catering to avoid the stress of party preparations, the business is on the rise. This business can be financially rewarding. “If you average two catering events in a week, you can earn as much as Php80,000 to Php200,000 a month,” says Soto about the financial rewards of the food business. Soto cautions though that the catering business requires a hands-on business owner. Soto still goes to the market to buy ingredients from his suki who gives him the freshest catch and produce. “Never change your standards, unless you move to make them better. Always give 110% or go the extra mile for your clients.” As with any business, innovation plays a crucial role. “You should also change or add new dishes to the menu from time to time so regular clients will always have something to look forward to. While food caterers usually have their specialties, it helps if your cook knows a lot of different dishes and is familiar with various kinds of cuisine. It’s an advantage if you serve all types of cuisine or you have a lot of choices in your menu so that you can market to everyone.” Difficulties like clients who will have you cook for a crowd larger than what your staff and equipment can accommodate are par for the course. “Another practical option is to subcontract the set-up [of chairs and table settings] so you can focus on the food instead. If your client’s requests are really out of the question or beyond their budget, you just have to suggest something better,” says Soto. Trial and error is also something you have to venture in. Soto opened a restaurant but closed shop two years after. Now that

he has more experience under his belt, he is confident he can make a restaurant business succeed the second time around. For now, Soto is focusing on his catering business, which he says will always have a market. “It [the catering business] will never go out of style even if restaurants are growing because people will always look

for a caterer to take care of all their party needs,” he says. Whether it’s a restaurant, food catering or any other business, Soto advises that you pursue something you will enjoy. “Just follow what you’re passionate about and do not give up. Life is too short to not pursue your dreams.”


commercials, product launches and at the same time, can also outsource film and TV production staff, photographers, stylists, locations, equipment needed for such events.

Albert Gayo

Viva International FZ LLC, UAE

Dissatisfaction on how things were run in the modeling agency he was previously employed with prompted Albert Gayo to establish his own. But his knowledge and experience were not enough to start it smoothly. “Since I had all the knowledge and experience because of previous work in Bahrain but lacked capital, I started asking around and met Joyce Acosta who supported me with finances. We got our license with Fujairah Free zone and we then incorporated Viva International FZ LLC.” Gayo and Acosta paid AED30,500 and around AED7,000 for the visas, health and other paper work. Currently, they pay around AED2,000 every month for office space. Gayo shares, “At first I was on my own servicing my clients and now after one year, I have dedicated staff and am planning to get additional staff in the next four weeks,” he says. If it sounds like smooth sailing, Gayo will be the first to tell you it was not. Gayo had to pass the final hurdle - his previous employer threatening to bring him to court. “But of course I wasn’t affected at all because the UAE encourages free

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Gayo is quite pleased with the results of their business expansion and the figures it generated in its year of operations, given their limited number of clients. “Now my clientele is increasing through word of mouth. I am very positive that I will triple my income from last year because of new clients coming in.” From being just an employee, he upped the ante to being his own boss. And it paid off.

enterprise and my contract states that I cannot work with another company in the same business but does not state that I can’t set up my own,” he shares.

Gayo says by being an entrepreneur, he has control over his time and efficiency. He adds that he can choose his income, depending on his workload.

Now, his company, which has been in business for about a year, has evolved to being more than just a modeling agency; the company now provides media marketing services, event management and IT solutions.

But he also counters the benefits of becoming one. “[The] disadvantage is that you do almost everything making sure that you deliver what you promised and if something goes wrong, there is no one to blame but yourself.”

Viva International FZ LLC offers turnkey solution across a wide range of services in the world of modeling, events, and IT. Their aim is to create an experience that goes beyond expectation.

Nonetheless, he still urges fellow Filipinos to try entrepreneurship.

Viva International FZ LLC is a one stop shop fully equipped to conceptualize, produce and implement big ideas. They provide customized and strategic experiences, where guests get to connect with client brands and products in ways that are personally relevant and memorable. Viva provides models, cast, promoters, and entertainers for photo shoots, TV

He is hopeful that a push in the right direction, along with some encouragement is all it takes. “I would encourage Filipinos to be more aggressive in their pursuit of entrepreneurship, not to be afraid to venture into business especially to those who know the ins and outs of their particular profession. Instead of making your bosses rich, be brave and work for yourself, and taste the full glory of your hardship.”



By Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa

Financial literacy for OFs is one of the flagship projects of the Philippine Embassy with the Bayanihan (Volunteer) Council and Atikha through the Pinoy WISE movement. This is in line with the third pillar of the Philippine foreign policy on economic diplomacy, actively supported by Secretary Alberto del Rosario. It is the nexus/link of migration and development, which hopes to maximize the developmental potential of migration through public-private partnership. It is also envisioned to support the reintegration program of the government, one of the priority programs of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. PinoyWISE (Worldwide Initiative for Investment Savings and Entrepreneurship) was initiated by Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiatives.   Atikha’s program on financial literacy and mobilizing migrant investment towards agriculture cooperatives was supported by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).     The setting up of the One Stop Migration Resource Centers in partnership with the Local Government was supported by the European Union United Nations Joint Migration and Development Initiatives (ECUN JMDI). These initiatives are considered one of the good practices on migration and development internationally.   The Ministry of Labor of UAE invited Atikha in 2010 to conduct training of trainers on financial literacy not only for Filipinos but also to leaders of migrants from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.   Atikha partnered with Bayanihan in UAE to be able to conduct the PinoyWISE financial literacy seminars. To date, there are more than 606 OFs who have attended the PinoyWISE financial literacy seminar.   Companies such as Etihad and Abu Dhabi Duty Free have adopted the PinoyWISE program as part of their staff development.

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These initiatives caught the attention of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Interior and Local Government, the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. They agreed to converge initiatives and create the PinoyWISE movement to promote financial education, mobilize investment towards  agribusiness, and promote the products and eco/ agro-tourism in certain provinces.   On November 23, 2012 PinoyWISE will have its international launching at the Abu Dhabi National Theater and on November 30 at the Philippine School in Dubai.   PinoyWISE movement has chosen UAE to be the pilot country to implement this program because of the huge number of OFs (800,000); the support of the government especially the Ministry of Labor in the financial education program for migrants; the active participation of the Philippine Embassy Country team lead by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); and most especially the passion and hard work of Bayanihan and PinoyWISE UAE volunteers who are tireless in their mission to teach our kababayan need to save and invest their hard earned money and the need to address family and personal issues that drain their resources. The theme of PinoyWISE UAE Event is “Engaging Migrants in Agriculture Development”.   Agriculture is the hardest hit sector since families of migrants stop tilling their lands or fishing once they begin receiving remittance.   Other agricultural lands are converted to subdivisions due to the booming real estate market and in response to the demand of migrants to build new homes. Communities with huge migrant populations have minimal enterprises funded by migrants.  Their earnings are not invested in source communities. These are the reasons why PinoyWISE wants to promote migrant

investment in agriculture. If there is no rural development, it would be difficult for migrants to return and reintegrate since there will always be limited opportunities in the provinces where they are from. There will be nine provinces who are planning to join the event namely: Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Tarlac, Oriental Mindoro, Antique, Agusan del Sur, Masbate, and Maguindanao.  The provinces will showcase the various the agri-business opportunities of participating provinces, various investment in agri-enterprises of partner cooperatives such as egg layer farm, fish farm, contract growing, export ready products that are being developed in the province and also eco/ agro tourism destinations that migrants and their families can visit during their vacation in the Philippines.   Other exhibitors are the OWWA, in partnership with Landbank for the 2 B Reintegration Program; DBP, Soro-soro Ibaba Development Cooperative, CAFFMACO and other partner financial institutions.  Atikha will also showcase various initiatives of NGOs working with overseas Filipinos such as programs for children, opportunities for migrants in operating a bed and breakfast for the Ekolife Homestay Ecotour Program.   The Department of Agriculture Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Services (DA-AMAS) will also conduct seminars about opportunities in agri-business.   There will also be a parallel session on addressing family issues that drains the resources of the migrants and counseling on family issues.   The PinoyWISE UAE event is made possible through the efforts of DFA, DAAMAS, OWWA, DILG, ULAP, Atikha and Bayanihan.     Other sponsors of the PInoyWISE Event are Etihad, which is the major airline partner of PinoyWISE and also Xpress Money, which is one of the remittance partners of PinoyWISE.  

44 PINOY PRO Celebrating the Professional Pinoy

Amelou Villamanto Flores Adamson University BS Computer Science

The travel agency industry maybe demanding, but business development manager Amelou Flores takes it all in stride. A stint as operations manager for a manpower agency back in Manila, handling around 1200 personnel in more than 25 projects, was perhaps, a good practice before she went to Dubai and joined As business development manager, Flores says she is responsible for the overall management of all strategic, operational marketing and customer relations activities. Beginning her day with checking atleast 150 emails each morning, she enthusiastically shares, “Solving issues with my team is my morning shot of caffeine!” By noon, Flores’ workload stills seems heavy with the analysis of the development of the projects and the subsequent planning, but she also knows when to take a break. “I sometimes use my GM’s Galaxy Note to play Fruit Ninja. Else, I would walk around the office and do my ‘rounds’ not to check on the team but to joke around and tease, positively of course! This is to inject a balance atmosphere of work and play,” she shares. However, despite the workload, Flores says that the high number of bookings and positive outputs from their projects make her feel fulfilled and productive. “For the clients, it may sound like a cliché but rendering excellent customer satisfaction is my passion. My greatest achievement, I would say, is the high rate of returning guests.” Moreover, with the company having a 95 percent Filipino staff, she expresses that it is her greatest joy to empower Pinoys through imparting her knowledge on reservations, and sales and marketing. And finding joy through empowering fellow

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countrymen is something natural for her and her family.

do my job well and I cannot do this alone without His blessings,” Lagus says.

“We were simply influenced by our mother who is a public servant at heart and is still up to now a barangay health worker,” concludes Flores.

Now, the IT manager still continues to read on new trends on IT and create websites to enhance his skills, during his free time.

Eduardo Mendoza Lagus Jr. Philippine School of Business Administration BS Business Administration, Major in Management Information System

Information technology and optimism are the names Eduardo Lagus Jr.’s game. A business administration graduate who majored in management information system, Lagus moved past the ranks to become systems support engineer in Coca Cola Export Corporation. Then, four years ago, he left his job to find another in UAE. Lagus is currently IT Manager for Polo Rak Amusements, LLC, which manages the leisure sites’ WOW RAK and Ice Land Water Park. “From pre-opening stage, I successfully set up the all the IT Infrastructure in the park which includes local area network, wide area network, wireless access point, data center (server setup and administration) and application software implementation. While on the administration side, I also completed setting up the ticketing system (Galaxy), digital signage implementation and sales and marketing newsletter,” he narrates. But Lagus was not satisfied with what he was already capable to do. Through self-study, he was able to create and develop their official website His work allowed his employer to save thousands of money from hiring another person to do this job. He quips, “I pride myself in having been able to complete successfully all the IT requirements in our park. At first, I was having no confidence in taking on a big role with too many responsibilities.” “For me this is very fulfilling and I thank God because He gave me the skills and abilities to

But more often, he spends his spare time playing with his daughters, Bea Cassandra and Alissandra Jill or his wife, Raquel, who also works at the same company as an HR (Human Resources) executive.

Josh S. Mangila Jr. Lyceum of the Philippines BS Journalism

Love for his family and sense of “corporate ambiance” pushed Josh Mangila Jr. to seek a better future in Dubai. Before leaving the Philippines, he was working in PowerMagz Co., a small company partly owned by his family that distributes prominent magazines to bookstores. “I was just trying to enjoy what it feels like working and earning for yourself, but the thing is, I didn’t have the sense of ‘corporation ambience’ which I am really looking for,” he recalls, adding that his parents still manage the company to this day. Mangila’s search landed him the position of Wholesale and Marketing Manager for Blue Sands Trading Co. LLC, the official and exclusive distributors of TERGAN products in UAE and the whole Middle East. “I report to the managing director directly, and as every body who knows marketing – my prime responsibility includes categorizing prospects, researching industry statistics, supervising content and dissemination of public relation statements, press releases, newsletters and managing company’s overall marketing resources in both print and digital media.” Nonetheless, these daunting tasks, also makes him most fulfilled when he gets it done. Mangilan added that he learned from his mentor not to work hard but to work smart. Confessing that he’s a bit addicted to swimming

ADVERTORIAL 45 and sumptuous dinners to follow the strenuous activity, his spare time is spent on a road trip with friends or his special someone. He also lists strolling around the mall and trying different restaurants in Dubai as activities to do in his free time. But while his career is thriving and leaves him fulfilled, he doesn’t consider it as his greatest achievement. “For me my greatest achievement are the tiniest things that I did to help someone – be it friendly advice, an aid for someone’s personality growth, a smile that I put in someone’s face or the faith and hope that I can share with someone who is on the verge of losing it.”

Maria Thelma Rosales College University of Nueva Caceres AB Major in Economics

Fresh out of college, 19-year-old Maria Thelma Rosales flew to Dubai to join her mom, hoping to help improve their living conditions back home. Fast forward 21 years after, Rosales is still in Dubai. She says she rarely travels back to the Philippines as all of her siblings are also living in Dubai. An economics graduate, Rosales boasts of creating her own cosmetics’ brand Maria Thelma Cosmetics, which she considers her biggest achievement. Aside from dabbling in the cosmetics industry, she is also currently employed as personal assistant to the regional head of contract solutions for EC Harris, a consultancy company. Her workload involves preparing financial performance reports, updating sales pipeline reports for global meetings, chasing clients over overdue and outstanding payments, among others. However, Rosales confesses that her job is not fulfilling. But she emphasizes that it is not in a negative manner. “It’s weird to say, but I never had a fulfilling job and that’s a good thing. Because it reflects my values and beliefs that my job shouldn’t be the thing that fulfills me.”

Philippine Tourism Stakeholders meet World’s Major Airlines and Airports in UAE

will likely boost air traffic between the two countries. The enhanced air pact will see increased flight entitlements for each side. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait remained the top three Middle Eastern source markets from January to August of this year. This provides another feat for Philippine tourism as arrivals from the region yield 2.20% growth for the same period.

Splash Fashion Royale - a magical, snowy evening in Dubai

The Department of Tourism, Clark International Airport Corporation, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific took part in the 18th World Routes event held in Abu Dhabi last week. It was the first time for the Philippines to be an exhibitor. The country’s delegation was lead by the Philippine Tourism Assistant Secretary (Deputy Minister) Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. who also conducted the country presentation during one of the Route Talks focused on tourism. The Philippine delegation took part in a series of negotiations with network planners of over 300 airlines, including the world’s top 25, to discuss new route opportunities and potential increase in flight frequency. The country’s key airport representatives focused on promoting existing market opportunities and route development programs whilst Philippines’ airline executives presented specific requirements and network expansion plans among airports and destinations around the world. This year’s World Route Development Forum gathered around 3,000 delegates who are senior management and airline network planners as well as representatives of airport authorities and tourist offices under one roof. The presence of the Philippines demonstrates the commitment to enhance international air access into the country, which is a key component of the National Tourism Development Plan from 2011 to 2016. This September, the Philippine and UAE governments concluded an agreement that

Fashion found inspiration from the past at the AW’12 Splash fashion show. Swishing gowns, bow ties, and ornate jewelry reminiscent of the era of Kings and Queens was the theme of the evening set in the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah. The venue itself was resplendent with chandeliers and opulent candles. Inspired by the season’s trends and the recently concluded catwalk extravaganza, Raza Beig,CEO, Splash and ICONIC, said,” Each season the Splash Fashion Shows are uniquely themed, keeping in sync with the latest International catwalk trends. This season Splash’s AW’12 collection is inspired by the majestic figures of our world and a setting that included seasonal imagery. This season, we also got into an intimate, very exclusive environment where all fashion enthusiasts were treated as VIPs and got to witness the collection up close and personal.” To get your pick of the latest looks and styles that range from vintage to modern chic head to any Splash store, where the collection will be available from now until December 2012 and to revisit moments from the show tune in to SplashFashion.


The Best Investment

By Bo Sanchez

IN THE WORLD When I was a kid, I learned that my mother lived during the war. With great excitement, I asked her, “Did you meet Magellan and Lapu-Lapu?” I was disappointed when she said, “No, I’m not 450 years old.”  So I asked, “Did you meet Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio?” That’s when she explained to me that she didn’t live through World War I but World War II. She’s 84 years old today and I grew up with her war stories.  I remember her stories about the Japanese Peso. “When the Japanese came, they printed their own money,” she said.  “Eventually,

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we all got used to them. But after many months, the Japanese Peso began to lose its value. Soon, everyone called it Mickey Mouse money. It became play money.” “Why?” I asked. “Because of the rumors that the Americans were coming back.  You won’t believe me, but when we heard over the radio that the American planes were coming, I remember how I had to bring a  bayong  of Japanese money to buy a bayong of food. One duck

egg cost Php75…” Two years after, they had to print 1,000 bills to cope up with inflation.       My friend, Nanay Coring Ramos, founder of National Book Store, also lived during the war. She too was a young woman when the war broke out. But unlike my mother, she had business savvy.  With her Japanese money, she bought goods that could be stored until the war

SPIRITUALITY 47 When you put your money in the bank, the bank gives you a bankbook. There, you find a history of your deposits. If Heaven issued you a “bankbook”, how many deposits have you already made so far?

ended. Early in the war, she saw what was going to happen. So she converted all her Japanese money to another currency— goods and inventory.  One day, a Japanese officer walked to her little store and asked if she wanted a warehouse filled with whisky.  She said, “Yes, I’ll buy it,” not knowing where she’d get the money.  She gathered as much Japanese Pesos as she could find and bought the entire stock.  When the American soldiers came, she sold every bottle to the Americans who paid her in U.S. Dollars. Mom didn’t do anything.  She kept her Japanese money in her bayong. When the Americans came, the money was all burned because it had become useless. No wonder Nanay Coring now owns 157 branches of National Book Store all over the country while my mother runs a tiny bookshop in her house!         

Why am I sharing this to you?

Question: Are You Business Wise? When you die, all the money you hold becomes Mickey Mouse money. All.  The Dollars, the Euros, the Yen, the Yuan, the Peso…

You know that. But are you doing something about it?

You need to be business wise like Nanay Coring. You need to start converting your material wealth into eternal wealth. How? Start giving generously to God and to the poor. Giving to God isn’t just a spiritual thing.  At the end of the day, it’s also the wisest, most practical thing to do. It makes all the business sense in the world. I know of a lot of very rich businessmen who aren’t giving to God or to others. So their wealth will be very short lived. It will only last until their life on earth.

In other words, how much have you loved? How much have you served? How much have you used your material wealth to give love?  But Let Me Clarify: It’s Building Heaven On Planet Earth! Warning: What I’ll say next will be hard to swallow. So chew on it. This is definitely not milk for those starting in the spiritual journey, but solid food for the mature.

I strongly suggest you convert your worldly money to the only currency that Heaven will accept. Heaven has only one currency: love.  Loving God and others is really the only thing you can bring with you when you die. Read carefully what Jesus says, you’ll be shocked: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. It’s actually possible to exchange what you have for the currency of your future home.  While on planet Earth, you can actually store great treasure in Heaven. That’s why I believe generosity is the wisest, the best, and the most perfect investment in the world.  

How Much Is Your Balance?

Let me ask you a very important question: How much of your worldly wealth have you used to create your heavenly wealth? How many investments have you already “wired” to Heaven?

I’ve met Christians whose only goal in life is to go to Heaven. Their only concern is to guarantee a Heavenly visa. To them, this is what salvation is all about. Nothing else. Friend, I want you to outgrow that attitude. Because I don’t believe this is the point of Christianity. Think with me: Today, there are 25,000 children who die every single day because of poverty and hunger—and all we can think of is our personal Heaven?  Today, there are many people around us who are starving for God’s love—and all we can think of is our personal Heaven? Jesus didn’t call you to be His disciple just so you can go to Heaven only. Jesus called you to be His disciple so that you can bring Heaven down to earth, specifically to those who are in “hell” right now because of their material, emotional, and spiritual poverty. Jesus called you to be His disciple to love the way He did. Jesus died on the Cross so that you too can die for others.

So what am I saying? Every time you’re generous because of love, you transfer your wealth to a particular Heaven that starts now, right here on planet earth. And it’s not a personal Heaven, but a Heaven for others.


INTERNET DATING Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer:

I joined an online dating site a month ago. Since then I have met 17 women, all of whom described themselves as younger than they really were and weighing less than they really did. Is it just my bad luck or are all women really liars? ~Jimmy

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RELATIONSHIPS 49 Dear Jimmy: Thank you for your letter, despite its false dichotomy. A false dichotomy, also known as either-or fallacy or as black and white thinking, is when a situation is presented as having only two alternatives, when that is not so. Other options include a position that is between the two extremes; in other words, when there are shades of grey though, alas, not quite the same 50 shades that EL James describes in her trilogy. Another is one where the result may be entirely different; in other words, not black, white, or even grey in any of its different hues, but a subtle pink or a fiery red. Alas, when describing themselves as younger than their real ages, these women may all seem to be lying. After all, under normal circumstances, they should all know their date of birth. However, what if one, two or all of these 17 women are poor at math? Such that 2012 less 1976 equals 26 instead of 36, or even 30? Describing oneself as weighing less is even less likely to be a lie since not all scales are as truthful as Snow White’s stepmother’s mirror. Not only might these women have inaccurate scales, very likely some of them may have less than 20-20 vision, so much so that 160 pounds reads 140. Indeed, it may even read 116, in which case not only might there be poor eyesight involved, but also wishful thinking.

feel you and my husband chest bumping each other, agreeing with each other that women are occasionally economical with the truth. The chest bumping, of course, is merely figurative. Mr. Baer will be the first to admit that this is, in all probability, his least likely choice when expressing approval. Myopic in the sense that, while I love Mr. Baer’s ripostes, I feel it unfair that, while

Studies that have been done on Internet dating have all concluded that both women and men lie when describing themselves on these sites. Perhaps even more damning is author and VillageVoice columnist Michael Musto’s observation that men lie more than women do.

As for you being unlucky, well, it seems that against all the odds you have actually met 17 out of 17 women who are all poor at math, and/or have bad eyesight, and/or a feeble grip on reality, and to cap it all, are probably all both old and fat. That, in my he has answered your questions more than estimation, really is bad luck. adequately (and in quite a funny way — always a plus in column-writing), not once All the best—JAF Baer did he raise the possibility that, perhaps, you, Jimmy, may be one of those pots Dear Jimmy: If I were rabidly feminist, which I am calling the kettle black just a wee bit too not, I would accuse both you and Mr. quickly. Baer of both gross myopia and being in cahoots. The latter because I can almost After all, the few studies that have been done

on Internet dating have all concluded that both women and men lie when describing themselves on these sites. Perhaps even more damning is author and VillageVoice columnist Michael Musto’s observation that men lie more than women do. Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but I cannot help feeling that someone who may have been a bit “economical with the truth” has no business being judgmental about women who may have been just as economical. Admittedly, there has been very little research on Internet dating. Most of them have been commissioned by the dating sites which would imply that there might be some vested interest in the results. That is, ultimately, the conclusion that dating sites work. However, despite this (understandable and predictable) result, the researches they fund suggest that people tell only white lies, as opposed to outrageous ones, when describing themselves. For example, describing oneself as a tall white Caucasian when one is actually a short brown Pinoy (or vice versa) would not go down very well; whereas sending a picture taken 3 years earlier might be forgiven. OKCupid--dubbed the “Google of online dating”--is the leading free online dating site in the US, with over 4.5 million monthly unique visitors. Its blog, OKTrends, which compiles observations from real people’s interactions on the site, reveal the following: • American women lie most about their weight and their age; and judging from your experience, the same holds true for Filipinas. In addition, many Americans also lie about their breast size and the number of celebrities they know. • Men, on the other hand, lie most about the following two things: their height (adding an average 2 inches to what it really is) and their jobs. Generally, men are 20% poorer than they say they are.

50 RELATIONSHIPS 21 percent of heterosexual couples met online. • 3 . Catalina Toma, an assistant professor in the department of communication arts at the University of WisconsinMadison. Dr. Toma wanted to learn more about how people present themselves and how they judge misrepresentation. She shared the following results: about 81 percent of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their profiles. On the bright side: people tend to tell small lies because, after all, they may eventually meet in person. On average, the women described themselves as 8.5 pounds thinner in their profiles than they really were. Men fibbed by 2 pounds, though they lied by a greater magnitude than women about their height, rounding up a half inch (apparently every bit counts). In conclusion, Jimmy, if you’ve found Internet dating fun, and most especially if you intend to continue meeting women online, I suggest you reframe your approach to the inevitable disparity between what they say they look like and how they actually look.

Studies not supported by dating sites are more objective and considered far more credible. These include those conducted by the following: • 1 . Gerald A. Mendelsohn, a professor of Psychology at the University of California. His Berkeley research involved more than one million online dating profiles was partly financed by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Because the major dating sites had more than 593 million visits in the United States in a typical month,

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(according to the Internet tracking firm Experian Hitwise) Dr. Mendelsohn concluded: “As more and more of life happens online, it’s less and less the case that online is a vacuum,” he added. “It is life.” • 2 . Michael J. Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford. (Scholars said that most studies using online dating data are about heterosexuals, because they make up more of the population.) Of the romantic partnerships formed in the United States between 2007 and 2009,

As long as you automatically add 2-5 years to the age a woman says she is and another 10-25 pounds to the weight she claims she is, you will perhaps be a wee bit more laid back about the white lies people tell each other. Hopefully, the law of karma applies so that the women will be less harsh in judging you too, when you arrive with slightly less hair and slightly shorter than in your profile, and are only able to treat them to a hamburger instead of the Wagyu steak you hinted you were capable of paying for. If you can see beyond the numbers, perhaps given enough time, there may be someone out there for you…not necessarily to marry, but certainly to be a good friend to. Good luck and all the best---MG Holmes



By Anna Oposa

There are many things to love, laud and lust for in the Filipino man. There is his innately fierce loyalty to anything familial, his endearing chivalry and old-fashioned values centered on caring for the women in his life, be it his mother, wife, sister or daughter; his humor that can be best described as culturally nuanced; his love for romance and the good life; and his deep – seated compassion for a better life for others. This month Illustrado features men of style and substance, men who have captured our hearts, our minds and have excited other parts of our anatomy. While this list is certainly not an exhaustive one, it is a start at celebrating a few good men.

Rio Dela Cruz: Going the distance It has been said that we should never judge a person until we’ve walked a mile in his shoes. If we were to put ourselves in Rio Dela Cruz’s shoes, we would be trying on a number of shoes and running--not walking--much more than one mile. Coach Rio, as his peers, fans, and students fondly call him, is an elite runner, running coach to the celebs, and in-demand race organizer with the ever so distinct head of curly hair. Before sponsors Nike gave him 100 pairs of shoes, Rio’s first pair of “running” shoes was a pair of Mighty Kid shoes given by a neighbor who pitied the young boy. As the seventh of 14 children and raised by a single dad, Rio never had a lot of money. Rio’s first formal introduction to

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running happened in 5th grade. He made the spur-of-the-moment decision to join his school’s track team and impressed everyone by outrunning his teammates on his first day at training—barefoot. He won all the events his coach signed him up for, which earned him the Might Kid shoes that were a few sizes too small. With a big laugh, Rio recalls how he cut the front end of the shoes to give him more room for his toes. His next pair of running shoes was Chuck Taylors. The daily training in the Marikina Sports Center wore his Chucks out quickly. Another kind soul gave him a pair of spike shoes, meant for rubber tracks. To make them appropriate for road running, Rio removed the spikes and replaced them with alpombra.

and [shows] that everything is possible,” Rio tells Illustrado. “They just need to be dedicated and passionate about doing the things that they love in order to succeed. The most important thing to remember is that education [should] always [be] a priority,” he emphasizes. Rio was offered to organize his first race in 2007. He was a one-man race organizer, setting up registration tables in different sites, collecting payments, and delivering jerseys using his motorbike. Knowing the ins and outs of races paved way for RunRio, Inc. to be the country’s biggest race organizing company. RunRio organizes nearly 80% of all races in the Philippines. “I [finished] my studies because of running. [RunRio] is the best way that I can pay back the sport,” Rio says. He also shares “Poverty is not a hindrance to your dreams; it is challenge for you to surpass it.”

On the way to a 16-kilometer race sponsored by Yakult, Rio was introduced to running coach, Boy Ramos. Kuya Boy took him under his wing and gave him his first decent pair of running shoes. Rio’s outstanding talent, paired with his good academic performance, earned him a spot in the University of the Philippines Varsity Track Team. In college, he went to bed at 9PM at the latest and woke up at 3AM to train. It meant a zero social life, but it was well worth it—he was the UAAP Rookie of the Year Award on his freshmen year, broke a number of records, led his team to the championship thrice, and finished with a degree in Physical Education from the College of Human Kinetics. “I hope my story inspires [other people]

David Celdran: The Renaissance Man Let’s come right out and admit it: we did not just watch Battle of the Brains in the ‘90s to learn fun-but-useless facts. One of the (if not the main) reasons why we were glued to the TV every Saturday afternoon was David Celdran’s disarming smile. More than ten years after the last trivia bit had been shared on air, David remains one of the most charming faces and well-loved journalists on TV. In his twenty-three-year


Mike Go Doing Business with a Conscience Mike Go is the co-founder of Bagong Payatas Community Ventures (BPCV) Inc., a social enterprise that aims to uplift the community of Payatas through the development of enterprises and corresponding programs.

career, David has provided analyses on the Philippines for international news agencies like CNN, BBC, and the New York Times. In 1994, he helped develop the country’s first cable news channel, the ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC. Today, ANC is considered the top source of breaking news and analysis in the Philippines. “Discovering new and meaningful ideas and experiences are what motivate me most,” he shares in an e-mail interview from Paris. “Even when sitting still, the mind is constantly searching for inspiration and expression.” David now wears a number of hats: editorin-chief of luxury men’s magazine Vault, columnist for Manila Bulletin, host of ANC’s Executive Class and View from the Top, chair of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, husband, and father. “There simply is no typical day for me. Understandably, it’s not easy managing one’s time with a daily schedule that never falls into neat patterns and routines,” he admits. “However, my family will always be a priority and [is] the only reason that

keeps me from traveling less.” David and his wife, Jenny have two children. “Although the responsibilities [of my many titles] are varied, they all relate to one type of journalism or another,” he points out. “The most difficult stories to cover are those that require investigating abuse. Because the security and reputation of people are on the line, establishing the incontrovertible truth is always necessary. This entails a lot of time, research and guts.” “The most fun stories are those that take me to other cultures, be it in the Philippines or overseas,” he continues. As host of travel show Executive Class and editor-inchief of Vault, David covers lifestyle and luxury trends. He also interviews highprofile personalities in View From the Top, which shows how these people live “at the top.” He adds, “I always look forward to interviews with thought-leaders. There’s nothing more enjoyable than an intelligent and inspiring conversation.”

Before BPCV, Mike was doing development work on the side. After he graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University, Mike worked with the top real estate company for over three years while pursuing an MBA to fast track his corporate career. In between deals and meetings, he made time to volunteer for Gawad Kalinga, an NGO that builds communities to end poverty, and tutored and played football and basketball with the youth of the Payatas 13 village. Hearing the words “end-con” meaning “end of contract” from his friends in Payatas stirred something in him. “I [hated] hearing [those words] as they [seemed] to be pre-destined for contractual labor,” Mike says. “[I] eventually [learned] that helping the poor must go beyond charity. In my case, it became automatic for me to include my friends and families in Payatas, whether though sports or putting up a business which will provide for my own family’s needs,” he tells Illustrado. BPCV’s first brand is Trese. Trese creates and prints bags, shoe bags, and other giveaway items. Trese works with two sectors of the Payatas 13 community: the mothers for the sewing and the youth for the printing. To empower them further, they teach guests of the community to do silkscreen printing and make shirts every Saturday morning.

54 FEATURE “Our big dream is to enable them to become the business owners of Trese. We’re preparing for it right now. Our managers are learning to decide and take responsibilities beyond themselves,” Mike shares with evident pride. Mike’s other hat is the Social Enterprise Development Head of Human Nature, a sister social enterprise of GK that produces natural and organic personal care products. He leads a team whose responsibility is “to ensure that the values of social entrepreneurship are practiced in the company.” This means sourcing raw materials from various farming communities, creating business plans for the farmers, and researching on efficient processing methods and the best farming practices. The young and charismatic entrepreneur is bound for greater success. He has the business background and progressive attitude for sustainable community work. “Implementing change isn’t simply about having the great big idea,” Mike shares. “It’s more of the countless hours you spend trying to make it happen with the people who need it most. In the end, you’ll realize that they’ve helped you more than you expected.”

threw in the proverbial towel in exchange for a literal one. In 2010, the part-time volunteer football coach of Gawad Kalinga founded Dream Big Pilipinas (DBP), a non-profit organization that aims to give underprivileged Filipino youth a better quality of life through football. From teaching football to two street children, the number ballooned to 300. DBP’s students range from 5 to 17 years old and come from poor communities. Most struggle to attend classes regularly and take school work seriously. The DBP program continues to give free football clinics on the condition that the kids eventually find their way back to school. The children are not allowed to work at the same time, nor to take part in any form of child labor. When they exhibit extraordinary skills in the sport and sportsmanship, the DBP kids are given opportunities to teach the more socioeconomically privileged children. Miguel’s current day jobs are Marketing Director and Athletics Director of the Domuschola International School (DIS), an IB World School in Pasig City. According to Miguel, his choice to pursue coaching was the “natural thing to do when given the opportunity and the capacity to make a difference.” He says, “I started as volunteer, and opportunities to do more presented themselves. So I took it.” DBP hit a milestone this academic year. Three children from DBP were given full scholarships to DIS. This scholarship demands more than academic excellence; it was given based on values formation classes, parent involvement, and the students’ desire to be in school. The unique program was a response to how majority of Filipino children experience difficulty thriving  in the traditional educational system where only grades matter.

Miguel Bermundo: Keeping the ball rolling After five years in the advertising and brand management industry, Miguel Bermudo

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Miguel’s leadership skills and heart for service led him to be part of the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The Global Shapers is a network of extraordinary

individuals under 30 years old with great potential for future leadership roles in society. In May 2012, Miguel had the chance to take his cause and share the BDP story to a larger and very prestigious arena: the WEF East Asia Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. “I got contacts from a school in Vietnam offering review modules for kids, networked with NGO incubators in Thailand and Indonesia interested to help DBP, linked up with a football academy in Japan inviting our group to scale up our athletics program with them,” he tells Illustrado. At 29 years old, Miguel continues to dream bigger. “The dream is for the participants to transcend from enjoying just the most basic of needs. The hope is for them to find fulfillment in chasing their dreams, and in doing so, harness untapped brilliance they never knew they had in them,” Miguel shares.

Niccolo Cosme: The visual storyteller Niccolo Cosme is one of the most prolific photographers and artists in the country today. The native of Kawit, Cavite is known for his extensive portfolio that covers commercial, fashion, and HIV/ AIDS advocacy work. In 2011, Niccolo bested more than 400 entries in an international photography competition in Seoul, Korea with his

FEATURE 55 artwork “The Brotherhood of Men.” The award-winning photo shows seven men dashing in the same direction. According to Niccolo, the image is a call for humanity to come together. In early 2012, he was one of the recipients of the Ani ng Dangal (Harvest of Honors) awards of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines. His most recent work is an exhibit entitled, “Resplendor: The Blinding Light.” The series of photographs blends images from Christian iconography with messages on HIV, AIDS, and migration. From the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, “Resplendor” has already made its way to San Francisco and New York. A few pieces landed in the UN regional center in Bangkok, and one will be placed in the UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva. Niccolo is also the founder and Creative Director of Project Headshot Clinic. It was born in 2006 out of Niccolo’s observation that Filipinos loved updating their profile pictures on Facebook. The concept was to have headshots taken, digitally alter them to incorporate the product or brand, and have the models upload the pictures as profile photos. “When the first series became a success, I realized that I needed to come up with something greater than vanity,” muses Niccolo. The turning point came when his close friend, Wanggo Gallaga, confided to Niccolo and his friends that he was a person living with HIV. This led Niccolo to conceptualize his first advocacy work on HIV called “AWARE.” Wanggo used the exhibit as a venue to share his story with the rest of the world. Project Headshot Clinic became a vehicle for Niccolo to start a cutting edge campaign on AIDS and HIV called “The Red Whistle”. The whistle is seen as a tool for disaster preparedness, inspiring him to use the whistle as a symbol to act and prevent AIDS- and HIV-related disasters. Some of The Red Whistle’s objectives are to raise awareness regarding the alarming

situation, encourage community action, and help facilitate access or referral to HIV services. “I hope [The Red Whistle] doesn’t stop inspiring people to come together and become part of positive behavioral change,” he says. Project Headshot Clinic has become a brand on its own for advocacies, campaigns, and advertisements. This year, Niccolo has given photography workshops in the Philippines, Milan, and Rome. “The workshops in Europe catered to Overseas Filipinos to empower them that we can use our talents to further our chosen causes,” he says. His next stop is the United Arab Emirates. “[What challenges me] is seeing what we can contribute to positive change for the world,” Niccolo says. He believes that every artist should put his soul in his work. “It’s the only way for us to live forever. Our stories, courage, and positive energy will continue to live on in the hearts of many people whom we can touch through our arts,” he declares.

Mikael Daez: In the (show) business of brains and brawn Mikael Daez never imagined that he would be in show business. The true blue Atenean had just graduated with a Management degree when he started modeling and acting in commercials. Mikael was first seen in the Jollibee Champ commercial and went on to do other commercials for

Dole and SM. At first Mikael was hesitant to get into acting and wanted to focus on modeling but, encouraged by PR magnate Keren Pascual to explore his other talentns, in 2011, he auditioned for a role on the highly anticipated epic serye, AMAYA and was cast as one of Marian Rivera’s leading men. Currently, Mikael is one of the lead stars of GMA’s afternoon prime time TV series, Sana ay Ikaw na Nga. Mikael’s boyish clean cut good lucks are nothing new in a business where aesthetics and sculpted bodies worthy of demi-gods are the norm. But what he does bring to the game is an endearing mix of funny, smart, brawny and geeky. A columnist for Philippine Star, Mikael is proud to say he is a geek and health buff. Mikael is very much into sports, he loves basketball—“more than any girl, it’s basketball that I love,” he once said. Mikael, values being healthy and believes in the right balance of sports and good nutrition from the food he eats ensures good nutrition. “Gone are the days when the ultra buff, Arnold Schwarzenegger types are the only ones who have the girls ooohhh-ing and ahhh-ing. Yes, I love video games, I love reading up on stuff in the Internet and I will occasionally use my awesome Google skills to learn more about the girl I like. Yes, I am a geek and I think it has it’s own advantages with the ladies,” says Mikael, who was recently also chosen to be the endorser and brand ambassador for multivitamin, Centrum. Mikael went out on a limb known as the catwalk to prove just how much of a geek he was. At the Cosmo Bachelor Bash, he chose to wear his own outfit which represented my personality: long sleeves, tie and glasses instead of the standard issue of a police uniform. And if that weren’t enough to impress the ladies, Mikael was also chosen by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as one of the “I Am For Peace” national ambassadors.


The campaign hopes to tap influencers from the youth, women, labor, civil society and media as advocates for peace and development. “I am much honored to be a national peace ambassador,” says Mikael, who is excited about the opportunity to promote something he believes in. “This will be a great way for me to reach out to people beyond my acting and television shows.” Mikael shows that nice guys don’t always finish last.

When the global recession hit in 2008, Marco’s lucrative career plunged as well. Disheartened, he headed back home with no concrete plans. During a trip to the grocery, he observed that most of the mushrooms were imported from neighboring countries. As a longtime fan of the fungi as food, he cultivated the opportunities before him: his family’s empty 4-hectare property in Lipa, his friend JJ in Spain who grew mushrooms as a hobby, and JJ’s roommate Nano who was about to graduate with a degree in chemical engineering. Ask him to talk about mushrooms and Marco’s eyes light up and he starts speaking faster. “When I looked at the possibility of growing mushrooms, I was hooked. Apart from my love of dishes with mushrooms as a key ingredient, the very scientific part of it and the fact that there are many medical and environmental applications got me hooked,” he explains.

Marco Lobregat:

Marco raised capital for the business that was to become Ministry of Mushrooms (MoM). His friends call his business model the “be-a-model-business-model,” because to raise funds, he sometimes “accepts modeling jobs”.

Mushroom Minister Marco Lobregat is possibly the country’s most good-looking farmer. The Coca-Cola commercial talent in the ‘90s has moved from model to model businessman, with an agri twist. Marco moved to Spain after college and landed his dream job as the International Director for Sales and Marketing for World Eye Reports, which did special supplements and investment guides for The Japan Times and China Daily newspapers. For the next few years, he lived in over 10 countries and met many top businessmen and government officials.

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MoM aims to build the mushroom industry in the Philippines into a sustainable and world-class industry. “Our growth has been organic,” Marco shares. “Our first goal was just to be able to grow mushrooms as a Christmas gifts. Shortly after, it was to do home delivery, which we did ourselves while we were doing research and development.” Marco remembers their slow but steady progress: “Eventually, we opened [a stall in] the Salcedo Market, started consigning with specialty retail and online stores like EchoMarket and Green Grocer,” he says. “We also partnered with a commissary, Edgy Veggy, to make mushroom products like our burgers and risotto to make

sure we develop our products well while concentrating on industrializing the farm process. A few months later, we started supplying restaurants around Metro Manila.” With the expertise of JJ and Nano on mushroom cultivation and Marco’s marketing background, MoM looks like it’s going to keep growing and growing. “Over the last two years we have also visited farms around the country and spoken to many growers and tapped into the mycological (the scientific study of fungi/mushrooms) experts. We have a couple of pilot projects in Batangas and Nueva Vizcaya. Next year, I’m hoping to bring Ministry of Mushrooms to my hometown, Zamboanga,” Marco adds. MoM just ventured into a new project: Mushrooms Go Pink, in support of the fight against Breast Cancer (www. Current estimates show that 1 in 13 Filipinas will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Scientific studies provide strong empirical evidence that some properties found in mushrooms can possibly lead to breast cancer prevention and elimination. “Oyster mushrooms, for example, have both antioxidant and anti-tumor properties,” Marco says. “It has been discovered that extracts from this mushroom interfere with the cancer cell cycle and cancer cells from spreading.” MoM has joined forces with over 20 restaurants and food specialists that will be creating and serving dishes made with locally grown oyster mushrooms. Proceeds from the specified dishes ordered will go to raise funds for the benefit of the ICanServe Foundation. From model to model businessman, Marco Lobregat knows how to make opportunities mushroom around him.


The Farm Celebrates its 10th Birthday Over the years, The Farm has helped hundreds of people in their quest to live a healthier life through integrative wellness, preventive health, and nourishing  foods in its purest form.  The Farm was ahead of the

times, when it opened in 2002, by offering detox cleansing retreats and raw living foods, ushering a revolutionary change to the Philippine tourism and health industry. To this date, The Farm is the only resort

The New Dove Oil Replacement Want an alternative to soften and moisturize your hair without sticky, bad smelling oils? Enjoy the Dove Difference with the NEW Dove Oil Replacement, which will give you smoother hair that is soft to the touch. The NEW Dove Oil Replacement with its lightweight texture easily penetrates your hair fibers and is instantly absorbed so it doesn’t leave your hair sticky or greasy!

In the Hood: Giordano launches Fall/Winter Collection

Bracing for a nice cool winter, Giordano launched its Fall/Winter Collection with hoodies and a whole new range of fashionable tops and bottoms to complete the look. Taking its cue from the youthful, vibrant university get ups, the hoodies collection personifies energy, cheerfulness and a new beginning. The rejuvenated hoodies, available for both men and women come in new colours such as Walnut, Coral, Indigo Blue, Fair Green, Blue, Grey, Maroon, Ribbon Red, Bright Rose, Pop Blue. The Melange Coal Grey and Pewter Grey are made of blended yarn to achieve a two-tone effect.

destination in the country that offers comprehensive programs addressing diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cancer care, just to name a few, naturally and holistically. Over the years, The Farm has won 22 prestigious international awards including “Best Medical Wellness Resort in the World” from SENSES Germany which  generated awareness in the international community that the Philippines has made its mark as one of the leading wellness destinations in the AsiaPacific region.  

The Dove Oil Replacement variants include Intense Repair with Fibre Actives, Nourishing Oil Care with Light Mineral Oil & Hair Fall Rescue with Micro Serum. Each variant provides core benefits; it softens and moisturizes the hair, minimizes split ends, provides the ultimate nourishment and pleasant fragrance while enhancing shine and glossiness. That’s five good reasons to providing 15 times more protection. The best part is it does this all without the greasiness.

LIALI Supports Breast Cancer Arabia

The hoodies come in prints (with academic themes) and solid colours. The collection can be easily matched with other Giordano FallWinter fashion items such as the best-selling Tipping Polos, long-sleeved Lycra Tees and essential denims for men and women. Also making a comeback are the long-sleeved Henley shirts, a perfect combination for the hoodies during the cold season. Henleys, made of 100% cotton, can also be worn as an outer fashion statement and matches well with Giordano’s tapered denims for men and leggings for women.

Liali Jewelry extends its support to Breast Cancer Arabia, through the online sale of its Pink Pearls Bracelets. Priced at just USD50 it will see the jeweller donate USD25 towards building up awareness of the disease which affects millions of women across the world as well as help raise much needed funds towards the worthy cause. These beautiful Liali pearl bracelets can be purchased only through Liali’s interactive Facebook store which has a special application to facilitate online purchases with the option of free delivery across the UAE or pick-up from the Liali stores at Mercato, Mirdif City Centre and Al Wahda mall, Abu Dhabi.

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fighting form Excel V. Dyquiangco

In all the plays of MMA worldwide, it is never about bashing the head of a player; it’s about putting principle, ethics and character above all else. Since it started in the country a little more than six years ago, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has gained a steady following. People from all walks of life– students, yuppies, working professionals, homebodies–have shown an interest in the sport not just because it shows a different fighting form between two players but because they see this as a sport directed towards self-development and improvement. Popularized by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the largest MMA promotion company worldwide, MMA is a combination of all Martial Arts that requires you to learn not just one technique, but different techniques like

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punching, kicking, wrestling, submissions and where elbows and knees are allowed. According to Alvin Aguilar, founder of MMA in the Philippines, many Pinoys have already made the sport a part of their lifestyle. “Ever since we put up the Universal Reality Combat Championship here 10 years ago, the popularity and level of our fighters have steadily gone up.” Eduard Folayang, a URCC Champion and one of the leading MMA fighters in the country, says that this is a sport that the Pinoys can indeed excel in. “Filipinos are good in any martial arts. In boxing, we have the pound for pound king and we also have fighters and athletes who excel

in other disciplines such as Wushu, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Judo, Silat, Arnis and other kinds of Martial Arts. But unlike these disciplines, MMA is different in that it is a combined martial arts that focuses on a lot of areas compared to purist martial arts that focuses on a certain area.” He adds that one advantage that Filipinos have over foreign counterparts is that they have the heart to fight despite the financial struggles they are facing. So what is it about MMAs that get Pinoys hooked? Here are three avid fighters who have learned that it is not just the skill but the confidence, the camaraderie and the character that given them their fighting stance.


Alvin Aguilar

Alvin Aguilar Alvin Aguilar got into the martial arts when he was just nine years old. Later on, he got involved in contests even before the UFC in the underground scene. “I live and breathe the martial arts,” he says. “I train twice to three times a day. I always make sure that I am focused on my goal, which is to compete at my best every single time. I like MMA because it’s all about the adrenaline, the goal setting and the feeling when you win is just exhilarating.” He remembers his first win; he fought a senior instructor with a big reputation. Aguilar remembers just going into the ring and beating him. For some reason his mind and body just reacted perfectly. The win made tremendous strides for his confidence. Another fight was memorable for Aguilar. “I got this guy flushed on the chin and he just dropped. Ever since, I have been addicted to what Tank Abott (a retired American Mixed Martial Arts fighter) said: “I just wanted to tickle his brain a bit”.”

Aguilar has never lost a fight but the one thing he has learned is that when you lose, you learn about the stuff you have to work on and then go and fix it. His future plans on the MMA include to train others and to promote the Filipinos to be the best they can possibly be no matter what. “What is important is that you shut them [difficulties] all out and focus on what you want. Basically it is how bad you want it.”

Erwin Tagle It was Bruce Lee who influenced Erwin Tagle to get into Martial Arts. “Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own. Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” These words gave Tagle the motivation for self-defense and the philosophies that inspired him to evolve as a complete fighter. But for Tagle, the beginning was rough. “My first fight was my first loss,” he recalls.

“It was a learning experience. I gained more out of that fight. I have no ground game during that time or I thought I had but it was not enough. After that fight, I focused on wrestling and jujitsu and came back to win all my fights.” This first loss was also the most memorable because it made him understand who he was and what he is made of, how to handle defeat while others would just walk away and give up on themselves. He came back stronger. “I like challenges and for me fighting is the highest form of competition. I believe that how you handle obstacles in sports is how you handle challenges in your everyday life.” As for the difficulties and the positive challenges of being an athlete, he says, “You live a healthy lifestyle. You learn to take care of your body and make it ready for battle. The only difficulty is that the sport demands most of your time so you tend to sacrifice your social life.”


Erwin Tagle

Eduard Folayang A Physical Education teacher by profession, twenty-eight year old Eduard had always has his heart set on MMA. After watching his coach who is the URCC Bantamweight Champion in the ring a few times, he was encouraged to also try the sport because of the excitement and adrenaline that he experienced from such an event. So in 2007, he first started out as a kick boxer, and then transitioned to Wushu then finally to MMA. He has not looked back since. “I like the sport because I love Martial Arts and it is a sport that can challenge my wholeness and being as a person,” he says. “You always have the chance to win as long as you don’t give up and as long as the time

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is not yet done. That’s what I like about it.” Training twice a day for six days a week where conditioning, technique and skills are all scheduled, he makes it a point to always be in tiptop shape – whether he is in and out of the ring. All in all, he has 12 wins against 2 losses. He remembers his first win – such an unforgettable one since it is the beginning of his journey to understand and appreciate the sport. “My first win is really a break for me,” he says. “I fought a good fighter Allan Co who served as a challenger on his belt and God give me the victory. I felt happy that this is the beginning of another journey in the world of sport.” His first loss, on the other hand, was quite

a memorable one too. He remembers it as being unprepared for that day. “This is actually a long story. I was not in 100% form stepping onto that ring. I may have lost, but it is also where I learned a lot of lesson for me to train smarter and harder.” He admits that training for the MMA is difficult, and he just doesn’t think about himself but for the many who dream of making it big in the industry. “The difficulty is that you need to prove to yourself that Pinoys can excel in this sport and this motivates you to dream and pursue this.” His future plans include teaching again in school or teaching MMA to aspiring fighters.

64 ILLUSTRADO SCRAPBOOK A platform for budding Filipino creative talent

Jake Royce Aguila Architect Project Coordinator Newbie photographer Jake Royce Aguila tried taking a few photos at night and found it a real challenge. “My first issue is focus. Getting a clean shot is really hard, capturing the right

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amount of focus on a subject when it gets dark, especially if you’re trying to shoot using natural light is very difficult,” Aguila explains. But once he saw the outputs, he was hooked. “Believe it or not, a lot of stunning images can be captured at night and without the aid of proper lights or a flash totally natural. But it takes some serious practice time and a lot of patience.”

Practicing his craft is something Aguila took to heart and now he describes himself as a “a newbie photographer who got hooked on nightscape photography by chance.” Positive feedback from his friends and family are his motivation to pursuing the path of being a professional photographer.

A platform for budding Filipino creative talent


Mae Calimquim Interior Designer Mae Calimquim is an Interior Designer by profession who just happened to add photography to her title. “I added photography two years ago when I was inspired to capture the beauty of architecture in Athens.” She has travelled extensively in pursuit of her passion for photography. “I have traveled to different countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and U.S. and have experienced and photographed some of the most inspiring places on earth.” “Being aware of the literal nature of the image I see and going beyond that in an aesthetic sense to create a captivating image is my style,” says Calimquim.

66 FASHION Gray knitted cardigan from Zara Men; drawstring pants by Drei Soriano

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Lounge with the coolest fall-winter “chill wear” from Manila.

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Gray knitted cardigan from Zara Men; drawstring pants by Drei Soriano

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70 FASHION Black cowl neck pullover by Ulysses King; drawstring pants by Drei Soriano; Oxfords by Milanos

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72 FASHION Black cowl neck pullover by Ulysses King; drawstring pants by Drei Soriano; Oxfords by Milanos

Belted peacoat by Edrick Paz; knitted black top by Ulysses King; striped shorts by Vin Orias; watch by Phillip Stein; Oxford Shoes by Milanos

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V-neck knitted long sleeved top by Jeffrey Rogador; shorts by Vin Orias; watch by Phillip Stein


Sleeveless crocheted top (worn inside) with fur cardigan by Edrick Paz; pants with pleated waist detail by Ulysses King

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Gray Pullover by Drei Soriano; black denim pants by Jeffrey Rogador

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FASHION 75 Sleeveless crocheted top (worn inside) with fur cardigan by Edrick Paz; pants with pleated waist detail by Ulysses King

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Knitted pullover by Edrick Paz; mustard pants by Jeffrey Rogador; fur by Jun Jun Ablaza

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78 FASHION Coat ensemble with ceramic details by Albert Andrada

Denim vest and shorts by Vin Orias; Oxford Shoes by Milanos

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Coat with double lapel by Vin Orias; pants by Albert Andrada; Oxford Shoes by Milanos

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Coat ensemble with ceramic details by Albert Andrada; Oxford Shoes by Milanos

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FASHION 81 Short sleeved twill coat by Drei Soriano; watch by Phillip Stein; turquoise framed glasses - stylist’s own

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Month 5 82 TRIPPIN’

things To Do This


by Sherry Tenorio

In a city like Dubai where a flurry of events are happening all at the same time, the only difficult thing is choosing where to go and what to spend your money on. If partying and concerts are your idea of fun, then read through our list of things to do for this month, and be in the know about the exciting line-up of international artists coming to rock and groove in the Emirates. We’ve even thrown in some trick-or-treat fun too because what would the ghoulish end of October be without it?

Enrique Iglesias live in Dubai Catch Spanish-Filipino singer/songwriter Enrique Iglesias live in Dubai. Son of legendary Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and renowned Filipina socialite and journalist Isabel Preysler is serenading Dubai with his divine rhythm this October 26. For the third time, the 37-year old international and award-winning singer/songwriter is coming back to the emirates. His solo concert in 2004 at Dubai Media City was an astounding success while his performance at a private party in 2008 created an unforgettable buzz

around town. While on his tour to promote his new album “Euphoria”, the singer, who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, is expected to belt out his all-time hits such as “Hero”, “Bailamos” and “Could I Have This Kiss Forever”, to name a few. The doors of Dubai World Trade Centre concert arena will open at 7pm on October 26, while the show will start at 10pm. Tickets are priced as Silver (AED 295), Gold (AED 550) and Platinum (AED 995) which are available in all Virgin Megastore outlets. For further inquiries, contact M4 Events at 0502842020.

Join Atelier/Festival for the biggest musical event of the season Grab your dancing shoes and get ready to groove with the most exciting line up of global artists in a one-night-only musical extravaganza. The Atelier/Festival, which was held last April, is once again going to give us the biggest names in the international music industry. Last summer’s festival saw the spectacular performances of Ne-Yo, Leona Lewis, Talo Cruz, Jay Sean, Natasha Bedingfield, Skylar Grey, Sugababes and DJ Edward Maya. This season, the musical festival is expected to sizzle with popular international artists such as 50 Cent, Duffy, Nelly, Ciara, Craig David, Eva Simons, SkyBlu of LMFAO and DJ Antoine.


To be held on October 19 at the Meydan Racecourse, the Atelier/Festival is highly anticipated by the fans following these RnB, dance, hip-hop, and pop genre hit makers. Doors will be open from 2pm until 3am on October 19. Tickets are priced as Standard (AED 350), VIP (AED 700) and Platinum (AED 1250) and are available from, Virgin Megastore outlets, Meydan Box Office and the Atelier/Festival stand in Jumeirah Beach

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Residences. For further queries, email info@

Sway your way to the Dubai International Dance Festival If your prefer hardcore dancing, then you should not miss the 5th edition of the much celebrated Dubai International Dance Festival that is open to the public on October 18 and 19 at the Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC). Expected to be the largest dance event to hit Dubai in 2012, the Dubai International Dance Festival will feature enthralling performances, live entertainment, workshops, themed dance parties, dance competitions, guest DJs and more. Though most of the activities are centered on international


dance performers, on the last day of the festival (on October 19), the public is invited to attend dance workshops, which will allow them to meet internationally renowned instructors.

The festival will also welcome guests to their Dance School Exhibition, to The Final Dance Jam - Musical Show to be held at 8:30pm, and to their after-party from 9pm to 3am. Those who are interested to see the Dance School Exhibition can get tickets at AED 150 while those who want to catch The Final Dance Jam will cash out AED 175. Day Passes (Entrance to the Exhibition or Dance Musical + Party) are available for AED 225. For inquiries and ticket information, visit or call Family Events Management Co. at 050-5183316.

Go for family bonding at the Pinocchio Theatre Show Take your family to witness the staging of Pinocchio Theatre Show, the biggest theatre show from the UK to hit Abu Dhabi. Kids are sure to be thrilled by the live staging of the story of the puppet-turnedboy character, Pinocchio. The Pinocchio Theatre Show is presented under the patronage of HH Sheikha Reem

Prepare for your most fabulous Halloween treat ever Year after year, Pinoys in Dubai celebrate Halloween, donning the most creative costumes ever worn in the city. Add to the revelry by getting the whole family or the whole barkada to join. Decide on a creative theme for your costumes and show your ingenuity. (TIP: Aside from ensuring a fabulous costume, early preparation saves you from renting expensive costumes or wearing a generic one.) Halloween is a day of creative expression, so do not be timid, let go

Bint Ahmed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan. Schedules of The Pinocchio Theatre Show: October 14-17, 7pm October 14-18, 9am October 18-19, 8pm October 19, 4pm Tickets are priced as Silver (AED 95), Gold (AED 145), VIP (AED 195) and VVIP (AED 495). For ticket information and other inquiries, call Sky Events Management at 02-6749199.

and let your imagination run wild. The best places to go for costume embellishments and trimmings are Dragon Mart and Satwa. These markets have the biggest number of DIY accessories and stuff that you can use for your masterpieces. If you have kids, give them costumes to wear and encourage them to go trick-or-treating around your neighborhood or at the party. Aside from showing off your best costumes, you will find it fun family time, too. Who knows? This might be the start of a new eerily fun family tradition!



Heritage Hotels:

VINTAGE LUXURY Text and photos by Kara Santos

For some people luxury means first-class treatment during an exclusive retreat on some exotic island. For others, it’s the most expensive hotel you can find in the heart of a busy city, complete with upscale accommodations, state-of-the art technology at one’s fingertips, and gourmet cuisine served by private chefs. But there is also something to be said for old luxe glamour – places that exude vintage charm and hearken back to a more genteel era. Illustrado Magazine

TRIPPIN’ 85 Vintage luxury can be found in hotels that celebrate the rich culture and history of a province, which allow visitors to experience living in a simpler time. Two places in Ilocos Norte stand out as stunning examples. Stay the night at Sitio Remedios in Currimao or Balay da Blas in Laoag, and you will find that a taste of the old luxury does not have to come at a steep price.

Sitio Remedios Heritage Village

Staying in Sitio Remedios, a recreated Ilocano village typical of the mid-fifties, feels like stepping back into the past. Situated in a private village resort in an 18,000 square meter of land in the coastal village of Barangay Victoria in Currimao, Sitio Remedios is an ideal place for artists. The feeling of isolation, old-world charm, and the resort’s location facing the South China Sea known for its fiery sunsets, inspires self-reflection and meditation. Instead of typical hotel rooms, Sitio Remedios is composed of several vintage houses arranged in a quadricula, a grid typical of Spanish times. The structures are built around ancient trees, with cobblestone walkways and pocket gardens separating the different villas. The structures here are all made of vintage bricks and wood salvaged from mid-century structures from the towns of Ilocos Norte. The rooms are likewise decorated in vintage Ilocano furniture, with old beds, dining tables, and heavy wooden sala sets. Vintage details like lamp fixtures and crocheted bedspreads and tablecloths adorn the beds and tables in every room. To add to the old-world charm, no television sets can be found inside the rooms, although the villas do come equipped with other modern comforts such as hot and cold showers and air-conditioning. The villas surround the spiritual center of the resort, the Capilla San Miguel, a quaint chapel made of stone and wood. The wooden statues of saints, stained glass windows, dried flowers at the altar, and


rustic chapel chairs tied with straw breathe with nostalgia.

family rooms cost Php7,000 night for 5 guests.

The Sitio is said to be dedicated to the patron saint of Currimao, St. Michael, the Archangel, and to the Lady of Good Voyage, o Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, the namesake of the mother of Sitio Remedios owner, Dr. Joven R. Cuanang. At the south side of the chapel is the Plaza San Miguel, where a grand fountain topped by the statue of San Miguel slaying the devil stands.

To complete the classic experience, all the meals served in Sitio Remedios are derived from authentic Ilocano dishes and ageold recipes. The resort sources vegetables and poultry from small farms and local markets, while fish comes from the daily catch of fishermen living in the area. Visitors can savor the flavors of history with signature Ilocano delicacies like bagnet and longganiza.

Guests can enjoy living the vintage luxe treatment by staying the night in one of the many villas here, with various choices suitable for groups of different sizes. The Balay Batac, the largest villa in the Sitio furnished in a “grand but austere Ilocano manner” with wide windows, spacious bedrooms, two living rooms and its own garden-bathroom, costs Php 12,500/per night for 4 guests. Other Balays range in cost of Php4,000/night to Php9,000 depending on the number of guests. The

Sitio Remedios Heritage Village. Brgy. Victoria, 2903 Currimao, Ilocos Norte, Philippines.

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Balay da Blas Another interesting heritage-type hotel in the heart of Laoag City is Balay da Blas. Originally built as a residence for the Blas family, this warm and charming house offers “champagne and luxury on a beer budget.”

Balay da Blas serves as a Bed and Breakfast for visitors looking for a home away from home at a reasonable price. The place exudes an aura of rustic charm, with the suites designed with warmth and comfort of guests in mind. Each room is a work of art, with carefully selected antique pieces, furnishings, decorations, and paintings. The cozy rooms blend old and new elements, with huge wooden wardrobes and heavy beds with ornate carvings and tiled floors and colorful pillows. Located just 15 minutes away from the Laoag City International airport, and near the Museo Ilocos Norte, St. Williams Cathedral and other historical and cultural points of interest in Laoag, Balay da Blas offers a cozy place for travelers looking for a unique place to stay. They also conveniently offer modern amenities including cable television, WiFi internet for business travelers. Each suite comes with its own spacious individual living room, fully furnished kitchen


(deluxe suite), private bath with hot and cold shower and air-conditioning. The top floor of Balay da Blas serves as a function room, decorated with a striking ceiling, beautiful lamps, and vintage ceiling fans, which give the place a whimsical vibe. The Executive Suite exudes old world elegance and is perfect for a romantic getaway or family vacation, as the room can fit up to six people. The room costs only P3,500 (1-2 pax) to P5,000 (3-4 pax). There are also junior suites and deluxe suites. For backpackers, the standard / double rooms decorated with an “Ilocano

Moderne” look offers a more affordable option for P1,200/night (1-2 pax) to P2,000 (4 pax). Balay da Blas offers a bed and breakfast package, where each guest is entitled to one free breakfast (a choice of Filipino, American or Continental breakfast) for each day of their stay. Guests can also enjoy dining al fresco in the tropical garden at the hotel. The owners of Balay da Blas also run Saramasam Ylocano Restaurant and Bar, a casual bohemian style restaurant that specializes in unique Ilocano dishes. They

offer traditional Ilocano specialties such as bagnet, higado, dinakdakan and pinakbet alongside unique fusion fare such as pastas and pizzas topped with dinuguan or pinakbet. Guests at Balay da Blas can enjoy their meals in the restaurant or dine in the privacy of their rooms by ordering room service from the hotel. Balay da Blas Pensionne House. #10 Giron St., Brgy. 7-B, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines.

88 PINOY PLANET Lake Plansee

From the BLACK FOREST to the BAVARIAN ALPS By Nikka Sarthou

The day called for a sweater, scarf, and a pair of boots. The chilly spring air in Germany’s Schwarzwald — the Black Forest — greeted me as I opened the front door one morning and brought my luggage to the car. We planned a road trip to Bavaria, which is one of the most popular destinations for travelers. It comes as no surprise since it is home to some natural wonders and fairy-tale castles. Neuschwanstein Castle

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Our journey began in the northern part of the Black Forest, in a small town called Bad Liebenzell where my uncle resides. The travel time was long and my companions — two senior citizens — were adamant about the trip, especially my mother. Our main goal was to reach Bavaria’s largest nature preserve, the Ammergau Alps, where the renowned town of Oberammergau lies. This is the site of the famous Passion Play, a depiction of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is performed every ten years.

A fairy-tale story As we left the scenic countryside views and traversed the autobahn (highway), we decided that our first stop would be Neuschwanstein Castle, the fantasy castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. This major tourist attraction gets plenty of visitors every year — more than a million actually. I understood why when I first got a glimpse of the castle from the parking lot. The impressive structure sits on top of the Alps, and it looks like the quintessential

Getting to Germany Fly directly from Dubai to Munich Airport via Lufthansa, Emirates, KLM, Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Egyptair, Air France, Swiss International Air Lines. From the Munich Airport, take the autobahn for easy access to Oberammergau. castle that one would see in storybooks. In fact, this was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Even from afar, it seemed as if a beautiful princess would suddenly appear in one of the tall towers. Although I appreciated its grandeur from a distance, I knew that I would be more impressed with it up close, and getting up

there was part of the experience. One may walk, take the shuttle bus, or ride a horsedrawn carriage. Since it was a nice day that day, we leisurely made the 30-minute hike to the top. It was a challenge for us, especially for me because of the altitude and the three-inch knee-high boots, but I managed to trudge up to the destination anyway.

90 PINOY PLANET Neuschwanstein Castle

Just going inside the halls and rooms where the Fairy-tale King once walked in was truly an enchanting experience. It is unfortunate that my mental photos would have to suffice since visitors were not allowed to take photographs inside the castle; besides, this is the kind of place that would forever be etched in my memory.

The road to redemption It was well worth it. The castle was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was majestic and magical. The combination of the imposing structure and the grandiose interiors would leave anyone in awe. I unabashedly gaped at the castle’s sheer size and opulence, as we joined a tour group and stepped from one room to another. Aside from the 14 rooms, there was even an artificial cave inside the castle, which was inspired from a scene in one of Richard Wagner’s operas. The king was supposedly a devoted patron of the popular composer. Apart from the cave, the most interesting area for me was the Throne Room with its high ceiling, mosaic floor, and painted walls. The religious artworks on the walls and in the ceiling were amazing, but the

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real focal point of the room was the large chandelier that was made with gold-plated brass and shaped like a royal crown with glass stones set in it. It was so ostentatious and only fit for a king. It is remarkable that the design of the castle was beyond its years. Its construction began in 1869, but it was built with advanced technology then. There was an air heating system and even an automatic flushing system for the toilets. Aside from its architecture and design, the other interesting thing is the story behind it. The castle was built solely for King Ludwig II, but he passed away before it was finished. He was only able to sleep in the castle for 11 nights, and his sudden death left the Throne Room without an actual throne.

After a daytrip to the legendary castle, we continued our trip to Oberammergau. On the way, we passed by the border of Germany and Austria and had one of the most picturesque drives along Lake Plansee in Reutte, Austria. The still lake had a tall, misty mountain on its background, which was peppered with verdant pine trees. We just had to stop by for a while and take in the view while we nibbled our afternoon snack. We couldn’t have chosen a better setting. Although we wanted to stay, we continued our journey when we realized that night was falling. After some wrong turns and scenic detours, we eventually found the right path and our destination.

Finally, Oberammergau. It was nighttime already when we reached this quiet, little town so instead of touring the place we ultimately listened to our

PINOY PLANET 91 weary bodies and got a good night’s rest. Every time I travel to a new place, sleep is the last thing on my mind but I found out that it is essential to recharge your batteries and start another day of exploration, which was what we did the next day. We truly appreciated the serene beauty of the place. The natural landscape was beautiful as it is, but coupled with the houses with Lüftlmalereien (façade paintings), well, it made Oberammergau a much more charming place. While driving around town, we could not keep our eyes off the astonishing artworks on the houses. There was a house that showed the Grimms’ fairytale, “Hansel and Gretel”. Another one depicted scenes from the children’s classic, “Little Red Riding Hood”. It made me feel as if I stepped into one of those picture storybooks I used to read as a child. It was really both lovely and entertaining to see those houses that tell stories. It was also a treat for us to hear mass at the beautiful Church of St. Peter and Paul, a Catholic church that was just near the town center. It is believed to be one of the most beautiful village churches in Upper Bavaria, with its stunning ceiling paintings,

statues, frescos and altars, created by wellknown artists. This particular church is a must-see since it houses the very cross before which the people of Oberammergau vowed to perform the Passion Play every ten years. According to history, a lot of the town’s inhabitants were taken by the plague in 1633 and the village representatives swore to honor the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in hopes that they would be freed from the epidemic. Sources said that there were no deaths from that moment on, even when it continued to inflict neighboring places. Oberammergau’s version is now the oldest Passion Play, which has existed continuously since 1634. Now, people from the different parts of the globe flock to Oberammergau to watch the six-hour play. Most of the town’s citizens participate in the production, and the last one was staged in 2010. Though we were not able to watch the play then, we were simply happy just to be there. It’s not everyday that I get to experience the cool countryside with the Ammergau Alps as the backdrop.

Lindenhof Palace

Suggested Side Trips Aside from the Passion Play, there are other attractions in the Oberammergau area. Consider the following: Museum of Oberammergau – where you can discover more about the art of wood carving that the town is famous for Linderhof Castle – built by King Ludwig II as a hunting lodge Benedictine Abbey Ettal – founded in 1330 is still an active monastery and school.



Calamian Tagbanua Text by Nahoma Beniga Maentz Photos by Jacob Maentz

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Freelance photographer Jacob Maentz uses the lens of his camera to visually conserve the lives of the indigenous people of the Philippines. His wife, Nahoma Maentz uses words to give life, and character to these pictures. It was midday when we arrived in Coron, Palawan on an Easter Sunday. Upon getting into the main town and seeing all the tourists walking about, we were suddenly brought to a standstill. Continuing the work for Katutubong Filipino Project was, of course our primary objective, and to find ourselves in such a touristy place made us feel lost and awkward. “We couldn’t be in the wrong place, could we?”, we asked ourselves. When Jacob last visited the place eight years ago, there were only two hotels and two or three simple restaurants existing there. Now, there are more than a handful and many are still are being built. Eight years ago, one could see, at most, a couple of boats docked on the lakes of Coron Island. Now, there are about 20 to 25 boats docked all at the same time. The lakes can

get pretty crowded now for swimming, as one can imagine. We did not anticipate such progress in this little town within that span of eight years and although at first it bothered us, we had to keep our focus intact and not be intimidated by all the changes we were seeing. We knew we were in the right place, we just needed to dig deeper. Luckily, we found a way to do just that. It took us two full days to sort things out and on the third day, we were on our way to Coron Island. It was such a big relief to finally get going! However, in order not to appear too obtrusive at once, it was suggested that we play first the role of a tourist. We did that part as best we could, swimming through the permitted lakes but even that didn’t last too long. We would occasionally bump into a Tagbanua

man fishing and end up spending most of our time with him in the water. We were just itching to step on what has become familiar to us and that is, the unfamiliar. Eventually, we arrived at a place where we needed to be - a community of Tagbanua indigenous people living in their own awesome cove. This one stunning area is hidden for now, but plans are already underway to make this place open to the public. Personally, I don’t know what to make of it; surely, this particular community will be displaced once it’s finally opened. It’s always a sad fact when one has to leave a place which he calls home, whether for legitimate reasons or otherwise. The Tagbanuas we visited in Coron Island received us warmly (my guess, because we


had a wonderful guide who could speak their language and is familiar with their ways). There was the usual shyness mixed with curious glances but not long after, they were back to their usual daily chores. Women, with their babies and toddlers beside them; men playing cards, passing time before they go off to sea at sundown. The older kids busied themselves with whatever they could get their hands on. Or, they simply frolicked in the water all day long.

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Life in the island is simple and very basic. While it has its upside (being free from air and noise pollution and a view to die for every waking moment, just to name a few things), living in such an area is not without any difficulties. Drinking water seems to be a perennial source of concern as it has to be rationed out from mainland Coron. Unfortunately too, schools do not exist in a small community like this. The nearest school is located in

the main barangay of Cabugao which is a 30 minute boat ride, not too convenient to sustain the children’s enthusiasm for learning. The men are prone to drown while fishing, not necessarily due to rough waves but from excessive drinking - another cause of anxiety for their poor wives. There is also the lack of access to medical help which is common in very remote places. Coron Island is undeniably beautiful. Crystal blue waters surrounded with


huge limestone cliffs. It is, to put simply, a paradise and I couldn’t help but think how lucky the Tagbanuas are to own such a priceless jewel and be handed the right to full stewardship. In 1998, the Tagbanwa of Coron Island were awarded a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) to over more than 22,000 hectares of land and sea. CADT is the title to the land and the sea that has sustained the community for centuries and gives the Tagbanuas the right to manage the area and preserve its rich marine and land resources. The Tagbanuas know very well what they have in their hands and the wealth it can possibly bring them. It sure looks like they are making the most out of it by opening up more lagoons and beaches to generate income. At the same time and more importantly, they have maintained areas exclusively for themselves and are very much protective of these. Rarely do they let a non-indigenous individual in the lakes they consider as sacred and these are said to be incomparably beautiful. As disclosed by our guide who was fortunate to have gone to a couple sacred lakes, these are by far more beautiful than those allowed to be visited by tourists. The other community we visited in mainland Coron was a rough three hour jeepney ride from town. The landscape was different, but pretty still. Here they do more than just fish and seaweed farming, they also hunt for octopus.


Their catch for the day are then brought to Coron town or shipped to Manila. They are also fond of karaoke and the singing could go on for forever. We came at the same time they were celebrating the barangay’s Foundation Day. That night they crowned Ms. Foundation 2012 and Jacob was asked to sit as one of the judges, which he politely accepted. The whole affair brought me back to that time when the cassette tape was all the hype. Yes, it was all too backward but it was so innocent and charming. That was the highlight for me and Jacob did very well as a judge. The Tagbanua have become one of the few success stories in the Philippines because a portion of their ancestral domain has been given back to them. We hope that many more areas throughout the country will eventually have a similar success story as it is a key element to help preserve and keep our many cultures. Jacob and Nahoma Maentz launched the Katutubong Filipino Project, a photo documentary of each of the nine main subregions throughout the country. The couple hopes that the Katutubong Filipino project will increase awareness for the Philippine indigenous peoples by visually documenting their slowly disappearing cultural heritages.

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FSDC ‘s Starry Gala Night The Filipino Scuba Divers Club – UAE (FSDC) celebrated its 18th year anniversary with a Starry Gala Night in the Grand Millennium Dubai hotel on the 31st of August. Attended by more than a hundred guests comprised of FSDC members, partners, sponsors, family and friends, the party capped yet another exciting year in the history of the Club. Hon. Benito B. Valeriano, Philippine Consul General for Dubai and the Northern Emirates, and one of the key

driving forces behind the success of FSDC, was also present during the event. As a year-ender report, Tina Vitug, FSDC Chairman 2011-12, presented a review of the Club’s activities in the past 12 months and awardees for the prestigious Oyster Awards were also announced. Oyster Awards are FSDC’s annual recognition for members who have accomplished technical proficiency, demonstrated awareness and responsibility for the marine environment, enthusiasm for Club activities, and in general, a role model for

Successful Pinoy Ako Workshop SuccessfulPinoyAko, is steadfast in its mission to empower the new Filipino generation with its continuous offering of education workshops that will specifically address the needs of the Filipino community.

Rotana, Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai. The first session consists of different speakers who come to talk about the different aspects of success as well one’s contribution to the community and personal relationship with God.

“Mind Mapping Your Way to Success” is the first module of the pilot workshop “I Know What to Do! SuccessfulPinoyAko” certification program for 2012.

Chairperson of Sulong OFW and Migrante International Yuri Cipriano, after having attended the workshop shared his own insight, “Mind Mapping Workshop reminds me that aside from advocating the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants, I also need to work on my own success. I realized that if

It is a 2-day workshop that takes place every month (usually on a Friday) in Villa

UPAA-UA Launches School Supply Collection Drive in the UAE The University of the Philippines Alumni Association in the UAE (UPAA-UAE) is re-launching the “Lapis, Papel, Aklat, Atbp (Pen, Paper, Books and More)” project, a school supply collection drive to benefit underprivileged students in the Philippines.

expects the collected items to be shipped to the Philippines by the end of November this year. Students from two primary schools, namely Dayap Elementary School and Sto. Tomas Elementary School, both located in the town of Calauan, Laguna will benefit from the drive.

The campaign will collect books, paper, pencils, notebooks and other materials which can be used by students who lack these basic school supplies. With an initial target of 10 jumbo boxes to fill, UPAA-UAE

UPAA-UAE partners Bantay Bata will coordinate and ensure the distribution of the school supplies to the beneficiaries while LBC has pledged the free shipping of all collected supplies to the Philippines.

all other members. Marc Viloria, former FSDC Chairman who started the Oyster Awards and now based in Canada, made an introduction via a special video patch for the party and sponsored the exquisite pearl-studded trophies. Awardees were Red Vargas and Gigit Vargas (Divers of the Year), Amir Hajilo (Eco-Diver of the Year), Sebastian Vargas and Jada Camero (Young Divers of the Year) and Rosauro Ruiz (Rookie Diver of the Year). This event also saw the turnover to the new set of officers, with the Tow Hook passed on as a symbol for the new officers to tow FSDC to greater heights (and greater depths underwater!).

I am more successful in my chosen career, I will become more effective in my advocacy for others.” During the second session, participants take part in an exercise called “FupressTM” where the attendees talk and ‘live’ their future selves 10 years from now. To keep it interesting and more varied, this session is often done in different venues like dinner in Burj Al Arab, BBQ and yacht cruise around the marina area with pick-up/drop off by a stretch Hummer, Ice Escapade at Snow Dome, Beach Fun with leisure sports and Discovery Diving.

“There are many children in the Philippines who want to go to school, but resources are scarce – many of them do not even have pencils or notebooks. With this campaign, we can make sure that these students are given at least the basic school supplies to help them achieve their dreams,” shares Raquel Dulay, Chairman of UPAA-UAE Special Projects Committee. “Lapis, Papel, Aklat, Atbp” was first launched by UPAA-UAE in 2010. For more information or to donate, please contact 050-4267879 or email help.

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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.

WHO’S YOUR PAPA? WHO’S YOUR PAPA?! Some like him hunky, others lanky, and the rest of us, breathlessly hottie! Basta, always go for the gold, we live and (or) love only once. Oh la la, the lovely Pinoy male. He comes in different shapes and sizes, and oozes with smokin’ hotness in various degrees. Hence, the expression of a girl badly smitten, “makalaglag p-p-p… puso.” What were you thinking?!

Malakas Herculean biceps, strong bones, longterm endurance. The physically stronger, the better to perform ridiculous tasks imposed by your parents, e.g. fetching water, chopping wood, carrying shopping bags, just so they’ll agree to marry you off to your slave, er, your suitor. After all, in their eyes, you’re Maganda.

Lam-ang The grown-up man. Before he celebrated his first birthday, he already avenged his father’s murder, faced all sorts of misadventures, died effortlessly, and came back to life. Not once did he have to go through that silly boy phase marked by a cracking voice. Woah! He’s The Man indeed. As in, siya na!

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And so in the spirit of fun and appreciation of our Mr. Pogis (pogi or being good-looking, of course, is in the eyes of the beholder; no judgment, please), let’s do a DJ Alvaro and identify the typical Pinay’s tipo kong lalaki.

In kolehiyala speak, conyo or RK a.k.a Rich Kid. Always in power suits, he’s from some buena familia who owns hectares of hacienda as far as the eyes can see, onetenth of which he should give you as a present. Or, you won’t play the part of Maria Clara.

Elias The quintessential tall, dark, and handsome. (He’s also the original boatman. Surely, Ronnie Lazaro won’t mind us saying.) So what if he’s got a gloomy past or a hazy future, this penniless chap has principles that money can’t buy. Plus, he’s the perfect gentleman. Ask Salome.

Kenkoy The funny guy. This much is true: funny can beat pogi any minute. That’s what famous playboys Dolphy and Vic Sotto

taught us (and all the girls they loved before). If they can make you laugh your head off, the heart will follow sooner than you think.

Florante He conquers all. Make him fall head over heels in love with you and not a single regret will come your way. He’ll fight countless Count Adolfos and Draculas, and be willing to be the fiesta ham out of starving lions in the name of L-O-V-E.

Daniel Guidotti The unsung martyr. His first and only love dumped him for a psychotic who got her pregnant. He reconciles with her and is excited to have the baby. He has even taken more than the regular quota of blows/ stabs/insults/misfortunes in a TV series and still remains love-struck.



Captain Barbell

Kevin Kosme

The ultimate fantasy. He’s quiet all day and active all night, yielding to your every whim and wish. And the nicest part of it all? If this set-up doesn’t work out, you can leave anytime guilt-free without breaking his wooden heart. Absolutely no hard… feelings.

And a hero comes along. Your wellmeaning friends tell you there’s nothing special about him—and they may be right. But if you look inside his heart, you realize he’s more super than Superman, more incredible than Incredible Hulk, and more of a hero than Jose Rizal.

The ever-loving daddy type. With this fellow, you don’t have to worry about joining the dearly departed ahead of him and leaving your kids behind in his care. He’ll raise them as productive members of society as best as he can by himself. No wicked stepmothers needed.


Ang Panday


The weird one. To say that he’s lazy won’t be fair at all. Waiting for falling guavas or talking to mud crabs isn’t exactly katamaran, is it? It’s even hilarious when you really think about it. He’s probably just unique or misunderstood. But it’s pretty cute, di vah?

Your blacksmith with a sharp, shining sword. He swears to protect you from all the evils and the Lizardo look-alikes in the world (e.g. pickpockets, hold-uppers, maniacs), and he actually does it with or without sideburns. Wow, you can freely roam around Metro Manila safe and sound!

The ever-confident idol type. He knows what he knows—and proclaims it in the jungle of life. That he’s God’s gift to women: Ganda Lalaki. So what if the echo says otherwise? He’s a self-assured man and some lady is bound to share in his belief/s…soon enough.

Vince The starving artist. He keeps long, unkempt hair and probably has B.O., too. He sings “Don’t Give Up on Us” in an unknown pub and undoubtedly does not earn much. Poverty is all written on his face, but he looks very much like Piolo Pascual. Deal-breaker.

Andres de Saya The ever-obedient boyfriend type. Ask for the sun, the moon, the stars, and even an Hermes bag and he’ll lay it all down at your feet, lest you get angry with him for not doing as you say. Easy, you’ve got him under your skirt anyway.


Jimmy Capistrano

The Ma’am man. The bad boy. Maginoo pero medyo bastos. This is him. He’s so uncouth you want to scrub him clean with the most powerful anti-bacterial soap. But when he calls you Ma’am, you just melt and hear the Maging Sino ka Man song in the background.

Forever yours, faithfully. No chick—even if she’s as gorgeous as Carmi Martin—can ever steal him because he’s as loyal to you as a dog to his master. No need to force him to wear blinders or believe that love is like Quiapo swarming with snatchers.

Enteng Kabisote Your personal handyman 24/7. Imagine the millions you could save with him around! He can magically fix your pictureless TV set, soundless audio component, heatless iron, coldless fridge for FREE. No wonder a fairy princess fell in love with this malnourished-looking taga-lupa.

Popoy The caregiver. He’ll call you up every single day so you won’t be late for work. He’ll peel the skin off your fried chicken to save you from cholesterol. He’ll finish your jobs so you won’t get fired. He wants you to have him at his best.

John Puruntong The ever-patient hubby type. If he can put up with being called names such as Hudas, Barabas, and Hestas to the nth decibel by your mom without walking out on her and giving up on you, then you’re one lucky Marsha. He’s bungangera-proof, a rare breed.

So, who’s your ideal man?

Profile for Illustrado Magazine

ILLUSTRADO Magazine Oct 2012  

Global Vision, Native Soul Helping Filipino Flourish

ILLUSTRADO Magazine Oct 2012  

Global Vision, Native Soul Helping Filipino Flourish