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MICA (P) 199/01/2011

VOL. 1, NO. 10


singapore edition

Hon. Emmanuel D. Pacquiao Boxer Extraordinaire. Public Servant. Living Legend.

The Law of Nature Prevails The Law On Secrecy Of Bank Deposits Koko: GMA Should Face the Charges Against Her Loboc Children’s Choir: Small Voices Making Waves Art Trek 2011

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from the

As a people, how do we protect and defend the people, or things, that we hold dear in our hearts? A friend answered: We stand and we fight for them even if we die. In her recent visit to Manila to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared, “I am a major Pacman fan. In the spirit of the sport and his success, let me say, the United States will always be in the corner of the Philippines, and we will stand and fight with you”. It was a strong and direct declaration of her recognition of Manny Pacquiao’s victory while making a point about the centuries old relationship of the two countries.  Sec. Clinton’s approach was well-received by the Filipino people as it resonates with the attitude of the majority of us, regardless of the circumstances. And of course, it didn’t hurt that she cited Manny Pacquiao, the man of the hour, as an analogy to her countenance. In the past weeks, the Philippines has been  the talk of the town again. Politics and sports are the two biggest favorite topics of every Filipino from the entire 7,107 islands, including the almost 180,000 individuals who are staying here  in Singapore and the more or less 11 million Filipinos who are living and working in other parts of the world. On target are Hon. Emmanuel Pacquiao and Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It is rather coincidental than intentional that both are incumbent legislators. The former a victim of mismanaged expectations, the latter, a necessary consequence of managing imminent threat to our national security. The case of Former President and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is now being deliberated by both the Judiciary through the courts of law and the Executive Department through the representation of the Department of Justice. A classic example of check and balance principle as enshrined in our Constitution despite the controversy surrounding the interpretation of some provisions of the fundamental law of the land. I was taught and have learned the principle of Dura Lex, Sed Lex…the law maybe harsh, but it is the law. But in a country like the Philippines, public opinion sometimes inevitably prevails over the rule of law. And the only justification is the so called universal law of cause and effect. The GMA infamous incident at the airport could have been avoided. It was very ugly. Filipinos really love drama of all sorts.  As publisher, it is my moral obligation to set the record straight on Manny Pacquiao’s controversial win against his Mexican nemesis. He was declared the winner by a majority vote. Both fighters gave a great fight comparable to that of the legendary Fraser and Ali bout decades ago in New York. But in every game, someone must win, and someone must lose. The Mexican fighter found his moment of truth in the hands of the Filipino fighter. In my humble opinion, Pacquiao is more than a boxer. He is bigger than the world of boxing and he successfully redefined what is left of it after Mike Tyson. With Pacquiao’s exemplary skills in the boxing ring, he has elevated the sport once again on a global scale. As a Filipino, I am proud and appreciative of his achievements. We Filipinos should be thankful for the fact that a simple man by the name of Manny Pacquiao is here to tell the world our story as a people. He is both a diplomat and a politician both in the world of boxing and in politics. Pacquiao is not invincible. He is but human. Like Maximus Decimus Meridius in the movie, Gladiator, Emmanuel Pacquiao’s sense of obligation to our country and concern for the greater good are simply exceptional. Indeed, he is a global ambassador of goodwill. He shows the world what a Filipino is made of. Let us stand behind him and defend his rightful claim. In doing so, we are not just preserving his glory, but that of our beloved country as well.  God bless us all, God bless the Philippines and Mabuhay po tayong lahat!



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Cover story PG 24

Cristy Vicentina (Singapore) Atty. Hazel Riguera (Philippines) Pamsy L. Tioseco (Philippines) Dr. Mariglo Liwanag Vicente (Philippines) Mary Jane Aquino-Gourlay (singapore)


Cashmer Dirampaten (Singapore) Anne Luisa Villarico (Singapore) Dr. Marilyn Surio (Philippines) Monica Guerra (Singapore) Justice Francisco-Schaffer (Singapore) Krista Monica Garcia (Philippines) Atty. Saniata Liwliwa V. Gonzales-Alzate (Singaproe) Ferdinand Sahagun (Philippines)


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features ...

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8 Koko: GMA Should Face the Charges Against Her

CESA FRAMIL (Singapore)

Circulation Manager ANDEE BARCO (Singapore)

10 The Law On Secrecy Of Bank Deposits 14 The Law of Nature Prevails 30 Art Trek 2011 32 Loboc Children’s Choir: Small Voices Making Waves


34 Black Out Night Dinner & Dance 42 IREMIT Celebrating 10th Anniversary




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BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Congress Report

Article by Pamsy L. Tioseco

Legarda: Protection of OFWs Starts with

Getting Our

Acts Together enator Loren Legarda called on agencies of the government to get their acts together in pursuing the mandate to protect overseas Filipinos. She was reacting to the contradictory positions taken by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Department of Foreign Affairs on the matter of issuing a deployment ban covering 41 countries. “How can we genuinely protect the interests and well-being of 10 million Filipinos overseas if our government agencies cannot even get their acts together?� Legarda asked.

“The POEA Board Resolution had cited that it was on the basis of the certification of the Philippine embassies and consulates that it was issuing the deployment ban, and yet, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs is now calling for a deferment of the ban. These developments suggest lack of coherence in the actions being taken by DFA and POEA”, Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, added. The POEA, in its Board Resolution No. 07 adopted on October 28, banned the deployment of Filipino workers to 41 countries. The resolution cited that Philippines embassies and consulates have certified that 41 countries covered by the ban have not been compliant with the guarantees provided under the Migrant Workers Act or RA 10022.

“I understand that it was the intent of the POEA to implement the provisions of the law. The question, however, rests on how the decision to impose a deployment ban on 41 countries was reached. Obviously, someone was left out in the cold”, Legarda said.


Sec. 5 of RA 10022 provides that “the POEA Governing Board, after consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, may, at any time, terminate or impose a ban on the deployment of migrant workers.” Senator Legarda also lamented the fact that POEA’s decision obviously overlooked the fact that the DFA serves as the first line of defense in the implementation of the country’s foreign policy. “The protection of overseas Filipinos is one of the pillars of our foreign policy. It is incumbent upon other agencies of the government to consult the DFA on matters that will affect our relations with other countries, and consequently, the interests of overseas Filipinos,” Legarda added. “POEA’s decision to impose a deployment ban is seen to impact on Filipinos in countries covered by the ban and those that have outstanding contracts for deployment in these countries. Other groups have also criticized the deployment ban citing that this may open the flood gates to irregular migration and trafficking in persons,” Legarda concluded

Congress Report

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Congress Report

Photos by Nora Deuna

Chiz To Doj:

Stick To Law, Charter To Avoid


Constitutional Crisis

enator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the Department of Justice (DOJ) should stick to the law and warned that its continued defiance of the Supreme Court order that effectively allowed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad could trigger a constitutional crisis. Escudero said that while it does not help that the camp of Arroyo is also taking a confrontational approach to the issue, he called on the DOJ to uphold the laws and the Constitution and do not fall into the maneuverings of the former president.

“I believe that ex-PGMA should not have hastily tried to leave and should have waited for the DOJ and the immigration bureau to formally get their copies of the TRO (temporary restraining order),” Escudero said.

On the other hand, Escudero said, the DOJ “should stop coming up with absurd ideas about the laws of the land just so it can be experimented at the Supreme Court. They are handling this case with braggadocio to the point of dragging the entire nation into a constitutional crisis.” The former president and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo were stopped from leaving the country Monday night despite the High Tribunal’s issuance of a TRO on their travel ban. The DOJ barred the former first couple from leaving, invoking pendency of the resolution of the motion for reconsideration (MR) that it filed today. Escudero said any freshman law student knows that a TRO cannot be questioned through an MR, and even with a pending motion, it cannot defer the implementation of the SC order. “The DOJ is challenging the clear and succinct letters of our existing laws with their new-found legal theories. They will be dragging this case into defeat and my fear is that they could really be giving Mrs. Arroyo a ground to seek political asylum abroad, which is everybody’s fear too, by not following the statutes of the land and the decision of the Supreme Court,” Escudero said. He said the justice department should not make the nation believe that there is still a legal remedy to defy the court order because it is not standing on a solid legal ground.

Koko: Gma Should


Face The Charges Against Her

enator Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III today said that with the issuance by the Pasay Regional Trial Court of a warrant of arrest for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for electoral sabotage, then the truth about massive fraud in the 2007 elections may finally be known.“Arroyo should tell the court all she knows about what happened in 2004 and 2007. She should actually welcome this opportunity to explain her side and clear her name. If she is really innocent, then she has nothing to be worried about,” Pimentel said.

Photos by Rick P. Nicolas

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Usapang Legal

Article by Atty. Hazel E. Rebadulla Riguera



BANK DEPOSITS epublic Act No. 1405 which took effect on 9 September 1995 considers all bank deposits, including investments in bonds issued b the Government, to be of an absolutely confidential nature and prohibits the examination and inquiry of bank deposits by any person or entity, subject to certain exceptions. The purpose of the law is to encourage “the people to deposit their money in banking institutions and to discourage private hoarding so that the same may be properly utilized by banks in authorized loans to assist in the economic development of the country� (Section 1, R.A. 1405) Section 3 of R.A. 1405 also states that it shall be unlawful for any official or employee of banking institutions to disclose to any person any information concerning said deposits.

The following are the exceptions to Republic Act. 1405 wherein information concerning bank deposits or investments in government bonds may be inquired into: 1. Written permission of the depositor/investor. 2. In cases of impeachment. 3. Upon order of a competent court in cases involving (a) bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials; and (b) where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation. 4. Prosecution for unexplained wealth under the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act. 5. Power of the Ombudsman to examine and have access to bank accounts and records under Sec. 15(8) of Republic Act 7680 (Ombudsman Act). 6. Authority of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to inquire into the bank deposits of a decedent for estate tax purposes or in case of a tax compromise under Sec. 6(f) of the National Internal Revenue Code. 7. Incidental disclosure in garnishment or execution of bank deposits. 8. Incidental disclosure under the Unclaimed Balances Law. 9. Authority of the Anti-Money Laundering Council to examine or inquire into any particular deposit or investment with any banking institution under the


provisions of Section 11 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (Republic Act 9160, as amended by Republic Act 9194). The authority to examine or inquire extends to deposits and investments made prior to the effectivity of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).. 10. Reporting of covered or suspicious transactions pursuant to Section 9(c) of the AMLA. 11. Examination by the BSP of a bank deposit during the course of a periodic or special examination for purposes of ensuring compliance with the AMLA. (Section 11, AMLA). 12. Authorization by the Court of Appeals to examine bank accounts of (a) a person charged or suspected of terrorism, (b) a terrorist organization, or (c) a member of a terrorist organization. (Section 27 of the Human Security Act). The only exemption in the case of foreign currency deposits are the depositor’s written permission (Intengan v. CA, G.R. 128996, 15 Feb 2002) and Nos. 9-12 above. Consistent with the provisions of R.A. No. 1405, no bank shall employ casual or non-regular personnel or too lengthy probationary personnel in the conduct of its business involving bank deposits. (Sec. 55.4, General Banking Law).



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BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Usapang Legal

Below are some cases on involving the Bank Secrecy Law as decided by the Supreme Court: In the case of Marquez vs. Desierto (G.R. No. 135882 27 June 2001), a Union Bank branch manager received an order from the Ombudsman requiring her to produce several bank documents for an in camera inspection relative to certain bank accounts in connection with the investigation of a case against Amado Lagdameo et al. for violation of Sec. 3(e) and (g) of the Anti-Graft Law. The bank refuses to turn over the records invoking R.A. 1405. The Ombudsman on the other hand invokes Section 15(8) of R.A. 6770 (the Ombudsman Act of 1989) which empowers the Ombudsman to “[a]dminister oaths, issue subpoena duces tecum and take testimony in any investigation or inquiry, including the power to examine and have access to bank accounts and records.” The supreme Court hald that the Ombudsman may not compel the bank to produce for inspection the subject bank documents. Before an in camera inspection may be allowed, there must be a pending case before a court of competent jurisdiction. Here there is no pending litigation before any court of competent authority. What is existing is an investigation by the Ombudsman. The inspection amounts to a fishing expedition. In the case of Salvacion vs. Central Bank (278 SCRA 27), the Supreme Court held that where a foreign tourist who had raped a child and escaped and was held liable for damages to the victim, the garnishment of the tourist’s foreign currency deposit should be allowed to prevent an injustice notwithstanding the clear mandate of the Foreign Currency Deposit Act that foreign deposits are not subject to attachment, garnishment, or execution. In Mellon Bank v. Magsino (190 SCRA 633), the Supreme Court held that in an action filed by a bank to recover money it transmitted by mistake, the records of the bank accounts to which the proceeds were deposited may be inquired into by court order, since the money deposited is the subject matter of litigation, even if the money was deposited in the names of persons other than the recipient by mistake. In Union Bank v. Court of Appeals & Allied Bank ( G.R. No. 134699, 23 December 1999), a check for P1 million was drawn against Allied Bank, Account No. 111-01854-8 payable to the order of Jose Alvarez. The payee deposited the check with his account at Union Bank which credited P1 million to said account. When the check was presented for payment to Allied Bank, a discrepancy error was committed by Union Bank’s clearing staff when it “under-encoded” only P1,000. When Union Bank discovered the under-encoding a year later, it notified Allied Bank by a charge slip for P999,000. Allied Bank refused to accept the charge slip arguing that it only followed Union Bank’s instruction and the drawer’s account was already insufficiently funded. Union Bank brought a complaint against Allied Bank before the Philippine Clearing House Corporation Arbitration Committee. Thereafter Union Bank filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City a petition for examination of Account No. 111-01854-8. The Supreme Court held that the RTC should not grant the petition. The money deposited in the drawer’s account was not the subject matter of the litigation. A perusal of the complaint filed by Union Bank against Allied Bank before the PCHC shows that it seeks to recover the P999,000 not from the drawer’s account but from Allied Bank itself because of the latter’s refusal to honor the charge slip. In BSB Group Inc. v. Go (16 February 2010), accused employee of a company was charged in the information with qualified theft of cash. The prosecution tried to subpoena Metrobank where it was alleged that the checks payable to the company were fraudulently deposited by the accused. The Supreme Court held that the subject matter of the litigation is the money allegedly stolen and not the money equivalent of the checks which are sought to be admitted in evidence. In Onate vs. Abrogar (G.R. 107303, 23 February 1995), Solar Insurance Corporation bought T-bills from Nymphs Capital Corporation which is a dealer of T-bills. Solar paid P100 million to Nymphs but the latter did not deliver the T-bills to Solar. Nymph’s officers and employees deposited the money in various bank accounts. Solar sued Nymphs for its failure to deliver the T-bills. During the pendency of the case, Solar applied for an order to examine the bank accounts to which the money was deposited. The Supreme Court held that application should not be granted. The suit was for specific performance and thus the subject matter was for the enforcement of the contract. While the confidential and privileged nature of bank deposits is preserved under the banking laws, greater leeway has been given to law-enforcement authorities to pierce the veil of bank secrecy where the bank deposits are used in the commission of crimes or where the proceeds of crimes are squirreled away in bank deposits. This is a welcome development as criminals can no longer use bank secrecy as a shield in their nefarious schemes.

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BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


Article by Atty. Ma. Saniata Liwliwa V. Gonzales-Alzate


of Nature Prevails he arrest of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on charges of electoral sabotage has been hailed by most anti-GMA as victory of the law enforcers or the present administration. However, the said victory as they say, was not all consummated when the Supreme Court, still upheld the Temporary Restraining Order it issued to the Department of Justice from implementing watch list order preventing Former President Macapagal-Arroyo to leave the country for medical treatment in Singapore. A country is governed by laws and rules otherwise, a chaos. However, it must be remembered that man made laws are just plain words, the teeth of the law depends on who interprets and who implements. The clash of the Executive Department and the Judiciary and the inter-play of

the laws and the Constitution were clearly manifested last 18 November 2011 when most concerned Filipinos were stuck on the television and radio stations eagerly following the story of the arrest of the former Philippines president.

Atty. Ma Saniata Liwliwa V. Gonzales-Alzate • Born in Bucay, Abra, Philippines. she’s a litigation lawyer and has been practicing law for 10 years in the Philipines. Married to a prosecutor and mother of four boys.



BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

The Department of Justice, through, Secretary De Lima issued a watch list order against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband Juan Miguel Arroyo to prevent them from leaving the country while facing charges, otherwise there will have a useless situation of prosecuting and convicting a person who cannot be imprisoned or an idle case of a person who has not or cannot be arraigned, hence a case cannot proceed. The Department of Justice, being under the Executive Branch of the Government is an enforcer of the law.

As a lawyer governed by the lawyer's oath and Code of Professional Responsibility, Secretary De Lima has chosen a risky path of apparently ignoring the Supreme Court than to be blamed by Filipino People for her incompetence in letting the culprit escape her liabilities in the country. Filipino people might not be interested with what is happening in the country, or they may be busy attending to their personal lives, but to their simple and pure understanding, the law of nature will surely come and it will prevail over all interpretations.

However, this watch list order by the DOJ was indefinitely halted by the Supreme Court for being violative of the Constitution. Under the Philippine Constitution "Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health". Therefore, the right to travel is a constitutionally protected right, or in other words, it is a fundamental right. The right to travel means that if there's any doubt if a citizen can travel or not, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the citizen. That is the meaning of the fact that the right is protected, not in law, but in the Constitution itself.

Politics makes a man blinded by power, whether in the national or local milieu, even small time politicians exercise that "privilege" to do their desires while in power. They accumulate influence, money and fame, they degrade dignity, commit fraud and even sacrifice human being just to stay in the limelight, a voracious type, unstoppable, whether it be right or wrong, it does not matter. At the height of power, politicians even exempt themselves from rule of law and dismiss any fear of the consequences of their illegal, abusive acts. Ordinary constituents, who may be discriminately or indiscriminately suffer, subjectively or objectively, affected of such abuse and mishandling of political power, may only have one hope – that is to wait for the law of nature to come. Some call it karma. There are no exceptions and exemptions to it. Whatever you do it will happen to you, basically, that is what it means. That, it seems is the triumph of the true rule of law. Indeed, as always in this life, the punishment for moral lapses is similar to death, we may not know when to come, but it will come. Politicians who abuse their power do not think of their judgment day, what they do not realize is that, when the twist of fate in their political career happens, they will end up with nothing, not even their dignity and self-esteem, no one that they call upon now that they desperately need would succor to them, at the end of the day they will be left alone to face the consequences of their acts, regardless of the inter play of the laws and its interpretations.

The three exceptions of the right to travel under the Constitution are national security, public safety, and public health. The DOJ has disallowed Rep. Arroyo from going abroad on the ground of “national interest”. In the language of the Constitution, national interest is not an exception. It is indeed a grave lapse not to include it. To think that national security, public safety, or public health can be interchanged with public interest, they are putting in the mouth of the Constitution. Being, the interpreter of the law, the Supreme Court has found its way to prevail. That is why the Supreme Court ruling is correct. It is also significant that the Constitutional provision provides that there could be three exceptions as may be provided by law, meaning a law passed by Congress, the law makers. In this wise, it is still a triumph for GMA for she used her right under the Constitution. The Constitution prevails over all laws of the land. It is a diabolical victory, apparently. If political power can be abused, so can the interpretation of the law. When the Aquino administration, through the Justice Department risked in defying the interpreter of the law, they cannot be blamed for it, just like those who suffered under Arroyo administration, such, is a desperate move. Sec. De Lima, obviously, defied the Supreme Court, though it was done in an implied way. However, if the DOJ would not have done such defiance, the consequence would be an inevitable clean escape from the arms of the law. That is an exercise of a common sense indeed.


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011



Public Holidays The Embassy will be closed to the public on 30 November (Bonifacio Day), 25 December (Christmas Day), and 31 December (Last Day of the Year). A complete list of Philippine and Singapore public holidays observed by the Embassy may be accessed at

E-Passport Appointment System (E-PAS) Effective 8 November 2011, walk-in applicants for passport appointments will be accommodated from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. only. Applicants for passport renewal may also submit their applications via email to passportappointment@ E-mailed applications received during working hours and on working days will be processed within three working days. Applications received after working hours and on weekends and public holidays may take up to four working days to process. For more details, please visit

Passport Collection All delayed passport releases whose applications were filed from March to August 2011 are now ready for release at the Embassy. All applicants whose passports were filed within this period are advised to proceed to the Embassy as soon as possible to collect their passports. Passports left uncollected for six months after the issue date will be voided and returned to Manila. The Embassy is open for collection of delayed passports on Mondays to Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. only.

Embassy of the Philippines (Singapore) 20 Nassim Road, Singapore 258395 Trunkline: +65.6737.3977 Fax: +65.6733.9544 Email:


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Psyche Me Up

Article by Dr. Mariglo L. Vicente,RGC,CCI,DAAETS

Other Side of the



ANNY Pacquiao’s recent majority win over nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez last November 13 at Las Vegas, Nevada has been discussed over and over again with every Filipino becoming a sports analyst overnight. Who can blame them? Pacman has been an icon of hope for many who are poor and dreams of making it big someday. It is not every day that a poor boy from a small town in the Philippines becomes an international sports icon and a politician who cannot be accused of corruption because his value in itself is even bigger than some countries in Asia. Their response to Pacquiao’s “unconvincing” win is not necessarily the usual crab mentality. It is more of their frustration for Pacquiao not being able to stamp his dominance on a challenger. We are so just into him that we get so emotionally involved. The judges did well in giving Manny Pacquiao the win. He was the aggressor despite being the defending Welterweight champion. The statistics showed that he had more punches attempted and landed more, though what most viewers remembered was how Marquez countered and how he stood his ground against a more decorated opponent (selective attention). Whatever the reason is, there was no doubt that Pacquiao won the bout fair and square. The experts decided on it. The computer statistics confirmed their decision. Case closed. Still, the question lingers.

Filipino identifies with the poor boy from Gen. San. In the three losses of Pacquiao, Filipinos were there to support their idol. In his eight victories over different rivals from different weight categories, Pacquiao was just so dominating. He was superb in how he threw his punches. He was dazzling in how he moves from side to side as he plunges in for the killer blow that gave him the knockout punches that even the undefeated Mayweather Jr. cannot fathom. He was simply amazing.

Everyone who watched that match has something to say. A lot would say that it should have been a draw at least. But I supposed that even Marquez would not want that since to dethrone a champion, one is required to win the match outright. If pundits claim that Pacquiao was not able to knockout Marquez, the same can be said of the latter.

Then enter Marquez, and all these iconic images of Pacquiao the knockout artist, of Pacquiao the dominating champion disappears. Filipinos were simply not used to seeing someone stand up to Pacquiao. For them, it would have been better if he was beaten black and blue but at least, he would have gone down fighting. It is either a great win or a bloody loss.

Perhaps, it is even wrong to say that Filipinos have that crab mentality in effect especially when it comes to Pacquiao. In fact, it can be gleaned from how the world stops for Filipinos whenever Pacquiao has a fight. Every

Taking a step back, these reactions coming from different quarters of the Filipino society may actually reflect the typical Filipino psyche and not so much about crab mentality alone. Remember, in Pacquiao’s three losses, his

Psyche Me Up

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Psyche Me Up


supporters were there to welcome him and still give him a hero’s welcome. He remains a winner for them because he fought good fights and was a gallant fighter who never say die until the end. With the thought of a resounding comeback after those losses, Pacquiao demolished Morales twice, He downed Ricky Hatton, the legendary Oscar dela Hoya, you name it, he has beaten everybody in all the weight classes he has gone to. It was simply not easy to see someone so accomplished in sports and in politics fail to demolish an opponent that, though may have achieved his own glitter in three categories, has withstood the power of someone who is supposed to have been the “mexecutioner” of them all.

It was sheer frustration that prompted many to say they were not convinced, and it is just understandable. Having high expectations and what we call fundamental attribution error, in which we rely on Pacquiao’s “known” qualities and inner trait that made us say even something more. The Philippines having concerns in the Spratly’s issue. Overseas Filipino Workers continue to strive in their host countries for the most part, the most popular basketball team Ginebra has stopped winning titles again, the Smart Gilas Pilipinas, the FIBA basketball team of the country placed fourth in Asia, the football team Azkals have been

losing to Asian rivals, Manny Pacquiao would have been the welcome respite everybody has been waiting for, but despite his win, Filipinos felt it was not enough. Such is Pacquiao’s curse. Such is the curse for greatness. Manny Pacquiao, just like other iconic figures like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and Tiger Woods, cannot afford to have an off night. People have been used to seeing him dominate and anything short of that is simply unacceptable. For a change, it cannot be considered crab mentality. It can only be defined as the Filipino’s vision of excellence wherein the champion becomes envisioned in an image of eternal success. There is simply no space for mediocrity. Perhaps, what people should understand, more than anything else, is that Pacquiao also has a saturation point. His hunger for more title will diminish. Once he reaches his threshold, he will continuously decline until he must already hang up his gloves. But that would be a long time from now. And what Pacquiao must understand is that while his hunger for more recognition ebbs, the Filipino people’s quest for more honor and pride for the country does not. The Pacquiao-Marquez fight will be a huge part of history. It was also a reflection of a nation thirsty for more recognition. Manny Pacquiao is and will always be the Filipino people’s catharsis from everything they hoped not.

Wish all readers




BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Cover Story

Article by Krista Gem Mercado I Photos by Rick Nicholas With reports from Mary Jane Salomon, Krista Gem Mercado, and Sankie Simbulan

His Next



He’s worked his way up to become a living sports legend. Is Manny Pacquiao finally ready to move on to his next bout – in the arena of public service?


Cover Story

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

hen you’re a politician and the world’s top boxer, it’s hard to call the shots on your schedule. Wherever you go, people would be coming up to you – to congratulate, to ask questions, to take pictures, and to have their own little experience of meeting “The People’s Champion.” A simple lunch could extend until the late hours of the afternoon, robbing you of any opportunities for appointments which you may have previously set. You can’t be blamed for opting for some personal time and some peace and quiet, at the end of a long day. Such was the case for the Philippines’ most celebrated athlete – or man, for th at matter. The headlines are buzzing: Manny Pacquiao is back in town. It was next to impossible to meet Pacquiao. He had just arrived in Manila, fresh from his controversial win against Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas last month. That afternoon, when we arrived at the South Wing of the House of Representatives, we were told that Manny was still out for lunch. Already, there was a queue of people

waiting outside his office. It was a motley group: there were nuns, well-dressed ladies, some photographers, and journalists like us. Pacquiao’s staff was not sure what time their boss would be coming back. They narrated to us how he was being practically mobbed wherever he went – even at the church.


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Cover Story

HON. EMMANUEL D. PACQUIAO Representative, Lone District of Sarangani 15th Congress—1st Regular Session

Committee Membership Vice Chairperson

• Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources • Committee on Millennium Development Goals • Committee on Youth and Sports Development

Member for the Majority • Committee on Agriculture and Food • Committee on Basic Education • Committee on Energy • Committee on Housing and Urban Development • Committee on Mindanao Affairs • Committee on National Defense and Security • Committee on People’s Participation • Committee on Public Information • Committee on Public Works and Highways • Committee on Transportation


• 2010 Development Academy of the Philippines Certificate Course on Development Legislation and Governance • 2009 Southwestern University Doctor of Humanities (Honoris Causa) • 2008 Notre Dame of Dadiangas University B.S. in Business Management • 2007 Department of Education—ALS Secondary Education • 1995 Saway Saavedra Elementary School Elementary Education

Membership in Civic Organizations

• 2007-present Philippine Guardians Brotherhood Intl. Chairman, Mindanao • 2007-present Malungon Tourism Council Chairman • 2005-present Philippine Army Reserve Command Sgt Major, 15RR


• 2000-09 Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Decade • 2000-09 Philippine Sportswriters Association Athlete of the Decade • 2000-09 HBO Fighter of the Decade • 2000-09 The Fighter of the Decade • 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008 PSA Sportsman of the Year • 2006 Order of Lakandula with the rank of “Champion for Life” (Kampeon Habambuhay) • 2006 and 2008 Fighter of the Year • 2006, 2008 and 2009 Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year • 2006, 2008 and 2009 The Ring Fighter of the Year • 2008 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Honorary Award for Sports Excellence • 2008 Sports Illustrated Boxer of the Year • 2008 Yahoo! Sports Fighter of the Year • 2008 and 2009 Fighter of the Year • 2008 and 2009 The Ring No. 1 Pound-for-Pound (year-end) • 2008 and 2009 Boxer of the Year • 2008 and 2009 ESPN Star’s Champion of Champions[135] • 2008 and 2009 WBC Boxer of the Year • 2009 ESPN Fighter of the Year • 2009 ESPN Knockout of the Year (in Round 2 against Ricky Hatton) • 2009 ESPY Awards Best Fighter • 2009 Forbes Magazine Celebrity 100 (ranked 57th) • 2009 Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Grand Cross with Gold Distinction) • 2009 Sports Illustrated Fighter of the Year • 2009 The Ring Knockout of the Year (in Round 2 against Ricky Hatton) • 2009 TIME 100 Most Influential People (Heroes & Icons Category) • 2009 TIME Asia Magazine cover for November 16, 2009 Issue • 2010 Yahoo! Sports Boxing’s Most Influential (ranked 25th) • 2010 Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Decade • Chairman, MP Promotions • Party Affiliation: Peoples Champ Movement-Nacionalista Party (PCM-NP) • Born on December 17, 1978 in Gen. Santos City, Philippines • Filipino, Roman Catholic • Spouse: Jinkee Jamora Pacquiao • Children: Emmanuel Jr., Michael Stephen, Mary Divine Grace, Queen Elizabeth • Father: Rosalio L. Pacquiao • Mother: Dionisia D. Pacquiao • Website:

His story needs no detailed telling – it has been recounted over and over again in newspapers and important international publications. He grew up poor in GenSan. He stowed away to Manila when he was 14. His fists were strengthened and hardwired by years of labor just to have something to eat. He saw boxing as a way out of hunger. His trainers saw in him a special talent. He beat Barrera in 2001, and has not stopped ever since. He has claimed every title he fought for from the light flyweight all the way to the welterweight division.

He has claimed every title he fought for from the light flyweight all the way to the welterweight division. Sports writers have been in unanimous awe of his speed and skill in the ring, which defies his weight. His promoter, Bob Arum, says, “Manny Pacquiao is the best I have ever seen, including Ali. I have never seen the combination of this incredible speed, this crippling punching power, and the concentration he has in the ring. Nobody has. No one has ever moved the way he does.” Today he is one of Time Magazine’s 100 most

influential people for 2009, hailed the “Fighter of The Decade,” by official sports writing guilds in America and the Philippines, and holds the record as the first eightdivision champion of the world.

“Manny Pacquiao is the best I have ever seen, including Ali… No one has ever moved the way he does.” – Bob Arum

What Manny provided for the Philippines was not as simple as a couple of boxing awards and magazine covers – he was the Filipino’s chance to have an icon that was actually good - both on the inside, and the outside. Aside from his great skill, Manny is also known for his extravagant donations and extreme piety. Where previously we only reached international networks with news of corruption and rebel attacks, Manny’s fights brought global admiration and pride to our little archipelago.


…He was the Filipino’s chance to have an icon that was actually good both on the inside, and the outside. The rewards for his hard work have been ample and overflowing. Manny is now able to provide well for his loved ones. He dotes on his wife and four children. His generosity is famous – in his hometown, he is known to hold long-running celebrations after his win, usually with lots of dole-outs involved. The people see him as their hero, in more ways than one. Manny’s close observers point out that Manny’s charm lies on his being a hardcore Pinoy. He is a disciplined athlete, but he enjoys karaoke, cockfighting, and he willingly welcomes into his house anyone who declares themselves to be his “relative.” He knows how to please the public during his appearances, and in return, they shower him with adulation. And in a country where celebrity is often inseparable from political popularity, he was successful in securing a Congressional seat in 2010. After his political win, many people expected Manny to retire from boxing. But for now, he still seems intent on being active in his boxing career alongside his political duties. Manny the boxer remains undefeated – but in his last fight, his performance left everyone in a tizzy. There were too many observations that he was “not himself,” he was “unfocused,” and that he simply didn’t do well enough. People felt that he stole the title from Marquez, even though official statistics dispel this notion. But still - was he sending out a message? In press cons, Manny declared that he was happy with the fight result and the he believed that he fought as best as he could. But up to now, people are still talking and speculating.

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BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

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Back at the Congress - Pacquiao’s executive staff was unexpectedly kind. Where in other offices you’d expect cold, curt employees who’d shoo you away, here in room number 403, people were allowed to come and go, while team Pacman – Congressional Division – assisted everyone. They were all smiles and sincerely apologetic for their Chief’s running late. Some of them hailed from Mr. Pacquiao’s hometown of GenSan. Manny is known to surround himself with a large and familiar entourage so he could be comfortable. And seeing how they operate, we can’t blame him. When we finally got our answers, we had to do it strategically and down to the basics. We had to do away with personal pleasantries and get right down to the important questions for this important national figure. We wanted to know what makes Pacquiao the man, what his personal mantra is, and who his inspirations are. He shared, “I don’t have a personal mantra but I offer each and every success to our nation and most especially to God. I live in gratitude and I thank the Lord every day for all the blessings he has given me… I have a lot of role models but my family is my inspiration and why I strive to succeed. I want to

give my family a good life. Life was not easy when I was a kid so I don’t want my children to experience the same hunger and pain.”

“…my family is my inspiration and why I strive to succeed. I want to give my family a good life. Life was not easy when I was a kid so I don’t want my children to experience the same hunger and pain.” Being a world champion and now a public official, he now has the rare privilege of knowing the needs of Filipino athletes and having the ability to help do something about it. So we also asked him what he thinks the government should do about our national athletes’ plight. He said, “The major problems most artists and athletes have is financial. The government should allot more budgets to support our athletes in international competitions and we should provide or at least help them find avenues to generate the resources they need in order to improve their craft.”

“The government should allot more budgets to support our athletes in international competitions and we should provide or at least help them find avenues to generate the resources they need in order to improve their craft.” Of course, we also had to ask what his next steps are - what his future plans will be, especially in the area of public service. His reply was both direct and single-minded: “I will continue to be in public service. After my term as Congressman, I will go back to my district in Sarangani to serve as Governor… I still have a contract with Top Rank Promotions and I think I’m still strong enough to fight in the ring. Even though I am still active in boxing, I make sure that my tasks in Congress are carried out.” Today, many opinions and even myths surround Manny Pacquiao. He has been in the public eye for so long that his life continues to be an open book, for everyone to judge. Some say that he has already done it all – he is, after all, not just a boxer and a congressman, but a movie star, television personality, recording artist, product endorser, businessman and philanthropist. There are


those, however, who still insist that he needs to do more. Recently, there has been news circulating of him having plans of eventually running for the Vice Presidency or even the Presidency. Amidst this variety of expectations, there is no doubt that at present, Manny has already done a huge service for our land. Through his hard work and skill, he has brought honor to the Philippine flag, and he has encouraged millions of Filipinos to dream and beat the odds. He has been a true epitome of a Bagong Bayani, a Filipino professional who took the opportunity and made the best out of it.

“I will continue to be in public service. After my term as Congressman, I will go back to my district in Sarangani to serve as Governor.” Manny is a man of a few words, but he spared a few meaningful ones for all of the Bagong Bayanis: “Sa lahat po ng OFWs sa Singapore at sa buong mundo, maraming salamat sa inyong walang sawa na suporta. Katulad po ninyo, lumalaban ako sa ibang bansa para kumita ng pera at mapabuti ang aking pamilya. Yours is a noble job and kung wala kayo, bagsak na ang ating ekonomiya. Wag niyo po ikakahiya ang inyong trabaho at ipagmalaki ninyo ang ating lahi. Lagi po kayong manalangin sa Diyos at tibayan ang loob. Maraming salamat pong muli! (To all the OFWs in Singapore and the whole world, thank you for your tireless support. Just like you, I face battles in other countries to earn money and sustain my family. Yours is a noble job and without you, our economy will suffer. Do not ever be ashamed of your work and be proud of your being Filipino. Always keep your faith in God and never lose hope. Again, thank you very much!)”

“To all the OFWs in Singapore and the whole world, thank you for your tireless support. Just like you, I face battles in other countries to earn money and sustain my family. Yours is a noble job and without you, our economy will suffer. Do not ever be ashamed of your work and be proud of your being Filipino. Always keep your faith in God and never lose hope. Again, thank you very much!”

Cover Story

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Arts & Entertainment

Article by Krista Garcia I Photos by Alexander Constantino and Nestor Planas, Jr.

Art Trek 2011

Talks and Performances

Held at NUS Museum

ovember proved to be a fruitful month for Philippine artists as Art Trek 2011 launched its anchor events in the National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum. This year’s exhibits were headlined by Filipino avantgarde icon David Cortez Medalla and multiawarded artist Jose Tence Ruiz. They were joined by other foreign artists in a two-day event of talks, performances, and exhibits.

London-based artist David Medalla kicked off the event with his solo venture: ‘Sites of Practice: Filipino Arts Performance Abroad.’ Held last 3rd November, it featured two separate events, the first was a lecture entitled ‘Halo-Halo at Guinataan.’


In this talk, David regaled his audience with recollections of his rural boyhood, and paid tribute to the women who reared him up. It was followed by a live performance called ‘Bato Bato sa Langit ang Tamaan Huwag Magagalit.’ Medalla was joined by fellow performance artist Adam Nankervis as they staged a rendition of a popular Filipino wake game. It was one of David’s most personal performances, especially since ‘Sites of Practice” highlighted Medalla’s return to Asia after a considerable hiatus. Meanwhile, Manila-based performance artist Jose Tence Ruiz participated in a day of lectures entitled ‘Sites of Practice: Here and Elsehwere.’ It was held last November 4 and he was joined by Singapore Cultural Medallian recipient Amanda Heng, pioneering Singaporean performance artist Lee Wen, and Berlin-based artist and independent curator Adam Nankervis. They discussed themes, strategies, and problematics of performance art and dealing with their “publics” during the late 80s and 90s. Their insights provided a clear picture of the position of their art vis-à-vis the society. Medalla and Ruiz are two artists who help usher Filipino talent into global reckoning. With the success of their mounted performances, hopefully, it won’t be long before the Philippine art scene gets a more permanent prominence.

Arts & Entertainment

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Arts & Entertainment

Article by Krista Monica B. Garcia I Photos by Joerel D. Velasco

Small Voices




he Loboc Children’s Choir staged a thanksgiving and goodwill concert last 13 November 2011 in the Shangri-La Hotel Ballroom. The world-renowned group rendered a mix of classical, folk, and contemporary pieces, in Filipino and English. The show was part of a four-day stop over for the choir, en route to coming back to the Philippines which also included an outreach program at the KK Hospital. The choir was fresh from their third-place win in the Tolosa International Choral Competition held in Spain last October.


Arts & Entertainment

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

The Loboc Children’s Choir broke into international fame after winning the Grand Prize at the 2003 European Songs Festival Competition held in Barcelona, Spain. They bested 12 other adult choirs for the top prize. The choir had its humble beginnings in their eponymous Bohol hometown, where the young voices gained local fame for their mesmerizing, near-perfect performances. With conductor Madam Alma Fernando-Taldo at their helm, the Loboc kids eventually conquered into the global scene. At present, the ever-evolving choir is busy with representing the country in annual chorale competitions. They are also regularly called upon to promote the Philippine’s cultural heritage in various functions all over the world. They have toured in the US, Europe, and have made numerous appearances in China and South Korea as well. The event was organized by the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and was supported by the Shangri-la Hotel Singapore.


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Arts & Entertainment

Article by Mae Din Veldhoen I Photos by Mary Jane Gourlay and Frank Albrecht

Black Out Night he Filipino Expatriate Wives Singapore (FEWS) Organization celebrated its 7th year anniversary at the Marina Mandarin last Nov 4, 2011. The fundraiser event was a lively Dinner & Dance party, with proceeds going to charity. Every year, FEWS chooses a different theme for its anniversary party, and for 2011 it was “Black Out Night.” Guests dressed to the nines and the venue was decked out with black lights. Singer Pamela Wildheart hosted the event and also performed songs from her album. The evening was opened by FEWS president Bernadette Albrecht, followed by an inspired speech from the special guest, her ExcellencyAmbassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz. With Mrs. Cruz was a delegation from the Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore. In her speech, the Ambassador stressed the role that all Filipinos in Singapore play in showcasing Philippine art, culture, and values. She also lauded their contribution to the Embassy’s objective of

Dinner & Dance strengthening ties between Singapore and the Philippines. She cited the fundraising activities by FEWS as some of the concrete examples of the kind of generosity and bayanihan spirit that have long characterized the Filipino community in Singapore. Other highlights of the party included a dance exhibit, as well as a fashion show, with FEWS members modeling the clothes. After enjoying good food, it was time for the guests to dance the night away, ending the party on a high note.


Arts & Entertainment

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Arts & Entertainment

Article by Cyprus Malinao I Photos by Alexander Constantino

Laugh Loud Out

OL, ROFL, LMFAO – These are just some of the many terms we say when we text or tweet in Twitter or update our status in Facebook. Just last 18 November 2011, I posted a tweet in my Twitter account, “ROFL here at Laugh Off Asia. A good laugh on a Friday night,” It was indeed a good laugh as DMR Productions and Comedy Masala brought to the Singapore audience a night of LOL and ROFL as it staged Laugh Off Asia last 18-19 November 2011 at the Old Parliamentary House, Chambers @ The Art House. The show brought the best upand-coming comics from Singapore and the Philippines where the two countries bested each other in a battle of jokes and laughs.


Arts & Entertainment

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011

Rounding the Singapore side are the comedy icons Fakkah Fuzz, Rishi Budhrani, and Jinx Yeo. But of course, our country’s pride, Tim Tayag, GB Labrador, and Raffy Taruc came prepared with comics and jokes that turn the audience’s world upside-down. Raffy Taruc started the bout with a 10-minute stint

Lastly, and never to be out-shadowed is the infamous,

which was mostly about the life of being a Filipino –

Tim Tayag, who lured the crowd with his stunning looks

from Manny Pacquiao to the crimes within the country.

and immeasurable comic supremacy. Started his career in

Raffy started his career way back in 2006 and from there,

1997 back in San Francisco, Tim has become one of the

he took off to becoming one of the finalists to Jack TV’s

sought after comic. He has taken his career to greater

2009 Laffapalooza.

heights as he performed in world renowned comedy clubs such as Punch Line and Cobb’s.

Next in line to the Filipino crew is GB Salvador who, I must say, made the crowd go wild with his top-of-the-

Going home that night was a pain and heartache, as

line comic stint. This must be the fruit of his years and

you sure will crave for more. Kudos to DMR Productions

years of labor in the industry. His jokes about his daily life,

and Comedy Masala for bringing to us, Overseas Filipino

family experiences, and life as a Fiipino catapulted him to

Workers, a taste of our own comedy, the real Filipino

fame as he was crowned 1st runner-up in the 2010 Hong

comedy. We sure are looking forward to more of this.

Kong International Comedy Festival.


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


Simbang Gabi Schedule

PRIESTS FOR SIMBANG GABI SA SINGAPORE 2011 • Rev. Fr. Angel C. Luciano, CICM St. Anthony de Padua, Holy Family, Divine Mercy, St. Michael, St Ignatius, St. Joseph’s Church, Holy Trinity, Blessed Sacrament, St. Anne, Sts. Peter and Paul

• Rev. Fr. Kamilus Kamus, CICM Our Lady Star of the Sea, St. Mary of the Angels, Our Lady Queen of Peace, St. Bernadette, St. Stephen, St. Francis Xavier, Christ the King, Novena, Risen Christ

• Rev. Fr. Paul Staes, CICM St. Francis of Assisi, Holy Spirit, Holy Cross, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes

• Rev. Romeo Yu Chang, CICM St. Teresa, Blessed Sacrament

• Rev. Fr. Robertus Sarwiseso, CICM St. Anne

• Rev. Fr. Michael Sitaram St. Vincent de Paul, Blessed Sacrament Church

• Rev. Fr. Gregoire van Giang, MEP Our Lady of Perpetual Succour- NINE DAYS NOVENA IN SIGLAP ROAD

• Rev. Fr. Gerardus Suyono, SS.CC Blessed Sacrament- NINE DAYS NOVENA IN COMMONWEALTH.


BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


Photos by Mary Jane Gourlay

My wish is to have more birthdays to come, continued good health, more blessings, peace, love, and unity in my home and to my good friends. Thank you and More Power to BBM!!!




BAGONG BAYANI November 2011



n ee

remit Singapore Pte Ltd is very happy to celebrate 10 years of catering to all our Kababayan’s remittance needs. We will not be able to stay this long and keep on growing without the support of our clients, associations and of course the staff. We at Iremit hope that this would be the start of more years of service to come.


bayans remi aba t ta k r n


To a ll o

Photos by Nel Abringe and MBS

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011



Photos by Eric Parreno

PNB Inaugurates

New Remittance Center Philippine National Bank, the only Philippine Bank licensed to operate as a “Bank” in Singapore, in keeping with its commitment to be a dynamic Filipino financial services provider, opens a new branch.

The newly opened PNB Remittance Center (Limited Purpose Branch) at Lucky Plaza - Unit No.03-68 was inaugurated last November 18, 2011 with the Philippine Ambassador to Singapore, her Excellency Minda Calaguian Cruz doing the honors of its ribbon cutting ceremony together with the bank’s General Manager SVP Cesar C. Santos Jr. The inagural blessings was officiated by our Filipino priest Father Angel Luciano. The affair was well attended by the banks business counter parties, valued clients and friends.

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BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


Article by Ferdinand Sahagun


~ A Table Tennis Group Story

Humble Beginnings or most people, Friday night the Philippines, when you say sports, two things come rituals involve going out, working In in mind: basketball and boxing. In fact, PPSG’s founder extra shifts, or being with loved got into Ping Pong by accident, literally – he suffered an ones. For one group of Filipinos, it injury from playing basketball and had to look for a less demanding sport. But after getting hooked, he started means hitting a small ball back and looking for other people to play table tennis with. They started out with a group of 8 that would rent a table in forth across a table. They’re a group of table Tampines every Friday night. Now, they have roughly 80 tennis enthusiasts who call themselves the members, and have their games not just in Tampines but PinoyPingPongInSG (PPSG) group. They are in several areas in both East and West. out to prove that Table Tennis is a veritable, Gaining Ground competitive sport where Filipinos can excel. The group now gets regular invitations for friendly matches with other table tennis groups. One of their most recent matches was an international meet at the Open Invitation in Hougang Community Centre, sponsored by Dr. Desmond Choo of Hougang GRC. There, they reached the semi-finals, playing against Singaporean locals, as well as teams from Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The players enjoy recounting that their opponents are often surprised when they discover that PPSG is an allFilipino group. But PPSG is proud to be a 100% Pinoy team, who excels in this so-called “New Game.” Soon enough, it may not just be basketball that we’d be known for. The Pinoy Ping Pong players of Singapore are slowly but surely becoming a force to be reckoned with. Ferdinand Sahagun • A frustrated table tennis player with a superfluous table tennis equipment. Has the sharpest gaming mind but with a reaction time of a sloth. I am the best table tennis kibitzer around and I am the best in one thing, watching others play.

BAGONG BAYANI November 2011


A Valley of Treasures:

The Cagayan Region

here’s no doubt about it: the Philippines has no shortage of popular tourist spots. From pristine beaches, to hotels boasting of luxurious amenities, to various hip clubs, to malls which already resemble small cities in their size – our country is slowly making its mark as a “world-class” stopover in Southeast Asia (with a lot of help from the Department of Tourism’s boosted efforts).

But while all these modern slants definitely hint on progress, there are still a lot of people (like yours truly) who seek a different kind of adventure – who want to go on jaunts to places that have been relatively untouched by urbanization. There is something alluring about literally breaking away from the busy routine of work or school, and not minding our computers or cellphones for a while. Thankfully, there are still a lot of these kinds of “trips” available in the Philippines, that is Cagayan Region.

A Charm of Its Own

Tugegarao (the Cagayan capital). The most famous of these is the Callao Cave, which is right beside the beautiful Pinacanauan River. It is a great destination for first-time spelunkers because there is no intense hiking or crawling required to enjoy the site. Inside one of its seven chambers, visitors can admire the majestic rock and limestone formations, or enjoy a moment of spiritual bliss in the man-made chapel. The Pinacanauan river itself is also a fun stopover for water activities like boating or swimming.

Beauty on The Edge

Aside from being the Philippines’ “Tilapia Capital” Cagayan also holds the distinction of having most of its “natural” land forms quite intact. Although it’s not as internationally renowned as our beaches or mountains, this region is still worth a visit because of its unique treasures. Here’s a peek at some of the notables:

Batanes is relatively far from the Cagayan mainland (a small group of islands right at the very top of the Philippines), and it leaves one with the impression that it has been oblivious to the passage of time. In fact, a large part of the island still has no electricity. But it’s exactly this Old World sensibility that makes a visit to the place truly magical. Unspoilt by technology, every shore, street, and hill in the province looks almost exactly the same way it did a hundred years ago. Batanes’ best sights are its traditional stone houses (built with thick walls to withstand strong waves during storms), the wave-breakers that dot the rock-filled beaches, and the US-installed lighthouses.

Open Sesame!

Natural Power

The Cagayan Valley region is located in the northeastern tip of the archipelago. Its regional center, Tugegarao, is accessible by a 10-hour bus ride or a 1-hour plane ride from Manila. Its defining facet is the mighty Cagayan River, the longest river in the country.

Cagayan’s beautiful and mysterious caves are a must-visit. Most are situated in the small town of Peñablanca, 30 minutes away from

The province of Isabela will not be left behind with its own attraction – the impressive Magat Dam. Although this is technically not a

“rugged” destination, the dam itself is a sight to behold because it’s one of the biggest dam reservoirs not just in the Philippines, but in Asia. It provides hydroelectric power to the region from the flowing Cagayan River. Today Magat Dam has evolved into a viable tourism complex where visitors can enjoy activities like water-skiing, boating, or fishing. If physical adventures are not really your thing, there are still lots of treats for you waiting in Cagayan. There are numerous breathtaking views along the roadside which can entertain you during transit. There are also well-preserved Spanish-era churches in every province that allow you to experience a proverbial time travel. And of course, there are quite a few good eats to enjoy in Cagayan too. The region is most famous for its fish dishes (since it is surrounded by large bodies of water). \A trip to anywhere in the region promises a respite of a unique kind. There’s the inherent relaxation one gets from being near nature and getting to see places which have not been spoiled by man’s hands. You can also glean a certain sense of pride that our country was blessed with such amazing creations. This valley of treasures is definitely worth a stop on your next Philippine vacation.


Article by Krista Garcia I Photos by Ramon Eugene Daen,

Bagong Bayani eMagazine vol.1 #10  

Bagong Bayani eMagazine vol.1 #10