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Migrant Workers Center for UK OFWs Now Open

ONDON—The Philippine Embassy in London recently launched the Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipino Workers Resource Center (MWOFRC) at North Acton on 10 March in the presence of various representatives from London’s Filipino community. Located right across the North Acton tube station, the MWOFRC will serve as a temporary shelter for distressed Filipinos in the United Kingdom (UK), particularly those who ran

Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo and Labor Attaché Amuerfina Reyes lead the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially launch the Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipino Workers Resource Center (MWOFRC) in London.

away from their abusive employers. Apart from serving as a temporary shelter, the MWOFRC will also serve as a counselling center as well as a place where OFWs can Turn to page 14

The MWOFRC is fully equipped with the basic functional amenities to accommodate those seeking a shelter as well as those who wish to take advantage of the various free skills training modules offered by the Embassy.

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Calamba leads 11 Philippine Cities in South East Asia’s cleanest By marcLee Agustin i GNP tEAM

Google celebrates Filipina national dance artist Francisca Reyes Aquino with Doodle, Videos

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ooGle’s Doodle on the popular browser’s home page this March 9 celebrates the 120th birth anniversary of Filipina national artist Francisca Reyes-Aquino, the “Mother of Philippine Dancing.” The Google Doodle, which had previously featured other noteworthy Filipinas such as Josefa llanes escoda – the Philippines’ first girl scout and pediatrician Fe del Mundo, today illustrates different Philippine traditional dances – cariñosa, singkil, pandanggo sa ilaw, tinikling – that Reyes-Aquino is credited as helping document and preserve as regional dance forms through her efforts as an education major at the University of the Philippines, traveling to rural communities with a small

team of researchers to study the Filipino people’s unique songs, games, and dances. The Google page exTurn to page 14

C

AlAMbA in laguna province is leading 11 Philippine cities marked as having the cleanest air in southeast Asia. The Philippines, recognized by the United Nations for its environmental efforts, was listed in the 2018 World Air Quality Report released by Greenpeace. The March 2019 report studied the measurements of fine particles known as PM2.5, that causes respiratory problems when it infiltrates the airways. With an average of 9.3 PM2.5, Calamba City is on top of the Philippines rankings. These are the cities and their rankings according to the World Air Quality Report: • Calamba City 9.3 AVG • Valenzuela City 9,9 AVG Turn to page 14


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Top 2 finish for Joyce Pilarsky’s Balangiga Bells-inspired collection at Britain’s Top Designer Awards

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wArd-winning international fashion and jewelry designer Joyce Pilarsky presented a collection inspired from the historical Balangiga Bells in the Philippines and emerged with the Top 2 award at the prestigious Britain’s Top designer Awards. The Filipino fashion artist vied against 9 designers who presented their collections in front of industry judges – celebrity and fashion photographer Joe Alvarez, stylist to the stars Bernard Connolly, fashion

PHOTO CREDIT: Joyce Pilarsky Facebook Page

editor and media personality Sarah Mulindwa, and TV presenter and stylist Nicky Hambleton-Jones. dra. Joyce Peñas Pilarsky, a member of designer Circle

Philippines, was awarded as First runner Up at the Britain’s Top designer Competition hosted by Fashions Finest in February at the Congress Centre, Great rus-

sel Street, London. Pilarsky presented her winning fashion collection during the russian Ball held in Manila on March 6. “I took my inspiration from Balangiga Bells. From war trophy to goodwill symbol, the victory of the return of the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines. The bells were taken by the Americans as war booty from the town of Balangiga in the province of Eastern Samar during the Philippine-American war of 1901,” wrote Pilarsky in her Instagram post about the historical reference of her design. Prior to receiving her Britain’s Top designer Award, Pilarsky had won several Turn to page 12


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PH wins 3 golds in 14th SEA Youth Athletics Championships By mark djeron C. tuMABAo

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ITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela, March 4 (PIA) -- Host Philippines brought home three gold, seven silver, and nine bronze medals during the recently concluded 14th South East Asia (SEA) Youth Athletics Championships held in this city on March 2-3. Pole vaulter Ma. Khrizzie Clarrise Ruzol recorded the Philippines’ first gold medal. The country bagged its second gold medal in Day 2 of the championships, courtesy of Mariel Abuan, who

City of Ilagan’s very own Hokket delos Santos bagged the Philippines’ third gold in Pole Vault. (PIA-2 photo) ruled the Girls High Jump event. Abuan has amassed one gold and one bronze medal, which she got in the 4x400m relay. City of Ilagan’s very own Hokket delos Santos bagged the Philippines’ third gold. The 17-year old basketball

Philippines’ bet Mariel Abuan bags the second gold medal in the Girls High Jump event duirng Day 2 of the 14th SEA Youth Championships at the City of Ilagan Sports Complex in Isabela. The 14-year old Grade 8 student from Botolan National High School bested seven other rivals, submitting a new personal best leap of 1.65m. (Photo courtesy from Radyo Pilipinas) and volleyball player turned pole vaulter, shrugged off a spiked shoe malfunction which he encountered during the competition, to display an inspiring performance in front of his hometown crowd.

Delos Santos, a SEA Youth debutant cleared the bar at 4.20m, his new personal best in the sport he just took up a year ago. Sixteen-year old Cebuana runner Princes Jean Nalzaro Turn to page 14

Filipino Food Competes in Asian Cuisine Awards

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ONDON—Filipino restaurants and popups in London are among the major contenders in the annual Golden Chopsticks Awards (GCA), an award ceremony recognizing excellence in Asian and oriental cuisine in across the UK. The GCA aims to honor the contributions of the Asian and oriental cuisine in the British food industry. Among the Fili- Filipino food is fast pino restaurants and becoming a favourite pop-ups in the list in this country,” said are Romulo Café, Ambassador Antonio Mamason’s, Ramo’s M. Lagdameo. “Even Ramen (Filipino ra- in its nascent stage in men), Coco’s Lounge, the UK, Filipino cuiJosephine’s, Maynila, sine has already enMama’s Kubo, Sarap riched the melange of London, and Kinilaw international flavors in the country and in & Buko. “The growth in the the world.” The GCA is the number of Filipino restaurants, supper UK’s most prestigious clubs, and pop-ups award for Asian and in the UK shows that oriental cuisine. Since

at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on 29 April. The award categories include 13 awards that will be decided by the public, five by the Golden Chopsticks panel of judges, and four by the GCA founders. n

(L-R, clockwise): Kinilaw & Buko, Romulo Café, Sarap London, and Mamason’s are among the Filipino restaurants and popups competing for a spot in the Golden Chopsticks Awards. Photo courtesy of each restaurant/ pop-up. it was launched, it has been known to set the standard for Asian and oriental food in the UK.

A total of 22 awards in three categories will be given out during the GCA Awards Ceremony

STACY DANIKA GARCIA Public and Cultural Diplomacy Officer Third Secretary and Vice Consul Embassy of the Philippines in London Department of Foreign Affairs Republic of the Philippines


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MARCH • SUPPLEMENT

Muna To Festival:

A Return to Sarangani’s Roots Replica of the Caves of the Anthropomorphic Man at the Maitum Museum

By bERNARd supeTRAn

O

ne Of the most unique traits of Sarangani has to be the fact that it is one of the youngest provinces in the country, yet at the same time, one of the oldest.

Youngest because it is just 26 years old, which created as an independent province in 1992 from South Cotabato’s coastal municipalities. Oldest because it is host to the more than 2,000 year-old anthropomorphic man and burial jars unearthed in the remote Pinol and Ayub Caves in Maitum town. now on display at the national Museum, it is described as an “exceptional archaeological assem-

Revisiting Antipolo’s famous ‘Hinulugang Taktak’ By PRiAM nepoMuCeno

blage and unparalleled in Southeast Asia”. This Old World charm took center stage once more as the province recently marked its 26th founding day and the 16th MunaTo festival

to celebrate its rich cultural heritage and diversity. Themed “Kulay Munato”, the festivity is derived from the indigenous Blaan phrase Muna Toh or “first Turn to page 11

Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan Bai Estelita Bantilan

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AnILA -- Pissed off with the daily commuting grind in Metro Manila’s hot, steaming and concrete jungle? There is no need to look farther as “Hinulugang Taktak” falls, one of Antipolo City’s most famous landmarks, is a perfect venue for a weekend getaway. Located 21 kilo- tis na kung tawagin meters from Manila ay Hi-hi-Hinulugang and 1.7 kilometers Taktak“. The falls is locatfrom the Antipolo Cathedral, Hinulugang ed in Barangay Dela Taktak is the city’s Paz in Antipolo City, top tourist destina- on Taktak Road off tion, especially dur- Sumulong Highway. ing the fiesta season “Hinulugang Taktak” of May. The area was was declared a napopularized and im- tional Park in 1990 mortalized by the and a Protected Landsong “Tayo na Sa scape in 2000. for an entrance Antipolo”, especially with the line “at doon fee of PHP30, local maligo tayo, sa baTurn to page 12


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A Return to Sarangani’s Roots Turn to page 9

people” which showcased the culture, nature, and adventure attributes of the Sarangani, which serve as its tourist come-ons. According to Sarangani governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, this year’s festival is special with the recent conferment of the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasure) by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts to Blaan igem (mat) weaver Bai Estelita Bantilan. He said the Gamaba award will boost the province’s cultural treasures and the tourist attractions of Malapatan, Bantilan’s hometown, which is also noted for the elegant Maguindanaon handwoven inaul fiber which has been displayed in inter-

national fashion shows. Adding color to the celebration is its award as the fifth Most Competitive Province in this year’s Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) which ranks local governments on the framework of productivity. Senate Committee on Tourism chairperson Nancy Binay, was guest of honor and spoke on the congressional legislative efforts to preserve and promote the heritage of the indigenous peoples. She noted that the festival is a showcase of the harmony and diversity of the lumad tribes, Moro peoples and Christian settlers who have the province their home. The highlight of the fourday fest is the Municipal Vil-

Sarangani Munato Festival IP Day lage exhibit which put to the fore the local products, cuisine, tourist attractions and cultural heritage of Sarangani’s seven municipalities. Another main event is the Craft Conference and Exhibition which displayed the intricate hand-weaving tradition of the Blaan, Tagakaolo, Tboli lumad tribes, and the Maguindanaon, Maranao and Taosug Moro communities. Receiving special attention was demonstrations on the weaving of the exquisite

Mabal Tabih abaca fabric of the Blaan tribe, regarded as the province’s crown jewel of cultural resources. Fringe events included the Sbuno, the traditional tribal wrestling game in southern Mindanao, sporting events, indigenous peoples’ day, musical concerts, and the Pearl of Sarangani which chose the province’s ambassadresses of goodwill and tourism. n Bernard Supetran is a freelance travel writer, tourism consultant and lecturer, photojournalist, and the editor of EZ Maps, the country’s leading tourist map brand. He is also certified scuba diver and advocate for the marine ecosystem who has dived around Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao


The Department of Na- their meeting include secutional Defense (DND) first rity and terrorism. “Any subject matter that floated the review calls in December 2018, citing the need is mutually beneficial to both to make the deal more rele- countries will be discussed. 2019 MARCH 2019concerns Mutual MARCH Agenda? 2018 MARCH vant to the region’s changing like security, terrorism,” Pansecurity environment.

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raised, Panelo neither confirmed nor denied this. “Kung i-raise ni Secretary Locsin, di mababanggit ‘yan (If Secretary Locsin will raise it, it might be mentioned),” he said. n

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is the main agency responsible for protecting the rights and interests of all distressed Filipinos including assistance in the provision of legal advice, assistance in facilitating repatriation, assistance in human trafficking cases, among www.planetphilippinesuk.com www.planetphilippinesuk.com others. (PNA) n

Revisiting Antipolo’s famous ‘Hinulugang Taktak’ Turn to page 9

tourists can see firsthand the beauty of the falls and stroll in the park’s meditation area. For families, children can dip into the park’s kiddie pool. Van de la Cruz, 54, has always been fascinated by Hinulugang Taktak and said that it has improved considerably since he was a child. “Maganda ‘yung view tapos parang naalala ko nung bata pa ako, ilang years na akong hindi nakapasyal dito ngayon pa lang, kaya’t nakita ko medyo maganda ngayon. Maganda siya kaya hihikayatin ko ang pamilya ko na pumunta rito (It has a beautiful view. The last time I visited the place was when I was still young. It’s only now that I visited the area again. It’s more beauti-

ful now. I will encourage my family to visit this place),” he said. Dory Enriquez, 58, likened the falls to Rizal Park in Manila and said she is in love with its peaceful aura. “Pabalik-balik naman kami dito sa Hinulugang Taktak, kasi parang ito yung Rizal Park ng Antipolo. Kaya kilala na ‘to, saka inaayos naman saka nililinis (We are frequent visitors here at Hinulugang Taktak. It’s like the Rizal Park of Antipolo that is why it became famous. They continue to maintain its beauty and cleanliness),” she added. Elena Garcia, 68, praised the beauty of the falls because of the continuous efforts to clean it up. “Maganda, maraming nagbago. Kasi galing pa

kami Obando, Bulacan, mga katekista tapos ito yung lugar na napili namin kasi tahimik saka malinis na rin naman (It’s beautiful. There were many changes. We are catechists from Obando, Bulacan and we chose to come here because the place is serene and clean),” she said. Elena Reyes, 71, said she always tags along her friends whenever she visits the place. “Maganda siya pero kailangan patuloy na linisin. Nakakapanghinayang kapag ‘di pagtuunan ng pansin (It’s beautiful but it really needs more cleanups. It’s a waste if it will be neglected),” said 20-year-old Crysalie Montalbo, who visited the falls in 2017. (With reports from Darwin C. Pesco, OJT, PNA) n

Top 2 finish for Joyce... Turn to page 6

awards including grand prize at the Coastal Fashion Week Design Competition 2017 in New Orleans, Grand Phoenix Cultural Achievement Award 2016, Grand Prize winner at Los Angeles Fashion Week Design Competition in 2015, and actually holds several beauty pageant titles. Tell us what you think of the victorious Balangigainspired collection of Joyce Pilarsky in the comments below!­—GNP Team n


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Migrant Workers Center for UK OFWs Now Open Turn to page 2

avail of free skills training offered by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office – Overseas Welfare Workers Administration (POLO-OWWA). “Upholding the rights and welfare of Filipinos in the UK and Ireland is one of the Embassy’s utmost priorities,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo. “The establishment of this resource center underscores how seriously we take our commitment to ensure the safety and security of all Filipinos under the Embassy’s jurisdiction.” The MWOFRC is equipped with basic amenities and is managed by led by POLO-

Turn to page 4

Labor Attaché Amuerfina Reyes and POLO Welfare Officer Connie Marquez take the lead in establishing London’s first Philippine MWOFRC. Photo by Stacy Garcia OWWA, which is led by Philippine Labor Attaché Amuerfina Reyes and POLO Welfare Officer Marie Consolacion Marquez. “The Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center will serve not only as a temporary refuge for migrant workers who may be in distress, but it will likewise be a center for their empowerment through

skills enhancement programs, deepening of their understanding of their rights and obligations as workers, and engaging them in productive undertakings, among others,” said Labor Attaché Reyes. n Article by STACY DANIKA GARCIA Public and Cultural Diplomacy Officer Embassy of the Philippines in London

PH wins 3 golds in 14th... Turn to page 8

clocked 15.61 seconds to clinch the Silver medal in the Girls 100m hurdle. Other Filipino athletes who snatched silver medals were: Charlaine De Ocampo (Girls 400m hurdles) ; Jan Rey Gallano (Boys 400m hurdles) ; Daniel Noel Rambacal (Boys Hammer Throw); and Ranelo Gil, Charlaine De Ocampo, Jeshrelvan Ombid, and Tara Borlain (Mixed 4x400m). For bronze: Diana Rysiamie Hurano (Girls Triple Jump); Ja-

Google celebrates Filipina national...

son Jabol , Albert Jose Villaces, Ranelo Gili, and MJ Jaminillo (Boys 4x100 Relay); Patrick Shane Tolentino (boys high jump); Jeshrelvan Ombid (boys’ 800-meter); and Michael Alfred Adan (boys’ 2000meter steeplechase). National athlete Tara Borlain succumbed to the foreigners’ domination, finishing just third in her specialty event, the girls’ 800-meter run. This is the second time for the Philippines and the “Corn Capital” to host the

annual SEA Youth, having staged it before in 2017. The SEA Youth will also serve as a prelude to the 2019 Philippine National Open Athletics Championships slated later from March 6-8. In the final tally, Thailand emerged victorious with 16-8-4 medal standing followed by Vietnam and Malaysia with 7-9-10 and 4-4-2 medal standing, respectively. (MDCT/PIA 2-Cagayan) n —Philippine Information Agency

plaining the Doodle says it “[President Ramon Magsaysay conferred her the Republic ward of Merit in 1954 for her “outstanding contribution toward the advancement of Filipino culture”.]celebrates the life and work of Francisca Reyes-Aquino, the Filipino folk dancer and cultural researcher who helped preserve numerous Filipino cultural traditions including the tinikling— one of the country’s most wellknown traditional dances, named after a small, native bird’s hopping movements among rice farms. The Google Doodle videos on ReyesAquino, born on March 9, 1899, lists the Filipina dancer’s achievements: • named a Nation-

al Artist of Dance in 1973 • awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 1962 after serving as supervisor of physical education at the Bureau of Education in the 1940s and as UP faculty for 18 years • President Ramon Magsaysay conferred her the Republic Award of Merit in 1954 for her “outstanding contribution toward the advancement of Filipino culture” A true Filipino Pride story! Comment below your own greetings of Happy 120th birthday, Francisca Reyes-Aquino! n —The GNP team

Calamba leads 11 Philippine Cities... Turn to page 4

• Carmona City 10.9 AVG • Parañaque City 12.2 AVG • Davao City 12.6 AVG • Makati City 13.7 AVG • Manila 14.3 AVG • Mandaluyong 14.5 AVG • Balanga 16.1 AVG • Quezon City 17.5 AVG • Las Piñas City 17.9 AVG Breathe fresher air in these Philippine cities and comment below your cheers for the 11 leading Philippine cities! n


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