FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
In those days couples married young. My lola was 17 and my lolo was 20 when they tied the knot in 1954.
LOVE IN THE
TIME OF LOLA
‘Nung sinimulan akong ligawan ng lolo mo, may nobya pala siya. Eh nalamang nililigawan ako... Sinugod sa tindahan ang lolo mo, sabay saksak sa tagiliran.’ It had the makings of a Mexican telenovela! I never knew who the girl was, but now I know how lolo got that scar. By jERRiCho reynaldo
Y lola never ran out of stories... Perhaps, it came with age, or the fact that in our family, storytelling was a necessary pastime. During the early 1990s, electric power went out regularly, and so we shared all sorts of stories from horror to comic ones. But one story never got fully told, because when it was time for our lola to tell her story, the power comes back and off we go to watch the television. My grandparents used to live in the old town of Culi-Culi in the now-bustling city of Makati. Back in the1950s, grass fields dominated the lots on which office buildings and high-rise condominiums now stand. Her tale started on a familiar street... “May tindahan kami sa silong noon. Sa tapat ng tindahan namin, may bahay ang Lola Pining mo (my grandfather’s older sister). Andun ang lolo mo kapag umaga, nagkakatanawan kami.” What started out as a simple acquaintance across fronting windows soon bloomed into a special relationship, so my lola said. “Thirteen years old ako noon nung niligawan ako ng lolo mo. Ayaw naayaw ng nanay ko, pero gus-
Lolo Consuelo, here with her brood, is turning 75 this year. tung-gusto naman ng Lola Tasya ko. Pinapagalitan nga ang nanay ko, eh. E ang tatay ko naman, walang pakialam.” It was 1950, then, and lola Tasya was her father’s mother. “Nung sinimulan akong ligawan ng lolo mo, may nobya pala siya. Eh nalamang nililigawan ako...Sinugod sa tindahan ang lolo mo, sabay saksak sa tagiliran.” It had the makings of a Mexican telenovela! I never knew who the girl was, but now I know how lolo got that scar. a year of courting, and so it happened. +27
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
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FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
By miChAEl josh villanueva
S if tipping a hat to the country’s new tourism campaign, “it’s more fun in the Philippines,” the filipinos’ hospitality and ability to have fun stood out in the recentlyreleased 2011 Hong Kong Shanghai Bank inc’s (HSBC) Expat Explorer Survey. The Philippines came out as the best place for foreigners living away from their home countries to work and play. it was voted the Number 1 country in the world in terms of feeling welcome at work; second in the world in terms of having a social life, establishing a work/life balance, and making friends; and fourth in the world in terms of entertainment. More than 3,000 expats living in 100 countries around the world took part in the survey and they voted the Philippines as fourth in the world in
PH IS WORLD’S 2ND BEST TO MAKE FRIENDS – SURVEY
The country ranks fourth in the world in terms of “overall experience.”
More than 3,000 expats living in 100 countries took part in the survey and they voted the Philippines as fourth in the world in terms of “overall experience.” This takes into account ease for expats to settle in, integrate with local life and culture, and quality of life once they have assimilated.
The Philippines is voted No. 2 in terms of making friends.
terms of “overall experience.” This takes into account ease for expats to settle in, integrate with local life and culture, and quality of life once they have assimilated. Of the 100 countries included in the survey only Thailand, Canada, and South Africa placed better in terms of overall experience. But none of these countries did as well in terms of having fun. The country’s 2011 placement is a large improvement from our 15th place ranking in 2010.
SUB-CATEGORIES WHERE WE RANKED HIGHEST (out of 31 countries) 1st feeling welcome at work 2nd Social life 2nd Work/life balance 2nd Making friends 3rd finding accommodations 4th Entertainment 4th Making local friends 4th Local work culture 7th integrating with community 8th Health diet 8th Quality of accommodation 9th Working environment 9th fitting in the new culture 9th Organizing finances
SUB-CATEGORIES WHERE WE RANKED LOWEST (out of 31 countries) 21st Setting up utilities 22nd Local transport 22nd Sports 26th Organizing health care 26th Local culture 27th Getting used to local food 30th Local shops and markets
It’s fun going out Sam Yu, a Chinese working for a construction company in the Philippines agrees, “People here have the tendency to care about others even for strangers and foreigners. They are willing to help and are very hospitable.” Yu, who has worked in the Philippines for the last five years and has assimilated quite nicely, also says going out is more fun in the Philippines, “It is very fun going out with the locals, much more fun compared with going out with people in my own country.” But work and play aren’t everything. And the news isn’t as good. In terms of Expat Economics, the country dropped to 18th in the world in 2011, down It is very fun going out with the locals, according to expats.
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
10 points from our 8th place finish in 2010. While the country was the best place in the world to find domestic help, it was, according to those surveyed, one of the worst places to access good healthcare. SUB-CATEGORIES WHERE WE RANKED HIGHEST (out of 31 countries) 1st Domestic helper/staff 2nd More than one property 3rd Nice/bigger property 3rd Swimming pool SUB-CATEGORIES WHERE WE RANKED LOWEST (out of 31 countries). 19th Disposable income 29th Healthcare Put together in terms of economics and experience, the Philippines ranked 8th in the world, but lagged behind other Southeast Asian neighbors Thailand (1st), Singapore (3rd), and Malaysia (7th). Switzerland, where it’s also more fun, ranked fifth. Malacañang said it was elated about portions of the HSBC survey results which reflected positively on the country. (Rappler. com) n
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
‘I think people don’t realize that I’m turning 27 (on Feb. 17). They don’t see it kasi napaka-bubbly ko ‘di ba? So people don’t realize that as an actress it’s also my desire to get roles that help me mature as an actress and I feel that this could be it.’ By pEppER mArcElo
O dOubt about it, 2011 was Anne Curtis’s year. the Fil-Australian beauty has gradually metamorphosed from a beguiling, somewhat innocent and bubbly face on tV and film to a more mature, confident and sophisticated actress. this was much evident in her breakout film, No Other Woman, which was one of the blockbuster movies last year and one of the most successful local films of all time. during her 14-year showbiz career, Anne’s played teenybopper roles in a variety of soaps, romantic comedies and fantaseryes. For the first time last year, the actress-tV host-now singer decided to shifts gears by playing a seductress in the
Anne reinvents her image as a mature, serious dramatic actress.
adult drama No Other Woman. She recalls that when she was offered a role of a morally questionable character that was so different from her previous roles, she didn’t hesitate to seize it. “I was so excited, from wearing
the swimsuits to different outfits to my hair, prinepare ko talaga. At kitang-kita niyo naman yun sa movie,” she told reporters during a press conference for the film. She took the bold move, she said, to surprise audiences and fans, and signal that she’s not a young girl anymore. “I think people don’t realize that I’m turning 27 (on Feb. 17) . They don’t see it kasi napaka-bubbly ko ‘di ba? So people don’t realize that as an actress it’s also my desire to get roles that help me mature as an actress and I feel that this could be it.” Taking on new challenges is part of her plans to be taken more seriously as a capable dramatic actress “I think I’ve always been very open na gusto ko talaga to do something different, kasi 14 years na ako sa industriyang ito, parang lahat na yata nagawa ko. So ito ang hindi ko pa talaga nagagawa.” She adds: “It’s something na hindi pa nila ako nakikitang nag-portray, kasi lagi na lang comedy or rom-com (romance-comedy) so it’s a breath of fresh air for me so sana magustuhan ninyo yung character ko dito.” In the film, Anne plays a resort heiress who seduces a married furniture salesman, played by Derek Ramsay. Rounding off the cast is Cristine Reyes, who plays the jilted wife. With such an undeniably sexy role, many expected Anne to suddenly do a 180-degree turn from her bubbly image and be more “bold”, including semi-nudity and torrid love scenes. She explains that although it is an adult-themed story, the execution and presentation are tasteful and not vulgar. “The scenes are enough for adults or young adults, I’d have to say. It’s nothing too sexy na tipong you’d have to close your eyes. Hindi naman siya ganung leveling. It’s sexy siguro more in a way na may mga naka-swimsuit and stuff like that and also because what we’re tackling is domestic life already, married na kaya naging ganun siya.” Anne says she draws inspiration from one of her favorite Hollywood actresses, Natalie Portman, who has successfully transitioned from child actress to full-fledged mature adult roles. “Yung role niya sa ‘Closer’ you could see that she really tackles mature roles na hindi mo iisipin kung bagay ba sa kanya yun? Pero ginawa niya at na-achieve. ‘Black Swan’ also was super duper more mature, pero I want that. I want to move forward as an actress.” No Other Woman has earned
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
Anne in a provocative pose for her breakout movie.
The Princess of All Media conquers the concert scene.
“I think I’ve always been very open na gusto ko talaga to do something different, kasi 14 years na ako sa industriyang ito.” P278 million, making it the second highest grossing Filipino movie of all time, next to The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin, which grossed P331 million. You Changed My Life, topbilled by John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo, previously held the top spot with P209 million. Echoing the movie’s plot of a wife trying to keep her marriage and fighting to keep the man she loves, Anne admits she would do the same in real life. . “Mababaliw ka talaga sa taong mahal mo at hindi mo na iisipin ang mga
c o n sequence ng gagawin mo. Oo, gagawin ko talaga yun para sa taong mahal ko.” She adds: Kasi, I think, everyone, sinasabi nilang talaga, hindi, hiwalay ‘yan, di ba? But the thing is, when you’re in that position, hindi mo kaya, e. Kailangan mong malaman na ikaw pa rin ang pipiliin niya. So, ipaglalaban mo. At siyempre, gusto mong ipamukha sa kung sinuman siya na ikaw ang pinili, di ba?” To be sure, Anne’s role does not mirror her off-screen situation. She has been in a stable relationship with her non-showbiz beau
Erwan Heussaff, younger brother of model-actress Solenn Heussaff. “To say that I have a perfect relationship now, I don’t think anyone can have a perfect relationship, but I’d like to think that my relationship is the closest you can get to perfect,” she shared. The sweethearts have become especially closer in recent months, with Anne even going spending a brief vacation to meet Erwan’s family in France. Asked how her boyfriend reacted to her intimate scenes with co-star Derek Ramsay, she replied, “Work ko yun at naiintindihan naman niya yun.” There are no marriage plans in the next four years or so, she said. “That would be ideal for me. It’s not in my hands naman, it’s in the guy’s hands. If I feel na it’s the right time, then go.” She feels she has more to accomplish in that time span. Not content to be an actress-host, Anne has larger ambitions in becoming an all-around performer, which in-
cludes singing as well. In October she released a solo album, titled Annebisyosa, which has been certified as a gold album with sales of 7,500 and counting. She acknowledges that some maybe skeptical of her singing talents but that does not hinder her ambition to be a total performer. Describing her venture into pop music as a “dream come true,” said, “I don’t really mind kung lalaitin ang voice ko or whatever kasi it’s part of it naman. Hindi din naman ako nagsasabi na singer ako o diva ako kasi alam naman natin lahat na hindi totoo.” Following up on the success of her debut album, the Princess of All Media is set to conquer the stage of Araneta Coliseum no less in her first major concert, Annebisyosa – No Other Concert World Tour, set on Jan. 28. Capping her string of successes, Anne is the first Filipino celebrity to garner one million followers on Twitter. Looking back, she gushed, “I’m so content with her life. My 2011 is fantastic. A rollercoaster. A scary and yet best and most thrilling year of my life. So many things kept on happening. One after the other. I guess it pays off when you don’t expect anything, all the more you appreciate, all the more blessings that come into your life. Wala na kong hihingin pa.” n
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
SUNSET WEDDING FOR SHALANI VALENZUELA City Councilor Shalani Soledad tied the knot with Pasig City Representative Roman Romulo at sunset on Jan. 22 at St. Benedict Church at the Ayala Westgrove in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna. “I’m very happy that I’ve found you,” the 44-year-old groom said during the ceremonial exchange of vows. “I promise to love you from now on until forever,” Shalani, 31, replied. The wedding capped a whirlwind romance even by today’s standards. Roman and Shalani were engaged for five months. Shalani’s wedding gown, designed by Inno Sotto, was described by the couturier as “simple, feminine and elegant.” It was a white romantic number with a fitted V-neck top with lace bodice and a skirt made of 17 layers of soft tulle. Roman, son of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto Romu-
SHALANI & ROMAN lo, wore a midnight-blue tuxedo, a white shirt and a gray bow tie by Hugo Boss and a pair of black leather shoes by Louis Vuitton. The 22 principal sponsors came from the business and political sectors. The Mass lasted over an hour, with not a seat empty in the 500seat church. One of those invited was not around—President Benigno Aquino
III, Shalani’s former boyfriend. Officials said the President was resting in Baguio City at the time. The two ended their year-long relationship in September 2010. The President had earlier said he would not be able to attend the wedding but would send a gift “bought by his staff.” He had wished the couple a happy life together.
OYO NIXES VIC-PAULEEN AFFAIR VIC Sotto’s son, Oyo, disapproves of his father’s rumored affair with his Eat Bulaga! co-host Pauleen Luna. Commenting on the issue, Oyo said, “Well ako, kung totoo man yung sa kanila ni Pauleen, basta ito lang ang sasabihin ko, ayoko talaga! Iyon lang, ayoko talaga.” Asked for his reason, he explained, “Eh bata kasi siya sa akin, eh!” Oyo is 28 years old while Pauleen is only 23. Vic is 57. “Hindi ako galit sa tatay ko, hindi ako galit kay Pauleen,” he added. “Ayoko lang. Hindi lang ako approve sa ano, kung totoo man na meron silang relasyon.” It will be recalled that a few weeks back, Oyo posted a message in his Twitter account which read: “Ang dami talagang mukang pera... ang daming lumalandi! Nakakalungkot (hindi sa akin) Haay nako...” He followed it with another tweet: “Respeto lang.” Pauleen reacted by saying she was hurt by insinuations that she is “materialistic”, to which Oyo responded with another tweet: “Kung nasaktan ka, ikaw yun.“ Meanwhile, Niña Jose denies rumors that Vic is courting her. “Nagulat ako nang lumabas yung isyu na sinasabi nilang nililigawan ako ni Marvic [Vic’s real
PAULEEN OYO name], dahil hindi totoo yun,” the young actress said. “He’s just a special friend dahil sobrang bait niya... He’s a very, very good friend... spe-
cial friend ko siya... All I’m saying is that, si Bossing, si Marvic, treats me special. And in return, I also treat him special.” Niña and Vic are in the cast of the comedy show on TV5 The Jose & Wally Show Starring Vic Sotto.
SHARON STILL RESPECTS PIOLO “WONDERFUL” is how Sharon Cuneta describes the present state of her daughter KC Concepcion. The Megastar adds, “So, I’m happy that KC is—obviously, because it didn’t work out—she’s happier now. I’m happy that she is.” It was late last year when KC broke up with Piolo Pascual. Sharon admits she felt bad for what happened to KC. “Nung natapos at natapos, siyempre masakit ang loob ko dahil umiyak ang anak ko,” she told reporters in a recent interview recalling her daughter’s failed romance. But she says she perfectly understands that relationships either succeed or fail. “Kaya nga, di ba nagiging mag-boyfriend kayo para you try kung puwede o hindi. E, it didn’t work out for reasons na kanila na lang ‘yon.” Asked how the KC-Piolo split affected her perception of the actor, Sharon said, “I have loved Piolo. Napaka-ipokrita ko naman pag sinabi kong ganun ko pa rin siya kamahal o ganun pa rin siya ka-importante sa akin. Kasi hindi
PHIL ‘VERY SURE’ OF ANGEL
BARELY a year after they met and started dating, Phil Younghusband is already certain that his girlfriend, Angel Locsin, is the right woman for him. “Yes. Yes, I’m very, very sure... I think she’s the one... Yes!” the Fil-Brit soccer player told the Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) in an interview. “For me, you just know and you don’t need any evidence,
you just feel it. And when we’re together, we feel very strong about each other.” The two met after Phil asked Angel via Twitter to be his date on Valentine’s Day last year. The popular striker for the Philippine national soccer team Azkals said that “being with Angel is special.” “It feels different. I feel closest to her than anyone. I feel happier
PHIL & ANGEL
SHARON naman siya nagpakita sa amin or anything. Actually, hindi ko siya nakita since naging boyfriend siya ni KC... so dun pa lang may tampo na ‘ko.” Despite what happened, she says she still has respect for Piolo. “I still respect him as an actor. I respect the fact na alam mo yung nagsikap para marating ang narating niya. I respect that in a person. So, kung sa ganung punto, wala akong problema. Ang importante, they’ve worked things out on their own.”
that I’ve ever been. And I just know that I want my future to be as happy as it is now. And I know that would be with Angel,” he expounded. Like Angel, Phil refused to put a “label” on their relationship. However, he declared, “We’re in love. We said that, we’re in love with each other. And we communicate very well and we’re very, very, very good. We’re happy.”
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
KIM IS XIAN’S SPECIAL GIRL
GERALD IS NOT COURTING ME - SARAH
SARAH Geronimo revealed that she received a Tiffany necklace with a heart-shaped pendant as a Christmas gift from Gerald Anderson Sarah’s parents and siblings also received gifts from Gerald, who went to the actress’ house to personally deliver the Christmas gifts. In turn, the actor received gifts from Sarah’s family. When asked if Gerald was courting her, Sarah blurted, “Hindi, hindi talaga.” She explained that there was nothing to Gerald’s gesture. “Hindi, hindi naman po sa ganu’n. Siyempre, espesyal naman po ’yung tao, nakatrabaho natin siya at nakita ko naman kung gaano siya kabuting tao, kabuting anak din sa mommy niya, kung gaano siya ka-sweet sa mommy niya. . . Hindi ko naman po itatanggi na espesyal din naman po ’yung tao,” said Sarah. Pressed by reporters if she is now ready to love again, she replied, “Hindi pa. . . Titingnan po natin kung kelan po ready na itong puso ko na magmahal ulit.”
XIAN & KIM
SARAH The Pop Princess admitted she was nervous when she accepted her latest project at ABSCBN, a weekly musical show titled Sarah G Live!, which will start airing in February. “Siyempre ho, nu’ng una, ayoko, natatakot ako. Kasi sariling show ko na ‘yon, eh, saka malaking responsibility ‘yon sa akin as an artist. Pero blessing ito. Napakagandang blessing nito at another challenge para sa akin para maggrow as an artist and as a person. So, ba’t ko tatanggihan?” Sarah is also set to start shooting in February her third movie with John Lloyd Cruz. In April she is set to hold a series of concerts abroad.
WHILE her former loveteam partner and rumoured ex-boyfriend, Gerald Anderson is being linked to another actress, Kim Chiu is attracting special attention from Xian Lim, her costar in the recently concluded soap My Binondo Girl. In a recent interview, Xian was
quoted as saying that Kim is the most special girl in his life right now. He said there is something about the Cebuana Chinese mestiza that makes him happy. “She deserves to be happy. And she deserves to be treated well. I do these things for her maybe because I find her special. That’s probably why. There’s something about her na talagang wow. It’s about how she makes me feel. I can’t really say but I just know that she’s special,” he said. Last December, Xian serenaded Kim on the set of their television series. Although Xian has been vocal about his admiration for Kim, both
stress that there is nothing romantic going on between them. Xian says he just wants to make Kim feel special everytime they are together. “Every time magkasama kami, every time kung lalabas kami, taping man ‘yan or trabaho, at least I make her feel special in every single way pag lumalabas kami.” Asked if they could be more than friends, the Fil-Chinese actor-model said, “Ang masasabi ko po sobrang saya kasama si Kim. We’re just taking it step by step, kung anong mangyari, mangyayari naman po yan. Whatever is meant to be is meant to be.”
M&M: SO SWEET, SO IN LOVE
REAL-LIFE sweethearts Maja Salvador and Matteo Guidicelli are very vocal about their feelings for each other. Maja has said that she hopes their relationship would eventually lead to marriage. For his part, Matteo said Maja is the last woman he will ever love. The Fili-Italian heartthrob said he was touched by Maja’s open declaration of affection for him. “Talagang na-touch ako. Hindi niya sinasabi yan sa public. She keeps that to herself. I’m very, very proud that I
have someone who’s proud of me.” According to Matteo, his public avowal of his feelings for Maja is not a publicity stunt to promote their upcoming movie. He said he is naturally vocal. “Ako vocal talaga ako e. I think that’s from my Italian side. Gusto ko talagang magmahal. I really love loving people. I care. So, I’m very open. I don’t lie and I’m honest,” he said. He said he and Maja have very different personalities but this did not become a hindrance to their relationship.
“She challenges me a lot,” Matteo said. “Maraming mga bagay na hindi kami the same, e. Her personality, my personality, we have differences. . . Talagang iba si Maja. She stands on her own. Kaya niyang lahat on her own. She’s a very responsible person. I think sa mga bagay na yun, I learned from her and she learned from me and then we complement each other.” The Maja-Matteo love team is being launched via the soon-to-bereleased movie, My Cactus Heart.
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
PALAWAN’S HIDDEN GEM What luxury to be served dinner poolside at the villa’s private patio, soothed by the gentle rhythm of the waves! We knew then that we had come to the right place for a few perfect days of pampering and relaxation.
Topnotch service from friendly staff.
Swaying coconut trees provide a scenic background to the beach.
By mARIBEL caStILLo-BaILoN
EST and relaxation were on top of our agenda when we decided to make a quick getaway from Manila’s impossible traffic and humidity by flying off to Palawan. But before succumbing to the lure of a secluded beach resort, we decided to do a little detour two hours up north from the Puerto Princessa airport to take a peek at the famous Puerto Princessa Subterranean River, a world heritage site and newly declared as one of the world’s Seven Wonders of nature. at 8.2 kilometers, it is reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the world. Joining a small group of Korean and German tourists, we motored two hours up north through scenic countryside. There was never a dull moment during the two -hour journey. The tour guide warned us to hang on to dear life as our driver negotiated zigzags and undulating roads on a drive that resembled a roller coaster ride. We had butterflies in our stomachs by the time we hit the sun-drenched beach of
Sabang, Puerto Princesa’s northernmost barrio. There, before us, was our pleasant reward for enduring the bumpy ride -- a stunning expanse of turquoise glass comparable to the waters of Santorini in Greece and Lake Louise in Banff, alberta.
Underground river after partaking of a quick Filipino-style picnic of chicken adobo
One of the waterfront Amihan Pool Villas. and pork inihaw, it was time to take the 20-minute banca ride to the underground river. We had been forewarned about exotic wildlife springing from the greenery and popping out of the stalactites and stalagmites inside a pitch-black cave. True enough, near the river’s
mouth is a beautiful lagoon with crystal-clear water that teems with fish. also within the underground river park is the Monkey Trail, a series of wooden paths that wind into the forest where monkeys, squirrels, lizards and some 60 species of birds are found
My fears were put to rest when we were greeted at the river’s loading station by a perky monkey. The monkey was more social than menacing, obviously enjoying the tourists’ attention and flashing cameras. and the resident bayawaks -- large monitor lizards that resembled baby crocodiles – seemed as friendly and non-threatening as any house broken pet. Properly outfitted in orange life vests and yellow hard hats, we boarded a banca steered by a local guide with a flair for comedy. as we entered the cave to explore the Underground River, we joined the company of bats that have inhabited the river for thousands of years. Fortunately, the bats were asleep at daytime so we didn’t bump into unidentified flying objects. It was pitch black inside until our torchbearer turned on the spotlight to reveal amazing works of art that took millions of years for nature to create. Floating through the chambers of the underground river was like gliding through an art gallery. My advice to visitors: give your imagination free rein and the caves will disclose amazing revelations.
Paradise resort as dusk fell, tired but happy, we once again boarded the van and headed south to the promise of a relaxing evening at Crystal Paradise Resort and Winery.
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
PHILIPPINESthe BEAUTIFUL Crystal Paradise, a gem tucked away in the little-known town of Narra, is two hours southeast of bustling Puerto Princessa. It was almost 8 p.m. when our van reached the resort. What a pleasant surprise to be greeted by an alert and attentive staff who not only welcomed us warmly with song and solicitous attention, but also prepared a wonderful dinner and cool drinks right out of the buko (young coconut) shell. It was dark when we were ushered in to our waterfront villa, but that did not stop us from noticing the surprisingly luxurious, 5-star hotel features such as a tastefully decorated bedroom and kitchenette, a king-sized bed, roomy bathroom with jetted bathtub, and a patio overlooking the private infinity pool, the beach and Sulu Sea beyond. What luxury to be served dinner poolside at the villa’s private patio, soothed by the gentle rhythm of the waves! We knew then that we had come to the right place for a few perfect days of pampering and relaxation. By morning, after a good night’s rest, we took the opportunity to explore the resort’s amenities and attractions. No doubt at the top of the list was quiet, solitary stroll on the scenic, palm-fringed beach, far away from the hordes of tourists who descend upon the Philippines’
From page 18
Crystal Paradise Resort and Winery also boasts of a small selection of naturally fermented fruit wines, such as banana, pineapple and mango. offers a number of island adventure packages, including excursions to Arena Island, a turtle sanctuary, and Rasa Island, a bird sanctuary.
The private infinity pool overlooks the Sulu Sea. more popular waterfront destinations all throughout the year.
Waterfront villas The cozy resort has a total of six waterfront Amihan Pool Villas, four of which are family suites and two are executive suites perfect for honeymooners. For visitors on a smaller budget, there is also the Katala Lodge within Crystal Paradise, which offers a number of deluxe King and deluxe Twin rooms. Crystal Paradise is nestled in a beautiful wildlife cove that has yearround sunshine and beachfront. It
Exploring the world-famous Subterranean River.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF LOLA
“Naging mag-nobyo kami nung pa-third year high school na ako. Katorse ako nun.” My lola was studying in Arellano High School while my lolo, though smart and studious, never got to finish his elementary studies as his grandfather needed him to farm and tend to the livestock. Back then, my lola was a beauty to reckon. Even before she met my lolo, she’s been representing classes and organizations in a number of parades and competitions. “Noong first year, Ms. United Nations. Second year, Ms. Pearl of the Orient, dun sa litrato na meron akong perlas sa noo. Tapos, nung third year, sumama ako sa float ng Biology, pero di ako naka-gown. Puting coat kasi ang pinapasuot nila, eh. Tapos nung fourth year, Ms. History. Ayoko kasi nung maglalakad sa parada. Ayoko naman maging muse, kasi ikaw ang mag-produce ng kotse mo.” “Noong fourth year, ini-split ko yan. Kasi, crush na crush ko yung kaklase ko, eh nanliligaw sa akin. Kaya
lang, mag-nobyo na kami ng lolo mo. Gustung-gusto ko yun!” It was weird hearing such stories from my lola, but refreshing. “President namin yun, ako naman ang secretary. Noon nga lang ako nasama sa honor roll, eh. Naka-93 ako dahil nahihiya ako pag di ako nakapag-aral.” She added that the said classmate was both smart and handsome. Nevertheless, the romance continued, but my lola’s family was having financial difficulties. “Nakakatawa nga eh. Nagkaroon kami ng educational trip noon sa Balara saka La Mesa Dam, eh wala akong pambili ng ticket, kaya sinama ko ang lolo mo para siya ang magbayad. Pero hindi siya makalapit sa amin. Maykasama akong kaibigan noon, pero ang lolo mo, nandun sa ibang bus, nagkakandahaba ang leeg katitingin sa amin.” My lola dropped out of school a month before the school year ended, due to numerous tuition loans. “1954 noon nang pinagkayari kami ng lolo mo.” The elders summoned
the couple for an old version of pamamanhikan. “Ang tatay ko ang nagdesisyong magpakasal na kami, kasi raw, mamamatay na siya. Gusto niya raw akong makitang may asawa na.” He was sick then, according to lola, but he lived on and died 14 years later. They were married on December 4, 1954. My lola was 17, and my lolo was 20. Starting out was rough, and work was equally draining. “Five months matapos kaming ikasal, pinadala nakami doon sa Lola Biana mo (my lolo’s mother), kasi manganganak ako. Nagpagawa kami ng bahay. Angbahay naming, worth Php700 lang.” But I knew, back then, that the amount was huge. My grandparents toiled in a cigarette factory that still operates today. “Sa packing ako noon. Ang lolo mo, tagatulak naman ng kahon. Ang sabi ng mga tao: Bakit ba yan ang pinili ni Consuelo? Hindi bagay... Eh alam mo naman ang lola mo noong araw, maganda at maraming nanligaw.”
Being the kind of grandson I am, I defended my lolo for we all knew him as a handsome man even when growing old. My lolo transferred to a nearby biscuit company, while my lola continued work at the factory, where she is known for her glamorous looks and an ‘imeldific’ hairstyle. They were gifted with seven children, and soon the search for a new home began. “Lumipat kami noong 1974. Twelve years old lang ang tatay mo.” They built a new house on an inherited piece of land, which later became a family compound of the houses of their children. Their eldest daughter died when she was only 11 years of age, but the rest of the six children grew up and built successful careers in different fields, and produced 15 grandchildren, one of which became a member of the United States Army. On December 4, 2004, the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a simple reunion
Because Narra is on the southern tip of Palawan, nearby islands are readily accessible via outrigger boats and these islands complement the beauty of Crystal Paradise and provides added value to guests’ tropical island holiday. Nature has bequeathed this little piece of Palawan paradise with a naturally nourishing ambiance of clean air and warm, sun-soaked days. To complement the health benefits of nature, the resort offers a variety of nurturing spa packages. It’s two thumbs up for the Exfoliation Massage, which was so soothing, the treatment almost lulled me to sleep. Crystal Paradise Resort and Winery also boasts of a small selection of naturally fermented fruit wines, such as banana, pineapple and mango. Perhaps the amenity that has won praise from most guests is the excellent service provided by resort staff. The resort chef also deserves special mention. During our four-day sojourn at the Crystal Resort, the chef impressed us with a delectable and visually appealing repertoire of culinary delights. A must-try from the savory menu are the Seafood Paella, the Spicy Sizzling Prawns, and the Bicolano Laing (gabi leaves in coconut milk). At Crystal Paradise, this top-notch quality cuisine comes at a reasonable price. n
of relatives and friends. Happy as they may be, my lolo was already experiencing health problems due to smoking and drinking habits. My lolo died on November 8, 2008, due to breathing complications. My lola never felt complete after his death, but the regular visits from her grandchildren and the reunions organized by the same made her fulfilled and happy. This year, she will celebrate her 75th birthday, a landmark event which the family is organizing as a huge party. Though she never says it, parties are her chances of reliving her happy times with my lolo, and as I reminded her that Valentine’s is coming, there’s hope in her eyes that the same memories will forever be etched into the minds of her future kin, starting with this simple story that I get to share to the rest of the world. In memory of Florencio Reynaldo Sr. (January 1, 1931 - November 8, 2008) n
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
BIR CHIEF NOTES DISCREPANCIES IN CORONA ASSETS A stAtement of assets, liabilities and net worth (sALn) of Chief Justice Renato Corona “bore” discrepancies because it did not contain the value of the properties he had acquired, Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said. Henares told the senate impeachment court on Jan. 26 that Corona’s daughter, Carla, was incapable of buying an P18-million property in Quezon City in 2010, and another daughter, ma. Charina, had not filed a single income tax return despite buying property from megaworld. “I noticed a lot of discrepancy in the sALn that I saw that the media gave me because I measure it in relation to the sALn I had to submit,” Henares said in response to a question by lead defense lawyer Serafin Cuevas, who did not pursue the subject further during his lengthy crossexamination. But senator Alan Peter Cayetano pressed Henares on the purported discrepancies. “the most important thing in the sALn is the acquisition cost column. the sALn of the Chief Justice does not fill up the acquisition
cost column,” Henares said, referring to the last column under the category of assets, and subcategory real properties in Corona’s sALns. “Based on the CARs (certificates authorizing registration), there were properties that should have been registered on a certain year, but these were not registered, but were registered subsequently. And there were properties that were not registered,” she added. A look at Corona’s sALns from 2002 to 2010 showed that columns on the kind, location, year acquired, mode of acquisition, assessed value, current fair market value of the properties he acquired were filled, but the column on the acquisition cost was empty. Henares, however, conceded to Cayetano that the discrepancies could be explained. “It’s for him to explain,” she said of Corona. Cayetano said: “I just want to point out that you have presumption of innocence. If you can show that there’s
Chief Justice and Mrs. Corona property not included here, but even if it’s not included, if you can’t show that based on your income you can buy it, then the presumption shifts toward ill-gotten wealth.” An hour earlier in her testimony on day 7 of the trial, the BIR commissioner said that in 2009, Carla had a gross sale of P97,460, a taxable income of P8,476 and a tax due of P423.80. the following year, she bought an P18-million, 1,200-square-meter property in La Vista subdivision in Quezon City, from her mother Cristina. “the daughter has very minimal
income, and therefore is not capable of buying property,” Henares said when asked by private prosecutor Arthur Lim what she found out about the CAR of the La Vista property. Henares also said that Charina bought mcKinley Hill property from megaworld Corp. in 2008, but she had not filed an income tax return “to date.” Henares said an Alpha list on tax deductions was not available in her case because she was registered only as a “one-time taxpayer.” n
U.S. WANTS BIGGER MILITARY ROLE IN PH
tHe UnIted states is planning the expansion of its military presence in the Philippines, including the stationing of Us navy ships on a temporary basis and the conduct of more frequent joint exercises, in response to China’s growing assertiveness in the Asia Pacific. Philippine defense and military officials confirmed a Washington Post report on Jan. 26 that the two countries were negotiating a deal that would increase cooperation between the two militaries, but stressed that the tension in the West Philippine sea (south China sea) over the disputed spratly Islands was only part of the equation. defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the terms of such an agreement would still be dictated by the Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows the periodic visits of Us troops for joint training and exercises. “Well, first of all, it’s true that the United states wants to expand its presence in the region, which is why they will put up a base in Australia and station ships in singapore. But in the Philippines, [it involves] exercises that will still be in accordance
Filipino and US troops in military exercise with our Visiting Forces Agreement,” Gazmin said. On Jan. 26 the Washington Post reported that the United states, in talks with Philippine officials in Washington, was considering “operating navy ships from the Philippines, deploying troops on a rotational basis and staging more frequent joint exercises,” among other options. “Under each scenario, Us forces would effectively be guests at existing foreign bases,” the report said. the Us daily quoted an unnamed senior
Philippine official as saying that the American side was aware of “political sensitivities” surrounding such an agreement. the report further discounted the possibility of the United states attempting to establish a permanent base some 20 years after the Philippine government rejected a new bases treaty and evicted Us forces from their naval base in subic, Zambales province, the United states’ biggest base in the Pacific. the negotiation for such a deal
was prompted by many factors, and the tension in the West Philippine sea with China over claims on the disputed spratlys was only part of it, according to defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez. “there are many factors, including our position on [maintaining] freedom of navigation and taking a multilateral approach and a rules-based approach in resolving the dispute in the West Philippine sea,” Galvez said. the spratlys, a chain of tiny islands and reefs believed to be rich in resources, lie near the Philippine province of Palawan. In 2002, the claimants signed the declaration of Conduct of Parties in the south China sea, which was to serve as a nonbinding guideline on how to tackle the disputes. But tension has escalated in recent months, with the Philippines and China trading barbs on the latter’s alleged incursions into the former’s territory. the Armed Forces of the Philippines said the discussions between the Philippines and the United states showed that “the partnership between our two countries’ armed forces remains healthy, dynamic and beneficial.” n
IGGY ARROYO DIES IN LONDON neGROs OCCIdentAL Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo suffered a heart attack and died in a London hospital where he was undergoing treatment for cirrhosis of the liver, his elder brother and his chief of staff said on Jan. 26. elder brother and former First Gentleman Jose miguel “mike” Arroyo and congressional chief of staff edgar Ruado in separate interviews said the 60-year-old lawmaker died at the London Clinic after suffering from cardiac arrest shortly after midnight of Jan. 26. His elder brother earlier in the day confirmed that he was officially pronounced dead but a few hours later clarified that he was still on life support.
Iggy Arroyo “At first, I could not understand what she was saying because she was sobbing,” he said, referring to Grace Ibuna, his brother’s companion, who called him up from London hospital. mike said his wife, former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria macapagal-Arroyo, who is detained at the Veterans memorial medical Center, was also saddened after being told her brother-in-law had passed. mike said Ibuna rushed his brother to the hospital after he had a heart attack and became unconscious in the rented apartment where they were staying. While in the emergency room, Iggy went into a coma, he said. the lawmaker left for London last October to seek treatment for his liver ailment. He had been seeking “alternative treatment” for his condition and it appeared that it was working, Ruado said. the congressional staff, however, said the lawmaker had suffered loss of appetite and some blood problems the past days. n
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
LOCAL BPO DOWNPLAYS IMPACT OF U.S. MOVE TO KEEP JOBS
LEAdERs of the business process outsourcing (BPo) industry shrugged off the effects of a pending Us bill intended to discourage American companies from outsourcing jobs overseas. Us President Barack obama underscored the proposal in his state of the Union address on Jan. 25. The apparent protectionist stance is viewed as part of the political maneuvers ahead of midterm elections in 2013. But the move has not seemed to set off any alarm bells in the Philippines, which, along with India and China, is one of the key BPo centers in the world. Philippine BPo leaders are in fact sticking to their revenue targets until 2016. “The industry is not worried, neither is government. But, we are monitoring closely and preparing,” Adrian s. Cristobal, undersecretary of the department of Trade and Industry, said.
According to Lizabel Holganza, vice president of the national ICT Confederation of the Philippines (nICP), the bill being deliberated on in Capitol Hill is actually a rehash of a 2004 bill that sen. Liz figueroa of California had tried to rally support for. Holganza said, “It is not a new bill because in 2004 senator figueroa of California tried to lobby for the same but failed due to lack of support from Us businesses.” In her view, “Us companies would be the first to object” to such a bill, since outsourcing is “fueled by their desire for long-term growth, competitiveness and sustainability.” Martin Crisostomo, BPo Association of the Philippines (BPAP) spokesperson, explained that the Us companies do not outsource just to cut jobs, but to be more competitive. “It’s understandable because the US is experiencing a financial crisis. We are closely monitoring the pro-
COURT REJECTS GMA PLEA TO JUNK CASE
THE Pasay City regional trial court cleared the way for the arraignment of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for electoral sabotage after dismissing the former president’s petition questioning the legality of the criminal suit filed against her. Judge Jesus Mupas of RTC Branch 112 junked Arroyo’s motion to recall warrant of arrest, ruling that the court finds no compelling reason to reverse its decision to issue an arrest warrant against her. Mupas set Arroyo’s arraignment on february 20 at 9 a.m. In her motion, Arroyo questioned the supposed undue haste in the issuance of the arrest order against her on nov. 18, 2011. Responding to Arroyo’s allegations, the Pasay judge stood firm on his finding of probable cause in the complaint for electoral sabotage filed by a joint panel of the Department of Justice and the Commission on Elections. Mupas pointed out that the testimony of norie Unas, the former provincial administrator of Maguindanao, was more than sufficient to establish a prima facie case against Arroyo. Unas had testified before the doJ that he was in Malacanang with former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan sr. when he heard Arroyo ordering the former to ensure the win of the administration senatorial candidates in the province in the 2007 mid-term polls.
“Accused Arroyo, being a mastermind, did not need to participate in the execution of the crime, being the President of the Philippines at that time, her mere inducement and her moral ascendancy to her co-conspirators are sufficient overt acts for her indictment as principal by inducement,” the court said in its order. Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will push for a regular detention facility for Mrs. Arroyo once her doctors confirm that she could be moved to a regular jail. Comelec Chairman sixto Brillantes said they will block all attempts of Arroyo’s camp to keep her from going to a regular detention facility. Brillantes explained the poll body only agreed to Arroyo’s hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center last december because she was still recovering from the three major surgeries that she underwent due to cervical spondylosis. “We agreed to hospital arrest because she was sick,” he stressed. Brillantes said when the Comelec gets the certification from Arroyo’s doctors, the agency would file a motion for her transfer to a regular detention facility with the Pasay City Regional Trial Court. Arroyo is facing electoral sabotage charges along with former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan sr. and former provincial election supervisor Lintang Bedol for alleged cheating in Maguindanao in the 2007 elections.n
posed bill,” Crisostomo said. He expressed hope that Us policy makers would understand that outsourcing is not so much a matter of taking away jobs from Us citizens but of helping a business to survive and expand. While the Filipino officials and stakeholders sound optimistic about shrugging off the bill’s impact, they concede that the Us comprises about 70 percent of the market. Meanwhile, the BPo industry is diversifying its market to United Kingdom and Australia. Crisostomo said that it is “too early” to estimate the possible impact of the proposed Us bill. still, he added, “We are maintaining our revenue forecast until 2016.” Under its IT-BPo Road Map 2016, BPAP targets to earn $25 billion and create indirect and direct jobs, totalling 4.5 million, by 2016. According to the road map, the BPo sector in 2016 should already comprise nine percent of the Philippines’ GdP, and corner a 10th of the global outsourcing pie Crisostomo said the industry expects to earn $13 billion in 2012, $2 billion higher than last year’s $11 billion. dTI secretary Gregory domingo earlier said the BPo industry has been a pillar of the Philippine economy over the past decade. He said the $11-billion target revenue of the industry last year accounts for about 5 percent of GdP. n
DEFENSE WANTS TO OUST DRILON Frank Drilon THE dEfEnsE panel has sought the inhibition of senator franklin drilon from the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, accusing him of acting like “an ally” of and “carrying the cudgels” for the House prosecutors. “It cannot be doubted that many persons perceive the conduct of senator-Judge drilon very disconcerting because of the obviously partisan character he exhibited,” the defense said in a 15-page motion. The defense team said drilon’s acts also showed that he lacked “cold neutrality and impartiality.” drilon said he would not inhibit from the trial. “I will not inhibit because the motion has no basis,” drilon told reporters. Asked whether he was affected by charges he was biased, drilon said, “no. As in I feel nothing.” In its pleading, the defense assailed drilon’s role in compelling
supreme Court Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal to make public copies of Corona’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (sALn) when she took the witness stand on January 17. The defense noted that senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, as presiding officer, had then discharged Vidal as witness when private prosecutor Mario Bautista failed to elicit information about Corona’s sALn from her. But before Vidal could leave the witness stand, drilon made Vidal admit that she had brought Corona’s sALns. The panel said drilon’s meddling and the “pressure (he) exerted” on Vidal “resulted in the production of the sALns of Corona which the prosecution was unable to accomplish on its own.” Corona’s lawyers claimed drilon “again displayed his partiality” when he made Randy Rutaquio, register of deeds of Taguig City and Pateros, admit that Corona acted as attorney in fact when his daughter, Maria Charina, bought property in Taguig. n
ARROYO FACES 4TH PLUNDER CASE OVER PCSO FUNDS THE senate blue ribbon committee wants former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Rosario Uriarte, former Philippine Charity sweepstakes Office (PCSO) vice chairperson and general manager, charged with plunder and technical malversation for the release of P325 million in intelligence funds in the last three years of Arroyo’s term. The committee said the P325 million disbursed as confidential and intelligence funds (CIf) was “grossly excessive and disproportionate to the claimed reasons for their release.” Under the law, a government official can be charged with plunder, a nonbailable offense, for the irregular use or pocketing of at least P50 million in public funds. Three plunder cases have already been filed against Arroyo, stemming from her alleged misuse of PCso intelligence funds. The committee’s 124-page report said Uriarte would not have obtained the huge amount from 2008 to the months leading to the 2010 elections without Arroyo’s approval as indicated by her signature in the margins of several memoranda that Uriarte personally delivered to Malacañang.
It also asked the Office of the ombudsman to charge the two with “at least one count of technical malversation for using funds allotted for confidential/intelligence purposes for the payment and purchase of relief foods” and a separate technical malversation charge for using the same funds as “blood money” to pay the victims of overseas filipino workers charged with murder. other individuals that the blue ribbon committee recommended for investigation by the ombudsman include: • Manuel Garcia, former PCso manager for public relations, for possible violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly demanding his “share” of payments made to at least two advertising agencies involved in the production of the agency’s advertisements; and • Manuel Morato, former PCso chair and board director, for electioneering or violation of the omnibus Election Act for allegedly using the TV program “dial M” produced using the agency’s funds to campaign for Lakas-Kampi presidential candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro. Under its charter, the PCso’s “core services” include direct out-
patient care through its charity clinic department, the grant of individual medical assistance programs to indigent patients, institutional assistance through endowment funds, donations of ambulance units to qualified institutions, and the issuance of medicine, equipment, wheelchairs and prosthetics to deserving indigents. since 2000, the PCso had a yearly budget of only P5 million for intelligence work. The amount was used to track down parties involved in the sale of supposedly free medicines provided by the agency as well as the unauthorized use of ambulances. for 2009 and 2010, the blue ribbon committee noted that Uriarte’s requests for additional CIf “were charged against the regular fund for confidential/intelligence purposes and not the special fund or the additional CIf requested from … Arroyo.” In one of six senate hearings on the issue, Uriarte said she had written the memoranda to Arroyo requesting additional CIf, later released as “special funds” with the notation of “By special authority of the President.” The committee established that Uriarte received a total of P75 million in 2008, P90 million in 2009 and P160 million in 2010. n
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012
FEBRUARY 1-15, 2012