Roots & Wings Autumn Issue 2011

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Roots&Wings CULTURE



Anna De Leon • Vice President Jejomar C. Binay H.E Maria Zeneida Angara- Collinson • La Fête de la Musique Liberato Family Foundation • Jordan Saflor Kirby Ann Basken • Joel F. Bagon Jaynee Burns • Babaylan in Denmark The White Lady’s mission in Navotas

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A quarterly magazine for Filipinos in Europe, published by Rachel Publishing Company in Stockholm, Sweden. Its aim is (1) to uplift, create awareness and appreciation of Filipino culture and lifestyle (2) to serve as a bridge to lessen the gap between the expatriate communities of Filipinos living in various parts of Europe (3) to highlight touristic and historical places of interest in our home country in order to encourage and enhance local travel, tourism and commerce.


Anna De Leon - feature artist:


Choir of the World: The Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) Ambassadors Chorale Arts Society


Interview with Hon. Jejomar C. Binay. Vice President, Republic of the Philippines. National President, Boy Scouts of the Philippines


38 Filipino Special Athletes Shine in Athens


Interview with H.E. Maria Zeneida Angara-Collinson: Philippine Ambassador to Sweden and the Baltic States


Cultural Coups: Juancho Tanjutco - Global Pinoy Singing Idol Europe Champion


La Fête de la Musique in Paris


Jaynee: British Filipino Singer/Songwriter


The Liberato Family Foundation celebrates 20 years of charity work


The White Lady’s Mission in Navotas


Filipinos in Finland


Kirby Ann Basken – Miss Norway, Mutya ng Pilipinas, model,TV show hostess


Joel F. Bagon - fashion designer in Stockholm


Naga City - The heart of the Bicol Region


Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park


Cool, scenic, serene Tagaytay


Rediscover philippines




Our Cover: Magdalena by Anna De Leon 3x4 ft 3

EDITORIAL Roots&Wings is now two years old. We are growing very slowly in terms of size, but very fast in terms of scope, with subscribers and readers from Calamba to California. A thousand thanks to all our wonderful staff members who continue to write passionately – they are the ones who keep this magazine going with their inspiring and life-affirming articles; stories about how we Filipino-Europeans live, love and labor in this most exciting part of the world, where we are standing out in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-talented crowd, proud of our Filipino roots and always ready to spread our wings, and fly to fulfill our highest dreams and aspirations against all odds. When Vice President Jejomar C. Binay came to Sweden in early August, to attend the 22nd World Scout Jamboree, in his capacity as National President of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, we had the rare pleasure and honor to meet and have dinner with him along with around 150 other kababayans. Our esteemed vice president struck me as a person with a great sense of humor, eloquent yet down to earth, armed with realistic courage and determination, like a true Boy Scout, always prepared to deal with challenges, big or small, that come his way. We urge you to reflect on his views and message in our interview article on pages 14-16 and see if there is something in it for you.

European Musical or Opera? With all these great musical talents all around us, this will certainly not be a great challenge! In this issue, we present many kababayans who sing and dance their way to people’s hearts. Charity work is second nature to us - being generous is our weakness and our strength. We are proud to present some of our kababayans who make charity work their mission and vision in life. Their deeds are worth emulating. Whatever your concern is, be it the global financial crisis, or the sometimes sorry state of the world - environmental, social, political, or personal, let’s continue to keep our head high and our faith intact. For whatever it is we do, we are all like stars shining in the universe, each and every one of us doing our best to make this world a brighter, happier place to live in. Autumn is most alluring in Europe – so go and indulge yourself in its multicolor charm. Many of us are travelling home to the Philippines this coming Autumn, including yours truly! Take a close look at our Rediscover Philippines travel inspiration on pages 6671 and go where you have never been before.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat! Mabuhay When it comes to music and all its forms, ang lahing Pinoy sa Pinoys are at home everywhere, harvesting Europa! laurels after laurels in Europe, from the world of opera to pop music. When God was handing out Ang inyong lingkod… musical gifts, He gave us Pinoys a very generous portion of it. Music is a universal language; food for the gods, balm for the soul, the key to friendship, unity, peace and understanding, cheering us up in bad times and in good times. A Rachel Hansen - Publisher/Editor in chief world without music is difficult to imagine. Could someone please put together an all 4


Rachel Hansen

Publisher/Editor in Chief

Yoko R Vingno Bureau Editor Athens, Greece

Nicole Bataclan Bureau Editor Zurich, Switzerland

Jonathan A Coo

Luz Bergersen

Geraldine Wisniewski

Jenny Hansen

Aina Bauer

Karlene Hayworth

Michael Cu

Cora Lembke

Ivee B Hidvegi

Josephine Lareza

Associate Editor

Bureau Editor London, U.K.

John Florencio Bureau Editor Paris, France

Evelyn Mendoza Contributor/ Executive assistant


Associate Editor

Bureau Editor Brussels, Belgium

Rebecca Garcia

Associate Editor

Bureau Editor Hamburg, Germany

Layout Editor

Bureau Editor Stockholm, Sweden

Denissa G.Venturanza Hanna Stenbacka

Bureau Editor Prague, Czech republic

Advertising Director

ReneĂŠ S.Ikdal Representative

Patrick C. Ropeta Social Editor At Large

Youth Editor

Melissa Heikkilä

Bureau Editor -Finland

Copy Editor

Bureau Editor Milan, Italy

Nanette Medrano

Editorial Assistant Manila

For Inquiries, Subscriptions, Comments, please email Rachel Hansen at

New staff member Melissa Heikkilä Bureau Editor -Finland Melissa is our youngest staff member, she recently turned 19 but has already accomplished much. Among others, she has co-hosted a live episode of a talk show (A-Talk: Tämä ei ole mainos) for the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, done scriptwriting and editing, and is currently a columnist at Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest daily newspaper in Northern Europe. Melissa likes to travel, do yoga and play the guitar.

How to Subscribe Dear Kababayans! Roots&Wings is a quarterly magazine. The easiest way to get your copies is by subscribing. Your four copies will be delivered straight to your doorstep, wherever you live in Europe.Very convenient & environment friendly! To sign up, simply email your: Name & Delivery Address to

Subscription price 16 EUR 160 kr in Scandinavia £16 in the UK

Method of Payment: PayPal or Bank Giro (details provided when you sign up)

You are welcome to order back issues of Roots&Wings. Simply send an email to Four copies cost 12EU or 120 kr plus postage.

Subscribe Now! “I am very impressed to read about Filipinos who are making good in Europe. Countries like Norway, Denmark, Greece, France whose language and culture are difficult barriers for most Filipinos to overcome, yet our kababayans are able to start a business and succeed. I am glad to read about the natives in Banaue in Mountain Province, the beautiful beaches in Coron and Boracay, and the exotic animals in Bohol Province. These enchanting islands beckon tourists around the world to visit and spend time and enjoy these beautiful spots. I will pass on my copy of Roots&Wings to my neighbors here in California as soon as I am through reading it.”

Johnny Ancheta, San Leandro, California 7

Anna De Leon 8


Feature Artist

De Leon says: “I like them to view my painting as a message board and see beyond what is obvious and linger in that state of awareness upon decoding their own interpretation of what they see.”

Where you’ll find me


ear 2000 was a transition year for Anna De Leon. It was the year when she officially joined the Saturday Group of artists. She actually started off as an interior designer, and is still practicing. She tries to balance her time and enjoy both worlds, having the notion that when one ages as a designer, one is passé. But when one ages as an artist one is more valuable. Being able to express her ideas and emotions and translating it into a canvas, and finally finishing a piece is what counts most. Being able to sell it is a bonus. Anna De Leon is inspired by European artists, such as the softness of Leonardo Da Vinci’s rendering, the femininity of Georgia O’ Keeffe’s work, and the surrealism of Dali’s paintings. Lina Llaguno Ciani, a Filipina artist based in Italy, has made a deep impression on Anna. Her concepts and renderings struck Anna as surreal yet very

peaceful. With her background as a designer, Anna likes to fuse objects and other materials in her artworks, drawing inspiration from everything and every artist she comes across. Believing in herself, that her art will be accepted, bought and hung on great walls, viewed and well appreciated by people with discerning taste, is what keeps Anna going. Her customers are open-minded art lovers, who want something odd but pleasant to look at; People who want modern art that is not too abstract, surreal but not too eerie. Anna has so many more ideas and concepts in her mind, feeling the need to explore more subjects and materials and bringing her art to the next level, which is sculpture. Up until now she has been doing two-dimensional, wall bound pieces, wishing for an opportunity to create monumental modern, threedimensional iconic pieces in the near future. 9

Feature Artist

“Anna formally launched her painting career with a onewoman show called “Fragments” at the Crucible Gallery in 2006. “Fragments” was a collection of nude paintings patch with strips of veneer. The adding-on of raw wood is a major element in de Leon’s art, perhaps a take-off from her many year design. Other motifs in de Leon’s art are talisay leaves and strips of white fabrics or thread. “Fusing odd but familiar pieces together is usually what I paint. Rendering it in drab colors but giving it touches of bright hues over it gives it its twist,” she says.” From Saturday Group Coffee Table Book

Intimacy 10


Feature Artist

“It is an odd collection of disjunctive objects stark against a concrete wall. On the foreground, strips of white, gauze-like fabric hang from a thin wire. Beside it, on the left is a single blue string hanging loose, its other end lying flat on the floor toward a corner where two quail eggs lie - sans a nest. There is no movement in the painting - not even a slight breeze on the strips of cloth. It is tense stillness that is almost breathless. Only the thin string, rendered in blue, hints of recent motion. The way it lies slack on the floor suggests that it has recently been severed from something to which it was previously tautly tied. Whatever it was connected to is no longer there, but may have left something of itself in the corner: a pair of tiny, speckled eggs. What tries to, but fails, to conceal this disconnection are the strips of cloth, like bandages whose presence suggest a wounding. They call to mind the image of a shroud hanging on the Cross, which brings to this piece an element of subdued anguish and grief. The rest of the collection - vignettes with blue string, speckled egg, leaf, and strip of wood tied together-seem like exercises in playful juxtapositions and inscrutable relationships. Perhaps in Beyond Comprehension, the collection, expresses de Leon's reaction - a sigh - to the incomprehensibility of life situations, if not of life itself.” Migs Villanueva on Anna’s exhibit ‘Beyond Comprehension’

One hello

Tutubi 11

Embraceable you


To be or not to be


Choir of the World The Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) Ambassadors Chorale Arts Society Words by Rebecca Garcia with the assistance of the Philippine Embassy in London Sam Arit is the photographer. It was yet another successful year for the Philippines as it won the highest award in the mixed choir competition at the annual Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod held in Wales, England from 7 to 11 July 2011. The Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) Ambassadors Chorale Arts Society, conducted by Ramon Lijuaco Jr., won the "Choir of the World" award and was given the Pavarotti Trophy. The Philippines, represented by the UST singers during last year's competition, also garnered the same award. The AUP choir bested the choirs from Algeria, Australia, Barbados, Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, England, England (Kurdistan), England (Ukraine), Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Poland, Peoples Republic of China, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Wales. In this category, Mansfield University (USA) came in second and the CF1 from Wales, third.

At a lunch hosted by the Philippine Embassy in London, ChargĂŠ d'Affaires Reynaldo Catapang stated that the group's accolades "gave distinct pride to the FIlipino community in the UK and the entire Filipino nation. It is another tribute to Filipino artistry, and undeniable proof of our people's ability to inspire and to give joy to the entire world." Llangollen has staged one of the world's most inspirational cultural festivals since 1947. Each year around 4,000 performers converge in this beautiful small Welsh town and its International Pavilion to sing and dance in a unique combination of competition, performance, and international peace and friendship. Some great legends of music such as Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti also competed in this festival during the early stages of their careers. The competitions in various categories climax with the prestigious 'Choir of the World', which determines the best overall choir of the event. In 2005, Luciano Pavarotti added his name to the competition in recognition of his appreciation of the festival and its influence on his career. 13


Interview with


Vice President, Republic of the Philippines Chairman, Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Committee National President, Boy Scouts of the Philippines

“Mga kababayan, I encourage you all to visit our country and see for yourself how we have improved. I also invite you to invest in the Philippines as your investment would mean jobs for our fellow Filipinos and a boost to our economy. Let us all help in making our country a better place for everyone to live in.” Interviewed by Rachel Hansen Photo by Racquel Blisby Welcome to the 22nd World Scout Jamboree here in Sweden. What is your impression so far about the overall arrangements at this Jamboree? Have you learned new insights and new skills from this effort? I believe the Swedish Guide and Scout Association made a thorough preparation for this Jamboree and did an excellent job at carrying out what they envisioned for this event.

Way back 2010, during the 26th Asia-Pacific Jamboree hosted by the Philippines in Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna, the Swedish delegation asked Scout leaders for insights or tips in holding a Jamboree. This just shows how extensive and intensive their groundwork was. No wonder the event was so successful: the location was great; the accommodation, superb; and the program, unique. The cooperation among the staff, including the national service team, made it easy for them to achieve the outcome they desired for the Jamboree. I thank our fellow Scouts from Sweden for their warm welcome and hospitality. They made us all proud to be brothers of Swedish Scouts.

When and where did you first join the Boy Scouts?

That was a long, long time ago. It was during my years in elementary school. I was a tenderfoot then. 14

At that time, I did not understand what Scouting really means and entails, but I remember feeling so proud wearing my Scout uniform. I felt I was a little policeman. I grew up with Scouting still in my mind. I never thought I would lead the Movement and I thank Scouting for helping me become what I am now.

Can you tell about some interesting experiences from your Scout life?

For me, Scouting is adventure and an education with fun and purpose. I have learned so many things about Scouting. I learned not just knot-tying or cooking or washing my own dishes, I learned not just personal grooming or how to meet new friends, but also how to love nature and all God’s creature big or small. Through camping, I have come to understand the value of friendship and self-discipline. We were made to recite the Scout Oath and Law everyday including the motto: “Be Prepared.” We were told to do one good turn daily and to put in mind the first point of the Scout Law which is “Scout is trustworthy.” When I grew up, I brought with me some ideals that have inspired me to become the best leader that I am. Until now, the adventure that has shaped my life remains in my heart.

Please tell us in brief, what is the state of Boy Scouting in the Philippines today?

We remain very active in bringing the best Scouting


program to those who are interested in joining the Movement. The Philippines may be the fourth in number the world over, but I believe we are on top when it comes to achievements and programs. We still need support though, for without it, Scouting could not succeed in realizing its mission and vision.

How can the Scouts of the Philippines contribute to the development of our country and society? Since its inception, BSP has been working as partner of the government in nation-building. We inculcate proper values and develop good leadership skills in our youth. Likewise, we conduct projects with great impact not just on the Filipino society but the world as well.

We have been planting trees for years as part of our advocacy of preserving the environment. We have been conducting anti-dengue campaigns through clean-up drives, information dissemination or marches. We have also been conducting cleanup campaigns to reduce pollution and make people realize the importance of having a clean surrounding. Just after the May 10 elections in 2010, our Scouts immediately helped remove campaign materials all around the country. During calamities, Scouts help distribute relief goods to victims in evacuation centers. Some of them participate in rescue operations, risking and even offering their lives so others may live. Just recently, we called upon Filipino Scouts to vote online for the Palawan Underground River to become one of the Seven Wonders of Nature. Our Scouts may be young, but they are being trained

to help their community in whatever activities that will redound to the betterment of the society.

The Girl Scouts of the Philippines is not represented in this Jamboree. Why?

The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are two distinct organizations. We really do not know if they received an invitation to this Jamboree. If I remember it right, Girl Scouting has its own international events.

The King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, who is the honorary chairman of the World Boy Scout Foundation, is also present in this Jamboree. Did you have the opportunity to meet with him and Queen Silvia? Any comments on your conversation? Indeed, the King of Sweden has been an ardent supporter of Scouting for years now and his presence at this Jamboree gave this event more meaning and prestige. Swedish Scouting has close relations with the Swedish Royal Family; King Carl XVI Gustaf is the most prominent member of the Svenska Scoutr책det, and his children are all active members of the Movement. He is always present in global Scouting affairs like this Jamboree. I met him during the reception for the World Scout Foundation members held on August 4 and at the Royal Camp on August 5. I also had the opportunity to meet him in other previous Scout gatherings.

To many countries, not least in Southeast Asia, tourism is an important source of foreign revenue. Comparatively speaking, some of our neighboring countries have about 14 million visitors every year, whereas the country has 15


less than three million. What is being done to attract more tourists and promote the image of the Philippines in general? I am glad to tell you that tourism in the Philippines is slowly picking up after some slump in the past few months. The industry faced a tough time after some countries advised their citizens against traveling to the Philippines, especially in areas where tourism should have been in bloom.

The Aquino administration is doing its best to attract more tourists to the country. Just recently, the Department of Tourism reported a surging number of foreign vacationers. I believe this signifies their trust in the safety of going around and exploring our country. Likewise, we encourage the Filipino people to visit local destinations and promote local tourism. With the present government’s commitment to secure the safety of visitors both foreign and local, I can see a boom in the tourism industry.

You have been Vice President of the Philippines for one year. What do you consider as your most significant achievements so far?

I believe that one year is too short a time to evaluate my accomplishments. The Philippines was in disarray before the May 10, 2010 elections. Corruption was rampant. The country was ruled by political divide. Many projects meant to help alleviate the condition of the poor were compromised due to corruption. As you can see, we have a lot of work to do, but at least, we have started the process of our country’s rebirth. Slowly, we are effecting positive changes not only in how the government does public service but also in the way the people see us as public servants. We have already gained their trust and support, and we intend to honor that trust and support by giving them the quality service they deserve. As chairman of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council, I ordered officials and employees in the housing sector to adhere to the policy of zero tolerance for corruption. I believe this is crucial in realizing our aim of building at least 350,000 units annually to address the 3.6 million housing shortage of our country within the next 10 years.


The housing sector is committed to building decent shelters for the poor. This commitment exceeds our obligation to take our people out of the quagmire of poverty. It extends to our duty to protect the family and strengthen it as an autonomous and inviolable social institution. I believe that a decent house is the physical foundation of which family life can be built and nurtured. Meanwhile, as presidential adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ affairs, I ensure that the wellbeing of our kababayans working abroad is protected. Through the concerted efforts of concerned agencies, we were able to send hundreds of Filipinos back home when turmoil hit the Middle East and North Africa regions. I am also glad to mention that we are engaged in an intensified campaign against human trafficking. This is part of our effort to improve the country’s ranking in the US State Department’s Global Trafficking in Persons Report. The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, of which I am the chairman emeritus, aims to land the country in the Tier 1 status next year. To achieve this, we placed a nationwide and global hotline dedicated to reporting cases of human trafficking. By calling up 1343, Filipinos from all over the world can provide information about the exploitation of our workers.

On a lighter note, what do you personally consider as the best part about being Vice President? And what is the worst part?

A lot of people want to take my picture since I became Vice President. I have become a celebrity and I had to get used to this. Mas maraming nagpapalitrato sa akin ngayon. Maraming “picture, picture.”

Do you have any message for the Filipinos in Europe/readers of Roots & Wings?

Mga kababayan, I encourage you all to visit our country and see for yourself how we have improved. I also invite you to invest in the Philippines as your investment would mean jobs for our fellow Filipinos and a boost to our economy. Let us all help in making our country a better place for everyone to live in.


Jonathan Zaens

“An artist of his calibre is essential to the cultural scene in Berlin”


Words and photos by John Florencio

orn to a musical family, Jonathan started his singing career early when he won the 1981 National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA). He entered the Philippine High School for the Arts and subsequently traveled with the UP Madrigal singers before settling in Berlin, where he has lived for 22 years.. He was granted his Artist visa by the German Senate that “an artist of his calibre is essential to the cultural scene in Berlin”. Jonathan was trained early by his mother, Amelita de la Paz Zaens, (herself a respected musician) to sing in a diverse range of styles within the genre of vocal performance: from the cantatas and oratorios of Bach to more modern composers such as Britten, Arnold Schonberg and Arvo Part. That instilled in him a mathematician-like discipline that is necessary to maintain a career in music. Recently, Jonathan debuted in Paris at La Gaite Lyrique as an opener to the prestigious IRCAM/Centre Pompidou Agora Festival, to the admiration and loud

“bravos”(a rare occurrence in Paris) of a sophisticated , champagne-drinking, black-wearing artsy Parisian crowd, singing a highly intricate technical 20 minute piece of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Klang, 15. StundeOrvonton(a piece that was written with him in mind). Congratulations Jonathan!



Athlete Magiting Gonzales won the gold medal in the powerlifting competition

38 Filipino Special Athletes Shine in Athens By Yoko Ramos-Vingno

“The possibilities offered by the Global Movement to people with intellectual disabilities for participation in sports, social inclusion and demonstration of their competence to society is beneficial for themselves, their families and the communities in which they live, whatever their cultural, religious and other differences.�

Greece was home recently to 7,000 intellectually challenged athletes from over 170 countries during the recently concluded XIII Summer Special Olympics held in Athens last June 25 to July 4, 2011. The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games is so far the largest sports event held in the world this year. 18

The Philippine team, a 47-member delegation composed of athletes with their coaches and trainers, competed in 7 disciplines out of 23 special sports events. Our athletes won 49 medals in athletics, powerlifting, swimming, bocce, bowling, rhythmic gymnastics and badminton – broken down as follows:


21 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze medals. Mrs. Ma Theresa J. Macapagal, President of the Philippine Special Olympics Team, led our athletes all 38 of them as they marched and entered the historic KallimarmaronPanathinaikon Stadium (site of the first Olympic summer games in 1859) last June 25, 2011 for the opening ceremonies graced and honored by no less than the President of the Hellenic Republic KarolousPapolias. Our athletes: (BOCCE) Marie Margaret Babst, McMerril John Derrama, Liza Mel Dayon and John Brian Menoza; (ATHLETICS/TRACK&FIELD) Cherry Rose Lopez, Phoebe Candole, Salamiel Montano, Emilda Soriano, Carl Francis Macabales, Jose Marin Erdao, Michael Ignatius Mora and Ryan Mosquera; (AQUATICS/SWIMMING) AivieDungca, Raymond Macasaet, Shella Mae Suniega and Rodney Christopher Gutang; (BOWLING) Roxanne Salve Ng, Mark David Inductivo, Marie Stephanie Babst and Bryan Robles; (POWERLIFTING) Alvin de Chavez, Louis John Decolongon and Magiting Gonzalez; (BADMINTON) Andrew Lim, Maria Angelica Manzanares, Benrafii Omar and Anna Luisa Se; (RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS) Vivian Mayhay, MarilouSibayan, Melanie Valdez and SherlynVeyra.

Also present to cheer and give support to the Filipino athletes for the Opening Ceremonies were representatives from the Philippine Embassy and the Filipino community in Athens led by Chargé d’Affaires Constancio R. Vingno, Jr with his wife, Yoko. Former Ms USA turned singer/actress Vanessa Williams co-hosted the event with Greek celebrities. They were joined by other international celebrities guests in the persons of Chinese superstar actress Zhang Ziyi, NBA star Yao Ming, former Olympic gymnast champion from Romania Nadia Comaneci, American figure skater and two time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan and superstar singer Stevie Wonder, who sang a couple of songs. PresidentPapoulias was joined by Ms Joanna Despotopoulou (Greek Organizing Committee head) and Timothy P. Shriver (Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics). During the games, Filcom members and embassy

officers and staff provided moral support to our athletes and cheered them whenever possible as they competed in their respective events. Many of our kababayans also did volunteer work for the entire Philippine delegation. Prior to the start of the competitions, CDA Vingno invited the PH delegation to the Embassy for merienda and to officially welcome our athletes to offer them the Filipinos in Greece’s moral support to our athletes. After the competitions and 49 medals, CDA Vingno hosted anew a victory dinner for the entire PH delegation and Filipino volunteers.

Oath of the Special Olympics

The oath of the Special Olympics athlete is “Let me Win! But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt!” Participants of this Special Olympics are all considered winners. They are winners in their struggle for selfesteem and winners in their struggle to defend their special abilities.

Special Olympics 101

Special Olympics is a non-profit organization that was officially founded in 1968, giving form to the vision of its founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009), sister of the U.S.A.’s President John F. Kennedy. A vision born in June 1962 in a summer camp at Eunice’s home, Eunice caused the invitation of children and adults with intellectual disabilities in order to explore their abilities in various sports activities. Six years after, in the summer of 1968, the United States Summer Games took place in Illinois with 1,000 participating athletes with intellectual disabilities from 26 states of the US and Canada. From then on until today Special Olympics have evolved into a Global Movement that offers the opportunity to 3.7 million athletes with intellectual disabilities from 185 countries, mainly through sports, to reinforce their self-esteem, to discover their special abilities, and in this way become active and useful members of their societies. Special Olympic Games held every year by the Special Olympics movement, constitute of more than 30 Olympic type summer and winter events. The possibilities offered by the Global Movement to people with intellectual disabilities for participation in sports, social inclusion and demonstration of their competence to society is beneficial for themselves, their families and the communities in which they live, whatever their cultural, religious and other differences. 19


H.E. Maria Zeneida Angara-Collinson Philippine Ambassador to Sweden and the Baltic States

“Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are magical places for all who want to see, feel and be with the magic, the beauty and the goodness. And once we see the magic, our host countries will see ours.� Interviewed by Ivee Blossom Hidvegi

Ambassador M.Z. Angara-Collinson at her home ready to entertain her guests with an exotic Filipino buffet.



Ambassador Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson was born and raised in Manila with paternal grandparents from Aurora Province and Nueva Ecija, and maternal grandparents from Pangasinan. She decided to become a diplomat because she is a nationalist and feels very comfortable in a foreign milieu. In her genealogical chart, there have been many politicians and diplomats. Among the latter was her paternal great-grandfather, Isauro Gabaldon, who was resident commissioner of the Philippine Common wealth to the United States. In that capacity, he was like an ambassador who represented Philippine interests in the United States and lobbied for a fully independent and sovereign Philippines. Another was a grand-uncle, the late Ambassador Pedro Angara Aragon. And of course, there was President Manuel L. Quezon, who was a great grand-uncle and who was the chief architect of Philippine foreign policy during the Commonwealth period, in his capacity as President. Despite her busy schedule, Ambassador Collinson can still balance both family and career without much difficulty because she is committed to both. She said it helps that her husband and daughter are very supportive of her career and they have been very flexible and understanding in the same manner as she has endeavored to be towards them. Before she met her husband, Michael Collinson, she was literally married to her career. Michael Collinson, who is from Yorkshire, is a geophysicist by academic training in Cambridge University but is now in the IT business. Many thanks to our Ambassador for graciously going out of her busy schedule to grant us this unique interview. Madame, can you please tell us some highlights/ interesting assignments in your diplomatic career so far? I consider all my assignments to have been highlights in my career – whether these have been in Japan, the UK, Hong Kong, Australia, Sweden (concurrently Finland and the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) or indeed, in the Home Office in Manila. Whether it is winning the campaign to reverse a decision by the HKSAR government mandating a 20 percent reduction in the minimum wage of Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong, securing liberalized entry of Philippine products in Japan, engineering a bilateral parliamentary friendship group in the UK, contributing to political consciousness among Filipinos in Australia, managing Philippine relations with Europe in the Home Office or contributing to ending the death penalty in the Philippines –all have been highly satisfactory from both a professional and personal perspective.

What is your opinion about relations in general between the Philippines and Sweden?How aboutwith the Baltic States? Overall, bilateral relations with Sweden and the Baltic States remain healthy and beneficial as these are founded on shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, sustainable development

and social justice. For example, we have had excellent cooperation with Sweden in the area of disaster relief and management.You will recall that in the aftermath of the back-to-back devastating typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in the Philippines in 2009, the Swedish Government channeled some 16 million Swedish Kronor to fund relief operations through multilateral agencies. Before that, Sweden gave some 5 million in the aftermath of typhoon “Frank.” Upon my invitation, a group of international disaster prevention, relief and management experts visited the Philippines in March 2010 to share best practices with officials from the National Disaster Coordinating Council and other agencies.The Swedish Government has also supported Philippine leadership in global migration with its co-sponsorship of the last global conference held in Manila. I feel we could do more in the area of economic relations. The trade balance has been skewed in favor of Sweden since diplomatic relations were established more than 60 years ago. While we saw some improvement in the overall trade relationship in 2010, we need to do more. (See below) Untiring efforts have been exerted on getting more Swedish companies to invest in the Philippines. While we already have the big names such as Ericsson, ABB, etc., we hope to see higher investments from Sweden. For this purpose, we are trying to organize business missions on clean technology (waste and water 21


management, alternative and renewable energy) and housing to visit the Philippines this year or next. With the Baltic States, bilateral partnerships in the political, economic and cultural fields have shown firm strides. Tourism has increased considerably – by 178% in Estonia, 20% in Latvia, and by 94% in Lithuania.

When the Swedish Embassy closed in Manila, did it lead to any specific problems in the Filipino-Swedish relations/exchanges? The Philippine Government expressed deep concern over the Swedish Government’s decision to close its Embassy in Manila in 2008.The Swedish government has maintained that it was part of an ongoing review of Swedish embassies worldwide and also cited the need for savings in its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I believe that Swedish interests are not served by this decision. For example, major business contracts have been given to other European countries with embassies in Manila instead of to Swedish companies because ours is a “personal culture”. As Philippine ambassador to Sweden, I hope that the Swedish Government will decide to re-open its embassy in Manila sooner rather than later. Nonetheless, the Philippine Embassy in Stockholm has been doubling its efforts to strengthen and deepen the bilateral relationship despite the absence of a counterpart in Manila.

What is the approximate number of Filipino citizens living in Sweden and in the Baltic States?

As of December last year, there were about 11,000 permanent and temporary Filipino residents registered in Sweden, and 34 Filipino citizens living in the Baltic States.

Do you know what is the approximate number of Filipino seamen working on board the Swedish vessels and what is your impression in general of their working conditions? The Swedish Transport Agency listed some 1,064 Filipino seafarers working on board Swedish flagged vesselsand for Swedish ship owners in 2010. Working terms and conditions of Filipino seafarers are stipulated by Swedish labor laws and existing collective bargaining agreements.As Swedish labor laws are considered one of the most protective in the world, this benefits our Filipino seafarers.And also 22

since Swedish labor laws are so protective of rights, safety and welfare, working conditions for Filipinos in Sweden are considered one of the best in the world.

What fields are Filipinos interested in when they apply for employment or work permits in Sweden? Based on data from the Swedish Migration Board, most Filipinos who have been granted work permits belong to occupational groups such as engineers, computer specialists, restaurant workers, forest workers and cleaners. Last year, 94 work permits were issued to Filipinos by the Swedish Migration Board, but this is still quite small considering that Thais received the highest number of work permits - 3,520, in 2010. Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese nationals entering Sweden for work numbered 1,853, 1,518, and 469, respectively.

Do you know what opportunities for Filipino students are available at the Swedish universities? How about in the Baltic States? The Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Program of the European Commission is one avenue Filipino students may take when applying for scholarships for masteral or doctoral programs at Swedish universities. A number of Erasmus Mundus scholars from the Philippines have, in fact, interned at the Philippine Embassy for a few months as part of their academic curricula while in Sweden. They were enrolled in business and international studies courses. Sweden also has its own scholarships like the Guest Scholarship Program of the Swedish Institute. It aims to assist students from non-EU, developing countries to pursue PhD or postdoctoral studies in the country. The major universities in the Baltic States offer courses in English for international students, but any scholarship assistance for studies in these countries would best fall under the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Program.

How is Filipino-Swedish (and Baltic) trade developing? Do you see any potential in this field? Philippine exports to Sweden performed better in 2010 than in 2009, rising 97 percent - from USD19.5 million to USD38.5 million. While this is the highest figure in the last five years, much work needs to be done to address the perennial trade imbalance. Total trade for 2010 was valued at around USD158 million with Swedish imports to the Philippines at USD119 million.


This means that imports were about 3 times higher than our exports. A perfect balance is difficult but I think we could and should have a more effective trade representation in Sweden and better promotional strategies through, inter alia, a more productive trade office than what we currently have. If one considers that Swedish global imports in 2009 were USD119.9 billion, it becomes patently clear that with USD38.5 million, we have barely scratched the surface. Total Philippine exports to the Baltic States reached USD5.5 million in 2010, an increase of 52.1% over 2009. With improving economic conditions in the Baltic States, there is much scope for further increases.

What are the main Filipino products that are exported to these markets?

Currently, about 50% of our exports to Sweden are electronic products such as semi-conductor devices, diodes, and various parts of electronic integrated circuits and micro-assemblies. We are also strong in processed foods such as canned tuna, canned pineapple, dried fruits and nuts. Deboned bangus is an up and coming export. We also export gifts and housewares. In the Baltic States, our current exports consist of conductor devices, carageenan, cigarette lighters, canned tuna, banana chips, and home décor.

What are the main Swedish investments in the Philippines? Any new interesting projects under way? A number of Swedish multinational companies are represented in the Philippines either through sales and distribution centres or through manufacturing operations. Those with manufacturing operations include: ABB Koppel, ASTRA-Zeneca, MAGNITRON Technology, Swedish Match, and SCA. There are also investments in business process outsourcing and IT-enabled services such as the Ericsson Global Shared Services Center in Manila responsible for the company’s in house finance and accounting, human resources, sourcing, and supply chain operations across the globe.

How is tourism from Sweden to the Philippines developing? How about from the Baltic States? What potential do you see in this field?

For the first six months of 2011, 9,689 Swedes visited

the Philippines, which was a 21.04% increase from last year’s figure of 8,005. Among the Nordic and Scandinavian countries, Sweden was second to Norway in 2010. I expect the numbers to increase further, considering that the Philippines is now fast becoming an alternative, prime Southeast Asian destination. The Philippine Embassy, in cooperation with the Department of Tourism Office in London, has been actively networking with travel agencies and tour operators to promote the Philippines. Last May, 12 travel executives from Sweden’s PATA-Asian Business Service visited Manila and Palawan as part of a Department of Tourism-sponsored familiarization trip aimed at increasing awareness of the country as a “luxury destination”. Visitor arrivals from the Baltic States, as a group, increased by 59% in 2010 compared to 2009, with 1,000 tourists. Lithuanians comprised almost half of this figure. In February this year, we assisted members of the Lithuanian Journalists Union Traveler’s Club to retrace the adventures of one of its famous explorers, Matas Salcius to Iloilo, Davao, Bukidnon, Camiguin, and Cagayan De Oro.

Any special message to Filipinos in Sweden and the Baltic States?

Diplomats, like myself, are no different from other Filipinos living and working overseas. For that matter, there should not be any difference between Filipinos and other nationalities working abroad. It is natural that all have to adjust, overcome homesickness, accept a different environment and understand the nuances of being a foreigner. The glass could be either half full or half empty. Those with a positive approach will not only see the glass as half full but will strive to have or make the glass full. This means that Filipinos overseas must avail themselves of the opportunity offered to them by the very fact of being abroad – learning the language and new skills, befriending the locals and other nationalities, respecting the laws, enjoying the food (and yes, even the weather), working for selfimprovement, and becoming a positive addition to the host society in general. Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are magical places for all who want to see, feel and be with the magic, the beauty and the goodness. And once we see the magic, our host countries will see ours. 23

Cultural coups

CULTURAL COUPS By Jonathan Arevalo Coo

Madrid, Music and Memories

Juancho Tanjutco

- Global Pinoy Singing Idol Europe Champion Twelve years ago, National Artist for Music, Dr. Lucrecia Roces Kasilag, invited me to teach at the Philippine Women’s University. I served as Associate Professor teaching various classes in music including Acoustics and graduate courses. I left PWU in 2005 but have kept in touch with some of our former students. One of those students is Juancho Tanjutco who now resides in Madrid. I have never been to Spain. I always wondered if I will get the chance to visit the Arevalo town in Spain (I know the Arevalo town in Iloilo has the best cookies). But for now, let us be mesmerized with my interview with Juancho. How many years have you been living in Madrid? Did you live in other places in Europe before Madrid? I've been here in Madrid for over 3 yrs now. I was able to visit places like Germany,Norway,Italy,The Netherlands,Austria,France,Sweden and Belgium, a few years back because of my Choirs.

I took up a Bachelor of Music major in Voice at the PWU and became a member of the Philippine Music Ensemble(PME). PME was a group composed of faculty members and students who performed cultural concerts for universities here and abroad. This experience gave me a very rare chance of touring the US and some places in Canada at an early age of 16. Right after PME, I joined The Philippine Women's University Chorale. We staged many concerts and most of them were successful. We also toured Europe for a series of performances.

I know you were part of the PWU Chorale. Can you also tell me briefly about your involvement with SOUL FRIENDS, voice of manila, san beda college chorale, st. john bosco chorale,the philippinemusic ensemble, velvet The Voice of Manila(VOM) was a group which still mood string ensemble? exists today, consisting of young professionals. 24

Cultural coups

Among the Choirs that I joined in, VOM holds a special place in my heart because I considered it my second family. We had memorable tours in Europe and of course, here in the Philippines. Here, I met a lot of true friends and up to now, we are constantly in contact even if we are so much apart from each other. With the San Beda College Chorale, I had been recommended to be a member though I didn't study there. It just so happened that they needed someone with my voice range so badly. In a span of 1 year, so many things took place. We competed in the Choir Olympics,held in Busan, South Korea and I was just so fortunate to be a part of the very first batch who won the Choir Olympic Championship. We also competed in NAMCYA (National Music Competition for Young Artists), and we bagged the Grand Champion award. And the highlight of that year was when we toured Europe again. Everything went so swiftly but I was enjoying every minute of it. I was an active member of this group for 2-3 years.Then there's the St. John Bosco Chorale, it was just an invitation from a dear friend who happened to be the conductor of the said parish. He requested me along with other member friends to serve during masses through singing. I felt so blessed each time I rendered my humble talent for the Lord. The latest group that I joined was The Soul Friends, a Spanish Gospel Choir.It was just a short stint primarily because of work schedule. It was creating conflicts already as far as time is concerned. It's just too hard to concentrate on work and rehearsals at the same time.So, I had to give it up. I only had two rehearsals with the Velvet Mood String Ensemble.

What keeps you busy in Madrid? Do you have a lot of Filipino friends there?

Well, I worked in La Tsibugan (Filipino resto/karaoke/ bar) which is owned by a Filipina who later became a dear friend. I was a waiter in this resto/karaoke/bar. It was a wonderful experience which opens a lot of opportunities for me. I came to know different folks of various nationalities. Since my family is away, a lot of Filipino and Spanish friends filled the emptiness I felt in longing for my family back in the Philippines. I will never forget them no matter where I go.

Have you been to Barcelona? If yes, how would you compare Madrid to Barcelona? What

other parts of Spain have you visited?

I've been to Barcelona a lot of times. If I may compare Madrid from Barcelona, my answer would be simple. Madrid is where my dreams started, this is home for me. I have lots of good memories here. This is where I've met a lot of great friends who stood by my side in times of my needs. This is where I was judged as the Pinoy Dream Star Singer Grand Champion. And everything else follows. On the other hand, Barcelona is an important and special city for me. Here, in pursuing my dreams, I was proclaimed Global Pinoy Singing Idol Europe Champion, which I never imagined that one day would come to me. I was also a part of the top 50 final casting for the Operacion Triunfo 2010(Spanish Idol). But the one that made me proud happened last July 17, 2011 along with Ms. Ruth Valerio ,the other winner of Pinoy Global Singing Idol when Mr. Louie Simbe, a director, invited us to do a benefit concert for 5 poor children in the Philippines for the funding of their education. It was for a worthy cause and not everyone is given this rare chance to help out others. The said concert was warmly supported by fellow Filipinos and some Spanish audience who bought tickets and enjoyed the show. It was an overwhelming experience to share and display our talents and at the same time making a difference in our own little ways. Other places that I visited in Spain were Galicia, Bilbao, Tolosa, Zaragoza, Murcia,Toledo,Segovia, among others.

That is very inspiring. I hope that you continue to do benefit concerts for our poor children in the Philippines and I hope that you will tour more places in Europe. I believe that because of your training as a classical singer, you are able to cross over to pop music with ease and apply your techniques in vocal singing. What message would you like to tell the Filipinos in Europe? Just what the great composer Johann-Sebastian Bach once said,"The aim and final end of music should be none other than the glory of God". True enough because all of us should bring back all the glory to Almighty Father for giving us talents and for making us an instrument to touch other people's lives. I salute every men and women who sacrifice much for the love of family here in Spain. After all, we have but one give our families a better life and a better future. And may God to continue to bless each one of us and keep all of us in His loving arms. 25


La Fête de la Musique in Paris The 4th Pinoy Jam I

Words and photos by John Florencio

t is an annual festival in which the city of lights turns into the city of music. The atmosphere is engaging and electric, what with musicians playing all possible styles of music on the streets. It is a great time to unleash your inner rock star and come out of the musical closet. I had the great chance of being invited to play.

This is the 4th year Filipino musicians under the leadership of Dennis Astorga (himself a theater actor/ singer), organizing the programming, the makeshift stage, the sound system and putting on a great show for the Filipino community in Paris. Every year, Galerie Talmart owner Marc Monsallier graciously


hosts the participants, so the musicians are not literally playing “on the street”. Chairs were set up for the more advanced in age amdist the thick crowd, regaling themselves in the performances of poet/lyricist Mario Micalletti, Philippe Vallin, the Asignatura band, Maik Arce, Harold Encina, Adrion Gumatay, folk artist Bunny Liwanag, crowd favorites Cory de Jesus, Laynamor Escasa and Mimi Agbay-Duhamel , Broadway’s Leila Florentino, theater veteran Romeo Salazar and a host of other performers. Spotted in the crowd was Minister and Consul General Rosalita S. Prospero, whom I’ve had a few exchanges with, herself rocking out to the sounds of the 4th annual Pinoy Jam in Paris. Congratulations to Pinoy Jammers, Mabuhay ang musikerong Pilipino!




British Filipino Singer/Songwriter

Jaynee Words and photo by Jovy Burns

Jaynee is one to watch; an up and coming soulful, rock/pop artist from South London with Filipino heritage. Jaynee's music fuses the edgy, sexy-street vibe of Rihanna; the genre-diffusing live band qualities of The Red Hot Chili Peppers with the casual cool approach of Katy B. Her debut single 'You Ain't Got Me' will be released on August 21st 2011. It will be available for download from iTunes and other major retailers. Jaynee, real name Jane Michelle Mina Burns, is the product of a mixed heritage marriage between a Filipina and a Scotsman; such a rare combination was sure to produce a unique individual with eclectic tastes that permeates all the way through to her music. Her Mother, Jovy Mina Burns is also the first cousin of 'Tito Mina' who sang such hits as 'Ikaw Pa Rin'. Jaynee studied at the Sylvia Young Theatre School where she studied Dance, Drama and most importantly, Singing in order to develop the naturally emotive voice that she had been given. She won parts in various commercials, films and television programmes but 'The Saint' and 'Harry Potter' (and the Chamber of Secrets) were most memorable for the young performer. As well as being involved in the performance side of the showbiz scene, she also made sure that music, as an academic subject, was taken seriously. She was actively involved in school choirs and orchestras, right through from Primary to Secondary school culminating in performances with the Gospel Choir at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and the Fairfield Halls, Croydon. Jaynee also took the opportunities to perform solos within these choirs as often as possible, showcasing her skills as a budding vocalist. She also took piano lessons while at school, and 28

was keen to take music as a GCSE option. "Receiving an A* grade for music GCSE was one of my greatest achievements at school." (She also received 9 other GCSE's graded A*-B) After completing secondary school, Jaynee knew that she had to pursue her musical ambitions further, with the intention of developing her voice, and did this by winning a place at the renowned BRIT School (British Recording Industry Trust) in Croydon, South London were artists such as Amy Winehouse, Jessie J and Adele had studied. It was here that Jaynee began to develop her talent for songwriting and began to collaborate with other young musicians, feeding her taste for live music and performance. Jaynee has said: "The BRIT School was an amazing experience. Being immersed in such a creative environment with other people like me really showed me that this [performing] is what I want to do with my life. I loved it! If I could do it all over again, I would!"


After finishing at BRIT, she decided to continue her musical education by studying for a degree in Popular Music Performance at the Tech Music Schools where the 'keep music live' ethos was most prevalent. It is here where she met some of the people who constitute the Jaynee band today. Weekly performance helped her to cultivate the individual stage presence that audiences can see today but it was the demand for different styles that really opened Jaynee up to the diversity that now envelops her music. Each semester would focus on a new genre such as Rock, Funk, Blues, Folk, Country, Soul, Jazz and R'n'B. This course also allowed Jaynee to understand the science behind recording music whilst taking modules in sequencing and live sound; enabling Jaynee to become familiar with Pro Tools which would be the destination platform for laying down her songs. Her music has been described as 'soulful pop with funky, rock driven roots'. So it's fair to say that she is no stranger to amalgamation of her own desire. Together with long-time collaborator, Kingdom, she creates an entirely new brand of Pop, which holds the concept of 'live music' very close to its heart: This is where Jaynee, the band, comes into play. Ed Stafford on Drums and Joe James on Bass lay down the locked in syncopation of musicians twice their age and provide the foundations for the songs to groove. Both graduates from the Tech Music Schools, they have been well schooled in their rhythmic fields and are comfortable with all styles of music. (This comes in handy since Jaynee composes with no genre-specific boundaries.) Ed has said; "You never know what you're gonna get when you come into rehearsal and Jaynee says she's got some new material for us to play through! Will it be heavy Rock style drums like 'You Ain't Got Me'? Or maybe the laid back R'n'B grooves of 'Truly Amazing'? Or even the Funky undertones of a song like 'The Way I Feel'? You genuinely never know but that's exactly what makes playing in this band so exciting; you have to be ready for anything!" Jaynee's music is a mixture of most popular genres over the past 50 years. From the off-beat, reggae vibe of 'Thinking About You' to the R'n'B tones of 'Need to Know'; from the steady rocking beats of 'You Ain't Got Me' to the bluesy vibe of 'Something': There is truly an

amalgamative concept running throughout the songs but with the distinct cohesion of Jaynee's melodies and vocal delivery. There is something undeniably honest about the way she sings each note on this album, as if she truly connects with each lyric and lays it all out there for the audience to hear. This is certainly not a concept that is typical of most modern Pop music with the polished, auto-tuned recordings that the radio is used to playing; this is truly a work of passion and dedication directly from the songwriter straight to the listener. Jaynee's debut album has been gestating over a long period of time in order to ensure the performance could be executed exactly as she hears it in her mind. After sufficient gigging around at London venues such as The Bedford, Embassy, Sound, Barfly to name a few; she felt that the time was right to deliver this body of work to a larger audience as far and wide as possible. Certain songs were revamped jams from back in her BRIT School days, some were 'work in progress' ideas that were recorded whilst at University and other have been freshly written for the purpose. All songs have been recorded over the past year in Roundhouse Studios, Camden where Jaynee had complete control over her end product. "I'm excited and anxious to let the songs out on the public. I've worked really hard at writing honest, personal and interesting tracks and I hope people can feel something of that when they listen to the album." Jaynee also performed her debut single at the Barrio Fiesta sa Hounslow 2011. "I've never played to such a massive audience before.. It was the best feeling ever! I met some of the fans after and they were all so lovely! A big thank you to everyone who came out for the event and see you all at Barrio 2012!"

Visit for more information on music, news, updates and gigs. 29


The Liberato Family Foundation celebrates 20 years of charity work Desire, Dedication, Determination, Dignity By Lucy Kampa Twenty years ago Mr. Tony Liberato, the founder of the Liberato Family Foundation (LFF), was challenged by the extreme poverty and the need of medical assistance for millions of poor families in the Philippines. His desire to help our kababayans back home, without expecting anything in return motivated him to build up his own Family Foundation for social work and engagement together with his wife Francia, a registered Filipina nurse in Germany. 30

In the last twenty years the Liberato Foundation have extended their help to countless of poor people in the Philippines.Aside from sending yearly “Balikbayan Boxes� full of goods for the poor Filipino families, and medical apparatus being distributed to some hospitals in the Philippines, the majority of their works are concentrated in the medical support of Filipinos in need.Almost every year, both Germans and Filipinos from the Foundation have mobilised voluntary helpers to give free medical consultations and distribute medicines in different areas of the


Philippines.Because of this great dedication to work and the commitment of this cause, combined with a strong determination to do charity work, many benefactors in the Philippines are both thankful, and also profited by theFoundation.

His first dream was to be an actor in the Philippines, but instead he ended up working as a seaman. Eventually, he found the right life partner and decided to build up his second home in Germany, where he now lives with his family.

The founder’s face is popular in his hometown Löhne in Germany. A local newspaper once quoted his extraordinary life with these German words -“SCHAUSPIEL,SCHIFF und SCHAUMGUMMI”, (LöhnerNachrichten) in an interview about his life in both the Philippines and Germany, and his willingness to arrange charity events every year as a source of fundraising for the Foundation.

Mr. Tony Liberato believes that “Without human dignity, it is difficult to realize the charity projects in the last 20 years. A mutual respect, trust and confidence between the sponsors, donors, voluntary German and Filipino helpers, the yearly candidates for the beauty contest who contributed so much for the fundraising, and the loyal LFF staff, without them we could not achieve our goals. They are part of the success of this 20 year-old foundation.”







TEL. NO: 02602 - 80923 Mobile: 0160 - 94 65 40 22 e-mail to: 33


“In the Key of London Life”:

Jordan Saflor By Geraldine Wisniewski Photos from Jordan’s archives

UK-based singer-songwriter Jordan Saflor’s soulful voice is a relatively new and exciting addition to the music scene garnering growing attention for his largely acoustic-backed vocals. BBC Introducing, theorganisationknown for giving airplay to unsigned andundiscovered musicians across the UK, recently gave over the air waves to Jordan, after his new material was discovered by excited BBC researchers. Critics have also acclaimed the up and coming artist. Journalist Anna Nathanson from TOUCH Magazine, one of the UK’s, longest running publications for urban music and cultureand producer at the UK’s biggest national urban music station BBC 1 Extra, 34

declared: “Combining RnB, electro-acoustic and soul music over hip hop inspired beats, he [Jordan Saflor] frequently shines at live performances, captivating audiences across the capital.” Strong praise indeed. Of Filipino heritage, Jordan’s family come from Cavite located on the Southern Shores of Manila Bay. Born in Wimbledon and raised in Streatham, his Filipino roots have had an important impact on his music. “The way I sing, the style, is very Filipino, but not the lyrics. I try and stay true to my Filipino culture, but I was born and bred in South London, so I’ve had a lot of very different influences.Regine Velasquez inspired


me growing up, but other important artists that have shaped my music are legends like Stevie Wonder, Prince and Michael Jackson.”

again! I’ve always wanted to perform my songs at a festival and I am so happy that I got the opportunity this year.”

So if you listen to Jordan Saflor’s music, what can you expect? Simply put, expressive soulful simplicity. “My sound is very acoustic,” he reflects. “I always try and use live instruments. You can’t beat the sound of live guitar and live strings.Today, my style is a mash-up. I mix pure soul and R&B with rock and indie music in a commercial pop context.”

Jordan is also currently working on his EP which will be released by the end of the year.His debut single “Lay you Down” is available on iTunes, and his third single release is due out in the Autumn.“Because I’m an independent artist, I fund the creation and development of my music and music videos myself so it takes time. The EP will have five tracks on it, all self written and produced. Two of the songs are already up on my website, and I’m working on the rest as we speak.”

Jordan had a passion for music as a youngster. He trained in classical percussion under the Guildhall School of Music, giving him a solid grounding of theoretical knowledge, and eventually made a foray into musical theatre. But his heart was always in writing and singing, so he decided to go on and study Commercial Music at Westminister University, enablinghim to gain a much finer understanding of studio production. “It opened my mind to the industry and allowed me to focus,” Jordan recalls.“I got to meet lots of musicians and people in the industry, and it was a really good training ground. In the meanwhile, I was always writing, searching for my sound and my voice.” Since then, Jordan has gone on to work with music producer Trevor Horn, renowned for working with Robbie Williams, Pet Shop Boys and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Most famously, he won a Grammy Award for producing Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose.” Today, performing live is also one of Jordan’s passions. Most recently, he performedat ‘Barrio Fiesta sa London 2011’, participating in a line-up which celebrated the best of local and homegrown Filipino talent. “I sang four songs, three of my own tracks and a cover of ‘Set Fire To The Rain’ by Adele, stripped down to just acoustic guitar and bass. As soon as I got off stage I wanted to get back on and do it all over

So what does the future hold? Next year, Jordan will beworking on completely fresh new material taking inspiration from life and the world around him. “I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my life over the past year and have met a lot of new people that have inspired me to write,” he muses. “Also you grow as a person so I’ve just got a lot more I want to say. The riots in Brixton and around London has inspired me to write as well. London has always been my home and to see that kind of wanton destruction makes me feel sad. So next year, I’m going to have a fresh new sound. Today my sound is romantic and emotional, but you’ll see it evolve into more tongue-incheek material next year – you’lldefinitely see a more humorous side to me.” Jordan has also set his sights on branching out into the Philippines and establishing himself as a singersong writer and artist over there. “I’d like to write for others as well, both here in the UK and abroad. Collaboration is always exciting and it would be great to get more exposure for my writing.” The future is bright for Jordan Saflor. Constantly working and perfecting his craft, with a debut album on the way, Jordan goes from strength to strength showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

For more information about the artist and his music, and a list of his up and coming performances visit: 35


The White Lady's Mission in Navotas

Karen Mc Ardle, 24 years old from County Monaghan in Ireland recalls her life as a volunteer lay missionary for Heart’s Home in Navotas, Metro Manila After graduating from the National College of Art & Design with an Honour’s Degree in Textile Design, I decided that it was a good opportunity in my life to give something back to the world by doing volunteer work. So on the 2nd of May, 2010, I flew off to the Philippines to volunteer with an organisation called Heart’s Home. Founded in 1990 by Fr. Thierry de Roucy, Heart’s Home is an International Non-Profit Organisation that promotes a culture of compassion and consolation for children among the most needy and forgotten people in the World! Heart’s Home gives young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to give at least a year of their lives to serve the poor. The volunteers live in small communities in underprivileged areas all over the world.

- We welcomed and listened to anyone knocking on our door, attended to the wounds of the children, organise different activities for the children such as days out and summer camps. - We would participate as much as possible in the everyday life of our friends, accompanying them when they needed to go to hospital, celebrate their birthdays, go to baptisms, first communion, wakes and funerals.

I am home in Ireland now, after my 13-1/2 month mission as a lay missionary in Navotas, Metro Manila, Philippines with Tahanang Puso-- the name by which we call Heart's Home in the Philippines.

Everyday the missionaries go out to different places of apostolate to visit friends in the depressed areas. We are friends with families living in slums and in illegal shanty towns in little shacks made from whatever materials they can get their hands on, ie. scraps of old wood, plastic, corrugated iron etc. We are friends with families living in little make-shift shacks on top of garbage dumps. We are friends with families living in tunnels under bridges which are used to drain the sewerage. We are friends with families living in small dark rooms sharing a house with a number of other families. And yet many of them take everyday as it comes and are so full of joy inspite of their condition.

In Navotas, I lived with other volunteers from different parts of the world-- America, Australia, Belgium, France, and Italy. Together we lived the community lifestyle based on a life of prayer and compassion. - We met the most suffering and lonely people in deprived areas, slums, shanty towns, rubbish dumps, orphanages, jails, hospitals……and we developed friendly and trustful relationships with them. - We acted as a link between these distressed people and the local services and charitable organisations to find the most appropriate solution to their situation. 36

Heart's Home missionaries do not merely see people as a problem that needs solving. Heart's Home missionaries offer a simple presence to these people, to console them through their suffering, as a listening ear, a helping hand.

When I first arrived in Navotas, what I saw was depressing. However as I gradually got to know the language, I got to know the people who live in these


hear people say ‘Puti, puti’ (white,white). Most Filipinas want to be white-skinned, for them--the whiter you are, the more beautiful you are. It is so funny because it is the opposite in Ireland-- everybody wants a lovely tan!

places, the friends of Tahanang Puso. Each day I discovered more and more the beauty that was there. The cliché saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ comes to mind! Our ‘Tahanang Puso’ is a simple house located in a 'looban' (like a square or courtyard) in Dagat-Dagatan a suburb in Navotas, one of the sixteen cites which make up Metro Manila. To get to our house, there is a walk down narrow little alleyways crowded with people’s dwellings on each side. Every step has to be taken with caution otherwise one could walk into what the local people call ‘canals’ which are like open sewers that run throughout the neighbourhood. In the ‘looban’ where we live there are always children playing games. In the ‘looban’ we see our neighbours cooking their meals over an open fire, sitting around playing cards and bingo, washing themselves and mothers washing their family’s clothes and putting them out to dry.

Our Tahanang Puso house acts as a simple refuge for the children. Here they are always welcome to visit and be listened to, loved and respected. They really enjoy colouring and playing with the variety of toys and games that the different volunteers have taken from their own countries over the years. It makes them happy for us to attend to them with love and care. When I first arrived, the children were all over me, hugging me, wanting to hold my hand, and saying 'Ate Karen'. They are also so helpful – they had great fun correcting me with my bad pronunciation of some Tagalog words and teaching me new words all the time! Now that I am back home in Ireland, I continue to say ''Ano?'' (What?), "Oo'' (Yes), ''Hindi'' (No), ''Maraming Salamat'' (Thank you so much), ''Talaga'' (Really), ''Ayaw Ko'' (I don't want) and my favourite ''Ano ba iyan????'' (What is that???) and nobody understands me!!!

As a Tahanang Puso missionary we are encouraged to embrace the Filipino culture. I tried my best to become as Filipina as possible, but because of my white skin I was known as the White Lady. I would always 37


Tahanang Puso always celebrates the birthdays of our friends. We would end up having as many as three birthday parties in our house a week! For the 10th birthday of a lovely girl from our neighbourhood called Kerthstine, we invited her along with three of her friends to our house for spaghetti (Filipino style), a favourite party meal among the children and of course afterwards we had birthday cake! A lot of our friends like to make a wish out loud before they blow out their candles, Kerthstine made a wish and shared it with us all. Her wish was-- ‘that Tahanang Puso will stay here forever!’ She was so grateful to us for having a little party for her in our house. She charmed us all saying in English ‘Thanks to all’. Through our simple presence and our small acts, we try to show our friends that their life has meaning and that they are precious to us. Unlike other charitable organizations, we offer friendship to the people, we offer them ourselves. Tahanang Puso has built up seventeen (17) years of friendships (soon to be eighteen, this November 2011) and new friendships are forming all the time. Through these friendships we try to show people that their life is important. Inspite of the many problems or difficulties in the If you would like to support volunteers in Tahanang Puso - Philippines and Heart's Homes around the world, please check out the Heart's Home website: Heart's Home To love and restore dignity to the most wounded people. People in the western world are not fully aware of the extent of the poverty of many not only in the Philippines but in the developing world. We all need to work together to make people aware. Here are other organisations that I came across while on mission and who I would highly recommend supporting: Mary Mother of the Poor Charitable Organisation Mission is to relieve poverty, to coordinate health & social services, to advance & teach catholic tenets, to help youth develop their talents.


Philippines, people always have a smile on their faces. They do not want to burden others with their problems. The Filipino people and the children taught me a lot about life. Because of my experiences there, I have learned so much and has become a better person. It was challenging at times but overall it was very rewarding and I will carry my experiences during the mission with me for the rest of my life. Before I left I was presented with a book containing good-bye messages and letters from our friends and the children, asking me not to leave, thanking me for going to the Philippines and living with them, telling me not to forget them, that they will miss me and that they love me. In the airport and on the plane home I read them, and I cried and cried!!! Mother Teresa reminds us: "People today are hungry for love, which is the only answer to loneliness and great poverty. In some countries there is no hunger for bread. But people are suffering from terrible loneliness, terrible despair, terrible hatred, feeling unwanted, helpless, hopeless. They have forgotten how to smile, they have forgotten the beauty of the human touch. They are forgetting what is human love. They need someone who will understand and respect them." Tulay ng Kabataan Is a non-government organisation (NGO) foundation based in Manila, taking care of street children, scavenger children and children in slums area. Virlanie Foundation Is a NGO reaching out to street children. Virlanie cares for children in need of special protection; those who are abandoned, abused, exploited, neglected, orphaned, poor… Mary’s Meals Is an international movement to set up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from getting an education. It costs from just €10 to feed a child at school for a year!

When in Baguio, stay at the exotic


Located amidst pine trees facing Imelda Park, it has 16 rooms to accommodate its guests, from big luxurious family rooms, standard and budget rooms. Additional beds of mattresses can be added at a minimum surcharge. Address: 191 Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City Tel/Fax: (074) 442-2419 e-mail add: For more information, visit our website: or You can also visit us at our facebook account: Dining facilities at the Lodge include a unique main restaurant decorated by trophies of African and Philippine wildlife animals hunted by the founder (Celso Tuason). Part of his collection include life size elephant head, rhino and buffalo, a full size leopard and lions. All this adding to a colorful and charming ambiance. One may also dine at the terrace or at the patio gardens. 





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Edward’s Adventures in Lifestyle Design:

The First Step

to a Healthier Life During an interview, Richard Branson was once asked what he thought was the single most important element to increase productivity. He leaned back in his chair and simply said,“work out”. He estimated that exercise gave him an additional three hours per day of productivity due to increased energy levels. The first step toward achieving increased energy, better physical health, reduced chance of sickness, and a better psychological state of being is really quite simple. It’s also one of the most natural things we can do for our bodies. The answer? Exercise. There is a myriad of physiological responses in the 40

body that result in the beneficial effects of exercise. Trust me when I say it’s good for you. Most of us already know this and agree that regular exercise is necessary, so why don’t we do it? The common roadblocks on the way to improved health usually sound like this: “I don’t have time. I’m too tired. It’s too expensive. I don’t know how. Where would I start? It’s tiring and uncomfortable.” Most people will blame lack of time. This is perfectly understandable. Between a job, family, and obligations


to the community, finding even 30 minutes a day can be challenging. Many people put all other obligations above the need to exercise. However, saying you don’t have time to improve your physique is like saying you don’t have time to fill your car up with gas because you’re too busy driving. To help drive around the people in your life, you need gas. To help contribute in a meaningful way to those around you, you need energy. You need to stay healthy. Improving your health through diet and exercise will lead to a long, healthy life. However, before starting on this path the first step is to find your motivations. Realise that exercise is an activity that may not be immediately urgent but that will provide returns in the long run. So, how do you begin? We are creatures of habit so changing the ones we already have is difficult, but ultimately rewarding beyond what we thought possible. Stepping out of the comfort zone is, for lack of a better word, uncomfortable. However, many great and rewarding changes happen through difficult and uncomfortable processes, leaving us renewed, happy, and satisfied with our discovery and improved self-insight. So if you want a healthier, longer, and more proactive life, I urge you to consider exercise a part of your weekly routine. Just remember, start slow, one step at a time. So take the first step. I dare you. This article is not about what kind of exercise to do. I believe the first step is actually getting active. You can have the best exercise program in the world, the best trainer and the best facilities, but if you don’t actually do it there is no point. It is better to have a technique that is less effective that you actually use than an amazing technique that you don’t maintain. Below are some practical methods to help you take that first step toward living a fitness lifestyle.

Edward Gaje Bergersen is a Norwegian/Filipino Physiotherapist and Gym instructor based in Oslo, Norway. He also writes about philosophical lifestyle design at:

1. Change your mindset:The first step is to MAKE time instead of trying to FIND time. Proactively take charge of your situation. Making time instead of passively finding time is a first step in the exercise of willpower. Yes, making time can be difficult. You need to look at your schedule with a critical eye and when you find a time, protect it with all your might. Playing tennis on Monday nights? This is your special time for yourself, and no one should take it away from you. Be militant with this point. Is there something “important” you’ll miss if you go and exercise? Well, exercise is also important, and it’s now a priority for you. 2. Baby steps: When making behavioural changes, simple is often best. Don’t try to make a massive change in your life overnight, its not manageable and you will feel like you are failing. Start by finding out what you can do in your life now. Can you walk to work? Take the stairs more often than the elevator? Turn off the TV and kick a football around with your child? Make the small changes first, and the large ones will follow. 3. Find something you enjoy: Going to a gym and lifting weights is not appealing to everyone. Perhaps you enjoy bicycling, playing squash, hiking, martial arts, or dance. What you do isn’t important, what’s important is that you enjoy it. If you enjoy it, you will be internally motivated to continue. 4. Recruit a friend: A great way of fitting exercise into a busy schedule is by making it a social activity. Go to a yoga class, take a long walk, or lift weights with a friend. Have tea afterwards. Turn two socializing sessions during the week into fitness gatherings and you’ll kill two birds with one stone! 5. Keep it simple:You don’t need a gym to get in shape. In fact, you don’t need anything but your own body, and the will to lead a more physically active life. It is completely possible to have an intense workout using only your own body weight. Squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups, classic exercises, when done with intensity can provide a great stimulus to your body and can be done at home. If you have children, run outside and play with them.Even that is beneficial physical activity with the added benefit of spending quality time with your children. 41


Bahala Na - A cultural trait of the Filipino By Sir Antonio Repotente, MD Order of the Knights of Rizal, Hamburg Chapter A speech delivered on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Kababaihang Rizalista, Inc., Hamburg Chapter on June 4, 2011 at Hotel Ambassador in Hamburg


young father with a family of four comes home in the evening and is confronted by his wife, „we have only one cup of rice left, where will we get our next meal for tomorrow“? The father, without any ready answer would probably reply, as most of us would do, „bahala na“. When I was requested to talk on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Hamburg Chapter of the Kababaihang Rizalista, Inc. or Ladies for Rizal, Inc., I was, at first, adamant because I had no idea what to talk about on such an event. When I eventually consented to the request and still not knowing what to say, I said to myself „Ah, bahala na“. Having said that, curiosity got the better of me. What does this phrase really mean? So I did a little research on these two very commonly used words.


Bahala is probably derived from Bathala (God) which in turn was probably derived from Battara Guru, the Indonesian name for God. As a culturally pious and fatalistic people, the Filipinos, especially the 42

Tagalogs, turned to the Spirit and God (Bathala) for solutions to their problems. The Spanish missionaries probably used this attitude in colonizing the people by substituting the Christian God for Bathala. The Tagalog dictionary of UP decribes bahala as management, responsibility, somebody responsible. When you add the word “na”, an adverb of time, in Tagalog meaning already, the phrase becomes an attitude, a cultural trait. Loosely translated, it means “Come what may”, “the inevitable will happen”, “what will be, will be”. There are hundreds of articles written about bahala na. Prominent authors and historians like Teodoro Agoncillo, Dr. Rolando Gripaldo, Paraluman Aspillera among others have tried to dissect and interpret this phrase. They are unanimous in saying that bahala na is an attitude, a cultural trait wihich is ambivalent in that it can be applied in various situations responsibly or irresponsibly. Bahala na is situational. Its meaning and usage depend on the situation in which we utter these words.


“Taking the positive context of bahala na into consideration, this attitude, so inherent in our culture can be the driving force, the motivation, the initiative for us to risk, to dare, to have courage to act to achieve our goals in life.” Dr. Rolando Gripaldo of the Philosophy Department of DLSU, Manila, cites several situations or meanings where this attitude applies. First is the come what may fatalistic attitude. This is more prevalent among the underprivileged, especially in the rural areas. Example: a young mother from the province applies for a job in a Middle East country and is accepted. To cover her travel expenses, they had to pawn their house. Before she leaves, questions crop up in her mind. What if the working conditions are very harsh?, What if my employer is a slave-driver? What if they force me to accept a more menial job with less pay than what I applied for? What if I don’t earn enough money to reclaim our house? What if my husband becomes unfaithful and finds another? The answer to these questions will be “God will help me.” Diyos ko, bahala na po Kayo sa akin” or I will just have to accept what Fate has in store for me. Bahala na is fatalistic in the sense that it evokes resignation to the consequences of one's undertaking, at the same time it is providential in that it carries the hope that Providence will take care of one's future. Herber Bartolome wrote a song about this attitude: Dakilang Maylikha, ako'y nagdarasal sa iyo Bahala na kayong pumatnubay sa biyahe ko. Ang tanging nais ko buhayin ang pamilya ko. Bahala na kayo sa manggagawang katulad ko. The second situation or meaning pertains to the performer of the action. The performer or performers will take care of the situation. “Bahala ka na sa application ng anak ko. Balitaan mo na lang ako ng resulta“. Common expressions are: Ako or kami or sila na ang bahala. Pumunta kayo sa Gala mamayang gabi, ako ang bahala sa inumen. This is to dissipate any possible worry. The third situation is when a person is left to do what he wants but must be prepared for the consequences. “Bahala ka na diyan, sariling problema mo iyan”. Sometimes the “na” is missing. “Bahala ka kung lalabas ka pa kahit hatinggabi na, PERO......” The fourth situation or meaning indicates unmindfulness on the part of the person and is common among Visayans. “Bahala na ug dili perfect

ang akong diction basta naintindihan nila ang sinasabi ko. The fifth situation or meaning is to tolerate a person or allow him or her to do what he/she wants by leaving him/her alone. “Bahala na siya, pabayaan mo na lang siya sa kanyang ginagawa. Okey lang, pagpasensyahan mo na lang siya. The sixth situation or meaning is when a warning is tacitly implied. “ Bakit mo binago yung planong ginawa ni Boss? Bahala ka, ikaw ang mananagot sa kanya”. Confronted with the attitude of bahala na, the tagalabas or foreigner can not make anything out of it. The reactions range from irritation, disbelief, bewilderment and frustration. The American social scientists called it fatalism. Coupled with our manana habit, it leaves the impression that the Filipino lacks initiative, creativity, the will and determination to achieve his goals. This reinforces the image of the Filipino as indolent or Juan Tamad. This fatalistic attitude is actually laziness with a religious excuse for its being. This is also a form of temporary escape from the problem confronting the person. Bahala na, I won’t think of the problem now but, sometime later. Filipino social scientists could not quite agree with the colonial interpretation. Camilo Osias noted that bahala na is an expression of courage and fortitude, a willingness to face difficulty and willingness to accept the consequences. Risk taking in the face of possible failure is what bahala na is all about. Bahala na is indicative of the improvisational personality of the Filipino. This allows him to cope and thrive in indefinite, unpredictable and stressful situation. This flexibility developed as response to our country being in the fire belt. Erupting volcanoes, tidal waves, tropical storms and typhoons, landslides have taught him to be resourceful and creative in order to survive. For every problem in any situation, he, somehow finds a solution even if most of the time it is provisional, just to get by. If a passenger jeepney breaks down, the logical thing to do is have it repaired in a repair shop but the driver can not as yet have it repaired because he hasn't earned enough and he has to provide for his family. 43


He does some provisional repairs and, usually, he gets it working again. The reaction would be, “puede na siguro yan hanggang kumita ako para ipagawa. Bahala na.” Taking the positive context of bahala na into consideration, this attitude, so inherent in our culture can be the driving force, the motivation, the initiative for us to risk, to dare, to have courage to act to achieve our goals in life. It is heartening to say that the fatalistic attitude of Filipinos before embarking on their search for a new life abroad becomes positive when confronted with the new circumstances. Their main purpose for going abroad is what keeps them going. With the main aim of providing for her family, the woman OFW would adapt to the new conditions. If she feels that she would fall short of her goal, she would improvise, perhaps even taking a second job in her spare time.

We are a pious people but let us be pious without being fatalistic. Let us do away with the easy-wayout, leaving everything in the hands of God. Let us face the challenges in life and deal with them with our in-born talents and acquired skills imploring God for inspiration and guidance. As the Filipino saying goes,”Nasa tao ang gawa, nasa Diyos ang awa”. Bahala na is a characteristic trait of the Filipino culture. The Filipino child is exposed to this culture and he or she unquestionably imbibes that trait, thereby forming a predisposition towards it and eventually shaping an attitude about it. Mothers and would-be mothers, in rearing your children, erase the negative aspect and inculcate the positive aspect of bahala na. This way, we would someday do our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, proud, whereby the Filipino could look at other people at eye level and the Philippines would stand at par with the community of nations.


Emann Monfort A Blue Eagle’s Destiny By Jonathan Arevalo Coo Basketball is the most famous sport in the Philippines. Every barangay probably has a team or dreams of joining one. At the Ateneo campus, you would know that there is a big game when you see students lining up a mile long just to buy tickets. Some would even wait as early as 5 a.m. and others would even miss classes. This is no ordinary game, though. It is the game of the rival schools, Ateneo and La Salle. Even big leagues cannot compete with the huge crowd at the Araneta Coliseum when the Blue Eagles and Green Archers fight. By the time this issue gets into circulation, we would know if Ateneo has won for four consecutive years. In the meantime, our sports fans in Europe might want to get a glimpse of one of Blue Eagle’s stars. Maybe the Filipino Europeans might even start a basketball league just like the Azkals on football. Born in Pueblo Mandurriao, Iloilo on July 2, 1989, Emman Monfort started playing basketball at the age of five. This “prodigy” in sports were trained by both his parents. (Emman even mentiones “Yes, my mom plays basketball.”) “We are 5 siblings all in all. I’m the youngest. The oldest and only brother also taught me how to play basketball. “ “I attended Ateneo De Iloilo during my high school years.

I was always fascinated with basketball, when i was a kid. Most of my playmates would play video games while i was busy shooting hoops outside against older friends. My mom and dad also played for their respective schools and my older brother is a coach now. The three of them introduced me to the game. “ After high school, Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) was indeed the perfect school for Emman to further his skills. He is now finishing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art Management. This course requires a student to even write a thesis. After Ateneo, the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) would be the perfect profession for this rookie. But his second option is Business (since players do have a short life span in the court). I asked Emman how he thinks Filipino Europeans can adapt the physical lifestyle of basketball players. He just simply explains: “Philippine basketball is very progressive. From the primary level to the professional league people support and really love to watch basketball.” I suppose the environment counts a lot. Instead of computer games that limits a child’s physical and emotional being, sports is indeed a health option. Emman ends his interview with a message to the Ateneans in Europe: “To my fellow Ateneans, I wish you guys all the best and may you continue praying for our team. One Big Fight! “



Babaylan Denmark Making a difference Words and photo by Filomenita Mongaya Høgsholm

“The name Babaylan was chosen for the new Network because the word evoked empowerment.” Sowing the seeds of empowerment

In the beginning, there were only two Filipinas in Copenhagen who thought it a good idea to do something about the plight of our women compatriots living under horrifying conditions in the wake of the ”mail order bride” phenomenon from the ‘80s,when the conjugal Marcos dictatorship was reaching an economic morass. For some women, marrying a foreigner was a ticket out of the misery. We set up a telephone chain to reach out to fellow Pinays in trouble, who were stigmatised from their problems, and buried their heads in the sand like

the proverbial ostrich.They withheld their help but we soldiered on, feeling the seeds of empowerment begin to sprout. By depending on our own resources and trusting that the Filipina,in her own steam and pace, will manage all right given half the chance, we experienced Pinay unsinkability.

Fortress Europe

Some years later, in 1992, I was one of some 70 Filipinas from across Europe invited to input into a first Conference for Philippine women migrants. The organization Amistad, formed by Filipina domestic workers in north Spain, was the local host with

Babaylan Denmark in authentic costumes and banana wraps by Dita Sandico Ong wows audience at Copenhagen City Hall during the 100 years celebration of Int’l Women’s Day



central efforts from Dutch-Filipinas who arranged the Conference to offset the Fortress Europe mentality of the time. I was one of those who prepared a short paper describing the situation of Danish Filipinas based on our work with the telephone help line.After 3 days of bonding together - helped by vats of paella, a romp in the outdoor pool in the hot sun, and nightly singing in a monastery outside Barcelona -we finally set up the first ever women immigrant network in the EU. Babaylan Europe aimed to become an effective and liberating support for the Filipina migrant in Europe.

What’s in a Name?

The name Babaylan was chosen for the new Network because the word evoked empowerment. They were the women, who in pre-hispanic Philippines were the shamans, the priestesses, and most likely also ombudsman of society, with healing powers and leadership roles.They fought for a peaceful and egalitarian society. We - the new modern day babaylanes - were to bridge cultures and realities, and sustain our families at home. It would take another 5 years before the process of consolidating the Filipinas in Denmarkcould start,because during the interim, I was personally on another road, that of immigrant women in Danish societyworking for equality and finding a voice in Soldue, aquarterly that promptly garnered the Grassroots Foundation Prize in 1994.The following year, I led 6 migrant women to join the UN Women’s Meeting in Beijing; and we had an impressive list of activities both political and cultural: hearings, forums, shows, film premiers.We networked with Babaylan Europe, who also made it to Beijing.

Babaylan Denmark: the struggle continues

From a start of 10 women in 1997, Babaylan DK have engagedin the community in such milestones as the Philippine Centennial in 1998, when we held a community picnic and grill at the Royal palace grounds in Fredensborg, and especially the 5-Day Focus held at the prestigious National Museum, a venue we would later use for our Dialogues in Dignity Conference on Asian Women and Media under the Images of Asia umbrella in 2003.Before that, we with the same museum welcomed the millennium with hundreds of Filipino “parols” or lanterns.

15 years next year in May, and in the last 5 years, we have worked mainly to uphold rights of women immigrants, the au pairs. It was at the first Pulong Ng Bayan, in Helsingborg, Sweden with Ambassador Vicky Bataclan, that we started to support au pairs by creating a taskforce. Because today, the au pair scheme - originally a European initiative for peace and understanding in a newly war-torn Europe – has become a trend to extract cheap care for young families. We continue to work, even without a single cent from the state, while bigger NGOs like church organizations and labour unions, take the lion share and do not share the funds with Filipino organizations like ours, who actually deliver direct services plus capacity builtto help the au pair chart into a sustainable future. Ourlegal and medical capacities in ‘Babaylangive 24/7 phone counselling on legal, sexual and reproductive rights, and more. On the eve of yet another International Day in Copenhagen, we will once again –for the nth time wow audiences with our signature folk dances and cultural fashion shows in authentic tribal costumes and modern fashion from designers like Presidential awardee for Fashion, Dita Sandico Ong, whom ‘Babaylan’introduced to Scandinavia in 2003.

Our Visibility, our Voice

Last but not least I would like to mention our full colour magazine, ABAKADA, which is focused on gender, migration, integration and development,and saw the light of day 10 years agoon the eve ofEDSA 2. We also have a lively website,, plus our Facebook and Twitter pages to keep us à jourglobally - including making sure that deceased au pairs are repatriated in respect and dignity. In ‘Babaylan’, we try to make a difference!

The author is co-founder of Babaylan Europe and Founding Chairperson of Babaylan Denmark. A journalist turned activist, she has assumed electoral top positions in women networks in Europe. Currently, she sits in the Executive Committee of WIDE and of KULU. She is the Editor and compiler of the first volume on Phil. migration to Europe entitled ”In de olde worlde: Views of Filipino migrants in Europe” which can be downloaded from

Babaylan Denmark is now on its way to becoming 47


The hat dance

Filipinos in Finland

- A small community with a big voice Words by Melissa Heikkilä Photos by Luther Ramos On a sunny day last June 19th in Tampere, a city a few hours away from Finland’s capital Helsinki, the local residents were puzzled by the several busloads full of giggling, gossiping and loud chattering Filipinas. They were there for a nationwide ‘pagtitipon’ to celebrate the Independence Day of their homeland on the other side of the globe as well as the 150th birthday of Dr. Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. The host of the festivities was a local organization, FINoy and friends, and representatives of all the Filipino associations in Finland were present. Finland is proud to have around 1300 Philippine citizens, and these associations form a safe community that provides a home away from home. 48

The Independence Day party was just like any big gettogether, with loud women clad in colourful national dresses and the succulent aroma of food drifting in from the kitchen. The frenzy atmosphere was in striking contrast to the composed and at times sombre party atmosphere the Finns are used to. If Filipinos are not singing, they are dancing, and the afternoon was packed with song and dance performances. Everything from traditional Filipino folk dances and songs to energetic choreographs to Shakira’s Waka Waka were performed. The ‘pagtitipon’ was all about hailing the rich Filipino culture, but with a little twist from the north. Traditional


Pinoy dishes from spring rolls to ‘pansit’ were served casually alongside traditional Finnish salmon dishes. “Being a Filipino is hard to define, but it’s all about the attitude”, says Maritel Kurittu, who has lived in Finland since 1990. “I would call myself a Finnish person with proud Filipino roots.” Kurittu doesn’t stand alone. The president of FINoy and friends, Coring Vasala, agrees. “I speak the language and have adopted the lifestyle, but my heart belongs to the Philippines.” Despite the Finnish influences in lifestyle, Filipino pride was clearly visible during the ‘pagtitipon’. This

was exhibited by the children, who have grown up in two completely different worlds. One world loves to ski during the winter and is traditionally reserved in social situations, whilst the other shows respect to its elders and enjoys a juicy ‘tsismis’ every now and then. Events like the one organized by FINoy and friends in June are not only occasions to celebrate, but occasions for the Finnish husbands, wives and children to learn about a vibrant culture full of laughter and karaoke. As Vasala points out, “Aside from having fun, the most important thing is that our small community be brought to the knowledge of others and that our voice be heard in Finnish society.”

The Filipino Nurses Club in Finland performing to Shakira’s song Waka waka.



Kirby Ann Basken

– Miss Norway, Mutya ng Pilipinas, model, TV show hostess… By Gerard C. Gotladera Photos from Kirby Ann’s archives 50


Kirby Ann Basken is a product of a classic romance between a Norwegian and Filipina. Growing up with two cultures has helped shape her identity and made her the woman she is now - secure and confident, able to relate to both races and their cultures, being sensitive enough to understand both worlds. This is probably a gift that has granted her opportunities to establish a name for her others only dream of. During a visit to her grandmother in the Philippines, a knowing eye spotted a face he knew that Filipinos would love. This was in 2004, when she was christened to the world of modelling, bagging commercials such as Bingo biscuits, KFC, Johnson’s baby cologne, PepsiCola and Great Taste coffee. While Kirby stayed in the country, miles and miles back in Norway, her mother, Grace Vasquez, had the bright idea of sending her daughter’s profile to the Miss Norway beauty pageant officials in 2005. “I didn’t tell her then, of course. When she got back home, I told her she passed the screening and already made it to the Top 40.” Despite Kirby’s apprehensions, Grace believed that the exposure would do her daughter good. Grace shares that Kirby, despite living a public life now, was a shy little girl. “I had to find ways to coax her out of her shell and expose her to as many social situations as possible. ”Through persistent SMS/ text voting from her Filipino supporters---a feat credited to Grace, Kirby made it to the finals of Miss Norway. Kirby was hailed as Miss Norway’s first runner-up in January 2006 and received the special award of Miss Photogenic and Olympus New Face of the Year.

everything beautiful about the Philippines. It's not only focused on the pageantry, but also on tourism, fashion and social responsibility.” Kirby won the title of Mutya ng Pilipinas-Asia Pacific International 2006 along with three special awards: Best in Long Gown, Best Skin (Calayan Award), and MP-International Hairdressers Association's Choice. It happened that the Miss Asia Pacific Quest Inc. did not hold the Miss Asia Pacific International competition, where Kirby was supposed to compete in 2006. As a result, officials sent her instead to the Miss Intercontinental pageant in the Bahamas, where she landed among the Top 12 semi-finalists. This triumph saw her going back to Norway to join, for a second time, Miss Norway 2007, andbagging the title of Miss Norway by unanimous vote to representthe countryin the pageant of all pageants, Miss Universe 2007. Kirby is the first Filipino-Norwegian to win the

News reached the Philippines that a half-Filipina placed as a first runner-up in Miss Norway, fortunately reigniting interest in the legendary beauty queen maker, Renee Salud, who a year before had asked Kirbyfor a Mutya ng Pilipinas 2005 screening. Salud had as much faith in Kirby as her mother did, inviting her over to represent the Filipino communities in Norway inMutya ng Pilipinas 2006. Kirby, who was eager to book jobs back in the Philippines, took to the skies to try her chances at Mutya ng Pilipinas. What attracted Kirby to join was the responsibility it entailed. “Mutya accepts participants from overseas who are of Filipino descent. And that's great since weare given the opportunity to become tourism ambassadors for the Philippines. It promotes and highlights 51


title of Miss Norway. She is also the first FilipinoNorwegian to hold two national beauty titles in a span of one year. Kirby recounts her experience of Miss Universe which sheds new light to the world-famous beauty contest we thought we had figured out. “It is in itself a venue for celebrating women. That’s why I feel so proud to be a part of it. We were a diverse mix of girls with different cultural backgrounds, so you know it’s not all just based on looks. It goes beyond the physical. And I felt great about it, even if I didn’t win. We weren’t there just to mesmerize people with our looks, but to show them just how beautiful our souls are.” Fast forward to 2011, Kirbyhas decided to set her eyes on new goals.Over iced coffee on a gloomy afternoon, she tells me the reason why she’s here. “The love, the happiness, the laughter and the unconditional appreciation I feel here is great. Nothing is taken for granted in this country and that is beautiful.” I then throw her a follow-up question that makes me realize one of my own faults of being a Filipino. “The only thing I don’t like in this country is the fact that Pinoys cannot see their own worth. They get caught up in the Western world, trying hard to imitate, thinking it equates to true happiness and fulfilment. But honestly, Pinoys need to step back and see that real beauty and happiness, something that the Western world will never get nor learn, is rooted deep inside the Filipino heart.” What occupies her time here in the Philippines is a promising modelling/TV- career and a writing stint for a Norwegian website, both of which bring joy to Kirby. “I have the privilege to be able to do the work I love, in the country I love. So why not combine the best of both, right?” Kirby’s got runway shows behind her. She’s done magazine spreads for Cosmopolitan, Mod, Metro, Candy, Chalk, and People Asia. On top of all that, she was featured in FHM’s Special Collector’s Edition among the 33 most beautiful women in the world. Kirby had the means to finish her Bachelor of Arts degree (Media and Communications) in Journalism at Bjørknes College, before pursuing her ultimate dream career in Philippine media.At present, Kirby co-hosts TV5's newest game show R U Kidding Me? Owws? Hindi nga?! alongside Vic Sotto. Kirby loves to go diving, boxing and watching 52

movies. One of herfavorite places to relax and unwind is Boracay Island, where she often returns to and marvels at its sun bleached shores of powder-soft beaches. Whenever she’s on the island, she spends her evenings feeding the less fortunate children on the island and playing with them. “I take time to know them a bit personally, giving them some hope by telling them stories about how life can be beautiful despite their deprived childhood. And when a big smile streaks across their food smudged faces, I know I have made a difference in their lives.” “Writing has always been a huge part of my life and without ink, paper and words I feel lost. My biggest dream is to finish my book, and I know I am closer than ever. Aside from that, I want to be able to provide my mom at least one huge thing that is worth of her time and attention. She deserves the best and I want to be the one who gives her that.”


Vivian Kiefer-Vargas Medical researcher/technician, philantropist, Presidential awardee “God gave me nothing I wanted, but He gave me everything I needed” has been Vivian‘s motto all her life. Today she is blessed with three children, two grandchildren, a long-standing marriage and a rewarding career in the field of Microbiology and Laboratory Research in Basel, Switzerland. Born in Manila, Philippines to a large family, Vivian learned at a very early age to appreciate all that came her way, especially the sacrifices her parents made in order to give Vivian and her siblings a decent education convinced that this was the key to a bright future. In 1972, equipped with a Bachelor’s degree, Vivian abandoned all that was familiar and settled her roots in Switzerland taking up a position as a Medical Technologist in the Chemistry laboratory of Kantonsspital Liestal where she worked until 1988 in between marrying and starting a family. From 1988 to 1990 Vivian joined Hoffman La Roche AG, Switzerland as a Microbiology Research Technician, followed by six years as a Biology Research Technician. In 1997 she joined the University Women’s Hospital, Basel as a Research Technician in the Laboratory for Prenatal Medicine where she still works today. Contributing significantly to furthering research in the above laboratories, with main focus being towards extraction of plasma and serum from blood, isolation of DNA and RNA from plasma and serum, immunohistochemistry, fluorescence insitu hybridization (FISH), enrichment of rare fetal hemopoietic cells from the circulation of pregnant women using the magnetic cell sorting method (patented by the Laboratory for Prenatal Medicine), Vivian also regularly trained many research students and foreign students of at least 8 different nationalities. At the same time, the plight of the Filipinos, especially

the migrant workers, was always close to her heart. Wanting to give something back to her home country, Vivian in 1995 joined MaharlikaSwitzerland, becoming its President from 1995 to 2010. Maharlika has a two-fold purpose, to help Filipino migrants across Switzerland to preserve their Filipino culture as well as to increase Swiss and foreigner’s awareness of Filipino customs and traditions through various festivities and events. On the other side she wanted to help the Filipinos through the initially daunting matrix of the Swiss system, by providing them information and imparting knowledge through workshops and talks on the Swiss pension system, health, German language lessons, teambuilding, and counselling. The individual projects carried out by Maharlika in the Philippines are, among others (especially for the benefit of unemployed women, mothers and out of school youth): Skills Training in MassageTherapy and Reflexology, Meat Processing and Food and a Feeding Program in the celebration of the nutrition month on July 2010, for the benefit of all the kids enrolled on the Day Care Centres. Vivian has been a member of the Forum for Integration and Migration in the Basel region from 2000 to 2004, chosen by the Swiss Federal Council to be a member of the The Federal Commission for Foreigners from 2000 to 2007. She is also a member of the Swiss Forum for Integration and Migration. When time permits, Vivian and her Swiss husband travel a lot and together their charity work has now been extended to other countries - like India, Egypt and Iran. It looks like nothing can stop this FilipinoSwiss lady from her countless charity projects, and we can only admire and wish that there were more people like Vivian Kiefer Vargas. 53


Joel F. Bagon - fashion designer in Stockholm

Fashionably Organic 100% Sustainable, 100 % Filipino Words and pictures by Ivee Blossom Hedvigi Joel F. Bagon, a Stockholm based fashion designer, had his first solo fashion show last August at the first Uppsala Fashion & Beauty Fair. It was the first Philippine Fashion Show highlighting on Eco and Sustainable materials. All the cocktail and evening dresses shown were made of pure Philippine pineapple silk and fibers. The event was a joint cooperation with DIVA Manila, a company specializing in organic sustainable fashion products. The finale generated a round of applause from the audience - a gorgeous creation in deep bright orange, made of 100% pineapple silk, specially designed and paraded by Ms. Alexandra Charles, a much-admired Swedish celebrity and founder/chair of the prestigious 54

1,6 million club advocating on women’s health issues. Joel graduated as a fashion designer at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines. He specializes on cocktail and evening dresses. Although he is originally a Physical Therapist, he claims that designing dresses was his hobby from the very beginning. He would love to design dresses not only for the Filipinos but for every woman in general. You may have your dresses made by Joel. For appointment email him at You can also check out his website at or call him on his mobile number: +46706590120


DIVA Manila is the first company to use fibers from pineapple using only natural dyes with 250 colors to choose from. All materials & fashion products are made in the Philippines. You may visit their website and web shop for more info and other product lines.



The Philippine “Kabataan”

The Joy of Service Words and photo by Evelyn D. Mendoza

It is often said that instead of “giving fish to the poor, we should help by giving them what they need so that they could fish.” Thus, the most effective way to help the poor is not to give them all their needs, but rather to “help them so that they could help themselves” and their families to be self-sufficient and enable them to achieve a quality of life consistent with their sense of human dignity. It was in this light that the Kabataan Public High School Girls’ Club (“Kabataan” for short), an outreach program initiated by two groups of women volunteers, mostly mothers, was born in 2006. Its mission is to provide continuing counseling strictly to young public high school girls from low-income groups, to strengthen their Christian values and instill 56

in them the proper attitudes that would make possible their contribution, no matter how small, to sustaining a morally upright environment. To achieve this, the women volunteers, through “personalized mentoring,” assist in preparing the Kabataan members by helping them face and deal with the daily challenges of student life in the context of economic conditions, family demands and responsibilities. The members are high school girls, 12 to 18 years old, who come from the poverty-stricken areas of Las Pinas City and Muntinlupa City in Metro Manila, Philippines. Given primary importance in the mentoring is character development of members. This is to compensate for


any deficiency or lack of values formation at home or in the public high schools. Members also participate in special activities such as field trips, choral group competitions, sports activities, summer camps, workshops and seminars to develop leadership potentials and skills. More importantly, Kabataan, through its friends and benefactors, provides entrepreneurship training and career orientation seminars to its graduating members, including financial assistance and scholarships to those who choose to pursue Culinary Arts and Residential Services courses at schools affiliated with the Foundation for Professional Training, Inc. (FPTI). Well-known for having produced “jobready graduates for the hotel and restaurant service industry in Manila. Cebu and the Cavite-LagunaBatangas-Rizal-Quezon ( CALABARZON)”, FPTI is an organization of technical-vocational schools that seeks to address the educational needs of the less fortunate sectors of Philippine society. Since 2006, Kabataan has definitely affected not only

the lives of its members but also those of volunteers, friends and benefactors as the experiences opened their eyes to the need to reach out to poor but promising girls in public high schools. Today, it boasts of 36 dedicated women volunteers and a total of 200 active members. Still small in size but it intends to do much more. What counts is the unwavering dedication , the “joy of service ,” of the people behind Kabataan. But to do much more, Kabataan needs help . Here is how you could help in the future of Kabataan: -Suggest or refer volunteers to commit to share their time and talents through mentoring or giving seminars; -Solicit financial support from generous friends, sponsors and benefactors for the various activities and scholarships given to deserving students. For more information please contact the Project Coordinators of Kabataan: Agnes Dayao at +639274920021 or Nanette K. Corcuera at +639209129368


Naga City - The heart of the Bicol Region Words and photos by John Florencio 58


A visit to this first class city is a departure from the usual. There is much to be said about this progressive, fast-moving capital of the Bicol Region. Situated 377 kilometers south-east of Manila, it is the center of finance, trade and government and establishes itself as a rapidly-growing metropolis . Naguenos are proud of their rich cultural heritage that flourished in the time of the 333 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines. There is a strong Marian influence highlighted by their annual Nuestro Senora de Penafrancia fluvial parade the third week of September: a tenday festival of food, drink and entertainment. It is home to nationally-accredited universities of higher learning, the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Naga University, the University of Nueva Caceres and Universidad de Santa Isabel. The language, Bikol (also spelled Bicol) is spoken by its 139,775 inhabitants(as of the 2000 census, undoubtedly more in 2011) which is a mĂŠlange of Austro-Polynesian, Malayo-Polynesian and Central Philippine dialects. The popularity of Bikol food is on the rise among the thousands of European tourists who come each year, all professing that it is the most suited to their sophisticated palates. Dishes such as laing(natong), kinunut and the famously spicy Bicol express are absolutely divine.

How to get there from Manila:

There are four flights a day operated by three airline

companies: Cebu Pacific Air, Air Philippines and Zest Air. It is a short 45-minute flight to the Pili Regional Airport and about another 30 minutes by land to get downtown. By bus, you can take deluxe airconditioned buses operated by Philtranco, Isarog Bus, Amihan, RSL, Raymond Bus and Penafrancia Lines. It is an 8-hour ride from Manila, a scenic route passing charming little towns on the coast of the Tayabas and Gumaca Bay in Quezon province, through to the mountainous spiral roads of the gold-mining towns of Daet, Camarines Norte.

What to do around Naga:

Be assured that there are a multitude of things to do in the Camarines Sur region. The Camarines Sur Wakeboarding Complex, a vision of then Mayor Jesse Robredo(now DILG director) attracts thousands of tourists and wakeboarders around the world in the high season, from January to April, or whenever the rainy season ends. The city is nestled on the foot of the glorious Mount Isarog, where one can take an 8 to 10 hour trek from Panicuason Road to the summit(1,996 meters above sea level),and take in the beauty of the dense forest vegetation and the cool, pristine natural water of the Malabsay Falls. For the beach-lover, there is a myriad of options: An hour and a half drive from the center will bring you to the port at Nato Beach, where you take a short boat-ride(around 600 pesos) 59


to the sun-kissed white sands of Atulayan Island, and perhaps get a chance to buy a 25 kilo yellow-fin tuna from the local fisherman for a bargain. On the southern tip of the region 53 hour drive from Naga) one can swim with the ‘butanding’ in Donsol, Sorsogon, the largest whale-shark in the world, measuring up to 18 meters in length. Daily interactions are organized by the Sorsogon City Provincial Council and you will be assigned a Butanding Interaction Officer(BIO) and a boat(around 3,500 PHP for 6 people).

Where to Stay:

Villa Caceres Hotel on the hip Magsaysay Avenue is well situated, clean and is run by a warm friendly


staff. Parking is free on the premises and is secure. Around the hotel is an abundance of nightclubs, bars, shops, restaurants, convenience stores, McDonald’s, Starbuck’s coffeehouse and banks. Rooms range from 900 PHP to 3500 for the Executive Suite. In Donsol, stop at the Casa Bianca, and make sure to ask for Bexina Bettina to serenade you with a Beyonce tune, a cappella. The staff is young, energetic and the rooms are clean and well-kept. A fifteen minute walk to the Butanding Interaction Center. There are no ATM’s in Donsol (the closest one, I’ve learned is in Legazpi City, an hour drive)so make sure to get cash before you go.There is a decent selection of places to eat around Donsol, do not hesitate to ask the friendly locals for their favorites.



Kadayawan Festival By Jojie Alcantara, Promotions Head, Kadayawan 2011 Davao's biggest and most pulsating celebration, the Kadayawan Festival, pays tribute to Mindanao's indigenous tribes by creating this homage as the focal point of the festivities. Derived from the Mandaya word “madayaw”, Kadayawan connotes anything that is of good value, meaning “beautiful, superior, or beneficial”. Celebrated every month of August, Kadayawan sa Dabaw focuses on the multicolored mix of Davao and Mindanao's indigenous communities as well as migrant settlers, whose identities make up the rich cultural heritage of this island. Davao’s ethnic tribes which used to reside long ago at the foot of Mount Apo would converge during a bountiful harvest to celebrate a thanksgiving ceremony to the gods, or “Manama” (supreme being). The rituals involve displaying produce like fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice and corn grains as offering, while villagers perform singing and dancing in giving respect to the year's abundance. This traditional practice of thanksgiving is fortunately still being observed by Dabawenyos today, as it has evolved into the tribal festival once initiated in the 70s by former Mayor Elias B. Lopez, a Bagobo himself.

This year’s festival is run and organized by Duaw Davao Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization by the private sector, whose mission is to become the local government’s partner in asserting Davao City’s position as a major city in the country’s tourism scene for quality festivals and special events. With the young and dynamic leadership of Davao’s first lady mayor, Honorable Sara Z. Duterte, the delegation of tasks to private sectors is one way of encouraging them to fully participate in any activity the city government undertakes. The week long revelry showcases highly participated activities every year and the launching of new ones. Big prizes are in store for the competitions which regularly draws participants from all over Mindanao. Other festival highlights are the agro-fairs, trade exhibits, sports activities, free concerts, various song and dance competitions, arts and culture exhibits, tribal performances, food and photo exhibits, and more. Visit for more information. Email:



Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park

Where friendly marine wildlife are sharing fun with its visitors Words and photos by Istvan Hidvegi 62



eople travel to distant shores hoping to find peace, tranquility, or just simply to relax after months of working hard. For me, traveling brings renewal, enrichment and a much clearer perspective of life and the world in general. I am fascinated with Asian countries with its colorful nature and culture, but every time I am in the Philippines, I feel I am in Paradise. There are so many beautiful places to see and explore. I have found this place in Mindanao which has left unforgettable memories in me. The people are so warm and friendly, the nature seemingly untouched and unspoiled. My wife took me to a place where not so many people go. I guess it is not so well-advertised yet, so it feels especially private. The place is called Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP). It is located in the boundaries of the municipalities of Tudela, Misamis Occidental and Sinacaban. Tudela is accessible by plane and served by Ozamiz City Airport, a short ride of motorcycle from the airport to the Ozamiz City Integrated Bus Terminal. Currently, it features a wildlife park that houses a wide array of animals; most are native to the Philippines.

You can have close encounters withmonkeys, swim with tunas, hold giant turtles (pawikan) and starfish, and swim with the dolphins! As you can see in the picture, I was trying to give fish to the dolphins and they were just standing there waiting for us to give it to them. Wildlife is amazing in the Philippines! It is even reflected in its glorious cuisine! I had my taste of mollusks, which at first I thought were sea snails! MOAP also features hotel accommodations of hutstyle suite cottages that line the mangroves. Two restaurants are located within the park itself, one on the mainland and another on Dolphin Island. There is a boat that will take you to the Dolphin Island. There, you can also enjoy the sunset whilst sitting in the middle of the sea‌ yes - literally sitting in the sea, when the tide is low. You have to be there to see the beauty of the place and be in touch with this incredible nature experience. Filipinos are so kind and hospitable too,which makes it very easy to go around. They will really go out of their way to make you feel welcome. MOAP is one of the places that you have to visit in the Philippines;it is simply gorgeous and unforgettable.It leaves you feeling very special indeed.



Cool, scenic, serene

Tagaytay Words and photo by Gloria Grejalde Cool, scented wind touches your face and the breathtaking view of Taal Lake and the volcano, the world’s smallest and active volcano, will greet you as you traverse the winding roads of Tagaytay, a city that stretches on a more than 60 kilometer ridge, with deep ravine, thick forests and a lake nestled on its foot. Located 2,500 feet above sea level, Tagaytay’s cool, crisp wind is a welcome treat for people from crowded, hot and polluted cities while its breathtaking view is a 64

feast for the sightseers and the nature lovers. One will be mesmerized by the grandeur of its misty mountain and balmy wind. Very much accessible by land; it is just over an hour ride from Manila. It can be reached either via Cavite’s coastal road towards Aguinaldo Highway or from Laguna passing through the town of Silang where rolling hills of pineapple plantations welcome you. Cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants lined the long


stretch of the ridge offering palatable dishes and the scenic view of Taal. Flower and fruit stalls stand in between adding beauty to the city along with some retreat and religious houses. Tagaytay City's climate is characterized by relatively low temperature, low humidity and abundant rainfall. Serene and cool, it is an ideal place for picnics, conferences, honeymoons, country homes, and spiritual retreats. But more than its natural beauty and an all-year-round cool climate that averages 22 degrees Celsius, Tagaytay offers unending treats of fun and entertainment. It has plenty of nooks and crannies where one can go and indulge on nature or food trip as well as spiritual development.

Tagaytay Picnic Grove

One place which the people frequent is the Tagaytay Picnic Grove. Picnic huts constructed following the gentle slopes of the Tagaytay ridge dotted the park which spans about 13.5 hectares. It offers the best panoramic view of Taal Lake and volcano. It is a famous picnic ground, families flock here on weekends and holidays. It has several camping sites and one can indulge on eco-adventure trail and horseback riding. A boat trip that will take you to the lake and explore the world’s smallest and active volcano can be arranged from the park attendants if the weather warrants it. The park also offers an awesome adventure of “flying high” on the ridge. Not for the soft-hearted and the scared, Tagaytay Ridge Zipline and Cable Car takes you to a breathtaking ride of up to 60km/hour and fly you 300 feet off the ground. The trip offers an awesome and exhilarating view of Taal Lake and volcano. For the sightseers, an interesting stop along the ridge is the People’s Park in the Sky popularly known as the tower station. It is poised on the highest point of the city and overlooks four bodies of water – Taal Lake, Balayan Bay, Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay. And as the night falls, you can see the lake sparkles with the lights of fishing boats and the contour of the shorelines of neighboring towns that lie on the foot of the ridge

The influx of tourists, local and foreign, brought tremendous progress in the city. High rise buildings and residential villages started to mushroom turning this once serene city into a busy community and hub of commerce and entertainment. Residents from neighbouring towns of Batangas, Laguna and Manila flock to Mahogany Market where freshly butchered beef is sold like hotcake along with local vegetable produce like mushroom, broccoli, and cabbage, among others. The trip to the market is not complete without having a bowl of famous bulalo, a stew of beef bone marrow served hot topped with fresh vegetables along the various carinderia. For those with voracious appetite, restaurants along the ridge offer variety of dishes, among which is the favourite deep-fried crispy tawilis, a kind of fish that can be caught mainly in nearby Taal Lake served with mango salad and shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) along with hot steamed rice. Horticulturists and simply plain plant lovers will have a heyday hopping to various nurseries and flower stalls selling highly-prized plants; from bonsai to a dish garden teeming with different variety of leafy and flowery plants, to hybrids of flowers and ornamental plants including fruit-bearing trees. Whole bunches of sweet banana called senorita and the sweet smell of jackfruit will entice you to stop among the several fruits and food stalls along the ridge which also offers other variety of tropical fruits like pineapple, lanzones, avocado and papaya. And with its serene atmosphere, several religious retreat houses offer places both for meditation, soul searching and also relaxation. A chapel which houses the replica of Mother Mary of the Lourdes in France is a favourite destination among the several religious structures in the city. Tagaytay is also home to Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) where many team-building activities, conference and seminars are being held. Spiritual enlightenment, professional advancement, nature trip and satisfied appetite, Tagaytay has it all. 65


Rediscover Philippines

part 2

The Philippines is aptly called ”the Pearl of the Orient” with its numerous amazing natural wonders. It is a lustrous gem of 7,107 islands. From mountains to chocolate hills, from white sand beaches to 7-volcano islands, from underground caves to 18th century towns – these fascinating places are just a few of the Philippines’ pride.

Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are the three major groups of islands where beautiful spots are found. From among numerous choices, we handpicked a couple of classic destinations from each group of islands for a four-day and three-night itinerary. Enjoy!

LUZON Palawan

Palawan in Puerto Princesa is the last frontier of green and untouched beauty of nature in the Philippines. It is quiet and serene with clear waters that soothes the soul. Modern man dashes to the fold of Palawan to enjoy its sanctuary of flora and fauna.

How to get there:

From Manila, Puerto Princesa is serviced by three (3) airlines : Cebu Pacific, AirPhil Express and Zest Air. It is only a 1 hour trip. There are also flights to and from Puerto Princesa to

Day 1 City Tours. Visit Binuatan Weaving Creation Cebu. and see colorful loom of bags, mats, table runners and many more. Go to Crocodile Farm, Baker’s Hill and Butterfly Garden. End your day by eating sumptuous seafoods, crispy fish tail and natural food baskets. Day 2 Take a banca ride in your T’s over swimsuit and go island hopping from one serene white beach to the next: Snake island is a swirling piece of white sandy beach; hold a starfish and explore their shells on Starfish Island! You can have your buffet lunch in one incredible white beach isle. Day 3 Explore the wonders of the underground river which is a good two kilometers in length. Discover bats and other bird species at the end of the tunnel. Eat lunch inside the cave and enjoy a different experience. Day 4 Enjoy the city and eat local delicacies of mollusks, sweet ripe mangoes and fresh fish. Try the souvenir shops that are everywhere selling items from bamboos that produce the sound of rain, to dried fish. 66

Where to stay in Puerto Princesa:

Hotel Fleuris is a 47-room hotel, with first class facilities and amenities. It is located in the heart of the city and a mere 15 minute drive from the airport. The hotel provides for free shuttle to and from the airport for its guests. The hotel has a cozy coffee shop which is open from 6:00 am – 12:00 midnight. The We Be Sushi Restaurant is a Japanese fusion restaurant. The hotel has a Piano Bar where guests can relax after the day’s tours.

How to book your stay:

You may book directly with the Manila Sales Office of Hotel Fleuris located at the Ground Floor, BDO Equitable Tower, 8751 Paseo de Roxas, Makati, telephone numbers 846-6488 or 845 4364. Email address is


Baguio-La Union-Ilocos Baguio is the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Even in summer, Baguio boasts of a cool, comfortable weather. It is no wonder that it is also known as the City of Flowers. La Union, on the other hand, has become the surfers’ destination because of its constant rush of sea waves. And Vigan prides itself with the 18th century ambience you feel each time you walk its ancient streets.

Day 1 Spend the day in Burnham Park, lay

out a blanket and have a picnic. There is something special about the “Taho” with strawberry syrup sold by vendors around the park – it is so good and the warm gel goes with the scenic place as you gobble mouthfuls of the delicious soybean dessert. Ride the boat and try your skills in rowing and simply enjoy the peaceful pond. Go to Camp John Hay to the Butterfly Garden and later sip some `tsokolate-e’. Up at Mines View, you not only get the view, a snapshot of you on a horse or with a giant St. Bernard dog but hordes of shops selling all sorts of items as well. At the Carver’s Village, you will find all intricately carved images from religious items to furnitures. At Tam-awan village, you will see the works of famous local artists because that is also the community where they live. You may walk along the Session Road and stop here and there for a knick-knack or two. Then you can try that authentic super delicious egg pie in that old hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Day 2 Spend the day in the beaches of La Union and try the waves and go surfing. La Union is a favourite surfing destination of both local and foreign surfers. Have a feast of ‘bagnet’ and sea foods and other local delicacies. Day3-4 Next, go to Vigan and be transported back in time to the 18th century as you walk the cobbled stones of this beautiful Spanish heritage. Get a Kalesa Tour and see centuries old bell towers, a claymaking community, the house of martyred Fr Burgos (of GOMBURZA) and the famous ‘Baluarte’ where you can touch a live tiger.Try the Ilocano ‘empanada’ famed for its scrumptious flavor of finely chopped green papaya, monggo sprouts, garlic, egg and Viganlanggoniza wrapped in freshly made ‘galapong’ rice flour. Explore each nook and cranny of the shops lined up for ‘banig’ bags and locally women blankets. Ilocos rice coffee which made its name internationally is available in Vigan shops.

How to get there:

By car, the trip from Manila to Baguio would take from 5-6 hours through the North Luzon Expressway all the way to Tarlac, Pangasinan and La Union. From there, the most direct route for light vehicles is through KennonRoad . Since Kennon is a zigzag road and prone to landslides and accidents, many motorists take the roundabout routes via the Marcos Highway or Naguilian Highway which are open to all types of vehicles. -By air, daily flights are operated by Asian Spirit. -By bus, the trip from Manila to Baguio takes approximately 6-7 hours with a few stopovers along the way. The following bus companies operate daily on this route: -Dagupan Bus Lines, New York St. , Cubao, Quezon City , Philippines , Tel. numbers +632 929-6123 and +632 7272330. -Victory Liner, EDSA, Pasay City , Philippines , Tel. number +632 833 5019.

Where to stay:

The Manor Hotel, Loakan Rd., Baguio City, Philippines . Website:, tel. numbers:+6374 424 0932 to 43. Email: Safari Lodge, 191 Leonard Wood Road , Baguio City. Tel. number +6342 442 2491. Hotel Veniz (near Session Road) at One Abanao St., Baguio City, Philippines, tel. number +6374 446 0700 to 03. Email address: 67



Cebu-Bohol Cebu is the Queen of the South among the Southern provinces of the Philippines. It is next to Manila in metro population, urbanization and industry. Cebu is well-loved tourist destination because of its numerous resorts and beaches, as well as its own share of historic attraction. Bohol which is just across Cebu, is a few minutes boat ride to another paradise.

Day 1 This day is a City Tour that includes a

visit to the Magellan’s Cross in downtown Cebu. Then a few steps further you will see the basilica of the Sto Nino where interestingly, the people wave at the image each time they pass in front of it. Do not miss giving a few coins to the old lady holding candles just outside the church. They will ask for your name and your prayer wish and begin the ritual of dancing your petition while looking at the image of the Sto Nino. Then off you go to the Lapu-Lapu shrine where beside it you will find the legendary ‘sootukil’ where you can eat all types of acquatic delicacies. A visit to the guitar-making shop gives you an orientation on how the native guitars are made. And as a cool end to the day, a trip to the tallest peak to view the night light of Metro-Cebu.

Day 4 Back in Cebu you will need to catch up

on some shopping and the best bargain center for clothes is still that mall they call ‘country’. You will never cease to be surprised at the bargain tags of their clothes there. And you will not need to go far to get Cebu goodies. From clothes shopping, just proceed to the basement supermarket for all the ‘pasalubongs’ you want – dried squid, salvaro, otap, masarial, dried mangoes, banana chips etc. Everything is there. Add to that is a bonus –they have a lot of good Chinese delicacies and medicines there as well.

How to get there:

The one-hour flight from Manila to Cebu and vice versa

Day 2 This day is a trip to Bohol Island is operated by Philippine Airlines. PAL has eight (8) where you go for a leisurely tour along Loboc River. On the boat you are served a hearty lunch. A trip of a few minutes will take you to Chocolate Hills, which is some 1776 grass covered limestone mounds spread in a 20 km square area. This geographical wonder is indeed a sight to behold. The power of its image is left in your mind long after you have left the magical place. Day 3 We start the day early on boat to Pamilacan island to see the various dolphins and whales. The rest of the day is enjoyed by the pool in a peaceful enclave of your hotel. Sit back and soak in the beauty and serenity of the place. Enjoy the quiet of God in nature and be one with the unfolding wonder of life. 68

daily flights to and from Cebu. Other domestic airlines also operate daily flights to Cebu.

Where to stay:

The 5-star Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, stands on the highend Nivel Hills in Apas, Cebu City .For reservations call tel. number +6332 253-1111. Crown Regency Hotel & Towers is the tallest building outside of Metro Manila. The hotel is centrally located at FuenteOsmena, Cebu City. For reservations, call +63 32 418 8888 or email:


Boracay A trip to the Philippines is never complete without a visit to the world famous Boracay, a ribbonshaped island in Aklan, south of Manila.This 7-kilometer fine white-sugar beach paradise was first discovered by Germans who made this island their secret hide-away in the early 70s. Boracay’s beauty spread by word of mouth to local backpackers and then to some jetsetters until it became what it is today.

Day 1 Make sure to wear the shorterst shorts

and slippers on the day you arrive on the island. Double water-proof your bag, cameras, and cellular phones and avoid the experience of many who had to scoop them out of the waters as a welcome experience. The first day is for exploring the whole stretch of beach from Station 1 to Station 3 to check out what is there. Get your cameras fully charged and start clicking away! Every year, new developments appear so it is always a new backdrop for visitors. Do not forget the sunblock! Day 2 Enjoy the calm waters some more and swim to your heart’s content. Later in the day, get a massage right there on the beach for a totally new experience. At night, walk around and have a dinner of charcoal broiled fish, baked oysters, and pork barbecue will go best with your choice of frozen cola and beer. Or rent a boat and explore the other side of the island; bring some cold drinks with you and get a chance to swim at the beach of puca shells just around the bend. Snorkel and discover the underworld in that part of the island: Learn new adventures of parasailing. Feel the wind while seeing the whole beach from a higher level in the air. Day 3 Visit The Mall and get pleasure from finding trinkets and little treasures that are charming and unique. Check out those hand-painted T-shirts and cheesecloth bags you can bring home with you. You can also get henna tattoo, hair braiding and learn firedancing. Get your pictures at the castles in Station 1. Day 4 Swim on the beach or in the pool and savor the feeling of cool water on your skin and the warm sunshine on your face. In your last-minute shopping, you might want to insert a pearl or two in your bag. It will be awhile until you come back and there is no room to feel sorry for not getting that piece you want when you find out later how expensive they are in shops.

How to get there:

The fastest way to get there is to fly to Caticlan (Boracay)- a mere 1-hour ride by plane from Manila. There are three (3) airline companies servicing the Manila-Caticlan-Manila route: Cebu Pacific Airline, Air Phil Express and SeAir. - Flights are also available from Cebu to Boracay . Upon landing in Caticlan, visitors should take a tricycle ride to the jetty port to take the motorized banca to the island (15 minutes). - Another option is to fly to Kalibo, Aklan and the take the 2-hr. drive to Caticlan. From Caticlan, one has to go to the jetty port to take the motorizedbanca to the island. - Most hotels provide free jetty port pick up service.

Where to stay:

Hotel Soffia is one of Boracay’s best kept secret. It is located on top of a hill with a breathtaking view of the island. It is about 7 mins. ride to the main beach and 5 minutes to Puka Beach. The Hotel provides free shuttle service for guests to the beach. Hotel Soffia has 51 well appointed rooms and 8 casitas and offers one of the best service on the island. It has an infinity pool and a pool lounging area. The Coffee Shop is open all day up to midnight and offers delightful food to cater to everyone’s appetite.

How to book:

Bookings can be made at the Hotel Soffia Manila Sales Office at the Ground Floor, BDO Equitable Tower, 8751 Paseo de Roxas , Makati. Telephone numbers are : 846-6488 or 812-0384. Email address: 69



Davao is the biggest city in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia covering 244,000 hectares of land. Davao has a very pleasant cool weather that remains constant throughout the year. It has the best weather to grow orchids. It is a pleasant surprise that Metro-Davao has an unhurried and relaxed pace compared to Metro-Manila. Davao is a welcome change from the hustle of the city life and it offers a clean environment, peaceful people, and a laid back mood.

Day 1 Tour the city and start at Malagos where you Day 4 A trip to Davao is not complete without

will find the Philippine Eagle Center which houses the biggest eagle in the world, The Philippine Eagle, the national bird. This bird is now threatened to become extinct. Here, they are trying to breed these birds and increase their number. Lunch is at a Japanese Tunnel where you get a tour of a real tunnel built during the Japanese Revolution. Day 2 It is a day to get pleasure from swimming at the popular Paradise Resort in Samal. Get your sun attire, your picnic bag filled with ‘kinilaw’, fruits, and drinks and get ready for another day of bliss in the beach. Sit back for the 5-minute ride to the island. Watch your legs as you stand on the waters and observe how the fishes swim around you. And yes, you will see them with your naked eye – even when you are wearing shades. And while you are in the island you may visit the mini-zoo they have there. Day 3 Visit the authentic Japanese abaca plantation called Furukawa and immerse in pre-war time in the homes built by Okinawans in 1903. These Japanese houses are made of narra became known then as ‘Little Japan’ during that time. For dinner, do not miss going to the chains of restaurants along the boulevard for a taste of grilled seafoods such as the yellow-fin tuna, delicious barbeque chicken and tiger prawns. 70

tasting Durian fruit. It may be smelly, but it sure is a palate experience worth the attempt. It is a most yummy aphrodisiac fruit ever! The best partner to eating durian is drinking brewed coffee. The combination is perfect, like heaven. Other versions of this fruit experience are to taste Durian ice cream and take a bite at an enchanted freshly baked Durian pie. Of course, shopping for brass bells, woven cloths and batik shirts is a must at Aldevinco’s.

How to get there:

It takes 1 hour and 50 minutes by air to Davao City. Philippine Airlines has 4 flights daily.

Where to stay:

Pearl Farm Beach Resort, this 11 hectare spread was once a Pearl Farm, now a paradise resort with all amenities. Address: Damosa Complex, Lanang Davao City tel . +44 3300 011 077 Or email Isla Malipano, has white sand beach, luau dinner, perfect setting Contact details: phone +44 3300 011 077 Or email


Camiguin Camiguin is a small island of barely 238 square kilometers. For such a small island, you will not believe that it houses 7 volcanoes, one of which is active, Hibok-hibok. This small wonder, despite its size, is known as the 7th diving spot in the world. It boasts of the sweetest Lanzones in the Philippines. This is the island where you will find the greenest mountains, the clearest waters and the purest air.

Day 1 Tour the island slowly and leisurely

because driving faster than 30 km per hour will finish your day quickly. That is how small the island is. You will be able to circle the whole island in less than twenty minutes if you drive at the speed you do in the super highway. Get to appreciate every piece of nature you see like the smoke-spewing Hibok-hibok. Day 2 A 20-minute boat ride will take you to an islet of literally pure white sand. This unusual islet is horse-shoe shaped and runs 2 kilometers from one end to the other. Within the u-shaped wonder is clear shallow water where youcan enjoy snorkeling. Just make sure you have feet protection against some rocks in the seashore. Make sure you get your long shot picture taken with the curving beach as backdrop. After dinner, take a dip in the natural sauna-like pools of Ardent Hot Spring for a soothing, calming end to your day. Day 3 You will ride a boat tied to a long rope which will take you across the sunken cemetery and towards the Big Cross. Underneath the waters are numerous graves that predisposes one into silence and reverence, imagining the day that these burial grounds sank in the volcano’s erupting fury. Waterfalls hopping is the next theme of the day starting with a dip in Katibawasan Falls – a 70 meters drop of water to grounds filled with orchids, ferns, trees and big boulders. Next to visit is Binangawan falls where there are small and huge falls that come together in one pool. Try and catch that magical rainbow in the mist when you take your picture. If you are ready for some hiking, a third waterfall is in store – Tuasan Falls. It is a virgin place that is peaceful with no other sound but the water gushing from the rocks.

Day 4 This day is for cold springs. Sto Nino

Cold Spring is in Catarman proper. Take heed to go down the pool slowly to avoid the shock of ice cold water assaulting your bloodstream. The natural spring water sprouts from the bottom of the pool. You will find yourself swimming with fishes there. Enjoy sumptuous lunch you can order within the area. If you feel like going to some other spot, Macao Cold spring is another natural spring pool in Mahinog where waters are blue-green.

How to get there:

Sea Air flies to Camiguin. One can also get there via Cagayan de Oro, Bohol, or Cebu by combination ferry and bus ride. Hiring a land transport can be a good idea.

Where to stay:

There are countless affordable hotels and resorts in Camiguin. -Camiguin Highland Resort- an 8 hectare resort with excellent reviews, a place where you can be one with nature. Tel (088) 387 0515 or email - BahayBakasyunan – a 1.2 hectare resort along the northern shore of the Mindanao sea, conveniently close to the islands most scenic spots For booking/info

Compiled by ETG Connect. Pictures compliments of DOT London.


Book Circle in Stockholm for Miguel Syjuco’s “Ilustrado” finds a place at Sturebibliotek, 12th October and 2nd November 2011

Sturebibliotek on Grev Turegatan 6, T-Jarlen will write about this event as part of their Autumn activities which will be open to the public. The book circle will start at 7.00 pm and is expected to last for 2 hours. A moderator from the library will head the discussion, which could either be in Swedish or English. Priority will be given to those who sign-up, replying by email not later than 12th October for the second session (2nd November). Refreshments will be available - tea, coffee, water and possibly Philippine-inspired snacks (merienda) on a pay-as-you-wish basis. Welcome to an interesting literary evening! Rowina E Hallström at The Tang Club


Aina Bauer at Roots & Wings



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