Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ten good things to do for the long weekend break

ANILA, Philippines - Flowers? Check. Candles? Check. Now that you're all set for the annual ritual of honoring your dearly departed, but are still opting to stay in the city over the long holiday, you could still have that relaxing, fun weekend break anyway. Here are some ideas to keep you going.

1. Get shokot to the max. Can’t get enough of the hit film Zombadings? Now, enter the Zombadings Shokot House at Eastwood City Walk. This house of horror will either scare you so much that you would race for the exit or make you laugh like the movie did. Open until October 31, from 5PM to 11PM. Entrance fee is P100. Midnight screenings are also scheduled at the Eastwood Mall Cinema on October 28 to 30, go if you haven’t seen it yet or go and watch it again and again! For more information, call 709-0888.

2. Much ado about Resorts World. What? You haven’t been to Resorts World Manila? Well, this weekend is the time to satisfy your curiosity to find out what’s all the fuss about Resorts World Manila. Check out its high-end bars, casinos and luxury malls, and while you’re at it, visit the Newport Mall for its Halloween Cocktail, held daily until November 15, and Grand Masquerade on October 30.

Talk about responsible drinking, in Halloween Cocktails,11 participating restaurants have concocted drinks---and a portion of each sale will go to Alay sa mga may Kapansanan Association Inc. Feeling thirsty now? Get the gang together for drinks tonight and go resto-hopping for drink like Johnny Chow's Bloodfire, Crisostomo's Sisa's Ghost, New Orleans Diablo Mojito, and UCC Cafe Terrace's Vampire's Kiss, to name a few. Resorts World is located at Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Cybertourism Zone, Pasay City.

3. Hide in style. Stop worrying about household stuff (yes, washing dishes or making up your bed for a change!) and pamper your family with a stay at a luxury hotel like Acacia Hotel. The newest five-star hotel in Alabang comes with all the deluxe amenities you’ll ever need; reviews have raved about its efficient and warm service. The swimming pool, gym, and spa areas, however, are still non-operational. Till end of October, the hotel’s deluxe rooms are at P4,888 nett or 55 percent off the published rates. On October 30, the hotel has planned its Creep-tacular Forest Halloween Party at its new Samanae activity center. Acacia Hotel is at 5400 Asia Drive corner Commerce Avenue, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinglupa. For inquiries and reservations, call (632) 720-2000 and (632) 588-5888.

4. Get lost in space. Explore outer space at the Hotel InterContinental Manila’s Grand Ballroom and party with extra-terrestrials and space heroes. The hotel provides a lot of games, activities---trick or treats to arts and crafts--and of course, good food. The hotel is located at 1 Ayala Avenue, Edsa. For information call (632) 793-7000.

5. Sit back, relax, watch a movie. Scare each other’s wits out, and go see the horror and suspense flick that topped the US Box office weekend (and toppled Hugh Jackman’s latest starrer, Real Steel) Paranormal Activity 3. Although it is the third movie from the franchise, it is actually a prequel as it is set 18 years before the first two films. Paranormal Activity 3 is sure to be a spine-tingling treat for the Halloween. If a scary movie is too much, then the Three Musketeers would fill your weekend. The movie stars Orlando Bloom, Mila Jovovich, Luke Evans, and Logan Lerman.

6. Watch The Sound of Music. The Newport Performing Arts Theater (NPAT) at Resorts World Manila is alive with the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, as it stages the well-loved and award wining Broadway musical. Joana Ampil and Cris Villonco star as Maria, while Audie Gemora alternates with Ed Feist as Captain Georg von Trapp. The show will run until December 11, 2011. Show times are 8 PM on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; 3 PM and 8 PM on Saturdays and 3 PM on Sundays. For ticket reservations and inquiries, visit any Ticketworld outlet or the Resorts World Manila Box Office.

7. See Peter Pan fly. Catch some fairy dust at the Meralco Theater, Ortigas as Repertory Philippines and Stages presents Peter Pan. In the lead role is Sam Concepcion, who plays the boy who never grows up. He shares the stage with Menchu Lauchengco, Jaime Del Mundo, Tippy Dos Santos and Cara Barredo, among others. Show time is on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM, with a matinee show on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30PM. The play runs till October 30. For more information call Repertory Philippines at (632) 571-6926 or (632) 571-4941.

8. See a concert. Spend the night of October30 listening to the relaxing music of international superstar, Jason Mraz. The singer-songwriter will have a one-night show at the Araneta Colisuem where he will perform hits like “I’m Yours” and “Lucky”. Tickets are priced at P800 to P3,500. For more information call Ticketnet at 911-5555.

9. Listen to orchestra music. The Cultural Center of the Philippines presents Greenilda versus the Litterbugs: A Halloween Family Concert on October 30, 2:30 PM at the CCP Little Theater. The concert features the Metro Manila Concert Orchestra led by Josefino Chino Toledo. Let your kids learn about orchestra music and environmental conservation. For more information and ticket reservations, call the CCP Marketing Office at 8321125. Students can enjoy a 50-percent discount while seniors get 20 percent off. Ticket prices range from P500 to P800.

10. Can’t beat ‘em, then party! But, of course, if you enjoy the thrill of seeing people in their scariest costumes and just having a good time, then join the parties scattered all over the metro. One big gig to go to is Black Party Manila 2011 at Orosa corner Nakpil Streets in Malate, Manila. Fun starts at 10 PM.

Families advised to keep Saints, Souls’ day solemn

MANILA, Oct. 30, 2011—A priest reminded people going to cemeteries to light candles and pray for their beloved dead on All Saints and All Souls Day to express their Christian faith meaningfully.

La Loma Cemetery chaplain Fr. Leo Gilbero said he is proud of this unique Filipino tradition of gathering the whole family during this time of the year to pray for their loved ones, but he also stressed the importance of keeping the faith within character.

“We should also set boundaries to keep with our faith, like for example the bringing of food [and partaking of meals] in the cemeteries. What is that for?” he asked.

Filipino families traditionally gather in cemeteries every All Saints and All Souls Day to light candles and pray for their deceased family and friends.

But the gathering involves not just about lighting a candle, it also serves as a kind of small family reunion among family members and friends, where they not only pray but also eat together.

“All Saints’ Day is a family tradition. In a sense, it helps the family,” Gilbero said. “Even though it is because of a death of [a] loved one, [but] it helps bring the family together.”

“According to Church teachings, every time we visit the tomb or grave, and every time we pray for the dead, we gain a partial indulgence,” Fr. Gilbero pointed out.

“For us, there is a meaning to each visit that gives us indulgence. Maybe there is significance for the family — the reunion that happens around the tomb — but the Church teaches us that when we visit the dead we can gain partial indulgence with the conditions that we visit the grave or pray for the dead,” he explained.

The priest said efforts had been done to address the practice of bringing food in the cemetery but to no avail so far.

“Maybe it is due to the culture and the influence of other cultures,” he pondered. (Ana Valenzuela)

Tears of the Sun

by Ana Valenzuela

Caroline Mae Jenairo was like any other college senior. She had grades to maintain, papers to pass, professors to please, but unlike girls her age who were learning about the newest makeup products and how to curl her hair, she had to learn about power tools and how to use them. And not just your ordinary screwdrivers, mind you, but welding tools, as this girl was already building a car. Not just any other car but a solar-powered car.

Jenairo, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student of De La Salle, is part of the team that built the Sikat II set to compete in the World Solar Challenge in the Australian Outback from Oct.16 to 23. The team consists of 22 students and three professors from De La Salle University Manila’s Mechanical Engineering and Electronics and Communications Departments. The product of the team's hard work was recently unveiled to a chosen number of the media at the campus grounds.

Harnessing the sun

Solar energy in terms of economies of scale is a relatively new technology. “People will come out with better manufacturing processes, higher yield. In the future it will become part of the power generation, not exactly solar powered cars but part of energy and powering portable equipment like cell phones and batteries,” predicts Jack Catalan, team leader and faculty adviser.

“The motivation for building a solar car is for the Philippines to field an entry to the world’s solar challenge. The idea is to have a Filipino car join the race,” says Jack.

The team started working on the Sikat II early February of this year. The Philippine team has a good chance of winning, as the organizers have cut down on the allowed space grade cells. “The organizers are cutting down on the performance versus the resources. They cut down the allowed size of the space grade cells; these are the type which is better performing more endowed teams are able to afford. Chances of getting to compete with richer teams are better compared to previous competitions,” says Jack.

As for technological improvements, it seems to be starting now as the team proudly introduced a few upgrading in to the design of the new solar car as compared to the predecessors Sinag, which also competed in the World Solar challenge in 2007 finishing 12th overall, and the Sikat 1, which travelled from Mindanao to Luzon.

“The flaws that we saw in our previous designs, we corrected in Sikat II. We used better composite materials. Unlike before, we used PVC comb so now we used lightweight carbon fiber-honeycomb composite for it to be lighter,” said student Caroline Mae. Indeed, the new material makes Sikat II is ten kilograms lighter than Sikat 1.

Aside from the weight, they were additional adjustments made to the car.“Sikat II’s solar panels are better. They are better in terms of encapsulation, if you can remember Sikat1’s solar arrays are bright. If we used the old materials it is very difficult to maintain, a little scratch, a little dust would affect the performance. But this one we respect that it would fare better in performance and maintenance,” says Jack.

“All the other components are inherited from Sikat1, but given all the improvements plus the method we used to construct it, we trust that Sikat II is a far better car. It is lighter, has better aerodynamics, its shape is better than Sikat1 that its air resistance would be lower. New materials and new techniques make it sturdier and lighter,” says Jack. With all the developments, the team hopes that Sikat II will have a great finish in the coming 3,000 kilometer run. Sikat II is faster than its predecessor able to run at a top speed of 110lph with its two kilowatt motor. When running on its 4,000 watt hour Lithium-ion battery and solar array power at a speed of 85 kilometer per hour, Sikat II can travel more than 800 kilometers.

The team has learnt much to set up the best car possible for the upcoming cross-continent World Solar Challenge. Apart from that Jenairo shares what they learnt, “Time management also. We worked day and night, so we had to do a lot of catching up in our academics, we have to sacrifice a little of our sleep, and a little of our social activities. But this is a once in a lifetime experience so for me this is really worth it.” She says with a smile.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

No Other Woman (review)

The story has been told more than a thousand times, happened in the real world more than a million times, yet this movie gives it a unique kick that makes it worth watching. What more the stars give it a different twist. Though hunky Derek just have to be himself, the sexy star Chrisitne Reyes plays the angelic perfect wife while the ever bubbly Anne Curtis is the mistress. It's the perfect of kind of miscasting. They do pull it off really well, peppered with punchy one liners that would surely be quoted for years to come.

Kudos as well to Carmi Martin, as the Nouveau rich mudrabells of Christine reyes, who completes the movie.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some Like You (review)

Nope this is not a review of Adele's famous song, which I love by the way, but of a movie released in 2001 with the same title that stars Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear and Hugh Jackman.

It is not just about the usual romance, nor the comedy, but what we get from the plot. I believe some of us know of it already, but often times we needed to be reminded.

You would think that Jane Goodale (Judd) has everything going for her. She is a talent scout in a popular talk show which has recently gone nationwide and their new dashing executive producer, Rey (Kinnear) has her asked out. What makes her life more unbelievable is that Rey has said I love you only after six weeks, and has asked her to play house with him.

After picking out the right apartment, wanting to sign the contracts and having her current place rerented, Rey suddenly backs out, not answering any of Jane's calls

Enter womanizing colleague Eddie, who had asked Jane once before if she would think about being his roommate, and there right in front of Rey, Jane says she will move in with Eddie.

Jane then now has a new place to live, and also a hobby to pursue on which is why men are the way they are. Apparantly, less than five pecernt of the male species are monogamous. And she also come up with a theory called the new cow. A bull makes love to a cow only once. Even if that cow's smell may change, the bull knows who that is.

Her bestfriend Liz turns this hobby in to a living by proposing she becomes a columnist in the men's magazine that she is working for. Jane then becomes an overnight sensation, with the penname Dr. Charles.

Not knowing of her journalistic success, Rey tries to make peace with her.

Jane is a cynic, and with all her cynic ways she then finds out that not all men are alike. As clicheish as it may sound. You can find the nicest guy in the unexpected places---like in a hospital room, telling his wife how beautiful she is even after an accident.

I did get to watch this great film in the movie house and I have it on VCD. I recommended it on my friend who is still hung of on her ex, and I do hope that she did get to learn a thing or two from this flick.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Why are people selfish? It is not just all about the excess love of oneself. It is a different kind. The lack of concern for someone. We see it. Yeah maybe, that they are giving to others, but then to us there is always a barrier of what it is they give. They expect so much from us, be it in material things or emotional investment. They always expect us to bend over backwards---to always admit to them that they are always the ones who are right, to give what should have been ours, because after all we earned it. We sacrifice our own happiness just to see that certain person smile. But, then we do not even think about how many times have that person done the same for you?

Horrible Bosses (review)

Admittedly, I am a Jen Aniston Fan. So, I have been waiting for this movie ever since IMDB said pre-production. Even more so, when it had gotten good reviews from the critics, and Jen receiving praises for her performance.

But this movie is not just all about Jen, who plays Dentist Julia Harris. This movie also features Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis, Charlie Day, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx.Horrible Bosses as the title implies is all about three friends (the two Jasons and Charlie Day) who have bosses (Jen, Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell) making their life miserable. So they plot out to kill their bosses. They look in the internet for murderers. Then they go to a bar, where eventually they find a murder consultant ( Jamie Foxx).

So do they succeed in ending their misery? You have to watch the movie and find out for yourself. I swear you'll have your money's worth just laughing off at these three guys antics and what happened to them.
As for Jen, I can understand why it was such a positive response. It was a new character fo her. No only because oof the dark hair, but also the way she played it, You would see her in wearing nothing but her panties and her lab coat. I do wish that she would do more movies like this, well not exactly playing a maneater, but more of those which are outside her comfort zone.

I do hope that Wanderlust, the one that she is shooting with her boyfriend Justin Theroux would be as good or even better than Horrible Bosses.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Work Hard, party harder

by Ana Valenzuela

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer.” Studies and surveys show that productivity level of employees increase when they return to their jobs after enjoying time off—be it a simple dinner with the family or meeting friends after office hours.

However, most people do not get the chance to recharge and bond with their loved ones. They sometimes have to render overtime, often blaming the bosses who would first put into consideration petty stuff or staff members who always seem to have excuses. But, are you sure you should be blaming your bosses and employees and not the machines you use at work?

Canon recently launched a new range of business solutions designed to make work simpler, thus achieving a better work-life balance.

“What we’re trying to give our consumers and users is a balance in the work life,” says Jose Abelardo Bolima, director of Canon‘s business imaging solutions group during Canon’s latest press launch held at White Space.

“When people are stressed, they can't give quality time for family and friends. With this kind of automation in your office, it cuts your work time.’’

“Usually, there is a lot of overtime in the workplace because the work has not yet been done, but with the new automatic system, it saves a lot of money and increases the productivity of the people. You become more efficient and productive without really suffering,” he shares.

The automation that Bolima speaks about is Canon’s Business Imaging Solutions which are technologically-advanced machines designed to enhance an organization’s manpower efficiency and productivity, which, in turn would improve both the company’s revenue without sacrificing employee satisfaction.

Canon’s Business Imaging Solutions has four product groups to fit the company’s requirements; these include multifunction copiers, laser multifunction and single-function printers, imaging managing systems, and production and graphic arts.

As every company has different needs, Canon sets out to visit the offices to do an in-depth analysis of the workload and recommend what systems would help save cost and increase productivity.

One of these products is the image ClassMF8350. This is a cost effective print, copy, scan and fax machine that is already network ready. It can surely save time at the office as it prints page at eight seconds per page, and fax documents at three seconds per page. Another would be the image PRESS C7010Vp which produces exceptional image quality.

“As we install every machine to client’s premises, we conduct end-user training for several employees to properly orient them on proper usage, basic troubleshooting and other canon solution features that would help them in their daily grind. All these are for free,” says Tin Dolovino, assistant manager for marketing of Canon‘s business imaging solutions

Bolima stresses that Canon’s new devices would surely assist companies, even those who are into cloud computing. “Integrators who are offering services through the web like Google apps among others, this kind of solution is the in thing now, as it helps save a lot of money especially for the SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and even for the big companies. With cloud computing, you have to put up your system in the net and access it through our machines, meaning you can access your files from the copier, you don’t need another computer connected to the internet and print it from our machine,” he says. “You can never equate it with value, because what we are selling is work efficiency.”

Canon Marketing (Philippines) president and chief executive officer Alan Chng adds, “More than just high quality equipment, Canon’s advanced simplicity transforms the way people work in order to create more leisure time for a healthier, more productive workforce, which translates to productivity.”

Now, there is no need for overtime, as you are using top of the line machines that seem to multitask like you. The only thing you need to do is clock off and unwind.

Forget My Fries Not

Fast food is everybody's go to food stop anytime that they are hungry and could not decide what food to eat. So, I guess it is only right for me to commend these establishments which have been working on their customer service.

Earlier on during the day, I met my friend Ms. Lulu at a Jollibee near our house. Sitting waiting for me, she was already done eating. But before I can take a seat next to her she diverted my attention towards a piece of paper on her table. Apparantly it was a survey form of the fast food chain aimed at improving their services. However, Lulu did not want to answer it as it contained personal information such as: Saan ka nangaling? Saan ka pupunta? How is my answers going to improve their services, she asked. Well, I thought it was more a marketing survey for the company to know what type of market are they catering to. Somehow the answers would lead for the comapny to find out about its customer's financial situation. Still, she refused, leaving it unanswered and gave back the paper to the one in charge when he checked on her.

Also, during the day, my mother was surprisingly asking me if I wanted some burger mc do. Of course, yes. I also loved the cheeseburger, I mean who wouldn't as my brother did say Mc Do's cheese burger is the best. Apart from the cheese, it has pickles on it. But, this is not about the cheeseburger. Why of all a sudden would my mom ask all us if we wanted some McDo?

Apparently, she's going to send my little sister on an errand at this fast food joint. My sister is not just going to buy us food, she's going to pick up something which is some forgotten fries.My mom went to Mc Do , yesterday or the day before that, and had her meal upsized. According to her she asked the girl for some extra ketchup, which the girl said, meron na daw. Link
The girl may not have forgotten this condiment, but she sure did forget my mother's fries. So my mom called up the customer service( not 8mcdo), the number found in the receipt and reported the incident.

The Customer Service Assistance was very apologetic about the situation, as my mom said they even offered to have that certain fries delivered. But, as you know my sister picked it up.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Live and Let Live

by Ana Valenzuela
Published Manila Standard Today September 8, 2011

When looking to buy property there is an age old rule: Location, location, location. This means one must consider a property’s accessibility to main thorough fares, proximity to school, churches and hospitals and shopping outlets, and whether or not it is in a flood-free area.

However, for many of us it isn’t just a dwelling place that we are looking for but also for breathing space. As the metro gets jammed, developers show their resourcefulness with condos that offer lush greeneries for tenants. Nowadays, it isn’t just a condo unit with a pool and gym but with green, open spaces with lush, shrouding trees, jogging paths that allow your kid to run around, and often even clubhouses to enjoy life. One such developer is SOC Land’s Anuva at Muntinlupa, which offers 80 per cent of open space for greeneries, and other amenities such as a lazy river, lagoon, lake, themed parks and gardens, and a yoga meditation garden.

“We have 80 percent open space. What does this mean? We are actually three times the industry standard of 30 per cent standard,” says John Paul Reyes, SOC Land president. SOC, maybe a newbie in the Real Estate biz, but it has all the backup it needs, as it is a subsidiary of South China resources, an affiliate of construction companies such as Puyat Steel Corporation, International Pipe Industries Corporation, and Puyat Flooring products.

Anuva is strategically located in Muntinlupa, along the east service road of SLEX, one kilometer from Sucat Interchange and about 10 to 15 minutes away from Makati and Alabang. Recently, the condo project had its ground breaking, vice president and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) chairman Jejomar Binay was present at the event.

He says, “It is nice to know that here is a developer who invests in high rise. Our (HLURB) idea is that from Pampanga to Manila, Manila to Calamba is that the development would be medium rise so that the land would not be put to waste. If you build single detach, the land would not be maximize. But if you go with medium rise or high rise with open spaces and basic facilities are added then land would not be put to waste.”

Also present was renowned landscape architect Paulo Alacazren who is working on Anuva.

“For Anuva we started with understanding what cosmopolitan Filipinos needed and wanted, and what would make the project distinctive and delightful at the same time. The formula we developed includes the ingredients of extensive green spaces, expansive water in ponds, pool and fountains, and extremely fun and fascinating amenities,” he shares.

“The extensive green includes over 300 shade trees and palms, close to 100,000 shrubs and close to 3,000 square meters of lawns and ground covers. The expansive water includes several fountain, ponds and pools totaling 1,800 square meters. The extremely fun and fascinating amenities including play courts, playgrounds, jogging paths and lanais and al fresco nooks in between buildings cover another 2,000 square meters or so of wonderfully open space accessible and distributed among all the units of the development,”adds Alcazaren.

Aside from the open spaces, Anuva would have its distinctive look as it would be in tandem style, 14 and 20 floor residential towers. The units would range from 22 square meters studio units to 54 square meters two bedroom units. “The second biggest feature that we have, if you noticed some developers give you a rectangular shaped unit, what we have are square units. It makes for an easier problem, if you want to call it that. The problem of furnishing, it’s difficult to find good furnishings at an affordable price, and then you also have a problem with furnishing your unit,” says Reyes.

The square units provide better ventilation and would be a lot easier to furnish as condo units would be delivered to buyers bare. This, according to Reyes is another advantage of the projects. Clients can choose the interiors that are more suited to their needs, plus it would not be part of their mortgage, unlike in furnished condos.

Space is now something to consider when signing for a check for a real estate buy. Picture your children frolicking around the condo’s amenities without you having to worry while relaxing in a comfy residence. Spacious indeed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Friends with Benefits (review)

Some may think that this might be a rip-off of the Ashton Kutcher-Natalie Portman starrer as it involves two friends casually having sex, no strings attached, ehem. The main story line might be similar, but how the plot and the story runs are completely different.

Dylan (Justin Timberlake) is a top art director who is headhunted by Jamie (Mila Kunis) to work for GQ in New York. Being new in the city, the only friend he has is Jamie. They somehow agree on having a relationship based on friendship and sex, without comprising and overlooking the former. To the point that they even went out with other people.the chemistry between the two leads give the movie a whole different twist. The Ashton movie involves him having feelings from the start with Natalie, however, the two leads here only realize their emotions after a series of events.

Patricia Clarkson, Jamie's mom is a delight. I've first noticed her in Easy A, where she took on another mother role, but hey, this is another mom role, where in she is a whole different person. She makes you guessing (or maybe not) and laughing on who Jamie's father really is.

The on going plotlines of friends casually having sex, only reflects on how today's society works. Somehow, it is like that. There are people who operate like that who do not have that five date rule and would call on a friend when he or she is in need of a good time. Well, this may not be the first time this happened, as one character commented, 'this is like the 70's'. Free love.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Day (Review)

This is the story of a boy and a girl, Dexter and Emma, who after graduation met, had an intimate time, but then decided to be friends, or to be more exact the best of friends. Scenes are shown through out the film centering on the improvement or the pitfalls of the two leads in one day (July 15th) for every year since that day they met.

Since the poster clearly suggests it to be a romance, me as an audience would always wonder when would they get together? Would it be when they vacationed, just the two of them? They went skinny-dipping. Would it be when Dex's (Jim Sturgess) career hit a snag?
When the two leads do get together, it somehow made me think that it is for ever after. Well, that's what my friend thought and she quickly commented," that's it, corny."
But then, it does not end with the big kiss. All there is a foreshadowing of things to come, but still an awfully big surprise of how things end up with Emma (Anne Hathaway, who played the part British).

I guess somehow, the movie gave me a few realizations of my own, that cliche-sh time is gold. Apparently, love does figure in that age old saying. No one wants to be lonely, maybe that's why sometimes we pretend to be happy--with ourselves, or even with someone. But the at the end of it, we are yearning for something else. You may never know it, but the one who's meant for you maybe your bestfriend and you might be taking him or her for granted.

Loving Indonesian fare

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard August 24

An archipelago located south of our country, Indonesia offers the same variety in taste and flavor as the Philippines. “Indonesian cuisine is similar to that of the Filipinos—mostly in the taste and in the use of rice,” says Sous Chef Ovan Prahoro during the recent media launch of Diamond Hotel’s Indonesian food festival Selamat Menikmati: A Culinary Journey of Indonesia’s Best.

Chef Ovan, together with two patisserie chefs, Chef de Partie Asep Marthy and Chef de Partie Agus Setiadi are in the country until 28th to serve the best Indonesian cuisines. The three masters of the kitchen flew in from Indonesia specifically for the food festival hosted by Diamond Hotel. This is part of the hotel’s plan to hold an international cuisine festival every quarter. The Indonesian food fest, Selamat Menikmati: A Culinary Journey of Indonesia’s Best coincided with Indonesia’s celebration of Independence Day last Aug. 18.

“Indonesian cuisine is unique because of the rich use of herbs and spices,” says Chef Ovan. “This is also what makes it different from Filipino dishes, because it is a lot spicier. Filipinos do not like spicy foods that much.”

“Since I come from West Java I think the the mie goreng jawa, gado gado, and the rendang daging are the best,” Chef Ovan says when asked which food should we try. He assures us that these dishes would fulfill our stomachs to endless delights. Mie Goreng Jawa is fried noodles, gado gado is vegetable with peanut sauce, while the Rendang Daging is beef simmered in Coconut Milk.

As for the desserts, Chef Agus quickly suggested surubaya, “It came from Surubaya, Indonesia’s second largest city. It is a layer of Sponge cake,” the chef says and guarantees that it would bring no less than smiles as it his specialty.

Chef Ovan also said that it would be a sin for our taste buds not to try the oxtail soup. Apparently this dish is popular in Indonesia, “Go to any place in Indonesia and you will find it,” the sous chef chuckled.

“What we want the world to see is Indonesia and its cuisine,” says Chef Ovan who honed his cooking skills in countries like Riyadh, Dubai and Bahrain. “We want to make Indonesian dishes more popular. There are plenty of Indonesian cuisines. I simply cannot choose just one.”

Selamat Menikmati would be featured at Diamond Hotel’s Corniche restaurant until the 28th of August and could be availed for a buffet. Some Indonesian dishes are available at the Diamond Hotel’s a la carte menu.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Colombiana (Review)

A young girl, Cataleya ,who once wanted to be like Xena, warrior princess has a change of dream to a killer when she witnesses her father and mother murdered. Zoe Saldana played this role beautifully. I always thought that she is African-American. Then Cataleya is Colombian which got me to thinking what her ethnicity really might be. It turns out she's perfect to play a Latin American. Her dad is Dominican while her mom is Puerto Rican. All throughout Zoe oozes charm with minimal makeup (just dark eyeshadow) and her natural beauty stands out.

This isn't your usual hitman for hire movie. The trauma of how Cataleya could not live to get close to any body even her boyfriend (played by Michael Vartan) was shown. Michael Vartan's age is also evident (although probably not intended), as the guy isn't as hot as before (Monster-in-Law, Alias).

Cataleya, seeks the help of the US embassy in Columbia so that she gets her passport to the US. After reaching the US, Little Cataleya escapes the authority to her uncle in Chicago, and then grows up to be stone called assassin. The movie is filled with action sequences, that is played beautifully Although the last gun shooting scenes lacked impact. where and then out of nowhere was Cataleya in the back. The fight scenes and assassination sequence were better though. Inside a jail, she had to kill a conman eluding the police guards and the camera. Plus, she did not only use guns to kill. She used her wit, sharks to kill her prey.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pizza secret

by Ana Valenzuela
Published Manila Standard Today August 17, 2011

Being a pizza junkie, I yearn for nothing but the taste of this palatable Italian dish. Sometimes at home, I would make one for myself using leftover pasta sauce and spread it on pita or even Pullman bread, top it with slices of cheddar cheese, then heat it in the oven toaster. My own rendition of pizza is enough to fill my appetite.

However, after all the pizzas that I’ve tried—from my homemade specialty to different bars , cafés and restos— there would always be certain pizza joints that I always go back to, and wish that I could eat my favorites as often as I want— if not to commit the sin of glutton, at least know what makes their pizza delectable. We all know that some secrets are meant to be shared, right?

So, imagine my excitement, when I was recently invited to tour Yellow Cab’s kitchen at Megamall. Yellow Cab has always had an open kitchen setup, where there in front of you, are the cooks and chefs, carefully rolling the crust, grating the cheese, measuring the onions and mushrooms, and spreading other toppings. But, it still makes you wonder what makes it Yellow Cab’s pizza a favorite of many Filipinos.

Genelyn Bermudo, marketing officer of Yellow Cab Pizza Co. answers this question during the tour. “Pizza is known for its tomato and cheese, these are the soul of the pizza,” she says. “So we depend on all natural, all fresh ingredients. This is what makes our pizza tastier. Yellow Cab uses fresh garlic, fresh mushroom, fresh vegetables as well as natural and fresh cheese.”

So, from Four Season’s to New York’s Finest, Yellow Cab works only with fresh ingredients that are delivered daily. With Yellow Cab’s innovative menu, like the Barbeque Chicken Pizza and Roasted Garlic and Shrimp, these do not use tomato as base, like the usual pizzas they do however have cheese. Maybe apart from garden fresh vegetables, the secret is in the cheese.

“We depend on the quality of the cheese—our cheeses are supposed to be fresh also,” Bermudo affirms. That certain cheese which Yellow Cab has been filling our appetites with is no less than Fonterra’s parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Since Yellow Cab started and opened its first branch in Makati Avenue on April 2001, Fonterra has been supplying them with the cheeses and creams (used for pasta).

“It’s perfect to partner with Yellow Cab because they stress on the freshest ingredients,” says Pauline Lagdameo, Fonterra Brands Philippines chief advisory chef says. Fonterra locally distributes brands such as the Anchor butter, Anlene and Anmum.

Fonterra assures pizza lovers like me of the quality of the cheeses that they provide Yellow Cab. The cheese goes through a process of aging and adding flavor. The cheese are made from fresh New Zealand’s cow milk using natural cheese resulting in excellent stretch for mozzarella and rich, strong flavors for Parmesan. “The distinct characteristic of mozzarella is that it is stringy. They knead the curd—like kneading dough, which is where you get that distinct is stringy characteristics. The other one is parmesan cheese. Parmesan would not go through that kneading process and it is harder, stronger in flavor because it is preserved for a longer period of time,” explains Lagdameo.

Now that I know what makes Yellow Cab’s pizza, I would definitely try this at home. Hmm, maybe. But, for now I’ll just a call the Yellow Cab.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The shopaholics’ network

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard Today

August 5, 2011

We all know of—either heard of it or have an account on it. With all the renovations on social networking sites, Multiply too is getting a makeover.

Multiply currently has 130,000 sellers, and more than 88,000 of them are based here in the country. It just won’t be another social networking site; it’s revamped into social shopping. Apparently, it is catering to a market where it has innovatively been utilized by users worldwide.

“We are a doing a transformation, from a hundred percent social networking site to a hundred percent social shopping site with full ecommerce functionality,“ says Jack Madrid, country manager of Multiply Philippines. “It’s social because we are engaging with our community to improve what they have been using Multiply for—which is buying and selling of goods. Now, it will remain social because we will not remove the features that have made Multiply popular. All we did is we made the photo album into a product listing and we are still going to allow messaging and communication tools between buyer and seller and between Multiply, buyer and seller.

Multiply introduces new features into the website to accommodate a friendlier buyer-seller vibe for its users. Now, a marketplace is made available where products are categorized. There are product listings, shopping cart, payment gateway, buyer protection for merchants and consumers alike.

Buyers need not be afraid of bogus sellers as “Buyers are going to pay Multiply, and Multiply would be the one responsible to pay our merchants, “says Jack. “So, we are giving buyers a blanket of security that we know the merchants, who they are, their business documents. So, in the event of any problems in purchases we are offering a guarantee.”

Among the online merchants are Suyen Rivera Lopez of House of Flair and Jonie Cheng of Mamaway. The two have been selling online since 2009.

Like most shops, they assure us of their products uniqueness. “Some of the products are available in Manila, but they are not available in Visayas or Mindanao, so that is where I mostly cater to. But most of them are US brands that are not available here in the country,” says Suyen who sells beauty products.

Jonie, on the other hand is the exclusive Philippine distributor of Mamaway, a nursing wear brand. It provides an option to moms who are pregnant or recovering from giving birth, “For our products, its mostly nursing wear. After they give birth, moms usually stay home, so it’s much comfortable if they do online shopping,” she shares.

In tune with Multiply’s social shopping goals, these two have been friends with their consumers. Like how Mamaway has its own corner for clients. “We just don’t sell breast feeding clothes, we help moms, and coordinate them to classes with breast feeding organizations where they can learn from them. We build rapport with the clients. It’s not just you buy from me,” says Jonnie.

“Online shopping would save a lot of time to a lot of people, since you can do a lot of things online, you can attend to a lot of important things in your everyday life if you shop online,” Suyen says. “It is easier, since some people have no time to go to stores and malls, so they browse everything online and when they have decided to order they just pay for it and we ship it, the next day, it’s usually with them already.”

With Multiply’s revamp into a social shopping site, shopping 24/7 get a lot easier. Shopaholics would certainly reboot their accounts in to this networking site.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

To treat or Not to Treat

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard Today August 4, 2011

One out of 10 Filipinos is infected with Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is one of today’s challenging and infectious diseases. It is threatening to the physical condition as it can lead to other diseases.

There are two ways to get HBV(Hepatitis B Virus). One is through blood to blood or bodily fluid contact, and the other is through mother to child transmission. “Bodily contact, exposure to blood, you had a needle prick when you were doing an injection, blood transfusion, sharing of needles, piercing, tattooing, multiple sexual partners, but here in the Philippines, the incidence is more on mother to child transmission. Meaning the mother is a carrier of HBV, and during the process of delivery, the virus is transmitted to the newborn,” says Doctor Judy Lao-Tan, internal auditor of the Hepatology Society of the Philippines (HSP) at a recent press conference sponsored by the HSP and Roche.

The HSP is rallying behind the mandatory vaccination of newborns so that the high numbers might see a decline. The first vaccine should be given at birth, so that it prevents the virus, followed by vaccination at one month and six months.

“Not everyone who is a carrier of Hepatitis B is a candidate for treatment. Two-thirds who have hepatitis B are just carriers, the only problem they have is that they can transmit the disease and nothing is going on inside their body. One-thirds have active hepatitis, they are the ones who will require treatment. Not all, not everybody is a candidate for treatment,” says Doc Judy.

From Hepa B to Liver Cancer

Majority of acute Hepatitis B carriers do not develop chronic Hepatitis B. Still, the HSP is moving for prompt treatment of active Hepatitis B patients.

Those who have chronic Hepatitis B are at risk of developing liver cirrhosis. “When you develop liver cirrhosis, you may develop liver cancer. The normal life span of a patient with liver cancer after diagnosis is anywhere between three to six months,” says Dr. Marilyn Aguillas, President of the HSP.

Apart from liver cirrhosis those diagnosed with active Hepatitis B might also get infected with another Hepatitis virus. “With the HBV, you have the tendency to develop Delta Hepatitis. It requires the Hepatitis B to be infected. Fortunately, in our country, Delta Hepatitis is not a major problem, unlike in Mediterranean countries where dual infection is high,” says Doc Judy.

“Hepatitis B is more faithful to you than your wife or husband, the only way to remove it is either through treatment or oral medication,” says Doc Marilyn. Medications, however, are not easy on the pocket. They would require you to shell out a whopping P12,000 a week, or more or less the minimum monthly wage.

Even more saddening is that patients are troubled by the drawbacks of discrimination. The Yellow Warriors Society is an online patients group. It has members that are skilled employees, lawyer, accountants, among others, and it became an online venue for them to share what they are going through. Pamela Chan, a speaker for the Yellow Warriors Society shares, “there are a lot of members who are competent. They have passed all the exams, submitted all the requirements, but when they have been tested positive, they are not given the job. Even though there is memorandum by the Department of Labor and Employment not to discriminate Hepatitis B carriers, the employers will say that it is company policy. It is no longer about the competencies, but about the stigma that the public has.”

How can the patient provide for his medical needs without work? This is where Roche, the world’s largest biotech company, comes in as it tries to help those who are financially incapable through its program the PEGASSIST.

“The PEGASSIST Easy Access Plan socializes the medication discount system. This means, patients who truly cannot afford the medication will get a higher discount accordingly,” says Doctor Dennis Dioko, Roche specialty business unit director.

Patients can ask their doctors about this program or call the Hepatitis Hotline (718-7620). They can receive as much as 50 percent off on the medication and be provided with selected Hepatitis B laboratory tests.

Not every Hepatitis B patient would require medical attention, but those needing so now have a viable alternative making it easier.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Travel and taste

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard Today

July 27, 2011

The Philippines has a rich culture, and this is reflected in our cuisine.

“The international media has long been saying Philippine cuisine is Asia’s best kept secret, so it’s time to discover the taste of Philippine flavor,” says Ryan Sebastian, project coordinator of the Department of Tourism during a recent tie-up of the DoT with the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) in promoting Pinoy culinary delicacies.

With 7,107 islands, the Philippines is rich not only in marine and natural resources and seas but also in recipes. DoT is encouraging people not only to visit the sites and see the attractions, but to taste the food as well to really enjoy the Philippines.

“We have a lot of recipes including cooked or barbecued innards (like small intestines, heart and gizzard of chiken) which are popular treats among Pinoys and is also gaining popularity among foreign tourists. In cooking, we usually season it with the usual herbs and spices that we use at home (like onions, garlic, laurel leaves and black pepper),” says CCA instructor, Chef Ojie Reloj of Filipino food.

"Foreigners enjoy these treats because for them, it's like like being in a Fear Factor challenge that is taste--rewarding. These aren’t the only gastronomical fare that we can be proud of. There is also our popular Adobo and Lechon, which are doing really well in the international market,” adds Chef Reloj.

What also makes Filipino recipes special is that it doesn’t have only one interpretation. This is evident in the different variations of adobos, sinigangs, pancit, and other dishes that we have grown to love. Chef Ojie even related that he would go as far as Cebu just so he could eat their lechon, even if there are numerous lechon outlets in metro Manila. What's more a dish may be interpreted in several different ways depending on the region.

For example, Chef Ojie shares, the La Paz Batchoy he grew up with in Manila is quite different from the original one. “I grew up with a family of food lovers and cooks. I grew up eating a version of La Paz Batchoy that does not have any noodles. But, when I went to Bacolod, Iloilo, that’s where I realized that they put noodles in it, the miswa. It is an entirely different-clear soup. They just put certain veggies, like kutchay. Per region, they have their own interpretation,” he says.

For foreigners or balikbayans wanting to learn to cook the dishes that have left them in awe, CCA offers a half day course. “One thing nice about the CCA is their facility is within the market. So that tourist would familiarize themselves with the ingredients needed on how to cook as they have already seen for themselves the available ingredients,” notes Ryan.

“Ten to 15 years ago, what was being served to foreigners were continental dishes.Now they when there is awareness, they now serve the likes of danggit, tinapa in a buffet breakfast. Now everybody is aware, that what they should serve is unique,“ says Ryan.

Seems like, more and more people are uncovering the secret that is Philippine cuisine. They have not only seen the sights, strolled in the beaches, swam in the seas, gained new friends, but also savoured a unique Pinoy travel experience as they’ve tasted our local dishes.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Keeping your kitchen TECH-SAVVY

by Ana Valenzuela
July 21, 2011

The smell of coffee beans roasting on the coffeemaker as you turn off your alarm clock is enough to wake anyone up. Sounds highly improbable, your coffeemaker would also be your daily alarm clock? With the Gaggenau CM 710, which has a programmable turn-on that time, one can get ready for work while enjoying the aroma of caffeine.

It is not just the coffeemaker which Gaggenau appliances are making adjustments in to the kitchen life. Ferdinand Ong, the general manager of Living Innovations differentiates these products from other household appliances. He says, “one is efficiency—our products are accurate. If you’re doing a soufflé, you would need the accurate temperature. Number two is the longevity of parts and warranty, we give products. Plus, we are developing, we are always one step ahead. I don’t think you’ve ever seen stuff like we do, and that has been in the market for three years already. We are introducing new technological patent in the kitchen field.’’

Out of all the kitchen appliances that Living Innovations provides, Ong believes that the convection oven is a must, It is what (Gaggenau) are known for. We’ve been building ovens for 300 years, and you could do anything from baking, doing a steak, and making bread in an oven. More than a cooktop, you would need an oven more, that’s where you do 80 percent of your cooking. “

Gaggenau has ovens which consumers can choose to suit to their needs. Among these are the Gaggenau BO 610 that has a stainless steel aluminium-backed full glass door with panoramic view and has 12 heating methods with core temperature probe and baking stone option. The BL 253 110 has its own elevator or LiftMatic function which loads and unloads the food into the cooking cavity so that heat will heat rise and remains inside. The BS 610 uses pressureless steam, one of the healthiest cooking methods as it retains vitamins, minerals, consistency and color of food. With these in your house, certainly, the oven would be the central element of kitchen.

“Ours is more specialized, and we give value for money,” Ong says referring to the products and services that Living Innovations offers in to the Philippine market. Sometimes the main problem would be maintaining cleanliness. So, Living Innovations offers a short term cleaning seminar for the household staff,’’ he adds.

“If you’d want to buy a sports car what would you buy? A Porsche versus a Toyota? We would give you more performance and means of use. We would give you the product in the best quality possible.”

Cooking would definitely be as easy as frying an egg if one’s kitchen is furnished with Bulthaup kitchen counters and equipped with Gaggenau appliances, the best there is.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The lowdown on Computer Vision Syndrome

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard Today July 21, 2011

Problems with your eyesight in the middle of your working hours? Your eyes could no longer focus on the computer screen anymore? There could be many things that could be affecting your eyesight—the sun, dust and air pollutants---and of the main casues of eye strain is prolonged use of the computer

This could be computer vision syndrome brought about by eyes that are singly directed at the screen for a number of hours. “This causes eye strain, blurred vision, and headache, says Dr. Christine Therese Santos, an ophthalmologist from the Makati Medical Center. “It could also depend on your position because you might also complain of neck or shoulder pains.”

“If you are in front of the computer, and so intent on what you are doing, you tend to stare, and unintentionally delaying the blinking reflex. Sometimes mahapdi na yung mata or it gets red because of dry eyes,” she says. So what she recommends is blinking as often as possible to prevent computer vision syndrome. “We well tears to wet the eyes.”

Apart from blinking, she also recommends following the 20-20-20 rule to keep our eyes from straining. “To avoid the computer vision syndrome there’s this 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, look at an object that is 20 feet or six meters way from you,” says Dr. Santos. Glancing at a far distance for a few seconds relaxes our ciliary muscles, which help us focus.

Dr. Santos also recommends upgrading to LCD monitor or getting one with an anti-refractive coating, as it lessens the chance of computer vision syndrome. Apart from that, the monitor should also be 20 to 26 inches away you, and arms parallel to the floor.

Still if you get blurry vision, you might need some eye lubricants. However, Doctor Santos says to shy away from tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, “it just makes the eye white, whatever redness is there, it just removes it temporarily. The notion is if one has dry eyes they automatically turn to tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride but the more your eyes will dry up. The more you will feel your eyes are heavy,” she says. It is better to schedule a check-up with your ophthalmologist and get a prescription or maybe check if you might be needing computer glasses. Computer glasses, which are different from distance glasses, help reduce eye strain.

Doctor Santos revealed that even if you can clearly see an obkect that’s 20 feet away from you, it doesn’t mean you might not have a small eye grade. “Some are near sighted, while some are far sighted, but they can all see 20/20, because the grade is really small,” says Dr. Santos.

Although our eyes have grades, that doesn’t automatically suggest the use of glasses right away. It all depends on how we use our eyes. Some of us do microscopic work like dentists or jewelers who would need glasses. Then, also a large number of us work around a computers which cause eye strain. Also with their constant computer use, children need to have their eyes checked. “Kids are not able to detect corrections right way because of their ability to focus nor the parents know that they are developing corrections,” says Dr. Santos.

Nevertheless the most trouble-free advice that she gave involves our health. Get enough sleep to relax the tired eye muscles plus, “Eating right is the simplest advice of all,” says Doctor Santos. “Leafy vegetables, carrots, squash, anything that is high in vitamin A, all those that you eat go to the retina, especially the macula.”

Monday, July 18, 2011

Color your plate

Color your plate

by Ana Valenzuela

published June 14, 2011

Some may think that eating low-calorie or low-cholesterol food, and refraining from eating meat would automatically make them fit and healthy. But, what they don’t know is that doing so will keep them from getting enough nutrients into their body.

‘‘If you want to think of health as low- fat, or low salt, it is not all that. Wellness is about MoVaBa or moderation, variety and balance. That means you can enjoy food within the context of moderation, variety and balance. This is all part of a balanced diet,” says Aleli Elizabeth Magtibay, corporate nutritionist of Nestlé during the recent Nestlé “I Choose Wellness” expo.

Eating whatever you want can make you healthy. Sounds a little off yet true, but then the inevitable question really is how? Aleli elaborates.

“I can eat sisig, kaldereta, crispy pata, but it is how much I should eat. That’s moderation, meaning portion control. Variety, on the hand, means there’s no one food that can give you everything that you need. Different sorts of food has to be enjoyed everyday. There has to be fruits, vegetable and meat. It is not just I’m going to eat guyabano, there is no wonder food. We don’t single out that you should eat this and only this for the rest of the day. Meanwhile balance, take for example the amount of rice does not necessarily equate the amount of chocolate that you should eat. In the food pyramid, or even in our plates, half of it should go to fruits and vegetables or to rice. It is not all about eating equal shares”

Moderation, variety and balance are the keys to wellness, she says. Aleli also stresses that, “you have to put color on your plate, and it should represent everything. Your plate should have carbo-rich food, protein-rich food, regulating rich food, which are the fruits and vegetables, and you ought to have milk.”

Supermodel Tweetie de Leon-Gonzales could attest to this as she maintains her svelte figure by eating a variety of food at the same time doing a series of workouts. “I don’t stay away from anything at all, not even sweets. But, I have to remember my limits. If I want a cookie, I’ll have a cookie, if I want a cupcake, I’ll have a cupcake. If I want steak, I’ll eat my steak, but only a portion that would commensurate to how much activity I do,” she shares. “I really try my best to lead a balanced lifestyle. I make time for exercise. I have this need to be active. I try my best to eat well, there are times that I indulge in food, but that’s okay, for as long as I know my limits.”

To keep up with the MoVaBa diet, Nestlé makes sure that they have a variety of products, but these are also furnish with the right nutrients . “We want to make sure that our consumers meet what we described as a nutritional foundation. We are introducing micronutrients into our products to make sure that we are delivering the nutrients to address the relevant deficiencies that people have. For example, there’s a deficiency in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, or Zinc, so in different brands we incorporate different benefits that can meet the needs of the dietary Filipino consumer,” says John Miller chairman and chief executive officer of Nestlé Philippines.

“Different consumers have different needs,” John explains further on Nestlé’s stand on nutritional foundation. Apparently, it hopes to address the malnutrition here in the country. “For example, we are very keen to make our sugar level low as we know that diabetes is on the increase. Our products are reducing people’s sugar intake. Take for example Bear Brand, the incidence of underheight and underweight of Filipino consumers is on the rise; therefore we enrich Bear Brand with Zinc, to help children grow to their full potential. “

Nestlé products are enjoyed although out the day—Nescafé, Milo, Nestea, Nido. With what Nestle has presented, we can enjoy all cups of coffee in the idea of moderation, variety and balance, at the same time, be ensured that we get the nutrients we need.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Azkals Rape Victim

Is the azkals rape rumor true? According a to a blog site, the girl already has filed a case for this. But if there is any truth to this, why isn't there any news?

All there is are mere heresay on who the girl is.

Michelle Madrigal's name has already been dragged in to the issue.

And a glamour model who has been pulled out of a job, because of said issue also has been caught into this. The said model also has a degree from UP. For more on this, read.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Save Manila Zoo

Sign this petition

Read this article from inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Twitter is abuzz with Manila Zoo talk and netizens are perplexed what’s causing the chirps.

“Why is Manila zoo trending worldwide?” asks jm0926.

“Oh nice Manila Zoo is Trending World Wide! But I do not have an idea why it is on list of Trending Topics! “says GhingBieber.

“Ano nangyari sa Manila Zoo? link pls!” says ImSuperDianne.

As of this posting, the first and oldest zoo in Asia was fifth in the global trends on Twitter.

guitaristaah offers an explanation.

“Manila Zoo is trending worldwide because the animals there are suffering. Please, let’s all do something about it,” she says as she urges the web community to sign a petition of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals deploring the sorry condition of animals in “cramped, barren cages that can’t compare to their natural habitats.”

One netizen shared a blog link showing photos of malnourished donkeys, and a rabbit and ostrich with untreated wounds. could not verify the authenticity of the photographs.

Thus, annecurtissmith wants the animals freed. “Manila Zoo is way to small for an elephant and a tiger they should be set free :(

“So I know now why Manila Zoo is trending. The animals are in a very poor state. They should take actions about that asap,” says swaglikemiley.

Dennis Maliwanag

The zoo's entrance is normal looking, decent, even. Not like the depressing interior.

Dirt-cheap entrance fees. Probably one of the reasons for the zoo's poor maintenance. Sadly they have no right to charge more either, based from the condition of the zoo.

Map of the zoo. Looks small and simple enough. But "small" is one of the zoo's biggest problems.

Old, rusty cages. Hardly any animal in sight.

This is Mali, the zoo's biggest attraction. He is an Asian elephant that arrived at the zoo as an orphaned calf donated from Sri Lanka.

He is the biggest attraction but what kind of an enclosure is that? It's sad, small, tight and boring.

Disgusting looking pond.

Yes there is a tiger in this photo. Yes those are dead leaves from who knows how many days or weeks. Why isn't anyone cleaning up the mess?

An even worse mess--literal trash? What is wrong with this zoo's maintenance?

Sad tiger.

Look, horses!

Wait, why do they look like that?

You can almost see its bones. Sick and not in the cool way.

How could it possibly get worse than that?

How about this rabbit's untreated wound?

Or this ostrich with a dead eye?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Go green, Cool Green

Go green, Cool Green

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard Today July 7, 2011

Did you know you are threatening the environment by forgetting to turn off the lights, overcharging your phone or using a high-powered air conditioner?

Our planet uses up 15 terawatts (1.504×1013 W) of energy per year. Wasting electricity contributes to the intimidating greenhouse effect, as fossil fuels, the main source of electricity gives off carbon dioxide.

What a number of organizations are proposing is that we go green, not only in terms of ecological conservation but also with the buildings as 40 percent of energy consumption is eaten up by these structures. There are now green buildings which have been designed with cost-effective and ecologically-aware resources, thus making a positive effect on the environment.

One of the means utilized by these green buildings is energy efficient cooling systems like those presented by Concepcion-Carrier in the market today. Concepcion Carrier calls these the green cooling solutions, the Carrier XPower Inverter, the Carrier Evergreen 23XRV chiller, and the Toshiba-Carrier SMMSi. These products effectively lower electricity consumption.

“We know that air-conditioning and refrigerating systems require energy. We offer an industry leading energy-sufficient-solution products and services to our customers. Solutions that our customers could bring help in the environment as well as reduce electrical expenses,” says Raul Joseph Concepcion, chief executive officer of Concepcion Carrier Air Conditioning.

The Carrier XPower Inverter, uses an non-ozone depleting, chlorine-free R-410a refrigerant and saves up to 53 percent more electricity versus other leading inverters. The Carrier Evergreen 23XRV is the world’s first integrated variable-speed, water-cooled screw chiller. Compared to other typical chillers, the Carrier 23XRV has 15-30 percent better part load efficiency. The Toshiba-Carrier SMMSi is a first class air-conditioning technology and the most advanced inverter or variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system for large buildings that is 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional VRF inverters.

“Carrier has consistently led all over the world in pioneering the most efficient, most practical and most sustainable solutions for residential and commercial establishments. For them and for us, going green makes perfect sense. Today, we at Concepcion-Carrier continue to pioneer in providing these solutions to our country, in ensuring that the country is in touch with the Carrier vision of providing a better and more comfortable place to live, work and play for future generations,” adds Concepcion.

In case you didn’t know, there are green buildings here in the country; in fact there is even a council which presides over them. The Philippine Green Building Council corporate communications manager, Chester dela Cruz, shares, ‘the Philippines being a developing country is vulnerable to the effects in climate change. That is why we are promoting buildings as a solution to the climate change crisis.”

“Why buildings as a solution,” dela Cruz asks. “We see the environmental and economical impact of building and construction industry globally. Thirty to 40 per cent of the green house emissions are coming from this sector and about 40 percent of energy use worldwide. Green buildings are structures which are designed, built, renovated, or operated in an ecologically-resourced efficient manner.”

“Concepcion-Carrier is together with Philippine Green Building Council in promoting and coordinating efforts in sustaining green practices in the local building and developers. Our support to the PGBC shows commitment in providing to all kind of solutions whether residential or commercial establishments,” says Jojo Concepcion, Concepcion-Carrier Air Conditioning Company’ vice president for sales and marketing.

So, let us all do our share in our conserving energy and protecting the environment for a much greener and better tomorrow.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Pinoy Shopping Experience

BoldThe Pinoy shopping experience

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard Today July 1, 2011

When it comes to shopping for wholesale and retail products, some people prefer going to Bangkok, Hong Kong or Beijing. But is there really a need to go abroad to shop for good deals?

Right here in the Philippines is the popular go-to place of many shoppers, retailers and wholesellers. Divisoria with its main crowd-drawer—the Tutuban Malls. Tutuban, located at the southern part of Recto Avenue, offers the best buys on clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. One can haggle with sellers and get items at low cost within the two-cluster buildings, Prime Block and the Center Mall of Tutuban.What more, bargain-hunters are sure to get loads of good deals at even when on a limited budget.

Tutuban, currently handled by Philippine Orion Properties, Inc. (POPI) and First Lepanto Corporation’s merger company GuocoHoldings (Phil.), Inc. (GHPI) aims for a wider market and aims to expand Tutuban's shopping block before it renews its 25 year old lease with the Philippine National Railways (PNR) in 2014.

"Tutuban has been the country's center of commerce since the 1800's and is continuing to be so. What we envision for Tutuban is to be a hub of employees, students, for bargain hunters and missionary shopping," says Ernie Hilario, Business Development Head of POPI.

Aside from the usual wholesale and retail commercial centers, Tutuban will also push for a hotel component as to provide lodging for local and foreign bargain hunters. Apart from accommodating tourists, the hotel will also be intended for local residents. Tutuban Mall currently has two parking lots and will be expanding for motorists and commuters though a transportation terminal.

"We have the train operations of the PNR, which no other mall has," says Hilario proudly. "We also plant to put a terminal for buses, vans, jeepneys. (Whatmore) there are also plans of the LRT recto extending towards Tutuban."

Tutuban also plans boost its automotive and food service industry. According to Hilario, these new facilities will be modeled on existing and successful establishments.

"We will be having the autocity--– similar to the motor centers of Alabang and Banawe. It will have a motor depot for motorcycles, car parts and accessories,” Hilario adds.

"We also plan to add restaurant strip mall, similar to Bonifacio High Street. This will complement the market of the auto city," Hilario added. Aside from the restos, a fresh produce market is also in the works to service many of the nearby residences and Chinese.

Also, Tutuban gets a facelift as it converts its current night market into a 24/7 mall. This would be unlike many malls in the country which close at night.

“We want to launch Tutuban as the only 24/7 mall here in the Philippines,” says Hilario. "The project is set to start within the year if not next year.