Sharing all things about pet-friendly travels and full-time work from home setup

Philippines is One of Top Holiday Destinations in 2011

Despite the travel advisory issued by Australia against Philippines,, an Australian travel website cited our country as one of the top holiday destinations in 2011 based on travel trends and statistics. Reason is "Philippines becoming increasingly popular due to the political unrest in Thailand and its untapped beaches". Brazil and India are also included in a suggested list of destinations, travel tips and airlines for next year. Brazil’s affordable airfares and its rich cultures, interest in India are cited too. USA and New Zealand are also in which were described as “old favorites”.

Also in the report is summarizing the holiday patterns of Australian travelers such us booking their travel 2-3 months early to save, adventure tours & cruises as popular holiday options and average number of days they spend on holidays which in Asia is seven days. Australia is one of the six countries (others are US, UK, Canada, New Zealand & France) that issued a travel advisory against Philippines few months ago citing “high threat of terrorist attack and high level of serious crime”. Australia and France revised and reissued its travel advisory after a month removing the “terrorist attack threat” but the rest of advisory remained as is.

Aside from the famous Boracay, another one rising is the Pamalican Island or known as Amanpulo is named as one of the world’s most romantic travel spots by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Hollywood celebrities Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Samuel Jackson, Mariah Carey, model Claudia Schiffer, illusionist David Copperfield and boxer Erik Morales are a few who visited the place. To get to this place is through a scheduled charter flight which will cause not less than $300 for the flight alone. It offers a complete luxury which an average Filipino or even the above - average can't afford yet.

Source: Top holiday hotspots for 2011 by Kate Schneider

Hollywood Stars in Palawan by Cebu Pac's Smile Magazine May 2010

Vatican’s Nativity Scene features Nine Filipino Statues

During a solemn evening ceremony last Dec. 24th in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, the nativity scene or locally called as ‘belen’ was unveiled and nine statues were ‘Filipinos’ as traditional figures of the Holy Family. Dressed in colorful native attire and playing musical instruments, these portray the joyful spirit of the Philippine Christmas which is known as the “longest and most festive celebration in the world”.

Kublai Ponce-Millan, the Filipino sculptor who designed the statues said these represent the different indigenous groups of the Philippines in a festive celebration of faith, music, food and family on the occasion of the birth of Jesus. Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See, Mercedes A. Tuason who is present during the event thanked the Governorate of the Vatican City State for giving the Philippines a special place in the center of the Roman Catholic Church’s celebration of the birth of Christ this year.

The Philippines is the first country outside Italy to be given a major part in the Vatican nativity scene. This event was attended by ecclesiastical authorities of the Holy See and civil authorities from the City and Province of Rome. At 6pm sharp, Pope Benedict XVI lighted a candle for peace while watching the unveiling ceremony from his apartment window. He blessed the crowd with the light of a single candle amid the darkness. It was in 1982 when this tradition started by then Pope John Paul II.

Source: Vatican’s nativity scene featuring Filipino figures unveiled from CBCP News

Screenshot from  Rome Reports Philippines helps with Vatican Nativity Scene in Youtube

Christmas Trees with Environmental Consciousness in Greenbelt

Christmas trees made by the country's top artists, industrial designers and architects are displayed in Greenbelt 5 until Dec. 31st. These are no ordinary Christmas trees because  these are conceptualized and made with the spirit of environmental consciousness.  USE of PLASTIC things is a BIG NO! Instead these trees are made of recycled, reused or discarded things that still can be made to look good.

Two out of the eight Christmas trees stand out for me: the "James Bound"  tree of Tes Pasola and "Tree Bench" of Daphne Osena-Paez. Why? Not much because of glamour or what but the essence (you're reading it right) and the reusability of it. I had nothing in mind when I went to Greenbelt other than a quick stroll and eat my favorite crepe there so unfortunately I have no camera with me.

Tree Bench by Daphne

This Christmas tree is also a furniture. When the holiday ends, this can be converted into a bench. Now that's a very clever idea! Frame is made of reused mahogany wood & chair back is made of traditional cane sulihiya. Bench upholstery is made of plain jute sack from recycled lining material. This Christmas tree cum bench is perfect for space conscious people.

Daphne reminds us to:

HELP PASIG RIVER by bringing reusable containers and utensils when eating out and taking out the left overs.

James Bound by Tes Pasola

This is a challenge to the limitations set on recycled-paper materials. We are so used getting our Christmas trees in plastic, twirling itu p with energy-consuming lights, leaving paper to nothing than the gift wrappers under. This tree stands as a complete accessory on its own.

Tes reminds us to:

DITCH that PLASTIC BAG! Carry a reusable bag to your next grocery trip.

Daphne is a TV host, businesswoman and a furniture designer. She owns her own furniture line called as "Daphne". Tes is one of Philippine's best known designers. Her favored medium is paper. She has a line called "James Bound" which has won many international awards. There is a silent bidding anyone wants to join to help fund the rehabilitaton of Pasig river.

Photos courtesy of Daphne's blog "Daphne's Diary".

“An Invitation to Malacañan” is 1 of Best Cookbook of the Year in Paris

A coffee table book about Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration, its state dinners, bilateral meetings and ceremonies honoring heads of state entitled “An Invitation to Malacañan” which is spelled in Spanish is nominated in Gormand Awards 2010 for Best Cookbook of the Year category. Shortlist from the fifty-seven (57) countries participants will be posted in January, the winner will be announced and his work be exhibited in March 2011.  The glamorous awards night will then be held in Paris, France.

Led by Bettina Araneta Aboitiz, “An Invitation to Malacañan” pages show “the evolution of the state functions, from the engraving of balls in the 19th century, the lavish parties of President Quezon, to the present, visiting dignitaries, samples of invitations, gift exchanges, and an ingénue Macapagal-Arroyo dancing in a Maria Clara outfit in the early ’60s, and recent moments with her grandchildren.”

A very interesting story about this “An Invitation to Malacañan”, the nipa hut, water buffalo and boat-place card holders done in sterling silver were given as presidential gifts to then UK First Lady Cherie Blair in 2002.  After sometime, Ms Blair contacted the Philippine Embassy in London to buy a similar set but unfortunately the company which made it already closed.

Malacañang is the official residence and workplace of the Presidents of the Philippines. It was built in 1750 in Spanish colonial style where Pres. Marcos and his family lived the longest. Pres. Cory Aquino's office was the bedroom of Pres. Marcos at the time her husband, Ninoy died in 1983. Her son, P-noy the country’s current president chose to live in a different place – the Bahay Pangarap residence which is located inside Malacañang Park.

To view more photos, please click's gallery here

Source: Invitation to Malacañang, Marge C. Enriquez of Philippine Daily Inquirer

If Christmas is a Drink, It'll Be a Cup of Hot Tsokolate

Montezuma,  the great Aztec ruler and chocoholic, stored cacao  not gold in his treasury. His court is believed to consume as many as 50 pitchers of hot chocolate a day.  In ancient Aztec, cacao is so valuable that its bean is used as currency, and figured in the exchange of slaves and horses. To the ancient Mayans, chocolate was food for the gods, an indulgence reserved for nobles and warriors.  In the Philippines, it is the Spanish colonizers who brought cacao in 1600's.

If Christmas is a drink, it will be a cup of hot tsokolate... indeed I agree as what Clare Miranda wrote entitled "Cacao Loco" in Cebu Pacific's December in - flight magazine issue. A cup of hot tsokolate is perfect after attending misa de gallo in an early morning and pair it with suman or rice cake. In our hometown, Irosin, the best suman is made of squash combined with glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar and salt.  Champorado, is another traditional Pinoy breakfast which is a chocolate rice porridge. It is best served hot and  a few tablespoon of milk makes it tastes better.  Or if you're a true  Pinoy at heart,  it will be incomplete if it's not served with a few pieces of tuyo or dried fish.

In our backyard, there is a Cacao tree which stood way before my parents moved in our home twenty five years ago. This cacao tree  along with the other older trees are the most honest witnesses of the joys and sorrows of everyday life our family had. My lola used  to gather cacao leaves  she uses whenever she makes maruya or banana fritters. It is my mom who makes the best tablea (pure cacao in tablet) out of dried cacao seeds and I remember seeing her how she patiently mixes these powder in boiling water to create a thicker tsokolate.  She then would keep jars full of tableas to store a few for the New Year's eve and share to our neighbors and visiting relatives but, these however does not reach the New Year's eve as we alway sneak out and eat it like a black chocolate bar.

 In Davao,  there is a chocolate factory made from cacao beans the Askinosie Chocolate and one of their best-selling is the "77% Davao Dark Chocolate" and is almost out of stock often. They have this Askinosie Chocolate Factory tour which costs $3 only and they have their Chocolate University too which heps kids in their neighborhood.  At Figaro, a 100% Filipino-made coffe shop you can drop by and try their three cocoa-inspired drinks. "Each sip is communion with history, a yielding to a magic spell that is thousands of years in the making." says Clare as I read the ending of her article.

Source:  Clare Miranda of"Cacao Loco" & Image from Lasang Pinoy 21: Champorado at Tuyo

‘Balangay’ Ends their Asian Voyage after 14 Months

Thirty-nine crews including the first Filipinos that climbed Mt Everest in 2006 aboard the three replicas of ‘Balangay’ boats are welcomed as they dock back from where they started a year ago. It took them almost less to than an hour to reach the shore since these boats are using wind power only. Sailing with them are three other boats rowed by our very own World Champion Dragon boat team.  Media, security, dignitaries and a crowd eagerly wait for them while waving colorful flags. 

These ‘Balangay’ replicas were built using no steel just bamboo, wood and fiber almost the same as how the originals were made way back in the year 320 AD. Led by Art Valdez, he said this voyage aims to retrace the trading routes of the sea gypsies or would have been the first Philippine inhabitants who used these boats while roaming in the Pacific or migrating to this country. The ‘Balangay’ voyage started September 2009 and was able to reach 6 Southeast Asian countries: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore.

Valdez added that these ‘Balangay‘ boats suffered damages due to higher sea waves almost as high as a 2-storey building caused by climate change. These boats followed ancient navigation methods like using only the positions of the sun, stars, winds and clouds. He said this voyage rekindled the maritime consciousness of the youth, not to mention that the Philippines own half of the world’s manpower in maritime business. 

Balangay’, is the oldest know pre-Hispanic watercraft found in the Philippines in 1976 and was first mentioned in the 16th Century in the Chronicles of Pigafetta.  The  ‘Balangay’ crew ate mostly rice, dried fish and banana (saging na saba) for their meals.  Valdez assured everyone that, aside from the cheering of crowd and warm welcome they always get in every port they stop, what matters most is all the 39 crews returned home safely.

Manila is Ranked 9th Out of 30 Most Dynamic Cities in the World

Remittances from far-flung Filipino workers, healthy tourism and demand for IT products are the reasons cited for putting Manila as the 9th out of 30 Dynamic Cities in the World 2010 by Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. Manila is one out of the thirty metropolises graded by the growth of income and employment produced. Manila was able to get in the top 10 for the first time and it was emphasized that “the Philippines depends so heavily on [OFW] remittances that a 7% boost in mailed cash this year dramatically improved the country's economic projections for 2010.”

While Ex. US Pres. Bill Clinton urges to "get more people to come home" during his November trip to the Philippines this year, it is a sad reality that more Filipinos find abroad still the best resort to improve the quality of their lives. When one speaks of Philippine tourism, it refers to Boracay’s beaches, Palawan’s underground river or Bohol’s Chocolate hills but surprisingly, Manila’s tourism outshone them. The demand for IT products was not explained enough but thinking Manila is the central hub in the Philippines where most of the BPO’s (business processing outsources) are, it is really possible that there really is a demand.

Manila is home to 10 million people, plus one million for those living in the streets, under bridges or vagabonds at all. Manila Galleons during the Manila – Acapulco Trade are the largest ships ever built at that time during 1800’s – 1900’s earning the title “Pearl of the Orient”. The first airline in Asia, the oldest existing university in Asia even older than Harvard – University of Sto Tomas and  the only all steel church in Asia - Basilica Minore de San Sebastian ... these are all in Manila. Seen in The Atlantic, is the picture of the latter

Source:  30 Most Dynamic Cities in the World by Derek Thompson

Pinay Sisters’ Love for Local Design & Craftsmanship


Tired of media and shopping malls’ far depiction of what Christmas is in the Philippines? These Pinay sisters got a heart that promotes Filipino designs and craftsmanship. Instead of snow and fireplaces in a usual Christmas card, their designs are icons that best describe Philippines like jeepneys and the tsinelas (slippers). Joy card, is a personalized greeting card business owned by Jane Beate and Abie Buena that showcases Filipino arts most especially to tourists as their target market.

The prices range from P20 – P80 which is very affordable and are made from recyclable materials. Their designs show that Pinays are very artistic even in the simplest designs that it may have a little resemblance to a gradeschooler’s coloring book but they cleared that these are unique and hard to duplicate.

Beate, who is an arts teacher at the Carewell Community Foundation (for cancer-stricken children) said that crafting personalized greeting cards are considered therapeutic by most of her students. She also adds “that a person does not have to be an artist or go to an exclusive art school to know that art can be used to affect people in a good way. “ So next time you want to buy a greeting card, keep in mind people like these Pinay sisters’ humble but patriotic works.

InformationSource:  Sisters Craft Truly Pinoy Greeting Cards by KC Santos, Dec. 3, 2010 

Picture from:

The Alcove’s Photography Challenge and Holiday Gift Ideas


Explore the Makati Commercial Business District (MCBD) on foot and capture arresting images under time pressure! This is what the Alcove’s Photography Challenge is all about. Interested?  A shoot list will be given to participating photographers during the orientation and subjects must be covered during the time allotted and in the area specified. Open to all amateur photographers, the winning photographs will be displayed in The Alcove’s online gallery. Freebies such as photography magazines and gift packs will also be given to all confirmed participants. Mark this day in your calendar next year, Jan. 22, 2011.

This photography challenge is thru the efforts of Filipinas Heritage Library, a  division of the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI), a one-stop electronic research center on the Philippines.

          To download the mechanics, registration/waiver form please click here




All images and information are from Filipinas Heritage Library website.

Philippine Portraits from a Canadian Photojournalist's Lenses

"Its welcoming, friendly, creative, forgiving, kind and resilient people." says Canadian photojournalist Liza Linklater when asked what she finds so special about the Philippines. Her photo exhibit entitled Philippine Portraits displayed at The Alcove photo gallery of the Filipinas Heritage Library, presented fifteen (15) photographs taken in Tagaytay, Intramuros, Roxas Boulevard and Makati . Shot from 2008 until 2010, Philippine Portraits is mostly about ordinary Filipinos who dwell in the streets all day long to make a living or continue living.

Liza Linklater describes these people are hard-working that get up and work everyday to support their families. She adds "it is these daily occupations and the dignity and pride that they attach to even the humblest of tasks that I have tried to capture in my photographs". She is convinced that the country is really about the people though she thinks that the landscape is magnificent too. Her photographs were exhibited in Canada, Thailand and the Philippines. Her articles and photographs were published in North American and Asian magazines and newspapers. She has lived in Asia for eleven (11)  years and Philippine Portraits is the fruit of her three (3) - year stay in Manila.

Philippine Portraits is a hodge-podge of the country's identities. A touch of tourism can be seen in "Intramuros Guards" and "Three Nuns." Love for sports is shown in "Baseball Players", "Tennis Coach & Ball Boy", "Skateboarders" and of course the "Boxing Trainers".  Filipinos in the streets: "Pedicab  Driver", "Street Sweepers",  "DPC & Construction Workers", "Crossing Guards" and the "Guadalupe Girls". "Domestic Helpers" which used to be the flagship of overseas filipino workers before and education as the hope of the future "Manila Students".

Check the Photos:  

The Alcove Photo Gallery of the Filipinas Heritage Library

Intramuros Guards - Manila 2009

Pedicab Driver - Intramuros 2010

Guadalupe Girls - Makati 2010

Pedicab Driver - Intramuros 2010

Three Nuns - Tagaytay 2008

Boxing Trainers - Punch Out Club Makati 2010

To view the rest of the photos, click here

Information and Photographs taken from Filipinas Heritage Library dated Nov. 27, 2010

Pinays Obsession on Skin Whitening Products: Let's Take a Look

Pinays are the highest users when it comes to skin whitening products with 50% among Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan women. This is according to Synovate, a global market research company which conducted a survey last 2004. Now it's 2010, still whitening products are one of the hottest and best sellers in the local markets today. See the white faces of idolized actors and celebrities or notice the dominance of people locally with whiter complexion,  these are the kinds  most of Pinays  go gaga to look like them. Think, if skin colours do show a rather unfair  trend.

Skin whitening products in the Philippines like Avon's Anew 360 White, Ponds Whitening Detox Creme, Olay Whitening Intensive Creme, Papaya products, glutathione and those from Belo are very in demand. It seems impossible to count how many products more Pinays are spending so much as according to Cheche V. Moral of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, skincare in the Philippines is worth P22 billion pesos or almost $48 billion. Certainly, this is a big and serious business here in the Philippines. It is also seldom to find beauty products without a whitening ingredient. Check the commercials/advertisements of most of the products mentioned above: a plain, boring girl is depicted for the one who has darker complexion and then goes smarter, prettier as she  becomes whitier and noticed more by people around.

Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo novels published in 1890's has a character named Donya Victorina, a pinay who is ashamed of her look and color that she tries to put on lots of make up just to look more Spanish. Whiter skin has become “a reflection of labour status.” says historian Gerald Horne of University of Houston in the digital news outlet GlobalPost.  When one sees a person with white skin, a quick impression is he/she is beautiful, glamorous and rich.

According to Veronica Cerrer's writing entitled Skin Whitening and Dark Beauty in the Philippines , pinays' obsession on skin whitening products can be traced back to colonial mentality. In my simplest translation, a state of feeling inferior or thinking of always being the least in anything. Spanish colonized the Philippines for almost 3 decades and Americans for over 50 years and it somehow left a negative mark about the ideal of beauty to the pinays or the women of the Philippines.  Come on, shrug that colonial mentality off! While skin whitening is a free option for pinays, why not we revive that tanned skin with "exotic look" as beautiful and glamorous not the usual pitied definition of domesticated and uneducated pinays?

Information source: Veronica Cerrer's  Skin Whitening and Dark Beauty in the Philippines published in dated April 20, 2010

Philippines is now the 4th Biggest Shipbuilder in the World

“This year, the Philippines will become the fourth largest shipbuilder in the world, next only to China, South Korea and Japan. We are now already No. 1 in seamen, with 260,000 Filipino seafarers who sail the seven seas. We’re a superpower at sea. We have over 11,000 direct and indirect workers, and we plan to hire 2,000 - 3,000 additional workers in the next three years.” says Tsuneishi CEO & President Jon Ramon Aboitiz during the launching of M/V Tenshu Maru which is the biggest ship ever built in the Philippines. There are two world-class shipbuilding facilities that produce high-value exports in the Philippines:  Tsuneishi in Cebu and Hanjin in Subic.

M/V Tenshu Maru was launched last Nov. 10 at Tsuneishi shipyard in Balamban town of western Cebu province. Pres. Noynoy C. Aquino, the Japanese ambassador, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia and other local politicians, leaders of the Aboitiz family who owns 20 percent of the shipyard, Japanese executives and workers joined the event. The M/V Tenshu Maru stretches 286.9 meter long, 45 meter wide and weighs around 92,000 tons. It only took 10 months to build the M/V Tenshu Maru with the help of 50 engineers and is now manned by 22 crews. To date, it is the 120th vessel constructed in Cebu.

The 147-hectare shipyard where M/V Tenshu Maru, was built 16 years ago with only 2,000 workers but now it surged to 11,000 workers and 70% of these workers are Balamban residents. Aboitiz added with the combined output of the Balamban shipyard and Hanjin in Subic, we’re surely be the fourth largest in shipbuilding. Balamban Mayor Ace Binghay in an interview said he is very proud that his hometown is the site of one of the world’s biggest shipyards though the place doesn’t have a track record of shipbuilding before. Pres. Noynoy in his speech thanked Tsuneishi “for achieving so much in short time and for the jobs provided to the people.”

Source: Aquino hails shipbuilders for jobs from Sunstar Cebu and Let's aim to be the Manny Pacquiao of shipbuilding, tourism and entertainment
Picture from

Pinays are Happier over Food than Sex, Survey Says

To measure the Philippine society’s progress including happiness which is called the Philippine Happiness Index (PHI) is one of the tasks of National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). The latest results however sounded unusual showing the biggest disparity in the rankings on Love and Sex life of Filipinos. Correspondents were asked to rate things that make them happy with 1 as the highest and 20 as the lowest. Pinoys (male) rated it as 10th most important or 10th least important but Pinays (female) rated it as 18th most important or second least important. In love life, Pinoys rated it as 6th most important and for Pinays it’s 10th most important. “These shows unmet expectations for love and sex  [that] can surely lead to problems, and must be managed properly and professionally.” says Dr. Romulo A. Virola, Secretary General of NSCB.

Pinays find Family, Health, and Religion and/or spiritual work as the three most important sources of happiness. Same result showed up from the Pinoys. Pinays consider participation in Cultural Activities, Community and volunteer work, Leisure and sports, and Technological know-how as unimportant sources of happiness. A loud knock from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) to find more effective ways to encourage our kababayans to enjoy  culture and to do volunteer work! A society that appreciates culture and volunteerism is surely a better place. In Politics, Environment, Government, and Peace and security, they are both least happy. The relative importance (rank) of Friends as a source of happiness has gone down since 2007. So did we stop looking for “real” friends already instead we splurged online adding more never-seen friends and followers?

In four months that we had a bachelor president, the Philippines has grown by about 600,000 - the fastest rate of increase in Southeast Asia. We are currently around 9 million. So how come Pinays literally preferred food over sex? Or does it show that a number of Pinays find sex an uncomfortable topic, rarely discussed even during dinner when all the family members are present to get to know the “realities” of life. The Reproductive Health bill is shaking the Filipinos’ identities. It is shaking more the credibility of the Catholic Church. Use of contraceptives is touted as the answer. Up to what extent? Can we give our 15-year old sister or daughter who says she wants to do it since she won’t get pregnant anyway? How about the safety and its side effects?  Will it be used in moderation or as free as air we breathe? What should the Pinays think before they spread their legs in bed? And when they think of the time that they're ready to bear a child, what is their contingency plan? Pinays need to know.

Source and Information and Picture from:  NCSB and Yahoo Philippines

The Philippines hosts some of the world’s greatest animal migrations

National Geographic's Great Migrations documentary to be shown every Sunday this whole month of November  is about animals' fierce moves in the name of survival. The Philippines hosts some of the world's greatest animal migrations including that of thousands of humpback whales, sea turtles, whale sharks, and wild birds every year when winter starts. "Humpback whales come to the Babuyan Islands from as far away as Alaska’s Bering Sea, in order to calve. Migratory birds from Japan, Korea, and China come to feed at the Candaba Marsh in Pampanga, Olango Island in Cebu, the Agusan Marsh in eastern Mindanao, and the dozens of other Philippine ‘refueling stations’ along the East Asian Flyway.” says Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, CEO/Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, WWF-Philippines.

He adds, “In the global theater of animal migrations, our archipelago is a major destination. The Philippines plays a key role in ensuring the survival of some of the world’s most vulnerable and endangered species. Great Migrations is tagged as the most ambitious documentary in 122-year history of the National Geographic Society. It is  seven-part global television program that features the difficult journeys millions of animals embark on to ensure the survival of their species .  Every 9pm it features Born to Move, Need to Breed, Race to Survive, and Feast or Famine – four one-hour episodes that focus on incredible animal journeys, the reasons for their great migrations, and the overwhelming challenges they face.

Check these sites for more details: Click the City and Picture from National

Philippines is the World’s 3rd Richest Country in Medicinal Plants

"We Filipinos are so much beholden to North America and European pharmaceutical companies that we forget we are more bio-diverse than the US, Europe and China. We tend to rely too much on imported synthetic medicine instead of our own natural products." says Dr. Galvez. Tan a proponent of integrated medicine (traditional and modern). Out of the hundreds of thousands of plants documented since the Spanish times, 1,500 are medicinal plants but only 170 or 10% have been intensively researched. This is the reality of what the Philippine medicinal plants are today.


Next to Brazil and Indonesia, the Philippine medicinal plants is the answer to the people who cannot afford or does not even have money to buy expensive medicine available over the counter today.  An average Filipino does not need to spend a little more for his daily vitamin supplements for him to keep working and not spending too much of his sick leave. Philippine medicinal plants have the advantage of phytochemicals which makes them the safest medicines or no issues of safety, toxicty and side effects except with some very potent plants.


Dr. Galvez Tan  is Undersecretary when he helped Health Secretary Juan Flavier to formulate the top 10  Philippine medicinal plants based on research, accessibility, and power to address the common diseases with no side effects.


Top ten comprises of:

Lagundi or Five-leaved Chaste Tree (Vitex negundo) - a shrub whose leaves are used as decoction or tea for asthma, cough and fever. 

Yerba Buena/Mint or Hibas (Mentha cordifolia) - an herb and spice that can be eaten raw or drunk as a tea and serves as an analgesic for headache and body pains.

Sambong or Blumea Camphor (Blumea balsamifera) - is a hairy shrub with fragrant leaves that effectively melt kidney stones. It is also a dieuretic, which is safe for people with edema or hypertension.

Wild tea or Tsaang Gubat (Carmina retusa) - is a shrub with shiny, dark green leaves used for abdominal pain and colic. As a decoction, the leaves contain natural fluoride good for mouthwash.

Chinese honeysuckle or Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis) -  is a vine with fruits and flowers. The seeds fight ringworms. The only side efect is a hiccup.

Bayabas or Guava (Psidium guajava) - The decoction of leaves and its powdered dried fruits and bark cleanses wounds and skin ulcers. As a mouthwash, it treats oral infections and serves as a foot and boty deodorant.
Ampalaya or Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia)  - is a vegetable with corrugated skin and leaves used to lower blood sugar.
Bawang or Garlic (Allium sativum) - is a spice known for lowering blood cholesterol.

Pansit-pansitan or Silver/Shiny bush - has heart-shaped leaves and edible stems used for salads and as a decoction. It treates gout and lowers blood uric acid.

Akapulko or Ringworm bush (Cassia alata) - is a shrub with bright yellow flowers and long, slender, flat fruits. The juice of the leaves can heal fungal skin infections.
Article source from Look magazine September Issue 2010 "What's in your backyard?"


Philippines has the Most Number of Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter Users inAsia

So the question is, will it contribute to the Filipinos'  positive growth or  just created an online morass from someone’s status announcing to the world his/her daily minutiae (been-to-this-mall, ate-my-favorite-lasagna, not-feeling-well, dryness-you-know-what-i-mean etc) or aptly called as pointless babbles on Twitter by Danah  Boyd… absolutely pointless.  Information technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. says in its latest report that that the Philippines leads among Asian countries when it comes to worldwide social media usage and adaptation. To sum it all up what is its impact to the moral, social, intellectual and economical contribution to the people and the society to a developing country like the Philippines?

Unlike China, Japan, South Korea, India and other Asian countries instead of embracing Yahoo – dubbed as the worlds’ most visited homepage, Facebook – with 500 million friends and Twitter – microblogging service most noted for its accessibility through mobile devices; they developed their own social network services.  But The Philippines, according to the report is showing same consumption habits similar to North American and European markets thru high consumer interest in services such as online gaming and matchmaking.

This Gartner report seem to match to the earlier ComScore result that said that the Philippines are ahead of its Asian neighbors in terms of social networking penetration. These sites are all spreading like a virus – very fast and it’s very early to feel its effect now. No one can tell how it will shape the world and the people, soon. Hope it won’t evolve as a one-world government or a one-world religion, who knows? To the Filipinos, what do you think is this a positive or a negative effect?

National Geographic's Thirty Rare Images of the Philippines (1898-1966))

Scroll down to see the images


Currently displayed in Trinoma are thirty (30) rare images of the Philippines captured by the National Geographic camera lenses from 1898-1966. Images are mostly about the everyday life of different tribes and their culture, untouched by a Facebook-driven world of today and what the Philippines is, as the second richest country in Asia around 1950’s.


National Geographic Society or the National  Geographic  is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. It started as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel, 122 years ago. Gardiner Greene Hubbard became its first president and his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone succeeded him in 1897 following his death.


National Geographic, has given grants for scientific researches and has recently awarded its 9,000th grant for scientific research conducted worldwide. Two of its most popular aided researches are Robert Ballad’s Titanic wreck findings and Jane Goodal’s Chimpanzee studies. Its trademark logo is a yellow portrait frame which is usually seen around the edge of the flagship National Geographic Magazine cover. This magazine is translated to 32 languages and has 50 million readers worldwide. National Geographic is located in Washington, D.C. where they maintain a museum free for the public.

National Geographic has ventured many endeavors such as book publishing, television, film, music, radio, museum exhibits, digital media and an annual International Geography contest for middle-school students.  Known as supporter of scientific projects, National Geographic is one of the international partners and consultants of the well-anticipated and first ever world class museum in the Philippines, The Mind Museum in Taguig which is scheduled to open last quarter of next year. This museum is also launching campaigns in search of volunteers, assistance particularly financial, hope we have inspired someone to be.

Here are a few photos taken from the exhibit:

Bogobo Man

Caption will be added soon

Dead Ifugao girl

Sultan of Sulu has Many Wives


Caption be added soon

This exhibition is presented to you by The Mind Museum, a science museum project of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. and its institutional partner, The National Geographic Channel.

Exhibition dates and venues (2010):

October 3-4 Greenbelt 5
October 7-10 Glorietta
October 21-24 TriNoma
November 12-14 Bonifacio High Street

One of Nokia's Most Powerful Women is a Pinay

Carol Soriano is the only Pinay and Asian in the powerhouse sales and marketing team of phone giant Nokia, based in Helsinki, Finland. She said "Most Finns don’t know much about the Philippines, except the fact that the first Miss Universe [Armi Kuusela] married a Filipino". She is the head of consumer communications, who oversees the worldwide marketing activities of Nokia, a company dominated mostly by men and and of Finnish nationality.

Pinay beauty Soriano, used to teached Medieval History to her Alma Mater, Ateneo  far from what she graduated - Legal Management while doing advertising work at the same time. Then she started working in Nokia last 20003 as marketing communications manager in its Singapore office. In 2004-2005, Soriano took charge of rolling out Nokia’s blockbuster N series in the region. It did extremely well, and led to the offer to move to Finland in 2006. In 2008, she became VP for creative excellence, where she had approving power for all the advertising campaigns of Nokia worldwide.

Soriano .stays in Finland with her Filipino husband who works works with a Finnish advertising firm and their seven-year old son. She said living in Finland is way, way different living in the Philippines. Her son's education she said "Their school days are short; the emphasis is on discovery,” says Soriano. “When kids go to school, they take off their shoes! The idea is to make them relax.” and “In a Manila mall, truthfully, I’d never be able to let go of my son. But there, I feel safe about letting him walk to a neighbor’s house to play, and be gone for three hours.”

Story and picture taken from Philippine Daily Inquirer

Manila Galleons: the Largest Class of Ships built in 1565-1815 were Made in the Philippines

For more pictures, please scroll down.

Manila-Acapulco Galleons or Manila Galleons are ships made of renowned Philippine hardwood, as long as 160-feet long, up to 2,000 tons and can carry a thousand passengers. Cavite in Manila Bay, was the largest shipyard building Manila Galleons; others were built in Sorsogon, Marinduque, Masbate, and Camarines. Only eight out of a hundred plus of these galleons were made in Acapulco, now Mexico. For 250 years, Manila Galleons sailed once or twice a year across Pacific Ocean between Manila to Mexico carrying spices, porcelain, silk clothing etc. These goods are then traded to American, European and East Asian markets. Manila used to be one of the world’s greatest ports during the Manila Galleon days and aboard these ships are people from Manila who became the first Filipinos in America.

“San Pablo”, the first Manila Galleon, was under Fr. Andres de Urdaneta, who used only a compass and his wind & tide navigation knowledge for sailing. It was him who discovered the shortest route back to Mexico through north of Cebu. Because of the 129-day duration and immature guidance of the 15-year old Captain Felipe de Salcedo, most of the crew died before reaching to Mexico. Having said that the Manila Galleons were a hundred plus more and very indispensable part of maritime history, why not much of their accounts were told? Aside from the “Concepcion” and “Santissima Trinidad” galleons, where are the rest? It is believed that a number of Manila galleons were wrecked because of the strong winds, inadequate knowledge in early seafaring days or encounters with foreign pirates.

October 2009, UNESCO recognized Manila Galleons’ part in the globalization of trade and cultural exchange and declared 8th day of the same month as the International Dia Del Galeon (Day of the Galeon) to promote understanding of the impact Philippines contributed to the world trade history. It was the Mexican War of Independence in 1815 that ended galleons from sailing permanently. Histories of Manila Galleons are seldom talked about in our local TV shows, nada in movies! A challenge is thrown to the historians, media, directors and private individuals to share what they knew and share to the young ones maybe through a documentary film or so. Few wrecks have been found so far of these within the Philippine archipelago because of two reasons: either it sank in the deep, hard to explore waters or the Philippine law discourages active exploration of these historic wrecks.

Below are the pictures from a replica of Galleon Andalucia from Spain which docked for 5 days in Pier 13, South Harbor Manila.

Click below for more pictures.

The Mind Museum's The Philippines Through National Geographic Lenses (1898-1966) Photo Exhibit

Thirty (30) rare images of the Philippines from the archives of the National Geographic Magazine from 1898 to 1966 are  formally opened to the public last Oct. 3 - 4 at Greenbelt 5, Makati. These images reflect the Philippines rich culture especially featured are tribes' traditions and practices. Known personalities like filmmaker/writer Jose Javier Reyes nd Urban Zone show host Daphne Oseña-Paez joined the event and the young-looking people behind The Mind Museum - the first class museum to open in the Philippines next year 2011.

This photo exhibit sponsored by the National Geographic Channel will be displayed to Ayala Malls from Oct. 7 - 10 at Glorietta, Oct. 21 - 24 at Trinoma and Nov. 12 - 14 at Bonifacio High Street. Individuals who cannot afford to help financially can devote their time and skills by signing up as volunteers. For as little as P1,000 anyone can donate and help build The Mind Museum by sponsoring their virtual exhibits. Names of the donors are mentioned in their website and will receive an electronic "Donor's Certificate" via email and when The Mind Museum opens, it will be included in the Donors' Marker in their galleries.

The Mind Museum's vision is to give the next generation the wings to fly against the challenge of a future shaped by service  and technology. The Mind Museum’s state of the art design will feature Five Galleries: 1. The Story of the Universe, 2. The Story of the Earth, 3. The Story of Life, 4. The Story of the Atom and 5. The Story of Technology. The Mind Museum will  feature over 250 interactive exhibits and will include a park where people can continue their science fascination outdoors. Only ninety percent of this P1 billion project has been raised and The Mind Museum is looking for individuals, groups or companies that can help them in many ways. To visit their website, this is the link:

A Few Snapshots of the Event

Six-year-old Fil-Am golf prodigy touted as next Tiger Woods

Only 6 years old, Amari Avery is called as 'Tigress' and being touted as the next Tiger Woods. Like Tiger, she’s also half Asian her mom is Pinay. She and Tiger Woods have the same birthday, December 30th. Comparing the two when it comes to achievements, she won the Callaway Junior World Championships at age 6, Woods did it at age 8. In 2010, she’s placed first at the US Kids Golf Tour Championships and the Futures Golf World Championships. She’s taken first place at nearly a dozen local tournaments this year.

This young, petite and half-Pinay in some ways may have already surpassed Tiger Woods.  She won the Callaway Junior World Championships at age 6, Woods did it at age 8. In 2010 alone, she’s placed first at the US Kids Golf Tour Championships and the Futures Golf World Championships. She’s taken first place at nearly a dozen local tournaments this year. When asked about Tiger, she said Avery told, "I don't like him because I could beat him."

Avery practices everyday after school with the help of a local pro coach. Avery started golfing since she was three and a half years old. It was her dad who discovered her talent.  She's hoping to win another 2 tournaments this year and her younger sister Allana, age 3,  is also showing interest in the same sport.

Story and picture taken from: and Balitang America

Avon's Walk & Run Fight for Breast Cancer in SMX Mall of Asia

If you want to join this event but want to just walk, sure you can join! Just register and buy a Kiss Goodbye to Cancer Avon T-shirt for only P149.00 but if you can run, register for a 5-km race and pay for only P500. Assembly time is 5AM and will start by 5:30AM.   Registration period is until Sept. 30, 2010 only.

Main Sponsor: Avon Philippines

Beneficiaries: Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer (KGBC)

Race/Event Date: Sunday, October 3, 2010
Location: SM Mall of Asia Open Grounds

For more info, please visit AVON PHILIPPINES

A Year After Ondoy: A Volunteer's Story in Marikina

The rain hasn't stopped and it's 6AM already. I hear the wind  banging the roof and corners of the building where I used to work along Ayala Avenue, Makati producing an eerie sound. Who wouldn't forget Sept. 26th last year?  While walking in a knee-deep flood  along Legaspi Street where the weekly Sunday Market is held, "Boom!" An explosion happened. "Guys! A generator two blocks away from here exploded! Hurry, let's go to the nearest dry place. We might get electrocuted! "  Said one of the guys walking with us while we try to walk faster because if not the ripples from the flood created by the passing vehicles can make anyone stumble down. Sleepy and at my weakest as I just came out from a graveyard shift, I stomped my feet away from the flood as fast I can like there's no tomorrow. Thanks God, not a worse thing happened!

A week later an officemate invited me to join as a volunteer in a relief operation and feeding program sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. "Yes!" I said. Two vans carrying food supplies, a bus full of students from Philippine Science High School in San Pedro, Laguna and another van full of volunteers squeezing themselves in between the goods to be distributed. A woman in her 30's and an authority at CCP I forgot her name already, guided us all throughout. One thin man in his 50's, wearing his eyeglasses approached us. "He looked very familiar, can't remember though..." The woman said "Guys this is Nanding Josef, a theatrical actor, director and you see him in TV & movies." "Now I remember!" From time to time, we glance at him but he seemed not  bothered at all. We went to Marikina, not to the Providence Village but to the nearby barangays where most of the people a re poor. The sun is so high, it was so hot and the thick mud covering the road when sprayed by the sunshine does not, not smell good at all! Garbage wastes are everywhere. The line is so long.

I saw different faces and different attitude. One said 'Thank you' after we gave her a plastic bag full of canned goods and a few pieces of clothes. Another old woman said "Is this all you can give?" I just replied a smile at her. The students all wearing a blueuniform seemed to be enjoying their feeding session. I hear them laugh from time to time as one of them cracks a joke, maybe to forget that they're under a scorching heat of the sun. The barangay kagawad who guided us to the place was very charming and eventually became a tour guide as he gives the names and landmarks of every place we pass by. He generously offered his number to anyone who wanted to visit local tourist spots in Marikina.  Most of the volunteer ladies got his number. I saved his number too... well the museum of Imelda Marcos' shoes is great to visit too!