Monday, 24 October 2011

Kembali Coast Residential Beach Resort




Kembali Coast, the first residential-leisure development of its kind in Mindanao, is the perfect tropical getaway. Located in the island city of Samal, Kembali Coast in only 15 minutes away from Davao City via speedboat.

This Balinese-themed development gives you a taste of high-end resort living. The 1.8 km beach line stretches to welcome you home to your own private paradise.


Monday, 22 August 2011

Evacuation of Pinoys in Libya set

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Philippine embassy officials in Libya are going around hospitals in the nation's capital, Tripoli, as well as nearby cities to convince Filipinos to leave the country, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Raul Hernandez said Monday.

The DFA, however, said it will not force overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to leave if they do not want to.

It is still up to the Filipinos to decide if the want to leave Tripoli, the department said. If they decide to leave, the government will provide everything they need to bring them home.

The DFA on Monday raised Alert Level 4 in Libya, which means the mandatory evacuation and repatriation of Filipino nationals in the area at the Philippine government's expense.

"We are still convincing the 2,000-plus, especially the 1,600 who are still in Tripoli and in the suburbs," Hernandez said.

Philippine Ambassador to Libya Alejandrino Vicente told TV Patrol on Monday night that only 86 Filipinos have expressed their desire to leave Libya.

He said a majority of OFWs want to stay in the country because they fear that they won't have good-paying jobs when they return to the Philippines. "Nangingibabaw iyung economic reasons po. Sinasabi po nila, makikipagsapalaran po sila dahil walang katiyakan po ang trabaho."

Tripoli falls

Rebel fighters have swept into the heart of Tripoli and crowds took to the streets to celebrate what they saw as the end of Moammar Gaddafi's 4 decades of power, but a government fightback was reported as dawn broke on Monday.

Tanks emerged from Gaddafi's stronghold in the center of the Libyan capital and were shelling the area, Al Jazeera television reported.

Despite euphoria among rebels and their backers in Tripoli and elsewhere, a rebel spokesman, identified on Al Jazeera as Nasser, said government troops still controlled "about 15 to 20 percent of the city."

The Philippine government on Monday warned Filipinos in Libya to stay indoors as it arranged for a ship to get them out of the country, amid the final thrust by rebels into the capital.

DFA Undersecretary Esteban Conejos said the government has the funds and the capacity to bring the Filipinos back home.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has allocated 400 seats on a chartered ship to take Filipinos from Tripoli to Alexandria, Egypt.

From Alexandria, a commercial flight will take the Filipinos back to the Philippines.

Wait and see first

The DFA, however, wants to see how the situation develops in Libya in the next 24 hours before implementing the forced evacuation OFWs, according to the department's acting secretary, Antonio Rodriguez.

"Wait and see tayo next 24 hours baka di na kailangan i-repatriate," he said. If rebel forces succeed, baka tapos na ang boxing."

"Baka naman kasi pag pina-uwi natin, babalik din sila kasi may mga contracts ang mga yan," Rodriguez added. "Malalaki rin ang sweldo ng mga health worker sa Libya."

Conejos, meanwhile, expressed confidence that all Filipinos still in Libya are accounted for and can be reached if the situation turns for the worse.

"We have contingency measures, we have coordinators... 1,600 filipinos are all accounted for," he said. "They are documented, the DFA is in touch with them."

He said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is ready to help the repatriated Pinoys. "DOLE has a return reintegration program. It is a P2-billion program."

He said the program includes soft loans for former OFWs to start their own business, as well as local employment opportunities and entrepreneurial programs.

Zero hour for Gaddafis

After a 6-month civil war, rebels have moved quickly into Tripoli, with a carefully orchestrated uprising launched on Saturday night to coincide with the advance of rebel troops on 3 fronts. Fighting broke out after the call to prayer from the minarets of the mosques.

Libyan rebels have captured 2 of Gaddafi's sons, but the whereabouts of leader himself were unknown.

Rebel National Transitional Council Coordinator Adel Dabbechi confirmed that Gaddafi's younger son Saif Al-Islam had been captured.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, which wants Saif along with his father on charges of crimes against humanity, confirmed he had been held and said he should be handed over for trial.

Gaddafi's eldest son Mohammed Al-Gaddafi had surrendered to rebel forces, Dabbechi told Reuters.

In a television interview, the younger Gaddafi said gunmen had surrounded his house, but he later told al-Jazeera in a phone call that he and his family were unharmed.

Only 5 months ago, Gaddafi's forces were set to crush the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the leader warning then that there would be "no mercy, no pity" for his opponents. His forces, he said, would hunt them down "district to district, street to street, house to house, room to room."

The United Nations then acted quickly, clearing the way for creation of a no-fly zone that NATO, with a campaign of bombing, used ultimately to help drive back Gaddafi's forces.

"It's over. Gaddafi's finished," said Saad Djebbar, former legal adviser to the Libyan government.

In Benghazi in the east, thousands gathered in a city-center square waving red, black and green opposition flags and trampling on pictures of Gaddafi as news filtered through of rebel advances into Tripoli.

Mohammed Derah, a Libyan activist in Tripoli, told Al Jazeera: "This is another day, a new page in Libya's history. We are witnessing a new dawn and a new history of freedom. The regime is finished."

"We are living historic moments, moments that we haven't witnessed since we were born, since we came out of our mothers' wombs," said We'am Mohanna.

Celebratory gunfire and explosions rang out over the city and cars blaring their horns crowded onto the streets. Overhead, red tracer bullets darted into a black sky.

"It does look like it is coming to an end," said Anthony Skinner, Middle East analyst, Maplecroft. "But there are still plenty of questions. The most important is exactly what Gaddafi does now. Does he flee or can he fight?"

"In the slightly longer term, what happens next? We know there have been some serious divisions between the rebel movement and we don't know yet if they will be able to form a cohesive front to run the country."

Gaddafi, in his second audio broadcast in 24 hours, dismissed the rebels as "rats."

"I am giving the order to open the weapons stockpiles," Gaddafi said. "I call on all Libyans to join this fight. Those who are afraid, give your weapons to your mothers or sisters.

"Go out, I am with you until the end. I am in Tripoli. We will ... win."

A Libyan government official told Reuters that 376 people on both sides of the conflict were killed in fighting overnight on Saturday in Tripoli, with about 1,000 others wounded.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Fil-Am twins at the top of their game

MENLO PARK, California – Seventeen-year old Jesse and Christian Perkins are Filipino-American twins who seem to have it all.

The boys are respected athletes, winning the Grand Prix for Doubles and Northern California’s Athletes of the Week.

They are also promising musicians, singers and upcoming models. The twins were recently chosen as 2 of the top 60 most gorgeous men in the world by Nigel Who! Males 2012.

The Perkins family.

Their grades can’t be beat as well, as the boys both have 4.5 GPAs.

The twins credit their parents for their achievements.

"Our parents are a driving force in our lives and they instilled in us to be the best that we could be, in... school, athletics. That helps us get motivated," says Jesse.

Tess and Tarny Perkins said they raised their boys as Christians, prayer warriors who strive to live a good life.

“We wanted to make sure they would be role models, not only for themselves but for the family and the world,” said Tess.

To be the best they can be, the Perkins laid down rules for the boys.

"No partying," Christian said. "We're cool with that. We don't want to drink, we don't want to do drugs or smoke."

The twins also cannot use Facebook.

"We're not going to have any of that, even instant messaging," Jesse said.

"And no girls," Christian added. "Not right now. My parents said no for now."

But they do have their celebrity crushes. Jesse likes Kim Chiu, while Christian thinks Erich Gonzales is pretty.

For now, nothing and no one can distract the boys from achieving more in life.

Top colleges all over the United States, including Stanford and Yale, have sent letters to the twins.

"God gave them gifts," said their father, Tarny. "It's up to them to take advantage of the gifts God gave them. If they do, their world is frighteningly great."

The Perkins twins are considering taking a year off and living in the Philippines to pursue show business. The possibilities are endless for them, but what’s certain is that they have what it takes to be even more successful in life.

Petron takes Game 7, wins PBA Governors Cup

MANILA, Philippines - It was sweet redemption for the Petron Blaze Boosters as they defeated the Talk N Text Tropang Texters in Game 7 of the PBA Governors Cup Finals, 85-73, taking home the title by winning the series, 4 games to 3.

Arwind Santos named finals MVP.

A series that many thought would be easy for the Texters instead went all the way to a do-or-die Game 7, where both teams left everything on the court.

With their victory, Petron not only won the championship, but also avenged their loss to Talk N Text in last conference's Finals. They also prevented Talk N Text from achieving a historic grand slam.

Arwind Santos sealed the win for Petron with 37.5 seconds to go, when scored on a dunk after Talk N Text turned the ball over.

The Texters were unable to get their offensive going, and also suffered several defensive breakdowns that led to easy lay-ups for Petron.

Talk N Text had to finish the game without spitfire guard Jason Castro. Castro suffered a sprained ankle in the 2nd period, and left the game for good in the 3rd quarter.

Anthony Grundy bounced back from a horrible Game 6, leading the Blazers in scoring while also playing defense on TNT counterpart Maurice Baker.

With the victory, Coach Ato Agustin became the 2nd coach to win a championship in his rookie season.

Kelly Williams was able to keep Talk N Text in the game in the third period, as he scored 9 points in the quarter, most of which came from lay-ups.

Season MVP Jimmy Alapag also gave the Texters a lift with a buzzer beating 3-pointer to end the period.

But Petron still led by double-digits, 64-53, going into the final period

The Blazers started the game on fire from the floor, with Denok Miranda scoring the first 7 points for Petron.

Grundy immediately made his presence felt with a 3-pointer that gave Petron an early 5-point lead at 10-5.

Ranidel De Ocampo kept the Texters in the game with timely baskets midway through the opening period.

Momentum shifted the Texters' way in the 2nd quarter, when Jojo Duncil was sent off the court after incurring a flagrant foul against Maurice Baker.

Duncil had stuck out his foot while Baker was taking a shot.

De Ocampo had a chance to get Petron's lead down to 4 at the end of the half, but his lay-up was soundly rejected by Santos.

Petron led 40-34 going into the break.

Adding to the Texters' 1st half woes were the 4 fouls called against Baker, forcing Reyes to go to his bench for a stopper against Grundy.

TNT's scorers, meanwhile, had trouble connecting from the field, with Larry Fonacier and Kelly Williams both unable to find the bottom of the net on their scoring attempts.

Miranda had 11 first half points to lead Petron, while de Ocampo had 15 points for TNT.

Friday, 5 August 2011

2 Pinays charged for 'sex in public’ in Dubai

DUBAI - A Filipino women’s group advised their compatriots in the United Arab Emirates to strictly follow the laws of their host country particularly on morality and public decency following two separate cases involving Filipinas who had sex at Dubai’s public beach recently.

In a report published in UAE’s major dailies, a Filipina housemaid was sentenced to one year in prison by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanors on Tuesday after her Emirati employer reported to the police that she had become pregnant during her several late night trysts with her Pakistani lover at the Jumeirah Open Beach.
The 26-year-old Filipina admitted in court she had consensual sex with her 25-year-old Pakistani boyfriend who works as an accountant. Presiding Judge Mohammad Ahmad Shoaib said the couple will be deported following the completion of their jail terms.
In another report, the Dubai Court of Misdemeanors heard in the same week another illegal sex-on-the-beach case involving another Filipina and her Lebanese boyfriend who were “caught red-handed by the police kissing and having sex at a secluded spot on Umm Suqiem’s public beach” last July 5.
According to police records, the 30-year-old Filipina salesgirl and her 21-year-old Lebanese waiter boyfriend admitted to their act.
"We were at the beachside having a walk along with my two friends. I took her to a poorly lit spot near the rocks. When we finished and were getting dressed, the police arrived,” the Lebanese said.
The court charged the two with having "sex out of wedlock and public indecency" but the pair did not attend the hearing and the next trial was moved on August 18.
Gabriela-UAE Coordinator Jhasmin Cipriano said Filipinos should strictly follow UAE rules.
“Nananawagan ang Gabriela-UAE sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan – babae man o lalaki – na mag-ingat at sikaping gawin ang lahat para maitaguyod ang dangal ng ating lahi,” Cipriano said.
Chona Nocido, who works as personal assistant in one of the multinational companies based in Dubai’s business district, shares the same view.
“Bukod sa hindi sila kasal, bawal talaga iyon. Sana matuto na sila,” Nocido said.
Gay Mendoza, finance administrator at Westin Mina Seyahi, said she was scandalized after hearing the news.
“Are they idiots or are just plain dumb? This is a Muslim country and they should know better. Nakakahiya. At any rate, regardless of what country and nationality, I believe stuff like that should be done in a private place,” Mendoza said.
Cipriano, however, warned others not to make sweeping generalization and pass quick judgment on Filipino women’s morality.
“Hindi nakapagtataka na sa isang patriyarkal na lipunan na may relihiyong Muslim man o Kristiyano, na lagi na lang babae ang mas naituturing o lumalabas na masama sa paningin ng nakararami lalo't patungkol sa usaping katulad nito,” added Cipriano, who works as a Social Science teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Dubai.
“Totoo na hindi akma lalo na't sa publikong lugar nila ito ginawa, hindi pa rin maipagkakaila na ang mga bagay na katulad nito ay gabutil lamang kumpara sa mas malaking suliranin ng mga kababaihan tulad ng talamak na human trafficking, prostitusyon at sinasapit ng mga kasambahay na pagmamalupit sa kamay ng kanilang mga employer. Ito ang mga suliraning kailangang mas tugunan ng pansin ng mga nasa otoridad lalo na ng ating Embahada at Konsulado dito sa UAE,” Cipriano concluded.

Evans confident of beating Ortiz

MANILA, Philippines – Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans is confident that he will defeat Tito Ortiz in the upcoming UFC 133 event.

"I'm confident no matter where the fight goes, I'm gonna destroy him," Evans told UFC.com.

Evans and Ortiz will fight in the main event of UFC 133, a rematch of their 1st bout in UFC 73, which ended in a draw.

"It's been a long time, and I actually gave up on the hope that this match-up may happen again," Evans said. "But fate has shown me differently, and I'm very excited and pleased that Tito Ortiz stepped up so we can have this fight."

Evans, who was the winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 2, believes that he has the advantage over Ortiz.

"I'm much faster than him. As long as I keep my movement, keep using my speed, he should be a couple of steps behind me," he said.

Evans holds a 20-1-1 win-loss-draw record and is coming off victories over Thiago Silva and Quinton Jackson.

"He's making a mistake when he steps into the cage with me," Evans said. "There is no doubt in my mind that I will defeat Tito Ortiz."

Turqueza scores win in World Juniors Chess

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino chess player Mari Joseph “MJ” Turqueza notched a win in the 50th World Junior and 29th Junior Girls Chess Championships in Tamil Nadu, South India on Thursday.

Turqueza defeated India’s Abhilash Reddy in the third round for his first win in the tournament.

In the women's event, Filipina Janelle Mae Frayna suffered another setback against Russian Aisa Imeeva.

Turqueza will meet Benjamin Vincent Hercules of South Africa in the fourth round. Frayna, on the other hand, plays opposite Zsofia of Slovakia.

The country’s best finish in the tournament was back in 1991 when GM Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla Jr. won the bronze medal

Pacman wants default ruling vs Floyd in defamation case

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao is seeking a default ruling from a US District Court regarding his defamation suit against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

According to USA Today.com, the boxing congressman from Sarangani province sought a default ruling because of Mayweather's refusal to give a court deposition in relation to the case.

Pacquiao filed the defamation suit over claims made by Mayweather and his trainer uncle, Roger Mayweather, that Pacquiao was using performance-enhancing drugs (PED).

The Filipino boxer is asking up to US$10 million in damages plus attorney's fees.

"[Mayweather's] lawyer has to respond to the motion, and the judge will need to decide," Pacquiao’s lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli said in the report.

"Judges can and do issue defaults against parties who do not obey their orders and won't participate in the discovery process according the rules. And you forfeit your opportunity to be a litigant when you defy the rules," he added.

Pacquiao’s camp reportedly offered 24 dates for Mayweather to make his deposition.

Mayweather allegedly declined all the dates, citing that he is busy training for the Victor Ortiz fight.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Gang-raped OFW in Saudi gives birth

MANILA, Philippines – The pregnant overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was raped by 3 Saudi nationals last week has given birth to a baby girl.

More good news came for "Salley" (not her real name) when her 3 rapists were caught

Salley was scheduled to identify the 3 suspects last Wednesday, but had to be rushed to the hospital early in the morning to give birth.

Salley had a healthy, 3.6-pound baby girl.

The OFW said that she was thankful that her daughter was not affected by the rape that she endured.

"Healthy naman po siya ngayon, normal," Salley said of her daughter.

Although she is still weak, Salley will go straight to the police precinct once she gets out of the hospital in order to identify the rapists.

The Philippine Embassy has confirmed that the 3 suspects, all Saudi nationals, are currently in jail at Dammam.

But the suspects are not yet being named as Salley has yet to positively identify them.

Salley will also be given an attorney to ensure that she receives justice.

"Tinatanong nila ako kung itutuloy ko ang kaso, sabi ko, opo. Pinapirma po nila ako kanina," Salley said.

The medical results that may tie the suspects to the rape have not yet been released.

Meanwhile, many Filipinos in the Middle East have offered their support and sympathies for Salley, with some offering financial help.

"Masaya kami ngayon at nakapanganak siya ng maayos, at healthy ang bata. Maraming salamat sa mga Pilipinong tumulong sa kanya," community leader Aiza Monares said.

Pinay is one of top entrepreneurs in US

WASHINGTON DC – Ten years after immigrating to the United States, and 3 years after starting her own business, Nina Rodecker is one of America’s top entrepreneurs.

She has been feted by the Chamber of Commerce, the US Congress, and the White House.

It was a far cry from her days growing up in Sampaloc, where she sold mangga and bagoong at a grade school until the nuns forbade it.

Rodecker and about a hundred other young entrepreneurs were invited to DC to help promote business start-ups and jobs, and help rescue the US economy.

"We have to support small business started by entrepreneurs because small business accounts for three-fourths of the economy. More small businesses, more jobs, better economy," Rodecker said.

Rodecker's Tasty Clouds Candy company was born when she couldn’t find a store to satisfy a craving for cotton candy when she was pregnant.

Some of the candy that Nina Rodecker sells in the Tasty Clouds Candy Company.

The company has now cornered the cotton candy business in Los Angeles, capturing an A-list clientele which includes Paris Hilton, other stars, chefs, musicians and athletes.

She said that Filipinos have qualities that make them good entrepreneurs wherever they may be.

"First and foremost, they should work on their passion. We Filipinos are very persevering, we are very determined. Those are good qualities that would really turn to successful business," she said.

Her advice to other aspiring Filipino-American entrepreneurs: "Think big. This is America, think bigger."

After making one of the simplest sugar treats into a million-dollar business, Rodecker is now setting her sights on bigger things.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Barbosa wins top place in Campo Memorial Chess

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino International Master (IM) Oliver Barbosa won the overall title in the Florencio Campomanes Memorial Yangon International Open Chess 2011 in Yangon, Myanmar on Monday.

The Taytay, Rizal native finished with 7.5 points to bag the overall title and the $3,000 prize that goes with it.

The event was organized by the Myanmar Chess Federation and Myanmar Sports and Physical Education Department to pay homage to the FIDE (World Chess Federation) honorary president Florencio "Pocamps" Campomanes.

“Once again our flag has been raised in this foreign land,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr.

Li Hanbing of China finished second with 7 points for the $1,600 runner-up purse.

Seven players -- IM Richard Bitoon and FM Mari Joseph Turqueza of the Philippines, IM Nguyen Van Huy of Vietnam, IM Atanu Lahiri and IM Dinesh Kumar Sharma of India, IM Myo Naing and Moun Moun Latt of Myanmar -- shared third to ninth places with 6.5 points.

IM Wynn Zaw Htun, Myint Han and Zayar of Myanmar finished in a tie for 10th to 12th places with 6 points.

Junior Archers shoot down Blue Eaglets in OT

MANILA, Philippines - De La Salle University (DLSU) drew first blood over bitter rival Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) this year as the Junior Archers defeated the reigning 3-time champion Blue Eaglets, 78-75, in overtime on Tuesday's UAAP juniors basketball.

Gabby Reyes scored 21 points and Isaac Lim added 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists to lift La Salle-Zobel at AdMU's home court in Katipunan.

Reyes sank two pressure packed charities for a 76-73 advantage, before the Junior Archers forced the Blue Eaglets to a 5-second inbound violation in the next play just 30 seconds remaining.

Kristiane Velhagen's free throw gave La Salle Zobel more breathing room in overtime, but Ateneo made it 75-77 on Gab Capacio’s putback.

Axel Torres split his charities to make it 78-75 with 18.6 seconds remaining. The Junior Archers then tightened its defense in the final seconds, forcing Blue Eaglets’ Gerald Austria’s desperation triple to miss its mark.

It was Ateneo's Thomas Ramos who sank two free throws to send the game into overtime, 67-67.

NU rips UST

National University nipped last year’s juniors finalist University of Santo Tomas (UST), 63-59, in overtime at the Ateneo Blue Eagle gym.

The Bullpups practically led for most part of the game, but found a resilient team in the Tiger Cubs who placed the scores at 53-all in regulation.

Ralph Tristian Tansignco led the Bullpups with 20 points while Rafael Lorenzo Busa added 10. Paul Bernard Baliton dished an all-around game with 7 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Adamson University (AdU), meanwhile, beat University of the Philippines Integrated School, 83-64.

Bryant to join All-Star series vs Gilas, PBA

MANILA, Philippines - Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant is reportedly joining a stellar NBA selection, including two-time scoring champion Kevin Durant and reigning MVP Derrick Rose, coming over to play a two-game blockbuster series against Smart Gilas Pilipinas and a PBA selection at the Araneta Coliseum late this month.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar, who is in town to kick off his five-city Nike Asian tour, was included in a roster of NBA stars who will play in the series to be held for the benefit of the MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) to uplift Philippine sports and help develop Filipino athletes.

Organizers will officially announce full details of the giant cage event Friday at the Meralco Lighthouse inside Meralco Complex in Ortigas, Pasig.

The two-day basketball extravaganza, presented by the MVPSF, Smart, Meralco and TV5 with Maynilad, MNTC, MIPC and Philex Mining as other sponsors, coincides with the birthday celebration of basketball chief Manny V. Pangilinan on July 14.

Also in the NBA roster are Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma Thunder, Darko Milicic of the MinnesotaTimberwolves, Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat.

Milicic’s teammate Kevin Love and Andrei Igoudala of the Philadelphia Sixers are no longer part of the team as earlier reported.

The two-day event became possible following the NBA lockout, making the NBA stars available for the Manila visit.

Sources said Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes is in charge of negotiations with the NBA group led by former star Chris Webber who had played in an exhibition game against a PBA selection early this year.

The Nationals hope to use the game as one of their alternative buildups to their cancelled trips to Lisbon, Portugal and Istanbul, Turkey as they prepare for the Fiba-Asia Championship slated Sept. 15-25 in Wuhan, China.

Injuries to a number of players prompted Smart Gilas to cancel their Europe trips.

The Nationals are scheduled to play in the Jones Cup from Aug. 6 to 14 in Chinese Taipei and one more tournament, perhaps in China, before plunging into action in Wuhan where a lone berth to the 2012 London Olympics is at stake.

A PBA source confirmed the league is forming a selection to play the NBA stars.

James Yap, Marc Pingris, Rabah Al-Hussaini, Arwind Santos, Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio, Gary David and Gabe Norwood are among players tipped to make the PBA selection to be handled by Reyes himself.

Azkals eye improved defense vs Kuwait

MANILA, Philippines – Azkals team coach Hans Michael Weiss said defense will be an important aspect of their game when they face Kuwait in their away game on July 23.

“We will change the central defense and try not to concede a goal in the first match,” Weiss said in a FIFA.com report.

Weiss said they will have to shut down Kuwait's attacking game to come up at least with a goalless draw.

“If we can come away with a goalless draw, then things will be different when we play as hosts five days later,” he said, referring to the Azkals’ home game on July 28.

He admitted that Kuwait is the toughest opponent for the Azkals so far.

Kuwait made it to the 1982 FIFA World Cup finals and is currently placed 102nd in the FIFA world rankings. The Philippines is ranked 159th.

“They (Kuwait) are a very strong team in Asia,” said Weiss. “I wish I had a year to prepare for the match-ups, rather than a couple of weeks, then we should have a good chance against them.”

However, he assured that the Azkals will give their best to upset Kuwait.

“With solid preparation, good performance and perhaps an extra ounce of luck, it’s possible for us to turn the corner,” he said.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Mayweather fails to appear for deposition - lawyer

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – A lawyer for Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao says rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. failed to appear for a court-ordered deposition in Pacquiao's defamation suit against the American fighter.

Attorney Daniel Petrocelli said Mayweather didn't show up on Friday to provide sworn testimony, a day after federal Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston ruled that he had to appear.

Mayweather's attorneys had argued that he needed to concentrate on training for his September 17 fight against Victor Ortiz.

Pacquiao sued Mayweather over statements from Mayweather and others in his camp accusing Pacquiao of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

The two, considered the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, have repeatedly failed to reach terms to meet in the ring in what could be the richest bout in boxing history.

On May 31, Pacquiao settled his defamation lawsuit against Oscar de la Hoya and his Golden Boy promotions chief Richard Schaefer.

Under the terms of that settlement, de la Hoya and Schaefer issued a statement and apology to Pacquiao, saying they "never intended to claim that Manny Pacquiao has used or is using any performance enhancing drugs, and further state that we do not have any evidence whatsoever of such use."

Pacquiao has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and in his original 2009 lawsuit he claimed that Mayweather, his father Floyd Snr and uncle Roger along with de la Hoya and Schaefer "conducted a campaign in a set of interviews to make people think he used them."

Pacquiao's lawsuit is not Mayweather's only pending legal issue.

He also faces felony charges stemming from a domestic dispute and misdemeanor harassment and battery charges in separate cases.

Azkals up close: Jason Sabio

MANILA, Philippines – An athlete by heart and a self-confessed Twitter addict – that's how one can describe the Philippine Azkals' Jason Sabio.

Sabio revealed that he has always been an athletic guy and one can imagine him playing any sport.

Despite this, he fell in love with football the most.

“I started playing football with my best friend in middle school in the States in Alabama,” he said.

Sabio was raised in the United States but his parents are both from the Philippines.

At the peak of the Azkals’ fame, Sabio sat down with abs-cbnNEWS.com and shared things about his personal life and his moments as a member of Philippine National Football team.

Personal Information

Name: Jason Abbott Abantao Sabio
Age: 24
Birthday: June 30, 1986
Birthplace: Manila
Position in the Azkals team: Defender
Start of football career: Started playing football at age 11

Where's your mother/father from?
My dad’s from Marikina and my mom’s from Koronadal in South Cotabato, Mindanao.

What leagues have you played in?
I’ve played in Division 1 in the States, and also in National Premiere Soccer League, which is also a semi-professional team in the States.

What made you decide to join the Azkals?
I‘ve always wanted to represent the country, my birth country and I thought it would be an opportunity because I love soccer, I love football, I love Filipinos.

If you weren't a football player what would you like to have been?
Actually after I’m done with my football career, I’m one year away from finishing law school so I’m going to be a lawyer.

What was your most memorable game?
Most memorable game has to be Bacolod, the first game against Mongolia, February 9, playing in front of 20,000 fans and in live television. It’s one of the best moments of my life.

What’s your pet peeve? The thing that you hate the most?
I hate jumping to conclusions.

What’s the best you like about football?
The best thing about it is it’s a team sport. It’s not just individual so you must work together and you’re only as strong as your weakest link so you have to try to help each other achieve your success.

Pinay wins business challenge award in Netherlands

NETHERLANDS - For the second time, a Filipina took home the grand prize in the BiD Network Women in Business Challenge, a yearly competition for women entrepreneurs from around the world held here.

Hailing from Bukidnon, Philippines, Nathalie Arsonillo bested 140 businesswomen from Asia, Africa and South America with her organization Sustainable Growth for Rural Venture Inc. (SUGRUVI), which aims to better the lives and income of cassava farmers in her home province, particularly the Matinsalog-Manobo tribe.

Her goal to bring mobile cassava processing units to remote mountains in Bukidnon, in order to minimize spoilage and increase farmers' profits, earned the nod of judges from Dutch Bank ING, and business organizations United Success and iCCO.

“I’m very happy but this is just icing on the cake. My coming here and their efforts to connect me to future investors, I would not get it if I’m alone or if I’m just staying in the Philippines. I made a lot of contacts, I met a lot of people so the future looks great, not only for me but also for all the cassava farmers in the Philippines,” said Arsonillo in Tagalog.

The overwhelmed Arsonillo received 5,000 euros worth of business coaching from and membership to United Success, a women-only business network helping women entrepreneurs all over the world. She would also receive assistance in finding possible investors.

Advancing the lives of cassava farmers

A banker for 11 years, Arsonillo left her job at an international bank in the Philippines in 2008 to start SUGRUVI. Whenever she comes home to Bukidnon, she frequently sees cassava being grown in small patches in the province. She learned that cassava is not only for human consumption but for other productions as well. She thought of uniting cassava farmers into a community making cassava produce.

“Aside from being food on the table, cassava is also being made into noodles, one of the main components of glue, made into chalk, textile and many others. It has a lot of uses and now, one of the big markets for it is the production of ethanol. It’s like corn but only cheaper,” explained Arsonillo.

They partnered with a rural bank and sought other financing schemes to buy the good variety of cassava and distribute it to the farmers for free. She approached San Miguel Corporation to sell cassava chips but the company did not respond very early. For two years, the cassava farmers booked high costs, but no income. Because cassava rots in 48 to 72 hours, the farmers had little time to make them into something useful, thus lowering their income considerably.

“What we want is to make a transport unit that will go from the center to the mountains so the processing will take place there. This will avoid spoilage, lower transportation and labor costs and increase the productivity of the farmers and the organization,” she continued.

Fortunately, after two years of waiting, San Miguel started ordering from SUGRUVI. This inspired Arsonillo even more, as well as the farmers in her organization. She is proud of her kababayans' solidarity as they produce the amount of order that their clients demand.

SUGRUVI now has 278 members, 48% of whom are women and 23% are from the Matinsalog, Manobo tribe.

Social and environmental impact

The BiD Women in Business Challenge, now on its second year, was established to focus on women who are already in business but want to expand. According to Thierry Sanders, director and founder of BiD Network, 27% of all the business pitches they are receiving each year come from women entrepreneurs. Since there wasn't any international competition for these women, to help them assist in the expansion of their businesses, BiD Network pioneered one for them.

“There’s a lot of women entrepreneurs out there and they just need to put their business plans together, find a coach and get financed. They have great business ideas,” said Sanders.

Last year, it was Marianne Olano from Naga City who won the grand prize for her business Baycrafts Jewerly.

“The most important thing we are looking for is an entrepreneur who has growth ambitions. They must have social impact and we are looking for environmental businesses as well. So if you can have that combination of 20% of income growth, social impact and environmental impact you're in the right spot and you're looking for finance because we can help you look for finance,” continued Sanders.

According to Sanders, they do not entertain businesses which have lower that 20% predicted growth income in one year because these will not generate jobs that are needed in the community. He cited the statistics in the United States where 90% of jobs generated in the last 20 years were from companies which had start-up of $250,000 and more than 20% yearly growth.

All the five finalists, including four from Peru and Uganda, got business coaching from BiD and ING especially in areas like finance and investor match-making, marketing, women leadership, overcoming cultural barriers and finding export partners.

They were also advised to find business partners or investors who have solid background to build trust and track records, in addition to having perseverance.

Going International

SUGRUVI is currently only producing for domestic distribution but Arsonillo said that their end goal would be to go international. A few Dutch companies have already expressed interest in looking at their products and using tapioca starch instead of corn starch.

“The cassava chips are still on the starting level but starch is the end of the line. When the selling prices are high, the buying prices are also high so hopefully we can go and reach that goal (of going international),” said Arsonillo.

There is also a possibility of acquiring mobile units and other kinds of technology for their cassava processing. Some investors are also willing to buy SUGRUVI shares, prompting Arsonillo to turn the organization into a corporation.

“We waited for a long time but we didn’t think expect that it will this worth it,” she ended.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Floyd jabs at Pacman: I'll only fight 'all-natural boxers'

MANILA, Philippines – Controversial boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. threw verbal jabs yet again at Manny Pacquiao by saying he'll only fight "all-natural" boxers.

"I really feel bad for the fans that have been waiting for the Pacquiao fight for so long," the undefeated boxer told Fighthype.com.

"It's just, if I fight a fighter, I want to make sure that fighter is 100% all-pure and all-natural."

Mayweather, who faces Victor Ortiz in September, said refuses to stake his 41-0 record against Pacquiao because he claimed that the Filipino boxing superstar refused to take random blood testing.

"He just doesn't want to take these same test[s]. I work too hard to take a chance of losing to a fighter that's cheating," he said.

But Mayweather, who still has a pending defamation suit from Pacquiao, was careful from accusing Pacquiao of performance enhancement drug (PED) use.

"I'm not saying that Manny Pacquiao is cheating," he said.

"That just goes for any fighter. Any fighter that's getting in the ring with Floyd Mayweather must take the random blood and urine tests."

Mayweather, also known as "Pretty Boy Floyd," apparently failed to hear Pacquiao's willingness to undergo the tests.

"Pumayag naman ako pero hindi 'yung talagang maraming dugo na kukunin. Kung anong dugo ang kelangan sa drug test, ganoon lang karami. Fourteen days [before the fight]," Pacquiao earlier told ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo.

(I relented to his demand as long as they take just enough blood needed for the test… Fourteen days before the fight.)

Negotiations broke down between the camps of Pacquiao and Mayweather in 2010 when the American boxer demanded an Olympic-style drug testing.

Pacquiao later relented and agreed to drug testing provided that he will be given a 14-day cut off.

Mayweather, however, repeatedly declined to fight Pacquiao despite getting offers as high as $65 million.

Air Pacquiao? Manny to meet up with Nike boss

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino ring icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is set to meet with the head honcho of sports apparel giant Nike while on vacation in the United States.

The pound-for-pound king will be taking his family for a vacation in Southern California, Top Rank boss Bob Arum told Examiner.com.

But Pacquiao will also meet with Nike’s founder and chairman, Phil Knight.

“Manny is going to Oregon, up to Nike headquarters to meet the big boss, Phil Knight and all the other top people with the company,” Arum said.

Arum said that Nike is planning to create a “huge Pacman product line.”

The promoter added that the product line will be similar to what Nike did for Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan line.

World tour

Meanwhile, Arum is already planning the global media tour for Pacquiao’s next bout – a November 12 meeting with Mexican foe Juan Manuel Marquez.

“We will start at the end of August in the Philippines. We start in Manila and then we will be going over to Singapore, where they have huge interest in Manny,” Arum said.

The promotional tour will also make stops in the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi, before going back to the United States.

“We will finish the media tour, appropriately enough, in Mexico City,” Arum said.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Hatfield leaves Ginebra anew

MANILA, Philippines - Ginebra forward Rudy Hatfield is out again after resurfacing from a long vacation and playing three conferences in his return stint with the Kings.

Hatfield bid the team goodbye after they came up short in their title quest in the PBA Fiesta Conference against the Talk n Text Tropang Texters, which took its second straight crown with a 4-2 series victory.

“It’s an agreement when he came back. We know he’s leaving after the second conference,” Ginebra coach Jong Uichico told The STAR.

The Ginebra management sought a new deal but Hatfield opted to assess things first with his family in the United States.

Hatfield’s departure will surely leave a big void in the Ginebra frontcourt especially with Rico Villanueva also in the injured list, recuperating from an ACL surgery.

Uichico, however, hopes they find the right import for the third conference in Curtis Stinson.

The 6-foot-2 guard, a Bronx, New York native, played college ball for Iowa State and has been a fixture in the NBA D-League since 2007. He’s a two-time D-League first team and D-League MVP this season.

Curiously, Uichico saw positive things in their loss to Talk n Text in their title showdown, making him hopeful of another shot at the championship.

“For one, we saw that our young guys can compete. I know now that I can give them playing time that they really deserve,” said Uichico of players like JC Intal, John Wilson and Rob Labagala.

Uichico’s also comfortable with the fact that they’ve always been contending for the crown.

Fil-Am Muslims say extremism fading

NEW YORK - When Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan last week, America hoped that the death of the Al Qaeda’s infamous leader is the beginning of the end of terrorism.

Filipino-American producer and writer of “American Muslims” – a new TV series in production that promises to show a realistic picture of Muslims - Steven De Castro said, bin Laden’s message of terror is dying out and his death came at the time when the Muslim world is beginning to seek democracy.

De Castro said, “bin Laden’s idea is already being killed, his idea that you need to engage in violence in order to overthrow dictatorship.”

Filipina Muslim Queen Potru Ranka Manis said: “If he believes in killing his fellow men, that is not Islamic. He might be born in that religion but his practices is not Islamic at all.”

Political analyst Ramon Mappala said: “So, there will be a change of leadership, but not as probably as popular or as charismatic enigmatic, or charismatic as bin Laden because he himself was a US creation.”

Visiting Philippine Representative Aliah Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte said, while the Philippine government sees the death of bin Laden as a step forward in fighting terrorism, some Filipino Muslims in Southern Philippines protested the brutal killing of the bin Laden.

Dimaporo said, “I would say that they would feel negatively about the death of Osama bin Laden, the very outward expression of joy of people around the world because of his death, so I’m very cautious to give any opinion on that because I understand the sentiments of the people from the South.”

Some Filipinos in New York say, Osama bin Laden may be gone, but the fear he created in the minds of Americans still lingers.

Fil-Am actor makes it to 'Hawaii Five-0'

MANILA, Philippines - Another Filipino makes it big in Hollywood.

Filipino-American Mark Dacascos plays Wo Fat in the hit US TV series Hawaii Five-0, a remake of the popular 70's TV show.

Aside from the series, Mark also joined Dancing with the Stars, and is more popularly known as The Chairman in Iron Chef America.

Mark says that although he still has not met his family here in the Philippines, he hopes to get in touch with his Filipino roots soon.

"My father is Filipino. We have family somewhere in the Philippines. I was born in Hawaii so, unfortunately, I haven't connected with them yet but hopefully I will someday. But my aunt and uncle, they dance Filipino dances, they were professional dancers. My father teaches martial arts, arnis, eskrima and kali," he said.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Pinoy football XI nears UK league promotion

LONDON, ENGLAND - As the 2010-2011 football season draws to an end, it is crunch time for many teams across the world.

The case is no different for the United Kingdom's first amateur Pinoy football squad, the Philippine Football Club (PFC).

The team of British-born Pinoys kept alive their hopes of promotion to the Premier Division of the West Hertfordshire League when they defeated Martin Baker Rovers Reserves, 3-1, in a tense Division One encounter last Saturday.

The league has already been won by Park Street Village, but second place and the final promotion spot is still up for contention.

With one game remaining, PFC currently sits in second place with 35 points after 17 matches. The London-based side need a win to guarantee promotion, but standing in the way are rivals Aldenham, who are also in the running with 34 points.

The 2 clubs will face each other at Aldenham's home ground on Saturday, May 14, in a season-defining clash that will determine who moves to the Premier League and who stays in Division One.

PFC lost their previous encounter with Aldenham 2-1, but have been in good form recently and will go into the match with confidence.

PFC player-manager Keith Townsend recognizes the magnitude of the fixture but does not feel the pressure to change anything.

"Going into our last game, we (the team) won't change our usual routine or habits. The game itself is obviously important and a win will ensure we are promoted to the Premier Division of the West Herts League, but I don't feel that this will phase the team," Townsend said.

"I will pick my starting 11 based on recent form and those who I think will have an impact. I will run the team through its instructions and during the warm up I will give each player their individual tasks. I feel that each player responds positively to being given individual instructions and in my experience you don't change a winning formula," he added.

Townsend and other PFC players have been running the club since losing 3 key figures at the start of the season, within the space of a few months. First to go was club founder Leo Jensen, followed by coaches Norman Parkin and Steve Conroy.

"The entire squad knows what's at stake and after some of the obstacles we've had to overcome this season, I think that win or lose, the team has shown it's true strength, determination and character to get to where we are," Townsend said.

"Getting promoted to the top tier of the football league would mean a great deal to myself, the team and everyone involved with Philippine FC. It would be a chance to demonstrate our ability against the best teams in the league and would also result in the greater development of the players," he added.

"I'm lucky to have 19 talented players in my squad that can play in more than one position. They are all willing to contribute to the team's success, but my biggest problem is that I can only field 14 of them on match day," he said.

Although unlikely, PFC and Aldenham could both still be pipped to the final promotion spot by the 4th-placed Hemel Hempstead Rovers Reserves. They are currently on 33 points and will face Division One champions Park Street Village in their final game on Wednesday.

Park Street Village hold a 100% record this season and are expected to beat Hemel Hempstead Rovers.

However, if the unexpected were to happen, followed by a draw in this weekend's game between PFC and Aldenham, Hemel Hempstead will be promoted because of superior goal difference.

If Park Street Village beat Hemel Hempstead this Wednesday, PFC will only need a draw in their game. Despite that, Townsend insisted that they are going for the win and all 3 points.

PFC left back Cliff Gay-ya is optimistic and echoed the sentiment of the squad.

"We are capable of this and I believe we will do it. It's good for us individually, but more importantly as a team mentally. It will instil confidence and help us to become collectively stronger," Gay-ya said.

"We can evaluate where we are when the season is over, but we have to remain positive and concentrate on securing promotion. I am confident we can do that," he added.

If PFC will triumph in their final game against Aldenham, they will enjoy 2 successive years of promotion in the West Hertfordshire League. The team won promotion from Division Two last season in their maiden year playing together.

Despite the prospect of moving up another division, club representative Jesse Arroyo kept things in perspective.

"If we do not get promoted, it allows the team to build a stronger bond and improve our playing style in a division that we already know," Arroyo said.

"PFC's players have already made a name for themselves in the divisions we have competed in, but the hard work comes with maintaining the winning mentality because once teams know your playing style, it is easier for them to plan tactics."

Visit the Division One West Hertfordshire League standings.

Arum: Pacquiao is unconquerable

MANILA, Philippines – Promoter Bob Arum couldn’t be more proud of his Top Rank ward Manny Pacquiao after the boxer nabbed his 14th straight win recently.

In an Examiner.com report, Arum said that no other boxer could ever beat Pacquiao—at least no one among the Filipino pug’s contemporaries.

"Nobody is going to beat Pacquiao. Other fighters are hopeless against him,” Arum said.

"He takes everyone out of their game plan. Nobody can perform against him," he added.

Pacquiao outpointed American foe “Sugar” Shane Mosley in their 12-round fist fight held last Saturday (Sunday in Manila), wowing more than 16,000 people who watched inside the MGM Grand venue.

Arum said he is already sketching his plans out for the superstar’s next fight, which will probably take place this November.

Arum said he is considering Juan Manuel Marquez as Pacquiao's most likely opponent.

“We have Marquez, he has a great fighting ability,” he said.

Paqcuiao and Marquez first clashed in 2004, ending their fight in a draw.

The two fighters faced each other in a rematch in 2008. Pacquiao won via split decision to take Marquez’s World Boxing Council super featherweight title.

Marquez, meanwhile, has publicly stated that he will fight Pacquiao a third time.

In another report, Arum has also named Timothy Bradley or Zab Judah as probable opponents for Pacquiao. The promoter is also looking into a rematch between Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

A fight between Pacquiao and his greatest rival Floyd Mayweather, Jr., however, remains unlikely due to Mayweather's legal woes.

DFA: No Filipino caught in crossfire in Syria

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Embassy in Damascus said there are no Filipinos caught in the crossfire during protest actions there.

“The Embassy contacted its area coordinators, its volunteers from the Filipino community and other sources in Syria to verify the report. These sources all informed the Embassy that no such incident happened,” Philippine Ambassador to Syria Wifredo Cuyugan said.

He is referring to news reports that 2 Filipino household service workers supposedly died during a protest action last April 29. The 2 were supposedly hit by a stray bullet.

“In addition, there are inconsistencies in the alleged report. There were no demonstrations in Damascus on April 29. Damascus and its neighboring governorates suffered its worst hailstorms that day—therefore, no significant protests took place in the capital or anywhere near it,” he stated.

He also said employers immediately inform embassies in case of any untoward incidents.

Last April 26, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) declared a crisis alert level 2 in Syria in light of the continuing political tensions.

There are around 17,000 Filipinos in Syria.

Friday, 22 April 2011

2 West African Drug Syndicate members nabbed in Malate

MANILA, Philippines – Two alleged foreign members of the West African Drug Syndicate (WADS) were arrested in Malate, Manila.

The National Bureau of investigation (NBI) Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force identified the suspects as Kamano Pascal from Guinea, West Africa and Thai national, Kanchanaphon Chenchuwithan. The NBI said both suspects are WADS members.
The two were nabbed inside Room 211 of a hotel located in Malate. Authorities also found a kilo of cocaine with an estimated value of P5 million inside the room’s safety deposit box.
Based on their passports, Pascal arrived in the country last April 8 while Chenchuwitan came on April 11.
“What we received was mayroon nang drugs dito, smuggled outside the country,” said Atty. Ross Jonathan Galicia, chief of the NBI raiding team.
It was learned that the suspects were already readying the cocaine for shipment to Thailand.
“They will package it in a capsulized form and then swallow [it],” said Galicia.
WADS members are allegedly careful when using Pinoy drug mules after the execution of 3 Filipino drug couriers in China.
The suspects will be charged with violation of the Republic Act 9165 if the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Authorities are likewise determining where the cocaine came from.

Friday, 1 April 2011

DFA: No long queue of Pinoys on China death row

Only 1 Filipino still facing death penalty

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said only one more Filipino is waiting for a final ruling on a drug trafficking case in China.
In an interview with ANC, DFA Spokesperson Ed Malaya said the case, which is pending before the Supreme Court of China, is also punishable by death.
“There is no nakapilang Pilipinong bibitayin sa China. There is no such thing. There is only one,” Malaya said.
Malaya said the earlier reported 73 cases of Filipinos on death row in China is not accurate because they were “meted the penalty of death with 2-year reprieve."
“They are all drug-related cases,” he said.
Malaya said that there were 6 critical death penalty cases in China, including the cases of Sally Villanueva, Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain.
“Of the 6, three were affirmed. That's why we had the execution yesterday. Two of the 6 were reevaluated and the penalties were lowered from death penalty without reprieve to death penalty with 2-year reprieve,” Malaya said.
Villanueva, Credo and Batain were executed late Wednesday morning in China.
“There is a remaining one and this is what is pending before the Supreme People's Court in Beijing,” he said.
The reprieve given to the 2 Filipinos, Malaya said, means that if they show good behavior in prison, their death sentence will be commuted to life in prison.
He added that most death penalty cases involving Filipinos around the world are in China.
“Most of the death penalty cases in China pertain to drugs. What we have been seeing is a specific targeting by international drug syndicates of Filipinos to become drug couriers,” he said.
According to Malaya, the number of Filipinos involved or arrested for drug trafficking in 2007 was very minimal. However, it noted that the figure in China jumped to 111 or almost 600% jump from the previous year.
“In 2009, we have seen a sustaining of this momentum up to last year,” he said.
“At the end of the day, what is really needed is personal vigilance--to know what is good and what is bad. And clearly, using drugs is bad and also trafficking of drugs is bad and it cannot be excused,” he said.

Filipino workers file class suit vs Denny's

VANCOUVER - Customers at a Denny's restaurant in downtown Vancouver found an unusual sight over breakfast and coffee: Filipino workers upholding their rights.

Labor groups showed their support for a $10-million class action lawsuit filed by Filipino temporary workers against the popular food chain.
They claim there was an alleged breach in the workers' contracts due to shorter work hours and unpaid airfare from the Philippines, among others.
"We're raising awareness not just for temporary workers but for the Canadian public. They don't know this is happening," Jane Ordinario of the progressive group Migrante BC said.
Representative plaintiff Herminia Dominguez also faced the media to talk about her struggle to speak up.
Dominguez said the company offered to pay for overtime and transportation costs following the filing of the case, but she declined. She has since stopped working for Denny's.
"Tuloy ito. Kasi karapatan ng mga workers ang pinaglalaban hindi madali but many Pinoys continue to work for the food chain,” Dominguez said.
A certification hearing has been scheduled by the BC Supreme Court this August to determine whether or not the class suit should proceed.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Filipinos urged to declare race in UK census

LONDON - As the British government conducts a census for 2011, Filipinos in the country are being encouraged to participate and declare their ethnicity.

The Philippine Embassy in London, together with One Filipino and Philippine Generations, are campaigning for Filipinos in Britain to specify their racial heritage in the ethnicity section of the survey.
“We’re motivating Filipinos in the UK to fill up the census form,” said Rina Atienza from Philippine Generations. “We urge everyone to write either ‘British Filipino’ or just ‘Filipino’ under Other Asian in the ethnicity section. The point of that is to raise awareness of the size and spread of the community, so that we can officially make our presence known.”
“By participating in the census, British Filipinos can help shape their future and be proud of their contributions to an increasingly multicultural Britain. It will improve integration into society, and we can play our part alongside other ethnic communities. By making ourselves recognized, the government could consider us in future policies.”
Held every 10 years in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the UK Census is a national survey that records a snapshot of the population at the beginning of each decade since 1801.
It provides vital information that affects public services on education, health and transportation, as well as government policies on equality, employment, and immigration.
“It’s very important that we put accurate information in these forms,” said Jean Cerbas, a real estate representative from Westminster, and supporter of the campaign.
“Considering the number of Filipinos in the UK and the strong presence of Filipinos in every sector, I think it’s about time that we include the Filipino ethnicity in every application form.”
Zenaida de Leon, a businesswoman from Tottenham, also added: “I’ve written Filipino in the census because I’m proud to be a Filipino. It is important to be recognized in this country.”
The 2011 census will reach approximately 25 million households in the UK, including an estimated 250,000 Filipinos living across the country.
Everyone living in Britain at the time of the survey is strongly advised to participate. A fine may be applicable to those who fail to comply. Completed forms must be submitted online or through the post as soon as possible.

No final word yet on fate of 3 China OFWs

MANILA, Philippines – MalacaƱang on Tuesday said they are still hoping that the Chinese government will commute the sentences of 3 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) set to be executed by lethal injection on March 30 (Wednesday).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, they have yet to receive any final word from China regarding the Philippines’ appeal on the 3 OFWs on death row.
"Apparently, the Chinese embassy last night said that there is still no final word from Beijing," Lacierda told reporters.
Lacierda said the government has not lost hope of a possible commutation.
"Tayo po ay umaasa pa rin. Hoping that similar to the last instance na nangyari na, when we felt that all hope was lost, nag-decide ang China na mag-postpone ang execution,” he said.
It can be recalled that China deferred the execution of Sally Ordinario Villanueva, Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain for humanitarian considerations after the visit of Vice President Jejomar Binay to China. The 3 were supposed to be executed last month.
“But we are still hoping within the realization that we are limited by what we can do. So we will leave it up to the Chinese authorities but, again, while the execution has not been carried out, we will still hope," said Lacierda.
Lacierda said the government is doing its best to stop OFWs from being used as drug couriers.
“The thrust right now between China and the Philippines is to have greater coordination in terms of drug trafficking and that's important for us. Looking forward, we need to make sure that there will be no similar incidents," Lacierda.
MalacaƱang said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) need to remind OFWs to shun drug traffickers.
"It's also a question of discernment and I think this should be emphasized by our agencies-POEA, OWWA-na 'wag hayaan ang mga Filipino OCWs na maging drug mules or gamitin bilang mga drug mules and I think this is being emphasized right now by these agencies po. Mayroon ganoong instructions po na ginawa ang Pangulo to make sure that hindi na maulit itong ganitong problema natin," Lacierda said.
Furthermore, he vowed that the government will go after recruiters involved in drug trafficking.
“Again, siguro may makakalusot but 'yung mga makakalusot, sigurado po tayo na hahabulin po natin ang mga recruiter nila. By the way, just to also tell the recruiters, do not use our OCWs as drug traffickers because we will go after you. It's one of the things that we are very concerned with right now. We are concerned about human trafficking, we are concerned about drug trafficking and this administration will not countenance these illegal activities," Lacierda said

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Kin, groups ask China to spare lives of 3 Pinoys

MANILA, Philippines - Families and workers' groups called on China to spare the lives of 3 Filipinos scheduled for execution this month for alleged drug trafficking.

Edith Ordinario couldn't hold back her emotions as she held the picture of her daughter, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva.

Villanueva is among 3 Filipinos scheduled to be executed in China on March 30.

“Makikita mong nakangiti ang anak mo tapos bangkay na lang iuuwi mo,” Mrs. Ordinario tearfully said.

Mrs. Ordinario continues to stand by her daughter's innocence despite her daughter being convicted of drug trafficking charges in China.

“Ang sakit! Bibitayin ang anak mo ng wala siyang kasalanan! Ang dapat makulong 'yung mga bumiktima sa kanya, mga sindikato na yan!” she stressed.

Villanueva’ father, meanwhile, lashed out at the Department of Foreign Affairs for trying to hide them from the media.

"Alam nilang buhay ang pinag-uusapan. Sa kanila kaya mangyari ang ganyan at ako ang nasa pwesto nila," Villanueva’s father said.

Meanwhile, the family of Elizabeth Batain went to Vice President Jejomar Binay to seek his help.

Binay has already written to the Chinese government to ask for clemency for Filipinos on death row, citing humanitarian grounds and strong relations between the Philippines and China.

Binay again called on the Chinese government to spare the lives of the Filipinos.

Activist groups Akbayan and Migrante International also called on China to stop the executions.

"Sana naman ho the Chinese government will show mercy," Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said.

They say they respect Chinese laws, but the case of the 3 Filipinos must be studied further since they were victims of drug syndicates.

“Hindi naman hayop ang anak ko! Tao siya! Ang dapat lang kumuha sa kanya ay ang Panginoon, hindi tao,” Villanueva’s mother added.

On Thursday night, Migrante held a prayer vigil for the 3 Filipinos. Another vigil is also scheduled on Tuesday, a day before the scheduled execution.

Saudi stops hiring domestic workers--report

MANILA, Philippines - Saudi Arabia has stopped accepting domestic workers from the Philippines.

A source showed ABS-CBN a letter from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh which states that there would be no processing of household service workers until further notice.

According to an association of recruitment agencies, the notice has been posted at the embassy since March 3. However, the Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to confirm this.

“Nagpaparamdam na sila. Parang sinasabi nila hindi lang naman kayo ang source nito,” said Victor Fernandez, president of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI)

They suspected that this may have something to do with the increase in wages of Filipino workers from US$200 to US$400, and a report by the House of Representatives baring supposed abuses by Saudi nationals.

“Maso-solusyonan ito. I think it's only a question of discussing it, magka-paliwanagan,” said Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“'Yung description na nangyayari sa ating domestic workers ay talagang harsh doon sa ating report. Pero sa tingin namin, katotohanan 'yun,” said Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello.

Some 1.4 million OFWs are based in Saudi Arabia, the biggest number of Pinoy workers in the Middle East.

Filipino workers sue Carlton Cleaners

NEW YORK, NY – Dozens of Filipino migrant workers said to be employed at several locations of Carlton Cleaners in New York City claim to work below minimum wage and don’t even get overtime pay.

Guillermo Suarez and Ronaldo Pabello are among the workers who are suing their employer for allegedly violating the Minimum Wage Law and not paying them proper overtime wages

Suarez was hired as a delivery boy in January last year. He claims to work for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

But when the owners sold their business last week, Suarez said he was among those terminated.

It was only after he sought the services of a New York lawyer Herbert Tan that he realized that his $5 dollars-an-hour pay was way below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

“Ang habol ko lang magka-trabaho, so any way na makakuha ako ng trabaho, makakuha ako ng suweldo, masaya na ako. Hindi ako gaanong aware sa mga rights, like minimum wage,” Suarez said.

Meantime, Pabello said Carlton Cleaners owes him $168, 620.40 in back wages and unpaid overtime.

“Ang gusto ko lang mangyari, makuha ko yung tamang binabayad sa amin,” Pabello lamented.

In a lawsuit filed on Friday at the US District Court of New York, Atty. Herbert Tan said his clients want to have a trial by jury and are demanding overtime pay.

“If you’re working in the US, even if you’re here illegally, let me make that very clear… you are entitled to protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act, also under New York’s Labor Law,” Tan said.

Tan added that there were others who backed out from the lawsuit because they’re afraid of jeopardizing their legal status.

Balitang America visited a few Carlton Cleaners, but employees and supervisors declined to provide the owner’s contact information.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Mayweather set to fight Pacquiao - in court

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Unbeaten US boxer Floyd Mayweather will fight Filipino star Manny Pacquiao after all, although it will be a legal dispute after a federal judge denied a motion to dismiss the case on Monday.

Pacquiao filed a defamation lawsuit against Mayweather, among others, that US District Judge Larry Hicks ruled can proceed because there is sufficient evidence of malicious acts in accusing Pacquiao of being a dope cheat.

"The truth did not stop Mayweather and the others," Pacquiao's lawsuit contends. "That is because they are motivated by ill will, spite, malice, revenge and envy."

"Mayweather and the others set out on a course designed to destroy Pacquiao's career, reputation, honor and legacy and jeopardize his ability to earn the highest levels of compensation."

Pacquiao has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) but in the 2009 lawsuit he claims that Mayweather, his father Floyd Snr and uncle Roger, promoter Oscar de la Hoya and his employee, Richard Schaefer conducted a campaign in a set of interviews to make people think he used them.

"Defendants argue that Pacquiao has failed to sufficiently allege malice because defendants could not have known one way or the other whether Pacquiao had actually taken PEDs when they made the alleged defamatory statements," Hicks wrote in the order upholding the lawsuit.

"However, the court finds that Pacquiao has sufficiently pled malice in the amended complaint."

Unbeaten Mayweather and Pacquiao were in talks to stage a megafight between two of boxing's biggest stars but negotiations collapsed over demands by Mayweather that both fighters have blood and urine tests up to 14 days before the bout.

Pacquiao said he would feel weakened by blood tests within 24 days of the fight and would not agree to tests any closer to a bout.

Mayweather Promotions attorney Mark Tratos said he would continue to push for dismissal of the case, saying comments at the time were made about Pacquiao's hesitancy regarding blood tests and did not claim he was a dope cheat.

Pacquiao attorney Dan Petrocelli said his client's career would suffer major damage if fans believed he used banned substances.

"Manny has an unblemished reputation and has earned all of his achievements through hard work and his natural-born talent and to call him a cheater is something he cannot and will not tolerate," Petrocelli said.

"None of these defendants have had any evidence to back up the assertion that he has taken performance-enhancing drugs because he didn't."

Mayweather, 34, faces an April 25 trial date on a battery charge over an altercation with a security guard for his homeowners association, who claims Mayweather poked him during a November argument regarding cars parking outside Mayweather's home.

Mayweather also faces a court hearing on April 28 on domestic violence charges that could send the fighter to prison for up to 34 years in prison if convicted of all charges, which include felony counts of grand larceny, coercion and robbery.

Mayweather is accused of striking and threatening former girlfriend Josie Harris, stealing her mobile phone and threatening two of their children in an incident on September 9.

Boxing fans have hoped that Mayweather, 41-0 with 25 career knockouts, would fight Pacquiao but Mayweather's legal woes have put such talk on hold.

Pacquiao, 52-3 with two draws and 38 knockouts and a winner of 13 fights in a row in the past six years, is set to face 39-year-old US fighter Shane Mosley, 46-6 with one draw and 39 knockouts, on May 7 in Las Vegas.

Azkals vow to do better vs Palestine, Bangladesh

YANGON - Thousands of fans cheered for the host country Myanmar in its game against the Philippines.

Using their quickness on point passing and efficient offense, the Myanmar White Angels dominated the first half—recording seven goal attempts 25 minutes into the game.

Despite this, Myanmar went scoreless in the first half thanks to the heroics of Philippine Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

The Philippines appeared more aggressive on offense in the second half, sparked by the entry of Yanti Barsales.

In the 75th minute, Barsales was fouled hard in the penalty area by Myanmar’s goalkeeper, prompting officials to show a red card.

The foul also gave the Philippines a golden opportunity to score. James Younghusband took the penalty kick for the roughed up Barsales, who had to leave the game in a stretcher.

Younghusband scored on the penalty kick, giving the Philippines a 1-0 lead.

The Philippines seemed to have control of the game since taking the lead, but the slim lead was squandered when the Azkals’ Simon Greatwich was called for a foul in the final minute of extra time, thus opening the door for Myanmar to score via free kick.

“Very unfortunate. Personally, I don’t think it’s a foul but the team played well,” said Neil Etheridge.

The Philippines would have received three points for a 1-0 win. Instead, Philippines and Myanmar were both given a point each.

The Akzals promise to do better in their remaining games against Palestine on Wednesday, and Bangladesh on Friday.

The team needs six points to guarantee a spot in the AFC Challenge Cup in 2012, but the team has a chance to qualify even with 4 or 5 points.

'Adidas, balut' introduced in Arizona

PHOENIX, Arizona – Brian Webb did not only fall in love with his wife Margita when he went to the Philippines in 2009.

“I really like Filipino food. I’ve been a chef for 10 years and when I flew over to Mactan Island, I really fell in love with the food especially the barbeque and lumpia,” said Webb.

His wife Margarita said that right then and there, they thought of putting up a food business in the US. That plan was recently put in action. They started a small enterprise that sells Filipino street food.

These include grilled chicken feet in a skewer or in local speak, “adidas”; grilled chicken butt, chicken and pork barbeque, lumpia and the daring balut--fertilized duck egg, boiled with a nearly developed embryo inside the shell.

“One of the main reasons I chose to do a [food] truck is because I want to bring the street food to the streets. Also, Filipino food being unknown, I’m able to go to the customer and people are more willing to try the food that they wouldn’t have tried before,” Webb said.

They gave their business the name ‘Hey Joe,’ and the food truck has been in town for over a month. It has since gained a lot of attention.

“Some Americans, they come down, it’s like a challenge for them. They come down just for the balut,” Webb added.

The enterprising couple’s ultimate goal is for Philippine cuisine to get into the mainstream. They believe that by going around town in a mobile Filipino food truck, they’ll be able to achieve it.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Gasol fuels Lakers to win over struggling Wolves

LOS ANGELES – Pau Gasol scored a team-high 25 points and Andrew Bynum added 14 rebounds before being ejected to help the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-98 Friday.

Minnesota led 51-49 at halftime and then 94-93 with 3:52 left on the clock but Spanish forward Gasol knocked in a two-point jump shot to spark an unbroken eight-point run by the Lakers as they regained control in a physical encounter.

All-Star guard Kobe Bryant scored 18 points for Los Angeles, despite a sprained left ankle, while Shannon Brown contributed 14 from the bench on five-for-seven shooting.

The (49-20) Lakers, who have won 11 of 12 games since the All-Star break, move one game ahead of the (48-21) Dallas Mavericks into sole second place in the Western Conference.

"It was a difficult game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson told reporters. "We kind of anticipated it. The first half was erratic at best, second half we played a little bit better."

Wes Johnson top-scored with a career-high 29 points for the Timberwolves, who suffered their 15th successive defeat at the hands of the Lakers and now lie second-last in the West.

Seven-foot center Bynum was ejected with 6:16 remaining for a flagrant foul while driving past Michael Beasley, who fell to the floor.

"He was going to go block the shot but he was too late so he just bumped him, just gave up on the ball ... he didn't do it in a way that was malicious," Jackson said.

Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis agreed.

"That's playoff basketball, they're gearing up for it," said Rambis, a former player and coach at the Lakers.

"I thought it was good for our guys to see how rough and physical a game can be, that's a good thing for our learning experience.

"I thought our guys did a really good job when the ball came, offensively and defensively we played a very mindful game for the most part and gave ourselves a chance to win."

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Kobe hurt, Lakers top Mavs in key West clash

DALLAS, Texas – An injury scare for Lakers star Kobe Bryant didn't slow the two-time defending NBA champions as they defeated Dallas 96-91 in a key Western Conference matchup.

Bryant on Saturday shot just 6-of-20 from the floor, but his 16 points included six in the 9-0 scoring run that the Lakers used to take the lead for good in the second quarter.

Late in the third quarter, Bryant came down awkwardly on his left ankle after having a shot blocked by Shawn Marion.

He lay on the court as Jason Kidd parlayed the turnover into a basket and then Bryant rose, hobbled a few steps and called a timeout.

He went to the locker room, but returned in the fourth period. It wasn't immediately clear how serious his ankle injury was.

However, in the wake of the injury to Bryant, the Lakers didn't waver. They scored eight straight points to extend their lead to 10.

With the victory, the Lakers improved to 47-20 and moved within one-half game of the 47-19 Mavericks for second place in the Western Conference.

The two-time defending champions avenged a loss to the Mavs earlier this season and finished a tough four-game road trip 3-1.

The only defeat in the swing was a narrow loss at Miami. The Lakers had beaten the Western Conference-leading Spurs and Atlanta before they were out-hustled by the Heat.

"You've got to take it," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We wish we would have won the Miami game but that's past and we move forward.

"We have Orlando when we get home, so we're just not even taking a breath."

Jackson notched his 600th victory with the Lakers, becoming only the fifth coach in NBA history to reach that mark with one club.

Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Pau Gasol had 18 points and Ron Artest added 12.

Dirk Nowitzki and Marion had 25 points each for the Mavericks. Marion added 12 rebounds and Nowitzki 10 rebounds.

CHICAGO – Basketball Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen joined in another championship celebration on Saturday as the Chicago Bulls commemorated the 20th anniversary of their first NBA title.

Jordan and Pippen and some of their former teammates and coaches were on hand for a ceremony during halftime of Saturday's game against Utah.

A video set to Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly" featured highlights of that campaign: Jordan dunking over Patrick Ewing, Pippen harrying opponents and John Paxson draining jump shots.

Former Bulls broadcaster Jim Durham served as the master of ceremonies.

Dennis Hopson, Horace Grant and Paxson all received warm welcomes. The excitement level rose for Pippen and when Jordan was called, the roar was deafening.

Pippen thanked the club for bringing "back a memory that we all want to live again just one more time."

"This is very special for us," he said.

A beaming Jordan thanked the team for "allowing us to reunite".

"You guys are in store for a lot of other championships," added Jordan, now the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and someone who has touted Chicago's Derrick Rose as a Most Vaouable Player candidate.

"That kid has come into his own," Jordan said of Rose. "He has matured quite a bit. When he came into the league, everybody said he had speed and can get to the rim, but he can't shoot. Now, he can shoot the three as well as pull-up shots. He has very few flaws."

The current surging Bulls team is raising memories of the dominant Bulls era, which started when the 1990-91 team completed a 61-21 season and finally got past Detroit after falling to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals the prior two seasons.

They defeated Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers in five games to start the first of Chicago's two title three-peats.

Some key members of the first championship team were absent.

Coach Phil Jackson was on duty with his current Lakers team in Dallas.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Repatriated nurses in Crete appeal to Pnoy for help

CRETE, Greece- Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) safely evacuated in the Island of Crete aboard the Philippine chartered vessel are temporarily hold up on the Greek Island while Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials in charge of the repatriation facilitate and process their documents and flights back to Manila.

Here, some nurses are still in direct communication with their friends in Libya, using their local mobile phone lines to call and send message by text. One of them is Sandra Anne Lavinia Cortez.

Cortez sought the assistance of ABS-CBN news to call on DFA officials and President Benigno Aquino III to help the remaining stranded OFWs in Benghazi, particularly the Filipino nurses at Hawari General Hospital. Cortez, who broke down in tears, fear for the lives of her friends and co-workers. She said they were not allowed to leave the hospital when MV Ionian Queen, the chartered ship sent by the government to evacuate stranded OFWs, docked in Benghazi to fetch Pinoys.

An estimated 500 OFWs, most of them medical workers, decided to stay in Benghazi because they wanted to keep their jobs. They were also enticed to stay with the promise of a trebled salary. But a significant number were left behind because they were barred by their employers from leaving the vicinity of the hospital.

Minister and Consul General Constancio Vingno Jr of the Philippine Embassy in Greece told ABS-CBN News that with the help of community leaders in Tripoli and nearby cities, they are hoping to evacuate more Filipinos via the second trip of the government’s chartered ship. The ship is expected to arrive in Crete on Sunday morning. He could not say for sure if there will be a third trip to Libya.

DFA Undersecretary and spokesman Ed Malaya announced over radio dzMM that the ship's trip to the seaport of Tripoli maybe the last trip.

A group of Filipino nurses working for Rasco Oil Company in Raslanuf, the biggest oil refinery in Libya said some of their friends and co-workers decided to stay put because they did not want to forfeit the benefits and unpaid salaries that they have yet to collect from their employer.

On Friday, it was reported that Libyan rebels had seized the town of Raslanuf. It is 200 kilometers (120 miles) east of Sirte, Qaddafy’s hometown.
Watching this development in the news, the nurses felt despondent for the lost lives and the devastation in the city.

Rosemarie Magat said Libya will always be in her heart and she is coming back when the situation gets better.
Gina Valenzuela said she has formed great friendships with the locals and it was sad to see on television the scenes of carnage in Raslanuf.

Veteran nurses Rosemarie Magat, Adoracion Galang and Trifina Laoisla appeal to Pinoy in this video. They are hoping that when the tension and conflict die down, they will be able to collect their back pay and gratuity, an entitlement for the likes of them who have worked in Libya for two decades.

NZ quake victim ID may take months

CHRISTCHURCH - It may take months before the remains of earthquake victims in New Zealand can be identified, according to the New Zealand Police.

This was revealed as recovery operations at the collapsed CTV Building in Christchurch wound up last Saturday. Eleven Filipinos got trapped and died at the building.

Atty. Giovanni Palec, Charge d'Affairs of the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, said authorities just want to be methodical and accurate in identifying victims' remains.

The Sumalpong couple, parents of earthquake victim Rhea Mae Sumalpong, will be returning to Australia empty-handed. They said they will just come back when the remains of their daughter have been identified.

Relatives of some of the other Filipino victims, meanwhile, are scheduled to arrive in Christchurch from the Philippines on Wednesday.

They are Roberto Bensurto, father of Valquin; Alexander Amantillo, brother of Mary Louise; and, Joanna Chua, relative of John Christopher Chua.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is giving them a place to stay. King's Education Ltd., the language school in the CTV Building attended by the Filipino victims, paid for their air fares.

Christchurch is known for its picturesque vistas, but in the middle of its beauty, fear and anxiety now grip the Filipino community.

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake has resulted in extensive damage, and some Filipinos are worried they may lose their jobs.

A few rest homes are already closing their operations, forcing nurses working as caregivers--while they are not yet licensed to be registered nurses--to be worried about their future.

Some of the workers were sent by agencies to New Zealand to be students, and they were promised jobs as nurses in exchange for fees amounting to almost P500,000.

It will take awhile before the earthquake victims get to recover from the tragedy at Christchurch, as they face uncertainty over their future.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Tigers spring back to life in Tubod

MANILA, Philippines – Powerade hit its stride and went on a decisive turnaround in the third period en route to a 103-96 win over B-MEG Derby Ace in a PBA Commissioner’s Cup road game at the Mindanao Sports and Civic Center in Tubod, Lanao del Norte Saturday night.

The Tigers made a 19-point swing in the third quarter and sustained the heat in the final canto as they sprang back from an 86-106 blowout by the Alaska Milk Aces Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Russel Carter had another explosive performance and his local teammates put in the needed help, enabling the ball club to snap a long nine-game losing streak dating back to the all-Filipino tourney.

Carter, a product of Notre Dame who had stints with the Solsonica Rieti, the Tulsa 66ers, the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Austin Toros in the NBA D-League, showed up debuting Derby Ace import Samari Spears, collecting 36 points, 19 rebounds and six assists.

The energetic guard-forward himself helped the Tigers pick up their game in the third period, allowing the team to erase a five-point halftime deficit and erect a 14-point spread going to the payoff period.
Gary David and Chico Lanete were local Powerade players who logged double-digit numbers in the game, serving as the second leg of the Phoenix Fuel PBA on Tour series.

The Llamados waged their own rally in the fourth but self-destructed at the finish with crucial errors and missed free throws.

It didn’t help that Rico Maierhofer hyper-extended his left knee, causing him to sit down long minutes in the second half.

Derby Ace suffered a second straight defeat following a close 94-95 loss to Rain or Shine Wednesday.

The Llamados played then with Rob Brown as import. Brown scored more with 29 points compared to Spears’ 22 last night.

Groping for form, Spears had his first basket with already 19 minutes into the game.

Nevertheless, the Llamados took control in the first half through the efforts of the Derby Ace local crew led by James Yap, PJ Simon and Jonas Villanueva.

The Llamados enjoyed a double-digit spread at 47-36 as Spears started to connect his shots, nailing four straight field-goal baskets.

Carter went to work early for the Tigers, scattering 22 points in the first two quarters.

Gov. Mohammad Khalid Dimaporo took the center court at halftime, thanking “the PBA for giving Lanao del Norte a chance, time and again, to prove to the Philippines that the province is a land of peace, beauty and bounty.”

Meanwhile, three teams go for a second straight win at the resumption of action at the Cuneta Astrodome today.

Rain or Shine and Meralco Bolts mix it up at 4 p.m. then Alaska Milk and Barangay Ginebra square off at 6:30 p.m.

The Elasto Painters, the Aces and the Kings all look for a follow-up on their winning debuts while the B-Boys are out to bounce back from a loss in their initial outing.

UST's 'Sampung Mga Daliri atbp' concert to be held at CCP


MANILA, Philippines - Ten grand pianos will be used in a special performance by faculty, alumni and students of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music at a concert this Sunday, February 27, 7 p.m. at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater.

Dubbed "Sampung Mga Daliri atbp", the concert will also feature the Conservatory's Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band, Jazz Band, Rondalla, Guitar Ensemble, USTEmundo Ethnic Ensemble, Vocal Ensemble and the choruses.

The different ensembles will be conducted by Profs. Herminigildo Ranera, Renato Lucas, Arnel Feliciano, Ruben Reyes, Michael Jacinto, Ricardo Calubayan and Teresa Montes.

They will perform classical favorites such as “Egmont Overture” by Beethoven, “Carnival of the Animals” by Saint-Saens, “Carmen Fantasy” by Bizet, “Die Fldermaus” by Strauss, Jr., and "Malaguena/Andalucia” by Lecuona.

They will also perform Filipino melodies and kundiman arranged by Raul Sunico, and hits from the 50’s and 60’s arranged by Emi Munji.

The concert, to be held in celebration of UST's quadricentennial (400th) anniversary, will also feature the UST quadricentennial song "Ako'y Tomasino" by Gerry de Leon.

The grand finale will be "Aida" of Verdi to be performed by the 10-piano group, a large chorus and the orchestra.

58 Filipino evacuees from Libya arrive in Egypt

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 58 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who fled Libya made it safely through the Egyptian border on Saturday.

The first batch to arrive at the Philippine Embassy in Cairo, Egypt was composed of 13 OFWs.

Most of them were engineers working for a Korean construction firm.

They were welcomed at the embassy by Philippine Ambassador, Eduardo Pablo Maglaya.

“They should be leaving anytime this afternoon via Gulf Air. They should be arriving in Manila tomorrow, Sunday,” reported ABS-CBN Middle East Bureau chief Danny Buenafe.

The second batch of evacuees were 45 OFWs who worked from two separate construction firms in Libya.

Buenafe reported that the second batch are currently working on their travel documents and could be repatriated to Manila on Monday.

He said the Philippine Embassy is expecting more evacuees to break through the Egyptian border in the coming days.

“According to Ambassador Maglaya, from the border dito sa Egypt, they expect another batch, at least 51 [OFWs] by Monday,” said Buenafe.

Harrowing ordeal

Buenafe said most of the evacuees shared harrowing tales about their situation in Libya.

“Talagang grabe daw talaga ang sitwasyon and they said that the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) should now act fast, intensify efforts to repatriate the Filipinos, dahil talagang nakikita nila na talagang exposed sila sa hostilities within the Libyan border,” he said.

None of the evacuees were able to bring their passports, which were kept by their employers.

“’Yung employers tumakas na rin, ‘yung iba naman hindi nakabalik because yung mga branches of their offices are quite distanced from where the [OFWs] were situated as a group sa Benghazi, [Libya],” explained Buenafe.