PAL Adds, Cancels Flights For Holy Week

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is regulating its operations on Holy Week by adding 6 extra flights to 3 destinations and developing 20 international and 2 domestic flights by using larger aircraft.

An additional flight will be attached to and from the following destinations: Taipei and Puerto Princesa City on the 8th of April while on the 9th will be at Hong Kong.

The flights that will use larger aircraft to lodge more passengers are those to and from Shanghai (Pudong airport) on April 4; Xiamen, Taipei, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing on April 5; Puerto Princesa City on April 7; Hong Kong, Xiamen and Beijing on April 8; and Xiamen on April 9.

PAL domestic operations will be scaled down with the cancellation of 38 flights to 7 destinations on Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday to permit PAL employees to at least witness Holy Week practices.

On Good Friday, particular flights to and from will be cancelled such as cities of Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Zamboanga and Tacloban. While on Black Saturday, certain flights to and from Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao will be also withdrawn.

On Easter Sunday, one flight each to Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga will similarly be canceled.

Visit the PAL website for a complete list of canceled, upgraded and additional flights (www.philippineairlines.com) or call PAL Reservations at 8558888.

Passengers are recommended to arrive earlier than usual at the airport, also that they double check travel documents (passport, tickets, etc.) and minimize bringing bulky carry-on baggage to avoid aggravations.

US envoy apologizes to DFA ; Palace says no need to apologize to the President

US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr.

US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr.

After stating that 40% of male tourists visiting the Philippines come only for sex tourism, US ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. sent an aplogy text message to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Del Rosario said that he received the text message from Thomas last Friday, October 6, 2011, stating that the US Ambassador is sorry for not backing up with statistics and figures about his statement.

Thomas’ also extended his apologies to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima whose department was tagged as the source of the statistics regarding the sex tourism.

“There are two things involved here: Having no statistics to back it up, we believe that we have confronted… we don’t have a policy of inviting tourists here for sex purposes. Number two, notwithstanding that, we recognize that there are certain people who come here and engage in those services and that’s the reason why we continue to prosecute these people.” Pres. spokesperson Lacierda said.

Sec. Lacierda also pointed out the removal of the Philippines from the Tier 2 watch list in the 2011 State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released by the US government last June.

“The fact that we were able to remove ourselves from the list shows the effort of this present government to combat all these nefarious acts,” he said.

Malacañang also accepted the apology of Thomas and declared the issue closed.

“I think the statement of Ambassador Thomas clearly showed that he was not able to back up the statistics and hence he apologized to Secretary Del Rosario and to our government.” Lacierda said.

“We, in fact, thanked the ambassador for his statement.” Lacierda said.

Lacierda also said the Ambassador’s remarks did not affect the strong relations between close allies Philippines and the US.

Storm surge hits Manila Bay; A first in Manila

A storm surge over Roxax Blvd. Manila

During the wrath of Typhoon Pedring in the Philippines, specifically in Luzon, large waves hammered the coastline of Manila causing a storm surge into the coastline that caused the flash floods near the area.

According to PAGASA, the storm surge, which was a first in Manila, began early in the morning during a high tide, spilling seawater spilling on nearby streets by 8 a.m. The streets of Raja Sulayman, Roxas Boulevard, Mabini, Ermita, Kalaw,Taft Avenue, and Ayala Boulevard were affected by flood waters and had to be closed causing heavy traffic and big problem to commuters.

In addition, the yachts anchored in the Manila Yacht Club were also battered by the storm, as well as Sofitel Philippine Plaza. Parked vehicles were seen floating in the hotel’s car park and flood waters caused evacuations of the hotel’s guests to other hotels. SM Mall of Asia’s Baywalk was also affected by the storm causing floods in the array of restaurants in the area.

Also unable to escape from floods and got struck of the typhoon was the Embassy of the United States. According to embassy information officer Tina Malone, “The extent of flooding is not yet known, but it affected mostly the grounds, not the buildings”.

Meanwhile, witnesses posted on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter their reactions with the storm surge describing it as a “Tsunami-like disaster” and a “scary wrath of nature”.

Worst-Dressed Men in Technology

Mark Zukerberg, Facebook CEO

Mark Zukerberg, Facebook CEO

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, was named the worst-dressed man in technology by GQ magazine, beating out Apple CEO Steve Jobs. This proved that enormous sums of money can’t acquire fashion.

Maybe, Mark Zuckerberg was unaware that suits do exist. He may done wearing suit jackets in the past, such as when he met with President Barack Obama for a tech summit with major technology executives, but stuck with his trademark jeans even on these special occasions.

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

He managed to beat Steve Jobs the CEO of Apple that took the second place in GQ’s poll that was criticized for his trademark uniform of “black turtleneck, dad jeans and Seinfeld kicks.”

According to GG Magazine, “Apple releases an iPhone every 0.5 seconds but Steve Jobs never gets an upgrade.

Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO

Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO

Taking third place was Microsoft founder Bill Gates, which GQ took down for his “lazy preppy” wardrobe.

Of course, Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates and other tech leaders probably are too busy guiding world-changing technology companies to make style much of a priority.

Coach Spo played basketball in Tondo

Miami head coach plays basketball with students in Torres High school

Miami head coach plays basketball with students in Torres High school

Filipino-American Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is again in the Philippines as part of the NBA FIT Philippines 2011.

Spoelstra played basketball with high school students of Gagalangin, Tondo yesterday during one of NBA FIT’s stops in Metro Manila.

Department of Health (DOH) and NBA FIT team-up to promote health awareness among Filipinos. During Spoelstra visitation, he stressed the same mission of DOH and NBA FIT.

Department of Health (DOH): “Ehersisyong Pangkalusugan Para sa Lahat” program.The program aims to raise awareness on the benefits of regular physical activity among all ages and encourages everyone to make exercise a part of one’s daily schedule.

NBA FIT: “League’s comprehensive health and wellness program that encourages physical activity and healthy living for children and families through grassroots programs and events, products and promotional opportunities. NBA/WNBA FIT provides its network of more than 1 million participants’ monthly e-newsletters and health and wellness messaging from players and partners”


Philippines New Auditor of World Health Organization

World Health Organization

World Health Organization

Our country’s battle against corruption has reached globally as the Aquino administration won the position as the auditor of World Health Organization (WHO).

According to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda:
We just won the position of auditor of the World Health Organization. We beat Germany, France, Spain and Malaysia.”

In a text message from Lacierda, Grace Tan informed that the Philippines won the first round of voting and then defeated Germany in 74-62 runoff.

We’re very happy for the credibility of COA being restored and its resurgence in the international community,”Lacierda quoted Tan.

Right now, COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza and Grace Tan are in Geneva, Switzerland to attend the WHO vote for the external auditor person.

All set for Holy Week

BY: KRIS JOHN ENCOMIENDA

All set for Holy Week

As reported by ABS-CBN, more than 1,000 traffic enforcers will be discharge starting this Wednesday, April 20.

These enforcers will be assigned to major thoroughfares, particularly EDSA and other exit points of Metro Manila, as part of MMDA’s Metro Alalay Semana Santa.

The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, will deploy 135,000 officers throughout the country and 5,000 in Metro Manila.

Well, it seems like our Authorities are already prepared for possible street traffics for next week’s Holy Week, as they will  also be manning bus and jeepney terminals, airports and shopping malls in anticipation of this Holiday.

photo from: FemaleNetwork.com

Maasai Girls Escaping Circumcision from Kenya, a Film Subject of a Filipina Photojournalist

BY: KRIS JOHN ENCOMIENDA

Filipino native, now US resident Marvi Lacar a photojournalist and a short film maker receives her international spotlight after her 28-minute documentary, titled:  Escape: Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage in Kenya, that depicts the struggling life specifically the early marriage and female circumcision of young girls, from indigenous community of Kenya.

To see the Escape Video Trailer, Click Here.

The film of Marvi Lacar just had caught the attention of NY1 News, Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour news channel in New York City and several writers and bloggers across the US.

The video also shows the rescue work of Tasaru Rescue Center of a teenage girl Naanyu Sekut, who is about to go on her wedding ceremony with a 45-year old man. Tasaru Rescue Center, offers girls an alternative rite of passage to the deep-rooted cultural practice, also known as FGM. Mary Walker, and FGM, Global Relief Resources raises funds in order to offer Scholarships and Grants for women and girls who are ending Female Genital Mutilation in Africa.

From GMA News Online, Lacar said she made the film on Kenyan women “not only to bring awareness to the plight of these girls but to get viewers invested enough in their future and help them through donations, outreach, education, etc.”

Screenshot from http://www.photobetty.com/marvilacar

Screenshot from www.photobetty.com/marvilacar

To see the rest of photos taken by Marvi Lacar, Click Here.

From Marvi Lacar’s page, she wrote, This project documents the progress of some Maasai people’s battle against female circumcision and early marriage through rescue, rehabilitation and tribal outreach programs. This work is part of a larger photo documentary on “Women in Poverty”, quoted as she emphasizes this word.

According to Marvi and her husband from their 1 month interaction to Maasai Tribe of Kenya, girls from 8 to 15 years of age undergo to genital circumcision and prerequisite this rite to marriage, which brings in a significant dowry to the girl’s family. Once married, girls quit school and attend to their wifely duties of keeping house and raising children as what wife does. At the age of 18-20 some of these girls have several children.

What’s up Azkals?

BY KRIS JOHN ENCOMIENDA

Phil and James Younghusband

Phil and James Younghusband

The Good Deeds

Football face of the crowds’ James and Phil Younghusband (brothers) have already ado to take a visit Lanao del Norte this coming July, 2011 as part of their promotional tour of football sport here in the Philippines.

Aiming to nurture and develop the next generation of Filipino football players is the TYFA or The Younghusband Football Academy envisions, which the Younghusband brother created for Sports teacher and students in public schools to teach them the basics of football, without any charge. The brothers have already conducted clinics in towns of Tarlac City and Paniqui in Tarlac, Puerto Princesa in Palawan and Taguig City, Manila.

The Next Battle

It is now so official!

Yesterday (Thursday), President of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), Mariano “Nonong” Araneta and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Ricardo Garcia confirmed that Philippines will be holding the July 3 World Cup qualifying match of Philippine Azkals against Team Sri Lanka, here at the Rizal Memorial Footbal Stadium. This face-off between Sri Lankan Team and Philippines’ Askals will surely boosts excitement once again of their Filipino crowd; fans and supporters as well as game enthusiasts and team critics.

Photo from spot.ph

McDonald’s BF-GF Commercial made a Controversy

BY: KRIS JOHN ENCOMIENDA

The world’s largest food chain has pulled out its latest 30 second TV advertisement having a boy and a girl (minor kids) in a BF-GF theme, after Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reacted on the message of the TVC’s storyline perspective.

The CBCP officials sought the McDo TVC is misleading its message to youngsters. In the commercial situation, the girl asks the boy if she could be his girlfriend, but the boy quickly answered that he doesn’t want to. Claiming that girlfriends now are too demanding, but story ended, that the girl only wants to have a Mcdo fries amounting to only P25.

Via Radio Veritas, McDonald’s Philippines Vice President for Marketing Margot Torres told that they have pulled out the ad because they respect the call of Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez and will be releasing different McDonald’s commercial this week.

TVC received a feedback from Fr. Melvin Castro, the executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life said that the commercial is very shallow and it cheapens human relationships, from Inquirer.net., “If the TV ad attempted to teach commitment, it failed because it was too superficial to point to a packet of French fries as the basis of a relationship. At a very, very young age, thеѕе kids ѕhουƖԁ instead be taught the value of loving thеіr parents, thеіr country, environment аnԁ God, nοt аbουt a relationship it is nοt уеt appropriate for thеіr age, Fr. Castro added.

Another issue regarding Mcdonald’s, is about the fast-food restaurant fry showdown between Wendy’s natural-cut fries with sea salt and McDo’s shoestring potatoes, as Wendy’s claims that most of US customers liked their fries based on US national taste test as they got 56 percent from the consumers along with 39 percent only of competitor(McDo), released this week.

Wendy’s food chain are now striving to be identified after re-engineering their recipe for fries that is now made from Russet potatoes and sea salt, launched last year.