People & Events –
PLM, UDM students to get P1-K monthly allowance from Manila LGU

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso recently signed an ordinance granting PHP 1,000 monthly allowance for students of two universities operated by the local government.

In a statement, Domagoso said, “there is a need to support the youth of Manila intellectually and it can be done by providing public school students of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) and the Universidad de Manila (UDM)”.

The ordinance stressed the monthly allowance would allow them to continue their education despite the hardships and struggles of their families.

To qualify for the monthly allowance, the student-applicants must be in good standing, must not have any disciplinary record, must be a resident of Manila, and must be a registered voter of the nation’s capital.

If the student is not of legal age, the parent or legal guardian must be a registered voter of Manila.

“All qualified students duly enrolled in PLM and UDM in good standing, for undergraduate courses in the aforementioned university and college are entitled to receive the allowance covered,” the ordinance read.

On the other hand, students who will be dismissed before the end of the school year would immediately be disqualified from receiving the monthly allowance. (Ma. Teresa Montemayor, PNA)

Korean Air helps build houses in PH

Ten employees of Korean Air (KE) Manila office joined the Habitat for Humanity over the weekend for a home building project in Negros Occidental.

So Yeon Park, Korean Air’s Global Communication Team assistant manager, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Monday that KE has been a partner of Habitat for Humanity since 2013, and the home building project started in 2018.

KE employees participated in the project in Silay, Negros Occidental for a day, she added.

The partnership is part of KE’s CSR efforts. The Habitat for Humanity provides a place to live for the homeless.

KE employees helped in cementing, painting, and other construction work.

Negros Occidental is among the Philippine areas prone to floods. KE acknowledged that many of its local residents have lost their homes due to natural disasters.

Meanwhile, Park said that this month, KE also donated a fund to build four housing units in Bohol, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

She, however, said KE could not disclose the amount of donation.

The South Korean flag carrier has been helping other countries, too. Every year, KE employees plant trees at Kubuqi desert in Inner Mongolia and in Baganuur, Mongolia, to help fight desertification.

KE helps deliver relief goods to areas affected by floods and earthquakes, in its global network. (Ma. Cristina Arayata, PNA)

Top photo: Korean Air employees (Photo courtesy of Korean Air)

Pinoys celebrate peaceful Holy Week

The traditional observance of this year’s Holy week has been generally peaceful, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

Except for the blast that occurred at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) on Black Saturday, “the observance of Holy Week is generally peaceful,” PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac said in a news article published by the Philippine News Agency.

Banac attributed the peaceful observance of Holy Week to the strict implementation of the “Oplan Ligtas Sumvac 2019”, the nationwide-coordinated police operations that aim to provide security during the Lenten season and summer vacation.

PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde earlier said the PNP has deployed 91,000 cops nationwide “for route security target hardening, and security operations in places of convergence and transportation hubs”.

“Deployment of personnel will focus now on terminals as activities and movement of the traveling public will be more in these areas,” Banac said.

Banac reiterated his appeal to travelers, including those using their own vehicles, to take extra precaution by observing traffic rules and speed limits to prevent vehicular accidents.

Banac also advised commuters to avoid wearing expensive jewelry and to look after their belongings and constantly check them.

DCPO director Col. Alexander Tagum said the cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

Col. Tagum urged the public not to speculate on the cause of the incident. “We can’t speculate on what was exploded because presently, a post-blast investigation is being conducted by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team led by Maj. Garcia of Police Regional Office (PRO) 11,” Tagum said.

PH conquers the universe: Catriona Gray is 4th Filipina Ms. Universe

The Philippines conquered the most prestigious beauty pageant in the universe with Catriona Gray proclaimed as Miss Universe 2018 title-holder out of 93 other contestants from countries around the world.

The Miss Universe 2018 coronation night was held on Monday, December 17, 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.

In her winning answer about her experience working in the poor communities in Manila, Catriona Gray said it has taught her to “look in the beauty of the children” and be grateful.

“I will bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson,” Catriona said.

“This I think if I can teach people to be grateful, we can have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster and children will have smile on their faces,” Catriona said.

Catriona bags the fourth Philippines’ Miss Universe crown, joining three Filipina Miss Universe title-holders including Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), and Pia Wurtzbach (2015).

Catriona said she dedicates her Miss Universe journey to the Philippines in her Instagram post.

“Philippines, This is it. What an amazing journey this has been from day one back in January 2018 of announcing Binibining Pilipinas to today. Philippines, you have endlessly inspired me and given me strength and support. I want nothing more than to bring pride to you and give my all to give the best Christmas gift ever to my country. Mahal kita, Philippines. Para sayo ‘to. Stand by me prayer warriors, laban tayo,” Catriona said.

Top photo credit: Video grab from Miss Universe 2018 Youtube channel

First eco-airport in PH: Panglao Airport set for inauguration on Nov. 27

The new Panglao International Airport in Bohol, the first eco-airport in the Philippines, is scheduled to be inaugurated on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 ahead of its target schedule.

Panglao is seen to boost tourist arrivals in the province, with a projected accommodation of some two million passengers annually.

The airport’s construction was completed three years ahead of its target schedule on 2021 after DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered for a 24/7 construction schedule to fast-track its completion.

The airport’s construction began in June 2015.

“When the Duterte administration assumed office in 2016, the Bohol-Panglao International Airport had a slippage of 48 percent. The completion rate was only 6.48 percent based on official records from June 2015 to June 2016,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement.

The PHP8.9-billion Panglao Airport is designed to use natural ventilation.

Solar panels are also installed that will cover around one-third of the airport’s energy requirement.

OFWs honored: US-based money transfer firm recognizes sacrifices of Pinoys abroad

A US-based money transfer company MoneyGram recently honored twelve selected Overseas Filipino Workers for their sacrifices in its MoneyGram Idol Awards ceremonies held at Solaire Resort and Casino.

The program is on its second year on recognizing OFWs who embody the inspiring values of being hardworking, generous, and compassionate.

The selected OFWs are the following:

1. Michelle Gomez (Cavite)
2. Emilia Moncada (Cavite)
3. Remie Magkalas (Laguna)
4. Rose Cabilen (Laguna)
5. Jade Colaljo (Iligan City)
6. Aldrich Pablo (Cabanatuan City)
7. Cecille Acantalicio (Camarines Sur)
8. Ryan Deyto (Caloocan City)
9. Jophil Cabahug (Cebu)
10. Marilyn Ayson (Quezon City)
11. Merline Faigmanio (Quezon City)
12. Mary Jane Toling (Quezon City)

To serve OFWs in facilitating money transfer mechanisms, MoneyGram operates a Philippine branch office. Alex Lim, MoneyGram’s manager for the Philippines, said their company’s MoneyGram Idol Awards is their way of expressing their admiration and recognizing OFWs sacrifices and contributions. The awards also aim to share OFWs’ inspiring and powerful stories.

“There are millions of Filipinos who live and work abroad. And at MoneyGram, we believe that their everyday efforts should be recognized and properly awarded,” Lim said.

This year, MoneyGram awarded all the winners with a cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to Manila so they can spend some time with their families and friends back home.

“We are here for the OFWs not only to enable them to send money to their families back home in a convenient and fast manner but we also want to bring them closer to their relatives.” said Yogesh Sangle, MoneyGram’s head of Asia Pacific, Middle East and South Asia.

“We established the MoneyGram Idol Awards to recognize the everyday struggles of families living and working abroad,” Sangle said.

Established in 1940, MoneyGram has become one of the most trusted global providers of innovative money transfer and payment services, and is the partner of every OFW and aspiring Filipino entrepreneur.

By offering fast and efficient waysto manage family budget, transfer money and pay bills even when abroad, MoneyGram offers solutions that enable every Filipino to secure the future of their families.

Globally, MoneyGram’s innovative money transfer and payment services can be accessed online, through a mobile device, at a kiosk or in a local store.

More information about MoneyGram and the MoneyGram Idol Awards 2018 can be accessed at

PH embassy leads anti-red tape caravan in Japan

The Philippine embassy in Japan recently concluded its 2-day Anti Red-Tape Act (ARTA) caravan, which brought several Philippine government frontline services closer to Filipinos in Japan.

Consul General Robespierre Bolivar said the outreach activity served more than 600 Filipinos at the Hibiya Park in Tokyo, Japan on September 8-9, 2018.

Bolivar who initiated and supervised the project, said they first conducted an informal surveys of the non-Department of Foreign Affairs frontline services that the Filipinos in Japan urgently need but are not normally available overseas.

“Based on the survey, we invited partner agencies to provide those particular services to be part of our outreach at this year’s festival,” Bolivar said.

Filipinos in Japan availed the services from the Pag-IBIG Fund and Social Security System, as well as National Bureau of Investigation clearance application, Philippine drivers’ license renewal, and consular consultations.

The project was a first for most of the involved Philippine government agencies conducting an outreach in Japan.

“The ARTA Caravan is part of the embassy’s ongoing efforts to bring urgent and much-needed front-line government services closer to our community. We are working towards providing proactive and responsive services to our kababayan in Japan,” Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V said in his welcome remarks at the opening of the festival.

In return, those who availed of the services during the outreach expressed their appreciation for the initiative.

The beneficiaries say the outreach enabled them to save a significant amount of effort and finances since these services are usually available only in the Philippines.

OFWs give Duterte ‘rockstar’ welcome in Israel

Close to 2,500 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Israel gave President Rodrigo Duterte a “rockstar” welcome at the Ramada Hotel on Sunday night.

Duterte, who arrived here on a four-day visit, went directly to meet with the OFWs from the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and members of the Cabinet and the delegation.

The President was emotional for the sounding welcome of the OFWs, who were chanting his name upon entering the venue.

“This is the first time napaluha ako na nandito ako sa aking mga kababayang Pilipino (This is the first time I am teary eyed that I’m here with my Filipino countrymen),” he added.

Philippine Ambassador to Israel Nathaniel Imperial had told the President the OFWs, who came from Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, were happy after a year of waiting for Duterte, the first Philippine president to visit the Holy Land.

He said 75 percent of the OFWs in Israel voted for him during the 2016 presidential elections.

Aside from the arrival of the President, Imperial said the OFWs are happy that they will finally see the government to government agreement on recruitment of Filipinos, as this will put an end to the high and illegal collection of placement fees. The signing of the agreement was witnessed by Duterte and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later on Monday.

According to Imperial, there are 24,000 caregivers in Israel. He said these OFWs are a big help to the Israeli government in taking care of the elderlies.

He said the OFWs serve as ambassadors of goodwill and bridge between the two countries.

“Malaking tulong sa bansang Israel ang pagharap sa kanilang tumatandang populasyon. Magaan ang loob ng Israeli sa mga Pilipino na nagsisilbing tulay sa pagitan ang dalawang bansa (It is a big help to the State of Israel for their old population. The Filipinos serve as bridge between the two countries),” he said in his welcome message to the President.

In his speech, Duterte expressed his gratitude to the Israeli government and Netanyahu for giving Filipino workers good working conditions.

He said the working conditions of the Filipinos in Israel are far better compared to other countries, especially in the Middle East.

The President vowed to also discuss with Netanyahu how to manage the increasing population of Filipino workers in Israel. (Source: Philippine News Agency)

In photo: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte interacts with the Filipinos based in Israel as he met with them at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem on September 2, 2018. (King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo)

Pinoy chef showcases Filipino food at UK’s biggest cookout festival

Ferdinand Montoya is the first Filipino to join Meatopia, the United Kingdom’s biggest grilled meat cookout and considered a legendary event for food lovers in the UK held at Tobacco Dock, London on August 31, 2018.

Budgie, as he is more popularly called, joined a powerhouse lineup of 47 other chefs from around the world who were handpicked to be part of the festival.

Chef Budgie served Filipino barbecue skewers (diced pork shoulder marinated and glazed in soy sauce, calamansi juice, banana ketchup, 7UP, garlic, and ginger) with atchara to hefty queues of people during the festival.

An estimated 4,000-5,000 people per day attended Meatopia, which is on its sixth year this year.

Chef Budgie moved from Sydney to London in 2012 and left his job in the information technology industry to pursue his passion for food. He honed his culinary skills from working in the kitchens of top restaurants in London including the Michelin-starred Restaurant Story, Soho House & Co., Flat 3, and Foley’s in Fitzrovia, a restaurant famous in London for marrying Easter and Western flavors.

“I think food is the gateway into anyone’s culture. Food transcends the barriers that separate us—be it politics, religion, or race and allows us all to connect through our primary human function of eating,” Chef Budgie said.

“Once people start trying Filipino food, it gives them the confidence to ask questions about where and how the flavors came about. That dialogue opens them up to not only the culinary culture but the rich cultural history of the Philippines,” Chef Budgie said.

Although he was raised in Australia, it was his mother’s cooking that ultimately inspired Chef Budgie to rediscover his Filipino roots. Pinakbet, adobo, and other popular Filipino dishes ignited his interest to learn more about Filipino culture through the Philippines’ rich and diverse culinary tradition.

Since learning how to whip up Filipino dishes, Chef Budgie has been constantly expanding his repertoire of Filipino dishes while at the same time reinterpreting Filipino favorites to tickle the discerning taste buds of Londoners. In fact, he plans to embark on a month-long visit to the Philippines to learn more about how to prepare Filipino food, especially lechon.

Budgie’s love affair with Filipino cuisine spawned Sarap London, a supper club in London that is gaining widespread popularity among London’s culinary circles. Sarap London aims to retell the story of Filipino cuisine to today’s generation of foodies.

“For me this has been a journey of rediscovery to my cultural heritage. I never planned to make Sarap into something more than a side project and certainly not something I had intended to pursue as business. But the more I rediscovered the more I fell in love and the more my enthusiasm grew. My aim is simple really: I want Filipino cuisine to have its own identity in the culinary world,” Chef Budgie said.

Through Sarap London, Chef Budgie has been giving traditional Filipino food such a sisig, adobo, and lechon kawali a unique and contemporary twist, as a way of introducing the cuisine to those who have never tried it. “Think lechon kawali and adobo sliders, cassava tarts, and sea bass kinilaw nestled nicely in ube taco shells!” he said.

“The energy of younger generations of Filipinos in the United Kingdom to use food as a medium to tell the story of Filipino culture is inspiring and invigorating,” said Ambassador to the U.K. Antonio M. Lagdameo.

“By introducing Filipino cuisine to the British in a creative and innovative way, second generation overseas Filipinos such as Chef Budgie are among our most effective purveyors of Philippine culture in the U.K,” Amb. Lagdameo said.

Meatopia was founded by American food writer and historian Josh Ozersky, whose claim to fame was his stint as editor of New York magazine’s food blog, Grub Street. The festival was later exported to the U.K. by Birmingham chef Richard Turner. (Source: Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines)

(Photos credit: Meatopia, Sarap London)