Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DBM reveals more details about the increase of U.P.'s budget in 2013 from 2012

Department of Budget and Management Secretary (DBM) Florencio B. Abad said  that the University of the Philippines (UP) is set to receive a P3.9-billion increase in their budget, raising their total 2013 allocation to P10.0 billion. Under the 2013 budget for all UP campuses, capital outlay (CO )support rose from P190 million in 2012 to P1.45 billion, while the allocation for Personal Services (PS) was pegged at P6.5 billion, up by P1.2 billion from this year. PS does not include unfilled positions.

Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) activities under UP will receive a 188.2-percent boost amounting to P2 billion, which will cover research and other related activities for the university’s nationwide campuses. The remaining amount will be devoted to retirement and life insurance premium support for faculty and staff.

The Diliman Diary asked the DBM through DBM’s Citizen’s portal at, a question on how State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) budgets would be increased and received the following response:

“The proposed budget for SUCs in 2013 is P37.1B, that is a 44% increase from last year's P25.8B, or an increase of P11.3B, of which, P27.3B is for Personal Services, 20.6% increase from 2012. Another P6.4B is for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses, 114% increase from last year. Finally, P3.36B is for Capital Outlay, increasing by more than 16 times from 2012.”

Additional information from the DBM website at shows that
the Administration’s campaign is to boost public tertiary education across the country.
According to Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad, the budget hike for SUCs is designed to strengthen SUC performance and improve student welfare through better infrastructure, in line with the Aquino administration’s higher education roadmap.

“In preparing the SUC budget for 2013, we were instructed by President Aquino to concretize the roadmap for higher education as part of this Administration’s reform agenda. This way, the delivery of higher education will be more efficient and accessible. Following the roadmap will also allow SUCs to develop their students’ capabilities so they’re well-prepared to join the work force,” Abad said.

Of the proposed P37.1 billion, P27.3 billion will support Personal Services, which went up by 20.6 percent for the implementation of the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law III to raise the salaries of SUC teachers and staff. The amount includes allocations for unfilled positions of SUCs.

Another P6.4 billion of the 2013 budget for SUCs will cover Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), 114 percent higher than the previous year’s MOOE budget. The increase will help bolster institutional improvements, research initiatives, extension services, and the quality of instruction across all SUCs.

“Improvements in teaching quality and the establishment of quality assurance systems in SUCs are attainable not just through better compensation for our teachers. To support these initiatives, MOOE will also receive normative funding. Fund support will therefore be based on a set criteria to bolster our rationalization efforts in SUCs, so that more programs and courses respond directly to growing industry demands,” Abad added.

The rationalization of SUCs entail the mapping out of leading universities in all regions, centers of excellence, as well as centers of development. Besides developing high-level professional disciplines or courses demanded by the market, the rationalization plan will also align college academic programs according to SUCs’ leading regional industries.

Meanwhile, P3.36 billion of the total budget will be used for Capital Outlay (CO) to support the infrastructure needs of state-supported colleges and universities, bringing up the total CO budget for 2013 by more than sixteen times.

“The Aquino administration recognizes the severe need for capital outlay support in SUCs, which will receive their CO allocations directly. This will jumpstart developments in infrastructure and enable SUCs to acquire laboratory equipment and other necessary facilities to boost their competitiveness and academic capacities,” Abad said.

The proposed budget ot the national government, including SUCs was submitted by President Benigno S. Aquino III to the House of Representatives for its deliberation.

Monday, July 23, 2012

UP Kilos Na Statement on "UP President Thanks Pnoy for Increased Budget of UP, Other SUCs"

"A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT: The Non-Acknowledgment of the Role of the UP Community in “UP President Thanks Pnoy for Increased Budget of UP, Other SUCs.”

This was the statement made by U.P. Kilos Na on July 21, 2012 in reaction to the UP website which carried a July 20 article, headlined “UP President Thanks Pnoy for Increased Budget of UP, Other SUCs” (

The statement from U.P. Kilos Na said

"While UP Kilos Na welcomes the news of Malacanang’s proposed increase of P3.9 billion in UP’s 2013 budget and an increase of P11.3 billion for the 2012 budget of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), it does so with scepticism until:
1)   this proposal is passed by Congress and enacted as the 2013 General Appropriations Act; and
2)   a clearer breakdown of the increases in the personal services and the MOOE is clarified. The allocation for personal services is expected to increase because of the implementation of the fourth and last tranche of the Salary Standardization Law III which was passed in 2008.  And we do not know the itemization of the MOOE or even the details of the allocation for Capital Outlay.

 What is disappointing about the announcement released by UP Vice President for Public Administration, Prospero de Vera, aside from it being premature, is the abject manner by which President Alfredo Pascual expressed his gratitude to President Aquino, to DBM Budget Secretary Abad and to CHED Chair Licuanan:

"The leadership of President Aquino, coupled with committed support from CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan and DBM Secretary Butch Abad, is responsible for the biggest ever increase in the UP budget and we thank the PNoy administration for this decisive action, adds Pascual."

The statement of President Pascual denies the fact that it was Aquino and Abad who were principally responsible for the cuts in the UP budget in 2011 and 2012, said the U.P. Kilos Na statement.

The U.P. Kilos Na statement quoted from President Aquino's budget message of August 24, 2010 which said that:
"We allocated P23.4 billion to 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in 2011. This is 1.7 percent lower than the P23.8 billion budget for 2010. We are gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent, given their ability to raise their income and to utilize it for their programs and projects."

The statement of President Pascual also denies, omits, and erases the role of the UP community, its students, faculty and staff in almost all constituent universities, in opposing the budget cuts and in demanding for higher state subsidy to UP and for all SUCs, said U.P. Kilos Na. 

"It is historical revisionism at its worst and is tragic because barely a year has passed since the 2012 UP Strikes Back campaign and already the role of the UP community has been deleted from the official statement of the UP President!"

"But if such role is not acknowledged by President Pascual, the various documentation of the actions in 2010 and 2011  provides clear evidence that the proposed increase in UP’s budget for 2013 is not due to the generosity of the powers-that-be but is the recognition of the validity of the demand, raised by the UP community in various venues and various forms, that public universities should be adequately supported by the state," U.P. Kilos Na said in its statement.

"The Pascual  Administration’s  “amnesia” on the role of the students, faculty, and staff in asserting and in fighting against the diminishing public character of the University does not augur well for the UP community. But as the history of the University itself has shown, a united and militant studentry, faculty and staff, regardless of who sits in Quezon Hall and the extent of its kowtowing to Malacanang, will continue to fight, to march and to claim UP as a public university, as a university of the people and in the service of the poor and marginalized," U.P. Kilos Na said in its statement.

President Aquino to submit increased budget for SUCs to Congress tomorrow

President Benigno S. Aquino III said today in his annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he would be submitting to Congress tomorrow the annual budget for the national government which also includes a 43.61% increase for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

He said that the he is proposing to Congress to approve SUCs a 43.61 percent increase in the budgets of SUCs for 2013. He said that as a reminder though, that everything was in accordance with a plan: There are corresponding conditions to this budget increase.

He said that the SUC Reform Roadmap of CHED, which has been deliberated and agreed upon, must be enacted to ensure that the students sponsored by the state are of top caliber. "Expect that if you work to get high marks in this assignment, we will be striving just as hard to address the rest of your needs," he said.

Here is the full text of President Aquino's 3rd SONA (2012) in Filipino and English.

Other reforms are expected to be operational and fiscal in nature. For example, the Diliman Diary has been following the progress of the University of the Philippines System in realigning the operations of University-affiliated foundations with Commission on Audit requests for more access to its financial and other data. CHED working with COA and the Department of Management will be working even more closely with U.P. and other SUCs in the future to ensure that these reforms are implemented to the greatest extent possible.


President Bis set to submit the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) for fiscal year 2013 to Congress on Tuesday, 24 July 2012: a day after his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) today.

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad, who will be delivering the expenditure plan to Congress on behalf of the President, said that this P2.006-trillion proposed National Budget deepens the Aquino Administration’s commitment to its Social Contract with the Filipino People.

“This proposed Empowerment Budget prioritizes funding for programs and projects that have impact in unshackling the poor from poverty and in reducing poverty incidence to 16.6 percent by 2016. President Aquino has directed us to take bold steps in closing key social service delivery gaps—in classrooms, teachers, health insurance subsidies, rural health facilities, etc.—by 2013,” he said.

“He also instructed us to build on our economic achievements so far, such as the 6.4-percent gross domestic product growth in the first quarter of 2012, by investing in the foundations of rapid, inclusive and sustained growth. With this, we are funding the attainment of rice self-sufficiency by next year; the pavement of all national roads by 2014 and all secondary roads by 2016, the arrival of 5.53 million tourists by next year and 10 million by 2016, among others,” he said.

Abad pointed out that the combined budgetary allocations of the Social Services and Economic Services sector of P1.210 trillion for 2013—60.3 percent of the P2.006-trillion Budget—supports the achievement of the aforementioned targets (Annex A).

The proposed 2013 National Budget consists of P1.251 trillion in Programmed New Appropriations for national government operations, programs and projects; and P755.2 billion in Automatic Appropriations for debt servicing, local government allocations and others (Annex B).

Legislative action and approval will be sought for Programmed New Appropriations as well as for P177.5 billion in Unprogrammed Appropriations, or standby spending authority which the national government may only be utilized when its revenues exceed targets.

The Budget Chief also said that the Proposed Budget for 2013 is the earliest to be submitted to Congress in the last twelve years (Annex C). He said that by submitting the BESF right after the SONA, the Administration is showing its commitment to ensure the early enactment of the Budget.

“Last year, the Administration and Congress worked together to ensure that the 2012 Budget becomes law by 15 December 2011: the earliest Budget enactment since the restoration of our democracy. We look forward to repeating that historical feat,” Abad said.

In the last twelve years, the Proposed Budget for 2001 was submitted on 24 June 2000, as early as the 2013 proposal’s submission, but it was not enacted. Before the Aquino administration, the last Budget to be enacted on time was the 1999 Budget, signed into law on 30 December 1998.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo (Liberal Party, 2nd District of Quezon City) today expressed support to the proposed P2-trillion national budget for 2013, saying the budgetary raise is necessary to spur economic growth with social equity in the country.

“As the embodiment of the country’s explicit and implicit policies, the envisioned P2 trillion national budget for 2013 shows the overall policy shift to sustained economic growth with emphasis on social equity,” Castelo said in a statement.

“The budget raise is expected to impact more on the poor,” Castelo said.
While he did not give a final figure, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. has earlier announced that the proposed 2013 national budget would hit for the first time the P2-trillion mark, up 11.1 percent from the P1.82 trillion national budget in 2012.

Abad said the proposed 2013 national budget would be funded by revenues, but only 2.0 percent would come from debts, also a major policy shift where the national budgets were funded in the past by heavy domestic borrowings.

While saying that no “final number” on the national budget has been set yet because the Development and Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) would first meet “to review economic assumptions,” Abad said the P2 trillion appeared realistic to pump prime the national economy and sustain economic growth.

The national budget, when used appropriately, is the single biggest instrument, which could stimulate economic growth and development, Castelo said, adding that foreign funds and investments appear nowhere in sight.
Castelo expressed satisfaction that the Aquino administration appeared bent to spend a significant portion of the budgetary increase for key infrastructure and social services, saying they would mean a lot to employment.

“Infrastructure spending promotes massive employment, while heavy expenditures for social services mean that the poor and downtrodden would enjoy the fruits of government spending and economic growth,” Castelo said.
Castelo also said the planned 20 percent increase in the conditional fund transfer (CCT) for the country’s 20 percent of the nation’s “poorest of the poor” households would have a tremendous impact to alleviate mass poverty and extend social services to them.

While he expressed support for a realignment of the CCT fund to extend socialized health care for the poor, Castelo said the planned increase would have positive impact in whichever way it would be employed for the poor people.

Abad said that among the infrastructure being eyed are arterial national roads, which should be finished in 2014, improved spendings in agriculture, and rice self-sufficiency in 2013.

Abad also indicated significant investments in education that by the end of 2013, the government hopes to close the classroom gap of 65,000.

“Social services and economic services like rural electrification, irrigation, roads and bridges, we are going to close, and finish the arterial national roads and bridges by the end of 2014,” Abad said.

According to him, the proposed P2-trillion budget excludes expected revenues from new sin taxes.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Philippine visual arts collective management group holds first annual meet

City of Makati – The Filipino Visual Arts and Design Rights Organization or FILVADRO will hold the first annual general assembly for its members on July 28, 2012, 1:00 p.m. at the Pearl Room of Stonehouse Bed and Breakfast in Quezon City. FILVADRO, the Philippines' collective management society for the visual arts created by national laws and international treaties where the country is a member state, administers the intellectual property rights of its members.

The FILVADRO members' general assembly is themed “Miting Pang-Abanse.” It takes inspiration from the election phrase “Miting de Avance,” the final gathering in a campaign trail of political candidates before voters take to the polls.

Unlike Miting de Avance however, FILVADRO's Miting Pang-Abanse includes the election of the new Board of Trustees, the casting of votes to amend the organization's Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, a report on the previous year's accomplishments, and a discussion of future plans.

“On one hand, we recognize that the organization's leadership has to be responsive to the needs of the members which the election and the amendments would address. The members, on the other hand, likewise need to actively participate in ushering FILVADRO into its next vital chapter,” Karen Ocampo Flores, FILVADRO president, said.

Ocampo Flores was the head of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Visual Arts and Museo Division. She is a co-founder of TutoK, an artists' initiative for art and advocacy in 2005 and an educator in universities in Metro Manila.

Apart from Ocampo Flores, the other members who comprise the Board of Trustees are Rita Badilla-Gudiño who is the vice president; Grace Dimaranan, corporate secretary; Tina Colayco, treasurer; Yael Buencamino-Borromeo, vice treasurer; Josephine Turalba; Egai Talusan Fernandez; Emmanuel Garibay and; Noel Soler Cuizon.

A board member of the PUTIK Association of Philippine Potters, Badilla-Gudiño likewise founded the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Fine Arts Ceramic Studio and serves as its faculty coordinator. Dimaranan is the president of the Animation Council of the Philippines and owner of Top Peg Animation Studio Inc. Colayco is the dean of the UP College of Fine Arts. Buencamino-Borromeo is the managing curator of the Ateneo Art Gallery.

Interdisciplinary artist Turalba is the dean of Philippine Women's University (PWU) School of Fine Arts and Design. Talusan Fernandez is the head of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Committee on Visual Arts. Garibay is likewise one of the founders of TutoK and president of the Asian Christian Art Association, Inc. Soler Cuizon is a core member of TutoK and teaches at the PWU School of Fine Arts and Design.
Other FILVADRO members include Ambie Abaño, Susan Abrera, Ana Rhea Adonis, Nunelucio Alvarado, Eric Ambata, Maria Eugene Aniar, John Paul Antido, Cruzaldo Arbozo, Adjani Arumpac, Cynthia Atud, Virgilio Aviado, Jose Badelles, Rogger Basco, Christopher Bayani, Bernard Bertumen, Jenica April Cahayom, Imelda Cajipe Endaya, Jeffrey Carnay, Delfin Castro Jr., Jason Christopher Castro, Clarissa Chikiamco, Salvador Ching, Joey Cobcobo, Salvador Concovar, Marika Constantino, Olivia D’Aboville, Camille Dagal, Maria Venus Dante, Nadya Melina David, Don Reich De Dios, Iris Joy Deganos, Fil Delacruz, Jan Olympus Delacruz, Sheila Rose dela Paz, Jocelyn Diaz, Jemimah Grace Dumawal, Daniel Enriquez, Noell El Farol, Arvi Fetalvero, Jemima Keren Flaminiano, Noel Flores, Jade Ellaine Gadin, Genaro Gomez Sr., Maria Lourdes Inosanto, Raul Isidro, David Justimbaste, Jerry Jimenez, Marisa Laudinez, Alfredo Liongoren, Manuel Lumbao, Angelo Magno, Raymund Malicay, Frances Nicole Manzanero, Dalisay Mendez, Ma. Rowena Monsale, Maria Francesca Nacionales, Marcus Nada, Gerry Navilon, Othoniel Neri, Eden Ocampo, J Pacena II, Darryl Pagulong, Dantes Palmes, Noel Pama, Lala Pavilando, Josefina Pineda, Al Perez, Stacey Kate Posion, Azenith Elaine Ramirez, Jocelyn Ramos, Dan Antonio Recalde, Ma. Rhoda Recto, Mitzi Marie Reyes, Kirby Roxas, Mutya Sambile, Rogelio Santos, Fidel Sarmiento, Bru Sim, Judy Talan, Daniel Tayona, AJ Tolentino, Lia Torralba, Nikki Tucay, Josephine Turalba, Wesley Valenzuela, Andrei Venal, and Rhener Griego Vive.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IP Philippines), the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), the NCCA and the CCP recognize FILVADRO as the Philippine collective management organization for visual arts and design. The Norwegian Copyright Development Association (NORCODE) has provided financial support to the organization since March 2011, and in September 2011 the organization was formally launched.

For more information on this story, please contact Betty Uy-Regala at 0906.2604175 or email

UP President thanks PNoy for increased budget of UP, other SUCs

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has officially released a statement that the University of the Philippines "is set to receive a P3.9-billion increase in (its) budget, raising (the) total 2013 allocation to P10 billion." This is 63 percent more than the 2012 UP budget of P6.2 billion as provided for in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) passed last year. The DBM also announced that "the 2013 budget for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) was raised by P11.3 billion to P37.1 billion, up by 44 percent from their 2012 budget."

As regards the 2013 UP budget, DBM gives the following details: "(Capital Outlay) support rose from P190 million in 2012 to P1.45 billion, while the allocation for Personal Services was pegged at P6.5 billion, up by P1.2 billion from this year... (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) activities under UP will receive a 188.2 percent boost amounting to P2 billion, which will cover research and other related activities for the university’s nationwide campuses. The remaining amount will be devoted to retirement and life insurance premium (RLIP) support for faculty and staff." A footnote points out that the stated Personnel Services amount "does not include unfilled positions."

For this year, an additional P1.3 billion for Capital Outlay was allocated to UP through the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) as part of the Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP) of President Aquino. The combined GAA budget and additional DAP allocation from the Disbursement Acceleration Fund resulted in a total government funding to UP of about P7 billion for 2012 (excluding unfilled positions).

UP President Alfredo Pascual acknowledges the support of Malacañang, DBM and CHED in increasing the 2013 budget for the country's national university. According to Pascual “the dramatic increase in UP’s budget shows that the national leadership has recognized that UP is worth investing in.” He explains, “Money given to UP is not an expense but an investment in the country’s human capital and knowledge base. UP contributes to national development by producing leaders in various fields, expert manpower needed by industry and higher education, plus research outputs that drive innovation and national competitiveness. UP also makes use of the knowledge and expertise of its faculty and staff to deliver public service.”

As the national university, UP is mandated by its charter of 2008 (RA 9500) to “perform its unique and distinctive leadership in higher education and development”.

“The increased budget”, says Pascual, “will help UP to strengthen its research capability; modernize its technological infrastructure; repair its aging physical facilities; recruit, develop, and retain the best faculty and staff; improve support for its students; deepen its public service; and reclaim its standing as a center of learning in Asia and the world.”

“The leadership of President Aquino, coupled with committed support from CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan and DBM Secretary Butch Abad, is responsible for the biggest ever increase in the UP budget and we thank the PNoy administration for this decisive action,” adds Pascual.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Top 18 Pinoy Pastries & Desserts

By Sigrid Salucop 

Filipino pastries may be simple but they sure are tasty. While many Filipinos crave for western pastries and cakes, there are those times when you just want a simple, gluten-free dessert i.e. puto or kutsinta or even both! Gluten-free or not, here are the best pinoy pastries and desserts that you can easily make.

Leche Flan

This is what one usually feels when
one eats a flan - <3 (heart/love)
The Flan is a dieter’s worst nightmare. It’s smooth, creamy and sugary goodness is just something one can’t resist. Although the name is very Spanish and even if it can be traced both to Spain and France –the origin of those uber yummy crème brulee and crème caramel, we have made this recipe our own. This dessert is usually served during special occasions. Oh yes…there’s definitely nothing leche about this flan.


Want cake but don’t want anything that’s too heavy? Get a puto. Also known as rice muffins, this recipe is also available in other Asian countries but the Philippine version is much sweeter –probably because Filipinos love sweets more than their neighbors. 

Puto Calasiao is deemed as the best authentic Philippine puto.

However, if you are in a Spanish-speaking country and you happen to cook some puto, better not say, “Have some puto, Puto!” 

Puto is usually accompanied by shredded coconut or topped with butter or cheese. The Tagalog however eat puto with dinuguan which is yum for many and disgusting for some –all about taste really.

Puto has a lot of versions but one of the loveliest is the Puto Pao. If you want dry puto, you can have the Castilian Puto Seco.


Kutsinta for your sinisinta may not be a very good catchphrase for this Philippine pastry but it still is as yummy as other pastries around. This steamed, brown rice cake has an interesting story to tell though. 

Back in the year 1942, a woman by the name of Cita was hankering for freshly cooked rice. Her boyfriend Kulas, a rice farmer, decided to cook some for her but instead of adding a bit of salt to taste, he put in brown sugar and even put in too much water. 

With so many things to do at the farm, Kulas left the pot on the stove for too long, not even realizing the mistake he has made. When he came back, he found that he has made a sweet, pasty rice cake. He found it rather appetizing and decided to bring it to Cita. Cita of course loved the finished product and gave some to the people in their barrio. They named the pastry after themselves. 


This rice pudding is definitely Filipino but the recipe itself has a striking resemblance to bebinca, a pudding originating from Goa. 

The pudding from Goa however does not have rice in it but it has coconut milk much like the traditional bibingka in the Philippines. 

According to several historians, the word “bi” is Chinese for rice, no one knows where the other letters come from (yes they come from the alphabet you smart ass!) and what they mean though. 

Whatever bibingka’s history, let’s crank up the volume of the stereo and listen to Sharon Cuneta’s Maging Sino Ka Man while eating this Philippine rice pudding.

Ube Halaya

Many find purple yam odd because it’s err… purple. Although it is a good dessert in itself i.e. boiled and dipped in sugar, it becomes a lot better when it is made into a pan of creamy Ube Halaya. 


Made from either rice flour or rice soaked overnight, this Philippine pastry traces its origins to the northern part of the country. Sapin-Sapin is more like a stickier and rather creamy version of the kutsinta.

Maja Blanca

This coconut pudding is a Spanish dessert based on manjar blanco. Although this white delicacy can be served plain, many Filipinos add corn kernels to it making the usual maja blanca into maja blanca con maiz.

If you are tired of the usual maja blanca, adding squash is also a great idea.


This Philippine dessert made from sugar, cassava, and coconut with a hint of pandan is basically a soft puto. It is a favorite dessert from the province of Quezon. It is however also sold in other Philippine provinces. 


Simple yet delectable, polvoron is a powdery Philippine dessert based on Spanish shortbread cookies. Polvoron mixed with ground nuts is also used as the main ingredient in another Philippine delicacy –Turones de Mani. 

There are now shops that sell Polvoron cupcakes in an effort to reinvent this very simple dessert. 


Formerly a mutant of the coconut tree, the Philippine Coconut Authority successfully developed trees that yield 80% macapuno fruits making the macapuno another puno –yay to that yeah? Macapuno looks like the usual coconut but inside, it is filled with a yummy jelly. 

Due to its economic value, the Philippine government encourages farmers to grow more of these trees. Now let’s move to the dessert. Usually paired with ube or spread on top of a pan of crème caramel, the shredded macapuno we see is a preserved version of the fruit. It is full of sugary goodness and of course the unmistakable…err… macapuno flavor.  It is also made into candies like the ones in the photo.

Brazo de Mercedes

Brazo de Mercedes is a light and very delicate cake roll. Although the name is Spanish sounding, this jelly roll is more popularly known in the west as the Swiss roll. 

However, one has to note that the Philippine version is a lot lighter since no flour is used.


Described by many a Filipino children as the hot version of the uber popular halo-halo, Ginataan is served during the rainy season or for Filipinos living abroad, during wintertime. 

This Philippine dessert is known by many names, it is referred to as the alpahor in Chavacano, ginat-taan in Ilocano and tinunuan in Cebuano. It is also called bilo-bilo in some parts of the country. Whatever it’s called though, this dessert cooked in coconut milk is an all-time favorite among Filipinos.

No one is sure where the Ginataan originated from though but let's just keep eating it and hope that the answer will materialize at one point.


Love chocolate? If you need carbs and you want chocolate with it, champorado is your best bet. Usually served for breakfast, this Philippine porridge can still be served for dessert or as one meal for someone craving for something sweet. Champorado is of Mexican origin but the original doesn’t have rice in it.


Made from sticky rice, Palitaw is another version of the Philippine rice cake. It is however usually served with sesame seeds. In some versions, the palitaw is topped with grated coconut. You can put both sesame seeds and grated coconut though like the one in the photo.


Most Filipinos would associate Bacolod City with the piyaya and the inasal but there is this one wonderful recipe from this beautiful city that is rather mouthwatering. It is called Napoleones and yes, according to some historians, the recipe probably came from Naples. Layered with custard cream and topped with white sugar, this puff pastry is to die for.


Bitsu-Bitsu and its twisted version the pilipit can be safely called as the Philippine version of a doughnut. It is fluffier than a churro, softer than a pretzel, and usually served sprinkled with granulated sugar –the result – Y. U. M. YUM!

Buko Pie

“Buko Pie, Buko Pie kayo diyan! Bagong luto!” Sure you always hear this inside busses coming from the southern part of Luzon. In fact, Filipinos are so used to it that many fail to realize how tasty this dessert is.


Remember the alpahor of the Chavacanos? Well this Ilocano recipe is nothing like it. The alpahor is ginataan but the Alpajo is a soft candy made from coconut, milk, and sugar. It's not sold anywhere though but some homes in the north still make them. My grandmother makes them every Christmas -they are oh so tasty!


This dessert was described by a friend as something that tastes like dirt and ash but tasty -yes, tasty. 

Espasol is made from rice flour and coconut milk. It is dusted with toasted rice flour once it is shaped into the cylindrical shape Filipinos are so familiar with. 

Other Pinoy desserts that are also rather tasty include suman latik, tupig, and calamay.

Photos via
Dindin Lagdameo

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

China ups the ante by declaring nine oil exploration blocks in the South China Sea

The People’s Republic of China has declared nine (9) Open Blocks in Waters under for Foreign Cooperation in the Year of 2012.

Now, nine blocks covering an area of 160124.38km2 are available for exploration and development cooperation between China National Offshore Oil Corporation ("CNOOC") and foreign companies.


The Philippines also has conflicting claims over what it terms as the West Philippine Sea. In particular, the Malampaya and Camago natural gas and condensate fields are in Chinese-claimed waters.

The projects necessitating new investments are seen to further benefit the Philippines in energy self-sufficiency and government revenues. It is also seen to continue as a major source of power for Luzon’s energy requirements in years to come.

Malampaya is one of the largest and most significant industrial endeavors in Philippine history. A joint undertaking between the Philippine national government and the private sector, spearheaded by the DOE, developed and operated by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and the PNOC Exploration Corporation under SC38.

The competing claims between China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan over the hydrocarbon rich South China Sea will continue to influence relations between these coastal nations even as diplomatic efforts continue to be influenced by the military posturings by each nation's military establishments and leaderships.

Nine oil exploration blocks are being
offered to investors by China via CNOOC