Saturday, February 16, 2013

Retiring in the Philippines with a Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV)

“Smile at Life in the Philippines.” This is our invitation to our former Filipino citizens and foreign nationals to choose the Philippines as their second home. Famous for our vibrant culture, hospitality, friendly English-speaking population, natural attractions, and tropical climate, retirees can expect the good life in the Philippines at an affordable cost.

The Philippines is an archipelagic nation made up of 7,107 islands spanning 1,840 kilometers north to south. It is part of the Southeast Asian region, and is bordered by Taiwan to the north, Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo to the south, the South China Sea to the west, and the Pacific Ocean to the east. The Three main Philippine Island groups are Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao. The Capital is Manila. Time Zone is GMT +8 hours.

Generally, Philippines has a tropical climate. March to May is hot and dry. June to October is rainy, November to February is cool. Average temperatures: 78F/25C to 90F/32C; humidity is 77%.

Understanding each other will not be a problem between the retirees and our people. Almost every Filipino can understand and speak some English. In fact, we are the third largest English-speaking nation in terms of population.

Two official languages are Filipino and English. Filipino which is based on Tagalog is the national language. English is widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education. Eight (8) major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog; Cebuano; Ilocano; Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense.

Some 83% of Filipinos are Catholic. About 5% are Muslim. The rest are made up of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhist.

The principal appeal for retirement in the Philippines is the lower cost of living. Housing, food, and labor costs are quite reasonable. Global Filipinos and foreign retirees can retire in the Philippines and enjoy not only the lower cost of living but also the very favorable currency exchange rate.

The Philippines’ monetary unit is the Peso. Foreign currency may be exchanged at any hotels, most large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops accredited by the Central bank of the Philippines. International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Bank Americard, Master Card, and American Express are accepted in major establishments.

In terms of medical services, our facilities are comparable to the best anywhere else. Our highly trained medical personnel and caregivers are in demand all over the world not only for their competence and expertise but most especially for the care and compassion they show to their wards. Healthcare, a top priority of the senior market, is an expertise of the Filipino who is world-renowned for his excellent healthcare practitioners.

Filipinos are naturally warm, friendly and hospitable. We have a ready smile for everybody and our religious background that is predominantly Catholic makes service to others an innate trait.

Every retiree can avail of the country’s continuously improving telecommunication facilities. They can keep abreast of what is happening around the world and keep in touch with their relatives and friends back home.

Philippines can provide the retirees endless choices of world-class destinations that will bring them closer to Mother Nature with clean air and beautiful sceneries. The white sand beaches of Boracay and Panglao and the virgin islands of Palawan often referred to as “the last frontier” are truly unforgettable places that entice the visitors to come back in the Philippines.

To learn how to avail of the Department of Tourism's Special Resident Retiree's Visa program, read the rest here:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Eng Ho bakery goes beyond Binondo, Banawe

By AS Bonifacio

There's a new-old kid in the block, for foodies who love baked goodies and Chinese delicacies.  Eng Ho  gone beyond Chinatown  and its Banawe  branch, setting up space some months ago on Magiting Street,  near  CP Garcia Avenue and UP campus. This might be due to the ever-growing Korean presence in the neighborhood.

I came upon this happy and delicious find one afternoon after strolling from CHED   (corner University and CP Garcia), heading for Teachers' Village.  I turned right at the intersection near the stud farm. I hadn't been in the area since October last year, and as I turned to Magiting going toward Maginhawa Street, I was amazed to see new foodie spots to my right. Impulsively I went into the first one, looking forward to a refreshing snack.

I immediately saw a huge mocha chiffon cake, no icing, wrapped in plastic and encased in a box, with smaller versions nearby, all displayed on the middle shelf. There were also vanilla chiffon cakes, mocha rolls, butter cupcakes, muffins of various flavors, and boxes of tikoy.  On the top were loaf breads, carrot bread, and cheese rolls.  Beside the cashier stood an upright cake display fridge, showing fancy cakes with icing, and brazo de Mercedes. They accept advance orders for specially designed cakes for birthdays etc. The store itself has no actual bakery in the premises, just a few tables and chairs for dine-in snacking, but they have regular deliveries.

On the other wall were more shelves with more baked goodies such as pandesal with fillings such as tuna, corned beef and asado, not bad for 15 pesos each, student-friendly prices. The asado and bola-bola siopao were available not just steamed and ready-to-eat (P35 each), but also in take-home plastic bags for freezing and steaming later. There were lots of other Chinese goodies, assuring signs that a Binondo landmark was finally in Diliman.

I haven't tried all their offerings, but I have enjoyed, and will continue to do so, their mocha cake and filled pandesal. The mocha cake is yummy even without icing, a boon for those watching their calories and cholesterol. The same goes for their butter bread, soft sweet rolls that can be eaten on their own. The puto pao didn't have much asado inside, but the siopao and asado rolls were decent. The hopia mongo was OK, but not a match for Ho-land's version, still the best.

U.P. Diliman opens New Acquisitions exhibit on February 7, 2013.

The University of the Philippines Diliman, in commemoration of the UP Diliman Month and in celebration of the National Arts Month this February, proudly presents New Acquisitions, an exhibition presenting for the first time new works endowed by artists and friends to the University Art Collection (UAC).

The exhiibit opens Thursday, February 7, at 6 in the evening at the Bulwagan ng Dangal, the University Heritage Museum. Prof. Ruben D.F. Defeo curates the exhibit.

National Artists Napoleon V. Abueva and Abdulmari Asia Imao lead the artists who generously donated their works to the University Art Collectioon. The Joya family gave one work and Senator Edgardo J. Angara donated a sculptural bust done by Imao.

Forty nine artists complete the list, namely: Leo Antonio Abaya, Augusto Albor, Nunelucio Alvarado, Marcel Antonio, Jerusalino Araos, Armand Bacaltos, Pablo Baen-Santos, Grandier Bella, Jeho Bitancor, Benjamin Cabangis, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, Tomás Javier Calvillo Unna, Norberto Carating, Reynaldo Concepción, Daniel Coquilla, Araceli Dans, Denes Dasco, Dulce Dee, Anton Del Castillo, Norman Dreo, Jes Evangelista, Dakila Fernando, Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi, Juan Sajid Imao, Toym Imao, Pete Jimenez, Junyee, Lenore RS Lim, Alfredo Liongoren, Julie Lluch, Jesus RW Lozada, Dennis Montera, John Olivares, Mario Parial, Mikel Parial, Gregory Pototsky, Alfredo Roces, Jonahmar Salvosa, Rodolfo Samonte, Jerson Samson, Julius Samson, Popo San Pascual, John Santos, José Danilo Silvestre, Soler, Nestor O. Vinluan, Edwin Wilwayco and Janice Young.

The idea of beefing up the UAC was a brainchild of Professor Defeo who posted in April 2012 on Facebook a clarion call to his artist friends to endow the University Art Collection with landmark works the artists themselves would select. The response was overwhelming.

The works now belong to the University Art Collection. Big or small, they reflect the diverse persuasions of the artistsócelebrating the nobility of the human figure in their constant search for beauty, justice and truth, configuring and distilling from natural forms and occurrences emblems, signs and symbols to concretize imaging as well as other imaginings, or elevating even the most banal to provide fitting platforms for art's often incisive and revelatory commentaries.

The French philosopher and art critic Denis Diderot states: "Happiest are the people who give most happiness to others." This statement is most true and palpable in this exhibition. All the artists included in this collection have generously given more than a fair share of what they do best: their art. In turn, the University of the Philippines proudly presents their works in an exhibition of this scale, affording the artists the opportunity to genuinely share their artistic gifts and ideas with the viewing public at large. They at once become "portraits of philanthropy" as consummate idea whisperer Valaida Fullwood calls them.

In bequeathing to the University of the Philippines works they themselves selected to mark individual milestones in their artistic and professional careers, they have made the institution academically richer in terms of the vivacity of spirit the works construe, the vitality of sensibilities they confront and the vibrancy of styles they celebrate.

Art as donation, performed by the artists themselves and especially endowed to an institution like a university teaching museum, constitutes the highest form of altruism. For indeed, the best way to find oneself, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, is to lose oneself "in the service of others." The very act of donation is a compelling reflection of the artistsí magnanimity to commit their works to deepen and embolden the academic mission of the University as a cultural and heritage repository. That, to say the least, is most rewarding for the institution.

Many of these artists are alumni of this University, who endearingly call UP Naming Mahal their Alma Mater. A few had taught or still continue to teach in the College of Fine Arts. Their coming back to the institution that shaped them to become the celebrated artists they now are is but an endearing gesture and succinct recognition of gratitude. They therefore flesh out what Albert Einstein once pointed out: "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it."

Works that accrue to a museum collection may be assured of exhibition or "display" possibilities at one point in time, one way or the other, notwithstanding the problematic limited space that beleaguers most museums in the world today. The assurance may somehow satisfy the artists' native craving for exposure, secure in the knowledge that several hundreds of pairs of eyes shall behold their works to give them lasting artistic value.

But more than that, these same works may reference landmarks of thoughts and processes that scholars and academics may point out vis-a-vis specific contexts in the intersticing dialogue of art, life and mind.

With these new acquisitions endowed to the University Art Collection, the University of the Philippines Diliman stands proud to carry on its eminent role as an art patron, with all its attendant privileges, if not awesome responsibilities.

The oil magnate and himself a philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. believes "that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity an obligation; every possession a duty."

The University can do no less to permanently preserve all donations in its collection. Aesthetic standards may change over time. Museum caretakers may come and go. Curatorial management of collections may vary. But the University of the Philippines Diliman stands pat to dispatch its role as steward and custodian of the works entrusted her, not to cite the awesome material value they collectively carry. The University commits itself to provide and jostle the aesthetic pleasure of the viewing public, and which the works inherently possess, and thereby ensure that these works are constantly viewed, reviewed and re-reviewed in systematic exhibitions and scholarly discourses to address the changing polemics of Philippine Art History.

Monday, February 4, 2013


by Sherry Ann Bautista-Crisostomo

I refuse to be a follower of my fate

I am a master of it.

I refuse to get affected when things go wrong

But I let the tears flow.

It will make me feel better afterwards.

I refuse to accept that things just happen for a reason so let it be.

I am a living magnet

Everything happens for a reason. There are no accidents.

But I should do something to make things in favor of me no matter how

Hard the scenario seems to be.

I refuse to believe that old dogs can’t learn new tricks.

As long as one still has the thirst for learning, one can still make new adventures no matter how old he is.

I don’t believe in pure luck

But I am a believer of blessings and positive thinking.

I value hard work and determination but I am a dreamer as well.

I weave dreams and visualize them into reality.

I value the harsh realities of life but I am a faithful believer who stand by my faith.

I refuse to let fear stand on my way as I get a glimpse of darkness and chaos in this world.

But I pray and pour my concerns to my Master just like a child hold on to his parents’ hands to feel protected.

I am consoled.

I have faith.

I am protected.

I refuse to doubt

I expect miracles to happen everyday, and I can be that miracle too.

I refuse to believe that winning the lottery is like finding a needle in a haystack.

I get excited when good things happen to other people.

I learned to value my hatchets. I learned to throw my ego called Self

And embrace the reality that I am not the best or the prettiest

There will always be better than me, younger than me, more good looking than me, and smarter than me.

But I refuse to be inferior to them.

I am special and I deserve what I have today.

I am not ashamed of who I am.

I am grateful for whatever blessings my Master has given me.

I never forget to share

Nor be greedy to keep and store them.

I am frank.

I share my thoughts, my views, and my beliefs anytime I have the chance.

I am misunderstood most of the time

Including the people I call my family.

I am blessed to find a prince in the form of Mark

We are always in the same wavelength

But we still disagree,

Yet we agree in most of the things in this journey called life.

I follow the norms

But I am deviant in certain rules as well.

I refuse to follow the standards of society because it is the “right” thing to do even if it does not make any sense anymore.

I am Spiritual.

But I refuse to be a fanatic.

I only have my one true God

But I respect other religions.

I am fascinated with the evolution of faith, unseen forces, the spirituality of other cultures and religions.

But I do not embrace all of them.

It is my choice.

I am a firm believer of faith and goodness of one’s heart no matter how

Evil may loom in Gaia or Mother Earth.

I know that the Church does not tell everything.

Many secrets. Truth distorted.

I listen. I grasp. I do not believe everything She says.

I am an advocate of life.

But I don’t agree with the Church in their stand against birth control

I value true love, intimacy, and life long commitments.

I don’t have qualms in expressing my sexuality and sensuality

I am a faithful soul who will only love one man until eternity.

Our body is His temple.

Good things await those who wait.

I am a living proof of that.

I wait for my one true love

I am a romantic

I am blessed to find him in the name of Mark.

Married life is not easy but it is not hard as well

People ask why I chose him,

I did not choose him

My Master chose Him for me!

He loves me

He respects me

He trusts me

He cherishes me

He takes very good care of me.

I love him

I respect him

I trust him

I cherish him

I take good care of him.

We are both Gifts to each other

And we will always be thankful to Him for that.

I get bored easily

But I refuse to complain the humdrum of my life.

I want change.

I get impatient when things seem slow

So I weave dreams once more

And I believe them to happen.

My heart beats with excitement when I read the line from the book: The Alchemist

Where it quoted as saying: “When you want something,

The universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

My friend Kyla said, the book changed her life.

It inspired me and gave me new image of the world I live in.

It gave me a different kind of will power and energy.

I hope

I trust

I believe

That everything is interconnected, yes it is.

That there is a Supreme Being looking upon us

But it is still up to us to be the persons we want us to be.

I refuse to be sad and sensitive anymore

In spite of crazy situations,

It won’t do my family and me any good

I’ll just waste my energy

I’ll make my older one upset whenever my

Temper looms.

I refuse to worry and think about tomorrow.

Or worry about my past to haunt me.

Today is a Gift

I should live life to the fullest

Appreciate what I have

Yet Aspire for a better life.

I am ambitious

But I always keep myself grounded

I want to make a difference

I want change.

I try my best to educate people

No matter who they are

Even if they listen or they don’t

Be patient in explaining things

Even if I have a bad temper

I use my anger or my irritation as a fuel

To be an agent of change

Even if I am just explaining to the gardener not to burn plastics

Or rubbish in our area.

I refuse to flow with the current

Or fear of failure

It is the greatest obstacle to happiness.

I refuse not to be happy

Whatever my situation is

For every happy person carries God with Him.

I refuse to die and never achieve the dreams I weave

They will happen.

I put my energy and focus in believing

In Faith

Everything is possible as long as you want it to happen

No matter what others may say.

I am a gift

I am special

I am beautiful

I am a princess

I am a royalty

I am pampered

I am an old soul

I am a giver

I am smart

I am frank

I am a poet

I am a writer

I am a fashion model

I am a reader

I am well versed

I am witty

I am misunderstood

I am loved

I am a lover

I am a faithful wife

I am a devoted mother of two

I am an advocate

I am a dreamer

I am a positive thinker

I am sweet and thoughtful

I am temperamental

I am emotional

I am a listener

I am a lover of beautiful things

I am a daughter

I am a sister

I am a friend

I am the ME who I choose to be!