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ERAP AND CHINESE ENVOY TO LEAD 2017 CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVITIES
[RELATED JANUARY 27: Mayor 'Erap' delighted: 2 envoys attend Binondo festival countdown last night]


JANUARY 26 -THIS IS JUNE 26, 2015 PHOTO AT LAUNCHING OF CHINATOWN IN BINONDO -Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada was there, along with Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, president of Philippine Chinese Charitable Association James Dy, and deputy director general of the city of Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office representative Zeng Quingchun.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua will be joining the two-day celebration of the Chinese New Year in Binondo district this weekend. Estrada said Ambassador Zhao has confirmed his attendance to the New Year’s Eve countdown today, January 27, and the traditional “Unity Parade” on Saturday, January 28, along with other Chinese embassy officials. The mayor also revealed that the ambassador even gave him a Chinese costume for the parade. “I was given a Chinese costume by the ambassador himself. Kasama siya sa parade (He is joining the parade),” he said. Meanwhile, Liz Villaseñor, chief of the Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs, said the New Year’s Eve countdown at the Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz will start at 5 p.m. with traditional dragon and lion dances. It will be followed by performances by the Manila City Repertoire and other cultural performances up to the countdown that will begin at 11:20 p.m., which will be led by Mayor Estrada and Ambassador Zhao. Villaseñor said Mayor Estrada will also be distributing around 2,000 boxes of “tikoy” to the crowd after the countdown. THE FULL REPORT. RELATED, Mayor 'Erap' delighted: 2 envoys attend Binondo festival countdown last night...

ALSO:
By Michael Tan -
On Chinese New Year as a holiday -  Our own 'Spring Festival'
[RELATED: Lucky chow - 8 Chinese New Year food for good luck]


JANUARY 27 =For starters, we should be aware that the Chinese do not call this Chinese New Year but the Spring Festival or Chun Jie. Our idea of Chinese New Year is, unfortunately, limited to the animal symbols and good luck charms to buy and put up in homes. Many people are unaware that in China, the Spring Festival is marked by a huge exodus from the cities to the countryside as people try to return to their ancestral homes and visit their parents and elders. If the Spring Festival falls on a weekday, the government “swaps” it with a weekend to allow a longer holiday period. The “good luck” practices can be discussed, too, including some of the symbolism that we’ve borrowed for our own new year beginning on Jan. 1. Yes, round fruits are displayed in homes, and our local Chinese-Filipino interpretation, incorporated into mainstream Filipino culture, is that the roundness resembles money, and therefore will bring wealth, or at least financial stability.
Lucky foods The Chinese Spring Festival does involve consuming not just round fruits but also other “lucky” foods, the luck attributed to the similarity in the way the food’s names resemble good fortune. READ MORE...RELATED, Lucky chow: 8 Chinese New Year food for good luck...

ALSO: Celebration of Lunar New Year -Message from the President
[RELATED: Duterte gets salary increase of P56,526]


JANUARY 28 -President Duterte releases his message for the Lunar New Year, greeting "Chinese friends and Chinese Filipinos who have found a root and reason for staying in the country."  "They have enriched the Filipino culture and history on their own. They have contributed to the economy by trade and investments. Their cuisine has been dearly familiar in many Filipino homes. Their philosophy and attitude in life are a wellspring of practical lessons that all of us, regardless of nationality, can learn from," Duterte says in his message. The message failed to mention other cultures in the Philippines such as the South Koreans and some Japanese who also follow the Lunar calendar celebrating New Year on January 28, Saturday. — File photo by the Associated Press READ PRESIDENT'S FULL OFFICIAL MESSAGE..
RELATED, Duterte gets salary increase of P56,526...

ALSO: Maxine Medina of the Philippines in a costume inspired
[RELATED: Maxine Medina's language trainer cries foul with the online bashing because of her poor English language skills.]


JANUARY 28 -Vinta, pearls for Maxine in battle of costumes 4 SHARES 0 0 0 Charmie Joy Pagulong, Patricia Esteves (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2017 - 12:00am
The country’s bet to Miss Universe Maxine Medina dazzled in her national costume during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Thursday night. Medina wore an ensemble inspired by the vinta, a traditional boat from Minda­nao, and a headpiece that looks like a large piece of coral found on a Filipino reef. Related Stories Away nina Claudine at Raymart hindi na sineseryoso! Tribute kay Pia may bentahan ng ticket! Maxine may karamay sa mali-maling English! BF ni Maxine damay sa pressure sa Miss U Aiza nag-sorry kay Tito Sen Rhett Eala, who designed the Mindanao-inspired national costume, said the headpiece was adorned with South Sea pearls from Jewelmer, a French-Filipino company specializing in Golden South Sea pearls. Both the headpiece and the earrings cost more than P1 million. More than 86 beautiful women from all over the world gathered at the MOA on Thursday to compete in the Miss Universe beauty contest that will culminate in a coronation on Monday. READ MORE...RELATED,
Maxine Medina's language trainer cries foul with the online bashing Maxine gets because of her poor English language skills....

ALSO
: Pulse Asia - Only 6% of Filipinos care, know about foreign policy;
Crime, Poverty bigger issues for Pinoys
[RELATED COMMENTARY: Coping and making life better]


JANUARY 27 -Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, fourth from left, shakes hands with Russia's Rear Adm. Eduard Mikhailov, third from left, at the anti-submarine navy ship Admiral Tributs at the south pier in Manila, Philippines. A flurry of goodwill visits by ships and submarines has marked the new year in the South China Sea. Noel Celis/Pool Photo via AP, File
Only six percent of Filipinos consider defending Philippine territory against foreigners one of the most urgent issues in the country, the latest Pulse Asia survey suggests. Pulse Asia Research Director Ana Maria Tabunda said that the survey result reflects the fact that foreign policy issues are not "close to the gut" for Filipinos as there are more pressing concerns. University of the Philippines Institute on Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea Director Jay Batongbacal, meanwhile, said that there was no effort on the part of the government to raise awareness on the disputed West Philippines from the 1970s until the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III. In 2014, the Philippine government filed an arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration against China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, part of which is called the West Philippine Sea. READ MORE...RELATED COMMENTARY, Coping and making life better...


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OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE

Erap, Chinese envoy to lead Chinese New Year festivities


JUNE 26, 2015 PHOTO AT LAUNCHING OF CHINATOWN IN BINONDO -Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada was there, along with Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, president of Philippine Chinese Charitable Association James Dy, and deputy director general of the city of Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office representative Zeng Quingchun.

MANILA, JANUARY 30, 2017 (MANILA BULLETIN) Published January 26, 2017, 10:00 PM by Cris G. Ordonia - Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua will be joining the two-day celebration of the Chinese New Year in Binondo district this weekend.

Estrada said Ambassador Zhao has confirmed his attendance to the New Year’s Eve countdown today, January 27, and the traditional “Unity Parade” on Saturday, January 28, along with other Chinese embassy officials.

The mayor also revealed that the ambassador even gave him a Chinese costume for the parade. “I was given a Chinese costume by the ambassador himself. Kasama siya sa parade (He is joining the parade),” he said.

Meanwhile, Liz Villaseñor, chief of the Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs, said the New Year’s Eve countdown at the Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz will start at 5 p.m. with traditional dragon and lion dances.

It will be followed by performances by the Manila City Repertoire and other cultural performances up to the countdown that will begin at 11:20 p.m., which will be led by Mayor Estrada and Ambassador Zhao.

Villaseñor said Mayor Estrada will also be distributing around 2,000 boxes of “tikoy” to the crowd after the countdown.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Mayor 'Erap' delighted: 2 envoys attend Binondo festival countdown last night Written by Pat C. Santos Saturday, 28 January 2017 00:00


BINONDO FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN TO LUNAR NEW YEAR 2017

In his show of support to the Filipino-Chinese community, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada yesterday expressed his delight after two ambassadors of powerful countries in the world confirmed their attendance in the Chinese New Year Parade in Binondo today, January 28.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua attended the Chinese New Year’s Eve Countdown last night at Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, according to Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau chief Liz Villaseñor.

Zhao delivered his New Year address in behalf of the People’s Republic of China as he joined Estrada in leading the countdown.

“Since the Ambassador will not be attending another New Year’s Eve countdown at Luneta, the Embassy has called to confirm he will join Mayor Estrada,” Villaseñor said.

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Anatolyevich Khovaev also attended the Chinese New Year’s Eve Countdown last night at Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz in Binondo.
Estrada said the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Philippines earlier had confirmed Mr. Khovaev’s attendance.

“I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Khovaev and Mr. Zhao for taking time off from their busy schedules to grace this event. Their presence will make this New Year’s celebration more meaningful, especially to the Filipino-Chinese community in Binondo,” Estrada said.


Mayor Estrada issued Executive Order No. 2 declaring the suspension of classes in all levels in the areas of Binondo, Sta. Cruz and Quiapo, and work in some city hall offices on January 27. “Classes in all levels in all universities, colleges and schools in District III (Binondo, Sta. Cruz and Quiapo area) is suspended on 27 January 2017, Friday,” the EO, signed by Estrada on January 24, stated.MB File- Chinese New Year (Manila Bulletin)

The presence of the two foreign diplomatic officials in this event, he added, signified the ever growing Manila-Moscow-Beijing relations.

Meanwhile, Erap debunked rumors of his alleged failing health.


Estrada in hospital due to pneumonia INQUIRER.net / 09:38 AM December 23, 2016 erap Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada. EDWIN BACASMAS/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Estrada, who turns 80 on April 19, even joked that he still has an active sex life.

“Kapag ‘di na ako active, ayaw ko na. Magre-retire na ako. Mawawala ba ‘yun? Kapag nawala ‘yun, wala ka na silbi,” Estrada said when asked about his sex life.

He then pointed to his political enemies as the ones spreading reports that he is sick following his brief hospital confinement last December.

“Mabigat pa asim natin,” he quipped, ‘yung mga namumulitika lang ‘yun, mga naninira,” the Manila mayor told reporters when asked about his health.

He was interviewed by the media last Thursday while he was overseeing the preparations for the two-day Chinese New Year festivities in Chinatown.

“Nagpupuyat pa nga tayo, e. Nag-iikot pa ako sa Divisoria, lahat. Sinisiguro ko na walang obstruction,” he added in proving that he is still in the pink of health and can effectively discharge his duties as city mayor.

Insisting that he is still in top condition, Estrada stressed it was “natural” for a person to get sick and be sent to a hospital and that even “(Manny) Pacquiao gets hospitalized.”

The 79-year-old mayor was confined for a few days late last month due to asthma attack which doctors said was due to over fatigue.
He denied he suffered from pneumonia as earlier reported.

“Hindi, asthma lang, ‘ask my wife,’” he joked to reporters.


INQUIRER COMMENTARY

ON CHINESE NEW YEAR AS HOLIDAY IN THE CITY:  Our own spring festival By: Michael L. Tan - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 12:30 AM January 27, 2017


BY DR. MICHAEL LIM TAN --WIKIPEDIA PHOTO

I got a text message the other day from one of my students saying Saturday would be a holiday and asking if I would hold classes.

I asked why Saturday would be a holiday and he replied—I could imagine him laughing—that it’s the Chinese New Year.

I knew in the back of my mind that this holiday was coming up; in fact, I had set that holiday as a target for late gift-giving. But given all the work, I didn’t realize it’s this Saturday already.

I’ve written about my discomfort with Chinese New Year as a holiday, mainly because of the emphasis on “Chinese.” This is the Philippines, and we are Filipino, and even as a Chinese-Filipino, I don’t think we should privilege Chinese New Year as a national holiday.

But maybe we can still put this holiday to good use, especially in schools. It can be an occasion to think of cultural diversity, reminding Filipinos of the diverse festivities we have in the world, or at least in Asia.

For starters, we should be aware that the Chinese do not call this Chinese New Year but the Spring Festival or Chun Jie.

Our idea of Chinese New Year is, unfortunately, limited to the animal symbols and good luck charms to buy and put up in homes. Many people are unaware that in China, the Spring Festival is marked by a huge exodus from the cities to the countryside as people try to return to their ancestral homes and visit their parents and elders. If the Spring Festival falls on a weekday, the government “swaps” it with a weekend to allow a longer holiday period.

The “good luck” practices can be discussed, too, including some of the symbolism that we’ve borrowed for our own new year beginning on Jan. 1. Yes, round fruits are displayed in homes, and our local Chinese-Filipino interpretation, incorporated into mainstream Filipino culture, is that the roundness resembles money, and therefore will bring wealth, or at least financial stability.

Lucky foods

The Chinese Spring Festival does involve consuming not just round fruits but also other “lucky” foods, the luck attributed to the similarity in the way the food’s names resemble good fortune.

READ MORE...

Let me say now I don’t believe that a good life comes from eating certain foods or the display of certain symbols. A good life comes from, well, good life practices: working hard and being kind to other people, to all creatures and to the environment.

But as an anthropologist, I enjoy looking at how culture gives meanings to “things”: objects, and what we do. The obsession with good fortune and luck reflects basic human aspirations as well as the anxieties we have in a world, and life, filled with so much uncertainty.

The Chinese world of meanings plays on sights and sounds, the latter in terms of language, on how words sound to generate meaning. This is the case with so-called lucky foods for the Spring Festival:

Fish is important because “yu” means both fish and surplus.

Dumplings are also lucky food because they resemble silver “ingots” or oblong pieces of metal, once used as money.

Have you ever wondered why spring rolls are called spring rolls? That’s because they’re favored food for the Spring Festival, representing, again, wealth. More specifically, it’s the fried spring rolls that are “lucky” because they’re supposed to look like gold bars.

Then there’s tangyuan or rice balls, the roundness symbolizing, not wealth, but togetherness, important in family reunions.

Niengao are glutinous rice cakes, its “luck” coming from the way the word can also mean “year high.” So eating niengao might mean the year being marked by higher status and promotions.

Tangyuan and niengao did not quite get incorporated into Filipino culture. Instead we developed tikoy, the “sweet, sticky cake,” and the stickiness is supposed to represent togetherness for family and friends.

Yes, the Chinese do attach luck to round fruits, but not so much emphasizing roundness (for cash) as the particular fruits’ names. Oranges and tangerines are called cheng, the same sound for the word which means “to finish, to accomplish.” Pomelos, on the other hand, are called you (pronounced as yo, as in yo-yo), which can also mean “to have.” So, eat more suha to have more of everything else in life.

Finally, there’s longevity noodles, the longer the better and make sure they’re not cut into small strands. The longevity noodles are also sometimes called birthday noodles.

Calendars and seasons

The Spring Festival can also be used to talk about the different calendars in the world. The most widely used system is solar, based on the movements of the earth around the sun. Chinese New Year is sometimes called “Lunar New Year,” based on a calendar that runs through the moon’s phases: The first day of each month is a new moon and the 15th is the full moon. The Japanese, the Koreans and the Vietnamese use this same lunar system.

With some research, teachers can talk about all the other important calendars in the world—for example, the Islamic calendar, which is also lunar but very different from the Chinese. The Islamic year only has 354 or 355 days, so holidays like Ramadan keep getting earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar.

Finally, the Spring Festival can be used to discuss the importance of marking the seasons in places where you do have very dramatic changes in the weather. Spring is a time for celebration because it marks the ending of cold and long dark nights. Not surprisingly, spring in many cultures represents rebirth. The Chinese word for spring has the character for the sun at the center, emphasizing its role in allowing seeds to germinate, and for life to spring forth.

Although we don’t have four seasons (spring, summer, fall or autumn, and winter) in the Philippines, subtle changes do occur locally as part of global transitions through the seasons. Cold Siberian winds affect us, too, giving us pleasant weather from December into February—a mini winter. The days lengthen, ever so slightly and subtly, but the play of light and dark is enough to move us toward our own spring and spring festivals, the displays of our trees and shrubs matched by our celebration of the Flores de Mayo.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Lucky chow: 8 Chinese New Year food for good luck  16 SHARES 1 1 3 Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (philstar.com) - January 28, 2017 - 8:00am


Want to get lucky this coming Chinese New Year? Try these ingredients of good fortune. Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — If given a choice between becoming the next Miss Universe or enjoying the treats this upcoming Chinese New Year has to offer, Mary Jane Domingo, a Filipino of Chinese descent, would rather give up the crown.

Domingo, Chinese operations manager for Conrad Hotel, official Manila residence of Miss Universe 2016 candidates, told Philstar.com in jest that it is unfortunate that she barely saw the contestants eat because for the upcoming Year of the Fire Rooster, the hotel’s award-winning China Blue by Jereme Leung restaurant has prepared special set menus that will be offered until February 2.

The set menus, said Domingo, are full of ingredients believed since ancient times to bring good luck for the entire year if eaten during Chinese New Year.

A typical Chinese New Year meal starts with a toss. The family gathers around the table and with chopsticks in hand, they toss the special Yee Sang ingredients in the air while saying “Lo Hei” and their wishes for the New Year.

“The higher the toss, the higher chance for abundance and prosperity. Then after that, you eat it (the noodles),” Domingo said.

The family then gathers in a round table with a golden money tree as centerpiece to attract more wealth. Then, during the sit-down dinner, the family begins to share a traditional Chinese feast, lauriat style, with the following auspicious elements.

•Round food for togetherness — Hong Kong-style street food, such as fish balls and squid balls in curry and herbs, are believed to strengthen family ties. Ponkan or small oranges are then placed in red packets, as well as gold coins in the “angpao” or Chinese red envelopes. These are given away to everyone in the table for good luck.


Hong Kong-style curry balls

•Braised abalone, dried oysters, and sea cucumber with seasonal vegetables for business success and financial prosperity. Abalone in Chinese, said Domingo, means “be covered with luck.”

•Lobster and crab, in Chinese, are the “Kings of the Sea,” so eat these for wealth, happiness, and prosperity. At the hotel, lobster is served stir-fried and with golden broth XO sauce. The crab roll, meanwhile, is preferred for its festive red color.


Lobster soup

•Money bag to welcome “money in the bag” – the hotel’s take on this is steamed seafood and mushroom in dry scallop bags as part of the Chinese New Year hot and cold combination platter


Money bag with vegetables

•Jellyfish for long life
•Sea moss for growth in career or business

•Green for good health – Jereme Leung, China Blue’s Chinese-Malaysian chef, interprets this as a pear-shaped green confection stuffed with smoked duck. Pear and duck, said Domingo, are common in China, as apple and beef are in the West. image: http://media.philstar.com/images/the-philippine-star/lifestyle/food-and-leisure/20170125/money%20tree.jpg


Noodles with pear-shaped confection stuffed with smoked duck.

Tikoy or a glutinous dessert brings togetherness in the family


Ti-koi. Tikoy or glutinous rice cake shaped like koi fish


PHILSTAR

Celebration of Lunar New Year: Message from President Duterte 7 SHARES 1 0 0 LATEST UPDATE: January 27, 2017 - 1:23pm

LOCATION: MALACANAN PALACE MANILA - President Duterte releases his message for the Lunar New Year, greeting "Chinese friends and Chinese Filipinos who have found a root and reason for staying in the country."

"They have enriched the Filipino culture and history on their own. They have contributed to the economy by trade and investments. Their cuisine has been dearly familiar in many Filipino homes. Their philosophy and attitude in life are a wellspring of practical lessons that all of us, regardless of nationality, can learn from," Duterte says in his message.

The message failed to mention other cultures in the Philippines such as the South Koreans and some Japanese who also follow the Lunar calendar celebrating New Year on January 28, Saturday. — File photo by the Associated Press Read more at http://www.philstar.com/happens/175#j7uFlyPSMvUQHb40.99

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte gets salary increase of P56,526 21 SHARES 1 0 2 Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 29, 2017 - 12:00am


His basic monthly salary is going up from P165,752 to P222,278. In six months, his pay jumped to almost twice that of his predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino III, who received P120,000 a month. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - A salary increase of P56,526 awaits President Duterte starting this month.

His basic monthly salary is going up from P165,752 to P222,278. In six months, his pay jumped to almost twice that of his predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino III, who received P120,000 a month.

The huge adjustment is provided under Executive Order (EO) No. 201, which Aquino signed on Feb. 19, 2016 and which mandated a four-year basic pay upgrading in the bureaucracy.

Among government officials and employees, Duterte, who holds Salary Grade 33, gets the biggest adjustment. His P222,278 salary this year will go up to P298,083 next year and to P399,739 in 2019.

He is prohibited by the Constitution from receiving any additional compensation like allowances. However, he is allowed to charge all of his living expenses to the government.

WORKERS ADJUSTMENTS

In contrast, the lowest-paid state worker, who holds Salary Grade 1, receives a P503 pay hike starting this month. His salary will go up from P9,478 to P9,981, then to P10,510 next year and to P11,068 in 2019. His base pay in 2015 was P9,000.

While the president’s salary will be more than three times the rate received by Aquino by the time the upgrading program is finished in 2019, the basic pay of the lowest-paid employee will go up only by 23 percent.

The lowest-paid public school teacher, who holds Salary Grade 11, will receive an average increase of P551.25 a year. His salary goes up to P19,620 this year from P19,077 last year, then to P20,179 next year and to P20,754 in 2019. He will have received a total of P2,205 over four years.

Teachers comprise the single biggest group of public servants. Employees holding Salary Grades 12 and 13 will get a slightly higher increase. The majority of government workers are clustered in Salary Grades 11 to 13.

The salary of the vice president, Senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives and chief justice will go up from a range of P135,376 to P148,478 last year to P177,929 to P198,255 this year, depending on the length of their service. These officials are assigned Salary Grade 32.

The rates will increase to P233,857 to P264,721 next year and to P307,365 to P353,470 in 2019.

OTHER SALARY ADJUSTMENTS

Cabinet members, officials with Cabinet rank, senators and congressmen, who hold Salary Grade 31, will receive a substantial salary adjustment as well.

Their pay will go up from P117,086 to P128,278 last year to P152,325 to P169,357 this year, then to P198,168 to P223,950 next year and P257,809 to P295,191 in 2019.

Like their bosses, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, bureau directors and division or department heads, and those holding similar positions, will receive huge increases.

The four-year salary upgrading program covers all government workers, including soldiers and policemen, and personnel of state corporations and local government units.

In the case of soldiers and other uniformed personnel, what they will receive is not an increase in basic pay but in “provisional allowance,” hazard pay and “officers’ allowance.”

Like their civilian counterparts, low-ranking uniformed personnel will receive small adjustments, while their bosses will get substantial increases.

The provisional allowance of a private, fire, jail and police officer 1 goes up to P700 this year from P342 last year, then to P1,071 next year and P1,457 in 2019.

His hazard pay will increase to P540 this year from P390 last year, then to P690 next year and P840 in 2019.

The provisional allowance of a general and director general goes up to P35,260 this year from P14,214 last year, then to P63,977 next year and to P95,399 in 2019.

Additionally, those with the rank of captain to general (senior inspector to director general in the police) receive an officers’ allowance, ranging from P3,000 to P18,000 this year, depending on the rank, which will increase to P4,500 to P25,000 next year and to P7,000 to P35,000 in 2019.


PHILSTAR

Maxine Medina of the Philippines in a costume inspired by Zamboanga vinta sails and corals. KRIZJOHN ROSALES


Vinta, pearls for Maxine in battle of costumes 4 SHARES 0 0 0 Charmie Joy Pagulong, Patricia Esteves (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s bet to Miss Universe Maxine Medina dazzled in her national costume during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Thursday night.

Medina wore an ensemble inspired by the vinta, a traditional boat from Minda­nao, and a headpiece that looks like a large piece of coral found on a Filipino reef.

Related Stories Away nina Claudine at Raymart hindi na sineseryoso! Tribute kay Pia may bentahan ng ticket! Maxine may karamay sa mali-maling English! BF ni Maxine damay sa pressure sa Miss U Aiza nag-sorry kay Tito Sen Rhett Eala, who designed the Mindanao-inspired national costume, said the headpiece was adorned with South Sea pearls from Jewelmer, a French-Filipino company specializing in Golden South Sea pearls. Both the headpiece and the earrings cost more than P1 million.

More than 86 beautiful women from all over the world gathered at the MOA on Thursday to compete in the Miss Universe beauty contest that will culminate in a coronation on Monday.

READ MORE...

The preliminary competition will whittle down the crowded field to the top 12 candidates for the pageant night, according to the Miss Universe website. (GO TO PHNO SHOW BIZ PAGE FOR FULL DTREAMIN VIDEO AND NEWS REPORT)

In addition to swimsuits and evening gowns, Miss Universe features a National Costume portion where contestants can show off their patriotic pride.

The costumes are colorful, eye-popping and sometimes downright outrageous.

Miss Myanmar Htet Htun got wild cheers from the crowd after carrying a mini theater stage on her back and performed a bit of puppetry.

Miss Netherlands Zoey Ivory wore a windmill on her back, while Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal wore a one-piece glittery ensemble with a miniature of the Petronas Towers strewn on the side of her sleeves. Miss USA Deshauna Barber wore a silver superhero outfit.

Miss Universe pop-up shop

Fans also lined up at the opening of the first ever Miss Universe pop-up shop at the SM Mall of Asia yesterday.

Wurtzbach led the opening of the shop, which features Miss Universe apparel, signed tour books, mugs and pillows.

But the hottest item is the limited edition replica of the Miss Universe crown, which may be pre-ordered for P5,000.

The store also offers the “Pia Wurtzbach Collection” which includes tee shirts, travel pillows, tote bags and posters.

The SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. (SMLEI) and Miss Universe Organization (MOU) launched the Miss Universe Pop-up Shop for fans to experience the 65th Miss Universe pageant to be held in the country on Jan. 30, one of the biggest events in the world.

SMLEI, the official licensor of Miss Universe merchandise in the Philippines, has plans to bring the memorabilia from the most beautiful event in the universe across the Philippines through the Miss Universe Merchandise Caravan.

Fans will also have access to more Miss Universe Merchandise, including the pageant’s official hair care product Chi by Farouk, Yamamay swimwear, Chinese Laundry shoes and many more. These items will be exclusively distributed in SM branches and affiliate stores soon.

Ruby Reyes, vice president for corporate marketing of SMLEI, thanked all the supporters for the warm welcome and MOU for the partnership.

“This event marks a special day for SM Store Lifestyle and Entertainment as we opened the first Miss Universe Pop-Up Store here in the Philippines. Now avid supporters of one of the world’s prestigious events can take part in the competition through our pop-up shop here in MOA,” Reyes said.

“Pia may be passing the crown a few days from now, but her reign as Miss Universe will always be remembered through her keepsakes. I would like to thank the Miss Universe Organization for the support of this project and of course, the SM MOA,” she added.

Shawn McClain, vice president for business development and marketing of MOU, also expressed gratitude to the fans for their support and the SMLEI for the tie-up.

“Fans can come to the store and shop for Miss Universe products and merchandise. For us, it is important because Wurtzbach is the Miss Universe representative from the Philippines. Unfortunately, we have to give her back to the Philippines in two days,” McClain said.

“But you can have a piece with Pia’s face on the shirts, beautiful bags, program books. It’s a way for us to be able to connect to our fans, and for you to have an everlasting Miss Universe experience,” he added.

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Maxine Medina's language trainer cries foul with the online bashing Maxine gets because of her poor English language skills. Rhys Buccat, ABS-CBN News Posted at Jan 13 2017 02:02 AM


SCREENGRAB

MANILA -- The language trainer of Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina took to social media his disappointment with the online bashing that the beauty queen gets because of her poor English language skills.

The bashing began on Tuesday, when netizens noticed Medina's grammatical errors while she was speaking to the media during a press conference. This aired on a Facebook live by Bb. Pilipinas (Official).

Some netizens commented that Medina may ace the competition with her beauty, but she may flunk the question and answer portion because of her poor English skills.
Medina's supporters, meanwhile, defended her by claiming that the Miss Universe pageant is a beauty contest, and not an oratorical competition.

Mark Arthur Payumo Abalos, an English language training specialist who claims to have worked closely with Medina, said in a Facebook post that Medina has improved well during their seven-month training.

"Maxine has improved a lot. She is hardworking and she's doing her best to become a better version of herself," he wrote.

As a language trainer, Abalos lectured on the possible difficulties in mastering a second language. He even cited his study, which focused on the attitudes of Filipino English language learners, for reference.

"I feel bad because of the online bashing that is happening at the moment. It is not something new to me but just to give you a different perspective on the matter, my research (Abalos, 2012) on attitudes of Filipino English language learners show that the interpersonal, sociolinguistic, and sociocultural contexts have to do with how individuals communicate.

Situations may be viewed negatively by people who are not completely aware of the process of acquiring and learning a second language in formal and informal learning environments. Larsen-Freeman, Tananuraksakul, and Roh have written on particular aspects of this area of study," he wrote.

He, thus, pleaded with netizens to stop comparing Medina's communication and language skills with previous candidates, since it is normal that as a non-native English speaker she might commit errors.

"Errors are normal. Even first language speakers of English commit mistakes, too. At the end of the day, it's just a beauty contest. Maxine will still be beautiful. She'll still be designing interiors. She has a beautiful life ahead. How about you?" he added.

He urged critics to change their ways and support Medina instead. After all, she is carrying the name of the Philippines in the 65th Miss Universe pageant.


I am writing this post to finally break my silence as one of Maxine's mentors. When I learned that I'm going to work closely with Miss Universe - Philippines, I knew that there will be setbacks along the way. For seven months, we had to meet and spend time together to get things done. We had to work on her personal growth and communication skills simultaneously.

I feel bad because of the online bashing that is happening at the moment. It is not something new to me but just to give you a different perspective on the matter, my research (Abalos, 2012) on attitudes of Filipino English language learners show that the interpersonal, sociolinguistic, and sociocultural contexts have to do with how individuals communicate.

Situations may be viewed negatively by people who are not completely aware of the process of acquiring and learning a second language in formal and informal learning environments. Larsen-Freeman, Tananuraksakul, and Roh have written on particular aspects of this area of study. You may want to read first before you comment.

Maxine has improved a lot. She is hardworking and she's doing her best to become a better version of herself. Please stop comparing her communication skills to previous representatives and candidates. We are second language speakers of English. Errors are normal. Even first language speakers of English commit mistakes, too.

At the end of the day, it's just a beauty contest. Maxine will still be beautiful. She'll still be designing interiors. She has a beautiful life ahead. How about you? For those who keep on sending me messages of "concern" and "support", I never doubted Maxine's capabilities.

As a language and communication practitioner, it is an honor to be given this responsibility. I know that she has what it takes to represent our country. I am very lucky to have trained one of the most beautiful persons that I've known in this lifetime. In this world full of critics, can we just be supporters instead? Maxine's pageant activities started today at 10 AM with an interview shoot from the Miss Universe team. Show your love by using the #4M4MU when you post pictures and messages of support online. Maraming salamat po. Para sa bayan. 1.4K 156 234

Medina and other beauty queens from different parts of the globe will face one another on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena for the coronation night.
IN PHOTOS: Miss Universe candidates arrive in Manila

Watch the 65th Miss Universe coronation live on ABS-CBN Channel 2 on January 30, 2017 Monday 8 a.m. (Manila time)


PHILSTAR

Pulse Asia: Few Filipinos care, know about foreign policy 62 SHARES 3 1 0 Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - January 27, 2017 - 4:22pm


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, fourth from left, shakes hands with Russia's Rear Adm. Eduard Mikhailov, third from left, at the anti-submarine navy ship Admiral Tributs at the south pier in Manila, Philippines. A flurry of goodwill visits by ships and submarines has marked the new year in the South China Sea. Noel Celis/Pool Photo via AP, File

MANILA, Philippines — Only six percent of Filipinos consider defending Philippine territory against foreigners one of the most urgent issues in the country, the latest Pulse Asia survey suggests.

Pulse Asia Research Director Ana Maria Tabunda said that the survey result reflects the fact that foreign policy issues are not "close to the gut" for Filipinos as there are more pressing concerns.

University of the Philippines Institute on Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea Director Jay Batongbacal, meanwhile, said that there was no effort on the part of the government to raise awareness on the disputed West Philippines from the 1970s until the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

In 2014, the Philippine government filed an arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration against China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, part of which is called the West Philippine Sea.

READ MORE...

It was only during the Aquino administration that the Department of Foreign Affairs engaged media organizations and raised public opinion on the issue.

"In 2014, there was a focus in government effort to raise discourse and public awareness... It was really a show of support for the arbitration," Batongbacal said in a press briefing after the release of the survey results at Fairmont Hotel in Makati City.

Crime, poverty bigger issues for Pinoys

The survey, conducted from Dec. 6 to 11, 2016, found that increasing the pay of workers, controlling inflation, fighting criminality and reducing poverty are among the most urgent national issues that the government must address.

De La Salle University Professor Renato De Castro noted that Filipinos are only aware of foreign policy when the country is facing a crisis.

"Usually, academics and those who make public opinion, journalists would have a more cohesive understanding of foreign policy issue, not the ordinary people," De Castro said.

De Castro cited the assistance that the US provides to the Philippines as an example. He noted that Filipinos only became aware of the partnership after supertyphoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) struck the country in 2013.

"People have little understanding of the issue," De Castro said, adding that this case not only occurs in the Philippines but also around the world.

"Generally, ordinary people are concerned on what's happening in the domestic sphere," De Castro added.

Independent foreign policy

The DLSU professor also noted that the Duterte administration has not been able to explain to the people why it is conducting a shift to a so-called independent foreign policy.

Tabunda also noted that there is a "disconnect" between President Rodrigo Duterte's foreign policy actions and on public opinion.

On the other hand, Batongbacal noted that Duterte cannot be held accountable for his foreign policy as it is the president's prerogative under the 1987 Constitution.

The public cannot contest the foreign policy of the president, unlike in the United States where the Senate has a mechanism for counteracting the chief executive.

"This lack of accountability for foreign policy, for example, actually contributes to these wild swings in stability of foreign policy in the country because it really depends on personal inclinations of the chief executive and how he directs foreign policy," Batongbacal said.

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RELATED FROOM PHILSTAR (COMMENTARY)

Coping and making life better 13 SHARES 8 0 0 Bong R. Osorio - COMMONNESS (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2017 - 12:00am


By Ramon "Bong" Osorio, CPR, APR Public Relations Thought Leader

It’s the second week of a brand-new year. A time of self-renewal, of rebirth, and of resolution to hopefully better your accomplishment from the year just passed. Are you ready to face new challenges, opportunities and threats?

Are you excited or fearful about the prospects of 2017? Do you know where you are now, and where you want to be in the next 12 months? Do you have a roadmap that will lead you to the achievement of your professional or personal goals? How will you measure if your performance is a success or a failure?

Some people measure success by the way they feel inside. Others gauge it with wealth accumulated, appearance enhanced, and popularity earned. Some try to strike a balance between their internal achievement and their external fulfillment. You may be used to setting your individual marks by comparison. You may describe yourself as the sum of what you buy or create. But as you learned from “Desiderata,” there will always be others better, wealthier, more attractive or more popular than you are. Those accolades may always be just out of your grasp.

Internal success requires no discernible score. Try dwelling on it. It might just provide you the elusive joy that you have been longing for. Teach illiterates to read and write; talk, dance with, and give care to old people longing for some attention; play with hearing-impaired children; laugh till you drop with blind people; secretly pick up litter; give money and things away; learn a new craft, share the acquired skill with somebody else; serve in the church; bathe babies in orphanages. The list could go on and on. There is no scorecard, but the feeling of inner prosperity can be overwhelming.

Real success in life is not what you achieve. It is measured by the quality of your journeys and experiences, as you work to turn your goals into realities. Actor/director Woody Allen once remarked that 90 percent of life is showing up. The other 10 percent is how you show up, which can make all the difference in the world. There are no shortcuts when it comes to building professional or personal success, but there is enormous gratification in showing up each day with a healthy sense of pride, commitment and respect for the work, commitment or volunteerism you engage yourself in.

Begin 2017 with a clear sense of what you want to do, what you want to accomplish, and how to accomplish them. The power to effect a difference, to move you into great action, and to realize your dream is in your hands. You can either crush it or make it fly.

Doing start-of-year resolutions is a tired issue, but you make a secret or openly declared list of things you want to change. The list can range from the unreasonable to the ridiculously easy: lose weight, exercise, be less crabby, quit smoking, get a life, spend wisely, save money, make more money, relax more, adopt a healthy lifestyle, open a business, study harder, work more competently, change careers, get more sleep, or get involved in charity work. Your resolutions can stand firm for weeks, and then you slide back into your old ways. The memory of making the list on New Year’s Eve can return, haunt you, and eventually put you in a state of guilt and failure. What gave? Maybe the plan is shot, or there was really no plan to speak of.

How then can you see your resolutions through?

Don’t make a long list. Just aim for one or two major concerns. Write them down. You owe it to yourself to make this list happen. Stick it on the fridge, on the computer monitor, in the closet, in the bathroom door or on the car’s dashboard. Add up to the existing inventory a few more “to do’s,” as you are able to achieve the first ones. Make a roadmap on how to achieve them. Don’t endeavor to finish everything in one blow. Do some phasing. Take the longer, more carefully and efficiently implemented route. You may just be able to do it. Create an affirmation mantra. Recite it as often as you can, so the temptation to turn away from the resolutions will go away.

The most challenging statements for 2017 you can possibly encounter have been excellently captured in these Stoicisms from stoics like Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca. Savor the declarations. Heed the provocations.

• Life is a battlefield. This is another year to fight for your goal, to fight against impulses, to fight to be the person you want to be. To win the war you need discipline, fortitude, courage, a clear head, selflessness and sacrifice. You lose if cowardice, rashness, disorganization, overconfidence, weakness and selfishness envelop your being. (Epictetus)

• Attempt the magnificent seven works of the mind: The choice to do and think right; refusal of temptation; yearning to be better; expulsion of negativity, of bad influences, and of what isn’t true; preparation for what lies ahead, or whatever may happen; purpose or your guiding principle and highest priority. Assent to be free of deception about what’s inside and outside your control. (Epictetus)

• Try the big three disciplines in decision-making. All you need are certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way. (Marcus Aurelius)

• You can do it. There are two kinds of people in this world: the first looks at others who have accomplished things and thinks: “Why them? Why not me?” The other looks at those same people and thinks: “If they can do it, why can’t I?” One is jealous — “If you win, I lose” — while the other believes “there’s plenty to go around,” and sees the success of others as an inspiration. (Marcus Aurelius).

• Take a walk. Today, make sure you take a walk. And in the future, when you get stressed or overwhelmed, take a walk. When you have a tough problem to solve or a decision to make, take a walk. When you want to be creative, take a walk. When you need to get some air, take a walk. Nourish yourself and your mind and solve your problems along the way. (Seneca)

• Anyone can get lucky, not everyone can persevere. Success comes to the lowly and to the poorly talented, but the special characteristic of a great person is to triumph over the disasters and panics of human life. Some people may be extraordinarily lucky, and it’s natural to be envious of these folks. Anyone can get lucky. There’s no skill in being oblivious, and no one would consider that greatness. On the other hand, the person who perseveres through difficulties, who keeps going when others quit, makes it through hard work and honesty. (Seneca)

• People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends, and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway. The world is full of conflict. Choose peace of mind anyway. (Anonymous)

Stoicism, the ancient Greek creed, involves resilience and a resignation to events that you cannot remedy. Practicing it is a way of telling yourself that you will cope and things will be better.

* * *

Email bongosorio@gmail.com  for comments, questions or suggestions. Thank you for communicating.


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