[LAST YEAR'S PHOTO - Incoming President-elect Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino sings during the inauguration street party of Aquino as the fifteenth President of the Philippines at Quezon Memorial Circle on June 30, 2010, Quezon City Philippines. (Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 4, 2011 (STAR) Watch history unfold as Pres. Benigno Aquino III answer citizens’ questions through a live chat session via YouTube World View series today at 1 p.m., to be streamed live online via

As part of efforts to involve the most number of citizens in public discussions, ABS-CBN will also be offering its trademark online live chat at to give the public the chance to react real-time to the President’s answers.

Pres. Aquino is the first Asian leader to be interviewed in series spearheaded by YouTube and Google, following world leaders US Pres. Barack Obama, UK PM David Cameron and Spain PM Jose Luis Zapatero. The YouTube World View gives people opportunity to ask world leaders on topics ranging from education, energy to global health. It made an online breakthrough as it premiered online in January.

The PNoy interview shall be conducted by Google moderator Ross LaJeunesse, director of public policy and government affairs for Google Inc. in Asia-Pacific and former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

To date, the World View series has featured nearly a dozen world leaders from the USA, UK, Spain, Mexico, and Rwanda. Obama was the first to undergo the series and his interview attracted nearly 800,000 votes on over 14,000 questions and had over 2.2 million page views.

Watch the replay of the interview on ANC come Monday night at 7.

Russian artists paint Phl By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) Updated October 30, 2011 12:00 AM

[PHOTO - Straight from Vigan: Russian artists with Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev (seated, fourth from left), DFA Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Buensuceso (seated, second from right), president of the UNESCO DREAM Center Cecile Guidote-Alvarez (seated, second from left) and DOT Team Europe director Verna Buensuceso (seated, right).]

MANILA, Philippines - After a 20-day cultural journey to the Philippines, 13 Russian artists are coming out with works of their expedition that could lure more foreign tourists to the country.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said the government and other tourism industry stakeholders organized the project dubbed “To the Islands of Sampaguita” as part of the 35th anniversary celebration of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Russia.

“We hope that interest in the Philippines will be generated in Russia through the paintings of these Russian artists about Philippine scenery and lifestyle,” Jimenez said.

The tourism chief said that after the expedition, the artists would mount an exhibit of more than 50 new Philippine artworks and paintings of the destinations they have been to in the Russian National Museum and other museums in Russia and the Philippines.

Vladimir Anisimov, head of the Russian Bureau of Creative Expedition, led the team of top painters and graphic artists, namely: Victoriya Faykova, Olga Yausheva, Rustam Yaushev, Vitali Popov, Luli Petrov, Vladimir Pereyaslavets, Ludmila Yuga, Gregory Poplavsky, Nikolai Pogorelov, Georgy Kozhanov, and Ksenia Rzheshevskaya.

“We are positive that through this project, seeing the beauty of the Philippines through the artists’ eyes, we will be able to attract more Russians to see for themselves what the Philippines has to offer,” Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said.

According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), the expedition began in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then to Bohol where the Russian visitors enjoyed the famous Chocolate Hills, tarsiers, old churches, a firefly tour, and interaction with the Abatan river community.

From Bohol they proceeded to Cebu, where they saw the historic connectivity with Europe through the galleon trade.

The group also had a glimpse of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s life in exile during their tour of Dapitan, Zamboanga, after which they went to Baler in Aurora to witness the exotic culturescape of the sea and mountain with indigenous communities.

Capping the expedition were visits to destinations around Metro Manila and nearby provinces, including Angono, Rizal, often referred to as the Arts Capital of the Philippines, and Villa Escudero in Quezon.

Today, the Russian visitors will be having a workshop interaction with inmates of the New Bilibid Prison for the celebration of Prison Month.

Jimenez said the DOT is intensifying its campaign to lure more Russian tourists, which is a very lucrative market for the Philippines. This year, arrivals from Russia registered a 30 percent growth, he said.

The DOT participated recently in the 17th Otdykh Leisure Fair in Moscow and concluded a selling mission to St. Petersburg to establish more business linkages with Russian wholesalers and tour operators and position the Philippines as a choice destination for the Russian market.

“With this kind of people-to-people exchanges, we see our tourist arrivals growing even more,” Jimenez said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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