RICKY LO: READ THIS. YOU COULD BE THE NEXT VICTIM; KUDOS TO LAV DIAZ

PHOTO: By Rick Lo --The following is the story of Audie Gemora (photo) lifted with his permission from his Facebook but with names of some of the companies involved deliberately deleted (marked by XXX) as a nod to whatever police probe is going on. Funfare is printing Audie’s story because everybody can learn from it, so that they must be careful when they happen to park their cars in the place where Audie’s experience happened. You could be, knock on wood, the next victim. Here’s Audie’s story partly edited: Last Tuesday, Sept. 8, after office around 8:30 p.m. I met up with Carlo Orosa at Harbor Square CCP Complex.

There was a queue and the parking there was full so I parked in the area fronting CCP’s Little Theater and Artist entrances. It was dim since only a few of the lampposts were working. I intentionally parked near a lit post near the ticket booth para safer. When I returned to my car at 10 p.m., I found the left passenger seat window smashed in. My bag containing a Mac Pro, phone charger, a checkbook, important documents, my new Solaire ID, etc. were gone. There was no guard around. I informed the lady in the booth and she called out to the area but no one came. I walked the parking stretch but found no one.

I went to the Pulis post in front of the Design Building but the cop there told me they were Pasay police while the parking lot my car was at is under the jurisdiction of Manila. I went to the CCP Security office at the Artist entrance and the guard there told me they don’t service the parking area either because it is managed by (XXX) which is renting the parking space from CCP and it has its own security agency (XXX). Nevertheless, he accompanied me to the parking area and as we approached, two female teenagers selling sampaguita ran off. He told me that he saw them around my car earlier and suspected they were the look-outs. He also told me there was a similar incident in a parking area in front of Star City last week.

I sent an SOS to Carlo who came back. The three of us waited about 30 minutes before the official security guard (XXX) of (XXX) hired by (XXX) arrived on his motorbike. Instead of conducting an investigation he acted more like an usisero. His supervisor came after another 30 minutes and all that he did was to remind me, while pointing to my parking ticket, that (XXX) is not liable for damages or losses of any vehicle parked there. “Walang habol,” he told me. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Head of clinic where Joan Rivers had surgery steps down 

The medical director of the facility where Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest during a routine procedure is no longer at the clinic. A Yorkville Endoscopy spokeswoman said Friday that Dr. Lawrence Cohen is no longer the facility’s medical director, nor is he performing procedures there. The spokeswoman did not elaborate on the circumstances of the respected gastroenterologist’s departure. Cohen is listed as a co-owner of the facility in New York state records. The 81-year-old Rivers died Sept. 4 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City a week after going into cardiac arrest. The state health department has said it’s investigating “the whole matter.” A spokesman for the department didn’t immediately return a message Friday.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Nicole Kidman ‘in shock’ after father’s sudden death in Singapore 

Australian actress Nicole Kidman is in shock after the sudden death of her father in Singapore, her publicist said Saturday as her husband Keith Urban wrote of the couple’s “deep state of grief”. Antony Kidman, 75, died after suffering from an apparent heart attack at an exclusive social club in Singapore, local media and emergency services said. Nicole Kidman’s publicist Leslee Dart said the Hollywood actress and her family were “in shock by the sudden death of her father”. “She appreciates the outpouring of support and kindly requests privacy during this very difficult time,” Dart told the Australian Associated Press in a statement. Nashville singer Urban cancelled a concert in the United States and said he was returning to Australia with Kidman. “We are in a deep state of grief at the passing of Nic’s father and are heading to Australia to be with family,” Urban said in a statement on Facebook. “We want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for their love, prayers and support through this devastating loss.” Antony Kidman was believed to have collapsed at a restaurant at the upmarket Tanglin Club, where he was staying while visiting his daughter Antonia and her family, Singapore’s Straits Times said.

ALSO: Manny Pacquiao returns to hosting via GMA-7’s MP featuring Sport Science

Beginning Sunday (September 14), GMA Network gives an all-new meaning to sports with the newest weekend primetime offering, MP featuring Sport Science, airing twice a month after Sa Puso Ni Dok. MP featuring Sport Science marks the comeback of Pambansang Kamao and world-class boxing champion Manny Pacquiao on Philippine TV who will be hosting this infotainment program. Manny will be joined by Kapuso TV host/actress Solenn Heussaff. It features the athletic Kapuso stars who will share the trainings they undertake in preparation for their competitions in the show’s Celebrity Sports segment, encouraging everyone to stay fit and healthy.

With Filipinos being sports enthusiasts, this newest program is set to trigger the curiosity of Kapuso viewers on the fact that there is science involved not only in every sport, but also to becoming a champion. It explores the science and engineering factors behind the athletic endeavor of a sports legend. This newest infotainment program also presents various episodes from Fox Sports Net’s program, Sport Science, showing an in-depth analysis of the sports legends’ capabilities by measuring, testing, and comparing their strengths to machines and animals with the help of doctors and experts. Meanwhile, setting MP featuring Sport Science apart is the measurement and analysis of Manny’s aptitude in boxing that makes him a world-class champion. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Mayweather rues bite, decisions Maidana  

LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather Jr. refused to allow Marcos Maidana to turn their rematch into a brawl, boxing masterfully to win a 12-round unanimous decision Saturday night in their welterweight title fight. Mayweather remained unbeaten in 47 pro fights, drawing upon his 18 years of experience and frustrating Maidana the entire night. The fight was a marked contrast to their first bout in May, when Maidana roughed Mayweather up in a close fight. Two ringside judges scored it 116-111 for Mayweather, while the third had it 115-112. The Associated Press had it 117-110. “I felt sharper in the first fight, my rhythm was off,” Mayweather said. “I got hit with some shots tonight I shouldn’t have gotten hit with. But that comes with the sport.”

The fight was held up momentarily in the eighth round when Mayweather said that Maidana bit him on the wrist while the two were tied up. Maidana was penalized for tripping Mayweather in the 10th round. Mayweather complained long after the first fight in May that Maidana was a dirty fighter, and complained even more when Maidana seemed to try to hit him below the belt in a clinch in the eighth round, then apparently tried to bite him. Mayweather immediately jumped back and gestured to referee Kenny Bayless that Maidana bit him on the wrist. He went to his corner and showed Bayless where the bite was, then went over to the Showtime announcers table to complain.

“He bit me!” Mayweather yelled. Maidana would later be penalized a point for tackling Mayweather as he tried desperately to find something that would work against the undefeated champion. By the end of the ninth round, though, Maidana was so out of sorts he went to the wrong corner when the bell rang. “I thought I won the fight,” Maidana said. Maidana didn’t win it because he spent many of the early rounds trying to figure out a way to get inside like he did the first fight in May. Mayweather kept him at a distance, circling around and landing left jabs and hooks, then scampering out of the way before Maidana could respond. *READ MORE...

(ALSO) FEATURE STORY: A new Capiz is rising  

By SHJPH INC.'s Victoria Hariette Ong-Banzon --People are coming back to Capiz, a province in the northern part of Panay Island that is transforming from a folklore-rich land that used to celebrate Aswang Festival into the site of a world-class commercial business district. A religious family of mostly engineers is leading the transformation, using not government funds, but their own money, to build Pueblo de Panay, a 400-hectare development out of the hills and unproductive lands of Roxas City. It started as a vision, says Victoria Hariette Ong-Banzon, one of the seven Ong siblings who run property developer Sacred Heart of Jesus Prime Holdings Inc. “We envision Pueblo de Panay as a center for economic and social progress. We want to employ Filipinos in our own land and not wait for the time that they will have to go out and be employed by foreigners,” Victoria, a soft-spoken former professor at the University of the Philippines, says.

SHJPHI, probably the largest employer in Roxas City next to the government, has more than 400 individuals on its payroll. Among them is Warner Alicante, a former banker in a multinational bank based in Makati City, who was inspired to return to Capiz and helped raise funds for Pueblo de Panay. Alicante, who serves as comptroller of SHJPHI’s subsidiary Pueblo de Panay Inc., says the parent company has so far invested P1.2 billion to start the groundwork for the first phase of the project that already attracted major locators such as a Robinson’s mall. “We are inviting more investors to join us,” he says. Company driver Pablo Bendoy says the project has created job opportunities for Capiz residents like him. “I used to work for a marble company in Cebu, and before that in Batangas. Now, I work in my home province Capiz,” he says.

The transformation is also attracting tourists to Capiz. Randy Glimer, a tour guide at the 17th Century Sta. Monica Church in Panay town, says more people have been given work even outside Pueblo de Panay. Sta. Monica Church is known for a 10-ton bell, said to be the largest in Asia. Fellow tour guide Pepe Borres agrees, saying college graduates in Capiz could not find work in their home province before Pueblo de Panay was established. Now, a plan to establish a call center inside the technopark component of Pueblo de Panay creates excitement among college students in the province. Aswang tale *READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Read this. You could be the next victim

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricky Lo - The following is the story of Audie Gemora lifted with his permission from his Facebook but with names of some of the companies involved deliberately deleted (marked by XXX) as a nod to whatever police probe is going on.

Funfare is printing Audie’s story because everybody can learn from it, so that they must be careful when they happen to park their cars in the place where Audie’s experience happened. You could be, knock on wood, the next victim.


AUDIE GEMORA

Here’s Audie’s story partly edited:

Last Tuesday, Sept. 8, after office around 8:30 p.m. I met up with Carlo Orosa at Harbor Square CCP Complex. There was a queue and the parking there was full so I parked in the area fronting CCP’s Little Theater and Artist entrances. It was dim since only a few of the lampposts were working. I intentionally parked near a lit post near the ticket booth para safer.

When I returned to my car at 10 p.m., I found the left passenger seat window smashed in. My bag containing a Mac Pro, phone charger, a checkbook, important documents, my new Solaire ID, etc. were gone.

There was no guard around. I informed the lady in the booth and she called out to the area but no one came. I walked the parking stretch but found no one. I went to the Pulis post in front of the Design Building but the cop there told me they were Pasay police while the parking lot my car was at is under the jurisdiction of Manila. I went to the CCP Security office at the Artist entrance and the guard there told me they don’t service the parking area either because it is managed by (XXX) which is renting the parking space from CCP and it has its own security agency (XXX).

Nevertheless, he accompanied me to the parking area and as we approached, two female teenagers selling sampaguita ran off. He told me that he saw them around my car earlier and suspected they were the look-outs. He also told me there was a similar incident in a parking area in front of Star City last week.

I sent an SOS to Carlo who came back. The three of us waited about 30 minutes before the official security guard (XXX) of (XXX) hired by (XXX) arrived on his motorbike. Instead of conducting an investigation he acted more like an usisero. His supervisor came after another 30 minutes and all that he did was to remind me, while pointing to my parking ticket, that (XXX) is not liable for damages or losses of any vehicle parked there. “Walang habol,” he told me.

* (To make a long story shorter), the police conducted a proper investigation. He told us the culprit was most probably one of the many teen vagrants in the area. We interviewed a small sampaguita boy who told us he’d seen how it’s done...they rub something on the window of a vehicle then turn a live wire on it and the glass shatters.

One kid (“Tisoy”) was involved a year earlier in a similar incident. A car of musicians who came from Lea Salonga’s concert was broken into and two violins were stolen. Apparently, my case is the third to happen within the CCP parking areas as of late.

The Manila policemen were very helpful. They spent time interrogating the guard and found out he had a fake license. This means he never underwent training.

I have decided to share this story on FB as a warning to all my artist colleagues and art patrons who might park around the CCP grounds.

I call CCP’s attention to this safety concern.

Lav named one of Prince Claus Fund Laureates


Lavrente Indico Diaz is a multi-awarded independent filmmaker who was born on December 30, 1958 and raised in Cotabato, Mindanao. He works as director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, poet, composer, production designer and actor all at once.

Congratulations to Lav Diaz this time not for (again!) winning an award at an international filmfest but for having been named one of the 11 laureates of Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development (PCFCD).

The citation says, “The visionary filmmaker Lav Diaz radically re-imagines cinematic time and space. He films in ‘real time’ to immerse the viewer in deep reflection on Filipino history and experience, exploring themes of violent fascism, corruption, discrimination and poverty, and challenging the superficial commercialism of the global film industry.”

Lav will receive 25,000 Euros (roughly P1.4 million).

The 10 other awardees are Abel Rodriguez, the Principal Laureate (Colombia), Ignacio Aguero (Chile), Rosina Cazali (Guatemala), FX Harsono (Indonesia), Invisible Borders Trans-African Project (Nigeria), Gulsun Karamustafa (Turkey), Tran Luong (Vietnam), Museo Itinerante de Arte por la Memoria (Peru), Lia Rodrigues (Brazil) and Sparrow Sound & Pictures Archives for Research on Women (India).

The awarding ceremony will be held on Dec. 10 at the Royal Palace Amsterdam with members of the Dutch Royal family in attendance.

The first Filipino laureate was Elena Rivera Mirano in 2001, a music scholar and contemporary renaissance musician who uses many different disciplines and dedicates herself to the musical heritage of the Philippines.

As per its official website, PCFCD is based in Amsterdam and is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Postcode Lottery. It honors outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development and presented annually, since 1997, to eleven individuals, critical thinkers and cultural organizations whose actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies.

Its mission is to actively seek cultural collaborations founded on equality and trust, with partners of excellence, in spaces where resources and opportunities for cultural expression, creative production and research are limited and cultural heritage is threatened.

— Reported by Celso de Guzman Caparas

A September to remember


Romy with RJ del Rosario, a blind organist, singer and composer as the front act performer of the Tiongco Brothers

The “Sing-a-long and Poem-a-long” held recently at the Sofitel Hotel in celebration of Grandsparents’ Day was the kind of September the senior guests will remember forever.

It was a full-packed event overflowing with senior citizens who wanted to reminisce the past with the melodious blending voices of the equally senior performers, The Tiongco Brothers, the pride of Sta. Rosa City and whose popularity dates back to the days of Student Canteen and Darigold Jamboree in the ’60s.

Likewise loudly applauded was RJ del Rosario, a totally blind organist, singer and composer who was the front act performer.

Organizer-emcee election lawyer Romy Macalintal spiced up the love songs with love poems he read for the audience. In return, a number of those in attendance gamely volunteered to read love poems which were distributed to them before the start of the show.

Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay delivered a short, informal speech and he read two love poems by James J. Metcalfe. Buhay Party List Rep. Lito Atienza interpreted a love poem for his wife, Beng Atienza, who was with him. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. excused himself from reading a poem due to glaucoma but delivered an inspiring message to senior citizens who may still want to enter politics.

Former Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife Cristina enjoyed the rest of the evening with the audience who asked for photo ops.

All tickets were sold out as senior citizens enjoyed a 50 percent discount or only P1,500 for a dinner-buffet-show at the Spiral from its original price of P3,000. Senior citizens who were not accommodated due to space or seat limitations were consoled by Romy’s assurance of a repeat of similar event.

Sofitel General Manager Adam Laker expressed his thanks and gratitude to all those who attended and assured Sofitel’s support to similar events for senior citizens and its full commitment to insure that the rights and interests of senior citizens as provided for by law are properly observed and complied with.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Head of clinic where Rivers had surgery steps down by AP
September 13, 2014


Joan Rivers (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The medical director of the facility where Joan Rivers went into cardiac arrest during a routine procedure is no longer at the clinic.

A Yorkville Endoscopy spokeswoman said Friday that Dr. Lawrence Cohen is no longer the facility’s medical director, nor is he performing procedures there.

The spokeswoman did not elaborate on the circumstances of the respected gastroenterologist’s departure.

Cohen is listed as a co-owner of the facility in New York state records.

The 81-year-old Rivers died Sept. 4 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City a week after going into cardiac arrest.

The state health department has said it’s investigating “the whole matter.”

A spokesman for the department didn’t immediately return a message Friday.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Nicole Kidman ‘in shock’ after father’s sudden death Agence France-PresseSeptember 13, 2014 | 2:30 pm 0 57 0 76 0


Actress Nicole Kidman is escorted by her father, Dr. Antony Kidman, as she arrives at the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival Gala dinner in Palm Springs,

Australian actress Nicole Kidman is in shock after the sudden death of her father in Singapore, her publicist said Saturday as her husband Keith Urban wrote of the couple’s “deep state of grief”.

Antony Kidman, 75, died after suffering from an apparent heart attack at an exclusive social club in Singapore, local media and emergency services said. Nicole Kidman’s publicist Leslee Dart said the Hollywood actress and her family were “in shock by the sudden death of her father”.

“She appreciates the outpouring of support and kindly requests privacy during this very difficult time,” Dart told the Australian Associated Press in a statement.

Nashville singer Urban cancelled a concert in the United States and said he was returning to Australia with Kidman. “We are in a deep state of grief at the passing of Nic’s father and are heading to Australia to be with family,” Urban said in a statement on Facebook. “We want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for their love, prayers and support through this devastating loss.”

Antony Kidman was believed to have collapsed at a restaurant at the upmarket Tanglin Club, where he was staying while visiting his daughter Antonia and her family, Singapore’s Straits Times said.

* He was at the restaurant after exercising in the morning. The Singapore Civil Defence Force said paramedics received a call at about 8.10am on Friday requesting medical assistance at the club and that members of public performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

A Singapore source told AFP on Friday that Kidman was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after arriving. Antony Kidman was a clinical psychologist and director of the health psychology unit at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.

The family were last seen together in Sydney in January for the 50th wedding anniversary of the senior Kidman and his wife Janelle, Australian media reported Friday.

Nicole Kidman, 47, most recently starred in “Grace of Monaco”, a biopic of Grace Kelly, the American film actress and Princess of Monaco.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Manny Pacquiao returns to hosting via GMA-7’s MP featuring Sport Science September 12 2014 1 0 12 0

Beginning Sunday (September 14), GMA Network gives an all-new meaning to sports with the newest weekend primetime offering, MP featuring Sport Science, airing twice a month after Sa Puso Ni Dok.

MP featuring Sport Science marks the comeback of Pambansang Kamao and world-class boxing champion Manny Pacquiao on Philippine TV who will be hosting this infotainment program. Manny will be joined by Kapuso TV host/actress Solenn Heussaff.

It features the athletic Kapuso stars who will share the trainings they undertake in preparation for their competitions in the show’s Celebrity Sports segment, encouraging everyone to stay fit and healthy.

With Filipinos being sports enthusiasts, this newest program is set to trigger the curiosity of Kapuso viewers on the fact that there is science involved not only in every sport, but also to becoming a champion. It explores the science and engineering factors behind the athletic endeavor of a sports legend.

This newest infotainment program also presents various episodes from Fox Sports Net’s program, Sport Science, showing an in-depth analysis of the sports legends’ capabilities by measuring, testing, and comparing their strengths to machines and animals with the help of doctors and experts.

Meanwhile, setting MP featuring Sport Science apart is the measurement and analysis of Manny’s aptitude in boxing that makes him a world-class champion.

* Kapuso viewers will certainly have something to look forward to as each episode contains different thrilling sports segments, which will feature new mind-blowing discoveries.

Under the helm of director Rico Gutierrez, MP featuring Sport Science is set to capture the interest of Filipinos from all ages with its unique sports trivia that were never seen and heard before. This newest infotainment program is under the supervision of Senior Vice President for Entertainment TV Lilybeth G. Rasonable; Vice President for Entertainment TV Marivin T. Arayata; Assistant Vice President for Games and Reality Janine P. Nacar; Program Manager Enrilyn T. Calaycay; and Executive Producer Lui Cadag.

Catch the amazing sports discoveries in MP featuring Sport Science with host Manny Pacquiao starting Sunday after Sa Puso Ni Dok only on GMA-7.

FROM PHILSTAR

Mayweather rues bite, decisions Maidana By Associated Press (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 15, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


MAYWEATHER

LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather Jr. refused to allow Marcos Maidana to turn their rematch into a brawl, boxing masterfully to win a 12-round unanimous decision Saturday night in their welterweight title fight.

Mayweather remained unbeaten in 47 pro fights, drawing upon his 18 years of experience and frustrating Maidana the entire night. The fight was a marked contrast to their first bout in May, when Maidana roughed Mayweather up in a close fight.

Two ringside judges scored it 116-111 for Mayweather, while the third had it 115-112. The Associated Press had it 117-110.

“I felt sharper in the first fight, my rhythm was off,” Mayweather said. “I got hit with some shots tonight I shouldn’t have gotten hit with. But that comes with the sport.”

The fight was held up momentarily in the eighth round when Mayweather said that Maidana bit him on the wrist while the two were tied up. Maidana was penalized for tripping Mayweather in the 10th round.

Mayweather complained long after the first fight in May that Maidana was a dirty fighter, and complained even more when Maidana seemed to try to hit him below the belt in a clinch in the eighth round, then apparently tried to bite him.

Mayweather immediately jumped back and gestured to referee Kenny Bayless that Maidana bit him on the wrist. He went to his corner and showed Bayless where the bite was, then went over to the Showtime announcers table to complain.

“He bit me!” Mayweather yelled.

Maidana would later be penalized a point for tackling Mayweather as he tried desperately to find something that would work against the undefeated champion.

By the end of the ninth round, though, Maidana was so out of sorts he went to the wrong corner when the bell rang.

“I thought I won the fight,” Maidana said.

Maidana didn’t win it because he spent many of the early rounds trying to figure out a way to get inside like he did the first fight in May. Mayweather kept him at a distance, circling around and landing left jabs and hooks, then scampering out of the way before Maidana could respond.

* Punch stats showed Maidana throwing far more punches (572-326) while Mayweather landed more (166-128). Mayweather’s defensive genius showed when he was hit with only 22 percent of punches while landing 51 percent of his own.

“I do have some bumps and bruises,” Mayweather said. “But I listened to my dad (trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.) who always said hit and not get hit. That’s the way you last in this sport.”

Mayweather earned at least $32 million for the rematch, bringing his total purses to more than $100 million in the last year.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

FEATURE STORY: A new Capiz is risingBy MST Business | Sep. 13, 2014 at 10:00pm

How a family changes Northern Panay


SHJPH INC.'s Victoria Hariette Ong-Banzon

People are coming back to Capiz, a province in the northern part of Panay Island that is transforming from a folklore-rich land that used to celebrate Aswang Festival into the site of a world-class commercial business district.

A religious family of mostly engineers is leading the transformation, using not government funds, but their own money, to build Pueblo de Panay, a 400-hectare development out of the hills and unproductive lands of Roxas City. It started as a vision, says Victoria Hariette Ong-Banzon, one of the seven Ong siblings who run property developer Sacred Heart of Jesus Prime Holdings Inc.

“We envision Pueblo de Panay as a center for economic and social progress. We want to employ Filipinos in our own land and not wait for the time that they will have to go out and be employed by foreigners,” Victoria, a soft-spoken former professor at the University of the Philippines, says.

SHJPHI, probably the largest employer in Roxas City next to the government, has more than 400 individuals on its payroll. Among them is Warner Alicante, a former banker in a multinational bank based in Makati City, who was inspired to return to Capiz and helped raise funds for Pueblo de Panay.

Alicante, who serves as comptroller of SHJPHI’s subsidiary Pueblo de Panay Inc., says the parent company has so far invested P1.2 billion to start the groundwork for the first phase of the project that already attracted major locators such as a Robinson’s mall. “We are inviting more investors to join us,” he says.

Company driver Pablo Bendoy says the project has created job opportunities for Capiz residents like him. “I used to work for a marble company in Cebu, and before that in Batangas. Now, I work in my home province Capiz,” he says.

The transformation is also attracting tourists to Capiz. Randy Glimer, a tour guide at the 17th Century Sta. Monica Church in Panay town, says more people have been given work even outside Pueblo de Panay. Sta. Monica Church is known for a 10-ton bell, said to be the largest in Asia.

Fellow tour guide Pepe Borres agrees, saying college graduates in Capiz could not find work in their home province before Pueblo de Panay was established. Now, a plan to establish a call center inside the technopark component of Pueblo de Panay creates excitement among college students in the province.

Aswang tale


132-foot monument of Jesus Christ that is expected to be completed by December 2014.

* Borres, who also returned to Capiz after working in Manila for several years, says the undeserved reputation of the province as the land of the aswangs held back development for decades.

“People in Metro Manila would not buy fish in the market if they are told the fish came from Capiz. So, Capiz fishpond operators had to ship their products to Iloilo City first, before bringing them to Metro Manila, to make it appear they came from Iloilo,” he says.

For decades, Capiz has tried to shed its reputation as the land of aswang, or mythical flesh-eating night creatures, until a tourism-oriented group decided to take advantage of it and hold Aswang Festival in 2004. The festival was eventually shelved after the Church opposed the holding of such festivity.

Victoria, a history buff who serves as the vice president for administration of SHJPHI, also dismissed the tale about the aswang, saying it had something to do with Panay’s beautiful, pre-Spanish history and the uprising of its warriors during the colonial period.

“It has something to do with Panay warriors. Since the Spanish times up until the American times, our Pintado warriors, who later became revolutionaries or freedom fighters, were never rally defeated, because they would attack at night when the moon was full,” she says.

“In the early 1900s, a newspaper published that two aswang were seen in Capiz. It turned out that two men, who were revolutionaries or freedom fighters were captured. They opened them up, left their organs and threw them into the Panay river. Filipinos, who by nature were superstitious, believed the story,” she says.

Pueblo de Panay

Roxas City, the seafood capital of the Philippines which also bore the wrath of typhoon Yolanda in November last year, is the site of Pueblo de Panay, which grew out of the Ong family’s vision to develop the countryside and help their fellow Capiznons in God’s honor.


Roxas City integrated transport terminal

The capital and a component city of Capiz, Roxas has a population of less than 200,000 people. It has an airport with twice daily flights to and from Manila, one traffic light and five taxi cabs. Land transportation is dominated by tricycles, but many of its residents are high income-earners, something evident in their large colonial houses, 37 banks and a branch of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The development of Pueblo de Panay since 2012 and the decision of Robinson’s Group to build a mall in the mixed-used township began to excite not only Capiznons but the whole of Panay Island, which also includes the provinces of Aklan, Antique and Iloilo. The whole of Panay has more than 4 million residents.

Glenn Beup, a former municipal administrator and environment officer of Barbara town in Iloilo, says he supports Pueblo de Panay because it committed to allot 50 percent of the lot area for the environment. Beup, now an environmental consultant of the company, led projects such as the protection of flora and fauna in the area and the establishment of a waste segregation facility. Pueblo de Panay boasts of rich flora and fauna, and only 50 percent of the 400-hectare township will be developed to preserve the property’s pristine beauty, Beup says.

“It is a place where one can live, play, work and everything is balanced. After a hard day’s work, you could jog in open areas,” says Victoria. “There were questions about us developing fishpond areas. But when we bought it, it was already unproductive. So I don’t know how environmentalists would react, whether they wanted to preserve an unproductive area or allow us to develop it and introduce environmentally safe methods of construction so that we could maximize the potential of the place.”

“Some say we are transforming the face of Roxas City. In addition to that, we want to be remembered as a company that also provides good quality of life to Panaynons,” she says.

Masterplanned township


Urban Manor Hotel

It is considered the first masterplanned township in Capiz.

The completion of Robinson’s mall in Pueblo de Panay early this year has triggered the influx of visitors who were amazed by well-lit multiple-lane roads, with jogging trail in a rural province. It also caught the attention of other major companies such as the SM Group, which now reportedly plans to build a mall near the airport.

SHJPHI, whose vision is to be a major player in the Philippines’ economic and social advancement, built two hotels and a convention center to kickstart eco-tourism in Pueblo de Panay.

It also donated a two-hectare lot where a well-organized transport terminal was put up. A marketplace, a government center, a police station, a waste segregation facility were also established in the area.

“We started accumulating land in 1990. That was 24 years ago. We started with 50 hectares and was initially called Victoria Park. It was supposed to be a small community, but it grew, so we had to call it a pueblo,” Victoria says. “We chose the term Pueblo de Panay, because we wanted to create a township that is complete in terms of amenities and features. What we can see in a city should be found in Pueblo de Panay.”

It was renamed after the historic town of Pan-ay also in Capiz. It covers parts of barangays Lawaan, Sibaguan and Dinginan in Roxas City.

Victoria says the project has efficient multi-lane road network with bridges and sidewalks, tree-lined highway connecting two of only three major highways in Roxas City, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly lanes and residential villages, shops, gardens, worship places, a transport terminal, a marketplace, among others.

The company also invites more investors such as schools, business process outsourcing companies and commercial establishments. UP Visayas recently started offering a Master of Management program.

Pueblo de Panay Technopark, a seven-hectare information, communications and technology special economic zone that targets BPO companies, has secured pre-qualification approval from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. The technopark is equipped with fiber-optic and wireless connectivity.

Victoria is particularly excited about the prospect of a business process outsourcing company establishing a call center in Pueblo de Panay. “We thought of the BPO industries because we believe that there are talents available in Capiz. Maybe most of them go to Metro Manila or cities like Cebu, Iloilo or Bacolod to work, but we have surveyed that some are interested to work here,” she says.

Seafood capital

The project is providing residents of Roxas City and towns in northern Panay new job opportunities outside aquaculture. Victoria says aquaculture, particularly bangus and prawn farming, was their original family business in the 1960s up to the 1980s. Their grandparents are government contractors who built roads and school buildings in Iloilo and Antique that lasted for many years, but their father chose to go into the fish pond business in Roxas City.


Robinsons Place Roxas

“My father inherited a fish pond area from my grandfather on the Chinese side. That lot area was the one that gave us the livelihood from 1960s to 1980s,” she says. “Before we went to real estate development, we were actually fish pond operators.”

Victoria and an older brother were born in Iloilo City, but the rest of the Ong siblings were born in Roxas City.

Victoria’s other siblings are Jose Nery Ong, a UP Mathematics and AIM graduate who became the company’s chairman of the board; Hyacinth Ong Viterbo, who runs the hotel business; Vicente Ong III, Nery Joachim Ong, Hannibal Zenon Ong and Mary Daphnie Ong.

“We combine the religiosity of the Dioso side, with priests and nuns, and the business acumen of the Ong side,” Veronica says.

“As most of us were graduating from college with Engineering degrees, it was timely that we explored land development. My dad, being a civil engineer, first practiced his profession on fish pond development. Then, the family with its exposure to equipment and leasing, embarked on our first land development, with Twin Hearts Village,” Victoria says.

When a virus ravaged the seafood industry in Roxas City in the 1990s, the Ong siblings decided to diversify to real estate. SHJPHI chose to undertake real estate projects and other developments through subsidiaries Sacred Heart of Jesus Development Corp., Blue Chip Builders Inc., Capiz Development Foundation Inc. and recently Pueblo de Panay Inc.

The parent corporation has built more than a dozen subdivisions in Roxas City and one in Kalibo, Aklan. Its projects include Twin Hearts Village, St. Francis Park, Mission Hills, Villa de San Lorenzo Ruiz, Happy Homes, Vista del Rio, Rio Grande, Costa Verde, Verdant Meadows, Centro Villas and Villa Peraz as well as community mortgage program projects with the National Housing Authority and Gawad Kalinga projects with the Couples for Christ.

SHJPHI has sold more than 7,000 houses and lots, and developed at least 150 hectares of residential subdivisions and other projects in northern Panay. It has also donated home-lots to several hundreds of socialized housing family beneficiaries in Roxas City and its adjoining towns.

Victoria, a professional industrial engineer and a former faculty member of the UP Engineering College, introduced strategic management system, organizational development and total quality management in their family corporation. The Ong siblings took the management positions in the company after their parents died in 2004 and 2005.

The Ong siblings sold the fish ponds. Of the seven children, four became engineers. “As engineers, we are exposed to land development, so real estate was a natural thing to go into for us.”

A vision for Capiz


El Circulo Convention Center

Pueblo de Panay started as a vision, says Victoria. “In 1990, my sister Hyacinth had a rare disease of the kidney, only the second such case in the Philippines, with the first one dying already. All the doctors at the National Kidney Institute could say was that it was a creeping allergy, starting with one organ, before it creeps to another. In her case, the right kidney was affected. Maybe it was viral, maybe it was bacterial, but the thing is it was killing her,” she says.

Victoria says the doctors advised the family to seek treatment in the US.

“The miracle happened when we began to lean on the family, knowing that God is the greatest healer and we prayed for what we could give up for her healing. My daddy was into cockfighting. He was like a known cockfighter in Capiz,” she says. “My sister was given an illness that money could not cure, even if we would bring her to the US. My parents felt they had to surrender everything to the Lord and my mother made a pact that whatever the family could save from the US trip, we would give to the Church.”

Her sister’s other kidney was spared and healed. After that, the family built the largest statue of Mother Mary and later a 132-foot statue of Jesus Christ in Capiz, said to be the tallest in Asia. “These are private experiences of the family that little by little, built on our experience. This is the reason why we are so grateful to God,” says Victoria.

“It was never planned, it just happened. That’s why we say it is a gift from God. If you look at the name of our companies... they are SHJ, Sacred Heart of Jesus Group of Companies,” she says.

Hyacinth went on to study Marketing at UP-Visayas and helped establish the Holy Trinity Divine Healing Ministry, a church-affiliated apostolate group on healing and outreach with 2,000 lay volunteer prayer healers. Hyacinth is also now the vice president for finance of Pueblo de Panay Inc.

“Those experiences changed the businessman in us. Our lineage could actually be traced not only to the Filipino-Chinese business families of the Ongs, but also to the religious and educator families of the Dioso. We are not completely 100-percent Chinese. We are Spanish, Filipino, and also Aeta by blood,” she says.

Gift from God


Panay Cold Chain facility

“We believe that all of these are God’s gift to us. We are in the business because of the mission. That is why up to now, we still support the healing ministry, where my sister Hyacinth shares her experience of healing. At the same time, we manage the business, because it supports the apostolate of the company,” she says.

Victoria calls Roxas City as the Venice of the Philippines, because of its waterways. “Since we had to develop near the city, we have to transform the face of Roxas City by developing environmentally friendly projects in the way that they are of good quality. In terms of quality, we don’t compromise. That’s why little by little, our track record of being affordable and excellent developers was established.”

“We started with the middle market for Twin Hearts Village. There were many developers ahead of us, but they are not known for the quality that we offer,” she says. “Being former fish pond developers, and my dad being a civil engineer, we developed a technique. We excavate the mud and would not fill, until the mud is removed. We do that extra work, so that the quality will not be sacrificed.”

That commitment to quality work is driving the development of Pueblo de Panay, also partially inspired by what the family saw during their travels abroad, particularly in Singapore. “You also have to let the world know that you have a very good vision in countryside development. If only we could bring what we saw abroad, like Singapore, the garden city, where everything is so organized,” says Victoria.

The Filipino can

“In Pueblo de Panay, we are trying to prove that the Filipino can. We show through our developments that we deserve wider roads, even before the heavy traffic comes in,” she says. “In Pueblo de Panay, we introduced a three-lane road in and three lane-road out. That is equivalent to a six-lane road, with bike lanes, jogging lanes and pedestrian lane. We also planted native trees on the center islands. Experts say if you plant native trees, the flora and the fauna will follow naturally. So we started planting kamagong trees on the center islands,” she says.

Victoria says Pablo de Panay is a long-term investment that can be built upon by the next generation. “We are thinking of writing our family constitution, as we will be opening to non-family members,” says Victoria. “How we wish we have partners in each area, so the project development would fast track. Right now, we are only seven siblings with 400 employees.”

“So we see the interconnection, and we want to leave the legacy to the next generation. We do this for the long term. We are thinking of writing our family constitution and professionalizing. From a family business, we are now open to more professionals coming in, with the same values that we espouse,” she says.

She says Pueblo de Panay is mainly funded by the family corporation’s equities and bank loans. “That’s why we are inviting investors, locators to share in this wonderful vision to really develop the countryside into something that would address a need like a township. Everything is already there, you have the schools, the market, the shops, the eateries. We want partners who believe in the countryside and at the same time who want to become profitable and sustainable in their business choices,” she says.

Victoria believes that countryside development is the key to economic progress of the country. “We love the Philippines. Who else will help us, but us?” RTD


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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