28 February 2011

Short Film produced by Fil-Ams is Oscars Best Live Action short story

Wow! amazing news! another big bang for the Filipinos and Fil-Ams in the States. I wasn't aware of such entry for this was not really mentioned in any newspaper in the Philippines until the Oscar awards announced the Best live action short story category. 

 A short film produced by the three Fil-Ams "God of Love " won the Best Short Live Action category yesterday(sunday, monday morning in Manila) on the 83rd Oscars award. 

The 18 minute movie was written and directed by Luke Matheny  and the Fil-Ams produced the film are Stefanie Walmsley, Gigi Demet and the en charge of marketing  and distribution is Stephen Dypiangco. 

The "God of Love" was already considered an early front runner for the category for its comedic style and adventure. The film previously won the 2010 Student Academy Awards, special jury recognition at the Aspen ShortFest and the first prize and the king  award for screenwriting at New York University First run film festival.

Here's the List of 83rd Academy Award Winners :

Colin Firth - Best Actor - "The King's Speech"
Natalie Portman - Best Actress - "Black Swan"
Tom Hooper - Best Director - "The King's Speech"
Christian Bale - Best Supporting Actor - "The Fighter"
Melissa Leo - Best Supporting Actress- "The Fighter"
Toy Story 3 - Best for Animated Feature
The King's Speech - Best Oscar Picture

More about Oscar Award

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27 February 2011

100M ($2.3M) to lease planes for OFW repatriation in Libya

The Philippine government has set aside 100M pesos ( $2.3M) USD to lease planes for the OFWs' from Libya.

Most of the OFWs' working in Libya are from the medical and oil and gas sectors, with almost or more than 30,000 total OFWs' ( census defers from Red cross to DFA) according to  GMA news the Philippine government was making preparation to repatriate half of the 26,000 Filipinos. 

As the evacuation started, OFWs' arrived in Manila by batches but in few numbers. three batches came  and two more batch to arrive later tonight. OFWs'came home aboard Cathay Pacific, Guf Air, and Singapore Air flights. 

 Some of them arrived from the support of their employer and by other means. Other foreign companies helped Filipinos as they moved out of Libya. Repsol petroleum of Spain has helped 16 Filipinos and are now safe ready to depart to Philippines.

However, there are still OFWs' stranded in the remote part of Libyan desert. An email sent by one of the 100 OFWs' stranded in the worksite in Amal  oil field in Libya. He mentioned that no support yet from the goverment as they await for some response from the DFA and the Philippine embassy.

 Certainly the set a side budget is not enough to repatriate all Filipinos from Libya. As the Family members of the stranded OFWs' apprehension increases the more pressure from DFA and the Philippine government to double their efforts and tap all other means to move all OFWS' out of Libya.

DFA has initiated  a 24 hours Free call service for all relatives of OFWs' still stranded in Libya. Smart communications allows the relatives of the stranded OFWs'to talk to them directly. 

To avail the Free call service program relatives can visit the DFA main building in Pasay City. Crisis management center  added  with a set up of 24 hour hotline numbers 834-4580, 834-3245, 834-3240, and 834-4646

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

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26 February 2011

DFA in Libya on OFW massive evacuation but more still waiting for Help

As the political uprising in Libya worsen, all expatriates were under massive evacuation. Different countries brought chartered planes and navy vessels  to move all their citizens out of the crisis. The Philippines  finally responded to the call on massive evacuation, as such 204 pinoys were now out of Libya and more still await for the next flight.

The newly appointed foreign affairs secretary Alberto Del Rosario did all the best he could to save all the lives and welfare of the OFWs'. He said that 97 OFWs' were already flown to Paris, France en-route to Manila, 12 others from Benghazi were already assisted by their employer out of Libya and will soon board British naval fleet vessels en- route to Manila as well. 70 Filipinos were also out of Libya according to the Philippines Ambassador to Turkey. All OFWs' were assisted by their Turkish employer and soon will be brought to Manila.

But there are still 300 more waiting to be flown back to the Philippines.  According to the DFA they are moved to a safer area in Tripoli from Brega, Jalo to  sahara desert. DFA also arranged ferry ships to assist Filipinos from Tripoli to Malta and some ferry to Benghazi en-route to Crete, Greece.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted the DFA to help migrant workers on board a chartered plane from Tripoli to Manila. 

There are about 26,000 Filipinos in Libya based on DFA records,  but according to Red Cross there were  about 32,000  Filipinos working in Libya.

With the Red Cross records, The DFA has to double their efforts and tap all the necessary help they could get. DFA resources were obviously limited but by negotiations on the respective employers of our kabayan they could extend and maximize the opportunity to  move pinoys to a safer place.

Lets hope and pray for the safety and welfare of the OFWs' in Libya. 


The Department of Foreign Affairs announced that it is working to ensure the safety and welfare of OFWs in Libya. For inquiries, families with relatives in Libya can reach the DFA's hotline at 834-4580.

The DFA also said it is working to set up a 24-hour "Libreng Tawag" assistance program.

Similarly, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chairman Richard Gordon said OFWs who have not been able to contact their relatives in Libya may visit the PRC website or call (632) 143, (632) 5270000 or +(63) 9175728500.

Migrante International, a federation of OFW groups worldwide, meanwhile said it can be reached by distressed OFWs in the Middle East region through its mobile number, [+63 0905 8361412], or via email throughmenacrisiscenter.migrante @gmail.com.

Migrante likewise said point persons affiliated with Migrante may also be reached through the following numbers:

Fr. Allan Arcebuche, San Francesco Catholic Church, Caritas, Tripoli - [+218 925156684]
Fr. Ronnie Asuero, Benghazi - [+218 928132184]

Other point persons suggested by Migrante include:

- CHARLIE DIAMANTE- (Caritas Volunteer) +218925049216
- Dr. Alan - (Sirte) +218914328994
- Fr. Celso Larracas, OFM +218925163710
- Fr. Amado Baranquel, OFM +218925174784

Libya-Tunisia border (Djerba):
Raquel Fajardo - +216 233 06074 and +216 711 91800

Libya-Egypt border (Al Salloum):
- Renato Duenas +2018 851 0011
- Fatima Castillo +2012 633 3900
- Cesar Salonga +2017 548 1495

There are still more Filipinos in Libya stranded and  waiting to be repatriated according to Migrante. If you know anyone, or a family member of those pinoy in Libya you can extend help by sending this OFW Mideast Crisis Help Hotlines.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Source of Information:

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25 February 2011

Summer in the Philippine Islands

Summer in the Philippine Islands is the longest season of the year. As a tropical country in the southeast Asia, you'll be expecting a lot of sunshine, warm fresh air along the shoreline, beautiful powder white sandy beaches. and the 7,107 majestic islands to explore.

Let me promote Philippine Tourism to my expat, balikbayan and of course OFW readers and followers. According to the Department of Tourism, "wag maging dayuhan sa sariling Bayan!".

In this article let me feature the enchanting Bohol island as a favorite destination to many tourists next to Boracay.

Bohol Island is located in Central Visayas, about 70 kilometers southeast of Mactan Island. Lying southeast across the Cebu Strait (referred to by some as the Bohol Strait) and southwest from Leyte Island.

Bohol is also located north of Mindanao with Bohol Sea between them. It is about 700 kilometers south of Manila and about 70 kilometers southeast of Mactan Island. With a land area of 4,117.26 km² or 1,608 sq. miles and a coastline 390 km long.

 Bohol is also the tenth largest island of the Philippines. There are 1,113 barangays and 75 islands and islets. The largest island is Panglao.
Getting there:

If you're from abroad, you can take Manila and Cebu as your point of destination Manila to Tagbilaran (capital of Bohol) which takes about 1hr and 15 minutes flight.

If you've come via Cebu it takes about 25 minutes flight and half an hour by fast craft to Tagbilaran.

Cebu Pacific, Zest Air and Air Philippines offer great deals if you book your ticket in advance.    

The best way to visit Bohol is by travel packages. It’s a wise choice for a budget conscious traveler. Travel Agencies offer options that suits vacationer either luxury or economy arrangement. Places to visit were scheduled and a tour guide will keep you informed bits of Bohol history.

Philippines Hotels

Pictures posted in this article courtesy of 

Ms. Romela Sarmiento
ALEM Travel Services
8-B Verbena St. NAIA Avenue, Pasay City
Tel. No. +632 501 1061 
Mobile No. +63 918 945 6764

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24 February 2011

Condom available by prescription

Only in the Philippines! condom is available by prescription!

 Barangay  Ayala Alabang has passed an ordinance that condom be purchased by prescription, in addition to this they passed on ban advertising and selling all contraceptives in any nature. IUD and hormonal contraceptive pills were even mentioned as abortifacients. 

I just couldn't believe a high class barangay in the metropolis area passed a backward bill and implementing strictly.

I am a Pro-choice and I believe this is a basic right to every citizen in the country. Philippines has been a good advocate on family planning and with this ordinance, Philippines is moving backward.

This is indeed only in the Philippines.

watch this and judge for yourself!

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Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Interactive Portal for OFWs'

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has created an interactive portal that will link overseas Filipino workers, balikbayan, expats, immigrants and other users to information on the different Philippine banks and non-bank remittance companies in the Philippines.

BSP initiates this interactive link to protect OFWs' money against scam and bogus remittance centers.

By using the BSP interactive portal you could find the legitimate remittance centers, location of their branches abroad, foreign bank correspondents, products and services and charges/fees for remittance services to any part of the Philippines

The portal link will then link you to the webpage on your bank's website which contains further details on the chosen category.

 Using the BSP interactive portal you can verify the legitimacy of the remittance centers located in your host country.

The Philippine government recognizes the fruitful efforts of the overseas Filipino workers by their money remittances. For a total of 9 million OFWs' worldwide remittances has certainly make the Philippines economy steady and far more competitive in other Asian currencies.

 As a virtue of that humble recognition BSP came up with this very useful interactive portal.

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22 February 2011

Saving & Smart Shopping

One of my colleagues posted on her Facebook shoutout "opt for therapy shopping". Well, she was right, shopping indeed is a therapy since it increases your sense of wellbeing and in some way releases endorphins (just like doing daily exercise) to make you feel happy.
$200 Gift Certificate
But with the present financial crisis, with no salary increase, too much financial obligations and expanding family expenses, you think that it's quite difficult to enjoy shopping or not wise at all. Well, you are correct and wrong at the same time. The best thing there is smart shopping and do some strategy that fits in your style of shopping.

Here are some strategy to do smart shopping and saving at the same time.

* Make a list of all the necessary items you need:

Try to prioritize your list accordingly. Thru this, it would be very easy to pick up the most important items and if you're over budget just crash out the least important stuff.

* Shop around:

Check which mall and shop offers the best price. Look around first, try to compare the prices of the items, malls do have different prices per items.

*Take advantage of the mall discounts, promo and holiday deals. A 10% discount in your purchase is already a big additional savings in your budget.

*If you have credit cards, take advantage on their reward system:

Credit Cards Company nowadays offer perks, bonuses, and reward deals to all their active clients. You can save much from these but let me remind you first, you have to pay the bills in full by due date to avoid interest and incurred penalty of under payment. Paying the minimum amount at your due date has a corresponding interest charges based on the credit card company policies.

*Check on Bazaars, Expos, and stall shops:

Version 2 of 120 x 600 PixelsBazaars and other stall shops offer great deals on each item.  Sometimes more than 20% discount being offered. And you know what?  The best is you can haggle.  However, haggling should be exercised with courtesy. Be polite with the sales staff. If they won't agree you are free to walk out or better yet talk to the manager or to the stall owner. Be polite and firm in haggling.

* Don’t always shop for luxury, branded or signature items:

Though purchasing branded items make you feel good but this will sometimes drain your wallet. luxury and branded items are always very expensive (sometimes you will encounter discounts  anyway) instead look for the quality, durable and authentic items that is comparable to the banded ones with of course lesser price.  

Beware of the fake ones you might suffer from the intellectual property and anti piracy law. 

* Shop online:

Internet shopping is cheaper and even sometimes free shipping fees.  Try to check online shop and browse the best deals on offer. 

Items such as clothes, software, shoes, watches and even electronics can be found in many sites such as Amazon, olx, sulit.com, and other online store. 

What I like with internet shopping is that it saves more of your time and is very convenient. Online shopping is hassle free and all transaction is taken cared with the online shop even deliveries. All you have to do is use your debit card, PayPal, credit card or merchant card.  Note that Amazon .com doesn’t usually charge sales tax and that is like 10% discount in itself. 

Also try to check bargain online sales. You could definitely save money and most of all your precious time.

So, that’s all! I guess with these simple strategies you could save some money and the best is expanding your budget. 

Enjoy smart shopping everyone!

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21 February 2011

Send and receive money and shop online using PayPal

PayPal is the safer, easier way to send money overseas, make payment online without revealing your credit card number.

PayPal is an e-commerce business allowing payment and money transfer transactions to be made through the internet. This serves as the best alternative to a traditional method of sending money overseas.

PayPal performs payment processing for online vendors, auction sites, and other commercial users for which it charges a fee. It may also charge a fee for receiving money. Fees depend upon the currency being used, the country of the sender, the recipient and the type of the account used.

PayPal operates in 190 markets, and manages more than 232 million accounts and more than 87 million of them active. PayPal allows sending, receiving, and holding funds in 24 currencies worldwide including The Philippines (Philippines peso). PayPal currently operates locally in 24 countries.

PayPal is now widely used in all e-commerce transaction, though this is not classified as a bank in the United States. The company still subject to some rules and regulation governing the financial industry including regulation E consumer protections and the USA Patriot Act.

Signing up PayPal is no risk at all; it offers a security protection against fraud. A user account ties to a security key.  The account holder enters their login ID and password but then you are prompted to press the button for the six digit security key.  

PayPal mobile transaction is also possible. Through the use of MTAN (Mobile Transaction Authentication Number) via SMS but then there are possible security threats to older mobile handsets.

What is best for PayPal is that account holder's private information is marginally protected under one federal law.  Since PayPal is a financial institution under the Gramm-Leach- Bliley Act (GLB), it cannot disclose its account holders' non- public personal information unless the account holders opt in to those disclosures.
 PayPal puts the "Limited Access" designation on the account. The account holder must:

* Log in
* Reset their password
* Develop a set of security questions (based on the subjective and not the fact)
* Verify location by phone or by mail

Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

Information on this article taken from Wikipedia® The Free Encyclopaedia

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20 February 2011

Nonito Donaire Wins in Las Vegas

Fernando Montiel vs. Nonito Donaire on final terms for their title showdown bout in Las Vegas. 

The showdown  ends in just 2 rounds as Nonito Donaire showed  his fastest punch against Fernando Montiel on of the ring.

Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire won by TKO in just 2 rounds for the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization bantamweight title.

He showed an amazing fight that earned him a reputation as the future Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.

It was indeed another pride and honor for the Filipinos in the international scene.

Congratulations! Nonito Donaire 

video taken from You Tube  posted by 3strarsnsun
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18 February 2011

Download You Tube videos and convert to mp3 for Free

Download RealPlayer for FREE
RealPlayer is the most beautiful software to download videos from You Tube into your pc. Thousands of latest videos that you can download and save into your phone and other mobile device.

I have been using this software conversion tool and its very simple and easy to follow. You Tube has thousands of videos and music videos that has been updated every now and then that you can download and save into your iphone, ipod, mp3 players,and any mobile device or even burn into cds. 

Try download this for free and enjoy the You Tube videos into mp3 format at your own convenience.
Download RealPlayer for FREE
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13 February 2011

Hibigat ng Puso

Araw na naman ng mga puso.

 Ang araw na pina ka hibigat "day" ng mga OFW.
Wariý  di na sana sasapit pa ang araw ng pangungulila dahil ang minamahal ay napaka layo't milya milya.

Iiyak ka na lang ba?
Dahil pag sapit ng gabi ika'y nag iisa, sana'y kayakap mo sya at ang init ng pag mamahal ay madarama.

Ikaw man ay iniwan o nang iwan...... may puso  paring nasasaktan!

  ang araw ng puso ay di matakasan subalit itoý lilipas din lamang.

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08 February 2011

Remembering Riyadh,Saudi Arabia

I remember Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as my first host country and working there was never been easy. Working for 3 years has challenged my patience and I would say that it made my self of what I am today.

 You have to follow all rules set by the government otherwise you will end up in prison. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the highest number of OFW prisoner. This is still one of the biggest challenges Philippine Embassy were facing until today. Saudi Arabia is not receptive to cultural changes or intercultural adjustment.

Saudi Arabia is a home to hundreds of thousands of OFWs mostly professionals like nurses, engineers, teachers, IT specialist, blue collar job and highly skilled personnel. There were also OFWs' turned entrepreneurs with Saudis as their sponsor. Many of whom lived there for more than 20 years and some of the women married Saudis and were successful in their lives.

Though there's no disco bar in Saudi Arabia but there is Batha in Riyadh area the shopping hub of the OFWs. Filipino restaurants situated anywhere in the area. I could still remember the Quiapo and the Manila Plaza that during Fridays OFWs from different areas in Riyadh meet up. I could also still remember the delicious palabok special, pancit canton, bulalo, sisig, pa-paitan, chopsuey up in the 4th floor of Manila Plaza food court.

 Here's an article under Philippine Daily Inquirer global nation that tells more about the lives of OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, OFWs' survival, adaptation and evolution.

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06 February 2011

Personal Finance Planner for a wise OFW

Organizing your documents is the best tool for tracking down your expenses, savings, budget and bank account balances. Personal finance planner will keep you track all the details and will keep you informed always on how far your finances goes.  At times like this where everything is uncertain it is wise to be prepared and be guided on especially about financial matter.

I have checked this free downloadable template and spreadsheets for your personal finance planning and budgeting. This will guide you to keep track your monthly spending and all other expenditures and as well as savings. You can even perhaps print and use this manually or better yet update regularly in your computer.

Though there are a lot of ways on budgeting but it is up on personal discipline and money management. Most financial adviser says that creating a personal budget is your first step to financial freedom so below are samples that could be useful in tracking your personal finances. It is easy and simple to use  just click the link below.

Free Personal Budget Spreadsheet

GoogleDocs also offered online spreadsheets to manage your finances for free. It is securely stored online so no worries, you can even use this in any computer. This is a simple personal finance budget spreadsheet that helps you keep track of monthly bills, loans and other financial or material matters.

Microsoft free version is user friendly. Try this template for the whole family monthly budget.


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Filipino Design a big hit in Hollywood

I couldn't think of any Filipino celebrity making a big name in the city of stars but Filipino designers made it in Hollywood.

Monique Lhuillier based in Los Angeles has conquered the fashion industry. Monique has designed gowns for famous celebrities like Britney Spears,Kristen Stewart, Kelly Clarkson, Heidi Montag, Hillary Duff and a lot more. Several of her efforts showed up on red carpet, award shows and typical runnway collections. She was also the most sought wedding dress designer for celebrities like Carrie Underwood. Monique a former model is a mixed of French, Spanish - Cebuana Descent.  

And now a gentlemen also from Cebu made a blast in Hollywood. Kenneth Cobonpue showed his craftsmanship as a mighty power that famous celebrity like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie couldn't resist.   Hollywood wowed his furniture crafts and make him a way in the furniture design industry, a  luxury market around the world.

Kenneth Cobonpue furniture designs were displayed in leading hotels, establishment, and resorts in Paris, London and the Caribbean. He said ideas were based in nature and materials were locally sourced in Cebu. Handcrafted modern design furnitures were manufactured under his name. Several of his designs were featured in international yearbook design and won top prize in international exhibits in Hong Kong, Singapore and France.

Kenneth Cobonpue sets were used in Hollywood movies including the Oceans'11 franchise and the hit American Television series CSI.

He has long given up his american citizenship went back home and teaches at the local university and picks promising students to work at his shop and one of them already won an international award for his ceiling lamp made of recycled materials.

Kenneth Cobonpue wanted to impart his art to more Filipinos now owns a design academy. He is truly an inspiring  Filipino, a true Filipino.

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01 February 2011

Possible Deployment of OFWs to Iraq and Afghanistan

The Philippine government responded to the call of lifting the ban traveling to Iraq as the Philippine embassy in Baghdad favors it. The Department of Foreign Affairs heads the inter -agency committee in assessing the situation and the possibility of worker deployment. 

The Philippines values opportunities for Filipino worker  anywhere in the  world  however, under Republic Act No. 8042 also known as "Migrant workers Act", the Philippine government has to ensure the safety, security and welfare of the overseas Filipino workers

Possible deployment will be considered as the inter -agency committee evaluates the situation in countries like Iraq  

The government said they will follow a strict guidelines in allowing deployment of OFWs' and a heavy penalty will be imposed to government officials allowing the deployment of migrant workers without guarantees required by law.

The committee includes the Department of Labor and Employment , the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration  and  the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
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