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Monday, April 27, 2009

First Quarter Updates on the Philippine Tourism Industry


Room capacity in key tourist destinations for the first quarter of 2009 expanded with the opening of new hotels and resorts that created additional employment in the midst of global economic downturn.

For the period January to March 2009, a total of 1,231 additional rooms were opened. With an aggregate cost of P8.016 Billion, these new investments directly employed 1,286 people.

The opening of the P3.18 Billion Imperial Palace Water Park, Resort and Spa increased the room supply in Cebu by 4% to 14,792. With 616 rooms, this new tourism project provided employment to 780 workers.

The San Remigio Beach Club in the northern part of Cebu has also opened its new facilities during the first quarter. With P8.5 Million in investments, the resort has built a convention facility to capture the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) of both international and domestic markets.

Shangri-la’s Boracay Resort and Spa, a high-end 217-room resort in Boracay Island, opened just in time for the influx of tourists on vacation and long holidays. The resort has initially hired 488 workers to manage its various ranges of product offerings.

Seven locators investing in 28 cluster villas for a total cost of P 761.9 Million in the Amanpulo Tourism Enterprise Zone in Palawan also began their operation during the first quarter.

In Metro Manila, the opening of the Legend International’s Park, Bed and Breakfast Hotel, Eurotel Hotel Branch in Makati, and the expansion of Oakwood Serviced Residences increased the total room supply by 320.

By year-end, some 1,946 people will be directly employed nationwide once the additional 2,315 rooms become operational in the following destinations:

· Metro Manila: Manila Ocean Park (120 rooms), The Picasso Serviced Residences (136 rooms), Newport Marriott Hotel (342 rooms), and Maxims Hotel (178 rooms)
· Cebu: Radisson Hotel (400 rooms)
· Boracay: Crowne Regency (449), Phonex Hotel (130 rooms), Boracay Regency Lagoon (120 rooms), Seven Stones (100 rooms), Grand Water (100 rooms)
· Puerto Princesa: Microtel Inns and Suites (50 rooms)
· Tagaytay: Summer Ridge (108 rooms)
· Albay: Discovery Bay Misibis (82 rooms)

With greater demand for tourism services, the Department of Tourism (DOT) endorsed five development projects worth P6.323 Billion in the first quarter of the year. These initiatives will generate 6,340 employment opportunities for local residents in the said tourist areas.

A US$ 200-Million luxury spa and resort is also set to be developed by Banyan Tree in a 55-hectare property in Diwaran Island of Palawan. This project will generate 8,000 direct and indirect jobs during the planning, construction and operational stages from 2009 to 2012.

In Subic, Harbor Yacht Services (HYS) Philippines will construct a restaurant and resort in a marina facility with an investment package of P 36.1 Million.

Creating New Tourist Products

An 18-hectare manmade lake called Lago del Rey, the biggest in the country, was opened to tourists by the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur. With the cost of P 20 Million, this new tourist product complements the wakeboarding park set up by the LGU in 2005. The facility offers family-oriented activities such as boat ride, fishing, and swimming, among others.

Anguib beach in Sta Ana, Cagayan has started to draw foreign and domestic wind and kite surfing enthusiasts because of its unspoiled natural wealth and wider and bigger reef ideal for the said sports. To promote the area, the DOT and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) have organized a windsurfing exhibition which was highly attended by international and local windsurfers.

With increased demand for nature and wildlife adventure, the DOT and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines have jointly developed birdwatching tours in coordination with tour operators and LGUs in key destinations. The most notable bird watching sites are in Balanga Ciy, Candaba Swamp, Paitan Lake, Pantabangan Dam, Puerto Princesa, Hundred Islands National Park, Subic Bay, Olango Island and Mount Apo.

The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, a leading conservation organization in the United Kingdom will dispatch a fact finding mission in May 2009 to assist the DOT and other agencies in the preservation and promotion of wetlands for wildlife habitat.

A sea kayak tour has also been designed by the DOT and the LGU of Alaminos in the Hundred Islands National Park in Pangasinan. Managed by the Hundred Islands Eco-Tour Association (HIETA), a community-based organization of out-of-school youth, the package involved a half- and whole-day kayak clinic and tour of the charming islets of the Hundred Islands as well as camping experience in Bolo Beach. The HIETA has been tapped by the DOT and Sun and Sea Kayaks to provide tour services during the Kayak Explore Hundred Island Summer Eco-Challenge in April 2009.

Capping on the popularity of the CamSur Wakeboarding Camp, a P500-Million Wakeboard Park will rise on a 12-hectare area in Silang, Cavite.

Increased Travel in Key Destinations

Tourist arrivals in top destinations of the country during the first quarter of 2009 grew by 10.33% for a total of 1.3 Million

Cebu attracted the biggest volume of visitors with a share of 32% followed by Boracay (12%), Davao City (11.9%), Camarines Sur (11%), Zambales (7%), and Bohol (5%).

Domestic tourist arrivals to Puerto Princesa City and Coron in Palawan posted a record breaking growth of 392% as more flights were mounted to these destinations from Manila, Cebu, and Caticlan as well as Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. Likewise, local visitors flocked to Camarines Sur for wakeboarding, Surigao del Sur, Sorsogon (Donsol) for whale shark interaction, Zambales (Subic) for recreation, Ilocos Norte and La Union for sightseeing and beach holiday resulting in double digit gains in these destinations.

Overall, the volume of domestic tourists visiting key destinations grew faster at 13% while foreign arrivals recorded a 4% hike in the first quarter.

Cebu was the most frequently visited destination by foreign tourists with 184,790 arrivals followed by Boracay (63,903), Zambales (25,252), Camarines Sur (24,976), and Bohol (24,350).

Cheers! =]

Sen. Mar Roxas and Ms. Korina Sanchez confirms their engagement =]

*invite credits: Sen. Mar Roxas and Staff; Yehey.com; Mr. Willie Revillame, the show's Exec. Producer and the Staff of Wowowee
*photo credits: pinayads.com

As sheer luck would have it on a last minute notice, two of my blogger friends Iris, Bobby and I, witnessed Sen. Mar Roxas and Ms. Korina Sanchez's live confirmation of their engagement on Wowowee.

Ms. Korina was set to be Mr. Willie's host for a segment wherein Sen. Mar donated "padyaks" as prices. Surprize! The Senator arrived and the gameshow was instantly, temporarily transformed into a talk show.

When Mr. Willie Revillame asked how Sen. Mar proposed the latter was happy to oblige. While he was restating the most important part..tears started rolling..tears of utter joy for sure! Ms. Korina wiped the tears off Sen. Mar's face and may I say be it cheesy for others but that moment was "priceless."

When will the wedding be? Maybe December's a good month, white wedding..before Christmas? But for sure if one of them files a leave of absence from work, then the wedding bells may be a few blinks away..oh well, just a guess (wink!wink!)

*for more photos and the video: www.pinayads.com

Cheers! =]

Healthy Headstart: Protect Babies from Rotavirus =]

*invite credits: GlaxoSmithKline
*where: Firehouse Resto at Hyatt Manila

When diarrhea and vomiting happen to babies the common cause is rotavirus. Modern vaccine technology now has a way to prevent rotavirus. When completed by the 3rd month of life, it will provide early protection up to 2 years when children are most vulnerable.

Talk to your doctor about protecting your baby against rotavirus now. It will be one less thing to worry about.

Cheers! =]

Awesome Philippines! =]

*invite credits: Dept. of Tourism, MTV, Protege and Yehey.com
*photo credits: pinayads.com
*where: M Cafe

The Department of Trade and Industry in line with its innovative campaign has teamed up with MTV to tap not just Generation Y but people of all ages who love to travel, Pinoys who want to rediscover their roots, basically the travel bug in all of us to experience"AWESOME PHILIPPINES!"

An online interactive website was also launched (warning, once you log in you may get addicted) containing their many awesome events, awesome updates and even an awesome game!


So byahe na and let's experience Our Awesome Philippines!

Cheers! =]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bizu Summer Tea Party Galore =]

Summer Sorbets - Raspberry and Merlot, Lychee and Vanilla, Apple and Mint, Passionfruit and Mango and Lemon and Ginger (they come in one set for only Php285)

Yoga Cake (Passionfruit + Yogurt + Lemon Curd)

*invite credits: Bizu Greenhills and Paul Pajo *photo credits: Paul Pajo and Irisaerin of pinayads.com

Bizu's Bloggers' Merienda part 2 was again a major sugar rush of epic proportions. Let me walk you thru the experience by enumerating the foodfest fare they prepared:

Afternoon Tea Menu:

Mushroom Duxelle in Vol-au-Vent
Salmon with Dill Pistachio Mousseline on Pate Brisee
Caramelized Apples with Brie on Croute
Petit Croque Monsieur
Petit Herbed Chicken Feta in Ciabatta

Classic Scones with Blueberry/Strawberry Balsamic Jam, Chantilly Cream and Whipped Butter


Macarons de Paris
Chocolate Truffles
Opera Cake
Mango Chiboust

Apple and Mint
Raspberry and Merlot
Passionfruit and Mango
Lemon and Ginger
Lychee and Vanilla

Yoga Cake - their recent masterpiece of a blissful union of tropical passionfruit and hearty yogurt, spread with just the right amount of lemon custard placed in between layers of moist sable and genoise sponge (passionfruit + yogurt + lemon curd)

Clipper Tea

Each scrumptious bite was bursting with flavour and will leave you "tea-high". I liked every one of it (who wouldn't) but my faves are the Salmon with Dill Pistaschio Mousseline on Pate Brisee and the Petit Herbed Chicken Feta in Ciabatta; the Opera Cake and the Chocolate Truffles; the Raspberry and Merlot and Lemon and Ginger Sorbets.

Bravo and thank you again Bizu Patisserie!

Cheers! =]

*will upload more photos within the week

Eastwood Easter Wonderland =]

*invite credits: Eastwood City and Ms. Tinay; *photo credits: Irisaerin of pinayads.com

Eastwood City offered kids and kids-at-heart five worlds to celebrate Easter this year.

Their "event passport" included various fun-filled activities at a petting zoo, science exhibit, an arcade, magic tricks and mimes, a pony ride arena, a marching band with cosplayers, a face/glitter paint booth, henna tatoo booth, a photo booth, etc. and oh, their Easter egg was larger than an ostrich's egg (major painting session ensued) and little girls got makeovers and treats from David's Salon too!

What can I say but its never too late to have a happy childhood. Thank you Eastwood City for an awesome Easter event!

Cheers! =]

Thursday, April 9, 2009

*invite credits: TV5 and Viva International; *photo credits: jp manahan

Jamal Malik is a penniless, eighteen year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He was arrested due to the allegation of cheating on the premise of how could an uneducated street kid possibly have such knowledge. The Police Inspector probes Jamal overnight and learns of his incredible past, tales of the slums where he and his brother Salim survived, encounters with local gangs to his heartbreak over Latika, the love he lost. Surprisingly, chapters of Jamal's life reveals where he learned the answers to the gameshow.

I highly recommend this flick not just for its uplifting message of hope but moreso that Filipinos may appreciate life here. The first thirty minutes detailed life in India if you are a poverty-stricken kid..family even. Their travails are such a shock especially when its pertaining to basic needs. There are depictions of a more comfortable life in India, still relatively not what some people have here, but corrupt as well. We tend to take for granted our little priveleges or blessings in life like clean water, clean loos, tryke/pedicabs/fx..heck we even have "tingi" or sachet shampoos, deodorants, etc...just watch it and you'll truly appreciate life here in the Philippines!

Cheers! =]

Ortigas and Co. recently unveiled Circulo Verde, its latest innovative residential development, which offers its future residents the living space they deserve.

This will sprout in a 12-hectare property along Calle Industria in Bagumbayan, Q. C. boasting of 15 residdential buildings of staggered heights. It will retain natural features that are unique as well as maximizing the potential of the Marikina River surrounding it.

A development of Ortigas and Co.. Ltd. Partnership. For inquiries, please call 631-5968 and 638-8633, send a fax to 631-5962, or e-mail to ciculoverde@ortigas.com.ph

Visit its website at http://www.circuloverde.com.ph/

Cheers! =]

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Yup, cooking is a passion in our family =]

Okay, so where do I start coz its been like months that I've been meaning to write about this. Oh well, here it goes..My family has different passions like singing, dancing, travelling, sports, advocacies, etc. But what surprizes most is the foodfest whenever we just want to hang around for the weekend, swimming at the clubhouse, picnics, occasions at home or even instant entertaining for close family friends.

Each has their specialty so to speak and its a given. So every "cooking session" we plan/meeting first (menu, cooking preparations, etc.), list the ingredients/cookwares, head for the supermarket (like an amazing race especially if its an instant get-together), prepare (if need be like if its to be marinated, chop/slice/dice in advance, etc.) and then the show begins (..insert Iron Chef shout here haha!).

Last holidays twas like a ballet of sorts coz even if we focused on our task we help out each other with slicing, dicing, if its seasoned enough, etc. plus the burners, the fridge, the freezer, the oven, even the barbecue corner..almost every kitchen appliance is at work.

So now you might be wondering what do I specialize in whenever there's a gathering..How dare you..haha!

Biko (sticky sweet brown rice); Shrimps sauteed in olive oil and garlic; Bean and Potato Salad; Cold Light Macaroni Salad

Salami, Australian ham, Australian bacon and Prosciutto wrapped in melon slices

Shrimps sauteed in olive oil and garlic; Salad greens with vinaigrette

Tuna pasta (tuna with peeled tomatoes sauteed in olive oil and garlic) topped with parmesan

Well, at home I used to bake brownies, cheesecake, etc. (now my oven's broken..*sigh*), pasta especially tuna with olives (moi sis and cousin doesn't really like capers), herbed scrambled eggs or eggs benedict as I learned from moi Auntie Sally, my chinese vegetable noodles is a win (simple but filling), chili tahong as I learned from moi sis (always have it even for karaoke sessions haha!), etc. but don't get me wrong I am no expert.

As of recent entertaining galores at Auntie Sally's house here in Manila I've been the hors d' ouevres "refiller". About eighty percent of the hors d' ouevres or horses doovers as referred to in Australia are handpicked, packaged and delivered from Sydney..stashed in the pantry or in the freezer. For additional choices then a quick trip to Santi's will solve it.

The cheese fare consists of haloumi cheese (pan fried with a dash of lemon), brie, tasty (edam), blue, camembert and some infused with different flavours ( for example, ones infused with almonds comes preserved in a thin coat of black wax).

The abregana meats consists of australian ham and bacon, prosciutto wrapped in melon slices, salami (oh yeah, it smells but its delsih!), sausages, etc.

The pickled onions, black olives, pickled jerkins, etc. paired with port or brandy is also a usual fare.

Fruitcake doused with port or brandy is also present for the sweet tooths to munch on before or after the dindin.

Anyhoo, that's it for moi uber delayed family food post..my tummy's grumbling from all that taptapin' the keyboard..now where's that choco bagel?

Cheers! =]

*photos from last Christmas (2008), New Year's (2009) and an instant get-together for close family friends (January 4, 2009).

Cibo Coffee =]

After The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus meet and greet at Trinoma Activity Center, together with Leira, Mark and Ryan..we hopped to Cibo for a quick break and some "reading" hehe!

I had me a cup of Cibo's coffee and I must say its one potent concotion. I usually take my coffee black with minimal sugar but had to try this with cream as well to see if there's a bit of change..drip as it may seem but it hit me just right.

Cheers! =]

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fish and Co.'s Desserts =]

Fruit Salad


Choco Cake ala mode

Peaches and Ice Cream

This is part one of my uber delayed posts about one of moi and my sis' passions regarding food..DESSERTS!

Fish and Co.'s has never ceased to keep getting better with innovations in their menu and the ambience, service, portions, quality, cleanliness plus the value for money is indeed worth it!

Here are some of their desserts which I recommend for food lovers and for your bingeing galore moments..enjoy!

(*will edit photo tags soon..=])

Fruit Salad - not the usual Filipino-style fruit salad since this includes apples, peaches, grapes, etc. w/ a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with choco syrup..uber delish and their serving is fit for two or three to share.

Tiramisu - their take on a classic italian dessert made of lady fingers and mascarpone cheese is good and the serving is fit for two or three to share.

Choco Cake ala mode - more like a mud pie ala mode; the choco cake is rich and moist and the vanilla ice cream is a welcome balancing factor and the serving is enough for two to share.

Creme Brulee - Burnt Cream in French, Leche Flan for Filipinos, Burnt Cream, Crema Catalana or Trinity Cream in Europe consists primarily of a rich custard base with a layer of hard caramel done using a handy chef's blowtorch. This version is of a rich vanilla custard base and the usual hard caramel is replaced by poured cooked caramel. Surprisingly light and great with coffee shared by two.

Peaches and Ice Cream - well the tag speaks for itself plus a generous topping of strawberry syrup and fit for two to share.

Cheers! =]

Visuals With Vision: YOCard =]

*invite credits: YoCard and Faith Salazar; *where Pablo Gallery located at Cubao Expo, Q. C.

YOCard, the premiere freecard provider in Metro Manila, serves as a canvass for showcasing postcard print mediums exhibited in a public place for viewing and interaction. This project is an effort to introduce the concept of social design in the country. With Visuals with Vision, your work can push for change and a better livelihood through design.

For more information please visit: www.yocardonline.com

Patay Gutom Majesty at Heavenly Chocolates =]