Thursday, May 30, 2013

Soft Micro Enterprises : High Quality Business Designs and Software Applications for a Reasonable Cost!

       Soft Micro Enterprises is a software and hardware reseller,computer repair expert and a web design and development firm that is sure to provide high quality business designs and software applications for a reasonable cost. It is duly intended to render three key services, namely, web design and development, OS based software and hardware dealership,and computer repair.

Started in 2002 as a home based business,catering to entrepreneurs that has small to medium enterprises and wishes to make it more appealing and known to a much wider market.Solely owned by Mr. Mark Anthony Wagan,Soft Micro Enterprises has been established and created to provide solutions to individuals who want to make a mark to its target market by providing and giving information regarding their businesses.Soft Micro Enterprises, is recognized by Microsoft Partner Network as one of its affiliate when it comes to education,while Cisco Systems Inc. recognized Soft Micro Enterprises,as one of their registered partners authorized to sell and distribute Cisco products. 

Their mission is "To build innovative technologies that make business process easier."

Their vision is "To be the best and trusted company in providing innovative technologies."

 Soft Micro Enterprises is a web design and development firm which offers the most efficient, trendy and technologically advanced web services today. We provide a package of services designed to suit the business objectives of our client.

Their doors are open to everyone with web development concerns. Should you wish to seek our help, you need not think twice. It is always their pleasure to serve you.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5 Things You Need to Know About Mono, The Kissing Disease

        You decided where you're going to go to college, and you've been duly warned about the dreaded 15 pounds Freshman weight gain thing. But did you know up to one in four college freshmen get mono? 

1. Yes, kissing spreads it 
People pass the Epstein-Barr virus (which causes mono) through saliva, often during hookups that involve, as docs say, "deep kissing with tongue." Sex won't up your odds of catching it, a new study found. 

2. Who gave it to me? 
It can take four to six weeks after exposure to feel symptoms, so you may never know whose saliva (or which beer-pong cup) is to blame. Healthy again? Wait at least four to kiss anyone.

3. When should I see a doc? 
Get a blood test if you feel any of these for a week or longer: fever, sore throat, I'm-huffing-and-puffing-just-walking-to-class exhaustion, or swollen lymph nodes. 
4. How is it treated? 
There's no magic pill for mono antibiotics don't work on viruses. You can help your body fight off the infection by sleeping as much as possible, drinking water and juice, and eating fruits, veggies, and protein.

5. It does go away 
You may feel like crap for weeks, even months, and should avoid booze and sports (your liver and spleen may be swollen). When you're better, you're done; mono doesn't pop back up when you're run-down. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Six Part Invention Releases Stripped And Covered; Gears Up For Album’s International Release!

      Stripped and Covered, the album includes some of the most memorable 90’s light rock tunes, is Six Part Invention’s first album under Universal Records. The said album will also be released in four countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Six Part Invention joins the elite roster of Universal Records roster – Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Parokya Ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Spongecola, Christian Bautista, Noel Cabangon, Gloc-9, Richard Poon, Sam Concepcion, JayR, Billy Crawford, Callalily, among others.

Two Steps Behind, the album’s carrier single, topped the music charts. It was number one on the mymusicstore charts for six consecutive weeks.

“The production of the album is really a labor of love from all of us in the band,” adds Kaye. “I hope this album takes everyone on a romantic musical journey.”
Six Part Invention, composed of Rey, Kaye and Tag Cantong, and Andy Dela Cruz, includes some of the well-loved light rock tunes from the 90’s including Def Leppard’s Two Steps Behind, Bad English’s When I See You Smile, White Lion’s You’re All I Need, Europe’s Carrie, Cheap Trick’sThe Flame, among others.

“To be part of the Universal Records family is really a dream come true for us,” expresses Rey. “This album celebrates many firsts for us – our debut album for Universal and our first time to take on an album concept like this. Plus, we are so thankful that the album will be available in other territories in Southeast Asia.”
Six Part Invention is being managed by Orion Entertainment, alongside Noel Cabangon, Kimpoy Feliciano, Malay, Jordan Bautista, Jason Fernandez, Jensen Gomez, Aspen Way, Runmanila, and She’s Only Sixteen. For inquiries, please email

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

BLAST-OFF! The ToyCon 2013 Launching Event!

Everyone is invited to our Toycon 2013 launching event!

This is just a teaser for our main event this June 14-16, 2013 in Megatrade Halls 1-3, SM Megamall

 BLAST-OFF! The ToyCon 2013 Launching Event
May 25, 2013, Saturday
The Plaza, Newport Mall
Resorts World Manila, Pasay City

Featuring toys and collectibles display, Cosplay, Toycon Presscon, MYMP performance and Alodia meet and greet

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Unleash The Heroes Of Change!

        Every child has an inner bida—a hero-in-the-making waiting to be unleashed. The real change we’ve been waiting for could be locked inside young minds and hearts. All they need is the right reinforcement to bring out their potential even at a tender age.

      CBN Asia and its flagship TV program The 700 Club Asia believe in investing in the country’s future by inspiring Filipino children and giving them a strong faith foundation.

This is why The 700 Club Asia is devoting a live TV special this May for Filipino children. Titled Bida ng Pagbabago, this special telecast will encourage viewers to support CBN Asia’s mission to instill good Filipino morals and Biblical values in a generation heavily saturated by unwholesome media and technology.

Bida ng Pagbabago will also introduce CBN Asia’s biggest TV project for 2013: the reimagined and digitally animated Superbook. The series is poised to deliver the powerful message of the Bible to children through cutting-edge, vivid and exciting animation and storytelling that Filipino kids will surely love and enjoy. CBN Asia hopes that every Superbook episode will be a positive catalyst in children’s hearts and will prepare them to be God-loving citizens of our country.

You can be part of our battle cry in Bida ng Pagbabago! Catch it from May 20 to 24, Monday to Friday, 11 p.m. live on GMA News TV and via webcast at •

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New study suggests humans are not naturally violent

By: JG Vibes     
     A new study published last month in Nature Journal suggests that humans are naturally good. This study adds to the mounting evidence against the popular misconception that corruption is a trait of human nature.

    In ten experiments using economic games, scientists observed that faster decisions result in more cooperation and generosity, while slower, calculated decisions show a decrease in cooperation and generosity. The conclusion is that the automatic reaction is to be friendly, generous and cooperative, and only upon further consideration do humans become greedy or violent.From the study:
“To explain these results, we propose that cooperation is intuitive because cooperative heuristics are developed in daily life where cooperation is typically advantageous. We then validate predictions generated by this proposed mechanism. Our results provide convergent evidence that intuition supports cooperation in social dilemmas, and that reflection can undermine these cooperative impulses.”
Any scientific studies these days should be taken with a grain of salt, because we are without a doubt living in an era of soviet style science, where state and corporate entities are using the scientific establishment to project a particular worldview into the mainstream consciousness. This is why it is important to always look for funding sources and seek many different avenues of research. However, in this case, this particular study is just one of many proposals put forward by the scientific community in the past several decades stating confidently that corruption has nothing to do with human nature, as the popular misconception states.

The first time this issue was brought up in the mainstream scientific community was in 1986 when scientists from around the world got together to discuss the psychological and biological evidence proving that human nature is no excuse for violent behavior. The findings that were released came to be known as “The Seville Statement”.

This statement made 5 propositions, which are:
1. “It is scientifically incorrect to say that we have inherited a tendency to make war from our animal ancestors.”
2. “It is scientifically incorrect to say that war or any other violent behavior is genetically programmed into our human nature.”
3. “It is scientifically incorrect to say that in the course of human evolution there has been a selection for aggressive behavior more than for other kinds of behavior.”
4. “It is scientifically incorrect to say that humans have a ‘violent brain’.”
5. “It is scientifically incorrect to say that war is caused by ‘instinct’ or any single motivation.”
Since the Seville statement there have been many more studies reconfirming the propositions put forward. Just this past February a new study by a biologist named Frans de Waal showed that animals are naturally prone to cooperation when in the right circumstances.

As I discussed in the article Human Nature a Self Fulfilling Prophecy, the actions that people carry out today, and the actions that have been carried out throughout history are the result of environmental factors, as well as psychological trauma and manipulation, they can not be chalked up to “human nature”.To chalk the violence that we see around us up to human nature, is to avoid admitting there is a problem, thus preventing any progress from being made towards peace. If we think that human beings are dangerous and violent creatures, then some of us will be able to rationalize and justify malevolent behavior by writing it off as human nature, instead of condemning it as we should.
If we actually condemn this behavior instead of making empty excuses for it, we will without a doubt drastically lower the level of violence on this planet. Individually, and as a species, we can only go as far as our imagination will take us. We are only capable of what we can imagine, and if all we can imagine is violence, submission, and domination, then that’s all were ever going to get.

J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio. He is also an artist with an established record label and event promotion company that hosts politically charged electronic dance music events. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website .

Saturday, May 18, 2013

DOTC Pursues 3-Year Program To Reduce Domestic Shipping Costs For Inclusive Growth

     The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is beginning a three (3)-year program aimed at generating growth for the country’s agribusiness trade, directly benefitting workers in the agricultural and fisheries sectors across the country, in line with President Benigno S. Aquino III’s push for inclusive growth. 

The DOTC announced on Wednesday (May 8, 2013) that it has signed a Cooperation Agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to pursue various policy and regulatory reforms in the Philippine shipping sector in order to improve our farmers’ market access and integration by reducing the cost of domestic shipping. 

The project will involve a diagnostic review by the IFC to identify areas where pro-competitive practices will help meet these goals. The DOTC will work together with its frontline agencies, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), in reviewing the results of the study and implementing the recommendations of the IFC from 2013 to 2016. 

“This partnership with the IFC is a very welcome development. It will have a major impact on our economy, especially for farmers and fisherfolk who stand to realize the most gains from our policy reforms,” said the Transport Department. 

The DOTC explained further that, by reducing domestic shipping costs, the prices of commodities will also go down. According to a study prepared by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2005, 24.2% to 43.8% of the wholesale price of food products is on account of transport and logistics costs. 

“By making it cheaper to move agricultural goods from farms to markets, the prices of these commodities will also be reduced, making them more affordable to consumers,” remarked the DOTC. “These benefits are the reason why the DOTC, MARINA, and PPA – all of whom share the President’s vision of inclusive growth – look forward to this project.” 

This effort is partly funded by the Canadian International Cooperation Agency (CIDA), and will require no cost on the part of the Philippine government. It is also part of the IFC’s Philippine Agribusiness Trade Logistics program. 

According to IFC Resident Representative Jesse Ang, this agreement demonstrates the IFC’s confidence in the DOTC, MARINA, and PPA’s efforts to undertake shipping and port reforms.

DOTC Announces 5 Prequalified Bidders for P 1.72-Billion AFCS PPP Project

Five (5) out of the nine (9) consortia which sought to qualify for the P 1.72-Billion Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) Project have been shortlisted by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), the Transport Department disclosed on Wednesday (May 8, 2013). 

The 5 bidders which prequalified are: (1) AF Consortium, led by the Metro Pacific and Ayala groups; (2) Comworks Consortium, which includes Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp.; (3) E-Trans Solutions Joint Venture, Inc. Consortium, which includes Eastwest Banking Corp.; (4) Megawide-Suyen-Eurolink Consortium, which will tap the experience of Singapore’s EZ-Link Pte. Ltd.; and (5) SM Consortium, led by several companies of the Sy family. 

“We are pleased to announce that 5 interested groups have prequalified to bid for the AFCS Project, one of our first PPP (Public-Private Partnership) offerings. This means that we are getting closer to identifying who our private sector partner will be in bringing a modern commuting experience to the public,” said the DOTC. 

Based on the current timeline, the prequalified consortia will have until August 30, 2013 to prepare their bids for the project. According to the DOTC, “[W]e set this deadline for bid submission to give bidders the maximum amount of time to come up with their best proposals for government without compromising our schedule. As long as we have the full support and cooperation of the bidders, we will remain on track with our targets.” 

Meanwhile, the 4 disqualified groups are: (1) Lamco Consortium; (2) Mega Lucky United Consortium; (3) MTD-PRLM Consortium; and (4) San Miguel Transport Solutions Consortium. 

In the case of Lamco, it nominated consortium member New San Jose Builders, Inc. to meet the project’s financial qualification requirement. However, the documents provided during the submission deadline last April 12 showed that its net worth fell below the P 1-Billion minimum. Additional documents submitted by Lamco after the deadline were not considered by the DOTC-LRTA Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), since this would have amounted to a bid modification. 

For Mega Lucky, there was no proof that its members have no unsatisfactory record. The required basic information and general information sheets of its members were also absent. 

Meanwhile, MTD-PRLM’s submission lacked proof establishing the required experience of its nominated AFCS operator. In addition, its Project Implementation Plan and Project Development Plan failed to show its ability to undertake the project due to missing components. 

Lastly, San Miguel Transport Solutions’ Project Implementation Plan and Project Development Plan did not include certain required components, similar to MTD-PRLM.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


CBNs Superbook Kids website is a safe place for your kids to play free online games, learn more about the Bible, and grow in their faith!

In 1981, the Christian Broadcasting Network created a children’s animated Bible series as part of an outreach to the nation of Japan. Little did we realize what impact the series would have in Japan and throughout the world.

The English name for this series was “Superbook”. Research performed during and after the outreach showed that this series was an unprecedented success.

Superbook, also known as Animated Parent and Child Theater, Anime Oyako Gekijō), is an anime television series produced by Tatsunoko Productions in Japan in conjunction with the Christian Broadcasting Network in the United States.

Over 8 million people a night watched Superbook on Japanese prime-time television, 104 episodes were produced and aired on television throughout Japan, and the Bible became the best selling book in Japan.

From Japan, the Superbook series went on to air throughout the world from Asia to North America. By 1989, in the midst of economic and political turmoil, Superbook began broadcasting in the Soviet Union to astounding results.

Superbook aired during prime-time on the Soviet National Channel. CBN received over 6 million letters from children, introducing a whole generation to the Bible. Even today the Superbook Kids Club is one of the highest rated live action children’s programs in Ukraine.

Since first airing in Japan, the Superbook series has now been broadcasted in over 106 countries, translated into 43 languages and has been viewed by over a half billion people.

But, because of today’s new storytelling technology, the original series is losing appeal with this media savvy generation. To solve this problem, CBN is producing a re-imagined, 3D animated version of Superbook. The pilot episode is the story of David and Goliath.

Our goal is to produce a new series that will honor the life-changing legacy of the original series and re-introduce it to a new generation.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Countries With Tough Visa Applications

Getting a permit to enter or visa to other countries can be a breeze, although in some cases it depends on your country of origin. However, there are some countries where getting a visa is complicated no matter the color of your passport. This is why most people prefer to engage the services of immigration and visa consultancy companies such as Global Visas which know the ins and outs of the visa application process of most countries. Before you give in to the lure of cheap accommodations or decide that travel to exotic places is just the right move for you at this particular juncture, find out first what you’re getting, or not getting, into.

The visa application process differs from country to country. In some, such as Angola and Russia, th process requires a multitude of documents, such as medical tests, letters of invitation, financial sureties, educational background, or employment history. Small mistakes in the application form can mean a rejection, and in the case of Angola, approval takes a long time.

Cuba is off-limits to most Americans, especially if the passport is stamped by a Cuban Embassy. Most Americans may also be denied entry into North Korea, which doesn’t even have an embassy in the US. Getting a visa for Saudi Arabia is not difficult, but chances are if you don’t know what you are doing you are applying for the wrong kind. They have very specific visas for different types of visitors, and women especially will be subject to close scrutiny.

Iran has no embassies of its own, so visa applications are handled by other countries such as Pakistan in the US and Switzerland in Tehran. To get a visa, you must have an Iranian sponsor, and if you are not careful, you could end up in prison for any number of violations. The case for Brazil is that their visa application process can change from day to day, and there is no fixed timetable  and if you are smiling in your passport photo, you can kiss your chances of approval goodbye. 

It is expensive to enter China; the visa costs $140 for a single entry if you apply yourself. Additional fees apply if you send a representative, but they do process quickly.  However, if your medical history indicates you have suffered from a contagious or mental disease, you will probably be denied a visa. 
The US and the UK are very difficult you get a visa for because they have strict security measures in place. Even if you do get a visa, you may still be turned away if they find any reason to suspect you are not what you represent yourself to be, especially in post 9/11 US.  Students are particularly given a hard time; in the UK, foreign students must have employment waiting for him or her at the end of their studies coming with a government-registered employer. 

If you like to travel to other countries, getting a visa is a crucial step in the process. Most people do not have extensive experience in applying for visas, so doing it yourself is probably not going to end well for you. At the very least, you will have wasted your time and money, at the worst you could be turned away at the airport or detained.  If you are considering taking the plunge, consult with professional visa assistance companies like Global Visas and avoid headaches and problems when you travel.

Global Visas has won for its clients the most difficult battles as far as visa facilitation is concerned, such as immigration to Australia. The expertise of the Global Visas team allows it to deliver the best quality service in the lodgment of spousal, fiancée, tourist and working visas. The company holds the distinct advantage of having personnel in destination countries as well as constant updating of visa regulations in these areas: the USA, Canada, UK and other parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asian territories. Visit for more information.

Monday, May 6, 2013






08 April 2013 – Singapore: ONE Fighting Championship™ (ONE FC), presented by Casino Filipino and in association with Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC), announced today three undercard bouts for ONE FC: RISE TO POWER. Up and coming Lowen Tynanes will battle the seasoned Felipe Enomoto while MMA veteran Tim Sylvia is back in action against Tony Johnson and fan favorite Ryan Diaz will take on Russian ace Yusup Saadulaev. All the action takes place live on 31 May from the MOA Arena in Manila, Philippines.

As a young MMA fighter, Lowen Tynanes has already made a big impression by winning fights against top opponents in the Philippines, Japan and Malaysia. The high school wrestling champion silenced the home-crowd in Manila by incapacitating crowd-favorite Eduard Folayang with a vicious elbow which caused the doctor to instantly stop the fight. In his last outing at ONE FC, Tynanes also defeated Hong Kong-based South African fighter Vuyisile Colossa via rear naked choke. A proud American, he loves nothing better than to travel to Asia to take on the best local fighters in their own back yards. Tynanes is once again looking forward to showcasing his skills when he takes on Swiss-Japanese fighter Felipe Enomoto.

Each time Felipe Enomoto has entered into the ONE FC cage, he has been the underdog. This time, it is no different. Having established a reputation as being one of the toughest and most durable fighters in Asia who always leaves it all in the cage, Enomoto will undoubtedly be looking to silence the crowd with a decisive victory in the early rounds. Any fight which involves Enomoto is going to be a treat for MMA fans because this fighter never backs down no matter who the opponent is or which round he’s in.

One of the most frightening figures the MMA world has ever witnessed in combat sports action is Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia. Towering at over two meters tall, this brute of a man poses a serious threat to every heavyweight fighter in the world. Sylvia has fought over 30 times, won numerous championships and knocked out countless opponents. Sylvia’s unusual combination of size and quickness has ushered in a new era of monstrous, weight cutting heavyweights who seek total domination of their smaller counterparts. Sylvia is looking for a spectacular KO when he squares off against Tony Johnson on 31 May.

Tony Johnson is an imposing heavyweight fighter. Considered a top prospect in the heavyweight division, Johnson is famed for being one of the fastest strikers in the division and is currently on a two fight win streak. At ONE FC: RISE TO POWER, he will be looking to make an impressive debut in the famed ONE FC cage.

Ryan Diaz has been training in MMA for over ten years and already has thirteen professional wins to his name. Over a long career, Diaz continues to perfect his background in BJJ, Muay Thai and boxing. He possesses incredible power and strength. Diaz is much more experienced of the two fighters and will be looking to use his strength to overpower his Russian opponent and return to the USA victorious. After 2 outings in the ONE FC cage, Russian wrestler Saadulaev is still searching for his first ONE FC victory and will enter the cage for the third time with the determination to prevent a Diaz win at all costs.

Tickets for ONE FC: RISE TO POWER on 31 May are exclusively available at Casino Filipino outlets nationwide. Refer to for details.

Fans from around the world can witness the action online via live streaming at first three undercard fights are available for viewing free-of-charge and the main card fights will be available for purchase at just US$9.99.

ONE FC: RISE TO POWER is headlined  by a ONE FC Featherweight World Championship bout between reigning champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario against number one contender Koji Oishi and pound-for-pound king Bibiano Fernandes taking on Koetsu Okazaki for the ONE FC Bantamweight Interim Title.  All the action takes place live from the MOA Arena in Manila, Philippines.

 For more updates on ONE Fighting Championship™, please visit and follow on Twitter @ONEFCMMA and Facebook at

About ONE Fighting Championship
Headquartered in Singapore, ONE Fighting Championship™ ( is Asia's largest mixed martial arts organization. ONE Fighting Championship™ hosts the best Asian mixed martial artists and world champions on the largest media broadcast in Asia. ONE Fighting Championship™ has partnered with STAR Sports, the number one leader in sports content, for an unprecedented 10-year cable television deal with a coverage that spans across 70+ countries in Asia.

Boracay Establishments Heed The Call For Voluntary Redevelopment

    The DOT Region VI office reported that among those which have complied are the Ambassador in Paradise and Seawind Beach Resort, both high-end resorts located at Brgy. Balabag. Ambassador in Paradise was the first resort to implement the clearing of the seawall built in front of the establishment that encroaches the easement. The clearing was made after the resort management attended the Consultation with the Business Cluster spearheaded by DOT Region VI last 17 January 2013, in which representatives of tourism establishments were advised to tear down the said structures to protect the area from further damage caused by sand erosions during south monsoon season. Other establishments located at Sitio Mangayad in Brgy. Balabag such as The Mandarin de Boracay Resort, Le Soleil de Boracay Beach Resort, Boracay Uptown, Chez de Paris Restaurant, and Nigi Nigi Nu Noos Resort also did their share by relocating fish bars and seafood display tables inside their respective establishments to allot space for the walkways. 

Early this year, the task force announced that several establishments were found to be not complying with the redevelopment plans for Boracay and were issued notices to act on the plan by the end of March. However, since the volume of tourists had peaked as early as February and continues to do so, the deadline was extended until after the summer season. 
The government task force enjoins the rest of the establishments concerned to comply with the voluntary redevelopment directive as soon as possible. The order pertains to the illegal structures, including embankments to prevent floods. The community was assured of an upcoming flood control project that will start soon and be completed within the year. 

“With the rise of tourism arrivals comes a heightened sense of protection and preservation of our natural resources. I am thankful that we already have the support of several stakeholders who understand the importance of sustainability. With the many international accolades the country is getting at the present, we cannot be complacent. We have just managed to breach the 1M visitor arrival mark in the first quarter leading towards our 5 million target this year. We can only be confident when we have the support of all stakeholders beyond Boracay in protecting the tourism assets in their respective destinations. This is definitely part of the more fun campaign, that is keeping the hosts proud and making sure our visitors are satisfied” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.

Tourist Arrivals Bring “More Fun” With 1.27M Visitors In First Quarter!

      First quarter visitor arrivals reached 1.27 million, a 10.76 percent growth from last year’s 1.15 million for the same period. This marks the second time that foreign tourist arrivals breached the one-million mark in the first quarter, setting the pace for the Department of Tourism to reach its 5.5 million arrival target for 2013. The first quarter performance accounts for 23 percent of the target arrivals for the year.

Korea remains the leading visitor market, which captured 25.83% of the total inbound traffic with 328,454 arrivals, followed by the United States with 186,065 or 14.63% of the overall visitor volume. The Japanese market contributed the third biggest arrivals with 114,269 or 8.99%. Rounding up the top five visitor markets for the first quarter are China with 98,242 and Taiwan with 53,867 visitors. The Korean market rose by 23.93%, the highest among the top five major markets.

Other key markets contributing significant volume of arrivals include Australia with 53,679; Singapore with 41,524; Canada with 38,486; Hongkong with 36,005; United Kingdom with 32,475; Malaysia with 27,212; and Germany with 22,491.

Double-digit gains were recorded by the Russian Federation (26.9%), Hongkong (25.04%), Korea (23.93%), India (22.1%), Singapore (15.42%), Australia (12.65%), and Malaysia (11.86%). The ASEAN source markets grew 14.82% while East Asia increased by 14.15%.

Visitor arrivals for March 2013 also saw a double-digit increase of 11.28% with 417,392 visitors compared to the previous year’s volume of 375,083. For the fourth consecutive month since December 2012, the country has been surpassing the 400,000 visitor arrival mark. The upward trend may be attributed to the upcoming summer season, which is a peak season for the tourism industry.

“Month after month, we bear witness to a steady upward performance and new record highs. This only means that the efforts of the Department and its partners are bearing fruit. To achieve our 2013 target of 5.5 million and 2016 target of 10 million, the Department and its industry partners are actively working on stimulating greater demand overseas, while infrastructure agencies have committed to step up our convergence programs to facilitate entry and access to the different destinations in the country,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. said.

He added that the expansion and development of secondary gateways could ease the volume of traffic in the primary gateways of Manila and open the country to more visitors by bringing them closer to their end destinations. Significant investments in the air transportation, as well as in the accommodation sector, are seen to beef up capacities in the years to come.

“With key policy reforms such as the lifting of significant security concerns by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the rationalization of the Common Carriers Tax (CCT), the focus is shifted to the tangible areas such as connectivity and improvement of tourism products,” Secretary Jimenez concluded.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Walking Labyrinth Project - A Mindful Walking!

Dear brothers, sisters, friends,

It is a great joy to share with you a dream:
To build a walking labyrinth at Rizal Park/Luneta, and share with the public our practice of mindful walking.

With this creative and meditative project, we take our mindfulness practices beyond the comfort of our mats and cushions, work together as a Sangha, and contribute to society. Mindfulness is a beautiful gift to the public.

How you can help:
1. Volunteer to mindfully design and build the labyrinth
2. Sponsor materials that may be needed, such as smooth stones, signboards, colored chalk, art materials, etc.
3. Volunteer to lead/guide meditation sessions at the labyrinth

IF YOU WISH TO TAKE PART in this project:
Please contact Alon Payapa at 0927-9436429, or via Facebook.
You may also suggest ideas on how to better joyfully implement this project :)

How will we work:

1. One of our sisters who was with us during the first Plum Village retreat in the Philippines, Julia Nebrija of MNL Moves, very passionate about urban community design, is our point person with the National Parks Development Committee, which in turns oversees the Rizal Park. She has discussed the project with the government agency and is in the process of ironing out details like dates and permits.

2. We will gather volunteers who are willing to brainstorm for the design and implementation of the walking labyrinth. This meeting will be like a group of classmates doing a school project. :)

3. We will schedule a day where volunteers will bring materials needed and build the labyrinth at Rizal Park (Art Park area). We also need to schedule an intimate and meaningful ceremony to open the labyrinth to the public, having sitting and walking meditation as very integral parts of the activity.

4. Around the walking labyrinth we wish to put up signboards with verses/calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh to contemplate on, such as "Peace is Every Step", "The Miracle is to Walk on Earth", "Walk as if your feet is kissing the earth", "Every step a breath", etc.

5. The walking labyrinth may be open to the public for a weekend/entire week. We may schedule time-slots for volunteers to lead and guide sitting and walking meditation sessions.

6. Wrapping up the walking labyrinth means that we can bring it to other parks and places! This is a start of a series :)

IF YOU WISH TO TAKE PART in this project:
Please contact Alon Payapa at 0927-9436429, or via Facebook.
You may also suggest ideas on how to better joyfully implement this project :)

More info here:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Photography Academy - Manila!

   The Photography Academy - Manila is the most prestigious Photography school in the Philippines with the mission to develop photographers who make a difference.

We are an academy, a community, an advocacy.

Join us.