Eight great things to do this Christmas

Here are common great things that people do and some should do during this season:

1. Feed the homeless. We see a lot of people with no homes in the streets. Bring or share a meal with them.

2. Visit the prison. The people deprived of their liberty will spend their Christmas in jail. Give them your time. Talk to them. Listen.

3. Be kinder to your colleagues. Celebrate together. Exchange gifts. We love our manito or manita. MORE

Staying strong for Christmas away from home

ROSITA Morrell, a 69-year-old resident of Monte Maria Village, Catalunan Grande in Davao City and a mother of four children, hasn’t seen home since she left in 2013 to work abroad.

Morrell is currently working as a caregiver at a home for the aged in Fresno, California.

At her age, Morrell already has nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.

It’s been a long time since she experienced the Christmas in the Philippines as well as celebrating the season beside her loved ones.

Morrell said Christmas in the Philippines is really different from where she is right now.

“I missed everyone, and I miss home,” She said.
Despite of her age, Morrell still managed to endure a heavy work since she is a vegetable lover and a health conscious person.essensa1_

She loves organic food and her favorite meal is mixed vegetable soup or what they called in Davao “law-uy”.

Apart from her family, she misses the food in the Philippines, most probably the spinach and the morringga leaves where she used to pick up at her backyard in Davao.<a href=”http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/lifestyle/2016/12/19/staying-strong-christmas-away-home-515850″ target=”_blank”>MORE</a>

Get to know Asia Pacific’s queens

THE long wait is over because after almost a decade, new queens have been hailed for Miss Asia Pacific International. The newly crowned queens were tasked with the goal of promoting the beauty and diversity of each of their countries. As the first leg of its journey, the beautiful winners graced the Queen City of the South with their presence to learn about its culture, people and appreciate its cuisine.

The competition having been founded in the year 1968 is the first and oldest beauty pageant in Asia. But in 2006, the competition came to a halt. Having just recently been rejuvenated, the competition is now seeing a stronger future after having chosen the beautiful mix of faces to represent it and forward its advocacy for the year 2017.

The grand relaunch was held last Nov. 23. During the event, Miss Netherlands Tessa Helena Le Conge was crowned as Miss Asia Pacific International 2016 and also bagged the award for Miss Friendship. Miss Thailand Chawanya Thanomwong won first runner-up and was hailed Best in Swimsuit. Miss Philippines Ganiel Akrisha Krishnan won second runner-up, while Miss Cook Islands Felicia George was hailed as third runner-up and bagged the awards for Miss Photogenic and Best in Talent. Miss Korea Soyeon Kim came in fourth and was also chosen as Miss Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa. Only four of the winners were able to visit Cebu as Krishnan had to attend her thesis defense.

Miss Peru Ana Lucia Leiva won the People’s Choice Award.<a href=”http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/lifestyle/2016/12/18/get-know-asia-pacifics-queens-515759″ target=”_blank”>MORE</a>

Kochi Prefecture, a must-visit destination in Japan

HAVING stayed in Shikoku Island, particularly Kochi Prefecture, for two weeks has given me the opportunity to explore the wonders of this business and leisure destination in Japan.

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Shikoku is the smallest and least populated among the four main islands of Japan. It has four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi and Tokushima.

Despite its size, which is said to be at 18,800 square kilometers only, there is so much to enjoy in the area.(MORE )

Ibuki: an exquisite taste of Japan in Taiwan

JAPAN was on the travel list. It was the next destination after Taiwan. I was in Taipei but even before I set foot on Japanese soil, I was already feasting on its cuisine in a most delectable way at Ibuki, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel’s Japanese restaurant.

“And this is Ibuki, our Japanese restaurant,” said Carloyn Lee, the hotel’s communications manager, to end the tour of the hotel, “This is where we are having a Teppanyaki lunch.”

“Ibuki by Takagi Kazuo is Taiwan’s first Japanese restaurant to operate in concordance with Michelin standards. The restaurant follows and practices the culinary concepts of Consultant Chef Takagi Kazuo, the owner and head chef of Takagi in Japan, a restaurant that has earned two Michelin stars since 2010, when the first Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Nara version of the Michelin Guide was published.”

The chef specializes in Kyoto cuisine, thus Ibuki prides itself with “exquisite Kyoto cuisine with a Michelin-starred approach” and leading the culinary team in Taiwan is the former sous chef of Takagi, Kudo Masakazu.

JAPAN. The third course was this - prawn with all its parts cooked to be enjoyed. (Jinggoy I. Salvador)
JAPAN. The third course was this – prawn with all its parts cooked to be enjoyed. (Jinggoy I. Salvador)

Kyoto cuisine, Teppanyaki, Sushi, and Tempura are four styles of authentic Japanese cuisine that the restaurant places emphasis on to allow diners to enjoy a wide variety of delicacies prepared with a modern Kyoto touch.

The cuisine Ibuki promises may be first-rate but the restaurant is relaxed and the atmosphere, casual. It’s a place where an entire family can enjoy good food and good company.(MORE)

Google’s Year in Search: Pop culture, elections, and more

GOOGLE’S annual list of top trending searches reveals topics that uncover the moments that surprised, captivated, and moved Pinoys.

Filipinos’ love for pop culture is evident as this year’s overall top trending search term is “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber from his fourth album Purpose. Several Filipino artists did a cover of this song including James Reid and Kristel Fulgar, while YouTube creator Mikey Bustos did a parody of the song highlighting what courtship is like in the Philippines.

Following Bieber’s song are game applications slither.io and Pokémon Go on the second and third spots, respectively. Filipinos got hooked on catching pocket monsters in different areas of the country when Pokémon Go was made available in August.

Though Pokemon Go surpassed Slither.io in terms of downloads, Filipinos got more curious about Slither.io. This multiplayer game has a touch of the classic snake game where the player needs to grow the snake by collecting gems and defeating other snakes.

Other pop culture terms earning a spot on the trending search list are the movies Train to Busan and Suicide Squad, as well as chart-toppers “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey and “Secret Love Song” by Little Mix and Jason Derulo.(MORE)

Warsaw wandering

“WHEN in Rome, do as the Romans do,” goes the adage on following the customs of the land you’re in.
Well, they didn’t count on this Filipina touching down in Warsaw and doing whatever she wanted to do in Poland’s capital.

So on a spectacularly sunny day in June, when hatless visitors braved the sun’s piercing rays to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Pilsudski Square, I stood my ground as the only person in Warsaw to use an umbrella on a rainless day.

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My sisters tried to increase their distance from me as we explored Warsaw’s largest square and the Saxon Garden behind it, where I was sorely tempted to use my umbrella to whack a pair of young lovers who could not take enough selfies in front of the garden. Wilting in the heat, I prayed that their ardor for each other would burn them up so they would disappear and I could finally have my turn to take photos.

Actually, we just chanced upon the garden and the monument to the unnamed soldiers who died for Poland, as we took a shortcut through the square to get to the Old Town (Stare Miasto) that our guide had taken us to earlier.(MORE)

A quick tour inside the modern cave of Japan

HAVE you ever tried walking through the cave with steel stairs inside for convenience? How about going to the top of a hill via an escalator?

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At Ryugado Cave of Kami, Kochi Prefecture in the Shikoku Island of Japan, you will experience all these things. Don’t get me wrong, though. Amid these modern facilities to reach different points of the cave, one can still enjoy the experience, especially with its natural beauty. (MORE)

Filipino professor to be honored as distinguished business dean

A FILIPINO professor based in the United States is set to receive an international award on November 26 and 27 in Indonesia.

Dr. Joseph Mark Munoz, a Filipino professor of management and international business, will receive the 2016 Academy for Global Business Advancement (AGBA) Distinguished Business Dean recognition award at the Universitas Sebelas Maret in Surakarta Central Java, Indonesia.

Munoz described his success as “the best of what you can be to attain the highest quality of work.”
He became the interim dean of Tabor School of Business at Millikin University in the US on November 2, 2015 while the school is still looking for a permanent dean. (MORE)

London School of Marketing hosts unconventional graduation

THOUSANDS of students from across the globe have gathered in London to take part in what’s believed to be the UK’s biggest graduation of international students.

Almost 2,000 students received their awards from the London School of Marketing (LSM) at the Global Graduation Ceremony, held at the O2 Arena.

Among them were 47 students from the Philippines.

Thousands of students from across the globe have gathered in London to take part in what’s believed to be the UK’s biggest graduation of international students. (Contributed Photo)
Thousands of students from across the globe have gathered in London to take part in what’s believed to be the UK’s biggest graduation of international students. (Contributed Photo)

The ceremony offered a modern take on traditional graduations with students able to walk up on stage on a first come basis, receive their awards and have selfies with their families.

There was even a photo booth, complete with fun props, for students and their families to take silly snaps.

The London School of Marketing (LSM) is leading the way in e-learning and over the last three years has opened a network of Local Access Points (LAPs) across the globe.

These allow students to study for a UK accredited degree from home rather than travelling to and living in the UK.

LSM teaches them virtually but with offline support in their home country. The LAPs offer a physical presence within a country and local support for the student.

Today it teaches students from India, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Sri Lanka and many more.

Students from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Qatar and many other nationalities took part in the event.

Anton Dominique, chief finance officer for LSM said: “Over the last three years we’ve seen huge changes in the way education is delivered. For these students we offer them a cost effective way to gain a degree or qualification from a UK University without leaving home. For many it means they can study and work at the same time.

“We wanted the graduation ceremony to be different too and reflect the changing times. For many of our students, this was the first time they had visited London and we wanted the event to be one they would remember.

“That’s why it was all about having fun and enjoying the moment with their families and friends.”

Mr Dominique continued: “Our experience shows that international students do want a UK education but the cost of moving to and studying in the UK is prohibitive for many of them.

“Our Local Access Points can really make a difference. It gives students the chance to gain a UK accredited degree at a fraction of the cost. Feedback we’ve had from graduates proves the approach is working with many saying it’s already improving their career prospects.” (PR)

Filipina uses paper art techniques, wins award in Romania tilt

A FILIPINA, who uses paper art techniques, recently won in a contest in Brasov, city of Romania.

The 31-year-old artist Debra Liz Recuerdo won the grand prize for Visual Arts Contest Debu’s Visual Art held in Scoala Populara De Arta Brasov on January 25, 2016.

The award was given by the Brasov Country Council School of Art and Crafts.

“I did not expect that I will win the biggest prize, because a lot of talented students here and most of them are very good,” she said.

She said she started learning paper art techniques in September 2015.

She uses different colored papers, rolled them up, and put them together forming an art.

Here are some of the <a href=”http://www.artebrasov.ro/expozitie-e-visual/editia-i-15-oct-2015-25-ian-2016/” target=”_blank”>contestants </a> who joined the January 2016 contest.

In November 2015, her artwork won fourth place or mentiune for the International Exhibition of Fine Arts and Decorative Arts’ Decorative art-Traditional theme at the Popular School of Art and Craft.

The Filipino artist is holding an exhibit at Villa Adler, Romania that shows some of her artworks. The exhibit will run until July 17.

When asked what her advice is for those who are interested in paper art techniques, she said: “Do not be afraid to try as long you are happy with what you are doing. Don’t give up, especially in these (paper art) techniques. You need a lot of patience.”

She said in the next five years, her art will be recognized as a unique craft and hopes that more people will get interested.

Recuerdo, whose relatives hail from Danao and Carmen in Cebu, Philippines, is set to come back in the Philippines in July this year. <b>(PR)</b>

Fil-Brit talent Matthew Parry-Jones returns to Cebu

FILIPINO-British performer Matthew Parry-Jones has returned to Cebu, Philippines, to feed poor kids as part of his foundation’s (Jeremiah’s Foundation International) outreach program.

The 15-year-old Matthew, together with his Cebuana mother, Evelyn, Living Light Christian Fellowship pastor Ben Neri, and volunteers held a feeding program for the kids at Pediacare section of the Cebu City Medical Center on March 26.

On March 29, Matthew went to the Basak Elementary School in Mandaue City to give school supplies to kids. (MORE)

27 Filipinos get UK Chevening Scholarships

TWENTY seven Filipinos have been awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarships by the UK Government for the coming academic year.

The scholars were recently honoured at a reception hosted by Ambassador Asif Ahmad at his residence on 25 August.

The event was attended by the families of the scholars, members of the Chevening alumni network in the Philippines and scholarship co-sponsors, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, Megaworld Foundation and Shell Philippines Inc.

(Contributed Photo)

“I’m delighted to see so many Chevening Scholarships awarded in the Philippines this year. This is our biggest number ever so these future leaders are making history. Working with our partners, we are very fortunate to have been able to increase the number of scholarships this year, reflecting our strong commitment to a dynamic UK-Philippine relationship. And we plan to see this number increase next year. The application window for that is now open so I urge all potential future leaders with a dynamic vision for the future to seriously consider Chevening. Competition for scholarships remains intense, so my warm congratulations to our 27 successful scholars. I’m sure your time in the UK will help you develop your vision and plans and allow them to be put into effect when you return to the Philippines,” Ambassador Asif Ahmad said.

Ambassador Ahmad also thanked BPI, GlaxoSmithKline, Megaworld and Shell for their support which has helped send the biggest batch of Filipino scholars to the UK.

The Chevening Scholars are: Ysmael Mangorsi, Maila Beniera, Maria Carmen Fernandez, Tasneem AbdulRauf, Asnin Pendatun, Maria Lourdes Gregorio, Edy Lynn Santiago, Julius Lotilla, Paul Zambrano, Ianela Carla Ortiz, Benedict Nisperos, Carizza Castelo, Anya Palileo, Micaela Papa, Asryman Rafanan, Raymond Astillas, Robert Siy, Aison Garcia, Rhio Fuentes-Nuylan, Margarita Villanueva, Miguel Dorotan, Carmela Fonbuena, Emilio Marañon III, Baby Ruth Villarama, Marc Cebreros, Irene Valones and Ivan Ledesma.

They will pursue Masters Degrees at different educational institutions in the UK in the fields of: finance and economics, law & human rights, trade, art & film, health and sciences, governance and peace & conflict studies.

Chevening Scholarships are awarded by the British Government to those who have a vision and drive to become future leaders in their chosen fields and countries. The scholarships were named after the Chevening House, the British Foreign Secretary’s official country residence.

Applications to Chevening Scholarships are ongoing. You may click here for more information. (PR)