Welcome to Sun.Star Blogs and Specials, a section where you can find updates on current events and hottest issues of the day. This section contains several micro-sites that were designed to cover certain topics and issues, such as corruption in the government, developments in the Aquino administration, updates on Cebu’s grandest festival – the Sinulog, schedule of fights and the life of Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, and even a section for Filipinos abroad, among others. Each of these micro-sites is interactive and has videos, photos, maps and graphics. Browse through the sites featured in this section, and know more about what’s inside Sun.Star.
News, Events From The Blog
October 26th, 2015 0 Comments

THE Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 urged local governments to set aside a budget to buy masks that will protect their constituents from haze. It said yesterday that the level of small dust particles in Cebu’s air has gone beyond safe limits. As Cebu continues to experience the smaze—a term the weather bureau coined, combining

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August 27th, 2015admin 0 Comments

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)

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August 21st, 2015admin 0 Comments

By Aimee Andaya Hilger

WATCHING the news about the massive rape cases in Congo made me angry but I was more worried about my friend. I haven’t seen her for a long time. I’ve seen her growing up and met her a couple of times when she was reviewing for her nursing licensure exams. Thanks to Facebook, we were able to connect even if she’s a million miles away from me.

My adventurous friend was a field worker nurse for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known to many as Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization present in nearly 70 countries. My friend was assigned in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

(Photo Courtesy: JI Nacanaynay)

Jay Ai Nacanaynay, the little girl I used to play with when I was still living with their family way back in college, fulfilled my dream to go and immerse in any place in Africa.

Before MSF, her nursing career started in Benghazi, Libya but when the war escalated, she went home and tried to look for a better place. Luck led her to Montreal Canada. She studied French so she’ll be able to understand her colleagues and her patients well. Her short stint in Libya taught her that language barrier could make matters worse. She said a patient in Libya who had Necrotizing Fascitis, a rare bacterial skin infection that kills the body’s soft tissues, liked her even if they didn’t understand each other. Other nurses avoided her but this young Filipina nurse did her duty even if she smelled awful. Her colleagues laughed at her when she misunderstood them. So, learning the language is a big deal if you’re working abroad.

As soon as she completed her language course, she chose not to work in Canada. Being a health worker in Congo didn’t make her bank account fat but it showed her different walks of life.

When I chatted with her about the rape cases, I asked her many questions so I could visualize her situation. She said living in a part of Congo was the total opposite of the life and leisure she had before. Their project is in a small province with little villages. They don’t have electricity so the office and the staff house just use generators. They are the ones providing electricity to the hospital. By 6 p.m., the streets are dark and they use flashlights to walk their way to the staff house. Some houses are lit up using petrol lamps. Others, (if they can afford) use solar panels to get electricity. They have a pit privy toilet or what we call the squatting toilet. No hot shower, not bathtubs but only a big pail and plastic cups for shower. Aside from the stocks they get once in every two weeks, they eat the same variety of food that they can find in the village. They were given allowances and salary but not as much as what she can get if she works in hospitals in other countries. Why?

She said she took the risk to work in extreme condition with a different setting to learn new culture and to fulfill her humanitarian dream. She actually labeled it as “living the extremes” because to her, it is the extreme.

She saw many children having severe malaria and were sent to the hospital almost dying and needing blood transfusion but they can’t provide them blood because it wasn’t available. They have roughly around 6-8 units of blood available every day in the whole hospital because it is difficult to find blood donors due to remoteness of the area, high cases of STDs and blood-borne diseases in the area. There is also a high rate of malnutrition for children 5 years and below because food is limited.

Thanks to people like her, many Congolese children recovered after a month. That gave her fulfillment. For her, nursing is not all about wearing white uniform, scrub suit or injections and medications. It is also about immersing oneself to another people’s life by just being there for them even if you fall short to treat them.

She said, “It’s your presence that gives them comfort and assurance that there is still a glimpse of hope and a few dust of luck. Being able to live in an extreme living condition and seeing people walk barefoot or sleep on the ground or carry I don’t know how many kilograms of wood on their back just to earn a living, humbled me. I am happy and humbled because I get to see children in the streets happily playing with plastic bottles or a piece of wood as toys and see the contentment all over their face and that made me realize that it’s the little things, simple things that matter. I have learned that it’s not the luxury that life offers me or the good food that I eat on the table, or a comfortable room and toilet that I have at home that would make me happy. This experience has taught me that life offers endless possibilities and a lot complexities but it all depends as to how I will turn things out to make my life livable and happy.”

When I asked her about her next move, she said she still sees herself working more projects with MSF. It won’t be a lifelong career but she would want to do humanitarian works in the next coming years.

For now, she’s back in the Philippines, spending time with her family and friend before heading to another adventure. This brave young Ilongga is looking forward for another humbling life experience.

With that, I’m excited to see more of her photos. Her lens captured different emotions of Congolese women and children. I saw poverty, innocence, simplicity, and genuine smiles. Women like her are for me the silent modern heroes of the world.

August 19th, 2015 0 Comments

UPDATED — A rare Philippine Eagle released to the wild two months ago has been found killed in a southern Philippine forest, conservationists said Wednesday, in a tragic ending after she was nursed back to health from gunshot wounds three years ago. Only about 400 adult pairs are estimated left of the Philippine Eagle, which

August 5th, 2015 0 Comments

THE New Davao City Environment and Natural Resources Code will strengthen different implemented policies on environment here in Davao City, a solon said. Councilor Leo Avila III said that the code they are currently crafting will integrate and strengthen different policies of the city in terms of environment. He said in a media interview last

July 29th, 2015 0 Comments

MANILA — Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV) formalizes alliance with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in support of the government’s National Greening Program. The DENR recently forged a nationwide reforestation partnership with Aboitiz for the planting of six million trees under the program. (MORE)

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July 29th, 2015admin 0 Comments

THE Abu Dhabi Central Jail released 15 Filipino prisoners as a gesture of goodwill for the holy month of Ramadan, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.

According to a statement, the 15 Filipinos were among the 879 prisoners ordered released by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The report was made public by prison officials in Abu Dhabi Central Jail. (MORE)

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July 21st, 2015admin 0 Comments

THE committee in charge of the overall preparations for President Benigno Aquino III’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) has aimed to bring down the cost of next week’s event.

House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap, chair of Task Force SONA, said that although the cost of food will be much higher compared to last year, the overall expense for the occasion on July 27 will not exceed last year’s budget of around P2.3 million. (Read more)

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July 20th, 2015admin 0 Comments

Filipino contestants with Dr. Luz Almeda (middle) of the DepEd-NCR at the 18th Po Leung Kuk Primary Mathematics World Contest awards ceremony in Hong Kong. (Photo by Mathematics Trainers Guild-Philippines)
Filipino contestants with Dr. Luz Almeda (middle) of the DepEd-NCR at the 18th Po Leung Kuk Primary Mathematics World Contest awards ceremony in Hong Kong. (Photo by Mathematics Trainers Guild-Philippines)

YOUNG Filipino students took home eight awards in a tough math competition in Hong Kong.

The Philippines won two silver and six bronze awards in the 18th Po Leung Kuk Primary Mathematics World Contest (PMWC), said Dr. Simon Chua, president of the Mathematics Trainers Guild-Philippines (MTG).

Bagging silver awards for the Philippines are Albriz Moore Bagsic of Lilyrose School and Naomi Anne King of St. Jude Catholic School.

The bronze medalists are Maria Monica Manlises of St. Stephen’s High School, Annika Angela Mei Tamayo of Ateneo de Iloilo-Sta. Maria Catholic School, Dominic Lawrence Bermudez of Notre Dame of Greater Manila, Sted Micah Cheng of Hope Christian High School, Gregory Charles Tiong of St. Jude Catholic School, and Aiman Andrei Kue of Zamboanga Chong Hua High School.

Other members of the Philippine delegation are Vanessa Ryanne Julio of St. Jude Catholic School, Al Patrick Castro of Pasig Catholic College, Hiraya Marcos of Philippine Cultural College-Manila, Justin Teng Soon Khoo of Learning Circle, John Angelo Oringo of Guinobatan West Central School, Erika Emmanuelle Pantaleon of Small World Christian School Foundation, Jan Cedrick Quintin of Mothergoose Special School System and Allyana Coleen Reyes of Falcon School.

Team leaders who accompanied the delegation were Dr. Luz Almeda, regional director of the Department of Education-National Capital Region (DepEd-NCR); Dr. Eduardo dela Cruz, Arellano University assistant vice president for Basic Education; Rechilda Villame, MTG executive vice president; and Dr. Chua.

During the awarding ceremony, the Filipino contestants wearing Maria Clara and Barong Tagalog costumes performed a “La Jota” dance as part of the program’s cultural presentation of all participating countries.

A total of 160 elementary students from 15 countries and territories joined the contest held from July 13 to 17.

They were from the United States, Australia, Bulgaria, South Africa, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia, Macau, Malaysia and the Philippines. (PR)

July 18th, 2015 0 Comments

THE Davao Light and Power Co. saved and released an Olive Ridley sea turtle at the Cleanergy Park in Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya, Davao City last July 10. The pawikan was turned over by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the police authorities to Davao Light’s community relations manager Fermin Edillon last

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