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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Asian countries urge sick travelers to report Zika symptoms | AP, Manila Bulletin

brazil-zika-birth-defects_b887e1f6-b446-11e5-9860-1d91036943d1The Zika virus is spreading rapidly in Latin America, and Asian governments have issued advisories in a bid to contain the spread of the disease, which could be linked to birth defects and can cause temporary paralysis. So far, no Zika case has been confirmed anywhere in Asia.

A look at some of the measures announced:

South Korea 

South Korean officials have advised pregnant women against traveling to Central and South America and required doctors to immediately report suspected cases.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare on Friday also included the Zika virus among the group of infectious diseases recognized and monitored as potential health threats. Doctors can now face fines of up to 2 million won ($1,654) for failing to report patients infected by the mosquito-borne disease or showing symptoms of infection.

The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also been sending text messages to people traveling in the Zika regions to inform them of the disease and preventive measures. An official from the center said it has no plans yet to strengthen temperature checks at airports as that would only stoke unnecessary fear.



Health authorities have asked travelers from South and Central America who display symptoms such as fever and rashes to immediately report to health centers.

Deputy Health Director Dr. Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the move was imperative as it was not practical to conduct public health screenings at national gateways.

“The virus is difficult to detect and there is no quick point-of-care test which can be used,” he said.



Japan’s Foreign Ministry has issued a safety advisory urging women to try to avoid traveling to Brazil and other affected countries during pregnancy, and advised all travelers to the area to use caution. It suggested wearing long sleeves and pants, using mosquito sprays and avoid leaving out buckets, empty gardening pots and other containers that can catch water, and report to medical institutions in case of developing suspected symptoms.

The health authorities asked medical facilities to advise pregnant women not to visit the Zika areas, conduct test on suspected patients returning from the areas and send samples to the national lab.



The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is advising pregnant women to avoid travel in areas where Zika is active.

The federal government is also asking Australian doctors to look out for signs of Zika infection in travelers returning from affected areas. A spokeswoman said Australian laboratories could diagnose the virus if required.



Health Minister Shri J. P. Naddahas has stressed the control of the spread of Aedes mosquitoes that transmit dengue and the Zika virus and breed in clean water.

“Community awareness plays an instrumental role in this regard. There is a need for greater awareness amongst community,” he said.

India is also stepping up surveillance and has set up a technical group to monitor the situation.



Health officials are advising pregnant women and those planning pregnancy to adopt necessary anti-mosquito precautions, and consider deferring trips to areas with Zika virus transmissions.

Secretary for Food and Health Dr. Ko Wing-man also said that because only up to one quarter of the infected persons might develop relatively mild illness, “the attention was therefore not too big.”

Aedes mosquitoes are currently not found in Hong Kong, the Health Department said, but the secretary said that other species of mosquito present in the territory are also considered as possible carriers of the disease.



The Vietnamese health authority has warned people coming from countries with the Zika virus to monitor their health for 14 days and if they develop fever to report to medical facilities.

The health authority also warned people to empty water containers and use mosquito nets to prevent the possible spread of the virus.


Associated Press writers Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo; Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia; Ashok Sharma in New Delhi; Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong and Tran V. Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam, contributed to this report.

Philippines: Passenger has entire plane to himself on Philippine Airlines flight

Philippine Airlines
A Philippines Airlines’ passenger had only empty seats on a domestic flight from Manila to Boracay. (Getty Images)

A Philippine Airlines‘ passenger had his own ‘private jet’ experience, when he found himself surrounded by empty seats on a domestic flight from Manila to Boracay. The only other people on board were the two flight crew members and two pilots .

Alex Simon, 28, an Austrian travel blogger, said he first realized he would be getting a taste of the high life when he was told the flight will leave in 30 minutes instead of the planned two hours, because he was the only passenger. “I was little bit surprised and I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was dreaming. Later, while boarding, I just realized  that it’s gonna be a special flight because this time I didn’t even need to line up,” said Simon.

Upon boarding the plane, Simon said he asked the flight attendant if he can take a window seat. In reply, the flight attendant told him, “You can sit anywhere, because you’re the only passenger.”

Speaking of his experience, Simon said, reported MSN, “It was an unforgettable feeling to take a flight to one of the most beautiful islands of the world, but to be alone and to feel like a superstar made it more special. I just had luck, I think, that no one else was interested on this day to fly to paradise.”

Simon who lives in Ischgl, Austria, filmed himself amongst the empty rows in air. Before the flight took off, Simon chatted with the pilots inside the cockpit and spent the rest of the time chatting with the flight attendants. Simon was heading to Boracay, a small island located 315 km south of Manila with award-winning white sand beaches.

In 2015, British passenger, Nigel Short, found himself travelling solo on board an Air Zimbabwe flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls. The Boeing 737 flight typically has a capacity of over 100 passengers. “I was served by two ladies and all of the announcements were directed to me. They would say things like, ‘Mr. Short, we’re beginning our descent’ … I fly a lot and have been to well over 100 countries. And once in a while you’re on a flight with not many passengers. But, there’s a difference when you’re the only passenger,” Short told Today.com.

Credits: Maria Khan, International Business Times

Kia PH introduces more affordable Grand Carnival | Dinzo Tabamo


Kia Grand Carnival

If you’ve been drawn to the stlyish Kia Grand Carnival, but have been a little put off by its P2.3-million asking price (we can’t blame you for looking at the similarly priced Honda Odyssey instead), you’ll be glad to know that Kia Philippines is bringing in a more inexpensive version.

The new variant of the Grand Carnival will be priced at P1,575,000, and here’s the other good news: It will have 11 seats. At this point, one might expect a pared-down feature set, but Kia has still included competitive features that will make riding this minivan a treat.

The driver can enjoy a 3.5-inch OLED display, tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel, and what Kia calls a cutting-edge multimedia system. Passengers should appreciate the Euro-inspired cabin with flexible seating and cargo options. The second and third rows can be rearranged easily, allowing for versatile combinations of people and gear.

Parents will like the stainless technology cloth. This supposedly makes spilled liquids bead up and be quickly wiped away. Harder stains can be removed with soap and water.

Powering the Grand Carnival is the same muscular 2.2-liter turbodiesel. This is good for 194hp and 436Nm. You can feel the power for yourself by booking a test drive at a Kia dealership.

We’re personally curious about this new variant. A handsome 11-seater minivan for the price of a Honda CR-V sounds like a tempting proposition. This is one model we’ll put on our to-test-drive list.

Kia Grand Carnival

Credits: Dinzo Tabamo, Top Gear Philippines

Philippines is a Budget Travel Destination for 2016, Forbes Says | Choose Philippines

A business magazine already said it!

American business magazine, Forbes, included Metro Manila in the list article “The Ten Best Budget Travel Destinations for 2016.” In the piece written by Alexandra Talty, founding EIC of StepFeed in the Middle East and contributor at Forbes, last December 2015, she noted that the Philippines “has long been overlooked as a south-east Asia travel destination, but it’s now starting to attract the attention it deserves.

(Photo from Paulo Alcazaren; January 10, 2016)
(Photo from Travel Insider Rehj Payunan Medina)

The Philippines ranked no. 4 in the list. She zeroes in on Manila, despite the pollution and congestion, as a capital city that’s just waiting to be discovered and explored. It is the home of Intramuros, also called the “Walled City,” which was  fortified with defensive walls during the Spanish colonial period to protect the seat of government from foreign invasion. At present, the old buildings, walls, and ruins are maintained as parks and heritage sites that serve as tourist destinations.

The contributor also cited Laguna, a province near Metro Manila, as a perfect place for adventurers and nature-lovers. It has the famous seven lakes of San Pablo, hot water spring of Los Baños, and loads of water sports at Caliraya.

Hulugan Falls, Laguna (Photo from Travel Insider Tobiel St. John)

Other places on Alexandra’s list are George Town in Malaysia, Xi’an in China, Barcelona in Spain, Thrace Region in Turkey, Morocco, Hungary, Croatia, and Puerto Rico.

What are you waiting for? Pool together your money and book the cheapest flights to the Philippines’ many awesome destinations!

Credits: Alexandra TaltyChoose Philippines

How to Apply Day and Night Make up | BayanMall


There is so much to learn about make up, especially if you are a beginner. It takes a good amount of practice to be able to perfect your look and study all the ins and outs of applying make up. Most of us women actually need it when we go out or go to work. But did you know that there is what they call the day and night make up? Day and night make up are 2 totally different looks that you can transition to.

Day make up is usually light, natural and fresh looking while night make up is more dramatic and bold. Here are some tips on how to do both looks.

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Make up should be fresh and natural looking. For the eyes, don’t put too much eyeliner and mascara.  A little mascara will go a long way and will already be able to carry your daytime look. Try Eur Mascara for the perfect looking lashes. If you are not keen on using too much mascara, you may try eyelash extensions. Use eyeshadows that are light colored. There are so many colors to choose from when you use the M&Co Love Champagne eyeshadow palette! Well-groomed brows are a must! For the cheeks, use a blush that is pink and light and will compliment your skin tone. And for the lips, a light colored lipstick like the Eur Biscuit color lipstick or shiny lip balm will do the trick.


The night look is a much more sophisticated and dramatic look. For the eyes, use an eyeliner to make your eyes stand out. Use a deeper shade of eyeshadow or just enhance your eyes with a cats eye or a smoky eyes look. To achieve the smoky eyes look, use the Eur Eyeshadow Earth Angel Eyeshadow Palette. Choose eyeshadows that compliment your look – you may use darker colors or add a touch of shimmer to the eyes. You won’t run out of colors to use in the M&Co Love Serenade Eyeshadow Palette. For the lips, a darker shade is recommended like the M&Co Brick Red Lipstick.

How to Apply Day and Night Make up | BayanMall

OFWs will soon enjoy higher tax-exempt ceilings for sending balikbayan boxes | BayanMall


The Senate has passed a bill that may soon allow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to send more “pasalubongs” to their loved ones in the Philippines tax-free. The bill was approved by 19 senators with Senator Eduardo J. Angara, sponsoring Senate Bill 2968 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The present tax-exempt ceiling is Php 10,000 and this bill will increase the amount to Php 150,000 tax-free balikbayan boxes. It also aims to increases the de minimis value or small items with small values from Php 10 to Php 10,000.

This privilege may be enjoyed by our OFWs three times every year. They may be able to send their families 2 boxes at the same time, but not exceeding the value of Php 150,000. The items inside the boxes should also only be items for personal use and not for commercial sale or hire.


The bill also allows these tax-exempt values to change every 3 years to account for inflation. Donations and relief goods will also be duty-free during times of calamity.

OFWs who have not returned home to the Philippines for at least 10 years will be granted a tax-exemption for personal and household items of up to Php 350,000. Those who have stayed overseas for at least 5 years will be allowed up to Php 250,000 worth of tax-free goods.

This move was put into light when the controversy of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in August 2015 drew so much attention as they randomly and physically inspected and opened balikbayan boxes of OFWs.

The bill has been designated as a priority legislation by Malcañang. Many hope that this will improve and modernize BOC and its services and will attract more foreign direct investments. According to Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., “If the bicameral conference committee can work fast to harmonize the House and the Senate versions, our OFWs will enjoy the benefits of this law very soon.”

OFWs will soon enjoy higher tax-exempt ceilings for sending balikbayan boxes | BayanMall

Refund of Terminal Fees for OFWs | BayanMall


Starting October 2015, the NAIA Terminal Fee of Php 550 will now be integrated to your airline tickets upon purchase. This means, no more lining up at the airport during your international flights to pay for the terminal fee. But what about OFWs who are exempt from paying the terminal fee?

The terminal fee or the international passenger service charge (IPSC) of Php 550 is used in airport operations. 71% or Php 390 goes to maintenance, 18% or Php 100 goes to the national government and 11% or Php 60 goes to aviation security.

According to Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers’ Act of 1995 or as amended Republic Act 10022 or the Amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are exempt from paying travel tax and airport terminal fees. Other existing laws also exempt Muslim pilgrims, national athletes and individuals approved by the Office of the President.

To avoid violating this law, the MIAA or Manila International Airport Authority has set up refund counters for those who are exempted from the payment.  These counters are set up at the airports just after the immigration counters.


In order to get your refund, exempted travelers will have to present the following to the counters:

  1. Exemption Ceritificate (Airport Copy)
  • For OFWs – Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)
  • For Pilgrims, Athletes and Others – MIAA Exemption Certificate (MEC)
  1. Any of the following documents clearly showing payment of terminal fee (LI International)
  • Itinerary / E-receipt
  • Official Receipt
  • Invoice
  1. Presentation of Boarding Pass

In 2015, the Senate and House of Representatives passed resolutions asking the MIAA to temporarily stop the merging of terminal fees in airline tickets because many problems arose due to this Memorandum Circular enacted by MIAA which established the refund system for OFWs.

The refund counter has proved to be an injustice for OFWs because many of them are either not aware of the refund or decide to forego their refund for fear of missing their flights as the refund requires them to line up at the airport and collect it.

Since MIAA’s jurisdiction is only under NAIA Terminals, OFWs departing from Cebu, Davao, Clark or other international airports in the Philippines have no office to go and claim or secure their refunds from. This is according to Senator Blas Ople who has received many complaints from OFWs in his Ople Center.

Refund of Terminal Fees for OFWs | BayanMall

Valentine Gift Ideas for Long Distance Relationships | BayanMall

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There are so many ways to surprise the love of your life and make him/her happy this Valentine’s day even though you’re miles apart. But how will you know what to give her? First, recall all the things you’ve done for her or given her and list down which ones she loved the best. Second, think of things that she mentioned to you recently – for example, she needs a new phone because her phone was soaked up in water recently or she needs a pretty dress to wear for her friend’s wedding. Is she the practical type or the romantic type? You may get ideas for your gifts from these.



Call first thing in the morning to greet him/her a happy valentine or surprise him/her with an email and tell them how much you love and miss them.


Send munchies like chips, popcorn, etc. on Valentine’s day and schedule a skype movie date with him/her. You can be miles apart, but nothing can stop you from enjoying your favorite movie together. Check out this movie munchies package: https://www.bayanmall.com/Packages-1/Movie-Munchies



HTC One M10 reportedly launching with a QHD AMOLED display, fingerprint sensor and Snapdragon 820 | Darcy Lacouvee


Now that it’s officially rumor season, we’ve been hearing an increasing amount of leaked specs and features that might be present on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and LG G5. One major manufacturer we haven’t really heard much about as of late is HTC, specifically regarding the upcoming One M10 flagship. As the successor to last year’s One M9, HTC’s next flagship needs to be innovative, unique and appealing to customers, as it’s no secret that the company has been experiencing some financial woes as of late. It turns out the device might just be what consumers have been asking for, at least if this new leak turns out to be true.


This rumor comes to us from prominent tech leaker @evleaks, writing for VentureBeat. Mr. Blass supposedly talked to a source that had hands-on time with a One M10 prototype. Referred to internally as the ‘Perfume’, the One M10 will reportedly feature a 5.1-inch Quad HD (1440 x 2560) display, which looked to be of the AMOLED variety. It’ll also come with HTC’s Sense 8.0 user interface atop Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. A fingerprint sensor will also be present below the display, similar to the scanners present on the HTC One A9 or the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Under the hood, the device will likely feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with Adreno 530 GPU, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise. HTC has been pretty adamant about including the latest top-of-the-line processors in its handsets, and Qualcomm’s 820 chipset is one of the best currently available. It will also supposedly feature 4GB of RAM, as well as 32GB of on-board storage and microSD expansion. VentureBeat says the prototype device had 23GB of internal storage available to the user upon boot. The tipster said the device’s external appearance may still be subject to change, so they were unwilling to comment on the aesthetics. The leaker did mention, however, that there will be no Boomsound speakers present on the M10.

It’s no secret that HTC has struggled with imaging over the years. The One M8 toted the company’s in-house built UltraPixel sensor on the back, which ended up disappointing many users in the end. Then the company switched to a more traditional 20MP sensor for the HTC One M9, which turned out to be yet another disappointment. Surprisingly, HTC might be changing its ways yet again, as the M10 will supposedly launch with a 12 UltraPixel rear-facing camera. While the front-facing sensor’s resolution wasn’t specified, both the rear and front cameras will offer optical image stabilization (OIS).

We’re still not entirely sure about pricing or availability details, though previous rumors suggest the device could launch at a standalone event in March. What are your thoughts on the rumors so far? If this leak proves true, do you think HTC has a shot at winning back consumers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Credits: Darcy Lacouvee, Android Authority

Filipinos talk about 1st visit by Japanese emperor since war | AP


Japan's Emperor Akihito, second from left, and Empress Michiko walk before boarding their airplane to leave for the Philippines at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Akihito is heading to the Philippines for a four-day visit to a country that suffered under Japanese occupation during World War II. At left is Crown Prince Naruhito. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Japan’s Emperor Akihito, second from left, and Empress Michiko walk before boarding their airplane to leave for the Philippines at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Akihito is heading to the Philippines for a four-day visit to a country that suffered under Japanese occupation during World War II. At left is Crown Prince Naruhito.
(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Emperor Akihito is making the first visit by a Japanese emperor since World War II to the Philippines, which suffered under Japan’s harsh military occupation during the war, but now relies on Tokyo as an ally, trading partner and source of aid and investment.

Akihito was apprehensive when he first visited the Philippines as crown prince in 1962, fearing anti-Japanese feelings were still strong, but his anxiety vanished in the smiles of the Philippine president and Filipinos who welcomed him, according to the emperor’s press secretary, Hatsuhisa Takashima.

Students line up the route with Japanese and Philippine flags to welcome visiting Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko for another function at Fort Santiago Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. The 82-year-old Akihito is paying his respects at memorials for both the Philippine and the Japanese war dead during a five-day state visit. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Students line up the route with Japanese and Philippine flags to welcome visiting Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko for another function at Fort Santiago Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. The 82-year-old Akihito is paying his respects at memorials for both the Philippine and the Japanese war dead during a five-day state visit.
(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


A selection of Filipinos’ views on Akihito’s visit:


“I think if the Japanese are offering an apology for what they did, it is better to be friends because we can no longer bring back the past. I am happy about what the emperor said because they have accepted their mistake, but maybe they should help the remaining victims of the war to ease their pain.” — Joel Abedo, 51, security guard.


“I feel very happy because they both looked very kind and it is always an honor to see royalty from other countries visiting the Philippines.” — Bea Roque, 19, student.


“(After) what they did to my sister … I thought, what is the biggest revenge I can do to the Japanese? Rape as many women as I can. … I realize now that all that hate was wrong and I asked for forgiveness … therefore, I welcome very much the visit of Emperor, his majesty, Akihito.” — Miguel Perez-Rubio, 90, World War II survivor.


“We were initially happy that he visited because our only hope is with him, that he will give attention to the ‘comfort women’ … but nothing. … He gave attention to the war dead but he has not even given attention to what his soldiers did (to us) during the war.” — Hilaria Bustamante, 89, who was forced to work as a sex slave, or “comfort woman,” for Japanese troops during the war.


“The sentiments (about the war) are still there but enough time I think has passed — 70 years. Most of the wounds have been healed, most of the victims have passed away, although there are still several around. The younger generation looks at Japan in a different light … in terms of Japanese cars, Japanese cameras, electronics, manga, anime. So the youth’s perception of Japan is very different from the elder generation’s perception.” — Ricardo Jose, 58, historian.


“My eldest brother was killed by the Japanese military because he was suspected as an American spy. My second brother was killed by Filipino guerrillas for being a mestizo (Filipino of Japanese descent). My younger brother, sister and my mother were killed by American shelling. Only two of us in the family survived. There should never be any war again. … I welcome the emperor because he is on a peace mission.” — Carlos Teraoka, 85, Filipino whose father was Japanese.


“In meeting your majesties, I am held in awe, recognizing the burdens you have borne as you have had to live with the weight of the decisions made by others during the dark episodes in the history of our nations. It is, however, upon this history that we have built a far more enduring relationship.” — Benigno Aquino III, 55, Philippine president.

Credits: Associated Press, Mail Online