Thursday, October 23, 2014

El Nido Palawan Island is now the island in the world Over Maldives and Islands in Hawaii?

Rugged beauty: Palawan is a popular base for island-hopping tourists. Photo:

The best island in the world! Travellers vote the little-known Philippines outcrop of Palawan as the most exotic on Earth

  • Palawan claimed top spot based on over 76,000 votes in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2014
  • It was largely thanks to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, one of the top natural wonders of the world
  • At nearly five miles in length, Puerto Princesa is the second longest subterranean river in the world


An island that boasts crystal clear waters, incredible beaches and one of the newest natural wonders of the world has been named the best in the world by readers of a leading travel magazine.

The idyllic island of Palawan in the Philippines claimed top spot based on over 76,000 votes in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2014.

And it’s largely thanks to its latest claim to fame: Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, a Unesco World Heritage Site, has been named one of the world’s best natural wonders.

Stunning: Palawan Island in the Philippines has been named the top island in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards. Photo:

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, a Unesco World Heritage Site, has been named one of the world’s best natural wonders. Photo:


Best in the world: The idyllic island of Palawan claimed top spot based on over 76,000 votes. Photo:


Undersea adventures: Palawan is home to some of the best locations for snorkelling and diving.  Photo:

At nearly five miles in length, Puerto Princesa is the longest underground river in Asia and the second longest in the world.

Visitors on guided boat tours travel through a subterranean cave system featuring large chambers, stalactites and stalagmites. 

Home to amazing locations for snorkelling and diving, Palawan province has a second Unesco World Heritage Site that is popular spot for undersea adventurers –Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park.

Palawan's beauty and thrilling outdoor or undersea adventures are no secret to the world.

It was once named of the best islands in the world by National Geographic Traveler.

Getting there isn't too difficult by air - the average flight lasts around 75 minutes - but a ride on a ferry boat takes around 24 hours. 

The island is known as the Philippines' 'last frontier' because it is part of the far western Palawan province, with its southern tip just north of Malaysia.

Palawan Island edged some of the most popular destinations in the world for top spot on the list of the world's 30 best islands.

Breath-taking: Tourists walk on a beach as a rainbow forms in the background. Photo:

At nearly five miles in length, Puerto Princesa is the longest underground river in Asia and the second longest in the world. Photo:

Palawan edged some of the most popular destinations in the world to claim top spot on the list of the world's 30 best islands. Photo:

Tourists can reach Palawan by plane or ferry with flights from Manila lasting just 75 minutes. Photo:

Kiawah Island, South Carolina, came in second, followed by the islands of Maui and Kauai in Hawaii. Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique rounded out the top five.

Sixth through tenth were Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands in Australia, Santorini and Cyclades in Greece, St. John in the US Virgin Islands, Kangaroo Island in Australia, and Big Island in Hawaii.

None of the UK’s islands managed to crack the top 30. - Mail Online


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Philippines' biggest wind farm to be completed by November –EDC


PHL's biggest wind farm to be completed by November –EDC

The Philippines will have its largest wind farm once geothermal and renewable energy producer Energy Development Corp. completes the 150-MW Burgos Wind Project in Ilocos Norte by end-November.
"We are targeting to complete the 150-MW [wind farm] by end-November 2014," EDC executive vice president Ernesto Pantangco told GMA News Online in a text message.
Groundbreaking for the Burgos Wind Project took place in April 2013 while the Construction for the initial 87 MW capacity of the wind farm started in June 2013.
By the time it is completed, the Burgos Wind Project will be the largest wind farm in the Philippines, with a total of 50 large-scale Vestas V90-3.0MW wind turbines and an ancillary plant to be supplied and constructed by global wind turbine manufacturer Vestas.
The project is also one of the largest investments to date in Ilocos Norte as it occupies a 600 hectare site covering three barangays, namely, Saoit, Poblacion and Nagsurot, in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
Once it starts operations, the project will provide 370 GWh of electricity to power approximately 2 million households, EDC president and COO Richard Tantoco said in a statement.
"We also will displace about 200,000 tons of carbon emissions annually,” he added.
The end-November target is for the company to be the first to avail of the Feed-In-Tariff, which the Department of Energy (DOE) will grant to 200 MW of wind projects on a "first to commission, first served" basis, Tantoco said.
Under the FIT system pursuant to the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, the Energy Regulatory Commission will give guaranteed payments on a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour—called FIT rates—for power producers harnessing renewable energy.
"With construction in full swing, we are confident that we will meet our target commissioning date and avail of the Feed-in-Tariff,” Tantoco said.


Source: TJD, GMA News



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Solar News - 9TV rebrands as CNN Philippines for 5 years

Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom - CNN arrives in the Philippines. - Image:

9TV rebrands as CNN Philippines

It started out as a joke. Nine Media Corporation chairman Antonio Cabangon-Chua and his friends bantered about bringing CNN to the country. Then they realized it could be done. 

That eventually led to Tuesday’s official announcement of the rebranding of the former ambassador to Laos’ 9TV, formerly Solar News, to CNN Philippines—the result of 1 year and 4 months of negotiation with CNN International (CNNI).

No, the latter is not investing money in Nine Media Corporation; after all, foreigners can’t invest in media properties in the country. It is the Filipino company that’s paying CNNI every month. How much, Cabangon-Chua didn’t want to disclose.

“This is not all about money in the business sense anymore,” he said. “I’m already 80. I want to leave a legacy.”

 So what’s going to change?

Kayen Zialcita, the local company’s senior vice president for brand development and marketing, summed it up: “The look and feel of the channel, the way we gather news, the way we report the news… those are all going to change.”

She added, “Everything will have to change because we have to live up to the standard of CNN.”

Thus, Filipino journalists will receive extensive training from CNN here and abroad.

CNN arrives in the Philippines. - Image:

That CNN agreed to the five-year partnership means that the two organizations’ vision, mission, and values are aligned, CNNI senior vice president Ellana Lee confirmed.

They only have a few partnerships, and CNN Philippines is the newest addition to their small family that includes those in Indonesia, Chile, India, Turkey, and Japan.

“We have to look at the type of company that we partner up with,” Lee explained. “They [Nine Media] bring a lot of the same values that we look for in terms of covering the news and where they want to take the news specifically in the Philippines.”

In exchange, CNN will have the opportunity to reach in to the Philippine market, as their local partner is on free TV besides being available 24 hours on cable and pay television —unlike CNN’s other partnerships.

A win-win situation, according to representatives of the two organizations. 

CNN Philippines will operate from studio facilities in Metro Manila and will replace 9TV on the RPN network nationwide. It will deliver content from CNN’s affiliates, including the one in the United States. Feature programming and newscasts will be distinct.

“It’s a combination,” Zialcita said. “Otherwise, there will be no difference from the cable TV channel.”

 “But again, this is not a one-way business,” CNNI VP for content sales and partnerships Greg Beitchman stated. “You’ll see stories made globally for the local market, but we will also broadcast the best news in the Philippines that can be offered internationally.”

This development should provide competition in an industry dominated by two TV networks: ABS-CBN, which has the ANC 24-hour news channel, and GMA-7, which has GMA News TV, a channel that broadcasts the whole day as well, albeit on free TV.

“We have 34 years of strong knowhow, so we will shake up the [Philippine] landscape,” Beitchman said.

He added, “It will be quite challenging but fun. Competition is good; it will make us all better, and hopefully, it will also improve Filipino journalism.”

Expect CNN Philippines to be available first quarter of 2015 on free-to-air TV in Manila RPN-TV9, Cebu RPN-TV9, Davao RPN-TV9, Zamboanga RPN-TV5, Baguio RPN-TV12, and Bacolod RPN-TV8. 

It will likewise be on cable TV through Sky Channel 14 (Metro Manila), Sky Cable Channel 6 (Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Baguio), Destiny Cable Channel 14, Cablelink Channel 14, and Cignal Channel 10.  - Yahoo News Philippines



Sunday, October 12, 2014

CREBA: ASEAN 2015 economic integration could boost Philippine property industry growth

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The integration would require more commercial and residential infrastructure for highly urbanized cities within the region, including key cities of the Philippines

CREBA: ASEAN integration to boost PH property industry growth

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Philippine real estate industry is expected to grow further next year as the upcoming Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic integration continues to attract foreign investors and with the region’s increasing role in the global economy.

The ASEAN integration in 2015 will change the economic landscape of the whole region, particularly the real estate market, Noel Cariño, president of Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA) said in a statement.

“The demand for residential spaces adjacent to malls, retail complexes, and other recreational spaces would go up and will likely increase the already healthy real estate market,” Cariño explains.

More commercial and residential infrastructure for highly urbanized cities within the region including key cities of the Philippines would be needed as the integration sets in.

“Residential, commercial, and retail developers, which will be exposed to international market, will expand their operations and acquire properties inside and outside the country, while foreign investors and corporate executives with local operations in the country will look for residential spaces for a place to stay,” Cariño added.

                                                            Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Reforms needed

To reap the benefits of the ASEAN integration, the country must continue to pursue relevant market reforms in order to remain competitive.

“Foreign ownership restrictions enshrined in the Philippine constitution will hinder the growth of foreign direct investments, so we need to continue to improve the business environment in the country in order to attract more investors,” Charlie Gorayeb, national chairman of CREBA pointed out.

CREBA is pushing for the passage of a bill that will consolidate the function and powers of major housing and urban agencies of the government to address effectively the needs of both consumers and developers.

CREBA also aims to sustain a centralized home financing program for the country to address the current housing backlog and supply the housing demand of the growing middle class within the next 20 years.

With the upcoming ASEAN integration, property players “should work together to unlock strategic approaches to keep the domestic property sector afloat” as multinational players enter the already stiff competition in the country’s real estate market, according to the organizers of the convention, CREBA said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Iloilo will host host CREBA’s 23rd National Convention on October 15 to 18. Senator JV Ejercito, who chairs the senate committee on urban development, housing and resettlement, is set to deliver a keynote speech on the legislative agenda of the real estate industry in the 16th congress. –



Friday, October 10, 2014

Philippine Export rise up 124% to $5.5 Billion US Dollars

BOUNCING BACK. The coconut products’ performance bounced back from a 2-month volume shipment slump in June and July this year. Outward shipment of coconut products grew by a hefty 124%, likewise benefitting from higher international prices during the period. Photo by

PH exports continue double-digit growth

The Philippines now places 3rd highest exports performer in East and Southeast Asia

MANILA, Philippines – Maintaining its position among the top performers in East and Southeast Asia, the country’s top exports continued their double-digit growth at 10.5% in August, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported on Friday, October 10.

Total export receipts totaled $5.5 billion during the period, up from US$5.0 billion in August 2013 due to stronger outward sales of manufactured products, total agro-based, and mineral products, The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

Total exports also increased by 9.2% to $40.7 billion for the first 8 months of 2014, from $7.3 billion in the same period in 2013.

The Philippines now places 3rd as the highest exports performer in East and Southeast Asia, following Vietnam at 12.6% and Indonesia at 10.6%.

“Manufactures remained as the major contributor to exports growth, reflecting the positive developments in the global manufacturing sector,” NEDA deputy director-general and currently officer-in-charge Emmanuel F. Esguerra said.

Exports in July 2014 showed receipts reaching $5.46 billion that month, up 12.4% from $4.86 billion in July 2013. The growth was faster than the 2.8% rise recorded last year, but slower than the 21.3% jump in June.

Manufacturing diversifies

Export earnings from manufactured goods reached $4.4 billion, up by 8.4% from $4.1 billion registered in August 2013, PSA said.

The manufacturing sector's performance was mainly due to increased outbound sales in diverse commodities. Electronic products remain on top of the list, with their total sales receipts reaching $2.3 billion in August 2014, higher by 10% versus $2.1 billion in August 2013, Esguerra noted.

Higher production indices of intermediate and capital goods, including higher net sales indices both in terms of volume (5.6%) and value (3.3%) in August 2014 were also noted, the PSA’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) report said.

The PSA MISSI report shows that the manufacturing sector is moving toward more diversification and there is a continued strong local demand for manufactured goods and improvement in export demand.

“In fact, the fast approaching holiday season is also expected to beef up the sector’s production, as we anticipate an increase in demand from both the local and external consumers,” Esguerra said.

Coconut products bounced back

Apart from manufactured products, total agro-based products also sustained their robust growth in August 2014, with their export value hitting $505.2 million, or up by 41% from $358.4 million in the same period last year.

The coconut products’ performance also bounced back from a 2-month volume shipment slump in June and July this year. Accounting for 53.2% of total agro-based exports, outward shipment of coconut products grew by a hefty 124%, likewise benefitting from higher international prices during the period, Esguerra said.

Meanwhile, revenues from mineral products also grew by 30.9%, mainly due to increased shipment of iron ore agglomerates, copper metal, chromium ore, and other mineral products. This is also largely due to higher demand from the People’s Republic of China (PR China), Hong Kong, and South Korea.

Petroleum and forest products though registered lower revenue performances.

Japan remains as top export market

Japan remains as the country’s top export market with a total value of $1 billion, accounting for 19.1% of our total revenues from merchandise exports during the period. This is followed by the People’s Republic of China with a 15% share and the US with 14.6%.

Shipment to the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) account for 14.1% of the country’s total exports while the European Union (EU) covered 12.7%.

Esguerra noted exports’ double-digit growth remains healthy and is likely to be sustained, primarily anchored on increasing global demand alongside business expansions and new product launches for garments and information technology sectors, including improved availability of raw materials and agricultural products.

“Moving forward, export revenue growth is likely to be driven by the rebound in the export of electronic products, machinery, and transport and other electronics,” Esguerra said.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Philippines suspends work on South China Sea military airstrip

In this March 30, 2014, file photo, Philippine Marines raise the Philippine flag on the first day of their deployment on the dilapidated navy ship LT57 BRP Sierra Madre at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, locally known as Ayungin Shoal, off the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines on Monday, Aug. 18, slammed what it called China’s “illegitimate sovereignty patrols” of Philippine waters, following President Aquino’s revelation that two Chinese research vessels had been spotted on oil-rich Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea. AP FILE PHOTO


MANILA, Philippines–Malacañang said Saturday it has shelved planned improvements on a military airstrip in the disputed South China Sea to support its bid for a UN ruling against Beijing over the tense territorial row.

The Philippines infuriated China in March by asking a United Nations tribunal to declare Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea a violation of international law.

China claims almost all of the sea, a vital avenue for world trade that is also believed to harbor vast oil and gas reserves.

But its claims overlap in parts with those of the Philippines, as well as Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

President Benigno Aquino’s spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the government had suspended long-planned upgrade work on a military runway in the disputed Spratly islands to boost chances of a favorable ruling at the UN.

“We wanted to maintain the moral high ground in light of the case we filed at the (UN) arbitration tribunal regarding the West Philippine Sea,” Valte said, using the Filipino name for the area.

“We chose… to ease tensions and avoid any incident that may be construed as ramping up tensions or trying to provoke any of the claimant countries,” Valte said over government radio on Saturday.

The small runway lies on Thitu, the largest of several islands and reefs in the Spratly group that are garrisoned by Filipino soldiers but also claimed by China.

The runway is used mainly by military aircraft to resupply the Filipino troops guarding the island and nearby rocks, as well as a small community of Filipino civilians living on Thitu.

The upgrade plans were suspended by Aquino “sometime in the middle of 2014″, Valte said.

The airstrip project, as well as acquisitions of navy vessels, were part of Aquino’s efforts to upgrade the capability of the Philippine military, one of the most poorly equipped in the region.

China has refused to take part in UN arbitration with the Philippines, and warned Manila that bilateral ties will suffer.

The two countries have been involved in several tense confrontations in the South China Sea in recent months.

Valte dismissed suggestions that suspending the airstrip project would allow China to ramp up its increasingly assertive efforts to stake its claims in the South China Sea.

“In our view, it will not weaken our position,” she added. - Inquirer 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Japan eases visa requirements for the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia

Tourists at the Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Marc Veraart/CC BY

Japan eases visa requirements for Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines — In an effort to boost tourist arrivals from the Philippines, Japan on Tuesday started to simplify the Filipinos' procurement of visas.

In a statement, the Japanese Embassy in Manila announced that the "substantial relaxation of multiple visas" is coupled with the extension of visa validity for up to five years.

"Additionally, for those applicants residing outside of their countries of origin, it will now become possible to apply at the diplomatic mission which has jurisdiction over their place of residence," the embassy noted.

Besides the Philippines, Japan also eased visa requirements for nationals of Indonesia and Vietnam.

The process for acquiring single-entry tourism visas by registered travel agencies, meanwhile, will also be simplified by November.

According to the embassy, the measures benefiting three of its Asian neighbors aim to make Japan a "tourism-oriented" economy as well as promote people-to-people exchanges.

The new policies came after a June 17 announcement of the embassy vowing to relax multiple-entry visa processing "to a quasi-exemption-equivalent level when applied via specified travel agencies." - philSTAR


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