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Lovi Poe at the Philippine Embassy in Hateen

Lovi Poe at the Philippine Embassy in Hateen

Lovi Poe

Lovi Poe

Lovi Poe onstage

Lovi Poe onstage

Hot off the heels of her successful GMA Pinoy TV show in Kuwait, Kapuso actress Lovi Poe returns to primetime via Beautiful Strangers.

 

Lovi is filled with excitement as she portrays her character, Joyce, a woman who is seeking revenge from a family who wronged her.

 

“I’m so happy to be part of an exciting series, which will feature some of the best actors on TV and film. Kaya naman ganado at masayang-masaya ako na muling mapanood sa primetime,” she says.

 

She also recently finished working on a movie, Lakambini, wherein she plays the role of Gregoria ‘Oryang’ De Jesus, the founder of the women’s chapter of the Katipunan.

 

“It’s a dream role for me, and it’s such a huge challenge to be doing a film about a woman who made a history,” relates Lovi.

 

Catch more of her this August in Beautiful Strangers on GMA Pinoy TV.

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Moy Ortiz of The Company

Moy Ortiz of The Company

OJ Mariano of The Company

OJ Mariano of The Company

Online Host Julian Trono

Online Host Julian Trono

Prince Paltu-ob of D'Crew

Prince Paltu-ob of D’Crew

Ryan Cayabyab

Ryan Cayabyab

Sweet Plantado of The Company

Sweet Plantado of The Company

Tony V of Sound Squad

Tony V of Sound Squad

GMA Network launches the Philippines’ first-ever multi-platform boy band competition – To The Top.

 

Produced by GMA Public Affairs, To The Top is a twice-a-week reality-based, talent development program featuring 18 young and gifted male vocals who are all vying to be part of the Kapuso Network’s newest boy band.

 

Unlike other reality programs which held open auditions, To The Top scoured the country and invited the best male vocals from different schools and organizations to join the auditions.

 

The show documents the journey of these young men from being solo artists or being members of their respective singing groups to ultimately becoming part of the country’s newest boy band.

 

All these experiences were seen by the public when GMA made the competition initially available online via www.gmanetwork.com/tothetop. Serving as host of the program’s webisodes is Kapuso homegrown artist Julian Trono, who recently underwent intensive training under the Kpop system.

 

After a series of rigorous auditions, the program announced its 25 finalists, which were later trimmed down to 14. Adding a twist to the competition, netizens were then asked to vote for their favorites who were earlier eliminated in the series to become the competition’s wildcards.  Thus, a total of 18 finalists will now work their way to the top.

 

The 18 TO THE TOP artists are AJ Ajrouche, Lance Busa, Ken Carpena, Mico Cruz, Cholo dela Cruz, Martin de Vera, Luis Gragera, Joshua Jacobe, MJ Magno, Miko Manguba, Seph Manlapaz, Bryan Olano, JP Palanca, Adrian Pascual, Louie Pedroso, Lharby Policarpio, Edric Ulang and Chris Yumang.

 

Throughout the season, the artists – who will be divided into three groups – will be housed together and will undergo more intensive vocal and dance trainings for their upcoming performances and evaluations.

 

Helping the program achieve this are some of the country’s top music icons led by no less than Maestro Ryan Cayabyab serving as the competition’s main judge.

 

Joining The Maestro in this project are vocal coaches Moy Ortiz, Sweet Plantado and OJ Mariano of the Philippines’ premier vocal ensemble The Company; dance coaches and 2-time World Hip Hop Champions Philippine All-stars alumni Madelle and Prince Paltu-ob, as well as international breakdancing champion Jesse “Reflex” Gotangco; and the Sound Squad of musical arrangers and sound engineers led by Jonathan Ong and his team from Sonic State Audio — Chino David, Chrisanthony Vinzons and Brian Lotho.

 

Also lending his expertise in the early part of the competition is celebrity ace photographer Mark Nicdao.

 

Who among them will make it to the top? Find out as the showdown begins July 20 in ASPAC and July 19 in the US, Canada and the Middle East.

 

For the latest updates, follow TO THE TOP on Facebook www.facebook.com/GMAToTheTop, Twitter twitter.com/GMAToTheTop, and on Instagram instagram.com/GMAToTheTop.

BABALA SA PUBLIKO TUNGKOL SA GALAXY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

Binabalaan ang publiko na mag-ingat sa mga taong nagpapanggap na ahente ng Galaxy Entertainment Group na nangangako ng trabaho sa Macau.

Nagpatalastas ang Galaxy Entertainment Group na wala silang itinatalaga bilang kanilang ahente maliban kay Mr. Paolo Martel, Managing Director ng IKON Solutions Asia Inc., sa address na Rua do Dr. Pedro Jose Lobo, Edificio Banco Luso Internacaional, 11 Andar Salsa 1107-1108 Macau.

Upang malaman kung ang ahente ay lehitimo, mangyari lamang na tumawag sa Konsulado ng Pilipinas sa Hong Kong at Kagawaran ng Paggawa at Empleyo sa pamamagitan ng Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) sa telepono bilang 2823 – 8504.

Source Verification: Lina Yamat

Chairperson – Migrante Macau

+85366243845

Strengthen the Unity, Create Harmony and Struggle for Migrants Rights

We non-resident workers in Macau comprise almost 14% of the population of the territory. And a number of us from different nationalities have started to unite and create harmony while struggling for our rights. The celebration of the 2nd International Migrants Day in Macau is a reaffirmation of these while at the same time an opportunity to impart to the residents of Macau about our real situation and aspirations.

In October of this year, our number reached 74,780 out of 549,500 people in the territory. We come from more than ten countries and territories and majority of us are from Mainland China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Most of us are unskilled workers who toil in factories, construction sites, homes, and in the service sector.

We first started to unite with advocates when a proposed law for the employment of non-resident workers was first suggested last year and which took effect on April 26, 2010. Since its implementation, our worst fears on one of its provisions have become a reality.

This pertains to the 6 months ban which disallows us the right to transfer to other jobs which offer better opportunities. Such provision is oppressive and discriminatory to us non-resident workers. Of the 862 banned from April 26 – October 25, 644 or (74.7%) are females. At the same time data until August 2010 also showed that domestic workers were the overwhelming majority victimized by the ban, mostly from the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

These numbers show what critics of the ban have said all along: that this policy is discriminatory to women and to foreign domestic workers. As expected, this is now being used by employers to get rid of such kind of non-resident workers who would want to assert their rights and welfare as stipulated in their labor contracts and the labor law of Macau.

Other than the 6 months ban, other problems that we non-resident workers in Macau have included the following:

  1. Working permit/visa is co-terminus with the employment contract and one can only stay for another ten days.
  2. Illegal and excessive charging of placement fees by recruitment agencies
  3. Violation of our employment contracts
  4. Discriminatory social services
  5. No minimum wage

If the employer had requested the Immigration Department (ID) to cut the working permit/visa of his her employee a day or more days after the request was made, the non-resident worker becomes an overstayer and has to pay the ID a penalty of MOP200 a day for this.  Usually the ID would not give a damn to ask the side of the employee on this matter but if the non-resident worker would want to initiate the cutting of the working permit, the ID would tell them to obtain the written consent of the employer first.

There is even a case of a Filipina whose name we cannot state at the moment because she wants to come back to Macau, who was penalized for MOP1200 for not applying for an extension of stay because she had a sick leave of 6 days after her work permit was cut after she left the hospital. She was hospitalized after suffering from a mild stroke. She was even told by a staff of the ID that she should have come to their office right after being discharged from the hospital so that she would have not overstayed.

Essentially the ID discriminates, criminalizes and treats us non-resident workers inhumanely.  And why should we apply for an extension of stay when this can be granted automatically like in the HK SAR.  At the same time the ten day extension of stay is too short especially if one needs to file a case against his/her employer, to appeal against the 6 months ban and even to find work in the territory.

Another problem which affects us is the illegal and excessive charging of placement fees especially on Indonesian migrant workers. Filipinos are charged up to MOP6000 to work as domestic workers while Indonesians of the same job category need to pay up to 6 months of their salary if they come from HK and up to 10 months of their salary if they come from Indonesia.  This is tantamount to debt bondage or modern slavery especially for Indonesians and should be raised as a trafficking issue in Macau.

Under Macau’s Decree-Law No. 32/94/M, non-resident workers can only pass through fee charging recruitment agencies. At the same time in the same law, it does not specify the maximum amount that such agencies can charge employees. It only stipulates that after working for 60 days the recruitment agency can charge the employee it successfully placed, the agreed amount of the recruitment fee.

Other than these, another problem we have is the violation of our contracts by our employers. These include among others insufficient food; no proper accommodation; confiscation of passport/blue card; sexual assault; salary deduction; illegal work; not provided days off and/or statutory holidays; no housing allowance for those who stay out; non-payment of medical expenses; not providing air ticket.

We also experience discriminatory social services as our children who may be allowed to stay with us pay much higher tuition fees than residents and we need to pay double the charges in San Ting hospital or Hospital Conde S. Januário.

Finally like the local workers, we are not covered by a Statutory Minimum Wage (SMW). A number of the former like those working in manufacturing, in homes and even as waitresses in restaurants receive less than MOP4000 a month. But unlike residents who earn an income less than this, the Macau government has an allowance scheme for them. It would be better though for all workers whether they are residents or not to be covered by an SMW.

The only way to change our conditions for the better is for us to strengthen our unity and harmony and to continue to struggle for our rights. It would also do well that we get also the support of advocates including those coming from the local working people. Because essentially it is us the working people who should share the fruits of our labor as we are the ones who create wealth and prosperity for the Macau society.

Scrap the 6 months ban!

Stop Discrimination on Non-Resident Workers!

Implement a Statutory Minimum Wage for All!

December 19, 2010

ALIANSI PERSATUAN BMI MACAU – PEMACU (Alliance of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Macau)

Migrante Macau

A night to remember

December 6, 2010 — Leave a comment

Stephen Ip

Friday, December 03, 2010

The once-in-a-year event for connoisseurs of the white truffle finally arrived recently. This was the 12th year of the World White Truffle of Alba Auction and the host was local Italian restaurant Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Central.

Et Voila, the biggest specimen weighing in at 900 grams, was auctioned for HK$1.1 million – or HK$1,230 a gram. Astonishing, when you consider what one can usually buy from Italy’s Alba region at HK$35 per gram.

On the eve of the auction, a white truffle dinner party was held for about 60 guests. The menu was prepared by top chef Umberto Bombana and just glancing through it had my mouth watering in anticipation. The world-class Dom Perignon 1975 champagne kick- started the evening in fine style. The aroma of honey and nuts emanating from the exquisite golden sparkling liquid would entice even a non-drinker to take a sip.

Served with the champagne was the delightful 36-month Jamon Iberico – slightly bittersweet to the taste – and in a class touted as second to none. Indeed, no one could fault the Italian restaurant for using a Spanish specialty here.

In the dining room, guests mingled with a glass of champagne in their hands. And with the place starting to warm up, Bombana appeared with three full plates of white truffles for guests to view. The truffles of various sizes came straight by air from Alba and weighed 3.5 kilograms in total. For 60 people, 3.5kg is almost gluttony and to be part of this could be nothing but sheer luck.

Bo

mbana was previously awarded the title Worldwide Ambassador of the White Truffle and the man is a walking encyclopedia on the fungus, which only grows in the wild.

November is the best month to savor the delicacy, which is so “shy” that it buries itself under the soil. It is not easy to find as it grows at the root of trees. If one is lucky enough to hunt it down, be prepared to spend time cleaning it.

Bombana confessed that he has spent a great deal of time cleaning the precious fungi and took me into the kitchen for a demonstration. He first washes the truffles with water, then follows it up with meticulous brushing. His methods sure put my tooth- brushing skills to shame.

I find Italian pasta is the best pairing with white truffle and the homemade egg pasta by Otto e Messa Bombana is by far the most tempting.

But back to the dinner, and after white truffle ice-cream it was finally time to quench my thirst with a dram of the 1950 Macallan single malt. “The king of whisky” is a name well-earned.

The hosts urged me to add a few drops of water to the alcohol to unlock the flavors. Under no circumstances, however, should one add ice.

Sample some whisky, then nibble a small chunk of 100 percent pure chocolate. I was told the taste gives an intense sensation that is beyond compare. They were right. The taste is truly heavenly. I am in debt to the kindness of hosts Chambers and Helen for treating us to a truly wonderful night to remember of white truffles.

Stephen Ip, the retired secretary for economic development and labour, is enjoying a second career as food critic.

 

YEAR-ROUND GIVING

December 1, 2010 — Leave a comment

Margie T Logarta

Margie T Logarta, managing editor, Asia, Panacea Publishing Asia and Business Traveller magazine, has observed the travel and hospitality industry long enough to be constantly asked for her opinion on issues affecting service and burning industry concerns.

Here’s her take on the world of business travel. She welcomes your comments, arguments and other musings.

‘Tis the season when our thoughts turn to giving.

But why should it take us just this time of the year to think of others less fortunate? Because of the pile of charity mailers reminding us that we’ve been too consumed by work to reach out? Because the tinsel and trimmings and bright paper packages remind us that there are so many, many people who have little, if anything to celebrate?

But we are luckier to have our jobs that come with the exhilarating perk of travel, our talents, our families, our health (hopefully), our friends and the luxury of being able to buy the latest tech gadgets and go on holidays to somewhere nice. If we don’t have exactly all of these, at least a combination, I hope.

Countless others, who have experienced war, famine, natural disasters, human abuse and prejudice, do not even dare to dream anymore. Such are the depths of misery they have sunk to, and they continue to stare into the gates of hell.

Edmund Burke, the Irish political philosopher, said it best when he declared all that was needed for evil to triumph was for “good men to do nothing”. I agree – what is the use of being good at your job, at being a partner, at being a parent, at being a colleague, but do nothing for the wider community?

There are many ways to do this. The important thing is to start – and never stop.

Margie T Logarta

Managing Editor, Asia

Business Traveller Asia-Pacific

Marvelous Macau

May 31, 2010 — 2 Comments

Turbo Jet to Macau

When you mention the word “Macau,” usually the first thing that comes to everyones mind is gambling.  Macau has been touted the Las Vegas of Asia, it has even surpassed the income generated by Las Vegas from gambling.  But I say Macau is more than that, it has a rich historical, and cultural past.  Macau is just a ferry ride away from Hong Kong.  There are a lot of things to do in Macau.  To reach Macau, one could just take the fast ferry services, departing from Hong Kong (Shun Tak Centre), Kowloon (China Hong Kong Ferry), and Hong Kong International Airport.  Also there are two berth to choose from.  One is the Macau Ferry Terminal, and the other is the Taipa Ferry.  Or you could also take a bus or drive a car from Zuhai, China, to Macau, which is its border.  You could also get there by plane if you happen to be coming from paces other than Hong Kong, and Zuhai, China.

The Colosseum at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

Upon reaching Macau, there area multitude of things to do.  One could visit The Fisherman’s Wharf, which has replicas of famous landmarks, such as the Potola Palace in Nepal, a Chinese Palace, The Colosseum, Victorian era buildings, Spanish village, and an African restaurant.  This is also where you can find the Babylon Casino, and the Rocks Hotel, which is coincidentally similar looking to the White House.  One could ride the complimentary shuttle, if you find yourself tired from walking.  One restaurant which I deeply recommend is the Camões Portuguese Restaurant, which is located at 1/F Lisboa 3-Building, Macau, to make a reservation, you can call the following phone number +853 2872-8818.  The staff there are so accommodating and hospitable, and always has a ready smile for patron, and guests.  Try their Pata Negra, the Chorizo, or the sinfully delicious Seafood Rice (Paella).

Macau Tower in Macau Tower

After The Fisherman’s Wharf, you can proceed to the Kwan Yin Statue.  The statue symbolizes the goddess of life.  Inside the statue, you will see some historical references to the goddess.  Further on you can visit, The Macau Tower, which houses the AJ Hackett Macau Tower Bungy Jump, touted to be the World’s Highest.  These are five things you can do, you can Sky Jump (fall face forward), Bungy Jump (fall face backward), Sky Walk X, Sports Climb, and the Mast Climb.  All these activities I mentioned are not for the faint of heart.  It gives you an adrenalin rush.  Plus there is a restaurant at the bottom, for those who are waiting for their friends, family, or love ones, to finish heir jump.

Ruins of Saint Paul

After The Macau Tower, one can proceed to Senado Square in San Malo.  This is the city centre, wherein old architectural marvels still survive to this day.  It is like walking in Venice, Portugal, or Spain, with it’s little alley ways.  There is also a magnificent church, which is, the St. Augustine’ church – Largo de Santo Agostinho.  One can also try the jerky’s and other treats sold along the way.  The most famous among these bakery that sells treats, is the Pasteleria Koi Kei.  If you are a foodie, then Macau might be heaven for you.  Further on one can find The Ruins of St. Paul, or Ruínas de São Paulo, which is a landmark of Macau.  The story of this ruins is this, it refer to the façade of what was originally the Cathedral of St. Paul, a 17th century Portuguese cathedral in Macau dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle.

Grand Lobby of The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel

After the historical tour, let us go hotel and casino hopping.  Along the Cotai Strip lies, a variety of hotels & casinos, some already built, yet some are still being built.  The most famous among is The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel.  This is the largest among Macau’s integrated hotel, resorts, and casinos.  This property is also billed as the second largest man made building, only surpassed by the Boeing Factory.  The resort also serves as a venue for meetings, exhibitions, and conventions.  It is also a venue for concerts, and sports.  Among the artists, and sports persons who graced this property with their presence, are Journey, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Linkin Park, The

The Venetian Macao Tennis Showdown 2009

Pussycat Dolls, and Rain, to name just a few.  The neighbor of the Venetian is an equally famous name among the hotel clientèle, The Four Seasons Hotel Macao.  This property offers luxuries to a select few.  They sell high end goods as well.  Just opposite this is the City of Dreams, which is a collection of hotel-resort-casinos, including Hard Rock Hotel, Crown Towers, and the Grand Hyatt Macau.  City of Dreams, has activities for everyone.  There are shops that sell high end goods, then there are the casinos, there are a number of restaurants & cafe, and there is The Bubble, which is an immersive experience for kids, and adults alike, which will bring out your imagination.

If casino is not your cup of tea, Macau offers a

Macau Grand Prix 2008

different kind of gambling to serve a you.  You can choose horse racing or greyhound racing, at The Macau Jockey Club.  If you prefer to be pampered, Macau also offers a variety of spas, ranging from the high end to the affordable.  Macau is also clustered with watering holes, clubs, and discos.  If you are in the mood to party, then you should try the M Bar, at The MGM Grand Hotel, or Bellini at The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel.