The Sun Also Rises In Wellington

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A few years ago, Philippine tourism numbers paled in comparison to its South east Asian neighbours such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Getting its tourist arrival numbers up had long been a perplexing challenge not so much because of any negative perceptions about the Philippines (each country has its own downsides), but on its utter lack of global exposure. It boiled down to the zero perception of the Philippines as country – virtual unknown in the minds of people outside of it.


So how did “It’s More Fun In The Philippines” tourism campaign get started?


For starters, the Philippine Government decided to tap into the creative in ventiveness of its own people.


Next, they harnessed the explosive power of Social Media on the World Wide Web and the way people around the world consume media.


It dawned on them that when planning a trip overseas most people these days go surfing online or ask their friends on social networking websites. Brilliant insight, what took them so long?


Then, they conducted a beauty contest amongst local advertising companies to come up with a catchy slogan for a make-a-video about the Philippines. Lastly, they stood back and just let it all come in naturally. The rest is history.


So, for your enjoyment, hereunder is a selection of a few official (there are still more) versions that are now doing their rounds on the World Wide Web.


Watch The Video

Pearl Of The Orient

The hidden gem of Southeast Asia, this archipelago of 1,107 islands is known for its cool mountain ranges, idyllic tropical beaches, stunning rural scenery, warm hospitality and fair weather during the year. A tropical paradise offering the best of all worlds, it enjoys all the basic necess ities and conveniences of modern living. It’s no wonder that Filipinos are a happy fun-loving people. They have consistently rated top spots in every happiness index conducted.

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Host Of Natural Wonders

The perfect volcanic cone of Mt. Mayon, the Banaue highland ‘Staircase-to-Hea ven’ terraces, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, UNESCO World Heritage sites like Pala wan’s subterranean cave river and the Tubbataha Reef of Sulu Sea, the Hundred Islands of Lingayen Gulf, the Maria Cristi na Falls of Iligan, the rapids of Pagsanjan, Taal – the smallest active volcano (with in a lake within another volcano) in the world, the Tiwi Hot Springs of Albay, and much, much more …

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It’s Party Time!

Metro Manila is a complex urbanized city. It is the hottest place in the region for en tertainment. It has the best clubs regard less what your taste in music or food is and no matter what your budget can af ford. Think of every type of night-life you can imagine, whether it be a nice relax ing evening in a top-class restaurant, or having a wild time dancing through the wee hours of the morning in a club listen ing to live bands. It’s all here where it rocks. Quite simply, it never sleeps.




The world watches and is holding its breath as the Philippines moves forward at an accelerated pace. The country is experiencing a political and economic resur gence that when followed through will turn the nation into the global player that it aims to be. It is not just learning from mistakes it has made in the past, but also driving the present with good governance and business prudence with an eye for a brighter future.


So many good things are now happening at the same time and the fundamentals are very strong riding on the wave of its sound economic performance in the past decade. It has this remarkable consumer-led growth that’s quite unique par ticularly at a time when the rest of the world is floundering. Its government is far more open, focused and organised from a macro-economic point-of-view at this point in its history.




Yes, there are still social and environmental issues like eradication of poverty and environmental pollution which still need to be dealt with for the remaining balance of this and the next decade. The Philippine Government needs to keep a watchful balance in the redistribution of wealth and avoid having the rich get obscenely richer, and the poor get oppressively poorer without resorting to social safety nets like the runaway welfare systems adopted by western econo mies that are currently causing fiscal, financial and economic chaos and social unrest.


The outlook is very positive. Both foreign and domestic investment is literally overflowing and the general feeling is people believe that – if it doesn’t squander opportunities as it has repeatedly in the past and do the right things at the right time, the country as a whole will march forward in cadence toward greater levels of national progress and prosperity than they’ve ever seen before. Then, they can finally deal with nagging social issues like living standards, lack of employ ment opportunity, income disparities and other barriers which poorer members of its society still experience.


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Up Up And Away!

Aired on Channel News Asia in 2013, this video features prominent Filipino figures like Philippine President Aquino and busi ness leaders who express some views on recent developments in the Philippines along with the successes and challenges it faces. Resisting tremendous pressures of the global recession since 2008, the Philip pines is now vigorously re-positioning it self toward transitioning into an Asian economic powerhouse that would make it the 13th largest economy by 2050.




The country now sits atop the largest amount of foreign exchange its ever had in its history as a republic with US$ 70-billion. That provides it a sense of comfort and stability and gives its currency its strength which it didn’t have since the early 1960. At the fiscal side, its deficit as a percentage of GDP is far lower today than ever before, giving its government ample room to pump the economy.


Its inhabitants are slowly, but surely changing. Take for example the President of the country – Benigno Aquino III who is affably called “Noynoy”, and who since the beginning of his 6-year term in June 2012 has sacrificed his political capital to do the right things for his people and the country.


The time has arrived for all Filipinos everywhere to stop being disappointed about the so-called ‘bad image’ of the Philippines. When enough people take it as a matter of responsibility and fairness to talk good about the country as the truth emerges, it will all balance out on the good side again in due time. Do right and its gets right.


Then, as all Filipinos together as one people begin to shine through more brightly let them all celebrate and share with joy the abundance of their rich and won derful culture, warm hospitality, cuisine and other blessings wherever they may be with you.




The Philippines is considered the original melting pot of Southeast Asia. Among other things, it has held this distinction far longer over time than some of its own adjacent neighbours in the region who themselves later dove in on their own experimentations with admixtures from other peoples and cultures from near and far off lands.


The Philippine mix of things is neither too Asian and neither too Western but a fascinating blend of both. So it comes as no surprise that its cuisine are agglo merations of influences its people have seamlessly combined over the centuries and that variety depends only in which locale in the archipelago such cuisine is prepared.


Preferably with the presence of good company around, Filipinos have always considered eating as both a pleasure and social grace. Whether eating meals traditionally with their hands – but make no mistake as this conveys that every morsel tasted and savoured is well appreciated with delight just the same as when using a set piece of spoon, fork and knife (which by the way, they’re also comfortable with), so it clearly becomes obvious that food is a major component of their way of life.


Watch The Video

Recipes In Transition

Filipino dishes are now also entering a cu rious stage of development. Local chefs are busy these days elevating these to per fection. Employing new ways to prepare base stock like beef, pork, fish, fowl, goat and other seafood – they are radically transforming the old ways using a wider range of sweet, salty, sour, savoury and other exotic spices added in good measure which produce some very exciting out comes at higher levels of refinement ma king classic dishes more exquisite and nu tritious.




Extrinsic influences by way of how food is prepared these days have also had their dark effects on Filipino diets and health – these not being truly part of the essential nature of Filipinos as ones coming from the outside. The force of globalization has crept in through the backdoor. It has mesmerized many into thinking, working and eating faster than one would have done in saner times.


These so-called ‘modern’ habits are becoming quite more evident especially for Filipinos who are salaried employees. It’s either they now eat in fast food restaurants in locales nearby their offices or order a quick delivery of what essentially is food powdered with chemical-based flavourings and colourings drenched in oil saturated with fat.




Worse still, more and more food of this genre are coming in prominently in the form of pre-packaged tear-top cans just as popularity has skyrocketed for instant food, like wax-coated instant noodles in a cup. These are ingested not only by office workers but also by children in schools to their nutritional detriment.


Now herein lays the problem. Traditional Philippine dishes include meat, fish and vegetables which are mostly either sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and occasionally bit ter but seldom mixed together in one dish all at the same time.


Filipino chefs and cooks who prepare dishes have always applied food combining principles which prevent people from getting sick. But with all the fast food and pre-processed quickie meals within easy reach they usually get it all at one go. If they eventually become unwell, rarely is it blamed on years of eating the wrong food or food combinations.


Perhaps it’s time for a good re-think about how and what we eat these days. Don’t you agree?



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Filed under Featured Profiles, Filipinos in New Zealand, Filipinos in Wellington, Special Feature, Uncategorized

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