Sunday, April 1, 2007

Drama In Washington D.C.

What started as a simple eighth-grade history project more than a year ago, now has Anthony Zendejas bringing to life painful stories of World War II through a dramatic representation in Washington, D.C...

Zendejas, now a freshman at Klahowya Secondary School, focused his project on the death march survivors of Camp Cabanatuan in the Philippines during World War II. Although Zendejas began his research through books, it wasn’t until personally interviewing Ranger Capt. Robert Prince, who led the Jan. 30, 1945 raid to rescue 511 POWs, that the project took off...

Now, after fund-raising $4,000, Zendejas, his mother Margot and three of his siblings will make the trek to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, April 3, to perform his presentation in front of POWs and survivors for the reunion of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Association. Zendejas will return to Silverdale on April 17, after spending two weeks at the nation’s capitol...
(Central Kitsap Reporter) ...full story here

Photo By Jesse Beals

Overstaying in South Korea

South Korea may limit the entry of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) due to the rising number of overstaying Filipino migrants, the local recruitment industry said Thursday.

Recruitment industry leaders said the government of South Korea has announced plans to reduce the rate of hiring Filipino workers to prevent an increase in the number of undocumented OFWs there.

Yong-Dal Kim, president of Human Resources Development (HRD) Service of Korea, reported that a huge number of overstaying workers will affect the labor quota that will be given to the Philippines under the Employment Permit System (EPS).

The government of South Korea has allocated 10,000 jobs for Filipino workers over the next three years. The same number of Filipinos are reportedly overstaying in Korea.

A recruitment industry source said many Filipino workers who were deployed under the EPS left their employers and opted "to work in companies hiring trainee workers because their previous employers failed to give the wages provided under their contracts." (ABS-CBN News)

Not Guilty

Eleven of 27 nurses and a physical therapist who had filed a class suit against Sentosa Recruitment Agency last year for alleged violations of their contract and unfair labor practices pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges they had endangered the lives of their patients when they resigned en masse to protest the charges against them.

The nurses had filed a class action for damages before the Nassau County Supreme Court last year but Sentosa countersued and filed a civil suit against the Filipinos. The nurses’ suit has not yet been resolved.

The nurses were indicted in a criminal case in Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead, New York, after Sentosa charged they had walked out of their jobs at Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation Center in Smithtown, NY.

The law office of Salvador Tuy, which represents the Filipino nurses, said the nurses could not be prosecuted because there was no contract between Avalon Gardens and the nurses. The law office also established violations and discrimination against the Filipino nurses.

During the nurses’ arraignment, Filipino lawyer Felix Vinluan was also arraigned for interference and he also pleaded not guilty.

Records of the case showed the Filipino nurses were made to work for Avalon Gardens instead of Sentosa, which was not in their original contract.

All the nurses were recruited as immigrant workers from the Philippines through Sentosa Recruitment Agency, a single proprietorship under the name of Francris Luyun, who presently works for one of the NY nursing homes owned or managed by Bent Philipson, a Danish citizen and a permanent resident of the United States.

When the nurses and the physical therapist arrived in the US, they thought they would be working directly for the nursing home that sponsored each of them. But they were surprised to learn that most of them were to work for a different nursing home. Only a few of them actually went to work for the nursing home that sponsored them. (The Philippine Daily Inquirer)

"Revisiting An Unpopular War"

Peter Kneisel, Globe Correspondent: It was supposed to be a quiet footnote to the Spanish-American War, a keenly anticipated walk over against the hopelessly outmatched ragtag Philippine Army of Liberation.

It became a brutish colonial war that turned unpopular at home because it resisted the jingoistic bunting that adorned the "splendid" war with Spain. It took the lives of 4,200 US servicemen, 20,000 Philippine soldiers, and between 200,000 and a million civilians. It was fought to secure the Philippines as the new western edge of America's manifest destiny, against an army the United States had armed and encouraged, and then against the insurrectionists and the civilian population that supported them. The Philippine-American War disappeared from the American consciousness, overshadowed by bigger wars. It is a good time to revisit it... (The Boston Globe) ...full story here

"Home To A Handful Of Asia's Richest People"

(Today I introduce a section named "Unveil Philippines." It will appear in this site on a daily basis. "Unveil Philippines" is a collection of articles and commentaries written by either Filipinos or foreign nationals. I feel that because of the vast ocean of information available to us today, we might have missed reading many published thoughts about the Philippines and the Filipinos.)

by Belinda Rhodes (Published in New Internationalist, September 2004)

THE route from Manila's international airport to the city centre is lined with expensive condominiums and teeming shanty towns. Your car may just as easily pull up beside a well-waxed, brand new four-wheel-drive vehicle as an undernourished street vendor selling chewing gum and lottery tickets. On Roxas Boulevard, hugging Manila Bay, you are likely to pass barefoot street children and begging mothers as you pass the glamorous yacht club and the arts centre complex built by former first lady Imelda Marcos.

The Philippines is home to a handful of Asia's richest people, and a great many of its poorest. Images of scavengers picking their way through smoking rubbish dumps are perhaps as familiar to foreigners as that of Imelda Marcos wearing a glittering gown and another pair of shoes. Three governments since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 have failed to lift the seriously poor, who account for around half of the population, above the poverty line.

Although the Philippines did not suffer as badly as some of its neighbours during the East Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s, neither did it recover as quickly. The ups and downs of the economy are closely linked to conditions in the US and Japan, who take the bulk of Philippine exports.

But the country has long had one dependable major source of income: the remittances of overseas workers. Some seven million Filipinos, predominantly women, work in Hong Kong, the Middle East, Japan and Europe as domestic workers, healthcare professionals, seafarers and entertainers. They provide a valuable cushion that all Philippine leaders so far have been reluctant to relinquish.

With full employment at home still hard to find, a temporary contract abroad is what many Filipinos strive for. Others see migration to the US as the holy grail. Links with America and its already large Filipino community are strong, founded on a history of fairly benign colonization from 1898 when Spain ceded the Philippines to the US. From then on, despite almost four centuries of Spanish rule, English became the primary language of instruction and American-style institutions were put in place.

...(if you wish to read more, click here)

Looking For Filipino Food

There are a number of places in that area. Slightly south in San Bruno and Millbrae are many more. On San Mateo Avenue in San Bruno are Kuya's and Ihaw Ihaw, both of which I have been to and enjoyed. Nearby on Camino Real are Patio Filipino and Tribu Grill which have received good-to-mixed reports here. There is a Max's of the Philippines in South San Francisco.

To the northewest in Daly City there are others, including a Ling Nam, a Papanga Restaurant or Cuisine, a Jollibee's, and some kind of barbeque place whose name I don't remember. Also, there is a place called Maharlikka which I have been to twice and which has pretty authentic bar food, including sisig and goat kalderata. It supposedly looks very much like such a place in the PI, too. I am not Filipino, though, so can't independently assess, but I thought Maharlikka, Kuya's and Ihaw Ihaw were all decent to good. My gf (Filipina) thought they were ok. link here

Jobs For Filipino Teachers: English Language Teacher Wanted In China

Note: I got this from Please check first the background of the agency. If they ask money from you, then you should entertain doubts.

We are an English Language Learning Academy located at the Gubei New Area in Shanghai and we are in dire need of English Language Teachers from the Philippines.

1. A graduate of any 4 year College/University Course from an accredited school in the Philippines.
2. A Filipino citizen and should be in Shanghai at the time of application.
3. Must be very fluent in Oral English. (American or British accent)
4. Those with teaching experience will be given priority.
E-mail Subject: Teacher - Applicant

link to the job site: click here

Parents Said: "He Is Our Hero."

Ducat — a businessman-philanthropist who runs a 145-student day care center in Manila's Parola slum — remains a hero to parents who watched their children from the center being held in a bus at City Hall for 10 hours Wednesday, as the drama unfolded live on TV.

They said they have agreed not to press charges against Ducat and Caesar Carbonell.

"We will demand the release of Sir Ducat. We want him out of jail," said Helen Cabunayan, whose daughter was a hostage.

"We owe him a lot. He gave our children free education, free food and clothing. He is always there to help," said another parent, Rosita Osita... (Houston Chronicle) ...full story here

Mismatch: e.g. Abolish Trigonometry in RP Schools

Davao City: The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) together with some colleges in the region have responded to the clamor of most industries which lamented the lack of skills of graduates which are needed in the workplace.

In a technical panel meeting with industry representatives, the latter complained about the mismatch of the skills acquired by graduates as to the required skills needed by the various industries .

Rosefe Badoy of the University of Southeastern Philippines, member of the technical panel, bared that the said industries complained about the high cost of trainings they have been spending for newly hired employees. (The Philippine News Agency)

Forgotten Heroes

Commentary: Marne R. Yasay, Vallejo, California: "While these Americans were enjoying the luxury of peace and security in their hiding places, the Filipino veterans were shedding their blood and dying for them in the battle fields. It is worthy to mention that the battles in Bataan and Corregidor were written in Filipino blood - of the U.S. forces who defended these two significant places, 85 percent were Filipinos.

After the war, Americans had homes to go to, families to greet them, and paychecks available to them. No so for a Filipino survivor - there was no home to go to, no family, no money to begin life anew. Knowing these hardships, the phrase "It's more than a paycheck" is cruel and unhealthy language.

It was the U.S. that de-clared war against Japan. It was her duty to finance the war in terms of millions and the only part the Filipino veterans should provide is their blood and lives. Money could never approximate the priceless value of blood and lives..." (Vallejo Times Herald) ...full story here

Pinays Beat Indonesians

More Filipino domestic helpers arrived in Hong Kong in the month of Febuary than Indonesians, according to newly released statistics from the Immigration Department.

The figures show that at the end of February there were 121,420 Filipina domestic helpers in HK, compared with 120,800 in January, posting an an increase of 620.

In comparison, there were only 170 more Indonesians who came in the same month, raising their total population to 105,490.

It was the first time in months that newly arrived Filipinos outnumbered the Indonesians. (GMA 7 News)

Bayanihan Dancers in Bahrain

Leading dancers from the Philippines' National Folk Dance Company, Bayanihan, performed at The Cultural Hall, near the Bahrain National Museum, in Manama as part of the Spring of Culture festival. The group, which has so far had 14 major world tours, presented a one-hour programme.

Their repertoire included ethnic dances of the Bagobo and T'boli tribes, a jota dance from the Spanish colonial era called, Mantones de Seda, various dances from Mindanao, southern Philippines, such as Singkil and the Pausjalay, and other dances of the country such as Maglalatik, Sabil and the world famous Tinikling (bamboo dance).
The Gulf Daily News

Chicago-based Company Moves to the Philippines

Littelfuse, a manufacturer of circuit protection products, has said it plans to transfer production and distribution from its Chicago-area facilities in Des Plaines and Elk Grove Village to locations in Mexico and the Philippines.

Littelfuse currently employs about 600 people in the Chicago area in manufacturing, distribution, corporate and technical functions. Approximately 300 employees will remain after the restructuring is completed.

Manufacturing operations in the Des Plaines facility will be moved to existing company locations in Mexico for automotive products, and the Philippines for electronic products.

The company's corporate offices will remain in the Chicago area... ( ...full story here

Ceramics Show in Washington D.C.

The exhibition, on view through 2010, shows the dimensions of international trade in the area. Glazed stoneware dishes, detailed with blue or brown floral designs, demonstrate how the shapes and decorations of Chinese ceramics inspired painted decorations in places like Vietnam and Thailand. Jars and other objects that reached their intended destinations (usually Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan, often became heirlooms, passed down in families through generations. (Carroll Country Times) ... full story here

Philippine Girl Top 10 In Texas Geographic Bee


• Anik Bhattacharya, First Colony Middle School in Sugar Land (second place)

• Matthew Baumgartner, Hill Country Christian Homeschool, Spring Branch

• Nathan Burmeister, Briarhill Middle School in Highland Village

• Ian George, Trinity Lutheran School in San Angelo

• Vimal Konduri, Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving

• Jiawei Li, Beck Junior High in Katy (winner)

• Patricia Nano, Truman Middle School in Grand Prairie

• Kieran Nirula, Lakehill Preparatory School in Dallas

• O. Justin Otor, Pleasant Grove Middle School in Texarkana (third place)

• Bucky Starling, McKamy Middle School in Flower Mound

"Patricia Nano of Grand Prairie said she learns a lot by traveling, especially to her home country, the Philippines." Results from The Dallas Morning News ...full story here

First American Born In The Philippines

Matilda "Dita" Wilbur, perhaps the first American born in the Philippines, who dined in the White House for the inauguration of President Taft and who attended UC Berkeley when it was rare for women to get a college education, has died at age 106.

Mrs. Wilbur died March 23 at her home in Hillsborough, where she had lived for more than 50 years.

She was a generous and independent woman, who grew up an Army brat traveling all over the world. After settling in the Bay Area, in the decades when most people live in quiet retirement, she was matriarch of a large extended family, and she volunteered for a variety of faith-based, academic and cultural institutions.

"She was a truly remarkable lady. Very caring, very thoughtful, she held everybody together," said daughter-in-law Judy Wilbur. "I lived next door to her for 45 years. Not many people could live next to their mother-in-law that long. But she was always so warm and friendly."

Matilda Gertrude Baker was born in September 1900 in Manila, where her father, an Army captain, was stationed after the Spanish-American War. Family legend says she was the first American baby born there, and her christening was attended by dozens of American dignitaries...
Photo Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle (Article: San Francisco Chronicle) ...full story here

Rescue Recall

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Heroes are just ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Gurvinder Singh is one such person.

The captain of Prabhu Yuvika, an Indian merchant ship, Gurvinder spearheaded a rescue operation in turbulent waters off the coast of the Philippines.

"It was 3 am on the March 21 when we heard a distress message saying a cargo ship had sunk," says Gurvinder, speaking to Times City from Indonesia. "It was the call of duty as well as the right thing to do, so I took my ship right into the dark and dangerous waters to save as many crew members as possible." (The Times of India) ...full story here

Blunder in

"Jack Simon, who retired from his teaching career in Florida recently, settled down in Penang, the Philippines." Note: The author failed to check his geography lessons. Penang is in Malaysia. full story here

Earth For 2007 Winner

Former Environment Secretary Elisea "Bebet" Gozun has been named one of seven Champions of the Earth for 2007 by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). (The Philippine Star)

In Falkland Islands: Filipinos Collect Squids

Jobs like sheep-shearing and nursing are now filled by Chileans, while mixed-race people from the island of St. Helena, which lies some 2,500 miles to the northeast, take service jobs as waiters and store clerks. Just offshore, Korean, Taiwanese, Russian and Spanish ships with Indonesian, Filipino and Bangladeshi crews scoop up tons of squids, which have replaced wool and mutton as the territory’s principal export... (The New York Times) ...full story here

Map: Courtesy of The New York Times

Chronology of Kidnapping in Nigeria

Feb. 6 - Gunmen abduct a Filipino worker on the road between Port Harcourt and Owerri.

Feb. 7 - Gunmen kidnap a Filipina woman in Port Harcourt, the first known abduction of a woman in the region.

Feb. 13 - Militants release all 24 Filipino crew members, who were captured when their cargo ship, belonging to German line Baco-Liner, was attacked on Jan. 20.

March 8 - A Filipino oil contractor is freed. ...full story here

"Cultural Festival in Hercules"

He cited annual observances such as Juneteenth in Richmond, celebrating the area's African-American heritage; Cinco de Mayo in San Pablo, celebrating the Latino community; and the annual Filipino-American cultural festival in Hercules... (Contra Costa Times) ...full story here

True-Life Tales: The New York Times

"I worked the phones the next day. Most of my Iranian friends, sure bets for free fruit, were out of town. Branislava, from Yugoslavia, said she’d take a bunch, and so did Joanna, who’s part Polish, part Armenian. Louie, the Filipino mailman, got a big bag. That left me with about 300..." (The New York Times) ...full story here

On A Scale of 1-1000: Filipinos Got 801 (In California)

I’ve read in the newspaper that the API hides “achievement gaps”. What does this mean?

These tests are sensitive to gains among students who perform at or below the average student statewide. The API is given as a score on a scale of 1-1000. California has set its goal at 800. This year’s statewide average, which includes all students of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, is 721. But if you look at “subgroup” scores, which break scores down based on ethnicity, disability, economic status and English proficiency, you will usually see big differences in the average.

This year the statewide average for Asian students, for example, was 847, compared with an average of 656 for Latino students and 801 for Filipino students. These differences in the average are known as “achievement gaps.” If your child belongs to an ethnic or other subgroup, pay attention to that subgroup score when looking at your school’s results. Your school’s overall score may have gone up a few points, but your child’s ethnic or other subgroup score may not have gone up or it may be much below the school’s overall average. If you notice big discrepancies, you should talk to your teacher or principal. (La Prensa San Diego)

Powerless Women In Japan

"We are trying to persuade her to take proper care of herself so that she can regain herself and press charges," explains full-time staff member Leny Tolentino after the group had gone.

"Afraid and embarrassed, she wants to go back to the Philippines and try to forget it. But we want to help her stay and stand up for herself. That's our work here: to empower women who feel powerless... (The Japan Times) ...full story here

Books For The Barrios In Crisis: HELP!

Books for the Barrios has established 1,000 classrooms in the Philippines and even four floating libraries to reach kids on remote islands. But donations evaporated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Books for the Barrios is now in crisis.

Nancy Harrington: "It will close if we do not get some substantial funding. We operate on $102,000 dollars a year and we need $60,000 dollars by July in order to keep this place open." ( ...full details here

First Filipina In West Point

She had only asked to be part of the Philippine Military Academy, “but God gave me West Point.”

This is how Christy Isis “Ice” Achanzar, a 24-year-old native of Davao City, explains why she feels “extremely blessed” as she looks back on her three years at the premier military academy in the United States.

Next year, Achanzar will make history at the academy in New York as the first Filipino woman born and raised in the Philippines to graduate from its hallowed halls.

The US Military Academy at West Point has been in existence for over two centuries but it was only in 1975 that it began admitting female cadets... (The Philippine Daily Inquirer) ...full story here

Filipinos in Dubai Become Health-Conscious

"As early as 6 a.m., Filipino expatriates in Dubai put on their running shoes, white shirts and ran along the 3.5 km jogging track of Safa Park.

Around 500 Filipino professionals, diplomats, associations, office workers, families and children took part in the event, which may now be held on a regular basis.

'The community is suggesting that we conduct this event once in every three months,' said Tigno, a general practitioner involved in free medical mission for the Filipino community here.

The walk aims to create awareness in the Filipino community, which has reported many cases of hypertension resulting in cardiac arrest, stroke and diabetes. It is estimated that six Filipinos die of heart attack in a month... (The Emirates Evening Post) ...full story here

Tons of Wastes From Japan To Be Kept In The Philippines

Japan and the Philippines have recently concluded a Free Trade Agreement. In a puzzling move, the Philippine Government gave tariff preferences on Japanese waste materials. Under the JPEPA, waste products such as waste pharmaceuticals, ash and residues from incinerated waste, sewage sludge, clinical waste, and even articles like used surgical gloves can be shipped from Japan at zero tariffs.

Government officials have explained these products are for “recycling.”

Apparently zero tariffs are supposed to encourage importation of products in short supply or not manufactured locally, or if there is little demand. But it seems there is no great need for Japanese waste.

Based upon my own experience, conducting environmental audits in the Philippines, there are very limited facilities for these kinds of wastes and all responsible waste generators are storing and exporting these kinds of wastes. Why the Philippines would be agreeing to import these kinds of wastes unless there were some kinds of hidden agendas is mystifying. There are virually no industrial waste landfills, no industrial waste treatment and almost no solid waste management facilities that would pass any kind of western standard.

According to local critics of the agreement, other questions need to be answered: Can local recycling facilities handle a deluge of waste materials? Are authorities adequately prepared? My judgement is NO and NO. A local expert also warned that other countries could take advantage of the agreement to dump waste on the Philippines via transshipments. Well no shit Sherlock IMHO. This already happens every day and this agreement will only make it worse.

Another expert said that it is questionable that the Philippines is allowing waste products in while getting only a few concessions such as the entry of Filipino nurses and caregivers to Japan... ( ... full details here

11-year-old Communist Girl Killed in Battle

An 11-year-old communist rebel was killed Saturday in a clash with government troops in the southern Philippines, the army said. The body of the slain rebel, a girl, was claimed by her parents, who told the military that she was only 11 years old.

A soldier was also wounded in the firefight in New Bataan town in the southern province of Compostela Valley, army Lieutenant Colonel Rolando Bautista said.

The clash erupted when troops encountered an group of guerrillas while on patrol in the village of Bantacan, Bautista said.

"The troops recovered four M16 and two M14 rifles during the encounter," he said.

Bautista said the military was saddened that communist rebels were still using children as fighters.

"Involving minors as soldiers clearly violates the convention on the rights of the child," he said.

The communist movement has often been criticised for recruiting and training minor fighters. (

Chinese Are Stealing Our Turtles?

KOTA KINABALU: Authorities are checking if the crew of two Chinese boats found with 330 turtles had been poaching in Philippine waters before they were caught in the sea off Sabah.

Sabah fisheries officers suspect that the green and hawksbill turtles were caught in the Balabac Strait that separates the southern Philippines island of Palawan with Pulau Balambangan and Pulau Banggi in northern Sabah.

The boats, bound for Hainan in China, with 36 crew, were detained near Pulau Mengalum and Pulau Mantanani in Sabah’s west coast last week.

“Both islands (Mengalum and Mantanani) are not known turtle nesting areas,” said state Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Rahim Ismail.

He said that last year, Philippine police detained several China-registered vessels in the Balabac Strait and seized dozens of turtles. (