Filipino wins CNN’s annual LGBT pride photo award

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Another Filipino won in the recently concluded Pride Photo Award, an international competition for photos about sexual and gender diversity.

Philippine photographer Cindy Aquino grabbed the Pride Photo Award 2013 from her  photo series “Bond.” Former CEO of VII Photo Agency Stephen Mayes who judged the competition said: “What makes it strong is the intimacy between these two women, the lack of any stress or self-consciousness of these women. It takes viewers into their lives.”

The following are the list of winners:

1. Extremely Normal – 2013 theme category

First prize: ‘Apt. 779′ by Irina Popova, Russia
Second prize: from the series ‘Bond’ by Cindy Aquino, Philippines
Third prize: ‘Gay Warriors’ by Tatjana Plitt, Australia

2. Gender

First prize: ‘The other side of Venus’ by Anna Schmid, Germany

Second prize: from the series ‘Typical Day’ by Alexia Zuñiga, Mexico

Third prize: ‘Gendernormality’ by Chloe Meynier, United States

3. Documentary

First prize: ‘The Pink Choice’ by Hai Thanh Nguyen (Maika Elan), Thailand

Second prize: ‘Leaving one’s tribe’ by Anna Wahlgren, Sweden

Third prize: ‘The Gay Famillies Project’ by Stefan Jora, United States

4. Open

First Prize: ‘Princesses in a land of machos’ by Nikola Frioli, Mexico

Second Prize: ‘We are Here, we are gay and we are Ugandans’ by Tadej Znidarcic, Slovenia

Third Prize: ‘Andrew and Irene’ from the series ‘At home with …’ by Richard Sandell, United Kingdom

Special Mention

‘Next time hit harder, I’m still Gay’ by Téo Jaffre, France

‘Pure’ by Joelle de Vries, the Netherlands

‘At this moment, I want to be’ by Yuan Yuan, China

‘Daddy Cool’ by Martijn Gijsbertsen, the Netherlands

Sources: CNNWorld, PridePhotoAwardOrg

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What I Am reading today

When your resume makes you seem like a jerk (and other reasons you might not be interviewed)

Peter Harris| Jun 13, 2013 1:53 PM

Did you know that your resume can give employers the impression that you might be a pain in the butt to work with?

Hiring managers generally form their first impressions of what a person may be like based on reading their resume, and they usually choose who to interview based on this sentiment.

So if your resume gives potential employers a reason not to like you – you’re probably not going to get that call. Here are some of the ways that your resume can keep you from being interviewed:   

You’re giving the impression that you might be a pain

As I mentioned, your resume is likely the first impression you’re making on an employer – so don’t blow it with unnecessary personal red flags.

One recruiter recently told me: “I was recently reading a resume for an editorial position that included this line in the objective statement: “Must be for a company that highly values diversity and sustainability.” I actually do value both of those things. However a candidate making such demands in the first line of their resume will stop me from bothering to read the rest of it. Show me why I would want to hire you in the first place before you start making demands about my values.”

Another candidate closed his resume with the line, “Given my obvious qualifications, if I am not selected for this position, I expect to be informed of why.”

Really? You expect that, do you? I wouldn’t wait by the phone. Even if everything else about your resume was absolutely brilliant, that sentence at the end would kill your chances right there. (Because you sound like a demanding jerk.)

You’ve made a mistake

Spelling mistakes, typos and misused words can sink your chances. Think about it, when employers are looking through numerous resumes trying to pick the best few to interview, why would they select someone who hasn’t taken care enough to submit an error-free application? It speaks to a candidate’s motivation, attention to detail, or capabilities. You look like you either can’t produce work without mistakes – or you’re simply not motivated enough to bother producing it.  

I was recently reading a fairly strong resume from another candidate for the editorial role, and – while she had all of the experience, skills and publications that I was looking for – there was a fairly obviously misused word in her cover letter. Especially for an editorial role, you simply can’t make language mistakes.

That same cover letter was also in two different fonts, randomly. I can only assume she had cut and pasted several documents together and then somehow not noticed that is looked weird changing fonts halfway through and then changing back at the end. She didn’t get interviewed.

You aren’t qualified for the role

Or you haven’t communicated how you are qualified for the role. If you don’t have the skills and experience that an employer is looking for, they won’t be calling you in for an interview. (And some employers are so annoyed by having their time wasted, they’ll black list you from future opportunities that you might actually be qualified for.)

Similarly, if you’re convinced that what you have accomplished in one role or industry can apply to a job in another field, you have to make that explicitly clear in your resume. Employers won’t do the math for you about how your skills may be transferable. Show what you can do for them specifically.

Otherwise it may just look like you’re desperate for a job and randomly applying for everything out there – whether or not you’re a good fit for it. Those people don’t get called.

Sometimes no one reads your resume in the first place

Some jobs are highly competitive, especially in a tight job market, and the employer may simply receive too many applications to read them all. Also with many companies using applicant tracking systems to filter applications by keywords, if you haven’t included the exact terms that they’re screening for, your resume won’t be seen by human eyes. Read more about using resume keywords.

Once employers have a short list of resumes to choose from, they still don’t want to have to interview too many people. At that point they’re reading resumes specifically to find a reason not to meet with you. Make sure you’re not making a poor first impression – before you’ve even had the chance to meet.  

 

What most employers think you’re lying about (and what you should actually lie about)

Be honest. Is everything on your resume accurate?

Most employers don’t think so. They are becoming increasingly skeptical of what candidates claim about their skills and work history. In fact, a recent survey by the recruitment firm Employment Office found that over 80% of employers believe that candidates are lying on their LinkedIn profiles.

67% of the 300 hiring managers and business owners surveyed said that candidates are most likely to lie about their past job titles and responsibilities. The other major areas where they feel people are most likely to fudge the truth are about the exact dates of previous employment, their education and their exact qualifications.

Said, Tudor Marsden-Huggins, the managing director of Employment Office, “It is the same with LinkedIn as it is with life, untruths are usually uncovered at some stage.  It’s best to portray yourself with truthful information to avoid damage to your reputation if and when colleagues find out you’ve lied and exaggerated.”

So we asked Workopolis recruiters and members of the HR community where they find the most common half-truths, exaggerations and outright lies on resumes. Here’s what they told us were the most widespread falsehoods:

    • Education – HR managers surveyed said that many people who have even just started an educational program will claim to have graduated and obtained the degree even if they only took a few courses.

 

    • Employment dates – People often fudge the dates of their previous employment in order to exaggerate their tenure in a role or to mask periods of unemployment in between jobs.

 

    • Second language proficiency – Candidates with a conversational knowledge of a second language often claim to have native fluency. This is particularly true of people with Canada’s high school French skills applying for jobs requiring written bilingualism. It doesn’t work out.

 

    • Job titles – People most often tweak their job titles either to match the role they’re aspiring to land or in order to more accurately reflect the work they were doing at a previous job when they think their actual title undersells their contributions.

 

  • Technical skills – This is the most insidious lie of all because it is the least likely to be caught in the screening process. There isn’t likely a central phone number that an employer can call to determine if you actually do know HTM5. However if you get hired for a role that requires that skill, you’re going to land in hot water when you’re expected to actually use it on the job.

 

How do people get caught lying on their resumes?

While more and more companies are instituting policies of only giving minimal information to reference callers about past employees, they will confirm some basic details. Most HR departments will at least corroborate your job title, how long you worked there, and what your salary was. (Inflating their past salaries is the other big lie that recruiters say many candidates try to get away with. But as this is not often done on the resume itself, it didn’t fit with my list above.)  

So, despite the temptation to make yourself look better and give yourself an edge over the competition, lying about your skills and experience on a resume or LinkedIn profile just isn’t worth it. Even a quick phone call to tight-lipped past employer can blow your cover on most of the biggest lies. And an exaggerated technical skill or language proficiency that you just don’t have will quickly come to light on the job.  

You don’t want to lie about your ability to do a job in order to get hired. You might however, want to lie about the things that have nothing to do with your abilities that could still prevent you from getting hired.

Here are a couple of career lies that you actually should tell:

I never worked there. Okay, don’t literally say that. But if you worked at a job that ended badly for you in a way that can hurt your future chances (fired for cause, extremely short tenure, etc.), simply leave it off your resume altogether. Only list the relevant jobs where you’ve learned skills or made contributions that can help future employers. Your resume is a document marketing your credentials – it doesn’t have to be a comprehensive list of everything you’re ever done.   

My old boss was the greatest, and the whole team rocked. Nobody likes everyone, and there are some truly terrible bosses out there. However, even if you’re right and the team really were a bunch of jerks where you worked before, saying so will sink your chances of getting hired. It is essential that employers see you as friendly, positive and as a great team player. Slamming your old boss will only make you look like a complainer and have them wondering what you’ll be saying about them next.   

I’ll confess. As a student, I was once let go from a book store for fighting with the manager on duty over the music. She said that head office dictated the playlist for the store so we couldn’t change it. I tried to make the case that forcing anyone to listen to ABBA Gold Greatest Hits on constant rotation for four nine-hour shifts in a row was simply inhumane. It didn’t end well for me. I’ve left that job off my resume ever since.

Have you ever lied on your resume? Did you get caught? Please share your stories with us! 

 

 

2013 Jobs Available (Emirates Airlines)

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Position:  Manager Cabin Crew
Job Reference:  MCC/LT/25054
Posted:  17 Jun ’13 • Closing: 01 Jul ’13 • 11  days left
Department:  Services Delivery
Company / Division:  Emirates Airline
Location:  Dubai, United Arab Emirates
 

Back to Job Vacancies

Tomorrow you could be living in dynamic Dubai and earning a tax-free salary with global benefits. Starting with two aircrafts and a handful of enthusiastic people, we have grown at a phenomenal rate. We are now one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, flying to over 125 destinations across 6 continents.

We are looking for people to join our global family of over 54,000 people from 160 nationalities across a diverse range of disciplines. If you are a high performer, seeking unparalleled career opportunities, join the Emirates team and help us create the future of travel.

The Position: Direct a team of Cabin Crew Managers (CCM) and up to 6,000 Cabin Crew for a specific cabin/role e.g. Business Class or Senior Flight Steward. Define and implement strategies and plans to deliver on-going improvements of service standards through employee engagement and increased productivity. Work with the broader MCC team to ensure that the strategic direction of activity is aligned to department and corporate objectives.

Job Outline:

  • Drive the constant improvement of inflight service through the management of crew to ensure the effective and consistent implementation of service standards on-board. Define, implement and review medium to long term plans.
  • Proactively engage and influence within Service Delivery and across Corporate departments (eg: Customer Affairs and Service Audit, Performance Development) to ensure the delivery of plans to constantly improve the on-board customer experience. Implement and review the strategic direction of CC Management in response to business and commercial demands, customer feedback and in support of required service changes. Ensure future plans and direction are communicated, prioritised and implemented.
  • Direct and manage a team of Cabin Crew Managers in effective performance management of crew including ensuring recognition of strong performance, crew development and timely management of shortfalls. Act as escalation point for guidance with more complex cases of performance or behavioural shortfalls. Ensure consistency within and across MCC teams.
  • Manage, motivate and develop the team to ensure the achievement of departmental & team objectives. Create a customer centric team-working environment to ensure effective performance against defined objectives and targets.
  • Ensure that the required cabin crew resources are in place in response to manpower plans through assessment and selection to meet business needs and future growth
  • Lead and inspire a team of CCMs and cabin crew around key business messages ensuring strong communication and engagement with business drivers.
  • Define and implement procedures and guidelines to ensure the fair, consistent and effective application of policies and procedures within crew management.
  • Collaborate across entire CC Management team to develop and implement common practices, performance expectations and action plans. Partner with supporting departments (CC Operations, Crew Planning & Scheduling, CC Service Centre, Cabin Crew Training, HR, Recruitment etc.) to ensure alignment of strategies and actions.
  • Identify and lead key initiatives within Service Delivery based on business needs/customer feedback.
  • Represent CC Management on corporate Projects for current and future growth. Lead and participate in departmental and corporate projects, ensuring business needs of Cabin Crew Management and Service Delivery are fully represented.

Experience and Qualifications:

  • Degree or Honours (12+3 or equivalent)
  • 8+ years at a managerial level – preferably with a major airline or Service/ Hospitality Industry.
  • Experience of leading large teams, preferably remote workforces.

Salary & Benefits: We offer an attractive tax-free salary, paid in Dirhams, the local currency of the UAE. The Dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund and it has been held constant against the US dollar since the end of 1980 at a mid-rate of approximately US$1=”Dh3.66.” Besides generous travel benefits normally associated with an airline, this managerial role also has excellent leave and health care packages, accommodation, power and water paid for, along with transport benefits, life insurance and other employee benefits making the role attractive to high performers. By viewing the ‘Dubai Lifestyle’ section in the careers website you can also consider the many benefits of Dubai as a location to live and work in

To Apply: To express your interest in the above vacancy please apply on-line by clicking below, and complete our application form. We will then consider your application and contact you should we wish to shortlist you for an interview. Should you not receive an invitation for an interview within 5 weeks please assume that on this occasion you have been unsuccessful. We will retain your details for 12 months unless advised otherwise and re-consider you for future opportunities as they arise. Please also note that if you are not shortlisted you can also update your application at any time and apply for other opportunities. Thank you for your interest in a career with the Emirates Group.

     Thank you for your interest in a career with The Emirates Group.

For more information visit: https://ekgrpapplications.emirates.com/careersonlineapps/JOB_VACANCIES/JobVacancies.aspx

2013 Jobs Available (Qatar Airways)

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QR1250 – Cabin Service Instructor | Qatar Airways | Doha

Organisation: Qatar Airways
Job Function: Cabin Crew
Division: Cabin Crew
Employment Type: Full Time – Permanent
City: Middle East | Qatar | Doha
Last date of application: 13-Jul-2013

Qatar Airways

Welcome to a world where ambitions fly high

From experienced pilots to dynamic professionals embarking on new careers, Qatar Airways is searching for talented individuals to join our award-winning team.

We take pride in our people—a dynamic and culturally diverse workforce is essential to why we are one of the finest and fastest growing airlines in the world.

We offer competitive compensation and benefit packages and Doha based employees receive a range of allowances and enjoy a tax-free income.

About Your Job:

You will be responsible to ensure the highest standards of personalized in-flight service is offered to our customers through the professional design and delivery of Cabin Crew training courses, which encourage and stimulate the learning process in order to develop individual Cabin Crew job competency and inter-personal skills.

Additionally, you need to identify course aims and objectives and deliver training programs that enable all trainees to achieve the competencies required of their individual position. Train ‘people skills’ that enable cabin crew to improve their ability to work cooperatively with others, communicate clearly and be part of a high performing team.

Will be required to conduct Training Needs Analysis (TNA) with existing cabin crew and develop training plans where required that fills any gaps between designated standards and existing performance. .

 

About You: To be successful in this role you must be minimum ‘A’ Level or equivalent preferably with a diploma in Hotel Management or in the hospitality industry. Must have atleast minimum 5 years experience as Cabin Crew with 1 year in a supervisory role (i.e. Cabin Services Director). Previous international airline experience or a teaching background would be an advantage.It will be preferred if you have experience in teaching and training in a multi-cultural environment. You should posses a good understanding of customer service issues with excellent communication skills, both  oral and written.

Note: you will be required to attach the following:
1. Resume / CV
2. Passport-size photograph
3. Copy of highest educational qualification

For more information visit: http://careers.qatarairways.com/qatarairways/VacancySearch.aspx

What I am Reading Today

ImageFlying high: World’s best airlines revealed

THE Flying Kangaroo has leaped back into a prestigious list of the world’s best airlines, only to be outdone by its partner airline.

Qantas has been voted the tenth best airline in the world according to the Skytrax World Airline Awards, the world’s largest survey of air passengers spanning 160 countries with over 18 million respondents.

But its partner airline Emirates stole the limelight, taking out the top spot and booting Qatar – last year’s winner – down to second place. Emirates, which placed number eight last year, also won best inflight entertainment.

Scroll down for the full list of winners

Qantas and Emirates launched a partnership this year seeing all of the Australian airline’s flights to Europe stop over in Dubai, a move that raised concerns more Australians could land in trouble. Depending on where in Europe passengers are flying to, they may switch to Emirates planes or stay on Qantas aircraft. These survey results may have some passengers wishing for the swap!

The Skytrax results are a victory for Qantas. Since 2008, when it was named the world’s third best airline, Qantas had fallen out of favour with Skytrax – it was beaten by Virgin Australia last year for the title of Australia’s best airline.

Budget offshoot Jetstar was named the best low-cost airline in the Australia Pacific for the third consecutive year, and the second-best in the world after AirAsia.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said it has been a big year for the airline, with fleet improvements and new products including mattresses for international business class, updates to menus and wine lists and the use of iPads to stream inflight entertainment.

“Skytrax is a leading indicator of passenger satisfaction. For both Qantas and Jetstar Airways to be recognised as two of the best reflects our investment in creating great travel experiences,” Mr Joyce said.

“We now have one of the youngest fleets of any legacy airline in the world. We have invested in more training, new lounges and better on-board products. We pride ourselves on safety and on being the most on-time airline in Australia. The Skytrax result shows how these efforts add up to create a superior experience for passengers.”

Top 10 airlines in the world

1. Emirates
2. Qatar Airways
3. Singapore Airlines
4. ANA All Nippon Airways
5. Asiana Airlines
6. Cathay Pacific Airways
7. Etihad Airways
8. Garuda Indonesia
9. Turkish Airlines
10.Qantas Airways

Winners in other categories

World’s best premium economy class: Air New Zealand
World’s best low-cost airline: AirAsia
World’s best aircraft cabin cleanliness: ANA
World’s best economy class onboard catering: Asiana Airlines
World’s best cabin staff: Cathay Pacific Airways
World’s best regional airline: Dragonair
World’s best first class: Etihad Airways
World’s best economy class: Garuda Indonesia
Best low-cost airline in Australia / Pacific: Jetstar Airways
World’s best first class lounge: Lufthansa
World’s best airline signature dish: Malaysia Airlines
Best airline Australia / Pacific: Qantas Airways
World’s best business class: Qatar Airways
Best staff service in Australia / Pacific: Virgin Australia

TMA Bulig: In Retrospect

TMA3         Nothing is harder than getting something started. In writing an article, one has to conceive first an idea and develop the topic. At the same manner, writing the introduction is the most crucial part. Some parts have to be edited, ideas have to be added and some parts of it should be deleted. For some reasons, after the introduction is done, supporting details will flow smoothly until the article is completed. This goes the same in building an organization.

           It was unholy hour in my location (Abu Dhabi) of August 3 last year when yours truly received a private message from Mark Tambal, the creator and administrator of Taga Milagros Ako (TMA) Facebook page. He simply said, “How are you boy? I want you to be a part of this secret group where we can discuss  important things for our hometown because I’m tired and challenged of reading some posts in TMA…that we do nothing except criticism.” With his statement I know he was in a serious business that I replied and typed in the chat box “I’m great mark! this is it! Count me in!”

          Apres of  sweet talks Mark created KLM (Kape Lampara kag Milagros) where Jovyleen Asebuque, Don Dalanon, Ghe Canete and Janessa Medina became members. “May this a good start for our dream of making our town Milagros a better place for everyone,” Mark says. “Primero na higop san kape para sa atun tanan.”

          The following day KLM think tank conducted a deliberation and election of new members. Renaming of the group was also considered and the following were the suggested names: Lampara ni San Jose, TMA Cares, TMA Services Inc., TMA Bulig. And on September 30, 2012 TMA Bulig which stands for Taga Milagros Ako Building and Uplifting the Lives of In need Groups was voted unanimously. “I want a name for the group that sounds truly Milagros and in one word says it all.” Janessa explained.

first
The core group on their first global meeting

          On October 1, 2012 Atty. Anthony Villasis, Kath Arcenas Nuhs, Fr. Henry Dalanon, Maricel Reyes, Shiela Sia, Karen Dalanon, Ryan Cantorna attended the first TMA Bulig global meeting. As agreed by the body the attendees will serve as the core group. Great and brilliant projects were proposed and discussed during the forum. However, for some  it was impossible to push through the projects because of financial issues and shortage of volunteers. But because of determination and persistence our small dream fulfilled … and the rest is history.

          On December 16, 2012 TMA Bulig in collaboration with Gawad Kalinga (Milagros Chapter) and Singles for Christ initiated the first project dubbed as: “Paskong Milagreno…Adlaw san Pagpasalamat.” Morethan 300 children from selected barangays received Christmas gifts and enjoyed the foods from Jollibee. Before the year ended the group came to realize that a solid and well-coordinated team can share a lifetime happiness to some of the less fortunate young bloods of Milagros.

           Charity is just a part of TMA Bulig dreams. Social and political awareness is one of the top priorities of the group in order to build a strong and more productive community. A campaign ad that says: “Our Future Is Not For Sale” was launched in line with the local election. This campaign reminds the voters to choose good leaders and vote wisely and according to their conscience.

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            This aggrupation of professionals, students, out of school youths and ordinary citizens of Milagros around the world believe that education and hard work are the keys to succeed. However, for some reasons not all inhabitants of this first class municipality   (first class according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milagros,_Masbate)  can afford to study specially in high school and college. With this situation, TMA Bulig opted to start helping the parents of kindergartens and grade pupils from selected elementary schools by distributing school supplies, shoes, umbrella, and books to read.  “We are overwhelmed here in TMA Bulig because of unexpected full support from our town-mates….we even received donations from other people and its really surprising! I hope and pray that they will continue to stand with us in the next project.” said Maricel Reyes who is the Chairman of External Affairs.

          More projects are being planned by the group. Livelihood and scholarship programs, medical mission and overseas jobs support to name but a few. Albeit young and new but this humble organization will continue to walk the talk slowly but surely because of sincere commitment and desire to make a difference for Milagros…

TMA Bulig in action….

TMA Bulig "Paskong Milagreno 2012" in collaboration with GKawad Kalinga and Single for Christ
TMA Bulig “Paskong Milagreno 2012” in collaboration with Gawad Kalinga and Singles for Christ held @ John & Betty Miller Carolinas III Gawad Kalinga Village, Paraiso, Milagros, Masbate [Photo by Shiela]
The beneficiaries of "Bag to School" project pose with TMA Bulig volunteers  held at Jose Aninang Sr. Primary School, Nagurang Island, Milagros, Masbate
The beneficiaries of “Bag to School” project pose with TMA Bulig volunteers held at Jose Aninang Sr. Primary School, Nagurang Island, Milagros, Masbate [Photo by Shiela]
Tatay Ilo Medina of Brgy. Bacolod receives the wheelchair from TMA Bulig
Tatay Ilo Medina of Brgy. Bacolod receives the wheelchair from TMA Bulig [Photo by Shiela]
Vicente Oliva Sr. Elemetary School Kindergarten students (morning class)
Vicente Oliva Sr. Elemetary School Kindergarten students (morning class) [Photo by Shiela]
Vicente Oliva Sr. Elemetary School Kindergarten students (afternoon class)
Vicente Oliva Sr. Elemetary School Kindergarten students (afternoon class) [Photo by Shiela]
*

Note: TMA Bulig SEC registration is still on process. For any suggestions, comments, donations and inquiries please visit:www.facebook.com/groups/tagamilagrosako/ or you may contact the admin on his personal email address: tambal_mark@yahoo.com

Categories: UncategorizedTags:

What I am reading today

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(Photos during my vacation in Irosin, Sorsogon)

ALMASOR FAMILIARIZATION TOUR
Bacon-Bulusan-Matnog (Sorsogon)

From SirChief TourGuide Joey Salceda timeline.

INTRODUCTION:

Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon (ALMASOR) Tourism Alliance is one of the three (3) Area Development Plans being formulated in line with the RDC’s priority areas of concern, specifically in Promoting Tourism. It is focused on the NTDP’s identified Tourism Development Areas (TDAs) under the Bicol cluster where in its conceptualization process, there is a need to validate potential, emerging and existing attractions/destinations, facilities and activities. Hence the conduct of the familiarization cum validation tour by the TWG in the municipalities of Bulusan and Matnog of Sorsogon province for purposes of assessing the current status and possible recommendations on how to develop the potential sites, enhancement of the already existing ones, and creation of tourism activities that will stimulate the flow of visitors in the area. In addition, tourism road projects leading to and from said destinations were inspected for possible inclusion and funding under the DOT-DPWH Convergence Program.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) as the lead agency of the Technical Committee on Promoting Tourism organized the said Familiarization cum Validation Tour participated by the members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) from NEDA, DPWH, DENR, DOST, PPA and PPDOs/CPDOs of Albay and Sorsogon. Media partners from print, TV and broadcast were likewise invited to seek their support in terms of information dissemination thru write-ups and press releases, thus first-hand exposure and information provided them better insights and concrete understanding of the validation trip, particularly on the attractions/sites visited, roads inspected as well as the activities experienced.

Conducted on April 29-30, 2013, the validation team was comprised of 29 TWG members and 16 press practitioners. With Legazpi (APSEMO) as the base, the group took off at 7:30 a.m. and covered the following areas:

Day 1: Sorsogon Provincial Capitol – Sirangan Beach Resort (Bacon, Sorsogon) – Bulusan Church – Fortress (Baluarte de Piedra), Dancalan Beach – Masacrot Spring – Fulo Spring Resort – Crystal Spring Resort – Balay Buhay sa Uma – Bulusan Lake/Volcano National Park. (Bulusan, Sorsogon)

Tourism road project inspection of Sorsogon – Bacon-Manito-Legazpi Road and Bulusan-Sta. Magdalena – Matnog road

Day 2 – Matnog Aqua Adventures: Fish feeding/interaction at Juag Lagoon – Mariculture Park – Subic Beach “pink sand” – passing local community of Calintaan Island – Tikling Island.

Inspected the end point of Bulusan-Sta-Magdalena-Matnog road

HIGHLIGHTS

• The activity was facilitated by Mr. Danilo B. Intong, ALMASOR consultant who briefed the team of the purpose of said undertaking as well as the places to be visited as indicated in the itinerary . Mr. Intong gave a backgrounder and the tourism significance of each sites/ attractions visited.

• First leg of the trip was a courtesy call to Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee at the Provincial Capitol who in his absence was represented by the Provincial Planning and Development Officer – Mr. Dominador Jardin. The latter was assisted by its Tourism Officer – Ms. Cris Racelis who gave a brief presentation of the proposed road projects: Sorsogon East Coast (Bacon-Manito-Legazpi) and Sorsogon West Coast (Bulusan-Sta. Magdaleno-Matnog) road project. These 2 projects were already evaluated by the DOT-DPWH Regional TWG based on the TRIPPC and forwarded the same to the Central TWG for their final evaluation and approval. Mr. Jardin was reminded on the submission of the Right of Way (ROW) certification which is a lacking requirement for its east coast road project.

• Ocular inspection of the Sorsogon-Bacon-Manito-Legazpi road project followed and passed by Sirangan Beach Resort (Bacon, Sorsogon City) for a quick inspection. The resort which is classified as “AA” has 12 king sized rooms distinctively crafted from natural materials and is complete with restaurant, function hall and other amenities. After inspection, the team returned to the Provincial Capitol for lunch hosted by Gov. Lee.

• From Sorsogon City, the group then proceeded to Bulusan via Gubat and had a rolling tour of the historic town of Barcelona passing the St. Joseph Church, the ruined watchtower and an old building called “La Presidencia” which served as the office of the “Governadocillo” during the Spanish regime. Upon arriving Bulusan, first stop was at Dancalan Beach Resort where the team was met and welcomed by Mr. Philip Bartilet, the newly installed Tourism Officer of Bulusan and at the same time the President of AGAP Bulusan which is now managing the Bulusan Lake and its activities. The following were inspected in the area:

DANCALAN BEACH – located at Brgy. Dancalan, Bulusan, Sorsogon. It has shallow waters and is ideal for snorkeling, camping and swimming. Managed by LGU Bulusan, the resort has picnic cottages available for rent and a very mimimal entrance fee of Php 15.00 is collected for those who wish to enjoy and relax in this beach.

BULUSAN CHURCH – located in Punta Diamante, the triangular stone fortress (Baluarte de Piedra) that encloses the parish church and rectory. Its bell tower is said to have been existed in 1631, after the town was separated as an independent parish from Casiguran in 1630. This church is considered as one of the oldest in the province of Sorsogon and had already undergone major renovations. Today the walls are almost still intact. There were a total of four baluartes de piedra, the biggest of which now serves as the church belfry.

MASACROT SPRING – located at San Roque, Bulusan Sorsogon. It has a hand carved swimming pool with clean, fresh and free flowing sulphuric waters. Visitors and picnickers can have a refreshing dip in its cool waters and rejuvenate the natural way by swimming with its sulphuric waters. Entrance Fee: Php 40.00 (adults/Php 30.00 (children)
FULO SPRING RESORT. Located just across Masacrot Spring. It is surrounded by verdant trees with pristine air, clean, cool and free flowing waters in its 2 swimming ppols For visitors who wish to stay overnight, there are 8 units cottages and also open sheds for excursionists. Entrance Fee: Php 35.00

BALAY BUHAY SA UMA – Nestled at the foot of the forested Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, This place known as home of life is ideal for spiritual retreats and recollection and also perfect for educational tours and family outings. Visitors will enjoy the walk through a thoroughfare of various plants and herbs, hedges of flowers and fruit trees escorted by bees and butterflies. It offers fishing activity, seminar venue and lodging needs and serves indigenous and native dishes all found within the farm.

CRYSTAL SPRING – A family-oriented resort set against a backdrop of lush greeneries and rainforest trees. The swimming pools are continuously fed with clean mineral-laden water from natural springs. A rest house is also available for families or groups who wish to spend the night.
BULUSAN VOLCANO NATURAL PARK (BVNP). Situated at the municipality of Bulusan in the province of Sorsogon covering an area of 3,673 hectares which straddles 5 municipalities namely: Bulusan, Irosin, Juban, Casiguran and Barcelona It is an imposing landmark in Sorsogon, towering at an altitude of 1,565 meters above sea level, making this protected area as one of the mountaineering destinations in the Philippines. Bulusan is dubbed as Switzerland of the Orient because of its lush tropical forest, it also pride itself with several gifts of nature, like cold and hot springs, tranquil lakes, rivers, waterfalls, beaches and other natural treasures. BVNP’s special features include Bulusan Volcano, Bulusan Lake, two other mountain formations known as Shark Peak and Hormahan and Lake Aguingay. It is likewise a habitat of numerous endemic species of plants such as the Forestia philippinensis, Pinanga insignis, Areca camarinensis, Mussaenda phillipica and two newly discovered species, Schefflina bulusanicum and Pronephrium bulusanicum. Other rare and threatened species are also found in the area. As sanctuary of fauna, it feature Golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatos), the Southern Luzon giant cloud rat (Phloeomys cumingii), the Philippine warty pig (Sus philippensis) and the Luzon Tarictic hornbill (Penelopides manillae).

BULUSAN LAKE. One of the main features of the BVNP found at the foot of the Bulusan Volcano which is surrounded by lush green forest and encircled by a concrete pathway. It is managed by AGAP-Bulusan, Inc. (Aggrupation of Advocates for Environmental Protection) an NGO whose mission is to protect and preserve the environment while at the same time fostering social and economic upliftment thru massive and intensive environmental education and info. campaign, promotion and support of sustainable eco-enterprises.

Located 2 kilometers from the hi-way, the lake is now getting attention from foreign and local tourists in view of the activities it offers such kayaking, canoeing, water triking, camping, trekking and mountain climbing. More activities are currently developed such as horse-back riding, wall climbing and Auto-TerrainVehicle (ATV) which are soon to open. Minimal fee of Php 20.00 for adults and Php 15.00 for elderly and children are collected as entrance fee.

STAKEHOLDERS’ CONSULTATION

• Before dinner was served, Consultation/Meeting was conducted with the Bulusan tourism stakeholders held at Balay Buhay sa Uma. Presided by Mr. Danilo Intong, first, he announced that Bulusan will play host to the 1st Volcano Sky Run, an international event to be held simultaneous with the 3rd Bulusan Trail Running Cup on June 12, 2013. He said that the success of the previous year’s Bulusan Eco-Trail Run prompted the LGU to hold the same with the hope that this will be another milestone for the municipality. Mr. Intong then gave a brief backgrounder about the ALMASOR and its overall goal which is to achieve the 500,000 foreign tourist arrivals by 2016 that will redound to job creation, income opportunities, revenue generation and eventually uplift economic condition of the people.

• Mr. Intong cited that one of the major components of the ALMASOR is the CONNECTIVITY which aimed to link the tourism sites and potentials in adjacent areas through the development of an intermodal transport infrastructures i.e. airports, sea ports, railway and road networks. Thus, convergence was forged between and among the national government agencies, specifically the CAAP, PPA, PNR and DPWH to implement projects that will support the tourism industry in terms of establishment of tourism infrastructures and providing basic access from the gateway to the service center, cluster of tourism sites as well as activity. He added that the NGAs collaborative efforts are geared towards a fast, friendly, efficient and cost effective transport system that will result to a quality touristic experience. He added that the DOT and DPWH convergence program will likewise pave the way to fund development, improvement and rehabilitation of roads leading to tourist attractions and or destinations subject to TRIPPC evaluation and submission of necessary documents.

• He then asked the stakeholders to give feedbacks on the status of the tourism industry in their area as well as the comments and recommendations of the media and TWG members as regards to the evaluation/assessment conducted. The following issues were raised:

While Bulusan is endowed with rich tourism sites and potentials, however there is an absence of regular trips leading to the sites. Hence walk-in tourists who travel via PUB will find the tour expensive as they will be prompted to take special trip just to be able to visit their desired attractions and or destination.
Bulusan can attract international visitors in view of its lush and pristine beauty as well as its enormous tourism potentials ;
Aside from the lack of capital investment to improve the existing facilities, most stakeholders are burdened with the high rate of taxes payed to BIR considering the seasonality of guests and excursionists in their resorts;
To encourage tourism investments, the LGU should consider income tax holiday
Aside from the lack of directional signages, the existing ones were noted to be not very visible and not strategically located that travelers find it difficult to locate their desired place/s to be visited;

• Mr. Intong informed the body on the significance of DOT accreditation especially on primary tourism enterprises which include accommodation establishments (hotels, resorts, inns, homestays, etc.), tourist transport and operators, tour guides, mountain guides, recreational facilties, etc. He said that with the R.A. 9593, otherwise known as Tourism of 2009, accreditation is now mandatory. He said that being accredited with the DOT means that the establishment has complied on the minimum standard requirement on the operations of the concerned establishment. Thus, he encouraged the tourism stakeholders to apply for accreditation with DOT.

• Ms. Fe Buela of DOT expressed appreciation to the stakeholders for their warm welcome and reception and for tendering meals (snacks and dinner) for their group. She likewise congratulated LGU-Bulusan for the developments and improvements happening in the municipality as manifested by the opening of new resorts and other tourism-related establishments and the enhancement of the already existing ones. She likewise congratulated Mr. Philip Bartilet, President of AGAP Bulusan for his aggressive efforts and abled leadership in managing the Bulusan Lake and introducing new tourism activities such as kayaking, canoeing, water triking, among others and for initiating national and international events such as the Bulusan Eco-trail Run, and the forthcoming events.

• Ms. Buela added, that based on the evaluation and validation conducted, most of the resorts in the area will fall under Special Interest Resort. She then advised that more improvements and upgrading is needed to qualify it to a higher resort classification.

DAY 2 – VALIDATION OF MATNOG & THE AQUA ADVENTURE PACKAGE
• From Bulusan, the team headed to Matnog of which the activity commenced with a brief stop-over at Mayor Emilio Ubaldo’s Headquarter wherein breakfast was served. Matnog is a town located at the southern part of the Bicol Region and the jump-off point to the Visayas area. It has a busy port as several ferry companies operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, specifically the Matnog-Allen and Matnog-San Isidro ferry route. Matnog is also beginning to gain popularity in the tourism industry and now drawing influx of domestic and foreign tourists because of its beautiful islands. The LGU in partnership with DOT and Bantay Kalikasan developed a tourism product/package dubbed as Matnog Aqua Adventure.
• The aqua adventure comprising island hopping activity took about 4 to 5 hrs, cruising the clear and calm water where the group first dropped at Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary. A family, housed in a native shanty made of bamboo stilts amidst the lagoon look after their fish pen and welcome visitors who would like to see their teeming collection of marine life. The group were provided with pellets and indulged in feeding schools of colorful and varied sizes of different fish species. Visit in this site accorded the team a unique and exciting fish feeding experience.

• Next destination was the Mariculture Park at Calintaan Island which was developed by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The park showcases a commercial fish farm and offers favorable investment climate for fin fishes sea cage culture ventures. Managed by Councilor Christopher Hadap, Chairman Committee on Agriculture, he said that BFAR provides a grant of 155,000 for fisher folks which include the floating cages, fingerlings and feeds. These live fishes from the grouper sea cage project drew curious tourists in the area, hence the LGU finds the fusing of fisheries and aquatic resources as well as tourism to be an effective strategy to promote agri-ecotourism in the area that will pave the way for fisher folks to increase income from the BFAR project while at the same time benefitting from the tourism activity.

• The team then sojourned to Subic Beach passing by San Bernardino Strait which serves as the boundary of Bicol and Samar and where international vessels are sometimes sighted crossing the Pacific Ocean. Off the coast are dive sites of Matnog where magnificent corals reefs abound and also ideal for snorkeling and drift diving. The boat trip likewise passed by an old Spanish light house and underwater caves known to be inhabited by giant bats.

• The team finally reached Subic Beach known as La Playa Rosa or pink beach also located within Calintaan Island. Its pinkish sand was in effect of the crushed red corals washed out from the sea. The place has a stunning scenery and pristine beach with crystal clear waters that is very enticing for beach lovers. Open cottages are available for rent or tent can be pitched for camping or overnight stay.

• The last stop was Tikling Island which lies along the San Bernardino Strait, some 4 km offshore from the town proper of Matnog. It boasts of a fine white sand beach, however, swimming is only advisable for skilled swimmers because of the sudden drop in depth by the shore. The site is likewise ideal for camping

• After the island hopping activity, the team returned to Mayor Ubaldo’s Headquarter for the wash up and hosted merienda and went back straight to Legazpi.

Prepared by: Noted:

FE R. BUELA DANILO B. INTONG
DOT-V ALMASOR Consultant
ATTENDANCE

PARTICIPANTS NAME AGENCY/AFFILIATION
1. Fe R. Buela DOT-V
2. Milo S. Oropesa DOT-V
3. Danilo B. Intong ALMASOR Consultant
4. Ester B. Barria NEDA
5. Engr. Rosie Cantara DPWH-5
6. Engr. Ester M. Vargas DPWH-5
7. Annalyn F. Jacob DPWH-1st DEO
8. Faye B. bajamundi DOST
9. Ivy Grace L. Manila PPA
10. Ma. Ruth Mae Remonte PPA
11. Annabelle M. Barquilla DENR
12. Oscar Estillonio DENR
13. Millie C. Bueta PPDO-Albay
14. Francisco Sallena PPDO-Albay
15. Dominador Jardin PPDO-Sorsogon
16. Cristina Racelis Prov’l Tourism-Sorsogon
17. Rizza Daymo PPDO-Sorsogon
18. Engr.Funicillo Agnes Agnes PPDO-Sorsogon
19. Engr. Argeme. Gregorio PPDO-Sorsogon
20. Reynes C. Belgica PPDO Sorsogon
21. Joni Aspasia Jao PPDO-Sorsogon
22. Fe B. barrios CPDO-Tabaco City
23. Priscilla Galicia CPDO-Legazpi City
24. Reissa L. Gamos CPDO-Sorsogon City
25. Erwin D. Escanilla CPDO-Sorsogon City
26. Philip bartilet LGU-Bulusan/AGAP Bulusan
27. Elaine Antolin Artistshop, manila
28. Rose Olarte-Orbita DZMM
29. Rochelle Basanta Radyo ng Bayan
30. Don Gloriane GMA Network
31. Meljessa Balino Bicolandia Times
32. La Xavier Lauraya Bicolandia Times
33. Jonas C. Soltes Philippine Daily Inquirer
34. Jose Caritero ABS-CBN
35. Connie Destura APSEMO V
36. Aireen Jaymalin ABS-CBN
37. Jameson Salalima ABS-CBN

Gandang Pilipinas 2013 winners

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(Gandang Pilipina 1st Runner Up Ms Briggett Kylie, Gangdang Pilipina 2013 Ms Alyssa Villanueva and Gandang Pilipina 2nd Runner Up Ms Geleene Rayo)

In celebrations commemorating the 115th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, UAE Philippine Embassy in cooperation with the Bayanihan Council (Abu Dhabi) and Kamayan Barrio Fiesta Restaurant proudly presented the first ever search for the Gandang Pilipinas 2013. The said beauty pageant was held today at the 3rd Floor of Madinat Zayed Shopping Center Foodcourt. Singer and actress Aiza Seguerra was invited to serenade the ten candidates. Miss Alyssa Villanueva was crowned as Gandang Pilipina 2013 and won special awards (Darling of the crowd and Most number of likes in FB). Ms Briggett Kylie and Ms Geleene Rayo were named as First Runner-Up and Second Runner-Up, respectively. Ms. Villanueva received a cash prize of 10,000 dirhams.

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