Friday, May 15, 2020

The “New Normal” can—and must—be a green one

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Businesses have ground to a halt all across the country in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Whole industries have dried up as we enter into the third month of lockdown measures.

As we progress ever further into the pandemic, the question remains – how are we to recover? And what will the new normal look like?

We must make the “new normal” a green one. And we have what it takes to do just that.

Over the past few years, scientists have marked an 18% increase in global carbon emissions compared to the years before. Even if our emissions have gone down under the lockdown, they still remain incredibly high. Once countries and their economies begin to move and open up once more, we will see a resumption of those high emissions, and things will return to how they were before the pandemic.

As a nation, we have recognized the need to address our emissions. President Duterte, in his 2019 State of the Nation Address, stressed the need for the energy sector to transition toward renewables.

The energy sector is the largest source of carbon emissions out of all our industries, having produced 54% of greenhouse gases in 2016. The country has initially committed to reducing our emissions by 70% by 2030. Civil society groups, coal-affected communities, and power consumers have already called for clean and affordable renewable energy. Meantime, businesses like AC Energy Philippines have already responded to these calls and commitments from the national, with the company committing to completely divest out of fossil fuels by 2030.

This transition should have happened many years ago – but progress has been slow.

Now, we’ve seen what clearer skies can look like. While emissions may not have drastically gone down under the lockdown, many of us have observed how clear the skies are compared to what many may even remember. This will not continue if energy-intensive industries and unsustainable transport modes are to return to normal. For us to keep our emissions low, we must make our various sectors such as businesses, industries, and even cities, more sustainable and environmentally-responsive –and this pandemic is teaching us why.

First, we need to be more self-reliant as a country, even in terms of our energy needs. Much of the coal we use to power our plants is imported. With whole countries in lockdown, this importation has stopped.

Meanwhile, we have abundant indigenous and renewable energy sources right here in the Philippines, that are ready and available for use whenever we need them. According to the Department of Energy, the country’s renewable energy potential is vast with at least 4,000 megawatts (MW) for geothermal, 76,600 MW for wind, 10,000 MW for hydropower, 5 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day for solar, 170,000 MW for ocean, and 500MW for biomass. The recent proposed auctioning of 2,000 MW and identification of competitive renewable energy zones (CREZs) of renewable energy capacity is a good start. However, we need to be able to support ourselves, which is why we must continue to explore and use these renewable sources of power.

Second, there is a need to address our looming power needs. The lockdown has caused a delay in the construction and commissioning of several fossil-fueled power plants that had been slated for operation. This could lead to supply challenges in the future. Commercial and industrial power demand may have decreased during the lockdown, but this has been offset by an increase in power demand from our own homes. Once community quarantines are lifted or eased, we can expect a surge in demand. There is immense opportunity, therefore, for us to plug our growing gaps in local power production, if only we were to tap into our bountiful sources of clean, renewable, and indigenous energy and implement stronger energy efficiency initiatives.

Finally, we need to stray away from thinking that our economic recovery will be a choice between livelihood and the environment. This dichotomy does not exist; sustainable business can easily meet our needs as a country. We’ve seen that investing in natural capital for ecosystem resilience, especially in climate-responsive sectors such as sustainable agriculture, does not only come with the associated environmental and health benefits, but can also provide a much needed economic boost.

It is possible for our economy to recover on the back of green industry, so long as companies are innovative and we create the environment for sustainable businesses to thrive. It is not a choice between the economy and the planet.

Top economic experts have already pointed out the vast economic and environmental potential in putting investments into sustainable industries. These experts have pointed at investments in clean energy infrastructure, clean research and development spending, and the greenification of buildings and public spaces as great ways for us to expand the economy post-lockdown while addressing the looming climate crisis. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas recognizes this with their recent sustainable banking framework, thus setting the foundation for integration of sustainability in the banking sector and increasing financing flows and investments to green and sustainable economic development.

As of this writing, the government continues to prepare stimulus packages to help our businesses and industries, and society as a whole, return to normal after the lockdown. There are plenty of avenues for us, now, to build a sustainable future. The opportunity exists not just in the production of power. We can improve our homes, buildings and infrastructures by retrofitting and making them more energy-efficient. We can pursue sustainable development with urban nature-based solutions in the expansion of our cities. We can take a look at our transportation system and look for solutions that are sustainable, pollution-free, and accessible for all. Investing in all of this will create many, greener jobs and livelihoods for the disenfranchised of Filipino society. Our economy needs a boost, yes, but we can still reimagine our country as a greener one - so long as we put our money where our mouth is. If we don’t, we’ll continue on our old path towards catastrophic climate change.

2020 marks the first time in more than 10 years that we’ll feel the full effect of the

Renewable Energy

Law as all policies and mechanisms under the Law are now in place. The chance for a greener future is here. The pandemic has asked us to dramatically rethink our way of life and the way we do business. Even as our healthcare systems get strengthened, industries like the power sector have been given the opportunity to make themselves sustainable, so long as we allow them to do so.

Changing development pathways to make development more ecologically-responsive and sustainable can make our economic recovery even meet our own climate goals. With the help of the appropriate policies, a clear sustainable development direction, and strong public support, we’re moving forward with our climate action, but we need to move faster. The process of building the “new normal” has begun – we must make sure that it will be a green one.

Written by Atty. Angela Ibay, WWF-Philippines Head of Climate and Energy

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Pia, Gazini and Catriona headline the country's first online AIDS Candlelight Memorial

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Advocacy queens Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray will be leading side by side the first-ever online concert ceremony of the Philippine International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM) on Sunday, May 17, at 4PM.

Dubbed as "Light Up," the online concert ceremony has two parts: Commemoration and Celebration.

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach will head the Light Up's commemoration part alongside community movers, government officials, and private institutions. One of the highlights of the commemorative event is a ceremonial candle lighting to be led by Miss Universe - Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados.

Staunch HIV advocate, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, will top bill Light Up's celebration part, showcasing a free online concert. Performing at the show are exceptional Filipino artists: Katrina Velarde, Nina, 4th Impact, Jed Madela, The Company, Ice Seguerra, Zeus Collins, Anna Ramsey, Phi Palmos, Adrian Lindayag, Addlib Divas, Nicole Asensio, Arman Ferrer, Globe Voices@Work, and drag queen performers and with special participation from Lea Salonga, Morissette Amon, Jed Madela, Radha, and many more.

Hosted by Tim Yap and Patrixia Santos, the Philippine IACM online concert ceremony will be live on Facebook at The country's 2020 IACM shift to an online concert ceremony was in response to the government's imposition of social distancing protocols as the nation grapples with the COVID19 pandemic.

This year's celebration also includes a photo essay contest featuring the HIV story of any Filipino who is part of the advocacy. Interested participants may still join until May 15, at 6PM. Visit this link: for the mechanics and win as much as PhP25,000.00. It will also benefit the Duyan Program of The Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation (TRR) that aims to provide care and support to children living with HIV in the Philippines.

The Department of Health (DOH) reported that since 1984, 3,730 Filipinos have died of HIV-related complications and 74,807 have contracted the virus. In the same DOH report, 3,029 newly diagnosed people living with HIV were recorded for the last quarter of 2019. It has to be noted that HIV testing and effective HIV treatment therapy are given by the government and community-based organizations for free.

Light Up is presented by the DOH, TRR, and The LoveYourself, Inc.; sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Camber Pharmaceutical Inc. by Hetero, Champion Community Centers, Frontrow Cares, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., Premiere Condoms, Teleperformance Philippines, and Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia (SKPA); and supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, EON Foundation, the National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), PhilHealth, Positibong Marino Philippines, Inc., The Red Whistle, Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines, and UNAIDS.

The IACM happens every third Sunday of May to commemorate the courage of the people who succumbed to AIDS. It also celebrates the continuing battle by the people living with HIV and the progress the community has made through the years.

Digital Marketing Tools For Real Estate That Will Help You In 2020

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The real estate sector has grown tremendously in the last few years. Today, digital real estate marketing tools have become more important than ever. 

Not only do they highly simplify the marketing process, but also help your business grow at a higher pace. This is because digital marketing tools and techniques help you reach a broader consumer base.
One of the essential aspects of a real estate business is its ability to provide an entirely credible virtual experience of its offerings, such as videos, 360 degrees virtual tours, 3D models, and much more.
Some of the best digital marketing tools for real estate companies in 2020 are:
  • InVideo
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Evite
  • Placester CRM
  • MailChimp
  • YouTube
  • DocuSign
  • Realeflow
  • RealScout
  • Facebook
  • 99Designs
  • ScheduleOnce
  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
The above tools take care of a variety of digital marketing needs, such as establishing a mailing list, circulating invites for open houses and events, as well as providing virtual experiences, amongst much more.
Virtual Experiences
Virtual experience tools such as InVideo, Kuula, Envisioneer, and LiveTour allow real estate companies and agents to provide an immersive visual experience to buyers and investors. 

This helps them assess the size, plans, layout, and other design elements of the space. These are also perfect for reaching investors across the world, who may not always be able to visit the location immediately. It also provides a plethora of choices, animations, and designs. 

Besides being very easy to use, real estate companies can use them to create multilingual videos to access a wider client base. The templates are reusable and can be modified to suit a wide variety of requirements.

Marketing Through Emails
Another popular digital marketing technique in the real estate sector nowadays is through Email Marketing Services (EMS), such as MailChimp, which helps collate a comprehensive mailing list for companies. 

It helps them keep track of different lists, and groups and quicken the entire communication process. This can be used to notify existing, and potential clients about events, offers, promotions, and other relevant information. 

EMS also helps maintain client databases segregated according to geographical locations, linguistic needs, budgets, preferences, and much more.

Social Media Platforms
Additionally, real estate companies are also significantly increasing the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, to promote their projects better. 

These platforms help them arrange and display a wide variety of pictures, videos, posters, designs, and other visually attractive features. They also provide an easy and relatively informal way of getting in touch with clients, answering queries, and solving grievances.

Event Management and Organization Apps
One of the main aspects of any real estate company is to organize open houses and other social events, such as promotions and launches of new projects.

Event management and organization apps such as Evite, Eventbrite, and Boomset, help real estate companies better create, distribute, and keep track of all their social events. 

They also help them create distinct and personalized invites, which truly reflect the company’s persona. To help with better designing needs, 99Designs is a very popular option for graphics, logos, models, and more.

Collaboration Platforms
Collaboration platforms such as Placester CRM, Fiverr, Upwork, and more, help connect real estate companies with brokers, agents as well as clients. These can also be used for further marketing of jobs as well as projects, directly to prospective employees or clients. 

This helps better streamline the search process, by considering several criteria such as work experience, speciality, skills, and location, to provide a more holistic match between companies and agents, or clients. 

They also optimize the entire application process for agents to make it quicker, simpler, and much more transparent. Tools that offer a range of video templates are highly in-demand and very useful for the same.

Digital Contracts and Documents
Many real estate companies nowadays use apps such as DocuSign to easily and securely sign essential documents in the process of buying and selling property. 

These apps also allow the easy sharing, uploading, and editing of documents across a variety of platforms. This enables the easier distribution of marketing and promotional materials such as prospectuses and brochures as well. Furthermore, it speeds up the closing of deals and ensures transparency at all steps.

Property Search and Scheduling Apps
Real estate companies can use calendar and scheduling apps such as ScheduleOnce, to help their client’s book appointments, meetings, and property viewings with a range of brokers and agents.

This allows for easy cancellation and rescheduling, if needed, as well as provides a comprehensive platform to manage client meetings. 

Most of these scheduling apps also provide property search features, which allow clients to browse through a range of options, before scheduling a meeting or property viewing. Real estate companies can also create their own personalized websites, providing all the details of their various offerings and projects. 

This helps create a more credible image of the company and can be a one-stop solution for all client needs. It can also be used to create a stronger brand and product image for the company.

Oakwood Offers Spacious Retreats Away From Home

Wazzup Pilipinas!

With a domestic Stay Four Pay Three package including flexible check out time

With travel restrictions sweeping through the world, various public health measures are being undertaken by local authorities safeguard their communities. These measures created different needs where alternatives are required, be it a workspace away from distractions, stylish retreat for self-isolation or comfortable residential environment for travellers waiting to return home.

Committed to making the Oakwood experience as safe and enjoyable as possible, 19 participating properties* across Asia Pacific have curated special treats for guests to create their own residential experiences.

Oakwood’s Stay Four Pay Three offer is available for guests who book a minimum of three nights from now to 30 June 2020. In addition to Oakwood’s internationally acclaimed hospitality excellence, guests will enjoy a complimentary fourth night stay with a plethora of privileges such as:

·       Daily Breakfast
·       Welcome Fruit Basket
·       Curated Care Pack per person per booking
·       Dining credits or discounts per booking
·       Discounts on laundry services
·       Check-out anytime on departure day
·       24-hour cancellation policy (prior to arrival day by 1500 hours local time to avoid the one-night cancellation charge, inclusive of taxes)

To complement the benefits listed above, a couple of properties have included creative perks to differentiate their offers. Guests staying at Oakwood Residence Shanghai are entitled to special F&B and retail discounts at the connecting Imago Shopping Mall while Oakwood Hotel & Residence Sri Racha in Thailand will provide a complimentary upgrade to a One Bedroom Deluxe Apartment.

A total of 19 Oakwood properties across Asia Pacific are available for selection:

Oakwood Hotel & Apartments Brisbane

Oakwood Premier Guangzhou
Oakwood Residence Hangzhou
Oakwood Residence Shanghai
Oakwood Hotel & Residence Suzhou
Oakwood Apartments Sanya

Oakwood Premier Cozmo Jakarta
Oakwood Apartments PIK Jakarta
Oakwood Suites La Maison Jakarta
Oakwood Hotel & Residence Surabaya
Oakwood Residence Cikarang

Oakwood Premier Tokyo

Oakwood Hotel & Residence, Kuala Lumpur

Oakwood Premier AMTD Singapore

Oakwood Residence Sukhumvit Thonglor, Bangkok
Oakwood Hotel & Residence Sri Racha
Oakwood Suites Bangkok

Oakwood Residence Saigon
Oakwood Residence Hanoi

Package details for Stay Four Pay Three offer vary from property to property, please visit for more information.

UP Fighting Maroons cheer up frontliners with Zoomustahan

Wazzup Pilipinas!

With people around the world cheering, applauding and saying thank you to their frontliners from balconies and plazas, the University of the Philippines Men’s Basketball Team (UPMBT) expressed gratitude and appreciation for local frontliners in their own unique way.

UP Fighting Maroons Noah Webb, Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, James Spencer, David Murrell, Joe Gomez de Liaño, Jboy Gob, CJ Catapusan, Brix Ramos, Matt Santiago, Ethan Kirkness, Sam Dowd, Malik Diouf and head coach Bo Perasol hopped on a Zoom call with medical and healthcare workers from UP’s Philippine General Hospital (UP PGH) and the UP National Institutes of Health (UP NIH) on Friday, May 8 for a virtual chat called Zoomustahan.

UP coaches Ricky Dandan, Rodney Santos, Moriah Gingrich, Chappy Callanta, Mark Dandan, and Kenneth Raval joined the call as well.

The cheer-up call was received by PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, Dr. Edgar Eufemio, Dr. Anthony Geronimo Cordero, Dr. Louricha Opina-Tan, former Fighting Maroon Dr. Czarlo Dela Victoria, and interns and nurses on the PGH side. NIH health workers and laboratory personnel led by UP Manila Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology science research specialist Stessi Geganzo also chatted with the team.

Kobe Paras got the ball rolling by telling the group how much their sacrifices and bravery were appreciated. “While we are here sitting in our homes, comfortable, you are out there risking your lives for us so I want to say thank you,” said Paras.

Ricci Rivero said they were “really grateful for everything you are doing for our country and our fellow Filipinos. Sobrang saludo po kami sa inyo. We are doing this Zoomustahan with you para naman po makapagshare kami ng konting good vibes sa inyo kahit for a few minutes lang. We’re facing this really big challenge and nandito lang po kami to listen to you, extend our support and continue to pray for you. Hoping for your safety and for sure kakayanin natin ‘to, babangon tayong lahat,” Rivero said.

Coach Bo Perasol thanked UP PGH doctors for their support through the years. “This virtual visit is the least the team could do to give back to you. UP-PGH has been part of our team from the start. Whatever small part we could play now - by saying thank you, by praying for you, or whatever help we could extend to you with our presence – just let us know so we could be part of it,” Perasol said.

The frontliners thanked the Fighting Maroons for taking time and effort to do the Zoomustahan.

“This is really a treat for us - to see faces that are not sick,” quipped Dr. Legaspi. “We are getting all the support that you’re giving us and you keep us inspired to move on. It’s really amazing how the whole UP community stood up to the challenge and are helping us get through this. We’re looking forward to your first game.”

UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita David-Padilla, also extended her greetings and appreciation for the Fighting Maroons’ gesture. “Maraming-maraming salamat, UP Men’s Basketball Team. Malaking-malaking bagay ‘to and salamat sa support sa mga nasa frontlines.”

UP NIH staff and scientists waiting for their shift in the testing center also thanked the Maroons for the video conferencing. “Kami po yong mga off-duty ngayon and we’re waiting for our shift. Thank you so much for this connection. Salamat po sa good vibes.”

The Fighting Maroons hope to reach more frontliners in the days to come to show their support through the UPMBT Zoomustahan. The team looks forward to meeting more medical and healthcare workers, grocery attendants, and other groups that man the frontlines and continue to serve the country during this pandemic.

Instituto Cervantes presents a series of classic Spanish films that you won’t find in Netflix

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Do you like Spanish cinema? The Instituto Cervantes de Manila and the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Spain invite you to enjoy Spanish film classics with «Clásicos contigo / Classics with You», a cycle that will be shown through the Instituto Cervantes channel on the Vimeo platform, for free.

«Classics with you» brings back eleven great movies that today are considered reference works of Spanish cinema. The selected titles, presented by Spanish actors, directors or screenwriters, belong to the AECID Film Library catalog and will be screened with English subtitles. The eleven movies will be shown over eleven weekends --one film per weekend, being each title available only for 48 hours.

Movies you will not find in Netflix

The program “Classics with you” recovers great feature films that connected with the public of their time and that today are considered reference films of Spanish cinematography. It is a commitment to quality Spanish cinema designed for cinephiles around the world.

The film cycle, which started last May 9 with Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955), will continue this weekend with Welcome, Mr. Marshall!, the comedy directed by Luis García Berlanga that bagged the International Prize at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. The film will be available for the Filipino audience on May 16 & 17. To access the link to the movie and password, please log on to Instituto Cervantes de Manila’s website:

Two other highly relevant films will complete the May screenings: Luis Buñuel’s masterpiece Viridiana (1961), which will be presented by the director and screenwriter Arancha Echevarría; and El verdugo, the black comedy directed by Luis García Berlanga in 1963, which will contextualize the director and screenwriter David Trueba.

The “Classics with You” program will follow with La vaquilla (1985), by Luis García Berlanga; The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) and The South (1983), directed by Víctor Erice; The good star (1997), by Ricardo Franco; The Holy Innocents, signed by Mario Camus in 1984; Tasio (1984), by Montxo Armendáriz; and Carol's Journey, directed by Imanol Uribe in 2002.

The films are presented by Instituto Cervantes in collaboration with the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Spain, AECID and the Embassy of Spain. The screenings will be in Spanish with English subtitles. Admission is free. For further information and updates on this film series, please check out or Instituto Cervantes’ Facebook page:

The Three Most Entertaining Ford Hatchbacks

Wazzup Pilipinas!

SUVs and crossovers may be the hot stuff in the USA right now and Ford, as well as many other automakers, may have officially stopped production of their once-popular hatchback nameplates.

Nevertheless, a thriving community of car enthusiasts persists, holding strong their passions for the many hot hatches of old and Ford’s Hatchbacks in particular. With Ford establishing an inhouse performance specialist team to work on certain vehicles, came about the existence of the Sport Technology (ST) and Rallye Sport (RS) badged versions of the familiar Ford Fiesta and Focus nomenclatures. This not only resulted in the creation of impressively performing hot-hatches with unmatch handling dynamics but also created a super affordable entry point to true driving enjoyment for all.

Though we won’t be seeing any new hatchbacks around, here we list the most acclaimed Ford hot-hatches that have been in recent times, in order of the level of driving enjoyment they deliver and in correlation with their affordability. Each model is compared alongside one of its top core competitors for a clearer illustration of their performance and value.

Fiesta ST

The ST-badged subcompact hot hatch epitomizes affordable driving fun and is an exemplary testament to the fact that all-out power doesn’t equal all-out fun. The latest model in the USA was equipped with a 1.6-liter turbo-four engine with outputs of only 197 hp. It had a short-throw six-speed manual gearbox and a front-wheel-drive system. Despite less power on hand in comparison to pricier hot hatches, the ST could subsequently be driven at its limits all the time, arguably making it even more enjoyable. Its powertrain, from the throttle responses and the soundtrack it proffered to the refined collaboration between its parts, delivered boundless levels of smile-inducing driver engagement. It was through the corners, however, where the ST unveiled its true aptitude and the source of its driving pleasure.

Top Competitor - Mini Cooper S
While you’re more likely to see the Mini Cooper in feature films, ensuing high-speed chases and nimbly darting through the tight city streets of Italy, in reality, it’s not quite as much the driver’s car as the Fiesta ST proves to be. Though the Mini Cooper S’s 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder motor is bigger and offers a favorably wide torque band, it isn’t very keen on revving out to its redline. This, along with its standard seven-speed DCT automatic transmission, only detract from its overall driver engagement, although a manual is being brought back. The Cooper S is certainly deserving of its sporty hot hatch reputation, but the ST simply feels more enjoyable overall, from its straight-line performance to its handling poise. The ST’s low price only augments its favor over the more expensive Mini as an affordable fun-to-drive hatch.

Focus ST
Like the Fiesta ST, the Focus ST is a really affordable means to a really fun-to-drive hot hatch. It comes equipped with a more powerful engine, is a little larger as a compact, and is a little more expensive, too. It’s not faster than the Fiesta ST and doesn’t handle quite as well either due to its larger dimensions and extra heft. It is more comfortable on the road, however, and offers more passenger and cargo room for the money. Nevertheless, its 252 horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost mill, six-speed manual gearbox, and front-wheel-drive system work in harmony together to deliver a driving experience that is as noteworthy as the Fiesta ST’s.

Top Competitor - Volkswagen Golf GTI
In terms of performance, the Golf GTI has the Focus ST beat on a straight, proffering a slightly faster 0-60 mph sprint time (6.4 seconds) and a higher top track speed (155 mph). It’s at the bends where the Focus ST will prove favorable though; it won’t be taking the lead in speed but it’s there where it’ll show off its superior fun factor from a handling perspective, inducing giggles and laughter at every turn. While the GTI is more of an all-rounder to appeal to most people’s mild passions and daily requirements, the ST caters first and foremost to the enthusiastic driver without too much compromise elsewhere.

Focus RS
At an MSRP of around $40k, the Focus RS does boast a comprehensive consignment of high-performance underpinnings and software, and the capability to boot. However, at its price, it drifts away from the affordable fun-to-drive factor and offers performance above that of the ST models that can only truly be enjoyed at a track. Its 350-hp turbo-four motor gives it a 0-60 mph sprint time of 4.7 seconds which will have you glued to the back of your seat, if only momentarily. With an all-wheel-drive system standard-fit, the RS is capable of carrying that performance through into the corners where its as exhilarating, if not more, than the ST models, especially with the available Drift Mode giving you controllable slides beyond the limits of adhesion.

Top Competitor - Honda Civic Type R
Its aggressively sporty looks alone will make you want you to take it on a test drive, and the performance it’ll deliver will make you want to take it out again and again. Its 306-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine may not be as powerful as the Focus RS’s, but its pristine steering feel, masterfully crafted chassis, and six-speed manual gearbox with its shift stick modeled from the original NSX supercar, altogether make it the superior hot hatch. It’s also equipped with an adaptive suspension, a helical limited-slip differential, and large 20-inch high-performance tires with which it skillfully slams into corners with like no other hatch can. Plus, it’s more affordable than the RS too.

The Top 5 Activities You Can Do In Newtown, Connecticut

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Newtown is a small town in southwestern Connecticut that is rich in history and surrounded by the beauty of nature. Founded in 1705 when English colonists purchased the land from the Pootatuck Nation, over the centuries Newtown has seen revolution, urban development, and tragedy.

Today, Newtown provides an excellent base for anyone wishing to escape the urban sprawl and explore a more peaceful world. Here’s a shortlist of 5 activities you can do while visiting Newtown today.

#1. Go hiking or snowshoeing

The countryside surrounding Newtown offers wonderful hiking opportunities. Al’s Trail is a 10.7-mile track that leads you through open space, town forests, and leads you into the upper block of the Paugusset State Forest.

There Al’s Trail merges into the Lillinonah Trail. This is a Blue-Blazed hiking trail through the lower Housatonic River Valley. This 5.9-mile loop trail includes the ascent to a 480-feet high point, takes you past the foundations of long-abandoned homes and a boat launch. The trail is named after the legendary heroine in a local romantic tragedy, a Native American lady who fell in love with an English colonist.

The Lillinonah Trail is a versatile resource mainly used for hiking and picnicking but transforming into an excellent snowshoeing trail during winter months. Parts of the trail are also used for hunting, horseback riding, fishing, and cross-country skiing. During hunting season, it’s advisable to wear bright orange clothes while hiking!

If you enjoy hiking, also check out the wonderful trails available around Sticks & Stones Farm in Newtown. But if it’s skiing and other snow-related activities you want, note that Thunder Ridge Ski Area is a mere 22 miles away, meaning that you can use Newton as a base should you wish to enjoy skiing or snowboarding while you’re on vacation.

#2. Enjoy birdwatching

Between Newtown and Southbury, in the vicinity of the Shepaug Hydroelectric Station, you can find the Shepaug Eagle Observation Area. Since the Shepaug Dam was built in 1955, it has become a popular feeding and nesting ground for hawks and eagles. Birds frequently spotted here include bald eagles, goshawks, red-tailed hawks, great blue herons and other species of waterfowl.

The observation area is run by a mixture of volunteers from the Connecticut Audubon society and utility company employees. The staff are on hand to assist and educate you as well as providing binoculars and spotting scopes on loan. This lookout is open between December and March on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings or by advance reservation. 

#3. Give your kids a treat

In 2011, a group of local moms gathered together to establish the EverWonder Children’s Museum. However, the actual exhibits were designed and developed by major science museums, such as the Sciencenter in Ithaca and the Rochester Museum & Science Center. The knowledge and experience of the designers show in the quality of the many exhibits designed to entertain and educate your children through hands-on experimentation concerning big scientific concepts.

The exhibits include swinging pendulums, a Lego table, a flight lab, and a selection of live animals. Come say hello to Armstrong the goldfish, Cassini the ball python Venus and Jupiter the albino African clawed frogs, and Mrs. Newton and Mr. Einstein the bearded dragons.

#4. Blue Jay Orchards

The fall is a great time to be in Newton because that’s when the Blue Jay Orchards are open for you to come and choose your own pumpkin or pick your own apples. The orchard boasts 15 varieties of apple that each ripens at different times, from early August to mid-October. Go along and pick your own Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Ida Red, Jonagold, and Red Delicious.

The orchard also features a farm market, where you can find locally produced cider (of course!) honey, jams, jellies, and baked goods such as traditional American apple pies.

#5. Go to the theatre

When was the last time you went to the theatre? Newtown boasts an extremely popular community theatre based in The Little Theatre with a history that stretches back over 70 years. The Town Players perform an eclectic mix of plays with a new production each season.

At the time of writing, the upcoming show was Prescription: Murder — A Columbo Mystery, which is the play that inspired the popular TV show Columbo. This production will run from November 15th through December 7th, 2019.

Thursday evening and Sunday matinees are only $20 while Friday and Saturday are $25. There are also 20% discounts for students and seniors. Where else can you enjoy quality community theatre at such a low price? With wine, soft drinks, and snacks available, you’re guaranteed a wonderful time in the Little Theatre.

And there’s more

That’s just a shortlist of activities for you and your family in Newtown, Connecticut. One activity not listed that will go to the top of the list in the near future is a visit to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

This isn’t on the list because it has yet to be built, but it’s coming soon. You may decide you want to visit the site, which is already open to the public. This planned animal sanctuary is being built in memory of one of the 27 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy in 2012.

Six-year-old Catherine loved animals and dreamed of running an animal sanctuary when she grew up. Sadly, she will never get the chance. But others have worked tirelessly to ensure that her dream will soon become a reality. When it does, this sanctuary set on 34 acres will permanently house 300 abandoned animals and provide rehabilitation for many others.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

What so interesting in Japanese gaming halls?

Japanese gaming halls with Pachinko attract not only residents of the country, but also many tourists. Well, where else can you just as clearly and genuinely experience the local flavor of modern Japan? Even if you are indifferent to gambling, you still cannot pass by a similar institution while in Japan. Why are these gaming halls attract numerous visitors?

1. The scale

Entering the Japanese pachinko (pachinko is a mix of pokies online and pinball) game room, you seem to find yourself in a parallel universe. Often, modest front doors hide behind themselves incredible areas in size. In many such establishments, hundreds of “one-armed bandits” are standing in endless ranks. Such a scope highly impressive. Many visitors compare game clubs in Japan with small fairytale towns.
Play best Australian online pokies

2. Design

In order to make the feeling of detachment from reality even more complete, there is everything you need. Bright illumination burns with all the colors of the rainbow. The speaker sounds incendiary music and all kinds of announcements. Online pokie machines resemble funny robots from children's cartoons. Even at night there is a bright light. By the way, this completely deprives visitors with orientation in time. This is partly why you can easily spend here the day without noticing nightfall.

3. Players

It may seem surprising, but perhaps the most striking attraction of the gaming halls in Japan are the visitors themselves. Without exaggeration, there are legends about the local players, and statistics confirm the amazing facts about them. It is known that regular players are 15 million Japanese! Among them, 34 thousand found their vocation in pachinko and became real professionals, earning a living by playing. The vast majority of visitors are immersed in the game entirely. Here you can see many Japanese people of all ages, from different social strata, who, as one, are inextricably following what is happening on the display of a pokies machine online. Often here you can see the manifestations of real, genuine emotions from losing or winning.

4. Pop culture

Thanks to these halls, the world of modern Japanese pop culture will open before you. You will hear popular songs, see clips of the most fashionable artists, watch anime with the most relevant characters.
The Japanese game room is much more than just a gambling club. This is a real discovery for the tourist. And for those lovers of excitement who are just want to feel the touch of the mysterious Japanese culture recommend a look into the domestic virtual analogue - online casino Casinonic, which will give its players an unforgettable experience and serious winnings. This gaming hall also offers completely free pokies online, which can be found in the Japanese gaming clubs.

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

ABS-CBN is not perfect!

Wazzup Pilipinas!

ABS-CBN is not perfect. They made mistakes and in fact continue making mistakes and they’re not denying this. But are they doing something to correct such mistakes?

More to the point: Do those mistakes warrant this attack on them?

No, they don't.

That's the dilemma. because the network has not done something substantial to address past issues -- not even the franchise thing -- there are now those who believe or were made to believe that the attack is justifiable. Ang dami nating kaibigan sa loob who know this but no one seems willing to take up the elephant in the room.

Well, they have ample opportunity for that now.

ABS-CBN: A Requiem
by F. Sionil Jose

Way back when the Manila Chronicle was a major daily, its Sunday column, Inside Malacanang, lampooned former Senator Helena Benitez. I confronted Celso Cabrera, the columnist. He was a frequent Solidaridad customer, an avid student of the Renaissance. Helena, I told him, as everybody knew was such a decent politician, well loved and respected. Celso said, the old man (meaning Eugenio Lopez), the publisher, ordered it. Before I could chide him, he said, I am nobody from Camiling (Tarlac). We were speaking in Ilokano. I am not a good writer. This man gave me a job, a house, a car. And he’ll refund all that I spend on your books. He asked for my balls so I gave them to him. The Lopez family is a leading member of the oligarchy—far more powerful than any of the oligarchs, then and now. As a leader of the sugar bloc, it had massive political and economic influence. It made presidents then used its influence to enlarge its economic clout, Meralco, ABS-CBN, etc. God knows what billions the family got from government financing institutions to become a haven for communist fronts and communists, among them the late Renato Constantino. One Sunday morning, he called me up at home and asked if I’d open our Solidaridad Galleries—Don Eugenio Lopez wanted to see the Nena Saguil exhibition. I hurried to the Gallery in Malate. Don Eugenio arrived and looked at the exhibit twice then he bought more than half of the show. Surely, there was a good side to this oligarch—his patronage of Filipino art, his Filipinoness as illustrated and epitomized in the Lopez museum. Surely, many writers and cultural workers owe him profound gratitude.  I sympathize with the hundreds who will lose their jobs but I’ll not mourn the passing of ABS-CBN; its demise, I dare say, is even good for Philippine democracy if it also means the dismantling of the Lopez empire.

To conclude:
The Lopezes played the double game; they were vociferously anti-American but were the beneficiaries of American largesse in the sugar quota gift from America. Their writers included liberals, fellow travelers and communists but Eugenio Lopez himself personified the lowest form of capitalism. The Filipinos do not really need ABS-CBN. It does not produce goods or food. It has certainly entertained millions but it did not diminish poverty. Again, freedom worked for the rich—but not for the Filipinos.

I wrote and sent this email to F Sionil Jose, and I had to think long and hard, heart in throat, before I finally did. But I cannot remain silent, either.
Dearest Manong Frankie,

First of all, I want you to know that I love you and I will continue to love and respect you. That will not change, no matter what you say or write. This love and respect remains despite my vehement and very emotional disagreement with what you have written. You and Tita Tessie are as family to me, and that will not change. I also do not always agree with my family, despite my unwavering love and respect for them. It hurts to write this, but I must.

I read your Facebook post on ABS-CBN, and I am sad and sorely upset by it. You are, at your very core, a journalist, with a journalist's appreciation of what freedom of the press is and what it entails. You lived through Marcos' martial law and upheld this freedom then. You understand full well that upholding press freedom is about much more than simply keeping journalists and media outlets alive so the public's right to access to information, and the people's freedom of expression will also be upheld. We have had many conversations about this as you drove that idea home time and again.

Let me be blunt, for it is in bluntness that I best express how I feel about what you wrote: For you to see only the Lopez family's downfall, if you can call it that, in this matter of the shutdown of ABS-CBN's broadcast capability is petty of you, and unbecoming of your stature--both as a journalist, and as a National Artist for Literature.

For you to not address the consequences and chilling effect of this act of repression against ABS-CBN across the country's media landscape is unconscionable, sir. Your opinions carry the weight of your status as a National Artist, and your profession as writer and journalist. You say that it is okay to shut down ABS-CBN, and you say this at a time when we need all hands on deck to keep the public informed and calm in this time of pandemic. Less hands on the job, means a diminished capacity across all media to pitch in and work on this most urgent of things.

The Lopezes aren't perfect, as you say. But this is neither the time or the place to speak with such schadenfreude over this unfortunate event. It is not just the Lopez family that is affected by the shutdown, or the injustice of the National Telecommunications Commission's erratic decision-making, or of Congress' failure to renew the network's franchise.

I feel the need to remind you that the rich so many love to hate have also contributed to what progress we may, as a nation enjoy. Fair is fair. The rich have also become rich and stayed that way by trampling on the little people. But there must be balance in the way you present your opinions, or you run the risk of people seeing only your bias and not the context of the situation of which you write. No fortune is unstained by the blood and sweat of those people on whose backs the riches are made and kept. 

ABS-CBN is not perfect, either. They have made their share of mistakes, none of which warrant such suppression by the state. The network's programming outside of its news and public affairs output is not much to my taste either. Its business practices are probably imperfect, too, and, yes, perhaps its coverage of the news may still need improvement.

But none of these is reason enough to warrant suppression of this network by the state, or justification for the abusive actions of the state against media, be they individual journalists or a media outlet.

There is a bigger issue at stake than your dislike of oligarchs, in this case the Lopez family and, by extension, ABS-CBN, and that issue is press freedom. I cannot stand up for a free and independent press if I will agree to the actions of the state against ABS-CBN. To do so would be to act with hypocrisy and poor judgment.

I am less than half your age, and I feel it is not my place to tell you that you are not in the right when it comes to this matter. But my responsibility as a journalist drives me to speak to you as honestly as I can in telling you that what you wrote may have facts that you yourself gathered and vetted, but that bit of prose lacks a very important component: Context.

The context in which ABS-CBN was suppressed is not about a hatred for oligarchs--the President has oligarchs of his own whom he favors. The context of this situation is that our press freedom and the people's right to access to information and their own freedom of expression is under assault by a government that does not want the criticism and reportage of a free and independent press. The context is that this administration has no respect for human rights, especially the right to free speech.

That you would be happy about this because you have a personal dislike for both the network and the family that owns it does not sit well with me. It hurts not just my feelings, but my sensibilities as a journalist. I am of the position that an attack by the state on one of us members of the press is an attack on all of us in the press. Whether I like the attacked party or not. My personal likes or dislikes do not color or inform how I will interpret the data I am given.

You are so much more than merely a Juan on the street, sir. You are someone whose words carry much weight and you were incautious in your expression in this instance, and you were incautious in public, where every one of us should be mindful of what we have to say.

Your opinions are not the simple utterances of a nonagenarian, sir. They carry the explosive impact of a bomb. I am so very sad that you are not with us at the barricades standing up for the rights you fought for so valiantly when I was but a baby. That is the same fight we have today.

I love you, and I love Tita Tessie, always. But I cannot bring myself to agree with what you wrote or sit silently and let you air that opinion without challenge.

Thank you for reading this, if you have read this far.

All my love,

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