Thursday, December 21, 2023

Finding Love Across Borders: A Guide to International Mail-Order Marriages

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International mail-order marriages have become increasingly common in recent years thanks to the rise of online dating platforms that connect people across borders. However, these relationships come with unique legal considerations that couples should understand before tying the knot abroad. This guide covers key legal aspects of international mail-order marriages that couples need to know.
Choosing a Service and Vetting Your Partner

The first step for those interested in mail-order marriages is choosing a reputable international dating service. Sites like offer access to thousands of potential partners from countries around the world. It's important to do your research to find a service that sincerely vets members and has a proven track record of facilitating successful relationships. Don't rely solely on photos and profiles when getting to know a potential partner. Make use of video chatting and phone calls to verify identity and determine compatibility before committing to marry.
Considering Immigration Requirements

A major legal consideration for international couples is navigating immigration laws to live together in one country. Figure out which country you plan to reside in after marriage and research the immigration process for spouses thoroughly. This usually involves filing paperwork to prove the legitimacy of your marriage and apply for a green card or spousal visa. Be prepared to provide proof like photos, messages, and affidavits from family and friends attesting to the authenticity of your relationship.
Handling Culture Shock and Assimilation

Moving to a new country comes with an adjustment period for both partners. Seek help from immigrant support organizations to assist with culture shock, learning local laws and customs, finding housing, securing employment, and accessing government services. Be patient with each other as you both acclimate to your new surroundings. Recognizing cultural differences in communication styles, values, and relationship dynamics goes a long way in navigating this transition smoothly.
Protecting Assets and Securing Healthcare

Mail-order marriages unfortunately do carry a stigma of being contracted for the wrong reasons like citizenship or money rather than love. It's important for each spouse to protect assets in case the legitimacy of the marriage is questioned. Prenuptial agreements prior to marriage and documenting separate property can help avoid potential disputes. Also make arrangements early on to ensure healthcare needs are covered in your new country through insurance, employment benefits, or government programs.
Confirming the Marriage Is Recognized

Before relocating, confirm that your marriage will be legally recognized in the country where you plan to live. Most countries recognize foreign marriages that were executed legally, but beware of potential issues if marrying in countries with religious restrictions or same-sex marriage bans. Research countries’ policies around recognizing international and same-sex marriages to avoid complications.

Finding love through international mail-order marriage services can absolutely lead to happily-ever-after when couples put in the work to build a solid legal foundation. Do your homework on immigration requirements, assimilating to a new culture, protecting assets, securing healthcare, and confirming recognition of your marriage before taking the plunge. With the right preparation, your mail-order marriage can go the distance!

BingoPlus continues unwavering support of fun-filled MMFF 2023

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BingoPlus, the first and only live streaming bingo in the Philippines, continued its strong support of Philippine festivals and entertainment as presenting partner of the highly anticipated annual Metro Manila Film Festival Parade of Stars last December 16, Saturday, at Valenzuela People’s Park.

Earlier this year, BingoPlus also threw its support behind the organization in making the summer edition of the film fest called the 1st Summer MMFF happen.

The Metro Manila Film Festival is the most awaited entertainment event in December as Filipino-produced films are promoted and celebrated via two-week long Filipino-films only showing in local theaters nationwide. The MMFF Parade kicks off this celebration of local film talent with thousands of Pinoy movie fans crowding the route of the festival parade to show their support and catch a glimpse of their favorite stars.

BingoPlus made the event extra special by including the BingoPlus float in the parade, thrilling the crowd even more by giving away premium merchandise to fans lined up in the streets. BingoPlus also added more fun to the festivities by putting on dance performances by the brand’s signature dancers, the “Bing Girls”, along the route.

The brand also played its newly launched BingoPlus TV commercial starring Piolo Pascual and BingoPlus girl Maine Mendoza during the parade.

The float of horror-thriller movie “Mallari” starring Janella Salvador and BingoPlus’ male endorser Piolo Pascual was loudly cheered and applauded by movie fans. Other notable floats were those of the comedy film “Becky and Badette” starring Pokwang and Eugene Domingo and the romance drama “Rewind” starring real-life couple Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes.

“The MMFF has been a Christmas staple for every Filipino family and has been an important part of Christmas celebrations for decades. As the leading online bingo platform in the country, BingoPlus aims to ensure that this year’s festival is extra memorable and entertaining. We are staying true to the brand’s commitment to provide quality and fun-filled Christmas celebrations for all, anytime and anywhere,” said Jasper Vicencio, BingoPlus president.

BingoPlus and ArenaPlus proudly stand as flagship brands under Digiplus Interactive Corp, solidifying its position as a leading gaming and leisure provider in the country. For more updates, visit and or download the apps via the App Store and Google Play.

BAN Toxics back the DILG's call for an outright Ban on Firecrackers

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Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics supports the call to ban the sale and use of firecrackers nationwide. The DILG Secretary Benjamin "Benhur" C. Abalos, Jr. made the statement on December 18, calling on all local government units to enact an ordinance banning the use and sale of firecrackers to prevent firecracker-related injuries in the country.

“We support a shift to a safer holiday season in the country. We need to remember “safety first” for our children and the community from the health and environmental pollutants from firecrackers,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.

Early this month, the group launched the “Iwas paputok, Iwas disgrasya, Iwas polusyon” campaign together with the school, local officials, and representatives from the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection, urging the public not to light firecrackers for the health and environmental effects of firecrackers and promoting a toxic-free and waste-free Christmas and New Year celebration.

In 2018, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a Memorandum Circular (MC) 2018-216, aimed to regulate and control the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, in compliance with the provisions of EO no. 28 and provide additional guidance to all concerned particularly on allowable and prohibited types of fireworks. The said MC reiterates its campaign against illegal firecrackers.

Since 2002, Davao City has been implementing City Ordinance 060-02, “An ordinance prohibiting the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices and such other similar devices and the exploding of firecrackers or other similar explosives within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City.

According to the group's research, the entire Bicol Region, the provinces of Aurora and Zambales, and more than 40 LGUs have already enacted a total and/or partial ban on the sale and use of firecrackers from 2009 to 2022. These include Angeles City, Baguio City, Caloocan City, Cebu City, Davao City, Kidapawan City, Las Pinas City, Makati City, Malabon City, Mandaluyong City, Mandaue City, Manila City, Marikina City, Muntinlupa City, Navotas City, Olongapo City, Paranaque City, Pasay City, Pasig City, Pateros, Quezon City, San Juan City, Taguig City, Tarlac City, Valenzuela City, and Zamboanga City.

The Bicol Region, which comprises 6 provinces, 7 cities, and 107 municipalities, has issued an RPOC Resolution banning firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices in the Bicol region in 2020.

The issuance of Executive Order No. 28, which authorized the local chief executives to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations on firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, has fast-tracked the enactment of such LGU ordinances within their territorial jurisdiction in conformity with the national standards, rules, and regulations.

“To ensure a safer celebration for the coming year, BAN Toxics urge the local government officials to enact an ordinance banning the sale and use of firecrackers to safeguard and protect human health, especially that of children and the environment,” the group added.

SSS signs MOA with BOC Region IX for social security coverage of Job Order, Contract of Service workers

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The Social Security System (SSS) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) – Region IX in Zamboanga City to implement the KaSSSangga Collect Program for the social security coverage and protection of 16 Job Order (JO) and Contract of Service (COS) workers.

Under the agreement, the SSS shall register BOC’s JO and COS workers as SSS self-employed members while BOC shall remit their monthly contributions through an automatic salary deduction scheme to qualify them for benefits and privileges under the Social Security (SS) and Employees’ Compensation (EC) Programs.

Photo shows SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Rolando Ledesma Macasaet (3rd from left) shaking hands with BOC Region IX Acting Chief for Administrative Division Lelisa R. Gaceta (4th from left), as they are joined by (from left to right) SSS Senior Vice President for Mindanao Operations Group Edwin M. Alo, SSS Executive Vice President for Branch Operations Sector Voltaire P. Agas, and BOC Client Service Representative – Port of Zamboanga Sheiry Anne M. Abdulhaih.

The MOA signing was held during the Stakeholders’ Forum at the Palacio Del Sur in Zamboanga City on November 7, 2023, and was witnessed by more than 220 participants including employer representatives, employees, informal sector workers, farmers and fisherfolks, Overseas Filipino Workers, pensioners, and other SSS beneficiaries.

In addition, the Philippine Port Authority – Port Management Office in Zamboanga City also signed a similar MOA with the SSS during the forum.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Will Mikhael's Anticipated "(I’m So) Into You" Music Video, a Visual Spectacle Crafted by FEU Digital Cinema Students in Collaboration with Universal Records

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Universal Records Inc. proudly announces the anticipated release of the official music video for "(I’m So) Into You," a soulful single by the rising Cebuano artist, Will Mikhael. Produced in collaboration with Far Eastern University (FEU) Digital Cinema students, this creative partnership promises to deliver a captivating visual narrative that harmonizes seamlessly with the artist's unique musical style.

The music video also starred by Eliah Riego, Ralf Eleosida and Eli Karl Calma promises to be a celebration of both sound and sight, showcasing the enchanting visuals and cultural richness of Binondo, Manila. This picturesque backdrop serves as the perfect complement to Will Mikhael's distinctive sound, creating an immersive experience that is bound to resonate with audiences.

In a groundbreaking display of collaboration, the students from FEU and Will Mikhael unite their raw talents and skills, highlighting the immense potential for synergy between up-and-coming musical artists and aspiring filmmakers within the industry.

Led by the director Axl Edison, the creative force behind Salimbayan Films, this collaborative effort brings together a talented ensemble. Jameil Adal serves as Assistant Director, Paolo Navarro as Producer and Production Manager, Kai Noval as Director of Photography, Jomz Caagbay and Kiara Ricamara as Production Designers, Anriane Sablan and Dheyleen Cruz as Wardrobe, Trisha See and Dharra Manalo as Hair and Make-up Artists, Mariel Maga as Script Continuity, Chariz Dudas as Editor, Ethan Bardaje as Layout Artist, Clark Montalban and Yuan Liangco as Camera Operators and Gaffer, Ashley Reyes as Location Manager, and Jimwel Tablante as Production Assistant.

Under the creative supervision of Jerome Vargas, alongside Will Mikhael’s manager Anj Abad and UR Label representative Dan Eligado, this collaborative venture underscores the potential for extraordinary outcomes when diverse talents unite.

The highly anticipated official music video for "(I’m So) Into You" is set to be unleashed on December 21, promising a visual feast that mirrors the dynamic fusion of musical artistry and the creative prowess of budding filmmakers. Brace yourselves for a compelling journey that transcends musical and visual boundaries, brought to you by the collaborative spirit of Will Mikhael, FEU Digital Cinema students, and Universal Records Inc.

MPT South Gears Up for 2023 Holiday Traffic Surge on CAVITEX and CALAX

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Metro Pacific Tollways South (MPT South), a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), is gearing up for the anticipated surge in traffic on the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX), including its C5 Link segment, and Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) as the holiday shopping and travel season enters full swing. 

From the third to the last week of December 2023, the toll road company anticipates a 15% to 20% surge in traffic for CAVITEX, primarily from motorists in Cavite heading to Manila. 

The average daily traffic count is projected to increase to 208,000 vehicles, up from the current 181,000. Meanwhile, for CALAX, MPT South expects a significant 35% increase in traffic, rising to 47,000 from last year’s 35,000 figures. This surge is attributed to travelers from Manila going to Tagaytay and nearby cities and municipalities via the recently opened Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange, providing motorists with quicker access to tourist destinations. 

With this, MPT South will be placed on 'high-alert' status and reinforce "Safe Trip Mo, Sagot Ko", a motorist assistance program mobilized during holiday peaks across its high-speed road networks, starting 6AM of December 22 to 6AM of December 24, 2023; 6AM of December 26 to 6AM of December 27, 2023; and from 6AM of December 30, 2023 to 6AM of January 2, 2024. This program includes additional on-ground manpower for services like traffic management and toll collection, standby emergency medical services, and incident response teams. Motorist assistance is also accessible through 24/7 Customer Service Centers, a 24/7 Customer Care Hotline at 1-35000, and 24/7 social media channels (Facebook:,, Twitter:, to ensure stress-free journey. 

As part of the SMSK program, free towing for CLASS 1 vehicles up to the nearest exit will be provided during the period. 

"As we gear up to ensure a safe and smooth journey for our motorists this holiday season, we advise everyone to plan their trips and check their vehicle's health to avoid untoward incidents. We also encourage our motorists to take advantage of using their Easytrip RFID for quicker toll transactions, and even stand a chance to win in our MPTC’s Happy Holideals promo if they reload their account via MPT DriveHub App,” said, Mr. Raul Ignacio, MPT South President and General Manager.

The MPT DriveHub app provides users with convenient access to a range of Easytrip and CCLEX RFID services. With just a few taps on their phones, users can reload in real-time, check their balances, plan routes, and receive assistance in roadside emergencies.


MPTC earlier announced the comeback of its Happy Holideals Promo as a way of giving back to its motorists with an extensive promo period from December 8, 2023- March 7, 2024.

Motorists passing through any MPTC toll road at least 4x during the promo period stand a chance to win exciting prizes, including brand-new Chevrolet Tracker LS, Php 50,000, and Php 100,000. Two winners of brand-new Chevrolet Tracker LS, 40 winners of Php 50,000, and 10 winners of Php 100,000 will be selected during the promo period.

To earn points, motorists must download and link their RFID account to MPT DriveHub App.

For every reload of Php 200.00 via the app, motorists also earn an additional point. Each point is equivalent to one raffle entry. For full promo mechanics, visit Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-179965 Series of 2023.

MPTC is the biggest toll road developer and operator in the country. Aside from the CALAXand CAVITEX network of toll roads, MPTC’s domestic portfolio includes the concessions forthe North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the NLEX Connector Road, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) in Cebu.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Toxic Watchdog Group Commends FDA for Issuing Public Health Warning Against Goree 24K Gold Beauty Cream

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Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics lauds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Philippines for issuing the FDA Advisory No. 2023-2392 – a Public Health Warning against the purchase and use of unauthorized Goree 24K Gold Beauty Cream on November 21, 2023.

On October 13, BAN Toxics alerted consumers to the sale of skin-lightening products (SLPs) containing toxic mercury, a known hazard to human health. The group purchased a “new” brand of Pakistan-made SLPs sold for P200 in the local market. Monitoring online shopping platforms like Shoppe and Lazada, the products were found priced between P170 to P200.

Using a SCIAPS X-200 HH XRF Analyzer, the Goree 24k Gold Beauty Cream 3-in-1 Formula was discovered to contain toxic mercury, measuring up to 41,500 parts per million (ppm). This exceeds the allowable limit of 1 ppm set by the FDA and outlined in the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury prohibits the manufacture, import, or export of specific mercury-added products after 2020. According to this regulation, all cosmetic products must contain mercury concentrations of less than 1 part per million (ppm).

“We commend the FDA for issuing public health warnings against unnotified cosmetic products such as Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream to prevent potential hazards from prohibited ingredients such as toxic mercury,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner, BAN Toxics.

“As part of our Safe Cosmetics campaign, we’re committed to monitoring and reporting the unauthorized sale of unregistered and unnotified Skin Lightening Products containing mercury in both on-site and online markets. Our goal is to protect human health and the environment from mercury exposure,” he added.

Mercury is among the World Health Organization’s top ten chemicals of major public health concern. Mercury lightens the skin by suppressing the production of melanin and can also remove age spots, freckles, blemishes, and wrinkles. However, its use can lead to rashes, skin discoloration, and blotching. Mercury can enter the body through absorption, inhalation, or ingestion.

A documented case study details a 54-year-old woman who developed dementia, epilepsy, and peripheral polyneuropathy at 49 after consistently using skin-lightening cream for six years. Upon promptly ceasing exposure, her blood and urine mercury levels reverted to levels typically found in individuals not exposed to such products.

Mercury from soaps, creams, and beauty products ultimately reaches our waterways. Once in the environment, it transforms into a harmful substance called methylmercury that enters our food chain, notably through fish consumption. Pregnant women who consume methylmercury-contaminated fish can pass it on to their babies, potentially causing developmental issues.

Republic Act 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale, among other things, of health products, including cosmetics, without the proper authorization from the agency.

BAN Toxics has been active in conducting market monitoring and test-buys of different skin-lightening products sold in the market or online to warn the public about the unlawful selling of skin-lightening products (SLPs) containing toxic mercury, a dangerous poison banned in cosmetic product formulations.

“Government regulators must collaborate on joint post-marketing surveillance and enforcement actions to curb the manufacture, trade, and sale of unnotified and unregistered cosmetic products in the country,” the group added.


FDA Advisory on Goree 24k Gold Beauty Cream:



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