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Friday, May 3, 2024

TOFIL Laureates Unite: Climate Smart SVD’s Convergence of Peace, Resiliency, and Sustainability


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In the heart of the Philippines, two remarkable The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Laureates, Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD, and Sci. Dpl. Glenn Banaguas, have forged a partnership that epitomizes the harmonious blend of faith and science. This partnership blossomed within the sacred halls of the Christ the King Mission Seminary in Quezon City. Their collaborative initiative, “Climate Smart SVD: Convergence of Peace, Resiliency, and Sustainability,” is a testament to their shared vision of a world where ecological stewardship is integral to spiritual practice and scientific endeavor.

The partnership between Fr. Beltran and Sci. Dpl. Banaguas began with a shared concern for the environment and the well-being of future generations. Their initiative, “Climate Smart SVD,” aims to integrate scientific knowledge with spiritual values to create resilient communities that can withstand the challenges posed by climate change. This program highlights the significance of peace, resiliency, and sustainability to address societal concerns.





Peace is not merely the absence of conflict but the presence of justice and the flourishing of creation. Fr. Beltran’s theological perspective emphasizes the intrinsic value of all life forms and the moral imperative to protect them. This ethos resonates with Sci. Dpl. Banaguas’ advocacy for science-based policy solutions that prioritize human dignity and ecological balance.

Resiliency is at the core of “Climate Smart SVD.” The initiative seeks to empower communities to adapt to climate variability and recover from environmental shocks. Fr. Beltran’s grassroots approach to community organizing complements Sci. Dpl. Banaguas’ expertise in environmental and energy management systems, creating a holistic strategy for sustainable development.

Sustainability is the long-term goal of “Climate Smart SVD.” The collaboration between Fr. Beltran and Sci. Dpl. Banaguas underscores the importance of sustainable practices that meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. Through education, advocacy, and action, they aim to instill a culture of sustainability that transcends religious and scientific boundaries.

Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD expressed his gratitude: “Amidst the chaos of existence, we find our purpose in connection. Sci. Dpl. Glenn Banaguas, you are a beacon—a constellation of kindness and compassion. Together, we navigate the vast expanse of uncertainty, stitching hope into the fabric of time. Our hands, weathered by storms, reach across divides, bridging hearts. For every seed we plant of love ripples outward, touching lives we may never know. And as the sun sets on our shared endeavors, may it cast shadows that dance with legacy.”

Sci. Dpl. Glenn Banaguas said: "Celebrating the fusion of intellect and compassion, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to Fr. Ben Beltran, SVD. Our partnership, a symphony of science and service, resonates with purpose. Together, we compose a score of resilience, harmony, and hope—a testament to the transformative power of collaboration. Fr. Ben Beltran, you are the compass that steers our ship through tempests of doubt. Your wisdom, a lighthouse on rocky shores, illuminates our path. And as we sail toward horizons unknown, we carry the torch of service, passing it from hand to hand, generation to generation.”

“Our partnership is more than ink on paper; it is the ink of legacy, the quill of impact. We are not just collaborators; we are custodians of a shared dream—a world where science dances with compassion, where equations yield solutions, and where the rhythm of progress echoes in the hearts of those we serve,” Banaguas added.

The “Climate Smart SVD” initiative has already made significant strides in promoting environmental consciousness within the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) and beyond. It has sparked dialogues on ecological issues, inspired community-led conservation projects, and influenced policy-making at various levels.

The partnership of Fr. Beltran and Sci. Dpl. Banaguas serves as a beacon of hope in a world grappling with environmental crises. Their work reminds us that when faith and science converge towards a common good, the potential for positive change is boundless. “Climate Smart SVD” is not just a program; it’s a movement towards a future where peace, resiliency, and sustainability are the cornerstones of our collective journey on this planet.

Fr. Benigno P. Beltran, SVD, a Filipino Catholic priest, educator, author, and social activist, has dedicated his life to uplifting marginalized communities through education and environmental advocacy. Ordained in 1973, he worked with scavengers in Manila’s Smokey Mountain garbage dump from 1978 to 2008. Beyond traditional ministry, he engaged in community organizing to mitigate climate change effects. His commitment extends to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Fr. Beltran holds a Doctorate in Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome (1985) and served as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is an honoree of The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award.

Sci. Dpl. Glenn Banaguas, a world-renowned science diplomat, has been bestowed with the prestigious UN Sasakawa Awards for his contributions to Disaster Risk Reduction. His esteemed fellowships extend to the United Kingdom’s The Royal Society of Arts and Switzerland’s Geneva Centre for Security Policy, reflecting his global influence. He has demonstrated exemplary leadership in chairing the United States-ASEAN Science and Technology Fellows and the ASEAN Science Diplomats. In his role as a climate diplomat for the European Union-Asia Expert Panel for Climate Diplomacy and Environmental Security, he has made significant strides in addressing environmental challenges. His commendations include the Asia Leaders award for Sustainability Leadership, the Lee Kuan Yew senior fellowship in Public Service, The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Laureate for Environment Conservation and Science Diplomacy, and a distinguished position among the Top 100 Asian Scientists in Sustainability.

Water for peace


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Impasug-ong, Bukidnon—If you search the internet for Sitio Gabunan, one of the seven subdivisions in Barangay Dumalaguing, news about insurgencies and conflict will appear. After all, a top rebel commander met his demise on this site during a clash with the military in 2021. Years later, the government declared the area insurgent-free, but its remote location and years of fighting have caused isolation and limited access to essential social services.

One of the problems is the need for more access to water. While a level III water system (individual house connections) operates, only 50% of the 29 Higaonon tribal households can tap from the source. Dry seasons mean reduced supply, while intense rains cause murky and dirty water.

“We have to walk one kilometer to collect water that we could have otherwise used to tend our crops,” Mario Dante, sitio leader and head of Gabunan Farmers Association, said.

Dante and barangay chairman Francis Pasco sought assistance from the local government of Impasug-ong. With the LGU’s help, they connected with the Kauyagan Savers Multipurpose Cooperative (KSMPC). Subsequently, Sitio Gabunan received KSMPC’s Water Access for Transformation, Empowerment, and Resilience (WATER).

Under this project, created with support from the Peace and Equity Foundation and Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, KSMPC will facilitate the construction of a new level III water system this year to provide uninterrupted access for all 29 households of Sitio Gabunan.

The initiative, along with the Impasug-ong Crops Development Project, a crop consolidation project by KSMPC, is expected to improve the lives of the Higaonons in Sitio Gabunan.

On March 20, 2024, tribal leaders performed the "Pamuhat" ritual, offering food and wine to "Magbabaya” (Higaonon’s supreme creator) as part of the inauguration of the water system. Free from the terror of war, residents envision a brighter future with hope and optimism.

The Peace and Equity Foundation aspires to drive positive change in poor Filipino household communities by investing in social enterprises that will provide them with viable livelihood and better access to basic services. We work with partners who share this vision by developing models and best practices that will steer social enterprises to scale up. Founded in October 2001, our Foundation is the steward of an endowment fund and registered as a non-stock, non-profit organization based in Quezon City, Philippines.


Novel Explanation for Long-Standing Neutron Lifetime Problem Proposed by UP Nuclear Physicist






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Atoms are both a wave and a particle, similar to water waves (which are waves) that give rise to water droplets (which are particles) (Photo credit: Zhang Kaiyv on Unsplash)

Neutrons, when plucked from the nucleus of atoms, become unstable and decay after some time. Physicists know that these unstable neutrons die after about 14 minutes, but they cannot pinpoint the exact seconds in which the neutrons last, even as today’s experiments are at their most precise.

This problem, known as the neutron lifetime anomaly, arises because two different but equally rigorous experimental methods – the beam method and the bottle method – produce different results. A popular reason is that some undiscovered phenomenon might be at play.

But Dr. Denny Lane Sombillo of the UP Diliman College of Science National Institute of Physics (UPD-CS NIP) thinks the explanation may lie in how time behaves at a quantum level. “If this [theory] is correct,” he said, “we don’t need to modify the known physics and simply focus on the nature of time in quantum mechanics.”

Dr. Sombillo’s theory involves a separate problem called the quantum time of arrival (QTOA) problem. His theory is built upon the works of Dr. Eric Galapon of UPD-CS NIP. By employing Einstein’s concept of causality in Dr. Galapon’s work, Dr. Sombillo provides an intuitive picture of the quantum time of arrival problem, one that can be used to explain other mysteries such as the neutron lifetime anomaly.


Time of Arrival in Classical vs. Quantum Mechanics

In classical mechanics, a car traveling at 40 kilometers per hour will arrive at the destination 40 kilometers away in exactly one hour. So long as the speed of the car and the distance to the destination do not change, we can be sure that the car’s time of arrival will always be one hour.

A different story emerges in quantum mechanics. An atom traveling at some speed will reach its destination – say, a detector – after some time. However, a weird quirk of an atom is that we can prepare its exact position or exact speed, but not both at the same time. That is, we can prepare it with an exact speed, but we cannot set how far away it is from the detector, and vice-versa. As a result, we cannot be sure of the atom’s time of arrival; we can only know the probability of it arriving after a certain time.

This feature called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, owes its weirdness to the duality of atoms as both a wave and a particle. Naturally, atoms are clouds of probabilities with no definite properties, much like the ambiguity of a wave. When measured or prepared, however, atoms instantaneously acquire exact properties, much like the distinctness of a particle.

Dr. Galapon's theory on QTOA posits that right after the atom is prepared, it collapses into a specific type of wave. After some time, this wave will evolve and turn into a particle. This process is aptly named the Galapon collapse mechanism (GCM).


Employing Causality

However, Dr. Sombillo noticed that the theory allows for a situation where the atom instantaneously arrives at the detector. That is, the atom can “teleport” to the detector, rendering no time to travel, which is physically impossible. This also violates the concept of causality, which states that one event (a cause) must first happen before another event (an effect).

“You can think of causality as the proper ordering of events,” Dr. Sombillo explained. In the traveling atom, for example, the proper order of events would be that the atom must be prepared first (a cause) before appearing at the detector (an effect). That is, the atom should not be detected by the detector if it has not yet been prepared.

Dr. Galapon’s theory allows for the reversed ordering of events where the detection of the atom precedes its preparation. “Intuitively, this reversed ordering should not be in the theory, but it is not easy to identify this loophole using mathematics alone,” Dr. Sombillo said. “One needs to evaluate the physical implications of the formalism.”

By employing causality, Dr. Sombillo and his collaborator, Dr. Neris Sombillo of Ateneo de Manila University, were able to fix the issue. “We found that the instantaneous arrival time can be removed if we impose causality in the formulation of the time of arrival operator theory,” he said. “Even if we remove the causality-violating part, the quantum correction to time remains.” Their improved formulations can now be used to explain physical phenomena such as the neutron lifetime anomaly.


Neutron Lifetime Anomaly

When an unstable neutron dies, it changes into a proton, emitting an electron and antineutrino. But exactly how long before this process happens is still unknown. The beam experiment suggests that the unstable neutron lasts an average of 14 minutes and 48 seconds, while the bottle experiment suggests 14 minutes and 39 seconds – a nine-second difference.

Dr. Sombillo believes that the difference comes from how the neutrons are initially prepared, which would have affected their lifetime. Just like in the quantum time of arrival problem where the atom’s particle-like state affects how it will evolve into a wave, the neutron's initial state affects how it will decay.

The beam and bottle experiment, he theorizes, sets the neutrons with dissimilar quantum characteristics. Plugging these values into his equations on quantum time of arrival would result in different neutron lifetimes, accounting for the discrepancy in the experiments.

Now published in Physics Letters A, their paper is the first to merge causality and the quantum time of arrival problem, as well as use it to explain the neutron lifetime anomaly. “Our work is the only proposal that presents the anomaly as a quantum correction to a time observable,” Dr. Sombillo said. “The paper laid the foundation for future work on the neutron lifetime anomaly using the theory of quantum arrival.”

While their work is still at its preliminary stage, he said that they intend to pursue a more thorough investigation of the quantum time theory in the future. Before transitioning as a nuclear physicist, Dr. Sombillo was part of the quantum time operator research group of UPD-CS NIP. He later learned about the neutron lifetime anomaly and how it might relate to the quantum time of arrival problem after his transition.



By Harvey Sapigao

Adventure awaits: Summer travel tips from expert globetrotters


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The heat is on and so is traveling to different destinations this summer. Whether it’s about having fun under the sun or exploring new places, cultures, and adventures, proper planning is always the key to enjoying your vacation.

Preparation is part of your vacation journey: from making sure you’ve listed all the activities you want to do and places you want to visit, to making sure that you always have a backup plan so you can enjoy your trips without any worries. The key to having the best experience is creating a plan based on your interests, goals, and priorities during your travel.

With the right preparation, you'll be ready to handle anything. We’ve interviewed some experienced travelers you've likely spotted on social media and found highly relatable for having the same interest, and love even, for new experiences.


 

Financial hacks vlogger Jax Reyes: Take your time in finding the best deals

Even on a tight budget, you can still seek out unique experiences and relish the thrill of discovery. Take for example financial hacks vlogger Jax Reyes who enjoys backpacking around Asia.

When exploring, Jax looks for museums that have free admission days like the Bangkokian Museum in Thailand, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Singapore. This is one way to experience the culture of other countries without a cost.

But the golden tip is to take your time. Having enough time to plan will give you the luxury to research and make flexible arrangements. Airlines always have their seat sales and online travel agencies like Klook and Agoda often have discounts for accommodations and experiences. They typically announce when they’re going to offer these so follow their pages and make sure to set your alarms to secure the best deals!




TV personality and wanderlust mom Amanda Griffin: Find experiences that can strengthen your family bond

They say that the best way to get to know someone is to travel with them. This is proven to be true by celebrity, model, and mom of four Amanda Griffin who has an undeniable passion for traveling with her family. She embraces every opportunity to deepen their bond by going on adventures. It allows them to not only inspire a lifelong love for exploration but for learning about themselves and their surroundings. Ultimately, it transforms them into global citizens, which means having a deeper understanding of and a better connection with the world. Often, she takes her kids to Europe for them to experience different cultures.

Traveling with her kids can be overwhelming because there are a lot of things to consider: the activities, the food, and the energy of everyone. Amanda's secret: she prefers handwriting everything in a planner – and this is backed by some studies. They suggest that the act of writing helps the brain retain information better. But having it digital has its own merits – you can access it anytime on your phone and you don’t have to worry about the paper getting torn down or smudged. The bottom line is this: keep a checklist. You can save yourself from a lot of travel hassles that can be avoided by just being organized.


 

Full-time doctor, part-time traveler Dr. Kim Cantos: Always keep your health in check

Rounding off our trio of jetsetters is Dr. Kim Cantos, also known as The Moonlighting Doctor. For him, traveling is a form of self-care that helps with overall wellness. It keeps the body pumped up with positive energy and the mind refreshed.

But for this to happen, it’s important to keep your health in check and at the top of your list. From making sure you are in your best state (no injury or symptoms of colds, for example) to having your sunscreen, as well as your supplements and medicines should anything happen to you. If you have food allergies, bring your antihistamines. Or if you always suffer from acidity, bring some antacids. It’s always good to have a basic health kit whenever you go abroad. It’s your backup for any health concerns.


Traveling should be a hassle-free experience

Planning your next adventure should be exciting, not stressful. While there may be some hiccups along the way, you should still be able to enjoy every bit of your experience abroad. Preparations for any uncertainties can be daunting, and this is where AXA's Smart Traveller Insurance can ease you in.

Recognized as Reader's Digest Most Trusted Brand Platinum Award for 2024, AXA offers coverage tailored to your travel needs, whether you are like Jax who travels on a budget, Amanda who creates experiences with family, or Dr. Cantos who travels for self-care.

With AXA Smart Traveller, you get comprehensive coverage for loss or damaged baggage, flight delays, personal accidents, and emergency medical expenses. You also get 24/7 emergency travel assistance that you can access anywhere in the world.

Know you can also travel to Europe confidently with AXA's Schengen-accredited travel insurance that offers the highest medical coverage for emergencies for up to P3.5M while abroad.

All these ensure you can focus on making memories, not worries. So, pack your bags, and live out your dream vacation because you’re protected as you make memories that will last you a lifetime.


To learn more about the ideal coverage for you, visit the AXA Philippines website.





PHLPost letter carriers, to deliver early hour in the morning to avoid extreme heat


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The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) has issued notices to protect workers especially the letter carriers on the field in danger and risk of possible heat exhaustion during this summer.

A widespread high heat index is expected to hit and affect the country with high temperatures in the forecast this summer.

PHLPost releases the order for the adjustment in mail delivery schedule of letter carriers and other tips to prevent heat-related illnesses.

To avoid possible heat exhaustion or other related complications this weather may cause, all postal areas across the country were directed to allow flexi-time in the mail schedule of letter carriers.

They may start the delivery as early as 6:00 in the morning or 7:00am and wrap up delivery before 12:00 in the afternoon.




To uphold the eight (8)- hour per day schedule, the remaining manhours shall be used in performing other activities like scanning or updating delivery information in the systems, walk sorting, and preparing the mails for the next early morning delivery of the following day.

Across the nation, managers and supervisors were reminded to observe precautionary measures to prevent heat related illnesses among their employees such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

They should dress properly and comfortably with lightweight, light colored loose-fitting clothing and a hat. PHLPost reminds employees of the importance of drinking plenty of water to keep themselves properly hydrated — most especially during outdoor duties.

“Staying hydrated is important,” said Postmaster General Luis D. Carlos.

“We have to reach out to every letter carrier— and make sure they’re aware of the dangers caused by high temperatures and humidity. Their concern and well-being is of our utmost importance. Keeping hydrated is the carrier’s best defense against the summer heat”, he added.

Letter Carriers should take a break when there is prolonged exposure to heat. They should find shaded, air conditioned and well ventilated places to cool-off. After hours of exposure to the sun, they make sure to do a cool shower or sponge bath once at home.

According to PHLPost, it is important that every employee knows the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses so that they can get medical attention if needed.

It is important for employees to follow the organization’s safety guidance.

“That’s My Mom!” – Celebrating All Kinds of Moms at Sheraton Manila Bay


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Inviting all Moms, Grand-Moms, Aunt-Moms, Step-Moms, Single-Moms, Career-Moms, Friend-Moms, no matter what kind of MOM you are, we are celebrating your awesome love! The Manila Bay Kitchen will be “All About Mom” on May 12, 2024 with a special lunch buffet of premium meats, a craftfully prepared pasta station, and a special mom-inspired dessert selection.
Celebrating moms and their families, while enjoying a wonderful floral decoration along the ground floor lobby of the hotel will be welcomed with a refreshing cucumber, basil, and lime-based drink. The ultimate celebration will be during the lunch buffet where Manila Bay Kitchen will be feature Prime Ribeye Steak and Premium Lobsters, homemade pasta featuring ravioli and tortellini, roasted peking duck, and many more. Sheraton Manila Bay has also prepared a mini bouquet-making session for the kids where our dedicated staff will guide the kids on how to make a mini bouquet to gift to their moms! Lastly, our talented pastry team has prepared a surprise gift to be served to the lovely celebrating Moms after they have enjoyed the delectable spread of the buffet.

“All About Mom” A Mother’s Day Lunch Buffet features a sumptuous buffet spread showcasing a variety of gourmet dishes crafted by Sheraton Manila Bay's talented culinary team. From delectable appetizers to exquisite mains and delightful mom-inspired desserts, the menu will offer something special for every palate. The lunch buffet rate is at Php 2,800 nett per person with a 50% discounted rate for kids 6 to 11 years old.

Reservations for our Mother's Day celebration at Sheraton Manila Bay are now open. To secure your table, please contact Manila Bay Kitchen at +632 5318 0788 or email sh.mnlsb.fnb@sheraton.com. Join us in celebrating Mother's Day with love, gratitude, and joy at Sheraton Manila Bay. Let's make this day extra special for every kind of mom!

Sheraton Manila Bay is a renowned hotel located at M. Adriatico corner Gen. Malvar Streets, Malate, Manila. The hotel offers luxurious accommodations, exceptional dining experiences, and state-of-the art facilities. With its commitment to providing exceptional service and creating unforgettable moments, Sheraton Manila Bay is the perfect destination for both leisure and business travelers. To reserve or book your room accommodations go to www.sheratonmanilabay.com. Sheraton Manila Bay is conveniently located at M. Adriatico corner Gen. Malvar Streets, Malate, Manila. 

PBBM unveiled the Labor Day 2024 Commemorative Stamps


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President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr. and Postmaster General Luis D. Carlos of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) unveiled the Commemorative Stamps featuring the 50th Anniversary of the Labor Code of the Philippines held in MalacaƱang Palace, Manila, Philippines during the occasion of the 122nd Labor Day celebration on May 01, 2024.

Witnessing the unveiling ceremony are (from left to right) Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Speaker of the House of Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma.

Fifty years ago, on May 01, 1974, a milestone event in the history of the Philippine labor system took place after President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. signed Presidential Decree (PD) No. 442, S. 1974, which instituted a labor code that revised and consolidated the existing labor and social laws to ensure and strengthen the welfare of the Filipino workers.



 

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in collaboration with the Philippine Postal Corporation, issued the commemorative stamps and Official First Day Cover.

These stamps and cover symbolize the enduring significance of the law in realizing our collective aspiration for every Filipino worker to attain total, decent, and productive employment.

It will be recalled that on 1 May 1903, Labor Day was first celebrated in the Philippines when more than a hundred thousand workers marched to MalacaƱang to demand better working conditions.

Likewise, on 01 May 1913, Filipino workers and labor leaders convened a labor congress at the Cine Oriente along C.M Recto Street, then known as Azcarraga, in Manila. Around 36 labor unions heeded the call to Congress and united under one umbrella to fight for the rights of Filipino workers.

PHLPost will sell copies of the two stamp designs depicting the historic signing of the Philippine Labor Code with denominations of P16 each. It releases 40,000 pieces of the stamps along with 3,400 copies of the first day cover envelope. The stamps were designed by Mr. Nazer-Ren Aquino of DOLE and Jose Antonio A. Jayme of PHLPost.

Stamps and First Day Cover envelope shall be available at the Postshop, located at the back of the Manila Central Post Office Building in Liwasang Bonifacio.

PHLPost introduces Guinness Book’s” largest collection of Pope stamps in an exhibit


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In celebration of its 32nd Corporate Anniversary, the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) launches the Pope Stamps Exhibit featuring Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) Secretary General Kim Robert De Leon’s “Guinness Book of World Records” largest collection of Papal stamps which are on display at Robinsons Manila level 3, lower food court area from April 29-May 04, 2024.

PHLPost commemorated its corporate anniversary with the passing of Republic Act 7354 on April 02, 1992, otherwise known as the Philippine Postal Service Act that paved the way for the corporatization of the Postal Service Office (PSO).

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest collection of stamps featuring Popes is 2,398, and was achieved by Kim Robert De Leon, a Filipino in Navotas, NCR, Philippines, on 22 February 2022.

“We Filipinos are proud of this achievement”, Postmaster General Luis Carlos said.





It was during the pandemic that SecGen Kim increased his Pope Stamp Collections. He started his collection of stamps and covers upon discovering his Pope Francis First Day Cover which he bought from PHLPost shortly after the Papal Visit in 2015. As his collections grew, he got interested in a much larger collection which led him to try his collections to be certified by Guinness.

The stamps were counted on February 22, 2022, on the occasion of the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, the first Pope, at San Ildefonso Parish in Navotas City where he served as member of the Ministry of Lectors and Commentators. His other collection includes stamps featuring Scouts, which is also certified by Guinness, a collection featuring Christmas and the Madonna, among others.

During the program, SecGen Kim, in a Filipino scouting uniform, accepted the Philatelic frame from the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost). He said, “it is an honor for me to be given this opportunity to recognize my work and for my fellow Filipinos to appreciate it which I hope would inspire others especially the youth to collect postage stamps”.

For PHLPost, Postmaster General Luis Carlos said that excitement is now happening in the philatelic (stamps) world with the release of several innovative stamp designs and the soon to be released Philippine Postcards in collaboration with the Philippine’s Department of Tourism.

“The stamps we issued are now appealing and intended to capture not only to philatelists but also to the younger generations as well. We want to showcase the best of our country to the international tourism and local market”, he added.

He noted that in the digital age where communication is mostly virtual, PHLPost needs to innovate, connect and sell these miniature pieces of art in order to attract younger collectors.

“We thank the Robinson’s Group for supporting this event”, Carlos said. The exhibit also honors Filipino Philatelic collectors who have been patronizing the services of the post office, particularly those valuable Philippine Postage Stamps which are considered priceless, being the country’s recorder of history and culture.

Bacolod Film Festival calls for entries


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The Bacolod Film Festival is now accepting script submissions with the theme “Stories with a Smile” or those with a “potential to inspire laughter, warmth, and a renewed appreciation for the brighter side of life.”

The filmfest, set to be held in September this year, is open to filmmakers who are registered voters and residents of Bacolod City. They can be producers, directors, or scriptwriters of an entry.

The festival accepts short film scripts of any genre, such as romance, drama, comedy, or horror, in any Filipino language with English translation. Entries must be submitted on or before May 18, Saturday, 11:59 p.m., after which ten (10) finalists will be chosen.




Selected filmmakers will be given a production grant of 300,000 pesos each, to be released in two tranches, of which the first one is worth 200,000 pesos. The remaining 100,000 pesos will be released once the picture lock version of the film has been submitted.

The total running time of the produced films must be at a minimum of fifteen (15) minutes and maximum of twenty (20) minutes, including opening and closing credits. The short films must be in narrative live action form, when taken as a whole. Documentary, experimental or animation will not be accepted, except if added only as elements within the film.

The Bacolod Film Festival aims to create a venue where local filmmakers and producers can showcase their talents and further solidify Bacolod, known as the “City of Smiles,” as one of the creative hubs for filmmaking in the Philippines.

“Bacolod should be proud of its creatives. We have very artistic directors, and actors,” Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez, who also chairs the Bacolod Film Festival Council, said.

The Bacolod City Council or Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) recently passed City Ordinance No. 1061, or the Bacolod Film Festival Ordinance, authored by Councilor Em L. Ang, with Councilors Cindy Rojas and Celia Matea Flor as co-authors. Councilor Ang, chairperson of the SP Committee on History, Culture and Arts, also serves as BFFC vice chair.

Aside from Mayor Benitez and Councilor Ang, the BFFC is composed of the chair of the SP Committee on Tourism, City Tourism Officer, City Legal Officer, City Budget Officer, Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Officer, Department of Education Division Superintendent, representatives from SM and Ayala Malls Cinemas and the local film industry.

Members of the BFF Organizing Committee and their relatives (up to the second degree of consanguinity) are prohibited from joining the competition. There is no entry fee to participate.

Multiple entries are accepted, but each script must be submitted with a separate entry form and online registration. The selection committee will only consider one entry per finalist.

The short films must have their premiere at the Bacolod Film Festival this September.


Brando Bal Drops New Heartbreaking Single ‘Pangalawang Ulan’


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Filipino rising indie OPM band Brando Bal makes a heartfelt comeback after a 4-year hiatus with their new single ‘Pangalawang Ulan.’

The new track draws inspiration from Brando's college days and his experiences with a girl named Rain. It’s a sequel to their song "Ulan," exploring themes of lost love, unspoken feelings, and regret. With the incorporation of synthesizers, this new Pop Rock track adds a fresh element to the band's music, showcasing their evolving musical style.




Brando contrasts "Pangalawang Ulan" with the original "Ulan," which is about expressing a promise of enduring commitment. However, this sequel track reflects on missed opportunities and regrets stemming from the presence of another person in their lives.

The song's narrative revolves around sentiments of sadness, reflection, and regret, longing for the chance to amend past actions or words of the persona, as expressed in lines like "Kung nasabi lang noon, sana ngayon alam mo ang totoo" (If only it had been said before, perhaps now you would know the truth).

Recorded in Brando's home studio, "Pangalawang Ulan" retains their signature distorted guitars and pop tunes, offering something both familiar and new for their listeners. The song adds excitement with last-minute changes in the bridge, capturing the emotions of those who've faced similar challenges and struggles in love.

"Pangalawang Ulan" is now available on all music streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music, exclusively distributed by Warner Music Philippines.


[Link: https://wmp.lnk.to/pangalawangulan]

[Lyric Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCySeo-ld2Y]

[Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2Zz2esghd8bhZZ4lMqn4zH?si=1p2a1UfOQ6GpVlKbRoDAKw]



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