Saturday, May 25, 2024

Pinoy First: AdDU Rocketry Team greenlit for Spaceport America Cup 2024

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Besting almost 200 teams from over 20 countries, students from Ateneo de Davao University have just become the first ever Filipinos to successfully qualify for the prestigious international Spaceport America Cup.

The Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Rocketry Team has made history as the first representative from the Philippines to pass the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for the Spaceport America Cup 2024 - Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (SAC-IREC). The Team’s rocket has been deemed fit for launch at the competition, spotlighting Filipino talent in the highly competitive global arena of aerospace engineering.

The Spaceport America Cup 2024 will be held on June 17-22 in New Mexico, USA. It is the biggest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition in the world, drawing the brightest minds from universities across the globe to design, build, and launch their own rockets. This year’s competition attracted nearly 200 teams from over 20 countries, making the qualification of the AdDU Rocketry Team a truly remarkable achievement for the nation.

The FRR is the culmination of months of rigorous preparation and dedication by the Team, which is now greenlit to participate in the 10k Commercial Off-the-Shelf category. The Team’s entry, named SIBOL (Filipino for growth), is a high-powered rocket capable of carrying an 8.8-pound payload to an altitude of 10,000 feet.

The Team is part of AdDU's larger Rocket Development Program or Project Sugod, which means "moving forward" in the hopes of ushering in a new era in Philippine aerospace engineering. They also hope to attract sponsors in the near future, to help them further develop their homegrown technology.

For sponsorship inquiries, interview requests and additional information, please contact the team at

Valenzuela youth paint pedestrian lanes, call for safer roads

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

LIGTAS NA DAAN, KULAYAN NATIN ‘YAN. Valenzuela City officials and other organizations like UNICEF Philippines, ImagineLaw, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, and Michelin join students from Vicente P. Trinidad National High School in Valenzuela City in painting pedestrian lanes to celebrate National Road Safety Month.

Learners from Vicente P. Trinidad National High School in Valenzuela City went out of their classrooms on Friday to paint pedestrian lanes outside their school as a call for safer roads for everyone, especially children.

“This National Road Safety Month, we urge the government at all levels to make our journey to and from school safer. No child deserves to get injured or die due to preventable road crashes,” said Precious Shane Matira, a Grade 7 student from Vicente P. Trinidad National High School.

In response to the youth’s call, the City Government of Valenzuela, headed by Vice Mayor Lorena Natividad-Borja, expressed its commitment to continuously protect children from road crash deaths and injuries. In 2022, Valenzuela City enacted a Child Road Safety Ordinance to create safer and healthier Valenzuela roads for all children.

“We will continue working to ensure that children are safe on Valenzuela roads. In fact, Valenzuelanos can expect several road safety improvements this year because we are introducing engineering interventions that will improve road conditions along school zones,” Vice Mayor Borja promised.

These interventions were recommended to the City Government upon assessment of the risk that children are exposed to on their journey to schools. These interventions include infrastructure improvements such as building or upgrading sidewalks, bike lanes, traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, and pedestrian crossings.

Civil society organizations and other road safety stakeholders were also present to celebrate the National Road Safety Month. Public interest law group ImagineLaw commended Valenzuela youth for taking a stand. “We appreciate your courage to go out here, paint these pedestrian lanes, and advocate for safer roads. We hope that what you did today inspired our local government leaders to take action, because going to school or playing outside should not be a death sentence for children,” said Atty. Reina Fabregas, the law group’s road safety project manager.

“Road traffic injuries remain to be the leading cause of death for children 5 to 18 years old, with more than 600 preventable deaths happening daily. In 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority documented that at least 1,600 Filipino children are killed by road crashes every year. UNICEF believes that it is every child’s right to survive and thrive in a healthy and safe environment, and we know that with effective interventions, road crashes are preventable.” added Dr. Angelito Umali of UNICEF Philippines .

Illegal trading of prohibited beauty products proliferates in Tuguegarao City

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics warns the public against the continuous selling of banned and prohibited beauty products in Tuguegarao City.

In a recent market monitoring conducted by the group, they managed to purchase and document the proliferation of skin whitening products tainted with toxic mercury, priced at P200 to P250, being sold at the Mall of the Valley in Tuguegarao City.

Using a Vanta C Series HH XRF Analyzer, the group found that Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene Avocado & Aloevera had 27,380 parts per million (ppm) of mercury, Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream Oil Free Total Fairness System had 29,930 ppm, and 88 Total White Underarm Cream had 3,895 ppm. All samples contained toxic mercury exceeding the allowable limit of 1 ppm set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as published in the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

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.

The group 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 mercury, a dangerous poison banned in cosmetic product formulations.

“It is alarming to discover that other cities and provinces besides Metro Manila are not spared from the illegal trading of mercury-added skin lightening products, thus jeopardizing public health and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.

Dizon emphasized the need for attention from regulatory agencies and the local government units to proactively conduct monitoring and enforcement actions to apprehend sellers of banned beauty products and eliminate toxic mercury exposure.

The FDA has issued public health advisories against the use and sale of unnotified cosmetic products of the following:

1. Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene SPF 30 Avocado & Aloevera – FDA Advisory No. 2017-289 / FDA Advisory No. 2023-2344

2. Goree Day & Night Whitening Cream Oil Free – FDA Advisory No. 2017-289 / FDA Advisory No. 2023-2391

3. 88 Total White Underarm Cream – FDA Advisory No. 2021-1187

According to the advisory, “The public is advised not to purchase the aforementioned violative products. Moreover, the public is also advised to be vigilant against cosmetic products that might not be duly notified with FDA.”

“All concerned establishments are warned not to distribute the violative cosmetic products until they have already been covered by the appropriate authorization (cosmetic notification), otherwise, regulatory actions and sanctions shall be strictly pursued.”

“All Local Government Units (LGUs) and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are requested to ensure that these products are not sold or made available in their localities or areas of jurisdiction,” the FDA stated.

BAN Toxics encourages consumers to file a report to FDA of any sale, distribution, complaint and/or adverse event related to the use of the violative cosmetic products. The online reporting facility, eReport, can be accessed at, or consumers can call the Center for Cosmetics and Household/Urban Hazardous Substances Regulation and Research (CCHUHSRR) hotline (02) 8857-1900 loc. 8113 or 8107.

MPT South Partners with Cavite Tourism to Launch the First-Ever Cavite Tourism Passport

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Metro Pacific Tollways South (MPT South), in collaboration with Cavite Tourism and supported by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) CALABARZON, has launched the first-ever Cavite Tourism Passport.

The launch event was graced by Amadeo Mayor Redel John Dionisio, tourism officers of Cavite, and various lifestyle content creators and media partners. 

The Cavite Tourism Passport aims to encourage tourists to explore the rich heritage, culture, and diverse destinations within Cavite. 

Through this innovative passport program, participants can collect stamps from various attractions and tourism categories for a chance to win exciting tokens from MPT South and its partners. The program will run from May 24, 2024 to December 31, 2024.

The passports may be redeemed at partner establishments, tourism offices in Cavite, and the CALAX Customer Service Center.

During the launch event, guests received their own copies of the passport and enjoyed a modern cultural dance performance by the Reyna ng Turismo candidates. Program partners also expressed their support for the initiative:

“With the development of the “Biyaheng South Tourism Passport,” we have revolutionized local tourism. Travelers can feel even more motivated to discover and engage with Cavite’s beautiful landscapes, and diverse selection of products and services, which also provides opportunities for our local businesses to flourish,” said Mr. Ariel Iglesia, Regional Director of DILG IV-A. “As the Regional Director of the DILG IV-A, I offer our continued support. Know that we are equally as dedicated to reach greater heights, and provide meaningful experiences not just to travelers and tourists, but also to the local communities whose livelihoods are impacted by these initiatives,” he added. “The Provincial Government of Cavite and the Office of the Provincial Tourism Officer extend its gratitude to all stakeholders and partners who are working with us to further boost the tourism industry of the province. Together with MPT South, the Biyaheng South Cavite Tourism Passport is projected to increase travels to Cavite and contribute to our local economic development,” said Ms. Elinia Rozelle Sangalang, Provincial Tourism Officer of Cavite Tourism. "This passport symbolizes our collective commitment to promoting tourism in Cavite," said Ms. Arlette Capistrano, Vice President for Communication and Stakeholder Management

"Through the Biyaheng South campaign, we are highlighting our toll roads and the rich cultural and natural attractions of the South. We hope this initiative inspires more people to explore and appreciate the beauty of Cavite."

This program is part of the Biyaheng South campaign of MPT South, an award-winning tourism advocacy program active on social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. It promotes the toll road network CAVITEX, CAVITEX C5 Link, and CALAX as gateways to the sensational sites and attractions in the South. With over 30,000 combined followers on digital platforms, Biyaheng South has generated more than two million views on TikTok, increasing vehicle traffic along its expressways and helping boost the economic growth of Cavite and Laguna provinces.

MPT South is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC). Aside from the CAVITEX and CALAX network of toll roads, MPTC also holds the concession for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), NLEX Connector Road, and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) in Cebu.

(Cover photo from L-R) MPT South Manager for CSM Integrated Communications Joan Miranda, Provincial Tourism Officer of Cavite Tourism Elinia Rozelle Sangalang, DILG IV-A Regional Director Ariel Iglesia, and Municipality of Amadeo, Cavite Mayor Redel John Dionisio lead the unveiling of the Biyaheng South Cavite Tourism Passport last May 23, 2024.

(from L-R) Municipality of Amadeo, Cavite Mayor Redel John Dionisio, DILG IV-A Regional Director Ariel Iglesia, Provincial Tourism Officer of Cavite Tourism Elinia Rozelle Sangalang, and MPT South Manager for CSM Integrated Communications Joan Miranda poses with the newly launched Biyaheng South Cavite Tourism Passport which aims to encourage tourists to explore the rich heritage, culture, and diverse destinations within Cavite.

Metro Pacific Tollways South (MPT South), in collaboration with Cavite Tourism and supported by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) CALABARZON, has launched the first-ever Cavite Tourism Passport. The launch event was graced by Amadeo Mayor Redel John Dionisio, tourism officers of Cavite, and various lifestyle content creators and media partners.

Photo Captions:

(from L-R) MPT South Manager for CSM Integrated Communications Joan Miranda, Provincial Tourism Officer of Cavite Tourism Elinia Rozelle Sangalang, DILG IV-A Regional Director Ariel Iglesia, and Municipality of Amadeo, Cavite Mayor Redel John Dionisio lead the unveiling of the Biyaheng South Cavite Tourism Passport last May 23, 2024.

Govt media workers to get social security coverage under the SSS KaSSSangga Collect Program

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Social Security System (SSS) today said that nearly 600 cameramen, production assistants, reporters, and newscasters working at the state-run television station People’s Television Network (PTV) will now be eligible for social security coverage and protection under the KaSSSangga Collect Program.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Rolando Ledesma Macasaet (3rd from left) and PTV General Manager Analisa V. Puod (4th from left) signed an agreement on May 16 at the SSS Main Office in Quezon City. This historic partnership between the two government institutions marks a significant step towards providing SSS benefits to job order (JO) workers in the government television network.

Other signatories to the agreement are (from left) SSS Senior Vice President for National Capital Region (NCR) Operations Group Maria Rita S. Aguja, SSS Executive Vice President for Branch Operations Sector Voltaire P. Agas, PTV Administrative Division Head Jasmine B. Barrios, and PTV Administrative Officer III Felomena T. Arroyo.

Macasaet commended General Manager Puod and other PTV officials for registering its JO workers as members of SSS, which ensured their welfare.

“We laud the initiative of PTV to help their JO workers secure their future and prepare for their retirement by becoming SSS members. We thanked PTV for allowing their JO workers to get the social security protection they deserve,” Macasaet said.

Puod thanked SSS for the partnership, which will help their JO workers, who have been with the network for over a decade, save for their retirement.

Macasaet called on other government agencies and local government units to follow the example set by PTV’s leadership. 'We encourage you to take the necessary steps to secure the future of each of your fellow government workers, especially your JO workers, through SSS membership. Let's work together to ensure the welfare of our workers,' he urged.

Aguja, who also chairs the Task Force on KaSSSangga Collect Program, said that PTV JO workers would be registered as self-employed SSS members under the program. Government JO workers are not covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) due to their employment status.

“Under the agreement, PTV will serve as an authorized Coverage and Collection Partner of SSS. This means that PTV can now collect and remit the monthly contributions of its JO workers through a salary-deduction scheme, making the process more convenient and efficient for the workers,” Aguja explained.

As SSS self-employed members, JO workers will gain access to a comprehensive range of social security benefits. These include sickness, maternity, disability, retirement, funeral, and death benefits. They can also apply for SSS loan programs such as salary and calamity, providing them with financial security in various life situations.

“On top of SSS benefits, they will also get additional coverage from the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP) for work-related sickness, disability or death,” she added.

Aguja said that regular PTV employees can also continue paying their SSS contributions as voluntary members under the program.

As of March 2024, more than 430,000 JO and contract of service workers in 3,197 local government units (LGUs), national government agencies, state universities and colleges (SUCs), and local water districts now have social security coverage through the KaSSSangga Collect Program.

Plan And Pack Your Bag As Munich Oktoberfest Is Around The Corner

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Planning for your Oktoberfest trip in Munich includes details on traveling, dressing, the days to choose, hotels to book, and other similar things. 

Attracting around 7 million people annually, it's considered one of the biggest festivals in the world. To be a part of such a huge crowd, you may not get the most out of your visit due to a lack of planning. To prevent issues and confusion, planning your trip to this beer festival is vital from start to end. This is what the guide is about. 

Traveling to Oktoberfest: Checklist and Tips on Preparing for the Festival

You may be visiting the event from another land or just a few miles away from the Oktoberfest location. No matter where you are from, planning ahead is always better than regretting later. Here are all the essential things summarized to enjoy a smooth traveling experience. 

How Much Should You Budget for an Oktoberfest Trip?

For foreign visitors, an Oktoberfest trip to Germany can cost around €15,00 - €3,500 per person. The cost can vary based on various factors, such as the duration of the trip, accommodation, buying traditional outfits like Lederhosen or dirndl, transportation, food and drink, and activities. However, the budget range would be very different for Munich residents or students studying here, as they just need to calculate the cost of food, beer, and attractions. 

What to Wear at Oktoberfest?

The attendees usually wear traditional Bavarian dress (trachten), including Lederhosen for men and dirndls for women. These German costumes offer an authentic look; however, there is no strict dress code. You can wear anything you want as per your comfort and style preferences, but it is always a good idea to dress traditionally to enjoy the true spirit of Oktoberfest. So, when planning your trip, always buy Lederhosen or dirndls, classic shirts, shoes, sunglasses, Bavarian socks, and other accessories. Also, remember to check theweather forecast and pack your outfits accordingly to stay comfortable throughout the visit. 

When is the Best Time to Go to Oktoberfest?

The first and last weeks are the best times to go to Oktoberfest, as many exciting activities happen during these times. The event starts in the second last week of September and ends on the first Sunday of October every year. However, the best time to go depends on the experience you seek. The fall weather in Munich is unpredictable, and you can expect both sunrise and rain. The festival hosts thousands of visitors, especially on weekends. Weekdays in the first two weeks are less busy, while weekends and the last week are packed. The first weekend features the mayor tapping the keg, marking the start of the festivities. Arriving early ensures a table, as it gets busier by nightfall. The middle weekend, known as Italian Weekend, attracts many students from neighboring countries, offering vibrant social scenes and busy beer halls. It’s a great time to try Bavarian dishes and explore Munich’s city center. The closing weekend coincides with the German Reunification Day on October 3rd, drawing large crowds. This time is best for those who want to experience local culture despite the long lines. 

Do You Need to Buy an Entry Ticket for Oktoberfest?

There is no ticket for Oktoberfest, as entry is free. It is only at the Oide Wiesn where you need to buy an entry ticket worth €4 if you are above 14. However, you can enter this place free after 9 P.M. Reserving tables at the Oktoberfest beer tent is free, but you can only reserve tables for eight to ten people. Besides, you need a budget of almost €350 to €500 to purchase food and drinks in Oktoberfest tents. Also, have some budget for the rides and into the festival grounds. 

Oktoberfest Tent Tickets & Reservations

Oktoberfest tickets aren’t necessary for early mornings or weekdays as attendees are less at these times. However, you may need to reserve spots in beer tents for late night parties or opening and closing ceremonies. Make sure to buy beer tent tickets from the individual tents themselves. Never buy them from an online ticket reseller or some other source, as purchasing these tickets from a third party is considered illegal. Solo travelers or small groups of two or three people can easily find a spot in the beer tent and do not need to make a reservation. However, larger groups should plan and make reservations even before months. Visit every tent page individually to learn when they will start making reservations. 

Schedule of Events and Performances

When planning your trip to Oktoberfest, you must be aware of certain performances and events happening at the event. 

Here’s how you can find and plan around the schedule:

Visit the official website: 

The most reliable source for up-to-date information on events and performances is the official Oktoberfest website. They provide a detailed schedule, including opening ceremonies, parades, live music performances, and special events. 

Oktoberfest Apps: 

Several mobile apps designed explicitly for Oktoberfest include event schedules, maps, and other helpful features. Look for apps like “ – The App” or “Oktoberfest Munich.”

Follow Official Social Media Accounts:

Follow Oktoberfest’s official social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest news and schedule updates. These accounts often post live updates and announcements about performances and special events.

How to Get to Oktoberfest?

Due to the huge crowd, parking issues may arise during Oktoberfest. The most favorable option is reaching Oktoberfest with public transport, which is cost-saving and time-saving. In planning travel to Oktoberfest, knowing the routes, parking, transportation options, estimated cost, and a reliable source is important. 

1. From Munich Airport

The distance from Munich International Airport (MUC) to Theresienwiese (site of the Oktoberfest) is around 40 km (25 miles). Take the S-Bahn lines S1 or S8 to Marienplatz, then change to U-Bahn U4 or U5 in the direction of Theresienwiese, or take the Lufthansa Express Bus from the central station. 

2. By Train

Munich Main Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) is only approximately a kilometer and a half away from the Theresienwiese; one can get here in less than 15 minutes on foot. U-Bahn (subway) U4 or U5 directly to station Theresien. 

3. By Car

Parking at Theresienwiese is an expensive and limited option in so many ways, so it is not recommended. Others include extensive options like Park & Ride around Munich with U-Bahn. The stations are available in Fröttmaning, Garching- Hochbrück, and Westpark stations, all in U6. 4. By Public Transport

The MVV from Munich furnishes its travelers with a multiplicity of travel means. The U-Bahn (subway) lines U4 and U5 are best linked to either Theresienwiese station. The wider Munich area is connected to the S-Bahn (suburban train), with transfers to the U-Bahn, if required, to reach the city center. 

Booking Oktoberfest Nearby Hotels and Accommodations

It is advisable to book a hotel in Munich as early as possible, ideally 6-12 months in advance. Oktoberfest attracts millions of visitors, and hotels fill up quickly. Rates during Oktoberfest are significantly higher than at other times of the year. Staying closer to the Theresienwiese can be more expensive, but it saves time and transportation costs. Hotels further away might be cheaper, but consider the convenience factor. These ten top hotels close to Oktoberfest grounds make reaching the festival easy while saving transportation costs. All these hotels offer world-class amenities and facilities for an exclusive stay during your trip to Munich. 

Hilton Munich City

Hotel Metropol by Maier Privathotels

Bavaria Boutique Hotel

Hotel Cocoon Hauptbahnhof

Mercure Hotel Muenchen City Center

Residence Inn Munich Central

Hilton Munich Park

German Phrases You Should Know Before Attending Oktoberfest

To attend Munich’s Oktoberfest, you don't need to learn or speak much German. However, knowing some basic phrases can reduce confusion at the event. Here is a list of words that you should know when planning for the beer festival in Germany. 

Wiesn - A local Bavarian name for the Oktoberfest festival grounds

Prost! – Cheers!

Bier – Beer

Servus – Friendly Greetings

Tracht – Traditional Bavarian clothing, which includes Lederhosen and Dirndl

Die Maß – A one-liter glass of beer. Danke – Thank you

Bitte – Please / You’re welcome

Speisekarte – Menu

Zahlen, bitte – The bill, please.

 Entschuldigung – Excuse me

Hilfe! – Help!

Ja – Yes

Nein – No

Eingang – Entrance

Ausgang – Exit

Reservierung – Reservation

O’zapft is! – It's tapped! (Traditional phrase announcing the opening of the first beer keg)

Oktoberfest Items Checklist

Before you indulge in the excitement of the event, take a minute to double-check that you pack all the essentials.

The Basics

● Festival tickets

● Wallet or purse with enough cash

● ID card

● Mobile phone and charger or a power bank

● Bring enough water

● Earplugs

● Bags for a purse to carry essentials

Clothes & Shoes

● Lederhosen or Dirndl

● Socks and Undergarments

● Raincoat

● Headwear

● Sunglasses

● Comfortable Shoes

Medication and Toi­letries

● Toothpaste and Toothbrush

● Shampoo and Shower Gel

● Tower and Comb

● Flipflops

● Deodorant

● Tissues

● Disinfectants

● First aid kit and plasters

● Sun Screen

● Painkiller medication

● Personal Medication

● Any Women’s Toiletries

Staying safe at Oktoberfest - Important Tips You Should Know

In addition to thinking about costs, it’s also essential to have some safety precautions in mind. Here are our tips:

Drink Responsibly: 

Oktoberfest beer is stronger than your typical pilsner, so it's wise to choose a 0.5-liter beer instead of the larger Maß. Make sure to drink plenty of water in between beers and avoid drinking on an empty stomach to stay hydrated and reduce the effects of alcohol. 

Dress Warmly: 

Since it’s fall in southern Germany, it can get chilly, especially after sunset. Consider wearing leggings under your dirndl and bring a sweater. Comfortable shoes are also essential due to the extensive festival grounds. 

Seek Help When Needed: 

While Oktoberfest is about having fun, staying safe isessential. The "Sichere Wiesn für Mädchen und Frauen" website provides safety information and a secure space for anyone needing support or first aid. Watch Your Belongings: The large crowds at Oktoberfest are prime spots for pickpockets. Keep your backpack securely closed, and always watch your valuables. Since bags are restricted to 20 x 15 x 10 centimeters, use side bags or purses to keep your essentials safe. 

Manage Your Money: 

Cash is still necessary at some tents, like the Löwenbrau and Ochsenbraterei, which don’t accept card payments. If you use a card, consider a virtual card on your smartphone to avoid losing your debit card.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Gel Aquino unveils single about personal loss “Kinakaya”

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Singer-songwriter Gel Aquino will release her deeply personal and moving single, “Kinakaya,” under GMA Music. The song, which taps into the experience of heartbreak and loss, draws inspiration from Aquino’s journey through grief and healing.

Aquino explains that “Kinakaya” is a tribute to those who have suffered the pain of being left behind by loved ones. “My inspiration is those who were hurt by love and those who were left behind by their loved ones. Those broken-hearted who experienced being left behind. ‘Yung mga kailangang bumitaw sa isang relasyon kaya ngayon kinakaya nila ang pag-mo-move on na wala na ang taong mahal nila. ‘Yun ang inspiration nito,” she shared.

The song was born during a particularly challenging time in Aquino’s life. “Sinulat ko ito noong time na active ako magsulat at mag-compose ng kanta. Noong time din na ‘to broken hearted ako and very depressed, pandemic noon tapos nawala na ‘yung lola ko. Hindi ko nalaman agad na nawala na pala siya, two months later ko na nalaman. So para din ito sa lola ko at sa mga taong nakaranas na iwan ng mahal nila,” she recalled.

The loss of her grandmother served as a significant catalyst for the song’s creation. “Independent ako and hindi ako masyadong nakikipag-communicate sa mga kamag-anak ko. Then nakita ko na lang nag-message sila na wala na ang lola ko. Kaya pala ‘nung mga buwan na ‘yun lagi kong napapanaginipan ang lola ko. Kaya nasulat ko ang kantang ito para sa lola ko na kinakaya ko ang sakit na wala na siya. Hindi man lang kami nagkita bago siya mamatay.”

Aquino hopes that “Kinakaya” will offer solace and strength to listeners facing their own struggles. “The message of the song is that we need to endure the pain that we feel from a person who left us. Kailangan natin ng time para makapag-heal and ‘wag tayong mawawalan ng pag-asa at isipin na itong pain na ito ay wala nang katapusan. Darating ang panahon na sasaya ka ulit at magiging mas malakas ka. You can transform yourself to be a better person then.”

“Kinakaya” will be available on digital platforms beginning May 26.

For more information on your favorite Kapuso stars, visit 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

PHLPost released new commemorative stamps to mark Malabon City’s 425th Foundation Day

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) has released new commemorative stamps to mark the 425th Foundation Day of the City of Malabon on May 21, 2024.

The commemorative stamps symbolized the rich history, culture and culinary tradition of the City known during the Spanish era as Tambobong.

City Mayor Jeannie N. Sandoval and Postmaster General Luis D. Carlos unveiled the said commemorative stamps in a fitting ceremony highlighting the colorful celebration of Malabon City’s 425th foundation day held at Malabon City Sports Center.

Malabon’s historic journey began during the Spanish colonial era dating back over four centuries. Originally part of the tribal domain of Raja Soliman, in nearby Manila, “Tambobong” derived its name from the numerous tambo trees flourishing in the region.

Records indicate that on May 21, 1599, Tambobong came under the administration of the Augustinian Friars as a “bisita” or parish, along with Navotas. Over the next 260 years, the twin towns were occasionally separated and rejoined before becoming autonomous.

During the Spanish Era, Malabon transformed into a favored retreat for Intramuros friars and government officials. The town earned the name “Malabon”, with the term “mala” (bad) stemming from the mud that flawed their pricey European leather shoes and elegant robes. On the other side of the “bon/buen” (good) symbolized the town’s redeeming qualities- its rejuvenating fresh air and the excellent cuisine.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Tambobong’s proximity to Intramuros and the Galleon Trade in the Manila Bay had spurred economic growth. In 1888, the first “Tranvia de Bapor” began operating along Malabon’s river system, providing efficient access to the Northern provinces.

The strip of three (3) commemorative stamps features the rich history and culture of Malabon City. The first is the San Bartolome Church which stands as a testament to the city’s past. Built in the 1600s, its Baroque style reflects the religious fervor of the time. The second, is the famous and original Pancit Malabon, which is loaded with delicious seafood toppings, smoked fish flakes, pork cracklets and duck eggs laid over thick rice noodles. The third, is the Tambobong Indakan festival, which promotes the rich and colorful culture of the city. The festival featured the talents, skills, and creativity of the people of Malabon City.

PHLPost has printed 42,000 pieces of the P16.00 strip of three (3) commemorative stamps and additional 3,400 pieces of Official First Day Cover. Another 1,000 copies of personalized stamps were printed of the historic “La Princesa '', a large tobacco factory in Brgy. Hulo, owned by the King of Spain which was established in 1851. Malabon City Mayor Jeannie N. Sandoval is featured in the background. The stamps were layout by PHLPost in-house graphic artist Jose Antonio A. Jayme.

The stamps are now available at Manila Central Post Office Annex Bldg. in Liwasang Bonifacio.

After Morong, E911 National Office, DILG aims to bring state of the art emergency response system to other LGUs

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The town of Morong, a second-class municipality in Rizal, scored a feat this May by being the first-ever local government unit in the Philippines and the first in Southeast Asia, to put in place a world-class, state-of-the-art emergency response center with the Next Generation 911 System used in the USA to better serve their residents.

Executive Director Francis Fajardo of the Emergency 911 National Office and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for External, Legal and Legislative Affairs Atty. Juan Victor Llamas, activated Morong’s Emergency 911 Hotline Number at the inauguration of Morong’s E911 Local Command Center in Sitio Paglabas, Bgy. San Pedro on May 6.

Fajardo hailed the establishment of the first E911 command center in the country as “a significant step forward in providing efficient and effective emergency response services to every corner of the nation”.

“This center will serve as the nerve center for emergency operations in Morong. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and staffed by dedicated personnel trained to handle any crisis with precision and professionalism,” Fajardo said.

Usec. Llamas congratulated the officials of Morong for being the first local government unit with a Next Generation 911 System in the country and said that Secretary Benjamin Abalos and the DILG supports the project.

“Morong will be placed in history as the pioneer LGU to use Emergency 911, made possible with the help of NGA 911”, Llamas said.

Morong will now be able to use the emergency 911 hotline instead of the current ten-digit number for emergency calls. Fajardo revealed that guided by the fundamental principles of the Bagong Pilipinas brand of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, his office and the DILG jointly aim “to localize the emergency 911 hotline nationwide in order to fulfill our mandate under Executive Order No. 56 for the institutionalization of E911 as nationwide answering point that conforms with the international standard for emergency hotline number”.

In April 2023, Morong town officials led by Mayor Sidney Soriano and Vice Mayor Jose Fred Feliciano signed an agreement with NGA Philippines (NGA) to provide Morong with world-class and complete solutions for emergency communication and public

safety services. NGA Philippines is the local subsidiary of multinational corporation NGA 911, LLC headquartered in California, USA.

NGA is known globally as the innovator of emergency calling technology used by many states in the USA, and the leader in Next Generation 911 (NG911) emergency communications worldwide, NGA’s system is built on the industry standards adopted by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) in the United States and the European Emergency Number Association (EENA).

NGA Philippines’ Country Head Robert Llaguno said Morong’s investment in the emergency NG911 system presently used in the United States pioneers the use of technology in the country that will revolutionize the way and speed with which the LGU can handle emergencies. “NGA is prepared to bring the state-of-the-art E911 system to other LGUs in the archipelago, one LGU at a time”.

“All 911 calls to the Morong DRRM Command Center are now fully recorded, and conference and transfer facilities are now seamless,” explained Llaguno. “There is more efficient dispatch and coordination. The LGU will also be able to pinpoint with high accuracy the location of the emergency call and associate the same with the closest responders to provide a more immediate response.”

Llaguno said there are several other LGUs that will follow Morong’s lead within the next two quarters: one in North Luzon, one in Visayas and one in Mindanao.

“There is a growing number [of LGUs] shifting to Next Generation 911 and we are seeing a lot of local chief executives prioritizing public safety [for their constituents],” he added.

PHLPost announces national winners for 53rd UPU Int’l Letter Writing tilt

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The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) recently announced the national winners of the 53rd Universal Postal Union (UPU) International Letter Writing Competition for Young People aimed to encourage young people to articulate their thoughts on current global challenges and propose innovative solutions.

This year’s winners are Ms. Karylle Mitch V. Salazar, a student of Saint Mary’s Academy of San Nicolas, Inc. Cebu City– first prize; Ms. Mathea Lyf Aire N. Elorde, of Kong Hua School, Cagayan de Oro – second prize; and Ms. Shania Mae M. Logronio of Atanacia L. Logronio Integrated School, Lanao del Norte - third prize.

The first prize winner will be awarded with Php20,000 cash, the second prize -P15,000 and third prize - P10,000 plus corresponding medals, and certificates for the winners. The chosen theme for this year is: “Write a letter to future generations about the world you hope they inherit.”

Ms. Karylle Mitch V. Salazar’s winning entry will represent the country in the worldwide competition to be held in Berne, Switzerland.

Part of her letter read: “In a world of serenity may you never fail to remember that love and compassion will always form the real definition of beauty. With utmost truthfulness, may these words reach you significantly. May you always be reminded that behind this letter is someone who hopes for a bright future ahead of you”.

This year’s judges were led by PHLPost Chief of Staff Marcos Ryan Laurente, School Press Advisers Movement Inc. Founder Dr. Melanie Viloria-Briones, ED. D, University of Sto. Tomas Office of Public Affairs Acting Director Michaella Lagniton, MA, and Presidential Communications Office Director for Digital Media and Communications Faith De Guia.

The contest is designed to develop the young people's skills in composition and the ability to express their thoughts clearly, to foster their enjoyment of letter-writing and to help strengthen the bonds of international friendship – one of the basic missions of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a specialized agency of the United Nations wherein PHLPost is an active member.

Bigger than basketball: Fighting Maroons give back to indigenous communities in Butuan

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On May 14, 2024 UP President Atty. Angelo "Jijil" Jimenez unveiled the new motto of the University of the Philippines, adding "Service" to the current values each Iskolar ng Bayan is expected to live up to - Honor and Excellence.

"Honor and Excellence has long been the motto of our beloved University. But let us not forget the root of our very existence- that is, to serve. That is why we should always remember to live by our new motto 'Honor and Excellence in the Service of the Nation'. 

It's our reason for being," said President Jimenez, born with roots from the Manobo Tribe in Butuan City.

And that is what the UP Men's Basketball Team did during their weekend trip to Butuan City on May 18 and 19. 

Through the initiative of UP President Jimenez and the Office of the University President, the UP Fighting Maroons, in partnership with the UP Alumni Association, One Meralco Foundation, More Power, and Chooks to Go, turned over television sets, school supplies, and machineries that will benefit the students and teachers at Mahayahay Elementary School and nearby community.

"Syempre nakakataba ng puso and natutuwa kami na nakatulong kami sa kanila, kahit sa maliit na paraan lang ba. Nagpapasalamat kami kay President Jijil na ininvolve niya ang team dito. Sana hindi ito ang last time na makasama kami sa ganitong projects n'ya," said Butuan City native JD Cagulangan. 

The Fighting Maroons then took part in a tree planting activity in the said community.

The Diliman-based squad flew to Butuan City to play against Cebu’s University of San Carlos Warriors in an invitational game that celebrated Butuan City’s Balangay Festival 2024 at the Fr. Saturnino Urios University Gym.

The Fighting Maroons bested the CESAFI 2023 bronze medalists, 90-49, in Cagulangan's homecoming game.

The PELÍCULA>Pelikula Spanish Film Festival begins with a special section dedicated to sports

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

This year’s PELÍCULA>Pelikula Spanish Film Festival starts early with a special section dedicated to sports. Coinciding with the last match of La Liga, the top division of the Spanish football league system, from May 23 – 26, four Spanish language films will be screened at the Shangri-La Plaza’s Red Carpet Theatre in Mandaluyong, prior to the main Festival which will be held on the first week of October. 

All the screenings are FREE entrance on a first come, first served basis. All the movies are in Spanish with English subtitles. For updates, please visit the Facebook page of Instituto Cervantes (InstitutoCervantesManila) and Instagram (institutocervantesmanila).

The PELÍCULA>Pelikula Spanish Film Festival is organized by Instituto Cervantes, the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, the AECID and La Liga, in collaboration with Shangri-La Plaza’s Red Carpet Theatre, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, and with the support of Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. 


Días de futbol (David Serrano, 2003). A group of friends who, unhappy with how their lives turned out, attempt to form a football team, just like when they were young, to see if they can finally win something in their lives. 

La Gran Familia Española (Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, 2013). During the World Cup Final in South Africa, while all of Spain comes to a standstill, a wedding takes place, and a family with five children also faces the most important game of their life.

Futbolín (Juan José Campanella, 2013). An animated film about Amadeo, a shy boy who will have to face a skilled rival known as “El Crack”, counts on the invaluable help of some foosball players led by the “Wing”, a charismatic right winger. 

Campeonex (Javier Fesser, 2023). Sequel to the 2018 film Campeones, which was also shown in the 2018 Pelikula Film Festival, our team of “champions” abandons basketball for track and field. Between the harsh demands of the new discipline and the rookie coach’s surprising ability to attract all sorts of misfortunes, everything turns out upside down.

Sibalom Natural Park Opens New Tours Ahead of International Day for Biodiversity

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Lively Kinaray-a songs fill the air as ladies in vibrant floral skirts welcome visitors to Imparayan, one of 18 villages ringing the Sibalom Natural Park in Panay.

Arriving guests are festooned with leis fashioned to resemble giant Rafflesia, the park’s symbol. Home to a variety of wildlife and the Philippines’ Rainbow River, the park has just launched a new ecotourism package, designed and run by the local community.

“Welcome to the park and please remember our rules: no littering, smoking or taking of stones, plants or animals,” explains smiling guide Lumen Tiongco before we embark. “Talk gently along the trails to not disturb birds and lizards. Most importantly, have a good time.”

Our first stop is a quaint Rizalista Chapel established in 1975. Rizalistas believe in the divinity of Jose Rizal, believing our bowler-hat-clad hero is an incarnation of the Holy Spirit. Various folk beliefs abound here, with our guides doling out tiny pieces of ginger to affix to our clothes to appease forest spirits (we got back okay, so they probably worked).

Next is Bato Pispis, an eroded cliff with a pattern that looks somewhat like a bird with its wings outstretched. Swallows zoom above, stalking insects and building tiny nests on the sheer cliff. We take snaps and continue, crossing a bright red bridge and climbing a small hill to reach the Protected Area Management Office (PAMO), where a feast, friendly faces and comfortable accommodations await.

The PAMO is the control center of the Sibalom Natural Park, a 6,778.44-hectare park denuded by the Second World War and declared as a protected area in 2000. “In the 1970s, the park was reforested with a combination of commercially-valuable exotic tree species and local flora,” explains Sibalom Park Deputy Superintendent Joery Oczon. “Aside from the ‘Big Five’ – the Visayan Spotted Deer and Warty Pig, Walden’s and Tarictic hornbills, plus of course the giant Rafflesia – guests might encounter other types of flora and fauna, ranging from giant Lauaan trees to playful monkeys.”

The park also boasts of possibly the most colorful river in the Philippines, the Rainbow River, which brims with jade, quartz, onyx and other semi-precious stones – though park rangers constantly remind guests that stones cannot be taken.

Leveling Up Ecotourism Packages

Since 2022, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DOT), United Nations Development Programme’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP-BIOFIN), local government of Antique province and local communities have been working to develop a world-class ecotourism package, developed and administered by residents living around the Sibalom Park.

“Local people know their area best, so they’re the ones who should identify and develop tourism spots,” explains Boboi Costas, who previously helped develop Cebu’s Bojo-Aloguinsan Mangrove River Tour, which won the Best Tourism Village Award from the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 2021. “We distilled the best lessons from Aloguinsan to help develop Sibalom’s tour package, which we hope can be replicated across the country.”

To ‘level up’ the community’s ecotourism skills, UNDP-BIOFIN organized a series of workshops covering topics like sustainable ecotourism management, strategic planning for tourism, designing tour experiences, food and beverage preparation, women’s empowerment, financial management, housekeeping, marketing, promotions and tour safety. Participants were drawn mainly from the Imparayan Bantay Gubat Association, comprised of around 80 local volunteers who regularly help clean and patrol the park.

“Communities that provide the infrastructure for tourism can earn not just from guiding, but the provision of meals, lodging, crafts and souvenirs,” explains Anabelle Plantilla, UNDP-BIOFIN Philippines National Project Manager. Properly done, ecotourism combines conservation and livelihood generation. “True sustainable development benefits everyone involved – local residents, tour operators, service providers and of course, the environment itself. We envision better lives for all. Walang maiiwan: no one gets left behind.”

The development of Sibalom’s community-led tours was an offshoot of the government’s and UNDP-BIOFIN’s Year of the Protected Areas (YoPA) Campaign, designed to boost visits to the country’s 247 protected areas. More visits generate much-needed funds for park salaries and equipment, plus the maintenance and improvement of facilities.

Active in over 40 countries, UNDP-BIOFIN has been working since 2012 to help bridge the enormous gap needed to fund the world’s biodiversity projects, estimated by the Nature Conservancy, Paulson Institute and Cornell University to amount to USD800 billion in 2020.

UNDP-BIOFIN has been working in the Philippines since 2014, working closely with the DENR and many allies to finance the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), the country’s roadmap to conserve biodiversity. Its current target is to narrow down the national budget gap for environmental projects, estimated at PHP19 billion yearly. Finance initiatives like the Sibalom Park’s new ecotourism packages can help bridge this gap.  

At the PAMO, guests enjoy local delicacies like chicken Porbida and Papisik. Everyone catches a breath after the morning trek, enjoying the cool forest air, the birdsongs around us.

“The Sibalom Natural Park is just one of many breathtaking places to visit in the Visayas,” says Krisma Rodriguez, Department of Tourism Regional Director for Western Visayas. “We invite everyone to see not just Sibalom in Antique – but Guimaras, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Negros Occidental and the other tour destinations of our region.”

After a sumptuous lunch and a quick programme, we trek back through a forest of tall mahogany trees to Indaga Creek, ending at the Mau-It or Rainbow River, which sits beside a road. As we complete the tour while savoring cups of locally grown coffee, the head guide approaches our tired, satisfied group.

“There are many more places we want to show you, like Bato Kipot, Lake Pako and the Tipuluan River,” says Rowelo Esponilla, Imparayan Bantay Gubat Association President turned tour guide. “I work in construction, so guiding is a big help for me and my family. We hope more people come to see the beauty of the Sibalom Natural Park, where we’ll be ready to provide first-class service. There’s so much we want our guests to experience.”

The eco-tour’s launch was held ahead of the 24th observance of the International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated each 22 May.

“By patronizing our protected areas, we can all ‘be part of the plan’ to reverse the loss of biodiversity,” concludes Plantilla. “Everyone has an important role to play.”

To visit the Sibalom Natural Park, email or call +63926 358 1404. The park is four hours away from Boracay Island, two hours away from Iloilo City or 30 minutes from the Antique Airport in San Jose Buenavista. 

About the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN)

BIOFIN was launched in 2012 and supports over 40 countries in designing and implementing national biodiversity finance plans. For more information:

About the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crises, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for all people. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer a global perspective and local insights to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

Captioned Images:

World’s Largest Flower. The Sibalom Natural Park hosts the Corpse Flower (Rafflesia speciosa), one of 13 Rafflesia species discovered in the Philippines. Park rangers can regularly find and mark hidden flower buds, though the buds only bloom for a few days a year. The best period to find blooms is from February to April. (Anthony Ian Endencio / DENR)

Rainbow River. The country’s very own Rainbow River, the Mau-It River, snakes through the Sibalom Natural Park. Boulders of all hues – from reds to blues, greens and oranges – adorn its banks, which abound with semi-precious stones like onyx, quartz and jade. (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Kingfisher. A Spotted Wood Kingfisher (Actenoides lindsayi) – endemic to the Philippines – rests quietly inside the Sibalom Natural Park. Birds of all feathers can easily be spotted early in the morning and late in the afternoon. (Gregg Yan / UNDP-BIOFIN)

Happy Tourists, Happy Tourguides. Participants, guides and organizers of the Sibalom Natural Park’s inaugural community-led eco-tour gather under the park’s distinctive welcome arch. (Gregg Yan / UNDP-BIOFIN)

Green Again. Denuded by four years of warfare in World War Two plus 30 years of logging, the shoulder of Mt. Porras is again blanketed in a carpet of green. At 1378 feet or 420 meters, the summit is the highest point in the park. (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Tall Trees. Enormous mahogany trees, some breaching 70 feet, provide shade and cover for trekkers. Planted in the 1970s as part of a reforestation drive, the trees are not native to the country. Approximately 500 hectares of the Sibalom Park consist of stands of fast-growing exotic commercial trees like Mahogany, Teak, Pine and Gmelina. (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Native Wildlings. Park rangers Leonard Alentajan and Bhong Agting inspect Lauaan, Dungon and other native tree wildlings collected within the park. They shall be used to passively replace non-native tree stands. Park rangers regularly patrol the park to prevent illegal logging and poaching. (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Community-based. “Local people know their area best, so they’re the ones who should identify and develop tourism spots,” explains tourism expert Boboi Costas, in black. “We distilled the best lessons from Aloguinsan to help develop Sibalom’s tour package, which we hope can be replicated across the country.” (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Love Philippines. Participants, park management officers and tour organizers enjoy a breather after ascending a 200-step trail during the launch of the park’s ecotourism package, held at the Sibalom PAMO on 10 May 2024. (Angelique Ogena / UNDP-BIOFIN)

Avian Art. Park staff Charlene Charlienet Santocildes shows off a bee-eater, Visayan hornbill and a kingfisher, top entries in a painting competition staged by the University of Antique for Grade 12 students. The Sibalom Park hosts at least 60 bird species, from scene-stealing hornbills to tiny flowerpeckers. (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Forest Cottages. The PAMO offers several concrete cottages with working showers and electricity. Cottages can be rented for PHP1500 a night and can comfortably house up to eight guests. (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Local Delicacy. An iconic dish of Antique, Papisik is made by marinating a native chicken with salt, tamarind leaves, lemon grass and a sour native fruit called Batuan. Guests can request the park to prepare simple meals ahead of their arrival. (Kamille Trillanes Rosales / UNDP-BIOFIN)

Local Brew. Sibalom produces its own mildly smoky blend of Robusta coffee in the form of Kapi Uma, available in and around the Sibalom Natural Park. (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Luya-Luya. Locals believe that affixing a small piece of luya or ginger to your clothes appeases forest spirits, preventing them from doing harm. Everyone in our tour got back safely, so it looks like it worked! (UNDP-BIOFIN)

Idyllic Destination. Away from the hustle-and-bustle of city life lies the Sibalom Natural Park. Those who want to visit can set-up a tour via the park’s Facebook Page. (UNDP-BIOFIN)

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