It’s a brand new year, and while most everyone is having fun looking to the stars for the fortunes that the next 12 months will bring, we thought we’d give you our forecasts based on fact. You’d be happy to know that it’s mostly good news for the country!
Will there be enough money going around? More jobs? Will business be good or bad? How about dollar drivers and industries that bring the most revenue from foreign investments? You’ve probably asked these questions of national importance yourself at some point in the year 2010, and pondered what the future has in store for you; more so for your families back home.
In wanting to get a more informed outlook, we did research and turned to the experts’ perspectives, and put together a general forecast on what the economy is shaping up to be in 2011.
LOOKING BACK TO LOOK AHEAD
First, let’s take a brief review of what happened in 2010, in order to see what we have to build on this year. Data from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the World Bank give us a good picture of what contributed to our country’s strengths, weak- nesses and growth oppor- tunities for the days to come.
STRENGTHS IN 2010
The global economic crisis that hit the Unites States hard was felt quite minimally in the Philippines. Thank God! Benefactors from the US had enough on their hands trying to rise above the chaos that swept the world economy without having to carry additional burden from their homeland-based loved ones.
Given this, the Philippines had a much easier time rebounding from the growth rate dip in 2009, as it enjoys, with the rest of Asia, the benefits of investments from the US and Europe beginning in 2010.
In the third quarter of 2010, the Philippines ranked third among the ASEAN-5 in terms of GNP growth. And, comparing the first to third quarter of 2009 with the same period last year, a considerable jump in GNP growth took place, from 4.0% to 7.9%, respectively.
The Philippine peso has gained more than 4% within 2010, thanks in part to a weak dollar; and in large part to the strong remittances from overseas Filipinos.
Philippine equities have been phenomenal in the past year, with record growth that was among the highest in the region.
What exactly contributed to this growth in the past year, you may ask?
One of them could be the change of administration, which gathered a common positive response from many sectors of the community.
Needless to say, the coming to an end of a governance that has been criticized left and right led to a positive environment for business investors and government-run corporations and agencies.
Apart from this, other growth drivers in 2010 are the different industrial and services sectors that performed remarkably like –
The BPO Industry
– the growth of the numerous BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) companies in the Philippines has been on an uptrend since 2008, but was at its highest in 2010.
As proof of this, it was in 2010 that companies like Convergys, Accenture and many others have expanded operations and acquired greater workforce, which was also another good thing since it meant more jobs for more Filipinos.
It’s amazing that in spite of the adverse effects of global warming on our climate and weather conditions, the Philippines’ agricultural industry was on a roll in 2010.
Even with the aftermath of the Ondoy in late 2009, making it seem as if 2010 would yield poor produce from start to finish, GNP growth from our agricultural sector has more than doubled, from 1.2% to 2.8% in 2010.
The May 12, 2010 report from Bloomberg Businessweek says that “Philippine exports rose at the fastest pace in at least 29 years in March as demand for the nation’s electronics goods climbed, spurring economic expansion as the country recovers from last year’s global slump.” And this was only in the first quarter.
What followed was a general rebounding of Asian exports, and the upward trend of exports since the first quarter served as catapult to lead in the export business throughout the year. One reason being customers from the US and China increased purchases of Philippine-made semiconductors and other electrical and automotive parts.
99% of all business enterprises registered with the Department of Trade and Industry are classified as micro, small and medium. They employ 70% of the country’s labor force and contrinute to 32% of the economy. As an economy practically run by small and medium enterprises –Philippine growth will largely be felt through them as well. Large corporations have created special products targeted towards the SMEs, inclusive of finance, information technology and telecommunications. As our SMEs become more financially empowered, tech savvy and open themselves to bigger markets, our competitiveness will be boosted and will drive the growth of local industries.
NEW YEAR, NEW ECONOMY
The future indeed looks bright!
The new administration under PNoy has already set the positive and hopeful tone for the new year. Borrowing a quote from Michael Jackson, PNoy has been heard saying “Hang on to my coattails, and I’ll take you places!”
The country expects to sustain the good performance from last year jumpstarted by this wave of optimism. Renewed confidence by credit rating agencies have boosted the foreign investors looking for a recovery win in Asia. And, all over the world, there has been strong demand for consumer electronics, that continues to be the country’s primary export product.
Not to throw all caution to the wind, however, there are still risks that present themselves in any rosy environment – Rising fuel prices coupled with cost of infrastructure will eventually increase the cost of consumer goods, resulting in a forecast of 4.6% inflation. Weather disturbances and climate change continue to wreak havoc on agricultural fields, residences and businesses that not only dampen growth but eat into precious government budget.
Analysts still expect a median of 5% growth for the Philippine economy in 2011, assuming that these risks are overcome and progress challenges are met.
The Philippines still has to do something about its global corruption ranking that greatly affects investors’ desire to do business in the country.
Couple that with the country’s big infrastructure gap that the government is urgently trying to bridge through its Private-Public-Partnerships (PPP) – a contractual arrangement between government and private sector to deliver public facilities on which the dirty work of development will have to be done.
While pundits see a higher-than-median average the Peso value against the USD, but the success of PPP could increase local demand for USD, thus tempering the Peso appreciation.
Overall, however, the Philippine economy is looking good! Let’s keep our fingers crossed and pray hard! It’s time for our families to finally enjoy a good year. All we have to do is to rise up to the challenge and not bungle it up, Pinoy-style
But before we completely say goodbye to the first decade of the twentieth century, let us take one last glance at the year that has passed. Here are the Philippines’ top news of 2010, in chronological order.
On this day, 38 million Filipinos turned out for the country’s first nationwide automated elections.
To prepare the voters for the new system of voting, the Commission on Election had launched a nationwide education campaign in the form of the catchy tune “May Bilog na Hugis Itlog,” which eventually turned into a Philippine dance craze.
On the day itself, there were a few technical glitches and logistic setbacks. Paper jams, PCOS machines not accepting or reading ballots, or the wrong set of ballots delivered to a precinct—all served to compound the confusion of voters and Board of Election Inspectors members alike.
One of the comic highlights of the day was when it was found out that presidential candidate Joseph Estrada “forgot” to vote for his running mate, Makati mayor Jejomar Binay. The discovery was made by a photojournalist who took a picture of Estrada’s ballot as he was inserting it into the PCOS machine.
It was rumored that some bad feelings had formed between Estrada and Binay when Senator Francis Escudero came out in a TV commercial endorsing Binay with not Estrada but Aquino as his candidates for the vice presidential and presidential positions, respectively.
June 8: Noynoy Aquino Wins Presidential Elections by a Landslide
Less than a month after the polls, forming a speed record in the Philippine history of vote counting, 50-year-old senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III was declared the winner of the Philippine presidential elections, with 15.2 million votes.
Aquino beat second placer Joseph Estrada by 4.7 million votes. The senator’s victory had been so apparent that only a day after the polls, rival candidates Sen. Manny Villar, Sen. Richard Gordon, Councilor JC delos Reyes, Jesus Is Lord pastor Eduardo Villanueva, and the administration bet, Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro, already conceded their defeat to him.
In the end, only former president Estrada still believed he had a chance to win against the senator—but he was proved wrong.
Aquino’s running mate, Sen. Manuel Roxas II, was not as lucky, however. He lost the vice presidential position to Estrada’s running mate, Makati mayor Jejomar Binay.
August 23: Hong Kong Nationals Taken Hostage in Manila
On this fateful morning, dismissed PNP officer Rolando Mendoza hijacked a Hong Thai travel bus and took 25 people—mostly Hong Kong nationals—hostage. His demand was to get his job back.
His brother Gregorio was allowed to talk to him during negotiations, but Gregorio only further agitated the hijacker, so the police were told to take Gregorio away from the scene. When Rolando saw in the bus’ television the news video of his brother struggling against the police, he became angrier and threatened more violence.
At around 7:30 p.m., Mendoza began killing hostages. The driver of the bus escaped and told policeman that everyone in bus is dead, prompting the SWAT team’s assault on the bus.
In the end, eight hostages were killed by gunfire, nine were injured, and Mendoza was hit in the head by a sniper. The assault team, whose operation was shown live on the news, received much criticism for their apparent inefficiency in their assault.
November 14: Pacquiao Beats Margarito, Claims Eighth Boxing Title
In a David-and-Goliath-like match, the 5-foot-6 boxer Manny Pacquiao dominated 5-foot-11 Antonio Margarito, to win his eighth boxing title.
Pacquiao won every single round, and by the eleventh round, was nudging the referee to “Look at [Margarito’s] eye” and stop the fight.
The referee, as well as Margarito’s camp, however, decided to let the fight continue, and the world watched as the congressman-boxer from Saranggani province danced around his opponent, touching lightly here and there but without any real power during the twelfth round, because he “did not want to damage [Margarito] permanently.”
After the round, Pacquiao was unanimously declared as the winner, while Margarito went straight to the hospital and was found to have a broken orbital bone in his eye.
December 14: Hubert Webb et al. Acquitted by Supreme Court in Vizconde Case
On this day, the Supreme Court acquitted Hubert Webb, son of former senator Freddie Webb, and six others from the Vizconde Massacre case.
This judgment reversed the previous verdicts of two lower courts, which had declared the seven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Webb was released from prison shortly after the pronouncement, ending his 15-year stay behind bars.
Upon hearing the news, Lauro Vizconde, whose wife Estrellita and two daughters Jennifer and Carmela were the victims of the massacre in 1991, broke down and declared that his greatest fear had happened.
Best Picture: Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last Na ‘to!
When you are capable of weaving a story that is packed with family issues, society’s ills, personal dilemmas, death and life, and still manage to make people laugh out loud, I would definitely say: You’re THE MAN. The force is indeed strong with director Wenn Deramas as he delivers another winner in Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last Na ‘to! Hopefully, we don’t see the last of Director Deramas’ story-telling magic.
RPG: Metanoia (3rd Best Film)
I honestly don’t see why they still have these awards. They’re mere consolation prize.
My pick for the Worst Picture: Dalaw
This has to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. That’s saying a lot because I have seen my fair share of crappy movies, thanks to long commutes and video-on-board buses. I haven’t seen a movie that was so unbearable to watch since I watched that monstrous movie Annabelle Rama starred in with her bebegurl Ruffa in My Monster Mom. Dalaw is as low-budget as it can get, with cheap sound effects ,a paper-thin plot, and even cheaper acting to boot.
Best Actress: Ai-Ai delas Alas (Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last na ‘to!)
She’s a real ace up the sleeve of any filmmaker.
She Really Thought she Would Win Best Actress: Jennelyn Mercado (Rosario)
The Rosario camp was up in arms when Jennelyn was snubbed for the best actress award – and when they failed to win every other major award, for that matter. Despite bagging what she tells us as a ‘role of a lifetime’, that wasn’t enough to convince the jurors of the quality of her acting. In all fairness, she took the snub in good stride, saying that there would be other chances next time.
Worst Actress: Kris Aquino
According to one of her ads, there is still yet an aspect of Kris Aquino we haven’t seen yet – sniffing perfume. For all her perfume-sniffing expertise, however, she can’t distinguish the scent of perfume from a fabric conditioner.
And yes, her acting sucked on an even suckier film (Dalaw).
Best Actor: Dolphy (Father Jejemon)
I don’t know about this. I have never been a fan of the Comedy King. I am more of a Tito Vic & Joey kind of comedy fan.
Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award: Rosario
Just what this award is for? I have no frickin’ idea. Google isn’t helpful either. I’m guessing that this award is given to the second best film.
Best Director: Wenn Deramas (Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last na ‘to!)
No doubt about it!
Best Screenplay: Mel del Rosario (Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last na ‘to!)
Best Story: Mel del Rosario (Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last na ‘to!)
This is one proof that the MMFF people have their heads stuck up their own behinds. If a screenplay is adjudged as Best Screenplay, shouldn’t it follow that it should be rated as Best Story as well? A screenplay can never stand alone without its story; despite all the technical aspects you put into it, the heart of every screenplay is always the story. I think that this Best Story award is unnecessary.
Best Supporting Actor: Dolphy (Father Jejemon)
Best Suporting Actress: Eugene Domingo (Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last na ‘to!)
The best award an actor can get isn’t Best Actor, but Best Supporting Actor, in my opinion. Winning the latter demands not only that you have to be a very good actor, but to balance your acting with that of the lead actor so as not to steal his thunder. Eugene Domingo is a very talented comedienne who has proven her mettle both as lead and supporting actress.
Best Cinematography: Carlo Mendoza (Rosario)
Best Editing: John Wong (Rosario)
Best Production Design: Joel Luna & Miki Hahn (Rosario)
Rosario bags these three technical awards, and rightly so. From these three awards we can see why Rosario didn’t bag “Best Picture” the problem isn’t with the people behind the camera. (hint hint!)
Best Visual Effects: Rico Guttierez & Co. (Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote)
Best Makeup: Nestor Dayao & Co. (Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote)
The combined star power of Bong Revilla and Vic Sotto were enough only to get these minor awards, but I doubt that they even give a crap about what they win or not. People came in droves and multitudes to watch their tandem, and that is enough for these two actors. MMFF isn’t a serious cinema festival. It’s all about family time in the movies, celebrating good times and the holidays with your loved ones – and selling tickets. For MMFF veterans like Bong Revilla and Vic Sotto, making sure the movie sells tickets may be more important than winning an award. After all, nobody remembers who won best actor or best picture once the next MMFF is upon us.
Best Theme Song: “Kaya Ko” (RPG: Metanioa)
Best Musical Score: Jesse Lasaten (Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last Na ‘to!)
Best Sound Recording: (tie) Ditoy Aguila (Super Inday and the Golden Bibe) and Ambient Media (RPG: Metanoia)
Yey! Super Inday wins something! Never mind if it tied with someone else! The Dalaw people can suck it as the only movie without an award!
Best Child Performer: Xyriel Manabat (Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last Na ‘to!)
Best Indie Film: Presa (Adolf Alix)
Gender Sensitive Award: Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last Na ‘To!
Gender Sensitive Award (special citation for animation): RPG: Metanoia
Honestly, does anyone even know what a gender-sensitive award is? The organizers are stuck in their own politically-correct world that they can’t tell us what this award really means: you can’t make an MMFF film and be homophobic. No, seriously. You have to show the LGBT community that you can make a worthwhile film that doesn’t discriminate them. This is why Filipino films have the obligatory gay guy/friend/best friend/confidant/neighbor/ crying shoulder/comic relief just as Americans have obligatory black dudes in their films.
Best Float: Rosario
Best Dressed: Dennis Trillo and Jennylyn Mercado
Faces of the Night: Sen. Bong Revilla and Sam Pinto
These are the awards in MMFF that have absolutely NOTHING to do with the film they endorse. Honestly, why spend so much money, time, and attention to building a float that will only be used for a couple of hours driving through that Christmas Eve parade down Roxas Boulevard? Best Dressed award? Really? Come on. “Faces of the Night”? Organizers might have been thinking that this is prom night.
That’s all there is to say about the winners – and losers – of the MMFF awards
Celebrated actress Kristine Hermosa and actor born to fellow celebrity parents Oyo Boy Sotto tied the knot on January 12, 2011, Wednesday afternoon at Club Balay Isabel in Talisay, Batangas after being a couple for more than a year.
The couple chose to hold an intimate Christian wedding ceremony, attended by close friends and relatives. The whole Sotto clan was there, and the Hermosa family flew all the way from Canada to witness the picturesque wedding held by the lake and right before sunset, allowing for an even more breathtaking view.
According to Oyo Boy, the wedding date was especially handpicked as it was also his 27th birthday, which makes him the same age as Kristine, who was born on September 9, 1983.
Among the wedding’s principal sponsors were ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio and Star Magic Head Johnny Manahan.
Kristine and Oyo Boy first met in 2004 when they were cast together in the first “Enteng Kabisote” film. They became close friends since then. It was only during the making of the same film’s third installment in 2006 when Oyo Boy felt something special for Kristine.
The actor revealed that he and Kristine were already going out on groups dates at that time. And while it was frequently reported that the two were in a relationship, Sotto confessed that they only became a couple during the 26th birthday of the actress last September 9, 2009.
It was also on the same day that he formally proposed to Kristine for marriage. According to Oyo Boy, they immediately informed their parents about the good news. In May 2010 when the couple flew to Canada so that Oyo Boy could formally ask for the blessing of Kristine’s parents.
Actress-singer KC Concepcion flew off to Africa on January 15 for her first mission outside the country as an ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme.
KC said her group will be traveling to remote areas in Uganda. In a text message to her The Buzz co-host Charlene Gonzales, the actress said she and her group are going on a 10-hour road trip and with no cellphone signal for two days.
She added that her group was to visit an area where residents drink cows’ blood due to the lack of water with the barren land.
ABS-CBNNews.com reports that KC will be staying in Uganda for one week, and is earnestly asking for prayers that she and her group be granted protection all throughout the trip. “Uso po ang malaria doon kaya nga kinakabahan ako ng sobra. Tsaka lahat ng mga insect repellents, lahat ng mga long sleeves tsaka may medyas talaga ako para kapag natulog ako [may proteksyon ako],” the young actress adds.
Last January 9, actor Piolo Pascual was caught by surprise when his non-showbiz son Iñigo joined him onstage in the Sunday afternoon show ASAP during his birthday celebration segment.
Shortly after the show and even in the days that followed, Piolo was allegedly hounded by the press, asking him if there’s a chance that the duet would happen again—in his February 14 Valentine concert with Ryan Cayabyab entitled Piolo Pascual Meets The Maestro, perhaps? Piolo regards being in this situation as “torture.” When asked why, he said, “E, kasi I was really caught [by surprise].”
”It was a surprise. I mean, we are all aware that I’m trying to keep him from showbiz, because nag-aaral yung bata,” he told reporters in a press conference promoting his upcoming concert.
The actor further elaborated on his preference not to further place his son in a situation where he would have to deal with showbiz. “Ayokong ma-publicize masyado because ayokong ma-divert yung attention niya from education or from school to showbiz. Because as it is, mahirap if magnified na, whatever you do and then you’re in school, pag-uusapan ka.
”Which is one of the reasons why I agreed na mag-aral siya sa States o pumunta siya sa States. Para at least, he will have his own identity.”
On the brief video segment that showed Iñigo giving his father a birthday message, Piolo had this to say: “Now that he’s 13, and then that video was really a surprise, gustuhin ko man siyang pagalitan, gustuhin ko mang magalit, parang… it served its purpose that was his… for me, talagang it’s the biggest birthday gift I got from him.”
Piolo, however, was still firm in his stand that his son stays out of showbiz, at least for the meantime,giving him this message: “I hope na huwag niyang isipin na, way niya yun o maging door niya yun sa pagpasok sa showbiz at kalimutan ang pag-aaral. Because I really insist na tapusin pa rin yung pag-aaral bago mag-showbiz.”
The Magic of the Food Cart Business in the Philippines
Suddenly, everyone’s eating siomai. Siomai House, Master Siomai, Jopay Siomai, and other business names with the word “siomai” attached to it can be seen mushrooming in urban centers around the country. After all, when hunger strikes, it just takes a few minutes to eat these balls of ground pork to continue on with the day’s work.
These, and many other “eat and run” food items, such as ice scramble, burgers, mangga at bagoong, and even shabu-shabu, are becoming big hits for entrepreneurs. With the fast paced lifestyle that many city-dwellers are forced to live, there is no time to cook, and at times, no time to sit down and eat lunch or dinner so they have no choice but to buy, eat, and go.
And with the growth of franchising opportunities and the demand that goes with it, it is no surprise that food cart businesses are on the rise.
The food cart business is indeed an investment which provides an almost hassle-free way to start up. And in setting up your food cart business, here are two options that you have:
Buy a business where almost everything is all in. With a small capital, you can choose from a wide variety of things to sell and these franchise companies do the rest for you. Prices range from around P20,000 – P500,000 depending on the inclusions and popularity of the brand. For example, if you’re planning to join the ice scramble bandwagon, Metro Foodcart Business Corporation provides these items for a franchise of Ice Cramble King Cart for a franchise cost of P130,000.00:
You would notice that the problem regarding suppliers is slashed big time when you opt to franchise—even the balloons that you need for the opening. The only things you need to do are secure the necessary permits, find a fantastic location, hire honest and efficient staff members, and for others, buy fortune plants and Maneki Neko cats to attract luck into their business.
2. Make Your Own
The other option in the food cart business is to get creative. Be your own business master and think of other items to sell which can be the start of the trend based on your clients’ needs. Remember that before the food cart business boomed in the Philippine, some people thought of it first.
I remember my willingness to line up in the Ice Scramble stall, even if there were around 20 people in front of me just to have a taste of that nostalgic drink which reminds me so much of my happy childhood. And after a few months, it becomes so easy to get a cup of ice scramble because of the many food carts which sell the same thing.
So why not practice your business skills and creativity to be the pioneer in a groundbreaking food cart business which you can also sell for franchising?
However, making your own food cart business is one tedious task. This would require you to get quality suppliers, design your look, and market it well to your potential customers so it would yield the expected return of investment. But when done well, this could give you a great reward which can make you both popular and rich.
Tips in being successful food cart entrepreneurs.
It cannot be denied that there is a great competition when it comes to the food cart business. With ingenious cart designers and business planners, many people are trying this investment. So here are some tips on how you can get a higher success rate when embarking on this industry:
FIND A FANTASTIC LOCATION
Good is not enough when dealing with location because this would determine the number of hungry busy people who would come your way. Franchisors also offer this service of looking for possible locations for you to set up your business and all you need to do is choose.
DECIDE ON THE RIGHT FRANCHISE
Study the market and observe what your potential clients want and it is also wise to choose a reputable franchisor, preferably a member of AFFI (Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc) and PFA (Philippine Franchise Association). Food may be a primary need but the abundance of food options that consumers are faced with can lessen the chances of success.
PERFECT YOUR PRODUCT
Remember that something new may be something intriguing but if it does not taste so good, then it lessens the chances of them coming back. For those who are creating their own product, remember to try it first with your frank and honest friends and see how your market will respond.
CHOOSE AN ATTRACTIVE FOOD CART DESIGN
From afar, the first thing that can excite your hungry clients is your food cart design, so make sure that the way it looks would lead them to the way its items taste. Also, make the cart thematic to your product. If it’s Italian food you’re selling then make it consistent, from the color of your cart, to your packaging, to your utensils. If they like how they feel when they stood around your cart for a few minutes while eating good food, then the chances of them seeing it as a comfort food zone get bigger.
Training the staff to be at their most efficient selves is very important because your clients would want to get their items fast.
Food cart businesses and franchising is very lucrative for OFWs since it does not require much legwork. They do almost everything for you. And on top of it, there is smaller risk to your investment because of business specialists that they hire.
And for us Filipinos, even if the food cart business has evolved from your typical fishballs cart to the modernized “sell anything which you can slice into smaller pieces” cart, it will always have an informal charm that can translate into a continuous return of investment.
- By Anthony James Perez –
The sun was up, and I was traversing the streets of Makati, with my Oranje jersey reeking with sweat, spilled beer and disappointment. I had just been to a bar and witnessed something every person in this world should witness at least once in his life: the World Cup Final. The team I was rooting for all my life – the Netherlands – came so close to winning the World Cup, the biggest trophy in all of sports. Now they have to settle with a rather infamous title: Best Team Never to Win the World Cup.
Disappointingly, the streets of Makati seem to be business as usual. There was no trace of the plethora of emotions that the World Cup brought the world in the streets and in the faces I came across. Everywhere in the world, and most especially in Sunny Spain, people were in a celebrating, jubilant mood. Everywhere except here. People passed me by, nonchalantly, indifferently. They may never know what it feels like to be a football fan. I clutched my Oranje jersey reeking with sweat, spilled beer and disappointment, savoring the loneliness somewhere in the streets of Makati in that fateful July morning.
Fast forward to December, and just about everyone has caught up with the football craze. Thanks to the Azkals, our national football team, and their gritty performance in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, football has finally gotten the attention it was due from our basketball-crazy nation. The Azkals, true to its name which suggests grit, passion, and fighting spirit, were a merry-mix of grizzled home-grown veterans and foreign muscle. Very little was expected of this team, and very few actually believed that they have what it takes to win a single game. And yet it seems that they defied all expectation and logic by overachieving in every game they played in the AFF Suzuki Cup. And so began the dream run that would also mark the beginning of the Filipinos’ captivation for the sport.
Singapore 1 – Philippines 1
The match against Singapore was the first one in the Azkals’ schedule, and right from the start they faced a daunting task of producing a result against the two-time champions. Aleksandar Duric scored on the 65th minute for the Singaporean side which looked like coasting through a victory. But the Azkals never gave up, and in injury time they were rewarded with a Chris Greatwich goal from a James Younghusband cross in what proved to be one of the last kicks of the game.
Vietnam 0 – Philippines 2
Fueled by the late equalizer against Singapore that gave the Azkals a much-needed boost in their next fixture, the Azkals realized that they needed every bit of inspiration as they faced the host and defending champion Vietnam. Playing before a jampacked pro-Vietnam crowd in the My Dinh National Stadium, the Azkal’s resolute defense kept out the Vietnamese scorers, led by the Philippine goalkeeping stalwart, Neil Etheridge. Christ Greatwich scored an improbable glancing header that threw the Vietnamese keeper off-balance just before halftime. The pesky Philippine defense proved to be too much even for Vietnam, and late in the second half, in a rare counter-attacking run, Phil Younghusband managed to score a second goal for the Azkals.By full time the team had created history by crafting the best result ever played by any Philippine Football team – and captivating the hearts and imagination of this basketball-crazed country.
Myanmar 0 – Philippines 0
Two matches in and the Philippines find themselves in unfamiliar territory: top of their group, with one game to play. A draw would be enough to secure the Azkals’ place into the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup, but a win would certainly be the more dramatic finish, and the momentum from the win might just be what they need to play better in the semis.
The Azkals did enough to book their place in the semi-finals, drawing Myanmar nil-nil. Neil Etheridge was man of the match with his awesome saves against the determined Myanmar attack.
Indonesia 2 – Philippines 0 (aggregate)
The Philippines were so close to the final. A win over Indonesia over two legs doesn’t seem too improbable now, after a string of improbable results against powerhouse teams like Singapore and Vietnam. Alas, the Azkals were dealt a stinging blow even before they could face Indonesia in the semi-finals. Since the semis were to be played with two legs, it means that each team will play one game their home soil, bolstered by home support. The organizers, however, deemed that there were no pitches in the Philippines that was up to their standards, and therefore awarded both legs to Indonesia. Undaunted by this setback, the Azkals went to war.
In the first game, the Azkals relied on their vaunted defense but their only defensive lapse proved to be very costly. The miscommunication between keeper Neil Etheridge and defender Ray Jonsson gave Indonesia’s Uruguay-born striker Christian Gonzales the chance to slot in the winner in the 32nd minute. There were few chances for the Azkals to score, and on the 75th minute the Philippines got their best chance through an Indonesian defensive error. However, the Philippines failed to capitalize on their opponent’s mistake and the golden chance to equalize slipped from their hands. Indonesia 1-Philippines nil on the first leg.
The Azkals won’t go down without a fight, and fight they did on the second leg, which proved to be a highly-physical confrontation between two sides who wanted to win very badly. Christian Gonzales blasted home a scorcher from outside the 18-yard box to give the Indonesians a 1-0 lead, and 2-0 on aggregate. In what proved to be the Azkal’s last stand, a determined Philippine squad never gave up the fight. However, they had several missed chances.the team was reduced to ten men through a Chris Greatwich red card, with several other Filipino players having received a yellow card before. The Indonesians prevailed, winning 2-0 in aggregate, and the dream run ends for the Azkals.
THE DREAM BEGINS
The dream begins where the dream ends: though the Indonesians have ended the Azkals’ almost-magical perfor- mance in the AFF Suzuki Cup, the dream now begins for millions of captivated Filipinos who are now giving football a second thought.
In this country where Lebron James is King and the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwayne Wayde and other NBA players are considered baskteball demi-gods, the Azkals have sown the seeds of hope for national football. Now our countrymen have local players whom we can all look up to: the dashing Phil Young husband, who has received job offers from Indonesian football clubs, as well as several marriage proposals from Indonesians whom the Azkals won over due to their grit and spunk; the acrobatic Neil Etheridge, whose goal-saving exploits have saved the Azkals time and again, and the charismatic Anton del Rosario, the captain of this tightly-knit Azkal team and a stalwart of Philippine football for quite some time now. With a new coach, German Heiss Michael Weiss, taking over the job from Englishman Simon McMenemy, and with grassroots programs and foreign funding coming with the signing of the new coach, the future looks bright and rosy for the Azkals, and for Philippine Football in general.
Story by Joan Lopez-Flores
The New Year was full of hope and promise. Pagkatapos ng napakasayang bakasyon naming lahat sa bahay namin sa Davao, minabuti naming pumunta sa Manila para doon ipagawa ang DNA test to find out Mia’s true biological father.
As I was packing the last of Mia’s things, nag-offer si Mike na doon muna kami sa bahay nila tumuloy habang hinihintay ang resulta…at para na rin naman daw makasama niya si Mia, kung pwede lang.
“If it’s all right with you, Kate…gusto kong mapadama kay Mia that no matter what happens, I will stay a father to her, anuman ang resulta ng test na gagawin,” Mike said softly as he lightly touched my shoulder.
As I looked up, I saw sadness in his eyes even though he was smiling…and that piercing gaze that always melted my heart, it was still there. He never changed, I realized. The good old Mike I’ve always leaned on when I was weak, he’s still there. Read more
It’s time to go nocturnal. Remember that the era when nighttime is only meant for sleeping belongs to our grandmothers. At least once in a while, you should wear those uncomfortable high-heeled shoes and dress up for all-night partying with your best buddies.
SALON DE NING, Ground Floor, The Peninsula Manila
In the ground floor of the prestigious The Peninsula Manila at Makati Avenue, Makati City, there is a newly opened lounge bar where you can taste the decadent aura of the sophisticated era of the 1930’s—Salon de Ning.
Salon de Ning is named after Shanghainese socialite, inter- national hostess, and world traveler Madame Ning and this lounge bar spells nothing but glamour. It shows off her travel mementos from countries such as Egypt, Paris, Bangkok, Calgary, Japan, and Zurich during the 1930’s. And all of these are tastefully decorated around the four rooms of the lounge bar namely Boxing, Shoes, Zeppelin, and Shanghai.
The Manila branch of Salon de Ning is the fourth branch opened in the world. It first opened in New York then in Shanghai and Hong Kong. It is open for 24 hours a day so whenever you feel like getting a spirited drink with the opulent spirits of Madame Ning, then you know just where to go.
SEVENTH HIGH, The Fort Global City
The old Ascend has even ascended to another level with the birth of Seventh High, nestled in the vast area of The Fort Global City in Taguig. If partying in a vast crowded place is not your type of thing, then try this boutique club where every inch was designed in utmost taste.
It has three floors, which are designed to suit different party vibes—The Club, The Elite, and The Lounge. If you’re planning to dance the night away, then The Club—as its name states—is for you. And if you opt to chill with friends or new friends for the night, then you can choose among the elegant seats in The Lounge or The Elite.
To match the marvelous interiors of Seventh High, a wide range of beverages and cuisine are served by highly trained staff. There is indeed a different delight when chilling at Seventh High.
ROBOT, 7912 Makati Avenue, Makati City
Don’t worry, doing the robot dance is not a requirement for this uber hip place at Makati. Baptized with a very cute name, this Japanese restaurant serves fantastic Japanese food and provides amazing interiors.
Let’s start off with the exterior of its building with changing lights that you can easily notice from a distance. It’s as if it is saying “Something’s interesting about me! Come, check me out!” And for a new restaurant and lounge in town, this can certainly get attention. Other interesting details include the ceiling, which is made up of hundreds of light bulbs and the disco restroom, which seems to be an extension of the dance floor.
Robot’s futuristic feel can easily open up your appetite and though they serve great Japanese food, they also provide world class music to entice you to dance those calories away. Or you can also opt to chill on either cushions or metallic chairs while enjoying fantastic conversation and indulging in drinks from its glowing bar.
REPUBLIQ, Resorts World Manila, Newport City
More than 13,000 square feet of leisure area is what sets Republiq apart. The same guys who brought to existence world-class super-clubs in Manila such as The Manor in Eastwood City and Encore has opened this massive club named Republiq.
The luxurious furnishings and the stylishly lighted interiors give Republiq an immediate discriminating vibe, making the clubber instantly special. And even with its size, Republiq exudes a feeling of exclusivity.
It is divided into different rooms which were launched in different dates in 2010. Its main room, inspired by European theaters, is where the main clubbing event happens. It has a seating capacity of 300 and a standing capacity of 700. And believe it or not, this place can easily get filled up even on Wednesday nights.
Republiq also has its six themed private rooms with live music streaming which are also equipped with karaoke facilities and modern gaming consoles such as DJ Hero, Rock Band, and Nintendo Wii. So if you want to get seated in this kickin’ club, then a reservation is a must.
With clubs and bars, mushrooming all over the city, it only shows that the partying is really a growing industry in the Philippines. And as we start the New Year, make sure that you are not left behind. Loosen up, bring your family and friends, and dance the night away.