Wake Up, Philippines!

Mk 1:12-15 – Sunday Gospel Reflection

Posted in Gospel of Mark, Gospel Reflections by Erineus on February 28, 2009

Mk 1:12-15 – The Temptation of Jesus
Sunday Gospel Reflection

The longing and  desire for heaven  or the single indestructible longing for God, for an eternity spent in intimate, blessed communion with him is the deepest desire of human heart. Heaven is “the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC 1024). This is always what we pray for, what we strive for, what we hope for. But there were and will always be temptations, trials and tests on the way that will prevent us, hinder us and steal away from us the heaven that we long for.

The Gospel for today tells of Jesus’ retreat and temptation in the desert and the beginning of his preaching of God’s good news. Today’s Gospel simply tells of Satan tempting Jesus. But Jesus passed the test and overcame the test and temptation.

What is temptation? A temptation is anything than inclines a person to commit sin. It is enticement to evil, seduction to sin and death. Though it is not a sin it is more than trial or test because it lead us to sin. Once we enter into, give in to and submit to, temptation we are already committing sin which will bring us alienation, corruption, death and ultimately hell where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

What distinguishes temptation from trial? Trials or tests are necessary for growth while temptations incline us to sin. “No one who is tempted is free to say, “I am being tempted by God.” Surely God, who is beyond the grasp of evil, tempts no one” (Jas 1:13). God tests the heart puts his own in trial (1Th 2, 4) while only Satan tempts them (Lk 22,37; Ap 2, 10; 12,9). Trial is indispensable condition for growth (cf. Lk 8, 13ff), for sturdiness (1 P 1, 6f), for the manifestation of the truth (1 Co 11, 9: the reason for Christian divisions) and humility (1 Co 10, 12). When we overcome trials, temptations we are proven to be steady and strong (subok na matatag at subok na matibay. Thus freed, tried and tested Christian knows how to discern, verify and “try” everything (R 12, 2; E 5, 10). Trial is therefore the condition of the Church which is still to be tested, although she is already pure; stll to be reformed, although she is already glorious.

St. Paul assures us that “God will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it” ( 1 Cor 10:13; cf. CCC 2848). In fact St. Paul wrote that we should even boast of our tests/afflictions, knowing that afflictions produce endurance, and endurance, proven virtue (cf. Rom 5:3-5; CCC 2897).

Sources of temptations:

  • Some temptations arise from within ourselves. “The tug and lure of his own passion has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches maturity it begets death” (cf. Jas 1:14).
    • Our passions and emotions incline us to long for attractive gratifications even through doing acts we know are evil.
    • Pride incline us to sin.
    • Imperfection of our very nature are sources of sin more particularly concupiscence and bad habits or vices.
  • We also experience temptations from the world. Persons, places and things can be occasion of sins to us. Even things good in themselves can be incitements in us to seek the attractive goods in unreasonable ways.
  • Faith also recognizes Satan, once an angel, but now hostile to God and to us, as one source of temptation. In his hatred for God, he seeks to drive us toward sinful and self-destructive choices (CCC 394-395).

Consequence of being tempted: slavery to sin, alienation and separation, death and ultimately hell where Satan dwells and where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

How do we handle with temptations?

  • Avoid temptations and keep yourself busy. Idleness is the workshop of the devil.
  • Resistance, faith and vigilance. Stay sober and alert because your enemy the Devil is like a prowling lion, waiting for someone to devour. Resist him and solid in your faith.
  • Prayer. In communion with their master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; “only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation” ( cf. Lk 22:40, 46). “Pray that he will not let you be tested beyond your strength” (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). Pray that the Father “lead us not into temptations and allow us to be overcome by it (cf. CCC 2846). Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.
  • Repentance and conversion. Always return to the Lord with fasting, weeping and mourning. For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment.
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Always seek in everything the will of God. Nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.

Temptations are not themselves sins and no one entirely escape temptation. Hence, be vigilant and pray that God our Father may “lead us not into temptation” or allow us to be overcome by it and “seek it with all our hearts His sufficient grace to overcome temptation and to remain faithful to God (cf. CCC 2848).

Picture: http://www.padrebergamaschi.com/Pets/images/Temptation.jpg

Wheat grass checks overeating, bad diet

Posted in Alternative Medicines, Nutritional Supplements by Erineus on February 27, 2009

It claims to be a cure-all—detoxification agent, liver purifier, toxin neutralizer, energy booster, cancer fighter

MANILA, Philippines—Weekly on Kitchen Rescue, I have shared my finds with you— things, people and places of interest to me, in the hope that they too might strike a chord with you.

Over time, through this column and in my culinary classes, I have shared many heart-clogging, cancer cell-boosting, diabetic-causing recipes. Sincerely, my apologies!

But then again I go back to the question, “Bakit ba kasi ang malusog sa atin, gaya ng ampalaya, ’di ’sing sarap ng lechon kawali? ”

Like you, I am a normal human being who vows to eat healthy every time the clock strikes 12 on the eve of a new year. Time and again, more often than not, I fail, opting for what is delicious but kills, over what is less delicious yet healthy.

As I’ve shared all the “bad” yet delicious stuff with you, I am taking it upon myself to likewise inform you of things to eat and drink, that add years to your life and reverse the effects of all our bad food choices.

Lately, I have made quite a number of friends who have gone through a lifestyle revolution as a result of cancer or diabetes, or as a result of obesity and poor health. It is also true that some underwent the change because of the desire to live longer, healthier and happier!

They are living proof that we are what we eat. Because of their changes in lifestyle, mainly in their diet, they have seen the reversal of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity.

Grass distributor Arthur Tanco Jr. is a man who gets high on his own supply! Weighing over 200 lbs before, he took an interest in healthy eating and a total lifestyle change due to his bouts with hypertension.

“I started experimenting on myself. I started eating healthy and I find it very comforting and decided to change the way I live.”

Energy boost

In the course of his research, he found wheat grass and has been reaping the benefits of its juice ever since.

A shot of wheat grass is said to be a natural energy boost.

“There are many reasons why I promote wheat grass but let me emphasize two points. First, a healthy body starts with healthy blood and chlorophyll is equivalent to hemoglobin, the compound in our blood that carries oxygen to the whole body,” Tanco said.

“Therefore a body that is rich in oxygen fights off diseases, illnesses, toxins and makes the body alkaline.”

Diseases only grow in bodies that are acidic. No disease will thrive on an alkaline one. What makes a body acidic or alkaline depends on one’s diet. A diet rich in animal protein, fat, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, makes the body acidic. A diet rich in greens, unpolished grains, vegetables and fruit makes it alkaline.

“Second, an ounce of fresh wheat-grass juice is equivalent to a kilo of veggies in chlorophyll. Furthermore, wheat grass is living food—since it is ingested uncooked and freshly squeezed, it is rich in enzymes and is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals compared to most of the vegetables we eat.”

Remember that once something is cooked, most, if not all the nutrients are lost.

Wheatgrass is the en vogue elixir, the cure all—a detoxification agent, liver purifier, toxin neutralizer, energy booster, fights/prevents cancer, it goes on and on. . .

Tanco asked, “Aren’t these reasons enough to give wheatgrass a try?”

Art, I say it sure is!

Call Chlorophyll at 0917-8168794 or 4403973

Yummy finds

Para masulit ang bisa ng wheatgrass, let us move on to what it counters, the unhealthy yet delicious stuff!

I have two extremely yummy finds for you this week, must-order items for your next gathering.

A perfect impromptu party appetizer is chef Jean Pierre Migne’s super delicious Salmon Gravlax (salt, sugar and dill-cured salmon). It is served with apple chutney, toasts, two sauces plus condiments; a gratifying twist from the apple chutney that totally compliments the cured salmon.
Call Diamond Indulgence at 3053000 or 528-3000

Find No. 2—Remember Chef Jill Sandique’s pistachio sansrival that I featured some time ago? Apparently, that is nothing compared to her macadamia version of the same!

I could only compare her Mac Sansrival to the apple that Eve dangled in front of Adam’s face. That’s how vicious it is! Call 4978811 or 0922-8262673.

Funny, while it is in your mouth, you could feel your arteries clog up, your thighs and waist expand. But strangely enough, you couldn’t stop.

But worry not, after a slice, drink wheat grass!

E-mail raspiras@inquirer.com.ph

By Reggie Aspiras
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:46:00 07/30/2008

http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/lifestyle/lifestyle/view/20080730-151683/Wheat-grass-checks-overeating-bad-diet

Lame concession

Posted in Censorship, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Editorial, Legislation, Media by Erineus on February 27, 2009

Members of media have taken an unequivocal stand against the right-to-reply bill. The proposal to require print and broadcast journalists to give equal space or time to those who wish to defend themselves against attacks, actual or perceived, is seen as unnecessary and an assault on press freedom.

Now comes Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, claiming he is listening and is open to making concessions.

Pimentel has come up with the idea of imposing fines instead of jail time for journalists found violating the right-to-reply rule. “We want to be reasonable,” he says.

Apparently, the senator remains unreasonable.

The dilemma is not between going behind bars and shelling out money for fines. Last we looked, the libel law—existing and working well, by the way—still carries the pain of imprisonment. In spite of this, the accusations keep on coming; stories we see, hear and read every day are anything but sanitized.

The bill’s inherent flaw is that it strikes at the heart of journalists’ sense of fairness. The presumption is that everybody in the business is mindful of the ethics that govern the profession. Those who overstep the bounds are aberrations, and there is a law that takes care of this, as well. The industry, for its part, can find ways to raise its standards. But it must be left alone.

Enough arguments have been put forth. Sadly, what we are seeing now are either face-saving acts by those who supported the bill but later on realized they needed friends in the media, or the obstinacy of some who claim to listen but really only want to have their way.

If the lawmakers are truly listening, they must realize that scrapping the bill altogether is the only reasonable step.

Back to Bataan? (1)

Posted in Alternative Energy, Congress, Energy, Legislation by Erineus on February 27, 2009

(First of two parts)

From time to time, we hear about attempts to rehabilitate and finally use the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. We also continue to hear reports that the end of the world is at hand, but that has happened yet, either.

Why some people insist upon trying to revive the BNPP instead of, say, putting up a new nuclear power plant from scratch somewhere else remains a mystery. Perhaps, to end this three-decade fixation on a plant that never produced a single watt of electricity despite the billions spent to build and pay for it, the government should just dismantle the facility immediately.

This is not a treatise against the use of nuclear energy to produce electricity. On the contrary, given our continued dependence on imported petroleum for our energy needs, any effort by the government to wean us from foreign oil and to add new power sources to our financially and environmentally unhealthy supply mix should be encouraged.

Any effort, that is, except the one to revive the BNPP. Given the money-sucking history of the Bataan plant—to say nothing of safety concerns because of its dangerous location, outdated technology and suspect structural integrity—even studies on its rehabilitation and use like the ones now being proposed in Congress should be discouraged as a waste of time, scarce resources and, yes, energy.

Indeed, the world over, nuclear energy is once again enjoying a revival. Thanks to the unpredictability of petroleum prices, the environmental dangers posed by burning oil and the dwindling of underground reserves, many countries have rediscovered nuclear power and are racing to build new power plants that use the fuel that once made Three Mile Island and Chernobyl household names.

In Asia, China is building eight new nuclear power plants with a combined output of 7,300 megawatts, while India is adding 2,700 MW to its mix by putting up five nuclear plants. Vietnam and Indonesia plan to add 4,000 MW each using new nuclear plants by 2020.

In a complete turnaround from its former environmentally incorrect image, nuclear power is now also being bandied about as the solution to global warming. The International Atomic Energy Agency says that 32 new nuclear power plants have to be built each year from now until 2050 to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half.

The key word—for the Philippines, at least—is “new.” And the BNPP is so old and very likely so obsolete that it could be compared to using a 50-year-old car to compete on a contemporary racetrack: an exercise that is costly, inefficient, dangerous and ultimately idiotic.

* * *

The latest proposal to revive the BNPP comes from Congress, where a bill to fund studies on the mothballed plant is undergoing deliberations. The proposed law authored by Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco seeks government funding for “complete technical, economic, environmental, and financial feasibility studies for electricity generation” using the plant.

Prior to that, in the teeth of last year’s upward spiraling of world oil prices, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes proposed allocating $800 million to put the 621-MW plant onstream, purportedly upon the recommendation of the IAEA. Then world oil prices plunged, and nothing further was heard about Reyes’ proposal.

True, the current Congress proposal seeks a mere P10 million for the creation of a task force that will conduct a feasibility study on the plant’s rehabilitation and use. Furthermore, Cojuangco said his bill institutes a “validation process” that will either affirm or reject the soundness of rehabilitating and using the mothballed plant, with a provision that the BNPP be immediately demolished should the validation show adverse findings.

Still, it’s not as if the viability of using the Bataan plant hasn’t been studied—and basically recommended for dismantling—before. And it definitely isn’t the first time that good money has been attempted to be thrown after all the bad that was sunk into the BNPP, which has entered the history books as the biggest single debt incurred by the Philippine government.

During a hearing on the Cojuangco proposal before the House appropriations committee, a former top consultant on the BNPP, Nicanor Perlas, disclosed that the Aquino administration commissioned a $9.5-million study conducted by 50 nuclear experts from different parts of the world which discovered that the plant had 40,000 defects. Perlas, a former technical consultant to both the Senate ad hoc committee on the BNPP and a presidential commission on the facility, said copies of the study are available at the Senate and Office of the President.

“The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant had four times the average [defects] for nuclear power plant construction. In addition, the earthquake and volcanic hazards of the site had never been satisfactorily resolved until today. It will be catastrophic, should the plant [be] operated,” Perlas told the congressman. But Cojuangco barred Perlas from further citing the Aquino-era study, saying he was merely spouting hearsay because neither he nor Congress had copies of the document.

In a statement distributed to reporters after the hearing, Perlas said the visiting experts concluded that the BNPP cannot be operated safely and efficiently. It appears that this study, on top of the Aquino administration’s aversion to any project from the previous Marcos era, provided the excuse not to use the power plant after its completion more than two decades ago.

However, even if it can be argued that the rehabilitation of the BNPP needs more study, the cost of getting the plant online after all these years is definitely prohibitive. And given the humongous amounts already spent for the Philippines’ all-time biggest white elephant, allocating even a peso more seems scandalous.

Lowdown
Jojo Robles
Manila Standard Today

http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=jojoRobles_feb26_2009

A celebration of life, love and Nature

Posted in DOT, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on February 27, 2009

The Swiss had no idea what hit them.

When they invited the Philippines to become the featured guest country in the 2009 Muba fair in Basel, the Swiss probably expected a tame exhibit with a few colorful posters, a display of some local products, and a smattering of literature on our 7,100 islands.

What they didn’t expect was a full-on sensory experience that included culinary journeys, fashion shows, cultural presentations, and parades set within a lush tropical oasis.

But then again they probably didn’t account for the Filipinos’ penchant for celebrating life to its fullest.

“[Our tagline for this fair is] ‘Mabuhay!’ which is an all-purpose Filipino expression,” Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano explained to the crowd of Swiss, German, and French dignitaries who attended the opening of the exhibit. “Its root word is ‘buhay,’ meaning life. It expresses the spontaneous hospitality of Filipinos. Mabuhay can also mean live long. And we use that as a way to wish someone well or wish good health.”

Mabuhay is also a call to action, he elaborated, meaning to live life—a disposition typical of Filipinos used to celebrating a thousand fiestas every year and the message, which the Philippines, as this year’s guest country, hoped to impart to Muba visitors.

Important market

Muba is the biggest and most prestigious consumer trade fair in Switzerland. It attracts more than 300,000 visitors across the country, as well as neighboring Germany and France, to the city of Basel, where the fair is held every year. Each year, the fair highlights a guest country, which presents its economy, major exports in products and services, tourism, culture and arts, among others, to visitors.

The Philippines’ participation, a project three years in the making, was a collaboration of government and private sectors, with the Department of Tourism taking the lead.

For the Tourism, the opportunity to present the Philippines to the Swiss was “too hard to resist” because not only does it cement ties between the two countries but it also provides high-profile exposure in an increasingly important market.

According to Tourism statistics, the Swiss market grew by 6 percent last year, making it the fifth largest market from Europe. More than that, Swiss travellers spend an average of $3,500 to $4,000 per person for a seven to 14-day package stay in the Philippines, making it an important emerging market for the country.

Positive growth

The Swiss are very good clients, whether in good times or in bad times, said Durano. In fact, it was the Swiss market that helped shore up tourism arrivals in the Philippines which, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, is one of the remaining destinations achieving positive growth despite the slowdown in major markets.

“Travel is part of the [Swiss] lifestyle. What happens during economic slowdowns is that they’ll be looking for more value, [which is perfect for us since] we’ve never positioned the Philippines as a cheap destination. We’ve always positioned the Philippines as high end. My optimism is not grounded on the natural Filipino optimism. It’s grounded on reality, it’s grounded on performance last year, which all in the industry are saying is better than expected.

“There is a need to fan the flames. This is the only opportunity we saw [to accomplish this]. There is [also] greater value added in our participation because this is more than tourism. There’s trade, there are investments. More importantly, the premium of being here is the fact that we have monopoly,” he said. The event also allows the department to reach out directly to consumers, the next logical step after wooing big travel wholesalers for the past three years.

More than a marriage of convenience

Joel Valdes, chairman of the Philippine Swiss Business Council, the lead organization on the side of the private sector, lauds the participation as the “first public-private initiative,” a perfect marriage of both the government and private entities.

“Muba typically invites a guest country once in a lifetime. They don’t ask the same country twice. But twice, we were invited. The first time, the invitation was addressed to us, the Philippine Swiss Business Council. But we’re private, we didn’t know who in the government to go to. We wanted to present something that would set us apart. If we presented the traditional manufacturing goods, we’d lose out to the Chinese. Our initial scheme failed, so we turned to the Department of Tourism. We figured we’d take care of the trade exhibitors, while DoT gave the added value we needed to make it like a Philippines Inc. In this way, we are not just promoting our products but the Philippines as a country.”

With the help of Fairs and More (an arm of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines which specializes in fairs and exhibits), the Sosiete Generale de Surveillance Philippines, and other entities (including the Department of Agriculture and the provincial government of Bulacan), the PSBC put together a diverse group of exhibitors that showcased the different facets of Philippine trade.

“Our mandate is to promote trade, investment, and tourism between the two economies. This is a door opener. We intend to pursue similar ventures in the future, like Basel World, the biggest jewelry and watch exhibit in the world, or Art Basel, the biggest art exhibition,” Valdes said.

Beyond tourism

Muba also opens the door to other avenues in promoting the Philippines, said Durano.

“We’ve started the Live Your Dreams campaign as a response to the lack of hotels [in the country], and to go up the value chains in terms of tourism by pushing the number of real estate developments in the country as an investment for second homes,” he explained.

The Live Your Dreams program gives global Filipinos as well as foreigners the opportunity to own condominium units in the Philippines.

“If you have people having second homes in the country, not only is their spending in the country higher than a normal tourist—because a condo by itself is already in the millions—but when you have a second home in the country they would think of visiting every year and they would stay long. So it creates that other dynamic outside of traditional tourism. It pushes the value of tourism in our economy.

“One of our basic strategies was not to put all our eggs in one basket. By broadening our market base, we made sure that the Philippines is resilient. No matter what happens in one market, there are other markets that can fill in. The other one is to really grow the value, the contribution of tourism in the economy. That’s why we’ve launched these higher value programs, like the Live Your Dreams, medical tourism, etc.”

Putting the ‘wow’ in Wow Philippines

As this year’s guest country, the Philippines occupied pride of place, with a 1,700 square meter pavilion covering the whole back end of Hall 1 in the Main Building of the exhibit.

The pavilion is nothing if not impressive.

Adopting the theme, “100% Natural, 100% Philippines, the stand is divided into several areas to accommodate the tourism sector, the trade sector, a turo-turo-style restaurant, a huge stage and eating area and a wellness center.

“For years, we were looking for something like the World Travel Mart in London or the International Tourismus Bourse in Berlin, something of that magnitude and importance, here in Switzerland to promote the Philippines and we found it in Muba,” said Eduardo Jarque, Tourism Undersecretary for Planning and Promotions. “I think it’s the best we’ve done so far. We wanted to showcase the best of what we have, the best of what we do, the best of what we cook in the Philippines. We wanted to highlight the Philippines’ unique culture through our folkloric dances and a sampling of our delectable cuisine.”

Habitués used to the business-like atmosphere of trade fairs were quick to wrap their minds around the stand’s fiesta ambience, barely lingering around ergonomically designed booths like Ikea, and hurrying to the pavilion to catch the hourly performances and fashion shows of the Bayanihan. A lot of them flocked to the restaurant, run by Swissotel but presided over by Filipino chef Marilou Rodriguez Neumann, to taste Pinoy fare like Kare-Kare, Kalderetang Tupa, Kilawin, and Pinakbet. (The restaurant serviced close to 8,000 guests during the fair)

Some took advantage of the hilot services offered at the stand, where therapists accommodated more than 50 customers a day (203 total).

In the tourism area, Swiss-based tour operators (like Flex Travel, TourAsia, and Wettstein), as well as local dive resort operators (like Pinjalo Resort and Club Paradise) handled inquiries about the country, while Basel-based Filipinos checked out the condo units offered by Ayala Land, SM Properties, and Century Properties.

To say that the Philippines made an impact on Muba visitors is an understatement. Suffice it to say that there has never been anything like it before.

“I think we have set the benchmark for other guest countries from now on,” said Durano with a big smile.

By Gianna G. Maniego
http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=goodLife1_feb26_2009

Asia’s top adventure resorts

Posted in Tourism, Travel by Erineus on February 27, 2009

The reason that adventure resorts are so popular is that they appeal to almost everyone. You don’t have to be the adrenaline addict to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding these resorts. The excruciatingly mobile city life just makes you need some peace and quiet that you can only get at really remote places. But, of course, you wouldn’t wanna sacrifice comfort. That’s what these kinds of resorts are there for. Popular online travel company, Agoda, recently named the top adventure resorts in Asia Pacific region. Here are their picks:

1. Taj Safari Resort (Mahua Khoti, India)—Wildlife exploration like nature walks, elephant treks, and tiger-sightings are available daily. The resort has 12 appointed luxury village huts for guests.

2. Aman Resorts (Amankora, Bhutan)—A spiritual pilgrimage deep in the hills and valleys of mythical Bhutan, a series of five lodges that guests can visit as “pit stops” while trekking the secluded Buddhist hideaway.

3. Four Seasons (Golden Triangle, Thailand)—Situated in the Chiang Rai province, this unique tented camp facility—complete with all the luxury the Four Seasons is known for—is accessible only by riverboat. It lies amid a bamboo jungle right at the border of Thailand, Myammar, and Laos (thus called Golden Triangle).

4. Elephant Safari Park Lodge (Bali, Indonesia)—It’s all about elephants at this lodge. Guests are encouraged to take part in caring for the creatures—from interacting with them, feeding them, and even bathing them.

5. Freedom Inn Niseko (Hanazono, Japan)—Majestic views of mountains, streams, and volcanic peaks, winter activities and a refreshing dip at the hot springs to cap it off are what this Japanese retreat offers.

6. El Nido Resorts (Palawan)—A tropical resort surrounded by 45 islands and islets for its guests to hop around, El Nido is a prime destination where nature is the appetizer, main course, and dessert. But, of course, you already knew that!

7. River Kwai Jungle Raft (Kanchanaburi, Thailand)—Not only can guests be one with nature, they are also expected to be one with the locals. The Mon tribes are very accommodating and they will be more than happy to let tourists watch their ritual dances and be involved in other activities.

8. Bamurru Plains Hotel (Kakadu, Australia)—A three-hour drive from Darwin, this resort somewhere in the Australian savannah has nine safari-tented suites. Quite troubling, but making perfect sense, is the fact that there are no phones, televisions, and other typical hotel “distractions.” But it’s still all “wild bush luxury.”

9. Laos Spirit (Luang Prabang, Laos)—French Colonial architecture features prominently in this resort. The eco-friendly establishment provides rustic luxury to the pristine backdrop of mountains and seemingly endless trekking/hiking possibilities.

10. Hin Tok River Camp @ Hell Fire Pass (Kanchanaburi, Thailand)—With 20 luxurious tent setups along the Kwai River, this accommodation is just a 3-kilometer walk away from the Hell Fire Pass Memorial. Activity-packed packages—including trips to historic landmarks—are available.

Queries? Visit Agoda on the Web at http://www.agoda.com or call their Manila office at 814-9565.

By Ed Biado
http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=goodLife2_feb26_2009

Lawyer’s lack of good moral character

Posted in Legal/Judicial Issues by Erineus on February 27, 2009

By Judge Gabriel T. Ingles
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 11:33:00 02/26/2009

[A.C. No. 7022. June 18, 2008.]

MARJORIE F. SAMANIEGO, complainant, vs. ATTY. ANDREW V. FERRER, respondent.

We agree with the IBP on Atty. Ferrer’s failure to give support to his daughter with Ms. Samaniego. We also agree with the Office of the Bar Confidant that Atty. Ferrer’s affair with Ms. Samaniego showed his lack of good moral character as a member of the bar. We dismiss, however, Ms. Samaniego’s charge of abandonment since Atty. Ferrer did not abandon them. He returned to his family.

Atty. Ferrer admitted his extra-marital affair; in his words, his indiscretion which ended in 2000. We have considered such illicit relation as a disgraceful and immoral conduct subject to disciplinary action. 15 The penalty for such immoral conduct is disbarment, 16 or indefinite 17 or definite 18 suspension, depending on the circumstances of the case. Recently, in Ferancullo v. Ferancullo, Jr., 19 we ruled that suspension from the practice of law for two years was an adequate penalty imposed on the lawyer who was found guilty of gross immorality. In said case, we considered the absence of aggravating circumstances such as an adulterous relationship coupled with refusal to support his family; or maintaining illicit relationships with at least two women during the subsistence of his marriage; or abandoning his legal wife and cohabiting with other women.

In this case, we find no similar aggravating circumstances. Thus we find the penalty recommended by the IBP and Office of the Bar Confidant as adequate sanction for the grossly immoral conduct of respondent.

On another point, we may agree with respondent’s contention that complainant was not entirely blameless. She knew about his wife but blindly believed him to be unmarried. However, that one complicit in the affair complained of immorality against her co-principal does not make this case less serious since it is immaterial whether Ms. Samaniego is in pari delicto. 21 We must emphasize that this Court’s investigation is not about Ms. Samaniego’s acts but Atty. Ferrer’s conduct as one of its officers and his fitness to continue as a member of the Bar.

Finally, it is opportune to remind Atty. Ferrer and all members of the bar of the following norms under the Code of Professional Responsibility:

x x x

Rule 1.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

x x x

Canon 7 — A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the integrated bar.

x x x

Rule 7.03 — A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

x x x

Needless to state, respondent ought always to keep in mind the responsibilities of a father to all his children. If there be a resultant hardship on them because of this case, let it be impressed on all concerned that the direct cause thereof was his own misconduct.

WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. Andrew V. Ferrer GUILTY of gross immorality and, as recommended by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Bar Confidant, SUSPEND him from the practice of law for six (6) months effective upon notice hereof, with WARNING that the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/opinion/view/20090226-191143/Lawyers-lack-of-good–moral-character