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Greatest Boracay moments

Posted in Leisure, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on April 30, 2009

By Lester Gopela Hallig Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM

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One MGM’s beachfront — 90 meters long — is a good five-minute walk from one’s room, and rewards visitors with a perfect view of the sea and the famous sunset.

MANILA, Philippines – Upwardly mobile and wired individuals who went to Boracay this summer have been all over the Internet lately. Go to your friends’ Facebook and Multiply accounts and you will see what we mean. Pictures from the popular beach are posted, complete with their sober and drunken moments, the food, the hotel, the fantastic sunset, and the blue waters. Scenes like these make up the memories that everyone would like to partake of. After all, only the good, fun things are worth remembering.

All things considered, One MGM Boracay Resort and Convention Center is making sure that its guests will always remember living out their Boracay dreams. By providing more than just a residence in what is considered the best beach in the world, One MGM is an experience in itself.

One MGM might come as a pleasant surprise for first-timers. It looks like one big garden lined with its 86 elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites: the Mansion House, the Country House, the Summer House, the Bougainvilla, the villas, and the cottages.

Each guestroom presents a nod to nature and old-world charm, with its first-class furniture and native-style housing with bamboo and amakan finish. There are spacious terraces and comfortable garden furniture that are perfect for lounging in the afternoon. Tropical garden ambience doesn’t get any better than this.

The great thing is, its enormous size — all 4.5 hectares of it — makes it the only resort accessible from the beachfront and the main road. The beachfront is 90 meters long, a good five-minute walk from one’s room, and rewards visitors with a perfect view of the sea and the famous sunset.

“We will build an additional 300 guest rooms that will cater to the needs of our guests. What we want to happen is to be able to provide them the good life in Boracay,” says One MGM general manager Edwin Raymundo.

“We see ourselves becoming an entertainment hub in Boracay and a venue for local and international events. That way, we will also be able to create more jobs in the community,” Raymundo adds.

One MGM’s name, for those who are wondering, is no riddle. “MGM” stands for “My Greatest Moments,” and it is this premise (and promise) that the resort wants to fulfill.

“We see our guests remembering their greatest moments and memories while staying with us, so every aspect of our operation speaks of excellent service and products,” he says. “One MGM feels like retreating to one’s private heaven.”

Staying in the resort is just as exciting. It has three swimming pools and Wi-Fi access. Guests can indulge in indoor leisure activities such as table tennis, billiards, trampoline, and darts.

Even the quality of its food is a source of pride for One MGM. Since its opening in October 2007, One MGM’s loyal guests swear by the menu, which boasts of local and international fare. Never say no to the welcome drink: it is a One MGM original made of herbed lemonade, oranges, and cucumbers.

There are three food outlets: the Coffee Shop & Deli, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner; the Tryst Poolside Bar for cocktails, fresh juices, and snacks; and the Lobby Lounge for high tea, cocktails, and light meals.

In the evening, One MGM offers a value-for-money buffet dinner by the beach, complete with starters, main courses, desserts, and drinks. It is such a big hit in Boracay that it attracts 600 customers a night.

For those coming to Boracay with business in mind, One MGM boasts of a convention hall that can accommodate 500 people. Raymundo says more similar facilities are in the works.

But for now, One MGM has lined up these offerings for those looking for their ultimate Boracay adventure. Whether guests want to stay within the cozy property or enjoy the island’s unique charms, One MGM has got it all covered. Now that’s something to remember the next time Boracay harkens.

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One MGM is located in Manggayad Manoc-Manoc, Station 2, Boracay, Malay, Aklan. For more information, call (02) 634-3581 to 83, log on to www.onemgmboracay.com or e-mail at sales@onemgmboracay.com.
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Durano: Domestic travelers driving tourism industry

Posted in Leisure, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on April 30, 2009

By Antonieta Lopez Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM

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San Carlos City, with its Pintaflores Festival, won third place in the Best of Festival dance competition participated in by 19 towns and 13 cities in Negros Occidental which highlighted the opening of the 16th Panaad sa Negros Festival in Bacolod City recently.

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Filipinos on leisure travel to domestic destinations are contributing much to the growth of the country’s tourism industry.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said more financially able Filipinos are now choosing local destinations over foreign trips, hence softening the blow of the global crisis on the tourism industry.

Arrivals from markets like the United States and Japan have significantly dropped since last year, he said. Yet the slowdown from these premium markets was compensated by increasing domestic travel and steady visits from the nationals of France, Russia and China, he said.

Citing data for the first two months, Durano noted an increase of 30 percent of French arrivals; Russians, 40 percent; and Chinese, 60 percent.

“More of the markets that are important to us remain strong,” Durano said.

Domestic travel, at the same time, has grown by 18 percent every year since 2005 when it contributed P800 million to the total tourism traffic, he added.

Durano, who delivered the keynote address at the opening of the 16th Panaad sa Negros Festival here, said the challenge for the sector remains on how to develop more destinations.

“It is not enough that we have tourism attractions. We need to transform them into destinations so as to encourage both foreign and domestic tourists,” he stressed.

Durano lauded Gov. Isidro Zayco and the provincial government of Negros Occidental by accepting the challenge and continuing to reinvent the festival every year.

“The beauty of Panaad is that it is more than a festival. It is an exposition of what Negros Occidental can offer all year round,” he added.

He also noted efforts to develop Sipalay City, south of this city, which was once referred to by President Arroyo as the “Boracay of Negros” with its long stretch of white sand beaches and dive spots.

Durano said there is a lot of investments going on in Sipalay addressing the need for more accommodations and other infrastructure.

“When there are accommodations, tourists will come,” he said.

Panaad sa Negros is an annual event participated in by 13 cities and 19 towns of the province held at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Alijis, Bacolod City. Panaad is the Hiligaynon word for “vow” or “promise” and is a form of thanksgiving to the Divine Providence and realization of a vow in exchange for a good life.

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Pacquiao-Hatton fight live at Hyatt

Posted in Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on April 30, 2009

Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Witness the super fight between the number one pound-for-pound boxer, Manny “The Pacman” Pacquiao, and Ring Magazine light welterweight champion, Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton.

Watch the most awaited, and considered the biggest, boxing match of the year as two hard hitters try to knock each other down, broadcast live from the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila on Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m.

For just P1,000 net, enjoy a larger-than-life experience and watch this unforgettable event on a large projector screen while enjoying appetizing snacks, free-flowing softdrinks and local beer.

Also receive 15 percent off your bill should you dine in any of the hotel’s innovative restaurants and bars on the same day.

You can also watch this anticipated boxing fest exclusively with family and friends in the stylish private pods of the newly opened Music Bar.

For inquiries on ticket sales, call the hotel’s Concierge at 245-1234.

Dimsum, Champagne Bliss at Renaissance this May

Posted in Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on April 30, 2009

Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Throughout the month of May, the Renaissance Makati City Hotel Manila’s newly bloomed fine Cantonese restaurant Jasmine gives cause for celebration as it offers the Dimsum and Champagne Bliss promotion.

Enjoy the divine dimsum preparations of Chef par excellence Choi Wing Ki for lunch or dinner with family and friends, partnered with a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne.

Heavenly preparations include signature dimsum such as Barbecue Pork Puff, Har Gao, Bean Curd Sheet Roll with Shrimp and Scallop Dumpling, among others.

The Dimsum and Champagne Bliss promo is offered at the celebratory price of P900 per person, and includes a basket of six different types of dimsum plus a glass of champagne.

Moreover, a minimum group of five diners gets a complimentary bottle of champagne.

The price is inclusive of VAT and local taxes, and is subject to 10 percent service charge.

For more information or reservations, call the Renaissance Makati City Hotel at 811-6888.

Imperial Palace offers suite treats on Mother’s Day

Posted in Hotel, Hotels/Restaurants/Bars, Leisure, Tourism, Travel by Erineus on April 30, 2009

Updated May 01, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City’s largest hotel, the Imperial Palace Suites, is offering sweet treats for moms on Mother’s Day.

Dubbed “Suite Treats,” this unique delight offers luxury suite accommodations, including special dinner for two, unlimited Wi-Fi access, gift pack from Finesse and Fluocaril, free use of the gym and swimming pool, and a raffle stub for exciting prizes.

All these come with a night’s stay at the Imperial Palace Suites — P3,750 for the Classic Studio Suite, P4,350 for the one-bedroom suite, and P5,100 for the two-bedroom suite.

This preferred hotel in Quezon City also offers “Special Dinner at the Peak” for only P660++ per person. The menu includes Cream of Asparagus Soup, Greek a la Athens Salad, Chicken Veronic or Shrimp Provencale, Glazed Vanilla Ice Cream, and Mumtini Cocktail.

“Each mom also gets a long-stemmed rose from Imperial Palace Suites,” said sales and marketing director Yvonne Villacorte.

For every minimum purchase of P1,000, she said diners are entitled to a raffle stub for a chance to win an overnight accommodation for two at Caylabne Bay Resort.

The promo rates are valid only from May 4 to 10.

For inquiries or reservations, call 927-8001 to 05, e-mail at reservations@imperial.ph, or log on to www.imperial.ph or www.accorhotels.com/3603.

Associated with Mercure Hotels under Accor and located at the corner of Tomas Morato and Timog avenues, this Wi-Fi-ready hotel has 207 well-appointed guest rooms with living, dining and kitchen facilities, keycard locking system, multilingual cable TV, mini-bar, and in-room safety deposit box.

The hotel features many other amenities, including a fully equipped business center, six meeting rooms with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment for corporate and social events and a seating capacity of up to 500 guests, foreign currency exchange, an outdoor rooftop swimming pool, poolside bar, four food and beverage outlets, fitness and health facilities, massage center, basement parking, and CCTV security monitors.


EDITORIAL – Selective justice

Posted in Criminal System, Editorial, justice, NBN-ZTE Deal, Scandal/Expose/Mess by Erineus on April 30, 2009

Updated April 30, 2009 12:00 AM

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Rodolfo Lozada Jr. can surely afford to post the minimal bail bond needed in a criminal case filed against him. But Lozada’s refusal to post bail drives home one point: there are many individuals who should be behind bars or at least on trial in connection with the broadband network deal between the government and China’s ZTE Corp. So who gets a warrant of arrest first? The whistle-blower.

Lozada was arrested yesterday on orders of the Manila Regional Trial Court. The warrant stems from a perjury case filed by Michael Defensor, President Arroyo’s former chief of staff, who was implicated by Lozada in what he described as an effort to stop him from testifying before the Senate on the ZTE deal.

The fate of the other players in that incident explains Lozada’s refusal to post bail. The Malacañang official directly implicated in the effort to keep Lozada quiet, Manuel Gaite, has been promoted from deputy executive secretary to commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, replacing an official at the heart of the Legacy Group scandal. The security escorts who “greeted” Lozada upon his arrival at the NAIA from Hong Kong have disappeared, their reported ties to the Presidential Security Group swept under the rug. Other officials mentioned by Lozada in the attempt to keep him away from the Senate are still with the government.

Beyond that incident upon his arrival, which Lozada suspected was a kidnapping attempt or worse, no one has been prosecuted in connection with the ZTE broadband scandal. Benjamin Abalos, though forced to quit shortly before the end of his tenure as chairman of the Commission on Elections, is enjoying his retirement. Leandro Mendoza, who signed the deal with ZTE executives in Boao, China in the presence of President Arroyo, still has his job. And Romulo Neri, the former director general of the National Economic and Development Authority who initially disclosed a P200-million bribe allegedly offered by Abalos, now manages billions of pesos of the private sector’s pension fund after he invoked executive privilege and learned to keep his mouth shut.

Only one man is being punished in connection with a $329-million deal that the government was forced to scrap: Rodolfo Lozada Jr. Michael Defensor is well within his right to want to clear his name, but Lozada’s prosecution is rubbing salt on a festering wound. It is a good example of the selective justice that has come to be associated with this administration.


Bank deposits insurance hiked

Posted in Banking, Consumer by Erineus on April 30, 2009
New PDIC law increases coverage to P500,000
April 29, 2009, 9:47pm

President Arroyo signed Wednesday the amendments to the charter of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) to raise the insurance coverage of bank deposits from P250,000 to P500,000.

Mrs. Arroyo said the amendments to the PDIC charter are part of reforms designed to increase protection of bank deposits and consequently increase the confidence of the public in the banking system.

In October last year, Mrs. Arroyo approved a proposal to increase the deposit insurance coverage of bank deposits to deter mass withdrawals by depositors amid the global financial crisis.

The original proposal was to increase the maximum deposit insurance coverage from P250,000 to P1 million, but Congress trimmed the new maximum insurance coverage to P500,000.

Mrs. Arroyo led the ceremonial signing of the amendments to the PDIC charter at the sidelines of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Investors’ Recognition Night at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Pasay City.

Among those who witnessed the signing ceremony were Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., Trade Secretary Peter Favila, PDIC president Jose C. Nograles and the principal sponsors of the amendments Sen. Edgardo Angara and Manila Rep. Jaime Lopez.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) earlier said the additional capital requested by PDIC to cover for the increase in the maximum insurance coverage is available.

The Chief Executive said the new legislation is expected to will contribute much to a strong banking system, which is an important requisite if the nation is to weather the global recession.