In this second of three articles about Subic Bay Freeport, there's one spot that really is a "must see" attraction for all visitors.
Set in 25 hectares of the lush Ilanin Forest, the Zoobic Safari is a wonderful nature theme park offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience exotic animals roaming in their natural habitat.
It even features a Tiger Safari - the only one of its kind in the Philippines - where tigers freely roam an enclosed area. Visitors can get close to these remarkable beasts from the security of fully protected Jeepneys.
On Sunday, November 10, Britons and members of Commonwealth countries around the world marked what is called Remembrance Sunday.
It’s held on the second Sunday in November, which is the Sunday nearest to 11 November, the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War in 1918. It commemorates the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.
In Britain, Remembrance Sunday is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in cities, towns and villages, attended by civic dignitaries and ex-servicemen and women.
In London each year at the Cenotaph, Queen Elizabeth, her husband Prince Philip, Prince Charles and other members of the Royal family lay wreaths. They are joined by politicians, military, government officials and Commonwealth representatives.
As American US billionaire Warren Buffett once said "be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful".
On that basis, if you bought a condo in Manila as an investment in the last few years, now might be a good time to sell.
The Manila property boom - will it end in tears?*
No matter where you look, there’s a condo or an office block being built. I spend lots of time in Manila these days and I constantly wonder who will eventually buy or rent the thousands of units going up.
Having personally witnessed property crashes in three countries in the past 30 years, what’s going on in Manila has to me all the feel of a disaster in the making. Not now perhaps, but later. I hope I’m wrong. After all, I have a property in Makati. But I’m not selling as my family live in it. In any case, it wasn’t expensive when I bought it back in 1996.
At a time when the Philippines is accused of being overly ambitious in its target of attracting ten million tourists a year buy 2016 - double the five million expected this year - Thailand it seems has too many tourists.
It wants to reduce the quantity, but increase the quality of its tourists. The country has grown weary of the cheap, backpacker holiday-makers, who throng to the country in their thousands each year. It wants to attract a better class of visitor - especially those who are going to spend big.
To keep the riffraff away, the Thai government is proposing to tax all foreign visitors. From January, tourists will have to pay 500 baht (Php687) if staying in the country for more than three days.
Tourists staying less than three days will be charged 30 baht (Php40) day for the privilege of visiting the kingdom.
Not many people know this, but October is National Tamaraw Month.
As a foreigner, I know very little about the tamaraw. To be honest, I only knew of the animal’s existence because for years I’ve seen locally-made Toyota vans bearing the name ‘Tamaraw’. I also understand the tamaraw as symbol on a boy scout’s neckerchief.
But what exactly is a tamaraw?
The tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) or Mindoro dwarf buffalo is a small, hoofed mammal belonging to the family Bovidae. It’s endemic to the island of Mindoro and is the only endemic Philippine bovine. It is believed, however, to have once also thrived on Luzon.
Contrary to common belief and past classification, the tamaraw is not a sub-species of the carabao.
The British Embassy kicked off its ‘This is Great Britain’ festival last Friday in Manila with a private viewing of the highly-acclaimed film ‘Metro Manila’ made by British director, writer and producer Sean Ellis.
The film is the first of many events in the five-month gala celebrating all that is best about Great Britain and ts partnership with the Philippines.
Present at the viewing on Friday were Bacolod-based British Embassy Wardens for Negros Occidental Hazel Stuart (2nd right) and Robert Harland (4th right) with (l-r) Colin Glen, British Embassy Second Secretary, Bilateral and Strategic Communications and Michel Villar, the French Cultural Attaché.*
It will culminate in a three-day festival on Bonifacio High Street next March.
‘Metro Manila’ is Bafta’s (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) selection as the British entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 86th Academy Awards. It premiered early this year at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for World Cinema Dramatic.
Every few years when the Reader’s Digest wants a bit of publicity, it wheels out it’s ‘Lost Wallet’ test which always makes for good reading.
It’s reporters drop wallets in various cities around the world to see how many are returned, thereby enabling the magazine to declare the most honest and the least honest cities in the world.
A few years ago it did Asia. Not unexpectedly, Tokyo came out as the most honest city. Hong Kong did not fare well. Manila did reasonably well with 40% of the lost wallets being returned.
In its latest wallet caper, Reader’s Digest reporters ‘lost’ 192 wallets in cities around the world.
"In each city, we put a name with a cellphone number, a family photo, coupons, and business cards, plus the equivalent of $50 (Php2,150)," said a Reader’s Digest representative.
Every time I’m in a line at a supermarket and there’s a woman with a huge handbag in front of me I know I’m going to have a bit of a wait. Invariably, carriers of these voluminous bags have to spend a good five minutes hunting for their purses which are usually at the bottom of the bag.
Like most men, I am amazed at how much junk woman seem to carry in their bags.
Now it seems many women are carrying one or two things in their bags I’m sure they’d not be happy to know about.
In addition to the usual iPhones, iPads, bunches of keys, hair brushes, combs, make-up and other assorted bits & pieces, new research has shown that E.colu, poisonous bacteria and even traces of excrement have been found lurking at the bottom of women’s handbags.