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Saturday, December 31, 2011

DoH’s New Yearmakers: APIR tayo!

BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

KALIBO, Aklan – The Department of Health (DoH) has reminded the New Year merry makers to support APIR or ‘Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction’ a nationwide campaign to prevent and reduce the number of firecracker and gun-related incidents during the New Year revelry.

Provincial Health Officer (PHO) I Dr. Bong Guatzon said DOH Aklan listed 1,022 cases of fireworks and stray-bullet related injuries for 2010.

He noted that a total of 173 cases before the coming of the New Year from December 22 to 29 were recorded in Aklan. The cases could reach their peak during December 31 and January 1, he added.

Last year, the health department implemented its "Iwas Paputok" anti-firecracker program. This year, DOH officials urged the local officials to support the APIR campaign in their respective areas to avoid injuries and other accidents.

“Of the 173 cases listed, 163 of the injuries are fireworks-related injuries. There are two cases of firecracker digestion and eight cases of stray-bullet injuries,” he said in an interview over DyRU Super Radyo Kalibo.

In 2010, a total of 972 cases in Aklan or 95 percent were caused by firecrackers, 39 by stray bullets or 4 percent and 11 cases where firecrackers were swallowed.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health reiterated the five safety reminders for merrymakers, to wit:

Mapanganib ang paggamit ng paputok (fireworks cause injuries and endanger health),

Lahat ng paputok ay bawal sa bata (children should not use any fireworks)

Lumayo sa mga taong nagpapaputok (keep safe and away from exploding fireworks)

Huwag mamulot ng di sumabog na paputok (never pick used fireworks)

Magpagamot agad kapag naputukan (seek immediate medical treatment for all firework injuries).

APIR also recommended five simple tips to celebrate the New Year. These are promote and participate in the community fireworks display in your area; celebrate a safe holiday with family and loved ones; use alternative noise-makers to welcome the new year; join merry making activities and use the time to reflect on the lesson of the past year and make resolutions for a better 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Kasafi bares festive 2012 Kalibo Ati-Atihan events

BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

KALIBO, Aklan – Expect a colorful and exciting Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival this January.

Three of the 2012 Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival highlights - the spiritual street dancing, religious procession and the Ati-Atihan contest, for sure, will attract thousands of devotees, guests, balikbayans and tourists.

The highly anticipated Ati-Atihan contest for modern, tribal big and small and Balik-Ati will be staged on January 14 starting at 8 a.m. Thirty tribes and groups, so far, have registered with the Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) that will compete through street dancing with their virbrant Ati-Atihan costumes.

The 'free-wheeling' spiritual street dancing is an evolving tradition of people from all walks of life. The 'sadsad panaad' of young and old alike, is a celebration of no equal - frenzied dancing, merrymaking of Ati performers and spontaneous cries of “Viva! Kay Señor Santo Niño, Viva!".

The religious procession on January 15 will culminate the fiesta with Senor Santo Niño ‘’caros’’ and devotees carrying Sto. Niño images and statues in different forms and sizes. It begins in the Saint John the Baptist Cathedral and ends at the church.

Other activities of the week-long celebration are:

Higante Contest and Aklan Festivals Parade - January 12, at 2 p.m. This is a competition of floats with the fantasy-themed characters and a showcase of the richness of many fascinating and diverse festivals participated in by the 17 municipalities in Aklan.

Hala Bira Ati-Atihan Nights - January 9 to 15, at 7 p.m. Kalibo Magsaysay Park. Pinoy bands will be invited to relive the Ati-Atihan 'snake' dancing that also features music and food for local tourists and balikbayans.

Spiritual Street Dancing - January 1 to 15, major streets of Kalibo. Merrymakers and devotees, smeared in soot, dance to the beat of the drums in honor of the Holy Child. An expression of long-lasting devotion and tribute to Senor Sto. Nino de Kalibo.

Pahilot / Paeapak - January 6 to 15, Saint John the Baptist Cathedral. A traditional and unique healing traditions of the devotees of Senor Sto. Nino.

Kaean-an sa Plasa - January 9 to 15, at 6 p.m. Kalibo Pastrana Park. Popular cuisine prepared by local restaurants with nightly entertainment.

Lakan ag Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan - January 6, pageant and coronation night at 7 p.m. Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center. This is the search for the best Mutya and Lakan of the Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival. Thirty-two young men and women will be presented in their long gown, malayan barong, interview, swimsuit and cultural performance.

Ati-Atihan Product Expo - January 9 to 15, Kalibo Pastrana Park. Explore Aklan's best products in display for the week-long festival. Aside from the world-class pina, raffia, nito and abaca products, local entrepreneurs will also showcase their latest collections available for shoppers.

Ati-Atihan Bazaar - January 9 to 15, Veterans Avenue. Satisfy your cravings for a wide array of products at affordable prices.

9-days Novena, January 6 to 15, Saint John the Baptist Cathedral. Huge throng of devotees from all sectors in the community prayed the novena in honoring the Sto. Nino.

As this developed, all available hotel accommodations in the capital town of Kalibo, at the start of January 2012 and leading up to ‘Kapistahan ni Senor Sto. Nino’, are also expected to be fully booked.

The week-long revelry, slated from January 9 to 15, is run and organized by a private-sector led Kasafi in partnership with the municipal government of Kalibo.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year revelry in Boracay

BY EUGENE Y. SANTOS

The Yuletide season is all about celebrations. And, in a tropical country like the Philippines, perhaps we’re lucky that beaches like Boracay are just within reach if we want to spend the holidays away from the hustle and bustle of Manila.

For urban dwellers, it seems like an alluring idea to just walk on shores with powdery white sand and frolic in the sea during Yuletide vacation.

According to Alfonso Chusuey, COO and assistant to the president for Boracay Garden Resort, the Yuletide season is a peak period for travelers, with an influx of guests checking in for the holidays.

Holidays in Boracay often have a happy and laid back atmosphere. However, the revelry goes on a fever pitch after Christmas Day, when people flock to the beach after spending time at home with their families during Christmas Eve. “We’re expecting full occupancy for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day,” Alfonso shares.

In anticipation of the New Year, Boracay lives up to its epicurean reputation for the next few days, becoming a party-filled venue. The merry-making series hits a crescendo on New Year’s Eve, when hotels and resorts host New Year’s Eve feasts and promote special holiday promos.

To illustrate, Boracay Garden Resort offers a special package up to January 2, 2012. Based on triple sharing, guests may avail of four days’ accommodation in a deluxe room for as low as P7, 924.00 net per person. The package includes breakfast and dinner meals together with roundtrip transfers via Caticlan.

The resort is also gearing up for a lavish Medya Noche (New Year’s Eve dinner) buffet spread at its beachfront. “We all look forward to Medya Noche to share warm, hearty meals with our loved ones,” says Mario Gatmaitan, Boracay Garden Resort’s food and beverage manager.

Set to be served buffet-style are Pinoy Roasted Calf Leg with onion gravy, Lechon de Carajay, Adobong Sugpo sa Aligue, Chicken Galantine, Beef Bulalo with Bone Marrow, Chicken Sisig, Tokwa’t Baboy, Arroz Valenciana, Rellenong Sugpo with Crab Roe Sauce, Lengua con Setas and Seafood Kare-Kare.

Other treats include Maple-brown Sugar Glazed Christmas Ham, Lemongrass Grilled Salmon Fillet in Green Thai Curry Sauce, Kalbi Tang (boiled Korean Ox-Tail), Southern Fried Chicken, London Fish and Chips, Roasted Steamship with Au Jus, Roasted Tom Turkey with Chestnut stuffing, Giblet gravy and Cranberry Sauce and Braised Duck in Star Anise.

Desserts spanning from Filipino to international cuisines will also be present. Examples include buko fruit salad, tiramisu, cheesecake, leche flan, bibingka, among others. “We have also included in the menu popular holiday drinks like hot chocolate, peppermint tea, salabat, ginumis, and buko pandan,” adds Gatmaitan.

If you want to have your food any time of the day, the resort has the Garden Café, an al fresco restaurant serving local and international cuisines. Those looking to cool off may take a dip in the resort’s 450-square meter main pool with poolside bar and deck.

But more than gastronomic fare and fun-filled days, Boracay is one of the safest places to spend the holidays. Henry Chusuey, chairman of the Henann Resorts group, which operates the Boracay Garden Resort, says that crime rates are low in Boracay. Save for petty mischief, no major crimes have been committed in the ‘island paradise’ for a long time.

In relation to New Year’s Eve, Henry also shares that igniting fireworks on the beach grounds per se is forbidden. This seems like a reassurance for guests who may worry about possible incidents of fireworks-induced injuries on hand and on land.

But for those who look forward to some fireworks, no worries. Henry says that Boracay Garden Resort, along with sister resorts Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Spa and Regency Lagoon Resort, will showcase the best fireworks display in Boracay—in a safe manner, of course.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kapuso stars to judge in Lakan ag Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan beauty pageant
BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

KALIBO, Aklan – Two Kapuso stars - RnB singer Kris Lawrence and actress Bella Padilla are among the judges of the much-awaited Lakan ag Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan beauty pageant search.

Come January 6, 2012, thirty two young and talented aspirants will showcase their wit, beauty and brawn at the Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center.

Kris, a songwriter/producer, is a regular mainstay of the Sunday noontime musical variety show Party Pilipinas. He was a former Search for the Star in a Million Season 2 Grand Champion before he signed up with GMA-7 in 2010.

Bella, from the Padilla clan in showbiz, was awarded Miss Friendship and Media’s Darling awards in the Asian Super Model held in China on September. She starred in the top-rating GMA-7's TV soap operas - Endless Love and Machete.

Fashion designer Renee Salud, Miss Resorts World Manila 2011 first runner-up Ladylyn Riva and TV5 talent and model Jan Arnex Florece will be part also of the judging panel who will determine the best Mutya and Lakan of the Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival.

Other judges named by the Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) are Capiz province vice governor Stevan Evan Contreras, DepEd Aklan Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Jesse Gomez, former Mutya it Aklan Jerly Trance Villaruel, Malay town first lady Abegail Humady Yap and Mr. Pacific World Philippines 2011 winner Miguel David dela Paz.

While swimsuit competition took place at Boracay Gardens Resort on December 10 and the talent at Kalibo Pastrana Park on December 23, the contestants will be judged on their long gown, interview and production number. There will also a presentation of special and corporate awards and the naming of titleholders on January 6, 2012.

Tickets for the pageant night are priced at P200 (sponsor), P100 (patron) and P50 for general admission. Tickets are available at the gate and at the Kasafi office.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Celebrating the New Year in Boracay
BY ROSE-AN DIOQUINO / GMA News

In true Filipino fashion, the “elders” in the family would insist that you spend the holidays within the confines of the home, where you all can gather around the table for the traditional midnight dinners.
Make your own cocktail drinks, Boracay-style
Boracay Garden food and beverage manager Mario Gatmaitan shares three simple cocktail recipes that you can make for guests and family, even if you’re bent on spending the holidays at home. Red Christmas Recommended for socializing at the sala before dinner, or while eating Noche Buena What you need (per serving; as measured through a jigger): ½ cointreau 90 mL cranberry juice 60 mL sparkling wine Glass: champagne flute What to do: 1. The glass must be chilled. Either put it in the freezer or fill it with ice for a few minutes. 2. Pour cointreau and cranberry juice. Top with sparkling wine. Snowball This is a dessert and cocktail drink rolled into one, creamy but with a kick. What you need (per serving): 1 part Tequila Rose liqueur 3 drops vanilla syrup 30 mL evaporated milk ½ part kahlua cinnamon powder wafer sticks Glass: brandy snifter What to do: 1. Put all the ingredients in a blender, together with some ice cubes. 2. Blend them together until the mixture is smooth. 3. Pour it in the glass, then top it with cinnamon powder. 4. Garnish with the wafer stick. Santa shot This wicked drink can give you the kick that you need to really get the party started. What you need (per serving; as measured by a jigger): 1 part grenadine syrup 1 part green crème de menthe 1 part Jagermeister Glass: shot glass or cordial glass What to do: 1. Pour green crème de menthe in the glass. 2. Since you’d want to achieve a jelly-layers look, hold a teaspoon—on its backside—on the glass’ opening before pouring grenadine syrup. 3. Do the same as you put in the Jagermeister.
But the holiday season can take a toll on you, especially if you live in the city, with all the things-to-do, mall sales, and traffic.

So if you’re itching to get away from all that and experience the holidays in a different way, why not head to the beach—to Boracay, for instance—and celebrate with the eternal feel of sun and sand?

Let someone else ‘accommodate’
According to Henry Chusuey, chairman of Henann Hotels and Resorts (which manages three establishments in Boracay), more people come in after December 25 in order to experience the New Year celebration in Boracay—that night of “food, fun, drinks, and the best fireworks by the beach front.”

To keep up with competition, hotels along Boracay’s long strip try to beat each other with promo packages that tourists—especially Filipinos—take advantage of every year. Some promos, such as that of Boracay Garden Resort (one of their establishments), last even until Jan. 2.

Have your special 'Media Noche' – fuss-free!
You need not worry about the laborious kitchen work when you’re in the island because buffets are lined up along its three-kilometer strip during the holidays. Even hotels, especially those that have restaurants inside, can prepare your Media Noche, the traditional Filipino New Year's Eve meal, for you.

Ralph Gerald Bermejo, food and beverage manager of Boracay Mandarin Hotel, said their buffet for New Year cost around P1,200 and it comes with entertainment like fire dance and live bands. Over at the world-renowned Discovery Shores (hailed as one of the best Hotel Spas in the world by Travel + Leisure), holidays are welcomed with feasts—and an “all-out” Carnaval treat is to be laid out for the New Year.

These establishments gather their guests for a Media Noche by the beach, complete with DJs, live bands, and, of course, spectacular fireworks display. According to Chusuey, Boracay “has the best fireworks ever,” best seen by guests on the beach front as they have their midnight New Year dinner. For Henann Hotels and Resorts, which has been arranging these gatherings for about five years, the sky sparkles with their fireworks display for 15 minutes.

Go ahead – let loose, be adventurous

Boracay definitely can entertain your “wild side”—whether you’re talking about extreme sports or partying all night. Take advantage of the waters and the scenery with differentactivities like cliff jumping at Ariel’s Point (P1,400 per person), parasailing (around P2,000 per person), and helmet diving (P600 per person).

You may also go island hopping, at whatever style you choose, be it on a kayak (P1,200 per person), by land (for as low as P2,000), or even by helicopter (P5,300 per person). If you’re up for cocktails and party music, you can head over to places like: the Jungle Bar (famous for opening only during full moon and for its lethal concoction named after bar manager Archie Aniel), Juice Bar (for flaming cocktails), and the Pool Bar of the New York Times-recognized Tides Resort.

But if you’re planning to get wasted, best to do it in good company—family members or friends who would definitely pull you out of having too much fun, drag you safely back into bed, but from whom you’ll never hear the end of it.

Make (or strengthen) connections

In an interview with GMA News Online, some locals said going to Boracay during the yuletide holidays really is a treat because the camaraderie in the island really emphasizes the “happy” in Christmas and New Year.

“Masaya ang bonding ng mga tao sa beach sa mga panahong ito, kahit hindi sila magkakakilala sa una,” said Bermejo, who added that around 80 percent of the guests at this time are Europeans who wish to take a break from freezing in winter. Boracay “beach police” Chino Vargas added that Christmas there is enjoyable because it’s time for families and friends to be away from the stresses of work and urban living. “Kapag kasi nandito, sama sama sila, nae-enjoy nila ‘yung beach at may time para sa isa’t isa,” he said.

Relax
Indeed, Boracay is a destination filled with adventures and marvels. But since you’re on vacation—one of the rare times of the year—do label at least one day as your downtime, when you can sleep in longer, take a barefoot stroll on the powdery white sand, watch one of the best sunsets in the world, go to the spa, and just zone out.

Rid yourself of the stresses, take in the laid-back vibe of the beach, and start your year feeling fresh.— KG, GMA News

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rehabilitation of Mother Earth
BY IVY ROSE VIDAL


Our Mother Earth is drowning from different environmental problem its because of us being frenetic in thinking for our own way of survival but not thinking on the effect to our environment, caused by the different activities we made that result to: air pollution, water pollution and poor waste disposals, floods and landslides are anywhere in this world.

Especially here in our own place AKLAN, we are experiencing drastic changes in our climate, as well as floods during even a short rain falls.All of us have the responsibility to save our mother earth; we need to lift the Earth from a muddy flood, with waste and other pollution.

As we start to lift step by step it is the great way to restore our planet. Trees will start to grow and we can breathe fresh air, less flood, we can drink fresh water and provide a healthy marine life.

This is how earth appearing nowadays• The dark colors on the lower portion signify as the composition of waste due to littering, burning of garbage and flash flood that washes the earth. It’s also the cause of global warming.

The HAND symbolizes that we must hold hands together to raise the earth from drowning by making different ways in saving our environment.As you observe, each color symbolizes the chance that we have for rehabilitation.

The color from dark to light means that we have still the chance to make change into a good one. And the green color signifies willpower or strong level of chance to restore it into a good condition.

The plant above the EARTH brings a new HOPE for us.It’s not yet late.So, to all of us, it is about time to give our quick response to this alarming state of the only planet we live in, for it provides us shelter since we were born, by doing our own share of protecting her even in simple things, I know that will surely stir big difference.

For if not, we might be harming ourselves in the years ahead of us, for nature has its own destructive way of getting back at us humans, the signs of earth's displeasure with inappropriate and harmful activities of humans can now be seen and felt all across the globe like the global warming, earthquakes, acid rain, drought, flash floods and other forms of natural catastrophes.

Be a hero, let’s help one another, hand in hand to save the earth from any bad changes, to stop the atmosphere from bursting, let us start changing our wasteful habits, plant more trees to prevent floods and do proper waste management to have a HEALTHY LIFE ON EARTH. Therefore; Strong values, self discipline and good character traits are needed for EVERYONE’S sake – NOW!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Filipinos abroad gear for Ati-Atihan festival
BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

KALIBO, Aklan – Filipinos will stage the Ati-Atihan festival in Sacramento, California at the Jose Rizal Community Center on January 7.

The 21st Annual Ati-Atihan and Festival and Dance is a religious and cultural event of the Aklan Association of Sacramento and Vicinity, Inc. (AASVI) in honor of Senor Sto. Nino.

It is a yearly activity that Aklanons in Sacramento, California area and the neighboring Filipino communities come up with a traditional Ati-Atihan festival throughout the years to pay tribute to the Holy Child.

Among the awaited festive events are the holy mass, blessing of Senor Sto. Nino images and statues, pahilot or paeapak and the Hala Bira Ati-Atihan contest.

“At least 10 tribes will join the festival. Some of the tribes are the Visayan Association of Sacramento, Tribo Gabriellas, Igkampuran, Filipino Community of Sacramento and Vicinity and the Sinagtala Tribo,” said Franklin Zabal, AASVI president.

Other Filipino communities celebrating the Sto. Nino and Ati-Atihan festival come January are the Aklan Ati-Atihan Association of USA, Inc. in Virginia, the Aklan Ati-Atihan Association of B.C. in Vancouver Canada and the Aklan Association of San Diego, Inc. in San Diego, California.

Come January 9 to 15, 2012, devotees, balikbayans and guests will celebrate the Ati-Atihan festival in Kalibo, Aklan, one of the most unique and spectacular events in the region.

Often dubbed as the original celebration of Ati tribes and the Spanish colonizers to honor the patron saint Holy Child, this festive event brings together the religious fervour of devotees, the display of colourful costumes and Ati-Ati participants in street dancing contests.
Echoes From

BY JOHNNY DAYANG



Ragingly Objective


It does not pay to exaggerate or lie about things nowadays, Technology has seen to that. You do anything blatantly scandalous or illegal and there is that big chance someone will be around to record the act, through a handy mobile phone camera or video cam.

The situation has been succinctly phrased by popular American TV host and comedian Whoopy Goldberg: "Today, your can't do squat without being seen." And of course, through technology , it will only be a matter of time (which can be as short as a minute or a few seconds), before the world knows about what you did.

Information has indeed become accessible. This is true for the average person and more so for those who are in positions of power and prestige.

As a consequence, media no longer has the monopoly of being an information gatekeeper. The big TV and radio stations, the newspapers and tabloids no longer have sole command of the news the public reads, hears, or views on a day-to-day basis.

News gathering and reportage have become ultra-democratic through the power of the World Wide Web. Today, we get a continuous barrage of ideas, opinions and information through Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, Multiply and a hundred other social networking sites that link millions of people across the globe at light speed.

There also countless blogs, as well as personal and professional websites, on any topic one can think of.

True, media practitioners, no longer control the information sky. And because of this, reporters, editors, and columnists could face the same fate as the suddenly obsolete pagers or beta camcorders; relegated to the dustbin of history because they have become redundant. We could, if we are not careful. If we continue to engage in an old, descrepit, practice that some veteran journalists regard as the hallmark of true journalism in the Philippines : Being partisan.

In a time when people can look for news themselves, media can remain relevant by providing the objective, unbiased report or analysis. This is the basic demand of every journalist, whether as a member of the mainstream media or the community press.


These are the trying times. Raging issues confront us. Rage, if we must. But above all, don't be partisan. BE OBJECTIVE, or perish.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sand artists dominate Mutya ag Lakan it Kalibo Ati-Atihan talent competition,
Daguno, Martirez named Talent winners
BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

KALIBO, Aklan – Two finalists of the Mutya and Lakan of Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival bested 30 other gorgeous aspirants for the talent awards.

Ramon Alexis Melgar Daguno, the 22-year old representing the town of Ibajay, won the Best in Talent award of the Lakan it Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2012.

He impressed the five judges and the audience of his artistry and the images produced by his sand art.

The talent competition was held last night at the Kalibo Pastrana Park under the auspices of the Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) and the municipal government of Kalibo.

Ma. A'Rose Olive Joy Martinez, 18-year old nursing student of Saint Gabriel College, also stood out among the 16 finalists of the Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan.

She was adjudged as Miss Talent with her sand art projected onto a large screen, using her hands to create pictures on an illuminated sand table.



Daguno also won the Best in Swimwear award at the Boracay Gardens Resort last December 10 to make him one of the overwhelming favorites to win the Lakan title.

Other 30 participants displayed their talents in singing, painting, dancing and doing magic tricks. This year’s edition of the talent competition was hosted by Charmaine Ling Palomata-Chua.

Kasafi has announced the final judging and coronation on January 6, 2012 at the Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center.



Friday, December 23, 2011

32 Mutya ag Lakan it Kalibo Ati-Atihan onstage for talent competition

BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL


KALIBO, Aklan - Festival organizer Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) will showcase the beauty and talent of 32 finalists for the Mutya ag Lakan it Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2012.

Hosted by 2011 Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2nd runner-up Charmaine Ling Palomata-Chua, the contestants are all going for two special awards - Mr. Talent and Miss Talent this Friday evening starting at 7.

Kasafi chairman Albert Menez said the young women and physique men will take the centerstage at the Kalibo Pastrana Park to display their individual talents and abilities. The judges for the talent competition are Gaynor Alejaga-Calizo, Dr. Lynn Salido, Ju-im Jimlan, Karina Quimpo-Mallongga and Architect Ramon Duena, Jr.

The talent competition will also feature the performance of Kasafi dance company and singing champion Melky Arboleda. Kalibo mayor William Lachica and Vice mayor Madeline Regalado are invited to award the talent awards to the winners.

In the prelude for the final show on January 6, 2012, the aspirants participated in a number of mini-pageants in Boracay Garden Resort and Maribert Inland Resort, where they strut their stuff in beach attire.

Kasafi said audiences from across the province of Aklan can expect an impressive pageant where a bevy of beauties will take over the crown from current Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan Caren Retamar Braun. The pageant finale is going to take place at Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center.

All the contestants will parade on stage wearing the fashion collection of well-known designer Renee Salud, the pageant organizer added.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Aklan chess players compete in Singapore Open
BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

KALIBO, Aklan – Young Aklanon chess players will represent the country in the 2nd Singapore International Youth Chess Championships 2011 (Open and Girls) at the Jurong East Sports Hall in Singapore on December 24 to 31.

Provincial Sports Coordinator and National Master Wilfredo Neri said Christian John Dumo of Kalibo Pilot Elementary School and Carlos Miguel Sualog of Marian High will vie for honors in the Boys’ Open Under-8 category.

Lianne Tiffany Garingalao and Naomi Gywne Ramos, both from Kalibo Pilot Elementary School, will see action in the Under-11 Girls category while Dejhanera Isabel Billones of Aklan Interfaith Academy will compete in the Girls’ Under-8 category.
The prestigious tournament is part of the 8th Singapore International Chess Festival 2011. It is organized by the Singapore Chess Federation under the auspices of the Singapore Sports Council.

Other events in the Singapore Chess Festival are the 2nd ASEAN Chess Championships 2011 - Campomanes Cup, Singapore Open 2011, FIDE Arbiters' Seminar and FIDE Trainers' Seminar.
The PH chess team is backed up by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) under chairman Prospero Pichay and the Philippine Sports Commission.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ati tribes get subsidies from Kasafi

BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL


KALIBO, Aklan - Twenty six competing tribes were given their full subsidies for the 2012 Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Festival.

These tribes are officially registered with festival organizer Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi).

The foundation has allocated P744,000 for financial assistance and P704,000 cash prizes for the forthcoming festival. Kasafi has, so far, released P550,000 for twenty six tribes in the Balik-Ati, Modern, Tribal Big and Small categories.

The participating tribes in the Tribal Big category are Pangawasan Tribe (Makato, Aklan), Maharlika (Dumga, Makato, Aklan), Tribu Tiis-Tiis (New Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan), D' Kamanggahan Tribe (Poblacion, Makato, Aklan), Lord Eagles (Dumga, Makato, Aklan), Tribu Responde (New Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan) and Tribu Bukid Tigayon (Tigayon, Kalibo, Aklan). They received subsidy of P30,000 each.

Tribu Responde and the 2011 Tribal Small category champion Tribu Bukid Tigayon are both competing in the Tribal Big Category next year.

Pilgrimage (Pook, Kalibo, Aklan), SKBK, Inc. (New Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan), The Andagao City (Andagao, Kalibo, Aklan) and Jimzon Group (Pusiw, Numancia, Aklan) are the partipating groups in the Modern category. They received subsidies of P10,000 each.

The Balik-Ati tribes are Kinantuing and Malipayong Ati (San Roque, Malinao, Aklan), Tribu Isalacan, Tribu Ilayanhon and Lilo-anong Ati nga Mananggiti, all from Liloan, Malinao, Aklan. Two new Balik-Ati tribes - Anono-o Group and Tribu Bakhaw Sur are also competing in this category. All tribes in the Balik-Ati category received P15,000 subsidies from Kasafi.

The contesting Tribal Small tribes - Tribu Eam-ang (Estancia, Kalibo, Aklan), Tribu Alibang-bang (Linabuan Norte, Kalibo, Aklan), Morongga Tribe (New Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan), Lezo Tribe (Ibao, Lezo, Aklan), Tribu Parola (Daja, Banga, Aklan), Tribu Ninolitos (Tigayon, Kalibo, Aklan), Tribu Tig palas (Tigpalas, Malinao, Aklan) and Tribu Tipon Tipon (Ibao, Lezo, Aklan) have subsidies of P20,000 each.

The competing tribes, with their colourful indigenous costumes, will be judged on January 14, 2012. Any groups or individual participants in the Ati-Atihan contest must register on or before January 7, 2012 at the Kasafi office.

Each group must from time to time, chant or shout-in joy, triumph and unison “Viva kay Senor Sto. Nino!” to boost the spirituality of the festival chants in all corner of the street. They must also adhere to the age-old tradition that made Kalibo Ati-Atihan famous – dance steps and drumbeat must be Kalibo’s original and not copied from the other festivities.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why not a Noche Buena in Bora?
BY GIBBS CADIZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer


At Boracay Garden Resort, specifically, which bills itself as “the only property in the island where guests may take leisurely walks around the breezy, tree-lined property.” That luxury, quite scarce in Boracay where most establishments consist of tightly packed concrete structures, comes courtesy of the resort’s enviable size—some 1.5 hectares of open space big enough to accommodate three swimming pools side by side with landscaped gardens, cabanas, a poolside bar, and wide patches of either grassy or tiled open space for walking around.

“I cannot find a place here as big as this one,” says Henry Chusuey, chairman and CEO of Hennan Resorts, which owns and operates Boracay Gardens, with two other hotels in the island—Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Spa, and Regency Lagoon Resort—and one in Bohol—Hennan Resort in Alona Beach. “Usually, with resorts in this area, 70-80 percent of the property is already built up. At Boracay Garden, the open space is so big—about 60 percent of the property, which is, I think, ideal. Resorts need space; this is not a city hotel.”

That open expanse makes Boracay Garden Resort a choice destination for large groups, from families and tour groups to corporate vacationers. Formerly a Korean-owned resort marked by rather eclectic architecture and interiors, the place has undergone continuous renovation and improvements “so that it reaches Boracay Regency standards,” says Chusuey, referring to the more upscale, 285-room resort and spa adjacent to Boracay Garden.

At currently 201 rooms—set to rise to 257 by next year, overtaking Shangri-La Plaza’s 220-room property in the island—Boracay Garden is marketing itself as a mid-range triple-A destination for the middle class, with affordable rates and flexible room packages to accommodate families, above all.

Family holidays
“We are for family holidays that are reasonably priced,” says Chusuey. “Clean rooms, good service, reasonable price—that’s our main consideration. Everything nice and cheap is good. If the food is worth P500, we charge them P450—that’s how we’d like them to come back. In short, nanalo ka.”
Boracay Garden’s special Christmas package, based on triple sharing, has its deluxe rooms coming in at P7,924 per person, inclusive of four days’ accommodation, daily buffet breakfast and dinner, and round-trip transfers via Caticlan. The savings are substantial for large groups, considering that regular deluxe room rates are P4,800 per night. The promo period is from Dec. 25, 2011 to Jan. 2, 2012—precisely designed for families on the lookout for another way to celebrate Christmas and New Year outside of the city hurly-burly.

Christmas meals
The menu, too, has been jazzed up to whet the appetites of those who’d like a more laid-back, beach holiday twist to their traditional Noche Buena festivities.

“We want our guests to feel they never left home by serving them home-cooked Christmas meals,” says Mario Gatmaitan, food and beverage manager. It also spares the harried mom, incidentally, the hassle of long kitchen hours preparing the Noche Buena spread.

Boracay Garden’s Christmas menu consists of an array of traditional Filipino and popular international holiday dishes, among them chicken galantina and embutido, sweet ham, arroz Valenciana, pork morcon, seafood kare-kare, lengua con setas, roasted turkey, horseradish-crusted prime rib, and lemongrass-grilled salmon fillet in green Thai curry sauce.

The Filipino touch extends to sweets and delicacies—bibingka, leche flan, putong makulay, kutsinta, tamales, suman sa ibus, ubeng halaya, maja blanca, and espasol—washed down by holiday drinks such as hot chocolate, peppermint tea, and salabat.

The Christmas Eve set dinner has main entrees of grilled king prawns and traditional osso bucco, along with appetizers, salad, dessert, and petit fours. Guests with more expansive appetites can dive into the Christmas Eve dinner buffet, which focuses on Filipino dishes from beef bulalo to sisig; halabos na hipon, alimasag, tahong at talaba, maya-maya sa mayonisa, rellenong sugpo, braised duck in star anise, balbacua, etc.

The carving station offers more varied fare: Glazed Christmas ham leg in pineapple sauce; roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing, giblet gravy and cranberry sauce; and roasted steamship with au jus, along with grilled vegetables.

New Year’s revelry
The resort has also whipped up similar set dinner and buffet arrangements for New Year’s festivities, now served with wine and highlighting international cuisine.

Appetizers include German cold cuts, nigiri sushi and sashimi, seafood terrine, six kinds of cheese; soup is either lobster chowder with pinot noir wine foam, or green pea and spinach soup with hickory smoked bacon. And the carving station combines the best local and foreign meats: Pinoy-roasted calf-leg, maple-brown sugar-glazed Christmas ham, US turkey roll with prune stuffing and cranberry sauce, and lechon de Carajay with pinakurat sauce.

The New Year’s Eve revelry peaks with Boracay Garden’s own 15-minute fireworks display, which, with the resort’s open space and unimpeded view of sky and horizon, is said to be a truly spectacular, one-of-a-kind experience in Boracay.

Famed beach
Families on Christmas holiday, of course, can always head off to the famed Long Beach if they tire of the resort’s 450-sq m main pool (“That long shoreline is THE main attraction,” says Chusuey, also the chairman of Boracay Foundation, a coalition of Boracay business owners. “You haven’t been to Boracay unless you’ve stayed on Long Beach.”) Boracay Garden has direct access to its own beachfront, a leisurely three-minute walk that allows guests to roam over the property’s gardens, mini-fountains and spacious grounds.

The rooms, meanwhile, are equipped with private terrace, Wi-Fi access, bathtub with separate water area, individually-controlled air-conditioning, cable TV, direct-dial phone, in-room safe, coffee- and tea-making facilities and personal refrigerators. Right outside some premiere rooms is the pool, allowing for easy, intimate water enjoyment. Family rooms can accommodate up to six persons.

And, in case children get bored, the resort staff can be requested to hold games and fun bonding activities for the family, among them “Mix your own Christmas cocktail drink,” “Decorate your own Gingerbread Man,” treasure hunts, and relay games.

All in all, with sand and sea nearby, al fresco dinners under the stars, late-night swimming in the pools, and quiet time in the middle of spacious greenery, a stay at Boracay Garden Resort would be one unique Yuletide holiday, indeed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Best of both worlds at Boracay Gardens

BY SCOTT R. GARCEAU The Philippine Star



My wife and I did the math during a recent short, breezy flight to Boracay on Seair: we’ve been to this jewel of an island nine times already. So how do you keep reinventing the Boracay experience?


One way is to plunge yourself into a new environment, someplace that feels like you’re on Bora, right on the beach in fact, but also nestled away from the hustle and bustle in a private resort enclave.


That’s what Boracay Garden Resort is like. Built on a 1.6-hectare property in Station 2, the resort encompasses 201 rooms fronted by three swimming pools (one of them Olympic length) with enough amenities to make you forget that you’re in Boracay — if you really want to. But if you need a quick reminder, it’s a short covered-walkway stroll to the beachfront.


We arrived after Seair’s speedy 40-minute flight to Caticlan, and found ourselves entering the enclave within 20 minutes (transfers to and from Caticlan are included in the resort’s promo package). Still undergoing an ambitious renovation, Boracay Garden is a subsidiary of the Henann group, owner and operator of Boracay Regency Beach Resort
and Spa, Regency Lagoon Resort and Henann Resort at Alona Beach Bohol.


As you enter the palazzo-like pool area, you’ll see traces of the previous owners’ design (the resort was originally developed by Korean investors): there are white Greco-Roman statues cavorting in a bandshell next to the kiddie pool, which also sports dolphin statues. Walk on and there’s a spacious swimming area with poolside bar, a garden setting, a couple of bridges, and the Garden Café, where we took all of our meals for the two-night stay.


The Triple A-rated rooms at Boracay Garden are eye-catching with Victorian touches (“wooden” beds and cabinets, floral wallpaper), but perfectly modern in convenience and amenities: 21-inch flatscreen TV
, WiFi access, safety deposit boxes and individual-controlled air conditioning. You may find yourself spending a lot of your weekend in this relaxing, luxurious setting. Or step out onto the patio (if you’re in a Premier Room with Pool Access) and take a dip right outside your room.

A dip in Bora’s crystal waters is a short stroll away from Boracay Gardens — and it’s nice to have your own beach umbrella and lounger, too.


The concierge at Boracay Gardens is more than helpful. They’re happy to book a massage for you at neighboring Kai spa, a karaoke session or even some kind of island extreme sport that you fancy. During our stay, we saw that the main plaza outside the Garden Café was being prepared for a 16-year-old’s debut that evening (conferences and family functions are a lot more fun when you invite people to Bora, we’ve noticed).

The rooms at Boracay Gardens retain some of the previous owners’ character, though now more “subtle” with contemporary renovations, according to resort manager Dindo Salazar. The resort’s architecture itself is eclectic, combining neo-colonial elements (like the cantilevered upper-room balconies) with neo-classical touches, conveying a sense of simple luxury and comfort.

Menu Happy Returns
Another reason to stay at Boracay Garden Resort is the food. While some Bora guests might be tempted to island-hop to scare up their grub, the Garden Café offers so many special meals this Christmas season, you might never leave. Chef Emel Moñuz, formerly with Gasthof, mixes regional dishes with European-themed feasts for the holidays.


Their Yuletide Menu opens with the Christmas Eve Set Dinner (appetizer of beef tenderloin carpaccio with pommery mustard, orange and carrot soup, seared scallop salad with avocado and grapefruit segment in orange sauce, followed by duo entrée of grilled king prawn in caper sauce and traditional Italian osso bucco, followed by a dessert trio of Christmas fruitcake, tiramisu and chilled fresh strawberry.


Meanwhile, there’s a Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet that will knock your Pinoy socks off this season: a Filipino
specialty sabaw (soup station), including beef bulalo with bone marrow, adobo pan de sal, stolen bread and monay; appetizers like shrimp, chicken and pork sisig, tokwa’t baboy, halabos na hipon, alimasag, tahong at talaba, and of course
queso de bola; a special noodle station with the arroz valenciana, pancit palabok and sotanghon guisado. And don’t forget the glazed Christmas ham leg in pineapple sauce or roasted tom turkey with chestnut stuffing, giblet gravy and cranberry sauce at the carving station.


For those staying at Boracay Garden for the turnover to 2012, there’s a special New Year’s Eve Set Dinner that offers steamed scallops, salmon and prawn Calypso as appetizers; or try the quail with roasted fennel and orange, washed down with a festive glass of sparkling mimosa; enjoy the surf-and-turf entrées of grilled king prawns in hollandaise or prime beef tenderloin with sweet peppercorn, topped off with New Year Cookies, chocolate truffles and peppermint tea.

And the New Year’s Gala Dinner at Garden Café is even more special, celebrating International Specialty Cuisines — everything from lobster chowder with Pinot Noir wine foam, assorted German cold cuts and a variety of cheese (brie, cheddar, camembert, edam and gruyere) to nigiri sushi and sashimi; sample the southern fried chicken, London fish and chips or moriawase tempura at the Frying Station; followed by the Carving Station featuring Pinoy roasted calf leg, maple-brown sugar glazed Christmas ham and lechon de carajay with pinakurat sauce; go even more Asian with the lemongrass grilled salmon fillet in green Thai curry sauce, adobong sugpo sa aligue, chicken galantine, lengua estofado, kalbi tang (boiled Korean ox-tail) and buffalo baby back ribs.


(Believe it or not, we got to sample a lot of the above menus during our recent two-day stay. So enjoying the best Christmas and New Year’s menus that Bora has to offer is totally doable.)


Sitting at the 136-seat Garden Café for lunch (with its wooden interiors suggesting Bali), we also noticed many foreigners strolling the grounds this early in December. We learned from the restaurant’s staff that foreign guests tend to come in seasonal waves: Russians and Japanese prefer December; Koreans like it here in June and July; Filipinos tend to flock here during Holy Week.


And of course New Year’s Eve has become a big, big deal on Boracay: the fireworks got off to an early start right on the beach outside Boracay Garden. We heard from staff that the resort is at full occupancy, which is encouraging news for this tourism-friendly destination.

Garden Of Eden
Boracay Garden is like the best of both worlds: it’s family- and kid-friendly, but nestled within its walls, you can also escape the noise usually associated with Station 2’s surrounding party scene. We watched countless couples — Koreans and Japanese, mostly — pausing amid its sun-drenched grounds to set up their tripods and take glamour shots. It really depends on how you want to spend your getaway.

At night, we booked a 60-minute well-being Swedish massage at next-door Kai, the Boracay Regency spa. A very ritualized spa, we hit relaxation mode as soon as the masseuses gently wiped and scrubbed our feet, wrapped us facedown on tables and softly tolled a gong bell to signal our massage session.


In the afternoon, we lazed around the awesome and inviting swimming pools (the pool area features stone tiles imported from Bali, Indonesia), relaxed in the plentiful Asian-inspired cabanas surrounding it, and sat at the poolside bar to enjoy our Margaritas and Tequila Sunrises in a perfectly relaxing getaway.

And the best part might be the rates: based on triple sharing, Boracay Garden Resort’s deluxe rooms start as low as P7,924 net per person. The package is inclusive of four days’ accommodation, with a daily buffet breakfast and dinner, and roundtrip transfers via Caticlan. The promo period runs from December 25, 2011 to January 2, 2012.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mutya ag Lakan it Kalibo Ati-Atihan talent competition on December 23
BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

KALIBO, Aklan - Mutya and Lakan finalists for the prestigious search of the Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2012 will vie for the Best in Talent awards on December 23.

The historic Kalibo Pastrana Park will host the talent competition where 32 young Mutya and Lakan aspirants showcase their artistic skills before a panel of judges.

The contestants have spent the past three weeks in a trip round Boracay Island and Maribert Inland Resort in Capiz with festival organizer Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi). In Boracay Island, Balyn Castro of Nabas, Aklan won the Best in Swimsuit while Ramon Alexis Daguno of Kalibo, Aklan romped away with the Best in Swimwear award.

Kasafi chairman Albert Menez said a distinguished panel of judges will select the winners of the Mutya ag Lakan it Kalibo Ati-Atihan in the grand coronation and pageant night, which will take place on January 6, 2012 at the Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center.

The contenders will also compete for special awards for Best in Interview, Best in Long Gown, Best in Malayan Barong, Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and Best in Production Number. The corporate awards are Miss E-Looks, Miss Silka, Miss Globe, Miss Ever Belena, Miss Juicy, Miss Extraderm, Miss Skin White, Mr. Globe, Mr. Gran Matador, Miss Ponds, Miss Sunsilk, Miss Diet Coke, Miss GSM Blue and Miss Magnolia Light.

The contestants are Daisy Batch, Alea Kane Macavinta, Balyn Castro, Erika Evangelista, Cherry Belle Dioso, Therese Lachica, Amanda Pilcher, Ivry Rose Vidal, Jeso Solidum, Krisna-K Marcelino, Marifel Melgarejo, Flor Zoraida Reyes, Liezel Dumaguin, Arrah Julia dela Cruz, Olive Absalon and Ma. A'Rose Olive Joy Martinez for the Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan.

The Lakan aspirants are Don Amiel Rogan, Jewel Magalit, Fredrick Austin Arguelles, Elvin Tiel, Janzen Jontilano, Leonard Lachica, Keisler Quintos, Benedict John Romero, Jan Erickson Menez, Patrick Reyes, Nixon Igtanloc, Ken Cahilig, Filomar Conanan, Shem Regalado, Ramon Alexis Daguno and Christian Roldan.

Friday, December 16, 2011

SMC to hike Caticlan terminal fee in January


San Miguel Corrporation (SMC) will be hiking terminal fees next year at the Caticlan, Aklan airport, which it had renovated into an improved gateway to Boracay island.


Passengers will have to pay P200 instead of the current P20 starting January 15, 2012, according to a Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) bulletin published yesterday.Ramon S. Gutierrez, CAAP director-general, said the revised terminal fee was put in place “after privatization” of the facility.


TransAire Development Holdings Corp., which San Miguel Holdings Corp. owns 93% of, is the build-operate-transfer concession holder for the development and operation of the airport.San Miguel, which in June inaugurated the partly completed renovation, allotted some $300 million for the redevelopment of the Caticlan airport and adjacent lots.


The amount is slightly higher than the P12.5-billion investment commitment under the build-rehabilitate-operate-transfer deal with the government, with several commercial developments adjacent to the gateway added to the plan.


The redevelopment of the airport -- the first infrastructure project of San Miguel that is in commercial operations -- is expected to be completed by December 2013. The conglomerate started working on the project late 2010.


The new airport is promised to have a capacity of serving around three million visitors annually from the current 600,000 to 700,000.San Miguel’s airport improvement plans include a longer and wider runway, nighttime navigational facilities, a big water treatment plant and rainwater collection facilities.The conglomerate also plans to build a shopping mall, a budget hotel and a convention center to cater to the visitors arriving at the airport.


The island saw a 13.8% increase in the number of arrivals from January to November this year to 811,652 versus 713,000 in the same period in 2010.Shares of San Miguel closed unchanged at P117 apiece yesterday. -- KAM