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Expat Newspaper’s February 13-26, 2011 issue

February 15, 2011

This issue, we focus on environmental issues, natural disasters, adrenaline utopias, and artists who focus on social issues. Click the link below to read the latest Expat Newspaper.

Expat Newspaper’s February 12-26 Issue


Expat Newspaper’s January 30 – February 12 Issue

February 1, 2011

Our stories for the latest issue include transport fare increases and saving Philippine crocodiles. Check them out by clicking the link below.

Expat Newspaper January 30 – February 12, 2011

Expat’s Jan.16-Jan.30 Issue

January 18, 2011

Check out Expat Newspaper’s newest issue. Just click the link below.

Expat Newspaper January16-29,2011

Yet Another Football Twist

January 12, 2011


Well, that was strange. I don’t think anybody saw it coming. At least, I’m pretty sure he didn’t. I’m talking about Azkals’ (Philippine Men’s Football Team) former head coach Simon McMenemy. As has been reported by the major dailies, the man that led the unforeseen historic run by the Azkals in last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup is now out of a job.

Team manager Dan Palami who has sought the assistance of the German Football Association (DFB) announced that the team will now be handled by German Hans Michael Weiss upon recommendation of the DFB. Last week, reports had it that Palami was considering up to three coaching candidates as he came in contact with the DFB. Apparently, with the change in leadership of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and the expiration of his contract last December 31, McMenemy expected to still be the top consideration. And who wouldn’t? You have to give the man who turned the country buzzing about football for the first time ever some props, right?

Well, it seems that the business of football is a little trickier than that. Reports have surfaced that the assistance package to be provided by the DFB includes a grant of EUR 500,000. If you put it that way, then certainly whoever the DFB recommends is THE choice. Add to that the fact that McMenemy lacks the “B” coaching license required to coach the Azkals in the upcoming AFC Challenge Cup games against Mongolia, then loyalty and gratitude aside, it’s nearly a no-brainer.

It’s not so much the replacement of McMenemy that surprises, though. It was more how he got hold of the news. Like most of us in the loop, he found out through Twitter. And if you want a glimpse into how that felt. Here’s his tweet:

To clarify his side, Palami responded by posting this note on Facebook.

That explains…well, I’m not sure how that explains random people finding out on Twitter before the concerned parties did, instead of being in close contact with them through the whole process. But we’ve all been on long flights and weddings, and we all know how draining that can be. I understand the sarcasm I let out just then, and that’s not to undermine everything Palami has done for the cause of national football, for he may truly be the man responsible for the Azkals’ rise. I suppose after the initial sting, McMenemy felt that way too, or so suggests this tweet:

Reports now say that he will be offered the Under-17 coaching job to develop the countries’ football prospects. Again, the question of courtesy aside, this really seems to suit McMenemy’s strengths better, as he told Expat 10 days upon landing to step into the head coaching job back in Spetember. His background has been in football development, and this might end up helping the growth of national football in the grand scheme of things even more than being at the helm of producing results for the Azkals.

In a brief conversation with him, he told this author he’s still waiting to see what kind of offer the PFF comes to him with. There are head coaching offers from other countries in the South East Asian region, so indeed, there are things to ponder on.

All drama aside, it IS good news that Palami and the PFF is now getting help. It should bode well for Philippine football in the long run should this partnership with the DFB run its course. The initial test will be on the 9th of February when the Azkals face Mongolia in Bacolod for the AFC Challenge Cup. Until then, we shall see.

What is the Metro Manila Film Festival?

January 11, 2011


2010 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Picture - Ang Tanging Ina Mo: Last Na 'To (Your One and Only Mother: The Last Movie), the sequel to the hugely successful 2003 comedy about a single mother raising a brood full of children

For expats wondering where all the Hollywood films went beginning Christmas – or were surprised at their return two weeks later – (a belated) welcome to the Metro Manila Film Festival.

The 2010 edition of the MMFF, as abbreviated, brings the festival to its 36th year. It itself had a predecessor in the pioneering Manila Film Festival, which ran from 1966 to 1974. That celebration of the Philippines’ film finest was the brainchild of then-city mayor Antonio Villegas. The Metropolitan Film Festival – now the MMFF – debuted in place of the Manila Film Festival originally as a commemoration of the third anniversary of Martial Law declaration in the country, but with the same spirit of support for homegrown cinema.

Despite the name, the festival films – in recent years, those produced by the major film outfits; indie films rarely make a showing – are actually shown nationwide. Also, it has evolved from its inception to become quite the extravaganza, as actors in participating films parade on floats to kick-start the two-week showcase. It’s not quite the Rose Parade, but the Parade of Stars is always a crowd-drawer on Roxas Boulevard.

A rundown of past winners orients one with several Filipino cinema greats, including former screen tandem Nora Aunor and Christopher de Leon, who have won the Best Actress and Best Actor festival trophies a whopping seven and eight times, respectively.  Three directors are additionally tied for the most directing trophies with three each. In addition to a truckload of information on Philippine cinema, this blog summarizes each installment of the festival, all of which can be navigated to from here.

As with anything showbiz this corner of the world it seems, controversy is second nature. The Awards Night, which occurs midway through the participating films’ runs, is a particular issue magnet. If you just so happened to chance upon the entertainment sections of dailies during the most recent MMFF, you’d have read stories of snubbed actresses and directors.

One such incident that comes to mind even smacked of international flavor: in the 1994 ceremonies, former Miss Mauritius beauty contest candidate (the Miss Universe pageant was held in Manila that year) Viveka Babajee, an award presenter, involved herself in a name-switch scam for the Best Actress plum. Unfortunately, she has since passed away.

Many – and I mean many – more controversies have surrounded the MMFF in its more than three decades of existence. Here is a quite lengthy list researched due to the latest round of controversy, which includes even the criteria by which the Best Picture is chosen (box office haul at the time of awarding, which is usually three days after the festival opening, now counts for 50 percent).

More than controversy, however, the festival endeavors to stay true to its original purpose of supporting the local film industry. Indeed, in this latest installment of the MMFF, the film RPG Metanoia heralded another milestone for Philippine cinema as the country’s first 3D animated feature (it’s one of two MMFF films I personally saw and I must say, it’s quite good, even story-wise). The MMFF might be over, but if you’re willing to sift through the language barrier and see an entire movie in Filipino, you can catch some of the films still playing at select cinemas.

Keep updated with the latest Expat Newspaper, out now.

Cebu Sizzles with Sinulog 2011!

January 10, 2011

Sinulog fever hits Cebu once again, and as our writer Richard A. Ramos reports, there’s more to catch than the grand parade on the 16th. The following is a partial list of activities set for the week leading up to the grand celebration:

  • January 12 (Wednesday): Miss Cebu Coronation Night, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, 7 p.m.
  • January 13 (Thursday): Handumanan: The Concert (in honor of the balikbayan community), Ayala Center Cebu
  • January 14 (Friday): Sinulog Festival Queen selection, Cebu City Sports Center
  • January 15 (Saturday): Fluvial Procession of the Sto. Nino Image, 6 a.m.; Solemn Procession, 1:30 p.m.

Visitors are in for a slamming time as more exciting shows, concerts, exhibits, street parties and other events are set for the following days. A more complete schedule of activities can be found on the festival website, If you haven’t booked a room yet, do so now or risk missing out on what is said to be the country’s largest festival.

In the meantime, enjoy some amazing snapshots of last year’s celebration on Flickr, courtesy of the Sinulog 2010 photo contest winners.

Keep reading Expat Newspaper for all the latest news.


Gays and HIV/AIDS Advocacy: When the Spotlight Hurts

January 7, 2011

It’s the chicken-and-egg conundrum: is turning the spotlight on “men who have sex with men” or MSMs as a high-risk group – sometimes even the group at highest risk – for HIV/AIDS helping or hurting?

Since the virus was first discovered in 1977, gay men have been earmarked as likely carriers for their supposed promiscuous lifestyle. In fact, in its early days, the disease had been known as gay-related immune deficiency or GRID, until it became clear that the disease was not limited to gays. As many statistics show, however, gays seem to be disproportionately affected.

So, is it wrong to state the facts? No. But it would do well to elaborate on why high-risk groups are at high risk. One may recall when the spotlight was turned on call center agents last year – news reports were for the most part careful to associate the disease with risky lifestyle practices and not particular companies or industries. The same is true among MSM, who in addition are hesitant to come out and be tested due stigmas against them, according to studies. An applicable idea from Libel as Politics, a collection of insights on libel decriminalization in the Philippines from some of country’s foremost legal and media minds, comes to mind as a parallelism: is repeating that someone is an “alleged killer” 20 times in an article any less defaming than naming that person as the actual killer? Bottom line: there’s a reason negative stigmas, and therefore ignorance, persists.

It is therefore key to treat the disease as one that can and does affect anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, industry or any other classification. The same message that needs to reach high-risk groups is the same one that needs to reach everyone else. The medium is the message, said Marshall McLuhan, and narrowcasting it solely at a gay rights rally or migrant workers forum just allows everyone else to feel it’s not their problem and/or aren’t at risk. And there is definitely danger in ignorance, when not just gays, but others a continent and culture away as well, are uninformed.

Read on about government commitments to fight HIV/AIDS in 2011 in the latest issue of Expat Newspaper, out now.