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Friday, June 25, 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa Heating Up

      World Cup 2010 is making a global heatwaves in South Africa with 32 teams from all over the world competing for the coveted World Cup ball trophy with millions of fans are coming over on in nine stadiums in the cities of Johannesburg, Durban, Capetown, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, Rustenburg, Nelspruit to watch the games live and billions of other fans around the world are tuning on their television. But not everything about FIFA World Cup 2010 is frenzy and craziness but of course with controversy from the annoying and disturbing vuvuzela horns, the unpredictable Adidas Jabulani ball to unfair and bias referees. But of course, everyone must deal with that and that doesn't even make a major impact to disrupt the games and get in the way of people's partying in the world's most popular sports. Surprise and real shocker came however from the games itself with lots of disappointment and unbelievable wins. Host South Africa opened the games with a draw against its opponent Mexico, former World Cup champions Uruguay and France settled in for a draw with a goal less game, Mexico upsets France, the underdog USA which stuns Spain in last year's tune up game came to reprise its conquering the World Cup by giving England a headache to settle for a draw and threat those who undermine the team, Ghana win over Serbia, but most of all is Portugal winning of 7 goals to a scoreless DPR (North) Korea team. See more of the action as the games unfold and as we draw closer to the finals on July 11.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Floyd Mayweather A Real Underdog

       The claimant for the so called “pound for pound king” title, Floyd Mayweather came back from retirement in boxing agitated for Manny Pacquiao being hailed and proclaimed as the pound for pound king. Manny Pacquiao agreed to fight Floyd Mayweather to settle the argument of who is the real pound for pound king however Floyd Mayweather required Manny Pacquiao a random drug testing within the month before their fight using his blood as a condition before he fight him. At first, Pacquiao was hesitant to take blood from him within a month of their fight so the fight didn’t take place instead they were given different opponent of which their managers agreed upon.
        Just a few months back, Manny Pacquiao agreed on the random drug testing just to fight Mayweather to please the people and defend his pound for pound title. What’s ridiculous is that Mayweather is looking for a way or reason to avoid fighting Pacquiao by saying that he must rest AGAIN for a year or two even if he only fought two prize fighter upon her return because he is scared of the Mexicutioner of his lightning fast punches and quick offense. Mayweather cowers and curled his tail towards himself to show his cowardice and extreme fear of Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather is only good at bragging himself as a king but a misnomer but urinating on his pants when talking about Manny Pacquiao. He is a senior citizen of boxing and should permanently throw his towel in the ring if he wants to rest for a year or two because he has nothing to prove now aside from making a living from his career to compensate for his debts and bankruptcy. How ironic it is for him to claim as the pound for pound king when he is shivering and teeth grinding of the thought of fighting the new and REAL pound for pound king!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Island Hopping: Pan de Azucar Island, Iloilo

Pan de Azucar Islands is a group of islands located in Concepcion, Iloilo, Panay Island west central Philippines. It is about 111.4 kms. from the city and be reached through a series of rides of jeepney, van, bus, motorcycle & ferry boat. It is made up of exotic islets with cave-like gateway which tourists can enjoy swimming and feeling the ambience of solitude. The tropical backdrop includes coconut which can serve as foundation for your hammock and can quench your thirst with its juice which is a good cleansing agent for our kidney.
Pan de Azucar is the biggest and most popular among Concepcion’s 16 islands because of the enchantingly tall and steep mountain, called Mt. Pan de Azucar or Mt. Manaphag, standing like a towering sentinel in the center of the island.
Pan de Azucar Island, also referred as “Tampisaw Island” or “Tambaliza,” is located 7 nautical miles north of the poblacion or town proper (in mainland Concepcion) with an expanse of 18.4 square kilometers, occupying 19% of the town’s total land area. It is 30 minutes away from the poblacion via motorized bancas (pump boats), which have regular trips to the southern side of the island. Special tours will have to be arranged with the municipal tourism office or with boatmen docked at the fish port in the mainland.
Mt. Manaphag is a 573-foot land mass considered as one of the steepest in the country. It is frequented by mountain climbing enthusiasts such as the Sigarong Backpackers. The mountain, which can be seen from afar (as far as Negros Island), easily distinguishes itself from its surroundings and provides Conception a magnificent and interesting landmark because of its shape and size. The island was named after “Pan de Azucar” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil because of its similar appearance.
At the foot of the mountain are flat lands suitable for farming, one can see a perfect overview of them on top of Mt. Manaphag. If you happen to know a local, try to have him to take you to a coconut plantation and ask for all the coconuts that you can eat. It’ll certainly give you a fulfilling experience.
Pan de Azucar has thin coasts of golden-yellow sand to white sand. Most of them are inhabited and may not be suitable for swimming, though there are still a lot of sites around the island which are perfect for a dip like Malumpatan, which is a short beach with a pebbled shore and spectacular rock formations in its surroundings.
Along a white sand beach at the foot of Mt. Manaphag, is Pan de Azucar Beach Resort, which offer rooms for those wishing to spend the night in the island. They offer simple accommodations and have water and electricity available.
Access is from Iloilo, which has its own airport with regular flights from Manila (1 hour) and Cebu (30 minutes). There are bus connections to Iloilo from local cities such as Caticlan (6 hours), Kalibo (4 hours) and Roxas (3 hours). Pan de Azucar Island is a 30-minute pump boat ride from Iloilo's port.
Pan de Azucar Island is a unique experience where you cannot see elsewhere in the country.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cebu As "Queen City of the South," A Misnomer

by Cornelio P. Panes

The claiming of Cebu of the title as Queen City of the South originally nicknamed for Iloilo is a misnomer. It was not intended to mean the premiere or leading city outside Metro Manila. This was how it all began.
At the outbreak of the Philippine revolution, the Ayuntamiento (municipal council) of Jaro was the first to condemn, by way of a resolution, the revolution as "an unpatriotic act." The Ilonggo alta sociedad also responded to the news of revolution with protestation and outrage and evoked pro-Spanish loyalty. The Ayuntamiento of Iloilo followed suit and organized the Iloilo Volunteer Battalion.
The voluntarios, as members were called, were recruited from among the private population of Jaro and Iloilo and the adjoining prosperous towns of Molo, Arevalo, Oton and Sta. Barbara, and the more distant northern and eastern pueblos. They fought against the army of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in Cavite and Pampanga. Illustrious personalities like Martin Delgado, Quintin Salas, Pedro Monteclaro and Adriano Hernandez were among the officers of the battalion. The biggest financial contributors to the Ilongo contingent were industrialist Don Eugenio Lopez and shipping magnate Don Felix dela Rama.
In the battlefield of Cavite, the voluntarios helped the Spanish forces in the initial defeat of Aguinaldo's forces in 1897. It was the most well-equipped and well-trained contingent on the side of Spain. They helped in the fall of Silang and Imus which led to the collapse of the revolutionaries' defenses in Cavite after a fierce battle for Zapote bridge. The Spanish Crown was elated with that Spanish and the voluntarios' victory. Queen Regent Maria Cristina issued a royal decree awarding the city of Iloilo the perpetual title LA MUY LEAL Y NOBLE CIUDAD DE ILOILO or the Most Loyal and Noble City of Iloilo "for its exemplary conduct and all its laudable action during the present insurrection, in organizing and equipping an Ilongo Volunteer Battalion..."
Since then, Iloilo was known as "THE QUEEN'S CITY," a moniker for the longer title, which, to our present-day term, is the Queen's pet city. This is because Manila was first granted an almost similar title by the Queen. The title was decreed to be incorporated in the official seal of the city.
Legally speaking, Iloilo has the perpetual right to the title Queen City by virtue of the said decree. But no Ilongo now is bothered if Cebu snatched that title away. It is a title that would perpetually shame us.
In the 1990's the City Government of Iloilo unofficially removed the title from the city seal as can be shown in its printed letterheads. To make the removal official, the city council of Iloilo should pass a resolution removing the title from the city's seal.

Iloilo, "The Mother Queen City of the South"

“Welcome to the Queen City of the South!” A visitor to Iloilo City is bound to receive this greeting several times—at the airport tarmac, even in quaint, little pastry shops where the city’s famed barquillos and galletas are made. Eight out of 10 such visitors would then most likely scan the immediate vicinity, and check if the plane had landed in Cebu instead. And when the visitor is finally convinced that the sights and sounds are distinctly Iloilo’s, the inevitable question would follow: “How could there be two Queen Cities of the South?” “The original Queen City is really Iloilo; not Cebu,” says the first-ever woman Tourism secretary of the Philippines; a true-blooded Ilongga by the name of Narzalina Z. Lim. And the manner by which she and her kababayans would make the claim— in the typical melodious Ilonggo voice and an amiable smile—can well, in fact, settle the matter immediately. But of course, facts need to be laid down, lest a conflict ensues between the two Visayan cities. Iloilo’s reign Iloilo, or Irong-Irong as it was called before the Spanish invasion, has always been a prosperous province. Its rich agricultural lands and numerous ports have been the major factors toward its continued progress. By the mid-1800s, Iloilo emerged as the biggest center of commerce and trade in the Visayas and Mindanao; second only to Manila. Fast forward to the 1900s—the establishment of roads, a railway line, an airport, and the surge of the sugar industry in between—Iloilo rightly received her crown as the Queen City of the South. And not only did she prosper in agriculture and commerce, but she also regaled the rest of the nation with grand architectural structures, superior educational establishments, the most glittering of socials, and lively cultural festivities. Soon, Her Majesty’s able sons became the country’s most important business pioneers, among them, Eugenio Lopez, Gregorio Araneta, and a host of other prominent family names, who reaped sweet success from sugar planting. Iloilo, of course, was proud of her children, but there was a price to be paid. While these entrepreneurs and hacien*deros continued to spread their wings—whether to find more land in Bacolod, or to set up industries in Cebu and Manila—the dynamic progress that had long been synonymous to Iloilo eventually plateaued, and dulled the luster of Her Majesty’s crown. Thereafter, Cebu was anointed as the new Queen of the Visayas. Her glorious past, alive and well Despite Iloilo’s “dethronement,” a visit to the former Queen City of the South would explain why her sons and daughters refuse to let go of her previous title. She is still majestic, what with rich remnants of her glorious past that stand proud to this very day. If Luzon boasts of Vigan as its Heritage City, then the Visayas should do the same of Iloilo. Spread around the province are ancient churches and vintage homes dating as far back as the 1800s. Her churches. Truly breathtaking—and perhaps Iloilo’s greatest treasure—is the Miag-ao Fortress Church. Built in 1786, the church is included in the Unesco World Heritage List, and remains to be one of the most photographed landmarks in the Philippines. While Miag-ao’s yellow stone structure is reminiscent of the great temples of Aztec art, the church’s details are unique for they bear touches of the local culture. The facade, for example, displays an intricate carving of St. Christopher with the boy Jesus on his shoulders, enjoying the shade of a bountiful palm tree. This very Filipino setting is guarded by two dissimilar bell towers, which according to history, once served as lookout points for piratical attacks in the province. The church of Sta. Barbara is another well-restored old-world structure outside the city proper, while the cathedrals of Molo and Jaro near the center, are also crowd drawers. They too are architectural feats, made more interesting by unique concepts: Molo Cathedral is home to 16 statues of all-female saints, while Jaro houses an all-male counterpart. Her homes. The old world feel of Iloilo does not end with her numerous churches. The Jaro District, which gave birth to the country’s first-ever millionaire’s lane, delights tourists with vintage houses at every corner. Most enchanting is the 200-year-old Javellana ancestral home, whose ownership is passed on to the eldest child of every succeeding generation. Now under the care of solar power entrepreneur Robert “Pan*chito” Lopez Puckett, the restored Spanish house of wood and stone is referred to as “Casa Mari*quit”—Mariquit being Panchito’s grandmother, a third-generation Javellana and wife to former vice president Fernando Lopez Sr. Panchito employed the services of restoration experts from Intramuros when he inherited the house in the late eighties, and they did excellent job in polishing Mariquit’s dark wood floors and balustrades, her wrought iron ventanillas, and colorful stained glass windows. Lining Jaro’s main road, meanwhile, is Nely’s Garden, whose long, tree-lined drive leads to a decades’ old white mansion, the ancestral home of the wealthy Lopez clan; as well as the Boat House, a multilevel art-deco-inspired abode, which serves as the vacation house of the late Eugenio Lopez Sr.’s brood. Her story. What enhances the pleasure of visiting Iloilo’s ancient treasures are the stories that her children are always eager to share at every destination. How Miag-ao became home to refugees during the war; the miracle of Molo Cathedral’s Virgin Mary when El NiƱo hit the province; and how Panchito’s grandfather happily leased the beautiful Javellana home to a school for a mere P300 in the mid-eighties. These and more are the stories that have sparked a renewed vigor in the Ilonggos to give back the city her crown. “When we look around us,” they say, “we realize she never did lose her crown for Iloilo continues to be as rich as ever.” What she is, without a doubt, is the Queen Mother of the South. She gave birth to many economies in the Visayas, and she has, all these years, kept her treasures alive and well. The city’s sons and daughters More than ever, the Ilonggos are hopeful that they will soon restore their beloved city to her old glory. They find inspiration in the work of reelected mayor Jerry Trenas, who since his first term, has left no stones unturned in ensuring that Iloilo continues to prosper. Trenas has rightly identified tourism as a potent force in furthering the city’s economy, and restoring the distinction she once had in the Visayas. Thus far, the forward-thinking mayor has fueled an equally dynamic group of Ilong*gos to promote Iloilo as a rich tourist destination, as well as a city that can ably host international and national conventions. Formed only in the beginning of the year, the Iloilo City Convention Bureau (ICCB) already shows much promise in fulfilling the task with Ma. Teresa S. Sarabia, Ph.D as president, former Tourism secretary Narzalina Lim as marketing representative and consultant, and representatives from Iloilo’s major hotels as members. “The group is working together to come up with competitive rates and packages that will entice both tourists and those looking for convention sites to consider Iloilo, for the city truly has a lot of potential,” Lim asserts. “We have the facilities to cater to large convention groups, who after business is out of the way, can savor the original La Paz Batchoy; shop for lace and sinamay; visit the old churches and houses; enjoy young attractions like Casa Fiametta where they can go horseback riding or trekking; or even as a starting point for a trip to the beaches of Guimaras and Boracay.” Gifted with such inviting possibilities, the ICCB and the people of Iloilo City are all set to welcome visitors to the province, and put her back on the proverbial map. And with sons and daughters like the members of the ICCB, there should be no reason why the original Queen City of the South cannot shine as bright as before in the island of Visayas. The ICCB would like to thank Cebu Pacific for sponsoring the recent media familiarization tour to Iloilo City.