Wednesday, April 16, 2014

...the emerging cities of the future

Manila ranks 2nd in 'emerging cities of future' list


MANILA, Philippines – Manila is among the world's emerging cities likely to progress in the next two decades, according to a study by US-based consulting firm A.T. Kearney Inc.

The Philippine capital placed second in the ranking, lagging behind Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Jakarta, Indonesia

"Two Southeast Asian cities, Jakarta and Manila, head up the list of emerging cities most likely to progress. Although both cities are currently in the lower half of the GCI on the dimension of business activity, their rapid improvement on the ECO's leading indicators would allow them to reach the business leaders faster than any other low- or middle-income city in the world except São Paulo," the report said.

Manila, Philippines

A.T. Kearney said Manila “is bolstered by a relatively sharp increase in human capital indicators, with an especially notable improvement in healthcare quality and availability.”

The Philippines has seen rapid economic growth recently, with gross domestic product (GDP) growing 7.2 percent in 2013, surpassing the government’s target of 6-7 percent and one of the fastest in Asia.

A.T. Kearney’s Emerging Cities Outlook measured the likelihood that cities in low- and middle-income countries will improve their global standing over the next 10 to 20 years.

The study cited business activity, human capital and innovation in the emerging cities as indicators.

"Cities that wish to improve or maintain their global positioning must focus especially on strengthening business activity and human capital. As physical distances become less relevant and global competition intensifies, cities in emerging economies will increasingly jockey for position with one another and with cities in higher-income countries,” A.T. Kearney said in its report.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, ranked third while Sao Paulo in Brazil and New Delhi in India ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

New Delhi, India

Rounding up the top 10 emerging cities likely to rise are

Rio de Janeiro,

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Bogota, Colombia

Mumbai, India


Nairobi, Kenya

and Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Monday, April 14, 2014

...the best manufacturing relocation site

Foreign firms seen relocating to Phl

MANILA, Philippines - Several foreign manufacturing companies operating in China and in Southeast Asian countries are eyeing to relocate to the Philippines citing the available high-quality labor here, the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP) said.

In a statement from the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., FOBAP president Robert Young said two French investors are coming to Manila by the end of the month, while a number of Canadian, Chinese and American companies are visiting the country in mid-May to scout for investment opportunities.

Young said these are mid-sized manufacturers of garments, apparel, shoes, toys and housewares looking to invest around $500 million and employ 1,000 to 3,000 workers.

“These people are financially capable, they are ready, they mean business, they are serious... We are lucky if we get at least 10 initially from all parts of China and other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries,” he said.

Companies are moving out of China amid increasing labor unrest resulting in reduced labor pool, as well as higher capital costs.

The group is looking forward to the country becoming a beneficiary of the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (EU GSP+) citing that such will make the country an attractive and cheaper source of goods.

The Department of Trade and Industry submitted the Philippines’ application to the EU GSP+, a scheme which will allow more goods to enter the bloc at zero duty, in December.

The EU GSP+ covers 6,274 products which can enter the EU at zero duty.

At present, the Philippines is a beneficiary of the regular GSP, which covers 6,209 products, with 2,442 products subject to zero duty and the rest slapped with lower tariffs.

“Philippine goods will be duty free entry to EU. Also, (with) the forthcoming incentivized/subsidized labor, this makes investments in the Philippines attractive,” Young said.

By having new investments here, Young said FOBAP members which source products for foreign buyers, will have more factories and suppliers to choose from.

“Right now, we are running out of suppliers because in the past five years, they closed shops one by one. If they will come back, our own business will also flourish together with the Philippine economy,” he added.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

the Pacman vindication

Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title

By Bong Lozada, Mark Giongco
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press,

Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines acknowledges the crowd just after his unanimous decision victory over Timothy Bradley during their WBO World Welterweight championship boxing match, Saturday, April 12, 2014, at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. AP

LAS VEGAS/MANILA — Revenge was served, and it was cold.
Manny Pacquiao won a 12-round unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley on Saturday to avenge his controversial 2012 loss to the previously unbeaten American.
The Filipino ring icon improved to 56-5 with two drawn and 38 wins inside the distance as he regained the World Boxing Organization welterweight world title he lost to Bradley on June 9, 2012.
Although he couldn’t get his first knockout win since 2009, Pacquiao lived up to his pre-fight promise to come out with more aggression, denying Bradley’s avowed aim of sending him into retirement with another defeat.
“I think I can go another two years,” said Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions. “I’m so happy to be world champion again. Tim Bradley was not an easy fight.”
Bradley, who said he fought from the first round with a right calf injury, fell to 31-1, with 12 knockouts.
“Life goes on,” Bradley said of his first pro defeat. “It’s back to the gym. Not a big deal.”
“You won the fight, you deserved the win,” Bradley said. “I have no excuses.”
After a forgetful 2012, Pacquiao has now picked up two impressive wins in just five months following a dominant victory over Mexican-American Brandon Rios last November at the Venetian in Macau.
Judge Glen Trowbridge scored the bout 118-110 for Pacquiao, while both Michael Pernick and Canada’s Craig Metcalf saw it 116-112 for the ‘Pacman,’ whose every move was cheered by the star-studded crowd of 15,601 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Bradley is better from the first fight,” Pacquiao said. “He hurt me on the chin. He made adjustments.
“I knew I had to do more this time than I did the last time,” he added.
Pacquiao landed 35 percent of his 563 punches, while Bradley connected with just 22 percent of his 627 blows. Pacquiao’s jab was much more effective, landing 23 percent to Bradley’s measly 11 percent, and the Pacman had a slight edge in landing 148 power punches to Bradley’s 109.
Round by round
Pacquiao’s performance righted one of the biggest perceived wrongs in recent boxing history. Pacquiao was an eight-division world champion on 15-fight winning streak when Bradley was awarded a split decision in their last bout.
Pacquiao was more aggressive and accurate from the opening minutes of the rematch, sticking to trainer Freddie Roach’s pleas to take the action to Bradley. They exchanged big shots in the opening rounds, but Pacquiao appeared to wear out Bradley with the heavy early pace — and the Pacman never slowed down.
Pacquiao landed a series of big left hands in the early rounds, knocking back Bradley with gusto.
Bradley responded impressively in the fourth round, wobbling Pacquiao twice with a right hand.
The pace slowed in the fifth, with Bradley showing off his defense and movement while Pacquiao attempted to trap him against the ropes.
Pacquiao appeared to wobble Bradley late in the seventh round with a vicious combination, but Bradley stood with his back against the ropes and defiantly encouraged it, blocking most of the shots.
Bradley appeared to pretend to have wobbly legs at one point after a Pacquiao miss, but his open mouth betrayed his weariness while Pacquiao steadily racked up rounds midway through the fight.
Bradley came on strong in the 12th, and the fighters’ heads collided late in the round. Pacquiao avoided any trouble until the final bell, when he did a short dance step to his corner.
Pacquiao finished the fight with a cut over his left eye. Roach said Pacquiao needed stitches to close the jagged cut.
Old ‘killer instinct’
Saturday’s victory showcased more of the old “killer instinct,” with Bradley saying it was clear that Pacquiao was “going for it”.
But Roach said Bradley’s unexpected strategy of seeking a big knockout blow of his own caught him and Pacquiao by surprise.
“He was swinging for the fences all night,” Roach said of Bradley, who said he thought it was the only way he could win the fight.
But as the pace slowed in the later rounds, Pacquiao dominated, putting together multi-punch combinations that kept Bradley off balance.
“I tried, I really tried,” said Bradley. “I wanted that knockout. I kept trying to throw something over the top, that’s what the plan was.”
But Bradley trainer Joel Diaz said he knew the plan had gone out the window when Bradley came to the corner after the first round saying he thought he had torn his right calf muscle.
Diaz tried massaging it, but Bradley told him to stop because it hurt.
“From that point on, I knew I didn’t have much to work with, because our plan was to dominate Pacquiao and we couldn’t do it,” Diaz said.
The injury was later diagnosed as a strain, and Bradley said he had “no excuses”.
“Manny is a great fighter, one of the best in the world maybe the best ever,” he said.
Before the rematch
While Bradley remains publicly confident he beat Pacquiao in their first bout despite fighting on two injured feet, that much-derided decision sent both fighters’ careers on wild spirals.
The two judges who scored the bout 115-113 for Bradley are no longer in the boxing business, but their decision ended Pacquiao’s 15-fight win streak and forced Bradley to defend himself against widespread criticism of the result.
Bradley endured death threats and depression before returning to the ring in unusually reckless style.
He brawled with Ruslan Provodnikov in March 2013 in a sensational unanimous-decision victory that silenced critics of his style and heart. Bradley then outpointed veteran Mexican champion Juan Manuel Marquez last fall, polishing his skills and making himself attractive to Pacquiao for a rematch.
Pacquiao was knocked unconscious by Marquez in the sixth round of their fourth fight in late 2012, and he took nearly a year off before returning for an unspectacular victory over Brandon Rios last fall. Pacquiao’s last two performances prompted Bradley to declare Pacquiao had lost his killer instinct, noting he was unable or unwilling to stop any of his opponents since late 2009.
Pacquiao’s next foe
Pacquiao’s next opponent could be the winner of the May 17 bout between Mike Alvarado and Marquez.
If Marquez wins, he could meet Pacquiao for the fifth time.
“I have no problem with fighting Marquez again, but that’s up to my promoter, Bob Arum,” Pacquiao said.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

...the Asia's top models 2014

Filipina is 'Asia's Next Top Model' runner-up


Jodilly PendrePhoto from the official website of 'Asia's Next Top Model'

MANILA - A Filipina finished runner-up in the second cycle of "Asia's Next Top Model," the Asia-Pacific edition of the hit reality show for aspiring models created by Tyra Banks.

Twenty-year-old Jodilly Pendre, who hails from Mandaluyong, placed second to Malaysia's Sheena Liam, who won a modeling contract with London-based Storm Model Management, among others, as "Asia's Next Top Model."

Another Filipina, 21-year-old Katarina Rodriguez from Makati, placed third among 16 contestants from 12 countries in Asia, including Singapore, Japan, China, and South Korea.

For their final challenge, the top three contenders had a photo shoot inspired by "kampong" or village life in Malaysia, where the entire season was held. They also took the runway in designs by Jonathan Liang, Ghea Panggabean, and Albert Andrada.

Sheena Liam. Photo from the official website of 'Asia's Next Top Model'

For the finale, the regular judges -- host Nadya Hutagalung, model Joey Mead King, photographer Mike Rosenthal, and movement coach Adam Williams -- were joined by Harber's Bazaar creative director Kenneth Goh and Asian supermodel Ling Tan.

Pendre, who broke down in tears after Liam was announced winner, dedicated her stint in "Asia's Next Top Model" to her mother.

"If I win this competition, my mom will be so proud of me," Pendre said in the earlier part of the show's 13th and final episode. "She actually doesn't know that this is for, because everything I do is for her."

"I want to give her a better future. I want to show her that she still has a daughter [who] is willing to give everything for her, because I really want to fulfill her dreams. I am not here for fame. I am here because I have a purpose to be here. I have a reason."

Katarina Rodriguez. Photo from the official website of 'Asia's Next Top Model'

While also emotional, Rodriguez considered her top-three finish an accomplishment, saying she never thought she would reach the end of the competition.

Get Flash Player
"I did reach the top three. I feel very accomplished," she said. "I didn't think I could ever make it this far. This is definitely farther than I ever could've dreamed of making."

Last year, the Philippines' Stephanie Retuya similarly placed second in the first-ever edition of "Asia's Next Top Model."

Apart from her modeling contract, 22-year-old Liam also took home a Subaru car, a contract as the 2014 endorser of haircare brand TRESemme, a chance to appear on the covers of Harper's Bazaar Singapore and Malaysia, and SGD 50,000.


Monday, April 7, 2014

...the business accent

'Accent' matters: Philippines acquiring 70% of India call centers

A building in Manila occupied by a call center. Rajesh Pamnani

MANILA, Philippines — Most voice and call center businesses in India are transferring to the Philippines due to Filipino workers' more "neutral" English acccent, among other reasons, an Indian business group said.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said that India is losing 70 percent of all incremental domestic business process outsourcing (BPO) businesses, particularly call centers, estimated to be worth $30 billion in foreign exchange earnings.

"Philippines ... has become the top destination for Indian investors, thus the need to reduce costs and make operations leaner is increasingly becoming significant across the BPO industry," Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said in a statement Sunday.

Citing Assocham's study, Rawat said that the Philippines has an advantage over India due to its large pool of "well-educated, English-speaking, talented and employable graduates."

Rawat said that only 10 percent of graduates in India are qualified to work in call centers and training could take a considerable amount of time. About 30 percent of graduates in the Philippines, on the other hand, are employable.

"Employees in Philippine call centers speak English fluently with a neutral accent which is what customers look for and that is something missing in Indian accents and that is a prime reason why BPO business is thriving in that country," Rawat explains.

"Cultural proximity to the US together with availability of talented manpower are key reasons as to why BPO companies prefer expanding their operations in Philippines," he added.

The country's IT-BPO sector saw its revenues rise by 17 percent in 2013 as more companies chose to locate and expand their operations in the Philippines.

The industry is estimated to hit revenues of up to $25 billion by 2016, and may account for approximately 10 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, employing about 4.5 million Filipinos.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

...the WEF PH jump

PH jumps 8 notches in WEF global trade index

The index measures how well countries facilitate the flow of goods and services over borders to their jurisdictions                      
Apr 03, 2014
UP 8 NOTCHES. The Philippines improves its ranking in the World Economic Forum's Enabling Trade Index 2014 report
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines advanced 8 places in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual survey measuring how open countries are to international trade.

The Philippines ranked 64th out of 138 economies in WEF's 2014 Enabling Trade Index, up from 72nd in 2012. The country has risen 28 places since 2010, when it landed on 92nd spot.

In ASEAN, the Philippines was 5th, following Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Following the Philippines were Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar.

The Enabling Trade index "assesses the extent to which economies have in place institutions, policies, infrastructures and services facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destination." These trade-enabling factors are classified under 4 categories: market access, border administration, infrastructure, and operating environment.

WEF said the Philippines did well on market access, but there was room for improvement with respect to the other categories. It said border administration was mired by corruption and red tape – two things that also weakened general operating environment in the country.

WEF added, "Like many countries in the region, the Philippines’ biggest weakness is the lack of adequate transport infrastructure." It cited shortcomings in airport and port infrastructure, and insufficient associated logistics services.

Despite persistent challenges, the Philippines enjoyed competitive advantages in several areas, according to Peter Perfecto, executive director of the Makati Business Club, which has been a partner institute of WEF in the Philippines for its trade and competitiveness surveys.

These areas included "specific tariffs, tariffs faced, cost to export, cost to import, tariff dispersion, ease and affordability of shipment, available international airline seats in kilometers per week, customs services index, access to finance, share of duty-free imports, number of distinct tariffs, efficiency of clearance process, tariff rate, number of days to import, and ICT use for business-to-business transactions.”

When it comes to exporting in the Philippines, the top 5 problematic factors were "high cost or delays caused by domestic transportation, access to imported inputs at competitive prices, technical requirements and standards abroad, identifying potential markets and buyers, and difficulties in meeting quality/quantity requirements of buyers."

When it comes to importing, the problematic factors were "burdensome import procedures, corruption at the border, tariffs, high cost or delays caused by domestic transportation, and high cost or delays caused by international transportation." –


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

...the Singaporean food experience

Singaporean writes book on Filipino food

By Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon

PHILIPPINE CUISINE AUTHOR. Singaporean Bryan Koh , 30, has written a three-volume book, “Milk Pig and Violet Gold (Philippine Cookery),” that is arranged according to the three main island groups Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. His inspiration in compiling recipes from Aparri town to Zamboanga City were his Filipino nannies who cooked “pinakbet,” “adobo,” “sinigang” and other Philippine dishes for his family when he was a young boy. PHOTOS BY E.I. REYMOND T. OREJAS/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON

ANGELES CITY, Philippines—On Saturday night when Singaporean Bryan Koh launched his book, “Milk Pigs and Violet Gold (Philippine Cookery),” Filipinos, including heritage-food chef Lilian Borromeo, were profuse with thanks.

Their gratitude to the 30-year-old Singaporean was well placed.

Koh must have been the first foreigner to produce a wide compilation of recipes painstakingly gathered from local cooks through meals in public markets, restaurants, carinderia (eateries), cafés and private kitchens from Aparri town in the northern tip of Luzon mainland to Zamboanga City in Mindanao.

Accompanying the recipes were good photographs, light accounts and a helpful glossary and index.

“It’s an authentic snapshot of Filipino cuisine,” Koh told the Inquirer, speaking of his three-volume book that is arranged according to the three main islands of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

It was copublished by Holy Angel University’s Center for Kapampangan Studies (CKS).

Koh remains humble even as his output of four years helps the world’s culinary community understand Filipino food.

“I did not want to come across as an authority. I’m on a journey. I’m just a scribe,” said Koh, a mathematics major from National University of Singapore, the same university where the idea for a Southeast Asian cookbook cropped up before he took up Master of Management in Hospitality at Cornell-Nanyang Institute.

The book’s title comes from what he calls two icons: the lechon de leche (roasted suckling pig) and ube (purple yam).

Inspired by nannies

Koh’s curiosity, later passion, for Filipino food was ignited by his Filipino nannies, Lydia Baltazar of La Union province and Evelyn Mendoza of Laguna province.

“This goes way back, from my yayas (nannies),” he said.

He was 2 years old when Baltazar worked for the Koh household beginning in 1986. She made adobo, sinigang and pinakbet weekly fares, he remembered.

Koh said Baltazar left in 1997 when she reached her 50s and moved to her relatives in Canada.

Mendoza cooked the same meals and introduced more fish dishes as she worked from 1997 until she left for Russia in 2009.

“They were two of the best cooks in the household. It’s a different experience when the cooking comes with care and love. I was fortunate to be exposed to such food,” Koh said.

He said he was grateful to his nannies because they allowed him to cook with them. “They gave me the foundations,” he said.

He honored them by relating how they cooked the family’s favorite meals.

It was when he took an assignment, as a freelance journalist, that he encountered The Farm, a place for wellness in San Benito in Lipa City in Batangas province, in 2008.

“After eating their raw food, I was completely riveted,” Koh said.

That was when he decided that he would write a Southeast Asian cookbook by starting with the Philippines “by learning more, going into the unexplored [cuisine] that few cookbooks pursued and understanding why Philippine food is misunderstood.”

Koh is a patient researcher, said retired advertising creative director Alex Castro.

“Two years ago, I got an e-mail signed ‘K. Bryan’ who asked for my mom’s recipe for tidtad (dinuguan or blood stew), which had two kinds of blood. He found this out from Ajinomoto’s book, ‘Pinoy Umami on Mekeni’s Meals,’” Castro said.

This, he said, began their friendship.

“[Koh] got around from the kindness of total strangers,” Castro said, pointing out that many Filipinos helped Koh complete his adventure.

Robby Tantingco, CKS executive director, said Koh documented the way the late Doreen Fernandez, Ana Besa and Claude Tayag did.

“Thanks for celebrating our cuisine,” Tantingco told Koh.

“He’s no more a stranger to the culinary delights of our country,” Castro said.