Unemployment in the Philippines falls down further, the lowest in more than two years

As the Philippines continues to keep on recovering from the damage of COVID-19, the national authorities reported that unemployment in the country fell down further achieving a 2-year low, according to a news article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). This is really good news because economic growth and continued employment are very essential right now. It should also be stated that immunity from COVID-19 is better now that many millions of Filipinos have gotten vaccinated and/or boosted.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA news article. Some parts in boldface…

Unemployment rate in September 2022 stood at 5 percent, the lowest in more than two years, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Tuesday.

In a press conference, PSA chief and national statistician Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos in September fell to 2.5 million, or 183,000 lower than the 2.68 million citizens with no jobs the previous month.

The number of jobless Filipinos during the month was also lower by 1.78 million from 4.28 million unemployed a year ago.

“This means 50 out of 1,000 individuals in the labor force have no job,” Mapa said in Filipino.

On the other hand, employment rate in September 2022 was at 95 percent, which translates to 47.58 million Filipinos who have jobs.

This is higher than the August 2022 employment rate of 94.7 percent, and also higher than the September 2021 rate of 91.1 percent.

He identified sectors with largest month-on-month increase in employment. These include manufacturing, up by 780,000 jobs; education, up by 159,000 jobs; public administration and defense, compulsory social security, up by 128,000 jobs; transportation and storage, up by 56,000 jobs; and real estate activities, up by 13,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, underemployment rate also increased to 15.4 percent in September this year from 14.7 percent in its previous month. This means 296,000 more employed Filipinos want to have additional hours of work in their present job or an additional job.

Despite challenges concerning inflation, Mapa is optimistic that the country will sustain unemployment rate near the 5-percent level for the remaining months of the year.

He added the average unemployment rate for this year is close to the pre-pandemic level, which is at 5.1 percent in 2019.

Mapa said the average unemployment rate for the first nine months of the year stood at 5.8 percent.

The above article ended stating that the Philippines had an unemployment rate of 17.6% in April 2020 or shortly after the first COVID-19 lockdown. For the year 2020, the average unemployment rate was at 10.4%

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent announcement about the state of unemployment in the country? Do you feel confident that 2023 will be a better economic year and that more of the unemployed will be able to find new jobs?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: President Marcos declares it is time to return to pre-pandemic life

Life in the Philippines continues to move back to normal even though new COVID-19 cases are being recorded in the thousands daily in recent times. Still, it is notable that many millions of Filipinos have gotten fully vaccinated or boosted for COVID-19 (note: around 3.5 million received their 1st booster shots recently) and even though the past summer saw lots of election campaign events that had many, many political supporters gathered in high numbers, no new outbreak of COVID-19 happened. There is also the growing confidence about organizing events that attract customers, sports participants and spectators and more.

In relation to what I stated above, it is significant that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., declared to the people it is time to return to pre-pandemic life which the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported. Take note that under Marcos, the use of face masks outdoors is now optional.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA news article. Some parts in boldface…

President Ferdinand R. Marcos on Sunday enjoined Filipinos to get back to their normal lives before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, stressing that it is crucial to show the world that the Philippines is slowly getting back on its feet.

It is a good thing to remind people that the pandemic may have been difficult, the pandemic really put us through the wringer. But we are back,” Marcos said in a speech in Bacolod City during a luncheon just before he graced the culminating activity of the 43rd MassKara Festival.

The pandemic is fading away. We are learning to manage it and now it is time for us to all go back to work, to all go back to our normal lives, to remind ourselves of all the opportunities that were before us before the pandemic…It is time for us to go back to all of those endeavors that we were undertaking before Covid hit,” he added.

Marcos said the MassKara Festival signaled not just the opening of Bacolod City to tourists, but also the entire country.

“It is time for us to go back and exercise once again, show once again the Filipino resilience, the Filipino resourcefulness, the Filipino industry, the Filipino talent, ipakita naman natin sa buong mundo dahil nagbubukas ang mundo, dahil nagbubukas ang Pilipinas, ito ngayon ang MassKara Festival ay isang pagdiriwang hindi lamang sa pagbubukas ng Bacolod kung hindi sa buong Pilipinas (let us show the world because the Philippines is now open, this is the MassKara festival which is a celebration of the opening of Bacolod but of the entire Philippines),” he said.

Despite the festival being borne out of “a very sad period in the history of Bacolod”, the President said it also symbolizes Filipinos’ “reemergence from a crisis.”

“..That is what we celebrate today and that is what we see that people are feeling and that is the feeling that we want to continue to encourage within our people because that is what’s going to lead us to success,” he said.

Marcos also congratulated Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez and event organizers for a successful holding of the festival.

Founded in October 1980 by the late Bacolod City Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo Jr., the MassKara Festival was first held following two major tragedies that befell Negrenses– the collapse of sugar prices in the international market and the sinking of the Negros Navigation ship M/V Don Juan.

During the sugar crisis, artists thought of promoting mask-making as an alternative source of income for the locals.

Montalvo likewise suggested holding a mask festival to lift the spirits of the locals after the maritime accident that killed his wife, two daughters, and hundreds of Bacolod residents.

MassKara is derived from the words “mass” meaning “many” and “kara” meaning “faces,” thus calling it the Festival of Many Faces.

This year’s festival will be the first face-to-face event after two years of being suspended due to the pandemic.

The MassKara festival’s revival is significant not only with the people of Bacolod City and the province of Negros Occidental but for the nation as well. Here in the Alabang area of Muntinlupa City, the Megarahe Sale and the COPIX both attracted lots of people who searched and bought items. Still in Alabang, it was recently announced by Zonta Club of Alabang that they will be reviving their popular Christmas Carnivale Bazaar on November 25, 2022 at the Filinvest Tent. I myself attended that bazaar back in 2017 and 2018 at the said venue and it is really encouraging that it will be revived next month. These are just a few of the many signs that the Philippines is recovering from the pandemic and can move forward and progress more. Pre-pandemic economic strength will be regained eventually.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Do you feel encouraged by the statement of President Marcos that the pandemic is fading away and that the country can more forward more?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: President Marcos says the economy of the Philippines will go beyond pre-pandemic level

Things are looking bleak economically. Recently the Philippine Peso reached another record low to the United States Dollar on the foreign exchange market. The local stock market lost a lot of points as well. Regardless, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos stated that the economy of the Philippines will not just recover but grow higher than what was achieved before the COVID-19 crisis affected everyone, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) article.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine economy will go beyond its pre-pandemic growth, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Friday (Manila time), as he confidently talked about progress amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

During his meeting with members of Asia Society at The Carlyle Hotel in New York City, Marcos said his administration has laid out measures that will help reinvigorate the economy.

We don’t want to just catch up. We want to go beyond that. We have no interest in going back to pre-pandemic levels. What we are interested in is to flourish further and to position the Philippines in such a way that we can take full advantage of the new economies and the new industries that have come to light,” Marcos said in his speech.

Sustained cooperation and collaboration with the private sector and other governments would lead to the realization of his administration’s bid to make the Philippines a new and transformed country, the President said.

He said the Philippines is a “viable and smart” investment destination, given its macroeconomic fundamentals, enabling policies, and human capital.

“They recognize the Philippines, our country, for its business-friendly policies, a very competent workforce, and a network of economic zones,” he said. “These are interesting times and there are many things to accomplish. The far-reaching ill-effects of the pandemic compel us to reinvigorate our economies in a spirit of sustained cooperation and collaboration.”

Marcos noted that the Philippine economy expanded by 5.7 percent in 2021 and 7.8 percent in the first half of 2021 because of government spending, household consumption, and investments reinforced by consumer and business confidence.

He also cited “investor-friendly” laws that seek to “leverage game-changing reforms.”

Marcos told the group about the “young, educated, hardworking, and English-speaking” Philippine workforce that is globally competitive.

He expressed hope to get more investments for his administration’s priority sectors, which include agriculture; nuclear energy; health systems; information technology and business process management; digital connectivity; and manufacturing, including the critical sectors of semiconductors, green metals, and electric vehicles.

We must use public and private resources effectively to encourage the expansion of trade, investment, technology transfers, all to accelerate our development,” Marcos said.

Despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic crisis, Marcos said the Philippines remains on track to “graduate to upper middle-income-country status” by 2023 and become a “high-income country” by 2040.

With steady investments in infrastructure, agriculture, food security, public health, education, and other social services, we seek to become a high-income country, with zero extreme poverty by the year 2040,” he said.

“Certainly, the world continues to be faced by enormous challenges, but I am confident in the future because I have 110 million reasons for being so. Such is my faith in the Filipino people and the relationship we hold with the United States and our other allies and partners and friends,” Marcos added.

Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to build bridges of understanding between the East and West.

Let me end this by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this latest development? Are you eager to see the socio-economic plans of the Marcos administration to be implemented as soon as possible so that the national economy will be reinvigorated? Do you think that the pandemic  may have opened up new opportunities for business innovations and e-commerce to transpire nationwide?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

I Love Israel: People of Israel are welcome to visit the Philippines without a visa

As the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines continues to be at low risk (note: low numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported daily), the nation is not only recovering gradually but also growing with regards to the national economy and tourism. More on tourism, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed recently that the Philippines is opening its borders to travelers from Israel without a visa, the Manila Bulletin reported.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippines is now opening its doors to Israelis without a visa, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday, April 25.

We are delighted to once again welcome our Israeli friends to our country, just in time for the summer!” Philippine Ambassador to Israel Macairog S. Alberto said.

“Aside from the breathtaking natural beauty, colorful culture, and endless adventures that await Israelis in the Philippines, it is the warm hospitality and genuine friendship of Filipinos that truly make the travel meaningful and unforgettable,” Alberto added.

Since April 1, the country started opening its doors for Israelis without a visa. They only need to be fully vaccinated, undergo RT-PCR test within 48 hours or a laboratory-based antigen test within 24 hours pre-flight, and have a travel insurance with a minimum coverage of USD 35,000 which covers Covid-19 treatment.

The DFA assured visitors that they will feel safe while in the country as almost 100 percent of Philippine tourism workers are fully vaccinated and tourism establishments are complying with local health guidelines.

Aside from islands such as Boracay, El Nido, and Cebu, which are constantly listed as the world’s top beach destinations, the Philippines also boast of destinations that appeal to the adventure-loving Israeli traveler. These include swimming with whale sharks in Oslob and Donsol, snorkeling with sea turtles in Apo Island, scuba diving in Anilao, surfing in Siargao, volcano trekking in Bicol, diving shipwrecks in Coron, and exploring Puerto Princesa’s Underground River.

The above article ended stating that travelers from Israel may check the official website of the Department of Tourism (DOT) (click https://beta.tourism.gov.ph/) and they can get in touch with the Tourism Promotion Section of the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, or send an e-mail to telaviv.pe@dfa.gov.ph.

It is indeed a blessing from the Lord that the Philippines has gotten safer during this COVID-19 pandemic as over 70 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose followed by around 70 million people fully vaccinated (2 doses) and more than 10 million patients boosted (3 doses). The Philippines is safe enough for foreigners to visit and the people of Israel are very welcome to come in without needing a visa. It should be recalled that the Philippines learned from Israel’s experts on how to deal with COVID-19 (for references, click here, here, here, here and here). Truly God is good and He is always watching us and we should be thankful to Him as both the Philippines and Israel are progressing and recovering better from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Spectators at the 31st SEA Games are not required to take COVID-19 tests

Are you planning to personally visit Vietnam and watch the many sports events of the delayed 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) live as a sports spectator? While it is true that Vietnam has been opened to foreign tourists for over a month now, there are still requirements that need to be fulfilled before enjoying the freedom of touring and discovering the nation.

As it is the Southeast Asian region’s biggest sports event, the SEA Games are indeed highly crucial to the tourism goals of host city Hanoi and the rest of Vietnam. Recently, the Vietnam authorities announced that spectators at the SEA Games are not required to take COVID-19 tests, according to a report by VietnamPlus.vn.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the VietnamPlus.vn article. Some parts in boldface…

Spectators watching competitions in person during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) will not be required to take COVID-19 tests before enter the stadiums, according to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health on April 16 regarding COVID-19 control measures during the regional sport event.

According to the guidelines, guests to the event at deputy ministerial level and above, as well as heads and deputy heads of sport delegations neither need to show negative COVID-19 testing results when entering Vietnam nor take testing after arrival. They also do not need to take quarantine.

Meanwhile, sport officials, referees and athletes are required to have certified negative RT-PCR/RT-LAMP testing results taken within 72 hours or rapid antigen testing within 24 hours before entering Vietnam, but not required to take quarantine.

Coaches and athletes will need to take COVID-19 rapid tests 24 hours before each competition.

The guidelines also list COVID-19 control measures to be implemented at accommodation facilities for guests and athletes, with the setting up of SARS-CoV-2 testing areas and teams providing medical and food safety services for them. Quarantine and treatment rooms will also be arranged for COVID-19 patients with no or mild symptoms.

Athletes will travel in closed routes between their accommodation, training and competition venues.

The stadium hosting the opening and closing ceremonies will be disinfected before the events, while medical teams will stand by to give emergency aids and COVID-19 tests to persons who are suspected to infected with the disease.

Games will take place with either no spectator or with limited or unlimited number of spectators depending on COVID-19 situation at the host locality.

In case a COVID-19 patient is detected, the patient will take quarantine at their accommodation or treatment at medical centres depending on their health conditions.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: In case you will be visiting Vietnam as a tourist immediately, do you plan to watch a SEA Games event as a spectator at the sports venue? How important are the SEA Games for you personally?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Looking for a new home or investment opportunities? Watch out for South 2 Residences in Las Piñas City

There is no doubt that the Philippines is socially and economically recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. Business and economic readings of the nation in 2021 showed improvements over 2020. Apart from rising business confidence, there is also growing confidence in real estate and investments. That being said, SM Development Corporation (SMDC) is making a bullish bet at the Southmall complex in Las Piñas City with their project South 2 Residences, according to a business article published by Manila Bulletin. To the potential investors and searchers of new homes reading this post, I urge you to pay close attention.

Artistic image of the project as published through the Manila Bulletin.

To put things in perspective, posted below are selected excerpts from the Manila Bulletin article. Some parts in boldface…

South 2 Residences is a master-planned developments that unlocks so much more than just ease and comfort, having everything within reach, in a strategic location where all key destinations are made accessible. This gated vertical community in Las Pinas city is poised to give investors and future residents wide-ranging rewards that cover it all.

Integrated living keeps destinations close and health risks at bay – Owning a home surrounded by essential establishments has proven itself vital during this time of a global pandemic. There is a massive and even potentially life-saving difference between having to ride in a car to go places, and simply taking a few steps for a grocery run or your bank errands.

Located in the Southmall Complex in Las Pinas City, SMDC’s South 2 Residences is orbited by several key lifestyle, commercial, and office destinations. This includes retail shops, leisure and entertainment stations, and a plethora of dining options at SM Southmall. There are also banking establishments such as BDO and Chinabank, health institutions such as The Medical City Clinic, and office spaces at the SM South Tower.

“It is much more important now to have easy and fast access to essential facilities such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, drug stores, supermarkets, and places of worship,” writes Andrew Frondozo, Head of Project Management at Santos Knight Frank, in the real estate expert’s Global Buyer Survey 2021: The Philippine Edition. “This increased realization is no longer for the middle-aged or the elderly, but younger people even.”

Living in a 15-minute city like South 2 Residences, where important destinations are all within walking distance, also means your car can stay parked, helping you save money as oil prices shoot up.

Artistic view of the South 2 Residences amenities as published through the Manila Bulletin.

Accessibility, well-appointed spaces, and more – SMDC’s South 2 Residences is accessible to all parts of the metro through convenient road networks such as the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Emilio Aguinaldo Hi-way, and the Metro Manila Skyway. It is also close to the Skyway Extension, LRT-1 Cavite extension, and C-5 Southlink.

Upon reaching the property, one can immediately get a sense of grandeur from South 2 Residences’ imposing presence in the neighborhood. The impression only gets stronger as you enter the hotel-like lobby, adorned with impeccable design and décor.

South 2 Residences, likewise, presents a full range of resort-style amenities, including landscaped swimming pools, children’s play areas, pocket gardens, a gym, and high-speed elevators.

If you are eager to learn more details and check out the showroom gallery of South 2 Residences, you should visit https://smdc.com/properties/south-2-residences/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are  a resident of Las Piñas City, what do you think about South 2 Residences? If you are an investor or if you have the means to buy a unit where you and your family can live in, are the declared amenities and accessibility to SM Southmall ideal to you? Does the idea of living in a new community in close proximity to Alabang-Zapote Road sound like a turn-off to you?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

31st SEA Games official slogan is “For a stronger Southeast Asia”

The highly anticipated 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games or Hanoi 2021) is about 45 days away from formally opening in the city of Hanoi in Vietnam. Originally scheduled for 2021, the SEA Games this May will be significant not only because it will be the first time the regional sports gathering will be held during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it will test the resolve of the Southeast Asian members with regards to sports events organizing, location control and, of course, handling the participation of the many athletes from the member nations who will take part in a wide variety of sports competitions. The determination and focus on proceeding with the biggest sports event of the region (scheduled for May 12 to 23, 2022 although there will be some events taking place before the opening ceremony happens) is already being reflected with the newly unveiled official 31st SEA Games slogan called “For a stronger Southeast Asia”, as well with the official event song titled ‘Hay toa sang’ (Let’s shine), as reported by VietnamPlus.vn.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the report of VietnamPlus.VN. Some parts in boldface…

Communications for the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) have been bolstered as the region’s biggest sports event is approaching.

The official song for the Games ‘Hay toa sang’ (Let’s shine), composed by renown composer Huy Tuan, has been unveiled, showing the pride on the culture and people of Vietnam, and highlighting sportsmanship as well as efforts to achieve the best results, with lyrics in Vietnamese language and chorus in English.


The song also sends a message of development, solidarity and friendship between Vietnam and international friends.

Deputy Director of the Vietnam Sports Administration Le Thi Hoang Yen said the song’s lyric is simple and easy to learn. It is hoped to encourage athletes and be favoured by sports fans at home and abroad.

The event’s slogan “For a stronger Southeast Asia” is to convey a message of solidarity to build a thriving ASEAN Community and further promote its role in the international arena.

Earlier, the regional sport events’ official logo and mascot have been introduced, with the logo symbolising a flying bird and a V-shaped hand and the mascot based on the saola – a rare animal listed in Vietnam’s Red Book of Endangered Species.

The saola, scientifically known as Pseudoryx nghetinhensis, is dubbed the Asian Unicorn because it is so rarely seen, looks like an antelope in appearance, and is recognised by its two parallel horns with sharp ends which can reach up to 50 cm in length.

The species was first discovered in May 1992 by a joint team from the MARD and the World Wide Fund for Nature during a trip surveying Vu Quang National Park in the central province of Ha Tinh, near Vietnam’s border with Laos.

For the newcomers reading this, the delayed 31st SEA Games is indeed pushing through as planned with the opening set for May 12 and closing on May 23. While the daily reports about Vietnam having over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded looks intimidating, the SEA Games organizers are still laser-focused on proceeding with the competitions and Vietnam itself reopened its borders to foreign visitors and dropped COVID-19 restrictions on the said visitors. Already COVID-19 prevention and control measures specific to the SEA Games have been implemented.

The 31st SEA Games will be huge as it will take place in Hanoi and in the eleven neighboring localities. There will be forty specific sports and more than five hundred events. About 10,000 participants are expected to join in. A lot of preparations are being done by both Vietnam and the SEA Games members (and their respective athletes who qualified). The 31st SEA Games is something that should not be missed.

For additional insight about the 31st SEA Games and Vietnam, watch the videos below…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the official slogan of the 31st SEA Games? Do you believe that even as Vietnam is struggling with very high COVID-19 cases, the SEA Games will be done orderly and successfully this May? Would you happen to know if someone in your local community qualified to represent your country in the SEA Games in Vietnam?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

COVID-19 prevention and control measures for 31st SEA Games in Vietnam set

With less than two months left before the 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games or Hanoi 2021) officially opens on May 12, 2022 in Hanoi, Vietnam, the national authorities established COVID-19 prevention and control measures in connection to the said games, according to the report published by VietnamPlus.vn. Indeed, the SEA Games of 2021 are pushing through as planned even though the number of new COVID-19 cases in Vietnam are very high.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the report of VietnamPlus.VN. Some parts in boldface…

The host Vietnam has built COVID-19 prevention and control measures, part of the preparations for the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31), as regional sports delegations show a concern about the work.

At the recent second Chefs de Mission Meeting of the Games, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Sports Administration Tran Duc Phan told delegates that in the face of complex developments of COVID-19, Vietnam has devised three options of allowing full capacity, restricting or barring spectators.

In case no fans are allowed in competition venues over COVID-19 concerns, all individuals are required to wear face masks, except for competing athletes. If capacity restrictions are observed, seats will be arranged to maintain distance among spectators. As for the no-restriction plan, spectators must still observe the 5K message on the prevention of the spread of the virus.

The commute of sports delegations and athletes must be held in a closed routine. Arrivals will take COVID-19 rapid antigen test within 24 hours.

Any found contracting the virus may stay in quarantine at hotels if they develop no or mild symptoms. Those with severe symptoms will be transferred to assigned medical facilities.

Athletes having contact with COVID-19 positives are eligible to compete and not be quarantined. 

The organising board will cover COVID-19 testing and treatment costs for medical incidents handled at competition venues and accommodation facilities. Sports delegations are to bear hospital bills, insurance and other costs.

For additional insight about the SEA Games and the reopening of the nation to foreign visitors, watch the videos below…

Vietnam recently reopened its borders for foreign tourists (for references, click here and here). The COVID-19 crisis negatively impacted Vietnam’s tourism industry and like any other nation, there is a drive to achieve economic recovery which means creating jobs for the unemployed, generating additional economic activities for the surviving businesses, and more . On face value, the delayed SEA Games is key in helping Vietnam achieve recovery. Local tourism insiders state that the recovery of the tourism industry will take a long time. At this point, it remains to be seen how much of an impact the SEA Games in Hanoi will have on the nation’s ability to attract visitors from overseas.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you looking forward to the 31st SEA Games? Does the current high number of new COVID-19 cases in Vietnam concern you? Do you think that the announced COVID-19 prevention and control measures are sufficient? Among the many sports events of the 31st SEA Games, which one interests you the most?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Better than Streaming: My first time in two whole years to watch a movie inside the local cinema

I finally did it! After two years of living with the COVID-19 crisis, I finally returned to the local cinema at Commercenter in Alabang recently where I saw The Batman on the big screen. The day was March 5 (Saturday) and it was a very notable experience for me personally and I can say that the theatrical experience is still better than watching movies via streaming.

To be very clear, it has been months since the cinemas all over Metro Manila reopened and as the months passed by, moviegoers have gradually returned in relation to what films were screened, what the local Alert Levels were and what health protocols were implemented. The reopening of cinemas went a long way since the 1st quarter of 2021 (for references click here, here, here and here) and the Philippine cinema industry as a whole is trying to recover what was lost over the past two years. At one point, the movie theaters employed over 300,000 employees nationwide.

On my way to watching The Batman at the cinema with my ticket!

Going back to my return to the local cinema, I want to make clear that currently the cinemas will only accept people who have been fully vaccinated (meaning two doses of most COVID-19 vaccine brands were injected) which is why vaccination cards/passes are required for verification BEFORE any ticket will be sold. As such, I showed to the theater ticket seller my vaccination card and eventually I was allowed to purchase a ticket for The Batman which was P320 (more than US$6). I should state that it was also there at the Commercenter cinema where I last saw a movie in 2020…just before the first lockdown happened.

More on rules, it has been declared already that food and drinks are prohibited in Commercenter’s cinemas and that moviegoers are to wear their masks on as they watch a movie. Again, the prohibition on food and drinks at the said cinema were in effect when I viewed The Batman on March 5. According to a March 9, 2022 report by the Manila Bulletin, some theaters allowed their moviegoers to have food while watching.

For transparency, these are the rules for you to see.

While having no food and drink was a bummer for me as a paying moviegoer, I decided to just let things be and focus strongly on the narrative of The Batman which has a running time of almost three hours! That being said, as the movie went on, I was compelled to really focus on the story, the details and the dialogue (note: I turned my smartphone off as soon as I sat down). I also realized something that movie theaters can instantly provide that streaming apps and the home-based theater cannot – complete privacy and immersion.

In other words, there no distractions from external forces (examples: smartphone updates through the Internet, in-home telephone ringing, a noisy neighbor, someone knocking on the door, the house doorbell ringing, a motorist driving a car with an overly loud sound outside the house, etc.) and as such I experienced this strong engagement in watching the Matt Reeves-directed Batman movie. I also noticed that not only does Colin Farrell looks truly unrecognizable as the new cinematic Penguin, there were two moments I noticed he sounded and spoke like Robert de Niro!

I should also state that there were several other moviegoers who occupied seats on rows behind and in front of me. Clearly the attendance of that very screening was below 50% which only reminds me that the pandemic is still ongoing here in the Philippines. Fortunately, everyone was well behaved and in-theater noise and distractions were non-existent.

After waiting until the very end to see the very short and cryptic end-credits scene, I finally left the cinema satisfied and entertained. I found The Batman a worthy movie to watch on the big screen but to judge its quality and emphasized my observations about it, I would do that in a possible movie review.

Nothing like looking at what films are being shown before you reach the ticket counter.

My return to watching a movie in the local cinema was a really interesting experience. It was also my first time in many years to watch a movie on the big screen without consuming any drink or food. Still, I got my money’s worth overall and I really hope that what I paid will keep helping not just Commercenter cinema but the entire movie theater industry to achieve economic recovery with the pandemic still ongoing. The more people who get fully vaccinated, and the more fully vaccinated people who get boosted, the better it will be for movie theaters in terms of qualified moviegoers.

When it comes to spending time inside Commercenter, be aware that the mall has really nice places to enjoy delicious meals before or after you watch a movie at their cinema. You love ramen and Japanese meals, go to Sigekiya Ramen. You want to try Greek cuisine? Visit Akrotiri. You like good food and wine? Visit The Black Pig.

To those of you reading this, if you have the means and if your local cinemas are allowed to operate, I encourage you to buy tickets and watch your desired movie on the big screen inside the cinema. I suggest you stop streaming temporarily and help the movie theaters achieve economic recovery from this pandemic. For The Batman, I say screw HBO Max and HBO Go!

Remember this: Streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming. What you pay for movie tickets will help not only the cinema operators and their respective employees, you will also help the local authorities by means of tax collection and keeping the local area in order.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 1 status in Metro Manila takes effect today with amended guidelines

Thanks to the Lord who listens to the prayers of the faithful and will never abandon them, Alert Level 1 is now in effect all over Metro Manila which will last until March 15, 2022. Along the way, the national authorities amended the guidelines for Alert Level, according to the Philippine News Agency (PNA). There will still be specific rules that need to be followed and things like face masks and vaccination cards are still required. As such, pay close attention to the details about the amended guidelines.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Sunday approved the amendments to the guidelines on the nationwide implementation of the Alert Level System for Covid-19 response.

This, after the IATF also approved on Sunday placing the National Capital Region and 38 other areas under Alert Level 1 from March 1 to 15.

Under Alert Level 1, the IATF said there are no restrictions in terms of indoor and outdoor capacities. Everyone can undertake intrazonal and interzonal travel without regard to age and even comorbidities.

All establishments, persons, or activities are likewise allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at total on-site or venue seating capacity, provided these are consistent with minimum public health standards.

Meanwhile, face-to-face classes for primary education shall be subject to prior approval of the Office of the President.

Below are some of the protocols to be observed under Alert Level 1:

*Well-fitted face masks shall be worn properly at all times, whether outdoors or in indoor private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air or sea, except when eating and drinking, participating in team and individual sports in venues where ventilation standards can be maintained, and practicing outdoor sports/exercise activities where physical distance can be maintained;

*All private offices and workplaces, including public and private construction sites, may operate at full 100 percent capacity, consistent with national issuances on vaccination requirements for on-site work. However, they may continue to provide flexible and alternative work arrangements as deemed appropriate based on function or individual risk.

*Agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall likewise adhere to 100 percent on-site workforce. Off-site work shall be under such work arrangements subject to relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President.

*On the other hand, public transportation in areas under Alert Level 1 shall be at full seating capacity. For intrazonal and interzonal travels involving public land transportation between an area with a higher alert level classification and an area under Alert Level 1, the passenger capacity shall be that which has the lower passenger capacity rate between the point of origin and point of destination. For aviation, maritime and rail public transport operating in and out of Alert Levels 1 areas, the passenger capacity will be at 100 percent. The use of acrylic and/or plastic dividers in public transportation shall not be required. The use of the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) travel management system shall likewise not be required for interzonal travel to areas under Alert Level 1.

*On contact tracing, the use of health declaration forms/paper-based contact tracing shall not be required for all the agencies and establishments under Alert Level 1. On the other hand, the use of digital contact tracing such as the StaySafe.PH application is optional for all the agencies and establishments.

*On testing prioritization, testing protocols shall be implemented, consistent with national guidelines, for individuals who are unvaccinated or have higher exposure risk pursuant to IATF Resolution No. 148-B and No. 149, s. 2021. In addition, testing using RT-PCR shall be recommended and prioritized for: Priority Groups A2 (persons above 60 years old) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) and Priority Group A1 or healthcare workers. Testing shall be optional for other groups not stated above. It shall not be recommended for asymptomatic close contacts unless symptoms will develop, and should immediately isolate regardless of test results. Instead, symptom monitoring is recommended. Should testing still be used, testing should be done at least 5 days from the day of last exposure. Testing shall also not be recommended for screening asymptomatic individuals. Meanwhile, testing using antigen tests shall be recommended only for symptomatic individuals and in instances wherein RT-PCR is not available, consistent with previously issued guidelines.

*The Hospital Infection Prevention and Control Committees (HIPCC) may implement testing protocols in health facilities for health workers and patients based on their assessment of risk and benefit.

*On isolation and quarantine, updated quarantine protocols for incoming international travelers shall be consistent with IATF Resolution No. 160 A/B, and updated isolation and quarantine protocols for general public and healthcare workers and authorized sectors shall be consistent with DOH Dept Memo No. 2022-0013.

*Under Alert Level 1, establishments are no longer required to set-up isolation facilities within the workplace.

*On treatment, close contacts, asymptomatic confirmed cases and mild to moderate confirmed cases shall be managed at the primary care level, such as health centers, private clinics thru face to face or teleconsultation, while confirmed cases with severe and critical symptoms shall be managed in the appropriate health care facility.

*In the case of reintegration, isolation can be discontinued upon completion of the recommended isolation period, provided that they do not have fever for at least 24 hours without the use of any antipyretic medications, and shall have improvement of respiratory signs and symptoms.

*For the purpose of claiming sick leave, health benefits or other relevant processes wherein the proofs of Covid-19 management are necessary, a medical certification may suffice provided it should include the following minimum information: name of patient, severity of symptoms, diagnosis as probable or confirmed COVID-19, and date of end of quarantine and/or isolation period.

Meanwhile, individuals 18 years old and above will be required to present proof of full vaccination before participating in mass gatherings or entry into indoor establishments, such as but not limited to:

*In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than Covi-19 and for the cremains of the Covid-19 deceased;

*All indoor dine-in services of food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants and eateries. For outdoor or al fresco dining and take out channels, no proof of full vaccination is required;

*All indoor personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology and other similar procedures including home service options;

*Fitness studios, gyms and venues for exercise and sports;

*All indoor cinemas or movie houses operating at full capacity;

*Meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibition events and permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers;

*Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls and theaters;

*Indoor ancillary establishments in hotels and other accommodation establishments; and

*Venues for election-related events.

Proof of full vaccination shall be required before entry in the list of establishments identified under the principles of 3C’s strategy against Covid-19.

Children ages 17 and below shall not be required to present proof of vaccination status.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this new development? If you are a Metro Manila resident, do you feel very relieved about Alert Level 1 in effect for the next two weeks?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673