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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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/

North Carolina-based church pays for fuel benefiting more than 300 people

News published every day by the mainstream media outlets can be very depressing and stressful to absorb. Here in the Philippines, many millions of still unused COVID-19 vaccines are at risk of expiring. Overseas, America has its worst inflation in decades and the prices of fuel are very expensive nowadays.

If you are looking for good news and details that can help deepen your faith in the Lord, check out the recent CBN News story about a North Carolina-based church that paid to fill the fuel tanks of hundreds of customers who lined up at the gas stations. Considering how expensive gas is right now, the anointed move by Kingdom City Church is a blessing to those who badly need gas at a time when they are struggling financially. To be clear, Kingdom City Church has been doing this special thing for years.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the CBN News report. Some parts in boldface…

With painfully high gas prices still hurting American families nationwide, churches across the country have partnered with gas stations to help alleviate the burden with either discounted or free fuel.

Kingdom City Church in Charlotte, North Carolina recently took part in helping to fill the tanks of those in need.

“At the end of the day, it’s a blessing to be a blessing to God’s people,” Pastor Brian Carn told CBN News’ The PrayerLink.

He explained that his church has been doing a gas outreach for several years, but with the rising cost of goods, this year’s event was more significant.

I believe that the life of a Christian should be a life that is overflowing with compassion,” he shared. “We were just faithfully doing it over the last couple of years and it actually came in handy this year in a powerful way.”

More than 300 people received free gas, along with grocery vouchers and gift cards.

“People were actually running out of gas, coming to the gas station,” Carn said of the event that took place in late March. “We were having to push their cars to the gas station, but to be able to use that as a tool to get people saved, pray for people, get people healed and delivered.”

Members of Kingdom City Church pumped gas for drivers so they could sit in their cars and receive ministry and prayer.

“I drove about 25 minutes to get over here to get a tank of gas,” said one driver. “Everyone was pleasant and I really appreciate everything you guys have done for me and everyone out here today.”

“Once we got here you feel the Holy Spirit around us…you can feel His Spirit just move you,” another driver told the church. “Speaking to people prior to getting the gas, praying with people…it’s earth-shaking.”

Pastor Carn personally financed the entire event, giving away $10,000 worth of fuel. He said he wanted to pour back into the community and sow a seed.

“I wanted to make it my business to sow into those who come. You know a lot of times as the church we do a lot of receiving, but not much pouring back into the people,” he explained, “so I wanted to make it my business to sow a seed into the lives of people all over the city of Charlotte so that God could use me as a conduit to let them know that God cares about your tank as much as he cares about your pocket and your heart.”

The above article ended quoting Pastor Carn: “You know Jesus fed them first and then ministered to them. So that was our fish and the loaves.”

Now, check out the related CBN News video below. Watch how caring Kingdom City Church is to the people who need gas…

What this news story should remind you is that when you are blessed by the Lord, do not forget to be a blessing to others. Never forget that God blesses the faithful abundantly! Learn from the following holy scriptures below…

“Your lives light up the world. For how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop?  And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place?  Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. So don’t hide your light!  Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 (TPT)

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:10-12 (NKJV)

Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything —every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do. Just as the Scriptures say about the one who trusts in him: Because he has sown extravagantly and given to the poor, his kindness and generous deeds will never be forgotten. This generous God who supplies abundant seed for the farmer, which becomes bread for our meals, is even more extravagant toward you. First he supplies every need, plus more. Then he multiplies the seed as you sow it, so that the harvest of your generosity will grow. You will be abundantly enriched in every way as you give generously on every occasion, for when we take your gifts to those in need, it causes many to give thanks to God.

2 Corinthians 9:8-11 (TPT)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

For those who are wondering what Kingdom City Church is, check out the excerpt of their history from their website posted below…

Kingdom City Church (KCC) is a national ministry founded in September 2016 by Senior Pastor, Brian Carn, along with the ministry assistance of our former Associate Senior Pastors. KCC is currently located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Houston, Texas; and soon to be all over the world! With only a word from the Lord, “Move to Charlotte!” Prophet Carn spoke to the people of God concerning this great assignment the Lord had given him. It was the beginning of a ministry who was hungry for a move of God like never before! As we launched our first service in Charlotte, NC on Sunday, September 4, 2016, we knew God was beginning something that would change the lives of many for years to come. With an extremely packed sanctuary every week, the power of God flowed through the place from beginning to end, compelling men and women to be saved and have a deeper encounter with God.

Praise and thank the Lord for Kingdom City Church blessing so many people with their latest gas outreach! Through them, God’s love, care and blessing were passed on to others!

To learn more about Kingdom City Church, visit their official website at https://www.kcccharlotte.org/wp/ and their official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KCCculture/. On Twitter, follow them at  https://twitter.com/kcc_culture

+++++

Note: The Kingdom City Church logo is a property of the church.

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.

+++++

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

Almost 200,000 Maynilad customers based in Muntinlupa and in nearby cities and municipalities to get bill rebates

Several Maynilad customers in Muntinlupa as well as those in the nearby cities and municipalities will soon have rebates on their respective bills which the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System-Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) confirmed, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

For the newcomers reading this, there was a water shortage that affected lots of customers in Muntinlupa City months ago which led the City Government to take action. While it was announced before that Maynilad customers in Muntinlupa would get water bill rebates, this latest development is more significant as it involves almost two hundred thousand customers in the said city and in nearby areas as well.

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

More than 198,000 customers of Maynilad Water Services Inc. affected by the prolonged water service interruptions from December to January in Muntinlupa and nearby cities and municipalities will get rebates in their bills.

This was announced by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System-Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) on March 30 during its Public Information Drive on the rebate program for affected Maynilad customers held at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Barangay Tunasan.

The forum was attended by MWSS-RO Chief Regulator Patrick Lester Ty, MWSS-RO Deputy Administrator for Technical Regulation Evelyn Agustin, Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, Muntinlupa City Council’s Majority Floor Leader Raul Corro and representatives from Maynilad.

The MWSS-RO imposed a P63.97 million financial penalty on Maynilad due to the water service interruptions the water company implemented from December to February that affected customers serviced by its Putatan Water Treatment Plant in Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Pasay; and the cities of Bacoor, Imus and Cavite, and municipalities of Rosario and Noveleta in Cavite.

According to the MWSS-RO, it imposed the penalty on Maynilad as the company “failed to meet its Service Obligation of ensuring the availability of an uninterrupted 24 hour supply of water at seven (7) pounds per square inch (psi) minimum pressure to all connected Customers in its Service Area.”

In her presentation, MWSS-RO’s Agustin said a total of 198,315 customers of Maynilad in the affected areas will each get a bill rebate of P323 that will be reflected in their bills.

The amount of rebate was derived from dividing the P63.97 million penalty on Maynilad by the number of affected customers.

Before the amount of rebate was announced, Fresnedi said he hoped that the presentations during the forum “will clarify many issues regarding these water service interruptions.”

“The MWSS-RO is here, first and foremost, to protect your welfare,” Ty told the participants.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this newest development? Are you satisfied with the announced details? Does P323 sound like a justified amount? How much money do you spend on water every month?

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

+++++

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

Las Piñas City’s 25th Cityhood Anniversary and 115th Founding Anniversary commemorated

This past weekend, Las Piñas City had a dual commemoration of its legacy and its people. With a series of commemorative events, the Las Piñas had its 25th cityhood anniversary on March 26 followed by its 115th founding anniversary on March 27.

To put things in perspective, posted below are key details related to the dual commemoration as posted by the City Government on its official Facebook page in recent times. Some parts in boldface…

The City Government has reached 91% of its first dose COVID-19 vaccination of the total city population as well as having boosted almost 200,000 local residents as of March 24. As it continues its usual vaccination operations, the City Health Office (CHO) teams are conducting house-to-house vaccination specifically for the first dose, second dose and booster shots. The local vaccination program for students was launched.

The City Government is offering up to P30,000 hospitalization support to residents related to the issuance of “green cards” under its health program. Mayor Aguilar emphasized that the green card initiatives can be used in five accredited hospitals including Las Piñas Doctors Hospital, Las Piñas Medical Hospital, Perpetual Help Medical Center-Las Piñas, Philippine General Hospital and S John de Dios Hospital.

A local job fair conducted by the City Government through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) resulted in the on-the-spot hiring of 182 applicants.

On March 25 at City Hall, a painting exhibition took place specifically at the lobby. The exhibition showcased the city’s renovation and development.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are  a resident of Las Piñas City, are you happy about the quality of life within the city? Are you satisfied with the public services rendered by the City Government? Do you believe that Las Piñas will emerge as one of the most prosperous cities of the entire Philippines?

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

+++++

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.

+++++

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/

I Love Israel: Israel and the Philippines agree to speed up deployment of Filipino hotel workers

The essential ties between Israel and the Philippines continue to create positive results once again as the two nations formally agreed to speed up the deployment of Filipino hotel workers to Israel which recently reopened its borders to international visitors (including the unvaccinated), according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report in reference to an official announcement by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

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

Israel and the Philippines are working to fast-track the deployment of some 500 Filipino hotel workers as Israel reopens its tourism industry, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

The agency said Philippine Ambassador to Israel Macairog Alberto met the officials of the Israel Hotel Association (IHA) last March 14 in hopes to expedite the OFWs’ deployment by April 2022.

As Israel reopens its tourism industry, allows the entry of both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers, and eases its travel and health restrictions, its hotel sector will require a full workforce to cater to the expected influx of tourists to the Holy Land,” the DFA said.

“The Philippines and Israel are thus working together to fast-track the arrival of the initial batch of 500 Filipino hotel workers in the first week of April, ahead of Passover and Holy Week, both peak holidays and tourist-draws for the country,” it added.

The project is under the 2018 Philippines-Israel labor agreement for a government-to-government arrangement for Filipino hotel workers in Israel.

During the March 14 meeting, IHA said its members may require up to 10,000 laborers and expressed readiness to hire 800 Filipino hotel workers, which will then be increased to 2,000 at the earliest opportunity.

IHA also praised the Filipino workers’ professionalism, English proficiency, and work.

Alberto, meanwhile, assured the association that the Embassy is working closely with the Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, as well as with Israeli labor and immigration authorities for the deployment.

It is indeed a blessing from the Lord that the essential ties and established agreements between Israel and the Philippines created many job opportunities for Filipino hotel workers as they are already needed to fill the labor needs of Israel’s tourism industry as lots of foreign travelers are already arriving there. Do not forget that here in the Philippines, a lot of Christians are eager to visit Israel to tour the Holy Land as pilgrims and already Behold Israel has scheduled Bible Experience Tours for June, September, November and December this year! Truly God is good, He is always watching us and we should be thankful to Him as both the Philippines and Israel are recovering from 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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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/