I Love Israel: Direct Philippines-Israel flights before the end of 2021 in the works

Have you been dreaming of visiting the Holy Land or doing business in Tel Aviv in Israel? There is something positive in development right now and breakthroughs could happen before the year ends. This is because recently, Israel’s Ambassador Rafael Harpaz announced that the establishment of direct flights between the Philippines and Israel is being worked on with 2021 in mind (specifically before the end of the year). There is no timeline yet as to when will Philippines-Israel travel will resume but make no mistake that Israel is opening its borders to foreign tourists (who got vaccinated for COVID-19) starting May 23, 2021 which itself is connected with their successful vaccination program.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article. Some parts in bold…

Direct flights between the Philippines and Israel before the end of the year are in the pipeline, Israeli Ambassador to Manila Rafael Harpaz said Friday.

We would like very much for the Filipino tourists to be back to Israel. The Philippine Airlines already informed us that they are planning to start a direct flight to Israel towards the end of the year,” Harpaz told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

There’s no timeline yet when tourism exchanges between the Philippines and Israel would resume, but he said the deployment of Filipino caregivers continues despite the pandemic.

“Actually, every day we see new caregivers because there is a demand. So they are flying to Israel and when they get there, they also get the vaccine immediately,” Harpaz said. “We don’t have a quota (on deployment) but it depends on the demand. Because our population is getting older and older, the demand is getting high. We also have from other countries but the demand is high for Filipino caregivers.”

In 2019 alone, about 35,000 Filipino tourists visited Israel, while more than 30,000 overseas Filipinos are working there as caregivers.

‘Tourism restart’

At present, there is no agreement between the Philippines and Israel for a travel bubble setup, but Harpaz said he is hopeful that the two nations’ tourism exchanges would soon resume.

He added that several Filipino tour operators are interested to bring travel groups once Israel fully reopens.

“They’re waiting. There’s so many tour operators in the Philippines who are eager to take groups to Israel because it’s a big tourist destination for Filipinos,” Harpaz said. “The Israelis are also eager. The businessmen are eager to return to the Philippines. They want to go to Banawe, Palawan, Siquijor, and all those wonderful places. Let’s hope that it will soon work out.”

Israel is opening up its borders to foreign tourists under a travel bubble setup, with the vaccinated population no longer required to undergo a long period of quarantine.

But for now, the vaccines that Israel recognizes for this arrangement are Pfizer and Moderna.

It has so far signed a travel bubble agreement with Cyprus and Greece.

“We are moving slowly with more countries because we want to have tourism back and business back,” he said.

As you already know, I strongly believe that the ties between my native Philippines and Israel are very essential. I really love it when Israelites and Filipinos are in harmony together, and the fact that Filipino caregivers and students were vaccinated for free in Israel is an example of that. Filipino caregivers have been known to be very helpful towards Israelites and there is a strong demand for more caregivers. Christians here in the Philippines, led by faith, love to visit the Holy Land and discover personally the places where Lord Jesus had been to.

Speaking of Philippines-Israel ties, Ambassador Harpaz also announced more good news for Filipinos struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Posted below is an excerpt from another Philippine News Agency article…

The Philippines can expect to be among the priority countries of Israel once the latter is able to transfer its excess vaccines for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Israel Ambassador to Manila Rafael Harpaz said Friday.

Harpaz explained that Israel, for the time being, could not transport its extra vaccine doses to any third country due to some legal issues in its contract with Pfizer.

“It has nothing to do with the Philippines. Israel, for the time being, was not able to give vaccines to a third country because we have a contract and there are limitations on giving it to a third party,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview on Friday.

Aside from Manila, more than 10 countries have also expressed interest in purchasing their excess vaccines, Harpaz said.

“It’s something we are looking generally in a favorable manner but it’s the legal issues that must be resolved first. But it’s one of the issues in the discussions and when the moment that there would be a green light to give (the vaccines) as assistance to third countries, the Philippines will certainly be among them,” he said.

The Philippines is definitely a high priority for us once we’re capable of giving away the vaccines.

Wow! Considering the current situation here in the Philippines, it’s nice to learn that our country is a high priority for Israel for potential donations of excess vaccines from their own stocks. The legal issues are blocking access. To be very clear, the Philippines secured many millions of COVID-19 vaccines but those stocks cannot come fast enough. Very recently, the cities of Muntinlupa and Parañaque became the first recipients of vaccines from Russia. How many exactly? THREE THOUSAND doses for each city.

In closing this, here are some Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and for your insight.

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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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.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

I Love Israel: Israel opening up on May 23, 2021 to foreign tourists who got vaccinated for COVID-19

Israel (population 9.3 million), which recently celebrated its 73rd Independence Day, announced that it will welcome foreign visitors who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 (China virus) starting May 23, 2021. The opening of the borders for foreigners will be done gradually (by stage). Filipinos or Philippine passport holders may enjoy visa-free access into Israel for up to ninety (90) days.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the recent news article published through Philippine News Agency (PNA). Key parts in bold…

Israel is opening up its borders to foreign tourists who have been vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) starting next month.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism said the initiative will begin on May 23, starting with a limited number of groups that will be increased based on the health situation and progress of the program.

Individual travelers will be allowed into Israel in its “second stage”, with health considerations determining the timeline.

All visitors will be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding the flight to Israel, and a serological test to prove their vaccination, upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport” it said.

In the meantime, discussions will continue with various countries to reach agreements for vaccine-certificate validation, so as to cancel the need for the serological test.

Israel’s vaccination program has been successful, outpacing much of the world in inoculating its population.

“After opening the economy, it is time to allow tourism in a careful and calculated manner. Opening the tourism is important for one of the fields most hurt during the COVID year. We will continue to look at easing regulations in accordance with the health situation,” said Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Minister of Health.

This is really great news! Personally, it is my heartful desire to visit the Holy Land in Israel where I can discover places Lord Jesus had been to, realize what I’ve learned in the Holy Bible and deepen my faith in Him even more.

I also strongly value the friendship between Israel and my native Philippines. In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte and his delegation had a groundbreaking visit to Israel. The friendship of the two nations was clearly reflected during the Networking Night of the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP) of 2019 which I personally attended. It should be noted that Filipino caregivers in Israel were vaccinated for COVID-19 for free. Truly the Israel-Philippines relationship should be treasured forever! For insight about the many Filipinos who got vaccinated in Israel, watch the video below…

For all Christians reading this…if you are looking for spiritual tours of the Holy Land with a credible tour organizer, I suggest Behold Israel. You can check out their Holy Land tour packages online. For those who have yet to know Behold Israel, it was founded in 2001 by Amir Tsarfati who grew up and lived in Israel all his life. After the end of his military service, he studied at Israel’s School of Tourism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and worked as a licensed tour guide for Sar El Tours and Conferences, and was eventually promoted to CEO (Chief Executive Officer). While guiding dozens of church groups from around the world, God convicted him of the great need – particularly within Evangelical Christianity – to explain Israel and its role in God’s plan. Since 2013, Behold Israel became a major provider of the worldwide, real-time access to reliable sources of news and information about Israel from within the powerful context of Bible history and prophecy. I encourage you to visit https://beholdisrael.org/ and for insight, I recommend watching the videos below (one of which was Amir Tsarfati’s online interaction with my fellow Filipinos).

There is also the organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI) which now has over 10,000,000 members worldwide who are dedicated to defend Israel and fight against anti-Semitism. CUFI is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States and is the foremost Christian organization educating and empowering millions of Americans to speak and act with one voice in defense of Israel and the Jewish people. The organization is committed to confronting indifference and combating anti-Semitism in all its forms wherever it may be found. CUFI was founded in early 2006 and since grown tremendously. They are accepting donations online and if you believe in protecting and empowering Israel, head on to https://cufi.org/donation/donate/

Going back to Israel-Philippines relations, there is also the online presence of the Israeli Embassy in the Philippines (Facebook page: Israel in the Philippines). Check out their web page welcoming message below…

We will never forget how President Manuel Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe during the Holocaust.

Israel has a great deal of admiration for the approximately 30,000 Filipino caregivers who are working in Israel and have an integral, cherished and respected part of Israeli society.

Israel is considered global high-tech power and a leader in cyber industry. I’m also very proud of the long agriculture cooperation between our two countries. We are excited to promote cooperation in these areas.

Ambassador Rafael Harpaz

On the Facebook page Israel in the Philippines are lots of useful updates related to Israel and its ties with the Philippines. They also publish videos about Israeli culture, cuisine, places of Israel and more. Important or special events are also announced. As such, I recommend you to visit and follow Israel in the Philippines.

In ending this, here are videos related to Israel from the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and from Hagee Ministries for you to watch. Love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus!

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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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

COVID-19 Crisis: National Capital Region (NCR) and 4 nearby provinces now under GCQ until April 4, 2021

It is all over the news and already a lot of people got affected specifically in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. This past Sunday, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued a new resolution (Resolution #104) in response to the spike of COVID-19 cases in the country. There was a single-day high of 7,999 new COVID-19 cases reported recently followed by blaming the government and economic managers.

Firstly, there is no lockdown which is good news. This is about retaining the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status for NCR while the four nearby provinces have fallen under the same status.

To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) report…

Excerpt 1

Under IATF Resolution No. 104, he said only essential travel into and out of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal will be allowed.

Excerpt 2

Traveling into and out of Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal will be prohibited. We will have a sort of bubble in NCR, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal,” he said.

Travel of authorized persons outside their residences (APORs) such as essential workers, health and emergency frontline services personnel; government officials and government frontline personnel; duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors; persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons; persons going to the airport for travel abroad, returning overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be unimpeded for as long as they show their respective work identification cards.

Individuals crossing zones for work or business and going back home will also be allowed to travel to and from the said areas.

“Kung kayo ay uuwi, essential travel po ‘yun. Kailangan lang magpakita ng ID kung saan ka talaga nakatira (If you’re going back home that’s essential travel. All you need to do is show your ID to prove that you live there),” he said.

Excerpt 3

Public gatherings limited

All public gatherings, including religious gatherings, will be prohibited but weddings, baptism, and funerals will be allowed but must observe a 10-person venue capacity.

Current operational capacities of essential and non-essential services and industries will remain.

However, face-to-face meetings, group meals in workplaces will be prohibited. Instead, work-from-home and virtual meetings are encouraged.

Roque said the IATF resolution also enjoins the private sector to adopt similar alternative working arrangements as those in place in the executive branch of government such as operating on a 30 to 50 capacity.

Only outdoor dining allowed

As for dining, Roque said only outdoor dining will be allowed in areas under GCQ while indoor dining will be strictly prohibited.

“Pagdating po sa mga restaurants, ang papayagan lang po yung mga outdoor dining (When it comes to restaurants, we will only allow those with outdoor dining),” he said.

Outdoor dining must observe a maximum of 50 percent venue capacity.

Take out and delivery is encouraged, he added.

Wear masks at home

Although the economy will stay open, Roque said the IATF resolution will require persons below 18-years-old and above 65-years-old, those with comorbidities, and pregnant women to remain inside their residences at all times.

The IATF resolution also advises the wearing of face mask at home especially when living with elderly and vulnerable.

Accepting of visitors outside immediate family or household is strongly discouraged.

Operations of driving schools, traditional cinemas and video and interactive game arcades, libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers, limited social events at accredited tourism establishments and limited tourism attractions will be temporarily suspended except open-air tourism attractions.

Before the IATF’s new resolution was issued, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) went ahead in shortening the hours of voter registration as well as suspending the organizing of satellite registration (registration processes held outside of their office) which started yesterday. People around the Philippines have until the end September 2021 to register themselves or adjust their respective voter statuses in preparation of the May 2022 presidential, national and local elections.

For their part, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced yesterday that it would yield to public health concerns in relation to the GCQ status for NCR and the 4 nearby provinces.

With regards to the IATF’s prohibition on indoor dining, already the shopping malls and restaurants here in South Metro Manila have made adjustments and updated their customers. Sigekiya Ramen announced that their restaurant at Commercenter, Filinvest City in Alabang, is still allowed to accommodate paying customers for outdoor dining. Like many others, they also offer takeout and delivery services. Alabang Town Center and Festival Mall in Alabang posted updates about safety protocols in accordance to IATF Resolution #104.

With all these developments in place, people in the NCR and the affected provinces under GCQ will have to adjust. It is okay to keep reporting to work but there is a need to be cautious with regards to personal safety and avoiding COVID-19 infection as much as possible. There is also the need to prioritize where to go and what to do. All of these are in effect until April 4, 2021 and here is hoping that the current situation will improve (that the daily COVID-19 count of new cases will go down) so that the new round of restrictions under GCQ will not be extended.

Better yet, I encourage you all to look up to our Lord Jesus and keep having unwavering faith in Him. I also encourage you all to read chapter 91 of the Book of Psalm in the Holy Bible and pray in tongues to our Lord in the privacy in your respective rooms (with the door shut closed). Open your heart to the Lord, always.

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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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.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

Las Piñas City Government tells travelers/motorists to avail of S-PaSS (Safe, Swift and Smart Passage) service online

Yesterday the City Government of Las Piñas formally announced that travelers can avail of the service of S-PaSS (Safe, Swift & Smart Passage), an online traveling management system that can be used to travel to provinces or cities with applicable travel restrictions.

In case you need it for your destination local government unit (LGU), here are the following steps or guidelines for creating an S-PaSS Account and getting your travel documents online.

Information published by the City of Las Piñas Facebook page.

With the S-PaSS, it will facilitate for users a safe, swift and smart coordination of travels to the destination LGUs. The traveler may check if the destination LGU has a restrict or unrestricted travel policy. If the LGU is restricted, the S-PaSS must be applied for a Travel Coordination Permit (TCP). The travelers are free to go to any unrestricted destination LGU, however it is recommended to generate a Travel Pass-Through Permit (TPP) if they will be passing through LGUs with restricted statuses.

Information published by the Facebook page of S-Pass.

Once again, everyone is reminded to continue to be careful, be disciplined and adhere to health and safety protocols.

About S-Pass

S-PaSS is a travel management system developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) VI primarily intended to make travelling of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) Emergency Travelers (ETs), and other travelers during this pandemic Safe, Swift, and Smart.

The system was designed to help users facilitate their travels when going to provinces or cities that have travel restrictions

To learn more about S-PaSS, https://www.facebook.com/spassph or visit their official website at https://s-pass.ph/

For updates about the city, visit https://www.facebook.com/cityoflaspinasofficial

For South Metro Manila discussions, visit and join the community in Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

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The above information was sourced from the City Government of Las Piñas and from S-PaSS.ph

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

Skyway Stage 3 opened to motorists

After long years of waiting and a lot of hard work done mainly by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and its strategic partners, Stage 3 of the Metro Manila Skyway here in the Philippines has officially been opened to motorists as confirmed by SMC’s president and CEO Ramon S. Ang.

“All access points and seven lanes in select areas will be available to motorists starting January 15 still for free—extended until February 1—so that our motorists can experience and enjoy seamless driving along this engineering marvel over Metro Manila’s congested streets,” Ang posted on his official Facebook page on January 13, 2021.

An official photo of a specific stretch of Skyway Stage 3 released by San Miguel Corporation.

Yesterday, the inauguration ceremony of Skyway Stage 3 was held and was graced by many government officials and special guests, including President Rodrigo Duterte. Ang expressed hope for the future as Skyway Stage 3 will benefit a lot of people traveling between north and south of Metro Manila.

Ang issued the following statement: I celebrate this special day with a full heart, knowing that we have delivered another game-changing project that will make a difference in the lives of so many Filipinos for many generations to come. With the official opening of our 18-km Skyway Stage 3, traffic in Metro Manila will be significantly reduced. It will no longer rob our kababayan of precious quality time with their families. After bridging the north and south of the Metro, we will begin work next month to realize another dream: to link Manila and Rizal in the east and eventually provide seamless land travel on all four corners of Metro Manila.  Thank you to all our partner-stakeholders past and present, and to the Duterte Administration for the unwavering support in helping us deliver this vital infrastructure project! Maraming, maraming salamat po!

As mentioned before, Stage 3 of Skyway is a stretch of about 18 kilometers that connects the northern and southern parts of Luzon with an elevated highway that results much faster travel for motorists. Not only does it connect the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) with the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), it also allows motorists coming from both highways to reach their destinations in Quezon City, Manila and Makati City via designated exits. Skyway Stage 3 also has seven lanes.

In addition, anyone traveling from the north, let’s say the province of Bulacan, who has to travel all the way to Cavite province can do so by traveling along Skyway Stage 3 (to bypass EDSA and all the congested Metro Manila streets below), reach the older Skyway that connects to the NAIAX (Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway) and connect to the CAVITEX (Cavite Expressway). Motorists from Cavite on the other hand can go north much faster than before through the same route of expressways.

People from Laguna province who need to visit far destinations in the north like Subic Bay or Clark can do so by entering the Skyway from SLEX, go through Skyway Stage 3 and enter the NLEX. From NLEX travelers can go to Subic Bay via the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway). To reach Clark, travel further north via NLEX.

The potential benefits of Skyway Stage 3 makes travel between north and south much easier and more efficient. This also means avoiding losing precious time in traffic jams in Metro Manila’s old roads below the Skyway, and this should translate into much less stress traveling. As such, San Miguel Corporation and Ramon S. Ang deserve a lot of thanks and admiration. Also, never forget to thank God that this incredible achievement of Philippine infrastructure happened in our lifetimes. For sure, Skyway Stage 3 will contribute a lot to the socio-economic development of not only Luzon but the Philippines as a whole.

In ending this, posted below is the January 5, 2021 official video of Skyway Stage 3 (which was partially opened weeks ago) for your viewing pleasure and learning.

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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 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 FB group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

A Look Back at Aerobiz Supersonic

When it comes to playing economic simulation games, I enjoy playing them on the personal computer (PC) using the keyboard and mouse. Back in the mid-1990s, there was one particular economic simulation that I played on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES or SNES) and found it to be very enjoyable and easily to play with using the console’s control pad.

That game was Aerobiz Supersonic, a simulation about the airline industry developed and published by Koei for both the Super NES and the Sega Genesis. Here is my look back at this old video game from the 1990s.

Screenshot_20200222-133557_Photos.jpg
The cover of the Super NES version of the game. Its art and style is really nice to look at.

Concept and Game Design

In the game, you get to play the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an airline and your goal is to beat your rivals in the global air travel industry. How to achieve the goal and succeed? There are tasks that need to be accomplished such as buying commercial airplanes (that include such real-life companies like Boeing and Airbus) for use, establishing flight routes, securing slots in airports worldwide, selling tickets and filling up each flight with as many passengers as possible, achieve profitability and finish the game’s imposed time period ranking #1. Adding zest to the game’s challenge is the selection of a certain era of world history that include 1955-1970 (the dawn of jets), 1970-1990 (the Cold War era), 1985-2005 (the present era) and 2000-2020 (the age of continued flight advancement).

Within the game, time passes by means of clicking a certain on-screen button that ends the player’s current turn. Of course, before pressing that, the player has to set things in motion like sending a representative to a certain overseas airport to negotiate and secure slots (which takes months to complete), set the ticket prices, buy a new airplane or two, etc. The game even allows players to micro-manage their airline like adjusting internal spending (salaries) or adjusting the quality of their airplane and services. Also nice is the option offered for players to buy a hotel or resort, a theme park or a travel agency that can bring in additional revenue.

Screenshot_20200222-132447_YouTube.jpg
The airport slots, local businesses, economic and tourism details per city displayed.

Screenshot_20200222-132508_YouTube.jpg
Visit an airline and choose from one of many models of airplanes to buy.

There are other small details that need paying attention to such as the economy and tourism meters of each city displayed (note: a higher tourism score means the city is more attractive to travelers), the population, etc. Also noteworthy is the current state of relations between your home nation with the nation of the city airport you are trying to establish routes with which can affect your business.

When the turn ends, a series of events will happen showing what happened around the world, how your company fared in the competition during the lapsed time period, and, occasionally, a random event will occur that most likely will affect your business (examples: the Olympics hosted by a city helps draw in additional passengers or the 1970s oil crisis raises the cost of your operation).

Regarding the game’s imposed time period for competing with the artificial intelligence (AI) opponents, the period is twenty in-game years.

Screenshot_20200214-195600_YouTube.jpg
This is part of micro-managing your business in the game.

Screenshot_20200214-195720_YouTube.jpg
After the end of each turn, news and updates not only about your company but also your competitors are flashed.

Quality

Being used to playing simulation games on PC, I found Aerobiz Supersonic to be very enjoyable, addicting and easy and efficient to play (in terms of controls). Considering the above-mentioned gameplay options (buying an airline, sending a representative, etc.), they are pretty easy to adjust using the Super NES controller although there were a few moments when I accidentally pressed the button putting into motion a different option.

Gameplay aside, this game has a whole lot of charm with its visual presentation. You launch a brand new flight route, the game shows a short animation sequence of the jet taking off. You buy an airplane, you will see a short animation of it entering your facility once it arrives (complete with a visual design reflecting the model). You conduct a board meeting, your company’s officials are present making reports to you and you get a series of choices to make on what to do next. A historical event or a global development occurs, you get to see original art reflecting them (example: a nation joins the EU with people wearing suits and neckties together in a formal ceremony). You make a move to buy slots at an airport overseas, a company official will have his or her face shown talking to you. When looking at the regional map, you see lines connected between cities (highlighting the establish flight route you made) and there are icons of airplanes flying between them.

Screenshot_20200214-195732_YouTube.jpg
Random tourist hot spots get highlighted as you keep playing.

More on the aspect of starting the game, I like the options offered for me to select which city shall serve as my airline headquarters. Among the many cities included, there are cities of my native Philippines namely Manila (the international destination) and the nearby city of Cebu. I still remember how delighted I was to see my native Philippines included in the game, complete with Asian character designs to reflect the company and its region.

Conclusion

Ultimately Aerobiz Supersonic (which was actually a sequel to Aerobiz) is a gem of a console economic simulation released at a time when 2D sprite gaming was still the standard and 3D polygonal gaming was just about to make an impact on the global video game console market. Back then, 2D side-scrolling action/adventure games, sports games and role-playing games (RPGs) were so common on the Super NES and Genesis combined and the idea of enjoying economic simulations on consoles was highly unusual. Aerobiz Supersonic is proof that economic simulations can come with a lot of depth, deliver a good amount of strategy and can be highly playable and enjoyable on consoles.

If you want to enjoy this game, it can be quite difficult to do because you need to acquire an existing copy of the game as well as a fully functioning Super NES or Sega Genesis. As of this writing, there has never been a re-release of Aerobiz Supersonic (note: in line with legitimacy, I will not consider those browser versions or file sharing of ROMs) and it is not even included on Nintendo’s Virtual Console. There’s not even a version made for smartphones.

Now if only the executives at Koei Tecmo Games would consider revisiting Aerobiz Supersonic with today’s consumers in mind.

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You can choose what kind of plane, how many planes, how many flights and how much you set the ticket prices whenever you start a new flight route.


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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

Duty Free Philippines Grows 4% in 2019

DutyFreeLogo

Hey everyone! Have you shopped at a Duty Free Philippines yet? Me? I have not been to a Duty Free Philippines outlet or shopping center for quite some time now.

Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC) announced today that it grew 4% in 2019 in terms of year-on-year sales growth. Notably, the achieved growth was a clear improvement  over the 2% growth it achieved in 2018.

To put things in perspective, the consolidated sales reached a total of $226 million in 2019 compared with $217 million the previous year.

In relation to the latest statistics, DFPC chief operating officer Vicente Pelagio Angala said the Philippines’ hosting of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) and the opening of Duty Free Luxe have significantly contributed to the upswing.

He said the growing number of tourists visiting the newly-rehabilitated Boracay Island via Kalibo Airport has been beneficial to DFPC sales.

When it comes to the top source markets, 85% came from Filipino tourists, balikbayans (visiting Filipinos who live overseas) and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Confectionery is still the major growth driver, with 31 percent share of the total sales, followed by liquor (21 percent), fragrance and cosmetics (18 percent), and fashion merchandise (10 percent).

The DFPC claimed it has met a number of significant milestones last year, including the opening of “Go Lokal’s” Marahuyo this past November.

“In line with the directive of Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), we have augmented our product portfolio which now includes more local artisans,” Angala said.

With the agency’s strong commitment to giving top local products a global audience, DFPC was recognized as “Highly Commended CSR Initiative of the Year “at the 2019 Frontier Awards in Cannes, France for supporting The Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The DFPC has expanded the list of exclusive brands that it carries which now includes: Gucci Beauty, Armani Beauty, Hogan, and MCM. Last year, it also embarked on the renovation of the Fiestamall and NAIA Terminal 1 Arrival stores.

DFPC is expected to maintain the momentum in 2020 with the opening of Duty Free store at the Hilton Sun Valley Resort inside Clark Freeport Zone by the first quarter of this year.

For everyone’s reference, the DFPC is the country’s sole operator of the duty-and tax-free merchandising system, and a vital component of the DOT as it contributes to the efforts in the development of the country’s tourism infrastructure, programs, and projects through revenue remittances. There are Duty Free Philippines outlets and shopping centers around the Philippines including Parañaque City (Fiestamall shopping center), Cebu province, and Clark International Airport to name a few.

For further learning, posted below is the official FAQ of Duty Free Philippines.

DFPFAQ

Check out their online store at https://www.dutyfreephilippines.ph/

The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines’ Members Networking Night

The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines’ Members Networking Night

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Varied executives and professionals interact during the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Members Networking Night on July 29, 2019.

Let me share to you all that I had a grand time meeting with varied business people and professionals. On the evening of July 29 at Manila Elks Club in Makati City, I attended the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Members Networking Night organized by the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. The result was a lot of enlightenment on my part and satisfaction now that I have brand new connections with many professionals.

I also had a grand experience learning about the strengthening ties between the Philippines and Israel. Since a miracle happened to me last year, I moved forward personally, socially and professionally. Along the way, I gained tremendous interest on Israel which I hope to visit someday.

As a nation, Israel is highly significant. It is one of the most innovative nations in the whole world as confirmed by a recent study. In addition to establishing ties with other professionals, my passion for Israel was a key factor behind my participation in the Networking Night event.

During the event, there was a program with a nice presentation to the members and the guests. Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President Sagiv Massad warmly welcomed us with his remarks followed by a short speech delivered by Ms. Yulia Rachinsky-Spivakov who is the Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Israel.

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Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President Sagiv Massad. (photo credit: Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines)

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Ms. Yulia Rachinsky-Spivakov of the Embassy of Israel gave useful updates about Philippines-Israel relations.

The Deputy Chief of Mission confirmed that bilateral ties between the Philippines and Israel are indeed getting stronger.

“The job that Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines has been doing is very much appreciated by the embassy. It is a great contribution to our bilateral relations,” said Deputy Chief of Mission Yulia Rachinsky-Spivakov. “I am very pleased to mention that we have very positive developments in the relations between Israel and the Philippines recently.”

While emphasizing the positive developments, she mentioned President Rodrigo Duterte’s official visit to Israel in 2018 which is a milestone as it marked the first time a Philippine President visited the country. Duterte had a big delegation with him to Israel and a lot of agreements were signed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Duterte.

The Deputy Chief of Mission mentioned that one of the signed agreements was related to the employment of caregivers and that fees on them would be reduced. Already there are 35,000 Filipino caregivers working in Israel who contributed a lot to the local society. The other agreement mentioned was about the employment of Filipino workers in the tourism industry of Israel. As a nation, Israel has a population of nine million and attracts four million tourists yearly. The Philippines was the first nation approached by Israel for its tourism needs.

After the update about Philippines-Israel relations, networking followed and it was during this time I met with varied professionals and business executives. We introduced ourselves, exchanged business cards and talked business. Along the way, I learned a lot from the professionals I met whose expertise include marketing, logistics, tax law, travel, sales, the airline industry, business solution development, events organizing, fruit processing, career development, real estate, etc.

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Guests smile during the networking. (photo credit: Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines)

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That’s me on the foreground talking with Bayani Liwanag, Jr., the sales manager of Salton Travel and Tours. (photo credit: Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines)

As the event went on, some prizes were raffled off to very lucky winners (including myself).

By the end of the Networking Night, I went home very enlightened, delighted and satisfied. There is nothing like making a whole lot of connections with varied professionals in just a few hours’ time. In the world of business, having connections is essential and they can add a lot to your business performance as well as its development.

Lastly, I should say that during my previous career as a community newspaper reporter, I attended and reported about the activities of the Parañaque City chapter of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI). Privately I also attended some conferences that attracted varied industry professionals. The Chamber’s Networking Night is the most significant corporate event I attended yet. Now that I’m working in industry and attended this memorable July 29 event, I certainly will watch out for the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines’ next event and eventually learn more about Israel and its ties with the Philippines.

What is the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines?

You must be wondering – what exactly is the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and how significant are they? Let me explain.

The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines was established with a purpose to foster, enable, facilitate and ensure the success of its members’ businesses while promoting business-to-business networking between Israel and the Philippines. The Chamber aims to collaborate with Philippine government officials, agencies and bureaus, as well as business and community leaders in dealing with important and critical issues affecting business and industries in both countries, while contributing to their civic, social and economic development.

With regards to the benefits of being a member of the Chamber, the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines represents and further the interests of each member. Through General Membership meetings, Business Forums and other events, Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines members receive assistance in promoting their companies and individual interests, keeping them abreast and ahead of business trends both in the country and in Israel.

The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines has a well established network with varied foreign and local chambers. They have ties with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI), other industry group-focused trade and business organizations as well. The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines constantly strives to be the premiere comprehensive resource and vehicle for the achievement of a strong and meaningful bilateral trade relationship between Israel and the Philippines that would be mutually beneficial to both countries.

The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines is currently open for local businesses who wish to join them as a member.

If you wish to learn more about the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, visit their website at ICCP.ph and follow their official Facebook page.


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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

Nikko Huelgas Tops TRI-Factor Standard Distance Triathlon In Indonesia!

Nikko Huelgas Tops TRI-Factor Standard Distance Triathlon In Indonesia!

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Nikko Huelgas of the Philippines as the Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) champion. (photo contributed by Huelgas)

Nikko Huelgas, the 2-time Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) gold medalist who resides in BF International, Las Piñas City, brought honor again to the Philippines by winning the championship in the Tri-Factor Indonesia Standard Distance triathlon event held this past Sunday (July 7) at the island of Belitung in Indonesia.

According to Huelgas, he completed the 1.5 Kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run event in an estimated time of 2 hours and 9 minutes. I state estimated because as of this writing, the complete and official results of the event have yet to be published.

For his victory, the BF International resident thanked his coaches and sponsors.

When I asked him through Viber about the experience of the race in Indonesia, Huelgas said that it was a relaxing one as it was held on the island (note: Belitung is located on the east coast of Sumatra) and he was mostly away from the competitors. This helped him lessen his social anxiety as well as the typical pre-race anxiety.

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Nikko Huelgas running during the race in Indonesia. (photo contributed by Huelgas)

“It was a hot day but staying on the beach front made it manageable and stress-free. No problems happened whatsoever and no diet adjustments. It was able to do a great race that I’ve been longing for the past months,” Huelgas wrote.

When it comes to the quality of the competitors, he described them as not as big as the Asian Championships of triathlon and he was not there to actually win.

“I was there to deliver the best possible performance I can give, as a way for my comeback (in) triathlon,” he added.

With this latest triathlon victory now etched in history, I asked Huelgas what does he plan to achieve for the next six months. He stated that he has a lot of plans up until the end of December and that “things are looking very great” in relation to his most recent performance. He will be joining a race in Cebu very soon.

More notably, Huelgas hopes that his victory last Sunday will help him inch closer to qualify for a slot in the Philippine Team that will compete in the triathlon event of this year’s Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games). The said triathlon event will be held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone which itself is very established as the nation’s main destination for triathlon events.

For the newcomers reading this, Nikko Huelgas won for the nation the gold medals in the triathlon events of the SEA Games of 2015 and 2017. In September 2017, I was with him when he visited Las Piñas City Hall where he met Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar, the Vice Mayor and members of the City Council. I witnessed first hand how proud the City Government officials and personnel were to meet him knowing the fact that a fellow Las Piñero like him won great honors for the country.

With regards to the BF Homes community, Huelgas’ name was heard some people I encountered around. A few people living in the Parañaque City part of BF Homes – or specifically Barangay BF Homes – even wished that Huelgas was part of their barangay and city.


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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

 

Taking a Vacation? Beware of Scammers and Non-Accredited Travel Businesses

It sure is nice to go out on holiday so that you can enjoy something nice and relieve yourself of the stress you accumulated from regular work.

But what if your hard-earned money goes to waste or, even worse, gets stolen by someone with criminal intentions?

Yesterday the Department of Tourism (DOT) here in the Philippines warned the public about making transactions with non-accredited entities engaged in travel and tours, airline ticketing and other travel businesses.

This was in response to reports they received about the proliferation of the non-accredited entities that posted advertisements on the different social media platforms or airline ticketing, travel and tours arrangement, hotel booking, and training offerings for travel business management.

“The public is hereby warned to be vigilant in dealing with these entities as there can be no guarantee on the reliability and legitimacy of their products and services,” the DOT said in its statement.

This development by the DOT is timely. Just days ago, there was this TV news report about a lady who got victimized by another lady who turned out to be a fake travel agent.

She paid a lot of money to the scammer for a Hong Kong vacation with her kids. As the scammer contacted her telling her to deposit thousands of pesos more for the vacation due to a “price increase”. The victim became suspicious and she went to the local authorities. Afterwards a personal meeting between the two happened in Las Pinas City and eventually the scammer got arrested.

You can watch the Tagalog language TV news video below.

Going back to the Department of Tourism, they said there are only select training centers that accredited to offer courses on putting up travel agencies and other tourism-related services. All travel agencies/ tour operators, including online bookings, are covered under the DOT Accreditation Law requiring accreditation before issuance of business permits, it stressed.

The DOT stated that entities with valid and existing accreditation with them have informative websites and/or online pages bearing the DOT’s Quality Seal and their corresponding Accreditation Number with validity.

For a complete list of DOT-accredited enterprises, the public are encouraged to visit the DOT’s website.

The lesson here is that you should not allow yourself to be fooled and tempted by those attractive holiday ads on social media as well as those transmitted via email or snail mail.

Always ask yourself if the seller is accredited by the DOT. Don’t forget to do a background check on the travel package and services seller.

Remember to be cautious and analyze the situation carefully before you proceed to book a vacation or avail any travel-related service. There are lots of scammers online and they are already making things hard not only for customers but also for the legitimate travel businesses.