I Love Israel: Israel and the Philippines celebrate 65 years of friendship and diplomatic ties

Since August 9 of 1957, Israel and the Philippines had been friends and the diplomatic ties between them prospered through the decades. In 2018, then President Rodrigo Duterte and a contingent of officials visited Israel. There, then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Duterte. During the COVID-19 crisis, Israel assisted the Philippines in varied such as having Filipinos in Israel vaccinated and by also sending their health experts to the Philippines.

A lot more happened between the two nations which I blogged about – Israel’s assistance to typhoon victims here in the Philippines, travelers from Israel welcomed to visit the country without a visa, the batch of Filipino hotel workers deployed to Israel, the establishment of the Joint Economic Cooperation (JEC), and the launch of a cyber security school in the Philippines to name some.

Indeed, the ties between the Philippines and Israel are essential. The celebration of 65 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations is real and the Manila Bulletin reported about it recently.

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

The Philippines and Israel are celebrating their 65th year of diplomatic relationship this year.

On August 9, 1957, the two nations started fostering their relations, with Israel providing capacity building programs for Filipinos in the agriculture sector.

Israel has been providing assistance to Filipinos in advanced farming practices and data-driven agricultural management systems, as part of the Philippines’ campaign to stabilize the price of commodities and strengthen long-term food security.

As of 2021, the Philippines and Israel recorded a total of $354,349,790 in trade, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Israel also exported $268,096,401 worth of products to the Philippines, DFA added.

In July, Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss met with Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles of the new Marcos administration to discuss possible collaboration and ways to strengthen the embassy’s connection with the Office of the Press Secretary in sharing the initiatives and partnerships between Israel and the Philippines.

Fluss said Israel’s expertise in cybersecurity, digital diplomacy, and media tech could be deployed for faster and more comprehensive delivery of news and information in the remote areas in the Philippines.

Responding to President Marcos’ first State of the Nation Address, Fluss also said Israel is looking forward to achieving the chief executives’ vision, “especially in the fields of agriculture, innovation & technology, and more.”

Be thankful to the Lord as Israel-Philippines ties continue to create opportunities, prosperity and new forms of friendship between the Filipinos and the Israelites. Keep on praying to Him to have the two nations to rise high and stand out among all nations of this very divided world we live in. Pray to Him that no enemy will ever succeed while opposing Israel and the Philippines. The evil ones will be exposed and will fall down in due time.

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

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

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

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

Search for the five best restaurants of Las Piñas City is ongoing

Recently, a special search for the best restaurants in the city was launched by the City Government of Las Piñas which involves the Nutrition Office and the Tourism Office, the Manila Bulletin reported. This ongoing search emphasizes local restaurants, nutrition and even tourism.

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

The Las Piñas city government launched the search for the five best restaurants in the city that serve the best delicacies that will help promote the city as a culinary destination.

Mayor Imelda Aguilar said the search for the five best restaurants is a project of the Nutrition Office under the leadership of Dr. Julio Javier and the Tourism Office under Paul San Miguel.

Aguilar said the search is also in preparation for the celebration of Nutrition Month in July where the winners will receive special tokens of appreciation from the City Nutrition Office.

She said the Tourism Office will promote the city’s best delicacies to both local and foreign tourists.

She added that the winners will be featured in the city’s official Facebook page and Nutrition Office.

The above article ended with Mayor Aguilar stating that the winners of the special search will be featured in the official Facebook page of the City Government and that of the Nutrition Office. Watch out for updates about this search at https://www.facebook.com/cityoflaspinasofficial and also at https://m.facebook.com/MayorImeldaAguilar/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Las Piñas City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Is there any particular local restaurant that you had visited time and time again? Did that particular local restaurant consistently produce delicious meals each time you ordered? What kinds of meals do you enjoy whenever you eat in a local restaurant?

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

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

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

I Love Israel: Philippines sends off initial batch of hotel workers to Israel

Over sixty Filipino hotel workers have departed for Israel in relation to the opening of its hospitality sector to foreign workers, according to a report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) dated May 31, 2022. That’s not all. There will be hundreds more who will be deployed there in accordance to the agreements between Israel and the Philippines.

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

The Philippine government is set to send off 61 Filipino hotel workers to Israel, the first deployment of its kind since the latter opened its hospitality sector to foreign workers.

Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss said a total of 500 are set to depart Manila, with the first 61 leaving on June 1, 2022.

Until now the hotel industry was closed, this is the first time that the hotel industry was able to invite foreign labor so for Israel this is very important For the Philippines, I believe it’s also important because until now the only Filipinos who were allowed to work in Israel are caregivers,” Fluss said during a send-off ceremony at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.

“We’re just exiting the pandemic, I believe there is room for growth for the tourism industry so we’re starting with the 61 tomorrow up to 500,” he added.

Fluss assured that overseas Filipino workers would enjoy the same treatment as domestic employees in Israel.

The rights of the employees are very clear and there is no difference in this aspect between foreign workers and Israeli workers,” he said.

Asked if there are other industries interested in hiring Filipinos, Fluss said none yet at this point.

Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Abdullah D. Mama-o, meanwhile, described the latest deployment as proof that Filipinos are “quality workers”.

I’m glad that Israel recognized the competence of our Filipino workers. The first batch that we are sending will serve also as an example of the workers that we have in the hotel industry,” he said.

To make things clear, both Israel and the Philippines are gradually emerging from the economic and social damages of the COVID-19 crisis. Businesses that are connected to tourism or travel such as hotels, restaurants and retailers require quality workers who have proven to be dedicated and hard working. As such, the news about sending off hundreds of Filipino hotel workers to Israel to help them revive their industry is very pleasing and encouraging. So far, 2022 is looking like the year of big revival of international tourism and the ties between the Philippines and Israel continue to prosper! Truly this is something we should be thankful to the Lord for.

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 plus Philippine news videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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

Over 500,000 foreign tourists counted since the borders were reopened

If you are looking for encouraging news about our country and its struggle to rise up from the COVID-19 crisis, be aware that more than half a million foreign visitors have been counted since the Philippines reopened its borders months ago, according to a recent news report by BusinessWorld.

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

FOREIGN VISITORS have totaled 517,516 as of May 25, since the reopening of borders with minimal quarantine requirements in February, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).

The DoT said in a statement that the US was the top source of arrivals between Feb. 10 and May 25 with 104,589, followed by South Korea with 28,474 arrivals, and Canada 24,337.

Australian nationals, British, and Japanese were next on the list with 23,286; 20,846; and 13,373 respectively,” the DoT said. 

“Other foreign visitors during the early months of the year include Vietnamese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Italians, Irish and French,” it added.

On Feb. 10, the Philippines started accepting nationals that do not require visas to enter the country. Since April 1, borders have been opened to all nationals

“The DoT is looking forward to an uptick in tourist arrivals in the coming weeks following the further easing of entry requirements,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Starting May 30, the DoT said fully vaccinated and boostered inbound foreign visitors will no longer be required to have a pre-departure test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The looser entry rules are authorized by Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 168.

However, the DoT said arriving passengers are still encouraged to obtain travel insurance. All types of vaccination certificates, regardless of country of origin, will also be accepted.

“Based on the resolution, the visitor must be at least 18 years old and must have received the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and at least one booster shot,” the DoT said.

For the newcomers reading this, more tourists from overseas means better opportunities for local businesses to make more money and recover whatever losses they had as a result of lockdowns and quarantine-related business restrictions. Tourism-related businesses like hotels, resorts and connected transportation and food-and-beverage services badly need the spending of foreign visitors.

In relation to this tourism industry development, be aware that there were foreign participants in the recent Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) which was a big sports even that attracted hundreds of participants on May 1 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Speaking of the said location, I personally saw lots of hotels, restaurants (note: read my feature articles about Gourmet Garage Subic and Xtremely Xpresso), stores and other leisure facilities that operated as if the country is back in the pre-pandemic days. The more foreign tourists coming in plus the more local tourists engage in holidays, special events and travel in the country, the better it will be for local businesses to recover (plus pay their fees, taxes and keeping their hard-working employees longer) and the nation as a whole. I believe that the Philippines will continue to rise socially and economically from the pandemic.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction about this tourism-related development? Do you believe the Philippines will be able to attract 2 million foreign tourists by the end of 2022? Do you run a business that catered to foreign tourists?

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

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

SCTEX toll rates increase

If you are planning to visit Subic Bay, Tarlac Province or Clark via the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), you will have to set aside more money for traveling as the toll rates will be raised tomorrow already, according to details in a recent GMA Network news report. This is the result of the Toll Regulatory Board’s (TRB) approval of the toll rate adjustment for SCTEX.

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

Motorists plying the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) may need to brace themselves against higher fees after the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) approved the toll rate adjustment, operator North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Corporation said Saturday.

In a statement, NLEX Corp. said the TRB authorized the implementation of an additional P0.78 per kilometer for motorists using the SCTEX.

The adjusted toll rates will take effect starting June 1, 2022.

Under the new toll matrix, motorists with Class 1 vehicles traveling between Mabalacat City to Tarlac will be charged an additional P31.00.

Those with Class 2 vehicles traveling on the same route will pay an additional P61.00 while motorists with Class 3 vehicles will pay an additional P92.00.

Meanwhile, an additional P49.00, P98.00, and P147.00 will be charged on motorists using Class 1, 2, and 3 vehicles, respectively, traveling between Mabalacat City and Tipo, Hermosa, Bataan which is near the Subic Freeport.

NLEX Corp. said the toll hike followed regulatory procedures and underwent thorough review. The increase also confirmed the periodic rate adjustments due in 2017.

To support the public utility buses (PUBs) cope with the adjustment, they will be provided toll subsidies and allow them to continue to enjoy the old rates for the next three months,” the company said.

The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority is the builder and owner of the four-lane 93.7 kilometer SCTEX. The construction was partly funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

SCTEX opened to the public in 2008 and the management, operations and maintenance was privatized and awarded to NLEX Corp. in 2015.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction about the approved toll rate adjustment for SCTEX? Does this discourage you from using the SCTEX to visit Subic Bay or Clark or other places connected to the said expressway?

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

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For Subic Bay related articles, read my Gourmet Garage Subic feature, my Xtremely Xpresso feature and articles about the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) here, here and here.

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/

Over 730,000 local and foreign tourists welcomed in Hanoi in connection to the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games)

Whenever a country hosts a major event that emphasizes international sports competition which involve the participation of athletes from many nations who joined in, the tourism aspect of it arguably becomes one metric of the event’s impact in relation to the host country’s tourism appeal. Case in point, the concluded 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA GamesSEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) hosted by Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi proved to be a magnet of both local and foreign tourists who were attracted to the games. Over 730,000 local and foreign tourists were counted specifically in Hanoi in connection to the SEA Games hosting, according to a report by VietnamPlus.vn.

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

Hanoi welcomed 700,000 domestic tourists and 31,448 foreigners who visited or participated in events of the recently concluded SEA Games 31, the municipal Department of Tourism announced on May 24.

As of May 23, 18 hotels in Hanoi had accommodated more than 5,600 Vietnamese and foreign delegates, referees, athletes and reporters. In addition, other accommodation facilities stood ready to welcome tourists travelling to Hanoi during the Games.

The Department of Tourism asked relevant agencies to roll out new tourism products at the capital city’s famous attractions such as the Hoan Kiem Lake pedestrian zone, Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Bat Trang pottery village.

Images of Hanoi and preparations for SEA Games 31 were promoted on the department’s portal and websites on Hanoi tourism as well as TV channels and social media.

Director of the department Dang Huong Giang said it has organised numerous events and festivals for SEA Games 31, namely Hanoi gift festival and Son Tay – Xu Doai Tourism Year.

She affirmed that the capital’s tourism sector has fulfilled assigned tasks for hosting the regional sporting event, which contributed to attracting foreign tourists and investors to Vietnam and Hanoi in particular.

Vietnam, the host city and other localities worked hard in preparing for the SEA Games complete with implementing health protocols. It should be noted that foreign delegations to the SEA Games were not required to make COVID-19 health declarations upon arrival. It is encouraging to learn about the 700,000 local tourists and 31,448 foreign visitors welcomed in Hanoi and the only thing lacking from the local authorities are the economic estimates in the form of revenues and tourist-related spending that happened before and during the SEA Games. For the newcomers reading this, Vietnam reopened its borders to foreigners months ago and the nation recently recovered for very high counts of COVID-19 infections. In the weeks leading to the start of the 31st SEA Games, the daily count of new COVID-19 infections went way down. For more on the games and the tourism aspect of it, watch the videos below…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What can you say about Vietnam’s hosting of the SEA Games? Are you interested to visit Vietnam someday? Would the city of Hanoi be your primary of place for vacation in Vietnam? Do you think that Vietnam will become a major tourist attraction internationally as COVID-19 becomes less problematic in the months ahead? Are you looking forward to the SEA Games next year in Cambodia?

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

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

My return to Xtremely Xpresso Café in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

During my most recent visit at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, I took the opportunity to revisit key places around as it has been more than two years since my previous visit. On the afternoon of April 30 (just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon happened), I took time out to revisit Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here, here and here) located at Dewey Street corner Sta. Rita Road.

Xtremely Xpresso Café is more than just a place to enjoy good coffee. It is also a restaurant that sells to its customers a good variety of tasty meals from pizza to pasta, rice meals and others. The very first time I visited the food joint was in the early 2000s. Through the years I had coffee there during my solo visits and there were also times that I was with the family enjoying pizza and their meals. Xtremely Xpresso’s pizzas were always delicious and filling to enjoy with friends or family.

Xtremely Xpresso Subic Bay Freeport branch on the day I returned.

Going back to my April 30 afternoon visit, I easily recognized Xtremely Xpresso upon arrival. What I found interesting was that the place was bustling with customers both indoors (where it is air conditioned) and outdoors as if life was back to normal (note: Alert Level 1 status was in effect on the Subic Bay Freeport Zone back then). I saw some groups of people, couples and individual customers enjoying their meals and drinks on the outdoor area (note: lots of seats and tables with shade) and the simmering heat of the day did not seem to bother them at all.

Then I entered and saw the ever familiar-looking interior. Almost all the seats and tables were filled up by customers who mostly came in groups or pairs. Everywhere I looked, I saw people really enjoying their food and drinks, and having quality time together. As such, I decided to order a drink and dessert and have the waiter serve them to me at a seat outdoors.

I took sat at a place where there was enough shade to protect me from the sun. While the heat was obvious, there were moments I felt some relief in the form of coolness from the occasional wind coming from the sea water several meters away. After about ten minutes waiting, the waiter served to me the cheesecake slice and the Shockwave Xtreme Frappe’ that I ordered.

The cheesecake I ordered at Xtremely Xpresso.
A close look at a portion of the cheesecake.

As I was seated outdoors, I did not want to let the sun and the summer heat ruin the cheesecake so I started consuming it portion by portion. Each bite of it was smooth and in terms of taste, it had a mild sweetness to it. More notably, it tasted like any cheesecake. In terms of content, it is thick and long enough for me. As such, Xtremely Xpresso’s cheesecake slice is good enough.

Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave frappe was cold coffee with some chocolate to its taste with a creamy aesthetic. In my experience sipping it moderately, the Shockwave had a moderate sweetness to it and I felt a creamy coffee and chocolate taste. It was during the remaining small amount I sipped when I suddenly felt a sweetened taste. Then the drink ran out. Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave is a frappe that is completely different from what other coffee shops here in the Philippines offered. I can say it is a good drink to have at Xtremely Xpresso.

The Shockwave frappe was mildly sweet and had a coffee and chocolate taste.

So my recent visit at Xtremely Xpresso in Subic Bay was good one. I would not hesitate to return there and next time, I would definitely order a meal, a different drink and something else. In my previous dining experiences there with my family, I enjoyed the taste of their Big Ben pizza, the Seafood Pesto pizza, the Creamy Cheese Penne and their Spinach Omelette. All of those and a lot more are still being offered to customers.

While securing an indoor seat and table is challenging, be assured that there are a lot more tables and seats outside. In fact, having breakfast and coffee outdoors is a fresh and comfortable experience as the sun is not too intense in the morning.

For those of you reading this, if you are planning to visit Subic Bay and you want good food and drinks to enjoy, I encourage you to visit Xtremely Xpresso.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (AMPC)

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

Malaysia selected as host of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2027

In case you missed the news, the nation of Malaysia (population: over 32 million) will be hosting the 34th edition of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in the year 2027, according to a Channel News Asia (CNA) report.

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

Malaysia has been selected to host the 34th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2027, the Olympic Council of Malaysia said on Thursday (May 12).

In a post on its verified Facebook page, the council said the Southeast Asian Games Federation has “unanimously awarded” the hosting of the 2027 Games to Malaysia.

It will be the first time in a decade that the country is hosting the Games – it last did so in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.

Last year, it was reported that Brunei pulled out of hosting the SEA Games in 2027, with Malaysia expressing an interest to take over.

The 31st SEA Games is currently underway in Hanoi after it was delayed from 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 32nd edition will be in Cambodia and the 33rd Games will be in Thailand.

In the history of the SEA Games, Malaysia hosted the games in 1965, 1971, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2017. Each of those editions had Kuala Lumpur as the host city in Malaysia. The nation is a strong tourist destination in Southeast Asia, attracting more than 26 million foreigners in 2019. Months ago, Malaysia’s borders were reopened to visitors. To discover more about Malaysia, watch the videos below…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to the selection of Malaysia as the host of the SEA Games in 2027? Have you visited Malaysia before?

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

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

NLEX toll rates hike in effect today (May 12, 2022)

If you are planning to travel along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) very soon, you better adjust your travel-related budget as toll rates on the said highway have been raised effective today – May 12, 2022 – according to the details of a recent report published by GMA Network news based on the recent statement issued by the NLEX Corp.

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

NLEX Corp., the operator of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), on Tuesday announced it will increase its toll rates starting Thursday, May 12, 2022.

In a statement, NLEX Corp. said the Toll Regulatory Board gave the company the green light to hike its toll by P2.00 in the open system and P0.34 per kilometer in the closed system.

Under the adjusted toll rates, motorists traveling anywhere within the open system will pay an additional P2.00 for Class 1 vehicles (regular cars and SUVs), P6.00 for Class 2 vehicles (buses and small trucks), and P8.00 for Class 3 vehicles.

NLEX Corp. said the open system is from Balintawak, Caloocan City to Marilao, Bulacan while the closed system covers the portion between Bocaue, Bulacan and Sta. Ines, Mabalacat City, Pampanga including Subic-Tipo.

Meanwhile, those traveling the NLEX end-to-end between Metro Manila and Mabalacat City will pay an additional P27.00 for Class 1, P69.00 for Class 2 and P82.00 for Class 3 vehicles.

“To help cushion the impact of the toll increase, public utility jeepneys (PUJs) under the NLEX Passada and Tsuper Card discount and rebate program will continue to enjoy the old rates,” the company said.

“Provincial buses will also be covered by a graduated rebate scheme for a period of three months,” it added.

NLEX Corp. said the adjustments followed regulatory procedures and underwent thorough review.

The toll adjustment is also part of the approved periodic adjustments of NLEX due in 2016 and the completion of the new Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) in 2021.

Motorists have been enjoying safer and more comfortable journeys brought about by the new SFEX since it was partially opened in December 2020 and fully completed in February 2021. A total of 16.4 new lane kilometers, two new bridges in Jadjad and Argonaut, and a new tunnel were constructed for this infrastructure project,” the company said.

The tollway company said it spent P6.9 billion to complete several major projects and enhancements at NLEX-SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) since 2015 that “improved the region’s landscape, increased accessibility, enhanced safety and provided travel convenience to motorists.”

“To name a few, these include the expansion of San Fernando Interchange; the new toll lanes in Marilao, Bocaue, Tipo, Balintawak, Meycauayan, and Mindanao; the pavement upgrade at NLEX; the new exits in Meycauayan and Valenzuela and entry in Balagtas; the rehabilitation of bridges in Bigaa, Bocaue, and Meycauayan; and the improvement of drainages in Balintawak, Valenzuela, and Meycauayan; retrofitting of San Simon and Sta. Rita bridges,” it said.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you often travel along the NLEX? When was the last time you experienced a heavily congested trip along the NLEX?

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

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

A wonderful lunch at Gourmet Garage Subic

When I arrived in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) took place, I was very hungry as I left home very early without any breakfast and I was not able to stop at any of the gas stations (and their respective food joints) along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as we took the counter-flow going north.

After settling at a hotel in close proximity to the triathlon venue, I drove to the one restaurant located at the Argonaut Highway-Rizal Highway corner that I’ve been eager to revisit…Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here).

The front of Gourmet Garage Subic!

Coming from the parking area of the business establishment, I entered Gourmet Garage Subic through the rear door and immediately I felt this atmosphere of class with classical music being played as I walked on and recognized their fine interior. It was a very welcoming experience and already there were people enjoying their lunch.

As I was pretty hungry and somewhat worn down by the long drive from Metro Manila, I ordered myself a Caesar (their version of Caesar’s salad) to enjoy something fresh. From the restaurant’s Main Event section of the menu, I chose the Lamb Madras Curry.

While waiting for my orders to be served, I took the time relaxing, enjoying the aircon and the continuous music, looked at the products displayed and browsed the web with my smartphone via Wifi. And then just like that, the waitress served me the Caesar which was faster than I expected. Upon seeing the salad placed in front of me, I was impressed with the way it was presented. There was some food art to it visually.

The Caesar of Gourmet Garage.
A closer look.

The Caesar was prepared with really fresh romaine lettuce topped (on a key portion) with Gourmet Garage Subic’s very own dressing mixed with parmesan shavings and bits of bacon. Right from the first bite of the salad (note: I used the fork and knife to cut myself a portion) that had the lettuce and dressing together, I experienced this very flavorful and pleasing taste! It was very delicious, I went on to cut portions of the Caesar and slowly consumed it along with the bits. I really enjoyed the salad as it was prepared by the cook to be flavorful, fresh and very satisfying! Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar is easily the best fresh salad I’ve had in a long time!

Just a few minutes after I was done with the salad, the Lamb Madras Curry was served to me. Right from the start, I noticed it was very well presented and the subtle heat I felt from it showed the lamb was newly cooked. I also liked the pleasing smell of the meal.

The Lamb Madras Curry was so nicely prepared and it tasted great!

The Lamb Madras Curry came with basmati rice on the bottom topped with the finely cooked lamb (itself topped with yogurt plus onion pieces and vegetables). On one side was a small tomato with a roasted onion and other onion pieces. The other side had more leaves. The meal was served with two sauces – garlic and chili.

As a first-timer of this particular meal – noted as a Chef’s Recommendation on Gourmet Garage’s menu – I decided to try out a small piece of the lamb without any yogurt on it and I found to be tasty on its own. There is no doubt that the lamb pieces were very finely cooked and the way it was prepared showed that special attention to details was done by the cook.

A piece of lamb by the fork.

I tried another piece of lamb and dipped it on the garlic sauce. The flavor of the said piece was enhanced by the said sauce as I chewed. I can say also say the same about the lamb pieces with yogurt on them. As for the spice level, I can say it is tolerable (pretty mild to be precise) and I never had a problem moving from one bite to another, also consuming the rice (really fragrant) and the vegetables. Along the way, I managed to cut some pieces of lamb placed on the fork along with the vegetable for that meat-and-veggies taste.

The Lamb Madras Curry from the side.

Every bite I had with the Lamb Madras Curry really had great flavor and big satisfaction. It is so great, this is easily the best lamb meal I had in years! Whoever designed the Lamb Madras Curry knew exactly how to ensure great taste, solid satisfaction and freshness (in terms of vegetables prepared and the cooking of the meat)!

Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar and Lamb Madras Curry are both highly recommended to all of you who love food! Make sure you try either of them once you visit the restaurant.

Apart from serving meals, drinks and desserts for diners, Gourmet Garage Subic also has a nice selection of imported products for your home consumption. On display for sale were lots of bottles of fine wine, fruit juices, frozen meat, condiments, snacks, pastry and other good products to take home! They also sell fresh bread products.

Looking for a new bottle of wine to buy? So many to choose here!
Bread and pastry offered.
Drinks, snacks, condiments and other nice products on display.

As mentioned in my past article, Gourmet Garage Subic also caters. Through their website, customers can also order Gourmet-in-a-Box (meals by the tray) and Party Trays (varied types of food with parties in mind). There is something that will surely interest you when it comes to good food! That being said, I urge you to check out Gourmet Garage’s website as well as their presence on Instagram and Facebook.

This is a great place to have your picture taken inside Gourmet Garage Subic!

The next time you visit Funtastic Subic Bay, I highly recommend you visit Gourmet Garage Subic at 1143 Argonaut Street (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there) for very good food with your family, friends or business associates. On my next visit to Subic Bay, I’ll definitely come back to try their other meals.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (TPT)

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