420-kilometer SLEX toll road approved

Traveling south along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) will lead to more destinations faster as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and other stakeholders approved the SLEX TR5 (South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 5) which is over 400 kilometers long, according to a Malaya news report. The said toll road stretches from Lucena, Quezon province to Matnog, Sorsogon.

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

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), along with other government agencies, has given the green light for the 420-kilometer South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 5 (SLEX TR5) from Lucena, Quezon to Matnog, Sorsogon.

The supplemental toll operations agreement was signed last June 3, almost two years after the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) designated San Miguel Corp.’s proposal as a certified toll road project.

The agreement was signed by the DOTr, TRB, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC), and will be submitted to the Office of the President for approval.

As a toll road project, SLEX TR5 will involve various activities such as a right-of-way acquisition and construction, among others.

According to the TRB and the toll concessionaire, SLEX TR5 will connect Quezon and the provinces in Bicol. It is also expected to provide better and safer access to the tourism destinations, roll-on roll-off ports and fish ports in the provinces as well as address the traffic congestion in Bicol Region.

The TR5 is a four-lane divided toll road that starts from the terminal point of the SLEX TR4 project at Barangay Mayao, Lucena City in Quezon and ends at Matnog in Sorsogon near the Matnog Ferry Terminal.

SLEX TR5 is composed of eight segments which will run parallel to the existing Philippine National Railways, Maharlika Highway and Padre Burgos National Road or Quirino Highway.

The first segment is a 59.6-km. expressway from Lucena to Gumaca in Quezon that is estimated to cost P22.6 billion. Segment 1 is expected to be completed within 24 months, according to the DPWH.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this new development? Once the toll road is completed, do you intend to travel far further south?

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/

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/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is indeed a blessing from the Lord that the essential ties and established agreements between Israel and the Philippines created many job opportunities for Filipino hotel workers as they are already needed to fill the labor needs of Israel’s tourism industry as lots of foreign travelers are already arriving there. Do not forget that here in the Philippines, a lot of Christians are eager to visit Israel to tour the Holy Land as pilgrims and already Behold Israel has scheduled Bible Experience Tours for June, September, November and December this year! Truly God is good, He is always watching us and we should be thankful to Him as both the Philippines and Israel are recovering from COVID-19 crisis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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