Items filtered by date: Monday, 20 March 2017

2017 ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation


Asean, China back cooperation program

MANILA— A new era in international tourism looms as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China reaffirmed full commitment and support for the 2017 ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation program during its launching attended by Chinese officials at the Philippine International Convention Center on Thursday night.

The leader of host country The Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, hailed the “reawakening of an age-old kinship” with China that dates back to pre-Spanish barter trade and tourism.

“Through regional cooperation and diplomacy tourism, the goals to increase visitor arrivals, promote cultural exchanges, generate more livelihood for local people, improve infrastructure, and diversify investment in tourism activities can be achieved between ASEAN and China,” said Duterte in a message read by Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, who heads the portfolios of Agriculture, Water Resources, Commerce and Tourism, delivered a message from Chinese President Xi Jinping who lauded the friendly ASEAN neighbours for neutrality in regional affairs and sharing the geography through tourism cooperation.

“China accepts such stance as a sign of mutual respect, opportunity for development, and affirmation for global peace and prosperity,” Duterte said.

“The current world situation is reconciliatory. Through tourism cooperation, ASEAN and China can do great and good things together like our situation in the Philippines where we are prioritizing sustainable and inclusive tourism. With booming travel between ASEAN and China, our cooperation will bring nations and peoples closer together,” Duterte said.

The ASEAN-China Tourism Cooperation is an initiative that seeks to enhance the partnership of China with the ten ASEAN member-countries, including the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Having been designated this year’s host of ASEAN Summit on rotation basis among the ten member-states, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) coordinated with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) for this week’s meetings.

At Thursday’s opening ceremonies, spectacular cultural performances were staged by the CNTA including a song number, called “Travelling Around the World” by a Chinese songstress and an all-male kung fu demonstration called “Kungfu Revelations-9 Scrolls”.


The 3 Sex Pills


My column in this paper in 1998 was about Viagra, a headliner around the world then when it was first introduced that year. Two decades next year, Viagra and its competitors, Cialis and Levitra, still arouse interest globally.

Sildenafil (Viagra), the wonder pill for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in March 27, 1998, and sold like hot cakes that same year. More than $400 million worth was sold in the first quarter, 10,000 prescriptions a day. This blue pill was found to be very effective and safe. It boosts marriages and relationships. The surgical procedures for ED dropped dramatically since this pill was introduced.

Then came the competitors! Vardenafil (Levitra) was approved in September 2003, and on November 21, 2003, Tadalafil (Cialis) was launched. To this day, these 3 pills for ED are the most popular, dominant, and effective regimen in the management of erectile dysfunction and they have been found to also be very useful in enhancing erection even among those without ED. More than 20 percent of failed marriages and broken relationships are due to erectile dysfunction.

While their mode of action are basically the same: they are a class of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors. They block an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5, boosting a chemical in our body called nitric oxide, which relaxes muscles in the penis and open up veins, allowing more blood to enter and fill-up the veins of the penis, causing engorgement and maintaining erection.

Original Research: Serendipity

The original laboratory studies on these PE-5 inhibitors centered on their vasodilator effects as potential drug in the management of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. However, the researchers noted that the experimental male mice given the PDE-5 inhibitor developed erection and were chasing the female mice. This serendipity discovery that the side-effect of the PDE-5 inhibitor was even a greater and more welcome discovery than the original intention of developing a new vasodilator for cardiovascular diseases. The side-effect (erection) in this case far outweighed the “original intent” for the use of the drug. This is one incident where the side-effect is more useful and beneficial.
Other uses

These pills for ED (PDE-5 inhibitors) are also prescribed for other medical conditions, like heart attack, pulmonary hypertension (even among children), pre-eclampsia, Crohn’s disease, and infertility.


Some think Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are aphrodisiacs. No, they are not, because none of them increases libido (sexual desire). These 3 only enhance erection and sustain it for a successful sex. When taken, the man develops a sense of certainty, security, and confidence, which could incidentally increase the desire in both partners.

Indications for use

Those who could benefit from any of these 3 PDE-5 inhibitors are those who are unable to initiate and maintain erection for a successful intercourse, regardless of age, including those in their 20s, where stress and psychological condition negatively impact their sex life. One does not have to have a full-blown erectile dysfunction to benefit from these pills, since they have been found effective and save since they were introduced almost 20 years ago.

ED Stats

Cleveland Clinic reports that 52 percent of men have erectile dysfunction, “affecting 40 percent of men age 40, and 70 percent of men age 70.” Men who are on high blood pressure pills, beta-blockers, etc., have an increased risk of developing ED. Urology Care Foundation says 30 million of American males have occasional (mild to moderate) problem getting or keeping an erection.


These three drugs for ED belong to one class of medication and have similar pharmacologic action: PDE-5 inhibitors. All three react with nitrates (heart medications that opens up arteries), which could cause drop in blood pressure and shock, even death. Those on nitrates MUST not take any of these drug for ED. These three are in oral form and there is no generic version of this ED drug yet, and is taken about 30 before anticipated sex. Any of these 3 needs medical consultation prior to use to rule out any contraindication and danger, since each individual reacts differently to medications. A prescription is needed to purchase pills for ED. They all cost about the same. Their safety records are also similar.


While their action, use, and efficacy are basically the same, there are difference among these three pills for ED. Viagra and Levitra stay in the blood stream for about 4-6 hours; Cialis, 17-18 hours, longer lasting. Other differences are in their side-effects.


The following side-effects are common among all three: stuffy nose, headache, upset stomach, priapism (erection, painful, that persists), sudden cardiac arrest, death (which are very rare). The differences: temporary change in vision and flushing are more in Viagra and Levitra. Backpain and muscle aches are more with Cialis. Alcoholic beverage reacts more with Cialis, leading to dizziness, less with Viagra and Levitra. But, as Shakespeare wrote: “Alcohol increases the desire but diminishes the performance.”


Any of these three drugs for ED dangerously reacts with nitrates, medications that dilate (open up) coronary arteries used in the management of coronary heart disease. A person on a nitrate medication (like nitroglycerin, isordil, imdur, peritrate, nitrostat, nitroderm, nitrolingual, nitrobid, etc.) must NEVER take any of these three pills for ED, because the combination will lead to severe drop in blood pressure, shock, and possibly death. Consult your physician if erection does not subside in 4 hours, a condition called priapism, where the penis is so engorged causing pain, one that needs urgent medical care.


The reported deaths associated with the use of any of these three pills for ED were suspected to be due to the inadvertent concomitant use of nitrates. New studies have shown that these PDE-5 inhibitors could also increase platelet clumping in diseased coronary arteries causing blood clots, and heart attack in some individuals.

"It's reassuring that ... in general, for most patients, even those with existing coronary [heart] disease ... resuming sexual activity is very unlikely to trigger a [coronary] event," according to Murray A. Mittleman, MD, researcher and cardiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

All evidence-based clinical information around the world today show that these three PDE-5 inhibitors are efficacious and safe, when used according to standard medical recommendation and under the supervision of an attending physician.

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Overseas Voter Registration Sets New Record

The Department of Foreign Affairs - Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) announced today 15 March 2017, that the 2016-2018 overseas voter (OV) registration that commenced on 01 December 2016 and will end on 30 September 2018, has set a new record for first quarter performance, garnering a total of 67,497 new OV registrants for purposes of the 2019 elections. It has surpassed the numbers of the first three months of 2014 - 2015 OV registration with a total of 64,074 new OV registrants and the previous record of 64,917 that was set in 2009.
The overseas voter registration in preparation for the 2016 elections netted a cumulative total of 1,376,067 active registered overseas voters. The 826,881 new registrants for the 2016 elections, was more than a 100% increase over the 398,554 new registrants for the 2013 elections. Of the almost 1.4 million registered overseas voters, 590,440 were in the Middle East and Africa, 334,215 in the Asia Pacific, 263,316 in the Americas, 138,757 in Europe, and 49,339 were Seabased. The attainable target for this registration period is 1.1 million OV registrants, which would net a cumulative total of 2,130,000 active registered voters for the coming national elections.
“This new milestone can be mostly attributed to the hard-work and dedication of the men and women of our Foreign Service who are aggressively campaigning to encourage more overseas Filipinos to participate in this on-going electoral exercise. Our media partners and other OV stakeholders are also playing a vital role in disseminating overseas voting awareness among our kababayans abroad,” said Undersecretary Ariel Y. Abadilla, who is concurrently Chairman of DFA-OVS.
“There are still plenty of overseas Filipinos that have yet to register and vote so it’s the duty of DFA -OVS along with the Foreign Service Post’s to encourage them to register and vote because this coming midterm elections is important specially if constitutional amendment bill will be approved by the Philippine Congress,” OVS Chair Abadilla added.
All Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad from 13 April – 13 May 2019 during the overseas voting period for the 2019 Elections, at least 18 years old on 13 May 2019, and not otherwise disqualified by law, may register as an overseas voter, at all Philippine Foreign Service Posts including the three (3) Manila Economic and Cultural Offices (MECO) in Taiwan and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Al-Khobar (for an updated list please go to or REGISTER AND VOTE ! END


Statement from Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez on Trump administration's proposed budget

Santa Clara County, CA -- Supervisor Cindy Chavez released the following statement on the Trump Administration?s proposed budget:

"It's alarming and irresponsible that President Trump wants to slash aid to women and children," said Chavez. "We're talking major cuts to women, infants and children nutrition (WIC) assistance, after-school and summer programs for low-income students, and federal work-study aid to college students. These programs have given thousands of Santa Clara County residents the foundation to build productive lives and careers that have contributed substantially to the economy and success of Silicon Valley."


* Approximately 23% of families in Santa Clara County earn less than $50,000 and therefore their children qualify for reduced or free lunch

* In 2015 almost 85,000 children in our county were eligible for subsidized meals

* In 2011 22,056 women, infant and children (WIC) were served per month in Santa Clara County

* California has the highest WIC coverage rate in the nation. California?s average monthly WIC enrollment was nearly 1.4 million women, infants, and children in the 2014 federal fiscal year. Nearly 80% of recipients are children.


UPAAA ready for 19th Grand Reunion and Convention October 26-28, 2017

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America (UPAAA), a duly registered 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization of graduates from the highest institution of learning in the Philippines, will hold its 19th Grand Reunion and Convention on October 26-28, 2017, at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel, Iselin, New Jersey, with the theme, “Renew, Reflect, Rejoice”.
UPAAA President, Nelsie Tabudlong Parrado, a successful financial advisor and community leader in New York and New Jersey, has mobilized members of her Executive Board to prepare a three-day program that will renew and strengthen the alumni’s relationship with their Alma Mater. This will be a very good opportunity to meet old friends, classmates and acquaintances, share stories, and reminisce UP experiences.
Dr. Danilo Concepcion, newly elected President of the University of the Philippines System, will deliver the Keynote Address. Dr. Concepcion had an interesting career path. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from the De La Salle University-Araneta in 1979, obtained Bachelor of Laws from UP Diliman in 1983 and topped the bar that year. He finished Master of Laws as a Chevening scholar at the University of London, Queen Mary College in 1986. He previously served as president of De La Salle University-Araneta (2002 to 2002), head of the UP Law Center (2002 to 2006), and associate commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (1996 to 2000).He was the Dean of the UP College of Law prior to his election as UP President.
Working with passion and commitment to ensure the success of the event are the following Committee Chairs: Dr, Mary Anne Akers and Nelsie Parrado (Program Committee) Zenaida Mendoza Sarmiento (Registration Committee); Daisy M. Rodriguez, (Fellowship Night); Ruby Agnir (Gala Night); Dr. Francis Sy (Awards); Joe Santos (Logistics and Communications); Federico I. Agnir (COMELEC Chair); Dina Barros Ellorin (Souvenir Program); Cristy Colmenar (Finance Committee); and Leonarda Zafra Santos (Jubilarian Committee), Raquel “Kelly” Lalo-Sabas (Social Media) and Luz Micabalo (Historian).
The host chapter, the UP Alumni Association of New Jersey, led by its president, Juan C. Ferrer, have thrown its full support to make this biennial event meaningful and fun for all the guests and participants.
The Sponsorship Committee co-chaired by UPAAA Nelsie T. Parrado and Dr. Aurora S. Cudal-Rivera have sent out sponsorship solicitation letters to national and regional business and funding organizations. The Philippine Airlines (PAL) was the first to respond with a round trip ticket from New York to the Philippines and back, to be raffled off during the Fellowship Night.
For more information about the 19th UPAAA Alumni Grand Reunion and Convention login to their website, or e-mail: Nelsie Parrado at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Zenaida M. Sarmiento at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Cristy Colmenar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Nardz Santos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Asian Americans Advancing Justice applauds Federal court order blocking revised travel ban

Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director at Advancing Justice-LA. (credit: Keyang Pang)

San Francisco - A Federal court in Hawaii blocked a second attempt by President Trump to ban Muslims from entering the country.

"We applaud the court for recognizing the blatant discriminatory intent behind the executive order," said Elica Vafaie, Staff Attorney and Program Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus. "If this is implemented, it will have devastating consequences for our communities."

"Muslim Ban 2.0" is merely one of the administration's attempts to strip away basic civil rights and target Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian immigrants and other immigrant communities.

"We refuse to return to the era of Japanese Internment where the government led the way in profiling people because of their national origin," said Laboni Hoq, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA.

Since the first Muslim Ban was released, the Advancing Justice affiliation has:
1. Helped hundreds of travelers understand their rights through our "Know Your Rights" materials and presentations;
2. Provided legal support at airports across the country with our partners to ensure compliance with court orders and represented individuals at the airport; and
3. Created model policies, starting in San Francisco, to prevent the federal government from attacking Muslim communities in other ways, such as a Muslim registry.
With such threats at hand, Asian Americans Advancing Justice is committed to protecting our communities.

"Even with the Muslim Ban halted, our communities continue to be targets of hate. We are asking people to report hate crimes at," said Megan Essaheb, Assistant Director of Immigration and Immigrant Rights at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC

  • Published in U.S.

Two quakes rock Cebu 2 minutes apart

An image released by Phivolcs shows the epicenter of the earthquake that hit Cebu at 3:43 a.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2017. Another quake that hit two-minutes earlier hit the same general area. PHIVOLCS IMAGE Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook


By: Michelle Padayhag - @inquirerdotnet

CEBU CITY — Two earthquakes were recorded in midwest Cebu on Tuesday before dawn, according to Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Based on the advisory posted on its website, Phivolcs said first tremor was recorded at 3:41 a.m. with a magnitude of 3.4 with the epicenter traced about two kilometers northwest of Asturias town, midwest Cebu
The earthquake was tectonic in origin and had a depth of 15 kilometers.

The tremor was felt at Intensity three and two in Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City.
Two minutes later, a second earthquake occurred.
A stronger, magnitude 4.8 earthquake was recorded at 3:43 a.m with an epicenter at 4 kilometers northwest of Balamban town, which is next to Asturias.
The second quake was also tectonic in origin and had 25 kilometers in depth.
It was felt at Intensity 3 in the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu. CBB

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