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Chasing the skies
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2,365 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The International Relations Thread

With a large and growing Filipino diaspora across the globe, the topic of international relations is an important matter for those of us at home and abroad. Anything pertaining to the activity of Philippine relations and cooperation with the international community can be posted here. For the convenience of first time visitors to our thread as well as our dedicated members, an article directory has been created. Hopefully this will be helpful for hunting down articles that may be of interest to you!

Thread Article Directory

The Philippines in the international scene
Windows on other cultures (2/12/06 - Sandrin)
Political Tidbits: Rare glimpses of Philippine culture(4/24/06 - Animo)
RP hosts Theater Olympics (5/15/06 - Animo)
Expanding Philippine ties with world community (6/15/06 - Animo)
Most Patriotic Countries: 6th Place (3-way tie) (6/30/06 - Animo)
RP more globally connected, says survey (10/23/06 - chixbebe)
DOST: Philippine bamboo products have high acceptability in world market(11/18/06 - Animo)
RP has put into action ASEAN theme of 'One Sharing and Caring Community'(7/30/07 - Animo)
Foreign fighters in Cebu to scout possible rivals for eskrima meet(8/1/07 - Animo)
DFA to diplomatic posts: Check illegitimate kids in Mideast(8/7/07 - TheAvenger)
Vietnam needs Filipino managers and investors (8/11/07 - Kiretoce)
Planned US military buildup in Guam means jobs for Pinoys (8/12/07 - TheAvenger)


Multi-national
Windows on other cultures (2/12/06 - Sandrin)
Landslide triggers avalanche of international aid (2/21/06 - Skyblade)
Foreign donors pick Sulu as top priority area (4/11/06 - chixbebe)
Unicef, Australia give aid (4/21/06 - chixbebe)
RP hosts Theater Olympics (5/15/06 - Animo)
Expanding Philippine ties with world community (6/15/06 - Animo)
China, Japan, WB, ADB pledge $7.4B for infrastructure (8/1/06 - JAMAICUS)
BI urges foreign nationals to avail of I-Card (8/1/06 - Animo)

Associatian of Southeast Asian Nations
Ten southeast Asian countries will sign an agreement this month allowing their citizens to travel within the region without visas (7/13/06 - chixbebe)
Philippines assumes ASEAN leadership (7/28/06 - JAMAICUS)
GMA exhorts ASEAN to achieve cooperation (7/13/06 - chixbebe)
NAIA open to Asean airline carriers by 2008 (11/29/06 - chixbebe)
RP has put into action ASEAN theme of 'One Sharing and Caring Community'(7/30/07 - Animo)
Philippines Seeks Stronger Partnerships at Asean Meetings(7/30/07 - Skyblade)

European Union
Political Tidbits : EU applauds commutation (4/24/06 - Animo)
RP’s open trade gets lauded by EU official (5/16/06 - chixbebe)
EUROPE MONTH CELEBRATED IN MANILA THIS MAY 2006 (5/20/06 - Animo)
North Cotabato to export fruits to EU (6/13/06 - chixbebe)
PGMA clinches P20-B worth of projects from Europe trip (7/4/06 - Animo)
Ambassador Ortega presents credentials to European Council presidency, discusses ways to strengthen relations with EU (7/30/06 - Animo)
Europe’s ‘newest, best’ films brought to RP for annual fest (11/8/06 - Animo)

United Nations
RP strengthens bid for UN ECOSOC seat (6/28/06 - chixbebe)
UN General Assembly approves JDV proposal for global inter-faith dialogues (12/28/06 - chixbebe)
Davide sworn in as RP’s UN representative (1/14/06 - kaze)


Philippine relations with individual nations

Argentina
IMPSA plans to build new power plants in RP (6/28/06 - chixbebe)
Argentine author writes book on RP martial arts (5/17/07 - kiretoce)

Australia
Australia hands A$70M ODA to Philippines (6/19/06 - chixbebe)
Australia commits P1.58B for RP education reform (8/5/07 - kiretoce)

Austria
Austrian National Day (10/27/06 - Animo)

Brazil
PNP receives 5,000 new pistols from Brazil (8/3/06 - Animo)

Brunei
Arroyo begins visit to Brunei, Libya (7/15/06 - JAMAICUS)

Canada
Canadian envoy asks Palace to clarify position on mining (2/11/06 - Animo)
Canada celebrates (7/5/07 - kiretoce)
RP and Canada to intensify cooperation in labor rights (8/1/07 - kiretoce)

Chile
Prime Minister to Chile, Philippines (3/12/06 - Animo)

China
China keen on stronger economic ties with RP (6/1/06 - chixbebe)
RP, China now economic partners (6/5/06 - JAMAICUS)
Chinese envoy arrives Monday to strengthen ties with Mindanao (7/23/06 - Animo)
China, Japan, WB, ADB pledge $7.4B for infrastructure (8/1/06 - JAMAICUS)
China Premier starts state visit today (1/14/07 - Kaze)
RP, China sign P196.7-B agribusiness agreements (1/18/07 - chixbebe)
China opens consulate in Laoag, northern Philippines (4/11/07 - kiretoce)

Cuba
Ambassador Reyes vows to strengthen RP-Cuba ties as he presents credentials to Cuban vice president (6/4/06 - Animo)
RP, Cuba forge accord (6/23/07 - Animo)

Equatorial Guinea
Republic of Equatorial Guinea (5/20/06 -Animo)
De Venecia cites ‘Bandung spirit’ in welcoming Obiang (5/23/06 - Animo)
Philippines: Arroyo leaves for Equatorial Guinea Tuesday (6/25/07 - Animo)

France
France seeks broader ties with RP in trade, security, investments (1/14/07 - Kaze)
France to launch annual cultural activities in Philippines (3/23/07 - kiretoce)

Georgia
The Philippines and Georgia Seek Closer Ties (8/7/07 - kiretoce)

Germany
100 Years of Manila's German Club (2/7/06 - kiretoce)

Greece
Greece to open first embassy in RP -- DFA (2/23/07- Animo)
PGMA welcomes new Greek, Russian, Spanish envoys (3/10/07- Animo)

India
India President Meets Philippine Leader (2/4/06 - Skyblade)
India and Philippines Sign Three Agreements (2/4/06 - Skyblade)
Indian farmers to learn expertise in Philippines (2/8/06 - Skyblade)
India’s Independence Day (8/15/06 - Doggmann)
Indian investors seek bigger RP ties (12/20/06 - chixbebe)
Indian investors seek bigger RP ties (12/20/06 - Animo)
Ramon Magsaysay essay tilt winner from India visits RP (8/30/07 - Animo)

Indonesia
N. Sulawesi Boosts Ties With Davao Under BIMP-EAGA Pact (2/4/06 - Skyblade)
Trade mission sails to Tahuna (1/29/07 - Animo)
Indonesia offers to host meet to review Philippine 1996 peace pact (7/18/07 - Animo)

Israel
The ties that bind: Filipinos and Jews, the Philippines and Israel, Part I (4/17/07 - kiretoce)
The ties that bind: Filipinos and Jews, the Philippines and Israel, Part II (4/17/07 - kiretoce)
The ties that bind: Filipinos and Jews, the Philippines and Israel, Part III (4/17/07 - kiretoce)
The ties that bind: Filipinos and Jews, the Philippines and Israel, Part IV (4/17/07 - kiretoce)
Israeli envoy ends fruitful tour of duty in RP (7/17/07 - kiretoce)

Italy
TODAY is the 60th anniversary of Italy’s founding as a Republic. (6/4/06 - JAMAICUS
Arroyo leaves for Italy (6/25/06 - Animo)
GMA meets with Italian leaders (6/27/06 - Animo)
Arroyo returns from working visit to 3 states (7/2/06 - Animo)
Komentaryo: Ang matagumpay na biyahe ng Pangulong Arroyo sa Italya (7/9/06 - Animo)

Japan
RP, Japan to hold talks, mark 50th anniversary of ties (4/2/06 - Skyblade)
Philippine foreign minister to visit Japan April 3-6 (4/2/06 - Skyblade)
Japanese students join Mt. Matutum celebration (4/2/06 - Skyblade)
Japan seen to lift RP aid suspension soon (4/17/06 - chixbebe)
Japan bankrolls training program for Muslims (7/20/06 - chixbebe)
Free trade deal done by year’s end (7/24/06 - chixbebe)
Japan gives P176M in scholarship grant for RP (7/26/06 - chixbebe)
China, Japan, WB, ADB pledge $7.4B for infrastructure (8/1/06 - JAMAICUS)
RP, Japan expected to sign free trade deal in Asem meet (8/31/06 - chixbebe)
RP still an important partner to Japan - envoy (10/9/06 - chixbebe)
Japan commits $160M loans for RP, more coming (8/2/07 - Skyblade)
Groups launch drive for ratification of Japan-Philippines economic pact (9/3/07 - Skyblade)

Libya
Arroyo to visit Spain, Libya, Vatican (6/9/06 - Animo)
Arroyo begins visit to Brunei, Libya (7/15/06 - JAMAICUS)
Presidential diplomatic skill (7/17/06 - Animo)
Qaddafi assures warm relations with Philippines (7/17/06 - chixbebe)
RP to sign accord to supply Libya with health workers (4/11/07 - kiretoce)

Malaysia
Top Malaysian official praises Mindanao peace talks (4/10/06 - chixbebe)
RP, Malaysia begin war games (7/10/06 - chixbebe)

Mexico
History links Mexico, Philippines (2/15/06 - Animo)
Looking Back : Revisiting a shared past (4/1/06 - Animo)
RP-Mexican relations (4/14/06 - Animo)
RP, Mexico to expand trade relations (8/2/06 - Animo)
Morales a consul for RP in Tijuana? (8/9/07 - Animo)

Myanmar (Burma)
Romulo to visit Burma this July (7/1/06 - JAMAICUS)

Netherlands
Dutch youth visits (visited) Cebu for cultural exchange (8/1/07 - Animo)

New Zealand
New Zealand donates P17.3 M to prevent spread of bird flu (3/21/06 - Skyblade)

North Korea
President of Philippine Senate Visits Pyongyang (4/27/06 - cosmoManila)

Northern Mariana Islands
June 12-19 is NMI-Philippines Week (6/17/07- Animo)

Norway
RP opens embassy in Oslo, Norway (5/7/07 - kiretoce)

Portugal
Pacesetters (8/14/06 - Animo)

Russia
Tracing the history of RP-Russian relations (6/2/06 - Animo)
PGMA welcomes new Greek, Russian, Spanish envoys (3/10/07- Animo)
Russians now don’t need visas to visit RP (8/7/07- DoggMann)

Saudi Arabia
GMA urges Saudi traders to invest in Mindanao (5/9/06 - chixbebe)
Saudi wants Filipinos to help fuel industrial boom (5/9/06 - JAMAICUS)
Saudis offer steady oil supply (5/10/06 - chixbebe)
Aramco eyes oil refinery in Mindanao (5/11/06 - chixbebe)
PTA to woo Saudi tourism investments (5/15/06 - chixbebe)

South Korea
South Korea planning to welcome foreign doctors (7/11/06 - chixbebe)
RP, S. Korea to sign bilateral labor deal (10/19/06 - kiretoce)
Opportunities await Filipino firms in partnership with Korean investors (8/26/07 - Kiretoce)

Spain
Madrid museum pays tribute to Fernando Zobel (2/12/06 - Animo)
El Gobierno español se compromete a profundizar las ‘históricas’ relaciones con Filipinas en su Plan Asia-Pacífico (2/9/06 - Animo)
Spain extends P2.5 Billion aid to Mindanao poor (3/8/06 - Animo)
Spanish chamber for free ownership (4/14/06 - Animo)
RP's Nueva Vizcaya and Spain's Vizcaya forge sisterhood pact (4/14/06 - Animo)
Nueva Vizcaya gov sees trade, economic relations with Spain (4/17/06 - Animo)
306 families given own housing units (4/26/06 - Animo)
Spain thanks Arroyo for saving citizen on death row (4/27/06 -Animo)
JdV seeks Spanish leaders’ support for debt program (4/27/06 -Animo)
Instituto Cervantes stages artistic fare (4/28/06 - Animo)
Spain pledges $ 40 M in dev’t assistance to RP for 3 years (5/2/06 - Animo)
De Venecia prods Spain on alternative energy development (5/4/06 - Animo)
Arroyo to visit Spain in June (5/28/06 - Animo)
Create infrastructure to
boost local tourism
(5/29/06 - Espma)
Arroyo to visit Spain, Libya, Vatican (6/9/06 - Animo)
RP gets P1.8-B Spanish aid (6/15/06 - Animo)
GMA begins 2-day official visit to Spain (6/29/06 - Animo)
Labor pact with Spain OK’d (6/29/06 - Animo)
Philippine-Spain Friendship Day (6/29/06 - Animo)
RP inks 350-M euro deals with Spain (6/29/06 - sandrin)
If you speak Spanish, don’t forget, too, the Spanish virtues (6/30/06 - Animo)
GMA invites Spanish businessmen (6/30/06 - Animo)
GMA home today from Spain (7/1/06 - Animo)
King Juan Carlos I promotes use of Spanish language (7/1/06 - Animo)
Filipiniana exhibit opens in Spain (7/2/06 - overtureph)
Arroyo returns from working visit to 3 states (7/2/06 - Animo)
PGMA clinches P20-B worth of projects from Europe trip (7/4/06 - Animo)
Mindanao gets Spanish aid (7/7/06 - Animo)
Spanish firms keen on 7 RP projects (7/9/06 - Animo)
Pimentels cite important role of grandparents (7/11/06 - Animo)
DOLE Ifugao trains applicants for Spain (7/12/06 - Animo)
Capitol gets P4M aid from Spanish Embassy (7/21/06 - Animo)
Spanish firms set sights on rail projects (7/21/06 - Animo)
Top world negotiators studying peace options - Dureza (10/8/06 - Animo)
Int’l media agency to feature RP in Spain (11/17/06 - Animo)
Philippines invited to attend Spain Water Exhibition (1/19/07 - Animo)
PGMA welcomes new Greek, Russian, Spanish envoys (3/10/07- Animo)
Spain OKs P150-M grant for Bicol (4/25/07- Animo)
Spain commits tribal hospital for Nueva Vizcaya (5/11/07- Animo)
2nd Tribuna España-Filipinas Forum (5/18/07- Animo)
'SOCOIN' CONSTRUIRÁ UNA PLANTA HIDROELÉCTRICA EN EL SURESTE DE FILIPINAS (Spain commits to building a hydroelectric plant in Davao del Sur) (5/24/07- Animo)
Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between the Philippines and Spain (5/24/07- Animo)
Philippines Preparing For Spain's International Expo In 2007 (6/7/07- Animo)
Spain extends P390-M grant to speed up agro-industial dev’t of Bicol, CARAGA (7/17/07- Animo)
Philippines-Spain accords on rural development (7/30/07- Animo)
Spanish envoy (8/14/07- Animo)
Angara pushes closer ties with Spain (8/14/07- Kiretoce)
PGMA receives Catalonian Regional Parliament President (8/29/07 - Animo)

Taiwan
Taiwan, Philippines To Strengthen Agricultural Cooperation (5/27/06 - Skyblade)
RP to export gravel, sand to Taiwan — DTI (6/29/06 - chixbebe)
Closer Batanes-Taiwan relations eyed (8/1/06 - chixbebe)
Taiwan’s Ichia eyes $70-m facility in RP (12/21/06 - chixbebe)
Batanes is Taiwanese? (1/31/07- Animo)
Taiwan, RP ink cultural exchange memorandum (2/8/07- kiretoce)
May 23 is a day for Taiwan to celebrate (8/2/07 - kiretoce)

Thailand
RP endorses Thai for top UN post (6/5/06 - chixbebe)
Philippines agrees to help Thais fleeing Lebanon (7/18/06 - JAMAICUS)

Turkey
RP and Turkey agree to form business council (6/7/06 - chixbebe)

United Kingdom
British Embassy to build new building at Megaworld’s Fort Bonifacio project
(6/6/06 - DoggMann)
Philippines-British Friendship Day (12/7/06 - kiretoce)
RP, UK to boost economic cooperation (7/17/07 - kiretoce)

United States
US to hike aid by 42% (4/4/06 - chixbebe)
US to train Filipinos on drug-law enforcement (5/3/06 - chixbebe)
US military hospital ship docks in RP on mission of mercy (5/22/06 - chixbebe)
RP, US forge new security deal (5/24/06 - chixbebe)
Palace defends new RP-US deal (5/25/06 - chixbebe)
Baguio celebrates Fil-Am ties (7/4/06 - chixbebe)
Kenney cites stronger ties of RP and US (7/4/06 - kiretoce)
RP needs to do ‘what is right’ to tap US goodwill: Del Rosario (7/4/06 - 3cr)
Top US official to visit Manila and Baguio City (7/27/06 - chixbebe)
US wants RP to play lead role in implementation of ASEAN programs (7/31/06 - JAMAICUS)
Gaa takes over RP embassy in Washington (9=8/1/06 - JAMAICUS)
RP, US set naval war games (8/7/06 - chixbebe)
US ships arrive in Subic for CARAT 2006 (8/7/06 - chixbebe)
US envoy takes a break to read for Filipino pupils (11/7/06 - tsinoy)
San Francisco, Manila reaffirm sister city ties (12/6/06 - kiretoce)
US ship to hold community service in RP this month (2/1/07 - chixbebe)
RP, US ink IPR accord (2/9/07 - chixbebe)
Most countries don’t trust US but RP does (4/20/07 - chixbebe)
Rice greets RP freedom day, sets visit to Manila (7/15/07 - Animo)
Top US trading partners (7/31/07 - kiretoce)
USS Peleliu Touches Thousands of Lives with Humanitarian Projects in Philippines (8/1/07 - TheAvenger)
U.S. Navy Ship Arrives in Philippines to Conduct Community Projects (8/1/07 - TheAvenger)
Where US is helping to make gains against terrorism (8/1/07 - tsinoy)
Volunteer Julia Campbell and Peace Corps (8/1/07 - TheAvenger)
American Imam urges Filipino Muslims to seek knowledge, peace (8/4/07 - TheAvenger)
Planned US military buildup in Guam means jobs for Pinoys (8/12/07 - TheAvenger)
US lawmakers say no plan to re-establish bases in RP (8/26/07 - Kiretoce)
Philippine firms asked to do business in Pacific islands (8/26/07 - Kiretoce)
RP tuna exports to US decline (9/3/07 - Skyblade)

Uruguay
National Day of Uruguay (8/28/06 - Animo)

Vatican City
Arroyo to visit Spain, Libya, Vatican (6/9/06 - Animo)
GMA invites Pope to visit RP (6/27/06 - Animo)
Arroyo returns from working visit to 3 states (7/2/06 - Animo)
PGMA clinches P20-B worth of projects from Europe trip (7/4/06 - Animo)

Venezuela
Venezuela Independence Day (7/4/06 - Animo)
DOE eyes Venezuela, Kuwait as new sources of oil (2/8/07 - Animo)

Vietnam
Vietnam needs Filipino managers and investors (8/11/07 - Kiretoce)
Vietnamese PM Visits Philippines (8/13/07 - Skyblade)


Links related to this thread


Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat
ASEAN Foundation
ASEAN Focus Group
ASEAN-Japan Centre
ASEAN Regional Forum
The Department of Foreign Affairs
Instituto Cervantes Manila
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations


(I would greatly appreciate any link suggestions!)

Special thanks to Animo, chexbebe, JAMAICUS, kiretoce, and the many others that have kept this thread alive by contributing through articles and opinions. :) If you are experiencing any problems with the links in this post, please PM me.


EDIT May 27, 2006: Spent 45 minutes setting up the article directory. Hopefully this will be of convenience for our thread visitors!
EDIT July 30, 2007: Spent a couple hours catching up on articles all the way back to June 06 and revamped the opening post. Hopefully it's more convenient for everyone. :)
 

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Chasing the skies
Joined
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2,365 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
N. Sulawesi Boosts Ties With Davao Under BIMP-EAGA Pact
Link to the article

MANADO, N Sulawesi, Jan 31 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's province of North Sulawesi is strengthening its relations with The Philippine city of Davao in sub-regional cooperation among Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and The Philippines - East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), an official said.

The cooperation, however, is focused on marine and fishery affairs, and the handling of some ten thousand Indonesian workers hailing from North Sulawesi, chief of economic affairs bureau of the North Sulawesi provincial administration, Gemmy Kawatu said here Monday.

This is the implementation of the directives given by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the governors of the eastern parts of Indonesia during their meeting in Manado recently, Gemmy said.

Regarding the fishery sector, North Sulawesi province and Davao will focus on the prevention of illegal fishing, and the two sides will conduct a joint sea patrol in the border area, he said.

In addition, North Sulawesi has also studied how Davao had managed its tourism industry, he said, adding that one to two million foreign tourists visited Davao every year.

"North Sulawesi will also focus on solving the problem of its 10,000 workers in the Philippines because only half of them are legal," the official said.

The provincial administration is trying to cooperate with the Philippine government by meeting the country's regulations with a view to legalizing their status, he added.

(ANTARA)

India president meets Philippine leader
Link to the article



Sat Feb 4, 3:50 AM ET

MANILA (AFP) - Indian President Abdul Kalam has met with his Philippine counterpart Gloria Arroyo as the two countries pledged to step up cooperation in defense, tourism, agriculture and pharmaceuticals.

The presidential palace said Kalam and Arroyo witnessed the signing of an enhanced bilateral agreement on defense that calls for exchanges in military training as well as visits for aircraft and sea vessels, information, and defense technology.

The two countries also signed accords to jointly promote tourism activities, exchange agricultural materials and expertise, and an agreement for the supply of low-cost medicines from India to the state-owned Philippine International Trading Corp.

Kalam's delegation also made a symbolic turnover to the Arroyo government of two peanut and sorghum varieties developed by India.

Kalam is on the second day of a state visit to Manila, the second leg of an Asian tour that also took him to Singapore and will take him to Seoul on Monday.

------

India and Philippines sign three agreements
Link to the article

Manila: Building upon friendly relations with Philippines as reaffirmed in the visit of President A P J Abdul Kalam, India today signed three agreements in defence, tourism, agriculture and one MoU for supply of quality medicines at reduced prices.

The defence agreement is the culmination of a two-year effort to formalise existing defence cooperation between the two countries. It is seen as timely opportunity to build upon excellent relations between the two countries and to reinforce these ties through active cooperation in defence and security, within the context of their bilateral, multilateral and regional commitments.

The agreement on cooperation in agriculture and related fields seeks to promote the exchange of agricultural materials and information technology, exchange of scientists and experts and trainees.

The agreement on tourism seeks to increase the volume of traffic from the two countries.

The MoU between the Philippines International Trading Cooperation and its Indian representative for Pharmaceuticals is in line with efforts to expand the Philippine's supply base for quality medicines from lower priced sources from India.

India has been supportive of the Phipippine government's pro-poor initiatives to make commonly bought medicines available at reduced prices.

The defence agreement was signed by Rural Development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who is accompanying the President, on behalf of the Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Philippine side was represented by Defence Secretary Avelino J Cruz.

The defence agreement seeks to enhance the bilateral defence relationship between Philippines and India through the mutual exchange of experience and knowledge between the two countries.

Defence cooperation shall be promoted through exchange of military training expertise and information, military infrastructure and observers, military personnel for purpose of attending military educational courses or programmes.

In the field of defence related technology, the agreement also seeks to facilitate contact between defence related agencies and dailogue between research institutes.
 

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I got my eye on you.
Joined
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24,697 Posts
100 years of Manila's German Club
By Anne Jambora Feb 05, 2006

AN IMPRESSIVELY DESIGNED venue reminiscent of the old and new Germany will mark the grand centennial celebration of the German Club Manila on Feb. 9 at the Rizal Ballroom of the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

About 600 German nationals and their friends are expected to attend the historic occasion. It will be a nostalgic trip down memory lane as old journals and photographs in sepia chronicling the club's most trying moments during the two World Wars, when the club had to close down, will be on exhibit. There will also be a slide presentation.

There will be violinists at the reception, a saxophonist at the foyer, a Vienna waltz number, the sweet cherubic voices of the Kaibigan Street Children Choir, and German classical music to be performed by the Manila Symphony Orchestra. The party will officially kick off with the showband Spirit of '67.

Premium raffle prizes await the merrymakers, including round-trip Manila-Frankfurt-Manila tickets with hotel accommodations courtesy of Lufthansa airlines, and a luxurious driving experience courtesy of BMW.

Home away from home

"[The club] began as a social club, a home away from home for homesick Germans, and it eventually grew like a tree," says the German Club president, Thornsten Franz. "It is not only part of German history but Philippine history as well, especially Manila."

Founded at a time when the population of Manila was a mere 250,000-300,000, Franz says there wasn't much entertainment back then that the Germans decided to establish an organization that would preserve their culture.

Franz says the German population began trickling into the country when Manila opened to world commerce in 1820. Among them were hat-makers and lithographers, but the majority were merchants, ship-chandlers and pharmacists. From a population of 17 in 1849, the immigrants grew to about 100 in the 1880s.

The German Club is an offshoot of another German society in 1880 called the Deutscher Leseklub (German Reading Club). Two years later it was renamed Casino Union. During a general assembly in 1906, however, the members decided to rename it yet again into what is now known as the German Club (Deutscher Klub).

An old journal vividly described the early days: "We waved down one of those many carriages on the Escolta, Manila's main business street... Our countrymen have managed to uphold their unity by furnishing a clubhouse in a cozy and most comfortable fashion. Here, far away from the fatherland and mother's kitchen, the young merchant will find his friends, inspiration and entertainment..."

In true European fashion, Franz says, the early merchants, despite the warm tropical climate and lack of air-conditioning, tried to look dignified by wearing white linen suits.

When World War I broke out in 1914, the club quickly shifted gears from a mere social forum to embracing German officers and crew members of some 20 German merchant vessels who sought refuge to escape threats from enemy warships. Club activities, however, came to an end when the United States entered the war in 1917 and US authorities confiscated and sold the club's property.

By the end of the war in 1918, a good number of Germans had been deported and interned in camps in the US. Many German employees lost their jobs as their firms were taken over by the new authorities, and the lives of the 67 members who remained in Manila became difficult.

Bigger property

Those who fled to other Philippine islands, however, revived the club's social and business activities after the war. By 1925, the club had acquired an even bigger property, with restaurant facilities, a bar, billiard hall, bowling alley, tennis court and rooms rented out to bachelor members.

In the mid-1930s, the club's cozy atmosphere was threatened by political and ideological conflicts among the members of the local Nazi party and the opposition. When World War II broke out, the club was shuttered once again. Nineteen Germans perished in Manila.

"The German Club is marked by two World Wars. It took a lot of energy to open twice," says German ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Axel Weishaupt.

All of the clubs established by Germans in Asia did not survive the tribulations. But Franz says "despite the wars, the Germans were still treated well in the Philippines. They were not discriminated against."

Dr. Gunther Matschuck, former club president and now chair of the club's centennial organizing committee, says the club today is driven to make money to sustain its operations. Its prime goal is to exchange views on economic affairs, and to foster social and cultural partnerships with its host country. Hence, nearly 50 percent of the club is made up of Filipinos and 16 other nationalities not only by marriage but through membership, he says.

With the absence of Germans in distress, Franz says the club has shifted the focus to its welfare program by providing scholarships to less fortunate schoolchildren in Manila. It also took under its wing the Heinz Woelke Foundation based in Baguio City. Founded by a blind member, the foundation assists the visually impaired.

Recently, the club also undertook a medical project to help harelipped children. It maintains a standing fund for help in times of natural disasters.

After 100 years and more than 400 members, Franz has every reason to be optimistic about the future: "The German Club will continue to be the meeting place for Germans to exchange ideas with their Filipino friends and partners."
 

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Chasing the skies
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Indian farmers to learn expertise in Philippines
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By Gaurav Shrivastava, Laguna Province (Philippines): President A P J Abdul Kalam, while interacting with scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Philippines, has sought solutions for the problems being faced by the Indian farmers.

After visiting the IRRI, Kalam also decided to send a group of Indian farmers to Philippines to learn the modern agro-technology introduced by the IRRI, and adopted by farmers in many developing countries, a senior scientist said.

“It will benefit India. He (Kalam) has said that he would send 50 farmers after seeing all the skills that we can transfer to improve their (Indian farmers') livelihood,” Parminder S Virk, a senior scientist at the IRRI, said.

Virk also expressed the hope that the President's visit to the country will take the Indo-Philippines relations to a new height “to which IRRI would also be a partner to some extent”.

Mehbub Hussian, Economist and Head of the Social Science Department at IRRI, acknowledged Kalam the details of high yielding, cost effective and efficient varieties of rice and the 'Drum-seeder'.

He said that the 'Drum-seeder' that costs 20 dollars has a life span of nearly eight years. The lightweight plastic machine does not require any fuel or electricity, and also reduces the cost of labour. In Philippines, the introduction of these 'Drum-seeder' has resulted in 100 dollars saving per hectare.

While the President expressed his views on the need for addressing the nutritious things in rice, the scientists showed him different verities including high yielding and iron rich rice.

Later, the President also interacted with farmers and local villagers.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) entered into an agreement in June last year to facilitate its national rice research efforts over the next three years.

The ICAR work-plan agreement (2005-2008) with IRRI ensures that Indian rice farmers have continuous access to the latest technologies and the best rice varieties being developed internationally for adoption and development for Indian conditions.

Besides, the collaborative research has also looked at the increasing importance of non-rice farmers and non-farm incomes in farmers' livelihood, as well as diagnosed the constraints to the adoption of improved technologies in unfavourable environments like those in eastern part of India.

In his address at the Asia Society, Kalam said that in Indian history, “very rarely has our nation come across a situation, where we have seen at the same time, an ascending economic trajectory, continuously rising foreign exchange reserves, reduced rate of inflation, global recognition of the technological competence, energy of 540 million youth, umbilical connectivities of 20 million people of Indian origin in various parts of the planet, and the interest shown by many developed countries to invest in our engineers and scientists including setting up of new research and development centres”.

The president went on to add that the Government was also committed to economic development by ensuring a growth rate of seven eight per cent annually, enhancing the welfare of farmers and workers and unleashing the creativity of the entrepreneurs, business persons, scientists, engineers and other productive forces of society.

Terming that challenges before India as “National Mission”, Kalam said: “Our nation is going through a major challenge of uplifting the 260 million people who are below the poverty line and also to give a better life for many millions who are on the border line of poverty or just above the poverty line”.

To meet the need of one billion people of the country, Kalam said that “we have identified five areas where India has core competence for integrated action: (1) Agriculture and food processing (2) Reliable and Quality Electric power, Surface transport and Infrastructure for all parts of the country. (3) Education and Healthcare (4) Information and Communication Technology (5) Strategic sectors, adding that these five areas are closely inter-related and if properly implemented, would lead to food, economic and national security of the country.

Speaking on providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), the President said that the number of PURA units for the whole country is estimated to be 7000.

“This envisages integrated connectivities to bring prosperity to rural India. These are - physical connectivity of village clusters through quality roads and transport, electronic connectivity through tele-communication with high bandwidth fiber optic cables reaching rural areas from urban cities and through Internet kiosks, and knowledge connectivity through education, vocational training for farmers, artisans and craftsmen and entrepreneurship programmes,” he said.
 

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Skyblade said:
N. Sulawesi Boosts Ties With Davao Under BIMP-EAGA Pact
Link to the article

MANADO, N Sulawesi, Jan 31 Asia Pulse - Indonesia's province of North Sulawesi is strengthening its relations with The Philippine city of Davao in sub-regional cooperation among Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and The Philippines - East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), an official said.

The cooperation, however, is focused on marine and fishery affairs, and the handling of some ten thousand Indonesian workers hailing from North Sulawesi, chief of economic affairs bureau of the North Sulawesi provincial administration, Gemmy Kawatu said here Monday.

This is the implementation of the directives given by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the governors of the eastern parts of Indonesia during their meeting in Manado recently, Gemmy said.

Regarding the fishery sector, North Sulawesi province and Davao will focus on the prevention of illegal fishing, and the two sides will conduct a joint sea patrol in the border area, he said.

In addition, North Sulawesi has also studied how Davao had managed its tourism industry, he said, adding that one to two million foreign tourists visited Davao every year.

"North Sulawesi will also focus on solving the problem of its 10,000 workers in the Philippines because only half of them are legal," the official said.

The provincial administration is trying to cooperate with the Philippine government by meeting the country's regulations with a view to legalizing their status, he added.

(ANTARA)
Theres also an on-going meeting (feb 6-9) between Indonesian National Police & Philippine National Police here in Davao City. I passed by Grand Regal Hotel... andun sila.
 

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Only In Spanish...(Can't find a English version)...Jejeje

El Gobierno español se compromete a profundizar las ‘históricas’ relaciones con Filipinas en su Plan Asia-Pacífico

El Gobierno español hará 'todos los esfuerzos' posibles para que las relaciones entre España y Filipinas sean 'más profundas, intensas y eficaces', puesto que actualmente se observa un cierto 'desequilibrio' y una 'falta de contenido' en las mismas, según señaló hoy el director general de Política Exterior para Asia y Pacífico del Ministerio de Exteriores español, José Eugenio Salarich, con motivo de la primera 'Tribuna España-Filipinas' celebrada en Madrid.

Todos los participantes en la misma coincidieron en destacar que pese a que las relaciones entre los dos países son 'históricas', no son todo lo buenas que cabría esperar y necesitan reforzarse, sobre todo en el plano económico, pero también en el social y el cultural. Así, el diputado del PP, Gustavo de Arístegui, propuso que se comience por los temas de interés para los dos países, entre los que la lucha contra el terrorismo, dijo, podría ser un asunto clave.

Aunque las relaciones con Filipinas en el plano político son 'excelentes' pero 'es necesario llenarlas de contenido', indicó Salarich. 'Las cifras dejan mucho que desear en los ámbitos económico, financiero y de inversión' por lo que, surbayó, es necesario buscar un 'equilibrio', al que podría contribuir el fomento del turismo, esencial para el conocimiento muturo de sus ciudadanos.

Según el representante de Exteriores, Filipinas es un país prioritario para España y el Gobierno del presidente Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero quiere que lo siga siendo en el marco del Plan de Acción Asia Pacífico que lanzará 'en los próximos días'. Según Salarich, este plan busca que Asia se convierta en el cuarto eje de la política exterior española, de la que actualmente son ejes fundamentales Europa, Iberoamérica y el Mediterráneo.

En este sentido, De Arístegui destacó que hay un 'déficit en la relación hispano-filipina que tenemos que empezar a paliar'. Para ello, añadió, es necesario buscar 'sinergias' y mantener un estrecho contacto en todos los planos, tomando como base los 'temas de interés mutuo'. Entre estos temas, en opinión del diputado popular, 'la lucha contra el terrorismo' podría convertise en la base ideal sobre la que fomentar las relaciones entre los dos países.

LUCHA ANTITERRORISTA

De Arístegui consideró que Filipinas tiene mucho que ofrecer a España y a Europa en cuanto a la distinción que se hace 'entre islamismo radical e Islam' y en cuanto a la 'excelente integración por ejemplo de diputados musulmanes en el Congreso' en un país mayoritariamente católico. Así, abogó porque Madrid y Filipinas 'compartan experiencias y análisis, intercambien información e inteligencia e incluso lleven a cabo operaciones' en el marco de la lucha contra el terrorismo internacional como se hace actualmente con otros países europeos, del Mediterráneo o americanos.

Salarich dio la bienvenida a la 'sugerencia' del diputado del PP ya que, dijo, el terrorismo 'es un tema que nos afecta tanto a España como la Filipinas' y 'estamos embarcados en la misma barca'. Tanto España como Filipinas, destacó, 'han sido objevo pasivo de la lacra del terrorismo y son actores activos de la lucha internacional antiterrorista'.

Por su parte, el embajador español en Manila, Ignacio Sagaz, 'más de tres siglos de historia juntos no se pueden perder y necesitan ser revitalizados'. Según el diplomático, 'Filipinas tiene que ser la puerta de Oriente para España y España el puente hacia Europa y Latinoamérica para Filipinas'. 'Hay que dar un salto cualitativo' en las relaciones bilaterales y centrarlas 'en las cosas que nos unen como nuestras raíces, la religión o la cultura' fomentando también el estudio del español en la antigua colonia.

Su homólogo filipino en Madrid, Joseph D. Bernardo Medina, coincidió en que hay que 'evitar que la presencia de España se vea cada vez más reducida si no se toman medidas' ya que, destacó, 'Filipinas es el único pedazo de España en Asia'. Bernardo consideró que actualmente 'tenemos en nuestras manos las herramientas necesarias para construir un puente entre nuestros pueblos, pero lo que hace falta es voluntad e interés'.

Por otra parte, aprovechó la ocasión para hacer un llamamiento al Gobierno español a que apruebe alguna medida similar a la emprendida por la presidenta filipinas, Gloria Arroyo, que, a iniciativa del senador Edgardo Angara --presente hoy en el acto en Madrid y estudioso del tema de los llamados 'últimos de Filipinas-- de que todos los 30 de junio se celebre en el país asiático el Día de la Amistad Hispano-filipina.

http://baleria.com/?p=45
 

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Animo said:
El Gobierno español se compromete a profundizar las ‘históricas’ relaciones con Filipinas en su Plan Asia-Pacífico

El Gobierno español hará 'todos los esfuerzos' posibles para que las relaciones entre España y Filipinas sean 'más profundas, intensas y eficaces', puesto que actualmente se observa un cierto 'desequilibrio' y una 'falta de contenido' en las mismas, según señaló hoy el director general de Política Exterior para Asia y Pacífico del Ministerio de Exteriores español, José Eugenio Salarich, con motivo de la primera 'Tribuna España-Filipinas' celebrada en Madrid.

Todos los participantes en la misma coincidieron en destacar que pese a que las relaciones entre los dos países son 'históricas', no son todo lo buenas que cabría esperar y necesitan reforzarse, sobre todo en el plano económico, pero también en el social y el cultural. Así, el diputado del PP, Gustavo de Arístegui, propuso que se comience por los temas de interés para los dos países, entre los que la lucha contra el terrorismo, dijo, podría ser un asunto clave.

Aunque las relaciones con Filipinas en el plano político son 'excelentes' pero 'es necesario llenarlas de contenido', indicó Salarich. 'Las cifras dejan mucho que desear en los ámbitos económico, financiero y de inversión' por lo que, surbayó, es necesario buscar un 'equilibrio', al que podría contribuir el fomento del turismo, esencial para el conocimiento muturo de sus ciudadanos.

Según el representante de Exteriores, Filipinas es un país prioritario para España y el Gobierno del presidente Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero quiere que lo siga siendo en el marco del Plan de Acción Asia Pacífico que lanzará 'en los próximos días'. Según Salarich, este plan busca que Asia se convierta en el cuarto eje de la política exterior española, de la que actualmente son ejes fundamentales Europa, Iberoamérica y el Mediterráneo.

En este sentido, De Arístegui destacó que hay un 'déficit en la relación hispano-filipina que tenemos que empezar a paliar'. Para ello, añadió, es necesario buscar 'sinergias' y mantener un estrecho contacto en todos los planos, tomando como base los 'temas de interés mutuo'. Entre estos temas, en opinión del diputado popular, 'la lucha contra el terrorismo' podría convertise en la base ideal sobre la que fomentar las relaciones entre los dos países.

LUCHA ANTITERRORISTA

De Arístegui consideró que Filipinas tiene mucho que ofrecer a España y a Europa en cuanto a la distinción que se hace 'entre islamismo radical e Islam' y en cuanto a la 'excelente integración por ejemplo de diputados musulmanes en el Congreso' en un país mayoritariamente católico. Así, abogó porque Madrid y Filipinas 'compartan experiencias y análisis, intercambien información e inteligencia e incluso lleven a cabo operaciones' en el marco de la lucha contra el terrorismo internacional como se hace actualmente con otros países europeos, del Mediterráneo o americanos.

Salarich dio la bienvenida a la 'sugerencia' del diputado del PP ya que, dijo, el terrorismo 'es un tema que nos afecta tanto a España como la Filipinas' y 'estamos embarcados en la misma barca'. Tanto España como Filipinas, destacó, 'han sido objevo pasivo de la lacra del terrorismo y son actores activos de la lucha internacional antiterrorista'.

Por su parte, el embajador español en Manila, Ignacio Sagaz, 'más de tres siglos de historia juntos no se pueden perder y necesitan ser revitalizados'. Según el diplomático, 'Filipinas tiene que ser la puerta de Oriente para España y España el puente hacia Europa y Latinoamérica para Filipinas'. 'Hay que dar un salto cualitativo' en las relaciones bilaterales y centrarlas 'en las cosas que nos unen como nuestras raíces, la religión o la cultura' fomentando también el estudio del español en la antigua colonia.

Su homólogo filipino en Madrid, Joseph D. Bernardo Medina, coincidió en que hay que 'evitar que la presencia de España se vea cada vez más reducida si no se toman medidas' ya que, destacó, 'Filipinas es el único pedazo de España en Asia'. Bernardo consideró que actualmente 'tenemos en nuestras manos las herramientas necesarias para construir un puente entre nuestros pueblos, pero lo que hace falta es voluntad e interés'.

Por otra parte, aprovechó la ocasión para hacer un llamamiento al Gobierno español a que apruebe alguna medida similar a la emprendida por la presidenta filipinas, Gloria Arroyo, que, a iniciativa del senador Edgardo Angara --presente hoy en el acto en Madrid y estudioso del tema de los llamados 'últimos de Filipinas-- de que todos los 30 de junio se celebre en el país asiático el Día de la Amistad Hispano-filipina.

http://baleria.com/?p=45
in fairness... dumugo ang ilong koh. ey course ko toh... (Bachelor in Political Science major in International Relations..) kaso 1st year palang ako. 3rd yr pa yata kami magfofocus sa IR. sayang. ey... nga pala i liked the article tungkol sa india na sila ang humihingi na tulong sa IRRI. :) nice. :)
 

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Canadian envoy asks Palace to clarify position on mining

DAVAO CITY–Canadian Ambassador Peter Sutherland said the Philippine government should reiterate its earlier stance on opening the country’s mining industry to foreign companies.

Sutherland issued the statement after receiving reports that Malacañang suspended mining activities in Bicol.

Secretary Mike Defensor, President Macapagal-Arroyo’s chief of staff, admitted that the government suspended the mine of Lafayette Philippines Inc. on Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay because of mining spills.

“We are cracking the whip on those who are not mining responsibly,” Defensor said in Pagadian City.

He said Lafayette’s suspension was not in response to a call by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urging the government to scrap the Mining Act.

The Mining Act opened the country’s mining industry to foreign firms.

Defensor said the CBCP had recognized that the decision to shut down Lafayette was not an executive decision but a policy against irresponsible mining companies.

“It’s very important that the government reiterates its message that the Philippines is open to foreign mining,” Sutherland said.

He said that international mining companies are looking around the world for “the best place to operate” and the government’s earlier policies on mining have made them feel “very welcome” in the Philippines.

At least four Canadian mining firms have been operating in the Philippines.

One of these is the Toronto Ventures Inc. (TVI), which is being opposed by some Subanen communities in Zamboanga del Norte. But other Subanen leaders also view mining as a fulfillment of their “dreams of development.”

In a statement issued by the Provincial Consultative Body of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), 15 tribal leaders in the province said the entry of investors like mining companies into their ancestral lands helped paved the way for community progress.

http://news.inq7.net/nation/index.php?index=1&story_id=65781
 

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Windows on other cultures by The Manila Times
Società Dante Allighieri

LAST August Società Dante Allighieri, a global nonprofit organization that promotes Italian culture, opened in Manila.

It does the work that Alliance Française, Instituto Cervantes, the British Council, the Goethe Institut, the Instituto Camoes and the Japan Information Center introduce and promote French, Spanish, British, German, Portuguese and Japanese culture, language and arts, respectively, to Filipinos.

The Società is named after the author of the Divine Comedy who chose to depart from Latin, the then more honored language of classical literature, and who used the Tuscan vernacular, raising it to become the literary language of Italy and thereby also giving prominence to the language that would eventually be known to the world and to the Italians themselves as Italian.

Ironically, Dante’s guide in his journey through Hell and Purgatory is the greatest of Roman poets and master of literature in Latin. Another irony is that the Divine Comedy was beloved by many popes and other figures of the Roman Catholic Church, whose officials were to become and to this time the only day-to-day user of Latin (at least in the canonized version).

Like the cultural centers that came much earlier to our city, Società Dante Alighieri Manila will now be uplifting the Filipino soul—or the souls of those who want to be benefited—with samples of Italy’s artistic creations regularly. It will bring to the attention of Manilans the wonders that many of us still have to savor in the culinary arts and have yet to encounter in fashion, photography and industrial design. Italian is, after all, the culture that brought the world fettuccini, Ferragamo and Ferrari.

Dante Allighieri Manila, along with Alliance Française, Instituto Cervantes, the British Council, Goethe Institut, Instituto Camoes and other cultural organizations provide Filipinos with venues to experience their foreign cultures with concerts, film showings, theater productions, food festivals and art exhibits.

Many of the country’s most brilliant cultural events are made possible by these organizations. How else can you watch a Fritz Lang silent film classic like Metropolis with live accompaniment of Manila’s most talented trip-hop musicians? Feel the passion of flamenco dancers and the solemnity of classical guitarists giving life to the story of Don Quixote? Witness Hélène Delavault perform cabaret music? Or shake hands with the comic-book author and novelist Neil Gaiman?

These organizations are especially important to local artists by providing them with performance events and exhibit venues as well as education and exposure abroad. It is with these cultural institutions’ help that the veteran travel photographer George Tapan was able to document Paris and promising designer Gian Romano was able to study fashion at the prestigious Central St. Martins School in London.

Most important of all, these cultural organizations from the world’s economic and political superpowers reveal to Filipinos how our own cultural life can be made more vibrant, expressive, dynamic. From them we can learn that a history of defeat and notions of inferiority can be overcome. From Shakespeare’s fixation on Italian culture came the very benchmark for English literature. Miguel Cervantes’ life of hardship and strife later informed his quixotic wisdom. And in the same way that Alighieri wrought sublime verses and stirring visions using a language once considered pedestrian, we, too, must look at what we often take for granted and look for inspirations for greatness.

We hope other countries will soon decide to open cultural offices in our country.

The TV and the Internet have made the cultures of all countries accessible to virtually anyone who cares. But it is different being able to see Arabic calligraphy up close, or the wonders of Dubai’s cinema in an appropriate moviehouse in our city.
 

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Madrid museum pays tribute to Fernando Zobel

CUENCA is 140 km southeast of Madrid. No one usually goes there, especially if the traveler's itinerary includes cities with the top contemporary art museums and the top industrial designs: Bilbao's still-fresh Guggenheim and its new metro, designed by Norman Foster (affectionately called fosteritos by the locals); Barcelona's Macba, designed by Richard Meier and partners; and La Caixa and Madrid's Mncars, more popularly known as the Reina Sofia, after the Queen.

So no one goes to Cuenca, unless you're incredibly bored (or boring) or born there. Except that Cuenca is home to Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, the first museum in Spain to carry Spanish abstract art.

It was a place put together in the picturesque Casas Colgadas or Hanging Houses in 1966 by Fernando Zobel, an artist born in the Philippines and a pivotal figure in Philippine art history.

Cuenca affords the Filipino art lover the pleasure of seeing the works of Fernando Zobel in a singular context: among his Spanish peers.

There's a Zobel retrospective not in Cuenca but in Madrid, at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, a former hospital turned museum.

The show sourced the works from various individuals and collections from all over the world, including, of course, the Philippines. It has four curators.

At the start of the show last February, one of the curators, Belen Diaz de Rabago, toured me around the halls. Already up was a huge black-and-white photograph of Fernando Zobel sitting inside a gallery in Germany.

We met Raphael Perez Madero, main curator for the show and the acknowledged expert on Zobel. With him was Peter Soriano, Zobel's nephew who helped curate the show (the two other curators were De Rabago and Marta Gonz lez Obregozo). They greeted us, eagerly waiting for news about the Philippine works.

I told them the mishaps of art transport from Third World to First World. I was worried about the conditions into which the paintings would arrive.

Being February, it was the height of winter. Madrid was freezing cold. I had been told 15-19 degrees Celsius was as bad as it went, but it went further down (in fact, there was a rare snowfall in Madrid later).

While most of the loans had come from within Spain itself, there were pictures coming from the US; two from Hong Kong; and, of course, from the Philippines.

Madero said that it would be the first time that the early abstractions made by Zobel would be seen in Spain. Nine works had been loaned from various collections in the Philippines, majority of which making up the first room of the retrospective.

Madero explained the show was arranged, not only chronologically but also, more important, by "series." The hanging was almost chronological until the '70s. But as one went through the rooms, the themes or the "series" Zobel had worked on synchronously throughout his career became apparent.

He did not develop as a painter; instead he had pictorial cycles. As Calvo Seraller wrote, Zobel "advanced in circles."

As Madero writes in the catalogue: "We have arranged the famous series ("El Jucar," "Las Orillas," "Di logos con la Pintura," "La Serie Blanca") in such a way that we may contemplate these themes independently, beyond the limits of chronology."

The works borrowed from the Philippines concentrated on the early part of Zobel's career, when he turned to abstraction.

In 1954, having left Manila for a residency at Rhode Island School of Design, he saw the exhibition "Recent Paintings by Mark Rothko" in Massachusetts, and was "bedazzled" by the American's color-field paintings. Zobel found in the works a remarkable eloquence and luminance, something he had been looking for.

When he went to Spain the following year, he met artists also working in abstraction, but unlike his dismissal of Abstract Expressionism, he wrote, "I met Guillermo Delgado... [whose]... pictures, uncompromisingly abstract, show a process completely under control, completely 'worked out,' unlike the Abstract Expressionists."

He also met his distant cousin, artist Alfonso Ossorio (almost a decade older than him), and, through him, was introduced to Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner.

All these would affect Zobel's development as a painter. He would leave figuration in favor of abstraction.

Back in the Philippines, Zobel sought to synthesize his work. His 1956 Luz Gallery exhibit of abstract works showed the influences of Rothko, De Kooning and Pollock.

"It lica" (1955), loaned from the Paulino Que collection, was one of his early works when he took up the challenge of abstraction. Angeles Villalba Salvador writes in (her doctoral thesis at the Complutense) "Fernando Zobel: Vida y Obra" that "he destroyed most of the works produced in this period."

The Zobel retrospective at Reina Sofia, however, does not begin with this. Instead it begins with an untitled work from 1956. This piece, together with the work titled "Espacio I" (1957), borrowed from Ateneo Art Gallery, and another untitled painting (1956) from the Mario Que collection, all reflect influences by Burri, Kline and Rothko.

From these pieces, Zobel would embark on his "Saetas," a series that showed the direction of his painting. Saetas, according to both Madero and Soriano, is a sacred song in flamenco-style; it also means "dart." Madero prefers the latter explanation, Soriano the former.

Of the 11 works from this period, six are borrowed from Filipino collectors; two, both executed in 1959, are from Filipino collectors in Hong Kong. These are "Etorisa" and "P jaro de Fuego." The other four come from Manila.

"Saeta," from 1956, owned by private collector Mario Que, is the earliest saeta in the retrospective. The rest are from 1957, "Saeta No. 42," "Saeta, No. 36," both loaned from Ateneo Art Gallery; and "Castilla XXII" from the CCP. They are characterized by overlaying of lines over fields of color.

Zobel wrote: "The theme is movement expressed metaphorically by the use of line. The movement of leaves, of trees, of people; movement observed, felt, never imitated but, I hope, translated."

These works lead up to "La Serie Negra," when Zobel left color for black-and-white canvases. He created an abstraction perceived as gestural. In fact, the works are meditative. Using a syringe to create a straight line, much like a pen when sketching, he would use a sponge to create movement.

"Saetas" and "La Serie Negra" are the last of Zobel's themes in which one can directly draw a line between his Western and Eastern influences. His canvases become the space where his knowledge of Japanese and Chinese calligraphy, the color-field works of Rothko and Kline's black-and-white abstractions are played out.

In 1961, Zobel moved to Spain. Villalba Salvador quotes Zobel in Manila in 1959:

"Spain, by contrast, is a blast of light. It completely fills the vacuum. [...] Even the delight of walking in the streets and hearing the sound of Spanish. The sound of home. Perhaps this is the important thing: this recognition of home. If one must lose oneself, this is where I want to be lost. Through all the ornaments, through the ease of English prose, I recognize myself in the last analysis as a Spaniard. And all the rest is just a tale."

In Spain he began "La Serie Negra," perhaps closest to Franz Kline's work in color and gesture. As Madero writes, " ...his painting starts to incorporate the 'gesture,' not the informalist gesture [as in Art Informel] , but the calligraphic one."

"La Vision" (1961), loaned from Lopez Memorial Museum, is one of the first of "Serie Negra" that one sees upon leaving the colorful first room of the retrospective. It was also one of the works included in the 36th Venice Biennale as part of the Spanish Pavilion (together with the works of Vicente Vela, Rafael Canogar, Juan Genoves, Hernandez Momp¢, Guinovart).

In the second room, the works take on the calm and contemplative control that characterizes the works of Zobel from this point onward. After the frenzied movement of the "Saetas," "La Serie Negra" crystallizes the elements of painting-of "... light and line, of movement. Pictures of a swift, improvised execution... " From there, he would move to "abstract lyricism."

The biggest of the seven rooms devoted to the exhibit shows a series tracing the movement of Zobel's art from line and movement toward scale, perspective, scale, and, slowly, the return of color. "Serie Negra" ends by 1963 and the transformation is subtle, studied, meticulously considered.

I walk through the room slowly, never having experienced Zobels of this sort in such concentration. I experience a different Zobel. I walk on and witness his J£car works, the movement of the river of Cuenca, gloriously concentrated in one room, the movement of the river perceptible in the greenish washes against linear perspectives.

Later, the works called "Orillas" look at color and volume, visually losing the line-slash perspective. One of my favorites is a tiny piece called "Flauta IX" (1976), which seems to bring together the solid transparency of music. "Palacio de Cristal IV" (1984) is also a favorite, as it is one of the few works in which Zobel seemed to have allowed the viewer a glimpse of the mechanisms of concentration and discipline that he held over each work.

It is also a pleasure to be privy to his notebooks, filled with drawings and writing, an artist who worked out each abstraction thoroughly.

I weave myself out of the Zobel rooms, passing through a man's quiet, precise and intellectual scrutiny of the world and of himself.

Fernando Zobel as an artist had created, in Madero's words, works that on the surface communicate spontaneity and intuitiveness, but are nevertheless "bereft" of such. Instead, each canvas was a "field of action with an ever-necessary, imposed balance and color, or black and white, is used with the same precision as a poet uses words."

The Zobel retrospective travels, albeit with fewer works, to Museo de Arte Abtracto Español in Cuenca, and then to Sevilla.

http://www.inq7.net/globalnation/sec_fea/2003/oct/17-02.htm
 

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History links Mexico, Philippines

Ask Philippines Ambassador to Mexico Justo O. Orros about the current trend to develop international free trade blocs, and he´ll tell you that the whole idea started back in 1565, when the Nao galleons plowed the Pacific carrying goods between the ports of Manila and Acapulco.

"In a way, you could say that the Philippines-Mexico trade routes were the forerunners to NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and the European Union (EU)," Orros told The Herald in a recent interview at his embassy.

For more than 250 years, a small fleet of Spanish vessels - known in Mexico as the "Nao de la China" - made the 9,000-nautical-mile trek between Mexico and the Philippines, constituting the most important trade route to the East for the Iberian crown.

And it wasn´t just Philippine goods that were being transported.

Although the Philippines provided some products to be shipped to the New World, it was primarily spices and other items from the "Spice Islands," as well as silk, porcelain, gold, ivory, gemstones, jade, mercury and other valuables from China which made the Manila galleon trade so lucrative.

Wares from Japan, India and parts of Southeast Asia also made their way to first to Manila and then on to Mexico.

"The route represented a vast regional trade bloc," Orros said. "When we realize today just how vital the Philippines-Mexico route was to global trade at that time, it is easy to understand how closely linked the histories of our two countries really are."

Even that uniquely Mexican historical icon the "China Poblana," who was supposedly brought from the East as a slave during the early 1600s and captured the hearts of the people of Puebla because of her kind acts and extraordinary mode of dressing, was in fact a Filipino noblewoman who came to Mexico on a Nao galleon.

Likewise, Orros said Mexican and Filipino history are closely linked by a spiritual connection between the Philippines´ most important hero and patriot José Rizal and the revolutionary insurgents that freed Mexico from Spanish rule in the early 1800s.

"Rizal never in fact set foot on Mexico soil," Orros said, "but clearly he and many other Philippine political thinkers were influenced by the Mexican example to cast off Spanish domain and the Mexican nationalist fervor."

Even linguistically, there is a correlation between the Philippines and Mexico, he said.

"Our native language, Filipino (also known as Tagalog) has over 10,000 words with Spanish roots," he said.

"Moreover, as of 1935, the Virgin of Guadalupe is our country´s official patron saint, which means that each year, hundreds of Filipinos come to Mexico to pay homage to the Blessed Mother."

Another interesting historical tie between the two countries took place during the Second World War, when the only Mexican servicemen to participate in the conflict, an elite squadron of air force pilots known as the Escuadrón 201, was sent by Washington to back Allied Forces.

Originally, Orros said, the squadron was slated to go to Italy to support U.S. troops, but after then-President Manual Ávila Camacho spoke to the pilots, he asked his American counterpart, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to instead send them to the Philippines, "where they could fight side-by-side with their Filipino brothers."

Although only a handful of those brave pilots are still alive today, the Philippine government considers them national heroes, and in November of 2004, they were personally decorated by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during an official visit to Mexico City.

"I am working to try to arrange for the surviving squadron members to visit the Philippines as guests of our government," Orros said, "but because they are now quite old, we have to consider their health and whether such a long trip is feasible or advisable."

Meanwhile, the ambassador is diligently waging his own battle to revitalize the spirit of trade that first defined Philippine-Mexican relations.

"I think that with the close friendship that has always existed between our countries and the constant intertwining of our histories, we can regenerate the old trade connections," he said.

"Today, the figures for our combined bilateral trade are not very encouraging, amounting to about US$340 million in 2004."

Admittedly, Orros said, there is a considerable overlap of products being produced and exported by Philippine and Mexican manufacturers.

However, the nations could become important partners in terms of shipping routes, he said.

He added that he would like to see more bilateral investment cooperation.

The Mexican cement giant Cemex already has long-term direct investments in the Philippines to the tune of nearly US$1 billion, and a Philippine firm has holdings in a Veracruz shipping service.

To help jumpstart trade and investment, Orros said that a Philippine-Mexico Business Council was established in 1996, and as a consequence, there are plans for an exchange of commercial delegations sometime later this year.

Further down the road, he said he would like to see a "special trade agreement" between the Philippines and Mexico.

An existing, but poorly utilized, cultural and academic agreement is also up for review in 2006 by a joint commission which Orros said could galvanize two-way cooperation in the these fields.

"The problem in the past has always been money," he said. "It is great to think up wonderful, elaborate projects, but unless you have the resources to carry them through, there isn´t a lot going to get done. What we need to do is find projects that are doable."

The ambassador has also worked to establish sister-city relationships between Philippine and Mexican towns.

In the end, Orros said that the renewal of Mexican-Philippine cooperation is inevitable.

"Destiny has repeatedly brought our two countries together, and I am sure that it will happen again," he concluded.

"We share a common bond of friendship and history, and all we need to do now is build on that to create a new Mexico-Philippines commercial link that will be as strong and as globally influential as the Nao galleon routes were 400 years ago."

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/miami/16663.html
 

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A couple days older so the numbers haven't been adjusted but...

Landslide triggers avalanche of international aid
First posted 00:59am (Mla time) Feb 19, 2006
Inquirer
Link to the article


Editor's Note: Published on page A1 of the February 19, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

SHARING the Filipinos’ horror, nations from around the world yesterday pledged money and medicines to help the victims of Southern Leyte's devastating landslide. The United States sent warships and 1,000 Marines while one international body promised mosquito nets and cadaver bags.

US President George W. Bush, traveling on a day-long trip to Florida for a speech on terrorism and a political fundraiser, was briefed on the landslide that buried hundreds of homes and some 2,000 people in the coastal village of Guinsaugon, the White House said.

In New York, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan sent a message of condolence to the victims and their families, saying he was "deeply saddened by the loss of life and destruction."

Earlier, from the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI urged nations to be "swift and generous" with their help.

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi offered condolences and the Foreign Ministry announced it was "preparing for appropriate assistance."

Asia's biggest economy, Japan puts a priority on close relations with Southeast Asia and was a major donor after the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004.

Generators, blankets

Two US warships, 17 helicopters and 1,000 Marines participating in joint exercises with Philippine troops have been diverted to the disaster scene, officials said.

US Charge d'Affaires Paul Jones said the USS Essex and the USS Harper's Ferry were expected to reach Southern Leyte at daybreak today. The two ships can transport thousands of gallons of water-purification equipment, generators and blankets.

The US government also has turned over $100,000 worth of disaster equipment to the Philippine National Red Cross.

A C130 Blackbird of the US Air Force with an assessment team left Clark air base for Tacloban.

The United States Agency for International Development donated P2.9 million worth of food and non-food items.

Red Cross appeal

In Geneva, the International Red Cross on Friday appealed for two million Swiss francs ($1.52 million) to fund an aid operation for the ravaged village in the Philippines.

The funds will be used to buy "cooking utensils, mosquito nets, temporary shelter materials, health and hygiene articles, water containers and purification tablets for survivors over the next six months," the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a statement.

A relief plane was on its way to the scene carrying 1,000 body bags, emergency trauma kits to help 1,000 people, rubber boots, ropes, clothing, flashlights and medicine, the federation said.

Other countries near and far also announced they were helping.

China offered a donation of $1 million in cash and material assistance.

Australia said it would give A$1 million ($740,000) in immediate relief.

Taiwan said it would donate $100,000 and send emergency medical supplies that will include enough medicine to treat 3,000 people for a month and a half.

"Singapore officials are in contact with their Philippine counterparts on relief assistance we can provide to the affected areas," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a letter to President Macapagal-Arroyo.

Thailand said it would donate $100,000 in aid.

A 60-man Malaysian team arrived yesterday to help in search and rescue work and provide medical services.

Spain, the Philippines' former colonial ruler, said in a statement that it "profoundly laments the landslides."

A Spanish non-government organization, Unidad Canina de Rescate y Salvamento, promised to send a six-man rescue team and five search dogs.

Help had also begun to roll in from local political and church leaders.

House contributions

Speaker Jose de Venecia said the House leadership was mobilizing both majority and minority congressmen to raise a "rapid reaction fund" for the victims.

De Venecia made the first contribution of P250,000 to the fund while Deputy Speaker Raul del Mar donated another P100,000.

Catholic Church and government leaders in the Visayas rallied the public to extend help.

Archbishop Pedro Dean of Palo, Leyte, called on the faithful to offer not only prayers but also material things.

"I also instructed all the priests in the diocese to help raise funds for the victims," Dean said. He said a Mass for the victims would be conducted in all parishes under the Palo Diocese.

Over 400 Filipino soldiers from all parts of Eastern Visayas were sent to the disaster site.

Forty-two miners are scheduled to arrive in St. Bernard today to help in the rescue operations, according to Ernie Rodriguez, president of the Philippine Mining Safety and Environment Association.

The miners were from the companies Benguet, Philex, Lepanto, Rio Tuba/Coral Bay and Paganito Mining, he said.

Rodriguez said heavy equipment from Paganito Mining, based in Surigao, would be brought to Guinsaugon.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena sent a rescue team and he himself left for Southern Leyte to see how else he could help.

Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra said the diocese would collect goods and financial donations.

Negros Occidental Gov. Joseph Maranon and Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia also promised to help.

ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya said it would airlift 250 food packs that include rice, noodles and canned goods, and water purifiers.

The Philam Fellowship of the Assembly of God donated blankets, canned goods, clothes and medicines while McDonald's Philippines donated 100 sacks of rice.

Calling on donors

McDonald's Charities yesterday advised those who want to donate to the victims of the calamity that McDonald's branches nationwide were accepting canned goods, bottled water, clothes, blankets, medicine and cash.

Donated items will be passed on to the National Disaster Coordinating Council, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Red Cross, ABS-CBN Foundation, GMA 7's Kapuso Foundation, said McDonald's PR manager Zonito Torrevillas.

Those interested in donating may call tel. no. 0917-820-8123, Torrevillas said. With reports from Dona Pazzibugan, Philip Tubeza, in Manila, and Tonette Orejas, PDI Central Luzon Desk, and Vincent Cabreza, PDI Northern Luzon Bureau, Joey Gabieta, Jhunnex Napallacan, Vicente S. Labro and Carla P. Gomez, PDI Visayas Bureau
 

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Spain extends P2.5 Billion aid to Mindanao poor

Manila Standard Today, Philippines - Feb 26, 2006

ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Spanish government chose the Philippines as its top priority among other countries in Asia and earmarked up to 40,000,000 euro (about P2.5 billion) in grants-in-aid to be used in different developmental programs over the next four years, the Spanish envoy to the Philippines said over the weekend.

Ambassador Don Ignacio Sagaz said on Saturday Spain has decided to upgrade its cooperation with the Philippines in terms of fighting poverty in the regions of Bicol, Caraga and Zamboanga City and Basilan in Western Mindanao.

“In the next four years, we have contemplated 40,000,000 euro or an average of 10,000,000 euro per year as a grant to the Philippines,” Sagaz said, adding that the funds will be used to support President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s 10-point agenda of governance and in support for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

For Zamboanga City alone, the Spanish government, through its Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional (AECI) and the Spanish nongovernment organization (NGO) Manos Unidas, granted more than P80,000,000 to the community-building programs of Katilingban Para Sa Kalambuan Inc. (KKI), a local urban poor coalition in this city headed by Claretian priest, Fr. Angel Calvo.

Sagaz was the guest speaker during the joint blessing, inauguration and turnover ceremony of the Kalinaw Housing Project, the second phase of the three-phase AECI funded KKI housing program situated in the interior of Barangay Sinunuc, this city.

The first phase is called Katilingban Housing Project, which was started in 2001 and serves as the home of 200 urban poor. Phase 2 will benefit 98 families. The biggest phase called the Kalambuan Housing Project will have its groundbreaking in April. Phase 3 is bigger than the first two phases together and is estimated to benefit at least another 300 urban poor families.

“We are committed to give help to the people here and as you know, we are already starting with the Phase 3 of this project. It is very encouraging for us to see the people having already their own houses,” Sagaz said.

“This Phase 3 will be in Barangay Caragasan and even bigger than the first two together. We are expecting this project could hold over 300 families and we have allocated of over €80,000,” Sagaz revealed.

“Aside from Zamboanga City, AECI already gave grants and assistance to the agricultural projects in Caraga region, housing, health care, gender and equality programs in Ilocos, Tarlac and Pampanga,” Sagaz revealed.

Sagaz was also the guest of honor during Zamboanga’s 69th charter day celebration yesterday.

KKI chairman Fr. Calvo said the NGO’s housing program intends to develop communities with livelihood enterprises for its residents.

“Aside from the residential houses, KKI housing program also housed a livelihood production center. It is run by the Katilingban Working Women Association, whose members come from different marginalized communities in the city. The women are trained in various production skills, and have started making herbal medicine soaps, noodles, dresses and other sewn items, preserved foodstuffs and other products,” Calvo added.

“This is to finally lift the local residents out of poverty,” Calvo said, adding that the road to economic emancipation begins by eliminating poverty in attitudes and values of the people. Nuhman Aljani
 

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Prime Minister to Chile, Philippines

Prime Minister to Chile, Philippines

Prime Minister Helen Clark will travel to Chile at the end of this week for the inauguration of President-elect Michele Bachelet, and then on to the Philippines for the Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue in Cebu and an official bilateral visit.

While in Chile, Helen Clark will attend the farewell ceremony for outgoing President Ricardo Lagos, and will meet with members of the new government, the Chilean business community, and other leaders attending the inauguration.

Helen Clark said New Zealand had a strong relationship with Chile, and visits in recent years by Heads of State and Government in both directions had built on it.

"Chile and New Zealand signed the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement with Singapore and Brunei in 2005. The Agreement provides a framework to improve our economic fortunes through science, research, and commercial partnerships.

"This visit is timely as last week Cabinet agreed to continue the government’s Latin America Strategy, launched in 2000, which aims to build New Zealand’s relationship in the region in three main areas: diplomatic; economic; and people-to-people contacts," Helen Clark said.

Helen Clark will visit the Philippines to speak at the Regional Interfaith Dialogue meeting, and said recent events had reinforced the importance of building support between faiths and religious communities.

“Interfaith dialogue is proving to be an effective channel for the voices of religious moderation within the region,’’ Helen Clark said.

“The Cebu meeting will be a key part of this important regional inter-faith process which aims to promote peace and security in the region.”

The Cebu Interfaith Dialogue meeting will bring together delegations of up to ten representatives of faith communities from countries within the regiona, including from ASEAN members, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand. New Zealand, along with the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia is a co-sponsor of the Cebu meeting.

Helen Clark will also make a series of official calls during her 13-15 March visit to the Philippines. The last dedicated bilateral visit from New Zealand to the Philippines was made by David Lange in 1986. Jim Bolger attended the APEC summit there in 1996.

“This year we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of New Zealand-Philippines bilateral relations. In 1966 New Zealand cross-accredited an Ambassador to Manila from Hong Kong. The Embassy in Manila opened in 1975. Our relationship has grown substantially in the past forty years with the Philippines now our top export market in South East Asia," Helen Clark said.

“This visit will also help develop dialogue with the Philippines on issues including counter-terrorism and New Zealand's relations with ASEAN. The Philippines takes the chair of ASEAN later this year and will be hosting the ASEAN and East Asia Summits in December.”

Helen Clark will leave New Zealand on 9 March and return on 17 March.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0603/S00108.htm
 

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^^ummm wot dus Fonterra got to do with it bud?!! Fonterra the only one that exports dairy products to the Philippines...and does NZ only exports dairy products?!...

All I know is Fonterra and SMB were in a bidding war over National Food Corp. here in Australia, and San Mig. eventually won....
 

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^^Anchor, Anmum, Anlene, and all those milk brands for osteoporosis and pregnancy which starts with "An" are products of Fonterra. They really sell-out. Fonterra Philippines even has more dairy brands compared to Nestle Philippines.

Even Nestle Philippines import milk and butter from New Zealand

Most dairy products here are imported from New Zealand.
 

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Unfortunately I haven't been updating much on NZ PM Helen Clark's visit to the RP but I guess it's better late than never.

New Zealand donates P17.3 M to prevent spread of bird flu
Link

Visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday announced a NZ$ 500,000, approximately $ 340,000 or P17.34 million, aid to the Philippines to prevent the spread of bird flu.

In a speech before the Makati Business Club, Clark said the amount is New Zealand’s contribution to a project developed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the Philippines Department of Agriculture to support the Philippines capacity to detect and diagnose outbreaks of avian flu and other avian diseases which may emerge in the future.

"Avian influenza is a problem faced by many countries in the region. It poses significant threats to human health and agricultural livelihoods. Its recent rapid spread, including to Europe, is a worrying development," Clark said.

For now, the Philippines is the only poultry producing country in Southeast Asia which remains free from avian influenza. It is important for both the Philippines and the wider region that all efforts are made to prevent the spread of the disease. Early detection of an outbreak is crucial if it is to be contained.

According to Clark, fighting the spread of the disease is not simply an issue for individual nations to deal with within their own borders. It is an international problem which requires the wider international community to work together collaboratively.

"New Zealand, as an island nation free of avian influenza like the Philippines, will watch with interest any lessons which can be learned as the Philippines government strives to combat its spread," Helen Clark said.

New Zealand’s grant will go towards a one-year project developed by the FAO, in collaboration with the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture, to strengthen and enhance the country’s veterinary services and their ability to detect avian influenza and other diseases which may emerge in the future.
 

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Looking Back : Revisiting a shared past

MEXICO -- Last Wednesday in Mexico City, the Joint Commission for Cultural and Educational Cooperation between the Philippines and Mexico sat down to discuss a program of activities that will cover the next three years.

The head of the Philippine delegation began his opening remarks in Filipino, catching the translators by surprise and, for a brief moment, probably making the Mexican side nervous that half the day would proceed in Filipino. The Filipino greetings were then translated into English and again into Spanish, both languages being foreign and colonial to Filipinos.

That Spanish was utilized as a bridge for the delegations to communicate underscored the historic links between the Philippines and Mexico that antedate formal diplomatic relations between the two countries that only began in 1953. It is unfortunate that most Filipinos today do not know that for a long time the Philippines was actually ruled by Spain not directly from Madrid but from Mexico, and that some things Filipinos think as part of the Spanish influence in our culture are actually of Mexican origin.

Most of the members of the Philippine delegation were visiting Mexico for the first time, and yet they settled in quite fast. They discovered many commonalities, and in the process discarded, some misconceptions.

Food was one of the primary areas of mutual understanding. For example, Mexican food is richer than the so-called Tex-Mex variety popularized in Manila by American food chains and products, like Taco Bell, Pollo Loco, Nachos and Chili's. Trying various chilis, sauces, sausages and even tamales, we found not just familiar tastes, smells and flavors, but the realization of cultural exchange.

Philippine mangoes are known and appreciated in Mexico as mangas de Manila, while Mexican fruits, plants and vegetables are so common in the Philippines that we presumed they were indigenous. Thus, it comes as a surprise that avocado, corn and chocolate are actually "immigrants" from Mexico. Some things even keep a trace of their original Aztec names even if we have Filipinized them, like chayote, kamote, singcamas, and, probably, even zapote?

Cockfighting was introduced in Mexico from the Philippines. The veneration of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the Philippines came from Mexico, and this explains the two Makati districts, one old the other new: Guadalupe Viejo and Guadalupe Nuevo. The Black Nazarene venerated in Quiapo, Manila, is of Mexican origin and the miraculous black Virgin of Antipolo was the patroness of several successful galleon voyages between the Philippines and Mexico, thus her Spanish name of Nuestra Señora de Paz y de Buen Viaje or Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.

Many Mexican cultural and historical influences have been assimilated so seamlessly into everyday Philippine life that we now have to revisit them to appreciate them better.

A visit to the fabulous Franz Mayer museum (in an ancient hospital for women and prostitutes) was punctuated by the excitement of coming across religious carvings in ivory, now acknowledged as marfiles hispano-filipinos. On display were pieces of furniture, particularly sea chests or baules that were used during the galleon trade. There were even a "Manton de Manila" and various indigenous Mexican textiles whose designs, motifs and colors resemble some of the textiles made by Philippine indigenous groups to this day.

Thus, the Galleon Trade moved from historical footnote to a central theme in the program because revisiting this part of our shared past is not just an exercise in academic history or antiquarian taste but reminds us that long before the word "globalization" was even coined, the Galleon Trade was the first real globalization. While globalization is a contemporary term, history shows that it began 400 years ago, when the world became smaller and the meeting between East and West was made possible through the Philippines and Mexico.

We believe that revisiting the roots of our long cultural and historic ties is a first step not just in knowing the past but, more importantly, a way to accept, explore and appreciate commonalities that form the basis for mutual understanding and friendship in the present and a platform that guides us toward a common future.

The galleon also brings contemporary relevance to issues of migration. Like Mexico, the Philippines maintains a large immigrant presence in the United States, and one wonders if we can go beyond the political and economic aspects of this issue and see the ongoing exchange or meeting of cultures and plan for the preservation of Mexican and Philippine heritage in the second generation, the children and grandchildren of immigrants.

While our diplomacy is often undertaken according to the demands of politics and economics, there are countries where culture can be used more effectively. Mexico, China, Spain, the United States, and all the countries Jose Rizal visited over a century ago are places where culture can bridge the past and the present. I used to think history was only useful for school, but now I have come to realize that the past really forms connections between us and other nations. This is another reason to revise our current history textbooks.

Comments are welcome at [email protected]
http://news.inq7.net/opinion/index.php?index=2&col=80&story_id=71163
 
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