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AA Patawaran

Senators vow to help increase budget for DoT

Senators vowed to help the Department of Tourism (DoT) increase its proposed ‘’measly’’ 2017 P2.46 billion budget saying that the next fiscal year is a a crucial time for the Philippine government to step up its tourism efforts in order to counter any negative perception that the international community may have towards the country. Sen. Loren Legarda, chairwoman of the Senate finance committee, told DoT officials led by its secretary, Wanda Corazon T. Teo, to make study their Department of Budget and Management (DBM)-slashed budget and make a formal request for augmentation. ‘’With my colleagues who are supportive of the (tourism) industry, there should be increase of 5.3 percent increase in thetourism share to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to 10 percent of the GDP. If you need augmentation, inform …

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For fear of sounding like my favorite writer

I’ve been asked many times, almost every time I speak before a roomful of aspiring writers or devout readers, how it is possible to avoid mimicking your favorite writers when it is your turn to write. Two weeks ago, at this year’s Philippine Readers and Writers Festival at the Raffles Makati, in which I had a morning session to speak about writing, as well as to launch the young writers edition of my 2012 book Write Here Write Now, I was asked that question again. This time I didn’t falter. I don’t think it’s an issue that you sound like J.D. Salinger, if you had just re-read The Catcher in the Rye before writing a piece on teen depression. And so what if you sound like Gertrude Stein while trying to write without a comma? I mean you can’t help it. I mean, no …

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Speak softly and be human

Is glamour only a memory? It originated from a Scottish word meaning “enchantment” or a “magic spell or charm,” according to the Oxford dictionary, but in my personal and very, very limited brush with glamour, it started with two words—Chona Kasten. I said words, because, to me, at that time, more than a person, she was only words of glamour I would overhear in adult conversations at the dinner table or when my aunts would tag me along on shopping sprees at Rustan’s. Chona Recto-Kasten died in April 4, 1987. I was a teenager, in transition from high school to college, although thanks to her and all things glamorous I grew up associating with her name, I had even in those young years been under the spell of the good life—fashion, …

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Truth and poetry

For the love of poetry Only speak the truth Extract from it the essence Uncover it like a sleuth    The truth is a complex thing There are many sides to it Turn it around, inside out Find a way through it   For the love of poetry Give the truth the life that is its own From which to emerge Unafraid of the unknown   The truth sets you free Unshackled by secrets But the truth is who you are Being strong about a weakness   Truth hides deep in each of us Like the mystery behind our dresses Through shame, sorrow, pain, hate, lies So quietly we bear our crosses   There’s freedom where things are true Whether they seem wrong or good Let them all out, shout out the truth The hell if you are misunderstood

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The Resurrection of the ’80s

I was convinced childlike wonder was over But then Stranger Things Again my eyes are wide open The Lost Boys memories of mine have been unstolen I thought I’d lost the magic of makebelieve But then Stranger Things The storytelling unnerves me Like I’m back over the moon with E.T.   The Never Ending Story had ended But then Stranger Things It starts slow but it digs deep And I’m lost again, unable to sleep   I was sure CGI now rules the screen But then Stranger Things The choice of songs alone I      can’t rebuff Like The Goonies are good enough   I’d long emerged from The Twilight Zone But then Stranger Things And here I am with bated breath As if what follows might be my own death   I was afraid The Gremlins were so passé But then Stranger Things It’s not about the color or the SFX It’s what keeps me on edge over what’s next   What’s next is only higher technology But then Stranger Things I’d awoken from Electric Dreams feeling oh-so-cold But this new craze feels so heartwarmingly old   I was afraid Poltergeist was behind me now But then Stranger Things Am I …

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The revenge of the farmhands

At a dinner in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, just as, using our bare hands, we were all sharing a bayenetu, a collection of animal-free dishes, chickpeas, string beans, marinated beets, caramelized onions, lentils, carrots, and potatoes, all served on a platter lined with a sourdough pancake-like bread called injera, our Ethiopian host made a statement that, to me, sounded thought-provoking. “Whatever we are eating now is all organic, produced right here in this country.” What he said took me back to the countryside I had just had the privilege to visit north of the capital, Lalibela right up north and Bahir Dar in the northwest and Gondar further up, where I was greeted with fields and farmlands as far as my eyes could see, even plantations rife with coffee and sugarcane. Landlocked in …

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Samsung to unveil Gear S3 in IFA, Germany

Samsung Electronics Co. will unveil its new wearable - the Gear S3 at the IFA press conference held in Berlin, Germany at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31 (local time, 1 a.m. on Sep. 1 in Korean time). The Korean tech giant sent official invitations to global media, partners and developers for its “Next Wearable Launch Event” held in Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany, two days prior to the IFA, an annual trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. Samsung launched a series of its flagship gadgets - the Galaxy Note 1,2,3,4 and the Gear S2 there over the past years. The latest invite hints at a few things. First, the phrase “Talk about 3” seemingly points to launch of the Gear S3. A circle with two hands over it indicates the …

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Imagine there’s no heaven

I wonder if John Lennon had ever been to Ethiopia, and met Zumra Nuru who, when Lennon imagined a society without borders, without judgment, must have been young, but already wise beyond his years. Zumra Nuru has established a community in the province of Gondar in northwestern Ethiopia that is exactly what Lennon must have had in mind when he sang “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” The Awra Amba Community, sprawled on 17.5 hectares of government-granted farmlands, was established in 2000. It now has 494 resident members (formally called cooperative members) or 141 families. It also has what it calls community members or members who espouse the same ideas but live elsewhere in Africa and the world. I just met Nuru, just 20 minutes ago, as I write this …

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A reading for JR Isaac

We might think that the explosion of information on the Internet has desensitized many of us to the facts of life, like death, but no, death still does come as a shock, like a thief in the night. This is how death struck me when I heard of JR Isaac’s passing. On Tuesday night, just after dinner, I was on Messenger with friends Myrza Sison, Tweetie de Leon Gonzalez, Apples Aberin, and Bea Recto Agnir and it was all about him being under intensive care due to liver failure. “Pray for him,” we implored each other. “Storm the heavens.” That, alone, was a bolt from the blue. Not JR. He was so young, too young—and he was fit, he was healthy, he was so alive. But one hour later, he was not. …

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Africa so far yet so near (now)

When I met Esayas Hailu, managing director at Ethiopian International Services, at his office in a huge complex in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, I saw a man brimming with passion. BRIDGING THE GAP It’s not unusual to see this kind of passion in a man on top of such a forward-looking company, especially in a leader like him, to whom, as he says, all the international offices of Ethiopian Airlines, “from Tokyo to Toronto, from Seoul to Sao Paolo and Los Angeles, Madrid, and Paris, of course Manila,” report directly. Even then, on his shoulders rest not only the big picture as well as the small details at the airline but also its many related enterprises, including but not limited to the aviation academy, through which the airline trains its own pilots, …

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