Today's Top Stories

  • The One:  The Magical Aerial Oddysey of Capt. Patrick Roa, Garbo sa Cagayan de Oro

    The One: The Magical Aerial Oddysey of Capt. Patrick Roa, Garbo sa Cagayan de Oro

    The Magical Pilot story of Capt. Patrick Roa, Garbo sa Cagayan de Oro By Tonet Rivera for Clear Prop   Patrick Roa flies A320 and A321 airliners, and calls himself an accidental airline pilot. But was it really accidental? Patrick hails from Cagayan de Oro. Like many young boys, he dreamed of becoming a pilot. But he didn’t really know why. His grandfather died when Patrick was just 5. (You will meet the grandfather later in this tale.) Even today Patrick remembers holding a Matchbox toy, a green and white Cessna 421, during the funeral services at Xavier University. His grandmother, a Cebuana, left him a trust fund when she died ten years later. The money was for his higher education. Today Patrick considers his grandmother the primary enabler of his aviation career. Only later did he learn the other half of the story. Patrick first immersed himself in aviation at old Lahug airfield in Cebu, where the storied hangar denizens infected him with the passion for General Aviation. After Lahug closed, Patrick took his training at Archie Po's flying school at the AirSpan hangar at NAIA, where the high tempo of non-stop General Aviation operations exhilarated him. He soloed in a Cessna 152XP with a 150-horsepower engine, the equivalent of putting a BMW engine in a Volkswagen. In 1993 a close cousin flew a Pacific Airways Grumman Tiger into IMC between Cotabato and Lebak, and was lost at sea. Patrick has lost other friends in aviation, but that first loss was a wake-up call, like a railroad switch that rechanneled him with the knowledge that mistakes and misfortune in aviation are paid for in blood. After multi-engine training with Meynard Halili (also featured in Clear Prop), Patrick acquired a Piper Seneca, and with that and another pilot’s Cessna 421 he began what can only be described as a mix of “Air America” and “American Made” missions that will not be described here (NO, he wasn’t carrying poppy leaves or paratrooper pigs). Night flights, uncontrolled airstrips, Islanders, DC-3s, a pressurized Beech 88 Queen Air with generators instead of alternators – he was young, charged with adrenalin and flying with one of the legends of Philippine General Aviation. Patrick began to build the 13,000++ hours he now has in his logbooks, which also record an astounding 40+ different types and models of aircraft that he has flown. In 1996, Patrick visited the Asian Institute of Management to ask about its famed Airline Transport Management Course. The course was run by Professor/Capt. Roberto Lim, an Annapolis graduate who trained pilots in B-17s and B-29s during World War II. Capt. Lim pushed PAL into the jet age with the Douglas DC-8. Lim also established the Aviation Safety Foundation Philippines after his wife was lost in the PAL HS748 CFIT accident on approach to Baguio in 1987. Bobby Lim met with Patrick, as he did with all the applicants for the course. Looking Patrick straight in the eye, he asked about Patrick’s goals. Then Lim leaned back then asked, “Are you in any way related to the tall Olympian Pio Roa from Cagayan de Oro?” The question surprised Patrick. Pio Roa was Patrick's grandfather, an Olympian athlete, an Ateneo Hall of Fame sportsman, and a basketball coach for the pre-war Blue Eagles. Patrick was just 5 years old when his grandfather died. Now Capt. Lim of PAL/AIM was asking a grown-up Patrick if he was related to the elder Roa. “Yes sir, I happen to be his first grandson.” Lim smiled warmly and leaned back. “So, you’re the one.” It turned out that whenever Capt. Lim flew VIPs and ex-Presidents to Cagayan de Oro, grandfather Pio Roa would be Lim's host, wanting to talk about airplanes and aviation. The elder Roa often told Lim that he wanted his grandson to be a pilot, an aviador. When Patrick was a toddler, his grandfather took him to the Camp Evangelista Army airfield. Army officers made the tiny Patrick sit in Cessna 180 cockpits. His grandfather also took Patrick to Lumbia Airport to watch the C-123s, YS-11s, F-27s and the loud BAC-111s. His grandfather didn’t say much. He just carried his toddler grandson in his arms as the airplanes thundered in and out. Now the grandson WAS a pilot, and was beginning to understand where all the influence and passion for aviation came from. His grandfather was an aviation nut who had purposely infected his tiny toddler grandson. When Patrick heard these stories, his aviation career took on a deeper meaning and purpose. Patrick owed his aviation career to his grandmother AND his grandfather, after all. Even today, Patrick continues to read anything he can about aviation. He credits a lot of his aviation knowledge to reading, and labels himself an aviation nerd. As we’ve said before in Clear Prop, a good pilot never stops learning. Can the aviation passion bug jump across generations? One day, out of the blue, Patrick’s daughter proclaimed her desire to become a pilot. Patrick played it by ear to see how badly infected she was. Today Regine has a commercial pilot license and is closing in on her instrument check ride. Her next step is multi-engine training in the Baron that Meynard Halili used to own. Full circle. Accidental pilot? At Clear Prop, we don’t believe in accidents. Founded in 2018, Clear Prop we will inspire and motivate professionals and enthusiasts in Philippine aviation, by sharing knowledge and insight from the best aviation professionals in the country.   If you haven’t listened to Patrick’s advice to pilots and aspiring pilots, you can listen to him in all the episodes of  Clear Prop. Clear Prop is committed to sharing aviation knowledge and expertise without bias or endorsements. We will always feature the best pilots and aviation experts available to us, and we will always choose them thoughtfully and deliberately. Our video series is entirely free. Subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss a single episode. Clear Prop Inspiration for Pilots, by Pilots

    March 10, 2020

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  • 6th BIG Bite Foodfest  underway in Centrio

    6th BIG Bite Foodfest underway in Centrio

    A Bigger and Better Big Bite Northern Mindanao Food Festival opened on March 5, 2020 at the Ayala Centrio Mall in Cagayan de Oro. Scheduled from March 5-8, 2020, the festival is a Centrio Mall marketing event promoting the food s scene in Cagayan de Oro City.     “This year there will be 71 food concessionaires, food exhibitors prepared with love,”said Centrio Mall Manager Hammer Roa during the festival launch held at the Centrio Activity Center.     “On top of that, all of our favorite food places are gathered here today at one venue for four days with the likes of Butcher’s Best and Aling Violy’s Humba, to mention a few.”     What is extra special about this year is that we have partnered with Liceo de Cagayan University who will be demonstrating the latest technical skills in kitchen set, competencies and techniques,” Roa added.     The launching program climaxed with the setting of what is probably the longest Seafood Boodle ever in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao, with VIPs from Centrio Mall and local tourism offices helping set up the 20 meter table with delectable grilled seafood favorites from Gerry’s Grill, after which all stakeholders joined in enjoying.     From 32 participating establishments last year, exhibitors to the 6th edition of the 3-day FoodFest this year more than doubled to 71, showcasing all kinds of food genres like organic, grilled, vegan, dessert and new for this year, packed food or take-outs (or takeaways).     “This year we added a new lane for packed food (take-outs) at H&M for desserts at the C.M. Recto entrance to accommodate food establishments specializing in pasalubong and similar foods,” said Itos Felesedario, Centrio Marketing Associate.     “Our rentals are friendlier which has enabled us to accommodate more entrepreneurs referred to us by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and more exhibitors from outside the mall,” Itos added.     “It’s also our way of pooling potential merchants such as Choleng’s Muron who started as an exhibitor in a previous Big Bite Food Festival but is now our full-time regular concessionaire,” Itos explained.     “Once we incorporate them in the mall, we teach them how the mall operates, which makes from a smooth transition from exhibitor to merchant,” he added.     Access to the main exhibition area at the Centrio Gardens will be during mall hours while the grilling area would remain open till 11o’clock for the festival duration.     Although the 71 slots for this year’s festival have already all been taken up, Centrio Mall remains on the lookout for trending food establishments in Cagayan de Oro.     While this year’s festival mainly still focuses on Cagayan de Oro, Centrio Mall is already receiving inquiries from merchants from areas outside the city like Iligan, and may consider including them in future festivals.     Besides the food exhibits, the 3-day program would also showcase star-studded events such as the Kapuso Meet-and-Greet on Sunday, March 8 at 4:00PM featuring GMA Artist Bejamin Alves and Gil Cuerva.

    March 9, 2020

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  • Laguindingan AirportExpansion  ready for RDC-X Full Council nod

    Laguindingan AirportExpansion ready for RDC-X Full Council nod

    The proposal to Upgrade, Expand, Operate and Maintain the Laguindingan Airport has been endorsed to the full council of the Regional Development Council of Region X for its endorsement to the National Economic Development Authority Investment Coordinating Council (NEDA-ICC). If approved, the proposal will be endorsed by the NEDA-ICC to the NEDA Board headed by President Rodrigo Duterte which will trigger the Swiss Challenge process for the final selection of the winning proponent.     The unsolicited proposal from Aboitiz Infrastructure Corporation (AIC) was favorably endorsed by both the Municipal Development Council of Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental last February 14, 2020 and the Provincial Development Council of Misamis Oriental last February 21, 2020.     “Northern Mindanao has already endorsed the Laguindingan airport expansion project to the NEDA Board as a high priority project and hopefully within the year, government will be able to undertake the Swiss Challenge process because they know how urgent it is,” said NEDA-X Regional Director Mylah Faye B. Cariño.     “However, the time would ultimately depend on the number of companies which take up the Swiss Challenge and how viable the proposals the submit would be,” she added.     Not the least, the RDC-X Infrastructure & Utilities Development Committee favorably endorsed the proposal for the approval to the full council meeting scheduled in the middle of this March. RDC-X is chaired by Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano and co-chaired by Engr. Modesto Babaylan.     The Laguindingan Airport Project will be implemented by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and will involve the upgrade, operations and maintenance, and future expansion of the Laguindingan Airport. The project aims to address the Laguindingan Airport’s existing capacity constraint issue and accommodate air traffic growth. Regional Gateway AIC said the Laguindingan Airport is a strategic entry point into Northern Mindanao which has experienced tremendous growth over the past years and is progressively catching up with the more developed parts of the country. “As a regional airport serving Northern Mindanao and its adjacent regions, CGY/RPMY has been serving six provinces, two highly urbanized cities and five component cities with an average of two million passengers annually for the last three (3) years,” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, vice president for Mindanao of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), which has been instrumental in pushing for the airport’s immediate expansion.  “Laguindingan Airport has become an important logistic network for over 150 medium to large scale industries including four major thermal power plants, the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Complex. 3 industrial parks, and emerging tourism destinations,” Alegrio noted. AIC Vision 2022 Last February 26, 2019 the CAAP granted AIC original proponent status (OPS) for its unsolicited proposal to upgrade, expand, operate, and maintain the Laguindingan Airport for a 35-year concession period. The unsolicited P42.70-Billion project has been proposed by AIC under the Operate-Add-Transfer (OAT) PPP structure with a cooperation period of 35 years. https://ppp.gov.ph/ppp_projects/upgrade-expansionoperations-and-maintenance-of-laguindingan-airport/ “Our proposal to the national government is to run the Laguindingan International Airport including operations, maintenance, rehabilitation, and expansion over a 35-year concession,” said Jose Emmanuel P. Reverente, vice president of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. (AIC). “Our plan is to spend initially P4.2 billion pesos to expand the airport; and a total of P43-billion pesos over the concession period half for repairs/capital expenditure and the other half to maintain a high state of readiness of the capital assets,” he added. Immediate Expansion Reverente said the first phase of their plan calls for the immediate expansion of the terminal building. “It is not in our best interests to construct it over a long period of time. We will want to finish it as soon as possible, so we can have that capacity readily available. We prefer to build it in phases. An integrated PPP approach that allows us to build and operate the airport is the right combination so the P43-billion we would like to invest into the expansion and maintenance,” he said. It’s one thing to build the infrastructure but another thing to maintain its operational readiness over the entire concession period, he stressed. “For the first phase we plan to expand the existing terminal left and right to increase capacity to about 4 million passengers per year.  After initial expansion, passenger boarding bridges will be expanded to 5 from the present 3,” Reverente said. “Even without international flights and larger airplanes, the passenger terminal is not big enough, so our first task is to expand the passenger terminal. We believe building the terminal first to accommodate the projected passenger traffic over the short term is the better use of capital at the start. When there are more passengers coming through the airport, then the next step is to extend the runway to accept larger aircraft which normally are required to fly longer distances.” Ultimate master plan will expand airport terminal to be able to accommodate up to 20 aircraft at any given time.  “Pre-departure and arrival areas, includes digital signage so check in counters are flexible and can be expanded or reduced depending on the number of flight departures for any given airline at any given time to expedite check in process.” Government Budget For 2019, P90-million was allocated for the expansion of the terminal building most of which was used to repair dilapidated facilities of the terminal building. For 2020, P100-million has been approved for either the expansion of the terminal building and extension of the runway. DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade announced last July 15, 2019 the proposed extension of the 2.1-kilometer runway to 2.4 or 2.5 kilometers is proceeding as planned. DOTr will reportedly utilize the P100 million to start detailed engineering works and much needed repairs on the Laguindingan Airport as part of the P2.9 billion augmentation budget to fund its priority projects. “While we appreciate the P90M Congressional Initiative Fund restored by Rep. Juliette Uy, this amount is barely enough to refurbish the dilapidated areas including the poorly designed comfort rooms and malfunctioning elevators,” said Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, president of Promote Northmin Inc. “Government should now fast track the entry of private sector companies to expand and improve all the facilities of Laguindingan so that it can already accommodate direct flights from regional and international destinations, including lengthening the runway to meet wide body jet aircraft,” he added. Passenger Traffic Growth When it started operations in 15 June 2013, air passenger traffic at the Cagayan de Oro Lumbia Airport that Laguindingan Airport was designed to replace had already exceeded the 1.6 million design capacity of the new passenger terminal building (PTB). When the passenger traffic exceeded 2 million annual passengers last year, the need for a larger terminal that could accommodate the current and expected passenger volume over the medium term became urgent and critical. On a year-on-year basis alone, the CAAP figures for the past 10 years show passenger traffic increasing at an annual rate of 8.7% from 902,133 in 2008 at the Cagayan de Oro Lumbia Airport to 2,079,683in 2018 at the Laguindingan Airport (doubling passenger volume every 8.5 years.) Recent growth in air cargo traffic was even more impressive, soaring 44% from 2017 to 25,366 metric tons (MT). The 11% increase in the number of flights from 2017 to 2018 (17,478 aircraft takeoffs and landings) was mainly responsible for the meteoric rise in both passenger and cargo movements. Rising Cargo Traffic The runway extension is also expected to address the recent growth in air cargo traffic which soared 44% from 2017 to 25,366 metric tons (MT) in 2018. Another factor expected to increase cargo traffic is the 105-hectare (ha.) Laguindingan Technopark now being constructed adjacent to the airport as part of Ayala Corporation’s Habini Bay mixed-use development covering Laguidingan and the adjacent municipality of Alubijid. During a previous visit, executives of German logistics giant DB Schenker said such techno parks are expected to “drive massive airfreight” like what the Ayala’s Laguna Technopark did in Luzon. “If the runway is already extended, it is even more important for us to expand the passenger terminal. Our plans also include the refurbish and expansion of the cargo terminal. We believe if the airport is run as a commercial enterprise, we will be able to respond much more swiftly to changes in the economic environment without having to go through a multi-year NEDA process,” Reverente noted.   “As a private enterprise, Aboitiz will help market Northern Mindanao as a destination globally to assist marketing efforts of Dept of Tourism, DTI and other government agencies increase passenger and cargo traffic to Laguindingan Airport,” he added.

    March 9, 2020

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  • Media Wise wins Gold and  Platinum at 55th Anvil Awards

    Media Wise wins Gold and Platinum at 55th Anvil Awards

    Media Wise Communications / Muse Books raced out into 2020 with a rare repeat of last year’s trophy haul with a gold and a platinum at the 55thAnvil Awards held at the historic Manila Hotel on February 28, 2020. The gold and platinum Anvils were for the coffee-table book The Manila Jockey Club: The Front Runner that Media Wise produced for the Manila Jockey Club, Inc. for its 150th anniversary.     The Platinum Anvil, the rarest and most coveted of the Anvils, is given only to the cream of the year’s crop of Gold Anvil awardees.     Normally, just one or two are given by the awards body per year out of hundreds of entries. Media Wise’s platinum last year was for the award-winning coffee-table-book On the March: The Jesuits in the Philippines Since the Restoration.     The Front Runner chronicles the evolution of horse racing in the Philippines, as embodied in the 150-year history of the Manila Jockey Club. It celebrates a century and a half of local horse-racing history, nostalgia, and excitement.     The Front Runner captures in insightful text and beautiful images MJC’s run through Philippine history from being the favored pastime sport of the social elite more than 150 years ago to being the enduring, thrill-a-second populist sport that it is today. Within its 300 pages, the book takes the reader through the history of horse racing in the Philippines, through two wars—the Philippine Revolution and World War II—and through the historic transfer of the hippodrome from San Lazaro, Manila to the modern race tracks of the newly built San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite. The Anvil Awards are given annually by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines to the best public-relations programs and individual practitioners of the year. Media Wise’s The Front Runner bagged the Platinum Anvil in the PR Tools Publications category. Although a boutique publication house, Media Wise has won many awards in PR and publications from various prestigious award-giving bodies locally and abroad. Manila Jockey Club president Alfonso Reyno III and Media Wise president Ramoncito Ocampo Cruz, together with their respective teams, received the gold and platinum trophies at this year’s Anvil awarding ceremonies.  “No such chronicle of horse-racing history has been produced before,” noted Attorney Reyno III. “The book captures the essence of how horse racing was born and kept alive in the Philippines over the course of 150 years, and how MJC played a central role in all that.” The MJC book-project team led by MJC Director, Corporate Counsel & General Counsel, Atty. Ferdinand. A Domingo, MJC COO and VP for resource administration Attorney Peter G. Zagala, MJC VP for marketing Eduardo Ramirez de Arellano and MJC VP for MIS Carlos S. Tan. Ocampo Cruz, the CEO and executive/creative director of Media Wise Communications, a many-time winner of the prestigious Anvil and Quill publication awards, said that producing The Front Runner showed how MJC “has evolved over time, and how it continues to innovate and gallop toward a rosier future through bold business strategies and strategic partnerships.”

    March 9, 2020

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Glan emerges as raptor watching site

November 16, 2019

Feature

By: , The town of Glan, Sarangani has emerged as a raptor watching haven with the recent Raptor Festival which launched the watching season in southern Mindanao.  Chinese Sparrowhawk   Birds from Taiwan and Japan fly long distances and cross oceans to find suitable tropical feeding environments during the fourth quarter of year. As they head to Indonesia, they pass by southern Mindanao to rest and feed before continuing their journey. They arrive from September to October and March to April, and feed on rats and insects, thus serving as a natural pest control. Grey-Faced Buzzard   The site is a major flyway of migratory birds as observed in their flight patterns for the past four years, and is a vital indicator of the ecological balance of the roosting area.  The Sarangani Provincial Government’s Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC) has set up the Raptor Hill as a research monitoring post and a tourist viewing area for the migratory birds. Peregrine Falcon photographed by Jimboy Muñoz at the Home Radio Transmitter Tower sometime April 2014, Cagayan de Oro City (photo credit to Jimboy Muñoz)   The monitoring season includes a five-year reforestation initiative at the roosting sites in Mt. Taltak, in partnership with Raptorwatch Network Philippines and the Japanese Society for the Preservation of Birds. Up to  the third week of observation, the team accounted for 101,882 raptor sightings composed mostly of Chinese sparrowhawk, grey-faced buzzard, peregrine falcon and western osprey species.  Western Osprey   The monitoring and study aim to generate scientific data that will help authorities understand raptor biology, migration behaviors and help identify critical sites for conservation. According to Sarangani governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, the Provincial Government will improve the area to become an additional tourism site in Glan which is known as beach, culinary and heritage destination in the Soccsksargen region. (LGU Glan)

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Ravenstagg puts CDO in Miniatures World Map

October 27, 2019

Feature

By: TITO MIKE, A Cagayan de Oro based independent artist studio which paints miniatures has placed Cagayan de Oro in the Miniatures World Map, and its clientele is growing. David T. Roa of the start-up indie Ravenstagg Creative Studios said the majority of their art pieces are miniature figures and busts and some collectible figure alternations on the side.   “We work through a home studio. Painting figures is our primary focus but also write.” Dave started painting miniatures for clients some four years ago when he purchased a board game called “Mansions of Madness” "Mansions of Madness" with unpainted miniatures.  “I ended up painting them and it became therapeutic for me. I've been painting ever since.” However, his motivation to paint arose much earlier with his passion for playing games. “I grew up playing games. It did not matter what they were. Traditional Pilipino games, computer games, and board games.” In fact, he was given a bunch of miniatures when they were in high school by a friend who left for the US. “I did not paint them very well and then I forgot about them. “ He initially started painting for local clients but as his skill developed and the quality of his work improved over time he found it was getting more and more difficult to find clientele who could pair a fair wage for them. “So I had a choice: paint lower quality minis to stay relevant in the market, or keep growing and ratcheting up the quality but look for patrons elsewhere.” He chose the latter and initially accepted commissions from Cebu and Manila, then gradually made his way into the international scene as satisfied clients referred him to their friends in other countries. “Now, most of my commissions come from abroad, and most of them are fellow artists (sculptors) who I collaborate with to launch their own art pieces. I'm planning to remove the region lock on our studios page very soon and open it to the rest of the world.” Besides painting of miniatures, Ravenstagg also does Tabletop Terrain painting; 3D printing on demand and output painting.  On top of those, Dave is also a Private Tabletop RPG Session Producer, Facilitator, and Games Master. A visit to his FB Page Ravenstagg Creative Studios features a growing clientele for keycaps but Dave said they’re not Ravenstagg’s bread and butter. “I used keycaps as a means to survive. Since artists aren't paid very well in the Philippines, let alone Cagayan de Oro, I had to find creative ways to make a living. My first keycap commission introduced me to the mechanical keyboard community and I've been getting commission ever since. Most of the time it's a welcome distraction. But it does get tedious at times.” As to keycaps not being their main thing, Dave replies:  “There's a point of contention there. I understand that I NEED to make money to survive. So I DO work at it professionally. But the way I've built myself up and the studio is more to the lines of  Artist first, entrepreneur second. “The therapeutic element is only one of the many reasons I do it. Keycaps range from P550 to 1,550 on average, with custom jobs and more complicated commissions costing more.” “But I'd like to reiterate that keycaps aren't our primary focus, the majority of our art pieces are miniature figures, busts, and some collectible figure alternations on the side,” he added. As to the etymology of the name Ravenstagg, Dave explains: It's a portmanteau of my spirit animal / totem (the Raven) and my fiancé's spirit animal / totem (the Stag). The Raven is a keeper of secrets, a bearer of hidden wisdom, and a guide to those who walk in shadow, The Stag is noble, regal, steadfast, and loyal. “Thought it would be fitting since we both started this venture together. Although I am the main artist who does most of the pieces, she also assists in certain paint jobs, crafts, and quality control/assessment. Interested parties who’d like to get in touch with Ravenstagg Creative Studios can contact them through their webpage.

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Rev. Nelson Butron Villarin’s Journey of Faith

August 12, 2019

Feature

By: MIKE BAÑOS, It is never easy to be a servant of God, least of all become a pastor. A calling that only a few heed when they are called. Last June 2nd, 2019, Pastor Nelson Butron Villarin of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines was finally ordained a minister of his church. The simple rites held at the UCCP Cagayan de Oro Church where he currently serves as chaplain for the Cagayan de Oro Christian School marked the end and beginning of a lifelong journey of faith which tested him to the limits. Rev. Sonny, as he is better known to friends, was born and raised in Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City, the fifth child in a family of four boys and a girl of former Lapasan United Church Men (UCM) Chairman Gonzalo Tabaco Villarin and Remedios Butron Villarin. His testimony of faith started during his Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF) tenure at UCCP- Lapasan when he was just 14. Like anyone else his age, he was happy-go-lucky and didn’t really give much to his future. Indeed, serving God was not his first chosen calling, but rather architecture. He holds a diploma in BS Architecture from Cebu Institute of Technology. Even when wasn’t hired to be a regular employee in all of his many jobs in Cebu, Makati and Cagayan de Oro from 1988 to 2002, he didn’t realize at the time he had another calling. So he came home and tried again in his hometown in Cagayan de Oro. Meantime, he immersed himself in church related activities which gave him pause that perhaps he was meant for another profession. “I failed to discern at the time that even in Cebu the Lord was calling me to serve as a shepherd to his flock,” he recalls. “However, my continued failure to land a regular job as an architect finally made me realize God was calling me. Without a job, he took a great leap of faith and enrolled at the Silliman University Divinity School, graduating with a Masters of Divinity in 2006. In was touch in go for a while but his God never deserted him. Already married to Nates Fausto Villarin in April 21, 1992 and with a growing family, somehow there was always a provision when there was a need. “We accepted laundry from our colleagues and also did ironing. In addition, we prepared and sold the local sweet potato (Camote) delicacy called kamoyang to make ends meet,” he recalls. The couple is blessed with 4 children, NN Gri, Vhien Klein, Gabriel David, Chessedh Chedech; and granddaughter Coleen Angela, his pride and joy.   But it seemed like Job in the Old Testament, the Lord wasn’t quite done testing him yet. He considers his failure to hurdle two of the subjects in his ordination exam in 2017 as one of the most challenging tests yet that God sent his way. “It was a one of the most challenging moments when I learned that I had to retake two subjects in my Ordination Exam when I was expecting that together with Pastor King (Rev. Beryl Sale) we would be both ordained together but it was not to be.” However, during the interview with the Examination Committee he was given an opportunity to be ordained. “A lot of things to do, a lot of patience to undertake, and lot of prayers to make, so that I would be able to win the race for my ordination,” he recalls. “After a year things went well and patience worked a lot.” Thus, during the Conference Assembly last April 2018, the Examination Committee finally endorsed him for ordination as a full-fledged Minister of the UCCP. Rev. Sonny’s day-to-day spiritual journey with God still has its ups and downs, but he knows that despite life's challenges and his faith shaken, he would not falter nor crumble. To him, it is just a way of God's testing his faith. Taking every life's turns with positivity. He is a living testimony of how God works wonders in one's life. He believes one should fear God, because to him the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom like what the psalmist said. (with Roan Gorres)   -30-

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On the March: The Jesuits in the Philippines since the Restoration - Book authored and published by XU Alumnisweeps 2019 awards season

August 12, 2019

Feature

By: TITO MIKE, On the March, a coffee table book on Jesuit ministry in the Philippines, has scored its fourth major award this year, adding to its Gold Anvil Award and Platinum Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of the Philippines and its Gold Quill (Award of Merit) from the prestigious International Association of Business Communicators. The book was cited with an Award of Merti by the Philippine Quill under the Publications Category during the recently concluded 15th Philippine Quill Awards at the Marriott Grand Ballroom.    The Philippine Quill Awards is presented every year by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Philippines. IABC Philippines is the first chapter outside North America of the international IABC, a global network with membership of around 15,500 business communicators in 80 countries. The prestigious annual Philippine Quill Awards is presented to honor excellent communications programs and tools. The award recognizes excellence in categories in external communication, strategic processes, organizational communication, social responsibility, digital communication, photography, writing, audiovisuals, and marketing communication, among others. Categories cover programs, projects, collaterals, designs, and creative work.  A group of dedicated alumni from Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier Ateneo) and Filipino Jesuits assigned to the school contributed their hearts and souls to its publication. Fr. Jose S Arcilla, SJ was principal author of the book edited by John Nery and published by Media Wise Communications. Manuel Paras Engwa and Ramoncito Ocampo Cruz were co-publishers.  Fr. Arcilla was assigned as regent ​ i​n XUHS 1956 and as GS student counsellor and GS glee club moderator and College history professor from 1965-68, and among his students were executive publishers Manuel Paras Engwa and Ramoncito Ocampo Cruz, fondly known as Manny and Monching, respectively. Manny graduated from Xavier Ateneo (Class Salutatorian - XU High School 1966; and AB Economics 1969). He attended the Industrial Economics program of the University of Asia and the Pacific. On the March is his personal tribute to the Jesuits who have dedicated their lives to the Philippines. Manny Engwa’s professional experience encompasses investment, agribusiness, property, and pharmaceuticals. He has worked for a prestigious multinational since 1981 and has served as country manager in Indonesia, head of Southeast Asian operations. Ramoncito Ocampo Cruz began his first eight years of education at Xavier Ateneo in 1959 (Grade School, 1967). He moved to St Andrew’s School in Parañaque City (High School, 1971) and graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, major in painting in 1976. A visual artist, advertising and publishing professional, Monching is a multi-awarded publisher and artist. He won his first Catholic Mass Media (CMM) citation as well as a Philippine Quill award for publishing MUSE, a magazine dedicated to art, culture, and travel. He has had three one-man art exhibits. Joining them on the editorial team are two Jesuits who previously served at Xavier Ateneo and two graduates who are now journalists. Fr Arcilla as the book’s principal writer was assisted by journalist John Nery, who also served as the book’s editor, and Mike Baños, (also a journalist) who rounded up the writers’ pool. Fr Rene Javellana SJ, currently the archivist of the Archives of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, bolstered the team with photos and documents related to the topics presented in the book. Fr Javellana SJ also served as a regent at Xavier Ateneo from 1971-1973 teaching mostly juniors and seniors at the high school when Timoteo Butalid was principal. He was also the moderator of the High School Yearbook, taught in the English Dept in College with Fr Al Nudas as his chair. He was also active in XU college theater, and worked with Fr Al in the production of Antigone, with Mario Francisco in Foursome and other absurd plays by Eugene Ionesco. For two years, he was also involved in XU and Barangay 40's Holy Week Passion plays. Not the least, he participated in an archeological dig at Huluga led by Museo de Oro then headed by Fr Francisco Demetrio SJ. ​Journalist John Nery was formerly the online editor and currently writes a column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. His Revolutionary Spirit: Jose Rizal in Southeast Asia was published by Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and by the Ateneo de Manila University Press in 2011. John studied Philosophy in Ateneo de Manila. He also went to Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan and Ateneo de Davao. After finishing his AB Philosophy degree at AdMU, he taught at the Xavier Ateneo High School. He has received awards for his journalism; his book editing has been recognized with two National Book Awards. He was a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University in 2011-2012 and the Jaime V Ongpin Memorial Lecturer in 2013. Freelance writer and journalist Mike Baños started his preschool at Ateneo de Zamboanga in 1964 but later moved to Western Mindanao State University (formerly Zamboanga Normal College, and later Zamboanga State College) where he finished his Grade School and High School education. He got his AB Economics degree from Ateneo de Zamboanga (now a university) in 1978 (class salutatorian) and his Master in Business Administration in 2000 from Xavier Ateneo. A dedicated community journalist, Mike has had a wide-ranging career which includes stints with the local government and chamber of commerce, academe, banking, retail, and broadcast and print media (ABS-CBN, FUBC, Business World, The Manila Chronicle, The Philippine Star, Today) but his heart remains with community journalism as he writes online and in local newspapers as a freelance writer and journalist. He was a pioneer fellow of the Dart Centre Asia Pacific (for Trauma Journalism) in 2009 and was recognized by the Rotary Club of Manila Journalism Awards as 2017 Provincial Reporter of the Year (Print). Finally, and perhaps the most instrumental in giving meaning and purpose to On the March, is Fr Jose VC Quilongquilong SJ STD, who succeeded Fr Herbert Schneider SJ as president and executive director of the Philippine Jesuit Aid Association Inc (PJAA). Fr Joe studied AB Sociology at Xavier Ateneo before joining the Society of Jesus. He completed formation in philosophy (Ateneo de Manila University), Bachelor in Sacred Theology and Master of Arts in Theology (Loyola School of Theology) before his ordination to the priesthood in 1993. He is also concurrently the president of Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University. Fr Joe was already actively part of the team last year and was primarily responsible for facilitating the book launch last September 29, 2018, at the Arete. All proceeds from the sale of On the March will be donated to PJAA for the benefit of elderly, retired and infirm Jesuits, and the promotion of Jesuit vocations in the Philippine province. ​ ​On the March chronicles the Jesuits’ ministry of education and the many aspects of their apostolate in the Philippines as they bring the faith to the most remote corners of the archipelago. “This latest recognition affirms our commitment to use excellent communications to help the organization achieve its goals and make a difference in society, true to the Philippine Quill’s own aims,” said Cruz, who is also Media Wise president and CEO. In January 2019, On the March bagged its Platinum Anvil, a recognition given to entries that stand out among the Anvil Gold winners. The PRSP cited the book for “recognizing the vital role of Jesuits in the country, the book highlights their mission and achievements, including their evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.” The Anvil is the symbol of excellence in public relations, awarded to outstanding PR programs, tools and practitioners. In June, Cruz flew to Vancouver to receive the book’s Gold Quill from San Francisco-based IABC at the 2019 IABC World Conference. Just four other Filipino organizations have received the coveted international distinction. The IABC awards committee said On the March earned the distinction for “exhibiting high-quality writing and superior production values.” “The book is well-organized, consistent... from the beginning to end. It flows well. It’s clear that [Mediawise] brought together the right mix of interviewers, writers, designers and publishers to produce a high-quality communication vehicle,” said the committee. -30-

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IDC execs highlights CDO developments and environmental sustainability in estate industry

July 22, 2019

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By: , MANILA - Italpinas Development Corporation (IDCTM) Chairman & CEO, Architect Romolo V. Nati, together with IDC’s Director for Design and Construction, Engr. Giuseppe Garofalo, were invited at a sit-down interview at the PTV4’s headquarters last June 7, 2019 with the Philippines’ largest and most influential weekly business and news magazine, BizNewsAsia.      Hosted by Ms. Elizabeth Lee and Mr Tony Lopez, the founder, president, chairman and CEO of BizNewsAsia, the sit-down interview offered an opportunity to discuss with IDC’s guests about the rising trend and current condition of Philippine real estate industry.       Arch. Nati shared his insights on the topic, mentioning IDCTM as an example of a rising real estate development company, in different areas of the Philippines, emphasizing the importance of his company’s vision that is “creating design-driven sustainable developments in emerging cities, accessible to the new middle class”.      Alongside his vision, Arch. Nati shared the latest news regarding IDC’s eco-friendly developments being Primavera City, located uptown Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao and the high-rise mixed use green buildings, Miramonti Green Residences, located in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.      Both the projects have been awarded as Best Mixed-use Development in the Philippines by Asia-Pacific International Property Awards which is a highly acclaimed award in the worldwide property industry.       Primavera City, that will future six mid-rise towers and a high rise tower, is going to be developed in 4 phases the first of which, Citta’ Verde is nearing completion and its phase 2 Citta’ Bella recently awarded a license to sell.  Arch. Nati said Primavera City’s Citta’ Bella will be followed by Citta’ Grande and by the 7th tallest tower, Citta’ Alta.      The construction of the first phase of Miramonti Green Residences, a 21 storey green building, strategically located in an Industrial park in Sto. Tomas, between Metro Manila and the port of Batangas City, is ongoing and the company is currently accelerating the process to obtain the required permits to start the second phase. This will be featuring other 2 buildings with same number of storey and adopting, as in all IDC’s projects, the best principles of passive building technology: shadow and sunlight control, wind cooling and shape performance.      Following this information, the interview then discussed the importance of eco-friendliness in construction and its appeal to possible tenants and future owners.       Arch. Nati ended his interview by sharing the news that Italpinas Development Corporation has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a share sale.       The offering involves up to 33.3 million preferred shares with an over-allotment of 10 million shares to be taken from the unissued authorized capital stock of the corporation at an offer price of P15 per share. At 43 million shares, the company could raise as much as P645 million.

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Allianz Sees Continuous Growth in Insurance Market in PH, Rest of Asia

July 21, 2019

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By: , While insurance penetration (premiums as a percentage of GDP) fell by 5.4% in Asia (ex-cluding Japan), the Philippines along with Vietnam, Laos, Sri Lanka, and India registered double-digit growths. This is according to the Allianz Global Insurance Report prepared by Allianz Research.      Allianz Research is projecting a 9.4% growth per annum over the next decade in Asia, ex-cluding Japan. Around 60% additional premiums are expected to be generated in the re-gion. In the Philippines, a market growth of 12.3% is foreseen (13.5 in life and 8.3 in p&c).       “Allianz’ strong performance in the Philippines reflects the country’s economic growth and strong macroeconomic fundamentals, and we are looking to leverage on the continuous ex-pansion of economic activity in the country,” said Alexander Grenz, newly appointed presi-dent and chief executive officer of Allianz PNB Life.      Premiums in the Philippines grew by 17.7% in 2018, way above the regional average. In fact, 2018 marked the best year since 2013. Life insurance, which accounts for more than 70% of the premium pool (without health), had a growth rate of 20.4%. It grew almost twice as fast as property-casualty (+11.1%).       For 2019, Allianz Research foresees a slowdown to around 10% premium growth, still well above regional or global averages. It noted that the Philippines’ insurance market has still plenty of room to grow: Premiums per capita stood at Php3,000.00 in 2018 (at par with neighboring Indonesia), penetration at 1.9%; it is, for example, already 3.7% in China. In-surance premiums in property-casualty and life are expected to grow by 14% this year and 12.3% over the next decade.      Allianz PNB Life is still the fastest-growing life insurance company in the Philippines, ac-cording to the report of the Insurance Commission. Its premium income grew by 69% in 2018 and its annualized premium income for 2018 stood at a historic high.      Grenz, who previously served as the chief operating officer of Allianz PNB Life, said that as today’s business environment goes through rapid changes, the company is hands-on to build a more diverse business model.      “We all know how fast-paced the insurance industry is; the pressure and expectations are high from all sides ‐ our customers, our investors, our regulators, and among ourselves. Late last year, for instance, we have seen changes in reserve requirements for banks to ad-dress the spike in inflation. This resulted in liquidity shortage in the Bancassurance indus-try. Even though we are still performing better compared to our competitors, we definitely need to catch up in the second half of the year,” Grenz said.      Grenz has more than 15 years of experience in global Insurance and Asset Management. He has a multinational track record in the areas of Finance, Insurance and Asset Manage-ment and has held various executive positions for Allianz in different countries.      As he heads Allianz PNB Life, Grenz said he plans to focus on simplifying insurance for the customers. “Simplification of insurance will be our priority. We will simplify the language of insurance to make it understandable to more customers and make it easy to access with the superior technology Allianz can provide,” he explained.       Grenz is, likewise, moving to tap Allianz’s global investment fund managers from PIMCO and Allianz Global Investments (AGI) to provide superior technical solutions and investment strategies.       “Our goal is to have a well-defined output that should create value for our customers. It’s the customers’ perception, which counts and defines our success. With PIMCO and AGI, cus-tomers are assured they have access to superior product solutions and technical advise,” he said.      Furthermore, Grenz is steering the company toward a digital future. Recently, the company opened its Allianz Digital Studio, which will pioneer the next-generation of innovation and solutions and make the delivery of insurance products and services faster and more effi-cient for both its internal and external customers.       “Our digital and customer-centric initiatives in the pipeline are geared toward enhancing the Allianz customer experience and differentiate us in the market,” he concluded.

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Globe supports athletes with cerebral palsy; helps nationwide search for pioneer players of CP Rascals

July 10, 2019

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By: , They may have physical challenges like cerebral palsy (CP) but the ailment was never a hindrance in bringing out the best in individuals who have big hearts and the passion to succeed, especially in sports like football.      “Sabi ng mga nanay na isama ko daw yung anak ko (sa football practice) at subukan lang. Tapos nagulat na lang ako na nasisipa niya yung bola. Hindi ko ine-expect na magagawa niya yun dahil di naman siya involved sa kahit anong sport dati. Sabi ko tuloy na dapat pala dati ko na siyang sinasali sa mga ganito (The mothers told me to bring my child and just try it out. I was surprised that my child can kick the ball. I didn’t expect that he can do it because he was never involved in any sport before. I realized that I should have brought my child before to this kind of activity),” said Marinela S. Kaabay whose eldest child Kenneth has cerebral palsy among other disabilities. The activity Kaabay referred to was the 1st CP Football Day where kids with cerebral palsy from Metro Manila and nearby provinces gathered for a friendly game of football at the La Salle Greenhills in Mandaluyong City. Around 50 CP individuals, including Kaabay’s child and four others from her area, ran and kicked the elusive ball to their hearts’ content despite the scorching afternoon heat.      The 1st CP Football Day is just one of the efforts to have more children with CP get into sports. It received a big boost when Globe Telecom entered into a partnership with the Henry V. Moran Foundation, the Philippine Sports Association of the Differently Abled (PHILSPADA), and CP Football Philippines, the prime movers of CP football in the country.      Globe gave the foundation and its beneficiaries the much-needed communications platform to reach individuals with CP who live in various parts of the country who may be interested in football. The program also complements Globe Telecom’s “TM Sports Para sa Bayan,” a long-term program that helps kids develop and grow in a sport that they love.      “We want to use the power of sports to make a difference in the lives of individuals especially those who belong to the marginalized sectors of society.  Over the past several years, Globe has gone beyond business by offering basketball and football development programs to underprivileged kids.  This time, we want to extend our support to individuals with cerebral palsy and help them pursue their dreams,” said Miguel Bermundo, Head of Globe Citizenship and Advocacy.      CP Football is similar to a regular football game but the rules were tweaked to make the sport more attractive, accessible and fit for those with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions. The playing field is smaller and game time lasts for one hour with a 15-minute half-time break.      Aside from having fun, the 1st CP Football Day also saw the formal introduction of CP football in the Philippines as well as the search for CP individuals with the potential to become members of the “CP Rascals,” the team that will represent the Philippines in the 2022 Asian Para Games.      To support the search as well as the training, living expenses and other needs of the players, interested groups and individuals may send their donation to the following: Account Name: The Henry V. Moran Foundation, Inc. Account Number: 2251-0005-33 Bank Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands Bank Address: Greenhills Missouri Branch Missouri cor. Nevada Sts. North-East Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila Swift Code: BOPIPHMM      Dr. Anna Raganathan, Consultant Psychologist and Board Member of the International Federation of CP Football, said that based on research, individuals with cerebral palsy who have consistent exercise can recover to become almost normal. “Even when they get physical therapy already, the addition of sports can make them stronger and help them avoid injuries because they get to develop their bones and muscles.”      She also told the parents that they don’t have to worry if their kids are still too young or won’t be selected as a member of CP Rascals. The program will continue even after the first team is already formed and it will even become the training ground of CP individuals who want to start young. “It’s about time that everyone should look at the abilities of individuals with cerebral palsy rather than their disabilities,” Dr. Raganathan added.      It was, perhaps, a tiring afternoon for the kids who sweated it out via football together with their cheering parents and supporters. But other than the sweat and the exhausting physical efforts exerted by the kids to play football, Dr. Raganathan emphasized that aside from having the right to play sports, more importantly, CP kids also have the right to have fun.      To know about Globe Telecom’s sustainability programs, please visit:   link https://www.globe.com.ph/about-us/sustainability and https://www.facebook.com/GlobeBridgeCom/

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ADB Development Asia features Romolo Nati as Expert in Sustainable Design

July 7, 2019

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By: , Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) Chairman and CEO, Architect Romolo V. Nati sheds light on the importance of Sustainable Design in real estate.  Arch. Nati, an expert in green architecture, emphasized the advantages of developing sustainable buildings for emerging cities.  Nati cited the importance of sustainable development and climate resiliency in the real estate sector, and the need to integrate sustainable features in the design framework of resilient buildings in an article featured by Development.Asia by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).      Development.Asia is a knowledge collaboration platform for sharing and promoting expertise, best practice and technology related to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Nati has been chosen as one of the few industry Expert in the country, sharing solutions in Sustainable Design. (Know more about article at https://development.asia/explainer/why-real-estate-investors-must-adopt-sustainable-design)       Philippines can be a role model for sustainable development in Asia. Architect Nati believes that sustainable design will reap the most benefit in the country. Architect Nati applies nature-based design, known as biomimicry – a concept that emulates the process, systems, and strategies present in nature – to his projects. And uses an advanced design technology called parametric software that allows the designer to factor in local conditions so that the building orientation, shape, and features are maximized for natural ventilation and natural light. Each design is unique and adapted to a specific location and project.       IDC has marked its legacy as the first green mover in Cagayan de Oro with its flagship project, Primavera Residences. With the passion to further strengthen its green advocacies in the city, IDC pursued to showcase its green initiative with its latest development, Primavera City. And further expanding in Sto. Tomas, Batangas with its project, Miramonti Green Residences.  All three developments of IDC had been awarded by the prestigious International Property Awards-Asia Pacific. Its latest development, Miramonti Green Residences received the citation in the Best Mixed-Use Development category in the International Property Awards-Asia Pacific 2019-2020. While IDC’s first two projects, Primavera Residences and Primavera City, both located in Cagayan de Oro, are recipient of the same category with  Primavera Residences winning recognition in 2015, and  Primavera City winning the award in 2017.

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