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Philippines Today


DUMAGUETE CITY — Yes, Presidential son Sebastian “Baste” Duterte is now in show business.


After being linked to show business personalities, the goodlooking son of President Rodrigo Duterte jumped to show business and is now a host of a television show.


Duterte has began to shoot scenes for the program called “Lakbai” with co-host funnyman Bogart the Explorer. The show will be aired on TV5 reportedly starting May.


Baste will feature the world-renowned dive destination Apo Island in Negros Oriental and the nearby province of Siquijor in his travel show on the national TV network.


“Baste” Duterte, the youngest son of President Rodrigo Duterte, sailed to Apo Island from Dauin last week along with his TV crew.


While in Apo Island, he went scuba diving and got first-hand experience of swimming with the sea turtles and saw the vast coral reefs and rich marine biodiversity there.


Apo Island is a protected landscape and seascape and is popular not just for scuba diving and snorkeling but also because of its remarkable community-based resource management program.


The young Duterte arrived at the Dumaguete-Sibulan airport  and proceeded first to Zamboanguita, a town in the south, where he jammed with some musicians before returning to Dumaguete where he stayed overnight at a local hotel.


The young Duterte  stayed overnight in Apo Island and then proceeded to Siquijor. 


Duterte will personally tour around the country for his show  “Lakbai” on TV5.


Since his appearance in the election campaign, his charming looks and down-to-earth personality have driven ladies to admire him prompting many to suggest that he host a show.


Baste is a seasoned surfer and diver as shown in a video showing him surfing and his good body.


The rich marine life of Negros Oriental was the key that opened doors to several jobs in the tourism industry. Among these, were underwater guides and emergency responders.


Just recently, 12 boys and four girls completed courses for dive master (DM), advanced open water (OPW) and emergency first response (EFR), which brought them a step closer to becoming professionally trained divers, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).


Upon securing their certification from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the young divers can start guiding foreign and Filipino underwater enthusiasts in hopping to Apo Island from other dive sites in Siquijor Island, Oslob, Cebu and Panglao, Bohol, PNA reported.


Among the young divers was 20-year-old Mark Cyrel Mendez who signed up for scuba diving training offered by a volunteer group of French divers, Plongeurs de Monde, when he was only 13. The French diver group visited his native Apo Island in Negros Oriental back in 2011.


Before he signed up, Mendez could only dream of getting through high school. Now, Mendez has graduated to professional scuba diving after seven years of training.


He said that he would continue professional scuba diving while pursuing his civil engineering course at a Dumaguete City college.


“Our country and our seas are so rich. There is no reason for Filipinos to stay poor,” Mendez said.


Plongeurs Philippines head Laurent Martin welcomed this development, noting that there was still hope” for promising deep-sea divers like Mendez.


“Hope floats for these promising young deep-sea divers who honed not only the nitty-gritty of scuba diving but also deepened their appreciation of marine life,” Martin said.


Plongeurs founding member, Roger Gugliemi said that the program is also meant to raise the young divers’ awareness for the protection of the environment and attain economic freedom by gaining a professional skill in diving.


The 16 Apo kids join some 300 young “ploogners” certified master divers in countries such as Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Morocco, Oman, and Tanzania, Dominica.


Tourism Undersecretary and Philippine Commission on Sport Scuba Diving (PCSSD) chair Kat de Castro welcomed the efforts of the French diver group noting that they have helped contribute to a meaningful inclusive tourism program.


The Plongeurs program, De Castro said, was set to train more young divers in Southern Leyte and Siargao, Surigao del Norte.


Meanwhile, local marine advocate, diving instructor and former barangay captain Mario Pascobello, who hosted the Plongeurs de Monde during the summer training over seven years, said that the program also helped keep the youth from illegal drugs by providing them with opportunities for career advancement.


Plongeurs de Monde (Divers of the World) began when divers from France, Switzerland and Belgium got together to train poor kids from families devastated by the tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2005.



WINNERS of the 2017 Binibining Pilipinas (from left) 2nd runner-up Kristel Guelos, Bb Pilipinas Globe 2017 – Nelda Ibe, Bb Pilipinas Grand International 2017 – Elizabeth Durado Clenci, Bb Pilipinas International 2017 – Mariel de Leon, Miss Universe Philippines – Rachel Peters, Bb Pilipinas Supranational 2017 – Chanel Olive Thomas, Bb Pilipinas Intercontinental 2017 – Katarina Rodriguezpose and 1st runner-up – Charmaine Elima during the coronation night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.


QUEZON CITY — A Filipino-British beauty who grew up in Camarines Sur and who admitted she is in a relationship with its youthful governor was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2017 on April 30 in ceremonies at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

Rachel Peters, 25, won over 39 other beauties during the pageant which had popular former titlist Pia Wurtzbach, the country’s first Miss Universe title-holder in over four decades, as co-host with actor Xian Lim. 

Peters won three special awards before she was crowned the winner. She won The Face of Binibini,  Jag Denim Queen and Best in Swimsuit awards.


The other winners were Binibining Pilipinas Globe Nelda Ibe, Binibining Pilipinas International Maria Angelica de Leon; Binibining Pilipinas Supranational Chanel Olive Thomas; Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental Katarina Sonja Rodriguez; and Binibining Pilipinas Grand International Elizabeth Durado Clenci. 


Charmaine Elima and Kristel Guelos were first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively. 


Binibining Pilipinas International winner de Leon is the daughter of actors Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong. She joined the pageant first in 2013 where she placed in the top 15.


RACHEL PETERS with Camarines Sur Gov. Migz Villafuerte before winning the crown.


The winners received their crown from previous title holders Kylie Verzosa, Joanna Eden, Jennifer Hammond, Nichole Manalo and Nicole Cordoves.


“‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ star Daniel Padilla, the guest performer, serenadedg the contestants with Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight” during the long gown competition.


Peters succeeds Maxine Medina, who failed in her bid for a back-to-back Miss Universe titles for the Philippines during the Miss Universe pageant which was hosted by the Philippines.


Peters, who stands at five feet and nine inches, is an event organizer who had worked with international artists like Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera. She was previously crowned 4th Princess in the Miss World Philippines pageant in 2014.


The new beauty queen, who is in a relationship with Camarines Sur Gov. Migz Villafuerte, called for unity amidst a tough time for the Philippines during the question and answer portion of the pageant which lasted up to the wee hours on May 1.


Peters impressed the panel of judges when she answered the question of European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen: “This week, the Philippines hosted the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit. If you were invited to speak, what would have been your message to the leaders?”


“I believe that one of the biggest problems of our country is divisiveness: in politics, religion, and culture. I believe it is same across the world and that is something I would like to address. If we can learn to tolerate each other’s differences and respect each other, then we will be a stronger nation going forward,” she answered brimming with confidence.


Peters, who was trained and groomed under the Kagandahang Flores beauty camp under Rodgil Flores, e finished her International Baccalaureate at the British School in Phuket, Thailand. She has a Bachelor of Business, Tourism and Events major from La Trobe University in Australia.


Peters also said that she officially became a Filipina on Nov. 4, 2015 as she held her Philippine passport on Instagram. It was captioned: “Salamat po DFA. Officially a Filipina today!!! Yewww.”


Special Awards winners were: Binibining Friendship: Chanel Olive Thomas; The Face of Binibini: Rachel Peters; Binibining Talent: Dane Felisse Marasigan;

National Costume: Chanel Olive Thomas; Manila Bulletin Reader's Choice: Christagale Borja; Jag Denim Queen: Rachel Peters; Best in Swimsuit: Rachel Peters;

Best in Long Gown: Maria Angelica de Leon; Binibining Philippine Airlines: Katarina Sonja Rodriguez; and Binibining Creamsilk: Maria Angelica de Leon.


Before the final tallies, those in the Top 15 were Elizabeth Durado Clenci, Maria Angelica de Leon, Chanel Olive Thomas,  Katarina Sonja Rodriguez, Sirene Sutton, Kristel Guelos, Nelda Ibe, Charmaine Elima, Christagale Borja, Maria Camille Manalo, Gabriela Patricia Ortega, Larah Grace Lacap, Rachel Peters Jehza Huelar, and Juliana Kapeundl (People's Choice).


Although favorites among pageant fans, Binibini 12 Angelique Celine De Leon and Binibini 24 Dindi Pajares did not make it to the top 25, GMA News reported.


GMA News added that nerves got the better of Binibini 13 Sirene Sutton in the Q & A portion as the strong contender missed the mark and failed to place.

In another shocking twist, front-runner Charmaine Elima failed to win a crown and only placed first runner up, the report added.





(Photo from Instagram | @mannypacquiao)


MAKATI CITY (PhilAmPress) – Philippine Senator and World Boxing Organization (WBO) reigning welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is back in Manila from Melbourne where he drummed up his July 2 fight againt Australia’s Jeff Horn.


Immediately, Pacquiao announced his readiness to prepare for his coming titular date with Horn at Brisbane’s 55,000-seat Suncorp Arena and vowed to train harder than before, admitting his Australian foe should not be taken for granted.


“Everything went well (in the Australian trip). Finally Horn and I met for the first time and it’s now time to prepare for the fight, “ Pacquiao declared after landing at the airport with his party, including wife Jinkee.


“Medyo magiging hard and rigid ang training ngayon. Malaki and kalaban at kung totoo ang balitang natanggap natin from members of the Filipino community down Under and the Australians themselves, Horn should not be taken for granted,” Pacquiao stressed.


“May kalakihan nga, pero  bahagya lang at walang masyadong magiging advantage,” Pacman’s closed in security Choy  Garcia,  along with assistant trainer Roger “Haplas” Fernandez agreed having been part of the team that went to Australia.


“Pero kailangan ding paghandaang mabuti,” Garcia added.   


The fighting senator admitted that he is already in the twilight of his career. “Tanggap ko yun. Kaya nga hindi ako dapat matalo sa labang ito,” he stressed. “Paghaahandaan ko ang labang ito nang higit sa paghahandang  ginawa ko sa mga nakaraang laban ko,” Pacquiao said.


“I only have a few more fights left in my career at gaya nang dati, wala kong maipangangako kundi ang gagawin ko ang lahat para pasayahin ang fans. Kaya hindi ako papayag na matalo ako dito sa labang ito at sa mga darating pa,” he said.


Training will definitely start next week, the reigning 147-pound kingpin assured adding he cannot ascertain yet when he will plunge into action.


Since Senate session resumed on Tuesday (May 2), gym work may commence midweek, according to the eight division titlist.


“I am still waiting the report on the extent of damage brought about by the earthquake that hit GenSan (General Santos City). Kararating lang kasi namin hatinggabi kagabi, kaya di pa ako nakatatanggap ng report, “ the 38-year-old lawmaker said.


“Kung malaki ang naging pinsala at kailangan kong pumunta doon bago magsimula ang ensayo, lilipad tayo,” he said. “Kung minimal lamang naman, siguro the weekend after preparation ako bibisita,” he asserted.


 Haplas said his Boss and members  of the training team, including brother Buboy, Nono Neri and himself will meet to decide when Pacquiao’s build up program will commence.


“Monday pa ang dating ni Buboy from Bicol kaya noon pa lamang mapag-dedesisyunan ang araw kung kailan kami mag-start.” he said. “Meanwhile, resume na rin ang roadwork bukas (Sunday). “One week kasing di nakatakbo si Boss habang nasa Australia.”     


Like Garcia, Haplas dimissed Horn’s  perceived edge in height. “Matangkad lang, pero hindi naman hefty gaya ng report. Para lang si Vargas,” he said referring to the Mexican-American  Jessie Vagas, at whose expense Pacquiao took the title last November.


 On February 11, 1990, Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog,  knocked out heavily favoured Mike Tyson in the 10th round of their world heavyweight fight in Tokyo to crown himself the new champion.


On February 11, 1990, Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog,  knocked out heavily favoured Mike Tyson in the 10th round of their world heavyweight fight in Tokyo to crown himself the new champion.   


Twenty six years eerlier in 1964, Cassius Clay, (later christened Muhammad Ali), an 8-1 underdog,  knocked out  Sonny Liston in a monumental upset noted more for its historical significance than anything else.  


Those were only two of shocking reversals, not only in the sport of sweet science but in other sports a well, that left fans thrilled and excited and will  inspire and motivate the unheralded upstarts to hope to duplicate.


Australian no. 2 contender Jeff Horn is no exception. The former schoolteacher, in fact, has been very vocal since his title encounter with titlist Manny Pacquiao  was announced, to exploit the historical facts to the hilt and beat the Filipino World Boxing Organization welterweight  titleholder in  their July 2 date and emerge the new 147-pound champ.


To accomplish his goal, the 16-0-1 win-loss-draw record holder with 11 KOs knows too well that he needs more than luck because his 22-year veteran opponent also owns a piece of  history in his 59-6-2 with 38  stoppage impressive resume making Pacquiao an overwhelming favourite. 


Overcoming an underdog tag is not new to Paquiao. On the way to becoming the only boxer to win 11 world titles in eight weight divisions, the two-time Philippine Congressman now Senator started his rise to international prominence by crowning himself the International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight  titlist by stopping Lehlo Ledwaba in the sixth round while fighting as a substitute and, therefore, an underdog.  That was in 2001.


The 2000 ‘Fighter of the Decade,’ was, likewise, at the losing end of the odds when he overwhelmed Marco Antonio Barrera for the Ring Magazine featherweight plum, Juan Manuel Marquez for the World Boxing Council super-featherweight crown and David Diaz for the WBC lightweight diadem.


Ditto when he fought his first 147-pound bout against Olympian and legendary Mexican-American Oscar DeLa Hoya who was heavily favoured  when they met on December 8, 2008 only to quit and retire unable to answer the bell signalling the start of the 8th of the 12-round classic.


Having been a victim himself of upset losses, Pacquiao, also popularly known as “Pacman,” the “Pacific Storm” and “Mexicutioner,” among others, said he’s aware of those chances happening in his coming fight.


“Na-realize ko na ‘yan noon pang pumayag ako na labanan si Jeff Horn,” Pacquiao said. “Oo nga’t marami akong tinalo bilang underdog, may mga laban din naman ako na natalo as a favourite.”


The three-time WBO welterweight belt owner was referring to his first defeat in a young career in 1998, a KO at that, dealt him by Rustico Torrecampo and, three years later, by Thai Medgoen Lukchaopormasak that cost him the WBC flyweight title he won earlier from another, Thai Chatsai Sasakul.


“Those twin losses hurt, especially yung kay Medgoen kasi world champion na ako. But those defeats, at the same time, taught me lessons,” he reminisced. “After that, pinangako ko na di na ako dapat matalo, especially sa isang baguhan.”    


The Filipino ring great suffered three more setbacks later in his career – to Erik Morales in 2005, Tim Bradley and Marquez, both in 2012. He more than avenged his loss to Morales by knocking him out twice. Same with Bradley, who he outpointed two times later. That loss to Marquez, via KO,  merely brought their four-fight record to 2-1-1 win-loss-draw in his favour. (Eddie G. Alinea/PhilAmPress)

(Photo from Philippine Star)


MANILA (via PhilAmPress) — Filipino and American troops will launch a naval disaster drill off Casiguran, Aurora near the Benham Rise in the Pacific Ocean during this year’s joint Balikatan military exercises which start on May 8.


Officials said the joint military exercises, the 33rd between the two countries, would now focus on humanitarian response drills.


Dubbed as Civil-Military Activities from the Sea (CMA-S), the joint naval disaster maneuver will be conducted off the coastal areas of the country’s eastern seaboard.


This year’s Balikatan will involve units of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).


“Our ships with the US and the PCG will navigate from Subic Bay and they will be passing by the waters off Zambales, Cagayan Valley on their way to Casiguran, Aurora for launching of the sea-based disaster response scenario,” Balikatan spokesman for the Philippines Maj. Frank Sayson said.


Sayson said the joint disaster naval exercise along the Pacific coastline from Subic is expected to start on May 7 and be completed with a week.

Culminating event for the CMA-S drills will be the landing of relief items and supplies in the coastal area of Casiguran on May 15.


An announcement from the US Embassy in Manila stated that Philippine and U.S. forces will kick off Exercise Balikatan 33-2017 through community engagement activities in Panay, Leyte, and Samar.  


U.S. and Filipino service members will work together to renovate five schools and conduct community medical engagements with local residents in the opening days of the 12-day military training exercise.  Preliminary work on community infrastructure projects began mid-April.


Balikatan 33-2017 incorporates high value training events designed to enhance the capabilities of both AFP and U.S. armed forces.  The training focuses on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in order to improve response effectiveness and speed in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety.


This year’s exercise will have AFP and U.S. forces partnering to improve their counterterrorism capabilities in order to build safer communities and work towards the eradication of global terror networks.  During Balikatan, U.S. and Philippine forces will conduct operational and counterterrorism training exercises in diverse areas of expertise, including live fire advanced marksmanship, counter improvised explosive devices (IED), maritime interdiction, and amphibious raids.


In this year’s Balikatan, the Philippines and the United States will continue to collaborate with regional partner nations: forces from Australia and Japan will participate in all major training events, and the AFP has invited military forces from several other nations to be part of the International Observers Program.


“I cannot tell you yet how many assets will be committed by the participants but definitely, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be fielding many for this activity,” Sayson said.


Casiguran is among the remotest towns in the eastern seaboard nearest to Benham Rise in the Pacific Ocean. The town is often in the path of the powerful storms blowing in from the Pacific.


A separate joint quake disaster response drill in an urban setting will also be undertaken by combined Filipino and American troops at the headquarters of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.


Foreign and local observers were invited to the event on May 12.


Sayson said the planners of this year’s Balikatan (Shoulder to Shoulder) agreed that both Filipino and US forces must harness not only their fighting skills but also their disaster response capabilities.


Sayson said the joint quake disaster response drill is most important to Filipino troops as the Philippines is prone to earthquakes, being situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire.


The AFP has committed several of its engineering units to join the quake disaster response drill. 


President Duterte has ordered this year’s Balikatan to focus more on humanitarian and disaster response activities instead of the usual war games.


Balikatan is scheduled for launching on May 8 and will end on May 16.President Rodrigo Duterte to proceed with an exploration of the Benham Rise next week.

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