Monday, December 10, 2007

Philippines attracts English-eager Koreans


PROMO collaterals from the ESL Center of the University of Cebu, one of the participants in the Korea Student Fair Fall 2007 held in Seoul

by: Cheche Moral

MANILA, Philippines - They’re not coming in just for the beaches; they’re also here for some crash course in English.

Korea, the Philippines’ largest single source of tourists, is now bringing in droves not just holidaymakers but also students who wish to learn the English language.

Students account for 15-17 percent of Korean tourists in the Philippines, according to the Philippine tourism attaché in Seoul, Maricon Basco-Ebron. As of April, 14,400 Korean visitors have arrived here to enroll in language institutions or universities around the country.

“They like the Philippines because everybody speaks English. It’s easier to learn; they get to practice everywhere,” Ebron, who also heads the Department of Team’s Team Korea, said at the recent Korea Student Fair held in Seoul, a biannual event that brings together schools all over the world to attract students who wish to study abroad. The event draws in over 500 exhibitors from the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and neighboring Asian countries.
Cheaper cost

While the Philippines is not a native English-speaking country, the cheaper cost of English-based education here is a major come-on to Koreans, Ebron said.“Sending a child to the US for one year is equivalent to sending a child for two years in the Philippines—plus the mom,” referring to the fact that Korean parents could easily come to the country to check on their children and enjoy the sights as well.

Hyunsook Oh, who works with the Philippine tourism office in Seoul, estimated the cost of Korean university education at $4,000 per semester, or roughly four times the tuition for the same period in a major university in Metro Manila.

She added: “The Philippines is relatively cheaper than the US, Canada or England. And it’s only 3½ hours away so parents can visit anytime. If they send the child to the US, the parents have to plan their visit.”

Most Koreans enroll in “short-term” or two-month English as a Second Language (ESL) course or study for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) here as preparation for further education in another country.

Younger students come in for language camps, typically two-month courses during their summer or winter break. (Philippine travel agents also offer golf and dive camps, where young Korean athletes learn the sports’ lingo in English before they compete abroad.)



Thursday, December 06, 2007

2007 Seagames first GOLD


Cycling wins first SEA GAMES
gold for RP

GOLDEN BOY. Mountain biker Joey Barba holds the first gold medal won by the Philippines in the 24th Southeast Asian Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

KHAO YAI THIENG, Thailand -- The Philippine campaign in the 24th Southeast Asian Games finally picked up courtesy of downhill mountain biker Joey Barba.

Barba upended the fancied home bet in the final run Thursday morning to scoop up the first Philippine gold in the biennial event.

The feat of the 23-year-old snapped a nine-day drought for the Filipinos in these Games.

Mountain biker Joey Barba, a carpenter’s son from Dumaguete, ignored the danger posed by the rugged mountain trail in the men’s downhill run to win by almost three seconds at the end of the 1.9-kilometer event.

Barba, his elbows and knees tattooed by scars from spills that are common in his sport, timed three minutes 56.920 seconds as the Filipinos crashed the gold medal rank after the shooters’ winless performance last week in Bangkok.
source: &

French-Belgian surgical team visits Iloilo Province


French-Belgian surgical team conducts surgical mission in Iloilo

The French-Belgian Surgical Team of the Aide Medico-Chirurgical E Au Tierre Monde visited the Province of Iloilo to conduct free surgery.

They were treated with a welcome lunch by the province at Tatoy’s Manokan, Arevalo, Iloilo City.

The team stayed at the Iloilo Provincial Hospital in Pototan for five days unti November 14, 2007.

They conducted their first day of free surgical operation on November 9, 2007 which was witnessed by Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas, Sr. and Provincial Health Officer Patricia Grace S. Trabado.

The members of the Surgical Team were composed of Dr. Isabelle Loeb – Surgeon; Dr. Charles Luyckx – Anesthesiologist; Dr. Edward Boutremans – Surgeon; Dr. Yasemin Deniz – Surgeon; Ms. Kaoma Kilelema – Nurse and Mr. Maxime Vandeputte – Recorder.

The patients (those having clef pallates) who availed free surgery came from the municipalities of Ajuy – 13; Carles – 10; New Lucena – 4; Passi City – 3; and 1 each from San Enrique, Oton, Pototan, Dingle, Dueñas and Sara.

They underwent 25 Unilateral cheiloplasty, 7 Bilateral cheiloplasty, 3 Palatoplasty, and 1 Cheiloplasty with palatoplasty.

In the evening of November 14, 2007, the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen & Professionals, Iloilo Chapter hosted a thanksgiving dinner.

The Province of Iloilo gave them plaques of recognition and token of appreciation.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Active Volcanoes, the Next Tourist Attraction


The Next Tourist Attraction

The Philippines might someday be known as one of the premier locations for watching a volcano in action. A government project is seeking to market the country’s active volcanoes to thrill-seeking tourists and adventurers.

Active volcanoes not only offer exciting, though dangerous, spectacles during an eruption. The thermal activity in surrounding areas is also a prime attraction for developing spas or campsites. Case is point is Mt. Makiling, which supposedly hasn’t shown volcanic activity in eons, but is surrounded by commercial hot spring pools. I say supposedly, because isn’t the activity in Mudspring volcanic? But, I digress.

“We have to appreciate the fact that our country has many volcanoes,” said Perla de los Reyes of the government’s volcanology and seismology institute. “They are beautiful attractions.”

“Volcanos show how dynamic or dangerous they can be, and people appreciate it,” De los Reyes said, adding that the unique shapes of land formations caused by volcanic eruptions themselves also draw people in.

Mt. Pinatubo and Taal Volcano are the first sites to be developed, due largely to their easy access from Manila. Vacation homes and restaurants have already sprouted around these areas. Other, not so accessible, vocanoes like Mts. Iraya, Kanlaon, Bulusan, Banahaw, draw mostly adventurers who don’t shy away from a few days hiking through jungle trails.

I’ve always liked the concept of eco-tourism. There is so much natural beauty in the Philippines that the rest of the world has yet to see. I’m heartened by the involvement of the protected areas and wildlife bureau in this project. Coupled with proper management, which takes the environment as its top priority, such ventures will bring jobs to local areas, and could in fact assist in preserving these sites.

by: Maricar