Monthly Archives: July 2015

AirAsia and Nikon launch #IamAirAsiaTravelPhotographer contest

MANILA, 16 July 2015 – Two office workers, a car salesman and a barista are stepping out of their comfort zones and into the challenges of becoming the first AirAsia Travel Photographer for 2015. The #IamAirAsiaTravelPhotographer contest  is jointly organized by AirAsia and ThinkDharma Inc. (exclusive distributor of Nikon Digital Cameras) in partnership with AirAsia’s global loyalty programme, BIG which will award winners with over 200,000 BIG Points or its equivalent free flights to any of AirAsia Group’s 100 destinations.


Assisted by multi-awarded photographers from the Philippines and Malaysia as their personal coach, four pre-selected contestants, namely Velvet Lagman-Macasaet, an executive assistant and marathon runner; Sarah Garcia, hotel front desk officer; TJ  Nepomuceno III, car salesman; and Paul Delfin, an indie music fan and barista, will be traveling across Asia for one week starting July 21. Online voting via will be opened to the public in August 20 with Nikon cameras and BIG Points to be given away to lucky voters. Grand winner will be announced in September 11.


AirAsia Philippines Chairperson Maan Hontiveros led the launching of the exciting contest with Strategic Partnership Head Jenny Au and Senior Marketing Manager Caroline Wong of AirAsia BIG. ThinkDharma Inc., meanwhile, is represented by Abrigo Merin, Chief Executive Officer of OPAL, and Paolo Salazar, Head of Business Unit.


Four multi-awarded photographers and respected leaders in the industry will be part of the AirAsia Travel Photographer contest as mentors of the four contestants.  Nikon Pros George Tapan, Raymond Cruz, Parc Cruz and AirAsia’s resident photojournalist Adam Lee will be traveling around exotic places in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to help contestants capture their best entries across a range of categories that include landscape, food, portrait, architecture and travel.


Keep updated with AirAsia Travel Photography contest by using #IamAirAsiaTravelPhotographer and get the latest updates via Twiiter ( or Facebook (

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Open Letter to the Honorable Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama

CENTER ISLAND AT POPE JOHN PAUL II AVE. FOR DEMOLITION/JULY 7, 2015: Cebu City mayor Michael Rama will meet DENR Secretary Paje to issue a permit for the removal of or cut the trees and demolish the center island at Pope John Paul II Ave. in time for the APEC Summit.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

CENTER ISLAND AT POPE JOHN PAUL II AVE. FOR DEMOLITION/JULY 7, 2015: Cebu City mayor Michael Rama will meet DENR Secretary Paje to issue a permit for the removal of or cut the trees and demolish the center island at Pope John Paul II Ave. in time for the APEC Summit.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Dear Mayor Rama,

Not long ago, Cebuanos were overjoyed when a road beside the Mabolo Parish was renamed into the Pope John Paul II Avenue. Fronting the Seminario de San Carlos and Carmelite Monastery, it truly deserves being labelled after a well-loved Saint who once visited our city which is also known as Asia’s Cradle of Christianity.

The renaming becomes even more significant because this road will host the convention center that serves as the main venue of the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) which will hopefully be graced by Pope Francis, the successor of John Paul II.

The avenue itself speaks of humble dignity. Although not very wide, it is quite far from being heavily populated or polluted compared to others in the city. A vital link to various points of interest, this avenue’s charm comes mainly from a center island that hosts graceful fire trees.

Since these trees are among a few that remain in our streets (similar ones mysteriously disappeared when the Serging Osmena Boulevard was widened), I was therefore dismayed when you sought permission from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to cut them so that the road could be widened for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Summit (APEC).

Mr. Mayor, please do not cut these trees. Doing so would not only be sacrilegious to Saint John Paul II; it would be bad for a city that’s trying to show itself as liveable and earth-friendly. Besides, no amount of tree-cutting will ever compensate for good traffic planning and enforcement. Otherwise, we might as well cut all the trees in our city and trust that our traffic situation will improve right away.

I do believe that our APEC visitors will appreciate tree-lined streets better than wide highways devoid of trees. In their respective countries, these visitors surely have environment-friendly roads that feature trees. I even doubt that they will be happy knowing that their visit here will cause the cutting of our trees. I’m sure there are other ways to improve traffic management for APEC, the IEC and other events that Asia’s Cradle of Christianity will be hosting.

I leave this matter to those who are officially mandated to do it, but let’s not include tree-cutting as the shortcut solution to this concern, as if it would suffice in solving congestion now and in the distant future.

To better emphasize my point, may I thus remind you of a timely and relevant quote from Saint John Paul II: “The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”

Mr. Mayor, I trust that you will heed the words of the beloved Saint who once passed through this historic avenue that now bears his name.

Very truly yours,

Ka Bino Guerrero



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Batil Boat Loaded with Poached Shell Apprehended

Jocevel Joy – 4 a 30 by 8 meters (approx.) Batil, was apprehended by composite team of Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard near the shores of Olanggo Island Lapu-Lapu City. Photo by Ferdinand Edralin.

A team from the Philippine Navy, Naval Forces Central, Philippine Coast Guard Cebu Station and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources  intercepted the Batil Jocevel Joy – 4 at around 11 pm on Wednesday, July 8, in Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City.


The apprehending team believes the cargo consisting of shells are prohibited as they appear to look like samong (trochus niloticus). Initial information indicate the Batils came from Tubbataha.


The topshell Trochus niloticus is a highly valuable reef invertebrate that flourishes in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP), Palawan, Philippines. At present, it is heavily poached inside the park premises, on

The International Herald Tribune reported

“…the rangers confiscated 132 sacks of the topshell Trochus niloticus, locally known as samong, worth one million Philippine pesos ($20,000). Taking samong or any other endangered species is punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison and/or a 120,000 peso fine, but poachers risk it, according to the Philippine daily Business Mirror, because dealers buy  topshells for about 150 pesos a kilo, reselling them at 400 pesos a kilo.”

There is a big market for Samong, it is a commodity in the Fashion Accessories.


The Fisheries Administrative Order No. 208, Series of 2001 listed Trochus niloticus as THREATENED, and Section 2 of the said order state “Prohibition. – It shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to take or catch or cause to be taken or caught the following fishery/aquatic species.”

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