Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cebu Pacific Kicks off Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge 2013

I believe that it is inherent in every Filipino to be travelers and explorers. One big evidence of this is the countless OFWs who are now practically all over the world. I can name one country that, no matter how remote, I would bet has Filipinos lurking out there somewhere doing their own thing. I remember one TV reporter who had the opportunity to visit a very remote community in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain Range, a place where the only mode of transportation to get there are through Yaks (Himalayan cattle) and was surprised to see Filipinos actually residing there. Can you imagine? There’s a thriving Filipino Community in the Himalayas where Mount Everest is just three back-flips away?!  In a recent Canadian news report about the country’s statistics, it is said that the fastest growing language being spoken in Canada is Tagalog. Wow, Pinoys are just simply amazing! 

So, whether it is by choice or by circumstance that many Pinoys are in all places, it has become our nature to thrive and find joy in traveling and exploring. We are natural trailblazers. Even with a meager income, many Pinoys can still live and make “lakwatsa” on the side along with their spare savings to send to their families back home. 

Here in our country, as much as many would want to do more local travels, being an archipelago with 7,101 islands to be exact, this somehow limits us to maximize and enjoy the thousands of beautiful places and activities the Philippines has to offer. Thankfully, with the help of low-fare promos many airlines are offering, many Pinoy travelers can now tour other provinces on low budget packages. 

Cebu Pacific, the Philippine’s leading airline flag-carrier that pioneered low-cost air-travel and supports domestic tours. Among its programs is the Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge. On its fourth year, the company continues to offer this unique travel-challenge competition among college students who have the love for travel and adventure. This year Cebu Pacific have identified five teams, composed of three students each, to join an all-expense paid tour of selected Philippine destinations. These students were selected out of the thousands of applications that were sent. 

Last August 27, 2013, Cebu Pacific invited people from the media community to witness the kick-off of the Backpacker Challenge. Held at the Passion Restaurant, Resorts World, they presented the participants by allowing them to make a short cheering presentation. The students came from various Universities all over the country namely, De La Salle University, Siliman University, University of San Carlos, Palawan State University, Holy Trinity University and Bukidnon State University. 

These thrill seekers will cover six local destinations such as Manila, Puerto Princessa, Cebu, Davao, Kalibo, and Bohol. The basic rule is to visit all the places assigned and be engaged in various activities and challenges organizers have prepared for them with a budget of P35,000. The team who can finish all the activities with the least amount of total expenses wins the competition.

The Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge is co-presented by Sun Broadband Wireless and Department of Tourism, with support coming from Canon, Botak, Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, and Wenger, the Juan for Fun travel Gear. 

The event also served as the send off party for all the teams. Right after the program, the teams made their exit to catch a flight to their first destination which is Kalibo, Aklan.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kobe Bryant and Lenovo: True to his word – “Walang Iwanan”

Last August 12, 2013, Lenovo Philippines celebrates the official arrival of two entities in the country. The living NBA Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and the smart phone that is closest to his heart, the Lenovo K900. 

At the brink of typhoon almost 200 media men and thousands more fans gathered at the Resorts World Manila to witness the official unveiling of Lenovo’s newest and top of its class smart phone, the Lenovo K900. And of course along with it is the brand ambassador of Lenovo himself, Mr. Kobe Bryant

The Lenovo K900 is the newest from Lenovo’s smart phone line and also its flag ship model. It is actually has a dimension of 5.5 inch screen, comparable to Samsung Note2, but a few millimeter longer than note2. In the video clip, I saw Kobe holding the phone and at first, I didn’t realize it was that big until I hold it myself. I forgot that Kobe is 6’8” that is why it seemed small to me at first. 

When it comes to smart phones a lot of people would always check its processing speed if it runs on single, dual or quad core processor. But personally, other than the core processor, I checked on the number Gigahertz (GHz). The most common among smart phones today, most especially the ones using Android platform runs in a 1.2 to 1.6 GHz. So if a gadget is on a quad-core and it runs on 1.4 to 1.6 GHz, I still find it less impressive, because gigahertz will validate the gadget’s speed of processing a certain task or app. So the rule is, the higher the gigahertz the faster it can process programs, regardless if it’s dual or quad core. 

The Lenovo K900 runs on Dual Core processor with a speed of 2.0 Ghz, the highest among its class. Some smart phones which are already on a quad-core maintains a speed of 1.4 to 1.6 GHz only. So why is that? It means that the quality of the processor requires more power to run the processing at the speed of 1.4 or 1.6 GHz. The most common mobile smart phone processors are Qualcomm, Mediatek and SnapDragon. However, the K900 operates on Intel-Atom Processor so it needs only a dual-core to run the gadget at 2.0 GHz. Now, to me, that’s impressive. 

This also reflects the character of the one who is endorsing it, Mr. Kobe Bryant, because even in the worse weather condition, he flew from China to the Philippines and arrived 4:00am on the day itself. And with little sleep and rest, he accommodated early breakfast with Pacman and proceeded at the whole program at the media launch, meet and greet fans day in two separate venues. Truly true to his word indeed, “Walang Iwanan” Just like the Lenovo K900, running in Intel-Atom 2.0ghtz speed, you will never be left out. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FORD: Driving Skills for Life

In my past life, I used to wear a career in the sales force business, specifically in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Actually, it was my first real job after graduating from College. At that time, it was the “in” or the coolest employment where I can hang out with doctors and medical professionals, a hefty remuneration packages and of course, the company car where one can practically use it within and off duty hours. I spent nine years selling meds covering MDs all over the metro and also reached outskirts of Luzon. Practically, 85% of my job was driving, and I’ve already been to a lot of places. 

In my nine year-career as a Medrep, I would say that my driving skills are considerably quite exemplary. I was able to gain much road-worthy knowledge over the years of driving. Apparently, I was surprised to discover that the head knowledge I acquired through experience and self-taught reading was just a small fraction of what I learned in Ford last August 10, 2013. 

Me, my wife Ruth and other online media reps was invited to attend Ford Philippines road safety initiative that is being offered to licensed drivers since 2005. This program is called Driving Skills for Life or simply DSFL. It is a Ford Global program about safe and practical driving lessons, but it is contextualized to Philippine setting. Over the years, there are more than 20,000 licensed drivers have participated in the program. 

This year, Ford partnered with Tuason Racing School (TRS) to lead the DSFL Seminars. This includes interactive lessons on safe, smart and fuel efficient driving techniques, as well as the practical, vehicle driving component of the training. The DSFL seminars will be held at various participating Ford dealership within Metro Manila. This includes Ford Alabang, Ford Commonwealth, Ford Global City, Ford Libis, Ford Makati, Ford Manila and Ford Manila Bay. Seminars are also being conducted in key provincial dealership like Ford Batangas, Ford Cavite and Ford Pampanga

Our seminar was held at Ford Manila Bay. I noticed that the dealership is newly constructed because there were very few cars parked in the service bay area and the equipment are all brand new. In the Seminar, some of the lessons tackled were familiar to me already but many were a revelation. Like the proper hand positioning on the steering wheel should be at three and nine o’clock position. All along I knew that it was two and ten. When going long drives it advisable to rest at least every two hours. Now that is something I don’t do before because I remember driving as far as Bicol non-stop. After eight to nine hours of driving, I was dead tired. 

Another new lesson for me is setting the Early Warning Device or EWD when the car broke down. So whenever I have a flat tire in the middle of the road or highway, I placed my EWD just over ten meters from the vehicle. But the right distance should be 50 meters from the vehicle. For a more fuel efficient car, it was advised that when driving without using the air conditioning, the right speed should be 80k/h with windows open. But if you want to speed up, it is better to close the window and open the aircon. The drag of leaving the window open more than 80k/h creates drag to the car thus consuming more fuel to move the car forward.

In the seminar, the facilitator distributed participant handbook that served as a guide for us. After the lecture, some of us were invited to drive the new Ford Focus around Manila Bay area. I was amazed of its latest features that actually a standard for the Focus. Such as the self-parking technology, hands-free mobile system that lets you converse through the speakers of the car via Bluetooth. 

The short driving experience lasted only for 10 minutes. As much as I wanted to cover some more areas in the Manila Bay, we need to go back to the dealership and pacify my yearning by just shooting some pictures of the Ford vehicles displayed there and be satisfied by looking and appreciating them in pictures…for now. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Clear Dream Match 2013 Final Draft

Last year, Filipino football fans was edging with excitement when superstar foot ball siblings James and Phil Younghhusband battled each other whether who’s the best in the field of football and it was dubbed as Clear Dream Match. The brothers James and Phil allied with several seasoned football players and celebrities in the country and held a football competition at the University of Makati Football field. At the end of the day, the team of Phil Younghusband won. 

This year the James and Phil decided to settle the score by staging another Clear Dream Match. Last August 10, Clear Shampoo in cooperation with SM Mega mall, They held an all day event where the two football icons drafted their respective teams. Each one was given a chance to pick their team mates in a form of drawing slots. 

It turned out that most of the team mates James picked was from the team of Phil last year, but  the two players and the rest of their team mates were just as happy of the turn-out of the drafting. And to make the game a little more interesting, James and Phil decided to include two other international football superstar namely, Fabio Cannavaro of Parma Team of Italy and Dennis Wise the midfielder of Newcastle United and now with Coventry City. In the drafting, Dennis Wise Joined James Younghusband’s team and Fabio Cannavaro picked Phil Younghusband’s. 

The voting pool of players reached up to 50 players and these are coming from United Football League Players, the Philippine Azkals, University football superstars and some local footballing Celebs, like Fabio Ide and Sam YG. After four weeks of voting, the 50 players were trimmed down to 34 and each one was drafted to be either Team James or Team Phil. 

The Clear Dream Match will be on August 24, 2013. It is the day of the reckoning of which team is the best. Will Team Phil keep the throne or will be grabbed by his brother James this time? It will once again be held at the football field of the University of Makati, Makati City. Rain or shine, the two teams will go head to head with each other. Audiences and fans will witness the awesome football skills of the Younghusbands, the players of some of the best teams in the country and also the legendary football talents of Dennis Wise and Fabio Cannavaro. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

National Geographic Channel Presents “I Wouldn’t Go In There”

Trails Unlimited has been mostly featuring my past and present outdoor fitness experiences as well as the fitness goals I want to pursue in the future. But, apart from those, my blog also features other stuff like food, tech and a little bit of anything under the sun once in a while. Recently, I attended a unique blogging event that transcended my usual beat. I was invited not only to view, but also to get a chance to experience, the world of the Paranormal.

Representatives of the National Geographic Channel and 15 members of the media traveled all the way to Clark Airbase, Pampanga to view a special screening of the channel’s newest investigative series dubbed “I wouldn’t go in there”. This NGC original TV series is a collection of documented stories of the most haunted places in Asia. Hosted by renowned travel blogger and explorer, Robert Joe, he and a team of Paranormal experts will walk audiences through the most eerie places where most people would not dare to go.

The special screening featured one of the places that an international association of paranormal experts has officially declared as one of the most haunted in our country. The site  is no other than the old abandoned Clark Airbase Hospital inside the former US military base. The group was scheduled to view the screening in the afternoon but due to unexplained technical and logistic setbacks, the viewing was delayed and we ended up staying there until nightfall. 

Despite the interruptions, our group proceeded to the event where we were ushered by the members of the Esoteric Society of the Philippines. They briefed us about certain restrictions and initiated a meditative protection ritual to cover us from the entities that might harm us during our visit.  The viewing area was set inside what used to be the hospital’s lobby. The paranormal experts have made some preparations earlier that day such as setting-up sacred candles in the four corners of the viewing area to ward off the possible presence of any negative entities. 

As we watched the segment, night time has fallen so the technical team tried to switch on the perimeter lights but failed. Our only light sources were the candles and the light emitted by the TV screens. The episode is a rehash of Philippine history. It was very informative and enlightening to learn that the province of Pampanga was the birth place of the first Japanese Kamikaze pilots. These pilots were the “hard-core” ones who sacrificed themselves to fly fighter airplanes carrying bombs and who drove the planes straight to the US naval ships during the Second World War. This Japanese tactic was a desperate measure to keep the allied forces from entering Philippine soil. 

From the documentary, I also learned that the hospital was built by the US government with a budget of 4.5 million dollars during the 60’s. It was said to be one of the most sophisticated hospitals at that time with the latest medical equipment. After the US troops left in 1991, the facilities inside Clark Airbase were auctioned-out to private enterprises. Barracks were turned into 7-11 stores, some buildings became International schools and some became hotels. In spite of its sophisticated structure, one establishment was left out. No one wanted to buy and develop the Clark Airbase Hospital.

The segment also revealed that the hospital was where most of the casualties of the Vietnam War were sent. We heard the testimony of a retired security guard who witnessed and shared a detailed account on how hundreds of body bags, with some containing only body parts, were processed and brought into the hospital every night. He shared that the morgue could not accommodate so much dead bodies so the management made part of the basement as an extension of the morgue and the carcasses of dead soldiers were just dumped there until they were processed and sent to the US to be claimed by their families. From there I began to realize why the hospital was haunted and most likely why it was left to be abandoned.  

I tried my best to keep my attention on the show but, at times, I can’t help but take quick peeks in the dark hall ways and rooms around the hospital while stealing some quick shots using my camera hoping to capture something unusual through my lens. As soon as the film ended and the host and the president of NGC Philippines, Mr. Jude Torcuato has thanked everyone, the lights surprisingly finally turned on.

At dinner, all of us shared our experiences. Some felt something eerie, some say they saw something in the shadows and some heard something unusual. Me? I didn’t feel or see anything at all. And so did the security guard we interviewed who has been guarding the hospital for the past thirteen years.    

So, what’s my take on these paranormal issues? I believe in them but, honestly, I just try not to be bothered by them or make a big fuss out of it. If it’s something that is the work of the enemy, one should be cautious at all times because their frequent attacks are not limited within the dark shadows. They happen too in our daily normal lives when we encounter temptations to do the wrong things every minute of the day, most especially at times when a person is left idle and no one is watching. For me, those are also situations where we shouldn’t dare go.

National Geographic Channel’s “I wouldn’t go there” premiers August 23, 2013, Friday 6:00pm.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FAME Celebrates 10 years with Bloggers and Partner brands

Friendly Alliances and Media Expressions – FAME, the publishing outfit that brought us the much read magazines like Health & Lifestyle (H&L) Magazine, DiabetEASE, TravelPlus, Zen Health and Vital Signs is now celebrating its 10th year Anniversary in the publishing industry. 

And to commemorate its first decade of success, they gathered some of their loyal brand partners to meet head-to-head with some of the well known bloggers in the field of food, fashion, entertainment, sports and Fitness and Health. 

Dubbed as Bloggers Night, FAME held an eventful gathering at the ARTS in the City, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Each brand placed a booth display where bloggers and members of the media can engage each brand so that these bloggers can feature them and make a viral impact in the social media. FAME Allowed each brand to present some of its features to the audience. In between programs, the hosts gave a way raffle prizes to all media courtesy of the sponsors.

A very familiar booth I stumbled upon. FRUIT MAGIC, the makers of one the best fruit smoothies. These two young ladies offered me a several mixes of fruit flavors. One can even combine fruits to get the best of their two or even three flavors in one serving. 

SHINAGAWA LASIK and AESTHETIC Center offer the premier and state-of-the art refractive laser surgery in the country today. Originated in Japan, it also offers several aesthetic and cosmetic surgery done by the best surgeons like Dr. Dinglasan, noted to be the father of modern refractive laser surgery in the Philippines. Shinagawa Lasik and Aesthetic Center is located at the mezzanine level of the Enterprise Building, Ayala Avenue, Makati City. 

In the picture, is my wife Ruth Floresca of and Jocelyn, an aesthetic consultant of Shinagawa. Ruth, who have been wearing glasses since grades school, finally got her lasik surgery from Shinagawa last year and she now regains her 20/20 vision. The whole procedure only took her less than an hour. 

Another latest from Shinagawa is the 3D Angel Lift. It is an anti-aging procedure. it targets the areas of the face where sagging occur. Cosmetic surgeons uses state of the art non-invasive procedure that uses a special thread that lift the face three dimensionally. The effect of this procedure is long lasting and it helps tighten the skin that prevents future sagging. Visit Shinagawa and know the latest aging treatment that fits for you. 

The ASIAN HOSPITAL and MEDICAL CENTER has developed a one-stop specialty unit for the management of Breast Cancer. The Philippines has the highest incident of Breast Cancer in South East Asia among Filipino Women. Dr. Aldine Astrid Basa, a Breast Surgery Specialist was invited in the event and presented a comprehensive information about the disease. She stressed out that the early detection elevates the patient survival up to 80%. Asian Hospital and Medical Center provides the the most comprehensive breast care - from disease prevention and screening to diagnosis and treatment. The hospital holds the biggest facility of its kind in the country. 

On this slide, Dr. Basa expalins that by self-examination, one can detect if something is not normal in a woman's breast. She also enumerates some of the common myths about the disease. One of which are the breast implants. These does not cause breast cancer. However, digital mammography would be harder to detect if a patient has one because the implant normally gets in the way to get a much clearer view of the mass. 

Another latest drug from LRI-Therampharma, BPeptide is the latest in managing hypertension. At the event each one was invited to take a blood pressure test. It was very surprising to know that a lot of guests at that time were considered pre-hypertensive, me included. The presenter explains that in the Philippines, the bracket was raised a notch higher. Before where 120/80 is still in the normal range, today it is considered as pre-hypertensive. And that's where BPeptide will come in. Coupled with healthy lifestyle and good diet, a pre-hypertensive patient can be protected from a full-blown hypertension.  

At The Pre-Groe booth, staff offered a hair scan procedure. I took the opportunity of getting my scalp scanned to know if I still have any chances of regaining my hair back. And apparently, the staff said I still have the chance. They also offered other product such as conditioner and shampoo to help prevent baldness. 

Delicious food and drinks was also served courtesy of GOLDILOCKS and Ralphs Wine. And on top of that, dinning was highlighted by the dessert courtesy of LUX CAKES. For those who are sweet tooth, you will lover their chocolate moose. But as for me, my personal fave is the Cheese Cake, which apparently was the house's choice of the night. 

In between programs, raffle were drawn in batches. Sponsors were quite generous because almost all of the guests who went that evening were called. The first few batches were the minor prizes where Ruth was one of the lucky pick. At the end of the program, major prizes were drawn and this time my name was also called. I won a cosmetic make-over courtesy of Cetaphil, worth P25,000! But since I can't think of any parts of my face due for a make-over, I decided to give my prize to my wife instead. 

The Blogger Night was culminated by a song number form two talented duos who are now making a name in the music industry. After a while bloggers took time to take photos of all the stash of goodies we were given. And my utmost thanks goes to them as well. 

 With Ryan San Juan and Ruth Floresca with all the take home loots...

Tiny Buds Baby products...

Assorted feminine Products courtesy of InnoVitelle 

Assorted products from JTomas Soluitons...

Monday, August 19, 2013

AXE’s search for the First Filipino Astronaut continues

As AXE continues its search for the first Filipino Astronaut the will explore the outer space, more than 28,000 applicants are now crossing their fingers with the hope one of them will be chosen.

Last May 15, 2013, the application was officially closed despite hundreds of dudes who expressed an extension. In just over two months of campaign, over 600,000 viewers visited the site coming from the Philippines alone and more than 20 million landed in the AXE Apollo Web site all over the world. Here are the top five countries who garnered the most number of applicants:

1. U.S. – 107,952
2. United Kingdom – 80,646
3. France – 42,255
4. Philippines – 28, 020
5. Brazil – 24,763

After the first phase the 28,000 applicants will undergo another selection process that entails mathematical wit, abstract reasoning, color recognition and spatial reasoning. And the 28,000 will be streamed-down to 400. From there, the group will undergo a set of challenges which composed of running in obstacle courses much like of a military boot-camp. Out of the 400, they get the best 50 finishers.

The 50 finishers will be given another set of challenges that will ultimately test their physical strength and the A.A.S.A will finally select the best two candidates that will represent the Philippines.  

A Wild-Card?!

And just recently, AXE Philippines has made another surprise announcement. They will be raffling-off a golden ticket and anyone, it can be a dude or a babe with an age 18 years old or above. This “Wild-Card” will be the third member that will join the final training at the AXE Apollo Global Space Camp located at Orlando, Florida, USA. 

Last July 18, 2013, AXE Philippines invited special guests and members of the media in a celebration for being the top five of the most number of applicants. Everyone was treated at the ARCAMA Bar at BGC with scrumptious food and of course all you can drink of the best booz in town.


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