Monday, November 15, 2021

30th Conferment Anniversary of Celia Diaz Laurel’s “Woman for Peace” Award

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November 29, 2021 marks the pearl anniversary of Mrs. Celia Diaz Laurel’s conferment of the highly prestigious international peace and humanitarian award “Woman for Peace” given by the Insieme Per La Pace (Together for Peace) Foundation. 

Like its founder and president Madame Mariapia Fanfani who herself had devoted all her life to cater to the sick, poor, and victims of war, the honor is bestowed upon remarkable women who have helped promote, advance, and partake in global peace building processes through meaningful social, educational, and cultural means. 

Mrs. Laurel’s vast humanitarian work began in 1986 when she volunteered to head our country’s national bid for the United Nations’ Million Minutes of Peace —a worldwide campaign asking people (even with differing religions) to pledge and devote “minutes of meditation, positive thinking or prayer for peace.” Under her leadership, she launched a series of peaceful undertakings that triumphantly landed the Philippines at the fourth slot (out of the 88 participating nations) with an overwhelming 94,000,000 minutes collected and dedicated to peace! 

Following this success, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar flew to the Philippines in 1987 to honor Mrs. Laurel with the “United Nations for Peace Award” and to personally invite her to speak at the Million Minutes for Peace international conference that same year.  She then attended the Universal Peace Conference in Mt. Abu in India and the World Media Association in Seoul, South Korea. She also stood before the International Security Council to discuss, among others, the impact of insurgency in the Philippines on the general security of the nations in the Southeast Asian region.

Alongside these many international engagements, she likewise organized and established several key socio – civic organizations like Causa Philippines, Inc., (a humanitarian movement against international communism), DAYTOP Philippines (Drug Addicts Yield to Persuasion), Handog Lingap sa May Kapansanan (HALIKA), Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Kidney Transplant Association, Gifted Children and Youth Foundation, Memorial to the Peaceful Revolution, Save the Children (Community Development), People’s Welfare Foundation, Philippine International Friendship Organization, Philippine General Hospital Foundation, Philippine National Red Cross Overseas and Diplomatic Divisions, and Peace Development Foundation, Inc. She also worked in the countryside where she focused on health and education developments like providing sustainable potable water in depressed areas and building public school libraries. Months before the big awarding ceremony in Madrid, Spain for the Woman for Peace, Mrs. Laurel, tirelessly  had already been providing relief to fellow Filipinos devastated by natural calamities (i.e. earthquakes, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, and the killer cyclone in Ormoc City) that hit our country in the early 90s. 

The grand awarding ceremony was held at Pabellon De Cecilio Rodriguez in Madrid, Spain on November 29, 1991. Besides Mrs. Laurel, other honorees that year were Queen Noor of Jordan, Madame Chirac of France, and Madame Silva of Portugal. The occasion had 400 guests in attendance ––  comprising mostly of prominent international personalities like Senator Gianni Agnelli of Italy and royalties like Prince Saddrudin Aga Khan, King Simeon of Bulgary, and Baron and Baroness con Thiessen Bormenisza. With her conferment, she joined the revered roster of past awardees like Queen Sophia of Spain, Raissa Gorbachev, Former US First Ladies Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, Marcella Perez de Cuellar, Diana Vreeland, President Violeta Chamurro of Nicaragua, and Queen Sirikit of Thailand. 

In her acceptance speech which she excellently delivered in Italian, Mrs. Laurel emphasized her “fervent wish that the day will come– perhaps in the next 100 years – when the efforts of Together For Peace, with all our collective efforts, will bring about a social floor below which the poor in the world will never again sink and suffer.”


Almost thirty years later, that fervent wish, sadly, remains unachieved. 

With Celia Diaz Laurel, our country’s very own Woman for Peace, now at peace with her Creator, it becomes therefore incumbent upon us who were left behind to continue the crusade she tirelessly but silently began decades ago. The nearing pearl anniversary of her conferment, therefore, is meant to evoke and challenge us to continually work towards achieving peace and creating a harmonious social balance in the next thirty years or so… especially here in this part of the world –our beloved Philippines – where we, STILL need them the most.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Be Happy BICOL: A Road Trip to Naga City

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Never in my life have I thought of going to Naga City for a vacation. Whenever the province of Bicol is mentioned, the only place in my mind is in Legaspi City where Mayon Volcano is. Unlike Legaspi City which carries the picturesque volcano, Naga City has its own charm waiting to be discovered.

Naga City was established in 1575 under Spanish Governor-General Francisco de Sande (it was then named Ciudad de Nueva Cáceres) and was the third Spanish Royal City next to Iloilo and Manila. It is Bicol region's busiest city being a center of trade, culture, religion (Our Lady of Peñafrancia can be found there), education and more.

To go to Naga City, just head over to Bicol Isarog Bus Station located in Cubao, EDSA (South Bound) which is in front of Farmer's Market.

This is the bus we took. Leaving Cubao at 9pm and reaching Bicol Central Station in Naga City at 6-6:30am. It's a 9 hour ride including traffic and the 2 stop overs.

There is a powder room inside this bus but I wasn't able to use it. I just dozed off the whole trip to Naga City since it was dark outside.
This is the interior.
Inside the bus are leather Lazy Boy seats. Since the bus driver closed all the lights (the only source of light was from the TV) during the whole trip, I wasn't able to get a photo of the seats but you get the picture here. Look at those huge seats!

Reaching Naga, it was 6am! The sun is up and if you're sleeping in the whole trip, you'll be waking up fresh! Since it was my first time in Naga City, I had this touristy, #iwokeuplikethis shot by my mom.
Bicol Central Station - Naga City
When in Naga City, home of our VP Leni Robredo, it's a MUST to go to Bigg's Diner in Magsaysay Avenue. It's the place where she used to date with her husband the late Jesse Robredo.
You'll see this big sign in Magsaysay Avenue.
Which leads to this store! Have a date here with your special someone for a long & lasting love.😉
Group photo with the other media from Manila and the COO of Bigg's Diner Adolf Aran, Jr. with his wife Alu.
(L-R) Bigg's Diner COO Adolf Aran, Jr., Joyfully Yours, Hefty Foodie Eugene Constantino, The Hungry Chef Nathaniel Uy, Malaya Newspaper's Edison Gonzales, Adobo Magazine's Troy Barrios, Cook Magazine's Marlon Aldenese and Roel Manipon.
Inside this branch of Bigg's Diner, give you a feel of Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe (in Riverdale) where you can have your milkshake with burger, spaghetti and fried chicken! However, this place actually has more. Will write about it in my next blog so watch out for it! 😀
Look at all these vintage items on display!
This spot looks perfect for an OOTD. However, since this lady was there, I figured to take her photo instead and realized, it's also a good place for emo moments.☺️
The original Instagram!😃
Ending this with my road trip back to Manila. You'll know how much I love Bigg's Diner because I just had to have a snack box on the road going back to Manila! It actually contains a tuna sandwich and fries.

Wasn't able to take a photo of the sandwich and fries because of my road trip buddy, my little dumpling.
She ate it! Hahaha! :D
You can see how comfy the seat of the Lazy Boy. Just remember to bring your favorite pillow/s and enjoy the sceneries!
I actually recommend traveling day time because of the scenic view. You won't feel the 9 hour ride just looking in amazement how beautiful the Philippines is!

Watch out for my next  entries about my road trip to Naga City! ☺️

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Choice: Year IV

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For the love of food and restaurants, "The Choice" is back again this 2018!
The Choice 2017 Hall of Fame: Ramen Nagi
In the first six months of this year alone, over 500 new restaurants opened … and that’s only all over Metro Manila!

Every month, every week, and almost every day it seems, there’s a new restaurant opening its doors. There are a lot of great new dining choices, side by side with the perennials, the classics that we grew up with.
As food bloggers, writers, and members of the F&B industry, we’re always very curious about the crowd favorites. The popular vote, if you will.  What are the beloved favorites? Let the voice of the people be heard!
Vote for your CHOICE here:

About The Awards
Together, Our Awesome Planet, the country’s #1 food blog and one of the Top 50 travel blogs in the world;  the Blogger and Influencer Collective known as the KTG (Kain Tulog Gang); and the prestigious World Food Expo (WOFEX), have partnered to conduct the People’s Choice for their Favorite Food, Restaurants, Hotels, and Chefs …. or simply, “The Choice”.
The Choice Godfathers: Anton Diaz (of Our Awesome Planet), Randy Manaloto (of WOFEX) and Spanky Enriquez (Let's Eat Magazine EIC & one of KTG's founders)
We conducted an intense first round of voting among ourselves, and our resulting Finalist Lists have made us very pleased: we feel it’s a very diverse and fair representation of all our favorites from many diverse categories.
However, we’d like to emphasize that this is NOT a “Best of…” list. Taste, after all, is subjective. This is a vote for YOUR FAVORITES. 

You can vote right now

The Choice 2018 voting is for two weeks only which started last July 15, Sunday and will end on July 30, Monday. Awarding Ceremonies will be at the SMX Mall of Asia on Saturday, August 4, 2018, from 2pm to 5pm. 

The Survey Parameters
1. For the Favorite New Restaurant category, our coverage period includes restaurants that opened between July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018. 
2. There are 40 questions in this survey and answering this survey should take only around 10-15 minutes. It is best to give a definitive answer to each question and feel free to skip if you can’t decide.
3. All answers are treated as confidential and final once you click on the submit button.
4. One survey response for one person only.
5. Please give us your name and email address for our random validation of the survey responses.
Here’s the link to the survey:

The Hall of Fame Awardees
Consecutive Winners in their respective categories in 2015, 2016, and 2017, the following establishments have now been elevated to The Choice Hall of Fame, and thus, will not be eligible for further awards this year and in the years ahead. Congratulations to the Hall of Famers!!! 

Food Favorites
Fast Food Burger: Burger King
Gourmet Burger : 8 Cuts
Fried Chicken : KFC
Sisig : Gerry’s Gril
BBQ : Aristocrat
Hotdog/Sausage : S&R
Ramen : Ramen Nagi
Donut : Krispy Kreme
Ensaymada : Mary Grace
Frozen Dessert : Dairy Queen
Pastries/Cakes: Conti’s
Coffee :  Starbucks

Restaurant Favorites
Chinese: Gloria Maris
Thai : People’s Palace
Korean : Bulgogi Brothers
Mexican : El Chupacabra
Fine Dining : Antonio’s
24/7 Dining : North Park
Family Dining : Chili’s
Hotel Buffet: Spiral
Fast Food : Jollibee
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