Marjorie Gorospe INQUIRER.net HOW lucky are you in the year of the Ox? Being born under a different sign, I decided to visit this store in Binondo called Charm General Merchandise to get some answers. Lucky for me, store owner Maxima Tiu was kind enough to explain the lucky charms for this year. “Ox symbolizes prosperity through fortitude and hard work. People under this sign are born leaders and have the ability to achieve great things,” says Tiu. She says people who born in the year of the Ox are compatible with those born under the sign of the snake, rabbit and rooster. But she says that Ox people should avoid those born under the sheep sign. But whether or not you were born in the year of the Ox, Tiu suggests other lucky charms like chimes that can bring good luck. Displaying an Ox figurine at home or work also brings good luck. Tiu says there is really no such thing as the “best lucky charm” for anyone. But she says we should not rely on luck in achieving success in life. As the Ox symbolizes hard work, people should also work hard to find prosperity. And it is through sheer Ox-like determination that we achieve success. Watch my video interview with her to get yourself acquainted with lucky charms.
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FILIPINO celebrity kids Paul Salas, Jane Oineza, Eliza Pineda, Kristel Fulgar and Micah Torre pick their favorite dinosaur and talk about lessons they learned from the Dinos Alive World Tour currently open to visitors at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Philippines. Watch this video report of INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Izah Morales.
By Lawrence Casiraya BALICASAG Island in Bohol is described as one of the best dive spots in the country with its protected marine sanctuary teeming with healthy corals. For non-divers, it is also a great place for snorkeling. Last Saturday, I was part of a small group that ventured near Balicasag for dolphin watching. I did read about dolphins in Bohol although around nearby Pamilacan Island. Anyway, one important lesson is to wake up early – early as in don’t wait for the sun to rise. Or rather, it pays to be at sea on sunrise because that’s mating time for dolphins. We set out past 6AM and by the time we reached the area where the dolphins are, it was already swarming with many boats with the same idea. As one colleague puts it, it was more like “dolphin chasing”, rather than watching. Each time dolphins were seen rising out of the water; it was like off to the races. And it just seemed to scare these poor creatures. Fortunately, before we headed for home we did see dolphins - one more like twirling rather flipping out of the water. And just when we least we expected it, a whale shark passed by in front of our boat rousing our sleepy eyes.
According to Wikipedia, the Manila Chinese cemetery is the second oldest cemetery in the city, built during the Spanish times for non-Christian Chinese residing in the country. Since then, however, it has become the resting place for the Chinese community in the country regardless of religious affiliation. The cemetery is said to be the burial of many prominent Chinese in local history, including those who led uprisings during the Japanese occupation, but one name caught my attention. So I went there the day before All Saints’ Day and I did find his tomb but unfortunately, I can only peek from outside the locked gate, seeing there were no visitors yet then. Ma Mon Luk’s story itself deserves a follow-up quest, perhaps in the streets of Binondo. For starters, legend has it that Ma Mon Luk was responsible for popularizing mami and siopao. The word mami – a concoction of chicken and egg noodles in broth – is said to have been derived from his name. Honestly, I expected a more opulent mausoleum housing Ma Mon Luk’s tomb. But while me and my fellow reporter Marjorie were walking around looking for the Mami King’s burial place, we did find a lot of those that look like temples. Some of these mausoleums were so big they come “fully-furnished”, complete with sala sets and a toilet and bathroom. Throw in a widescreen TV, maybe a ref or hell, even an entire kitchen showcase can still fit in there. Cover those tombs with cloth and you have a dining table. And like any apartment, most of these mausoleums even have caretakers. What I remember most from our visit is that unlike “normal” cemeteries, I didn’t see tombstones crowding each other on the ground. There was also ample space between tombs, so that should make people not worry about stepping “out of bounds”, so to speak come All Saints’ Day.
ASIDE from soldiers and former presidents, the "Libingan ng mga Bayani" (Cemetery of Heroes) is also the resting place of some 30 of the country's national artists including Levi Celerio, Nick Joaquin and Wilfredo Ma. Guerrero. INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Lawrence Casiraya visits the graves of these artists and finds out how they became eligible for burial at this sacred resting place.
By Anna Valmero INQUIRER.net TAGUIG CITY, Philippines -- Soldiers don’t die, they just fade away. At the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, this rings true. In the Philippines, deceased personnel who has brought honor and has served the country were interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in recognition of their faithful and dedicated service. Under Proclamation 208 under late president Ferdinand Marcos, a total of 142 hectares were reserved from the Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation for National Shrine purposes. By virtue of AFP Regulation 161-375, government dignitaries, statesmen, national artists and scientists, former presidents, chief of staff and widow of the last two categories can be interred at the cemetery. At present, it is under the administration and maintenance of the Grave Services Unit (GSU), a unit of the Army Support Command, Philippine Army (ASCOM PA). A total of 45,680 remains were interred in the cemetery at Fort Bonifacio, said Laine Barbosa, database programmer of GSU, ASCOM PA. However, the total number of crosses is at 19,971. This is because five to ten bones of those killed at Capas, Tarlac in World War II were placed under one tombstone. There is also an extension of the service at the Manila North Cemetery where 335 remains of World War II soldiers and veterans were interred. Last All Soul’s Day, I saw tens of thousands of crosses with each flags beside them -- a simple tribute for Filipinos who died of service for the Philippines. For the tombs of the well-known personalities, flowers and candles adorned the tombs. However, some tombs remain unvisited even on November 2, possibly because their remaining relatives live far from Manila and cannot sustain yearly visits on the graves. During my visit, I talked to Monica Eslava, widow of then World War II private Felix Eslava. The late private died in 1945, leaving 18-year old Monica and their child. Now at 85 years old, she said she has not visited the tomb for the past two years due to an ailment and was lucky to have been able to visit his late husband’s tomb this year. Apart from the tombs, there are different structures in the complex dedicated to each area of the cemetery. In the area are the Korean Memorial Pylon, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pylon and the Philippine World War II Guerillas Pylon. These are tributes for Filipino servants and soldiers who died during the Korean War, Vietnam War and World War II. At the center of the complex is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is where visiting dignitaries and government officials lay wreath when visiting the national cemetery. The tomb has an inscription which reads: “Here lies an unknown soldier whose name is known only to God.” At the back of the tomb are three pillars, each with a star; these symbolically stands for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Around this structure are the tombs of late presidents Carlos Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal, as well as their widows. There are also the tombs of late journalist Max Soliven, UN General Assembly president Carlos Romulo and senate president Blas Ople. I later found the tombs of national artists Nicomedes “Nick” Joaquin, Levi Celerio, Ang Kiukok and NVM Gonzales. There are also national scientists Carmen and Gregorio Velasquez. That afternoon walk at the Libingan ng mga Bayani made me appreciate more the faces in our rich history. Named or unnamed, it cannot be denied they selflessly offered their lives for the country. It is to each of them we owe gratitude for the freedom we enjoy today. I know the basic information tombs offer include the real name and dates of birth and death of each remain. But I believe visiting the place would spark interest and inspire Filipino kids of any age to learn more about our history and the faces who played roles in it. It is but fitting we know the faces in our history. On the way home, I looked back again at the two Black Stone Walls near the main entrance of the cemetery. I smiled as I read the words of Gen. Douglas McArthur and thought of each person who devoted life to service for the country. “I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I do know the glory of his death.”
By Marjorie Gorospe INQUIRER.net PASIG CITY, Philippines -- After long years of dreaming about it, Natalie Tanchip, owner of Pocketful of Kids, finally opens her dream toy village. It is the first toy village in the country that carries popular American and European brands that encourages the children to learn and discover through play. Pocketful of Kids is a playground inspired from Tanchip’s dream playground when she was still a child. The toy village hopes to break the notion of “look, but don’t touch”. Tanchip explains that kids can actually play and have fun with the toys unlike in other toy villages where they are only for display. Tanchip believes in the need to give children the chance to explore the world through toys and have fun while learn through play. This is one reason why its interactive playground is designed to let kids explore on their own. The place features a mini-library and mini-theater surrounded with toys that can exercise their motor and cognitive skills. “As a parent, I know that every child wants to play and so we should provide them the toys they need not just for them to have fun and play but to actually boost their ability to learn,” says Tanchip. Pocketful of Kids also features toy brands like Educational Insights, which carries the Hot Dots pens, Playfoam and Geosafari brands of scientifically themed toys. These toys provide a unique and interesting way for children to learn the fundamentals of geography, math, reading science and other subjects.