Dec 102017

A complete Christmas experience in the Philippines is not complete without attending the “Simbang Gabi” or Misa de Gallo – night or dawn masses – at the neighborhood church or a local church where one grew up, enjoying the chilly air, and sampling delicacies such as the puto bumbong and bibingka.

The Simbang Gabi, a series of masses which run for 9 days, is held between December 16 to 24 as preparation for the grand celebration of St. Mary’s birth to Jesus Christ on December 25. The traditional masses are a carryover from three centuries of Spanish colonization.

Read Related Story: Simbang Gabi opens the Philippine holiday season

Amidst the holiday rush to decorate homes, buy presents, partying, and vacations GoodNewsPilipinas presents these churches that bring the ultimate good news of salvation.


1. St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church (Kawit, Cavite)

St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church in historical Kawit, Cavite is one of the oldest standing centuries-old churches in the Philippines with a unique Christmastime tradition every December 24th – the MAYTINIS. The Maytinis is a parade of floats bearing local personalities and sometimes national celebrities garbed in biblical-times-attire, depicting characters from the bible and their role in the story of salvation and Jesus Christ. The Panunuluyan leads the Maytinis parade. The event has drawn both tourists and returning locals to the annual parish town event.

The diocesan church ushered the Advent Season on December 2 with the opening of the lights that dress up the church building. Evening and dawn masses are sure to feel celebratory with the décor themed: “Paskong Pilipino sa Kawit mula Noon hanggang sa Ngayon.”

St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church along Tirona Highway in Kawit schedule:
December 16-24 Misa de Gallo at 4:30 AM
December 15-23 Simbang Gabi anticipated masses 8:00 PM at the Aguinaldo Park fronting the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine
Midnight Mass follows after the Maytinis Parade on December 24.

2. Santo Niño Church de Cebu

The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu or Minor Basilica of the Holy Child is the oldest church in the country where the Sto. Nino image brought by the Legaspi-Urdaneta Spanish expedition remains enshrined to this day. The church has always been the Sanctuary of the Sto. Niño, and is under the custody of the Augustinians.

On December 2, the facade and inner garden of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño was lighted with Christmas lights signalling the start of the church’s Season of Advent.

The Minor Basilica of the Holy Child at the corner of Osmeña Boulevard and P. Burgos Street in Cebu holds Simbang Gabi at 4:30 AM.

3. Manila Cathedral (Intramuros)

More formally known as the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, the church is the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and is considered as the “Mother of all Churches and Cathedrals in the Philippines.”

The Manila Cathedral is located inside the historic Walled City of Intramuros, Manila.

The Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica in Intramuros holds Misa de Gallo at 4:30 AM and Simbang Gabi anticipated night masses at 8:00 PM.

4. Baclaran Church (Redemptorist)

Baclaran Church is more formally known as the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, where pilgrims and the devout regularly go for novena and masses. The shrine is also popularly known to respond not only to spiritual needs but also to the various material and physical needs of the devotees, especially the poor and marginalized. The devotees themselves support the various social services and programs generously as they become more aware about the social dimension of their devotion and the sacraments.

The Baclaran Church at Redemptorist Road in Parañaque City holds Simbang Gabi on the following schedules:

Night masses starting December 15 at 8:00 PM except Dec. 17 & 20 with masses at 8:15 PM

Dawn masses starting December 16 at 4:30 AM

Harana at Panunuluyan on December 24 at 7:00 PM

Midnight Mass on December 24 at 9:00 PM

5. Quiapo Church (Quezon Blvd)

The Quiapo Church is more formally known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. It is a center for pilgrimage of Filipinos paying respects to the 17th century life-sized image of the Black Nazarene.

Quiapo Church at Plaza Miranda along Quezon Boulevard in Manila holds Misa de Gallo dawn masses at 4:00 AM and 5:00 AM. Simbang Gabi night masses begin on December 15 at 9:00 PM. On December 24 there will be a Christmas Eve Community Mass with Panunuluyan at 8:00 PM. Christmas Midnight Mass is at 10:00 PM.

Dec 072017

Miss Philippines Jannie Loudette Alipo-on was crowned Miss Tourism International 2017/2018 in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The Filipino beauty beat 47 other contestants to win the title. Jannie joins fellow Filipina international titleholders Karen Ibasco 2017 Miss Earth, Winwyn Marquez Reina Hispanoamericana and Mary Eve Adeline Escoto Miss Asia Global 2017 who won crowns in recent weeks. Read Related Story: Philippines Wins 2 Global Beauty Crowns in Less than 24 Hours Other ladies who made it to the top five were Miss Tourism Global Diana Hills from Australia, Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan International Lois Merry Tengel from Indonesia, Miss Tourism Metropolitan International Maja Aleksandra from Poland, and Dreamgirl of the Year International Julia Do Vale Horta from Brazil. Alipo-on is the Philippines’ fourth Miss Tourism International titleholder after Angeli Dione Gomez in 2013, the late Rizzini Alexis Gomez in 2012, and Esperanza Manzano in 2000. “Thank you, Malaysia for making for making my dream come true. It has been my dream to be crowned as a queen from the age of 18,” she told the media after the event at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa. Read Related Story: Mary Eve Adeline Escoto crowned Miss Asia Global 2017 Beaming with joy, Alipo-on, 25, received the crown from Miss Tourism International president and owner, Tan Sri Danny Ooi. She walked away with a scholarship worth RM60,000 from Lim KokWing University of Creative Technology, RM10,000 cash, a trophy and other prizes. Malaysia once again played host to the Miss Tourism International World final for the Read More …

Dec 072017

The new Php 5 coin has adopted the latest technology in minting coins, saves on minting costs, and even prevents illegal hoarding. Circulated beginning December, the 5-piso New Generation Currency (NGC) coin features on the obverse, Gat. Andres Bonifacio. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) advance release of the 5-piso New Generation Currency (NGC) coin highlights the 120th death anniversary of the Filipino patriot this year and his 154th birthday on November 30. Read Related Story: A Practical Tip to Earn More Money this Christmas Season in the Philippines Widely regarded as one of the Philippines’ greatest heroes, Bonifacio was a fearless leader who founded the Katipunan, the secret society that ignited the flames of the revolution which finally led to the declaration of Philippine independence in 1898. Bonifacio died on 10 May 1897. Thus, considered as the Father of the Philippine revolution, Bonifacio’s portrait is etched on the obverse of the coin, along with the markings, “ANDRES BONIFACIO”, “5-PISO” and “REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS” in bold font and in microprints, and the mint mark. The reverse side, meanwhile, features the Tayabak, a Philippine endemic plant that climbs tall forest trees, the BSP logo and “Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas” in microprint. The 5-piso NGC coin is 25-millimeters in diameter and weighs approximately 7.4 grams. The Php 5 coin is part of the NGC Coin Series which bears security features to deter counterfeiting. Read Related Story: Pinoy travelers can now carry P 50k cash The NGC coins feature the electromagnetic signature (EMS) Read More …

Dec 072017
Former OFW couple returns as entrepreneurs

Armando Bartolome Everybody wants a brighter future for their families. This is the reason why some of our kababayans choose to work abroad. However, there is another option. I met a Filipino couple in Dubai, who used to be overseas Filipino workers but are now entrepreneurs. They are Josef and Lilian Marquez, who are the proud owners of Caffé Nativo in Tagaytay. Both Josef and Lilian used to work in Dubai for a company named Caffe Nero. However, they worked at different stores. They met at a big event at Dubai and needless to say, it was the start of their life together. Read Related Story: Secrets of Successful Chinoy Entrepreneurs After a few months, they decided to move in together and talked about starting their own business. They got inspired after seeing many Filipinos running their own small shops at Karama, a popular shopping district in Dubai. Lilian was 8 months pregnant then and was working as a manager-in-training, while Josef worked as a supervisor. It was a struggle for them, and in 2015 they finally decided to come back home to the Philippines with their modest savings. They had a lot of plans, but putting up their own café was not one of them. Both of them decided to continue their studies at the Adventist University of the Philippines and took up Business Management. Read Related Story: 7 Sacrifices Successful Entrepreneurs Make Today for Financial Freedom Tomorrow It was Josef’s mother who suggested they set up a café, Read More …

Dec 052017
Filipina leads Hong Kong Disneyland show

Do you want to witness Filipinos on the Disneyland stage making us proud? Catch “Mickey and The Wondrous Book” in Hongkong Disneyland. In HK Disneyland a Filipina is lead cast member of the “Mickey and The Wondrous Book,” a musical revue stage production that brings to life new and classic Disney stories and movies. Cebuano Raki Vega is the vocalist of the show, essaying the role of the guardian of the book in “Mickey and The Wondrous Book.” Read Related Story: Pinoys to Star in Lion King Musical 20th Anniversary Int’l Tour In the show Vega sings the “Happily Ever After” theme song of the 10th anniversary of the theme park. The former “Born Diva” talent reality show 2004 grand champion on ABSCBN said she has been working at HK Disneyland for 7 years, after joining the Manila auditions. Vega adds she does special events with her team singing all the Disney songs for weddings, birthdays and other occasions. Read Related Story: Janella sings Disney’s Moana theme in Filipino In a Philstar interview published during the HK Disneyland 10th anniversary in 2015, Raki shared how Hong Kong Disneyland has been a great workplace because “they have such high regard for Filipinos. They know that Filipinos can deliver and we give more than what’s expected from us… Yes, we are well-compensated. It’s the ‘happiest place’ for me because I can be myself, I get to do what I love to do, at the same time, I get to help my family Read More …

Dec 042017
Why the Philippines will be an Economic Powerhouse by 2050

The Philippines will be one of the world’s powerful economies by 2050 – largely driven by its population growth, according to a report by professional services giant PwC. In its 2017 report “The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?” PwC ranked 32 of the largest economies in the world, accounting for around 85% of world GDP, by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity. PwC analysis pegs the growth potential of the Philippines at #19 with a projected GDP at PPP of $3.334 trillion. Read Related Story: 7 Good Reasons to do Business in the Philippines PwC used the PPP measure of how gross domestic product at purchasing power parity adjusts for price level differences across countries, providing a better measure of the volume of goods and services produced. The report notes that many of the current powerful economies will be replaced by emerging markets in 33 years time. The Philippines is projected to make one of the greatest moves up the rankings, from IMF’s 2016 estimates at 28th spot to 19th spot in the 2050 PwC analysis for projections. The Philippines is projected to have an average annual GDP growth rate from 2016 to 2050 at 4.3%. The PwC report shows how growth in many emerging economies like the Philippines will be supported by relatively fast-growing populations, boosting domestic demand and the size of the workforce. PwC asserts though that this will, however, need to be complemented with investment in education Read More …

Dec 042017
How to Keep the Iconic Jeepney on the road

Metro Manila residents may have started to believe that heavy traffic is the new normal and they will just have to learn to live with it. But not Yuri Sarmiento, President of 1-TEAM, or 1-Transport Equipment Aggregator and Management Inc.. 1-TEAM improves the jeepney transport system in the Philippines by adopting new business models, modernizing systems, and developing correct values among drivers, conductors and operators “The traffic problem may be due to a lot of things. But if we try to address the issues one by one, it gives us the opportunity to bring about positive change,” Sarmiento said. “1-TEAM was organized to improve the jeepney transport system in the Philippines. We start by improving the values and lifestyles of jeepneys drivers, the main users of our roads. It is not just about replacing old jeepneys with new ones, but also adopting new business models, modernizing systems and developing correct values among drivers, conductors and operators,” Sarmiento said. Read Related Story: Jeepney undergoes safety, fuel efficiency modernization facelift 1-TEAM is a social enterprise that aims to uplift the lives of drivers, operators and other transport workers. At the forefront of the jeepney modernization, 1-TEAM empowers its drivers by professionalizing them and providing them with the right technologies, and more efficient mobility strategies such as on-time dispatching, GPS tracking, designated stops and automated fare collection system. 1-TEAM partly got its inspiration from Makati City’s Electric Jeepney or Ejeepney project, of which Sarmiento was the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The ejeepneys Read More …

Dec 022017

The Philippines remains a key investment destination in Asia. At the Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said the country is still an attractive investment destination since the economic outlook remains strong with capital markets being deepened and developed, programs to improve infrastructure, and expansion of trade and industries. Espenilla said the government is on track to hit its 6.5-percent gross domestic product growth goal for this year, while 7.0 to 8.0 percent economic growth in the medium term is expected. “The Philippines today offers viable investment opportunities,” he noted. Read Related Story: Philippine Economy Sizzles in Q3 Growing 6.9%, of of Asia’s Best For Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza, foreign investors are keen on investing in the country, with its young workforce, competitive labor cost, and incentives given particularly by the agency. But she noted that aside from foreign investors, investments of local companies in PEZA are also robust. Plaza said about 22 percent of investments in PEZA were from Filipino companies, next only to Japanese firms which account 40 percent of total investments as the top investors in PEZA. Read Related Story: 7 Good Reasons to do Business in the Philippines Dow Chemical Country Director Roberto Batungbacal also echoed that some of the biggest investments in the country’s manufacturing sector came from local firms. “A lot of success in the manufacturing sector is FDI (foreign direct investments), but local players are drivers of growth,” said Batungbacal. “If Read More …

Dec 022017
Kyla Fajardo stars for the NBA’s LA Clippers Spirit dance crew

Filipina Kyla Fajardo grabbed the audience attention, as well as the sports and lifestyle headlines, as she took centerstage at the NBA halftime presentation of the LA Clippers Spirit Dance Team. The 18-year-old daughter of Filipino immigrants based in Carson City in California is the youngest cheerdancer of the Clippers Spirit team. Read Related Story: Nike unveils Pinoy inspired LeBron Agimat shoes Sporting blue hair in the center of the dance routine, Fajardo catches the eye of the viewer in videos showcasing her precision dance moves, standing out even if in sync with her team. Various sites on the internet acknowledged the viral videos and photos featuring the Filipina cheerdancer. Kicker Daily headlined their post with how Fajardo is the “Filipina beauty center of attraction of LA Clippers Cheerdance Crew” and how her talents in dancing has been recognized many times as she won dance titles both on the state and the national levels. Trending News Portal headlined their piece with, “Blue-haired Filipina cheerleader stuns NBA crowd, goes viral,” and led the article with “Another Pinay beauty is taking the world by storm.” The Clippers Spirit Dance Team Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts have been peppered with praises for the Filipina dancer who incidentally recently collected with the help of her teammates, donations to create 100+ care packages that included water, toothbrushes, feminine care supplies, etc. and made 100 warm meals on Thanksgiving morning to pass out to the homeless. In a Facebook post, Fajardo acknowledged her Filipino roots and Read More …

Dec 022017

Are you experiencing financial stress lately? Good news! Why is it good news? You’re not alone. It’s okay to admit that there are still times you struggle with how to use your money wisely. Here are a few realities you may be experiencing yourself: You want to work within your budget but you are also struggling with impulse buying. Worse, no one is giving you tips on how to fight it. You promised yourself you will start saving and to be fair, you did start to put aside money. But you just couldn’t say no to a random weekend getaway your friends invited you to. You are spending more than what you are earning. Your credit card bills are mounting. You no longer have enough money to spend to last you until the next payday. Read Related Story: 5 Powerful Money Lessons We Can Learn from Chinoy Tycoons, Sy, Gokongwei and Tan Here’s even better news! YOU can do something about it. Nobody else can fix your financial problems for you other than you. I can teach you all the disciplines needed in order to achieve financial freedom, but YOU have to make a decision to actually follow it. Here are my thoughts on how you can start to spend your money wisely: TIP 1: MAKE A LIST OF YOUR PRIORITIES. Identify important areas where your money should go first. Think of basic needs and obligations first before your wants. TIP 2: CREATE A BUDGET. A budget will act as Read More …