Manila Business Briefs by Clive Troy

Manila Business Briefs March 2016

Food in PH. - Lets start with a suggested list of good food establishments in Manila. For those who haven’t been in “Manila” for years we can report that nearly all eating places have lifted their game considerably. That includes the old established “take out” joints from McDonalds up.
Margarita Fores has just been voted as Asia’s best female chef for 2016. She has what has been described as food “chain” in the city. The highlight of her food empire is CIBO restaurants. Go to www.theworld’
Also recommended – Mercato Central, Friday and Saturday, 6pm to 3am, Corner 7th Avenue and 25th Street. Go to Farmers Market anytime. Here is the ultimate in up market - Champagne Bar Lusso in Greenbelt.
While we care talking food – there are reports that the humble coconut is coming out of its shell. Ha ha – joke only. The current market price for dried copra in March was US$1448 per tonne an increase of 50% over the average price in 2013. Also coconut water has jumped 37% over the last two years. Here is a statistic that will impress you. Coconut water exports 66.3 million litres and the oil 2.1 million tonnes Unfortunately typhoon Haiyan in 2013 destroyed 44 million trees, 15% of the existing trees at that time. Like in most agricultural economies, the poor old farmer cops it in the neck again.
More Bad News – on the growing front, a deadly new banana fungus in creeping around the world. It is known as Panama disease. This disease blocks off the plant vascular system which in affect cuts off the flow of water and nutrients to the plant. It is now in South East Asia, Middle East and now Australia. Very little money has been allocated to stopping the march of the disease. The reason is there is no money. However be rest assured the Australian Government has found 60 Billion dollars to purchase 12 submarines. Its not known if a sub can sink a diseased banana disease but time will tell.
Sadly, the Spratley dispute continues to expand in spite of no shots being fired – so far. Its all a bit of cat and mouse at the moment. The Philippines continues to really ignore the facts. The Chinese continue to build and develop the air/military/naval presence there. It’s a no stand off stand off. American naval, marine and air force have returned to the Philippines in very small numbers to Clarke and Subic and that’s the latest update. In another development the Philippine Navy impounded a vessel (cargo) in Subic which they considered to be owned/belong to North Korea. The vessel Mu Jin Teng appears to sail under a variety of flags of convenience, but has been declared North Korea along with 31 other floating worldwide. This seizure has been authorized by a United Nations resolution resulting from the claim that North Korea exploded a nuclear bomb. We live in very interesting times.
Electricity – Philippines – USA – Its too early to report this status. Things will start hotting up in the end of April/May/June. The big one to watch is the USA scene. The problem is serious. In my opinion and a heck of a lot of others, feel Donald Trump is nothing but a serious nutter. People are flabbergasted at the antics and very strange statements coming from his mouth and brain. His presence also demonstrates how the Republican Party lost the control and plot of its internal affairs. These is no sane excuse for what has and is happening. With Donalds finger on the nuke button and the intransigence of North Korea – anything can happen. It appears that everyone took their eyes off the ball, and doesn’t number one shows he know no bounds. We also live in strange times.
Here is a quick way to make money. Pinch it from a central bank. Yes folks – that’s what happened. It appears two Chinese Nationals organised a transfer of US$101 million from the Bangladesh Central Bank to Manila. Mr Kim Wong, a Manila based gambling junket operator spoke to a Senate hearing in Manila that he helped the men deposit US$81 million with Solaire Casino and Resort. Then there were a series of transfers to other casino bank accounts and guess what? There was no more money to transfer after everyone got their cut. Senator Teofisto Guingona III is chairman of the proceedings expressed his disgust. Older readers will remember the crusading Guingona II and Guindona I faced the same crooked system. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile said “right now I think foreign Governments think of the Philippines as a weak link in the international financial system.
Once again how the game has changed. This snippet relates to shipping in Asia and as you can imagine the Chinese have played a trump card again. The new standard in shipping size is the the Valemar – this master can carry 360,000 tonnes of bulk cargo. The nearest completion is Capesize weighing 180,000 tonnes. As you can imagine this big size has changed the economics of bulk shipping. In 2008 the cost of Capsize was $200,000 per day. Currently a Capsize can be chartered for $2000 per day. Yes - $2000. Needless to say the shipping companies have not passed on the savings.
Check this movie out – 4 Star – “Metro Manila”. Its social justice, a presentation about poverty, move to live in Manila etc etc. You can get it on SBS On Demand download. Well done by the movie maker.
The Immigration Minister has announced that after all the behind the scene deals his department managed to settle 2 boat people in Cambodia at a cost of $60 million. One of them did a runner and appears to have gone back to Afghanistan. The whole shambles is typical of the Minister and crew not understanding the ins and outs of the game. All you can see now is the Minister at a press conference surrounded by a bunch of head nodders!
Naughty Philippines Casinos taking the loot off the table at the Casino in Australia. The Crown CEO proclaimed that “we could have grown double digits if we offered the same as some of the Casinos in the Philippines.” The CEO is Matt Bekier. I’ll give you a tip Matt – its called competition and you ain’t competing. In addition, the drinks are overpriced and the food is lousy. Look internally mate.
Further Information on the Return of American Forces to The Philippines is to hand – The Philippine Government is making the announcements. So far they have advised that four air bases will be established and one army camp. The return of American forces have been described as a rebalancing exercise. The announced locations are:-
Fort Magsaysay Luzon – (Army)
Basa Air Base Luzon
Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base Cebu
Antonio Bautista Air Base Palawan
Lumbia Air Base Mindanao
It would appear that the Lumbia Base will have a dual role. Counter Terrorism Operation into Mindanao, an area that is becoming more critical every week. The Islamic threat in Mindanao continues to strengthen. There have been a series of kidnappings of foreigners and a few beheadings of locals who don’t comply with direction.

A Grand end to Manny Pacquiao's in-ring career, he left the ring in decisive fashion last 9th April on Saturday, earning a unanimous-decision victory at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. All three judges scored the fight 116-110 in favour of Pacquiao. The fighters each carried a win against the other heading into Vegas on Saturday night. Timothy Bradley Jr. won a contentious split decision in June 2012, while Pacquiao left little doubt as to the result with a unanimous-decision victory in April 2014. It was Pacquiao's first fight in nearly a year. Great for Manny and good for the Philippines.

Lack of Investment News – the reason for no investment news is that there is nothing to report because of the impending elections. Everyone is busy out in the hustings. But its coming soon.

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  • 20 years on!  ORH NZ , GERMANY & ASK Foundation's Medical Mission 2018

    The Philippines has a population of over 100 million, unfortunately about 25% of them are living below the poverty line.  When any of these families have the misfortune of having a child or children born with facial deformities, there is nothing they can do about it as they have no means to pay for their operations, therefore untreated these children are left with severe speech impediments ,malnourished because of in adequate food intake due to their open palates. Some of them have not even attended any schooling out of fear of being ostracised by their classmates & the possibility of being marginalised by the society... So a group of 10 Fil. /Aussie best friends decided to form ASK Foundation Phil, a small non for profit organisation based in Manila  & its only focus is to  help alleviate the sufferings of their unfortunate countrymen.  
    ASK Foundation's members are Via Hoffmann (team leader), Des Eito, Evelyn Zaragosa,Ann Morgia, Ver Nemeth,Ahl Diroy, Wilma Warta, Sokee Wescot  , Cecile Modolo & Mila Jalandoni .

    ASK Foundation has made a partnership with a group of  24 Specialists surgical medical volunteers of Operation Restore Hope New Zealand  headed by Dr. Tristan de Chalain & Dr. Christopher Wachsmuth  of Germany .Their other volunteers are  Pearl Ventura & Ana Barbajo from Australia ,Dr. Jeff Fairley , Dubai &  Josephine Realisan of the UK.  Remarkably for the past 20 years,the International volunteers do not only donate their time & expertise pro bono but  also pay their way &  accommodations to the Philippines. They also brought in the much needed machines in the operating rooms for the mission.

    Ask Foundation is  responsible for all the logistical needs of the  ORH  team ,such as, Provide the Public host hospital , Recruitment of Patients , Prepare all necessary government licenses of the surgical team, Organise & fund the pre & post op. procedures , medications,supplies, food,transportations , the housing of the patients etc.. 


    On March 11, 2018 ORH & ASK Foundation  on their 20th year has concluded another successful  mission in Paranaque City  where it all begun in 1998 under the watchful eyes of it's then former Mayor Joey Marquez & his medical director Dr. Leigh Obed.  On his retirement , the ORH mission has come in full circle not only having served  Paranaque  city for 6 years but has also helped the communities of the provinces of Batangas and  Caloocan city . Now back again on it roots (3rd year) in the city of Paranaque under Mayor Edwin Olivarez  & Ospital ng Paranaque's Chief of hospital Dr. Neal Orteza who have been both so generous in giving the permission for  the mission to  take over their public hospital for 10 days each year not only for their constituents but also to help other indigent patients from different parts of the Philippines.

    Ask foundation's volunteer recruiter headed by Jason  & Rowena Belen oversees all the recruitments of patients  nation wide  working  along side  Ms. Christine Diroy of Cavite & Dr. Sarah Marquez of Batangas. They work tirelessly to reach out to the poorest  of the poor communities  to help the patients reach ASK & ORH mission whilst Ms Lirio Penafuerte is ASK's volunteer coordinator who does all the in ground works for the patients stay in hospital.

    ASK & ORH organisations are purely run by volunteers and that there are no administrative cost in running it's mission.

    What makes ORH /ASK Foundation's mission unique is it's dedication & compassion to their recruited patients. 
    4 months each year, ASK foundation's team  oversees  the preparations of each and every patient's  making sure they are treated with any illness to qualify for their respective surgeries. (Majority of these children are afflicted with Primary Complex (tuberculosis ) Pneumonia & very malnourished.) They are brought to their local community doctors for assessment, treated & given vitamins for 3 months  before being transported to Paranaque city  where they are housed & fed 3 days before the international team arrives for the final screening. This year out of 92 recruited patients 74 qualified but unfortunately due to some unforeseen circumstances . 65 patients were successfully operated on with 78 procedures. 9 patients were deferred due to health reasons but were put on waiting list for the next mission. In the mean time they are are still provided with continuos help . 

    Whilst there are so much work in organising a successful mission, nothing can compare to the reward one gets in seeing the transformation of each child & feel the happiness of their parents but of'course this is only possible because of   all the generous  donors who made  OPERATION RESTORE HOPE & ASK FOUNDATION"S   missions a success  through out the years.! 


    Mr. U. Hoffmann                                                                                               The Cast &  Crew of Koronang Hilaw
    The Ladies of ASK F. Inc                                                                                                    Joey Marquez                                                                                                                                                              
    Mr.&Mrs John Kinsela of Billbergria Pty Ltd.                                                                   Melanie Marquez                                                                
    Atty. Danny & Mrs Danny Araj of Blackstone Water House Lawyers                                Soxie Topacio                                                               
    Atty. Veno  Panicker  of Blackstone & Waterhouse Lawyers                                           Kenneth  de Leon                             
    Phil.Community Herald                                                                                                   Wyn Wyn Marquez
    Mr. & Mrs Volker Heinen                                                                                                      Dizzy Dizon
    Ms.Wilma Quirante of ABC Car Rentals & Tourist Transport Inc.                                       Albert Frias
    Mr. & Mrs. Mila Jalandoni                                                                                                  Kristina Hoffmann                  
    Mrs. Sigrid Hoffmann                                                                                                           Andrew Barris                         
    Rotary Club Paranaque Southeast                                                                                      Bing Cristobal
    The Rotary Club of Northwest Sunrise                                                                              Marcus Rivera
    Unitop General Merchandise Inc.                                                                                        Nadia  Trinidad
    Mr. Arnul Pan                                                                                                                       Charles Cham
    Open Reel Film Gears Co                                                                                                    Archie Lubrin.                                                                                     
    B.I R. & I.N.D Family                                                                                                       David Michael White
    Emilio Galetzki of Penoles Metals & Chemicals Inc                                                        Vanessa Sew Hoy
    Mr. Rapael Ibanes & family 
    Mr & Mrs Horst Kessler                                                                                                           Lilibeth 
    Mrs. Chelo Hoffilena                                                                                                           Franco Baltazar
    Arch. Bobby Manosa                                                                                                            Klein Hicks
    MEGAWORLD                                                                                                                         Sandy
    Dr. Neal Hamilton  of Cosmetic Concept                                                                             Joel Corpuz  &
    ARTEC Technologies                                                                                                            BHAJUNE
    ABS CBN 's TFC



    AS WE Celebrate ORH & ASK Foundation's 20th year & it's legacy . The team are reminded that what they do  is so important in helping the unfortunate Children of the Philippines face a better future.!
    Maraming Salamat Po!!

  • Jollibee expected in Australia in 2017

    The former ice cream restaurant in Aurora Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City in the Philippines became a mega burger fast food restaurant decades later and has become a household name. Jollibee!

    in the 17th Asia Pacific Retailers Convention and Exhibition last November 2015, it was announced by Jollibee bosses that they will open soon in Australia.

    “Currently, we are present in two (continents), and in the next two years we will see Jollibee in four continents,” Dennis Flores said.
    “We are doing our best to open our first stores in the UK and Italy next year, and soon in Australia and Japan. We will continue our journey with Jollibee as a truly global brand.”

    The Philippine fast-food restaurant is expected to open in Australia in 2017.

    Source :

  • Canberra’s small business leads the nation in confidence


    by Canberra CityNews 

     SMALL and medium businesses in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) are now the most confident in the nation regarding the health of the economy, according to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey.

    Sensis Chief Executive Officer John Allan said the number of businesses who think the economy is growing rose from 16 percent to 21 percent this quarter, compared to the national average of 13 percent.

    :ACT businesses were also the least likely to think the economy is slowing at 23 percent, versus the national average of 35 percent,” John said.

    “ACT businesses have knocked off Tasmania to be the most confident about the current state of the economy. The expectations among SMBs are also looking strong this quarter, with the ACT holding the most positive outlook for employment, prices and profitability.”

    “The Index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium businesses from across Australia, also showed that business confidence rose two points to +40 this quarter, putting the ACT in third spot.

    “Confidence has lifted above the national average and it is now more than twice the level recorded one year ago, when it displayed the lowest confidence levels. Businesses are positive about their own unique strengths which are helping to boost confidence.

    Other key findings specific to the Australian Capital Territory are:

    Support for the policies of the ACT Government was down three points to +9. This makes it the second most popular Government and one of only three Governments with a positive net balance
    Favourable opinion towards the ACT Government is influenced primarily by the efforts to reduce bureaucracy and red tape, although some SMBs feel the Government fails to understand their needs
    SMB support for the Federal Government was down two points to +1, making the ACT the third most negative towards the Government
    Last quarter employment and profitability posted negative results, while sales, wages and prices were positive
    At the national level, 87 percent of SMBs now think the economy is either slowing (35%) or standing still (52%), while only 13 percent think it is growing. The net balance score of -22 is down five points this quarter and is the lowest score in 12 months.

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