Blog Posts by Kim Arveen Patria

  • PH grants visa-free privilege to 7 more countries

    Travelers from seven more countries can now experience how fun it is in the Philippines without worry, as the government extended them visa-free privileges.

    Holder of passports from Belize, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan may now stay in the country for 30 days without a visa.

    The new policy effective April 15 “aims to promote tourism and investments from these countries,” the Department of Foreign Affairs statement read.

    Nationals of the countries with visa-free perks need only present a national passport valid for at least six months beyond planned period of stay and a return or onward ticket.

    Countries given privileges “have been emerging as key players in the international economic community and which have growing bilateral ties with the Philippines,” DFA said.

    The announcement brings to 157 the total number of countries whose citizens enjoy visa-free privileges in the Philippines. Somalia has been removed from the list.

    Aside from the DFA, the

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  • Things you need to know this morning, April 16

    To keep you updated with the latest news here and abroad, Yahoo Philippines is giving you a roundup of morning headlines. Here are things you need to know today:

    South Korea ferry with 450 passengers sinks

    South Korean coastguard vessels and helicopters pulled passengers off a stricken ferry as it sank off the southern coast with around 450 passengers on board.

    Water interruptions hit parts of Metro Manila

    Aside from power woes, residents in parts of Metro Manila and Cavite will also face water interruptions for the next few days as utilities undergo maintenance checks.

    Has Jake Cuenca found a new love?

    Kapamilya actor Jake Cuenca practically announced that he has found a new love in model Chanel Olive Thomas, posting post a photo of himself holding the model.

    Injured Anthony will sit out Knicks’ last two games

    Carmelo Anthony's will miss the final two games with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, ending his first playoff-less season and potentially his New York Knicks career.

    8 things to do

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  • Visa-free Japan trips for Pinoys soon?

    Filipinos who wish to travel to Japan might no longer have to apply for tourist visas under the country’s new tourism plan, a leading Japanese news agency reported.

    Quoting government sources, Kyodo on Monday said arrangements are being made “to waive visas for tourists from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.”

    The move is one of the initiatives to boost tourist arrivals, and will likely be part of a revised action plan the Japanese government will release in June.

    “The initiative…  is envisioned as Japan seeks to achieve its goal of increasing the annual number of foreign visitors to 20 million in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Kyodo said.

    Japan is known for being strict in terms of requirements for visas and in screening tourists. Applicants have to submit documents to prove their eligibility.

    Under the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, Japan has began easing visa policies to encourage visitors from neighboring countries.

    In June last year, Japan sent social

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  • One in 10 young Filipinas is a mom

    Young Filipinos are not only becoming more sexually active but are also being forced into early parenthood due to risk behavior, government data suggest.

    At least one out of 10 (11 percent) Filipinas aged 15 to 19 years old is already a mother, a fact sheet released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

    Of the total number of women in the age group, 2.6 percent are pregnant with their first child while 13.6 percent have already given birth.

    The PSA was citing data from a 2013 survey by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the Demographic Research Development Foundation.

    The survey also showed that three out of 10 (34.5 percent) of young males are engaged in premarital sex. Among young females, the number was pegged at 28.7 percent.

    It further noted that seven out of 10 (73.4 percent) of sexually active young males did not use any form of protection on their first contact. Girls are worse off at 83.8 percent.

    In addition to teenage fertility, the 2013

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  • Bimby's birthday wish that Aquino can't fulfill for now

    President Benigno Aquino III said he is working hard to make nephew Bimby Yap’s dream come true, but he also challenged the child actor to help make Philippines a better country.
    With the same somber tone he uses to address the public, Aquino appeared in a video aired on his sister’s morning talk show “Kris TV” to greet Bimby Friday as he turns seven April 19.
    “I heard that for your birthday, you wished for world peace and for every Filipino to be rich,” the President told Kris Aquino’s son with her estranged husband and athlete James Yap.
    “I want you to know that the vast majority of our countrymen who are older than your generation are trying very hard to make your wishes come true,” Aquino added.
    He added that he and his government are working hard to “make the country safer and to make sure that we give the poor the help they need.”
    His message was shown only a day after Pulse Asia reported that Aquino’s trust and approval scores dipped slightly despite recent positive

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  • How you can help rekindle love of books among kids

    Kids from Casamongan Elementary School in Masbate smile as they receive dictionaries, storybooks, a set of old encyclopedia, a secondhand computer, medicines and slippers from Diksyunaryo Atbp. (Photo from the group’s website)

    (Editor's note: This article has been revised to reflect changes in the event's venue to Fern Gardens, Quezon City Memorial Circle)

    Smartphones, tablets and laptops may have replaced books in the hands of young Filipinos, but a group of reading advocates hopes to rekindle love for books this summer.
    On May 3 (Saturday), Diksyonaryo Atbp is hosting a summer reading camp at the Fern Gardens, Quezon City Memorial Circle, where kids and their parents can read and play all day for free.
    “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could spend one day reading under the trees, like the good old days?” said broadcaster Lia del Castillo, who founded the reading advocacy group.

    A genuine love of reading

    Tents will be set up in the park where anyone can read books by Filipino writers, courtesy of Adarna House Publishing, Canvas PH and National Bookstore. Art and storytelling corners will also be open for all.
    “This event aims to rekindle and encourage a genuine love for reading in Filipino children, by spending

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  • PH condoles with Malaysia over MH370 tragedy

    Malaysia PM to visit PH

    The Philippines condoled with families of those aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as it prepares to welcome Malaysia’s embattled prime minister for a working visit.

    “The Philippine government conveys its sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370,” a statement read.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs statement also expressed “solidarity with the governments and the peoples affected during these unfortunate and trying times.”

    Malaysia on Monday announced that latest satellite data had confirmed that the Boeing 777 plane which vanished from radars March 8 plunged into the Indian Ocean.

    The confirmation devastated 239 passengers’ relatives, who soon demanded evidence of crash from Malaysia. No debris has so far been found in more than two weeks of search.

    “The Philippines has closely coordinated with Malaysian authorities in the search efforts, including the dispatch of Philippine aircraft and vessels to assist in the search,” DFA

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  • Aside from being 'selfiest', PH also 'smiliest'

     Not only is the Philippines home to the “selfiest” cities in the world, it is also among the smiliest countries, a social media-based travel app said in a report.

    The Philippines ranked 8th in Jetpac’s list of “The World’s Happiest Countries” based on actual smiles analyzed from more than 150 million photos people shared on Instagram.

    “From counting the pixels, we were able to come up with a Smile Score for every city in every country,” the report said. “A small grin doesn’t score as highly as a broad smile.”

    The Philippines got a smile score of 44.8 points and was the only country outside of the Americas in top 10. Brazil led the global list, with a smile score of 60.8 points.

    Here is the list of the top 10 happiest countries according to smiles:

    1. Brazil, 60.8
    2. Nicaragua, 59.4
    3. Colombia, 49.8
    4. Bolivia, 48.1
    5. Costa Rica, 47.4
    6. Honduras, 47.2
    7. Venezuela, 45.2
    8. Philippines, 44.8
    9. Guatemala, 42.0
    10. Mexico, 40.1

    “Smiles on the faces of millions of people in millions of photos are the

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  • Four of 10 Pinoys can't live without soap, shampoo

    When they’re having a hard time making ends meet, almost four out of 10 Filipinos are willing to give up needs and wants, but not soap and shampoo, a new report showed.

    Among the four markets included in Eden Strategy Institute’s Emerging Middle Class Survey, Filipinos were the ones who gave the most importance to the two hygiene products.

    Some 32.8 Filipino respondents said they can’t live without soap and shampoo, more than twice the ratio for Vietnam (16.9 percent), India (16.1 percent) and Indonesia (10.1 percent).

    But soap and shampoo came only third in the list of items Filipinos can’t live without. Mobile phones were still most inevitable to at least 58.8 percent of Pinoy respondents.

    The Internet came in as a close second, being indispensible to 47.7 percent of Filipinos. Earlier polls have named the Philippines the world’s social media and selfie capital.

    This, even as the study defined Filipino emerging middle class consumers as those who “may have irregular income flows, and are

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  • What's in a name? For these bar passers, name is sudden fame

    The 2013 bar exam results sent social media abuzz Tuesday, but two of the names in the list of new lawyers particularly caught netizens’ eyes.
    Listed 284th in the alphabetical list of bar passers was a man named Habeas Corpuz while at 270th was a new lawyer whose name is Nat King Coles.
    Pinoys picked up on the new laywers’ names for obvious reasons: the first one sounded like a court order and the second sounded like that of singer Nat King Cole.
    “I could only imagine the puns through Consti classes,” a tweet said of Habeas Corpuz. She also wondered if the new lawyer had parents in the same field.
    But in a phone interview with Yahoo Southeast Asia, Corpuz, 25 said his name was given to him by his father, a soldier, who heard the legal term while in service.
    “My father recalls being asked by the nurse for a name. It was only then that he realized he hasn’t thought about it. So he said ‘Habeas na lang,’” Corpuz said.
    Habeas corpus is a court order for a person under arrest to be brought

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