Public warned on Heat Stroke in Manila

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP) yesterday urged the public to take precautions against heat stroke as most parts of the country continue to sizzle.

PHAP president Rustico Jimenez said there has been an increase in heat stroke cases since last month.

“Before summer, you would usually see one case of heat stroke in a hospital per month. But starting last month, five to 10 patients have been coming for consultation,” he said. “Most of the patients, however, were allowed to go home after being rehydrated.”

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines heat stroke as the “most serious heat-related illness” and can cause death or permanent disability.

“It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106ºF or higher within 10 to 15 minutes,” according to the CDC website.

The warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include an extremely high body temperature (above 103ºF); red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion and unconsciousness.

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Fewer jobs for Pinoys, Foreigners in Singapore

The country’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is tightening some requirements for work passes, imposing higher levies on companies hiring foreign workers and lowering the maximum ratio of foreigners allowed in certain sectors.

“It’s very difficult now. There are many companies who want to hire Filipinos but the problem is (getting) the work passes (for them),” the Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Minda Calaguian-Cruz told Rappler in Filipino in an interview Wednesday, April 3.

“It’s not focused on the Filipinos. It’s foreign talents as a whole and we’re just one part of that,” she added.

Liz Peruda, a customer service representative with Apple, said she is grateful her work pass application was approved. Her husband wasn’t as lucky. After his application was denied multiple times, he had to return to the Philippines to look for work.

“We’re just really taking advantage of whatever time we have here in Singapore,” said Peruda.

“For Filipinos, even if we hold a good job, even if we hold a high-ranking job, even us, we’re scared. When it’s time to renew our passes… we’ll have that 10% chance that it might not get approved,” she said.

What will change?

In a release from the MOM, the Singaporean government is introducing the following changes, to limit the inflow of foreign workers:

  • By July 2013, the minimum qualifying salary for the S Pass, a work pass for mid-skilled foreigners, will be raised from SGD $2,000 to $2,200
  • By July 1, 2015, Employers will have to begin paying a higher monthly levy for S Pass Holders, with the following average increases:
    • S Pass (all sectors) – $90 per S Pass holder 

    • Manufacturing – $50 per Work Permit holder 

    • Services – $90 per Work Permit holder 

    • Construction- $160 per Work Permit holder
  • The Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC), the maximum permitted ratio of foreign workers to the total workforce of a company, will be lowered as follows:
    • Services sector DRC – limited to 40% from 45% by July 1, 2013

    • S Pass sub-DRC for Services – decreased to 15% from 20% by July 1, 2013

    • Marine Sector DRC – lowered from 1 local: 5 foreign workers currently to 1 local: 4.5 foreign workers starting January 1, 2016 and 1 local: 3.5 foreign workers effective January 1, 2018

Restrictions on the renewal of applications will also become more severe.

The government has become more strict about employment requirements for foreigners in recent years. It also tightened up on the number of permanent residence (PR) visas it gives out. Government record shows that from a high of 79,000 PRs in 2008, the government now grants about 30,000 each year.

Green Frog Hybrid Bus offers hope for Metro Manila


MAKATI CITY, Philippines – Veterans of the daily commute to and from work know that air pollution and traffic are part of the whole routine. But one bus company hopes to change that by offering something never before seen on Philippine roads: a world-class city bus that runs on hybrid technology.

Green Frog Zero Emissions Transport (GFZET), established in 2010, will soon roll out the country’s first hybrid diesel-electric buses in Makati City. The initial route will run the entire stretch from Kalayaan Ave down to Sen Gil Puyat Ave (formerly Buendia Ave). The company plans to open up 3 more routes in the future.

According to GFZET managing director Philip Apostol, Green Frog buses are Euro-4 compliant and emit 80% less than a typical diesel bus would on the road. “Five of my buses would emit the same pollution as one normal bus,” he told Rappler. At the moment, the government only requires bus operators to follow the lower Euro-2 standard for emissions.

Many of these typical buses are imported second-hand and refurbished. And because the bus simultaneously uses its diesel and electric engines, it can go farther on the same amount of fuel. “If a typical bus will travel 1 kilometer, for the same amount of fuel, my bus will travel 2 or 2.5 kilometers,” Apostol said.

Green Frog buses are ahead of their time in many other aspects. They are modeled after buses that ply highly urbanized cities like Singapore and New York, with lowered floors to ease entry and exit. They also have 6 security cameras, a tap card system for cashless payments, fire extinguishers and a GPS tracker.

CASHLESS PAYMENT. Green Frog buses will utilize a tap card cashless payment system. A one way fare costs P12 and stored cards will be sold for P120. Photo courtesy of Green Frog's Facebook page

CASHLESS PAYMENT. Green Frog buses will utilize a tap card cashless payment system. A one way fare costs P12 and stored cards will be sold for P120. Photo courtesy of Green Frog’s Facebook page

The drivers of the buses, who just happen to be all women, will be paid a fixed salary and will pick up and drop off passengers only at designated bus stops. The GPS tracker will also help monitor speed to ensure drivers don’t over speed or clump together.

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Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Anniversary Promo – 50% Off

As Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®’s (CBT) celebrates its 50th Anniversary, they are giving away 50% off on their most famous beverages every Monday, from 3pm to 5pm, beginning April 1, 2013!


*This promotion is valid at all The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® stores in The Philippines except CBTL™ Coffee Bars and is only valid for the stated featured beverage of the day.

For more information, visit –

Starbucks to open 100 stores in 4 years in PH

Way to go Starbucks Philippines! Hope you can bring back my favorite Salted Caramel Mocha beverage! 🙂

Starbucks just opened its 200th store in the Philippines on Thursday, but the coffee giant’s CEO and chairman Howard Schultz is already looking forward to opening a hundred more stores in the country in the next four years.

In an exclusive interview with ANC’s Karen Davila, Schultz said he visited Manila for a second time to thank the company’s partners who have made the coffee chain such a success in the Philippines.

“People ask me, ‘why are you going to the Philippines? It’s such a small market.’  I’m coming here because I want to say thank you to our people who are doing such an amazing job. We never thought we’d have 200 stores in this market.  And here we are. Now we just announced we’ll open a hundred more in the next four years,” he said.

Starbucks, through local partner Rustan Coffee Corp., opened its first store in the Philippines at 6750 Ayala Avenue in December 1997. At that time, it was only the third market outside of the United States where Starbucks opened.

During his one-day visit on Thursday, Schultz visited a handful of Starbucks stores, including the branch at The Grove by Rockwell which won a key design award.

Schultz, who met Starbucks’ partners during his visit, was effusive in his praise for the Filipinos working for his company, saying they were “the best.”

“We have Starbucks now in 62 countries [but] the culture, the values, the passion of the Filipinos who are wearing the green apron at Starbucks are absolutely the best we’ve ever seen,” he said.

The Starbucks chief noted there is a “genuine” and “heartfelt” feeling he sees in Filipinos, which is a perfect fit with the company.

“It’s not contrived. You can’t teach it. It’s an embodiment of a spirit that is unbelievable, and putting that in a Starbucks store, when the brand, the relationship we have with the customers, is the formula for success,” he said.

With more than 18,000 stores in 62 countries, there’s no doubt Starbucks is an iconic global brand.

Asked about plans for further global expansion, Schultz said, “We’re committed to growing, innovating and doing things that perhaps has not been done before. And I love that.”

For more of Karen Davila’s exclusive interview with Starbucks CEO and chairman Howard Schultz, watch Headstart on ANC at 8 a.m. Tuesday (April 9).