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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Spirit of Thai in Las Piñas

Various parts of Metro Manila have food havens – e.g. Maginhawa in QC, Jupiter (among others) in Makati, right across DLSU in Taft in Manila, et cetera. If you’re keen to discover what Las Piñas has, then by all means, give Erawan a visit (JB Tan is also becoming the village’s “food hub”, so there are other restos there that are worth checking out).

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I’m sure Thailand has so many delicacies that “arguing” what Thai food is, is somewhat futile. I guess that – just like the Philippines – even popular fares are prepared in different ways in different regions (say, pad thai in Bangkok versus in Phuket). But here’s the thing: So many of the Thai food that – at least we tourists know – tend to be “regulars”, e.g. the aforementioned pad thai, pandan chicken, spring rolls, et cetera. And so these have become – in so many minds – Thai food as is commonly known.

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Here’s the catch: Outside of Thailand, so many tried mimicking Thai cuisines; and truth be told, not that many succeed. But occasionally, some manage to capture at least some of the yumminess of Thai foods.

And in Las Piñas, a somewhat austere venue named Erawan manages some hit-and-miss Thai moments…

WHAT’S THERE

The “latest” Erawan (along JB Tan St. in BF Resort) is actually the third “version” of Erawan. The first and second had to close (i.e. lease issues), but because of public clamor (claimed the servers), the owner was sorta encouraged to just keep opening up in different places.

Look-wise, there’s not much there; just wooden tables/chairs facing the street. This isn’t that different from so many home-based eateries I’ve been to in various parts of Thailand (and in some ways, even “classier”, since this is clearly a dining venue, while those in Thailand are just houses-turned-into-eateries).

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No, perhaps except for that elephant in the logo (and maybe the plastic chopsticks), there’s nothing identifiably Thai here. I remember a statue of Buddha in the second version of Erawan; but in the third version, it’s nowhere to be seen.

WHY GO THERE

But – as in many of the places in Thailand where I had a lot of fun with the chow – you don’t really come here for the place. Instead, it’s the food that ought to entice you to come here. And on this, Erawan pleasantly surprises now and then…

Tried during repeated visits were:

  1. Papaya salad (P80 for medium; P160 for large) – This one captured the somewhat sweet yet sour lasa (taste) of the Thai original. My one issue is with the shredded green papaya used, with Erawan’s version not malutong (crunchy) and somewhat too soft.
  2. Fresh spring rolls (P70 for medium; P150 for large) – This is spot on, capturing the right combo of fresh veggies stuffed in oh-so-soft (and even pasty) wrapper. The dip, though, could be bettered.
  3. Pad Thai (from P110 for shrimp; from P100 for chicken) – This one is a bit tricky for me, since I recognize that different people may prepare it differently. I am appreciative that it uses many of the ingredients found in Pad Thai in Thailand, but taste-wise… it’s just “almost there” for me.
  4. Laab (Thai pork/chicken salad, P85 for medium; P180 for large) – At least the one I tried was a hit, capturing how I remember Thai street vendors prepared this.
  5. Tom yum (P150 for medium; P250 for large) – This had the right tang. But if there’s one issue here, it’s the portion – if they put even less seafood, it’s like just having all sabaw (soup). Best when eaten with rice.
  6. Thai chicken curry (P100 for medium; P200 for large) – Not as curry-ish as I prefer my curry to be, or even as spicy as I expect it to be. But similar to tom yum, the bigger issue isn’t the taste (it’s good in its own way) but the amount of meat in the serving.
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WHY AVOID THE PLACE

Perhaps the biggest “issue” is Erawan’s location. Since it’s in a village (if your car doesn’t have their sticker, you even have to leave your license at the guard house), you have to dayo (intentionally go to the place) just to be there. For many in other parts of Metro Manila, this is a deal-breaker.

Then because the place “sells” itself as a “Thai street food” resto, everything here is sorta laidback – e.g. no airconditioning. If you know how hot/humid Metro Manila can be, then this – too – may be an issue.

IN THE END

Various parts of Metro Manila have food havens – e.g. Maginhawa in QC, Jupiter (among others) in Makati, right across DLSU in Taft in Manila, et cetera. If you’re keen to discover what Las Piñas has, then by all means, give Erawan a visit (JB Tan is also becoming the village’s “food hub”, so there are other restos there that are worth checking out).

Erawan is located at 101 JB Tan St., BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City. For more information, call (+632) 6978185 or 09065570324.

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Health & Wellness

Sexual minority adults are poorer than their straight peers

Researchers found that sexual minority women were more likely to be near poor, receive public assistance and report economic hardship in the past year. In addition, sexual minority women were less likely to graduate from college and were twice as likely to be unemployed, compared to heterosexual women.

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Photo used for illustration purpose only; by Sam Manns from Unsplash.com

Sexual minorities in have fewer economic resources than their straight peers and the gap is more pronounced among women. This is according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

The report, “Sexual orientation and sex differences in socioeconomic status: a population-based investigation in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health,” appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health and is co-authored by Kerith J. Conron, Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute, along with Shoshana K. Goldberg, Research Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Carolyn T. Halpern, Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Researchers analyzed data gathered from 14,051 participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health in the US, and they found that sexual minority women were more likely to be near poor, receive public assistance and report economic hardship in the past year. In addition, sexual minority women were less likely to graduate from college and were twice as likely to be unemployed, compared to heterosexual women.

Among women, sexual orientation inequities in homeownership were more pronounced for whites than racial minorities. However, rates of homeownership were the lowest for Black and Latina sexual minority women and were the highest for heterosexual white women.

“Socioeconomic status is a major contributor to health and disease throughout a person’s life,” said Conron said lead author Kerith Conron, Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Understanding the extent and nature of sexual orientation differences in socioeconomic status is essential to reducing health inequities, particular as the population of sexual minorities grows and ages.”

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Fewer sexual orientation differences in economic status existed for men. Sexual minority men were more likely than their straight peers to have a college education. Yet, they earned less and were more likely to report economic hardship in the past year than straight men, which could indicate that sexual minority men face wage discrimination.

In addition, socioeconomic status among men differed by race. White sexual minority men were less likely than white heterosexual men to be among the highest earners. But Black and Latino sexual minority men did better economically than their Black and Latino heterosexual peers.

“These patterns suggest that multiple forms of inequality, as well as factors that promote resilience, must be considered in analyses of the diverse LGBT community,” said Conron. “Moreover, findings emphasize the need to include LGBT measures in large surveys conducted by the US Census Bureau, including the American Community Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation, in order to better track, understand, and respond to observed economic inequities.”

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Travel

Hong Kong to recognize same-sex partnerships in spousal visa applications

For the first time, Hong Kong will recognize overseas same-sex partnerships when granting dependant visas.

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IMAGE FROM PIXABAY.COM

Change has come.

For the first time, Hong Kong will recognize overseas same-sex partnerships when granting dependant visas. This was announced by the government after a review prompted by a Court of Final Appeal ruling in July, at the end of a legal battle, that a married British lesbian – identified as QT – should be granted a spousal visa. She was initially denied.

QT and her partner, known as SS, moved to Hong Kong in 2011 after SS got a job in the city. The couple entered into a civil partnership in Britain, which gave them the same rights and responsibilities as a married couple under British law.

But the Hong Kong Immigration Department rejected QT’s application for a dependant visa, stating that Hong Kong does not recognize same-sex relationships. The pair took the case to court, arguing that the decision was discriminatory and breached the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights Ordinance.

The Court of First Instance ruled against QT in March 2016. This ruling was appealed by QT. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision last year. The Immigration Department filed an appeal, and the Court of Final Appeal made a ruling in July in favor of QT.

Starting Wednesday (September 19, 2018), the director of immigration will already favorably consider an application from a person who has entered into “a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, same-sex marriage, or opposite-sex civil partnership or opposite-sex civil union outside Hong Kong” for entry for residence as a dependant, if the person meets the normal immigration requirements.

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To qualify, there should be “reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the applicant and the sponsor”, “no known record to the detriment of the applicant”, and evidence that “the sponsor is able to support the dependant’s living at a standard well above the subsistence level and provide him/her with suitable accommodation in Hong Kong”.

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Health & Wellness

Female to male trans adolescents report highest rate of attempted suicide at 50.8%

A study found that almost 14% of adolescents reported a previous suicide attempt, with disparities by gender identity in suicide attempts. Female to male adolescents reported the highest rate of attempted suicide (50.8%), followed by adolescents who identified as not exclusively male or female (41.8%).

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor from Unsplash.com

 Nearly 14% of adolescents reported a previous suicide attempt, with female to male adolescents reporting the highest rate of attempted suicide at 50.8%.

This is according to “Transgender Adolescent Suicide Behavior“, a study done by Russell B. Toomey, Amy K. Syvertsen and Maura Shramko, and released in Pediatrics. The study eyed to examine prevalence rates of suicide behavior across six gender identity groups: female; male; transgender, male to female; transgender, female to male; transgender, not exclusively male or female; and questioning. A secondary objective was to examine variability in the associations between key sociodemographic characteristics and suicide behavior across gender identity groups.

Data from the “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors” survey (N = 120 617 adolescents; ages 11–19 years) were used to achieve the study objectives. Data were collected over a 36-month period: June 2012 to May 2015. A dichotomized self-reported lifetime suicide attempts (never versus ever) measure was used. Prevalence statistics were compared across gender identity groups, as were the associations between sociodemographic characteristics (i.e. age, parents’ highest level of education, urbanicity, sexual orientation, and race and/or ethnicity) and suicide behavior.

The study found that almost 14% of adolescents reported a previous suicide attempt, with disparities by gender identity in suicide attempts. Female to male adolescents reported the highest rate of attempted suicide (50.8%), followed by adolescents who identified as not exclusively male or female (41.8%), male to female adolescents (29.9%), questioning adolescents (27.9%), female adolescents (17.6%), and male adolescents (9.8%).

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Identifying as non-heterosexual exacerbated the risk for all adolescents except for those who did not exclusively identify as male or female (i.e. non-binary). For transgender adolescents, no other sociodemographic characteristic was associated with suicide attempts.

According to the researchers, “Suicide prevention efforts can be enhanced by attending to variability within transgender populations, particularly the heightened risk for female to male and non-binary transgender adolescents.”

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Why your company needs to care more about the future of the planet

More and more companies are starting to realize the benefits of going green and caring more about the environment.

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Photo by Miriam Espacio from Unsplash.com

Businesses tend not to care so much about the future of the planet. This is often because the environmental impact of their actions is rarely quantified and reported back to the companies, and even if that was the case, it’s unlikely that companies would bother paying extra money just to be more environmentally friendly. It cuts into their profits and, in most cases, is a bother to implement.

Or is that really the case?

More and more companies are starting to realize the benefits of going green and caring more about the environment. It’s a surprisingly effective way to approach marketing your company and giving it more exposure, and in this article, we’ll be giving you more ideas on how to use the latest technological advancements to ensure that your company stays green and benefits from it.

Photo by Pierre Châtel-Innocenti from Unsplash.com

Marketing Advantage

Nowadays, many companies are looking to increase their exposure by looking at how they can appeal to a wider and more specialized audience. One of those niches (at least, a niche for now) is being able to appeal to people that want to go green. This means people that want to reduce their carbon footprint.

Many consumers much rather support businesses that support green practices in order to do their part and help the environment. If your company advertises that it uses green methods in their workflow, then you have an advantage over other companies in the industry. It’s a surprisingly effective method of promoting your business.

Specialized Companies Make it Easy

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With the rise of businesses that focus on helping other companies go green, it’s become even easier to make the switch. Whether it’s oil stop valves that you need for a large-scale project such as an oil refinery or station, or just finding ways to reduce waste in your office, there are plenty of ways to go about adding more ways to bolster your business’s green practices.

Saving Money

Surprisingly, there are many green business practices that can actually save you money instead of costing you even more. For instance, if you reuse certain materials, you could save a bit of money every time you make a purchase for supplies. Another method of saving money is by optimizing your business workflow, such as shortening transportation routes and cutting down on fuel expenditure for logistical challenges.

There are plenty of ways to go green and save money and it’s not always about hiring a service that can suggest you a new machine or piece of technology that can help. Sometimes, you can go green by just being more mindful of how you spend your money.

Going green comes with many advantages, but it does take a little work in order to truly be carbon neutral so that you do not leave any footprint. Companies like Apple are leading the way thanks to the steps they’ve taken to become carbon neutral across the globe, and more companies are following in their shadow. Sooner or later, becoming carbon neutral will become a necessity if you want to progress your business instead of just a competitive edge.

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NEWSMAKERS

Baguio’s LGBTQIA community eyes to highlight ‘real Pride’ for Nov. 24 fest

Themed “This is Pride”, the 12th Baguio LGBT Pride Parade 2018 slated on November 24 “acknowledges that the community is still facing a lot of issues, so that we are coming out on the streets to continue the struggle for LGBT rights not yet won,” said Archie Montevirgen, chairperson of Amianan Pride Council.

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PHOTO BY AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL/ELLA RODRIGUEZ & FREEPIK, COURTESY OF THE AMIANAN PRIDE COUNCIL

Baguio and the Cordilleras eye to highlight the real meaning of #LGBT #Pride with the 12th Baguio LGBT Pride Parade 2018 slated on November 24.

Themed “This is Pride”, the gathering “acknowledges that the community is still facing a lot of issues, so that we are coming out on the streets to continue the struggle for LGBT rights not yet won,” said Archie Montevirgen, chairperson of the Amianan Pride Council, which organizes the annual event.

Nonetheless, the event also wants to “celebrate victories our advocacy has achieved.”

“This year, we intend to bring the community closer by making everybody in the community feel that we are all in this together. That a victory won is everybody’s achievement; that Pride is for everybody. We want everyone to feel that they all have something to be proud of, that is why we are celebrating our uniqueness, and our diversity,” Montevirgen said.

This year’s gathering is also very cognizant of the commercialization of Pride.

8 Ways to know we’ve sold ‘Pride’

“It was one of the factors that pushed everyone to arrive at the theme ‘This is Pride’. We talked among ourselves and arrived at the understanding that no particular LGBT sector can put a patent on Pride,” Montevirgen said. “We come from different sectors and hold different agendas and interests towards Pride. For some it is political, some push for agendas, some come to celebrate, some come to express themselves without judgment, and some come to party. We understand that whatever reason one comes to Pride is a contribution to the cause, and something to be proud of.”

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But to avoid being swallowed by the erroneous system (i.e. Pride being bought), “that is the very reason why we have decided from the start not to make the Amianan Pride Council a formal structured organization, but a loose alliance of organizations and institution that feel they have a stake at Pride. So commercialization at this point does not feel like a threat at all to (us).”

Every year, leadership of the Amianan Pride Councilis passed on, thereby allowing the next leaders to take it to a direction they want to take, given the concurrence of the council.

Incidentally, this was the model of Task Force Pride (TFP) in Metro Manila in the past; which was eventually superseded to give way to the now more commercial model.

While the actual Pride parade in Baguio City will take place on November 24, the different member organizations of Amianan Pride Council also plan to hold different activities of their own to hype up the annual gathering.

As it is, talks are ongoing with the office of Baguio City Vice Mayor to declare the last week of November as LGBT week in Baguio City.

For more information, contact Metropolitan Community Church – Metro Baguio at 09298629036.

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Travel

55% of Singaporeans still support law banning gay sex

Fifty-five percent of 750 Singaporeans who were surveyed support the ban on gay sex, with only 12% opposing the antiquated Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, which states that a man found to have committed an act of “gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years.

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Photo detail by Max Felner from Unsplash.com

More than half of Singaporeans still support the antiquated law that bans gay sex. This is according to an online survey that was made amid renewed debate on whether the city-state should follow India’s footsteps and scrap similar British colonial-era legislation.

Fifty-five percent of the 750 Singaporeans who were surveyed by independent market research and consulting firm Ipsos still supported the ban.

The same Ipsos poll also showed that 12% opposed the law, while 33% were neither for or against it.

Ipsos conducted the online poll of people aged between 15-65 years over four days in late July and early August.

Under Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, a man found to have committed an act of “gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years. Prosecutions are rare. The law does not apply to homosexual acts between women.

A glimpse into Singapore’s rainbow community

In Asia and the Pacific, Singapore is considered a “modern” state. But lawmakers remain typically cautious over social reforms, partly due to sensitivities stemming from the ethnic and religious mix among Singapore’s 5.6 million inhabitants.

In the line of duty

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