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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Palawan’s Huma Island: Almost there…

Dom visits Huma Island in Busuanga, Palawan and discovers that – even with the good PR spouted by the likes of Kris Aquino, the place leaves a lot to be desired. This is not to disparage Huma Island because this place has its (numerous) charms, “but I’d like to think of Huma Island as a paradise-in-the-making; a place that is ‘almost there’ but ‘not quite there yet’,” Dom says.

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Huma Island1Huma Island2Kris Aquino was here,” a few of the staff members of Huma Island are bound to say (at times with a hint of pride) to visitors.

That is supposed to be an enticement (the “hook”, so to speak, on why people should at least visit this place). But for many others (LIKE ME!), it’s actually a reason why you should not visit.

Don’t get me wrong – Kris bashing is the farthest thing in my mind (Kris gets more than enough bashing from others, as it is). But if you eat at Chowking because you believe Kris eats its food (Hey, she endorses the chain, after all!), you’re a fool. If you buy Cherry Mobile’s Omega phablet because Kris endorsed it, well… D’UH! If you buy Leonardo bags because you think she uses it (Well, she similarly endorsed it!), you need to reconsider your shopping BIG time.

And in the same way, if you visit Huma Island solely because Kris promoted it, you’re a bigger fool.

Not that this place doesn’t have charms. Because it does.

But with the rates ranging from $800 per night, it isn’t for everyone. And – for those willing to cough up that much money – you should expect more from this place than the PR mouthing done by Kris.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at Huma Island…

WHY GO THERE?

As a somewhat exclusive resort (it is on its own island somewhere in Busuanga in Palawan), that “exclusivity” can be appealing. Particularly for those who want to be by he beach, where the space is accessed by (extremely) limited number of people, this is worth considering.

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There are only a few villas in Huma Island – some built over the water; and others built by the beach. The villas can accommodate from two adults (occupying the queen-sized bed) plus two kids (occupying the sofa bed/s). Every villa, by the way, has its own verandah with a small(ish) Jacuzzi – this is enclosed by rattan-like material, so that every verandah offers guests privacy.

Also because of the exclusivity, facilities abound: there’s the library (not that you’d head here just to read…); the fitness center (also built over the water); the pools; the rocks for climbing; the archery; and the restos (one atop a hill, overlooking some parts of the island – or at least those not covered by the foliage).

Huma Island3Worth mentioning is the spa. Why? Because: 1) The massage rooms are all over the water; and 2) The floors of the massage rooms are transparent (fiber glass), allowing you to see the corals and the fishes swimming in them. It’s almost like being massaged while looking at an aquarium…

And the waters? Well, as can be expected in Palawan, there are wonders to be had here – from shipwrecks that can be viewed not just by diving but even by just snorkeling, untouched underwater environments, pearl farms, et cetera, et cetera. Hello, this is not called the “Last ecological frontier” for nothing!

For so many, though, it’s the display of the so-called Filipino hospitality by the Filipino staff members that is the biggest come-on. The bowing and kowtowing is endearing, making you feel welcome; and the desire to be of service is authentic, not at all invasive or – well – fake.

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WHY NOT GO THERE?

Alas, even risking being called bitchy, I still have to say that this isn’t… paradise.

The swimming area isn’t spectacular. And note that early in the day is the high tide, when swimming is okay; and the latter part of the day, when the tide is low, is when swimming isn’t even possible because the rocks surface. Well, the pools are there, you say? Yes; but they aren’t even big enough for laps, so…

The waters under the villas are actually among the nicest, particularly during high tide. Except that – no – you can’t swim there. If only they make that part of the seas accessible…

The food is a hit-and-miss affair – some of the preparations were yummy (everything grilled, for instance, were S-U-P-E-R!), while others just weren’t (e.g. the mousse tasted like a mousse would when left too long in a hot and humid condition). Now, am I expecting too much? Perhaps. But again, for spending a lot, the expectations soar.

And the water (both for washing/showering/brushing teeth and for drinking)? Think salty…

And the bar offerings? Almost all of them – from Weng weng to Singapore Sling to whatever – tasted like Four Seasons (!).

The facilities in the villas are sufficient. But sufficient, I suppose, isn’t what’s expected. So as not to be disappointed, forget the hot shower; the replacement of the water in the Jacuzzi; the fluffy pillows; et cetera.

Connectivity sucks, by the way. Smart connection is almost always nil; Globe – even if the island has its own Globe tower – doesn’t fare any better; and Wi-Fi connectivity is… extremely disappointing. There are times when getting disconnected with the world is a blessing (such as when visiting an island paradise, perhaps). But in these days of selfies, being able to upload a visit to paradise should be a given – and this just isn’t an easy thing to do when here.

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And despite the lure of getting a massage while there (that glass floor!), the spa’s limitations are apparent – i.e. limited oil choices, and even if I adore her, just how many times can one listen to Enya wailing?

FOR THE WILLING…

If you’d rather believe Kris and head there anyway, that’s fine by me.

But I’d say that Palawan – albeit largely under-developed – does have numerous venues that may offer the same, if not more of what Huma Island offers (I’m thinking of, say, El Nido; or even some of the resorts off Coron, many of them offering better access to the natural attractions of the area).

This is not to disparage Huma Island, nonetheless. Because as I said, this place has its (numerous) charms.

But I’d like to think of Huma Island as a paradise-in-the-making. A place that is “almost there”, but “not quite there yet”. Though hopefully, its owners think the same way, too.

That is, if changes are made to it, it can most definitely become a must-visit attraction, no matter the price it demands its visitors to pay; and no matter who (including Kris) promotes it. But until then, well… you know where I stand…

Huma Island is at Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines. For more information, contact (+632) 553 0119.

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My name is Dom - that's short for DominiK... or Dominique, depending on which parent you're speaking with. One of my Dads, Michael, says it should be the former; but my other Dad, also named Michael, said it should be the latter. It must be because they have the same names, so they get confused about me, too (!). But no matter, I'm here - all peachy and fluffy. About me: I'm almost peach in color (not brown, ARGH!); have striped ears (white and red), black eyes (and toes), and brown nose. No, my nickname is NOT "Fluffy"! I'm only four (or five - again, depending on which Dad you ask); but that's a gazillion years in Teddy-time (if you must know). So I feel... experienced. I move a lot, too, with my Dads, and I'm here to share everything as I move around. So come join me...

NEWSMAKERS

Apple updates Holding Hands emoji to represent more LGBTQIA relationships

In a major update to the Holding Hands emoji typically used to represent couples and relationships, users will now be able to select any combination of skin tone, in addition to gender, to personalize the people holding hands, opening up more than 75 possible combinations.

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Apple is previewing a selection of new emoji coming, revealing the newest designs that bring even more diversity to the keyboard, alongside fun and exciting additions to popular categories of food, animals, activities and smiley faces.

In a major update to the Holding Hands emoji typically used to represent couples and relationships, users will now be able to select any combination of skin tone, in addition to gender, to personalize the people holding hands, opening up more than 75 possible combinations.

Following Apple’s proposal to the Unicode Consortium last year to introduce more disability-themed emoji, a new guide dog, an ear with a hearing aid, wheelchairs, a prosthetic arm and a prosthetic leg will be available in the emoji keyboard. Celebrating diversity in all its many forms is integral to Apple’s values and these new options help fill a significant gap in the emoji keyboard.

Many additional emoji categories are getting exciting updates with a new smiley face for yawning, a one-piece swimsuit, new food items including a waffle, falafel, butter and garlic, and new animals like the sloth, flamingo, orangutan and skunk.

Fifty-nine new emoji designs will be available this fall with a free software update for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Thousands of emoji are currently available, including emotive smiley faces, gender-neutral characters, more professions, various clothing options, food types, animals, mythical creatures and more. New emoji are created based on the approved characters in Unicode 12.0.

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Health & Wellness

Phl has most cases of fake medicines in Southeast Asia – UN report

Of 460 incidents of counterfeiting and illegal distribution of pharmaceutical products recorded within the region from 2013 to 2017, 193 occurred in the Philippines. Comparatively, 110 occurred in Thailand, 93 in Indonesia, and 49 in Vietnam.

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A study on transnational crime from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that the highest incidence of “falsified medicines” among Southeast Asian countries come from the Philippines.

Of 460 incidents of counterfeiting and illegal distribution of pharmaceutical products recorded within the region from 2013 to 2017, 193 occurred in the Philippines. Comparatively, 110 occurred in Thailand, 93 in Indonesia, and 49 in Vietnam.

Most of these counterfeit medicines were for urinary tract infection, erectile dysfunction, anti-infectives, and central nervous system (CNS). Meanwhile, nutrition supplements, cadiovascular, CNS, and metabolism drugs were among the most illegally distributed.

The UN study defined “falsified medicines” as pharmaceutical products “marketed with the intention to deceive buyers.” These could be misbranded, falsely labeled, or expired; may contain too little, too much, or none of its purported active ingredient.

As per the UN study, these products are ineffective, may be harmful or even deadly.

Pakistan, India and China are the leading sources of falsified medicines that end up in the Philippines through organized criminal networks.

The Philippines itself was the source in 12 incidents of either falsified or illegally distributed medicines in the US, Japan and Germany.

The report – titled “Transnational Organized Crime in Southeast Asia: Evolution, Growth and Impact” – noted that international criminal organizations may have earned as much as $2 billion from trafficking falsified medicines in the Philippines in 2014.

To solve the problem, the UN report recommended cross-border cooperation among countries. It warned against hastily tightening laws as this may only divert the illicit trade toward more vulnerable areas. The study similarly stated that countries in the Southeast Asian region must boost the legitimate trade in pharmaceuticals and make genuine medicines more available and affordable.

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Travel

Ranking the best (and yes, worst) countries to be LGBT in Europe

Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg came at at the top of the list of 49 nations ranked based on legal and policy practices for LGBTI people. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia are the worst countries in Europe for LGBTI rights.

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Identifying as part of the LGBTQIA community, and considering heading to Europe? It may be worth considering the best – and yes, worst – European countries for those who live under the rainbow.

Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg came at at the top of the list of 49 nations ranked based on legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, according to a new assessment from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia are the worst countries in Europe for LGBTI rights.

With each nation receiving a score from 0-100%, Malta received 90% and Azerbaijan just 3%. These rankings are used to put together the “2019 Rainbow Europe Map” (https://www.ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/rainbowmap2019png1_0.png), a campaign from ILGA-Europe that looked at 69 key factors in every country in Europe, including equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition and bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum.

The Top 10 most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe (2019):

  1. Malta
  2. Belgium
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Finland
  5. Denmark
  6. Norway
  7. Portugal
  8. France
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Sweden

The Top 10 least LGBT-friendly countries in Europe(2019):

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Turkey
  3. Armenia
  4. Russia
  5. Monaco
  6. San Marino
  7. Belarus
  8. Liechtenstein
  9. Moldova
  10. Latvia

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Top ways to relax and recharge after playing sport

It is important to take recovery days and find effective ways to relax and recharge after playing sport.

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Playing sports is an exciting part of life for many people. However, overtraining can cause a number of sports-related injuries and leave you unable to exercise for days, weeks, or even months.

For that reason, it is important to take recovery days and find effective ways to relax and recharge after playing sport.

Enjoy a long hot bath 

Taking a long hot soak in the bath is not only relaxing, but will also help soothe any tired muscles or aches following exercise. Create a therapeutic bath by adding Epsom salts. These powerful minerals are absorbed through the skin and replenish the level of magnesium in the body. This helps boost levels of serotonin which creates feelings of calm and relaxation. Epson salts have also been shown to speed up the recovery of sports-related injuries and improve physical performance.

Healthline provides more information on Epsom salts, the benefits, and how to use them most effectively.

Create a therapeutic bath by adding Epsom salts. These powerful minerals are absorbed through the skin and replenish the level of magnesium in the body.

Take time to rest

After playing sports, it is important to take the time to rest and recharge. Doing a sedentary activity that requires minimal physical movement is one of the best ways to give your body time to recover after intense physical activity and exercise. Watching TV, reading a book, or playing online games are all popular activities that allow you to rest. Some people also enjoy playing online betting games and having the opportunity to win money online. Unibet offers a huge selection of fun and exciting online betting games, from sports betting to live casino, so you’re sure to find something you enjoy.

Watching TV, reading a book, or playing online games are all popular activities that allow you to rest.

Treat yourself to a massage

Treating yourself to a massage is a great way to relax and recharge after playing sport. During a massage your breathing and heart rate slow, your blood pressure lowers, your body produces less stress hormones, and your muscles relax. Massages are therefore the ideal way to unwind, especially if you have tense, achy muscles. Sports massage can be used to relieve muscle tension, reduce inflammation, and treat a whole range of injuries. They can also effectively enhance athletic performance by improving soft tissue function and increasing the range of motion. 

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Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital to your overall health and wellbeing. Many studies have also shown that lack of sleep can have a significant negative effect on performance and recovery. According to The National Sleep Foundation – “Less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game.” For that reason, it is extremely important that you try to get as much quality sleep as possible and aim for the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. If you struggle to get to sleep, then make sure you switch off from technology and avoid things like social media in the evening. You could also try taking a relaxing bath and drinking a calming herbal tea before you go to bed. This should help improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Make your business marketing all inclusive

When starting and developing a business, there are fundamental areas that you’ll need to put in place in order to get things going.

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When starting and developing a business, there are fundamental areas that you’ll need to put in place in order to get things going. The strategy is the initial port of call, which is a necessary step to defining the overall mission and goals of the company. Finance is usually a close second on the list as funding will play an essential role in the setup process, sourcing offices, and hiring staff.

Employees

Sourcing a team of loyal employees will be crucial to success, and finding the right skill sets can be a difficult and laborious task. Equipment and operations must also be put in place in order to get a business functioning from start to finish. If this all seems a little overwhelming, don’t panic; there are plenty of ways to increase your business knowledge before stepping out alone.

Sourcing a team of loyal employees will be crucial to success, and finding the right skill sets can be a difficult and laborious task.

Further Education

Furthering your education in this field can provide invaluable wisdom and can be achieved without having to attend college full time. Online-based courses offer flexibility to students all over the world, allowing study time to slot in with life commitments and run alongside any business plans you may have. You can find out more online about these courses.  

Marketing

The last area to consider when developing your business is how to market your product or service to consumers as customer engagement is critical to success. If they don’t want to invest in what your selling, you’ll never be able to get your startup off the ground. The landscape of businesses marketing, however, has seen a definitive change in direction in recent years, and it is important to bear this in mind when creating your own strategies.

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Your Mission & Vision

Creating an unreachable dream to aspire to is no longer the obvious choice when advertising your brand. Consumers no longer want to feel pressured to fit a certain mold and are beginning to shy away from companies that promote unrealistic expectations. Inclusivity and Diversity are becoming the norm, and the world of business is discovering that being relatable and understanding of their audience is much more important than acting like an exclusive, members-only club.

Positive Messaging

Creating a positive message around your business is not only good for society as a whole but will no doubt help your bottom line as you appeal to a broader audience. After all, the size of your body or the color of your skin should never mean you can’t purchase a particular item of clothing and brands are becoming better at highlighting this within there ads.

Creating a positive message around your business is not only good for society as a whole but will no doubt help your bottom line as you appeal to a broader audience.

Final Thoughts

There’s definitely a fine balance to achieve when getting inclusive marketing right, and this should not be taken lightly. There are a few examples below of successful inclusive campaigns that illustrate how it can be done correctly.

  • Kleenex achieved a brilliant inclusive marketing campaign with their Unlikely Best Friends video ad featuring an unwanted disabled dog. Heartwarming and relatable to all, it is a real tear jerker to watch so have the tissues at the ready.
  • Goldieblox toys and entertainment brand breaks the mold when it comes to traditional gender perceptions and commonly illustrates girls striving for any job role in life, regardless of whether it’s been a male-dominated role in the past.
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Health & Wellness

Between 16% and 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide

Up to 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide, with the main risk factors including depressive symptoms, anxiety and compulsive obsessive disorder.

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Up to 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide, with the main risk factors including depressive symptoms, anxiety and compulsive obsessive disorder. This is according to “Suicidality in a Community Sample of Early Adolescents: A Three-Phase Follow-Up Study”, done by Voltas, N., Hernández-Martínez, C., Arija, V. and Canals, J.

In the study, the researchers studied a group of 720 boys and 794 girls who studied in 13 schools in Reus. They were monitored during three developmental periods: 10 years old, 11 years old and 13 years old. At the beginning of the study, the students answered a series of psychological tests that were used to detect which of them presented emotional symptoms related to depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). From their responses, two groups were created: one group at risk of emotional problems and a control group.

The disorders were diagnosed with standardised international criteria and the boys and girls were monitored to see how suicidal ideation developed throughout the research period.

The figures were quite stable. During the first period, 16% of the students stated that they had thought about suicide, of whom 33% stated the same one year later. In both the second and the third period, ideas of suicide were expressed by 18% of the students surveyed. The risk of suicide was determined in a personal interview and was present in 12.2% of the children with an average age of 11 years old. Although there were no differences between the sexes, the severity of the suicidal behaviour was greater in boys.

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The researchers also observed what factors predicted suicidal ideation and they found here that there were differences between the sexes.

“In boys it is previous depressive symptoms which determine subsequent suicidal ideation,” says Núria Voltas, one of the researchers involved in the study. In girls, on the other hand, it is a combination of anxiety symptoms, OCD and the family’s socioeconomic situation.

The results of this research, published in the scientific journal Archives of Suicide Studies reveal the factors that can trigger ideas of suicide in this age group. “Our results will enable us to have greater control over this particular aspect and take prevention measures in preadolescents, who are going through a period of considerable vulnerability,” she concludes.

This is a noteworthy study, considering other – and earlier – studies have repeatedly highlighted how members of the LGBTQIA community are greatly affected by suicide. In 2018, for instance, a study from the University of Arizona noted that 50.8% of transmasculine adolescents between the ages of 11 and 19 have attempted suicide at least once, while 41.8% of nonbinary adolescents – those who don’t identify as exclusively male or exclusively female – have attempted suicide.

Still another study – also done in 2018 – that appeared in Pediatrics noted 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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Still another study – also done in 2018 – that appeared in LGBT Health found that a total of 37% of trans respondents reported having seriously considered suicide during the past 12 months and 32% had ever attempted a suicide. Offensive treatment during the past three months and lifetime exposure to trans-related violence were significantly associated with suicidality. 


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