Thursday, December 22, 2011

To those wanderlust like me, here's a helpful article from WSJ to prevent being sick while travelling!

Where Germs Lurk on Planes

What to Do When Stuck at 30,000 Feet Next to Sneezers and Coughers

It's a common complaint: Fly on a crowded plane and come home with a cold. What's in the air up there?
Air travelers suffer higher rates of disease infection, research has shown. One study pegged the increased risk for catching a cold as high as 20%. And the holidays are a particularly infectious time of year, with planes packed full of families with all their presents—and all those germs.
Air that is recirculated throughout the cabin is most often blamed. But studies have shown that high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters on most jets today can capture 99.97% of bacterial and virus-carrying particles. That said, when air circulation is shut down, which sometimes happens during long waits on the ground or for short periods when passengers are boarding or exiting, infections can spread like wildfire.
One well-known study in 1979 found that when a plane sat three hours with its engines off and no air circulating, 72% of the 54 people on board got sick within two days. The flu strain they had was traced to one passenger. For that reason, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory in 2003 to airlines saying that passengers should be removed from planes within 30 minutes if there's no air circulation, but compliance isn't mandatory.
Much of the danger comes from the mouths, noses and hands of passengers sitting nearby. The hot zone for exposure is generally two seats beside, in front of and behind you, according to a study in July in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A number of factors increase the odds of bringing home a souvenir cough and runny nose. For one, the environment at 30,000 feet enables easier spread of disease. Air in airplanes is extremely dry, and viruses tend to thrive in low-humidity conditions. When mucous membranes dry out, they are far less effective at blocking infection. High altitudes can tire the body, and fatigue plays a role in making people more susceptible to catching colds, too.

Also, viruses and bacteria can live for hours on some surfaces—some viral particles have been found to be active up to a day in certain places. Tray tables can be contaminated, and seat-back pockets, which get stuffed with used tissues, soiled napkins and trash, can be particularly skuzzy. It's also difficult to know what germs are lurking in an airline's pillows and blankets.
Research has shown how easily disease can spread. Tracing influenza transmission on long-haul flights in 2009 with passengers infected with the H1N1 flu strain, Australian researchers found that 2% passengers had the disease during the flight and 5% came down within a week after landing. Coach-cabin passengers were at a 3.6% increased risk of contracting H1N1 if they sat within two rows of someone who had symptoms in-flight. That increased risk for post-flight disease doubled to 7.7% for passengers seated in a two-seat hot zone.
[More from Beware of 'Baby Ghettos' on Planes]
The epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-03 suggested a wider exposure zone, however. On one flight studied, one passenger spread a particular strain to someone seated seven rows away, while people seated next to the ill passenger didn't contract the disease.
That said, most people sitting near someone who is ill probably won't get sick. "When you get aboard an aircraft, most of us don't have a say on who we sit next to. But that doesn't doom you to catching the flu," said Mark Gendreau of Boston's Lahey Clinic Medical Center.
In 2005, he was part of a team that published a paper in the Lancet that concluded the perceived risk for travelers was higher than the actual risk, and that's still the case today, he said.
Even so, there are some basic precautions passengers can take to keep coughs away.
Hydrate. Drinking water and keeping nasal passages moist with a saline spray can reduce your risk of infection.
[More from New Breed of Flu Shots for Dogs]
Clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We often infect ourselves, touching mouth, nose or eyes with our own hands that have picked up something.
Use a disinfecting wipe to clean off tray tables before using.
Avoid seat-back pockets.
Open your air vent, and aim it so it passes just in front of your face. Filtered airplane air can help direct airborne contagions away from you.
Change seats if you end up near a cougher, sneezer or someone who looks feverish. That may not be possible on very full flights, but worth a try. One sneeze can produce up to 30,000 droplets that can be propelled as far as six feet.
Raise concerns with the crew if air circulation is shut off for an extended period.
Avoid airline pillows and blankets (if you find them).
"If you take the proper precautions, you should do quite well," said Dr. Gendreau. "In most of us, our immune system does what it was designed to do—protect us from infectious insults."
Hidden Dangers in Security

You think the plane is bad? Security checkpoints harbor a host of hazards as well, researchers say.
People get bunched up in lines, where there is plenty of coughing and sneezing. Shoes are removed and placed with other belongings into plastic security bins, which typically don't get cleaned after they go through the scanner.

A National Academy of Sciences panel is six months into a two-year study that is taking samples at airport areas to try to pinpoint opportunities for infection.

With limited resources, airports and airlines have asked researchers to help figure out where best to target prevention, said Dr. Mark Gendreau of Boston's Lahey Clinic Medical Center who is on the panel.

Check-in kiosks and baggage areas are other prime suspects in addition to security lines, he said.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alec Baldwin: Booted from plane for playing game

What do you think about this?

Alec Baldwin: Booted from plane for playing game

By Gordon Cameron | Plugged In – 10 hours ago

Janelle JacintoEddieboy Recto Santos
Janelle Jacinto and 7 others read this article
Alec Baldwin (Getty Images)
You know when the flight attendants tell you to turn off all electronic devices prior to takeoff? They're not kidding -- even if you happen to be a star.
Actor Alec Baldwin was removed from an American Airlines flightleaving Los Angeles for New York on Tuesday when he was apparently too engrossed in a game of Zynga's "Words With Friends" to power down his iPad.
"Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt," the actor tweeted.
The incident caused a one-hour delay in the flight and kicked off a flurry of Internet chatter. Baldwin's own Twitter feed has been pulsing with caustic comments about his removal.
"Last flight w American," the "30 Rock" star tweeted Tuesday afternoon, "Where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950s find jobs as flight attendants."
More diplomatically, Baldwin's spokesman Matthew Hilzik said in a statement to MSNBC that the actor is "so in love with 'Words with Friends' that he would risk getting thrown off a flight to play." He also confirmed that Baldwin was re-booked on a later American Airlines flight to New York.
Indeed, the big winner in all this seems to be Words With Friends publisher Zynga, who've just gotten a nice bit of free PR and an unexpected celebrity spokesman.  The immensely popular game is a bit like Scrabble, challenging players to build words and outscore opponents. Asked by a follower to explain the game's appeal, Baldwin tersely tweeted: "It's…well…addicting."
According to, American Airlines is looking into the situation. A spokesperson said that, due to customer privacy concerns, American Airlines does not comment on "something that might or might not have happened."
The 53-year-old actor joins a growing list of celebs who have been kicked off flights this year, including Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Card's Gerard Depardieu.
So will Baldwin be flying American in the future?
"Now, as I was kicked off this flight, the word I was playing was UNITED," he tweeted.
We'd say that's a no.

SUNSTAR NEWSPAPER: E! TV Shines brightly

E! Philippine TV shines brightly

Posted by admin On August - 13 - 2011Lifestyle column
PHILIPPINE television got even more exciting with the recent launch of E! Entertainment Television, the world’s only 24/7 channel exclusively dedicated to the fabulous world of showbizness, celebrities and entertainment.
The launch had a number of Manila’s beautiful people as they enjoyed an evening of great food and awesome entertainment.
The tall and beautiful Georgina Wilson and Solenn Heussaff hosted the affair. Flying in from Singapore to cover the launch was Dominic Lau, who is the good looking host of E! News Asia.

Georgina Wilson and Solenn Heussaff

Christine Fellowes, managing director of Asia pacific Universal Networks International, and Yasmin Wong, marketing director, flew in from Hong Kong to attend the event.
Leilani Farinas, vice president for marketing, flew in from the United States to attend the Philippine launch, giving much boost and recognition that the Philippines is an important market.
Says Christine Fellowes, “The Philippine launch of E! Entertainment Television reinforces the channel’s growing popularity and appeal to both Filipino viewers and advertisers, alike.”
“This launch enables us to continue E!’s groundbreaking momentum in pay _tv viewer enjoyment via top quality and up-to-the-minute Hollywood entertainment content across Asia,” adds Fellowes.
Moet and Chandon added glamour to the event as it was the free flowing drink of the night, and so was Belvedere vodka. The Establishment at the Fort Bonifacio was full to the brim of good looking celebrities like Sam Milby, Rafael Rosell, Amazing Race’s Rich Herrera, Raymond Gutierrez, Marco Morales, Karen Pamintuan, Brent Javier, Rovilson Fernandez.
Congressman Fred and Wife Kaye Tinga was also present, and so was popular columnist and hostess Tessa Prieto-Valdes.
Follow me on Twitter Iamheiding and email me feedback at

Rich Herrera

Raymond Gutierrez and Carlos Concepcion

(L-R) Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Kaiya, Christine Fellowes, managing director, Asia Pacific, Universal Networks International, and Dominic Lau

(L-R) Sam Milby, Christine Fellowes, and Rafael Rosell

(L-R) Congressman Fred Tinga, Kaye Tinga, and Andy Vasquez-Prada

Rovlison Fernandez, March Ventosa of ABS-CBN, and Mark Yambot

(L-R) Yasmin Wong, Leilani Fariñas, and Joanne De Rozario

Popularity: 6% [?]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ten Best places to Live in! =)

VIENNA (Reuters) - Vienna's excellent infrastructure, safe streets and good public healthservice make it the nicest place to live in the world, consulting group Mercer said in a global survey which put Baghdadfirmly in last place.
German and Swiss cities also performed especially well in the quality of living rankings, with Zurich, Munich, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva and Bern in the top 10.
The Austrian capital, with its ornate buildings, public parks and extensive bicycle network recently reduced the cost of its annual public transport ticket to 1 euro a day.
                                           Related: 10 healthiest U.S. cities for families
Serious crime is rare and the city of around 1.7 million inhabitants regularly tops global quality of life surveys.
But Mercer warned that top-ranking European cities could not take their position for granted in the survey, which assessed more than 200 cities.
"They are not immune to any decrease of living standards should this (economic) turmoil persist," Mercer's senior researcher Slagin Parakatil said on the company's website.
Mercer, which also ranked cities according to personal safety, gave Athens a poor score because of clashes between demonstrators and police and political instability.
"In 2011 Athens is ranked in Europe among the lowest in the personal safety ranking," Parakatil said.
Oslo also fell to 24th place in the separate safety survey because of Anders Breivik's mass killings in July. It would usually be in the top 15, Mercer said.
Baghdad's political turmoil, poor security enforcement and attacks on local people and foreigners made it the worst place to live in 2011, both in terms of life quality and safety, Mercer said.
Political and economic unrest in Africa and the Middle East also pushed down scores in those regions.
"Many countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen have seen their quality of living levels drop considerably," Parakatil said.
"Political and economic reconstruction in these countries, combined with funding to serve basic human needs, will undoubtedly boost the region."
He said that while the outlook is uncertain for most of the world because of economic and political turmoil, cities in Asia-Pacific look set to benefit thanks to political stability and solid growth.
Auckland, Sydney, Wellington, Melbourne and Perth made it into the top 20 for quality of life in 2011 while Singapore was the highest-ranking Asian city in 25th place.
Top 10 in Mercer Quality of Living survey
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
4 Munich Germany
5 Duesseldorf Germany
5 Vancouver Canada
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Bern Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall)

Monday, November 21, 2011

philippine Star Kitchen Spy: KC Montero

special thanks to Madam Sol Vanzi for archiving articles i have written for the Philippine Star in Philippine Headline News Online that made it possible for me to grab this and repost on my blog. 
MANILA, March 26, 2004 (STAR) KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng - The so-called MTV generation knows who KC Montero is. He is one of the lucky video jocks who is watched over MTV broadcasts around Southeast Asia and the Philippines. His job is enviable: He gets to travel free, hang out with his music idols, interview global superstars and become popular, doing all of these in front of the camera.
Some people dismiss him as just a good- looking lad who can’t speak straight Tagalog. However, he’s got talents beyond just good- looks. He can rap, dance and sing, and he has done a pretty good job of hosting as well. In fact, he has three shows on MTV – MTV Jam, Lokal, which is the local version of MTV, and Diyes, which ranks among the top 10 music videos in the country. His talents are honed by being part of the Sunday variety show SOP, airing over GMA-7, where he shares the stage with veteran entertainers Janno Gibbs, Ogie Alcasid, Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez, soul divas Jaya and Lani Misalucha. Gabby Eigenmann, hot R ’n B prince Jay-R and actor Dingdong Dantes jam with the whole crew as well. KC loves doing live shows in schools, because it offers a more personal interaction with his audience.
He models, too. His first modeling gig, which he counts as his most memorable, was in 1998 with Levi’s. He toured Cebu, Manila and Davao because of those shows. Before that, he was in the Philippines for a year, accompanying his Mexican—Filipino best friend here. He stayed mostly in the north – the Ilocos region, La Union and San Fernando – just hanging out with his buddy and his relatives. The following year, his older brother Troy Montero got an offer to model in Manila, and KC offered to go with him, since he could take Troy around town as he was here the year before. KC eventually got into modeling himself, because of his height and good looks. Standing at 6’3" with his mestizo looks, he was on his way to fame.
He dabbled in sitcoms, like Beh Bote Nga, with Aubrey Miles, Anjo Yllana and Janno Gibbs and Hiwalay Kung Hiwalay, with Assunta de Rossi, Christopher de Leon and Zsa Zsa Padilla. He also came out in a movie with Judy Ann Santos. However, his biggest break was winning the 1999 MTV VJ hunt. Together with Belinda Panelo, he started hosting MTV Philippines, the Philippine version of MTV, that is actually produced in the country.
Last Feb. 14, when he was in Singapore for the MTV Asian awards, he got to hitch a ride with the band Simple Plan to the after-event party at Equinox at the Swiss Hotel. I guess when you are an MTV VJ, you get to hang out with the music industry’s demigods and act as if you’ve been friends with them for your whole life?
But KC still gets starstruck. Unbelievable? He tells us that the first time he met Brian Mcknight, he even had to call his mom to tell her. He’s got all his albums and meeting him was a surreal experience. His mother even told Brian Mcknight on the phone that KC is his biggest fan! Well, there went his play-it-cool attitude, thanks to KC’s Filipina mom.
His other favorites are Black Eyed Peas, Simple Plan, Britney Spears and Michelle Branch.
But still first on his list of faves is Geneva Cruz.
Geneva, who is now in the States, is indeed KC’s girlfriend. Yes, he made no denials during our interview. Geneva’s son, Heaven, actually helped him in creating their kind of funny pizza. Heaven is now 7 years old and stays with KC while Geneva is abroad. It is clear that KC and Heaven have bonded well. Heaven even calls him Daddy-O. They share the same fondness for wrestling and sports and the same pet peeves in terms of TV shows. Heaven counts ketchup, buffalo chicken, fish fillet, shrimp, squid and baby octopus as his favorite foods. It is Heaven’s dream to become a chef some day, and working on his own pizza with his Daddy-O at Don Henrico’s that day, all dressed up in a toque and an apron, his dream became reality.
For the dough:
250 g. flour
7.5 g. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1tsp. salt
1 cup water
For the sauce:
2 ozs. tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
For KC’s half of the pizza:
Italian sausage
black olives

For Heaven’s half of the pizza:
Mix all the dry ingredients first, then add water. It will appear to be too dry. Do not add extra water. Keep working the dough until it is smooth. Let the dough rise once (approximately 1 hour). Push it down and knead again.
At this point, you may choose to freeze some of the dough. If you do freeze it, be sure to wrap it well and freeze it quickly. With either fresh or thawed dough, let the dough rise a second time.
After it has risen, punch it down and use it for your pizza. The dough will rise a little while you put the rest of your pizza toppings on it. Then bake.
The great thing about pizza is that you can put whatever toppings you like in the quantities that you prefer. Use mozzarella cheese for real pizza goodness. Quickmelt cheese may serve for homemade pizza.
* * *
Special thanks to Don Henricos, West Avenue for hosting the shoot. Call its easy-to-remember numbers at 3-717171 and 3-727272 for pizza delivery, party reservations and other inquiries. Thank you also to Eli Roque, Miss Tess and company of the Don Hen statistics/planning unit for their assistance.

Philippine Star Kitchen Spy: Borgy Marcos Manotoc

special thanks to for posting this article, thus making it available for me to repost it in my blog. Thanks to you guys! 
Yes, Borgy Manotoc knows how to cook!

The Philippine STAR 05/06/2004

Who doesn’t know Fernando Martin "Borgy" Marcos Manotoc? Nicknamed after tennis great Bjorn Borg, Borgy is every girl’s dream boy. With his chiseled face, perfect teeth, lean body, and enviable lineage, he’s one of the country’s much sought after bachelors.

Borgy first stepped on the ramp for Rhett Eala who is a good friend of his half-sister. That modeling stint made him popular. Eventually, he landed a stint as a Bench endorser. Since then, there’s no stopping him. His face has graced numerous magazine covers and he now endorses Swatch watches.

His good looks might have brought him fame, but his background is enough to bring him to public attention. His grandfather, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, and his grandmother, Imelda Marcos, continue to be political figures in the country. Whether you love them or hate them is a different matter altogether. His aunt, Irene Marcos Araneta, is a regular in many society pages for her inherent style and flair, while his mom, Rep. Imee Marcos, and his uncle, Ilocos Norte Governor Bongbong Marcos, are active in politics. His dad, Tommy Manotoc, is a famous sportsman. If you don’t know Borgy, can you guess what he will be like in person by just knowing who his relations are?

You may think Borgy’s every inch the perfect American since he grew up in Hawaii and Fort Lauderdale in Florida. But he’s really more than that since his family lived in New York for six months, in Rabat, Morocco and Sintra, Portugal, 18 months in London and 5-1/2 years in Singapore.

He is currently on leave from New York City College where he is taking up advertising and public relations. Next month, he plans to go back and hopes to enter New York University this fall.

A man of the world, you might think, but no, I think he’s just smart. At 21, he has had the chance to live around the world. He doesn’t think the experience to be glamorous, but sees it as just part of growing up, making friends and moving from one city to another.

When he talks about his years abroad, his favorite memories are not of celebrities he met or of the expensive restaurants he dined in. Rather, he tells me of Snowy, the white pony he used to ride in Kensington Park in London, as well as the time he got an upset stomach from eating four dozen oysters in a hotel in Singapore.

A Marcos scion would probably be someone who could only be described as having an insular upbringing, characteristic of those in the highest circles. One would think he would be choosy about the people he chooses to hang out with, but he is quick to point out that he prefers being with his real friends who do not care about his celebrity status.

In fact, when I asked him about this, he merely answered, "There have been times I have been star-struck myself. But as much as possible, you learn something from anyone, not just celebrities or famous people. You will never really know who you will make a connection with."

He adds that race is not an issue when it comes to relationships he has had in the past. Currently, he is a certified bachelor, who is in touch with his feminine side. He admits to crying and shares that "sometimes, crying is the solution in most cases."

Being handsome and having a powerful name, you would expect women to fall head over heels over him. However, Borgy shares that he, too, has been dumped three times. It might be unbelievable, but he swears it’s true.

Many might think Borgy lives a charmed life, never having to lift a finger at home with maids, bodyguards, and drivers waiting after him. However, he tells me this is farthest from the truth.

Growing up the eldest of three siblings required him to do household chores while they were living abroad. He did the laundry and cooked breakfast for his brothers.

That is why Borgy is a good cook. He learned how to cook when he was eight years old and the family was living in Portugal. The first thing he learned was how to make omelets and cook scrambled eggs. If there was no one at home who could make dinner, he found himself in the kitchen cooking for his brothers.

He believes cooking isn’t a hobby, like reading or diving, but rather a necessity. "If you don’t do it, you die," he declares with a laugh.

He had fun cooking when I met him at Don Henrico’s West Avenue for this interview. He was Mister Suave in the kitchen, chopping onions, mincing garlic, peppering steaks, and boiling and mashing the potatoes.

He’s no spoiled brat, cleaning his mess along the way and offering to do much more. At that point, I just knew that Borgy is just your typical boy blessed with loads of charm, disarming intelligence, and sprinkled with cooking talent. Borgy’s Steaks And Potatoes

2 12-ozs. rib eye steaks
pinch of garlic salt
1/4 cup soy sauce

Marinate overnight. Grill or pan-fry as desired. Borgy’s Chunky Mashed Potatoes
3 medium-sized potatoes
3/4 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Boil the potatoes. When done, with the skin still on, mash the potatoes with a fork. Pour the milk. Add butter, cheese, salt, and pepper. Mash well. Top with bacon bits and chives. Veggies On The Side
2 carrots
400 g. long beans
onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. butter

Boil the carrots and the long beans. In another pan, sauté the onions in 1 Tbsp. butter. Add the boiled carrots and long beans. Salt and pepper to taste.