Haunted Places in the Philippines

Ozone Disco
Ozone Disco, on Timog Avenue corner Tomas Morato, is the most fun haunted place to check out. On March 18 1996, Ozone Disco, a then-popular dance spot, had a special no-charge night for the freshly graduated high school students. In the midst of all the partying, a fire began in the disco and the only door opened inward, trapping the panicked crowd inside. 162 lives were lost that night. Today, passersby claim to still hear disco music at night and see figures inside dancing.
Manila Film Center
The Manila Film Center at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) probably has the most famous story. Back in 1981, First Lady Imelda Marcos hosted the International Film Festival. Needing a building grand enough to house all the visiting movie stars, she built the Manila Film Center. The building had to be done in a hurry so people were working at all hours. One night, the scaffolding collapsed and trapped the workers. Rumor has it that more than 150 workers were buried and while most were dead, some could be heard calling out for help. Being pressed for time, the remaining workers were instructed to continue, so they simply poured cement over the bodies. Ever since, strange sounds can be heard coming from the building and people who walk inside get goose bumps for no reason. The Film Center is a definite stop for anyone who wants to send shivers down their spine.
Balete Drive
Balete Drive in Quezon City is known to have a certain spook factor, especially at night. It is surrounded by balete trees, the tree favored by evil spirits, and the colonial-era houses found along it are supposedly haunted. Sometime in the 1950s, a young female student was raped and decapitated by a taxi driver who was never caught. Her death was so horrible that her soul supposedly never left the area. Since then, at least three taxi drivers are said to have been found decapitated along Balete Drive. It is believed to be the work of the girl’s spirit. People have reported seeing a white lady standing at the side of the road, usually around three in morning, and, when walking along Balete Drive, suddenly feeling cold and as if they’re being watched. Balete Drive crosses Aurora Boulevard, near St. Luke’s Medical Center, Tomas Morato and the edge of Cubao; but be careful when you are in the neighborhood! People have seen a headless woman appear in their passenger seat when driving down that street.
Baguio has the most haunted spots in the Philippines. Among others, there’s the Philippine Military Academy, the Teacher’s Camp, and the Hyatt Hotel. This could be because the city was once occupied by tribes who were forced out or killed by the American colonizers, or because residents of the city were tortured and killed by the Japanese forces. Go to Philippine Military Academy for the cadet ghosts, go to Hyatt Hotel for a headless priest, and go to Teacher’s Camp for native tribesmen.
Corregidor is a small island where the Spaniards built a lighthouse to help guide the ships around Manila Bay. During the American period, the island became an American outpost to watch for intruders. When the Japanese came, they overpowered and outnumbered the Americans, causing some American soldiers to shoot themselves. Those who didn’t commit suicide were forced to surrender and were tortured by the Japanese before being killed. Today, the island is a tourist attraction with its well-preserved ruins and the remaining American weaponry. At night, there have been stories of apparitions and invisible presences. Although these ghosts claim to be friendly, they are ghosts nonetheless. Sounds of hospital activities are said to be heard from the Corregidor Ruins. Sun Cruises offer day and overnight tours to Corregidor.

Philippine Street Fried Foods

Pity the dieter who swears off all fried foods for health-related reasons; not only does she cross out the most delicious constituents of any menu, she excludes herself from the best parts of the Filipino food experience, too. Begone, banana-cue and turon. So long, tapsilog and tosilog. Goodbye, kentekoy and kwek-kwek.
Yahoo! Southeast Asia
No Manila street corner would be complete without a vendor frying local street food
If you're Pinoy, you're likely to start your morning with something fried and continue in like fashion throughout the day. We take comfort in food that's been seared in oil, whether it's a tocino and egg at sunrise or sizzling sisig post-five-thirsty over beer with friends. It's all very natural to any Filipino, at least until heart disease catches up with us.
Frying: a Gift from ChinaYou'd be surprised, then, to learn that frying is a relative latecomer to our tables. Before the Chinese came to the Philippines to trade, the Filipino food repertoire was limited to boiling, roasting, and souring — in short, what we could make with what we had at the time, in that dark time before our Eastern brothers gifted us with the wok and the syanse.
It must have seemed like a gift from the gods, when the medieval equivalent of Wok with Yanpremiered in Filipino trading towns and introduced our pre-colonial forefathers to the glories of sizzling-hot oil. Boiling and roasting take ages to cook properly; it takes comparatively little time to heat oil to the desired temperature before you throw in the food to fry.
Hot oil sears food in a snap, caramelizing sugars and crisping exposed surfaces. And oil adheres to the food, adding oomph to the flavor and mouth feel.
A Stir-Fry to Start Your Day
Rice, for example, experiences a second life in the frying pan, regaining freshness and flavor with salt, garlic, and a few minutes of stir-frying. Yesterday's rice need never go to waste, so long as it can be resurrected as that staple of early mornings, sinangag, the "si" in tapsilog, tosilog, ad nauseam.
Yahoo! Southeast Asia
Yesterday's rice doesn't go to waste; stir-fry it for some tasty sinangag
We've covered the different "silogs" here in Timpla before (Sensational 'Silog' and Where To Find The Best 'Silog'?); in any case, it's likely you're no stranger to the magic that can be wrought when stir-fried rice teams up with your protein of choice and eggs sunny-side up. It's not fancy — it's irredeemably para sa masa, but do we want our tapsilog any other way?
Simmering Street FoodStreet food benefits greatly from the speed and ease afforded by frying. No Manila street corner would be complete without a fishball vendor standing guard, deep-frying balls of seafood-flavored dough for call center agents and cigarette sellers alike.
Yahoo! Southeast Asia
Deep fry those quail eggs in orange batter for some tasty kwek-kwek
If you're lucky, manong fishball's repertoire will include deep-fried duck and quail eggs coated in orange-colored batter. The name of the vendor who invented kwek-kwek and kentekoy's trademark orange batter is lost to history, but our stomachs (and arteries) will never forget his work.
Yahoo! Southeast Asia
Fry saba and sugar for some sweet, delicious banana-cue
Nor are we likely to forget what happens when you deep-fry saba and sugar — the sugar caramelizes into a shell around the saba, which tenderizes from the heat. Add bamboo skewers and you get banana-cue, that sweet street-food standby.
Yahoo! Southeast Asia
Sweet fried goodness
Fried food has made life easier, and improved the culinary experience overall. The next time you bite into that kentekoy or start your day with tosilog, say a silent word of thanks to the unnamed cook who first put raw food and hot oil together. Frying is something to celebrate… even if your cardiologist thinks otherwise.

Smoking kills 10 Filipinos every hour

Ten Filipinos die every hour from illnesses caused by smoking while the country loses nearly 500 billion pesos (US$11.5 billion) annually from healthcare costs and productivity losses, according to an anti-tobacco group.
HealthJustice Philippines disputed the claims of tobacco companies that increasing taxes on tobacco would hurt tobacco farmers and lead to the loss of livelihood.
"The most important issue is none other than health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that tobacco consumption kills 10 Filipinos every hour, due to cancer, stroke, lung and heart diseases brought on by cigarette smoking," the group said in a statement.
"Even if a person does not smoke, the WHO warns that second-hand smoke causes hundreds of thousands of deaths to non-smokers due to the same smoking-related diseases," it said.
HealthJustice said the Philippines loses billions of pesos in terms of health and economic costs from smoking.
It cited a 2006 study by the WHO, Department of Health (DOH), University of the Philippines-Manila and the Philippine College of Medical Researchers Foundation showing that the government's "economic costs, including expenses for health care and costs of productivity losses," reached 461 billion pesos.
The group said price increases through tax reforms in tobacco products will discourage people from smoking.
It quoted a World Bank study as saying that a 10 percent increase in taxes on tobacco products would lead to a 4 to 8 percent decrease in consumption, thus leading to saving thousands of lives.
"A recent study by economists Filomeno Sta. Ana and Jo-Ann Latuja estimates that at least 870,000 smokers will quit and 310,000 lives can be saved when the needed excise tax reforms, which will significantly increase the price of cigarettes, are implemented," HealthJustice said.
The tax reforms would also help raise additional revenues for public health, with the Department of Finance estimating that as much as 30 billion pesos to 40 billion pesos additional revenues can be generated annually, it said.
The group said the 2009 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) has estimated that more than 17 million adult Filipinos smoke while a DOH survey showed that Filipino children as young as five years old are already starting to smoke.
"If the current administration falls short of implementing measures to reduce tobacco consumption among its citizens, the health risks and economic losses will certainly become too much to bear in the near future," the group said.

Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines

Villagers and veteran hunters have captured a one-ton saltwater crocodile which they plan to make the star of a planned ecotourism park in a southern Philippine town, an official said Monday.
Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said dozens of villagers and experts ensnared the 21-foot (6.4-meter) male crocodile along a creek in Bunawan township in Agusan del Sur province after a three-week hunt. It could be one of the largest crocodiles to be captured alive in recent years, he said, quoting local crocodile experts.
Elorde said the crocodile killed a water buffalo in an attack witnessed by villagers last month and was also suspected of having attacked a fisherman who went missing in July.
He said he sought the help of experts at a crocodile farm in western Palawan province.
"We were nervous but it's our duty to deal with a threat to the villagers," Elorde told The Associated Press by telephone. "When I finally stood before it, I couldn't believe my eyes."

After initial sightings at a creek, the hunters set four traps, which the crocodile destroyed. They then used sturdier traps using steel cables, one of which finally caught the enormous reptile late Saturday, he said.
About 100 people had to pull the crocodile, which weighs about 2,370 pounds (1,075 kilograms), from the creek to a clearing where a crane lifted it into a truck, he said.
The crocodile was placed in a fenced cage in an area where the town plans to build an ecotourism park for species found in a vast marshland in Agusan, an impoverished region about 515 miles (830 kilometers) southeast of Manila, Elorde said.
"It will be the biggest star of the park," Elorde said, adding that villagers were happy that they would be able to turn the dangerous crocodile "from a threat into an asset."
Despite the catch, villagers remain wary because several crocodiles still roam the outskirts of the farming town of about 37,000 people.
They have been told to avoid venturing into marshy areas alone at night, Elorde said.

Philippine Daily Breakfast Meals

Time was when a Filipino breakfast would without question be a permutation of a "silog" meal, a processed meat eaten with fried egg and sinangag (fried rice). This still holds true of course but there are other items on the menu for a native breakfast, some of which have more than a touch of global flavor. Here, a short list.
Pan de sal et al
Lori Baltazar
Fresh from the pugon
A common sight in the morning are long lines snaking out of the panaderia. There, bleary-eyed folk clutch loose change and soiled bills as they wait their turn to pay for a brown paper bag full of pan de sal. Far from the decidedly insipid oven-baked and plastic-wrapped buns available in the supermarket, pugon or wood-oven baked pan de sal is infinitely better tasting and more satisfying. Its crusty exterior bites down with an audible crunch into a pillowy interior possessing still a memory of warmth from the oven's heat. Dipped into hot coffee — usually instant, usually overly sweet, this is the breakfast people wake up for.
Milo and Native Breads
The Filipino panaderia has some bread probably not found anywhere else in the world. There are some off-putting ones admittedly, dyed in strange colors like purple and fearful fuchsia. But two of my favorites are the ensaymada and Spanish Bread.
Lori Baltazar
Ensaymada hits the spot
The former is nothing like the fancy, fluffy ones sold with real butter and eggs. No, the panaderia ensaymada is made from the same dough as the pan de sal with the addition of margarine, some cheap grated cheese, and a sprinkling of sugar. It's dense and heavy, but really hits the spot.
Photographed by Lori Baltazar
A malted drink is a delicious match for Spanish or cheese bread
Spanish bread, though I don't know why it's called that, is usually cylinder-shaped spiraled through with a mixture of bread crumbs, margarine, and sugar.
Photographed by Lori Baltazar
Also available at bakeries, cheese bread is a popular breakfast option
The perfect partner for these homely breads is a cup of Milo. It could be Ovaltine, but Milo is what I grew up with. Hot and sweet with too much non-dairy creamer spooned in, the searing sweetness is cushioned by the breads' delicious doughyness.
Adjacent to many public markets is a carinderia where hot meals are served in the early morning. I see people eating pares and bowls of mami but I also see others enjoying sizable chunks of kakanins.Kakanin, or local rice cakes, is called so because these are delicacies made from rice that has been ground and then soaked in water or a variation thereof. Regular or glutinous rice is used and then it's often combined with coconut milk and sugar. Cooking methods include baking, boiling, and steaming, usually in banana leaves, which imbues the kakanin with a particular flavor.
Photographed by Lori Baltazar
Kakanins are enjoyed any time of the day, not just breakfast
Favorite morning kakanins that are also eaten at any time of the day include bibingkaputo, andsuman.
Kaya Toast & Jam
This is a breakfast that comes to Filipinos by way of Singapore and Malaysia. A chain of stores called Kopi Roti serves a breakfast that especially delights devotees of soft-boiled eggs and sweet coffee. The eggs are eaten with brown toast slathered with a coconut jam called "kaya." Several Filipinos have become familiar with this during their travels to Singapore, so much so that it's become quite the common breakfast, at least in Metro Manila.
The Singapore/Malaysian breakfast: "kopi roti" and "kaya" toast
It's wonderful piercing the eggs' yolky goodness with the toast's tip and watching the golden liquid flow out. The kaya jam's sweetness cuts through the cloy of the egg and the pleasure is intensified with each swallow of hot coffee laced with condensed milk.

from yahoo ph

Top 5 spectacular volcanoes worth visiting

Mount Bromo, Indonesia

For round-the-clock volcanic action and stunning vistas, East Java's Mount Bromo is hard to top. The 2,329-meter mammoth reliably spews sulphuric smoke and is often partly engulfed in swirling mist, making it a prime photo-op spot.

Mount Bromo is the youngest addition to the massive Tengger volcanic complex that dates back 820,000 years. From Mount Bromo, visitors can get a good view of Java's tallest mountain Mount Semeru, a highly active volcano that is said to belch out large plumes of volcanic smoke every 20 minutes.

But while Mount Bromo is one of East Java's most visited spots and is relatively accessible (45-minute walking distance or an easy jeep ride from the nearby village of Cemoro Lawang), it's by no means a safe bet -- two tourists were killed by rocks from an explosion in 2004.

Hallasan, South Korea

Mount Hallasan, South Korea's tallest mountain, towers some 1,950 meters above sea level at the volcanic cluster of Jejudo.

Apart from gawping at the 4,000 animal and 1,800 plant species that thrive on Hallasan throughout the year, be sure to check out the crater lake Baekrokkdam at the top. The gorgeous site, which literally translates as "Hundred Deer Lake", inspired a folklore about fairies descending from the sky to play with white deer. Many tourists flock to Hallasan during spring time to catch the azaleas in bloom on the mountain face.

Hallasan is also a relatively easy climb, with a well-marked 10km climbing course that can be completed within a day.

Mount Aso, Japan

It's named the biggest caldera in the world, gave a prefecture its nickname, and it has its own shrine. The mighty Mount Aso is easily the most instantly recognized landmark and moneymaker in the Kumamoto prefecture of Kyushu, Japan.

The 24-km wide Mount Aso's main attraction is the steaming cyan crater lake of Mount Nakadake. A cable car network easily takes visitors up the volcano, where there's a complex crammed with souvenir and snack outlets, and there are neatly paved roads right up the edge of the crater. Aso is also home to a string of hot spring resorts.

Mount Pinatubo, Philippines

Mount Pinatubo didn't only recover admirably from its catastrophic explosion in 1991, it's cashed in on the disaster as a prime extreme sports location.

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo made headlines for producing the second-largest volcanic eruption in the century, which caused the world temperature to drop by 0.9 °F, the death of more than 800 people and some US$250 million in property losses.

Almost two decades on, the cities surrounding Mount Pinatubo are feeding off tourism generated by the legendary eruption.

Angeles City offers extreme trekking and off-road driving packages off Pinatubo's lahar flows, which are giant mudflows of volcanic materials. The city also offers parachuting, skydiving and aerial tours for around US$55 per person.

Mount Fuji, Japan

It's impossible to write about Asia's top volcanoes without mentioning Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji, or Fuji-san, is a national icon for its pretty looks and its height (at 3,776 meters, it is Japan's tallest mountain.)

Besides being an obvious spot to take postcard shots to send home, Mount Fuji also offers extreme sports for adrenaline seekers. Every summer some 200,000 people scale up the Mount Fuji in a four-to-eight-hour climb. There are also paragliding bases and schools at the fifth station Gotemba parking lot.

Visitors who are unlucky enough to visit Mount Fuji during its infamous cloudy spells may want to head over to the picturesque Hakone to the east of Mount Fuji, and the Fuji Five Lakes, which are north of the volcano.

Summer in Boracay is the Best Place to be

Summer in Boracay is the Best Place to be

Your Favorite Cool Summer Merienda

Banana cue: emblem of the classic Pinoy merienda
From the awesome response we've received on previous Timpla entries for your best summer merienda choices and a tasty Halo-Halo debate, Lori Baltazar lists down classic Pinoy summer treats. Which one will you buy when it's 4pm?
Ah, summer! Sweltering heat, sleeveless shirts, and glistening skin, "glistening" due to the excessive perspiration triggered by the spike in the mercury. But temperature discomfort aside, it can't be denied that summer triggers something else in all of us: cravings for food that seem especially tempting when eaten in the torrid heat.
Here  some favorites — yours and mine:
Photographed by Lori-Baltazar
The king of summer meriendas is none other than the halo-halo. It's the "mix-mix" medley that proves so good and timeless. Though contentions abound as to which ingredients comprise a good halo-halo (sago? sweetened saba? cornflakes?) even up to the shape of its receptacle (milkshake-type glass? squat, wide-mouthed bowl? drinking glass?), there are some generally-held truths. One, the ice should be finely-shaved, and not too much of it. Two, there should be enough milk (whether that be evap or fresh milk is another debate).  Finally, a scoop of ice cream (ube preferred) is non-negotiable.
Photographed by Lori Baltazar
Sago at Gulaman
Sago't Gulaman
Gulaman, squares of dried seaweed re-hydrated and available in vivid colors are paired with sago, tapioca balls, or "pearls" as their new-age name suggests, translucent they be or not. Submerged and occasionally, buoyant, in a sugar syrup laced with pandan leaves, sago't gulaman rehydrates sweetly and coolly.

Fresh Fruit, especially mangoes 
Summer is incomplete without the glory that is the mango (green or yellow). Some say this juicy wonder is God's gift to Filipinos for enduring the blistering heat. Whatever it may be, mangoes are at their best when it's oh-too-hot-outside. Popped in the refrigerator for a few hours, they're best eaten cold while standing over the kitchen sink, letting the juices flow freely down arms and messy mouth.
Fruit Salad
This is more of a Christmas staple but fruit salad can't be beat when smothered in cream and sweetened with condensed milk.
Photographed by Lori Baltazar
Fruit Salad for summer
Often, it's canned fruit cocktail that's used for these fruit salads to which — depending on desire — more add-ins are tossed in (cashews, blue cheese (!), nata de coco, etc.
How the heck do you spell banana-que anyway? Is it how I spell it above? banana-cue? banana-q? And what's with the que/cue/q, anyway?
However it's spelled, banana cue is simply saba (cooking banana, similar to plaintains), rolled in brown sugar and then deep fried. The hot oil caramelizes the sugar, giving the banana-que an ooey-gooey, (careful not to bite into it while it's still hot!) crunchy quality. This banana fritter of sorts, is often sold on the street as an afternoon snack and of course, made at home.
A street food that's more delicious when bought off the street sometime around mid-afternoon (it's the street fumes that give it that distinctive flavor), turon is too easy to love. Saba bananas are layered over an egg roll wrapper (aka lumpia wrapper) rained down with sugar, and if the cook/street stall owner is lucky or generous or both, there will be a layer of langka (jackfruit) atop the saba. Eaten while possessing still a memory of warmth, the crunch and corresponding sweetness makes this a summer merienda to remember.
Photographed by Lori Baltazar
Again, another of those food words that's spelled in myriads of ways. Is it barbeque? Barbecue? Bar-B-Q? Or the more direct BBQ? It's moot, I believe. Barbeque is one of those on-the-stick foods that bewitches with its slightly bite-y meat, the tangy-sweet basting sauce, and of course, that nugget of fat at the end that glitters like a jewel. Hot rice and mouth-puckering vinegar optional.
Photographed by Lori Baltazar
Barbecue, kalsada style
Ube ice cream
Of course you can have any flavor you want. Summer means ice cream and that invariably means ube.
Why ube? Well, it's such a Pinoy flavor certainly, but I believe ube ice cream is a summer food because it lends itself so well to other summer merienda foods: atop halo-halo or turon, enmeshed inside a pandesal, and of course, eaten plain in a big bowl with an equally big spoon.
Lori Baltazar is the whiz behind the popular food blog, Dessert Comes First.
From the Yahoo! editors: Share and declare your favorite summer meriendas!

Article from yahoo ph
Photographed by Lori Baltazar
Ube Ice Cream

Summer Time at the Beach

Ka-CHING! Its Summer TIME!

Top 10 Philippine Street Food

Photo by Lori Baltazar

Philippine street food is a multi-colored spectrum of permutation and imagination. Filipino ingenuity is boundless and so is our appetite for portable food that demands to be satisfied with high flavor at a low price. Here, a (very) short list of street food commonly sold on Manila streets.

Photo by Lori Baltazar
Corn (Mais)
One of the simplest is also one of the most sundry. Just boiled, steam escapes from its plastic cocoon, its fragrance at once familiar and sparking cravings. Grilled, the yellow or white corn is brandished with marks and burnished. Or fancier still if the vendor so fancies it as well, the corn can be shredded from its husk and seasoned with salt, smeared with butter (margarine, most likely), or stirred in with a cheap cheese mixture to make cheese corn.

Photo by Lori Baltazar
There's also something called binatog. It's sold on the streets by itinerant vendors who make their presence known by knocking a piece of wood with a stick. The resultant sound is hollow and short. Binatog is a Laguna delicacy of boiled corn served warm and mixed in with grated coconut. It's made from native white corn which is stickier, mealier than the more common yellow variety. It's eaten with either salt or sugar and is exceedingly pleasing because of its chewiness and various textures.
Peanuts (Mani)
Most of the time, these peanuts are brought to bored people idling in their cars at the stoplight. Pushed around in a makeshift cart, peanuts are strangely satiating when eaten warm, the tongue puckering from the excess of salt. The peanuts can be boiled and sold still in their shells, or fried with lots of garlic chips.

Photo by Lori Baltazar
Kwek-kwek and its clique
Perhaps the most vibrantly colored of all the street foods, this one also has the funniest name, triggering chuckles to the uninitiated. The basic version is kwek-kwek (also quek-quek): boiled quail eggs dredged in an orange batter and deep-fried. The color comes from tints of annatto powder, locally known as atsuete or pinulbos na atsuete. Kwek-kwek is eaten with lots of vinegar to offset its inherent greasiness.
For those with bigger appetites, there's the bigger, badder version called tokneneng (also tukneneng or tuknanay), hard-boiled chicken eggs prepared the same way. Other versions include hepalog, the balut or duck egg version, believe it or not.

Photo by Lori Baltazar
The "-cues": Banana cue, Camote Cue and Turon
A motley of spellings here, from banana-q to banana-que, with or without the hyphen. I prefer to stick to my spelling above. Semantics and spelling aside however, this has to be the most-loved street food, cutting across all classes and biases.
Local plaintains or savory bananas, saba, are immersed in hot oil and brown sugar. The intense heat and sweet thoroughly coat the banana in a gleaming copper coat. One bite, gingerly taken, rewards the eater with shards of crackling sugar breaking away to reveal soft banana. It's endlessly satisfying and oh so cheap, all eaten on a stick. The same treatment is given to camote (also, kamote) and stuck on a stick, or French fry-style as in camote chips.
Turon is saba enclosed in an egg wrapper, sprinkled with sugar, and depending on availability and inclination, strips of langka (jackfruit). It's given another dredging in brown sugar and is then promptly dropped into hot oil. It emerges and is then sold upright in a tall container, edible soldiers for a sticky-sweet snack.

Photo by Lori Baltazar
Kakanins are rice cakes, usually sold at markets in the morning or by roving vendors, usually women. They come in motley colors and shapes — rectangular and purple, white and round — all promising to sate hunger quickly and with the maximum carbo-load that we Filipinos crave.

source: yahoo ph

Earthquake hits Manila Philippines Capital

An earthquake has hit several parts of Manila Monday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology confirmed.

In a televised interview, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said the 6:27 p.m. earthquake registered a magnitude 5.8, its epicenter recorded in Lubang Island.

Solidum later clarified in a radio interview the earthquake registered a 5.7 magnitude.

The earthquake was also personally felt by the staff of Yahoo! Philippines.

Solidum said Intensity 4 was recorded in the following areas: Manila City; Marikina City; Talisay, Batangas; Tagaytay City.

Intensity III - Quezon City; Alabang; Makati; Taguig; Malabon; Bacoor, Cavite; Lubang Island; San Jose, Mindoro Occidental.; Abra de Ilog; Calapan, Mindoro Occidental.

Intensity II - Lucban, Quezon; Plaridel, Bulacan; Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija; Baguio City

In a separate report by United States Geological Survey (USGS), it said the earthquake registered a 5.4 magnitude, its epicenter at least 88 kilometers southwest of Manila.

Solidum said there was no reason for Filipinos to panic, amid growing fears of a local quake disaster. On March 11, Japan listed an 8.9-magnitude quake which already left thousands killed and several thousand others missing.

"Siyempre ang paalala lang itong mga lindol na ito ay maliliit pa lamang, kung malalaki dapat paghandaan," said Solidum.

Solidum said the recently felt quake wasn't extraordinary as the Philippines records at least 20 earthquakes a day.

"Hindi pa ito masyadong malakas kasi magnitude 5.7-5.8. Ang dapat paghandaan malapit sa magnitude 7," he added.

Solidum also allayed fears of a tsunami occurrence.

"Wala pong threat ng tsunami masyado ng malalim yung lindol," said Solidum.

Bb. Pilipinas bet disqualified over sexy photos

MANILA, Philippines - After a string of disqualifications for this year's Binibining Pilipinas pageant, another candidate is struck off the list of 40 official candidates vying for the country's most prestigious beauty title.
In a statement, Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) said candidate Bianca Paz is out of the competition "due to circumstances affecting her which recently came to light."
"Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. has today removed another candidate from the 2011 roster due to circumstances affecting her which recently came to light. As with the previous statement, we urge everyone to cease further speculation regarding the matter as respect to the privacy and integrity of all those concerned," BPCI said in a statement Thursday.
The 2-time Binibining Pilipinas candidate was reportedly released from the official list because she posed for a sexy calendar in the past.

The photo shoot had behind the scenes footage, where the side of Bianca's breast was reportedly exposed.
Paz was an official candidate of the pageant in 2009 and placed 6th overall in the final standings.
Early this month, beauty queen hopeful Roxanne Cabanero was also removed from the official list of Binibining Pilipinas candidates because of a nude photo scandal.
Cabanero, however, vehemently denied that she is the woman in the picture.
source: yahoo ph

The song and music video aim to encourage Filipinos to be more aware and appreciative of their own local attractions and inspire a renewed sense of pride in the beauty, history and culture of the Philippines.