Monday, November 30, 2009

Andres Bonifacio Remembered

November 30 is a holiday here in the Philippines. Today, the whole country commemorates the birth anniversary of Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio.

Born in Tondo, Manila on November 30, 1863, this revolutionary leader founded the Katipunan on July 27, 1892. The Katipunan was created to enjoin the Filipinos to rise against the Spanish Crown.

The bitter rivalry between him and General Emilio Aguinaldo led to his death in Mount Buntis on May 10, 1897 when fellow Katipuneros upon the orders of Aguinaldo executed him.

Andres Bonifacio first appeared on Philippine stamps on March 23, 1947. During the Philippine Centennial celebration in 1998, Bonifacio and other Filipino heroes were featured on stamps with the aim of arousing Filipino nationalism and love of country.

I recall in 1998 the successful "A Philatelic Tribute to Andres Bonifacio" stamp and memorabilia exhibit of Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated (CSCI) and the Cebu City Government's Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC) held at the Cebu City Museum. It was our way of paying tribute to this great Filipino hero.

The stamps shown above were released on November 7, 1997 by the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Latest 2009 Stamp of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is once again featured on Philippine stamps by the Philippine Postal Corporation in it's August 3. 2009 Philippines-Brunei Agricultural Cooperation issue.

The 7-peso stamp also features Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei.

Visit to see other stamps of Philippine Presidents.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The 2009 Christmas Issue

As the yuletide season approaches, postal administrations all over the world are in a rush in coming out with their versions of Christmas inspired stamps.

Christmas is portrayed on stamps featuring Santa Claus, the Nativity scene, Angels, the Christmas Star, gifts, the Christmas Tree, the Madonna and Child, children caroling, and a lot more.

Collecting Christmas on stamps is considered as one of the world's most loved collecting interest.

The Philippines being a predominantly Catholic country has been coming out with Christmas stamps since December 1, 1967.

To celebrate this year's Christmas season, the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) released on November 18, 2009 the "Pasko 2009: Filipino Christmas Carol, Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit" stamps valued at P7.00 each.

The design of the stamps feature scenarios of the season highlighting the birth of the Child Jesus, with the lyrics of Filipino Christmas Carol, “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” composed by National Artist Levi Celerio.

“Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” is a traditional Filipino Christmas song originally composed in Cebuano by Vicente D. Rubi and Mariano Vestil in 1933 as Kasadya ning Táknaa.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Day of Mourning

Four days ago, a group of people composed of journalists, lawyers, civilians and the wife of a candidate for a governatorial position in Maguindanao and their relatives were waylaid in what could be the country's most brutal slay in recent history. As of press time, the fatalities have reached the 57 mark. If not for a helicopter hovering above the area, all the victims and their vehicles would have been completely buried by a backhoe owned by the provincial government.

I could not believe that things like this would still be happening in this country that is supposed to be practicing the rule of law.

Being with media as a columnist in one of the top newspapers here in Cebu some years back, I condemn in the strongest sense this blatant attack against the press and the innocent civilians.

Together with everyone else in this country, I demand justice for the victims. I mourn with the families for their loss and may all the perpetrators believed to be more than a hundred be arrested and brought to court.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has declared today a day of mourning and has ordered a quick action on the incident.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cebu Stamp Club November 2009 Stamp Meetup

The November Stamp Meetup of Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated (CSCI) was originally scheduled on November 15, 2009 but it coincided with the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight.

Some of our past meetups that fell on a Manny Pacquiao match showed very low turnover of attendees, so we decided to postpone it a week later.

This month's meeting held at the 2nd floor of McDonalds Jones was a memorable one with the club's official representative to the United Kingdom, David Mario Blair Taylor attending the meeting after a very long time.

David is based in the United Kingdom and the last time he was here in Cebu to be with the group was sometime in the early 2000's. He is one of the pioneering members of the club.

Ken Turner and wife Gina showed up after a few month's absence due to medical reasons. Sharee Ann Trapa, Dinah Potolin, Richard Guimbarda, Janice Benolerao, Edison Go and Eyan Yu came to join the afternoon meeting.

The agenda tackled more on the upcoming Cebu StampShow 2009 Stamp Competition that will open on December 28 to 30, 2009 at the SM City Cebu. This event will showcase the stamps of Cebu Stamp Club members who will all be vying for the top awards in the Professional and Junior levels. The different categories are National, Thematic, Topical and Foreign.

Excitement engulfed the CSCI group when David took out envelopes filled with lots of stamps from different countries.

The next meetup is on December 13, 2009.

A Fresh Look for the CSCI Newsletter

The November issue of Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated's CSCI Newsletter gets a fresh look. After days of conceptualizing how to perk up the newsletter, we finally got it right!

Cebu Stamp Club continues to make philately or stamp collecting fun and exciting here in Cebu. We continue to upgrade and innovate to keep the philatelic fire burning.

Thanks to technology, publishing the newsletter every month just gets easier and presentable with minimal cost. I recall years ago when we started coming out with the defunct CSCI Stamp Magazine wherein maintaining and printing it gets more expensive with every issue.

The 8-page CSCI Newsletter is given for free to members of Cebu Stamp Club and patrons of philately upon request.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Star Wars Galactic Village Collection

Here's a first-ever illuminated Star Wars village collection from Collectibles Today. This handcrafted and hand-painted collection recreates a detailed memorable scene from the Star Wars movie in 3-D.

Issue One features Mos Eisley that includes a Luke Skywalker figure. Issue Two showcased the Hoth Rebel Base with a Darth Vader figurine.

Friday, November 20, 2009

India's 2009 Joint Stamp Issue with the Philippines

On November 16, 2009, India Post has announced the release of a joint issue with the Philippines to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and India. The se-tenant stamps and miniature sheet feature India's Gangetic Dolphin and the Philippines' Butanding.

The Ganges River Dolphin or Gangetic Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) is a freshwater dolphin that is found primarily in the River Ganges. It prefers to swim in deep waters. During floods, the Ganges River Dolphin is also seen in seasonal channels and flood plains. It prefers to stay in water with a temperature between 8 and 33 degrees Celcius. This dolphin feeds on various species of fish, frogs, amphibians and other invertebrates including turtles and young water birds. Fish is the main part of its diet and it spends much of its time feeding near the riverbed. The Ganges River Dolphin uses echolocation to find its prey and also uses its flippers and snout to locate something edible in the muddy riverbed.

The Butanding ((Rhincodon typus) is a slow moving whale shark. It's lifespan is about 70 years and grows up to 12.2 meters and weighs up to 13.6 tons. It is usually found in tropical and warm oceans. As a filter feeder, the whale shark’s food consist of phytoplankton, macro-algae, plankton, krill and small squids, shrimps and prawns. The Butanding is found in the waters of the Philippines specifically in Donsol, Sorsogon during the months of November to May. It is a migratory creature in nature and commonly travels across the oceans. It is only in the waters of Donsol that butandings are seen in large groups according to studies.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Saddam Hussein Stamps are Now In Demand

Sammy Ketz of the American Free Press (AFP) writes in an article that stamps featuring Iraq's former strongman, Saddam Hussein are now in demand and the prices of these stamps have gone up in Iraq.

Incidentally, I do have some Saddam stamps that I acquired through stamp exchanges years ago. Glad I didn't give them away.

Read here for the complete article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Philpost Website Has a New Look

It's good to see that the website of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) is being updated and has a new design. I think it's a work in progress as some of the pages still lack content.

I just hope that the webmaster of the site will add an email link where people especially stamp collectors can send their email concerns.

One may notice that Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated (CSCI) is not included in the Philatelic Clubs page. We were never asked but it would be great if they would. Besides, CSCI and Philpost Region 7 have been working together in promoting philately since 1996. Postmaster General Hector Villanueva even graced Cebu Stamp Club's exhibit in Dumaguete City last year.

What's flattering though is the inclusion of a portion of the Tres de Abril stamp in the site's banner found at the left side. The said stamp is Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated's legacy to Philippine Philately.

Click on this Cebu Stamp Club link that retells how the Tres de Abril stamp was made.

Below the Philpost website photo shows Cebu Stamp Club officials together with Jose "Kimsoy" Yap Jr. who did the artwork of the stamp.

From left standing: Maria Luisa Potian, Rachel Betos, Teresita Caballero, Patricia "Noeng" Perez, Bee Ling Yap, and Erwin Allan Orosco. Seated are: Fabiolita Ferraris, Jose "Kimsoy" Yap Jr. with the Tres de Abril painting and Richard Allan Uy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cebu Stamp Club Members Form a Club in Dumaguete City

Cebu Stamp Club members based in Dumaguete City have banded together to form the Dumaguete Stamp Collectors Club.

A few years ago, during the stint of Ms. Fabiolita Ferraris as Regional Director of the Philippine Postal Corporation Region 7, she appointed me to be her Philatelic Adviser and one of our programs then was to form stamp clubs in different cities in the region. Thus, the Dumaguete Philatelic Society and Bohol Philatelic Society were formed. Different school stamp clubs were also created. Sad to say, after she left, the clubs disappeared for various reasons.

When Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated (CSCI) decided to bring the "Selyo At Kasaysayan.. A Retrospective of Filipino Heroes Through Stamps" to Silliman University in Dumaguete City last August 23-26, 2008, I got to meet the former president of the defunct Dumaguete Philatelic Society, Mrs. Monserrat Magbanua. Aidalyn Arabe who was appointed as project chair introduced me to her.

Richard Rauscher who lives in Dumaguete was also there. He joined Cebu Stamp Club sometime in 1997. It was Richard who introduced me to Gary Rosales who signed up as a club member before we returned to Cebu. A few months later Allan Bennet Uymatiao joined CSCI too.

On December 1-12, 2009, the newly formed Dumaguete Stamp Collectors Club will hold its first non-competitive exhibit at the College of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Thanks to Dumaguete-based Cebu Stamp Club members Gary Rosales, Aidalyn Arabe, Penn Villanueva, Allan Uymatiao, and Richard Rauscher for continuing the philatelic flame that we started through our exhibit last year.

Above pics feature Allan Uymatiao with the Cebu Stamp Club president and Aidalyn Arabe during the "Selyo At Kasaysayan 2009... A Tribute to Cory Aquino held last August 27-30, 2009 at the 2nd level of Ayala Center Cebu.

Good luck guys and more power to your exhibit!

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Controversy in the Singing of the Philippine Anthem at the Pacquiao-Cotto Match

The National Historical Institute (NHI) is not happy how the Filipino all-girl pop group "La Diva" sang the Philippine National Anthem during the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto match yesterday.

The NHI claims that the the trio's version was longer by about a minute and a half and is far from Julian Felipe's tempo of the Anthem.

Not so long ago, Filipino balladeer Martin Nievara was lambasted by the NHI for his alleged wrong rendition during the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton match.

Section 37 of Republic Act 8491 or the 1998 Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines tasked the National Historical Institute to see to it that the display of the Philippine Flag and the rendition of the National Anthem whether played or sung, should be in accordance with Julian Felipe's original musical arrangement which follows a marching-type beat.

Photo above features the stamp of the Philippine National Anthem Centennial issued by the Philippine Postal Corporation on September 3, 1999.

Click here to view the Abs-cbn report.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Manny Pacquiao versus Miguel Cotto

Whenever Manny Pacquiao has a boxing match, the whole Philippines appears to be at a stand still.

Streets are almost deserted with people from all walks of life either confined in their homes glued to their tv sets or are at the different moviehouses, hotels, gyms or restaurants showing the live telecast of his fight.

Today, the Philippines' Pride faces Miguel Cotto, another worthy opponent from Puerto Rico. The match is scheduled to be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

We at Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated are supposed to have our regular stamp meetup today at McDonalds Jones but the past meetups that coincided with a Manny Pacquiao match showed poor attendance among members, so we decided to postpone the meeting for next Sunday, November 22, 2009.

Good luck Manny in your fight against Cotto. Our prayers are with you!

Update: The whole Philippines celebrated after the Pacman stops Miguel Cotto in the 12th round through a Technical Knock Out (TKO) and wins his 7th title.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Singapore Hosts APEC 2009

Singapore plays host to this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings. The meetings started in February and will culminate in the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on November 14 and 15. This year's theme is "Sustaining Growth, Connecting the Region".

APEC Singapore 2009 aims to build on APEC’s work to date in promoting economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment across the Asia-Pacific region. It focuses in overcoming the economic crisis and positioning member economies for a sustainable recovery in the post-crisis world.

The main areas for discussion during the year are: Positioning for Economic Recovery; Supporting Multilateral Trading Systems; and Accelerating Regional Economic Integration.

The 21 member economies of APEC are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo left today for Singapore to join the other world leaders.

To publicize APEC 2009, Singapore Post issued the APEC 2009 MEETINGS stamps on November 5, 2009.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton Visits the Philippines

America's most popular and powerful woman, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived today in the Philippines for a two-day visit.

At a press conference, Clinton announced that "the United States is committed to a strong partnership and alliance with the Philippines."

"I would just reiterate that the US stands ready to assist our friends in the Philippines who are seeking to counter terrorism and radical extremism," she adds.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo conferred to her the Sikatuna award with the rank of Datu in a ceremony at the Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang Palace. This award is given by the Philippine government to diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign countries who have rendered extra ordinary service in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between the Philippines and their country.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Filipino is among the 2009 Top 10 CNN Heroes

Another Filipino is in the global limelight lately and this time, it is Efren Peñaflorida's turn to shine. He is included in the elite top 10 CNN Heroes for 2009.

It started with 9,000 nominations, then went down to 28 and was trimmed to the final 10. Each of the ten finalists got $25,000. The ultimate hero will bring home a whopping $100,000.

Modern Day Hero Efren Peñaflorida gained the attention of everyone when his Dynamic Teen Company won the Bayaning Pilipino award for the great work they did in keeping the kids off the streets in Cavite through education.

They help educate the kids using teaching materials found in their Kariton Klassroom which is a mobile cart classroom.

Let us help our fellow Filipino win this presitigious award by voting in the CNN Heroes website. Just click here to be redirected to the site to vote.

Above photo by CNN's Lilibeth Frondoso features Efren Peñaflorida.
Update: 28-year old Efren Peñaflorida won the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year and will receive a $100,000 cash award from CNN.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Saving the Pasig River

On November 8, 2009, more than 21,000 people participated in the Philippine International Marathon 2009: Run for the Pasig River organized by the Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP).

This run-for-a-cause project headed by ABS-CBN Foundation's Gina Lopez aims to clear the Pasig River of garbage and squatters.

Runners had the opportunity get close to the river by a non-traditional route that crossed nine of the 13 bridges of the waterway. Some portions of the race enabled runners to run alongside the river.

The Run for Pasig River shows the participants the sorry state of the river and how they can help in saving it.

Among those who joined the run were former Philippine President Fidel Ramos and his wife former First Lady Amelita "Ming" Ramos, ABS-CBN Chairman and CEO Gabby Lopez, Jaime Zobel de Ayala and former Miss Universe Margie Moran-Florendo. The race was won by Vincent Chepsiror of Kenya.

Years ago, on June 19, 1998 a special stamp was issued to highlight the Piso Para sa Pasig campaign which aims to keep the Pasig River alive.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Royal Mail Turns Down Benny Hill Stamp

I used to watch the Benny Hill show on tv. He is one of the popular comedians in the United Kingdom aside from Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) with his show being aired in ITV for 20 years.

The committee meeting of the Royal Mail confirms that the Benny Hill proposed stamp was rejected because his saucy antics contravened company policy on harassment in the workplace.

"Benny Hill has been included in previous presentations but concerns were raised by our public relations team as it was in direct opposition to company's policies on harassment in the workplace."

The Benny Hill show is best known for its closing credits wherein Hill chased scantily-clad women.

Instead, a picture of a front door from the opening credits of Rising Damp was chosen for the stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of ITV.

More of this story here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pacman is on Time Magazine's Cover

Just days before his scheduled boxing match with Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas, Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao found himself on the cover of Time Magazine Asia Edition.

“I absolutely had no idea that when I started my career in boxing, to provide a better life for myself and my family, that I would now be where I am today and on the cover of TIME Magazine,” Pacquiao was quoted as saying.

He further adds “..a fighter’s dream is to win a world title and gain financial stability. But what is happening to me now is the most humbling experience of my life. It is a great honor for me to be the face of my people and to let everyone know we are a small but mighty country. I have great pride for all of the Filipinos living throughout the world and it is these people that I fight for each and every time I step into the ring.”

More of this report from the ABS-CBN news website.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Philippine Heroes On Stamps Exhibit

On August 23-26, 2007, Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated presented the Philippine Heroes On Stamps Exhibit at the Elizabeth Mall, Cebu City, Philippines.

Continuing the Tribute to Cory Aquino Exhibit at SM City Cebu

Come December 28-30, 2009, the Tribute to Cory Aquino Stamp and Photo Exhibit which was launched in Ayala Center Cebu last August 27-30, 2009 will be at SM City Cebu Mall.

In the Ayala Center Cebu exhibit, the new Cory stamp issues of September 8 and September 18, 2009 were not included as the stamps were non existent then.

The two new Cory issues which consists of full sheets, blocks of four, singles and First Day Covers (see photo above) will be featured at the SM City Cebu show.

As a side presentation, the Cebu Stamp Club's Cebu StampShow 2009, an annual stamp competition among club members will also be included.

A new poster design, souvenir covers and canceller will be made to highlight the event. Special exhibit stamp booklets with the new Cory stamps will be given to deserving Cebu Stamp Club members and friends.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November is Philippine Stamp Collecting Month

On October 27, 1994, a very significant development benefitting the philatelic scene in the Philippines took place. This was the official signing of Proclamation 494 by President Fidel V. Ramos declaring the month of November of every year as the National Stamp Collecting Month. It is also very fitting that the President signing this very important document is a stamp collector himself.

The main reason for the presidential proclamation is to create public awareness on the value and significance of philately. A month-long celebration for the promotion and development of the Filipino's consciousness towards philately would help project the image of the Philippines abroad while at the same time boost the country's tourism and economy.

The signing of Proclamation 494 was highlighted on an 8-peso souvenir sheet released on November 29, 1995. The design of the sheet features President Fidel V. Ramos affixing his signature.

Prior to its signing, stamp collectors celebrated the last week of November as the National Philatelic Week since 1968 when President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation 622.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bohol's Pride, President Carlos P. Garcia

Bohol's favorite son, the late President Carlos P. Garcia was born today November 4 in the year 1896. I am sure a big celebration is held there to commemorate this special day especially in his hometown, Talibon.

President Garcia took his oath of office on March 18, 1957 as the fourth president of the republic, the same day President Ramon Magsaysay died in a plane crash at Mt. Manunggal in Cebu. He served the unfinished term of Magsaysay.

During the November 12, 1957 elections, he won over all his opponents.

His great contribution to the Philippines as president was the strenghtening of democracy. He advocated and respected the human rights of the people and was known not to be vindictive towards his political foes.

Filipinos remember him for the character traits that helped shaped the course of his personal career and that of the state. He was a good leader who knew how to maintain the mystic required for true leadership.

He implemented the famous "Filipino First Policy", which encouraged Filipino businessmen to engage in foreign and domestic trade. He ran for reelection on November 14, 1961 but lost to his vice president, Diosdado Macapagal, who is the father of the incumbent Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. President Carlos P. Garcia died on June 14, 1971.

Visit the Philippine Presidents on stamps website to view all the stamps of President Carlos P. Garcia at

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

United Nations' Indigenous People Stamp Issue

Indigenous people all over the world are featured in the October 8, 2009 United Nations Postal Administration's commemorative stamp issue.

The 18 stamps in a mini sheet format of 6 are beautifully designed by Stephen Bennet, a portrait painter from New York who travels around the world painting portraits of indigenous people.

Read more about the indigenous people here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Statue For President Bill Clinton

In Pristina, Kosovo, thousands of ethnic Albanians welcomed former US President Bill Clinton yesterday as he attended the unveiling of an 11-foot statue of himself.

The statue situated at a key boulevard bearing the president's name, is a tribute by ethnic Albanians for Clinton's leadership during the NATO bombings in Yugoslavia in 1999 that quelched the Serbian offensives against the ethnic Albanians. They look up to him as their hero.

Kosovo gained independence from Serbia last year.

Featured above is Bill Clinton and his statue and a Philippine stamp issue of November 12, 1994 featuring Bill Clinton with former Philippine President Fidel Ramos during his 1994 state visit to the Philippines.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Star Wars Trick or Treat at the White House

More than 2,600 children from 11 area schools arrived at the White House for Trick or Treat on Saturday, October 31, 2009.

This is President Barack Obama's first Halloween celebration at the White House. Together with the First Lady, he handed out to the children packets containing Presidential M&Ms, orange White House Halloween cookies, and dried fruits prepared by his chef.

What's exciting about this occasion is that White House staff and personnel were dressed in Star Wars costumes. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was in a Darth Vader attire.