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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 6, 2016
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

A boom year for tourism?

Ninfa Leonardia Would you believe? A Manila Bulletin report said yesterday that Negros Occidental is second only to Boracay in the number of tourist arrivals in 2015. That includes both foreign tourists as well as domestic ones. And perhaps we can include also those balikbayans who come regularly, because most of them say they always miss their province. With the present enthusiasm of both Negros Provinces, now that they have merged into the Negros Island Region, or NIR, expect a greater number of arrivals this year.

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The report cited Boracay in Aklan, as having accounted for 1.73 million visitors while Negros Occidental had 1.16 million. Iloilo comes next with 1.06 million, Capiz with 163,212, Guimaras with 94,315, then Antique with 50,166. This year, therefore, promises a lot more, with the formerly separated provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental, drawing in more travelers, some of whom may even decide to stay here permanently. By the way, Negros Oriental is rated among the best provinces for retirees to live in.

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It is comforting to hear that the Philippines has the facilities and the manpower for quickly diagnosing the new health threat called Zika. That seems realistic, because we have been dealing with dengue for so many years and our hospitals and doctors seem to updated on its treatment. Since Zika is carried by the same mosquito that also causes Zika, which has stunned those living in other countries like Brazil, I suppose we have an advantage as far as diagnosing and treating Zika. Let's cross our fingers, though, that the virus doesn't get here.

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What do you think of the plan of Indonesia to penalize child abusers with chemical castration? The move came from the country's agency called the National Commission for Child Protection. The penalty is intended for “repeat” offenders, those who have been committing the crime repeatedly. It seems South Korea had adopted this punishment in 2011 yet, and two countries that may follow are Malaysia and India. The procedure is described as the injection of hormones on the offenders that will reduce their libido and sexual activity. Shouldn't our country study this, too?

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The Manila Bulletin, by the way, is marking its 116 th anniversary, and how young that makes us in the DAILY STAR, being only on our 34 th this year! We don't know if the MB had also gone through the vissicitudes that our STAR had to surmount, but of course, the MB had always been backed by some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the country. I felt a bit nostalgic looking at their front page photo yesterday featuring its officials and recognizing some old friends, like Pinky Colmenares once a fellow writer here, now MB executive editor, Carmen Suva, known to us as “Tita Ching” when she was head of the Malacañang Press Office and our Mother Hen during presidential state visits abroad.

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There was also Cris Icban, now MB editor-in-chief, who used to critique our work during Photojournalism classes at U.P., and Isabel de Leon, or “Abel” now MB news editor. Tita Ching, by the way, is now VP for Public Relations of the newspaper, and also used to hold that job at the Manila Hotel, while “Abel”, who was also a fellow traveler on those presidential trips, was also a frequent companion in the search for bargains in those countries we were covering. Ah, those good old days!

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The very innovative Toots Jimenez, who is now connected with the latest in buffet services, The Vikings, in Bacolod, gathered members of the Negros Bloggers Society yesterday to vet the special offerings of the eatery for its Valentine's Day celebration. With Toots and his very charming and helpful better-half, Mini, of the Javellana clan in Bago, it was indeed an enjoyable lunch we all had, enjoying the various offering of the resto, and “judging” as well as savoring the dessert specials so delicately iced and artistically presented.

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We all gaped at the post lunch presentation with exotic names that didn't sound like your typical desserts, since they included such novelties as spare ribs covered with orange and chocolate syrup, crabmeat muffins, and some that were actually vegetable salads set up to look like your common cathedral windows gels, but tasting much better. These, all nine sorts of them, will be offered on Valentine's Day, Toots said. For me, a treat as well was meeting again and old friend Dr. Maritel Ledesma, with whom there is never a dull moment when she is around. It was nice to see the chefs explaining what went into the mouth-watering creations that were pleasing to the eyes as well. Thanks, Toots, and congrats!*

 

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