• Tackles issues and development on the commercial industry.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015
Asia looks to innovation to achieve sustainability

Asia looks to innovation to achieve sustainability

Innovation in the fields of renewable energy, food production, water conservation, education and health will be crucial for the developing economies of Asia to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 17 SDGs, which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are slated to expire in 2015, are aimed at fostering economic growth, environmental protection and ending poverty by 2030.
“As economic growth rises in Asia, more concentration is going into value addition and innovation is the principle vehicle for that,” Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Dr. Francis Gurry tells IPS.
The Asian Development Outlook (ADO) Supplement, released late July, maintains the ADB’s April forecast of 6.2 per cent growth in 2014 and 6.4 per cent in 2015 for the region’s 45 developing economies.
“Clearly, there is a priority to make innovation work for sustainable development in these economies,” Gurry says.
Leading innovation performers in Asia include Japan, South Korea and Singapore, with China rapidly climbing up. Malaysia tops the middle-income countries’ category for innovation performance.
Quotable quote: Indeed, renewable energy is the Holy Grail in Asia and countries in the region will need to invest significantly in renewable energy technologies to meet the urgency of the climate change challenge
Amongst the other large Asian countries, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam have the potential to move up the ladder of innovation, according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014.
Co-author of the GII and executive director of INSEAD Global Indices, Bruno Lanvin, says, “It is a good sign that innovation is taking a front seat in the design and hopefully the implementation of the SDGs.
“Many Asian countries have already become surprising contenders, for instance, China has emerged as one of the main innovators in sectors like drones, civil aviation, biotechnology and telecommunications,” he tells IPS.
However, Lanvin warns that in these countries with large populations, “if innovation doesn’t translate into improving the lives of its people, it is failing somehow.”
Given the region’s dichotomies such as rapid urbanisation with large rural agricultural populations and extreme vulnerabilities to climate change with growing resource intensities, experts say that innovation must occur right across the economy, if it is to meet the SDGs.
For instance, slum populations in the developing world mushroomed from 650 million in 1990 to 863 million in 2012. More than half of these slum dwellers reside in Asia.
This situation is set to worsen, with Asia home to 56 per cent of the world’s biggest cities, including seven of the top 10 ‘megacities’, defined as urban centers with over 10 million residents.
“Our attention has to be on the ‘bottom of pyramid’ populations, both urban and rural, and innovations in technology and systems design have to cater to that segment,” New Delhi-based Zeenat Niazi, vice president of Development Alternatives Group and co-chair of Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), tells IPS.
“The challenges will be to reach to the geographically spread-out populations with informal and inconsistent income streams; and attract the private sector to partner with governments and community groups to invest in sustainable growth,” she added.
The Asian region is today fast becoming the hot bed of innovation on and off the field. Lanvin cites Tata’s Nano car in India as a good example of localized, affordable innovation, which Asia is going to need.
In his opinion, in the next decade the Nano will be regarded a success in terms of adapting manufactured equipment to specific conditions and bringing down the cost of production.
But he says, “If you want to be a successful innovator in the Asian region, you have to be a very large company like Tata or Huawei. If Asian countries could give themselves the means to allow successful small enterprises to bring innovation to the market, we would see a lot of frugal, path breaking innovation, especially in the field of renewable energy.”
Indeed, renewable energy is the Holy Grail in Asia and countries in the region will need to invest significantly in renewable energy technologies to meet the urgency of the climate change challenge – for instance, Asia-Pacific countries absorbed 80 per cent of the 366 billion dollars in damages caused by climate change in 2011, and many countries in the region are poised to absorb major food and energy shocks as a result of extreme weather patterns in the coming decade.
A new analysis by the market research company Frost & Sullivan entitled ‘Global Solar Power Markets’ estimates that the world solar photovoltaic (PV) market will be worth 137.02 billion dollars in 2020.
This year, global solar PV demand is dominated by the Asia-Pacific, which will account for approximately 46 percent of annual installed solar PV capacity. China, Japan, India and Australia will continue to be the top four countries driving regional demand.
With panel prices coming down drastically, Asian manufacturers are now looking at value chain integration and technical efficiencies to differentiate their products from other suppliers in the market, the analysis adds.
Increasing scarcity of water will also drive innovation in sustainable irrigation, water filtration and water recycling techniques.
“In Asia and the Pacific, where almost two billion people live on less than 2.50 dollars a day, innovation is essential for identifying solutions to persistent development challenges,” Caitlin Wiesen, manager of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) regional center in Bangkok, tells IPS.
To help countries achieve development goals, the UNDP has put in place a system for rapid prototyping and testing of potential solutions. Currently, it is testing 16 new ideas across Asia and the Pacific.
One such prototype is being tested in Bhutan. Jigme Dorji, acting head of the Poverty and MDG Unit at UNDP-Bhutan, is working with US-based Emerson College’s Engagement Lab, local techies and youth leaders to generate the content and develop an outreach strategy to maximise youth participation in a game that would engage all the stakeholders in a constructive dialogue about youth unemployment.
“We will evaluate the results of these prototypes and assist countries in turning the successful ones so they can achieve impact at scale,” Wiesen adds.
China, Vietnam, India, Malaysia and Thailand, are demonstrating rising levels of innovation because of improvements in institutional frameworks, a skilled labour force with expanded tertiary education, better innovation infrastructure, a deeper integration with global credit investment and trade markets, and a sophisticated business community – even though progress on these dimensions is not uniform across their economies, according to the GII report.
Many successful Asians, working as entrepreneurs with major global corporations and universities, are beginning to return to their home countries to nurture the next wave of innovations and create local jobs.
Adam Bumpus, assistant professor of Environment, Innovation and Development at the University of Melbourne, says, “There are a number of initiatives that are directly contributing to SDGs by increasingly linking countries in research and technology development. For example, the University of Melbourne is working on initiatives that link Australia, China, India and the US on innovation and climate change.”
“Secondly, there are opportunities to piggyback sustainable development initiatives by using existing technology in new innovative ways. In the Pacific we have been looking at the role of mobile phones for sustainable development priorities like climate change,” Bumpus tells IPS. (Source: www.eco-business.com/Photo courtesy by: Writework.com)

Monday, March 23, 2015
AES Corp plans to invest $2B in Philippines

AES Corp plans to invest $2B in Philippines

American power firm AES Corp (NYSE:AES) is planning to invest up to $2 billion in the Philippines to increase the capacity of its power plant and to develop a facility for power storage in the country.
AES Corp is allocating $1.2 billion for doubling its 600-MW coal-fired power plant capacity located in Masinloc in Zambales province of northwestern Philippines. The project has already got environmental clearance and now is on the final commercial stage. It is expected to be complete in three years’ time.
Along with the capacity augmentation of the power plant, the company is also planning to install a power storage facility in the central Visayas region. The Lithium ion battery equipped power storage facility will help normalize the energy situation in the power deficient central provinces. The cost of the project is tentatively pegged at $300 million which may go even further. The project is likely to complete within 12 to 18 months.
AES Corp has also invested $1 billion in rehabilitating a 630-megawatt thermal power plant in the country. it acquired in 2008 and is willing to expand. The current economic growth of the country along with forecasted annual economic growth of above 6% which necessitates an additional 2,500 megawatts of power by 2017 has prompted AES to make more investment in Philippines. For this end, it even moved its regional headquarters to Manila from Singapore last year.
This was disclosed by AES Corp president and chief executive Andres Gluski on the sideline of commerce secretary of the U.S. Penny Pritzker’s visit to Manila. Pritzker is on a three-country tour including Philippines to strengthen U.S. trade and economic ties in south Asia.
Representatives and chief executives of U.S. firms who are travelling with Pritzker, are also taking stock of the investment possibilities in power, telecommunications, health care, infrastructure projects and information technology sector in Philippines. (Written by Kelley Allen, Source: US Trade Media)

Philippines’ foreign direct investment jars at 79%
Bolstered by the more than triple increase in equity and reinvested earnings, the foreign direct investments in the Philippines rose 79% to $476 million, as disclosed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The volume of foreign equity investments came from the U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan, and was directed mainly to manufacturing, financial services, real estate, mining, and wholesale and retail companies.
Equity and reinvested yields jumped to $332 million from $90 million in the year-earlier period—more than offsetting the 19% on-year decline to $143 million of foreign companies' investments in debt securities. (MarketWatch)

How to become a Millionaire by Age 30
Getting rich and becoming a millionaire is a taboo topic. Saying it can be done by the age of 30 seems like a fantasy.
It shouldn't be taboo and it is possible. At the age of 21, I got out of college, broke and in debt, and by the time I was 30, I was a millionaire.
Here are the 10 steps that will guarantee you will become a millionaire by 30.
1. Follow the money. In today's economic environment you cannot save your way to millionaire status. The first step is to focus on increasing your income in increments and repeating that. My income was $3,000 a month and nine years later it was $20,000 a month. Start following the money and it will force you to control revenue and see opportunities.
2. Don't show off—show up! I didn't buy my first luxury watch or car until my businesses and investments were producing multiple secure flows of income. I was still driving a Toyota Camry when I had become a millionaire. Be known for your work ethic, not the trinkets that you buy.
3. Save to invest, don't save to save. The only reason to save money is to invest it.  Put your saved money into secured, sacred (untouchable) accounts. Never use these accounts for anything, not even an emergency. This will force you to continue to follow step one (increase income). To this day, at least twice a year, I am broke because I always invest my surpluses into ventures I cannot access.
4. Avoid debt that doesn't pay you. Make it a rule that you never use debt that won't make you money. I borrowed money for a car only because I knew it could increase my income. Rich people use debt to leverage investments and grow cash flows. Poor people use debt to buy things that make rich people richer.
5. Treat money like a jealous lover. Millions wish for financial freedom, but only those that make it a priority have millions. To get rich and stay rich you will have to make it a priority. Money is like a jealous lover. Ignore it and it will ignore you, or worse, it will leave you for someone who makes it a priority.
6. Money doesn't sleep. Money doesn't know about clocks, schedules or holidays, and you shouldn't either. Money loves people that have a great work ethic. When I was 26 years old, I was in retail and the store I worked at closed at 7 p.m. Most times you could find me there at 11 p.m. making an extra sale. Never try to be the smartest or luckiest person—just make sure you outwork everyone.
7. Poor make no sense. I have been poor, and it sucks. I have had just enough and that sucks almost as bad. Eliminate an any and all idea that being poor is somehow OK. Bill Gates has said, "If you're born poor, it's not your mistake. But if you die poor, it is your mistake."
8. Get a millionaire mentor. Most of us were brought up middle class or poor and then hold ourselves to the limits and ideas of that group. I have been studying millionaires to duplicate what they did. Get your own personal millionaire mentor and study them. Most rich people are extremely generous with their knowledge and their resources.
9. Get your money to do the heavy lifting. Investing is the Holy Grail in becoming a millionaire and you should make more money off your investments than your work. If you don't have surplus money you won't make investments. The second company I started required a $50,000 investment. That company has paid me back that $50,000 every month for the last 10 years. My third investment was in real estate, where I started with $350,000, a large part of my net worth at the time. I still own that property today and it continues to provide me with income. Investing is the only reason to do the other steps, and your money must work for you and do your heavy lifting.
10. Shoot for $10 million, not $1 million. The single biggest financial mistake I've made was not thinking big enough. I encourage you to go for more than a million. There is no shortage of money on this planet, only a shortage of people thinking big enough.
Apply these 10 steps and they will make you rich. Steer clear of people that suggest your financial dreams are born of greed. Avoid get-rich-quick schemes, be ethical, never give up, and once you make it, be willing to help others get there too. (Written by Grant Cardone, Source: Business Insider, Entrepreneur)

31 tennis buffs complete 17-day Tennis Clinic

31 tennis buffs complete 17-day Tennis Clinic

Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. led the awarding of certificates of completion to some 31 tennis buffs who underwent a 17-day Basic Tennis Clinic during the activity’s closing ceremonies held at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) on May 31, here.
The activity sponsored by the provincial government in cooperation with the Lingayen Tennis Club (LTC) provided the participants – 11 advance players and 20 beginner players – with basic lesson and skills in playing tennis.
Governor Espino, who exhorted the participants – mainly children — to pursue interest in tennis, said that his administration launched various programs for sports development which are intended to reawaken the consciousness of the younger generation to engage in sports.
“We have the best and pleasant sports facility, and we expect you to be the best. We renovated the NRSCC where you could enhance aptitude in sporting events, the Governor told the participants.
As he guaranteed support to lawn tennis – which according to him was his favorite sport when he was in the Philippine National Police and military service – he thanked the members of LTC and parents of the participants for being supportive of their children and other interested individuals.
The trainees undergone sessions with head coach and professional lawn tennis trainer George Bandola who taught them basic and proper techniques in the sport, Management Information Services Officer Modesto Singson said.
Lingayen Tennis Club President Delphin Jose Aquino, a teacher at the Pangasinan State University, on the other hand, cited the strong partnership between the LTC and the provincial government in honing more tennis enthusiasts in the province.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa suporta ni Gov. Espino para sa LTC at sa mga nagnanais matuto ng tennis,” he said.
Advance players who completed the training series include: JunJun Roboza, Coly Ian Reintar, Victor Ed Estira, Aira Fe De Vera, Evonne Pinto, Franz Gian Lee Estrada Ivan Paolo Estrada, Rizelle Diaz, Ronell Diaz, Noel Patrick dela Cena and Catherine Quizon.
 While beginner players were: John Michael Varon Dioso, Leopoldo Bataoil, Rosrick Samantilla, Kharvin Mamaril, Mary Margareth dela Cruz, Justin Paolo Santos, Zean Kules Santos, Zyrille Angelo Estira, Maria Shane Peralta, Neil Carlo Valencerina, Jann Philip Ocsan, Aldrin Carl Licudine, Mykee Paredes, Rhyle Justrey Gutierrez, Sheila Marie Samantilla, Hannahlle Joane Rufo, Mark Francis Bangsal, Jichel Rocel Belen, Josephine Mae dela Cena and Miguel Hans Puzon. /MGNO

How’s your speech working so far?

How’s your speech working so far?

Language as a conveyor of knowledge has huge effects upon the physical world. Mankind utilizes this in international communications, enabling people of different cultures and parts of the planet to forward information and positioning to one another. But unfortunately, communication skills have not kept pace with the means, and in some cases, have deteriorated leading to mediocrity.
Is this what we want for our future? Certainly not! Personalities have to engage before there is movement. We don’t take action if we are deficient of aptitude. We’ll never encounter excellence in that way.
A successful career, be it in academia, research or industry, is independent on the individual having scientific knowledge and the art of using them to best effect.
The skill is largely one of communication: through talking, listening, writing or reading; by way of body language; or through that mystical factor, interpersonal chemistry. Good communication skills are what separate the distinguished, from the good and from the indifferent. No one becomes a proficient typist overnight. Similarly, no one learns a foreign language without practicing consistently. The communication skills work if you work at using the skills. ‘Nuff said.
In this multifaceted universe, it is essential that everyone is capable of reading, writing and communicating in articulate and organized manner. Communication then, as a universal bonding agent, must be understood, for once the seeds of motivation have sprouted in our minds, we’ll flourish academically. How so?
In any form of business, communication is an internal as well as an external affair. The success of the business rests upon communication. To be a good communicator, you need to be a good speaker and a patient listener too. Without effective communication skills, a person may find it difficult to climb the corporate ladder.
The potential benefits of good communication skills are too many and various to go into here; they could even save your life at some point in the future. That’s why I am learning and finding out ways to put my skills to test every time because communication is really important in every walk of life, be it in making friends, in professional life, in talking to world in face and feeling confident.
I wrote this in an effort to share that it is only we who can make a difference in our lives. If we think we can, then we will be able to do so. Else as the saying goes: “Either you make the choice or the choice will make you”. So if everything else fails, remember that boundaries are everywhere and that we need to stay within the lines; never overstep our boundaries. Because amidst all ambiguity, one thing will always be certain: Your communication excellence will save you. (Louie dela Vega/FOCUS)
UN summit: Aquino calls for more investments from developed countries

President Benigno Aquino pushed for a worldwide investment from development countries so that developing countries can shift towards renewable energy from fossil-based sources of power, to help avert climate change.
 “I believe the challenge before us is to innovate on ways in which the transfer of useful technology and the building of climate-smart infrastructure might be achieved under a global unity of effort,” Aquino said.
Noting that the Philippines is on a “climate-smart development pathway”, Aquino said the Philippine Congress had passed its Renewable Energy Act in 2008.
“We continue to take steps to maintain and even improve our low-emission development strategy and the trajectory of our energy mix,” he said.
But much needed radical moves like investments must come from developed countries, Angela Ibay, climate and energy programme director of World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature-Philippines told Gulf News in Manila.
The Philippines, in particular, needs $12.4 billion over the next 16 years after its department of energy pledged to increase the Philippines renewable energy capacity from 5,400 to over 15,000 megawatts, Ibay said.
Citing lack of financing and technology for renewable energy, the Philippine government has approved the construction of no less than 20 new coal-plants which will begin operating in 2020. Although a world leader in geothermal energy, the Philippines has yet to tap solar, wind, mini hydro, modern biomass and ocean technology as sources of power.
Noting this, Ibay said: “We call on governments and business leaders to disinvest from carbon-intensive fossil fuels and to shift to renewable sources of clean energy. It’s time for world leaders especially from countries which emit the most carbon — to seriously commit to reducing emissions and scale up financial support for vulnerable countries to show that they truly mean business.”
“Climate mitigation looks at the reduction of global carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy sources plus energy efficient practices and technologies,” explained Ibay, adding that her group’s two-pronged solution to avert climate change must be adopted worldwide.
Anna Abad, a climate justice campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines, also said that President Aquino’s ongoing request for emergency power from Congress for more power production must be used to “remove obstacles to the mainstreaming of renewable energy in the Philippines”.
In his speech at the UN, Aquino said gas emissions from developed and industrialised countries were the source of climate change, one symptom of which is increasing intensity of storms and typhoons that have hit the Philippines — such as the four-grade Typhoon Haiyan that killed almost 7,000 displaced 15 million and left six million jobless in central Luzon in November 2013.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that Filipinos bear a disproportionate amount of the burden when it comes to climate change,” said Aquino.
French President Francois Hollande pledged $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in the coming years to help developing countries to invest in green energy. Stressing a much needed radical move from developed countries, Hollande added that other developed countries must follow suit.
This helped jump-start one of the ambitious aims of the UN summit which is to increase international funding and help developing countries go into renewable energy and help avert climate change.

More than 140 countries joined the UN Climate Summit to agree on how to reduce carbon emissions; limit the rise in global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius; and end global deforestation. (Source: gulfnews.com)
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Philippines moves up 7 notches in Global Competitiveness Index

Philippines moves up 7 notches in Global Competitiveness Index

The Philippines has moved up seven points in the 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) report of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Malacañang announced on Wednesday.
“This affirms that the Aquino administration’s good governance programs have established the solid macroeconomic foundations upon which long-term inclusive growth may be attained,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing at the Palace.
The Philippines has advanced to rank 52nd (out of 140 countries) from the 59th place last year.
“This achievement indicates that the Philippines is well-poised to attain its objective of being in the top third (or rank 42nd) by 2016,” Coloma added.
According to the GCI report of the WEF, “The country’s gain of 33 places since 2010 is the largest over that period among all countries studied. The results suggest that the reforms of the past four years have bolstered the country’s economic fundamentals. The trends across most of the 12 pillars are positive, and in some cases truly remarkable.”
The GCI measures the competitiveness of 144 economies based on more than 100 factors grouped into 12 pillars.
Coloma added that the country has a good ranking in the following pillars: institutions (ranked 67th); business sophistication (46th); financial market development (49th); innovation (52nd); and government efficiency (69th).
The other pillars are macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training; goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, technological readiness, market size, and infrastructure.
However, the country’s rating on infrastructure is considered poor, especially with respect to airport and seaport infrastructure.
“The government acknowledges that the biggest area of improvement is still infrastructure and this is being addressed with the launching of major projects that are being implemented by using the public-private partnerships mode,” said Coloma. (PCOO/PND (ag 

5 reasons to start a company in the Philippines

The Southeast Asia is a key player when it comes to startups. It’s a market of 600 million people, a third of which in one country alone, with 17000 islands. But the Philippines is a stand out.
It’s a fast-growing middle-class region, with 24% of the Philippine population in this category as of 2013. Dubbed as the social media and selfie capital of the world by Times, Philippines has the fastest smartphone penetration.
You’re not alone to find it difficult to position this land on a map, as it is still quite unexplored by many. The opportunity to launch a business in the country is huge. Here are 5 good reasons to start up a business in the country:
It’s more fun in the Philippines!
This official campaign of the tourism board of the Philippines says quite a lot. The entrepreneurial spirit of Asians is truly infectious.
The Philippines is an amazing melting-pot of an Asian-Pacific set of islands, which has been conquered by the Spanish, freed from the Japanese later on by the Americans, and with a huge diaspora across the world.
The result is a very social and friendly culture, where karaoke, laughter and time for friends are omnipresent. As innovation often comes from diversity, you could not dream of a country with more different faces and cultures and acquiescence to new changes.
Growth is firm in the Philippines!
With the second best performing economy of Asia behind China, the Philippines is doing well. Their GDP recorded 6.5% growth in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 7.7% for China (IBT)
The exports of the country are also amazing, with the top chunk held by Electronic products, far beyond the bananas people think too often of.
The stock market also increased its main index by 61% over the last two years.
It’s archeologically empire-building in the Philippines!
If the history of the Silicon Valley or Israel is better known than the one of the Philippines, you can still find a lot of examples testifying their entrepreneurial spirit:
The country opened its Asia’s first University back in 1611. The University of Santo Tomas was set up by the Catholic, and it is still boasting some 42000 students as of 2013.
It carved the first rice terraces some 2000 years ago with an advanced irrigation system to drive water from the rainforests.
It resisted the Spanish invasion, with Lapu-Lapu, the omni-present soldier statue you can see in Cebu Island, being then recognized as “the first Filipino”, back in the 16th century.
It survived wars and typhoons, and has rebuilt the country after each catastrophe.
It is preparing a Startup Bill which many compares to a move as bold as the one made by Chile a few years ago (with Startup Chile being now a world famous program for foreign entrepreneurs).
It’s innovative in the Philippines!
The local startup scene in the Philippines is recognized to be leading innovation in two important fields:
Bitcoin and crypto-currencies, as the regulations are light when it comes to these new virtual currencies, and as their huge diaspora need a better way to send money back home. A few American startup-ers came intently to know how the Philippines bitcoin community was faring.
Social enterprise, as 62% of the population lives with less than three dollar per day. This population, called “the bottom of the pyramid”, is often referred to as a market as people there still have ways to consume goods and services. A social enterprise such as Rags to Riches in Manila, offers an e-commerce platform for craft made by remote populations.
These two fields are key innovation drivers where the Philippines can lead the way.
The startup network is vigorous in the Philippines!
The Philippines has its own main tech event and international hackathons and competition such as Seedstars World or AngelHack, training and mentoring centers. The Digital ICT Congress in Pangasinan is now on its 4th year tapping huge universities and institution in the entire province.
It’s definitely vivifying to visit the tech scenes of the Philippines, both in Cebu, and Pangasinan, an island better known for its nature spots.
With a unique positioning between Asia, the Pacific, and the United States, this is a big 100 million people country not to forget about. (Louie dela Vega/FOCUS)
Henry Sy still Forbes’ Philippines’ richest
Mall magnate Henry Sy remains to be the wealthiest Filipino, according to Forbes magazine’s The Philippines 50 Richest List for 2014.

With a net worth of US$12.7 billion, the 89-year-old Sy held the top spot for the 7th straight year. His worth increased by $700 million from last year, thanks largely to the rising share prices of his mall and banking businesses.
Following Sy was tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan, who also retained his place. Tan, 80, has a net worth of $6.1 billion.
Port and casino tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., 54, climbed one place, making him the third richest, with a net worth of $5.2 billion.
The aggregate wealth of the 50 richest people in the Philippines reached $74.2 billion in 2014, up 12% from $65.8 billion in 2013.
Forbes said this year’s list reflected two driving forces in the Philippine economy: construction and consumption. Riding on these were former senator Manuel Villar of mall developer Starmalls and DMCI Holdings’ David Consunji. Villar’s net worth reached $1.46 billion, making him the 14th richest man in the country, while Consunji grabbed the 6th spot, with a net worth of $3.9 billion.
New names made it to the list, among them: Ricardo Po of Century Pacific group, Dean Lao of D&L Industries, the Concepcion family of RFM Corporation, and pawnshop titan P.J. Lhuillier of Cebuana Lhuillier.
The minimum amount required to be included in the list was $170 million, up from $105 million in 2013.
See how the country’s richest grew – or lost some of – their wealth (in million US dollars) in 2014, and how they fared since 2006 at forbes.com/philippines-billionaires
Philippine economy picks up in second quarter
The Philippine economy grew faster than expected in the three months to June, figures have shown, expanding by 6.4% from a year earlier.

Most analysts had forecast growth for the period to come in at 6.1%, and the figure was up on the growth of 5.6% seen in the first quarter of the year.
Growth was boosted by consumer spending and the manufacturing sector.
Overall, the data showed the nation's economy growing up at its fastest pace in more than a year.
We just recently approved our legislation that will now open up the banking sector completely to foreign investment of up to 100%”, says Cesar Purisima, Philippine Finance Secretary.
\Weaker government spending in the April-to-June quarter affected the country's important services sector, but an expansion in exports - together with growth in the nation's agricultural sector - contributed to the positive economic report.
"We are pleased with the result," the country's finance secretary, Cesar Purisima, told the BBC, "even if it is a little bit below our forecast range."
Mr Purisima said he believed the nation's full-year growth target of between 6.5% and 7.5% was still in range.
The Philippines is a popular investment destination but it has been criticised over issues including government corruption and difficulties associated with doing business in the country.
But Mr Purisima said recent structural and financial reforms should pave the way for better business confidence and greater foreign investment.
"We just recently approved our legislation that will now open up the banking sector completely to foreign investment of up to 100%," he explained.
The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in South East Asia together with Malaysia. (Source: BBC News)
Indian weddings in Philippines, anyone?

How about an exotic Indian wedding on the fine white sand beaches in the Philippines with the ocean waves lapping gently beside? The Philippines is planning to promote its beach resorts as a wedding destination, complete with all arrangements, including visa facilitation for guests, in order to boost tourism from India.
"We are keen to promote the Philippines as a wedding destination, especially Cebu and Boracay. We are putting together packages for Indian weddings, that would include hotels, organising the event and facilitating visas for guests," Verna Covar-Buensuceso, director market development of tourism department, told a visiting group of Indian journalists here.
In order to promote wedding tourism, the tourism department is working out packages and is in talks with interested parties, he said.
The Philippines is also keen to promote its pretty islands for Bollywood filmmakers to shoot their films in and hold its glitzy awards functions, he said.
"We want to promote the Philippines for shoots. We brought a lot of Bollywood producers here for talks. We are at present in talks with some Indian film producers to hold shootings here," said Verna.
On promoting the Southeast Asian island country located in the western Pacific Ocean as a wedding destination, the official said "we are sitting with a wedding planner for Indian weddings".
Some Indians have held weddings in Cebu, an island province in the Philippines comprising several islands. Boracay is a small island in the Philippines located approximately 315 km south of Manila.
He said they would provide visa facilitation for around 500 guests from India for a wedding. Of the 52,000 Indians who visited the Philippines in 2013, just 17,000 of them were tourists, he said.
The Philippines is deliberating on providing visa on arrival to Indians, which, if agreed to, would help to boost tourism.
One major hindrance to increasing tourism flows between the two countries is the lack of direct flights. Philippines Airlines discontinued its direct flight programme to India some years ago after the route failed to prove economically viable.
Now, the Jet Airways and the Philippines Airlines are in talks to revive direct flights between the two countries, he said.
Among the countries which send the largest number of tourists to this former Spanish colony and later American colony are the US, which sends over 700,000 tourists a year, followed by China, which sends 500,000 tourists a year. Europeans constitute 11 percent of the total tourist arrivals, comprising 400,000, he said.
Manila is busy upgrading its infrastructure in preparation for next year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. With frequent traffic jams proving a constant irritant to motorists and tourists alike, the Philippine authorities are "speeding up the traffic infrastructure", said the official. This would include skyways on top of main roads and linking of highways and access roads to the airport, he added. (Source: Business Standard/Photo courtesy of Asleylangford.net)

Breeze pays tribute to hardworking hero moms with nationwide 1 Laba Day
Celebrating the heroes of the home, Breeze treated more than 19,000 hardworking moms across the Philippines to a day of rest, games and exciting surprises at the first-ever 1 Laba Day. The leading detergent brand took care of their laundry chores, washing a total of 481,536 clothes, in a series of events held simultaneously in multiple barangays in Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Batangas, Cebu, and Davao.
Celebrity moms and surprise guests, including Sige Moms Christine Bersola-Babao, Gladys Reyes and Dimples Romana, headlined the nationwide events. At Barangay Commonwealth in Quezon City, radio DJ Laila Chikadora also kept the crowd entertained with her witty jokes and led the fun bingo games where moms won bicycles, skateboards, inflatable swimming pools and other toys for their children. These prizes were meant to encourage moms to be Sige Moms who let their kids play and go on exciting adventures. 
While the moms enjoyed their day off from doing the laundry, Breeze Laba Ladies and Laba Machines, sponsored by campaign partners Electrolux, LG, Whirlpool and White Westinghouse, took care of washing their clothes.
“We know how hardworking our mommies are, spending as much as three to four hours a day doing the laundry. Today, Breeze is taking care of washing their clothes so they can have some time for themselves and to have fun, as our way of thanking them and recognizing their admirable efforts,” said Mara Banson, Breeze brand manager.
“As part of the Circle of Sige Moms, our job is to encourage mommies to allow their kids to be kids, even if it means getting dirty or having stained clothes,” said Christine. “When we say yes to playing and going on adventures, we say yes to our children’s intellectual, emotional and physical growth.”
“My daughter Callie is very artsy and likes working with her hands. We love baking and often, we’d be covered in icing and food color of every hue,” said Sige Mom Dimples. “But I’m glad I allowed her to do that, because it’s very fulfilling when you see your child achieve great things because you allow them to do their own thing and pursue their passions.”
“Being a mom is a 24/7 job,” added Sige Mom Gladys. “But because we have a dependable partner in Breeze, doing the laundry becomes easier and effortless. We can spend less time on washing clothes and have more time for ourselves and our family.”
1 Laba guarantee
Boasting of a revolutionary formulation, Breeze with ActivBleach empowers mommies everywhere to take on their endless tasks, removing even the toughest of stains in just one wash. Safe for both white and colored clothes, Breeze has a four-enzyme technology that removes more types of stains and a patented whitening technology that delivers visible whiteness in just one wash. 
Breeze with ActivBleach is also the first and only detergent brand with melamine perfume encapsulation technology that blooms in wash and bursts in wear, making sure that clothes keep smelling clean and fresh even when worn. It even has a unique active system for better foam profile and quicker lather, plus percarbonate TAED bleach that takes out bleachable stains without harming the environment. 
From September 1 to 7, mommies can also win a washing machine from Breeze in the Breeze 1Laba Challenge promo. To join, participants simply need to like the official Breeze Facebook page www.facebook.com/breezephilippines and look for the 1 Laba Day status update. They should then leave a comment on the post, with a photo of themselves doing the 1 Laba pose holding a Breeze pack and using the hashtag #Breeze1Laba.
Take on millions of stains in just one wash with Breeze with ActivBleach, available in three sizes at supermarkets and groceries nationwide: 70g, 700g and 1450g packs. (Press Release)

Get your fruit fix

Get your fruit fix

If the produce at the supermarket looks like it’s seen better days this time of the year, hit the other aisles. The Journal of the Science of Food Agriculture found that canned and fresh peaches had similar levels of antioxidants; folate; vitamins A, C, and E; and other nutrients.
Often higher in fiber than fresh varieties, dried fruit is ideal for snacking and a great source of instant energy. But it’s also higher in sugar and easy to overeat, so make sure to practice portion control.
Squeeze pouches
Fruit purees make it simple to get your recommended daily allowances on the go. Look for 100 percent-fruit varieties without high-fructose corn syrup or preservatives.
These chewy strips of dried, pureed fruit may have added sugar, but as long as it isn’t the first ingredient, they’re a healthy alternative to candy.
They are often flash-frozen in the field, which locks in nutrients, and are sometimes even healthier than fresh produce that’s been tucked across the country. Add them to smoothies or muffins. 
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