Hazel Andrea-Stuart meets the Governor

Hazel Andrea-Stuart, the Bacolod-based British TV documentary film-maker, presented Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr on Monday with her latest film on the Philippines.

Hazel Andrea-Stuart, the Bacolod-based British TV documentary film-maker, presented Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr on Monday with her latest film on the Philippines.

Under the theme ‘A grain  of sand’, since 1998 Mrs Stuart has made 50 documentary films, at her own expense, highlighting the country’s beauty and diversity. Her latest production features the Western Visayas.

Her films have won numerous awards including five prestigious International Communicator Awards. In 2007 she was presented with the distinguished Tourism Award for helping to promote Region V1 in the Visayas as a tourist destination.

Mrs Stuart was one of one of eight recipients of the recent Negros Daily Bulletin’s ‘Outstanding Citizens of Negros’ awards for her significant contribution to Philippines tourism.

 

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Kiddies take up Masterchef challenge

(l-r) Proud parents John and Shangrila Chua with birthday celebrators Dian and Dianne Chua and lola Emma Chua

(l-r) Proud parents John and Shangrila Chua with birthday celebrators Dian and Dianne Chua and lola Emma Chua

It was a birthday party with a difference. Scores of children converged on the Pearl Manor Skills Academy in Bacolod City on Saturday for a Kiddies’ Masterchef-themed party for birthday celebrators siblings Dian and Dianne Chua. Dianne turned 10 and brother Dian 12.

Pearl Manor Skills Academy director chef Shangrila Chua gives a few tips to the pizza making class

Pearl Manor Skills Academy director chef Shangrila Chua gives a few tips to the pizza making class

For the girls, there was an opportunity to try out their skills icing cupcakes under the supervision of Academy Director chef Shangrila Chua.

Meanwhile the boys tackled pizza making from preparing the dough to choosing their own distinctive toppings. They worked under the watchful eyes of Italian chef Carmine Pece and local chef Peter Ibañez.

Eight year-old Jadon Kilayko was awarded the most interesting pizza by Italian chef Carmine Pece. Looking on is Pearl Manor Skills Academy director chef Shangrila Chua

Eight year-old Jadon Kilayko was awarded the most interesting pizza by Italian chef Carmine Pece. Looking on is Pearl Manor Skills Academy director chef Shangrila Chua

But unlike the TV Masterchef there were no outright winners. Every child was recognized with a certificate ranging from the most colourful to the most interesting effort in their respective categories.

Would-be chefs getting ready for icing the cupcakes

Would-be chefs getting ready for icing the cupcakes

The Pearl Manor Skills Academy will be running culinary training classes for children every Saturday during the summer season. For information, parents should call Academy director chef Shangrila Chua on 435 0506.

Surviving a Hotel Fire

In all my years of traveling, I was fortunate never to encounter a hotel fire.

One guest died in this 2011 West Virginia hotel  fire. It was an old building with no sprinkler system

One guest died in this 2011 West Virginia hotel fire. It was an old building with no sprinkler system

As the experts say, the likelihood of a hotel fire is very small and, if you follow some simple rules, the likelihood of getting hurt is also very small.

But if you do get caught in a fire, you’ve got one thing to count on for survival – yourself. Like it or not, it’s up to you to get out or to stay alive – for hours perhaps – until firefighters reach you.

There are many disasters over which you have no control like an earthquake or a flood, but it’s different with a fire. You can take control if you follow a few tried and true procedures.

After you check in and get to your room, investigate the safety features. Locate the fire alarms, extinguishers and exits nearest exit to your room. If you are able to open your window, practice opening and closing it.

Count the doors between your room and exits, making note of any landmarks such as an ice machine that could help you locate the

One guest died in this 2011 West Virginia hotel  fire. It was an old building with no sprinkler system

One guest died in this 2011 West Virginia hotel fire. It was an old building with no sprinkler system

exit in smoke. If you find the fire doors locked – they shouldn’t be – complain immediately to the hotel’s management.

Find out how to shut off your room air-conditioning.

Study the building evacuation plan behind the entrance door to your room and behind the bathroom door.

Always keep your room key with you. Once you’re in the room at night, put your key in a place where you can find it easily, even in the dark. If you are awakened by loud voices or alarms in the night, investigate. Don’t go back to sleep.

If there is a fire and it’s not in your room and you are able to leave follow these rules:

With key in hand, feel the door and door knob. If cool, open slowly checking the hall for smoke or fire.

If safe, leave the room and close the door behind you. Crawl down the hall to the exit using the landmarks you noticed on your way in and count the number of doors as you go past. Stay low to avoid smoke and harmful gases. When moving towards the exit, stay close to the wall on the fire exit side of the hallway.

Keep your room key with you as you may have to return to the room if exits are unusable.

Never use an elevators during a fire. They may take you directly to the fire floor.

Hopefully, firefighters will be on the scene quickly

Hopefully, firefighters will be on the scene quickly

When you reach the exit walk slowly downstairs holding onto the handrail. People running down the stars may knock you over and you may not be able to get back up.

If you find thicker smoke as you descend, do not try and run through it. Instead, turn round and go back either to your room or to the roof. When you get to the roof stay put. Firefighters check the roofs of tall buildings where there’s a fire.

If there’s a fire not in your room, but you cannot leave follow these rules:

If the phone works, call for help. Even if the fire department has arrived, call to tell them where you are. If possible, hang a sheet out of the window to help firemen locate you.

Fill the tub with water and wet sheets, towels and mats to stuff in cracks of doors to help keep smoke out. Using an ice bucket, bail out water from the tub onto a hot door to help keep it cool.

Tie a wet towel around your nose and mouth to serve as a filter against the smoke. Turn off the air-conditioning and ventilation fans as they may draw smoke into the room.

Open windows for ventilation only if smoke is in your room. If smoke approaches your window from outside, close the window immediately. Don’t break a window because you may need to close it again.

If there are flames outside your window, pull down curtains and other flammable items which might feed the flames.

Many seasoned travelers pack a small flashlight in their luggage in case they have to evacuate a hotel in the dark. Some even bring duck tape which can be very effective around doors to stop smoke coming into the room.

Newer hotels should have up-to-date fire systems. But, apart from knowing what to do in the event of a fire, the greatest precaution you can tale is to make sure you don’t start the fire in the first place. So be careful with lighted cigarettes and electrical appliances like hair dryers.

Negros Occidental Garden Club

Peps Remito, president of the Negros Occidental Garden Club, inducted five new members into the club at its monthly meeting at the Pavillon Hotel in Bacolod City on Saturday. Inducted were (l-r) Olive Fos, Jean Visitacion, Bertha Galindo with sponsor Necena Ong; Mary Joy Halipa, Lily Go with sponsor Vicki Sherratt; club president Peps Remitio and club membership chair Daphne Javelosa.

Peps Remito, president of the Negros Occidental Garden Club, inducted five new members into the club at its monthly meeting at the Pavillon Hotel in Bacolod City on Saturday. Inducted were (l-r) Olive Fos, Jean Visitacion, Bertha Galindo with sponsor Necena Ong; Mary Joy Halipa, Lily Go with sponsor Vicki Sherratt; club president Peps Remitio and club membership chair Daphne Javelosa.

 

Negros Occidental Garden Club January birthday celebrators at the club's monthly meeting at the Pavillon Hotel in Bacolod City on Saturday (l-r) Robert Harland; Bi-eng Ong; Marietta Laguardia; Glo Tajanlangit; Emma Montinola; Ivy Visitacion, Ma. Alodia Eliza; Ilde Guerrero; Yoly Vidad

Negros Occidental Garden Club January birthday celebrators at the club's monthly meeting at the Pavillon Hotel in Bacolod City on Saturday (l-r) Robert Harland; Bi-eng Ong; Marietta Laguardia; Glo Tajanlangit; Emma Montinola; Ivy Visitacion, Ma. Alodia Eliza; Ilde Guerrero; Yoly Vidad

Across the seas. Ratka Swartz from Rittman, Ohio, is visiting Negros this month. She joined her sister Ruska Gamboa, wife of the late Roy Gamboa, former vice governor of Negros del Norte and Occidental, at the Negros Occidental Garden Club's monthly meeting on Saturday at the Pavilion Hotel in Bacolod City. This is Mrs Swartz's third visit to Negros.

Across the seas. Ratka Swartz from Rittman, Ohio, is visiting Negros this month. She joined her sister Ruska Gamboa, wife of the late Roy Gamboa, former vice governor of Negros del Norte and Occidental, at the Negros Occidental Garden Club's monthly meeting on Saturday at the Pavilion Hotel in Bacolod City. This is Mrs Swartz's third visit to Negros.

 

No sporting icon has ever matched the popularity of the man from Louisville who was as brilliant outside the ring as he was in it

 

Alan Hubbard

Alan Hubbard

 

Muhammad Ali celebrated his 70th birthday this week

Muhammad Ali celebrated his 70th birthday this week

Muhammad Ali was 70 on Tuesday, yet even though the dancing years have ebbed away and the famous shuffle is no longer a dazzling quickstep but a distressingly slow wobble, he remains the most recognisable human being on earth, and among the best-loved.

When he told the world he was The Greatest, we believed him, because he surely was. Perhaps not the greatest boxer ? Ali himself always ackknowledged that Sugar Ray Robinson held that title ? but when the argument turrns to who is the greatest sports figure in history, it is no contest.

There has only ever really been one Lord of the Rings. “Parachute me into High Street, China,” he once said at his zenith, “and every kid would know who I am.”

I was fortunate enough to travel the world with the phenomenon who so ennobled his art that his act as the undisputed heavyweight champion has proved impossible to follow.

Sport’s biggest irony is that the greatest orator it has known is now reduced to a mumble, the face that launched a thousand quips partially paralysed, like much of his body, through Parkinson’s Syndrome, the nerve-numbing condition from which his housepainter father died, but which in Ali’s case was surely exacerbated by 10 fights too many.

His birthday will be marked by a big bash in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, at the downtown cultural centre and museum that bears his name. Another tribute is planned for Las Vegas, the scene of so many of his triumphs, and sadly of his eventual demise.

In 50 years of covering sport, there have been moments when I have been tempted to shed a tear but only once have I ever done so. That was on the night of 2 October 1980 in the car park of Caesars Palace, where an 18,000 crowd assembled for what was to prove Ali’s penultimate fight.

It was the night that an icon disintegrated before our eyes as Ali, a 38-year-old robotic shell of the sublime athlete of his heyday, suffered a savage beating that even his opponent, Larry Holmes, was reluctant to administer, repeatedly beckoning to a dispassionate referee to end his erstwhile idol’s agonising humiliation. Even the media were pleading “stop it, stop it” amid counter-cries from some in the Ali entourage fearful of losing their meal ticket.

It was Ali’s career-long cornerman Angelo Dundee who finally defied them. “I am the chief second and I stop the fight,” he yelled to the referee, a dull-eyed Ali slumped on his stool at the end of the 10th round. It was too late to save Ali’s career, but it probably saved his life.

Ali had reigned in an age when boxing crowns were not tawdry bits of bling. He turned it into an art form, making a ballet out of brutality.

Being a sportswriter around him was bliss. We were never short of a storyline. Once, back in the 1970s, on arriving to interview him in Dublin, we discovered that Ali was flu-stricken and being attended by a doctor in his hotel bedroom. We explained to Dundee that all we wanted was to talk to Ali for 10 minutes. “No chance,” came the reply. “He never talks to anyone for less than an hour.” He phoned Ali’s room and winked. “Hey guys, the champ says go on up.” We emerged two hours later, notebooks overflowing.

Not that Ali was a saint. A serial womaniser, he had a darker side which surfaced after he became champion and a member of Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam movement ? perhaps understandably considering the past injusttices to black people by white America. Having been barred from a local fast-food restaurant because of his colour, when he returned from Rome after winning the Olympic light-heavyweight title in 1960 he placed his gold medal on the counter and ordered a hamburger. “We still don’t serve niggers,” he was told. “That’s OK,” the then Cassius Clay is said to have cheekily replied. “I don’t eat ’em.”

But there is no longer a trace of malice in him. Throughout his illness he has never had an ounce of self-pity, and he is as generous with his time as he is with his money. “Whenever you see him, you just want to hug him,” says one of his seven daughters, Hana.

I know what she means. I shared a hug with Ali not so long ago, and was again close to tears when he placed a trembling hand on my shoulder and leaned down to whisper: “It ain’t the same any more, is it?”

Ali hasn’t floated like a butterfly or stung like a bee for over 30 years but he is still in there fighting, perversely outliving the majority of his 50 opponents, among them Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and Henry Cooper, whose left hook back in 1963 came within a split second, or a split glove, of changing the course of boxing history.

The Greatest!

The Greatest!

Perhaps the most pertinent birthday tribute comes from Dundee, himself now 90. “Muhammad was great outside the ring, he was great inside it. Right now there is nobody out there to turn people on like he did.

“It is unfair to try and compare anybody with him because he’s a once-in-a-lifetime guy. There’ll never be another Muhammad Ali.”

Rome 1960: A golden future

A brash 18-year-old Cassius Marcellus Clay Jnr wins the Olympic light-heavyweight title, defeating Polish opponent Zbigniew Pietrzykowski in the final and showing early signs of the uniquely flamboyant, fast-fisted style that was to become his hallmark. He was so proud of his gold medal, he didn’t take it off for two days. Born on 17 January 1942, the younger of two brothers (Rudolph Valentino Clay was later to box as Rahman Ali) he was named after the 19th Century slave abolitionist and politician, and brought up as a Baptist. As a 12-year-old, Clay had taken up boxing on the advice of a white Louisville police officer, Joe Martin, after saying he wanted to “whup” the thief who had stolen his bicycle. He went on to win two national Golden Gloves titles, recording 100 wins and five losses. In an early biography he claimed he threw his Olympic medal into the Ohio River in disgust after being refused service at a “whites only” restaurant. He later admitted he actually lost it and was given a replacement during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where he lit the flame in one of the most moving moments in the history of the Games.

Champion of the world

When, aged 22, he beat the Mafia-run Sonny Liston, an ageing but seemingly invincible ogre in Miami in 1964, he indeed “shocked the world” twice, first by forcing Liston to retire on his stool after the sixth round and then announcing that Cassius Clay (“my slave name”) was no more and he accepted the teachings of Islam and Malcolm X’s influence. “Until then”, Angelo Dundee said, “I always thought Muslim was a piece of cloth.”

Return of the draft-dodger

Banned, stripped of his title and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in early 1967 for refusing the Vietnam draft (“I ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet Cong ? they never called me nigger”) Ali’s licence was finally resttored after a three-and-a-half-year exile in which he lectured in mosques and colleges. With a new anti-war mood sweeping the United States, the Supreme Court reversed his conviction ? he never did go to jail ? and Ali was free at at last to exercise his civil rights, and some uncivil lefts, against Jerry Quarry in Atlanta in 1970. Fight night was like a scene from Porgy and Bess as Georgia’s black community hailed the returning hero, a pugilistic Pied Piper who had hundreds of kids scampering in his wake wherever he went. Quarry was a quality opponent but Ali had lost little of his speed and sharpness, his slicing punches bringing a third-round stoppage on cuts. He had one more win, against Oscar Bonavena, before Smokin’ Joe Frazier, who had become champion and helped him with cash handouts in the lean years, became the first man to beat him, in Madison Square Garden’s “Fight of the Century” in 1971.

The Rumble in the Jungle

Ali’s eighth-round knockout of another ogre, fellow Olympic champion George Foreman, in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire, remains one of the most magical episodes in sport. “Oh my God, he’s won the world title back at 32,” declared the BBC commentator Harry Carpenter as Ali’s right hand sent Foreman corkscrewing to the floor, with an 80,000 crowd chanting “Ali bombaye” (Ali kill him). All through the fight Ali employed his “rope-a-dope”, leaning back into the ropes that were purposely slackened by Dundee to absorb Foreman’s thunderous body blows. “That your best shot, George?” he challenged a befuddled Foreman, who Dundee correctly predicted would “blow up like an old bull elephant”. As he was counted out at around 3.30am the heavens opened and the ringside became a raging torrent. Ali had been re-born as dawn broke over Africa, a renaissance that was commemorated in the award-winning film When We Were Kings while Norman Mailer wrote a book about it simply called The Fight.

The Thrilla in Manila

Thrilla in Manila. The 1975 Ali Frazier flight

Thrilla in Manila. The 1975 Ali Frazier flight

It was, said Ali, “the closest thing to dyin'” after the epic they called “The Thrilla in Manila”. Ali, on the point of exhaustion, collapsed with relief when, in the last of their celebrated trilogy, Joe Frazier, bloodied, bruised and half-blind, was forcibly retired on his stool by compassionate trainer Eddie Futch with just three minutes left of an all-time classic in which boxing’s most bitter rivals had punched much of the hate out of each other.

The third coming

A packed Superdome in New Orleans witnessed the “third coming” of boxing’s messiah in 1978. Having lost his title to Leon Spinks, a gap-toothed tyro of only seven pro fights ? although, like himself, an Olympic light-heeavyweight champion ? Ali became the first to regain the belt three times. He admitted he undertrained for Spinks, and underrated him, for their first fight in which he was strangely lackadaisical, but the return saw him floating and stinging again, just like the old days.

Gift of the jab: Memorable quotes

‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see’

‘It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila’

‘Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wildlife’

‘I said a lot of things in the heat of the moment that I shouldn’t have said. Called him [Frazier] names I shouldn’t have called him. I apologise for that. I’m sorry. It was all meant to promote the fight’

‘If you sign to fight me, you need speed and endurance but what you need most is to increase your insurance’

‘Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up’

‘Nobody has to tell me that this is a serious business. I’m not fighting one man. I’m fighting a lot of men, showing a lot of ’em, here is one man they couldn’t defeat. My mission is to bring freedom to 30 million black people’

‘If he [Henry Cooper] gives me jive, he’ll fall in five’

‘I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and got into bed before the room was dark’

Alan Hubbard is an award-winning British sports columnist for The Independent on Sunday, and a former sports editor of The Observer. He has covered a total of 16 Summer and Winter Olympics, 10 Commonwealth Games, several football World Cups and world title fights from Atlanta to Zaire.

Putting Negros on the marmalade map

Preparations are well underway for the 7th World’s Original Marmalade Awards to be held at the historic Dalemain Estate in England’s

Calamansi marmalade with brandy

Calamansi marmalade with brandy

Lake District in February.

And British resident and former Manila Club chef Robert Harland is hoping to put Negros on the international marmalade map with his entry of a special calamansi marmalade with brandy.

“I had heard that one can make a very decent marmalade using calamansi so I decided to have a go”, he said from his home in Bacolod City. “It was excellent, and I decided to add some brandy to give it extra bite.

Potted and ready for the competition

Potted and ready for the competition

“My marmalade will be entered in the international category, but competition promises to be fierce with marmalades coming in from many parts of the world”, he added.

Last year’s international winner lives in the British Virgin Islands. Harland’s entry will be the first ever from the Philippines.

A distinguished panel of experts will judge the entries including leading British jam maker and author Pam Corbin; Walter Scott, boss of top UK preserve company Wilkin & Sons and cookery editor and chef Sarah Randell.

The judges will be searching for the ‘World’s Best’ marmalade. They will also be giving constructive criticism in their bid to improve marmalade making around the world.

Robert Harland presents Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon with the first jar of the local Calamansi marmalade

Robert Harland presents Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon with the first jar of the local Calamansi marmalade

Last year the organizers received a record 1,100 entries and more are expected this year. The 2011 ‘Best in Show’ award went to British Environment Minister Lord Henley with his family’s traditional orange recipe.

Calamansi marmalade with brandy

Calamansi marmalade with brandy

His Lordship’s citrusy concoction is now being made commercially and sold at London’s exclusive Fortnum & Mason grocery store.

The awards are part of a two-day Marmalade Festival. There will be workshops from famous foodies Ivan Day and Dan Lepard, a marmalade concert, an array of related activities and even a marmalade church service.

All proceeds from the festival will be donated to two charities – the Hospice at Home and Action Medical Research for Children.

Here is Harland’s recipe for calamansi marmalade with brandy.

Ingredients: 1.5kg calamansi. 1.4kg sugar. Half a cup of good quality brandy.

Preparation time 20 minutes plus standing. Cooking time 2- 2 1/2 hours.

1: For this recipe weigh the empty preserving pan or large saucepan before you start.

2: Put the clamansi fruit in the pan or saucepan with 1.7 liters of water. Bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for one a half hours or until the fruit is very soft.

3: Remove the fruit from the pan with a slotted spoon and slice very thinly (using a knife or scissors and fork), discarding the pips and reserving any juice. Return the sliced fruit and juice to the pan and weigh it. If necessary, boil the mixture, uncovered, until reduced to about 2kg.

British chef and Bacolod resident Robert Harland "hoping to put Negros on the international marmalade map"'.

British chef and Bacolod resident Robert Harland "hoping to put Negros on the international marmalade map"'.

4: Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved, then bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes. Remove any scum with a slotted spoon, leave the marmalade to stand for about 15 minutes and then stir gently to distribute the fruit. Stir in the brandy. Leave to set.  If the marmalade is not thick enough reboil for a few minutes until the required set is reached, but don’t forget to add more brandy before potting. Pot and cover.

Dear Leader’s lookalike out of work

People who bear a striking resemblance to someone famous can often make a good living pretending to that person in commercials,

Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il

ads and films.

One of the most successful lookalikes is 84 year-old British actress Jeannette Charles who, for many years, has played Queen Elizabeth 11 including a key role the hit movie The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad with Leslie Nielsen

But once the famous person dies, work for the lookalike usually dries up. And that’s just what’s about to happen to South Korean engraver Kim Young-sik.

Kim bears an uncanny resemblance the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and for the past ten years has never been short of work as his double.

But now, with the Dear Leader dead and gone, Kim says he feels very empty “It’s as though a part of me died”, he said.

Kim recalled the day when he got out of the shower and his hair was very curly. “I was told I looked  like Kim Jong-il.”

Kim Young-sik in his shop in Seoul

Kim Young-sik in his shop in Seoul

Although an engraver by trade, Kim has done well playing the North Korean leader appearing in Korean and Japanese TV shows as well

Kim Jong-il lookalike Kim Young-sik

Kim Jong-il lookalike Kim Young-sik

as playing him in films and commercials. He had a key role in the South Korean film The Rose of Sharon Blooms Again all about a South Korean scientist who secretly helped the North develop nuclear weapons to prevent a Japanese invasion.

Unlike his more cosmetically-enhanced competitor Bae Eun-sik, “I am a natural,” Kim told an American newspaper. “I didn’t have to perm my hair. I didn’t need plastic surgery. Even my family name, Kim, didn’t have to be changed.”

Kim has gone a little further than most lookalike actors, as he says he feels very close to the man he impersonates. “Sometimes I feel like I am Kim Jong-il, and “I wouldn’t want Kim Jong-il to be offended by anything I do.”

But since the North Korean strongman’s death on December 17, Kim fears his career is about to come to a grinding halt. He also regrets never having met the Dear Leader or even visiting North Korea.

Some South Koreans seeing him in the streets of the capital Seoul have really thought he was Kim Jong-il “‘I’ve been cursed with people calling me dictator”, he said.