It might sound strange, but no, Manny Pacquiao was not the best fighter from the Philippines in 2012. That honor goes to "The Filipino Flash," junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire, who had a year for the ages.
Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) began the year having vacated his bantamweight belts and preparing to move up to junior featherweight. Four fights later, in an exceptionally busy year by modern standards for an elite champion, the quick-fisted and powerful Donaire stands atop the 122-pound division and was the easy pick for 2012 ESPN.com Boxer of the Year.
Donaire, 30, easily handled the move up in weight, winning all four of his fights in dominant fashion. He dropped each of his foes -- scoring seven knockdowns in all -- won twice by knockout and collected two world titles. Add to that his trailblazing approach to drug testing: He is the only fighter in the world who has signed on with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association for random urine and blood testing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This in an era when every great performance unfortunately comes under the suspicion of possible performance-enhancing drug use -- except, of course, Donaire's.
His attitude is refreshing.
Out of the 89 candidates around the world, 20-year-old cellist Miss USA Olivia Culpo took the crown as this year’s Miss Universe during the coronation night held in Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 19. (US Time)
Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon, the only Asian candidate who made it to the Top 10, was named first runner-up. Wearing a powder blue gown by Alfredo Barraza, Janine answered fashion photographer judge Nigel Barker's Twitter question during the Q & A portion.
"Should speaking English be a prerequisite to being Miss Universe as an international ambassador?" Janine confidently said, “For me, being Miss Universe is not just about knowing how to speak a specific language. It’s being able to influence and inspire other people. So whatever language you have, as long as your heart is to serve and you have a strong mind to show to people, then you can be Miss Universe.”
Once considered the most promising economy in Asia after Japan, the Philippines has fallen far behind Southeast Asia's nimble, export-led economies. But things are finally looking up. Tired of being scorned as "the sick man of Asia," President Benigno Aquino III asserts: The Philippines is now "open for real business."
Judging by some very visible changes, Aquino, who has been in office for two years, isn't engaging in wishful thinking. Manila's luxury hotels are crawling with Asian, American, and European investors in search of opportunity. And the city's skyline, a symbol of its past as a home to slow-moving domestic oligarchs, is now dotted with cranes. Foreign direct investment is on track to triple this year, while GDP growth is expected to rise from 3.7 percent last year to a respectable 5 percent in 2012. Karen Ward, a London-based analyst for HSBC bank, speculates that the Philippines, now the world's 43rd largest economy, could be the 16th largest by 2050.
Such optimism is hardly a consensus view. For one thing, the Philippines has yet to deliver an economic performance worthy of an Asian tiger. The IMF forecasts that, while up considerably, Philippine GDP growth will still lag behind that of the other Asian tiger wannabes -- Indonesia and Vietnam -- in 2012. And while foreign investment is rising rapidly, it's from a dismally modest base: Indonesia is expecting to attract some $27 billion this year, compared to roughly $3 billion for the Philippines.
So why am I optimistic? President Aquino -- nicknamed P-Noy -- is apparently that rare Philippines leader who is both incorruptible and competent. And his administration seems determined to change the environment of crony capitalism where who you know in government, and how much you're willing to pay for privileges, has always mattered more than what you make or how well you make it. John Forbes, a former U.S. diplomat and business consultant, whose Philippine experience goes back more than 40 years, says Aquino's anti-corruption moves are "unprecedented."
Filipino-American Erik Spoelstra, National Basketball Association's (NBA) "Coach Spo," who has been called the "Secret Weapon of the (Miami) Heat," has captured the heart of almost every Pinoy fan of basketball.
On Spoelstra's Facebook page, thousands of Filipinos congratulated him after the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-106 on Thursday to win the NBA championship 4-1, sweeping the last four games of the series. It was Miami's second NBA title after winning the championship in 2006. From GMA News
In Samantha Sotto’s fictional world, the road to immortality begins with dreams and ends with a choice and the will to overcome death.
Her journey to becoming a published author also began with a dream, albeit one that you would not expect from someone who just launched her book. After all, while Sam wanted to write just as much as anybody does, it was not something that she consciously pursued.
“I think everybody has these dreams that you put at the back of your head. But even when I was writing, I didn't feel like I was living my dream; I was just amusing myself. When I typed the end, that's when the dream started: now I have a book, what if I publish it?"
By persevering and making the right choices, her dream is now reality: Before Ever After is now an international best-seller!
“I've been amazed by all the support that Filipinos have been giving it," she said. “Readers have really rallied around it." From GMA News