Medical drugs eyed from ‘giant shipworm’ found in PH

Potential medical drugs that can be derived from the so-called “giant shipworm” recently discovered in the Philippines are being explored, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The scientific breakthrough provides researchers the first such live animal that they can study.

“We are amazed. This is the first time we saw a shipworm as large as this. Usually, shipworms are only as short as a matchstick and are white,” Filipino marine biologist Julie Albano told AFP.

Quoting Albano, the AFP said “its bacteria are now being studied for possible pharmaceutical use.”

The creature can reportedly grow up to five feet and relies rotten-egg-smelling gas hydrogen sulfide as its food.

It “survives on the remnants of noxious gases digested by bacteria,” AFP explains in its report.

The mollusk was found in Kalamansig town in Sultan Kudarat, Southern Philippines, where it has been known to locals for some time and even eaten as an aphrodisiac reportedly tasting like an octopus.

Its scientific name is Kuphus Polythalamia.

“We suspected the giant shipworm was radically different from other wood-eating shipworms. Finding the animal confirmed that,” University of Utah research professor Margo Haygood was quoted as saying.

Luxury car brand Mercedez Benz shines spotlight on Dubai

Luxury car brand Mercedez-Benz in the Middle East parades its cars in the streets of Dubai, coming up with a two-minute video featuring stunts from XDubai athletes.

In a recently released video advertisement, the car brand showed Mercedes-AMG’s venturesome A 45 4MATIC, the CLA 45 4MATIC and the GLA 45 4MATIC.

The video showed stuntman Damien Walters, world-renowned skydiver and base jumper Noah Bahnson, and kiteboarding and kitesurfing champion Nick Jacobsen.

“Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East and XDubai defy limits with three jaw-dropping stunts including one world-first, at some of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks,” explained the brand its online video release.

Jacobsen’s kitesurfing stunt from the helipad of Dubai’s iconic luxury hotel Burj Al Arab was the first such record in the world

Extreme sports company XDubai was contracted by Mercedes Benz Cars Middle East for the production of the video.

Somalia thanks UAE telethon for Dh165M in aid

The Somali government has extended its thanks to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after the latter’s 5-hour telethon last April 21 that yielded DH165 million in aid to Somalia.

“The Somalian government extends its gratitude to the UAE for the humanitarian work they are carrying out in Somalia, including well digging in the central region of Somalia,” said Muhammad Ibrahim, first secretary of the Somalian embassy, in a report by The National.

The telethon is part of a month-long humanitarian drive for starving children and their families in Somalia dubbed “For You Somalia” ordered by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Under the directive, the UAE is gathering donations for the food, water, medicine and other such necessities for the victims of drought.

“I was in Somalia several months ago and I witnessed sad stories there,” Ibrahim was quoted as saying. “There has been a drought there for the past five years, which led to an exodus from the affected areas to Mogadishu.

“There are hundreds of children dying due to the lack of clean water and spread of diseases. Women and children are the most affected,” he added.

“Ten per cent are dying every three weeks due to diarrhea, especially in the southern and central regions,” he said.

According to the United Nations, around 360,000 Somalian children may be suffering from acute malnutrition with half of Somalia’s over 12 million population threatened by famine.

This is said to be the country’s third famine in 25 years.

Surigao del Sur hit by 5.1-magnitude quake

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit Surigao del Sur Sunday Morning, according to a Philippine government bulletin issued following the quake.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Department of Science and Technology (PHILVOLCS-DOST) said the quake was tectonic in origin with a depth of focus of 28 kilometers.

It occurred at 9:19 am with Phivolcs reporting at 9:24 am.

The quake’s center was located around 9 kilometers to 22 kilometers northeast of Tandag in Surigao del Sur.

Aftershocks are expected in the area, said PHILVOLCS.

The US Geological Survey pegged the quake’s magnitude at 5.3 at the same time, with center located 90 kilometers from Butuan City, Agusan del Norte.

Mother’s Day for kids without mothers

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and it’s time to start planning that special day for your mother. Mother’s Day is seen as one of the most important holidays in the Philippines.“Ilaw ng Tahanan,” which literally translates to “Light of the Home,” best describes what a mother means to a family. She is the one who brings warmth and comfort to the family and overlooks her needs for theirs.

But what about those kids who do not have mothers? The Philippines has over 1.8 million abandoned children who live on the streets. This is nearly 1% of the country’s entire population.

Due to poverty, natural disasters and neglect, many children are abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Majority of these children end up becoming victims of abuse, drugs, crime, exploitation, starvation and disease.

This year, OFWs have a chance to make Mother’s Day count for some of these abandoned children. Xpress Money, in collaboration with Virlanie Foundation in the Philippines, has undertaken the initiative to transform the lives of street children in the Philippines. The campaign, “Mother’s Day for Kids without Mothers,” aims to inspire and bring the OFW community together in the spirit of Bayanihan, to give these children the opportunity to have a bright future.

Until Mother’s Day, every time an OFW in UAE, Qatar, Oman or Hong Kong, sends money to their loved ones in the Philippines with Xpress Money, a part of the transfer fee will be used to provide quality education, housing, food, school supplies and other benefits until high-school graduation to a few street children in the Philippines.

Talking about this initiative, Sudhesh Giriyan, COO, Xpress Money said, “Mother’s Day is a big day in the Philippines and we believe that this initiative is a great way to bring OFWs together to make a difference in the lives of abandoned children in the Philippines.

“As one of the leading money transfer organizations, we have a responsibility that extends beyond our usual business – we believe in empowering and developing the underprivileged in communities and corridors we operate in. We are sure that OFWs will be inspired to support this cause.’  

Xpress Money is also inviting mothers of OFWs to spend a day with these children at the

Virlanie Foundation in Manila for the Mother’s Day Feast, which will be held on May 7, 2017.

OFWs can nominate their mothers to be part of this event by visiting

This year, OFWs have an opportunity to not just celebrate Mother’s Day with their mums but make it truly special by giving it a new meaning for hundreds of children without mothers.

Top 8 high paying jobs in Ph

If you are an overseas Filipino working for your kids back home, it may be worth listing the following down: the top 8 paying jobs in the Philippines as put together by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The department, through the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), said these jobs are in air transport; architecture and engineering; animated film and cartoon production; manufacture of refined petroleum products; mining of metal ores; insurance, reinsurance, and pension funds and telecommunications.

Here goes:
•A job as aircraft pilot, navigator or flight engineer could pay up to P156,823 a month.
•A geological engineer could earn up to P101,471 a month.
•A graphic designer involved in animation and cartoon production could earn up to P99,658 a month.
•An art director could earn an average monthly salary of P76,612.
•Industrial machinery mechanics and fitters can have an average monthly salary of P76,550, followed by geologists in the field of mining who are paid up to P71,849 per month.
•Insurance, reinsurance and pension fund statisticians earn up to P56,759 while crushing, grinding and chemical-mixing machinery operators are paid P49,646.
•Communications service supervisors earn P48,270 a month.
•Production supervisors and general foremen earn up to P47,521 a month.

Traffic rules and fines in the UAE

The Ministry of Interior has recently announced new traffic rules with tougher penalties. It will be made official soon and will be implemented in all seven emirates.

Here are some of the violations and corresponding penalties:

Driving at 80km/h over the speed limit for light vehicles Dh3,000 fine, 23 black points, and car impounded for 60 days
Exceeding maximum speed limit by more than 60km/hr Dh2000 fine, 12 black points and vehicle impounded for 30 days
Driving under the influence of alcohol Penalty to be decided by the court, 23 black points and vehicle impounded for 60 days
Causing death of others Penalty to be decided by the court, 23 black points, vehicle impounded for 60 days
Causing serious injuries Penalty to be decided by the court, 23 black points and vehicle impounded for 30 days
Jumping a red light for light vehicles Dh1000 fine, 12 black points and vehicle impounded for 30 days
Overtaking on the hard shoulder Dh1000 fine, 6 black points
Driving against traffic Dh600 fine, 4 black points
Failure to fasten seat belt while driving for all passengers Dh400 fine, 4 black points

You need to know this

What disciplinary measures are imposable?

•Suspension from work with reduced pay for a period not over 10 days.
•Forfeiture of deferment of periodic increment and/or promotion in companies where such increments system is applied.
•Dismissal from service but with right to end of service benefits
•Dismissal from service with forfeiture of all or part of the benefits, provided that penalties shall not be imposed for reasons other than those specifically prescribed in Article 120

(Source: Essential OFW Guide to UAE/ Gulf Law)

Riding the Hatta Trail

All roads led to Hatta MTB Center for the recent 8th “Get Together Ride,” which kicked off with a Thursday night gathering of riders from the seven emirates, with food, music and fun highlighting the event till the early morning.
As the Friday sun rose, some 513 registered riders, a record number, started the rides at designated trails catered for all types of skills, from newbies to seasoned riders.

While the riders braved the first heat of summer, others enjoyed the pristine environment and landscape of Hatta by having a short trail hike and a dip at the nearby wadi stream from Hatta dam.
All participants and visitors were also given free t-shirts, goodies and packed lunch for free, courtesy of sponsors and donors. Raffle draw was held in which plenty of prizes were given away, including two MTB bikes from HQ Adventure and Dubai Municipality (Hatta).

There were also parlor games, which made the event more fun. The event was attended by the UAE MTB founder, Jessie Cruz, with special visitors from FilClub headed by its president, Engr. Tata Dayot and Vice Pres. Ericsson Reyes together with their group. Certificates of Recognition and Plaques of Appreciation were given to Joseph Cabatay, Noel Malicdem, Jessie Cruz, Andy Whitaker, Omar SK and Mohamed Khalifa.
UAE MTB Jumeirah Chairman Boton helped put the event together.

You need to know this

When is salary considered delayed?
Salaries are considered delayed if not received 15 days after the end of the pay period. Example: If your pay period covers Jan. 1-31, you must be paid on or before Feb. 15.

Can I work if I’m on husband’s visa?
Yes, but you need a work permit.

Will I be given a ban if I change employment when the company has closed down without cancelling its trade license?
Yes. One-year ban will apply unless you file a complaint at the Ministry of Labor within two months from the closure of your company.

After termination, when should an employee cancel his dependent’s visa?
Apply for the cancellation of your dependent’s visa first before cancelling your own.
(Source: Essential OFW Guide to UAE/ Gulf Law)