Mar 01

New Ambassador to the UK Welcomed – Again

The PBBC extends a very warm welcome to the new Ambassador to the UK from the Philippines – His Excellency Antonio M. Lagdameo. When I say the “new” Ambassador, I really mean welcome back to an “old” Ambassador and friend.Antonio M Lagdameo

Ambassador Lagdameo was, in fact, in this same position from 2009 to 2010 and knows London well.

In his recent letter to the Filipino community in the UK, he says:

“I find that many things have changed in London since 2010, but much more have remained the same.””

We will do what it takes to maintain our close relationships and collaborative partnership with the Filipino community in the United Kingdom and Ireland which had been fostered carefully by my predecessors during their time.”

“I invite you to continue supporting the Embassy’s efforts to enhance bilateral relations between these two countries and our beloved Philippines.”

 

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Dec 21

Lonely Planet Philippines Travel

Lonely Planet Philippines Travel Guide is the #1 best-selling guide to the Philippines. If you are planning Philippines travel for the first time or if you are a regular traveller then you must go armed with a copy of the Lonely Planet Guide.order lonely planet philippines
The Philippines consists of a string of coral-fringed islands, white-sand beaches and pristine strands of virgin rainforest. From diving to connecting with the locals, Lonely Planet Philippines will help you unlock the amazing adventures to be enjoyed in this archipelago of natural wonders in Southeast Asia. There are megacities teeming with people and unpopulated islands teeming with wildlife. Whatever you are after, it is there in abundance. The Guide is outstanding value for money and easily ordered from Amazon for home delivery. 

Planning Your Trip

The Lonely Planet Philippines Guide is the only guide you need with you. There is a section on “planning your trip” which contains lots of useful and practical information. Contents include: Welcome to the Philippines, The Philippines map, The Philippines Top 15, Need to Know, First Time, if you like, Month by Month, Itineraries, Diving in the Philippines, Outdoor Activities and Regions at a glance.

On The Road

The bulk of the Guide covers the geography and areas of the Philippines. This section is called “On the road” and feature the following areas.

ManilaPhilippines travel

Around Manila: Corregidor, South of Manila, Las Pinas, Kawit, Calamba,Tagaytay, Taal Volcano, Lake Taal, Batangas, Anilao, Pagsanjan, Lucban, Lucena, North of Manila, Olongapo & Subic Bay, San Fernando (Pampanga), Clark & Angeles, Mount Pinatubo & around.

North Luzon: Zambales Coast, Pundaquit, Capones Island & Liwliwa, Iba & Botolan, North of Iba, Lingayen Gulf, Bolinao & Patar Beach, Hundred Islands National Park, San Fernando (La Union) & Around, San Juan (La Union), Ilocos, Vigan, Pagudpud & Around, The Cordillera,Baguio, Kabayan, Mount Pulag National Park, Sagada & Around, Bontoc, Around Bontoc, Banaue & around, Kiangan, The North east, Baler & around, San Jose, Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, Tuguegarao, Santa Ana, Batanes, Batan Island, Sabtand Island, Itbayat Island.

lonely planet Philippines 3

South East Luzon: Bicol, Daet & Bagasbas, Naga, Mount Isarog National Park, Caramoan Peninsula, Legazpi & around, Tabaco, Sorsogon, Bulusan Volcano National Park & around, Donsol, Pilar, Masbate, Masbate Town, Masbate Island, Ticao island, Catanduanes, Virac, Northeast of Virac, Marinduque, Boac, Gasan & West Coast, Buenavista & around, Torrijos & East Coast.

Mindoro: Puerto Galera, Calapan, Roxas, Bulalacao, San Jose, Calintaan, Sablayan, Abra de Ilog.

Boracay & Western Visayas: Boracay, Panay, Caticlan, Kalibo, Roxas (Capiz), Antique Province, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros, Bacolod, Mount Kanlaon National Park, Silay, Sagay, Escalante, San Carlos & Sipaway island, Bulata & Danjugan Island, Sugar beach, Sipalay, Punta ballo, Tambobo Bay, Malatapay & Zamboanguita, Apo Island, Dauin, Dumaguete, Valencia, Twin Lakes National Park, Bais City, Siquijor, Siquijor Town, Larena, San Juan, Lazi, Cantodan, Romblon Province, Tablas Island,Romblon Island, Sibuyan Island.order lonely planet philippines

Cebu & Eastern Visayas: Cebu, Cebu City, Malapascua Island, Bantayan Island, Toledo, Moalboal, Santander, Argao, Camotes Island, Pacijan island,Poro Island, Ponson Island, Bohol, Tagbilaran, Panglao Island, Balicasag Island, Pamilacan Island, Cabilao Island, Antequera, Tarsier Sanctuary, Chocolate Hills Loop, Anda, Ubay, Talibon, Buenavista, Tubigon, Danao, Leyte, Tacloban, Maasin, Padre Burgos, Panaon Island,Biliran Island, Naval, North of Naval, Maripipi Island, East & South of Naval, Higatangan Is;and, Samar, Catamaran, Biri Island, Allen, Dalupiri island, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Guiuan, Calicoan Island, Homonhon & Suluan, Marabut Islands.

Mindanao: Northern Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Camiguin, Butuan, Surigao, Siargao, Southern Mindanao, Davao, Samal Island, Talikud Island, Philippine Eagle Research & nature Center, Mount Apo, general Santos (Dadiangas), lake Sebu, Zamboanga peninsula, Zamboanga.

Palawan: Central Palawan, Puerto Princesa, Sabang, Norther Palawan, Port Barton, Taytay, El Nido, Bacuit Archipelago, Calamian Group, Coron Town & Basuanga island, Culion Island, Other Calamian Islands.

Understand

There is a fabulous section to help you understand the history and culture of the Philippines. the contents include: The Philippines Today, History, People & Culture, Food & Drink, Environment.

Survival Guide

The Lonely Planet Philippines survival guide is full of practical hints and tips to keep your trip on the rails. Contents include: Directory A-Z, Transport, Health, Language, Glossary, Index & map legend.

If you are going to the Philippines to do some diving, then you also need the Lonely Planet Guide to Diving in the Philippines which provides a fully comprehensive description of the diving sites and supporting information to make your diving trip a resounding success. Order Diving guide below:order here lonely planet phillipines

The lonely Planet Philippines guide has a number of itineraries to help you make a safe and straightforward trip around the Philippines. there are a number of suggested routes with supporting information to make the most of the places you visit.

The authors of the Lonely Planet Philippines Travel Guide are: Michael Grosberg, greg Bloom, Trent Holden, Anna Kaminski & Paul Stiles.order lonely planet philippines

I had the great pleasure some years ago meeting Tony Wheeler when he gave a talk to a small audience in London a couple of year’s ago. His story is inspirational to budding travellers and authors alike. Tony and his wife Maureen set off from the UK, across Europe and Asia overland to Australia. they went with an old beaten up car and a few dollars, doing jobs on the way. They wrote their first Lonely Planet Guide when they got to Australia and a publishing empire was born.

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Dec 05

Philippine Economic Indicators December 2016

ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AND INDICATORS

Gross Domestic ProductRed arrow graph

• The Philippine economy expanded by 7.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, the fastest in Asia, higher than the revised second quarter growth of 7 percent.

• The country’s latest GDP growth rate is the highest since the second quarter of 2013 (7.6 percent).

• The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that manufacturing, construction, trade and real estate drove the economic growth, but the biggest story for the third quarter was the recovery of agriculture. The agriculture sector grew 2.3 percent in the July-September period, overturning the 0.1 percent decline it saw the prior year, and that rice and corn harvests have improved significantly.

• Industry, too, expanded by 8.6 percent on the back of robust public and private construction. And lastly, services – the largest contributor to the Philippine economy – rose by 6.7 percent in the third quarter, and all the services subsectors, including transport, finance, education and recreation, showed positive growth.

• NEDA said that this figure cements our chance of achieving our target of 6.0 to 7.0 percent for the whole of 2016. This growth is above the median market expectation of 6.8 percent.

• PH is now the fastest-growing among major Asian emerging economies that have already released data for the quarter. We are higher than China’s 6.7 percent, Vietnam’s 6.4 percent, Indonesia’s 5.0 percent, and Malaysia’s 4.3 percent. India’s has not yet released their data. For the fourth quarter, the country only needs to attain at least 3.4 percent growth to attain the low-end target of 6.0 percent. To reach the high-end target of 7.0 percent, we need to grow by 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

• Credit analysts from S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service have recently said the Philippine economy is poised to remain upbeat despite political risks stemming largely heightened global uncertainty.

Trade / Exports / Imports

• The Philippines’ export sales amounted to $5.211 billion in September 2016, a 5.1 percent increase from $4.960 billion recorded value in September 2015. The increase was attributed to eight major commodities out of the top ten export commodities for the month. These include other mineral products (97.5%); electronic equipment and parts (66.3%); metal components (18.2%); chemicals (10.8%); articles of apparel and clothing accessories (8.3%); ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships (5.1%); electronic products (3.6%) and other manufactures (3.2%)

• The total imported goods by the country for the month of September 2016 amounted to $7.101 billion, an increase of 13.5 percent from $6.255 billion recorded during the same period a year ago. The increase was due to the positive growth rates of nine out of the top ten major imported commodities for the month led by cereals and cereal preparations (61.8%). The other eight were: iron and steel (56.1%), plastics in primary and non-primary forms (51.8%), miscellaneous manufactured articles (50.6%), other food and live animals (44.8%), transport equipment (41.0%), telecommunication equipment and electrical machinery (17.5%), mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (2.4%), and industrial machinery and equipment (1.7%)

Inflation

• Consumer prices in Philippines rose 2.3 percent year-on-year in October 2016, the same pace as in September. Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased at a faster pace while inflation of housing and utilities were steady.
• Price hikes were recorded in food items particularly fish, vegetables and fruits. Upward price adjustments in gasoline and diesel and higher air and ship fares were also observed during the month. Moreover, clothing and some items for personal care and effects generally increased in NCR and in selected provinces. All these factors contributed to the 0.2 percent overall month-on-month inflation in October 2016.

Employment

• The employment rate reported or the proportion of employed persons to total labour force was 94.6% as of July 2016. In the same month of the previous year employment rate was 93.5 %.

• The unemployment rate as of July 2016 was estimated at 5.4 %. Last July 2015, the unemployment rate was 6.5 %.

Budget

• The Philippine government posted a budget deficit of P75.3 billion ($1.55 billion) in September 2016, the biggest monthly gap recorded so far this year.

• Expenditures grew 30 percent in September from a year earlier, while revenue rose just 1 percent.

• That brought the budget gap in the nine months to September to P213.7 billion. The government has a budget deficit ceiling of P388.9 billion in 2016.

Foreign Direct Investment / Portfolio Investment

• For the first eight months of 2016, net FDI inflows recorded a year-on-year increase of 71.1 percent to reach US$5.4 billion. The sustained FDI inflows were buoyed by investors’ confidence in the economy on the back of the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals.

• Foreign direct investments (FDI) posted net inflows in August 2016 amounting to US$711 million, an increase of 32 percent from the US$539 million recorded in the same period last year. This is on account of the 44.2 percent increase in investments in debt instruments (or intercompany borrowings) to US$636 million from US$441 million in August 2015.

• The bulk of gross equity capital placements were sourced mainly from the United States, Singapore, the Netherlands, Japan, and Hong Kong. Equity capital placements were channelled mainly to real estate; manufacturing; wholesale and retail trade; electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply; and arts, entertainment and recreation activities. Meanwhile, reinvestment of earnings grew by 9.9 percent to US$67 million during the month.

Currency / Reserves

• The Philippine peso depreciated against the US dollar in the third quarter of 2016. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the peso weakened by 1.1 percent to average P47.06/US$1 from the previous quarter’s average of P46.52/US$1.

• On a year-on-year basis, the peso likewise depreciated by 2.1 percent relative to the P46.05/US$1 average in the third quarter of 2015. The weakening of the peso during the review quarter was due mainly to the renewed prospects of a hike in the US Fed funds rate and concerns over the potential slowdown of the Chinese economy and declining oil prices.

Remittances
• Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) for the first nine months of 2016 grew by 4.8 percent year-on-year to reach US$20 billion.

Cash remittances from the UK to the Philippines reached US$1,048,310,000 from January to September 2016, down by -8.3% from US$1,143,463,000 for the same period in 2015. UK remains the top source of overseas Filipino remittances in Europe, representing 36.9 % of the total remittances from the region.

• About 80 percent of cash remittances came from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany.

Tourists

• Inbound visitors from January to August has already summed up to 4,042,049 arrivals. It is the first time to reach four million arrivals in just eight months. This volume escalated by 12.59% than the accumulated arrivals of 3,590,038 in the same period last year.

• Total earnings gained from tourism activities from January to August 2016 summed up to about Php 164.25 billion (US$3.3 billion). This recorded a gain of 7.92% compared to Php 152.19 billion (US$3 billion) for the same period in 2015. The month of February recorded the biggest receipts of Php 27.49 billion (US$ 0.54 billion), as well as, the highest growth of 42.09%.

Arrivals from the UK have consistent double-digit growth 13.48% with 117,535 arrivals within the said period. The UK ranks as the 8th top visitor market for the Philippines as of August 2016.

 

 

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Sep 29

Philippine Economic Indicators September 2016

The PBBC is indebted to the Philippines Embassy, London for this update of the Philippines Economic Indicators at September 2016.

 

Gross Domestic Producteconomic indicators

The Philippine economy grew by 7% in the second quarter of 2016. So far, the country remains the fastest growing Asian economy in the second quarter of 2016, followed by China, which grew by 6.7%, Vietnam by 5.6%, Indonesia by 5.2%, Malaysia by 4.0%, and Thailand by 3.5%. Data for India are not yet available but some forecasts put it above 7%.

 The 7% growth in the second quarter of 2016 is an upbeat start for the current administration. The growth is within market expectations given average consensus forecast of 6.1 to 7.2% for the second quarter. This strong growth increases the probability of the Philippines attaining the revised full-year 2016 DBCC-approved real growth projection of 6 to 7%.

 With the first semester GDP growth of 6.9-percent, the economy will need to grow by at least 5.1 percent in the second half of the year to attain at least the low-end of the growth target. While it is normal to see a slowdown in the second semester during election years (possibly 1.5 to 2.0 ppt lower than the first half), the smooth transition of power and assurance of macroeconomic policy consistency and continuity by the new Administration will likely keep business and consumer confidence strong to meet the full year target.

 On the demand side, investments had the highest contribution of 5.7 percentage points to GDP growth. Investments in durable equipment registered an increase of 42.8% and private sector investments in construction, which grew to 8.3% from 8.1% in the first quarter. This growth was driven by stronger business confidence, low interest rates, and strong performance of the construction sector.

 Public spending remained strong, driven by the boom in public construction and government consumption, which grew by 27.8% and 13.5%, respectively. Similarly, private consumption grew stronger in comparison to the previous quarter and year due to the low inflation and interest rates, improved labor market conditions, and steady consumer confidence. Overall, domestic demand growth accelerated to 12.3% from 12.0% in the first quarter of 2016.

 On the supply side, the acceleration of economic growth was fairly broad-based. The high growth recorded for the first quarter of this year was driven by gains in the industry and services sectors. The industry sector recorded a growth of 6.9%, which is higher than the 6.1% growth in the previous year, supported by manufacturing, construction, and utilities. Additionally, the services sector recorded an 8.4% growth, on the back of faster growth in trade, transport communication, public administration and real estate, renting and business activities.

 In contrast to the robust industry and services, the performance of the agriculture sector remains dismal at -2.1 % due to the lingering effects of El Nino. There is also a developing risk of La Nina that will likely intensify between August and October this year. This highlights the urgency of crafting holistic agriculture development policies that include disaster resiliency. This will benefit workers from the sector, which employs the biggest chunk of our labor force. For La Nina, the Department of Agriculture is already crafting an action plan that identifies the most vulnerable municipalities, focusing on appropriate interventions, preparedness, response, immediate recovery and rehabilitation.

 Over the medium-term, the new administration is aiming still for a steady acceleration of growth towards 7 to 8%. This will be supported by sustained and deepened reforms. These include a comprehensive tax reform, sustained investment in infrastructure, easing of restrictions on foreign investments, reduction of cost of doing business, and strengthening of agro-industrial linkages.

 NEDA has launched early this year theAmBisyon Natin 2040.  Centered on people’s aspirations, this aims to answer the clamor for having a long-term perspective in development planning so as to sustain efforts, even with changes in political administrations, to provide a strongly-rooted, comfortable, and secure life for all (matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat). NEDA continues to advocate and discuss AmBisyon Natin 2040 with different stakeholders from various sectors of society.

Trade / Exports / Imports

Total merchandise exports for the period January to June 2016 registered a 7.5% decrease from $29.002 billion in 2015 to $26.832 billion in the same period of 2016.

On the other hand, cumulative imports for January to June 2016 amounted to $38.746 billion, an increase of 17.7% compared with $32.917 billion in the same period of last year. The balance of trade in goods (BOT-G) for the Philippines in June 2016, registered a deficit of $2.098 billion, higher than the $576.80 million trade deficit in the same month last year.

Electronic Products remained as the country’s top export with total receipts of $2.429 billion, accounting for 51.1% of the total exports revenue in June 2016.

The Philippines’ main commodity exports to the UK include airplane/helicopter parts, tuna, skipjack and bonito, bicycles and other cycles, inputs or output units, water including mineral water, aerated water, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or favored.

The UK’s biggest exports to the Philippines include medical goods, unused postage, revenue or similar stamps, cheques, airplane/helicopter parts, spark-ignition or combustion piston engines for aircrafts, materials, accessories or supplies for manufacture of dice of any material.

 Inflation

The Philippines’ annual headline inflation was pegged at 1.9% in July 2016. It was the same rate posted in June 2016 while, in July 2015, inflation reached 0.8%. The National Economic and Development Authority is expecting full-year inflation to average at around 1.98%.

Higher annual increases were noted in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; furnishing, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house; and recreation and culture. On the other hand, the indices for food and non-alcoholic beverages; health; communication; and education exhibited slower annual increments while annual declines were observed in the indices of housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels and transport. Growths for the indices of clothing and footwear and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services remained at their rates in June 2016. 

Employment

According to the latest labor force survey (LFS), the employment rate in April 2016 was estimated at 93.9 percent. There were 66.805 million Filipinos 15 years and above in April, of which 42.487 million or 63.6 percent were counted as part of the labor force.

The PSA estimated the unemployed at 2.594 million for an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent. This compares with an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent in April 2015.

 

Budget

The national government incurred a budget deficit of Php120.3 billion in January to June this year, a reversal from the Php13.7 billion surplus in the same period last year.

Government revenues, on the other hand, totalled Php1.1 trillion in six-months to June, up by only one percent from last year’s Php1.08 trillion.

Government revenues in June were lower by 12% from Php199.8 billion in the previous month, while expenditures grew by 1.5% compared with Php217.4 billion in May 2016.

To redress persistent underspending despite healthy revenue growth seen in the previous administration, the new economic managers under the Duterte administration vowed to accelerate public spending by fast-tracking infrastructure development necessary to sustain the rapid modernization of the Philippine economy. Under the new administration, government infrastructure spending is targeted to be equivalent to six percent of GDP, exceeding the previous administration’s five percent goal.

 Foreign Direct Investment / Portfolio Investment

Foreign direct investments (FDI) posted net inflows of US$2.2 billion in April 2016 as net inflows were recorded across all FDI components. The surge in FDI inflows is reflective of the favorable investment climate as the economy continued to post strong growth and show even better growth potentials.

FDI net inflows reached US$3.5 billion for the first four months of 2016. In particular, non-residents’ investments in debt instruments more than doubled to US$1.9 billion from US$687 million last year.  Net equity capital placements also grew by 372.6 percent to US$1.3 billion from US$279 million.  This was due mainly to the US$1.4 billion gross equity capital placements, which is four times the previous year’s level of US$369 million.  Equity capital placements came mostly from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, and Spain.  These were invested mainly in financial and insurance, construction, accommodation and food service, real estate and manufacturing activities.  Meanwhile, reinvestment of earnings amounted to US$255 million during the period.

Currency / Reserves

The Philippines continues to build up its foreign exchange reserves. As of end-July 2016, the gross international reserves (GIR) stood US$85.5 billion, adequate to cover 10.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income. It is also equivalent to 6.0 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.3 times based on residual maturity. These foreign exchange indicators compare favorably with Philippines’ counterparts in the Asia Pacific region.

Remittances

Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks for the period January-June 2016 reached US$13.19 billion, up by 3.2 % than the US$12.78 billion posted in the comparable period in 2015.

The bulk of cash remittances were sourced from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and Canada.

Cash remittances from the UK to the Philippines reached US$694,789,000 from January to June 2016, down by -6.4% from US$742,247,000 for the same period in 2015. For the said period, UK remains the top source of overseas Filipino remittances in Europe (representing 36.45% of total remittances from the region), followed by Germany, Italy, Greece and Norway.

 

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