Your daily dose of updates from Pinoys in Taiwan and Philippines

NLEX-SLEX connector road to open March 2020, to lessen traffic congestion in Metro Manila

Skyway Stage 3, also known as the SLEX-NLEX connector road will open to the public by March 2020 and will ease the traffic congestion build up in Metro Manila.

Ramon Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corp,the conglomerate building the project, confirms the opening of the new road.

"Yung solution na 'yan, pag nayari na 'yan ng March 30, 2020, wala nang traffic yung northbound at southbound," Ramon Ang said in an interview with DZMM

The road that will connect the two most important tollways leading in and out of Metro Manila. it will allow motorists from the North and South of the capital to bypass major thoroughfares like EDSA and C5.

Skyway Stage 3 is a 14.8-kilometer elevated tollway project connecting Skyway/SLEX Buendia to NLEX Balintawak.


Express train derails in Changhua, delays 55 trains and affects more than 16,000 commuters

A Tze-chiang express train rammed into a forklift while running northbound in Changhua County Tuesday (Dec 31) according to the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), reported by CNA.

The derailing of the train cause its locomotive to derail and suffer severe damage. No injuries were reported among the 500 passengers though the accident caused delays for 55 trains, affecting as many as 16,730 commuters.

The collision occurred near Yongjing Station on the TRA West Coast line after the forklift got stuck on the railway tracks while trying to pass through, in a report by TRA.

Railway police blamed the forklift driver for the collision because he violated the regulation that bans forklifts from running on roads without a permit and from crossing railway lines.

After the investigation, the forklift driver was held by police for questioning on charge of committing offenses against public safety. Traffic on the railway section between Yongjing and Shetou townships was fully restored.


2 victims from the Singapore car crash incident are OFW and sisters from La Union

Two of the victims in the deadly car crash at Lucky Plaza mall in Singapore last Sunday, December 29, are both overseas Filipino workers and are sisters from La Union.

Arcely and Arlyn Nucos have been working as domestic helpers for the past 30 years. (Photo: Arcely on left and Arlyn on right)

The sisters were among 6 friends having a picnic by the exit lane of the Lucky Plaza carpark when a car crashed through a pavement railigs hitting them. Arlyn, 50, died on the spot, while her sister Arcely, 56, remains unconscious. 

Reynaldo, brother of the two, said that their other relatives in their family compound in Barangay San Carlos in Caba, La Union, knew something was wrong when the two did not conduct their weekly video call with them.

The Nucos sisters have been working as domestic helpers in Singapore since 1990. Arcely was set to come home this January 2020.


Wet and cool weather forecast for New Year's eve in northern Taiwan

Mercury is expected to drop to 14 degrees Celsius early Tuesday morning in the northern part of the country as a northeasterly wind intensifies, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).

The weather is forecast to remain wet and cool in the north on New Year's Eve, with temperatures to hover between 15 and 18 degrees. Therefore, a wet and cool party in Taipei by afternoon until early evening.

Meanwhile, the central and southern parts of the country will see dry weather and temperatures ranging between 18 and 25 degrees.

Though late evening has lower chance of rain but expect a 14 degree temperature. Cold air mass will last until Thursday (Jan 2).


Pinoys warned against message scam over holiday greetings on different messenger apps

The Cyber Security Philippines-CERT warns Filipinos against opening suspicious greetings on different messenger platformsthis holiday season. The cyber security team says opening greetings will direct users to malicious websites and access their data.

Photo posted by Cyber Security Philippines Cert:

It warned Filipinos against the following websites:

To those who have visited the website or clicked the links must immediately change their passwords for bank and social media accounts, reset browsers, update anti-malware and scan for viruses urged by the group.


Pinay OFW in Taiwan diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer; friends launched "Tshirt for a cause"

Laarnie Custodio a mother and OFW in Taiwan is diagnosed with a life threatening stge 4 breast cancer. She os working at Orient Semiconductor Electronics (OSE) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Her friends launched "T-shirt for a cause" and anyone who are willing to help or buy tshirt will be a big boost for her medical expenses.

Check post below:

To those who are willing to buy stuffs for Laarnie's medical expenses, you may contact Rina Rina on Facebook.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Stage 4 breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread beyond the breast tissue into other areas of the body. 

(Photos from Laarnie Custodio and Rina Rina Facebook)


2 Filipinos dead and 4 seriously injured in tragic car accident in Singapore

Two women were killed and four others were seriously injured after a car slammed on the side road of Lucky Plaza in Orchard Road in Singapore, where all are Filipinos reported by The Straits Times.

Several eyewitnesses told the Starits Times that the car had crashed through a metal railing and landed on the side road next to the mall, hitting several people.

“Two pedestrians, aged 29 and 35, were unconscious when conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where they later died from their injuries. Four pedestrians, aged 30 to 43, were conveyed conscious to Tan Tock Seng Hospital,” according to the authorities.

The police said that the accident took place at around 4 in the afternoon of Dec 29. The driver was already arrested for causing death while in depth investigation is on going.

“DFA OUMWA is checking the latest information about this tragic accident with our embassy, and all assistance will be provided to the victims,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Lucky Plaza mall is known to be popular with foreign workers, especially foreign domestic workers from the Philippines.


Taiwanese K-pop star Tzuyu of Twice named most beautiful face of 2019

Taiwan-born Chou Tzu-yu of K-pop girl group Twice tops the list of most beautiful face of 2019 by American film review site TC Chandler.

Also known as Tzuyu, the 20-year old Tainan-native was the only Taiwanese who made it onto this year's list. It is now her fifth consecutive appearance on the prestigious global list.

The Taiwanese singer was now based in South Korea. Tzuyu is the youngest member of Twice, a K-pop girl group formed by JYP Entertainment.

Israeli model Yael Shelbia was at No. 2 on the list, followed by Thai singer and model Lalisa Manoban, French model Thylane Blondeau, and English actress Naomi Scott.

TC Candler is the creator of the Annual Independent Critics List of the 100 Most Beautiful Faces of the Year. TC Candler said almost 40 countries are represented on the annual list.


Taipei to Hualien first direct bus service launched; to boost tourism in Taiwan's east coast

The first direct bus service between Taipei and Hualien will be launched on January 6, 2020 that goes along with the opening of the newly upgraded Suhua Highway, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), reported by CNA.

It partly subsidized by the central government and will be operated by three intercity bus companies - Taipei Bus, Capital Bus and Ubus.

The average bus trip will take 3.2 to 3.5 hours one way and ticket price starts at NT$320 to NT$352. The buses will run every 20-30 minutes on a daily direct route from three different stations in the Greater Taipei area to Hualien.

"We hope to create a brand for highway bus travel in Taiwan that will become well known to foreign visitors," said Huang Hsien-hsun

Taipei Bus is scheduled to run between Nangang and Hualien, from 6 a.m. to midnight daily. The route will boost the tourism of the east coast of Taiwan.


Singapore and South Korea battles in several airport project ventures in the Philippines

Philippines is now a huge market of the two of Asia's top airport operators which are poised to go head to head as several new projects in emerging countries open up, reported by Nikkei Asian Review.

South Korea's Incheon International Airport Corp is now considered the leading partner of San Miguel Corp on the planned New Manila International Airport which will stand in Bulacan.

"We want to add more 'second Incheons' around the world," including in the Philippines, an Incheon executive said.

SMC already secured government approval for the 735 billion peso project as SMC President Ramon Ang has called it a "game-changer" for the Philippines' economy and industry.

Singapore's Changi International Airport, the best airport in the world has already made inroads into Manila as conglomerates plans to invest 102 billion pesos to expand Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The Singapore-based company also is involved in the private-sector venture that took over operation of Clark International Airport.

"Together with our partners and with the support of key stakeholders, we will develop Clark as the region's premier gateway," Changi Airports International CEO Lim Liang Song said.


Taipei City plans to launch self-driving city buses to help public transportation needs

The Taipei City Government is planning to launch self-driving city buses to ease late night traffic demand to help satisfy public transportation needs for passengers, according to the Taipei Department of Transportation (DOT).

No other than Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je who introduced the project in 2017 but that time it draws lots of criticism that may createnlots of traffic problems.

Since then, the Taipei City Government has examined and revised the plan for the self-driving vehicles and will conduct road tests in the first half of 2020.

The driverless bus can accommodate 12 passengers and a conductor will be on board to ensure the vehicle is functioning properly.

The plan is the driverless bus will be functioning from 12midnight til 5 a.m. when human-driven buses and MRT trains have stopped operating.

According to the Taipei City Traffic Engineering Office, the driverless bus proposal still needs to be reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).


Cold air mass to bring 10°C to 14°C temperature in Taiwan; rain also expected

Temperature in Taiwan will play around 10°C to 14°C due to approaching cold air mass that is forecast to arrive in Taiwan that will last until Saturday morning (Dec 28), according to Central Weather Bureau.

Hsinchu and Miaoli's mountainous areas and coastal open areas are more likely to be 10 degrees. CWB is also expected to issue a low temperature yellow light warning.

Daytime temperatures in central Taiwan Friday will range between 15 degrees and 25 degrees, while in southern parts of the island, the mercury will hover around 16-26 degrees.

Most of Taiwan will see partly cloudy or sunny skies, with sporadic showers also expected but the CWB did warn of a wide day-night temperature gap.


Brighten your day with the most colorful and abundantly decorated church in Taiwan

Touted with the beauty and unusual nature of a Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church in Pingtung's Taiwu Township. Construction of just completed last October.

“This is such a gorgeous church. It is in an aboriginal community in Pingtung, so there is no need to take a flight to Europe to see beautiful churches,” said Pingtung Magistrate Pan Men-an, reported by CNA.

Calling the church an incredible part of Pingtung, she posted photos of the church showing the interior and the altar and was described as "European style."

The church will be the 12th in Pingtung to be designed by Pastor Dominic Tu, a member of the indigenous Rukai tribe. 

There were more little-known churches with interesting characteristics in Pingtung’s mountain villages.

Among them is the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in the county’s Wutai Township, designed by Tu in 1984 which is listed among the top 100 of the world’s churches of special interest.


Pacquaio wants to restore recitation of "Panatang Makabayan" as sign about love of country

Pambansang kamao and senator of the Philippine government Manny Pacquiao, wants to restore the daily recitation of “Panatang Makabayan” in schools like the old days.

The need of revival of the "Panatang Makanayan" is to remind students about love of country and patriotism.

“Sana tayong lahat maging loyal tayo sa ating bansa. Nawala na kasi yung loyalty sa ating school," Pacquiao told the media.

"Lagi natin sanang balikan yun no kasi masarap yun eh, parang na-realize mo ang patriotism sa ating bayan. Lahat tayo mag-ambag-ambag na mabago natin ang ating bansa," he added.

Panatang Makabayan or the patriotic oath is commonly in schools in a flag ceremony after the Lupang Hinirang is sung but before recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.


Fake NT$50 coins used in a claw machine shop's coin changer; suspect arrested in Tainan

The Tainan City Police Department announced (Dec 25) that some NT$50 counterfeit currency or fake currency coins have been used in a claw machine shop's coin changer.

Tainan police arrested a woman that used the fake currencies and investigations revealed that the coins were made and manufactured in China then brought the coins to Taiwan.

There were around 300 to 400 pieces NT$50 coins that were changed to NT$10 coins in a coin changer at at claw machine shop. The suspect will be sent for fraud and the use of counterfeit currency.

The police said that the real NT$50 coin has characters of "NT$50" embossed on the side of the coin. The quality of counterfeit coins is usually not detailed enough, and the sharpness of the patterns are poor.

A person who is found guilty of counterfeiting or altering currently used Taiwan currency may receive a minimum sentence of five-year imprisonment or a maximum sentence of death penalty.


Taiwan hits more than 100,000 patients that seeks medical attention due to flu

Taiwan's flu season has officially crossed the epidemic threshold now more than 100,000 patients seeking medical attention for flu-like symptoms according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), reported by CNA.

A total of 100,442 people sought treatment for flu-like symptoms at hospitals and clinics in Taiwan in just a week (Dec. 15-21) per data of CDC.

It is an increase of 7.6 percent while emergency-room visits for flu-like illnesses accounted for 11.8 percent in which 55 patients developed serious complications from flu infections (Type A H1N1 virus).

The CDC estimates that flu season will reach its peak before the Lunar New Year break from Jan. 23-29 in 2020.

2.85 million doses of government-funded flu vaccine have been used in Taiwan as of Dec 22, 2019. The CDC previously said a total of 5.98 million government-funded free flu shots would be available.


Taiwan's Foxconn issues NT$7.66 billion worth of Christmas bonuses for its employees

Taiwan's Foxconn or also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., announced that it will issue an amount of NT$7.66 billion worth of bonuses for all of its employees.

Foxconn is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer which has 4,166 employees in Taiwan. The company is known as the iPhones' best assembler.

The bonuses varies among different business units and will be based on performance and functions.

The Christmas bonuses were given on Christmas eve. The company used to issue a year-end bonus prior to the Lunar New Year but changed it for Christmas season.


AirAsia members gets P590 one way all in fare promo flying from Clark to Kaohsiung

Budget airline carrier AirAsia has launched this week a promotional seat sale, with one-way all-in fares of both domestic and international flights as low as P590.

AirAsia's seat sale started on Dec23 and will last until December 29, 2019 with travel dates from December 23, 2019, to July 31, 2020.

One-way all-in flight from Clark to Taiwan's Kaohsiung starts at P590. Aside from Kaohsiung, destinations such as Cebu, Iloilo, Caticlan, Puerto Princesa and Seoul cover the same amount.

Cheaper fares are given to BIG Members, AirAsia’s Freedom Flyer program where members may earn points. “BIG Membership” is the loyalty membership that you obtain when you join the BIG Loyalty.

Visit AirAsia website for more inquiries. (Photo from Clark Airport)


Two seperate fireworks display to light up at New Year's eve in Nantou's Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake in Nantou will see two fireworks display that will show simultaneously on New Year's eve according to the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration (SMLNSAA).

The fireworks display are both seven-minute long to welcome year 2020 that visitors amd locals will surely enjoy. There were no fees to be collected as the admission is free.

On New Year’s Eve, the SMLNSAA will hold a party at Shuishe Pier starting at 8 p.m. until 11:50 p.m., from there the countdown for 2020 begins.

A separate seven-minute firework show will take place at Yidashao Pier across the lake from Shuishe Pier. The administration also recommends watching the first sunrise of 2020 at Sun Moon lake.

The party at Shuishe Pier will feature dances, live musical performaces from featured artists and fire or diabolo show. (Photo from SMLNSAA)


Taipei 101 observatory having 50% off in whole 2020 for Taiwanese and foreign caretakers

Taipei 101 announced today that it will m continue the discounted of the Taipei 101 observation deck that started in October 2019. Taipei 101 will launch new discounts in 2020 for a whole year.

Taiwanese can enjoy a discounted fare of NT$300 from 9:00am to 3:00pm daily which is a 50% discount on the original price of NT$600. Children who are under 12yrs can enter for free. Foreign caretakers in any nationality are also part of the discounted price together the elders they are caring.

For the first time this year, Taipei 101 launched an ultra-low discount on the observation deck during the National Day in October 2019. 

The original price was 600 yuan. Observation deck tickets were limited to NT$101 in the morning which caused people to queue up. The longest queue is recorded from the observation deck entrance all the way on the second floor.

The NT$300 price has a great appeal to the local visitors and increased the popularity of the iconic tower.


President Duterte vowed to provide P100million for athletes' training for Tokyo Olympics

President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to provide P100 million for the training of athletes who will represent the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.

The president said that he was ready to pour resources into sports to avoid drug addiction for Filipinos.

"I'll talk things over with Congress. Your allowance, your food should be for free. Your allowance, that's yours. You do not have your share... B****, we will rob our own bank," the president said during his meeting with medalists of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Malacañang.

"We will try to raise the money I heard...we're giving P1 million? P100 million? For the Olympics? Ma'am, can we give additional funds?" as he asked Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair Andrea Domingo.

This will be the second time that Tokyo has hosted the Summer Olympic Games as Philippine athletes will soon start their training.


Labor officials urged employers to explain Taiwan laws to migrant workers

Labor officials are reminding employers of migrant workers to hold sessions to explain Taiwan's laws. There were certain laws that are legal in their country but not in Taiwan.

One example is the Animal Protection Act; in other countries of migrant workers eat dog meat, but Taiwan law forbids the killing of dogs and even cats according to the Ministry of Labor.

Those who break the law can face jail term of 2 years and a fine of up to NT$2 million. If the offender is a migrant worker, they'll never be
able to work in Taiwan again.

Additionally, MOL says pre-employment orientation seminars in their home country should include introductions of the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act and rules regarding
infectious diseases.

Labor officials may slap a fine of up to NT$300,000 on employers who fail to explain relevant laws to migrant workers.


Gangsters targets foreign workers in Taoyuan, attacks with baseball bat

A facebook post shows warning to all OFW in Taiwan to always be aware specially those who go to work early in morning.

Foreign workers are attacked by gangsters or unidentified assailants armed with baseball bats with several reports of injured workers are reported in the area.

Check below post from Gina Lin:

This gangsters targets foreign workers including Vietnamese, Indonesians and Thais.

This acts of violence against foreign workers must be informed immediately to Taiwanese authorities and wrongdoers shall be prosecuted according to law as such act must not be tolerated.


Taipei 101 gives sneak peak to its annual New Year countdown fireworks show

Taipei 101 management give a sneak peek of its annual New Year countdown fireworks show through computer graphics simulation. The show will end with the slogan "2020 Go Taiwan!"

The display will be more entertaining and more diverse. It will be a 5minutes fireworks show combined with animations on the building's giant T-Pad wall which is made up of 140,000 LED bulbs. 

The animations will feature rare and protected species in Taiwan, such as the leopard cat, Formosan black bear, mikado pheasant and green sea turtle with different themes.

The length of the fireworks show will be as the same of the previous years. According to Taipei 101 official, viewers should expect something different.

Taipei 101 firework display is a yearly treat of the iconic building to the local and visitors of Taiwan, last year it shows its gratitude by welcoming different nationals into Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the outdoor observation deck on the 91st floor of Taipei 101 will be temporarily closed from December 23 to January 1 according to Taipei 101 management.


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