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Ascott Makati, first full wifi hotel

Ascott Makati in Makati City with full wifi InternetAscott Makati, a serviced residences hotel at Ayala Center, bills itself as the first building in the Philippines with full wireless Internet coverage anywhere within its premises. "It is the first building in the Philippines to have 100 percent wireless Internet coverage," Ascott general manager Lew Yen Ping said, during the 25th year anniversary of the Singapore-based Ascott International, the parent firm of Ascott, Somerset and Citadines serviced residence hotels.

Ms. Ping said that through a partnership with Globe Telecom, each of the 306 units in Ascott Makati now has access to password-protected wifi Internet, which stands for wireless fidelity. She said that while Ascott Makati still charges from wireless Internet service, it is moving towards providing completely free Internet in the future.

The building has penthouses, studios, and one to three-bedroom residences, each with their own kitchen, entertainment systems, and washing machines.
Ascott Makati also has 17 function rooms and 23 office suites. The hotel now offers anniversary rates starting from P5,775, applicable for daily stays up to seven nights and for reservations made on or before 31 August 2009.

Taal off limits to tourists

Authorities have warned resort operators against bringing tourists to Pulo Island, near the crater of the restive Taal volcano in Batangas province.
The Philippine Coast Guard issued the warning after Alert level 2 was hoisted over Taal volcano, which means that it is experiencing magmatic intrusion that may lead to an eruption.
Despite earlier warnings from government volcanologists, foreign tourists were still coming to the island, often hiring horses to ride up to the volcano’s crater, local Coast Guard personnel said.  Mostly South Koreans and some Japanese were visiting the restive volcano, they added.

More Fun in Manila

Officials of the Department of Tourism remain optimistic the country will be able to achieve its target of attracting 10 million foreign tourists by 2016, according to a report by Philippine Star.
“We have been seeing a sustainable increase in arrivals since last year. This building enthusiasm for the Philippines, aided by our government’s good governance agenda, gives us the confidence to achieve our target of 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.

Philippines Visitor Arrivals Compared to Other Asian Countries

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said the Philippines ranked fifth among nine countries in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in terms of receiving the most number of tourists.
The Philippines, which does not share land borders with any of its neighbors, recorded 4.273 million visitor arrivals in 2012, up by 9.1 percent from a year ago.  The figure represented just 1.8 percent of total Asia-Pacific arrivals.

Manila Ocean Park H2O Hotel

Manila Ocean Park, the first marine themed park in the country, is continuously evolving into one spectacular destination where business, leisure and entertainment come together. It now offers an array of marine life attractions, themed luxury hotel, dining outlets, wellness eco spa, infinity pool, jellies lounge bar and even meeting, convention and exhibition facilities. Soon to open are more nightlife hotspots.

Major attractions include the Oceanarium, Musical Fountain and the newest Marine Life Habitat. The Oceanarium is a stunning walk-through of the watery depths, containing about 1,900 cubic meters of seawater with over 10,000 marine creatures of about 200 species, all indigenous to the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Microtel Mactan renamed

Enrison Land, Inc. has renamed Microtel Grand Mactan Resort into Be Resorts, with an eye for expansions to follow within the year.  Mr. Garry Garcia, general manager of Be Resorts, said the name change came with the management's thrust for a new direction towards property management.   The resort manager said they expect to launch Be Resorts within the third quarter of this year.
Plans for a mid-sized hotel consisting of over 100 rooms and villas in Panglao, Bohol is also in the pipeline.

PAL Flying to Europe

The European Union has lifted a three- year-old flight ban on Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) and a 15-month prohibition on Venezuela’s Conviasa under the latest changes to a list of unsafe carriers, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The EU said oversight improvements by aviation authorities in the Philippines and the ability of Philippine Airlines “to ensure effective compliance with relevant aviation safety regulations” justify allowing the carrier to fly in the 28- nation bloc. It said Conviasa, Venezuela’s state airline, resolved “serious safety deficiencies.”

How and Where to Retire in the Philippines

Foreign retirees now find a number of towns and cities in the Philippines as ideal for retirement.  The cost of healthcare and nursing care in the Philippines is among the most affordable in the world.  It has unparalleled natural attractions that attract about five million foreign tourists a year.
Although traffic is a nagging problem and infrastructure is lacking, the friendliness of the Filipino people make the relocation easier.  For first-time visitors exploring the Philippines as a potential retirement site, you will find that the country extends a six-month visa.