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The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu

The Great Wall of China is referred to in Mandarin as Wanli Changcheng (10,000-Li Long Wall or simply very long wall) BEIJING, CHINA- S...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

MONEY SENSE: Manulife Helps Investors To Make Sound Judgement

MONEY SENSE: Manulife Helps Investors To Make Sound Judgement
Manulife is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. 

Clients look to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Their international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. They also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife and its subsidiaries were approximately C$637 billion (US$597 billion) as at June 30, 2014. Our group of companies operates as Manulife in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. 

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at

Philippines investors look far and wide for opportunities, but stay close to home for investment and advice – Manulife Survey

  • Philippines investors favor developed economies over emerging Asia and show least home-market bias of any investors in Asia 
  • Personal networks, bricks and mortar dominate approach to investing 
  • Philippines investors remain most optimistic in Asia
Investors in the Philippines are among Asia's most optimistic and most outward-looking, given their willingness to invest outside the Philippines to gain returns, according to the latest Manulife Investor Sentiment Index* covering the second quarter of 2014.

Philippines investors reach across emerging Asia to mature markets

When asked which region they think is best to invest in, Philippines investors point to developed Asia, Australasia and North America over emerging markets, including emerging Asia and the Middle East and North Africa.

Fig. 1 – Philippines investors favour developed and distant markets over China and emerging Asia

Philippines investors seem less affected by home-market bias than any other investors in the survey. Given a selection of single markets, they show most enthusiasm for Canada (76 points) and Japan (73) above the Philippines itself (51), and show least for China (44), which most other Asia investors rank relatively higher.

When it comes to growth, Philippines investors are also most optimistic about Japan and Canada, with 19 percent believing that Japan’s economy will be the fastest growing in the next two years, followed by Canada, China and Australia. This contrasts markedly with the average Asia investor, 27 percent of whom expect China’s economy to grow fastest, followed by much lower expectations for Japan Australia and Canada.

Fig. 2 – Philippines investors’ views of which markets will grow fastest contrasted markedly with investors elsewhere in Asia

"Our research suggests that Philippines investors’ preference for Japan is likely related to Japan’s first quarter GDP growth which came in at 6.7 percent on strong consumer demand ahead of the implementation of a new goods and services tax," said Aira Gaspar, CFA, Chief Investment Officer of Manulife Philippines.

“It's also interesting that Philippines investors seem so keen on Canada. We think there is a sound basis for this given that Canadian equities outperformed their developed market peers in the first quarter."

Philippines investors rely on friendly advice, ‘bricks and mortar’ approach to portfolios

Despite their international outlook, Philippines investors place their faith closer to home when it comes to making investment decisions, with 88 percent relying on or referring to family, friends or colleagues as a source of advice – the highest level in the region and well above the regional average of 58 percent. They are less dependent on industry staff, mass media or online sources of investment advice.

Philippines investors also have a very ‘bricks and mortar’ approach to portfolio composition, with 61 percent saying they own investment property (against the Asian average of 19 percent) and 75 percent owning their own home (against an Asian average of 50 percent). Cash and property together make up the bulk of their portfolios. Conversely, they have much lower ownership of stocks (15 percent versus the Asian average of 48 percent) and mutual funds (6 percent versus 23 percent) – even though their sentiment towards equities is the highest in Asia.

“Philippines investors rely largely on their own networks for their investment decisions" said Ryan Charland, CEO of Manulife Philippines. "While it is comforting to speak with family and friends for investment advice, investors would benefit from consulting investment professionals, who could help them build a sound and diversified portfolio that meets their medium to long-term financial goals.”

Philippines investors are Asia's most optimistic

In addition to their positive views about investing overseas, Philippines investors remain optimistic about investing at home with the sentiment index for domestic investment at 59, the highest in Asia. This optimism was spread across all asset classes in the survey, which all saw increases except cash. Fixed income saw the biggest increase, up 5 points to 50; followed by stocks, up 4 to 45. Mutual funds rose 1 point to 36. Property has taken the lead as the most favored asset class, with home property highest at 75, up 1 in the quarter, while investment property rose by 4 points to 74. Cash was the only asset class to see a decline, down 9 to 73, but still remains high.

”Filipino respondents were generally upbeat, despite weaker-than-expected first quarter 2014 GDP growth and uninspiring corporate earnings for the same period,” confirmed Ms. Gaspar. “We believe sentiment was boosted by a credit rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s and an increase in government spending on much-needed infrastructure projects. The country’s resilient private consumption, rising investment cycle, recovering manufacturing industry and favorable consumer and business confidence bode well for economic activity and a positive earnings growth story. However, investors’ sentiment could turn sour if policy reforms aimed at addressing infrastructure deficiencies and fostering inclusive economic growth stall.”

For more findings and related information from the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index in Asia, please visit

*About Manulife Investor Sentiment Index in Asia

Manulife’s Investor Sentiment Index in Asia is a quarterly, proprietary survey measuring and tracking investors’ views across eight markets in the region on their attitudes towards key asset classes and related issues. The Index is calculated as a net score (% of “Very good time” and “Good time” minus % of “Bad time” and “Very bad time”) for each asset class. The overall index is calculated as an average of the index figures of asset classes. A positive number means a positive sentiment, zero means a neutral sentiment, and a negative number means negative sentiment.

The Manulife ISI is based on 500 online interviews in each market of Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore; in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines it is conducted face-to-face. Respondents are middle class to affluent investors, aged 25 years and above who are the primary decision maker of financial matters in the household and currently have investment products.

The Manulife ISI is a long-established research series in North America. The Manulife ISI has been measuring investor sentiment in Canada for the past 15 years, and extended this to its John Hancock operation in the U.S. in 2011. Asset classes taken into Manulife ISI Asia calculations are stocks/equities, real estate (primary residence and other investment properties), mutual funds/unit trusts, fixed income investment and cash.

About Manulife Asset Management

Manulife Asset Management is the global asset management arm of Manulife, providing comprehensive asset management solutions for institutional investors and investment funds in key markets around the world. This investment expertise extends across a broad range of public and private asset classes, as well as asset allocation solutions. As at June 30, 2014, assets under management for Manulife Asset Management were approximately C$300 billion (US$281 billion).

Manulife Asset Management’s public markets units have investment expertise across a broad range of asset classes including public equity and fixed income, and asset allocation strategies. Offices with full investment capabilities are located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. In addition, Manulife Asset Management has a joint venture asset management business in China, Manulife TEDA. The public markets units of Manulife Asset Management also provide investment management services to affiliates' retail clients through product offerings of Manulife and John Hancock. John Hancock Asset Management and Declaration Management and Research are units of Manulife Asset Management.

Additional information about Manulife Asset Management may be found at

Pearl River Café: Authentic Cantonese Cuisine At TriNoma Mall

Pearl River Café: Authentic Cantonese Cuisine At TriNoma Mall
 Pearl River Café Trinoma, BBQ Pork Rice

I used to go with my aunt to Hong Kong to taste different Cantonese cuisine, among others. Imagine the exuberant cost of our trip from plane tickets to bus fare, hotel expenses, the silly travel tax, etc. Oh, the never ending list of expenses goes on and on when you travel abroad. Well, I can now say to you, my dear, that you don't need to worry anymore!  Yes, fellow foodie, you no longer need to fly to Hong Kong or Macau to get your Cantonese food fix. Yehey!

 Pearl River Café Trinoma facade

You can now eat to your hearts content at Pearl River Café, a Cantonese restaurant smack right at the garden area of TriNoma Mall.  It's just beside Cyma restaurant which offers Greek dishes. This authentic Cantonese Restaurant caters to your Chinese food cravings.

 Pearl River Café Trinoma, lights, tables and chairs

Upon entering you'll notice that the place has a mirror on the wall that gives a sense of greater space by reflecting light, thus brightening the room. The reflection of the room also fools the eye (trompe l'oeil) into feeling there is a greater amount of space than in reality.  I think its maximum capacity is at least 30 persons. The tables and chairs have the right height and firmness.

My love for Chinese food has brought me to Binondo and to as far as Hong Kong and mainland China. I literally flew from Manila to Beijing and to Hangzhou then to Shanghai in my search for authentic delicious Chinese cuisine.  Unlike the traditional Chinese restaurant  that I visited in the past, there is no dim sum trolley at Pearl River Café, you have to order dim sum from the menu.
 Pearl River Café Trinoma Hakaw, hakao, Dimsum, DIM SUM, Chinese, Food
Hakao (pronounced as ha-kaw) or steamed shrimp dumpling (Php99.00) is one of my gauge to know the authenticity of the food that a Chinese restaurant offers. I tend to judge Chinese restaurants by how good their hakao is.  And I can say that Pearl River Café passed the test with flying colors. The steamed shrimp dumplings don't just look adorable, they also taste wonderful. The Steamed Shrimp Dumplings were fresh, flavorful and perfectly prepared using the delicate dumpling skins that turn translucent when done. The dumplings were full of real shrimp fillings! I am happy to note that they were not stuffed with the usual extenders. 
 Pearl River Café Trinoma, Chinese Food, Beef Brocolli,

Beef and Broccoli (Php229) were very delicious.
 The Chinese broccoli was really fresh and crispy.  It blended well with the tender beef cuts.
 Pearl River Café Trinoma, Chinese Food, Steamed Spareribs and Taro with Black Bean

Steamed Spareribs and Taro with Black Bean (Php129.00). I took only one bite of this dish and I think it has lot of fats. I think this dish is a bit overprice.  You could order one at one fourth of its price elsewhere.  Please make this a healthy meat meal by using lean meat.

 Pearl River Café Trinoma, Chinese Food, Vegetable, Barbecue Pork, Pork with rice

Barbecue pork with plain rice Php129.00 

BBQ Pork (Cha Siu, or Cha Shao 叉燒) “Cha Siu” literally means "fork burn/roast." It has a lovely color of red and has a sweet fragrance. Traditionally, Cantonese use pork butt when roasting BBQ pork. Pork butt contains a lot of fat that results in moist, succulent meat after many hours of slow cooking with low heat.

The chefs who roast Cha Siu for Chinese restaurants would use a very huge oven. They skewer all seasoned boneless pork strips with long forks and place them in huge covered ovens so that all pork strips can be baked evenly and easily brushed with honey. I was a bit disappointed because Pearl River Café's version has more fat than lean meat.  I hope they do something about it.

   Pearl River Café Trinoma, Chinese Food, Taiwan Jin Xuan Buttermilk Oolong Tea
I capped the Cantonese feast with a cup of a healthy and delicious Taiwan Jin Xuan Buttermilk Oolong Tea ( Php350.00 )Taiwan Jin Xuan Buttermilk Oolong Tea produces a light yellowish/ golden liquid with milky sweet aroma and smooth and sweet lingering taste. It is produced from tea leaves at certain time, temperature, altitude, and soil conditions to get the milky silky texture.
Taiwan Jin Xuan Buttermilk Oolong Tea,  Pearl River Café Trinoma, Chinese Food,  Yummy, Delicious, Mint

It was my first time to try this kind of tea. I so love the experience.  Jin-Xuan milk oolong tea is usually planted at an elevation of 1,000 feet above sea level.  When Jin-Xuan tea leaves are lightly roasted during processing, they have a unique milk flavor which is called nai xiang or milk oolong.  It smells buttery and sweet--candy sweet, not grassy-sweet--and brews to a lovely light golden color.  It has a pleasing, smooth flavor with a buttery aftertaste. There is a slight astringency apparent when first sipped, which mellows into a very nice, full sensation on the back of the tongue.  My rating for this tea: Excellent.

Pearl River Café's Dim Sum menu is extensive and allows diners to check off those small plate dishes (and quantity) he/she desires.
  The dishes were all served freshly prepared, steaming hot and incredibly flavorful. The best thing about ordering dim sum is that each plate averages in cost from Php99 to Php199.  This will allow you the freedom to try many things without the worry of getting stuck with an entrée that you don’t like. Order and then sit back and let your taste buds take you away to another world.

This review is made possible by Open rice.  Thank you for the invitation Stephanie.


 Pearl River Café Trinoma, Chinese Food, Taiwan Jin Xuan Buttermilk Oolong Tea

Pearl River Cafe
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Mobile: 0927 688 0206

Sharp’s air conditioning technologies make cool air safe and clean

Sharp’s air conditioning technologies make cool air safe and clean

Good news to those people who often get allergies when they are in an air-conditioned environment.  Finally there is no need for you to undergo the same ordeal again. You can now upgrade your air-conditioning unit to a model that not only cools the air but also gets rid of harmful bacteria.

A lot of airborne—and potentially dangerous—viruses, allergens, and bacteria are present in our environment today, making necessary protection from the health risks they bring, especially to our kids.

Today, Sharp (Phils.) Corporation has air conditioners bring not only cool but also clean air to homes, offices, and any type of establishment on any given day and weather. Its impressive line of air conditioning products offers enhanced and “healthier” cooling efficiency compared to other brands in the market today.

What sets Sharp air conditioners apart from other brands today is the air purification system called Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) technology, a technologically advanced airflow filtration system that helps free the air from dangerous airborne threats. This helps produce cleaner and fresher air that’s 99 percent free from airborne threats – clean and safe air, inspired by nature, indeed.

The PCI technology involves the generation of an electrical discharge that helps make and releases positive and negative ions into the air. These positively and negatively charged ions, similar to the ones found in nature, go after airborne bacteria and viruses, attach themselves to them to form highly oxidizing radicals, then finally draw out hydrogen, effectively breaking down the protein’s membrane to make them inactive. These hydrogen and oxygen radicals then combine with hydrogen and return to the atmosphere as water.

Dust, pollen, and other forms of air contaminants are also some of Sharp air conditioners’ targets. The charged ions neutralize static electricity to help prevent these contaminants—even odors—from sticking to walls and fabrics for easy collection and filtering. Because PCI technology mimics how nature cleanses the air around, it allows us to breathe fresh and clean air that is safe and chemical-free. This makes PCI air conditioning units ahead of others in the market.

A lot of people, especially in enclosed, air-conditioned rooms, will be happy to note that Sharp air conditioners are effective in protecting the home and the family, the workplace, and other establishments like airports, museums, and other public places, from unhealthy air.

Besides PCI technology, Sharp air conditioners are also equipped with Powerful Jet Stream Technology which makes everyone in the room feel cool, regardless of where they are located.

The Powerful Jet Stream Technology has a strong and direct airflow that instantly cools the body and the room 30 percent faster than the conventional split-type air conditioners. The Coanda Technology, on the other hand, throws cool air through a soft, indirect airflow from far distances to provide soothing coolness to the room, which works best for babies and sometimes the elderly. Finally, the Inverter Technology enables faster and quicker cooling, reduces start-up time, and promises effective energy operation by avoiding the cycling of compressor. The process also helps you avoid power surges, thereby saving you energy and more money.

All these technologies designed to make the customer’s life more comfortable are available in each Sharp Deluxe Split-Type Air Conditioner, as part of the company’s “Our Brand, Our Pride” philosophy; this is a commitment to uplift the quality of life of Filipinos by providing them with exceptional home appliance products – no frills, no fuss, just simple engineering marvels for you and your family.
To find out more about Sharp’s outstanding line of air conditioners and other home appliances, visit



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