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The Making of a Retirement Haven

Many Filipinos leave the Philippines for supposed greener grounds; but if the government has its way, everyone who left should be encouraged to come back to retire in the country.

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“While other countries experience long, harsh winters, the temperature in the Philippines virtually stays the same, ranging from 25 to 35 degrees centigrade. So whether it is basking under the sun during summer, soaking under the rain during wet days, or simply indulging in your favorite leisure the rest of the year, the Philippines is truly your retirement haven,” so states the Web site of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA).

BEAUTY ENCAPSULATED
The Philippines is being sold as a retirement haven – and why not, when it has so much to offer.

Established on July 4, 1985 under Executive Order No. 1037, which created the Philippine Retirement Park System, PRA is the lead government agency mandated to attract foreign nationals and former Filipino citizens to retire in the Philippines. In fulfilling its mandate, PRA hopes to contribute to accelerating socio-economic development, increasing the foreign currency reserve, and providing attractive packages that will further improve the quality of life of foreigner retirees.

The other benefits it offers include the low cost of living in the Philippines, one of the lowest in the world if the current foreign currency exchange situation is considered, the natural and man-made attractions that the country offers, affordable quality medical care, and a choice between cosmopolitan or rural settlement, depending on one’s preference, among other perks.

PRA’s efforts are anchored on the issuance of the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), a special non-immigrant resident visa that provides its holders with multiple-entry and indefinite stay in the Philippines, tax-free incentives and privileges, the right to set up a business in the country, and value-added services and benefits from PRA partner establishments.

PRA describes the SRRV as “a lifestyle visa for those who enjoy perks and privileges, a hassle-free visa for the frequent traveler, and a retirement visa for the elderly who need special care for their special needs.”

The Philippines currently has 13,000 SRRV holders, 40% of whom come from Taiwan. Last year, 1,200 retirees availed themselves of the program, with the bulk coming from Korea. In early 2005, 1,300 retirees, mostly coming from Mainland China and Korea, signed up.

Interestingly, those who avail themselves of the SRRV come to the Philippines not necessarily to retire. Since retirees only need to be 35 years old when applying for an SRRV, the privilege can be—and is—used by foreigners seeking to open a business in the Philippines. This, the PRA says, helps in the country’s economic growth.

In 2004, PRA remitted to the national government P40.72 million in cash and P34.06 million in income taxes. This year, the PRA has been earning P2.87 per P1 spent as compared to last year’s P2.16: P1 ratio.

“It is only in retirement when one finds time to pause longer and experience enjoyment in the simple things in life. The Philippines affords that luxury,” PRA states.

For more information on retiring in the Philippines, contact the Philippine Retirement Authority, 29/F Citibank Tower, 8741 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City, tel. no. [632] 848-1412, or send an e-mail to inquiry@pra.gov.ph, or check out www.pra.gov.ph.

"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." This one writes about... anything and everything.

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Travel

Environmentally friendly behavior is easy… tourists just need a ‘nudge’

The study showed that the presence of a ‘nudge’ or cue towards certain behaviors was enough to encourage people to behave in more environmentally conscious ways, whether that was refusing a plastic bag whilst at the convenience store or ensuring they maintained a safe distance from turtles when on a snorkeling trip – whether this message was framed positively or negatively did not matter.

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Photo by Aliona & Pasha from Pexels.com

A new study in Frontiers in Communication has demonstrated the powerful impact that subtle messaging and cues, or ‘nudges’, can provide on encouraging people to show socially desirable behaviors.

Travelers who were observed on the Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan, a popular tourist destination, were more likely to demonstrate environmentally conscious actions, such as refusing a plastic bag or avoiding contact with a coral reef, when they were ‘nudged’ towards the desirable action with either a written or face to face interaction.

The researchers found that any intervention, whether framed positively or negatively, was enough to lead people to make environmentally conscious decisions, compared to being given no behavioral cues or messaging. The study provides many practical takeaways that can be easily implemented by tourist operators or businesses, at a low cost, to increase environmental stewardship and promote positive behaviors in their customers.

Although many of us feel a responsibility to demonstrate environmentally-conscious behaviors and possess the knowledge we need to take these actions, we are often burdened by numerous obstacles, a phenomenon the researchers describe as the ‘knowledge-action gap’.

Dr Katherine Nelson, who led the study in partnership with the Gili Eco Trust, explains: “The gap between knowledge and action exists because it is much easier to think a certain way than it is to actually consistently behave in that manner — but providing a subtle cue can help us relieve some of the cognitive burden on our brains when we are in a complex environment.”

To try and close this gap, the researchers set up scenarios for tourists in two real life situations — when being offered a plastic bag at a convenience store, and when given a briefing before a snorkeling trip. The researchers observed the differences in people’s behavior based on whether a person was confronted with a written or face to face interaction of either a positive message highlighting good outcomes, or a negative message focusing on the bad outcomes of a specific action.

The study showed that the presence of a ‘nudge’ or cue towards certain behaviors was enough to encourage people to behave in more environmentally conscious ways, whether that was refusing a plastic bag whilst at the convenience store or ensuring they maintained a safe distance from turtles when on a snorkeling trip – whether this message was framed positively or negatively did not matter.

“Our study highlights that an intervention can lead people to making better decisions by just drawing their attention to an issue — by providing a small cue, we can reduce the obstacles that get in the way and make environmental behaviors easy.”

The results offer important insights on the effectiveness of simple messaging as a practical way to nudge people towards environmentally conscious behaviors. The tourist sector in particular has huge potential to utilize these types of approaches and make pro-environmental behaviors a simple choice to reduce local impacts.

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NewsMakers

Taking the fear out of driver education

Educational programs often use fear-based messaging and films of crash scenes to reduce risky driving behavior among young people. But does this “scary” approach work?

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Photo by Laura Gariglio from Unsplash.com

New drivers between the ages of 15 and 25 account for nearly half of the more than one million road deaths that occur worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. Educational programs often use fear-based messaging and films of crash scenes to reduce risky driving behavior among young people. But does this “scary” approach work?

A new study published in the journal Risk Analysis suggests that fear-based messaging fails to reduce risky driving behavior, while fear-based Virtual Reality (VR) films depicting a violent collision may actually lead young drivers to take more chances behind the wheel.

A team of psychologists led by University of Antwerp researcher Clara Alida Cutello, PhD, conducted a study of 146 students who had been legally driving for less than five years. The researchers examined the impact of both content (fear vs. positive) and delivery mode (2D vs. VR) of driver safety intervention programs.

Fear-based driver ed films often show terrible crash scenes in graphic detail. The assumption behind this approach is that arousing a sense of fear by depicting a serious consequence such as death will persuade young people to drive more carefully. Positively framed films take the opposite approach, using humor and empathy and modeling safe driving behaviors that result in positive consequences.

Three tests were used to gauge the risk-taking behavior of the young drivers before and after participating in the intervention program. One was a Driver Behavior Questionnaire. The other was the Vienna Risk-Taking Test on traffic, which asks participants to watch video clips of driving situations from the point of view of the driver and choose whether they view a situation as too risky. For example, choosing whether to pass another car in icy conditions. A third test was a 21-item Emotional Arousal Scale that measured the level of emotional arousal (such as feeling afraid) after watching a film.

The results showed that participants who viewed the fear-based VR film reported riskier driving behaviors afterward, while those who viewed a positively framed VR film exhibited the greatest reduction in risky driving behavior. This finding supports other research that has shown that exposing participants to an extreme and graphic collision tends to activate defensive mechanisms, such as paying attention for a shorter time, disengaging, rejecting a message, and an increase in risky behaviors.

“Fear appeals have been used in many health and environmental campaigns, such as smoking, anti-drug, safe sex, and HIV prevention campaigns,” says Dr. Cutello. “Further experimental research is needed to determine whether the use of fear is effective.”

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Destinations

5 Tips for summer road trips

Whether you’re going down the road to visit family or across the country to see a national monument, it is important to prepare your vehicle – and its tires – before you pull out of the driveway.

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For many people, summer means setting out on a road trip in search of bucket-list-worthy excitement or a relaxing vacation.

Whether you’re going down the road to visit family or across the country to see a national monument, it is important to prepare your vehicle – and its tires – before you pull out of the driveway.

These five safety tips can help get your family ready to hit the road this summer:

  1. Check Your Tread – A tire’s tread depth can determine a vehicle’s safe stopping distance. You can check your tread depth by sticking a penny upside-down in a tread groove. If you can see President Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.
  2. Ensure Proper Tire Pressure – Low tire pressure can lead to poor handling and gas mileage, excessive wear and overloading. Drivers should check their tire pressure at least once a month, and especially before any long trip. Use a dependable air gauge or stop by an automotive store to take advantage of complimentary air checks.
  3. Rotate Often – Tires should be rotated at least every 6,000 miles or earlier if irregular or uneven wear develops.
  4. Inspect Your Trunk – Some new vehicles no longer come equipped with a spare tire, opting instead for tire inflation kits that feature puncture coating sealants and air compressors, or even run-flat tires. Check your trunk to see what your vehicle contains and make sure you have a roadside assistance plan should the need arise.
  5. Don’t Overload – The combination of heat and overloading a vehicle, which can be common during summer travel, is one of the most dangerous conditions for a vehicle’s tires as overloaded tires can overheat and possibly fail.

When it comes to summer driving safety, it can be imperative to check your tires early and often. Knowing the condition of your tires can keep your family safe and your vehicle in quality condition. 

“It is important that drivers know how to check and maintain their tires and recognize the warning signs of when to replace them, especially during the hotter months,” said Tom Williams, senior vice president at Discount Tire. “Keeping customers and their families safe is our No. 1 priority each summer.”

To learn more about tire safety before a summer road trip, or to schedule an appointment for a tire safety check, visit tires.com.

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