Author Archives: Jun Macarambon

Ramadhan International Bazaar 2014

Ramadhan, the fasting month anticipated by Muslims worldwide, is here again.

Muslims and non-Muslims alike in Metro Manila are invited to experience Ramadhan in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig.

Ramadhan International Bazaar

Ramadhan International Bazaar

The first Ramadhan International Bazaar is a 38-day dusk to midnight food and culture showcase of the East-Mid-West from June 27th to August 3rd.

Have a taste of authentic halal international cuisine cooked on-site with the first ever butlerized halal buffet as Muslim Filipinos and foreign Muslims break their 12-hour fasting daily.

Imported halal food and non-food products will be featured in the unique exhibits.

The Ramadhan International Bazaar 2014 will be formally launched on Saturday, June 28th 6:00 p.m. at Mercato Centrale located at the corner of 8th Avenue and 34th Street in BGC.

The Ramadhan International Bazaar, to be held annually henceforth, is spearheaded by Halal & Toyyiba Holdings, Inc., a joint venture corporation between Muslim Filipinos and Malaysian entrepreneurs, in collaboration with L’Opera Group, owner of the top Italian restaurants in the country that are now going halal, and Mercato Centrale Group, the premiere organizer of night & day food market in the metro.

The event is supported by National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Five percent of the sales of food and non-food special selections will proceed to the less privileged and orphans through the feeding and charity programs of the organizers in partnership with Islamic Embassies.

The Ramadhan International Bazaar is first of its kind experience not to be missed!


After many years of building website and also collecting domain names for future projects as an entrepreneur and also as a blogger. I just received an email from LATHAM & WATKINS LLP a law firm who represents Entrepreneur Media, Inc. who runs the famous . This is regarding the domain name i own, which […]

Nur Misuari shouldn’t be solely to be blamed

I criticize Prof. Nur P. Misuari before because some of his actions like not supporting the FAB and his mismanagement of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as Governor. But some so-called intellectuals or professionals it’s easy for them to criticize Maas. I realized that, we should remember that, Maas is at first an Academician then a Revolutionary leader. Running a Revolutionary Front is different from running a Government with all those bureaucracy up to Malacanang and doom to failed ARMM system.

We all know that ARMM is not the solution to the Bangsamoro Question, President PNoy even agreed it’s a failed experiment. Nur Misuari shouldn’t be solely to be blamed. We should also blame the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines for watered down ARMM Organic Act which is also a none-compliance or misinterpretation of the MNLF-GPH 1996 Peace Agreement. MNLF Nur Misuari was trapped and fooled by Filipino Politicians promises.

MILF learned a lot of lessons from MNLF experienced against the Filipino Gov’t. That’s why MILF negotiation with GPH now is very careful and vigilant. Some MILF Youth and Young Bangsamoro Leaders are given opportunities to study abroad like Governance and other needed technical skills to run a government so if the Bangsamoro State arrived, it will not be doom to failed Bangsamoro Government. MILF should be thankful to MNLF experienced because they we’re not the one who was trapped and be blamed to ARMM failed experiment.

Extend and Help your fellow comrades who was trapped, losts and helpless against insincere government. We Bangsamoro will not be liberated unless we are united and be inclusive among all sectors of our ummah. Free Bangsamoro!

Trying to be a Blogger cum writer again

If you see my last blog post - My usual snacks at McDonald’s, its dated last November 9, 2007. AWOL for almost 6years. Whew! Many things happen between this years. Actually my last post on this blog was around 2010, but because my server crashed then i lost all my posts/contents. I tried to recover all […]

Senator Villar’s Philippine Halal Act and NCMF Halal Board

SENATOR Cynthia Villar filed a bill to institutionalize a national standard in preparing “halal foods” to be on par with world-accepted guidelines observed in all abattoirs, outlets, hotels, restaurants and other service establishments.

In Senate Bill No.312 or the Philippine Halal Act, author Sen. Villar wants ”to protect the interest of the people for clean, pure and healthy food. Halal foods are healthy because Muslims make sure that slaughtered animals are also healthy and clean, and pay particular attention to the feeds given the animals.”

The bill seeks for the creation of the Philippine Halal Accreditation and Regulatory Board (PHARB) tasked to formulate, draft, manage and implement programs relevant to manufacturing, production, distribution, preparation, handling, storage and verification of halal approved-food, non-food merchandise and services.

Just few months back, the only agency of the government now that has the mandate of promoting the Halal Industry in the Philippines is National Commission on Muslim Filipinos – Halal Board where it will accredit Halal Certifying Entities/Bodies (HCB/Es) for the utmost benefit of Muslim Filipinos and in partnership or cooperation with appropriate agencies, individuals and institutions here and abroad.

Though the NCMF can accredit Halal Certifiers in the Philippines, its Halal Board has very vague mandate or has very little power to really push the Halal Industry. For instance, if theres a company who claims that their product is Halal certified and it later found out that the product is contaminated with ‘Haram’ nor non-halal like porks and its derivatives? Can the NCMF punished or sanctioned the said company?

After launching of the NCMF Halal Board, there are only 3 groups applied for accreditation as of this writing. Heres the list:

One of the dominant and visible player in Halal certifications in the Philippines – the Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines (IDCP) still or has no plans to apply for accreditation. IDCP still claims that they are the “Sole” Authority in Halal Certifications because they win the case against Office of Muslim Affairs (now NCMF) - based on Supreme Court ruling G. R. 153888 dated 9 July 2003.

If Philippine Halal Accreditation and Regulatory Board (PHARB) is approved by the congress and signed by the President? Is the NCMF Halal Board will be elevated to PHARB?

The global market for halal foods is estimated at US$547 billion a year or more.

The huge market has drawn interest from food producing countries worldwide. The demand and sale of halal products continue to climb due to the growing number of the Muslim population globally and in the Philippines.

“The concept of halal, which means ‘permissible’ in Arabic, has been traditionally applied to food. But now, goods like cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing and services are also being certified halal. They also adhere to the proper method of slaughtering an animal for consumption, known as dhabihah. There are procedures in the certification of halal food and other products,” Villar said.

She said the government must ensure compliance with international standards of good manufacturing and hygienic practices by institutionalizing a halal system for food, non-food products and services.

Philippines Gateway To Halal Market

By Edu Lopez
via Manila Bulletin

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) has cited the Philippines’ gaining popularity as a global business platform and gateway for the $632 billion halal food market.

“Halal’s increasing global popularity stems from strict cultural and religious adherence to its quality standards that make it synonymous to health and hygiene,” said CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos.

Halal is a major component of the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines which will be beld on May 16 to 19, 2013 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

CITEM is currently undertaking preparations for the forthcoming IFEX Philippines, a biennial event and the premier international sourcing hub for the finest ethnic Asian food, ingredients, and raw materials.

The event would have an entire pavilion devoted to Halal to give the industry players all the room they would need to market their products to a vast foreign audience.

Halal pertains to foods that are allowed under Islamic Law. Haram, on the other hand, refers to foods that Muslims are forbidden to consume such as pig and dog and their derivatives, carnivorous animals except animals that only eat fish, amphibians such as frogs, crocodiles, turtles, and seals, among others.

Under the Islamic Law, it is likewise forbidden to use dirty equipment during preparation, processing, and manufacturing.

This development has turned the Halal seal into an international symbol of good quality and marketability.

Halal foods are prescribed for the world’s 1.8-billion Muslims, consequently yielding a global annual market that constitutes some 20% of the world’s entire food consumption.

“In support of the Philippine Export Development Plan’s Halal Development Plan, a special participation rate for IFEX Philippines 2013 will be offered to Halal-certified companies, Halal certifiers, as well as Halal-compliant restaurants and hotels, if they exhibit,” said Gaetos.

“This development underscores CITEM’s strategy of using IFEX to help make the Philippines a leading Halal producer in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), now poised to become the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a unified regional production and trading block by 2015,” she added. (EHL)

Welcome to Halal Ville

Assalamu Alaykum brothers and sisters.

Welcome to my new blog project – Halal Ville. It’s been long i’ve been planning to have a blog about halal, and now … it’s up and running!

I have so many reasons why i need to develop this weblog. I aimed to promote Halal awareness among us Muslims particularly here in the Philippines, to know different Halal issues,  impart halal lifestyle in daily life and build a creative network among social, educational, government and business sectors to develop halal community collaboratively for common benefits of everyone.

On personal reasons i want a ready available database of Halal Restaurants and food related since im a Moro Foodie and food blogger, i love to eat and splurge on foods but its hard when there’s none Halal available or at least pork-free establishments – restaurants or fast-food chain. Having a database nor list of Halal establishments, it will also help other Muslims enjoy their stay here in the Philippines.

Other reason also is there’s little information dissemination on what is halal and there’s question who is really the Halal Authority in the Philippines, unlike other Muslim nation who has  authorities nor agencies that outline a halal chain from authority to manufacturers to products to consumers.

I will try to fill this gap, i will reach out to Islamic scholars nor authority about halal, will share anything i will learn from them. If you know any of them (scholars), drop me a message so i can interview them if they are willing – contact me here.

If you have any questions nor queries about halal or suggestions and want to share to me, click contact us.




REFLECTIONS: In the meeting of the MNLF Head Misuari & MILF Chairman Murad Ibrahim in Djibouti, Chad, Africa

By: Robert Maulana Marohombsar Alonto

In the exclusive meeting with the MNLF brothers headed by Bro. Nur Misuari, Chairman of the MNLF, that was presided over by the OIC Secretary General, Ekmeluddin Ihsanoglu, in Djibouti on November 16, 2012, Bro. Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Chairman of the MILF and head of the MILF delegation stressed the philosophy that underpinned the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Bro. Murad in effect said that for almost 16 years, interspersed with all-out wars, the MILF has been engaged in negotiations with the Philippine government. And in these 16 years, what was uppermost in the mind of the MILF was the aspiration for self-determination of the Bangsamoro people. In this context, he said, the MILF entered the negotiation not for the sake or benefit of the MILF but for the collective interest of the Bangsamoro. Following up on this logic, Brother Murad further reminded everyone in the meeting that group or organizational interest should give way to this collective interest of the Bangsamoro people. It is high time, he said, for every Moro to think of the general welfare of the Bangsamoro, and not the parochial and vested interest or personal agenda of any group or individual.

Indeed, if one were to thoroughly go over and understand the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Transition Authority, which climaxes the transition period, is only good for one year. And the MILF will head the Transition Authority. If the MILF wanted to entrench itself in power for its own self-serving purposes, it could have demanded a longer period for the Transition Authority, say, 3, 5, or even 10 years. But no. The MILF shortened the Transition Authority’s duration to only 1 year after which a free election will be held in the Bangsamoro in 2016 for the Bangsamoro Parliament. The Bangsamoro party that wins the biggest number of seats in the BM Parliament will have the right to choose the Chief Minister who shall head the Bangsamoro Government. In this new political system in the Bangsamoro, in contrast with the rigidly Presidential/Unitary form of government in the Philippines, the political playing field is even. Any Bangsamoro who deserves to be elected not because of money, influence, family, goons, or political patronage, shall have a chance to serve. One has just to remember that this is no longer a ‘gobirno a sarwang a tao’ (Government of the other people) but a government of the Bangsamoro. No Bangsamoro, therefore, can be deprived of his/her right to participate in the Bangsamoro Government for the sole reason that this is his/her government – the government of the Bangsamoro!

Yet, there are those among some of our sectors who cynically question the Framework Agreement. What has the Framework Agreement achieved? Those who can easily understand and discern what is in the Framework Agreement should be able to see what this agreement has achieved: 1.) It has restored to our people their Bangsamoro national identity that is officialy recognized by the Philippine State and the international community. In short, our nationhood status is no longer just on paper or in the imagination or theoretical; it is now a fact, a living reality; 2.) It has restored to us what is left of our ancestral Moro homeland that now carries the official nomenclature ‘Bangsamoro'; and 3.) It has restored to us the right to govern our homeland with a system that is unlike the system that prevails over the Philippines. This is the asymmetry that is mentioned in the Framework that characterizes the relationship between the Bangsamoro and the Philippine State. For while the Philippine State is still presidential/unitary, the Bangsamoro shall have a ministerial/parliamentary form of government.

We are aghast that there are those among our Moro brothers and sisters who still don’t see the logic of the Framework Agreement. I hate to say this but Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has a better understanding of the logic of the Framework Agreement than those who, for instance, are opposed to the changing of the name “Autnomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” to Bangsamoro. This is not merely a change in nomenclature. It is a change of the system – the status quo – which we in the MILF have rejected. President Aquino and his peace panel have finally understood the sovereignty-based conflict character of the Bangsamoro Question. Sad to say, and ironically at that, there are among us who still cannot understand and so they base their opposition on conjectures and wild premises. They don’t even bother to read our history. So their fallacious argument is that by changing “Muslim Mindanao” to ‘Bangsamoro’, we forfeit our right to claim the whole of Mindanao and Sulu! Why, this argument is not even based on present political and demographic realities! “Muslim Mindanao” was coined by the Regional Consultative Council (RCC) that drafted the law on ARMM during the presidency of Cory Aquino. The term ‘Moro Nation’ (or Bangsa Moro in Malay) was first used by the Moro leaders who drew up the Zamboanga Declarartion in 1924 that opposed annexation of the Bangsamoro to an independent Philippines. This historic Declaration was sent to the the US president and the US Congress. Even assuming that such a claim to the whole of Mindanao is to be made, Bangsamoro has more right to that claim. When the Americans established their colonial rule over Mindanao and Sulu, they called it the ‘Moro province’. The Moro Province was composed of five districts which covered the entire length and breadth of Mindanao and Sulu excepting Palawan. ‘Muslim’ is an ideological-religious identity. We, Moros, are Muslims. That’s a fact. But if we go by the name ‘Muslim’ alone, what are we? Are we Japanese Muslims, Arab Muslims, etc? Bangsamoro is a national identity and it does not contradict our being Muslims. “O Mankind, We have created you from a single (pair) of male and female and set you up as nations and tribes, so that you may recognize one another…Verily the noblest among you before Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah is Aware, Informed.”(Qur’an, 49:13)

Since there will be a long pause in the posting on this page, we might as well clarify some of the issues that came out after the signing of the Framework. One is the complain that the Framework has imited the territories of the Bangsamoro. What one should bear in mind is that the core areas of the Bangsamoro start with the present areas covered by the present ARMM. And more because it included the 6 municipalities in Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion but were excluded from the ARMM during the plebiscite in the late 80s because voting was reckoned by province and not by municipalitiy or barangay. It is true that many areas dominated by Bangsamoro were not included in the core territory of the Bangsamoro. The reason is contiguity. These areas are not contiguous to the core territory, and contiguity is the rule of thumb at the time of the negotiations. They will be the subject of future negotiations. There are, however, contiguous areas that were not included. Nonetheless, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro does not – repeat does not – close the door to the inclusion of these areas because it provides that a resolution by the local governments in these areas or a petition by 10% of the voting population therein on inclusion at least two months before the conduct of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will suffice to have them included in the territory of the Bangsamoro. Look for it in the Framework. It is there in item no. V on Territory.