The Philippine economy complemented its steady growth in gross domestic product with the highest credit ratings in its history: a “BBB” investment grade by Standard & Poor on May 8 and a “BAA2” investment grade by Moody’s Investor Service on Dec. 11.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are now able to expand direct routes to the United States after the US Federal Aviation Administration upgraded the Philippines to Category 1, in terms of compliance with international aviation standards.
World-famous brands that have already set up shop in the Philippines include the cheapest Michelin-star restaurant Tim Ho Wan and Swedish fashion giant H&M. Their openings drew thousands of hungry patrons and fashionistas.
The United Nations hailed the Philippines for its largely successful Typhoon “Ruby” preparations. A climate envoy staged a 1,000-kilometer “Climate Walk” from Manila to Tacloban in commemoration of Yolanda’s anniversary, while in Lima, Peru, the Philippines became a key player in the debates on climate change.
SM North Edsa became the world’s biggest solar-powered mall on Nov. 24 when it began using 5,760 solar panels to supply 1.5 megawatts of electricity. Solar Philippines, headed by Leandro Leviste, is also the company behind the 700-kW Central Mall Biñan solar project two months earlier.
Conde Nast Traveler magazine named Palawan the “top island of the world” while Vigan City, Ilocos Sur was proclaimed one of the “New7Wonders Cities of the World.” Things are looking bright for 2015, dubbed “Visit the Philippines Year” by the Department of Tourism.
A December 18 decision by the European Parliament to remove tariffs on over 6,200 products from the Philippines means as much as a P38-billion windfall for the country next year—and, according to the EU ambassador, “significantly improves the attractiveness of the Philippines as a destination for new agricultural and manufacturing facilities.”