Sunday, February 19, 2012

A visit to Mt. Apo Geothermal Powerplant

Got a taste of real adventure last Feb.17---at least on my part.lol!

I'd never been to any top-of-the-mountain excursion so our plant visit to EDC (Energy Development Corporation) and Mt. Apo Geothermal powerplant last February 17, 2012 was an exciting one, a good breather from the cluttered life in the city.

Originally, our Production Management class planned a trip to Nestle in Cagayan de Oro but due to the recent flood calamity in Cagayan, Nestle plant was not available, so our professor decided to take us to EDC where one of our classmates employed as safety engineer.
At the back of the water-based steam power plant
Foggy surrounding

Energy Development Corporation, located in the middle of Mt.Apo in barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan city, is the former Philippine National Oil Company, one of the government owned controlled corporations, but in 2009, the company was privatized and was acquired by the Lopez Group of Companies and renamed EDC. Its field centers on the renewable energy taken from natural resources, the company also pioneers geothermal energy in the country and produces water-based steam power. One of its production fields is located in Mt.Apo. The Geothermal production field has a total capacity of 106 megawatts spread across 112 hectares, it has production wells, reinjection wells and pipe network.

The fog is not due to bad weather but due to its steam power generation

We left Davao at 6:30 in the morning and arrived in Kidapawan at 11:00 soooo taxing! We did not anticipate this overtly long hours of travel so we did not take a heavy breakfast, there was this never-ending dilapidated road/and on-going road construction somewhere in Bansalan and Makilala, so we ended up traveling half-day. By the time we're heading to the top of Mt. Apo, we're extremely hungry.

We arrived at 12:00 noon and we were directed to the conference room for a short briefing and introduction on safety and other procedures (SOP when visiting EDC and Mt. Apo geothermal power plant), but all through out the lecture, which lasted for one hour, I was not listening because I was more concerned with the rumbling of my stomach. Waaah!

At 1:15 pm, we proceeded to the plant area with the majestic Mt. Apo in the background. Oh yes, it was terrific, wandering around, glancing at the great beauty of nature. We did not see the summit of Apo because it was very foggy and the thick steam coming from the plant covered part of the vertical limit of Mt. Apo. We were given goggle and helmet to be worn while touring the plant as part of the safety precautionary measures. We also visited the control system room of the plant with a brief discussion on how the geothermal energy works.
At the control area of the plant

At 2:00 pm, we left the area and proceeded to Lake Agco for our lunch, gosh!It was my first time to take lunch at 2:00 pm, thank God my head did not throw tantrums hehe, but my stomach produced an acid taste already while eating, a very common feeling when I would take lunch very late, so I did not enjoy the food.


Lake Agco

Lake Agco is just a very small mountain resort at the foot of Mt. Apo, there was a small area which was similar to jacuzzi bath, I saw some smoke coming from the water but I was not encouraged to take a dip because the water has a color brown haha and the area was crowded with lots of people resting beside the smokey water. 
Pools at Lake Agco

We left at 3:30 pm and arrived in Davao at 7:00 pm... a whole day adventure!But it was great because I was able to relax and unwind  ^______^



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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Real Princesses

Two centuries ago, commoners were not permitted to join and mix, let alone marry, with royalty. The monarchy is closely guarding the mystic and charm of its existence and allowing commoners to peep at their precious court would dispel the magic that shroud their exalted circle,  but the story became different as the 21st century approaches.

In order to survive and to continue the existence of the monarchy, royalty slowly adopted the idea of lowering barriers through the inclusion of commoners. This is their way of responding to the call of times to become more in touch with their subjects.  Now as the modern world changed the meaning of royalty, commoners largely dominated the royal court of Europe that you can hardly distinguished who are princesses born of royal blood and who are merely impostors.

Here, I allotted enough space for pretty and real European princesses born of royal blood. Most of them are related to each other through the intermarriages of the children of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria of England.
Princess Madelaine of Sweden
Princess Madelaine of Sweden is the youngest daughter of King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia. She was engaged in 2010 to a Swedish lawyer but called off the engagement several months later when the princess found out the infidelity of his fiance. Not sure if she returned the heart-shaped diamond engagement ring to him.
A closer look at Princess Madelaine
Princess Beatrice  of York
Princess Beatrice of York is the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and the second son of Queen Elizabeth II. Bea is currently listed as the 5th in line of succession to the British throne. She finished a Bachelor of Arts degree at London University.

Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg
Princess Alexandra is the only daughter of the reigning Grandduke of Luxembourg, Henri. She is quite protected by her parents from gossip because no news about her personal life passed the newspaper and magazine.
Princess Alexandra of Hanover with her mother, Princess Caroline of Monaco
Princess Alexandra of Hanover is the only child of Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Ernst August of Hanover (not known if the two already separated). She is the only grandchild, so far, by the late Prince Rainier that carries a Princess title. Until Prince Albert II sired legitimate children with his wife, Princess Charlene, his oldest sister, Princess Caroline will be the Hereditary Princess of Monaco.

Princess Eugenie of York
Princess Eugenie of York is the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew of York, said to be the favourite son of Queen Elizabeth II. Eugenie has an older sister, Princess Beatrice. Their parents, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996 months before the divorce of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, had finalized. Eugenie was named after Queen Eugenia of Spain who was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Princess Tatjana of Liechtenstein
Princess Tatjana is the only daughter of the reigning ruler of Liechtenstein, Prince Hans-Adam II. Her mother is Countess Marie Aglae. She is married to a Baron in 1999 and had seven children together.
Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark
Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark is the youngest daughter of King Constantine II of Greece and Queen Anna Marie. She was born in 1983, ten years after Greece abolished the monarchy. Her father was exiled following a military take over in 1969, the family settled in Italy and later in England where King Constantine established his own business. Princess Theodora finished a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theather Arts at one of the ivy league of schools in the United States, Brown University, she had studied fashion designing too at the prestigious Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in London. She expressed interest in film making and appeared on television soap opera like the Bold and the Beautiful.
Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein
Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein is the former Duchess Sophie of Bavaria. She is the daughter of Prince Max, the Duke of Bavaria and her mother is a Swedish Countess, Elisabeth Douglas. Her father is a great grandson of King Ludwig III of Bavaria. Sophie married the Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein, Alois, on July 3, 1993.
Princess Cristina of Spain
Princess Cristina of Spain is the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sophia. Through her parents, Cristina is the fourth generation of Queen Victoria of England and King Christian IX of Denmark. Her mother is a former Princess of Greece and the oldest sister of King Constantine II.

Among the royals listed above, Princess Cristina and Princess Theodora are the only princesses who have parents that are both royalty. Theodora's parents are Constantine II, the ex-king of Greece and Queen Anna Marie, the younger sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Anna Marie and Constantine are both great grandchildren of King Christian IX of Denmark. While King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sophia are third cousin through Queen Victoria of England.


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Her annoying frizzy hair


Why the Duchess of Cambridge could not do something to properly comb her frizzy hair? It is so irritating to look every time she appears in public with her old-fashioned dresses and locks that's so untidy, now I am not sure why the media continue claiming she is gorgeous when her hair does not speak for itself. The strands are flying everywhere and it seemed badly dishevelled and very dry.
It seems she needs to be lectured what proper grooming is all about
She badly needed a good hairstylist
She looked 10 years older with her hairstyle
And my God she is not pretty!!If this is the definition of a pretty face then I wonder where the ugly fits in. Can the media be more realistic and not blinded with the role this woman will assume someday?

Seriously speaking, I am not into this woman and so confused why half of the public is smitten with her when she does not reflect what glamour is all about. Her legs are so tacky and morbid lots of cellulite and so skin and bone, her hair is so damn ugly and her fashion taste is so dull and boring and pretty ancient.

I suspect, people just love her for the role she will assume someday and because she is a wife of a Prince people concluded she is extremely fascinating but when you look at it closely there's nothing to fuss about this social climber commoner. 

She is far from the class and elegance of other commoners who married European princes: Mary of Denmark, Maxima of the Netherlands, Charlene of Monaco and Letezia of Spain they epitomize glamour and elegance, maybe because they have stable careers before marrying a prince and not this Middleton woman who had no stable career prior to her marriage, her only known job at that time was tailing Prince William and made sure he will marry her.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why marrying late is good

Believe it or not, you may call it madness, but the only time in a year that I ever think about marriage is, well, during Valentine's day.

I am simply tired thinking about it and because I have so many tasks to accomplish, and not to mention the rare supply of potential mates, I have no enough space to think about marrying soon. 

I already stop moping over how I would snag a guy because my priorities in life had changed, I developed new goals and just devised a different life plan, eventually, the ridiculous saying "who ever comes" did not set quite well in my brain.

Though I often think about settling down and having children, I rarely fret why it did not occur early in my life. It is simply ridiculous and stupid to get married for a wrong reason.

Marriage is not an escape, it is an institution, therefore should be taken seriously with a correct mind set and not because you are being pressured by the people around you. 

So today, while the whole universe is swathed in red with lovers going elsewhere, I would think Valentine's day on a lighter side of life and in the absence of romance -- on a positive side. While lovers are busy preparing stuff for their special someone, I am preparing a blogpost dedicated to every single and unattached person in the world who are still contemplating whether to take a plunge or not.

So why marrying late is good?

For the past centuries, people became so engrossed with the idea of rushing into the altar because of a wrong belief that marriage is the highlight of the human's existence. They listed several reasons: enjoying family life while young, can have as many children as they want, etcetera. But as the world embraces a new trend, these reasons no longer apply. More and more people, especially the westerners, dismissed this concept as nothing but an old-fashioned principle, a concept that is not yet fully accepted in the culture of the third world countries whose civilization is quite late.

But don't get me wrong, marrying early is not bad, there are plenty of couples who married young and have a wonderful union, every one has a different story to tell and it should never be compared. It depends on how the two of you carried the highs and lows of married life.

There are lots of people who wed before the age of 35 and have successful and happy marriages. Every union has ups and downs whether you married early or very late. It has both thorns and roses. How the level of difficulty and comfort differs lies on how you view marriage.

I am talking based on the survey and observation and not on every married couple. So here it is...

Getting married late in life offers plenty of advantages than getting married young, this is according to a research study conducted in several developed countries. In the western world the rate of divorce, separation and infidelity is deliberately high among people who married young (ages between 18 to 32), disillusionment, weariness and boredom in married life are also high among people who started a family between those ages. 

Aspiring for better careers, financial issues, self-fulfilment, independence are just some reasons why people in the modern world have put off marriage. Though people in the third world countries have still reservation on marrying late, it is now a common trend in some developed countries like Japan, the United States and some European nations. China is now slowly adopting this trend, with its fast-rising economy, two-child policy and educational advancement, marrying young is simply unthinkable, thus, by international standard, it is only practical to get married beyond the age of 34. 

According to the China Daily:

"There's nothing wrong with a man or woman who is not married by 30. It's not about being disrespectful to parents or to social traditions. It's certainly not a sure sign of pending poor health or psychological problems.

That doesn't mean that there's something wrong with people who get married in their 20s either. It's just as difficult to pinpoint an exact "due" date for people beyond the legal age of marriage as it is to pinpoint an "expiration" date. Everyone's different. And isn't marriage supposed to be about love, not just someone's age?

It's simply a fact that educated urban populations tend to marry later than previous generations in modern economies around the world, including China".
Here are some of the best advantages:

PERSONAL GROWTH
According to an article in Helium written by Dawn Hawkins, “getting married when you are younger doesn’t allow you to grow as a single person quite enough sometimes, there are many things that you learn about yourself such as who you want to be with and where you want to go in life as you get older. The older you are, the more chance you have of knowing exactly who you are and what you want in life"

Personal growth is an individual task and no lover or soul mate can ever help you accomplish it. The more unsure you are about yourself, the more trouble it will create in your married life. The more you seek happiness in other people or other places, and worst in marriage, the more misery and loneliness you will experience. No one can ever guarantee of a total happiness and fulfillment, it is a personal issue, an attitude of the mind and can only be found within yourself.

Remember this adage "Even if you are a couple, you still need to grow as an individual, you are still entitled to your own happiness". The point here is, the more self-realization you have in life, the happier the union is.

FREEDOM
The priceless perk of being single is of course freedom of everything. Freedom to choose, freedom to do whatever you want and freedom to go anywhere without thinking somebody might disapprove and most of all freedom to map better plans in life. You still have lots of freedom to rearrange your life, fix your goal, devise a different plan, realize a certain mistake, make up with the lost time, make adjustment and learn lots of things.

As a person matures, priorities in life change. The stuff you longed ten years ago might not be the same things you want to have or to achieve next month or next year. As a single individual, you have plenty of time exploring the world, trying to figure out what's best for your life, what are the things that can really make you happy and most of all, meet new friends and potential mates. The essence of fulfillment is more clearly defined as you age. 

When you are young and very much in love, you will most likely rush into marriage and would want to give up every dream and task you want to accomplish, the common result later is disillusionment and the horrifying "what ifs and but ifs". When you reach the age of 34, you come to realize that there are plenty of things in life that are more important than getting cozy with someone in a quiet afternoon.

You will notice that you are more concern with the details of the future than the idea of being in love, you will also realize the most essential part of being human like contentment and self-actualization and that you need to accomplish a specific task first in order to achieve what you are looking for. You will still feel disillusioned despite being with the one you love if some of your basic wants and dreams in life are not materialize while you are still single.

FINDING THE RIGHT ONE
When you are still young, the phrase “finding Mr. Right or Miss Right” seems magnifies a different meaning, it is more on a romantic side, more like a sparkling stuff thinking you have just found a person you cannot live without or a person who can fulfill your fantasy, in the light of illusion this idea seems ideal but in reality this theory does not always ring true.

Do not think too much about children, about becoming parents and enjoying that role while still young. Children are blessings from God but they should not be used as excuses to justify your intention of getting married. Think of them as a result of a happy union and not the sole purpose of entering a sacred union of matrimony.

Well, there are couples who married young and have really a happy union but their numbers surpassed by couples who are turning the other way around. This is where the maturity of a person comes in, the older you are , the more likely you will distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality. But this does not mean that no one can marry young and make it last, it’s just that it is simply makes harder to get through.

Well, when you are still single, you have plenty of time contemplating who will be the right person for you. You are more mature to detect the danger side of falling in love and you are more sensible with your judgement and will be more particular on finding a partner that compliments your character and belief.

MORE SELF-ASSURED AND CONFIDENT
Come to think of it, maturity is a sticky issue, you have to deal with it. It never comes out naturally, you have to work on it and chances are, when you are still young, you are more focus on the romantic and rosy side of life rather than on compatibility. The dreams and priorities are on a different level, more on fantasy and when the honeymoon stage is over, you've got to taste the real pang of what married life is all about.

When you are young the driving force that often pushes you to take a plunge is to be with someone you ever love whom you cannot live without and whom you want to have children despite whether the feeling is genuine or just sort of hogwash. No wonder, years later, the reality struck so deeply that disillusionment and weariness start to unfold: blistering arguments and shouting matches dominate your once happy home. But when you married late in life, you have had enough with life, your ideals and intentions are fully developed and your mind is already focus on a domestic life, thus, horrifying arguments and disagreements no longer reflect the same necessity when you are young and you just think of it more like boring thuds because you gone through with it and engaging with those petty quarrels is not anymore healthy.

When you reach a certain age, jealousy is no longer a big issue. When you are young, those cute girls in your husband’s company seem like a staggering threat but when you are mature and self-assured, they are simply nuisance and you are more occupied with other important things in life. You will come to realize that some things don’t matter in the long run. Being single for a long time allows an opportunity to resolve personal issues and to figure out what responsibility is all about. 

MORE FINANCIALLY SECURE AND FOCUS
It is assumed that people beyond the age of 34 are already financially secure and have established careers. The goal is already set. You are more focus and more concern with how much money you will going to save for your retirement. Surely, you never dreamed to spend your prime years agonizing over how much cash  left in your savings to afford a certain medication. Young people never actually think about retirement until the age of 40, when your mind set is like this, the most horrible thing to occur is spend lavishly on things that did not matter in the long run.

When you are young, your thoughts are preoccupied with organizing a wedding in grandeur and fantasy, but as you age this nonsense stuff is no longer necessary, you are more concerned with how much money you can save in order to build a family comfortably, surely, you never want to start your married life in debt. When you and your partner are both financially stable and have established careers or at least walking in a correct direction, arguments over money matters and other homely issues can be avoided. The more financially secure you are, the less struggles and arguments you will go through in your married life. Marriage already comes with too much things and worries to cope up, if you still put pressure on arguments because your monthly bills and basic needs could not be filled in, the stress level is simply to high for you to endure and work through it.

NO MORE CONTRACEPTIVES
For women marrying late in life, the first thing that will most likely occur is the inability to conceive and it is quite relieving both to your finances and to the national economy. For one, population can be controlled naturally and the two-child policy being pushed by some lawmakers sounds very ideal this time. No more contraceptives which means the danger and hazard brought by the side effects of birth control pills among others, can be effectively avoided. Population explosion is no longer a problem and Gross Domestic Product per capita will be increased. In the long process, you are helping the economy to improve! So why other people kept pushing us to get married when everyone can benefit from it?

FINALLY, THE RESPONSIBILITY

Marriage implies an enormous responsibility that's why marrying late in life always offers the best advantage. Emotional maturity is very crucial in dealing the rigor of married life later.

For women, bearing children beyond 36 resonates huge advantages than having them below 32. Responsibility wise, older women are more emotionally mature and self-assured than younger women, this is because older women can already handle the stress and anxiety of taking two careers -- wife and mother -- simultaneously without breaking into pressure . When a woman reached 37 post partum or post natal disorder rarely occurs and not only that, it is widely proven that women beyond 36 increase the chance of conceiving twins and will most likely bear highly intelligent children because their egg cells are fully developed and reached the highest pick of maturity.  

For men, getting married late is not really a cause of distress but for women, well, the decision is quite unsettling because of the "ability-to-conceive" issues, but this concept is proved wrong with women who married late and still bore children naturally.

Here are they:

Rissa Singson
Born on Janaury 14, 1969, she was already 38 years old when she married Chris Kawpeng, a year later she gave birth to her eldest child, now the couple have three children together. Rissa is the current Editor-in-Chief of Kerygma magazine.

Carla Bruni         
Born on December 23, 1967, she was a former Italian model and singer and married for the first time in 2008 at the age of 41 to French president, Nicholas Sarcozy. She has one daughter born in 2011 when she was 44. 

Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas Scott
Born on December 25, 1901 to a British Duke who was a direct descendant of King Charles II of England, Lady Alice was 34 years old when she married in 1935 to the fourth son of King George V of England, Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, but it was five years later in 1941 at the age of 40 when Lady Alice bore her first child, Prince William, she gave birth to another son three years later at the age of 43, Prince Richard, the current Duke of Gloucester. Lady Alice died in 2003 at the age of 102.

Hally Berry
Academy Award winner and former beauty Queen, Hally Berry gave birth for the first time when she was 42 and now expecting a son at the age of 46.

Nicole Kidman
Academy Award winner actress, Nicole Kidman married Tom Cruise in 1990 when she was 22 but through out her 10 year marriage she did not conceive. The coupled divorced in 2002, five years later in 2006, Nicole married country singer, Keith Urban. She gave birth to a daughter two years later in 2008 when she was 40 years old.

So if you are beyond 30 and still complaining bitterly why a potential mate is yet to notice you, think it twice. There are plenty of advantages that a single life can offer than taking a plunge for a wrong reason.

Important point to remember: Getting married late does not mean a very successful and happy marriage, it just means that you have more tools and resources and not to mention a stable emotion to back on should the situation would not set well. Getting married before the age of 30 does not mean you will most likely to fail, it just means that there's a plenty of things and theories to work on in order to avoid the pitfall of disillusionment and weariness. 

It is with God alone that one can attain success in everything they do including marriage and careers. Put God in the center of your life then everything will be fine and perfect.



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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top 10 Poorest Countries in the World

African countries have been battered by civil wars, violence, corruption and poverty for the past decades, it's no surprise that most of these countries topped the list of the world's poorest countries according to the survey conducted by IMF (International Monetary Fund).

IMF came up with the list through calculating the country's Gross Domestic Product per capita which estimates how much a person spends on products and services compared to the total population spending. GDP measures the wealth of a nation and determines how progressive the economy of that nation. Consequently, most African countries are rated "poor" by the IMF due to its struggling economy, massive corruption, political conflicts and civil wars.

However, it is important to note that GDP is not the over-all measurement of well-being, happiness, satisfaction, contentment and quality of life of the citizens in a particular country, it only measures the nation's economic status but not its total happiness and quality of life, for instance, people living in countries with the highest GDP's are not the happiest creatures in the world.

Here are the countries recognized by IMF as the poorest in the world

1. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Capital city: Kinshasa
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $328
Population:
Land Area:
Form of government: Semi-presidential Republic
Head of State: President Joseph Kabila
Head of Government: Prime Minister Adolphe Mozito
Official language: French
Currency: Congolese Franc

Known as Zaire until 1997, this country is badly torn apart by war, famine and corruption. After reading the profile of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), you would never dream to visit this place anyway. This is one of the last known countries in the world that has tribes of cannibals, yes, you read it right, some tribes of this country hunt humans for their consumption in order to survive the famine that constantly sweep in the land. It is also believed DRC is a worst place for women especially for "virgins", rapes are recorded annually. Most of its citizens believed that having sex with virgins can cure AIDS.

2. ZIMBABWE
Capital city: Harare
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $395
Population:
Land Area:
Form of government: Semi-presidential republic
Head of State: President Robert Mugabe
Head of Government: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangiri
Official languages: English, Shona, Shendebele
Currency: South African Rand

Formerly known as Rhodesia, Zimbabwe is part of the British Commonwealth of Nations and despite the number of millionaires residing in Zimbabwe, this landlocked country in the Southern part of Africa is considered as one of the poorest nations in the world. According to International Monetary Fund who made a survey of this data, in Zimbabwe you can have a billion dollar bill but only afford to buy a few eggs. At one point during inflation, one Apple costs 1 billion dollars, oh my God! (I wonder why Chelsy Davy appeared so elegant)

3. LIBERIA
Capital city: Monrovia
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $392
Population: 3,786,764
Land Area:111,369 sq.km.
Form of government: Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic
Head of State: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Head of Government: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Official language: English
Currency: Liberian dollar

Probably one of the poorest founding members of the United Nations, Liberia is one of the countries in Africa that had not colonized by Europe. Its founders are slaves who had escaped from America and the beginning of its government is closely resembled the American government. In 1980, after a military coup that threw the Americo-Liberian government, the country's economy had never been the same again and it continued to plummet until this period. It has an unemployment rate of 85% probably one of the highest in the world.

4. BURUNDI
Capital city: Bujumbura
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $410
Population: 10,216,190
Land Area:27,834 sq.km.
Form of government: Republic
Head of State: President Pierre Nkurunziza
Head of Government: President Pierre Nkurunziza 
Official languages: Kirundi, French
Currency: Burundi Franc

Burundi was a former colony of Belgium and has been included in the top five poorest countries in the world due to civil wars, corruption and poor access to education. The worst part is, this country is one of the many places in Africa that have been ravaged by HIV/AIDS. Their economy relies on the export of sugar and coffee.

5. SOMALIA
Capital city: Mogadishu
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $600
Population: 9,925,640
Land Area:637,657 sq.km.
Form of government: Coalition Government
Head of State: President Sharif Sheik Ahmed
Head of Government: Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali
Official languages: Somali, Arabic
Currency: Somali Shilling

Somalia is considered as one of the most violent nations in the world with civil wars constantly hammered many parts of the country, thus, this African country has been characterized as a failed state by political commentators and journalists. Since the civil wars erupted in 1991, Somalia has no central government controlling or leading the country as a whole. It is divided through different regions controlled by different leaders. The transitional federal government only controls the capital and some territories but not the whole nation. Due to its lack of government, Somalia suffered from poverty and low quality of life.

6. ERITREA
Capital city: Asmara
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $669
Population: 5,824,000
Land Area:117,600 sq.km.
Form of government: Single-party provisional Government
Head of State: President Isaias Afewerki
Head of Government: President Isaias Afewerki
Official languages: Tigrinya, Arabic, English
Currency: Nakfa

Eritrea passed through many colonization from powerful European monarchies. In the middle of the 17th century, Italy occupied and colonized Eritrea and was liberated by Britain in 1941 and started governing the territory until 1951. It was annexed by Ethiopia in 1952, ten years later Ethiopia and Eritrea whose population longed for total independence, began a 30-year-war that ended in 1991. Eritrea gained its independence in 1993. Since then, the country's quality of life is generally rated as poor and its human rights record worsened. Freedom of speech and forming an association are limited. Eritrea's economy is largely based on agriculture.

7. NIGER
Capital city: Niamey
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $733
Population: 15,730,754
Land Area:1,267,000 sq.km.
Form of government: Semi-presidential Republic
Head of State: President Mahamadou Issoufou
Head of Government: Prime Minister Brigi Rafini
Official language: French
Currency: CFA Franc

Niger should not be confused with Nigeria, they are different countries. Niger is a country in West Africa and named after the Niger River. Just like Nigeria, Niger is one of the largest countries in Africa in terms of land area. Its economy centers on livestock, food crops and mineral resources like Uranium, its GDP is largely generated through livestock production, Uranium is the country's largest export.

8. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Capital city: Bangui
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $764
Population: 4,422,000
Land Area:622,984 sq.km.
Form of government: Republic
Head of State: President Francois Bozize
Head of Government: Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Toadera
Official languages: French, Sango
Currency: CFA Franc

Just like other African countries, Central African Republic's human rights record is generally poor and in 2006 there were reports of widespread violence in the northern part of the country. CAR's economy is consistently rated poor due to armed conflict and unstable government. Its most important exports are food crops and diamonds.

9. SIERRA LEONE
Capital city: Freetown
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $781
Population: 6,300,000
Land Area:71,740 sq.km.
Form of government: Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic
Head of State: President Ernest Bai Koroma
Head of Government: President Ernest Bai Koroma
Official language: English
Currency: Leone

Sierra Leone's economy relies on mining and diamond is its largest export. Despite being one of the top ten diamond largest producers in the world, Sierra Leone is consistently categorized as one of the poorest nations.

10. TOGO
Capital city: Lome
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $832
Population: 6,619,000
Land Area:56,785 sq.km.
Form of government: Republic
Head of State: President Faure Gnassingbe
Head of Government: President Gilbert Houngbo
Official language: French
Currency: CFA Franc

Togo is a country in West Africa and a former colony of France. Political unrest, battered economy and poor quality of life and education made Togo one of the poorest nations in the world.

Rounding the top 20 poorest countries in the world are: Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Guinea, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, Rwanda, Haiti and Mali.

Ever wondered how IMF viewed the economic status of the Philippines?

Philippines is the 56th poorest country in the world and ranked 11th in Asia just below India. Philippines has a GDP per capita of $3,604 as of 2010 ranking, a good improvement from the 2009 standing which named Philippines as the 53rd poorest country on earth. This record means that the Philippines is the 126th richest nation in the world out of 182 countries surveyed by the International Monetary Fund. Well, not bad.

Top Ten Asia's Poorest Nations

1. Afghanistan - GDP per capita $996
2. Myanmar - GDP per capita $1,224
3. Bangladesh - GDP per capita $1,527
4. Cambodia -GDP per capita $2,084
5. Laos    - GDP per capita $2,401
6. Yemen - GDP per capita $2,590
7. Timor - GDP per capita $2,667
8. Pakistan - GDP per capita $2,713
9. Vietnam - GDP per capita $3,104
10. India - GDP per capita $3,176

Source: International Monetary Fund survey



Top 10 Richest Countries in the World

Rich or wealthy countries are those who have higher Gross Domestic Product per capita.

What is GDP? 

Gross Domestic Product is a measure of all the goods and services produced domestically, thus, refers as a measurement of how wealthy a country is. Lower GDP means a country is struggling economically.

The basic formula of getting GDP is: Consumption + Investment made by industry + excess of exports over imports + government spending. This formula implies that the more the population increases its spending habit on goods and services and the more the country engages in export business the higher its GDP would become .

Here are the countries with highest GDPs therefore considered as the wealthiest countries in the world.

1. LUXEMBOURG                  
Continent: Europe                   
GDP per capita: $80,800                         
Land Area: 2, 586.4 sq.km
Population: 511,840
Form of government: Constitutional Monarchy
Head of State: Grand Duke Henri
Head of Government: Prime Minister Jean Claude Juncker
Official languages: French and German
Currency: Euro

Officially known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, this small nation in Western Europe has a highly developed economy topping the list as the world's richest nation in terms of GDP per capita according to International Monetary Fund. The country follows a constitutional monarchy form of government with a Grand Duke as its head of state, its government is headed by a Prime Minister. The current Grand Duke is Henri, a first cousin of King Albert II of Belgium and a third cousin to all current European crown heads.

2. QATAR                                
Capital city: Doha
Continent: Asia                       
GDP per capita: $75,900                   
Population: 1,450,000                
Land Area: 11, 437 sq.km
Form of government: Absolute Monarchy  
Head of State: Emir (Prince) Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Head of Government: Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani
Official language: Arabic
Currency: Riyal  

Qatar heavily relies on oil and natural gas as its main export products. The country has the world's largest production of natural gas with an amazing economic growth of 19.40% considered as the highest growth rate in the world. This country is one of the poorest nations before 1940s but due to its discovery of oil and natural gas, it has transformed into one of the best performing economies in the world.

3. NORWAY                            
Capital city: Oslo
Continent: Europe                   
GDP per capita:  $55,600
Population: 385, 252 sq.km
Land Area: 4,996, 700 sq.km.
Form of government: Unitary Parliamentary Democracy/Constitutional Monarchy
Head of State: King Harald V
Head of Government: Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
Official language: Norwegian
Currency: Norwegian krone
                      
A constitutional monarchy in the Scandinavian peninsula, Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum, hydropower, oil and natural gas and currently exporting these commodities to other countries. This country is currently ruled by King Harald V, a second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II of England.

4. KUWAIT 
Capital city: Kuwait City
Continent: Asia
GDP per capita: $55,300
Form of government: Hereditary Constitutional monarchy
Population: 3,566, 437
Land Area: 17, 820 sq.km.
Head of State: Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Head of Government: Prime Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah
Official language: Arabic
Currency: Dinar

Kuwait often hug headlines in the Philippines due to its known reputation of having abusive employers and recently, the country is in hot water again after a Filipina Domestic Helper died there last year for unclear reasons. Despite this unsettling image, Kuwait has one of the fastest growing economies in the world due to its rich natural gas resources and oil reserves, 80% of its government revenues come from exporting oil. It is strategically located on the Persian Gulf surrounded by Saudi Arabia and Iraq and known for having no taxes for its citizens. Iraq is ruled by an Emir and its government is headed by a Prime Minister.

5. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE)
Capital city: Abu Dhabi
Continent: Asia
GDP per capita: $55, 200
Population: 8, 264, 070
Land Area: 83, 600 sq.km
Form of government: Constitutional Federation of Absolute Monarchies with an executive president elected
Head of State: Each emirate is ruled by an Emir or Prince
Head of Government for all UAE: President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Prime Minister Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Official language: Arabic
Currency: UAE dirham

A country with rich oil and natural gas reserves automatically enjoys the reputation of being a wealthy nation. In most cases, you can easily spot which countries have highly developed economies because of their imposing buildings, take for example UAE, after creating numerous artificial islands, the country has just finished building the world's tallest structure--Burj Khalifa located in Dubai. UAE is a federation of seven emirates (principalities) which ruled individually by an Emir or Prince. UAE has a single national President. Its official language is Arabic.

6. SINGAPORE
Capital city: Singapore city
Continent: Asia
GDP per capita: $48,900
Population: 5, 183, 700
Land Area: 710 sq.km
Form of government: Unitary Parliamentary Republic
Head of State: Lee Hsien Loong
Head of Government: President Tony Tan Keng Yam
Official languages: English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil
Currency: Singaporean dollar

Singapore is an island country in Southeast Asia and one of the most progressive small nations in the world. It is one of the five founding members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN. In 1965, Singapore became fully independent and has since enjoyed the enormous increase in wealth. Singapore's economy relies heavily on its industry and service sectors, it is also considered as the 4th largest foreign exchange trading center in the world. Singapore is one of the FOUR ASIAN TIGERS (with Hongkong, South Korea and Taiwan).

7. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA)
Capital city: Washington D.C
Continent: North America
GDP per capita: $46,000
Population: 312, 936,000
Land Area: 9, 826, 675 sq.km.
Form of government: Federal Republic
Head of State: President Barak Obama
Head of Government: President Barak Obama
Official language: English
Currency: US Dollar

The United States is often called the "New World" because of its highly revolutionized economy and technological innovations. It is also called as the most powerful nation in the world. It is home to many world billionaires according to Forbes magazines with four Americans in the top 10 list: Bill Gates (2nd), Warren Buffet (third), Laurence Ellison (6th) and Christie Walton (10th). Years following World War II saw the sudden rise of the United States in terms of industrial innovation and economy surpassing the once Great Powers in Europe: Great Britain, Germany and Russia.

8. IRELAND
Capital city: Dublin
Continent: Europe
GDP per capita: $45, 600
Population: 4,600,000
Land Area: 81,638.1 sq.km.
Form of government: Parliamentary Democratic Republic
Head of State: President Michael Higgins
Head of Government: Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Official language: Irish, English
Currency: Euro

The Republic of Ireland is the third largest island in Europe with six largest islands but only five of these islands comprise the Republic of Ireland because Northern Ireland belonged to the United Kingdom. Ireland is also known as "Emerald Isle" because of its spectacular greener sceneries. The country is also known as the Celtic Tiger referring to its massive economic growth between 1995 to 2007, it is the largest maker of computer software in the world.

9. EQUATORIAL GUINEA
Capital city: Malabo
Continent: Africa
GDP per capita: $44, 100
Population: 676,000
Land Area: 28, 050 sq.km
Form of government: Unitary Presidential Republic
Head of State: President Teodoro Obiang
Head of Government: Prime Minister Ignacio Milam
Official languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese
Currency: Central African CFA Franc

You would think that wealth is only exclusive for countries in North America. Middle East and Europe, but surprisingly, there's one country in Africa, a continent that heavily battered with poverty, that makes it to the list of wealthiest countries. Equatorial Guinea's escalating economy is due to its oil reserves, in fact, this country is the largest producer of oil in Africa. But despite its economic growth the living condition of most of its citizen is not improving and most of its population are still living in poverty. Corruption is widespread and the gap between the rich and poor is getting wider, probably the largest gap in the world. According to Freedom House's annual survey, Equatorial Guinea has the record of having the worst of the worst human rights violation in the world.

10. SWITZERLAND
Capital city: Bern
Continent: Europe
GDP per capita: $39,800
Population: 7,866,500
Land Area: 41,285 sq.km.
Form of government: Federal Republic
Head of State: Doris Leuthard
Head of Government: Chancellor Corina Casanova
Official languages: German, French and Italian
Currency: Swiss Franc

Switzerland is a landlocked country in Western Europe surrounded by Austria, Germany, Italy and France. It is known to the world as the largest producer of cheese, chocolates and jewelry and home of the finest, most luxurious and expensive watch brands in the world: Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. Switzerland has a long history of neutrality and has not been involved in any wars since the 17th century. It is also home to Nestle, Chopard, Rolex, Toblerone and Logitech.

Rounding the top 20 richest nations in the world are: Japan, Brunei, Hongkong, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Top Ten Asia's Richest Nations

1. Qatar
2. Kuwait
3. UAE
4. Singapore
5. Japan
6. Brunei
7. Hongkong (Special Administrative Region of China)
8. South Korea
9. Taiwan, Republic of China
10. Malaysia

Source: International Monetary Fund