Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle for Puerto Rico’s Future
The impoverished island turned to hedge funds to stave off collapse. Now someone has to pay.
By Jonathan Mahler and Nicholas Confessore

The money poured in by the millions, then by the hundreds of millions, and finally by the billions. Over weak coffee in a conference room in Midtown Manhattan last year, a half-dozen Puerto Rican officials exhaled: Their cash-starved island had persuaded some of the country’s biggest hedge funds to lend them more than $3 billion to keep the government afloat.

There were plenty of reasons for the hedge funds to like the deal: They would be earning, in effect, a 20 percent return. And under the island’s Constitution, Puerto Rico was required to pay back its debt before almost any other bills, whether for retirees’ health care or teachers’ salaries.

But within months, Puerto Rico was saying it had run out of money, and the relationship between the impoverished United States territory and its unlikely saviors fell apart, setting up an extraordinary political and financial fight over Puerto Rico’s future.


Encantadia is a vast enchanted realm comprising four divided kingdoms where different mythical entities thrive. These four kingdoms—Adamya, Sapiro, Lireo, and Hathoria—bear the four precious stones that holds the land’s balance. The tranquility and future of Encantadia rests on the four gemstones of water, earth, air and fire; each being carefully kept by the bearers from each kingdom.

Sang’gres of Encantadia [x]

Puerto Rico Legalizes Medical Marijuana | AP

Puerto Rico’s Governor Alejandro García Padilla on Sunday signed an executive order to authorize the use of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory in an unexpected move following a lengthy public debate. The Caribbean island joins 23 other U.S. states in decriminalizing medical marijuana. 

No decision has been made whether Puerto Rico will grow its medical marijuana crop in the country or import the drug. García Padilla said the secretary of the health department would arrive with a more detailed plan of action for medical marijuana within three months.

[AP, Rolling Stone] [image via]

Update: Smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes will not be allowed in Puerto Rico, but cannabis derivatives could be consumed in other ways, government officials said Tuesday, May 5.

[High Times]

Puerto Rico Drops Opposition to Gay Marriage

The Puerto Rican government announced on Friday that it would drop its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda said at a news conference that the Puerto Rican justice department would no longer oppose a suit challenging the constitutionality of the socially conservative island’s ban.

“Our constitutional system does not allow discriminatory distinctions such as that contained in the Civil Code concerning the rights of same-sex couples,” Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said in a statement posted to his office’s website. “Everyone knows my religious beliefs, but it is not for political leaders to impose our beliefs. We must push for progress in civil and human rights for all citizens equally. As Governor of Puerto Rico, that’s my duty.”(x)
Marriage Equality Comes To Puerto Rico In Wake Of Supreme Court Ruling
Hours after the Supreme Court ruled marriage equality was a constitutional right in America, Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, signed an executive order requiring [...]

“Hours after the Supreme Court ruled marriage equality was a
constitutional right in America, Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro
Garcia Padilla, signed an executive order requiring government agencies
to become compliant with the ruling within 15 days.“
Puerto Rico’s Governor Says the Island Will Default on Monday
Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank has a $422 million payment due to creditors that day.

Puerto Rican officials talked tough ahead of a major debt payment due on Monday, with the U.S. territory’s governor predicting default, and chances slipping for a restructuring deal with creditors.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said “there will be a default on Monday,” adding, “I don’t think there is a deal on the table that avoids a default.”

Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank, the island’s primary fiscal agent, owes creditors $422 million on Monday, a payment Garcia Padilla has said the bank cannot afford. The looming default is part of a broader economic crisis in the Caribbean haven plagued by $70 billion in total debt, a shrinking population and a 45% poverty rate.

4R’s: Encantadia (Oct. 10, 2016 episode review)

Four hours of sleep. Could my life get any worse? 😭


Wantuk found Danaya and Lira who spent the night in the forest. Danaya asked Wantuk if he has found Amihan but the latter regretfully told her that he failed to find her sister which added to Danaya’s many predicaments. Lira asked if they have any pictures of her mother so that she’ll be able to recognize Amihan if she sees her, Encantadia’s way of life is very ancient, meaning pictures does not exist in Lira’s real world. Danaya used her gem instead and an image of Amihan appeared on a rock, Lira recognized the face of the woman and realized that it was the same lady she met before. This excited Lira even more. Kalasag sneaked into the palace of Lireo and interrogated one of the damas about Alena’s whereabouts, fearing for her own safety, the dama told him that Alena was indeed in the palace a while ago but left shortly, she have no idea where she went.

Alena left Lireo and is now into labor, to make things worse, Agane found her. Though Alena managed to fight, her current condition somehow held her back, the Hathorian Mashna stabbed Alena but the latter escaped before Agane hit the final blow. Alena whisked her injured self to a beach where she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Though overjoyed at the sight of her son, Alena knew she was in the verge of death, for her stab wound was pretty bad that herbal plants were not able to heal it. Alena sensed someone nearby and tried calling out for help. Meanwhile in Lireo, Agane reported to Hagorn about her failed task to kill Alena which made Hagorn disappointed, but the Mashna was confident that Alena will die eventually because the blade of the weapon she used was poisoned, and it cannot be healed by any Sapirian royalty according to Asval.

Danaya talked to Awoo and found out that Amihan went back to the old camp of the mandirigmas which puzzled Lira because her mother is the queen thus she should be in the palace. Danaya briefly told her that Amihan is no longer the queen of Lireo because she was overthrown by their own sister, Pirena. Wantuk knew the way to their old camp and the trio continued on their journey, along the way, they heard someone calling for help, Lira recognized the voice—it was her Ashti Alena’s, unfortunately they were not able to confirm their suspicions because a group of bandidos suddenly appeared and attacked them, Danaya and Wantuk fought side by side while Lira on the other hand got separated from the two. Although Lira does have a little knowledge about sword fighting, it wasn’t enough against the fierce bandidos and was easily taken down…almost. A man cloaked in black armor came and rescued her, Lira thanked the encantado whom she addressed as “batman.” The encantado who was actually Ybrahim in kalasag was puzzled and amused at Lira’s eccentric language and asked who she was, unknown to him, the diwata he just saved is his long lost daughter.

After the fight with the bandidos, Wantuk and Danaya realized that Lira was out of sight. This irritated Danaya because of her niece’s stubbornness to which Wantuk agreed and knew where she got that trait from. By some twist of fate, Muyak found the two, the lambana was glad to be finally be reunited with her sang’gre friend. Muyak told her how she got back, when Danaya and Lira left, Muyak sought the help of Enuo and went to the other portal. Enuo attempted to talk his way through the guardian of the portal but it was now more keen at his duties since one sang’gre slipped her way through without him sensing it. This sang’gre was kidnapped by the bandidos along with a number of mortals. The human scent concealed the smell of the sang’gre which is why she was able to enter. Enuo and Muyak concluded, that Alena is indeed back to Encantadia. Enuo and Muyak hid themselves after sensing that someone was coming. It was Hitano and with him was Berto, the adoptive uncle of Mila/Lira. Hitano summoned the guardian and offered Berto as a sacrifice, as expected, he was allowed to pass, Muyak seized the opportunity and went through as well. Hitano was greeted by the bandidos and handed them over Berto, unfortunately Muyak was also caught but was saved by Hitano by telling them that she is with him. Upon knowing this, Danaya was glad to hear that Alena is back in Encantadia but was placed in another problem since they could no longer hear Alena’s voice and they still have to find Lira.

Alena’s body is gradually weakening, to be able to protect her son, she used her remaining strength and casted incantation upon the infant—to speed up the child’s growth so that he may be able to survive even if she’s not around. Alena also blessed him with courage and strength so that he’ll be able to defend himself from anyone who tried to harm his mother, and also a kind heart. Lastly, she told him that his name is Kahlil, son of Alena and Ybarro—something he must never forget. Alena prayed to Emre to look after her last memory of her beloved Ybarro. She wrapped the child with her robe and went to the shores where she transformed into a sea turtle and swam through the clear waters.

The day hasn’t ended, and baby Kahlil grew into a fine young man just like his father. But was clueless, completely clueless to the world he’s into. Two encantados spotted him and asked if he needs help, Kahlil simply answered what his mother told him, he is Kahlil—son of Alena and Ybarro. The encantados suspected that Kahlil was psychologically incapacitated but were kind enough to hand him over clothes and told him to leave the place since Hathors and bandidos were all over the place. The young man wandered in the forests where he accidentally met Hitano and when the latter asked who he was, Kahlil answered the same thing.


💧 Avisala Kahlil! Hm…Avery is a starstruck alumnus so I’m kind of expecting a lot from him since Jake Cuenca did a really good job in portraying Kahlil despite of being a newbie. Looking forward to that sang’gre!

💚 Phew! Was so glad Gabbi redeemed herself from last Friday’s episode, I’m feeling the momma vibe, I’m feeling the pain, I actually felt sorry again for Alena. Thank Emre! I almost gave up on her, ALMOST. Not sure of what’s gonna happen to Alena now that she morphed herself into a turtle, idk a lot of stuff is so going to happen for sure.

💜 Lira is so funny even in her battle scenes, I think they purposely changed a part of Lira’s life story and maintained more of her bubbly personality to lighten things up even in the most serious times.

💜💪 Yay! Daddy and daughter finally met! Aren’t they adorable? That aside, I’m pretty much sure Ybarro was kind of feeling the “lukso ng dugo,” because duh, his face says it. Everyone knows how much he adores his first-born despite of Lira being a headache sometimes.

💛 Danaya, don’t ever wonder why Lira is stubborn.

🌸🌵 Muyak and Hitano are back in Encantadia with Berto! So glad Muyak did not die, hm…I wonder what Berto’s life would be now that he’s in Encantadia


🤔 Don’t you guys think Kahlil looks older than his parents and sister?

🙄 Danaya, you could have used your gem right away then you could have found Alena and Kahlil sooner.

Best performers for this episode:
Gabbi Garcia 🌊
Mikee Quintos ⚡

Rating: 9 out of 10 💎s

Photo credits:
From Twitter:
@GMAEncantadia (Encantadia 2016 official twitter acct)
@gmanetwork (GMA network); official website:
@REHAVYbrahim (Prinsipe Ybarro)
@Rurumadrid8 (Ruru Madrid)

From Facebook: Encantadia 2016

4R’s: Encantadia (Oct. 7, 2016 episode review)


Danaya and Lira thanked Lakan for all his help, the trio parted ways after. Ascano is being attacked by the Hathors led by King Hagorn. Vish’ka ordered the women and his other comrades to flee their home. The leader of the Gigantes fought bravely despite being outnumbered and stood little to no chance of winning the battle. Hagorn gave Vish’ka one last chance to surrender but the latter stood firm on his beliefs—to be a free encantado until his last breath. Hagorn mercilessly killed Vish’ka and left. When Wahid came, it was already too late, his master, their leader whom he always looked up to passed away. Vish’ka’s death filled Wahid’s heart with anger and this passionate hatred gave him courage and strength to fight back, something that he never had before.

Ybarro urgently told Alena that they should leave Sapiro and will take her to Amihan. Bothered by Pirena’s revelation, Alena asked if he and Amihan were romantically-linked to which Ybarro denied. Alena was welcomed by her brethren, allies and Amihan herself, but seemed like tension was slowly building up upon Alena’s return. Aquil sensed that there was something going on between Ybarro, Amihan and Alena. Aquil secretly talked to Ybarro while Alena was mingling with the Adamyans, the Mashna told the prince about what he knew and what they have been observing lately, he advised Ybarro to man up and tell the truth for he does not wish to see Amihan and Alena get hurt. Ybarro knew Aquil was right and vowed to take these matters in his hands—in his own way. Ybarro and Amihan talked privately after that, and both came up with the decision to tell Alena about Lira. Meanwhile, Alena talked to Alira Naswen and asked if Ybarro did fell in-love with another woman, Alira accidentally spilled about Amihan and Ybarro always being together. Sensing that something really is going on, Alena decided to find out everything on her own, inside the tent she found Ybarro and Amihan holding hands, Alena did not hesitate to confront the two if they have been hiding something that she needs to know and if her sister and her lover does have something going on. Amihan admitted, Ybarro denied. Alena came into a conclusion that she was indeed deceived, Amihan quickly explained that Lira’s father—Ybrahim whom he met in a dream is also Ybarro, but she didn’t know back then that they were the same man. Ybarro also explained that he knew nothing back then. Alena remembered the time when Amihan did not listen to her plea to see Ybarro and the latter choosing to end their relationship back then, this pained and angered her so much for the two chose to hide this from her when they found out about each other and left the camp. Because of this, everyone became disappointed at Ybarro, especially Aquil.

Having nowhere else to go, Alena went to Lireo where she was welcomed by Pirena with open arms. Pirena took this to her advantage for she knew that Alena will definitely take her side. On that very same day, a symbol of a flower appeared and glowed in Alena’s palm, a sign Pirena knew very well, Alena is pregnant. The latter remembered the time when she spent the night with Ybarro in Sapiro, the two held hands while they were asleep, and a mysterious butterfly perched on their intertwined hands. Pirena promised to look after her sister, although grateful for Pirena’s concern, Alena asked why there were so many Hathors in the palace. Pirena revealed that she joined forces with the Hathors to win against Amihan’s forces and that her father, Hagorn is now the king of Encantadia. Alena knew how evil the Hathors are, being responsible for ruining their lives for one and refused to pledge alliance to Pirena and Hagorn despite of Pirena’s persuasion. Alena left the Lirean palace.

💎 Wow, what a week-ender episode! They sure ended this week with a blast, so much tension going, so much guilt and so much hatred in this ep.

💧 AleBarro’s baby number one is on his way, who’s excited for Kahlil? Me! I was actually not expecting for Kahlil to be conceived as early as now but, here he is! See you Sang’gre!

💙💪💚 Oh my freakin gosh, these three drove me nuts tonight, like I was so stressing over that confrontation scene that I kept on rubbing my head and keeping myself composed because I was having a mild anxiety a few hours ago for no apparent reason (shits happen all the fuckin’ time)

⚒ Yaaaaas! Wahid there you are! That’s the Wahid I’ve been looking for, good job Andre! You blew me away with your performance tonight!

💪 Ruru is such a certified effective actor, he stressed me out the entire week, I’d say keep it up, but I’m still pissed at your character, but I love your performance so great job.


🙄 Leche ka Ybarro mag de-deny ka pa?! Be ashamed of yourself because Amihan bravely admitted the truth to Alena, and to think that Aquil’s advice pissed you off in some ways, the nerve! Ugh!

🤔 I DID NOT APPRECIATE KAHLIL’S CONCEPTION! I was like wtf? They just held hands and literally slept and that’s it? THAT WAS IT?! Ybarro and Alena are lovers for goodness sake! Where was the passion? Where was the love? This is nowhere near better than the original. Lira’s conception was much more acceptable to say the least even though it was kind of awkward af. I’m so bummed!

🤔 Oh dear, seems like Gabbi is going back to her bad habit of having that teenage aura. She redeemed herself last Monday and I thought finally, Gabbi’s owning it! And after seeing her performance just now I was like, girl really? I know she’s very young but I have been giving her a chance to nail Alena’s character, I was hoping that she’ll really prove to the Enca fans that she will slay her character but she’s constantly proving that she’s too young for the role which makes me really sad. She was so inconsistent, like she was pretty good in that confrontation scene but the rest? No. She’s acting like a teenager which is NOT supposed to be that way because Lira, Mira and Kahlil are the kids here not Alena for goodness’ sake! To me her approach when she found out that she was pregnant she seemed to be a disturbed or a bothered or a worried teenage mom who doesn’t know how to tell her mom that well, she’s pregnant. Dude, Alena is over thirty years old in this timeline come on! Where is justice in Alena’s character? I swear to God if Gabbi doesn’t nail her scenes in this arc which centers on Alena, I’m giving up, I will be so done with Gabbi.

🤔 Am I the only one who find Julian Lee’s acting the worst? Since the very beginning her performances were consistently unconvincing like, are y’all serious? This is Encantadia, Philippines most epic fantasy series therefore every actor whether they are playing major or minor character should be outstanding! Julian looks like she’s still rehearsing her line. I kept on telling myself to let it pass because she doesn’t appear as often as the main characters anyway but, hell no! Everybody should bring the entire show together!

Best performers for this episode:
Andre Paras ⛏
Kylie Padilla 🌪
Ruru Madrid ⚔

Overall best performers for this week:
Sanya Lopez 🍃
Kylie Padilla 🌪

Week-ender thoughts: This has been indeed a stressful week, but good job at that surprise baby thing, you guys ended this week with a blast!

Rating: 6 out of 10 💎s.  
Although I must say Kahlil is the biggest surprise tonight, and aside from the fact that this episode is filled with so much drama, which I don’t mind that much, nothing really NEW happened that somehow pumped me up, Vish’ka’s death is expected because duh, the good guys die and the bad ones remain. And I am very disappointed because of two actresses who wasted this entire episode. Gabbi, being a main cast disappointed me the most. Like, girl, this is your arc! Nail every scene! That’s the drill, because the damn spotlight is already yours, let us see you shine!

Overall rating: 7 out of 10 💎s

Photo credits:
From Twitter:
@GMAEncantadia (Encantadia 2016 official twitter acct)
@gmanetwork (GMA network); official website:
@REHAVYbrahim (Prinsipe Ybarro)
@sanya_lopez (Sanya Lopez)

From Facebook: Encantadia 2016