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Bestselling YA authors Jennifer Smith, Jasmine Warga sign books for Cebu fans

Young Adult (YA) author Jennifer Smith was at a queue in a convenience store when the inspiration for her latest book Windfall came in the form of a man with…

Ford Philippines trains Cebu drivers on safe, smart driving

You are twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seatbelt, Cebu drivers and traffic enforcers were told during the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) of Ford Philippines…

Japanese brand Miniso opens 1st store in Cebu

Quality products for a “very affordable price,” that’s what Miniso offers in its store, a company official said during the opening of its first branch in Cebu. Miniso opened in…

Blu Bar and Grill pairs great food, fantastic wines in Moonlit Wine Dinner

Seafood on ice, it said on the menu. It doesn’t quite describe the delight of an appetizer that formally started our Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill…

Cebu company builds platform for emergency response, management

Helping relatives in Leyte after Typhoon Yolanda wrought its devastation four years ago this month made IT professional Cloyd Dedicatoria realize how woefully unprepared the country was for dealing with…

Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong 2017 highlights: Awards, big events, upgrades

From winning awards and hosting big events to undertaking upgrades, it has been a busy and memorable 2017 for the Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong, which include the iconic Kowloon landmark…

SaladStop! brings “freshness back to the table” with healthy salads

Fresh ingredients sourced locally, homemade dressings made daily, and a wide variety of healthy options for your bowl of greens. These are what SaladStop! offers, a company official said in…

Property24, real estate portal of OLX group, launches in Cebu

Growth in real estate in the Philippines is in the “upscale” category but consumer demand is highest for “affordable” properties, an official of a real estate portal said. This does…

Paramount highlights green living, smart homes in Wellington Greens residential project

Green and smart. That is how Cebu´s residential developer Paramount Property Ventures, Inc. envisions its up and coming residential community Wellington Greens in the hills of Compostela, Cebu. The property…

Huawei launches Nova 2i in Cebu

Huawei unveiled in Cebu today its latest mid-range phone, the Huawei Nova 2i, and the company said local response has been “overwhelming.” The Nova 2 was launched in key locations…

Bestselling YA authors Jennifer Smith, Jasmine Warga sign books for Cebu fans

Young Adult (YA) author Jennifer Smith was at a queue in a convenience store when the inspiration for her latest book Windfall came in the form of a man with…

Young Adult (YA) author Jennifer Smith was at a queue in a convenience store when the inspiration for her latest book Windfall came in the form of a man with stocks of lottery tickets in his hand.

“I’ve always been interested in moments of change, that exact time when someone’s life changes. There’s not a better example of that than through winning the lottery,” she explained in an interview shortly before a book signing event at Ayala Center Cebu.

National Book Store brought another two bestselling authors, Smith and Jasmine Warga, to the Philippines. NBS hosted the book signing events for Smith and Warga last November 11 in Cebu and on November 12 at SM Aura Premier in Taguig.

Smith authored several bestselling young adult novels, including “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,” “This Is What Happy Looks Like,” and “The Geography of You and Me.” Warga wrote such books as “My Heart and Other Black Holes” and “Here We Are Now.”

Jennifer Smith, Jasmine Warga

BOOK SIGNING. Jasmine Warga (left) and Jennifer Smith talk to Cebu journalists before their book signing session with fans in Ayala Center Cebu.

Young Adult book themes

Windfall, which was published in May 2017, revolves around a young woman, Alice, who buys a lottery ticket for her best friend Teddy. It ends up winning him the $140 million but the money soon creates a gap between them.

Warga’s new book Here We Are Now tackles the life of Taliah, who recently meets her biological father Julian. He asks her to go to Indiana with him to meet her dying grandfather. Taliah goes on a journey with her father, and soon learns he wasn’t the father she hoped for all these years.

Her other book My Heart and Other Black Holes touches on such topics as teen romance, mental health, suicide and has been translated into over 20 languages.

Warga said music, though she has no aptitude for it in the way that musicians have, is a common theme of her book because she considers it the closest thing to magic in this world.

Jennifer Smith, Jasmine Warga

IN CEBU. Jennifer Smith and Jasmine Warga sign books for fans during an event in Cebu.

Writing inspirations

Smith and Warga talked about how they became writers, their writing process, inspiration for their books, and favorite authors.

The two said they had a great experience and already tasted a variety of Filipino food. What they haven’t done yet but wanted to do was try the local Jollibee branch.

All of Smith’s and Warga’s books are available at several National Book Store branches in the Philippines.

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Ford Philippines trains Cebu drivers on safe, smart driving

You are twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seatbelt, Cebu drivers and traffic enforcers were told during the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) of Ford Philippines…

You are twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seatbelt, Cebu drivers and traffic enforcers were told during the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) of Ford Philippines in SM City Cebu earlier today.

Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in an accident by 50% for front seat passengers and up to 75% for rear passengers, the instructor told the packed room. Everyone has to wear seatbelts because those who don’t are usually thrown off their seats during accidents and can injure or even kill those who buckled up, he said.

Ford Philippines driving skills for life

DON’T USE PHONES, GADGETS WHILE DRIVING. Ford Philippines AVP for Communications EJ Francisco taks about the #ParkYourPhone social media campaign to remind people not to use phones and other gadgets while driving.

Philippine situation

The DSFL “is a global program aimed at teaching drivers the necessary skills for safe and smart driving beyond what is learned in standard driver education programs,” said Ford Philippines AVP for Communications EJ Francisco.

Many Filipino drivers and even enforcers do not know existing traffic laws, fail to practice basic road courtesy, and disobey traffic signs, leading to accidents and traffic congestion, Francisco said.

Although the DSFL is a global program, it is customized to the driving environment and road condition of the Philippines. It’s long-time partner in the country is the Tuason Racing School.

Ford Philippines Driving Skills For Life

BLURRED VISION. A volunteer struggles to walk straight while wearing beer googles, which simulates the effect of drinking 4 bottles of beer, during a demonstration to show the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Dangers of distracted driving

The DSFL has classroom sessions and actual driving time to teach attendees safe and fuel-efficient driving. This year, the program added modules on the danger of distracted driving. This is partly to support the implementation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Law in the country, Francisco said.

Ford Philippines is also doing a #ParkYourPhone social media campaign to remind people not to use phones and other gadgets while driving.

“At Ford, we want drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times because nothing is worth losing that special connection for,” the company said.

Since its launch in 2008, more than 20,000 Filipinos have joined DSFL sessions, Francisco said.

Ford Philippines

WHEN TO CHANGE TIRES. Driving Skills for Life Instructors show how to spot indicators on when to change your tires.

2017 program targets

For 2017, Ford Philippines is targeting to cover at least 1,500 participants with specific focus on public utility drivers like those for buses, jeepneys, taxis, and transport network vehicle services, “recognising their critical role as motorists in ensuring that roads and passenger journeys are safe.”

The program is also expanding to more areas outside Manila.

“We have always valued road safety at Ford, so we’re happy to bring our DSFL program to Cebu, mindful of the fact that there is a growing need to install to drivers the importance of safe driving,” Francisco said. “We are hopeful that through this program, drivers will be able to understand the critical role they play in ensuring that our roads are safe.”

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Voyager brings biggest online deals to Pinoys for Singles’ Day

Huge discounts are ahead for Pinoy online shoppers as they pick out their Singles’ Day purchases with the help of various digital apps and platforms from Voyager Innovations and its…

Huge discounts are ahead for Pinoy online shoppers as they pick out their Singles’ Day purchases with the help of various digital apps and platforms from Voyager Innovations and its business arms, including PayMaya Philippines, FINTQnologies, Inc. (FINTQ), hatch, and Takatack Technologies.

To kick things off this November, PayMaya is giving its users an exclusive 11% rebate from all their purchases on November 11, also known as Singles’ Day. Originating from China, Singles’ Day was established as a way for Chinese to celebrate being single. It turned into one of the biggest annual e-Commerce events the world over.

PayMaya users can use their Visa cards, Smart Mastercards, and in-app virtual cards to qualify for the 11% rebate whenever they make purchases in-store or online, whether they’re in the Philippines or abroad.

Biggest online shopping discounts

Aside from the Singles’ Day rebate promo, PayMaya is also giving all its users a massive 20% discount for the entire November in three of the country’s biggest online shopping destinations – Lazada, Zalora and Takatack.

For Lazada, shoppers only have to key in the promo code PYMYNOV upon checkout to get an extra 20% discount for a minimum purchase of only P500, valid for use multiple times with a maximum discount of P400 per transaction. This will come handy during Lazada’s Online Revolution shopping event, when Filipinos stand a chance to get big discounts on their favorite items and wish lists.

For Zalora, all they have to do is key in PAYMAYAHOLIDAY when they make purchases worth at least P1,000 to get 20% off upon checkout. They can use the code multiple times for the whole month of November to help them complete their OOTDs.

Shoppers can also get a huge 30% discount across all items when they shop at Takatack, the largest online discovery platform of Voyager, from November 9 to 11. They can get a maximum discount of P2,000 for purchases, with free shipping for purchases above P2,000.

But when shoppers use their PayMaya card to shop at Takatack this November, they can get an additional 20% off (maximum P500 discount) their purchase by entering the code 11+[First four digits of their PayMaya card] (ex. 114404)! This means they can get as much as 50% discount on items for Singles’ Day weekend, from November 9-11.

To complete the experience, when they register for an account on FINTQ’s digital lending platform Lendr.com.ph, users will also automatically get a P150 discount voucher which they can also use for Lazada, as well as a promo code for an 11% discount which they can use to shop at Takatack.

Shop without data charges

To make Filipinos’ online shopping experience convenient and hassle-free, free Internet platform freenet has partnered with Lazada to give free data access to their app for Smart, TNT, and Sun subscribers.

All they have to do is download the freenet app on their Android or iOS device, register with their mobile number, and click the sidebar menu to turn on the Free Access toggle to begin setup. Once done, they can proceed to the Lazada app to enjoy a worry-free shopping experience without data charges.

And to spice things up more this shopping season, freenet is rewarding shoppers with free MB credits whenever they download or access various Voyager platforms starting November 11. Simply download the PayMaya and Takatack apps or access the Lendr website under the “Missions” tab within the freenet app to get an instant 100MB credit, which they can use to purchase data packages from the freenet Shop.

“This is our way of giving back to all our customers and partners. As we see adoption to our platforms grow, we hope more Filipinos get to enjoy the digital life and more businesses also get to benefit from the opportunities presented by digital. As the whole ecosystem grows, everyone grows too,” said Orlando B. Vea, President and CEO at Voyager Innovations.

Voyager Innovations, the digital innovations arm of PLDT and Smart, has been leading the way in enabling consumers and enterprises to access the digital life with its unique and comprehensive suite of platforms in the areas of financial services, eCommerce, and marketing technologies.

Download PayMaya now:
iOS – https://goo.gl/T012hs
Android – https://goo.gl/9XYTsb

Get freenet:
iOS – http://frnt.ph/ios
Android – http://frnt.ph/android

Visit Takatack: www.takatack.com
Sign up for Lendr: www.lendr.com.ph

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Hit Bisrock musical Gugmang Giatay to be staged in Cebu on Friday

The runaway theatrical hit Gugmang Giatay The Musical is back and will be holding limited shows in Cebu and Manila this month. Gugmang Giatay will have a one-night-only staging at…

The runaway theatrical hit Gugmang Giatay The Musical is back and will be holding limited shows in Cebu and Manila this month.

Gugmang Giatay will have a one-night-only staging at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 10, at the Teatro Casino of Casino Filipino, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Later this month, Manila will get its chance to enjoy the popular Bisaya production. It will be staged on Sunday, November 26, at 4 p.m., during BGC Passionfest, and again from Tuesday, November 28 until Thursday, November 30, 8 p.m. All Manila performances will be at the Globe Auditorium of the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center, Taguig.

Gugmang Giatay

Written by award-winning songwriter Jude Gitamondoc and internet sensation Rowell “Medyo Maldito” Ucat, Gugmang Giatay is your (a)typical romantic comedy, with a good dose of maoy moments, hugot lines, and acerbic Bisaya humor. The musical features landmark Bisaya hit songs, both contemporary and classic, written by such icons as Max Surban, Cattski Espina, Insoy Niñal, Jude Gitamondoc, Medyo Maldito, and Junior Kilat, among others.

The Manila staging of Gugmang Giatay will feature award-winning actor Bong Cabrera in the role of Ben. Cabrera is known for his role in the 2011 film Sa Ilalim ng Tulay, for which he won the award for Best Actor in the Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival. He also won Best Supporting Actor for the 2013 film The Guerilla is a Poet in the CineFilipino Film Festival.

Sarah Mae Enclona-Henderson, the producer of Gugmang Giatay, said she backed the stage musical because she believes it has the power to touch lives. “I had fun reading the first draft to the final uncensored book,” she said. “I could not let go of it! I love it so much and I believe that Filipinos deserve to see it on stage. It has the potential to transform the theater scene here in Cebu and hopefully make Cebuanos a more supportive and engaging audience.”

Gugmang Giatay

GUGMANG GIATAY. Written by award-winning songwriter Jude Gitamondoc and internet sensation Rowell “Medyo Maldito” Ucat, Gugmang Giatay is your (a)typical romantic comedy, with a good dose of maoy moments, hugot lines, and acerbic Bisaya humor.

Genuinely funny and entertaining, Gugmang Giatay also aims to elevate local pop culture to the musical stage. The musical, in its entirety, is a tribute to anything and everything Bisaya, said Enclona-Henderson.

Tickets to the November 10 Cebu staging are available online through 2tincans.yapsody.com, or by visiting Casino Filipino at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. Ticketing arrangements may also be made by contacting the 2TinCans office through +63933 188 0999. Tickets for the Manila shows on November 26, and 28 to 30 may be purchased through www.ticketworld.com.ph.

Gugmang Giatay is produced by 2TinCans Philippines in partnership with the BGC Arts Center and Casino Filipino, in cooperation with Offbeat Concepts Production House. For more information, visit 2TinCans Philippines on Facebook at facebook.com/2tincansphils and Instagram at @2tincansph. Like Gugmang Giatay on Facebook at facebook.com/gugmanggmusical. (Press Release)

Gugmang Giatay Cast

Gugmang Giatay

 

Gugmang Giatay

 

Gugmang Giatay

 

 

 

Gugmang Giatay

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Japanese brand Miniso opens 1st store in Cebu

Quality products for a “very affordable price,” that’s what Miniso offers in its store, a company official said during the opening of its first branch in Cebu. Miniso opened in…

Quality products for a “very affordable price,” that’s what Miniso offers in its store, a company official said during the opening of its first branch in Cebu.

Miniso opened in SM City Cebu on November 3. The store has been packed with shoppers since then.

Filipinos have taken to the store brand and response has been very good, said Miniso Philippines Inc. president Michael Hong in an interview during the opening.

Miniso Cebu

ELECTRONICS like these headphones are a popular category in Miniso.

Miniso branches in Philippines

Hong said Filipinos are amazed with their product offerings. “Wow. A lot of wows. A lot of suprises,” he said.

The SM City Cebu branched is the 36th in the country. They opened in the Philippine in June 2016, said Hong. Miniso will be opening 10 more by yearend, he said.

Miniso Cebu

OPENING. Miniso and SM officials lead the opening of the store.

He said they’ve always wanted to open in Cebu, being a major city, but had to wait for space to be available. They will soon open in SM Consolacion and SM Seaside City.

Hong said they are also considering a store in Ayala Center Cebu.

Miniso Cebu

NOW IN CEBU. Miniso has opened in SM City Cebu. It will soon be in SM Consolacion and SM Seaside City.

Wide range of products

Miniso sells a wide range of items from gadgets, stationery, kitchenware, toys, bags, cosmetics, among its many categories.

“What’s important is the value for money. We offer good quality but at a very affordable price. It’s not cheap – it’s really the value for the money,” said Hong.

Miniso Cebu

MINISO pens.

He said Miniso is a Japanese brand and the Japanese take pride in quality control, he said.

“Good quality, unique style, trendy, reliable and low price. These are the features of Miniso’s products,” the company said in its website.

More photos of Miniso’s opening in Cebu

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

 

Miniso Cebu

Our stash of Miniso notebooks.

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Blu Bar and Grill pairs great food, fantastic wines in Moonlit Wine Dinner

Seafood on ice, it said on the menu. It doesn’t quite describe the delight of an appetizer that formally started our Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill…

Seafood on ice, it said on the menu. It doesn’t quite describe the delight of an appetizer that formally started our Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Smoke enveloped the dish as it was brought to the table over exclamations of amazement, a pair each of fresh shrimps, mussels, scallops served atop a block of ice shaped like a bowl.

Marco Polo Moonlit Wine Dinner

MAIN COURSE. Marco Polo chefs slice roast tenderloin for serving to those who joined the Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill.

It came with the perfect complements: half a slice of lemon wrapped in a dainty net to trap the seeds when squeezed, spicy tomato-based dip, and a glass of Baron de Philippe de Rothschild Reserva Especial Chardonnay from Chile.

Our wine-pairing dinner just started, but it was easy to see we were in for a treat.

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

SEAFOOD ON ICE. Smoke enveloped the dish as it was brought to the table over exclamations of amazement, a pair each of fresh shrimps, mussels, scallops served atop a block of ice shaped like a bowl.

Culinary creations

We savored the foie gras paté with a glass of carmenere in between conversations that hopped from good food to family and reminisces of travel, in particular Taiwan, because we happened to be seated near a Taiwanese working for a Japanese IT company in Cebu.

The main course was Churrasco, and it included freshly roasted tenderloin slices and lamb cubes, sausages, pork belly, and fish fillets. We enjoyed the meat selections from both land and sea with another glass of red wine, this time poured from a bottle of Baron de Philippe de Rothschild Escudo Rojo.

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

MAIN COURSE. The main course was Churrasco, and it included freshly roasted tenderloin slices and lamb cubes, sausages, pork belly, and fish fillets. This was paired with a bottle of Baron de Philippe de Rothschild Escudo Rojo.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Moonlit Wine Dinner combined creations by the culinary geniuses of the Blu Bar and Grill and wines from Chile distributed by Titania Wine Cellar, Inc., said General Manager Mr. Brian Connelly.

“It’s not just the fact that the food and wine are both great, but the way we put them together to complement each other,” Mr. Connelly told dinner guests shortly before the start of the dinner.

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

PISTACHIO ice cream on warm choco lava topped with vanilla sauce, paired with a glass of merlot.

Dinner with moonshine

Manna Alcaraz, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Communications Manager, said the wine-pairing dinner was intentionally scheduled last October 27, 2017 when it was waxing towards a full moon.

She added that the initial plan is to hold it one night every month when there is a lot of moonshine but they would probably start with quarterly Moonlit Wine Dinner events for now.

The first Moonlit dinner introduced wines manufactured under the Baron de Philippe de Rothschild brand and distributed in the Philippines by Titania Wines.

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

ROAST PORK. One of the many highlights of a great evening: delicious food, good wines, and great company.

Fine wine selections

Mr. Connelly said the wines that accompanied the food, from the chardonnay and escudo rojo to cabernet sauvignon, include some very fine selections from Chile.

From a full main course, we feasted on a selection of cheeses washed down with the Baron de Philippe de Rothschild Reserva Especial Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dinner ended on a sweet note with pistachio ice cream on warm choco lava topped with vanilla sauce, made all the sweeter by a glass of merlot.

Interested in this incredible extravaganza of food and wine? Call Marco Polo Plaza Cebu at +6332 253 1111 for the next wine pairing dinner schedule.

More photos of Moonlit Wine Dinner

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

GOOD FOOD, GREAT COMPANY. Our table with Manna Alcaraz (raising wine glass), Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Communications Manager, writer Dr. Nestor Alonso (standing) and staff of Titania Wines.

 

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

CHEESES. This plate was paired with Baron de Philippe de Rothschild Reserva Especial Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

FOIE GRAS PATE paired with a glass of carmenere.

 

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

MAIN COURSE. Meat selections.

 

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

FOOD, WINE PAIRING. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Mr. Brian Connelly watches fireworks after opening Moonlit Wine Dinner. “It’s not just the fact that the food and wine are both great, but the way we put them together to complement each other,” he says.

 

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

MARCO POLO CHEFS get a much-deserved applause from the dinner guests.

 

Moonlit Wine Dinner

MOONLIT WINE DINNER combined creations by the culinary geniuses of the Blu Bar and Grill and wines from Chile distributed by Titania Wine Cellar, Inc.

 

Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

MEAT SELECTIONS.

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Cebu company builds platform for emergency response, management

Helping relatives in Leyte after Typhoon Yolanda wrought its devastation four years ago this month made IT professional Cloyd Dedicatoria realize how woefully unprepared the country was for dealing with…

Helping relatives in Leyte after Typhoon Yolanda wrought its devastation four years ago this month made IT professional Cloyd Dedicatoria realize how woefully unprepared the country was for dealing with widescale devastation and emergencies.

Dedicatoria, founder and chief executive officer of Sugbotek, drove to Leyte with a family member to bring food, water and other supplies needed by relatives. He said government response shocked him. There was disorder to the point looting “became normal.” Relief goods were not immediately distributed because of problems in managing distribution, he said.

A response team from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority arrived seven days after Yolanda hit and just as Dedicatoria was heading back to Cebu. The team was delayed after getting stranded.

Response coordination

“I think the problem is the coordination. How we can set up a communication system nga ma usa ta ni, ma integrate ta ni,” Dedicatoria said in an interview on Monday.

What he saw in the response to Yolanda made him think about setting up a system that will integrate disaster response and management, he said.

When the officials of 7core Communications Inc., the hardware and connectivity company that he is a part of, were planning company initiatives for 2014, he proposed spinning off a software unit to build, among other things, a system for emergency response and management.

During the Kadaugan sa Mactan in April of 2014, Dedicatoria and his team set up a command center to manage and monitor peace and order during the annual festival. In Sinulog 2015, they created a friend finder app.

Guardian Cloyd Bere Dedicatoria

EMERGENCY RESPONSE. Cloyd Bere Dedicatoria, founder and CEO of Sugbotek, talks about the Guardian app and system that seeks to be a platform for emergency response and management.

Emergency response, management

In the coming weeks, Dedicatoria and his team will test the deployment of an emergency response and management system informed by his Yolanda experience. The Guardian app and system will be deployed in an initial group of four Cebu City barangays – Apas, Tisa, Sto. Niño, and Poblacion Pardo.

Guardian is more than just an app – it is a system that links citizens, government agencies that deal with emergencies, first responders, and volunteers.

Guardian has two versions of its app, one for responders and another for volunteers. The team is still working on the apps and will be making these available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Report incidents

Through the app, citizens can report incidents such as a fire, crime, or medical emergency with just one tap on the app. That report will be received and processed by a Guardian command center. Using technology and algorithms, the command center will then forward the report to the appropriate agency.

Using internet connectivity, algorithms, and other tech, Guardian makes emergency reporting and response simple, Dedicatoria said.

The Guardian ecosystem also simplifies volunteering and the deployment of volunteers. This, he said during the interview, was added because of what they observed during the Yolanda response – many wanted to volunteer but there wasn’t a system that facilitated sign-ups and managed deployment.

Strict vetting of volunteers

Dedicatoria said volunteers will be added into the system after a strict vetting that includes clearance from the barangay and other government units, submission of identification papers, and personal appearance. Once added into the system, volunteers can be deployed to help deal with an emergency.

When asked about vulnerability of the system to prank reports – a frequent problem of phone-based systems as reported by police, Dedicatoria said this wasn’t an issue. They get a lot of information from reports – including location and the machine identification of phones – that they can trace those who use the app to send prank reports.

The Guardian team is already looking ahead and beyond the current capabilities being deployed. Dedicatoria said they are working on a system that will use TV white space to make sure there is still connectivity even if the telecommunications infrastructure is down. This is another lesson he learned from Yolanda.

Deployment for LGUs

The Guardian team and the four barangays are still awaiting donated computer units from a utility company before the initial deployment will start. Barangays, Dedicatoria said, will serve as incident centers that will receive the initial report. The barangay unit can be as minimal as just two manned computers, one to serve as call taker, the other as dispatcher.

Guardian is talking to several local government units, including the Cebu Provincial Government, for a possible province-wide deployment of the system.

The system is free to deploy – the LGU, however, will need to spend for equipment that will be used for it. If a barangay is interested to use Guardian, Dedicatoria said, they can just sign up and if they already have computer units with internet connectivity, they can immediately tap the system.

Barangays without computers and internet connectivity can just sign up for a monthly subscription that will come with computer units, connectivity and enable them to tap Guardian, Dedicatoria said.

The system, he added, is extensible and can be deployed not only for government agencies but as an enterprise solution for companies like utilities. This, he said, will be a paid service that can help support the free deployment in barangays and other government units.

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5 Smart tips for stress-free Kalag-kalag

Observing Kalag-Kalag can be challenging, what with the throngs of people making their way to cemeteries to pay respects to departed loved ones. With the help of mobile technology, however,…

Observing Kalag-Kalag can be challenging, what with the throngs of people making their way to cemeteries to pay respects to departed loved ones. With the help of mobile technology, however, it can be a lot more manageable and stress-free for you and your family.

Here are 5 Smart tips to help you gear up for this year’s Kalag-Kalag:

1. Load up for emergency communications.

Be sure you have enough load to communicate with your loved ones especially for emergency situations. With millions going in and out of the cemetery, there’s a chance you’ll break away from your group, so make sure you have the means to get in touch with them. To assist and provide subscribers with mobile services, Smart is also setting up service booths in cemeteries, transport terminals, and public markets all over the country.

2. Navigate with Waze and stay updated with road advisories.

Making your way to the cemetery is so much easier with Waze, an app that lets you find the shortest route to your destination. The crowdsourcing app also features real-time road alerts from fellow commuters for greater convenience. Moreover, don’t forget to follow the official social media accounts of news organizations, government agencies, and tollways and transport service providers on Facebook and Twitter for real-time updates on traffic, road closures, mishaps, rerouting, and trip schedules.

3. Bring a portable power bank.

Before leaving your house, make sure you have fully charged your phone and power bank so that you can enjoy mobile services the entire day. For better network coverage and faster mobile Internet, you can also swap your 3G SIM to an LTE SIM for free at your preferred Smart Store without changing your number, and slot it in you LTE-ready device. This way, you can enjoy optimum mobile connection wherever you go.

4. Keep the whole family connected on the road.

Going on a long road trip to your home province? Enduring heavy traffic can be less of a burden for the whole family if you have a Smart Bro LTE Pocket WiFi, which lets you connect up to 5 devices, enough to keep everyone productive while traveling. With it, one can focus on navigating; another can keep relatives updated on your whereabouts; while kids can get their fill of educational videos or online games to keep them busy throughout the trip.

With the Smart Bro LTE Pocket WiFi, you can register to SurfMax85, which comes with all-day surfing of up to 800MB per day, valid for two days, for only Php85. To register, simply text SURFMAX85 to 2200.

5. Share your precious moments in a special group chat with loved ones.

Kalag-kalag reunites families in celebrating the life of departed loved ones. For an easier way of collecting and sharing content on your family get-togethers, you may create a group chat where everyone can view and save your photos and videos. You can use top apps like Messenger, Telegram, Viber, or WhatsApp, and even include in your relatives abroad who could not make it to your gatherings.

For more ways to make the most of your mobile experience, follow Smart’s official accounts on Facebook (facebook.com/SmartCommunications), Twitter and Instagram (@LiveSmart). (Press Release)

 

(Banner photo: Christian Holmér by Creative Commons.)

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Cebu Landmasters CEO Joe Soberano is Ernst and Young’s Philippines Industry Entrepreneur of the Year

Cebu Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) chief executive officer Jose Soberano III was awarded “Industry Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young last October 18 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. Soberano…

Cebu Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) chief executive officer Jose Soberano III was awarded “Industry Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young last October 18 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.

Soberano is one of the 19 outstanding finalists representing enterprises from different industries nationwide chosen by Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) Philippines in its search for the country’s most inspiring entrepreneurs. “Industry Entrepreneur of the Year” is one of the four awards given by EOY Philippines.

EOY Philippines is a program of the SGV Foundation, Inc., with the participation of co-presenters Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Jose Soberano III award

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR. Cebu Landmasters, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Jose Soberano III during his awarding as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Top local developer

Soberano was awarded for his remarkable role in the Real Estate industry. He was credited for establishing CLI, which is now one of the top local developers in Visayas and Mindanao, to address the need for quality and affordable housing and later expanded to include residential estates, offices, condominiums, hotels and mixed-use projects.

Soberano is also this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“We have worked very hard to put CLI to where it is today and to make an impact on the lives of many Filipinos. This would not have been possible if not for the never-ending support of my family and the CLI employees who are part of my extended family,” said Soberano.

CLI public offering

In the last 14 years, CLI has rolled out fast-selling high-end, mid-market and economic housing real estate developments.

CLI just recently went public at the Philippine Stock Exchange. Its debut last June made them the first Cebu-based real estate developer to ring the bell.

“What inspires me now is to build a company that can last many generations. What further fuels us as a family-oriented company is the goal to become the leading homegrown real estate developer in the Visayas and Mindanao region by 2020,” said Soberano. (Press Release)

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Globe, Alibaba partnership makes GCash “future of payments” in Philippines

GCash is poised to lead the future of payments in the Philippines following the recent joint venture of Ant Financial, Globe Telecom, and Ayala Corporation. The collaboration is seen to…

GCash is poised to lead the future of payments in the Philippines following the recent joint venture of Ant Financial, Globe Telecom, and Ayala Corporation. The collaboration is seen to speed up the country’s digitization to make the lives of Filipinos much easier.

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, attended an event that marked the opening of the Philippine retail industry to electronic payments through GCash. Ma was joined by Ant Financial Services Group CEO Eric Jing, Ayala Corporation President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Ayala Land President and CEO Bobby Dy, and Mynt President and CEO Anthony Thomas.

GCash QR code

“Imagine a day when you can shop and buy cinema, bus and train tickets with a simple scan of your personal GCash QR code in your smart phone. The convenient daily life 520 million Alipay users are enjoying will soon be realized in the Philippines. In the past months, Ant Financial has worked closely with GCash product of Mynt, as we are dedicated to bringing digital financial services to our friends in the Philippines,” Jing said.

“We are thrilled to mark this special milestone with Mr. Jack Ma, and Mr. Eric Jing of Ant Financial — it goes without saying that we are very pleased to partner with Ant Financial, given their level of experience and expertise in this field,” said Zobel de Ayala. “We look forward to innovating and evolving with the Filipino consumer, together. This day marks a special moment in the history of technology and payments in the Philippines — this launches the first broad application of such technology, and marks GCash as the leader in this space.”

Cu said the partnership is now bearing fruit. “We are happy to share the initial successes that will disrupt payment methods in the Philippines. In this country, only 5% of the population have credit cards, leaving almost everybody to carry cash all the time to pay for something. Today, we are introducing the 3rd method of payment – GCash. We found the right partner and the right time to really scale up the business and change the way we use financial services.”

QR CODE PAYMENTS. Alibaba Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma (center, left) joins GCat, the GCash Mascot, as it shows a sample of the QR code that is set to change the landscape of payments in the country. Together with him are (from left) Mynt President and CEO Anthony Thomas, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Ant Financial Services Group CEO Eric Jing, Ayala Corporation President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Land President and CEO Bobby Dy, and Ant Financial SVP and Head of International Operations Douglas Feagin.

Make digital preferred choice

“Now that more people are using data on their smartphones, the time is ripe to enable digital payments using the smartphone and let this go mainstream. Our challenge today is to make digital payments the preferred choice among our customers instead of cash or credit cards,” he added.

Through GCash, particularly the scan to pay feature of the GCash App, Filipinos can now experience the convenient cashless lifestyle.

The new payment option is a game changer for both consumers and merchants. It allows customers to pay for goods and services by simply using their smartphones to scan QR codes displayed by merchants and establishments.

Benefits for business owners

Business owners also benefit from not having to install expensive machines as they are provided with a QR code sticker which buyers can scan to pay. Customers pay the exact amount, removing the need for coins or change. GCash sees this solution working not just for organized trade but even for the ambulant vendors.

Joining GCash in showcasing the future of payments in the Philippines is Ayala Malls. Known as a retail innovator, Ayala Malls is a perfect catapult for GCash to reach thousands of consumers while also improving the customer experience for Ayala Malls shoppers. Glorietta is the first Ayala Mall to offer the GCash payment system in many of its shops and restaurants, as well as its cinemas.

GCash will be rolled out very soon to other Ayala Malls such as Greenbelt, TriNoma, Market! Market!, Alabang Town Center, Ayala Center Cebu, Bonifacio High Street, UP Town Center, Ayala Malls The 30th, Ayala Malls Vertis North, and Ayala Malls South Park. With the GCash scan to pay feature, Ayala Malls customers can catch up with the cashless experience of shoppers in other countries.

GCash is an internationally-acclaimed mobile wallet service of Mynt which can be used to buy load, pay bills, send money, and pay for goods and services whether online or offline. (Press Release)

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Lechon paksiw, sisig, scallops now on the menu at Hukad, Golden Cowrie

Lechon Paksiw, Lechon Sisig, and Bay Scallops – these are the newest mouthwatering dishes you can enjoy at Hukad, Golden Cowrie, and Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen. No talk of Cebu…

Lechon Paksiw, Lechon Sisig, and Bay Scallops – these are the newest mouthwatering dishes you can enjoy at Hukad, Golden Cowrie, and Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen.

No talk of Cebu food ends without the mention of lechon. While nothing compares to fresh-off-the-pit whole lechon, there are various other ways to enjoy it after. Two of the most popular are paksiw and sisig.

Golden Cowrie Hukad scallops

BAY SCALLOPS WITH TABA NG TALANGKA. This dish is baked in cheese and combined with tasty crab fat to give it that burst of flavor.

Hukad and Golden Cowrie’s Lechon Paksiw is given a fresh yet traditional take, with choice cuts of lechon belly cooked in vinegar and soy sauce. Lechon Sisig, on the other hand, is a new spin on the classic pulutan, with lechon belly sautéed in aromatic spices that will keep you coming back for a second round.

Another recent addition to the menu is the Bay Scallops with Taba ng Talangka. Paying homage to Cebu’s abundance of seafood, this dish is baked in cheese and combined with tasty crab fat to give it that burst of flavor.

Golden Cowrie Hukad lechon paksiw

LECHON PAKSIW is given a fresh yet traditional take, with choice cuts of lechon belly cooked in vinegar and soy sauce for a familiar, comforting flavor.

In Cebu, Lechon Paksiw and Lechon Sisig are available at Salinas, Golden Cowrie SM City Cebu, Mactan, A.S Fortuna and Lahug and Hukad Cybergate, SM Seaside and Parkmall. Bay Scallops with Taba ng Talangka is offered in all branches. For those in the north, check out the newly-opened Hukad Danao.

Visit www.alwaysafeast.ph to know more about this proudly Cebuano restaurant. For deliveries contact (032) 233-4243 and (032) 233-3278. (Press Release)

Golden Cowrie Hukad sisig

LECHON SISIG is a spin on the classic pulutan, with lechon belly sautéed in aromatic spices that will keep you coming back for a second round.

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Globe partners with Roku to power Streamwatch device

Globe will launch a new Streamwatch device in November that will be powered by Roku. The company signed a licensing agreement that will allow Globe to tap Roku’s streaming platform,…

Globe will launch a new Streamwatch device in November that will be powered by Roku. The company signed a licensing agreement that will allow Globe to tap Roku’s streaming platform, its operating system, channel store, and streaming players.

“Globe is one of the leading telecom providers in the Philippines, with millions of cellular and broadband customers. It is a logical next step for Globe to launch a streaming device to its customers to enhance their entertainment experience at home. With the Roku Powered licensing program telco operators such as Globe can launch internet-delivered TV services quickly by leveraging our powerful streaming platform,” said Andrew Ferrone, vice president of pay TV at Roku.

Roku Globe

ROKU-GLOBE PARTNERSHIP. Roku Inc. and Globe Telecom announced their partnership to launch the new Globe Streamwatch device in the Philippines. Leading the signing of the partnership are (from left) Globe Senior Vice President for Content, Nikko Acosta, Roku Director for Communications Mike Duin, Globe Chief Commercial Officer Albert de Larrazabal, Roku Director for Partner Management Andrew Bernard, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Globe At Home Senior Vice President Martha Sazon, and Roku APAC Advisor Brandon Amber.

Martha Sazon, Senior Vice President for Globe At Home said, “The collaboration with Roku allows us to give our customers more streaming device choices and a new streaming experience all together. Globe Streamwatch is easy to use and enjoy. By just plugging and activating the device, our customers will readily have access to a wealth of entertainment available at home even without cable connection.”

The Roku-powered Globe Streamwatch stick.

The Roku-powered Globe Streamwatch stick.

Globe is the first Roku Powered partner that will offer a streaming stick form factor to its customers. Globe Streamwatch users will be able to watch a variety of content across free and paid channels in different categories including sports, lifestyle, fashion, and more. It comes with three months access to top streaming services such as NETFLIX, Disney Channel Apps and HOOQ.

Globe Streamwatch can be best enjoyed with a Globe At Home plan. To learn more about this latest streaming device, visit shop.globe.com.ph/streamwatch. (Press Release)

The Roku-powered Globe Streamwatch stick.

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Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong 2017 highlights: Awards, big events, upgrades

From winning awards and hosting big events to undertaking upgrades, it has been a busy and memorable 2017 for the Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong, which include the iconic Kowloon landmark…

From winning awards and hosting big events to undertaking upgrades, it has been a busy and memorable 2017 for the Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong, which include the iconic Kowloon landmark Marco Polo Hongkong as well as newer facilities Gateway and Prince.

The three hotels were given the Merit Award at the 2017 HKMA Quality Award ceremony held on July 21, 2017, while the yearly event Marco Polo German Bierfest garnered the Gold Award for “Best Outdoor Events: Arts, Leisure and Entertainment” at the Marketing Events Awards 2017 organized by Marketing Magazine.

Marco Polo German Bierfest Award

ANOTHER AWARD. The Marco Polo German Bierfest was given the Gold Award for “Best Outdoor Events: Arts, Leisure and Entertainment” at the Marketing Events Awards 2017.

Samantha Poon, Director of Communications for Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong, said this demonstrates the commitment and dedication to quality at Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel. She provided updates during a dinner hosted by Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong for Cebu and Davao media and bloggers at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The annual Quality Award by the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) recognizes organizations from various fields of industry and business that have achieved outstanding performance and quality standards.

Marco Polo Hong Kong

MERIT AWARD. Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel were given the Merit Award at the 2017 HKMA Quality Award ceremony last July 21, 2017.

Marco Polo Bierfest

Now on its 26th year, the award-winning Marco Polo Bierfest kicked off last October 20 and will run until November 11. Celebrated in the outdoor area of Marco Polo Hongkong, against the breathtaking backdrop of Victoria Harbour, the event features partygoers dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndl while a German band plays folk and oompah tunes and hosts interactive and drinking games.

Marco Polo Bierfest

Marco Polo Bierfest

Guests get to enjoy authentic Bavarian dishes, including the best crispy pork knuckles in Hong Kong, and the finest German beers. Those who book a stay with any of the Marco Polo hotels via marcopolohotels.com within the Bierfest season get two complimentary tickets to the event through the Bed and Bierfest package.

To further extend the Bierfest spirit, hotel guests also receive in-room amenities Marco Polo German Bierfest 2017 special edition beer mugs (maximum two per room) and Erdinger beer (maximum two 500ml bottles per room).

Marco Polo Bierfest

BREATHTAKING VIEW. The Marco Polo Bierfest is celebrated in the outdoor area of Marco Polo Hongkong, against the breathtaking backdrop of Victoria Harbour.

 

Marco Polo Bierfest

Pretzel

 

Marco Polo Bierfest

MARCO POLO BIERFEST. Roast pork knuckle served with braised red cabbage and gratinated potato.

Hotel upgrades

As part of continued quality improvements, the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel also recently completed an extensive upgrade to its building facade.

Gateway Hotel, meanwhile, is set to unveil an entirely new Continental Club floor in the uppermost level. It will feature 21 well appointed guestrooms and suites that offer stunning views of Hong Kong’s dramatic skyline.

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel_Harbour View Room

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel_Harbour View Room.

The new Continental Club rooms will continue to reflect a sophisticated, stylish design and layout, enhanced with the latest technology for today’s modern travellers.

Continental Club guests enjoy a host of exclusive privileges, from daily complimentary breakfast to all-day coffee to tea service.

Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong Cebu dinner for Cebu, Davao media

Marco Polo Hong Kong

CEBU, DAVAO journalists and bloggers during the dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

 

Marco Polo Hongkong

COMMITMENT TO QUALITY. Samantha Poon, Director of Communications for Marco Polo Hotels – Hong Kong, said the recent awards demonstrate the commitment and dedication to quality at Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel.

 

Marco Polo Hong Kong

HOTEL UPDATES. Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel provided updates during a dinner hosted for Cebu and Davao media and bloggers at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

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SaladStop! brings “freshness back to the table” with healthy salads

Fresh ingredients sourced locally, homemade dressings made daily, and a wide variety of healthy options for your bowl of greens. These are what SaladStop! offers, a company official said in…

Fresh ingredients sourced locally, homemade dressings made daily, and a wide variety of healthy options for your bowl of greens. These are what SaladStop! offers, a company official said in a recent press event in Cebu.

“What we take to heart at Salad Stop is the whole sourcing and farm-to-bowl concept. In Cebu, we are sourcing 99% of our produce locally. We work with the local farmers and the only item imported from Manila is our spinach. All the rest we source here,” said SaladStop! director and co-owner Katherine Desbailles Braha.

What SaladStop! wants to do is “bring freshness back to the table.”

SaladStop Cebu

OH CRAB LAH! This is inspired by a favorite Singapore dish, the chili crab. This bowl is a mix of romaine, crab sticks, grated eggs, vermicelli, cherry tomatoes, red onions, croutons, and Singapore Chili Crab.

Very good response in Cebu

Braha was in Cebu last October 17 for a media event in the SaladStop! at the Ayala Center Cebu, the company’s 10th outlet in the Philippines and the first outside Manila.

SaladStop! Cebu has been open since July and the response has been “very, very good,” said Braha.

“We were very pleasantly surprised by Cebu. We were expecting it to be a little bit slower than Manila but definitely we’ve seen a huge crowd,” Braha said in an interview. She said they decided to open in Cebu upon frequent requests via social media of their Manila customers.

SaladStop! offers a wide variety of healthy choices, Braha said, comprising 60 different toppings and 18 homemade dressings.

SaladStop Cebu

SALADSTOP! IN CEBU. SaladStop! director and co-owner Katherine Desbailles Braha talks about the restaurant in an event with bloggers and journalists in their branch at the Ayala Center Cebu.

Homemade dressings made daily

“We take pride in our dressings. Everything is homemade so we don’t use any paste. Because it’s made from scratch, it has a 2-day shelf life and we have to do it daily,” she said.

At SaladStop!, “diners can either make their own or try 10 specially crafted signature salads and wraps.”

The restaurant highlights what they call as the “Eat Wide Awake” movement, which stresses the importance of proper nutrition and diet toward a healthy lifestyle.

SaladStop Cebu

TUNA SAN is a delicious mix of romaine, seared tuna, avocado, edamame, cherry tomatoes, mandarin orange, sesame seeds, and Wasabi Honey Soy.

“To us an important question is where the food comes from and also for us to be 100 percent transparent,” she said. Braha said people can use their website to make their own salads and calculate the nutritional information.

SaladStop! has an app that allows people in Singapore, where they started, to pre-order and earn points. This will be made available to Cebu next year yet.

SaladStop Cebu

HAIL CAESAR is a wrap of romaine, shaved parmesan, grated eggs, croutons, bacon bits, and classic caesar.

Good-tasting and healthy food

“Contrary to popular belief that good-tasting food can only be prepared fast if it’s unhealthy, the Desbailles family proved everyone wrong by establishing SaladStop! in Singapore back in 2009. The very first store offered a number of quick and healthy but flavorful alternatives to a society that was increasingly dependent on fast food,” the company said in its information sheet.

With their Eat Wide Awake push, SaladStop! said they want people to “stop and think about their food. Understand where it comes from and dream about the hands, soil, and time that made it possible.”

Braha said the company is considering to open another branch in Cebu next year. They will open 2 more outlets in Manila this year. SaladStop! is currently present in Singapore, Japan, and Indonesia. She said they will soon open in Barcelona and Korea.

SaladStop Cebu

GO GEISHA. This bowl contains romaine, red and white cabbage, firm tofu, asparagus, carrot, soba noodles, snow peas, edamame, cucumber, sweet corn, sesame seeds, and Japanese miso.

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Property24, real estate portal of OLX group, launches in Cebu

Growth in real estate in the Philippines is in the “upscale” category but consumer demand is highest for “affordable” properties, an official of a real estate portal said. This does…

Growth in real estate in the Philippines is in the “upscale” category but consumer demand is highest for “affordable” properties, an official of a real estate portal said.

This does not necessarily indicate a mismatch between supply and demand. Rather, it shows that Filipinos are “upscaling” and want to see “value for their money,” said OLX Operations Director and Head of Real Estate Ferdie Perez.

It also shows the important role played by real estate portals like Property24, Perez said. Property24, which is part of the OLX group, is a website that lists properties for sale or lease.

No mismatch; role of portals

“There is no mismatch. Affordability here means, rather than the absolute peso amount, rather than the absolute price, it is more or less the value for money,” Perez said. “And we see that not only in real estate. It’s also the trend that we see in FMCGx (fast-moving consumer goods, in F&B in hotels and restaurants. The trend now is Filipinos is upscaling. People want to feel the value of their hard-earned money.”

Officials of Property24 and OLX were in Cebu this week to introduce the real estate website to local journalists and bloggers.

The site already has 6,000 Cebu properties listed and they will be expanding aggressively in the province. Perez said this is the most number in terms of listings compared to other web verticals.

Property24 Cebu

PROPERTY24. OLX Operations Director and Head of Real Estate Ferdie Perez introduces Property24 in a press conference in Cebu City. The property portal is part of the OLX group.

Cebu real estate sector

He said they want to expand in Cebu because “there are a lot of local developers here.”

Perez said their data shows that the real estate sector in Cebu is distinguished by 1) strong growth in BPO, tourism, and remittances; 2) increased demand for condos; and 3) popularity of townhouses and duplex units outside Metro Cebu.

The top considerations for Cebuano property buyers, according to Perez, are presence of nearby shops (74%); accessibility (44%); kids infrastructure (40%); safety (39%); and public services (36%).

The top cities in property searches are Cebu City at 47%; Mandaue City, 17%; Lapu-Lapu City, 12%; Talisay City, 7%; and Consolacion, 5%.

Unlike other portals, Property24 is meant for professional sellers such as brokers and agents, Perez said. The website verifies the identity of sellers before they are allowed to post. For brokers, they require Professional Regulation Commission or PRC IDs; for agents, they require proof of identity and the name of their brokers.

Perez said Property24 also performs regular audit and review of listings to make sure these are legitimate.

Property24 works on a subscription model and those who want to post pay a fee based on different packages. Perez said the fee is minimal compared to potential earnings by brokers and agents if they make a sale on the platform.

OLX, Property24 Cebu

COMBINED PLATFORM. The combined OLX and Property24 platforms generate 300,000 in sales leads monthly, an official said. In the photo are (from left) Mix Martinez, Category Manager for Real Estate; Hazel Juson, Cebu Head of Sales Real Estate, OLX Philippines; Ferdie Perez, Head of Real Estate, OLX Philippines; Charisse Vilchez, PR Lead, OLX Philippines; and Timmy Deal Agua, Brand Marketing Officer, OLX Philippines.

Monthly traffic, sales leads

He said the combined monthly traffic of OLX and Property 24 is 2 million people. The combined platforms generate 300,000 leads every month. These are inquiries via email, SMS, and chat, said Perez.

“When combined, both platforms give sellers a rise in web traffic and increase in potential buyers, delivering better value for subscription fees. Buyers are equally rewarded with more property options, higher seller engagement, and more pages viewed,” the company said in a press statement.

Perez said Property24 also offers the “win-win exchanges” pioneered by OLX.

He said 75 percent of real estate professionals already use online tools to sell property and supporting this with face-to-face and on-site selling. He said online tools lead to faster turn-around and more sales. Offline, agents sell 2 to 3 units a month. Online, they are able to sell an average of 7 to 8 units.

Property sellers, buyers win

Perez said Filipino users are already starting to be comfortable with buying items online. Almost half are already looking for properties online, he said.

With the Property24 platform, “buyers win because they are able to find the perfect property they are looking for their families. Sellers win because they sell more, and they sell faster. Ultimately the country wins because the economy grows faster, real estate grows faster,” Perez said.

Property24 Cebu.

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PayMaya, Smart accelerate rollout of QR code payments nationwide

After introducing the first Quick Response (QR) code payments via app in the Philippines last May, PayMaya Philippines today announced that the scan-to-pay technology is now available across the country….

After introducing the first Quick Response (QR) code payments via app in the Philippines last May, PayMaya Philippines today announced that the scan-to-pay technology is now available across the country. Smart Stores and select merchants in key cities now allow consumers to conveniently pay by simply scanning QR codes through their PayMaya app.

Smart subscribers have a new means to transact with their accounts as Smart Stores all over the country are now equipped with PayMaya QR technology. PayMaya is also enabling merchants in communities starting with canteens in partner schools like STI and commercial establishments in cashless cities such as Muntinlupa and Malabon.

PayMaya is also tapping popular merchants in SmartSpots already enabled by WiFi connectivity in key cities such as Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.

PayMaya QR Code

CONVENIENT. Using QR Code to simplify payments, PayMaya is making cashless transactions even more convenient.

All kinds of merchants

In the near future, payments enabled by PayMaya will also be accepted online and in-store in popular food chains, supermarkets, and malls such as McDonald’s, Army Navy, Domino’s Pizza, and Gaisano Supermarkets, among others.

To further bring the technology to more users, Smart and PayMaya are also set to equip Smart retail partners down to the sari-sari store levels with the payment technology.

“As PayMaya continues to grow nationwide, we take a giant step for our customers by making QR code payments available to all kinds of merchants. PayMaya is the leading digital payments wallet and on the merchant side, this will reinforce our position as the top mobile payments acquirer in the country,” said Orlando B. Vea, President and CEO, PayMaya Philippines and Voyager Innovations.

“Convenient and secure cashless transactions complete the digital life experience of people and communities. Equipping our Smart Stores, partner merchants, and retailers with PayMaya’s innovative platforms is a step in making our vision a reality,” said Eric R. Alberto, Chief Revenue Officer, PLDT and Smart.

Existing technology, new use cases, right conditions

QR code technology has been in use for quite some time with many applications already in the market. However, wide adoption for payments had been previously hampered by various factors, such as lower smartphone and internet usage.

The technology has now taken off around the world, with payment providers in various countries introducing use cases for adoption. Globally, Tencent’s WeChat app is the leader with close to a billion active users, most of them residing in China. Similar to PayMaya, every time their app is downloaded, so too is a QR code reader as the feature has already been integrated.

In the Philippines, the growing smartphone and internet penetration is now being complemented by digital payments adoption, pioneered by PayMaya. It has made payments integration capability via QR codes available and is now accelerating consumer acceptance, as it further builds up and reinforces the payment ecosystem and infrastructure across the country.

PayMaya QR Code

DIGITAL PAYMENTS. For digital payments to work, “it is important to foster the right conditions and build the ecosystem. PayMaya is already leading the market toward this direction,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT, Smart, Voyager Innovations and PayMaya Philippines.

It takes a village to make ‘cashless’ work

“For any kind of digital payments technology to be widely adopted, it is important to foster the right conditions and build the ecosystem. PayMaya is already leading the market toward this direction. Along with the strongest network of PLDT and Smart, we are seeing digital financial inclusion in action,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT, Smart, Voyager Innovations and PayMaya Philippines.

PayMaya Philippines is the digital financial services arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations. Its PayMaya wallet, accessible via mobile app and Facebook Messenger (@PayMayaOfficial) that comes with a virtual and physical Visa or MasterCard, is now the preferred prepaid payment by the millennial market.

Any mobile subscriber can download the PayMaya app from the Play Store or the App Store and load up their wallet at any of the more than 15,000 reloading stations nationwide, which include SM Business Centers, Robinsons Department Stores Business Centers, and 7-Eleven, Petron stations along NLEX and Ministop outlets with Touchpay Kiosks, UnionBank ATMs, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, Smart Padala centers, Palawan Pawnshop, and online banking via BDO and UnionBank.

PayMaya is also the platform of choice of local governments, enterprises, and schools for disbursements and ID plus payments cards. PayMaya-enabled ID plus payment cards are being used by Balanga City, Malabon City, Malolos City, Muntinlupa City, Catbalogan City, and Tacloban City, as well as by schools such as STI.

Financial technology platforms

PayMaya Business, the company’s system solutions provider that allows businesses to receive online and card payments is now the top mobile payments acquirer powering companies such as Cebu Pacific, Lazada, Meralco, Metro Pacific Tollways, Philippine Airlines, Smart, and Zalora, as well as numerous other merchants.  Completing the cashless ecosystem is Smart Padala’s largest money-in/money-out remittance network.

Complementing PayMaya’s digital payments is the financial technology or fintech platforms of Voyager’s FINTQnologies, Inc. (FINTQ). FINTQ enables banks and financial institutions to expand the reach of their services through digital lending, banking, and micro investment platforms such as Lendr, PeraAgad, Mobile Loan Saver, and iNVSTR.

FINTQ has processed over P21 billion worth of disbursed loans since it started in 2015. The Voyager’s fintech arm now has the most extensive digital lending footprint covering 100% of 81 provinces, 90% of 145 cities and 15% of 1490 municipalities including low-income areas.

For more information about PayMaya, visit www.paymaya.com. Engage with us on social media at: facebook.com/PayMayaOfficial, twitter.com/paymayaofficial, and instagram.com/paymayaofficial. Get customer support at @PayMayaCares on Facebook.

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Paramount highlights green living, smart homes in Wellington Greens residential project

Green and smart. That is how Cebu´s residential developer Paramount Property Ventures, Inc. envisions its up and coming residential community Wellington Greens in the hills of Compostela, Cebu. The property…

Green and smart. That is how Cebu´s residential developer Paramount Property Ventures, Inc. envisions its up and coming residential community Wellington Greens in the hills of Compostela, Cebu.

The property is nestled in a quiet neighborhood of the town, amid towering trees and lush greens.

“Imagine having a home in such beautiful place. You’re not too far from the busy city yet you come home to a peaceful abode. In this new project, we say that you can breathe and live green,” Arli Arenas-Vergara, PPVI Vice President for International Operations, said during the media launch of Wellington Greens last October 17, 2017.

Wellington Greens

WELLINGTON GREENS. PPVI Senior Vice President Emmanuel Victor Estrella says the community is also designed to be an intelligent one: the units will be built as smart homes with a modern security system and provision for the use of solar panels to answer daytime electric consumption.

Zen-inspired ‘smart’ homes

Wellington Greens, which spans about 10-12 hectares, will feature six Zen-inspired house models and amenities that are designed to encourage outdoor bonding activities for families.

A landscaped gateway with guardhouse will lead to an activity pavilion, swimming pool with sun deck, dual play court, playground for kids, jogging trail and meditation garden.

PPVI Senior Vice President Emmanuel Victor Estrella said the community is also designed to be an intelligent one: the units will be built as smart homes with a modern security system and provision for the use of solar panels to answer daytime electric consumption.

“We have an automatic entrance gate also equipped with security cameras and there’s wifi connection in the amenities area,” said Estrella. Wellington Greens is the newest project of PPVI in the northern part of Cebu and the first out of a partnership between its mother corporation Cañedo Equity Ventures Inc. (CEV) and the Norkis Group of Companies.

Middle class target

Positioned for the mid-market bracket, Wellington Greens homes cost from P2.1 – P6 million but with more units priced in the P3 million range.

“Our target is the growing middle class in Cebu. We continue to expand in this market for the next five to 10 years,” said Rey Maribao, CEV Vice President for Strategic Corporate Planning and Business Development.

He added that the CEV-Norkis partnership “is in line with the strategy to provide solutions for the housing backlog catering to the rising middle class from OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) remittances and BPO workers.”

Wellington Greens

LUSH GREENS. Arli Arenas-Vergara, PPVI Vice President for International Operations, said that with Wellington Greens, “you’re not too far from the busy city yet you come home to a peaceful abode.”

Green living

Green living is not a new concept for PPVI, but it takes the advocacy to a new level with Wellington Greens.

“People these days are getting busy with work. They travel and go somewhere else to relax. But when they return from vacation, reality strikes — you go back to work and earn the stress again. And so we thought of a community where homeowners can enjoy a nature escape everyday. This is the concept of The Wellington Greens. It can be your weekend home. A Sunday home where you can relax but what if everyday is a Sunday? That’s how we envisioned this project,” Arenas-Vergara said.

Estrella added that Compostela Mayor Joel Quiño also embraces the concept of Wellington Greens.

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Huawei launches Nova 2i in Cebu

Huawei unveiled in Cebu today its latest mid-range phone, the Huawei Nova 2i, and the company said local response has been “overwhelming.” The Nova 2 was launched in key locations…

Huawei unveiled in Cebu today its latest mid-range phone, the Huawei Nova 2i, and the company said local response has been “overwhelming.”

The Nova 2 was launched in key locations in Manila, Visayas and Mindanao today. In Cebu, the phone was launched in SM City Cebu and Ayala Center Cebu.

The first 100 buyers of the phone yesterday got a free JBL Flip 3 portable speaker.

Huawei Nova 2i Cebu

HUAWEI Nova 2i. Huawei area retail supervisor for Cebu Alvin Gales demonstrates key features of the Huawei Nova 2i during a press briefing held alongside the nationwide launch of the Huawei Nova 2i.

4 cameras, large display

The Nova 2i’s key features are its image quality with its 4 cameras and its large “FullView” 5.9-inch display.

“The Huawei Nova 2i pushes the boundaries of design with a massive 5.9-inch screen with FHD+ resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio. But while the screen may be big, the device remains compact thanks to a high screen-to-body ratio and slim metallic unibody,” the company said in its product information sheet.

The company said its dual front camera and dual rear camera allows users to “take stunning selfies and professional-looking photos with a bokeh effect.” It also offers an extensive array of options and controls for the camera, including the popular setting for wider aperture and one for food photos.

Huawei Nova 2i Cebu

CEBU LAUNCH. The Huawei Nova 2i was launched in Cebu today at the SM City Cebu (above) and Ayala Center Cebu.

Huawei chipset, battery

The phone is powered by a Huawei Kirin 659 octa-core chipset. The phone comes with a 3340 mAh battery. The use of AI to gauge how the owner uses the phone and the fact that Huawei created the chipset mean the phone is able to do more with its power capacity, bloggers and journalists were told in a briefing during the launch.

The phone comes with a 4GB RAM and a 64GB storage that is expandable via a memory card through its hybrid dual SIM setup. That means you can use the second slot either for a 2nd SIM or a memory card to increase storage capacity.

Huawei Nova 2i Cebu

NOVA 2I. Local response to the Huawei Nova 2i launch was “overwhelming,” a company official said.

The Nova 2i has LTE connectivity.

The phone comes with Aurora Blue, Graphite Black, and Prestige Gold. But for the launch, only Graphite Black is still available.

The Huawei Nova 2i retails for 14,990 and is available on a 0% 6-month plan via Home Credit.

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Jed Madela to hold La Voce dinner concert in Cebu

Jed Madela will serenade Cebuanos on November 17 with a dinner concert entitled La Voce at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. Madela is the first Filipino to win…

Jed Madela will serenade Cebuanos on November 17 with a dinner concert entitled La Voce at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Madela is the first Filipino to win the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) world grand champion title. He is also the first Filipino inducted into the hall of fame of WCOPA.

Since then, he has launched a successful music career and currently co-hosts and performs in ABS-CBN’s ASAP, and is also a member of the network’s Star Magic. Madela, who is known for his uniquely powerful vocal range has held concerts all over the Philippines and abroad. In 2009, he had a successful The Voice concert in Cebu.

Jed Madela.

Madela will be joined by Jolianne Salvado who is also from Cebu. She gained popularity in the Season Two of ABS-CBN’s The Voice Kids Philippines. She has impressed coaches Lea Salonga and Sarah Geronimo when she effortlessly belted out Tattooed Heart during the blind auditions. She is known for her powerful yet soulful voice. She has debuted her first single and music video, I Can’t Go On, just last year.

La Voce, with these two great artists, and an equally great show director Marvin Caldito is set to fascinate the audience with songs from different genres.

La Voce is a dinner for a cause concert for the benefit of Caritas Cebu Inc.

Tickets prices are at P3500 for VIP with dinner, P3000 for GOLD with dinner, and P800 for Balcony without dinner. For inquiries, please call 232 6888 or 0915 535 3873. You may also visit the La Voce ticket booth at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. (Press release)

Jolianne Salvado

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Cafe Marco whips up authentic Indian feast in Khana

Spices and herbs plus robust flavors equal one incredible buffet experience as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates the Indian festival of lights Diwali with the culinary event Khana from October…

Spices and herbs plus robust flavors equal one incredible buffet experience as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates the Indian festival of lights Diwali with the culinary event Khana from October 17-24, 2017.

All throughout the food festival, the hotel´s buffet restaurant Cafe Marco will feature a menu of dishes paying tribute to the gastronomic adventure that is India.

Marco Polo is known for having the best food in Cebu and reinforces this reputation through culinary experiences like Khana, said hotel general manager Brian Connelly.

Marco Polo Khana Indian food festival

CAFE MARCO will feature Indian dishes during its Khana culinary journey that runs until October 24.

Culinary festival

Chicken tandoori, massala and curry meals, kebabs, several kinds of chutney, chapati, samosas, naan and roti are just a few dishes available for lunch and dinner at Cafe Marco during Khana.

Desserts include delectable concoctions like the carrot halva, falooda, jalebi, chai tea ice cream, and rose cheesecake.

Marco Polo Khana Indian Food Festival

Roast goat and biryani rice.

The culinary fest is aptly named Khana, which means food in Hindi. To ensure that the intricacies of India´s cuisine, one of the most colorful and diverse in the world, is presented to perfection, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu has taken on Judeline L. Murjani as event consultant.

Authentic Indian dishes

Murjani, a Cebuana married to an Indian national and the mother of former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha, brought as usual her repertoire of experience and skills to the Cafe Marco kitchen.

She and Cafe Marco´s world class chefs prepared a line-up of dishes that make up an authentic and fitting Indian feast for Diwali. (Full listing of  dishes at the end of this article)

Marco Polo Khana Indian food festival

Aloo Gobi Massala

Khana promises to be an exciting culinary journey with a special buffet lunch rate of P880 net per person from Mondays to Saturdays. Dinner buffet rate is P1,440 net per person.

Celebrate the Festival of Lights and experience a wonderful week of authentic Indian dishes, only at Cebu City’s finest.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana culinary journey

DIWALI. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly lights the rangoli to mark the start of Khana culinary journey.

More photos of Khana culinary journey

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana food festival

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Chickpea Dal Tadka

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Chili pickles

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Vegetable and Chicken Samosa with Chili Pakoora.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Gulab Jamun

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Kushmar Salad

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Lamb Roganjosh

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Palak Paneer

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Peda

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Rose Cheesecake

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Lentil Salad

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Culinary consultant Judeline Murjani .

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha Murjani.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana indian food festival

Dancers perform a number to mark the opening of Khana.

 

Full Khana menu

  • Lamb Shish Kebab
  • Lamb Roganjosh
  • Lamb Vindaloo
  • Lamb Kebabs
  • Lamb Haryali
  • Lamb Kofta
  • Prawn Biryani
  • Vegetable Biryani
  • Jeera Rice
  • Chili Pakoora
  • Aloo Gobi Massala
  • Chickpea Dal Tadka
  • Vegetable Pakoora
  • Mixed Seafood Curry
  • Goan Fish Curry
  • Prawn Kebab
  • Fish Sarsowali
  • Whole Fish Massala
  • Gulab Jamun
  • Carrot Halva
  • Apple Jalebi
  • Falooda
  • Savory Lassi
  • Barfi
  • Bomra’s Tomato Salad
  • Fish Tikka Salad
  • Baingan Bharta
  • Lentil Salad with Panier
  • Chana Masala
  • Indian Potato Salad
  • Vegetable Samosa
  • Chicken Samosa
  • Papadum
  • Chapati
  • Naan
  • Roti
  • Moong Dal Soup
  • Chicken Mullingatawny
  • Vegetable Curry Soup
  • Raita
  • Green Chutney
  • Mango Chutney
  • Tamarind Chutney
  • Chicken with Gravy
  • Whole Chicken Tandori
  • Chicken Korma Curry
  • Chicken Tikka Massala
  • Chicken Kebab
  • Aloo Prata
  • Chai Tea Ice Cream
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Bestselling YA authors Jennifer Smith, Jasmine Warga sign books for Cebu fans

Ford Philippines trains Cebu drivers on safe, smart driving

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