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Marco Polo Cebu marks Chinese New Year 2018 with traditional ceremony, food fest

Celebrating the Chinese New Year is tradition in Cebu, and no one does it better than Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. The hotel welcomed CNY 2018, the Year of the Earth…

AI to boost revenues, create more jobs: Accenture report

Rather than displace human workers, artificial intelligence or AI will create more jobs and boost company revenues, according to a report by Accenture. If businesses invest in AI and human-machine…

New Mactan Cebu airport terminal set to open by middle of 2018

Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is on track to open as scheduled by July 1 this year, but GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) is working to…

Vivant Foundation pioneers solar power curriculum in Bantayan, donates equipment

Through photos and imagination. That was how Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) students of Bantayan National High School learned some of their lessons, said Grade 12 student Mc Jemart Martinez….

SM2SM Run 2018 adds age categories, offers bigger prizes

The SM2SM Run returns for the eighth straight year with a new route, bigger prizes, open and age categories, and newer shirt and medal designs. Race organizer Joel Baring said…

Air Juan to start flights soon from seaplane terminal in SRP, Cebu City

Top Philippine beach and island destinations like El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Gigantes in Iloilo, Panglao in Bohol, and Kalanggaman in Leyte will soon be minutes away with the…

Cebu Travel Catalogue International 2018: One-stop-shop for travel

Whether you’re planning a local trip or going to any country in the world, get great deals in airfare and tour packages to your chosen destination during the Cebu Travel…

TAGA Your Origin shirts make fun, quirky Sinulog 2018 #OOTDs

Show pride of place in your Sinulog Festival 2018 street fashion by wearing customizable shirts that celebrate your origin courtesy of new online shop TAGA. Taga asa ka? Taga Opon?…

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu cooks up Sugbusog feast for Sinulog 2018

Cebu’s Sinulog Festival deserves a feast just as grand and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu obliges with the culinary experience “Sugbusog 2018: Gikan sa Bukid ug Dagat” at Cafe Marco. Up…

Islands Souvenirs highlights tribal fusion in Cut & Style Sinulog 2018 designs

Tribal fusion characterized by feathers and gems is this year’s theme for the Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style campaign as it returns for the sixth year with a new lineup…

Marco Polo Cebu marks Chinese New Year 2018 with traditional ceremony, food fest

Celebrating the Chinese New Year is tradition in Cebu, and no one does it better than Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. The hotel welcomed CNY 2018, the Year of the Earth…

Celebrating the Chinese New Year is tradition in Cebu, and no one does it better than Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The hotel welcomed CNY 2018, the Year of the Earth Dog, with lion and dragon dances, eye dotting ceremony, Yee Sang Ceremony, firecrackers to ward off evil, coin toss, and a culinary celebration at Cafe Marco.

Cafe Marco serves up Chinese dishes in the food fest Culinary Impressions of China where diners can indulge in delectable creations for the Lunar New Year up until February 18.

Marco Polo Chinese New Year

CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION. Guests prepare to hold the Prosperity Toss as part of the celebration at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Prosperity toss

Former Philippine Ambassador to China Francisco L. Benedicto,  Cathay Pacific Marketing and Communications Supervisor Connie Cimafranca, and Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Melanie Ng were among the guests of honor.

They joined Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly in the eye dotting ceremony and the Prosperity Toss. It is said that the higher the toss, the better the luck.

On occasion of the Chinese New Year 2018 celebration, the hotel is giving away freebies for those who book a stay by February 28, 2018. They get to enjoy extra benefits, including breakfast for two plus early check in and late check out subject to availability, 30 percent discount on second room booking, and complimentary room upgrade for those staying for three consecutive nights or more.

More photos of the event

 

Former Philippine Ambassador to China Francisco L. Benedicto during the eye dotting ceremony.

 

Prosperity Toss.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly leads the lighting of firecrackers outside the hotel.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

A traditional dragon dance at the lobby.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Chili Beef Ribs

 

 

Pan-seared fish in green curry coconut and tomato sauce.

 

Stir fried beef.

 

Sauteed scallops.

 

 

Mixed seafoods.

 

Crispy noodles and pork

 

Chinese cold platter.

 

Chorizo Macau salad.

 

Mushroom and corn salad.

 

Spicy tofu salad.

 

 

 

Lychee cream puff.

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This Valentine’s Day, have a gastronomic love affair at The Pig & Palm

What makes for a Michelin-level dining experience? For Michelin-starred Chef Jason Atherton, it is benchmarked by three standards: great food, quality ingredients, and a passionate chef. His culinary gem in…

What makes for a Michelin-level dining experience? For Michelin-starred Chef Jason Atherton, it is benchmarked by three standards: great food, quality ingredients, and a passionate chef. His culinary gem in Cebu, The Pig & Palm, upholds these three pillars for a gastronomic love affair at one of the Top 20 restaurants in the country.

For Valentine’s Day, this modern European tapas-style restaurant whips up 2 delectable 5-course menus for you and your loved one.

To start, tease your palates with a Foie Gras Parfait with apple and French toast. To follow, savor a Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Risotto. For the main course, indulge in a serving of Beef Short Rib with fondant potato and braised king oyster.

The Pig & Palm

Foie Gras Parfait with apple and French toast

Head Chef Karl Emsen has also concocted a non-meat option with Tuna Tataki with cucumber, radish and ponzu for starters and Roasted Salmon with peas, ham and lobster bisque for the main dish.

Both menus finish with a flourish with a decadent Strawberry, Rose, and White Chocolate Lollipop, and Blackberry Eton Mess.

The Valentine’s set menus are available for dinner on February 14 and served with a round of Cava at P2,800 per person for the meat course and P2,300 for the fish course.

Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Risotto

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at The Pig & Palm, honored by T. Dining’s Best Restaurants Guide for 2018 as one of the Top 20 Restaurants in the Philippines. The Pig & Palm is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:00 a.m. onwards, and is located at the MSY Tower, Pescadores Road, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City. Visit www.thepigandpalm.ph and follow @thepigandpalm on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates. For reservations, contact +63 917 657 6866 or (032) 255 8249. (Press Release)

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Get chance to win all-expense paid trip to Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Maldives with PayMaya

Paying with PayMaya will take you places as the country’s pioneer and leader in digital payments once again rewards customers with a chance to experience global travel destinations in the…

Paying with PayMaya will take you places as the country’s pioneer and leader in digital payments once again rewards customers with a chance to experience global travel destinations in the PayMaya Travel Blowout, running from February 1 to May 31, 2018.

For each month from February to May, one lucky PayMaya account holder will win a 5-day trip for 2 to each of the featured destinations: Taiwan in February, South Korea in March, Japan in April, and Maldives in May.

The prize includes roundtrip airfare and accommodation for two, and P50,000 in PayMaya credits to shop, dine, and explore with the convenience of going cashless. Each trip is also complete with tours and a well-curated itinerary so winners can just pack their bags and enjoy the best of what the country has to offer.

PayMaya Travel Blowout Japan

How to join promo

There are many ways to join the promo. Account holders can do any of the following to earn one raffle entry: register a PayMaya account, purchase and activate a PayMaya physical card, have a PayMaya account upgraded, pay bills in full (minimum P300), or pay using PayMaya (minimum P1,000 single-receipt). Raffle items are cumulative until the end of the promo period.

“Gone are the days when overseas travel is only for the carded few. With PayMaya, millennials can seize travel opportunities online, expand their worldview, and dive into exciting adventures even without a credit card. Every Filipino deserves to reach their must-visit travel destination and PayMaya is here to help them take the first step,” said Paolo Azzola, PayMaya Philippines COO and Managing Director.

PayMaya Travel Blowout Maldives

Ticket to best deals

“The Travel Blowout promo is our way of thanking our PayMaya customers, the #NowNation, and helping them pursue their love of travel. PayMaya is by far the fastest way to book a flight, even during a seat sale, for those who don’t have a credit card. It’s their ticket to enjoying the best deals and making the most of their lives, right here, right now.” said Raymund Villanueva, Head of PayMaya Issuing Business

PayMaya is a free and secure prepaid e-wallet that allows account holders to send and receive money, pay their bills, and shop anywhere online that accepts Visa or Mastercard payments. Account holders simply have to download the PayMaya app or activate an account via PayMaya in Messenger (@PayMayaOfficial), register, and load up in over 15,000 touch points nationwide including 7-Eleven branches, SM Business Centers, Robinsons Business Centers inside Department Stores, Touchpay Kiosks, UnionBank ATMs, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go, ExpressPay, Cebuana Lhuillier, and Palawan Pawnshop branches, Smart Padala centers, and Metrobank Online.

PayMaya Travel Blowout South Korea

PayMaya physical card

PayMaya enables customers to book flights via seat sales, take advantage of travel promos online, book affordable accommodations via Airbnb and other providers, purchase travel essentials via Lazada and ZALORA, travel cashless via transportation apps like Uber and Grab, and tap-to-pay at toll gates in NLEX and CAVITEX.

Account holders may also opt to have a PayMaya physical card, which can be linked to their mobile wallet, so they can pay in groceries, malls, or any store that accepts card payments. Moreover, customers can instantly convert their PayMaya funds to foreign currency by withdrawing cash in ATM machines abroad. Physical cards can be ordered online at www.paymaya.com/shop.

PayMaya Travel Blowout Taiwan

PayMaya Philippines is the digital financial services arm of PLDT’s Voyager Innovations. To know more about PayMaya’s products and services for consumers and businesses, visit www.paymaya.com. Be the first to know PayMaya’s latest promos and announcements by following @PayMayaOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Press Release)

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Indigenous students to benefit from localized learning content

Imagine being a child from an indigenous tribe going to school for the first time and finding out that the lessons there are conveyed in languages and stories that are…

Imagine being a child from an indigenous tribe going to school for the first time and finding out that the lessons there are conveyed in languages and stories that are foreign to you.

It is a challenge faced by many IP (indigenous people) students, given the lack of teachers who hail from their own tribes or are knowledgeable of their language and culture.

To help address this, specifically for the benefit of young learners from the Blaan tribe in Sarangani, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications organized workshops for the creation of traditional and digital learning materials in the local language and incorporating local culture. One of the workshops, conducted in partnership with the PLDT-Smart Foundation, also introduced a learning method that would help IP educators effectively handle multiple grade levels at the same time.

Easier to learn

According to the Department of Education, there are 125 IP schools in Sarangani alone, catering mostly to Blaan students.

“It’s better to have stories about the children’s own community so they could relate to these. If you use stories like Rapunzel, they would not understand that. If you use local stories it would be easier for them to learn,” said IP teacher Edna Alicaba.

An elder of the Blaan tribe in Sarangani checks the accuracy of illustrations and learning content created by teachers for young Blaan learners.

She added, “It is so easy to impart knowledge if you use their language. You can’t keep speaking in English if your audience is composed of IP pupils.”

For five days in January, a team of teachers and illustrators learned scriptwriting and storyboarding so they could produce animated versions of Blaan stories and make lessons more fun and interactive. Smart will help put all the content in a mobile app especially made for Blaan learners. The plan is to include sections on Blaan prayers, songs, and greetings, on top of lessons on numbers and letters.

Digital tools

Smart is spearheading the development of learning apps in different languages because studies show that the managed use of digital tools can boost the literacy of young students and heighten their interest in learning. It is for the same reason that the company has donated mobile devices packed with learning content to underserved public schools.

“Nowadays, most of our learners are visual. When they see something, when the process of learning is interactive, it becomes easier for them to learn,” said teacher-illustrator Reynald Dapar.

A separate team of IP teachers were introduced to the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) created by Ramon Magsaysay awardees Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido. Under this method, students learn independently in classrooms 80% of the time by working on activity sheets. The remaining 20% is when the teacher checks on their progress and helps them process what they already learned on their own. Schools implementing the DLP have reported better retention and mastery of concepts among students.

Activity sheets

During the workshop organized by Smart, the IP teachers created learning activity sheets (LAS) in the Blaan language. These activity sheets also featured local cultural elements, and can be used as a template for other learning communities.

Alicaba expressed optimism that the DLP would help teachers perform their duties better. “It is very nice because when you handle three different classes with different grade levels, you can handle them at the same time via parallel classes. While the two classes are working on their activity sheets, you can focus on the remaining class.”

A Blaan student shows off her answers to a learning activity sheet written in her mother tongue.

Battle discrimination

To make sure that the use of Blaan cultural elements and language was accurate, a tribal elder was invited to validate the LAS and illustrations created by the teachers. The materials will also be tested on students before full implementation.

The elder, Fulung Siamen Tumandan, expressed his appreciation for the effort. “It is a challenge to get Blaan children to be interested in studying. Many of them reach only grade school and stop because they want to get married. But slowly, more of them now understand that studying has a purpose and will help their future.”

“Education is very important for us because it will help us battle discrimination,” he added. (Press Release)

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AI to boost revenues, create more jobs: Accenture report

Rather than displace human workers, artificial intelligence or AI will create more jobs and boost company revenues, according to a report by Accenture. If businesses invest in AI and human-machine…

Rather than displace human workers, artificial intelligence or AI will create more jobs and boost company revenues, according to a report by Accenture.

If businesses invest in AI and human-machine collaboration, they could increase revenues by 38% by 2020 and raise employment levels by 10%, the report said. Globally, that increase could amount to $4.8 trillion.

Investing on new technology like AI and the training of employees for the new IT is already “urgent,” said Lito Tayag, Country Managing Director of Accenture in the Philippines.

Augment workers

He said the survey, done on 14,078 workers and 1,201 business leaders across the world, showed that both business leaders and employees see the value of working with AI.

Tayag said in a tele-press conference with Manila and Cebu media yesterday that 74% of business leaders say they will “automate tasks and processes to a large/very large extent in the next 3 years.”

Of the number, 97% say “they will use it to augment worker capabilities,” the report pointed out.

“Often people only think of AI boosting growth by substituting humans. But actually, huge value is going to come from the new goods, services and innovations AI will enable,” the Accenture report quoted MIT Economics Professor David Autor as saying.

Lito Tayag Accenture

APPLIED INTELLIGENCE. Lito Tayag, Country Managing Director of Accenture in the Philippines, discusses the key findings and recommendations of the Future Workforce: Reworking the Revolution report in a press conference with Manila and Cebu journalists.

Urgency to invest in training, new IT

Tayag said the report found that workers “are impatient to work with AI,” with 67% saying it is important to develop skills to work with intelligent machines, 62% saying these technologies will have a positive impact on their work, and 45% believing AI will help them do their jobs more efficiently. He cited examples of how employees become more efficient by working with intelligent machines and AI. The openness to develop new skills to work with AI is supported not only by millennials, at 75%, but also baby boomers, at 56%, the report said.

When asked about the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey that showed only 35 percent of Cebu business leaders look at how technology can help in the company’s overall strategic plan, Tayag said the gap “points more to the urgency.”

He said the CeO survey vis-a-vis the Accenture report “highlights the need to actually accelerate even just the basic acceptance of the reality” of what he described as the new IT like AI and machine learning.

“On one hand we are already looking at the implementation, in Cebu they are still looking at the acceptance that this is something important for them to do,” he said.

Tayag said AI and human-machine collaboration are business differentiators that can bolster companies in a disruptive business environment.

“Do you want to risk the disruption that will be brought about by others who are going to do this reworking of processes?” he said.

Accenture Reworking the Revolution

Key recommendations

Tayag said the study found business leaders “underinvesting in skills development” with only 3% of executives planning “to significantly increase investment in skills development in the next 3 years.” He said, however, this could also be the case of businesses already investing heavily in training and no longer planning to “significantly increase” efforts.

“To achieve higher rates of growth in the age of AI, companies need to invest more in equipping their people to work with machines in new ways,” said Mark Knickrehm, group chief executive, Accenture Strategy. “Increasingly, businesses will be judged on their commitment to what we call Applied Intelligence – the ability to rapidly implement intelligent technology and human ingenuity across all parts of their core business to secure this growth.”

Tayag said the report made 3 key recommendations on how leaders can “shape the future workforce in the age of AI.”

1. Reimagine Work by reconfiguring work from the bottom up. Assess tasks, not jobs; then allocate tasks to machines and people, balancing the need to automate work and to elevate people’s capabilities. Nearly half (46 percent) of business leaders agree that job descriptions are already obsolete; 29 percent say they have redesigned jobs extensively.

2. Pivot the Workforce to areas that unlock new forms of value. Go beyond process efficiencies and prepare the workforce to create new customer experiences. Fuel new growth models by reinvesting the savings derived from automation into the future workforce. Foster a new leadership DNA that underpins the mindset, acumen and agility required to seize longer-term, transformational opportunities.

3. Scale up “New Skilling.” Measure the workforce’s level of skills and willingness to learn to work with AI. Using digital platforms, target programs at these different segments of the workforce and personalize them to improve new skills adoption.

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Smart Infocast boosts disaster preparedness of Bogo City

Residents of Bogo City in Cebu will now benefit from the services of Smart Infocast, a communications solution by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications. Smart Infocast is a web-based platform…

Residents of Bogo City in Cebu will now benefit from the services of Smart Infocast, a communications solution by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications.

Smart Infocast is a web-based platform that offers various SMS facilities catering to the needs of an organization.

The system will enable the local government unit of Bogo to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information to residents via text message, making it an effective emergency communications solution. It also allows registered subscribers to send reports or feedback to the system administrator.

Empower communities

Just last month, Bogo was placed under state of calamity when Tropical Storm “Urduja” (Kai-tak) hit the Visayas. In 2013, it was also one of the cities devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). Located more than 100 km from Cebu City, Bogo has a population of more than 70,000, based on 2015 census.

By providing a means to disseminate timely messages to the public, Smart empowers communities to strengthen their communication and disaster preparedness efforts, according to Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Atty. Maria Jane Paredes.

“We’re very happy that the City of Bogo believes in Smart Infocast as a vital tool of communication in times of disasters. It can also be used by the LGU to send out important information to the community, such as advisories, reminders, and safety precautions,” Paredes said during the inauguration of the service at the New Bogo City Hall.

Smart Infocast Bogo City

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS. Smart Infocast will enable the local government unit of Bogo to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information to residents via text message, making it an effective emergency communications solution.

Mitigate disaster risk

The platform will further enhance Bogo’s existing communication services, according to Bogo public information officer Rhett Vincent Minguez. “With the Smart Infocast broadcast system, we’ve been given the opportunity to strengthen our communications system. It complements our existing channels and ensures our messages reach our audience,” Minguez said.

Smart Infocast has boosted the communication efforts of the institutions where it has been implemented, among them local government units, government agencies, and other organizations.

Under its #SafePH advocacy, Smart promotes the use of technology to help mitigate disaster risk in communities. The company has developed other preparedness programs and solutions, such as the Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS); the Batingaw emergency app; and the TNT Tropang Ready youth readiness caravans, among other projects, in its efforts to reduce vulnerabilities.

Representatives from Smart and the Bogo City local government and disaster risk reduction and management office pose for photos during the turnover of Smart Infocast to the city at the New Bogo City Hall.

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Grab, Samsung to drive digital inclusion in Southeast Asia

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, and Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics companies, announced that they have signed a multi-year MOU…

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, and Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics companies, announced that they have signed a multi-year MOU to drive digital inclusion in Southeast Asia.

Grab and Samsung will work together on a wide range of initiatives to bring the benefits of technology, such as enhanced customer experiences and improved income opportunities, to millions of consumers and Grab driver-partners across Southeast Asia.

Grab is the market leader in ride-hailing in Southeast Asia, an industry that is one of the fastest growing Internet services sectors and expected to be a $25 billion market by 2022 in this region. As part of the wide-ranging strategic collaboration, Grab and Samsung will develop customized solutions for the ride-hailing industry, including micro-financing schemes for Grab’s over 2.3 million driver-partners, improved customer booking and in-car experiences, and new mobility solutions.

Grab, Samsung agreement

AGREEMENT. Lee-Sangchul, president and CEO of Samsung-Electronics SEA-Oceania, and Anthony-Tan, Group CEO and co-founder of Grab, shake hands after signing the agreement.

Mobile payments ecosystem

The two companies will also work together to expand into Southeast Asia’s fragmented mobile payments ecosystem and provide a mobile payments solution that will serve the needs of consumers in Southeast Asia.

Anthony Tan, Group CEO and Co-founder, Grab, said, “Southeast Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing emerging markets, yet many in the smaller towns and cities do not have easy access to the growing digital economy. Mobile technology can bridge the infrastructural divide and make economic growth more inclusive. Samsung is one of the world’s most innovative technology companies, and we’re thrilled to partner with them to empower more people in Southeast Asia to improve their livelihoods and provide more digital services for everyone on the Grab platform.”

Sangchul Lee, President and CEO, Samsung Electronics, Southeast Asia & Oceania, said, “Here at Samsung, developing meaningful innovations for the betterment of our consumers’ lives is always at the heart of what we do. We believe in the Internet of Things; the various benefits a more digitally connected world brings, and we are excited to be partnering Grab to provide consumers within the region an enhanced array of digital solutions for their everyday needs. Through this collaboration, we hope to explore how we can work together to tap into the massive growth opportunity of Southeast Asia’s digital economy.”

The strategic collaboration will be rolled out in phases across all countries in Southeast Asia that Grab operates in. In phase 1, Grab and Samsung are offering:

Micro-financing of mobile devices for drivers

More than 2.3 million Grab driver-partners across Southeast Asia will have access to a micro-financing program focused on giving them access to robust mobile technology, which will reduce the cost of purchasing a smartphone and also lower ongoing maintenance costs with superior software and security features. This is part of Grab’s Better 365 program that provides more benefits and cost savings to drivers.

This initiative was piloted in Myanmar in Q4 2017, where only 30% of adults have access to formal financial services, and will soon be rolled out across the region. Currently, drivers in Myanmar who sign up with Grab can purchase and own high-quality Samsung devices and get a micro-loan from CB Bank, one of Myanmar’s largest banks and Grab’s local banking partner, to finance the device. In less than three months of the pilot, more than 1,400 drivers in Myanmar have benefited from this program.

Grab, Samsung financial inclusion

PROGRAM FOR DRIVERS. More than 2.3 million Grab driver-partners across Southeast Asia will have access to a micro-financing program focused on giving them access to robust mobile technology, which will reduce the cost of purchasing a smartphone and also lower ongoing maintenance costs with superior software and security features.

Enhanced customer experience at GrabKiosks and GrabBooths

To make Grab’s services more accessible to commuters and customers in Southeast Asia, Grab will introduce more GrabKiosks and GrabBooths in busy consumer hubs such as shopping malls, hotels and airports. These feature Samsung devices with the Grab enterprise app pre-installed, allowing individuals and concierge services to book a Grab ride for themselves or others, even when they do not have data connectivity.

The Samsung devices are designed for robust everyday use in public spaces. The devices at GrabKiosks and GrabBooths in Indonesia and Myanmar have been installed with Samsung’s Knox enterprise mobile security software, ensuring the information security of Grab’s devices, reducing downtime and maintenance costs, enabling Grab to better serve its customers. This will be rolled out in Vietnam and Singapore in Q1, and other countries in Southeast Asia later in the year.

Infotainment services in selected cars

Grab and its content partners will pilot in-car multimedia services in Singapore, installing Samsung tablets inside cars for customers to view infotainment content, if they choose to, during their ride. This will be piloted throughout Southeast Asia this year.

Grab operates the largest transportation network in Southeast Asia and is one of the most frequently used mobile platforms in the region with over 3.5 million daily rides. The Grab app has been downloaded onto over 77 million mobile devices, giving passengers access to the region’s largest land transportation fleet comprising over 2.3 million drivers. Grab offers private car, motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services across 8 countries and 168 cities in Southeast Asia. (Press Release)

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New Mactan Cebu airport terminal set to open by middle of 2018

Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is on track to open as scheduled by July 1 this year, but GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) is working to…

Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is on track to open as scheduled by July 1 this year, but GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) is working to have it ready to operate by the first of June.

In the lead-up to opening day, GMR-Megawide will invite stakeholders to check out and test the facility through a series of activities that will be held from April to June, said chief executive advisor Andrew Acquaah Harrison.

To be invited are representatives from the academe especially engineering students, media, and tourism industry such as those in the hotel, travel, and transport sectors.

There will also be open days when GMCAC, the consortium managing the terminal operations and other related areas of MCIA, will invite members of the general public to register for a tour of the facility, according to branding head JR Torres.

MCIA Terminal 2

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE. Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 is on track to open as scheduled by July 1 this year.

Terminal 2 features

Harrison added that the new terminal will have three levels with total space of 65,000 square meters and increase the Cebu airport’s passenger capacity to 12.5 million.

It pays tribute to Cebu as a resort island and Cebuano heritage of furniture making in the terminal roof that uses glulam, first ever use of the material in an airport, and mimics ocean waves. Glulam, also called glued laminated timber, is made up of layers of wood bonded together with structural adhesives.

The new terminal will have a spacious and airy atmosphere, featuring ceilings that are 26 meters high and full glass walls. The polished concrete floor will have mother of pearls mixed in so it would sparkle like sand in the sunlight.

Mactan airport Terminal 2

SPARKLING FLOOR. The polished concrete floor will have mother of pearls mixed in so it would sparkle like sand in the sunlight.

Located on a separate floor from the arrival area, the departure level will only have two check-in islands but with several counters.

Increasing passenger traffic

MCIA eyes passenger traffic of 11.2 million in 2018, an increase of 12 percent from last year, with the opening of Terminal 2 and the launch of new flights out of Cebu.

The airport welcomed six additional airlines in 2017, including Air Juan, Juneyao Air, OK Air, Lucky Air, Sichuan Airlines, and Pan Pacific Airlines.

GMCAC credits the positive growth in MCIA’s passenger traffic to its destination marketing initiatives and its positioning of Cebu as gateway to the rest of the Philippines and major transfer hub to international destinations. Harrison said they will continue with their efforts in this direction.

Once the new terminal is operational, Torres said they will start a major renovation of Terminal 1. GMCAC had started initial rehabilitation of the old terminal when it took over management of MCIA and put up a rooftop solar power system that resulted in monthly savings of P1.2 million in electric consumption.

INCREASED CAPACITY. GMR-Megawide chief executive advisor Andrew Acquaah Harrison says the new terminal will have three levels with total space of 65,000 square meters and increase the Cebu airport’s passenger capacity to 12.5 million.

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Sakroots celebrates free-spirited global girl on the go with unique products

From backpacks, mini bags, convertible bags, crossbodies, satchels, shoulder bags, totes, and carry-alls, Sakroots’ wide array of lifestyle products encourage women to pursue the best in life. Sakroots was introduced…

From backpacks, mini bags, convertible bags, crossbodies, satchels, shoulder bags, totes, and carry-alls, Sakroots’ wide array of lifestyle products encourage women to pursue the best in life.

Sakroots was introduced in 2009 as a free-spirited American brand that not only delivers fresh and unique artist-driven products but also takes part in a social mission to support various nature-related charities.

Sakroots was borne out of a desire to promote authenticity and individuality among young women.

Life of passion, peace, harmony

Today, Sakroots continues to inspire women to lead a life of passion, peace, and harmony through its authentic and empowering range of products. From its first-ever “Peace Print” collection with a Paris-born graffiti artist, Sakroots’ archive now features a wide selection of beautiful, vibrant, and meaningful patterns by various artists from around the globe.

Whether one is into fashion, music, art, or travel, the diverse assortment of bag shapes and prints by Sakroots all serve to reflect one’s unique sense of style and personality. Choose from Sakroots’ exciting pool of artist patterns that are each tied to a nature and wildlife conservation charity.

A neon safari dream come true, the Wild Life print by Niki Pilkington supports the Wild Life Conservation Society. Taking inspiration from ikat designs and the image of the American Indian war horse, the fierce and whimsical Brave Beauti print by Barbara Ignatiev supports Horses Healing Humans.

Sakroots basic crossbody

Basic Crossbody in Lilac Flower Power.

Influenced by both Tribal Americana and Aztec themes, the Spirit Desert print by Valentina Ramos is vibrant and teeming with life. The Spirit Desert print supports the Wild at Heart organization. Stimulating and colorful as can be, the One World print by Diane Barcelowsky represents the idea that we all share one world and are united by our collective desire for peace. The One World print supports the Elephant Nature Park.

Sakroots prints

Also breathing life to Sakroots’ roster of prints are Olivia Schoeff’s Xen Garden, which supports the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, Joshua Davis’ Flower Power, which supports the North American Butterfly Association, and lastly, the Sakroots’ signature Peace Print, which supports the Earth Day Network, the largest civic observance in the world.

Sakroots believes that a life led by purpose is a life worth living. With its assortment of products that each bear mindful designs that are crafted from the heart, Sakroots seeks to be a part of the meaningful journeys of its wearers.

Sakroots is available in all Bratpack and Ladybag stores nationwide and at select The Travel Club stores and shopping website, Zalora.

To get to know more about Sakroots, check out www.sakroots.com/our-story/ and follow Sakroots Philippines Facebook and Instagram accounts. (Press Release)

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Megaworld elevates township standards with tech, design, connectivity

Property giant Megaworld is embarking on a company-wide program to future-proof its developments around the country through the creation of “iTownships.” The company said its 28-year leadership in pioneering the…

Property giant Megaworld is embarking on a company-wide program to future-proof its developments around the country through the creation of “iTownships.”

The company said its 28-year leadership in pioneering the Live-Work-Play concept of property development in the Philippines gave birth to “Townships.” It is elevating the standards by incorporating digital technology, design innovations, and connectivity into its townships.

“We have assigned teams to study how we can seamlessly integrate smart technology and innovations into our townships. In this fast-changing digital world, we see the importance of aligning our developments to quickly adapt to the disruptions, which we perceive as opportunities,” said Kevin L. Tan, Megaworld senior vice president.

Megaworld AG Tower

Megaworld’s AG Tower.

iTownships projects

Among the projects to be implemented under the program include the digitization of customer service and payment processes, integration of smart home technology in residential units, utilization of digital technology and energy-efficient materials in structural designs, creation of Township Operation Centers across all developments which maximizes 24/7 security and safety monitoring and emergency response in every township, urban art installations and creative pedestrian crosswalks, smart parking system including provision for electric vehicle charging in mall developments, among others.

Green and sustainable features will also be at the core of the program. Some of the initiatives that will be implemented include the conversion of old streetlights to LED and solar-powered lights, green roofing for office buildings, provision of vertical green spaces across developments.

Townships of the future

“iTownships will become our new brand in creating the townships of the future. It is about innovation, integration, internet and interconnectivity. Having these features in our townships does not only make our developments ‘future-ready’, but it also allows us to take greater steps towards sustainability and environmental responsibility,” said Tan.

During the last 28 years, the Megaworld Group built over 660 residential developments, 54 office towers and 15 lifestyle malls in 22 townships and integrated lifestyle communities across the Philippines. (Press Release)

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Vivant Foundation pioneers solar power curriculum in Bantayan, donates equipment

Through photos and imagination. That was how Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) students of Bantayan National High School learned some of their lessons, said Grade 12 student Mc Jemart Martinez….

Through photos and imagination. That was how Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) students of Bantayan National High School learned some of their lessons, said Grade 12 student Mc Jemart Martinez.

Not anymore. The students will soon start working with actual wires, pliers, and other electrical equipment after the Vivant Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Vivant Corporation, donated equipment to the school last Saturday.

The donation includes materials and equipment for EIM and the new solar power component that Vivant Foundation formulated with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Education (DEPED).

Vivant Foundation donation Bantayan Island

EXTRA ADVANTAGE. Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia said the pioneering solar power track of the Electrical Installation and Management course in Bantayan National High School will give its students “that extra advantage that’s needed for the future.” Also shown in the photo are the equipment that the foundation donated to the school last Saturday.

Electrical course with solar component

“No school in the Philippines offers EIM with the solar component and we found that it was time that somebody did, especially considering that renewable energies are playing a bigger part of our power distribution and generation,” said Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia. “Tomorrow’s electricians need to know how to handle solar power so together with TESDA and DEPED, we created a new curriculum that would be taught for the first time in the entire country here in Bantayan National High School.”

Garcia said that for Bantayan National High School, they are donating equipment listed by TESDA as requirements for teaching the EIM course. Before the donation, the school had to make do with the scant materials that were available, said teacher John Ray Tejero Tapales.

Tapales and Martinez said they were excited to be able to work with the equipment in their EIM classes. The school has 36 Grade 12 EIM students and only 15 Grade 11 EIM pupils. Tapales said sign-ups to the course dropped after students realized there were no equipment.

Training for teacher

During the summer break, Tapales will be going to Cebu City for training on the solar component, said Garcia. Vivant Foundation also donated solar panels, inverters, and batteries so they will learn to set the system up, he said.

“We’re not the first group to do solar panel electrification for off-grid areas like in mountain schools in Luzon and Mindanao and island schools in the Visayas,” Garcia said in an interview. “But what we have that’s unique is incorporating the idea of having a larger high school that offers EIM and updating their course to include solar. In exchange for them getting the equipment and the training, they’re gonna check in on the island school that’s being electrified to make sure that it’s maintained.”

Garcia said maintenance is important when it comes to solar power. Solar panels are designed to last up to 25 years but installations that are not maintained break down after just a few years.

The students who will be trained will be the ones to maintain the solar power rooftop installation that Vivant Foundation is donating to nearby Hilotongan Integrated School. The rooftop installation will power the school’s lighting and the batch of 100 computers that arrived last year but haven’t been turned on for lack of power, said Garcia.

Vivant Foundation Bantayan Island

TRAINING. Raji Roullo (left), planning and design engineer of Vivant, explains how solar panels work to a group of Electrical Installation and Maintenance students of Bantayan National High School.

Cheaper in the long run

The foundation will be spending P3.3 million for the solar power system and more in logistics cost to power the school in Hilotongan.

“It sounds like a lot but it comes out cheaper in the long run than paying fuel for the generator. And also, consider that their generator only did their light bulbs and their electric fans and they had a hundred computers that they couldn’t even turn on,” Garcia said. “The hundred computers arrived towards the end of last year but they haven’t put it on yet because they don’t have electricity.”

The system will be installed in Hilotongan from March to May, in time for the opening of the new school year.

After Tapales is trained, he will then handle the solar power component for the 2nd year of the EIM course.

Garcia said the instructor and the top students can then make quarterly trips to Hilotongan to check on the solar power setup. They will also be the ones to handle repair requests. This partnership will also give the students the needed hours of on-the-job training for their certification.

This training on solar, he said, will give students “that extra advantage that’s needed for the future.”

The students will have a lot of opportunities in a growing industry, said Provincial Board Member Horacio Franco.

Vicant Foundation Bantayan Island

AGREEMENT. Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia signs the agreement that covers the donation and program. Seated at right is Provincial Board Member Horacio Franco. The donation was held last Saturday at the Bantayan National High School.

Increasing interest

Garcia said that with solar “getting cheaper” every year, they hope to encourage adoption in areas like Bantayan Island.

With heightened awareness on eco-tourism and environmental issues, “there would be increasing interest in solar and especially if businesses know that there are people who can do the maintenance and repair,” he said.

Garcia said their foundation decided to focus on technology and K to 12 education after going around the different communities in the Philippines to study the needs that they could address.

“At the same time, I also went to a symposium by PhilDev and USAID where they were talking about how we needed to increase our innovation in our country because we actually lag behind our other ASEAN neighbors in science education,” he said.

They started with donating science labs and equipment as well as training teachers in Palawan, where they have a power plants.

The Bantayan Island project, he said, is “a big part of our next step.” He said they intend to make it nationwide and would be assessing its impact, particularly of the solar power curriculum, for the needed improvements.

Self-sustaining program

He said the students in Bantayan who will be trained on solar power can potentially serve the community, including five other islet schools.

“That’s basically the idea – that it would be self-sustaining on the education side. It creates people that are skilled at jobs that are growing in demand. Solar is getting cheaper every year, so the demand has been increasing every year. And we think places like this are ideal to have people educated in solar because it is known for the beautiful beaches, the beautiful water,” Garcia said.

When Hilotongan Integrated School is energized with solar power, Garcia said they could do other side projects like putting up an adult learning program on computers during weekends, when there are no regular classes.

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Singapore Tourism Board lines up exciting prizes for travellers in Cebu travel fair

Catch special rates and incredible packages to Singapore when the Cebu Travel Catalogue International 2018 opens tomorrow, January 26, at Ayala Center Cebu. At Cebu’s three-day travel bazaar, the Singapore…

Catch special rates and incredible packages to Singapore when the Cebu Travel Catalogue International 2018 opens tomorrow, January 26, at Ayala Center Cebu.

At Cebu’s three-day travel bazaar, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will reward customers who have booked trips to the city-state with exciting prizes, including free roundtrip tickets, hotel stays, shopping vouchers, attraction tickets, and more.

Visit STB at Booths 49-50 and 51-52 for a chance at a perfect Singapore getaway.

Tourism brand

As a destination that constantly evolves, reinvents, and reimagines itself, Singapore always has something new to offer visitors.

Head on to Singapore for a recharge, as the Lion City provides fresh possibilities to deepen passions or explore new ones.

Its new tourism brand is “Passion Made Possible” and it encapsulates the spirit that permeates Singapore, from its hard-working people and amazing experiences to the delicious food and stunning architecture.

Singapore

LION CITY. As a destination that constantly evolves, reinvents, and reimagines itself, Singapore always has something new to offer visitors.

New places

Here are some of the new things in store for you in Singapore.

Reinforcing its title as “Garden City,” Singapore has added the Ethnobotany Garden to the Botanical Gardens. Split into four zones according to whether the plants are for construction, domestic, medicinal, and spiritual uses. Visitors can join hands-on activities offered at the garden.

It also now offers an exhilarating adventure for adrenaline-rush junkies among nets, giant Zorb balls, slides and mazes at Airzone. Located at the City Square Mall, this massive attraction encompasses six floors of exciting mazes, slides between levels, and a ball pit with 10,000 balls.

Sentosa’s newest attraction, AJ Hackett, provides another adrenaline-charged experience. On the shores of Siloso Beach, the colossal 50-meter structure offers risk-takers such experiences as an exciting dive atop its Bungy Tower, whooshing and swooping in on a high-speed giant swing, taking a death-defying walk on a 44-meter Vertical Walkway, and enjoying the feeling of walking on air in the glass booths at the open-air SkyBridge.

Revamped attractions

For the newly-renovated Maritime Experiential Museum in Resorts World Sentosa, it’s all about taking visitors on a voyage of epic proportions.

The experiential journey includes exhibits of intricate ship models, fun workshops on navigation, nautical charts and knot tying, and exciting simulations that will transport you along the Maritime Silk Route, get you in an adventure with pirates, and take you on a terrifying voyage into stormy seas.

Meet your favorite superheroes at Madame Tussauds Singapore with its new Marvel 4D experience. Watch a fun, action-packed 4D movie, localized to feature some of the country’s top attractions in the film’s background, with high-impact special effects. Strike a pose with Captain America and Iron Man, the newest additions to their wax figure family, and even try out Iron Man’s armour to channel the hero in you.

Fun-filled activities

Soak up some culture at Singapore’s biggest Lunar New Year celebration, the Chingay Parade. The word Chingay means “the art of costume and masquerade” so it’s no surprise that the vibrant parade includes spectacular floats, dancing dragons, stilt walkers, and so much more.

Another annual event that everyone looks forward to is i Light Marina Bay, Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival. On its 6th edition, visitors can expect 20 sustainable light art installations at the festival’s three fun zones – The Fantastical World of Eco.me, Art-Zoo and Gastrobeats.

At the Promontory, people can check out the first hub which is complete with an eco-friendly market that sells organic clothing, upcycled furniture, accessories and more.

The Art-Zoo installation at The Float is perfect for kids and kids-at-heart with a playground that resembles a zoological garden with huge inflatable animals.

Gastrobeats, at the Bayfront Event Space, is for foodies and music enthusiasts who can grab some mouth-watering goodies from different food stalls and enjoy live musical performances from different local artists.

Singapore Tourism Brand

TOURISM BRAND. Its new tourism brand is “Passion Made Possible” and it encapsulates the spirit that permeates Singapore, from its hard-working people and amazing experiences to the delicious food and stunning architecture.

Music events

It’s also an exciting year in the entertainment scene as Singapore brings back the St. Jerome Laneway Festival, the country’s leading music event that brings fresh sound to the coolest locations and is often visited by enthusiasts from all over the world.

This year’s diverse line-up includes a Filipino indie band, The Ransom Collective, alongside global acts like American indie alternative artist Billie Eilish and four-piece alternative rock band Wolf Alice.

There’s also Ultra Singapore, the world’s premiere electronic music festival, which takes place across three stages that feature blockbuster artists and the freshest DJs. There’s more to look forward to as the biggest names in music, including artists like Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, The Script, Super Junior, and many more, are coming to the country to perform one-of-a-kind concerts.

So pack your bags, book that ticket, and fly on over to explore the Lion City and infuse some of the country’s fiery spirit into your year.

About the Singapore Tourism Board

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is the lead development agency for tourism, one of Singapore’s key economic sectors. Together with industry partners and the community, it shapes a dynamic Singapore tourism landscape. For more information on STB, visit www.stb.gov.sg or www.visitsingapore.com or follow them on Twitter @STB_sg. (Press Release)

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SM2SM Run 2018 adds age categories, offers bigger prizes

The SM2SM Run returns for the eighth straight year with a new route, bigger prizes, open and age categories, and newer shirt and medal designs. Race organizer Joel Baring said…

The SM2SM Run returns for the eighth straight year with a new route, bigger prizes, open and age categories, and newer shirt and medal designs.

Race organizer Joel Baring said the SM2SM Run on February 18, 2018 will feature the 21k, 12k, 8k, and 4k categories but only those joining the two longest distances will get medals and have timing chips.

This will be the first time in the yearly running event that the 21k and 12k distances will carry the 40-49 and 50 and above categories, he added. The event was launched last January 24 with SM Prime Holdings Inc. Vice President Marissa Fernan and SM Supermalls Assistant Vice President for Marketing Jenjen Amigo in attendance.

SM2SM Run

MEDALS. Finishers of 21K and 12K in the SM2SM Run will receive these medals.

Encourage running

Fernan said she couldn’t believe how far they have gone after organizing the run for eight years. She said the SM to SM run was able to encourage people to start running and provide the Cebuano running community a quality race to look forward to yearly.

Beneficiaries of this year’s run are the Cebu Newspaper Workers Foundation and the Cebu City Task Force on Street Children.

According to Baring, they expect around 7,000 runners to sign up for the event.

SM2SM Run

SM Prime Holdings Inc. Vice President Marissa Fernan and race organizer Joel Baring during a press conference held for the SM2SM Run.

SM2SM Run prizes

The first male and female runners in the 21k open category will get P50,000 each. Other prizes in the same category: P30,000 for second placers, P20,000 for third placers, P3,000 for the fourth to 10th placers.

Cash prizes also await the top 3 foreign runners in the 21k open category (P15,000 – P10,000 – P7,000 for first to third) and 12k category (P10,000 – P7,000 – P5,000 for first to third).

The top 3 male and female runners in the 21k age categories will get the following prizers: P10,000 for first place, P5,000 for second place, and P3,000 for third place.

On the other hand, the 12k open category lists the following prizes: P20,000 (first place), P10,000 (second place), P8,000 (third place), P2,000 (4th to 10th). The 12k winners in the age categories will get: P5,000 (1st place), P3,000 (2nd place), P2,000 (3rd place).

Gun time, race route

Gun time is 4:00 a.m. for 21k, 5:00 a.m. for 12k, and 5:15 for the 8k and 4k distances. Depending on the distance, the race route will include such roads as S. Osmeña Boulevard, Osmeña Boulevard from Plaza Independencia up to the Provincial Capitol, Escario St., Gorordo Avenue, Salinas Drive, Archbishop Reyes Ave. up to Family Park, and Pope John Paul II Avenue.

The run will accept registrants only up to February 14 at the registration area outside of iStore in the 2nd level of the Northwing Atrium.

SM2SM Run route

Each runner will get a breakfast meal, loot bag, and ticket for the raffle draw.

Exciting prizes will be raffled off during the SM2SM Run, including 8 Cathay Pacific Cebu-Hong Kong roundtrip tickets, 8 Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and 8 Samsung LED TVs.

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Unboxing the moto g5s plus

For a mid-range phone, the moto g5s plus is crafted as a premium device. It is a fast and responsive phone, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.0GHz octa-core processor with…

For a mid-range phone, the moto g5s plus is crafted as a premium device. It is a fast and responsive phone, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.0GHz octa-core processor with ample RAM at 4GB and LTE connectivity.

It comes with dual 13-megapixel rear cameras and a photo enhancement software that “make it easy to do more with photos.” The camera comes with a selective focus mode that “makes it easy to take professional-looking OOTDs, adding a beautiful blurred background effect” or bokeh. The camera comes with a Professional Mode that allows you to control such settings as Manual Focus, White Balance, Shutter Speed, ISO, and Exposure.

It has an 8MP wide-angle front camera that comes with an LED flash and “a new panoramic mode to capture even more.”

moto g5s plus

moto g5s plus. Unboxing the moto g5s plus. The phone’s headline features are its fast processor, ample RAM, turbo charging, and dual cameras.

The moto g5s plus has a 5.5-inch full HD display, which is great for watching movies on the device. It also makes using the phone – even doing work on it like writing, reading and sending emails, and processing documents – easy and enjoyable.

It comes with a 3000mAh battery that gives you enough power for a full day of normal use on a single charge. The moto g5s plus also comes with a TurboPower charger that gives you 6 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes of charging, a feature that’s perfect for people on the go.

The phone has an all-metal unibody that feels solidly and well built. The company said the moto g5s plus has a water repellent nano-coating.

The phone comes with Android 7.1.1 Nougat but the company has confirmed it would be receiving the Oreo update. The phone comes with stock Android, which is good because you don’t get the bloated crap of unwanted apps and add-ons that come with the Android version used by other brands.

moto g5s plus

MANUAL CONTROLS. The moto g5s plus’ camera has an option to manually set settings with an easy to use slider controls.

I got a review unit earlier this week and have been using it for a few days. It has since taken over as my primary device – not just for the novelty of it but because of its premium features and overall performance.

The phone has a fingerprint reader to unlock it as well as other functions. It’s quick to recognize fingerprints and is among the most responsive of phones with the feature that I’ve tried.

The phone is priced at P14,999.

moto g5s plus Technical Specifications

Dimensions: Height: 153.5 mm / Width: 76.2 mm / Depth: 8.04 – 9.5mm (at camera) / Weight: 168g

Software: Android 7.1.1, Nougat

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor with a 2.0 GHz octa-core CPU, 650 MHz Adreno 506 GPU

Display: 5.5-inch, IPS LCD, Full HD, 1080p, 401 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Storage (ROM): 32 GB Removable storage that supports up to 128 GB microSD card (sold separately)

Memory (RAM): 4 GB

Battery: 3000 mAh, mixed usage up to 24 hours

Charging: TurboPower charger included (up to 6 hours of battery life in 15 minutes of charging)

Rear camera: Dual 13 MP cameras with depth editing software, f/2.0 aperture, color balancing dual LED flash, 8X digital zoom (for photos), active viewfinder (recognizes QR codes and barcodes)

Front camera: 8 MP, wide angle lens, f/2.0 aperture, LED flash

Video capture: 4K Ultra HD video, 30 fps

Speakers: Bottom port loud speaker, 2-mic support

Water repellent: Water repellent nano-coating

SIM card: nano-sim / dual-sim on select models

Connectivity: MicroUSB, 3.5mm headset jack

Bluetooth technology: Bluetooth 4.2

Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz)

NFC: Yes

Authentication: Fingerprint reader

Color: Lunar Gray or Blush Gold

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Air Juan to start flights soon from seaplane terminal in SRP, Cebu City

Top Philippine beach and island destinations like El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Gigantes in Iloilo, Panglao in Bohol, and Kalanggaman in Leyte will soon be minutes away with the…

Top Philippine beach and island destinations like El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Gigantes in Iloilo, Panglao in Bohol, and Kalanggaman in Leyte will soon be minutes away with the opening of Air Juan seaplane flights from Cebu.

Air Juan President John Gutierrez led the unveiling of the company’s seaplane terminal located at Filinvest’s South Road Properties on January 20, 2018. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was the guest of honor during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

He said they plan to start flight services from the seaplane terminal to the country’s most beautiful destinations within the first quarter of the year. These also include such places as Sumilon in Oslob, Malapascua, Candijay in Anda, and Lakawon.

Air Juan Cebu

The Air Juan seaplane terminal at the SRP.

Air Juan flights

Air Juan seaplane services from Cebu will supplement landplane services started last June 2017. Beginning in the middle of last year, Air Juan opened scheduled flights from Mactan International Airport to Bantayan, Biliran, Maasin, Sipalay, Siquijor, and Tagbilaran.

Gutierrez said they will soon fly to Catbalogan as well. The Air Juan fleet consists of six Cessna Grand Caravans, four of which are amphibious.

He added that the landplane can carry a maximum of 12 passengers while the seaplane can have as many as nine.

Air Juan Cebu

LAUNCH. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña (center) was the guest of honor during yesterday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the Air Juan seaplane terminal at the SRP. (Photo from Air Juan Facebook page)

Competitive rates

Air Juan does not compete with other airline companies but with the country’s ferry service.

“Biliran is a five-hour boat ride but Air Juan reduces the travel time to 45 minutes,” according to Gutierrez.

He added that their landplane rates are competitive with ferry fares but seaplane flights are slightly more expensive. The average one-way fare from the Mactan, Cebu airport to Tagbilaran, for example, is from P1,500 to P2,500, while ferries charge around P800.

“We’re not a budget airline but the most convenient. You can’t put a price on a person’s time,” Gutierrez said, citing that they can do in around 20 minutes the four to five hours land travel to Kandaya Resort in Daanbantayan.

Air Juan Cebu

JUST MINUTES AWAY. Top beach and island destinations will soon be just minutes away from Cebu with the opening of Air Juan seaplane flights.

SRP seaplane terminal

Air Juan already has hubs in Manila, Cebu, and Puerto Princesa in Palawan. While Cebu services were started last year, Air Juan operated flights out of Palawan starting four years ago.

Gutierrez said they are targeting not just foreign guests but also locals for Air Juan land and sea flights.

The seaplane terminal in SRP will provide travellers with the most convenient way to island hop, he pointed. He promised that Air Juan scheduled flights will take off even with only one passenger.

Air Juan President John Gutierrez

CONVENIENT. “We’re not a budget airline but the most convenient. You can’t put a price on a person’s time,” Air Juan President John Gutierrez tells reporters and bloggers during yesterday’s event.

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USC Boys Class ‘78 marks 40th year, holds grand reunion

The University of San Carlos (USC) Boys Class ‘78 is throwing the grandest reunion, celebrating its 40th year on January 18 to 22, 2018. “High school is the best. It’s…

The University of San Carlos (USC) Boys Class ‘78 is throwing the grandest reunion, celebrating its 40th year on January 18 to 22, 2018.

“High school is the best. It’s when friendship is pure. There are no inhibitions.” This is how Mel Sarmiento, who volunteered to initiate the gathering, remembers their high school days.

Sarmiento took the role after Ed Pebenito, who organized the reunion for both 25th and 35th year, migrated to the US.

“The reunion was supposed to be every 10 years. So the next would have been on our 45th year or perhaps celebrate 50 years. But we’re not getting any younger. We thought why not celebrate our grand reunion while we’re still fit, can play and enjoy,” he said.

“We’re already at our retirable age. Sad to say that a good number of our batch are not with us anymore. It’s high time to enjoy life. We tried our best to work hard, to provide for our family. This (reunion) is also for us to de-stress,” added Sarmiento.

University of San Carlos (USC) Boys High Class '78

University of San Carlos (USC) Boys High Class ’78 led by Mel Sarmiento, Bebot Ruiz, Agul Espinosa, and Boogie Tuaño went on a mission and gathered fellow Carolinians in Las Vegas, Nevada as part of its preparations for their 40th Grand Reunion. With a theme “USC Boys High Class ’78 goes Retro @ 40”, the reunion will be held here in Cebu City on January 18 to 22, 2018.

The preparations

What is quite challenging with his task, admits Sarmiento, is gathering people as he has lost contact with some people while a few others are unresponsive.

And so the preparations started early. The first talk about their reunion plans happened in December 2016. “We opened a chatroom for our batch and from there we assigned committees. We named point persons per area,” Sarmiento said.

The organizing group also prioritized funding and checked their costing. They decided not to solicit and instead go for corporate sponsorship as they want to provide free tickets to the event and encourage attendees.

Sarmiento and three others even went to Las Vegas on a mission. The purpose of their visit was to encourage their batchmates already residing there to come home to Cebu and join their grand reunion.

Retro at 40

The theme for the Grand Reunion is “USC Boys Class ‘78 Goes Retro at 40”. It will be a five-day activity and some of the highlights to look forward to are Pinoy Olympics, Jamming Night, Feeding Program, Sportsfest with tennis, golf, billiard, table tennis and basketball tournaments.

Sarmiento said they expect 176 batchmates to attend their grand reunion. “We have batchmates coming from abroad, Luzon and other parts of the country. We want to maximize their stay here that is why we have outlined various activities for them to enjoy.”

For more details of the Grand Reunion, you may contact Steven Sasam of Green Concepts and Events at mobile +63.923.5223321 and +63.917.5787964. For activity schedules and latest updates, visit the official website of USC Boys High ‘78 at www.uscboyshigh78.wordpress.com or official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/uscboyshigh78. (Press Release)

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Cebu Travel Catalogue International 2018: One-stop-shop for travel

Whether you’re planning a local trip or going to any country in the world, get great deals in airfare and tour packages to your chosen destination during the Cebu Travel…

Whether you’re planning a local trip or going to any country in the world, get great deals in airfare and tour packages to your chosen destination during the Cebu Travel Catalogue International (CTCI) 2018 from Jan. 26-28 at Ayala Center Cebu.

The Cebu Alliance of Tour Operation Specialists (CATOS) and Cebu Travel and Tours Association (CTTA) strengthened their alliance to bring about an exceptional three-day travel show that will serve as a one-stop-shop for travellers.

CATOS President Alice Queblatin said the cooperation between the two organizations have resulted in member agencies coming up with tour packages for inbound and outbound that are varied and affordable for the Cebu Travel Catalogue International.

“The expansion of the airport and opening of more routes by domestic and international airlines will make Cebu a top travel hub. With all these, we see the need to strengthen not just tourism products but also the collaboration among industry stakeholders. We want to make travel to and from Cebu a dynamic experience,” she added.

Cebu Travel Catalogue

TRAVEL DEALS. Organizers of the Cebu Travel Catalogue International old a press conference on the three-day travel show that will serve as a one-stop-shop for travellers.

Tour, airfare, cruise deals

Tour packages to any point in the globe, promo airfares for local and international destinations, and luxury cruise deals are among the products on offer during the travel fair, according to CTTA Auditor Aida Uy.

The different travel and tour agencies will also offer discounted supplemental services for visa and other travel needs.

Uy said that those who show up during the three-day event will get freebies and have a chance to win raffle prizes.

CATOS Vice President Marget Villarica said the Cebu Travel Catalogue International 2018 encourages Cebuanos to visit local places not just international destinations. The tourism offices of Central Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Visaya, Bohol, and Davao will also be present to provide information on travel to their respective areas.

With more domestic carriers opening new routes, it has become easier and more convenient to go from Cebu to such places as Batanes, El Nido, and Catanduanes, added CTTA Secretary Cookie Chan.

Popular destinations

For international destinations, Chan added, places with cool temperatures are popular with Philippine travellers during the Holy Week and summer break.

Travellers can expect fantastic deals on springtime travel to South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan when they book during the three-day travel fair. Jeju, which doesn’t require a visa from Filipinos, is also popular and tour packages to this South Korean destination on chartered flights will also be on offer.

CTTA Public Relations Officer Sheila Colmenares, who gave a rundown on the different activities during CTCI 2018, said there will be stage activities and entertainment shows. The travel fair will formally open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the first day, January 26.

BPI cardholders get the added advantage of booking airfare and tour packages under a zero percent interest three-month installment plan, according to CTTA Vice President Baby Dy.

CTTA President Alan Carvajal urged Cebuanos to take advantage of the exceptional offers by planning their 2018 trips during the Cebu Travel Catalogue International 2018 from January 26-28 at Ayala Center Cebu.

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Mandani Bay Boardwalk offers best view of fluvial procession

The fluvial procession, when the miraculous image of the Sto. Niño is transported through the Mactan Channel, is a much-anticipated Sinulog event. This year, the procession will be held on…

The fluvial procession, when the miraculous image of the Sto. Niño is transported through the Mactan Channel, is a much-anticipated Sinulog event. This year, the procession will be held on Saturday, January 20.

One of the best places to view the annual event is at the Mandani Bay Boardwalk. Everyone is welcome to join the festivities at the Boardwalk. This is the third year that Mandani Bay is hosting the fluvial parade from the vantage point on the mainland, part of its participation in the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog celebrations.

Mandani Bay’s participation is also part of the City of Mandaue’s overall safety, security, and logistics program for the annual observance of the Feast of the Señor St. Niño.

Mandani Bay

MANDANI BAY. At the heart of the development is the Green Promenade, a wide tree-lined avenue that cuts through the centre of the property, lending the environment a refreshing spirit that encourages an active lifestyle amongst residents. The Boardwalk enables relaxation, evening walks and lounging to a spectacular view of the Mactan Channel.

Best view

The Mandani Bay development presents the best view of the galleon, which, this year, will be the Philippine Navy’s BRP Bagobo AT-293, bearing the image of the Holy Child and other seacraft, as it is an unobstructed stretch on the mainland bank of the Mactan Channel.

Gates open at 4:30 am. Sinulog street dancing, drum beaters and songs will engage guests as everyone waits for the procession to pass through.

Food will be available onsite. Concessionaires will have food booths serving a variety of meals and delicacies. Guests with invitations will be served breakfast.

The event at Mandani Bay will be aired live on Y101 with Jiggy Jr.’s Jiggy in the Morning.

Mandani Bay is Cebu’s most promising development. With a 500-meter water frontage facing the Mactan Channel, this world-class 20-hectare development has a stunning view of the coast and encompassing cityscape.

Premium mixed-use community

Built around a lifestyle of connectivity, this premium mixed-use community hosts a series of expansive podium blocks interconnected by footbridges. Residential towers rise from each of the podiums’ amenity roof decks, whilst street front retail thrives along the wide boulevards.

At the base, the buildings are also connected by a system of exclusive parking spaces weaving throughout the property. For strolling aboveground or driving and parking underground, Mandani Bay provides complete convenience allowing time for loftier pursuits.

At the heart of Mandani Bay is the Green Promenade, a wide tree-lined avenue that cuts through the centre of the property, lending the environment a refreshing spirit that encourages an active lifestyle amongst residents. The Boardwalk enables relaxation, evening walks and lounging to a spectacular view of the Mactan Channel.

Mandani Bay has set the bar for a new era of development in the Philippines. (Press Release)

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TAGA Your Origin shirts make fun, quirky Sinulog 2018 #OOTDs

Show pride of place in your Sinulog Festival 2018 street fashion by wearing customizable shirts that celebrate your origin courtesy of new online shop TAGA. Taga asa ka? Taga Opon?…

Show pride of place in your Sinulog Festival 2018 street fashion by wearing customizable shirts that celebrate your origin courtesy of new online shop TAGA.

Taga asa ka? Taga Opon? Taga Mandaue? Let TAGA Your Origin shirts declare your hometown roots; they come in trendy, fun, and unique designs.

A brainchild of friends Maureen Eliot and Noreen Mondragon Tormis, the TAGA shirts provide people the opportunity to be proud of their origin by wearing it.

TAGA Your Origin

TAGA Your Origin co-founders Maureen Eliot (left) and Noreen Mondragon Tormis along with collaborator Carlo Rodriguez of LiliLa, which provided the accessories.

Another goal of the brand is to create quality clothing that connects people, through an apparel that makes a statement and initiates conversation.

Customizable Sinulog shirts

The shirts are of good quality cotton and perfect for Cebu’s tropical weather. They are sold at P348 each and come with a beautiful bag as packaging.

TAGA Sinulog shirts come with either a bracelet, dreamcatcher, or headdress through a collaboration with Carlo Rodriguez of LiliLa, which is the source of the accessories.

TAGA Your Origin

PRIDE OF PLACE. TAGA Your Origin sells shirts that show pride of place. All the shirts are sold at P348 and come with a beautiful bag as packaging. The Sinulog shirt comes with either a bracelet, dreamcatcher, or headdress.

Available in both men’s and women’s styles and a variety of colors, the shirts can be ordered via the brand’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TAGAyourorigin.

Interested buyers may also email them at info@tagayourorigin.com. Follow TAGA on Twitter and Instagram @taga_yourorigin for more info and updates.

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Marco Polo Plaza Cebu cooks up Sugbusog feast for Sinulog 2018

Cebu’s Sinulog Festival deserves a feast just as grand and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu obliges with the culinary experience “Sugbusog 2018: Gikan sa Bukid ug Dagat” at Cafe Marco. Up…

Cebu’s Sinulog Festival deserves a feast just as grand and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu obliges with the culinary experience “Sugbusog 2018: Gikan sa Bukid ug Dagat” at Cafe Marco.

Up until January 21, indulge in such local favorites as kinilaw na isda, puso sa saging, lato, and guto; ginamos and sinugba na buwad; manggang hilaw with hipon; monggos, humba and kaldereta na kanding; lechon belly and lechon kawali; inasal na manok and other Cebuano dishes raised to the level of a fine dining experience at Cebu City’s finest.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Sugbusog 2018

STARTERS. From chicharon or pork cracklings to itlog maalat salad, paliya salad, and manggang hilaw, Sugbusog 2018 at Cafe Marco in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu is a feast of Cebuano favorites.

Have your fill of Cebu street food like qwek-qwek, ginabot, ngohiong, balot and the local sweet staples for dessert. The Cafe Marco dessert station carries such delicacies as masareal, bokayo, leche flan, pichi-pichi, puto cheese, masi, kutsinta, and of course halo-halo.

Satisfy your craving for seafood like saang, pasayan, and sinugba na isda throughout Sugbusog 2018, which runs from January 12-21 at Cafe Marco.

The Cebuano favorites are served on top of the regular international buffet spread at Cafe Marco. Buffet prices are P1,150 net for lunch, P1,440 net for dinner, and P1,450 net for Sunday brunch.

Marco Polo Sugbusog 2018

Lato and guso.

The Sinulog-inspired decorations and creative food presentation add to the rich festival atmosphere at Cafe Marco and the rest of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

A replica of the popular Cebu attraction Magellan’s Cross with a Sto. Niño inside now decorates the hotel lobby. Sto. Niño patrons Helen Ynclino-Bucag, Val San Diego, Ben Chua, Ed Tan, and Josie Pereyra have loaned out their Sto. Niño image collections for exhibit at Marco Polo Cebu.

For inquiries and reservations, contact Marco Polo Plaza Cebu at +63 32 2531111 local 8249 or hospitality.ceb@marcopolohotels.com.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Sugbusog 2018

SUGBUSOG 2018. The culinary festival at Cafe Marco in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu runs until January 21.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Sugbusog 2018

Buwad nukos.

 

Sugbusog 2018 Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

More buwad.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Kinilaw

 

Sugbusog 2018

Chicharon

 

Sugbusog 2018

Kinilaw na paliya

 

Sugbusog 2018 kaldereta kanding

Kaldereta na kanding.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Lechon belly

 

Marco Polo 2018 Sugbusog

Saang and other sea shells.

 

Marco Polo Sugbusog 2018

Inasal na manok and piniritong tiil sa baboy.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Dinuldog na kalabasa

 

Sugbusog 2018

Pasayan or shrimps.

 

Sinanduloy.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Lechon kawali.

 

Marco Polo Sugbusog

Tinunuon nga monggos with alugbati.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Sugbusog 2018

STREET FOOD MAINSTAYS qwek-qwek, bola-bola, ngohiong, and ginabot.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Ginamos

 

Sugbusog 2018

Buwad nukos or dried squid.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Linung-ag nga saging, ginamos

 

Sugbusog 2018

Argao torta

 

Sugbusog 2018

Mandaue bibingka

 

Sugbusog 2018

Pichi pichi and kutchinta.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Bocayo and ampao from Carcar.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Biko and maja blanca.

 

Sugbusog 2018

More local desserts.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Masi and bocayo.

 

Sugbusog 2018

Dessert station.

 

Sugbusog 2018

LOBBY. A replica of the Magellan’s Cross greets guests at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.

 

Sugbusog 2018

STO. NIÑO. One of the images on exhibit at the lobby.

 

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Marco Polo Cebu marks Chinese New Year 2018 with traditional ceremony, food fest

This Valentine’s Day, have a gastronomic love affair at The Pig & Palm

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