MyCebu.ph: Cebu News & Features

Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Author: Max Limpag

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.”

No Comments on Ford Philippines trains Cebu drivers on safe, smart driving

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.

No Comments on Japanese brand Miniso opens 1st store in Cebu

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.

No Comments on Cebu company builds platform for emergency response, management

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.

No Comments on SaladStop! brings “freshness back to the table” with healthy salads

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.

No Comments on Property24, real estate portal of OLX group, launches in Cebu

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.

No Comments on Huawei launches Nova 2i in Cebu

Walk on air, splash in water with a pair of SWIMS

Comfortable, light, and dubbed the “ultimate footwear for bathing, sailing and playing around in water,” SWIMS is a great choice for your next pair. I got my first SWIMS during…

Comfortable, light, and dubbed the “ultimate footwear for bathing, sailing and playing around in water,” SWIMS is a great choice for your next pair.

I got my first SWIMS during a recent sale by the Primer Group, the brand’s exclusive distributor.

The first thing you’ll notice with SWIMS is how light its shoes are. It is the lightest I’ve ever tried on – almost as weightless as the flimsy slippers you get in hotels.

With SWIMS on, it’s like walking on air.

SWIMS loafer Cebu

COMFORT, QUALITY. A pair of SWIMS is light and comfortable for urban walking throughout the day.

Norwegian brand

SWIMS is a Norwegian brand that started in 2006. The company said it started with galoshes, a kind of traditional waterproof footwear that is worn over your shoes, to protect it from the rain or mud.

“While Scandinavia is famous for clean and minimalistic design, Norwegian brands are particularly functional and have to adapt to the highly contrasting seasons they face at home,” the company said.

SWIMS, the company said, “allow the typical urban Scandinavian to look sleek with a touch of cheekiness, comfort and ultimate functionality fit for both slushy winter days in the city and warm days out on the boat during the summer season.”

SWIMS

Comfortable pair

I’ve used the pair for several weeks now and it is by far the most comfortable one I’ve used. Work makes me walk a lot – from coverages to meetings to remote work in coffee shops – and SWIMS makes all that walking easy.

SWIMS also looks great with both formal or casual wear.

In making its shoes, SWIMS highlights water-friendly materials, breathability, drainage so you won’t have to slosh around when you do get wet, and ability to be machine-washed.

The rubber it uses is 100% natural, anti-slip, and non-marking, the company said. The shoes have “gills” on the side for ventilation, airflow and drainage. Its sole is an Eva Footbed that is “ergonomically molded, highly breathable, anti-bacterial, anti-odor, soft, comfortable, and shock absorbing.”

SWIMS Cebu

SWIMS. The first thing you’ll notice after putting on a pair of SWIMS is how light and comfortable it is.

Urban travelers

The “sandwich mesh upper” on the front is also breathable, anti-bacterial, adaptable, and water friendly.

The “playful approach” to design, always with an eye to functionality, has made SWIMS popular among a discerning and passionate group.

“We have grown to serve the lifestyle of international urban travelers with a need for function, quality and design,” the company said.

SWIMS is available in Cebu in General and ResToeRun.

No Comments on Walk on air, splash in water with a pair of SWIMS

Social media make celebrities “more relatable:” Pia Wurtzbach

If you have even the slightest doubt about something you want to share online, don’t post it, said former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said during a short talk on social…

If you have even the slightest doubt about something you want to share online, don’t post it, said former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said during a short talk on social media during the annual Asian Carriers Conference in Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu.

She said social media make celebrities like her “more relatable” to fans.

“I’m glad that during my year as Miss Universe they were very open with me sharing my thoughts, sharing the real Pia, my true self on social media. They weren’t too strict on what I posted online They weren’t too strict that sometimes there were photos of me with barely any makeup on,” she said in a short press conference held after her talk.

Bashed online

But at the start, she had to adjust to being bashed on social media.

Pia Wurtzbach ACC2017

POWERFUL TOOL. That’s how former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzback describes social media.

“I used to reply to people who did not like me. But I learned with guidance by my trainers that it’s better to avoid negativity and just ignore these. It’s part of the job – there will always be people who are going to have negative opinion about you,” she said.

She described as her worst experience on social media reading bad comments against her during the pageant. It would upset and rattle her throughout the day.

Filipino support online

But it was also during the pageant that she experienced her best in social media, when legions of Filipino fans voted and mobilized support for her online that it crashed the web server.

“But it also really showed Miss Universe that we are number one. We’re its biggest fans and we’ve proven that through statistics, especially during the online voting. That’s why they had the pageant here early this year,” she said.

No Comments on Social media make celebrities “more relatable:” Pia Wurtzbach

Tap digital to boost business growth in a mobile-first Philippine market, Google official tells Cebu SMEs

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan. With 65 million Filipinos now…

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan.

With 65 million Filipinos now online, going digital should no longer be a question, Lingan said during the Digitize Cebu conference held in Cebu last Wednesday and organized by AdSpark, Globe myBusiness, and Department of Trade and Industry Cebu Province.

“For every single month, half a million Filipinos are going online. That’s really massive. You think about that – in a year, you are adding the population of Singapore online into the Philippines,” he said. “That’s the kind of market potential that we are dealing with here.”

Digitize Cebu Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan

GROWING, MOBILE-FIRST. Most new Filipino users access the internet through mobile devices, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan during Wednesday’s Digitize Cebu conference.

Filipinos are mobile-first consumers

But what defines the Filipino internet consumer, he said, “is the fact that we are mobile-first.”

Most new Filipino users access the internet via mobile phones. “In fact that’s really where they spent much of their time,” he said. Filipinos look at their phones 150 times in a day, studies said. People are very engaged on their phones and “it is affecting every aspect of our lives,” he said.

People today do not go online, he said, they “live online” and mostly through their phones.

That can be seen in findings like Filipinos’ growing dependence on services like Waze. While the global usage average is 17 minutes, in Manila Waze is used at an average of 70 minutes per session, he said.

In a world going digital, “small will be the new big,” Lingan said. The internet “could work for big business as much as it could work for small ones.”

He said small businesses are the “backbone of the country,” employing about 60% of the population.

“If you want to drive growth in the Philippines, the only way to really drive that is through empowering small business,” he said. A key driver for this is digitization, Lingan told attendees of the conference.

Digital levels business playing field

In the past, he said business was all about “having big resources.” Digital levels that playing field, Lingan said. With digital tools, business can reach the right customers and at massive scale.

“In the past if you’re a small business, your target market will only be your community. But with the internet, your definition of what your target market is goes beyond your borders,” Lingan said.

With digital advertising, businesses are then able to leverage measurements and tools to make sure their ad spending are getting “the right return of investments.”

He also spoke about the opportunities offered by the emergence of commerce in the country.

Digitize Cebu

DEPENDENT. People are increasingly becoming dependent on their phones to do most tasks.

Opportunities for e-commerce

“I know it’s still small in the Philippines, in fact, it’s just $500 million in terms of value but what we foresee is that the next 10 years this will grow 20X to $10 billion by 2025. And it’s changing consumer habits,” he said.

Among these habits is the practice of researching online via mobile phones even while inside a physical store.

He said people continually engage with phones to find information and these “micro-moments” will become the new battleground for brands.

Lingan said there are 4 types of micro-moments: I want to know, I want to do, I want to go, and I want to buy.

“The path to purchase is changing and evolving. A lot of people now, through that path of purchase, are consulting their smartphones to know more about their services and really making sure that they are better informed and would make the right decisions,” he said.

Influence path to purchase

Lingan said it is important for brands to have a strong digital presence because when Filipinos start researching on purchases, “82% are not absolutely certain of brand choice.”

“It is an opportunity for businesses to influence that decision by making sure that your presence online is strong,” he said. “People would go to their smartphones 6 to 7 times before they make their decisions.”

The role of phones is emphasized by findings that 78% of Filipinos have used a locator or maps app to find a store’s location and 80% have consulted their smartphones while buying in a physical store.

Lingan said the key to influencing the path to purchase and winning in a mobile-first world is to: be seen, be fast, and be smart.

Digitize Cebu

PHYSICAL STORE, ONLINE RESEARCH. Consumer behavior has changed, chief among them is the practive of researching online through mobile phones while buying in a physical store.

Be seen

“If you are not present online, you are saying no to all these people who are online. You are making it impossible for a lot of customers to find you,” he said.

“If I am a foreigner visiting Cebu and if you are not on Google Maps it’s impossible for me to find you,” he said, pointing out how easy it was for businesses to be listed on Google Maps for free.

He also emphasized the importance of online videos, especially on YouTube, in influencing purchase decisions and improving brand perception.

He said “50% of shoppers will more likely seek advice from online videos relating to their purchases.”

Lingan also said that more than 80% say online video “helps convince shoppers to think more positively about a brand.”

“If you have videos, I would encourage you to create a YouTube channel for your business. Every business has a story and videos would be able to tell your story in a much more enriching way,” he said.

Be fast

Demands of customers have changed, they now want things “as fast as possible.”

In a mobile-first world, Lingan said, 53% of users would abandon your website if it loads slower than 3 seconds.

“The important thing about mobile is to be really obsessed about the user experience,” he said.

He cited tools from Google that will help businesses assess their website speed on mobile and offer suggestions to improve this.

Digitize Cebu

BE SMART. Opinions aren’t as important today as data-driven decisions based on analytics.

Be smart

With today’s tools, opinions don’t matter as much as data-driven decisions.

“You now have opportunity for analytics for data. We need more data-driven decisions so that it could tell you what kind of investments have given you ROI,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for businesses to be willing to experiment on digital and use analytics to see if these work.

Online learning resources

Lingan also asked those present to take advantage of online resources to learn about entrepreneurship and tapping digital marketing to boost their businesses.

He cited the following resources as helpful to businesses:

1) YouTube channels for educational videos. He told people to subscribe to Google Small Business and Google for Entrepreneurs.

2) Think With Google website for industry trends and practices.

3) Google Primer, which offers marketing lessons by Google.

No Comments on Tap digital to boost business growth in a mobile-first Philippine market, Google official tells Cebu SMEs

Shell holds Bike Fair in Cebu, unveils Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil

With Cebu accounting for the largest motorcycle community in the Visayas, Shell picked it to host one leg of the Shell Bike Fair 2017 held last Saturday at the SM…

With Cebu accounting for the largest motorcycle community in the Visayas, Shell picked it to host one leg of the Shell Bike Fair 2017 held last Saturday at the SM Seaside City.

“It’s one way for us to thank our bikers for always supporting Shell,” said Recca Menchavez-Malabanan, Shell Advance Brand Manager during a press conference held before the event. “It’s also a day for us to recognize the different bike clubs.”

Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil

SHELL ADVANCE. The company highlighted Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil during the recent Shell Bike Fair 2017 in SM Seaside City Cebu.

The event also highlighted the recently launched Shell V-Power fuels and Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil.

“The two brands are any bikers’ reliable companion on the road: Shell Advance allows for a smoother ride by protecting the engine from wear and maintaining clean pistons, while the new and improved Shell V-Power is designed to deliver both performance and efficiency,” the company said in a press statement.

Shell Bike Fair Cebu

SHELL ADVANCE MOTORCYCLE OIL. (From left) Mark Malabanan, Shell V-Power brand manager; Recca Menchavez-Malabanan, Shell Advance brand manager; Ricky Altonaga, Pilipinas Shell district manager; Serge Bernal, Pilipinas Shell Lubricants marketing manager; Paz Tiongco, indirect sales manager for lubricants; and Brandon Briones, marketing implementer shortly after a press conference on the Shell Bike Fair 2017 in Cebu.

“The bike fair is, for us, about listening to our consumers on what they want and they like traveling,” said Serge Bernal, Shell Lubricants Marketing Manager.

Recca Menchavez-Malabanan, Shell Advance Brand Manager, gave journalists and bloggers a rundown of the advantages for bike owners to use their motorcycle oil. She said the Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil is the “complete package that offers complete protection for the bike.”

She said the formulation of the oil offers the key benefits of protecting against engine wear and high temperature while increasing fuel economy, cleaning the pistons, and retaining horsepower.

The bike fair was held at the SM Seaside Skyhall. Shell gave away a lot of prizes including 3 new bikes: a Yamaha Aerox, Suzuki Raider, and Honda CBR 150.

“For over 100 years, Pilipinas Shell’s products and services have evolved to meet the current needs of Filipino motorists. We want our customers to know that Shell is every Pinoy motorists’ partner as they face challenges on the road. Shell has evolved into more than just a gas station; it is a pit stop that fuels both you and your motorcycles,” said Anthony Lawrence Yam, Pilipinas Shell Vice President for Retail.

More photos of Shell Bike Fair 2017 Cebu

Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil

 

 

No Comments on Shell holds Bike Fair in Cebu, unveils Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil

AI can displace workers but it can also triple BPO revenues: Banatao

Artificial intelligence (AI) can displace a large number of workers in the Business Process Outsourcing industry, Filipino tech pioneer Dado Banatao warned, but it can also allow the country to…

Artificial intelligence (AI) can displace a large number of workers in the Business Process Outsourcing industry, Filipino tech pioneer Dado Banatao warned, but it can also allow the country to triple revenues in the sector.

If the country does it right, Banatao said, AI will help the Philippines bring BPO revenues to up to $120 billion in just two to three years.

“AI will affect almost all aspects of our lives,” Banatao said during a press conference on Thursday to inaugurate the startup incubator he started with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

He said that his group built a basic AI solution that’s “not even the best that we know we can do” and yet it was good enough “to replace their agents in the US doing frontend BPO (services).”

Displacement inevitable

“It does displace a lot of workers but we did this in the US, meaning we displaced agents in the US. If we can do that then we will do it here. Because we don’t want to get attacked by other countries with that same expertise,” Banatao said. “We would rather have Filipinos do that displacement because it is inevitable.”

There is no AI if there is no IA (information architecture) and that will generate data science jobs for those who will be displaced from work, said Banatao.

AIM-Dadao Banatao Incubator

AIM-DADO BANATAO INCUBATOR. AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang with Diosdado “Dado” Banatao during a press conference to mark the inauguration of their incubator.

“It means is that there has to be an organization of data. The meaning of data is very important. Data science will address those things to help AI,” he said.

But to be employable for these new jobs, people need to be retrained, Banatao stressed. “In most cases they will have to take at least the first two years of engineering that covers the plain and simple calculus and statistics and so on and go on to the more higher-level learning data science.”

New kinds of jobs

“What is important for us to remember is that yes there will be plenty of jobs that will disappear but then there will be new kind of jobs that will be created,” said AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang.

“What AIM is trying to do is just like 49 years ago when we were established as the pioneering management school in the region and produced the region’s top CEOs,” she said.

“We want to do the same kind of role and have the same kind of impact so we will not be looking at a time when the BPO industry is no longer viable in this country. We have already trained the right kind of people with the right kind of toolboxes and skillsets so they will be able to take that industry to the next level.”

We can beat them

Banatao said that as a way to shore up on capabilities, he hired 20 AI engineers in the Philippines. He said one of the AI companies he funded has the fastest engine in the world.

“It is competing against the biggest companies out there, the Googles and Amazons and so on. We can beat their engines. And we had started the process of bringing that here by training some of the scientists and engineers at DOST,” he added.

1 Comment on AI can displace workers but it can also triple BPO revenues: Banatao

Tech pioneer Dado Banatao, AIM launch startup incubator

Bringing together the expertise of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and the management training capabilities of the Asian Institute of Management, an incubator program headlined by Filipino tech innovator Diosdado “Dado”…

Bringing together the expertise of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and the management training capabilities of the Asian Institute of Management, an incubator program headlined by Filipino tech innovator Diosdado “Dado” Banatao seeks to develop early-stage local startups.

The AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator is located in the AIM campus in Makati City and has the physical capacity to host 11 startups of up to 6 people each, said AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang during a press conference at the facility last Thursday.

What differentiates their incubator?

“How do we differentiate our incubator? We have a rock star in Dado. Right there we think we make a huge distinction. He is not only an inventor, engineer but he is also an entrepreneur and that makes a huge difference,” Kang said.

Banatao built several companies in Silicon Valley, among them Chips & Technologies, S3 Graphics, SiRF, Marvell, and Inphi. “He is best known for pioneering two technologies that are widely regarded as the cornerstones of today’s PC: chipset and graphics acceleration architecture,” AIM said in a press statement.

Banatao is chairman of the Philippine Development (PhilDev) Foundation, an organization that seeks to boost economic growth in the country “through education, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

AIM-Dado Banatao

AIM-DADO BANATAO INCUBATOR. AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang with Diosdado “Dado” Banatao after a press conference to mark the inauguration of their incubator.

Foundation for success

“The combination of business knowledge and innovation is going to be the foundation for success of the incubator,” Banatao said during the event.

The incubator received a P14.8 million grant in initial funding under the Department of Science and Technology Incubator Creation Program.

The program will tap people with “experience in building technology-based, innovative, and very successful companies in Silicon Valley,” he said. But this will always be grounded on “local culture and practices.”

“When we say we’ll be bringing in Silicon Valley experience and expertise, we’re not talking superficial, somebody who was there for a few months or few years. We’re talking about people who are actually successful, who actually made it there and who knows how to make this kind of project work in a national arena,” said Kang.

As example of the type of expertise the facility will tap, Banatao cited how they brought in 6 Google engineers who then wrote software for the incubator to cover all aspects of mentoring.

Science, technology focus

Banatao said the early stages of forming a startup to work on an idea “is the toughest with the highest failure rate.”

“Unless there is help from investors or friendly mentors, founders of the company are either suicidal or “crazy”, putting at risk their life status, family, friends, and future,” he said.

The incubator is looking for startups with science and technology solutions in communications, agriculture, health, artificial intelligence, internet of things, and other deep technology.

AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator

INCUBATOR. Phildev executive director Chips Guevara gives journalists a tour of the AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator located inside the AIM campus in Makati City.

Strong commitment, passion

“They have to be 120 percent committed,” Kang said. “Dado likes to use the expression that they have to be suicidal. We don’t exactly want anybody committing suicide, it means they have to be really, really committed, passionate and have energy to take it all the way.”

Time isn’t a strict criterion for the program, Banatao said. “Along the way, the investors and the people involved will judge as to whether that company can get to the next step, whatever that step maybe. We don’t want to continue to lose money simply because of time.”

Startups can stay until the incubator deems them ready. “Sometimes we may just ask the startup to leave the incubator after just a few months because the idea may not be that good in the first place and we made a mistake in accepting them,” he said.

Mentoring by AIM network

Kang said the incubator “will also take advantage of the fact that this is housed at AIM. It’s a management school, it’s a business school. We will provide them with the mentoring that will come from not only our faculty and distinguished alumni but also businesses and the larger community. That amounts to a huge advantage.”

Phildev executive director Chips Guevara said the incubator will work on a “rolling application with no set deadline.” A startup can apply so long as there is a spot in the program. All applicants must fill out the form on the AIM website at https://aim.edu/dado-banatao-incubator.

In talking about the push for technology startups, Banatao said that “as we did our research, we found out that it’s only through innovation will a country develop its economy. Through economic development we will see significant positive effect on poverty.”

 


What Startups Get

  • World-class mentorship from serial entrepreneurs, top executives, industry experts, including individuals with a successful track record in Silicon Valley
  • Access to the global funding network of Dado Banatao, PhilDev, and AIM
  • Education and training calibrated to the needs of the startup’s founders
  • Resources from selected partners
  • Rent-free, dedicated office space with high-speed Internet connectivity inside the AIM Campus in the heart of the Makati CBD
  • Demo nights and exclusive networking events for business development and investments

 

1 Comment on Tech pioneer Dado Banatao, AIM launch startup incubator

Accenture inaugurates 5th facility in Cebu, highlights new and emerging tech in providing solutions

Accenture inaugurated its 5th facility in Cebu on Wednesday with a hologram of one of its officials briefing the guests and handling the ceremonies in the Filinvest Cyberzone at the…

Accenture inaugurated its 5th facility in Cebu on Wednesday with a hologram of one of its officials briefing the guests and handling the ceremonies in the Filinvest Cyberzone at the IT Park in Lahug, Cebu City.

That part of the program was meant to highlight a key character of the facility: a center for agile development and design thinking to produce innovation using “new IT.”

“This floor is very much in ‘the new IT’,” said Accenture managing director Arvin Yason, who hosted the ceremony as a hologram. With a lot of open spaces and movable furniture to allow quick reconfigurations as well as huddle areas and design-thinking spots, “we instill nimbleness and agility in the way we work.”

Accenture in Cebu

HOLOGRAM. Accenture inaugurates its newest facility in Cebu with a hologram of managing director Arvin Yason leading the ceremonies (3rd from left). With Yason are (from left) managing director JP Palpallatoc, Jun Sa-a of CIB.O, and Accenture country managing director Lito Tayag.

Commitment to Cebu

The opening of the new facility is also “a manifestation of our commitment to Cebu,” said Accenture country managing director Lito Tayag. He also said the company is on track to meeting the 1,000 in additional workers it committed to employ at the start of the year to mark their 10th anniversary. He said they’ve already hired an additional 800 workers for Cebu, bringing its workforce here to 5,800.

“Cebu is an integral component, a strategic part of our practice here in the Philippines,” Tayag said. “More than the numbers – and we’re very happy with the numbers so far – it is really the value, the kind of innovative services that we deliver out of our Cebu operations.”

The new facility will showcase technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, augmented reality, and the internet of things.

Cebu talent

“We are very happy about the kind of talent that we have here but just as importantly, we would continue to develop these talents,” Tayag said in a press conference held after the inauguration and facility tour for journalists and members of the academe.

Tayag, Yason and JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines, led the tour of the facility.

Among the highlights of the event was a demonstration of a parking system that allows people to know ahead, via a mobile app, available spaces in a business such as a mall. The system, built by a Cebu team as part of a company-wide innovation contest, also allows for people to reserve parking slots and even pay digitally.

Another product presented to guests was a crisis response and management system that allows Accenture to keep track of its employees and know whether they are safe or in need of assistance after an emergency like a natural disaster. Alerts can be sent out on various platforms like email, SMS and mobile notifications.

Accenture also showed guests how a redesign of the Qantas website resulted in higher sales. They also demonstrated an augmented reality app that makes print materials such as a map of an amusement park interactive and multi-media as well as overlay ads and information triggered by location data.

Accenture Cebu

PASSION PROJECTS, DESIGN THINKING. JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines, introduces the team that built a system for parking that uses apps to inform drivers of available spaces and let them reserve locations and pay for it.

Redesign retail experience

More than digital, Accenture also highlighted how they were able to reinvent the physical retail experience for customers of Smart Communications using design thinking and various technologies. This resulted in a 249% increase in foot traffic, 80% reduction in waiting time and 169% increase in store sales in the redesigned stores.

During the tour, officials stressed the design thinking approach into providing solutions to their clients. “To deliver delight consistently at the speed that our clients desire for their customers, we need to start with design thinking and user-centricity,” Yason said.

The way the newly-inaugurated facility is configured also plays a key role in how Accenture is “upskilling, reskilling, cross-skilling and multi-skilling our talent,” he said. From being focused on “classrooms” in teaching workers new skills, Accenture has started to “enable nooks and areas where people, while on break, can start learning new IT in smaller bite-sized formats, whether via video or an app or game that we develop.”

Accenture Cebu

CRISIS COMMUNICATION. This system enables Accenture to keep track of its employees, notify them during emergencies, and get feedback on whether they are safe or not.

Empower workers

Other locations will be retrofitted based on the new facility’s design because workers gave positive feedback that the configuration “empowers them to work in the new IT – working agile, doing standup meetings, being able to collaborate,” said Yason.

The facility helps Accenture “future-proof our people,” Tayag said.

“We’ve grown tremendously in Cebu for the last 10 years. That growth is a reflection not just of Accenture’s capabilities but also the capabilities of the local market in terms of talent, the way the academe has been producing talent for us,” Yason said.

Accenture is among the top tech companies based in Cebu. It has been given that recognition by the Cebu IT-BPM Organization for several years. The company’s other locations in Cebu are in Pioneer House, Robinsons Cybergate Cebu, eBloc Tower 2 and eBloc Tower 3 at the IT Park.

Accenture in Cebu

TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN CEBU. Accenture managing director Arvin Yason (left) and country managing director Lito Tayag after holding a press conference with Cebu journalists shortly after a tour of their 5th facility in the province.

Position as innovation center

Yason said the company is looking for engineers with good grasp of AI, robotics, and analytics to staff their locations.

“Our clients sit on top a lot of data but a lot of that is what we call dark data – they don’t know what they have. We are partnering with them to leverage more and more of that dark data to create revenue where there was no opportunity in the past. (We do this) through the power of data visualization and analytics and eventually AI as well,” Yason said.

Tayag said that what the company wants to foster among its workers is a mindset for innovation as they move up in the “value chain of our services.”

“At the end of the day, we believe that we can position our services here in the Philippines from an innovation standpoint rather than purely from a delivery standpoint,” he added.

No Comments on Accenture inaugurates 5th facility in Cebu, highlights new and emerging tech in providing solutions

Shell launches new V-Power line that “improves efficiency, cleanses engines”

Shell’s V-Power fuel line has been reformulated to increase fuel efficiency and engine cleaning capabilities, officials announced in an event in Cebu yesterday. “Part of our job is to really…

Shell’s V-Power fuel line has been reformulated to increase fuel efficiency and engine cleaning capabilities, officials announced in an event in Cebu yesterday.

“Part of our job is to really understand our consumers – who they are, what they really want. What we know is that they have evolving needs,” said Pilipinas Shell Fuels Brand Manager Maan Abas in a press conference in Cebu City yesterday.

Driving in the Philippines is a challenge because of the traffic, Abas said. To help deal with this, Shell’s new V-Power line contains fuels innovation that increases engine efficiency.

Shell Fuels Scientist Mae Ascan

IMPROVEMENTS. Shell Fuels Scientist Mae Ascan discusses the improvements offered by the new V-Power line of fuels in an event in Cebu City.

Extensive research, development

The new Shell V-Power line uses proprietary Dynaflex technology that took the company more than 5 years to develop, involving tests of over 250 cars and exceeding 3 million kilometers, said Shell Fuels Scientist Mae Ascan.

Shell has 170 fuels scientists in 5 fuels technology centers all over the world. Ascan is based in the center in Malaysia.

Ascan said Shell continually innovates on fuels because “engine technology is evolving and we want to make sure we are keeping pace.”

Shell V-Power Cebu

SHELL V-POWER exhibit in SM Seaside City.

Maximize energy from fuels

“Maximize the amount of energy that you can get from your fuel – this is what we are trying to tackle. Reduce the wastage of energy,” she said.

The new Shell V-Power, Ascan said, addresses 2 key issues that impact engine performance – build-up of deposits and friction.

Ascan said engines are getting smaller and yet more powerful. This trend provides a “harsher condition for your fuel.” Injecting fuel involves very high pressures through a microscopic hole. This, Ascan explained, makes formation of deposits on such parts as nozzle holes and inlet valves that will ultimately impact engine performance.

Shell V-Power Cebu launch

TEAM SHELL. Shell officials during the Cebu launch of the new V-Power led by Shell Fuels Scientist Mae Ascan (5th from left), Pilipinas Shell Fuels Brand Manager Maan Abas (6th from left), Brands and Communication Manager Raine Capadocia (4th from left) and Marketing Implementer Brandon Briones (7th from left).

Cleaning molecules

Ascan said Shell V-Power “contains cleaning molecules that help remove up to 80% of deposits that have already formed.” The active cleaning power has “the twin effect of improving system condition and restoring lost performance,” Shell said in a press statement.

The new V-Power fuels also contain friction-reducing molecules, “helping engine parts that are difficult for lubricating oils to reach, including the vital area in the engine between the piston ring and the cylinder wall,” the company said.

Shell V-Power Cebu

SHELL V-POWER brand activation at the SM Seaside City.

The new Shell V-Power Diesel, on the other hand, “is designed to help restore up to 100% of your engine’s performance by removing deposits from fuel injectors,” the company said.

The new fuels have been available throughout the country, including Cebu, since June 8, Abas said.

The pump prices of the new V-Power fuels are similar to the old line it is replacing. The “fuel got better at the same price,” Ascan said.

No Comments on Shell launches new V-Power line that “improves efficiency, cleanses engines”

Cebu startup takes on Uber, Grab; signs up Manila taxi operators

Just as global ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab are facing government regulatory problems, a Cebu-based startup today announced an agreement with taxi operators in Manila to expand its service to…

Just as global ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab are facing government regulatory problems, a Cebu-based startup today announced an agreement with taxi operators in Manila to expand its service to more commuters nationwide.

MICAB, a startup that started in Cebu that is now also incorporated in Singapore, today announced an agreement with the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) and Association of Taxi Operators in Metro Manila (ATOMM).

The agreement expands the service area of MICAB, which is currently operating in Cebu and Iloilo with a fleet of 800 taxi units, said MICAB CEO Eddie Ybañez.

MICAB monthly bookings

He said MICAB currently serves 20,000 passengers with combined monthly bookings of 200,000.

PNTOA and ATOMM, Ybañez said, have a combined network of 20,000 taxi units. He said they plan to launch in Manila with 3,000 taxi units and scale up to 7,000 units by yearend. The company is also planning to expand to Davao.

In terms of application capability, MICAB is similar to Uber and Grab, Ybañez said. They differ in the business model.

Unlike Uber and Grab, MICAB does not directly deal with drivers. It engages with “premium taxi companies” and provides them an app-based system to dispatch units. MICAB works with Ken Taxi in Cebu and Light of Glory in Iloilo.

MICAB Manila

MANILA EXPANSION. MICAB, a ride-hailing app that started in Cebu, has expanded in Manila and signed up operators at the capital. In photo after the signing of the agreement are (from left) Pablo Sarmiento (left) of the Association of Taxi Operators in Metro Manila, MICAB CEO Eddie Ybañez, Atty. Bong Suntay of the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association, and David Vacher of MICAB. (Contributed photo)

No regulatory issues

Because of that, Ybañez does not see any regulatory issues for MiCab .

“We are not really subject to LTFRB’s TVNS regulations as our business model is to partner with taxi companies only. All our taxi operator partners are 100% compliant with LTFRB’s franchising regulations,” he said in an interviews.

The MICAB app functions similarly with both Uber and Grab.

“Application wise it’s the same, we will be adding in more features that is not currently present with Grab and Uber,” Ybañez said.

MICAB, however, does not impose surge pricing and collects only a low booking fee, he said.

Revenue model

The startup does not take a cut from drivers’ revenues. Its business model, Ybañez said, is “targeted geolocation advertising.”

“Our focus for the coming months is to successfully launch MICAB here in Manila, develop customer base, increase brand awareness through excellent customer service and solidify the taxi partner network,” he said.

MICAB started out as among the startups funded in the 2013 batch of IdeaSpace Foundation, the incubator of the Manny V. Pangilinan group of companies.

The startup, however, is looking beyond ride hailing. It is scheduled to launch later this year its MIHEALTH app, in partnership with “one of the largest HMO in the Philippines.” It will also launch MICARGO, in partnership with Gothong Southern Shipping Lines, in August.

No Comments on Cebu startup takes on Uber, Grab; signs up Manila taxi operators

Asus ZenFone AR highlights augmented reality, virtual reality capabilities

From checking out how furniture looks in a room you’re decorating to seeing dinosaurs in the sala as you tell a story to your kids or even doing a virtual…

From checking out how furniture looks in a room you’re decorating to seeing dinosaurs in the sala as you tell a story to your kids or even doing a virtual and yet hyper-realistic tour of a car, augmented reality (AR) plays a central role in the Asus ZenFone AR.

The latest flagship device from Asus was highlighted during a gathering of developers in Mandaue City last Saturday.

Asus ZenFone AR

ASUS ZENFONE AR with VR headset and controller.

The ZenFone AR will be available starting July 17 but the company provided a preview during the Google I/O Extended Cebu 2017 last July 1. Mike Santos, of Asus product and brand marketing – smartphones, said they are working with developers to build AR applications for use on ZenFone AR.

Asus ZenFone AR specs

Santos did a demonstration for journalists and bloggers on the capabilities of the ZenFone AR. He said the phone supports both Google Tango and Daydream. Tango is an AR technology while Daydream offers immersive virtual reality or VR.

Santos said the phone is able to do this because of its top of the line specs: Snapdragon 821 optimized for Tango and up to 8GB of RAM. “That’s like your laptop,” Santos said.

Asus Zenfone AR Cebu

AR DEMO. Mike Santos of Asus product and brand marketing – smartphones demonstrates the augmented reality capability of the ZenFone AR with a virtual and yet realistic tour of a BMW unit.

The ZenFone AR has a TriCam system that lets the phone track your location as you move through space. It also has depth-sensing. This Santos demonstrated through an augmented reality tour of a BMW vehicle. Using the phone, Santos was able to show reporters and bloggers features of the car – from the engine to its interior – as if they were checking an actual vehicle.

Interior design, Harry Potter game

Santos also did a demonstration of how the phone can overlay furniture on a live camera view of a room: allowing a homeowner to preview design options. He also did a demonstration of how AR can be used for shopping of dresses via an augmented reality display of the items.

For its virtual reality capability, Santos did a demonstration through a Harry Potter game that transported the player to the popular book’s universe by donning the phone as a VR headset and using a controller to wield a virtual magic wand.

Asus ZenFone AR Cebu

VIRTUAL REALITY DEMO. Students check out the VR capability of the ZenFone AR with an immersive Harry Potter game.

No Comments on Asus ZenFone AR highlights augmented reality, virtual reality capabilities

AirAsia launches new Cebu flights to Singapore, Taipei

AirAsia mounted earlier today its inaugural flights to Taipei and Singapore, marking an expansion that is seen to boost tourism and increase job opportunities, officials said. The new routes “herald…

AirAsia mounted earlier today its inaugural flights to Taipei and Singapore, marking an expansion that is seen to boost tourism and increase job opportunities, officials said.

The new routes “herald brighter and better opportunities for travel, business and tourism,” said Philippine AirAsia Director for Flight Operations Gomer Monreal. “It also means more job opportunities and more income for families.”

Monreal said during the launch at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) that air travel is “already a necessity” nowadays and the massive AirAsia network provides “true connectivity” in the region.

AirAsia Cebu Singapore Taipei

NEW ROUTES. Launching the new AirAsia routes to Singapore and Taipei are (from left) DOT 7 officer in charge Judy Gabato, Singapore Tourism Board area director Lael Loh, Philippines AirAsia Director for Flight Operations Gomer Monreal, GMCAC President Louis Ferrer and Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Harrison.

Drive tourism, investment

AirAsia launched today its thrice weekly (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) Cebu-Taipei route and 4 times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) Cebu-Singapore route.

GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. President Louis Ferrer said new destinations “will drive inbound tourism and foreign investment and open up new markets that will boost trade.”

Lael Loh, Area Director of the Singapore Tourism Board, described the new Cebu-Singapore route as a historical milestone that “couldn’t come at a better time.” She described Philippines, especially Cebu, as an important market for her country.

Important market

Loh said the Philippines is the 7th biggest tourism market for Singapore. Cebu, she said, comes next to Manila in terms of market share. In 2015, over 650,000 Filipinos visited Singapore. Of the number, over 33,000 came from Cebu.

Loh said the new flights are timely because 2017 is a “very exciting year for Singapore.”

“For music lovers and Cebuanos are huge music lovers, we have a lot of blockbuster concerts and music festivals this coming 2017,” Loh said. She mentioned such acts as Coldplay, Guns N Roses, and Metallica who are scheduled to perform in Singapore.

1 Comment on AirAsia launches new Cebu flights to Singapore, Taipei

Machine learning, physical web, startups on spotlight in DevFest Cebu 2016

In school, when students do something more than what is required like build an app for the library, classmates dismiss them as “naning.” “Naninga nimo uy,” Albert Padin recalled on…

In school, when students do something more than what is required like build an app for the library, classmates dismiss them as “naning.”

Naninga nimo uy,” Albert Padin recalled on stage at the Google Developers’ Group DevFest Cebu 2016 last Saturday at the SM Seaside City. But being “naning” is about working hard and doing more and that is what is important, Padin said.

“If you really want to achieve great things and reach your dreams,” he said in an interview after his talk, “You have to be naning.”

GDG DevFest Cebu 2016

Padin, co-founder of technology company Symph, was among the several technologists and startup founders who gave a talk during DevFest Cebu 2016. He is the only Google Developer Expert in the Philippines.

Albert Padin GDG DevFest Cebu

PEN, APPLE, PINEAPPLE. Albert Padin demonstrates how machines can be taught to identify whether an object is a pen, apple or pineapple by feeding it batches of images through the open source TensorFlow library.

Padin demonstrated the use of TensorFlow, an open source library for machine learning made available by Google, to teach a computer how to identify a pen, apple, and pineapple by feeding it with photographs of the three items. He also demonstrated the use of Google Home, a speaker that also serves as voice-activated artificial intelligence or AI assistant at home.

His co-founder, Dave Overton, discussed the need for startups to “focus on what is important.”

Tap cloud services

“There are only 24 hours in a day,” Overton said in his talk, “and you can’t be awake in all those 24 hours.”

“One of the tempting things as a startup founder is to go with what’s natural for you. If you’re a developer, you tend to develop. You tend to build more code. If you’re a designer, you tend to redesign things,” he said in an interview after the event.

He said the startup should just focus on creating a great product and getting users rather than having to deal with tasks like deploying and maintaining a server. For resources like these, Overton said it would be better for startups to deploy on cloud services like that offered by Google.

Hackathon winner

Brian Tan Seng, meanwhile, talked about beacons, which are small transmitters that trigger sending of messages and information to nearby phones and tablets, and the physical web.

Other talks during the event included one on Codelabs, an online portal where people can get tutorials and guides on Google technology, by Julia Camille Menchavez; Progress Web Apps, websites madeto load and work like mobile apps, also by Menchavez; internet of things (IoT) and Firebase by Josan Chug; Why UnionBank and City Savings Bank are supporting developers by Eugene Acevedo; and Getting Started with Firebase by Benj Tupas.

An app that will allow people to crowdsource what they need with other users in the immediate vicinity won the hackathon held with the event. Needy, the name of the app, was built by co-workers Andro Sumabong, Joseph Christopher Pimentel, and Joseph Kurt Leonardo. Placing second was the Psst app, which wanted to serve as a status page for a certain location or community where important information and updates can be posted and shared.

Attendees and the speakers described Saturday’s event as a success. It took 12 hours to wrap up. “The crowd had amazing energy to make it that long,” Overton said.

No Comments on Machine learning, physical web, startups on spotlight in DevFest Cebu 2016

Sony unveils Smart B-Trainer running device in Cebu

A GPS device that tracks your runs with a heart rate monitor that doesn’t need a chest strap and a coaching system that taps music tempo, the Sony Smart B-Trainer was developed “with the modern runner in mind.” Sony unveiled the Smart B-Trainer in Cebu leading to the Ironman weekend earlier this month.

A GPS device that tracks your runs with a heart rate monitor that doesn’t need a chest strap and a coaching system that taps music tempo, the Sony Smart B-Trainer was developed “with the modern runner in mind.”

Sony unveiled the Smart B-Trainer in Cebu leading to the Ironman weekend earlier this month.

“It’s a fantastic product,” said Jaymie Pizarro, a popular runner and blogger who is also known as The Bull Runner.

Pizarro demonstrated using the Smart B-Trainer during the launch, held last July 31 at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, venue of the Ironman expo.

Heart rate monitor

Pizarro said her favorite feature was the heart rate monitor that doesn’t need a chest strap. The Smart B-Trainer uses a sensor to measure your pulse from your ear.

“You forget that you’re wearing a heart rate gadget,” Pizarro said. She said you can use the Smart B-Trainer to answer calls while on the run if you have your phone with you. She said another feature that she liked was the ability to record voice memos during the run. She said she uses this to record her thoughts and observations while running, a useful feature for a blogger like her.

Pizarro said you can use the Smart B-Trainer even while swimming.

Smart B-Trainer for Running

SMART B-TRAINER. The gadget offers “every fitness feature you need in one device,” Sony said. The Smart B-Trainer is shown above with its companion app, the Smart B-Trainer for Running.

Fitness features

The Smart B-Trainer offers “every fitness feature you need in one device,” the company said in a brochure distributed during the event.

“Its built-in heart rate monitor, GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and barometer record 11 different types of activity logs to help you achieve any workout goal,” the company said. These activity logs include distance, steps, elevation, pace, lap, time, cadence, stride, heart rate, calories, and route.

The device comes in a neckband housing that is non-slip.

Basing on a preset user profile and a defined heart rate goal, the Smart B-Trainer keeps track of your heart rate and selects music based on an analysis of tempo.

“When your heart rate is higher than your targeted speed, a song with slower tempo will be automatically selected to guide you to slow down, and vice versa when your heart rate is lower than the targeted speed,” the company said.

The Smart B-Trainer has a built-in memory of 16GB, enough to store about 3,900 songs.

Smart B-Trainer companion app

The device has a companion app, both for Android and iOS, called Smart B-Trainer for Running. The app helps you manage running logs and keeps track of your training. It also has various training programs that you can choose and send to your device via Bluetooth. The training plans allow you to set running goals such as time, distance, pace or calories burned. It also offers training themes such as “fat-burning training” or “endurance training.”

The Smart B-Trainer, however, can be used on its own and without bringing a phone with you.

Sony said the Smart B-Trainer is water-proof and has an IPX5/IPX8 rating and was tested by being submerged with a swimming earpiece 2 meters deep in water for 30 minutes without damaging the product.

The Smart B-Trainer is available at the Sony Centre in Ayala Center Cebu for P12,999.

No Comments on Sony unveils Smart B-Trainer running device in Cebu

Cebu listed among top alternative cities to Silicon Valley

An article in Entrepreneur.com has listed Cebu as one of the “6 Global Alternative Cities to Silicon Valley to Start Your Company.” “Cebu is a hub for social enterprises, those organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and improving quality of life in the developing world,” according to the article written by Josh Steimle.

An article in Entrepreneur.com has listed Cebu as one of the “6 Global Alternative Cities to Silicon Valley to Start Your Company.”

“Cebu is a hub for social enterprises, those organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and improving quality of life in the developing world,” according to the article written by Josh Steimle.

It is a “great place to build products, test them and then scale them to the global market at a low cost to your company.” It is also a “beautiful and economical place to live,” the story said.

Cebu as business destination

CHANGING SKYLINE. With the booming Cebu economy comes a rapidly changing skyline as building after building is completed to meet the demand for more office and living spaces.

The story also quoted EngageSpark founder Ravi Agarwal as saying that Cebu has a “large talent pool” of English-speaking workers and good infrastructure.

Others listed as top alternative locations to Silicon Valley are Santiago, Chile; Shenzhen, China; Hong Kong; Berlin, Germany; and Dubai, UAE.

For the full article, read: 6 Global Alternative Cities to Silicon Valley to Start Your Company

No Comments on Cebu listed among top alternative cities to Silicon Valley

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search