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Category: Business

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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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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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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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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Reward yourself, loved ones with an investment

This year, UTrade gives you another option to reward yourself from working hard – a gift that will be cherished and felt not only during the holidays are but even…

This year, UTrade gives you another option to reward yourself from working hard – a gift that will be cherished and felt not only during the holidays are but even for years to come.

UTrade encourages you to consider giving your loved ones a gift that they can invest and a gift that will grow and contribute to their long-term financial success. How? By giving them the gift of investment – one that will enable and encourage them to invest in the Philippine stock market.

Everyone is invited to join and learn how to begin investing in the stock market with UTrade! Open a UTrade account and start investing in the stock market for only P2,500 instead of the standard P10,000 when you attend seminars during the holiday season in UTrade Cebu office at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Cebu office, 2nd floor, Insular Life Building, Cebu Business Centre, Cebu City.

As the online stock trading platform of Unicapital Securities, Inc., UTrade offers the convenience of investing in the Philippine stock market via online trading platform that provides free and easy access to market information that can be accessed from any device using the internet.

This is a chance to learn the basics of stock market investing geared towards making Cebuano young professionals and entrepreneurs appreciate and understand the stock market. These seminars are free. To reserve a slot, message the company on Facebook/UTrade by Unicapital Inc. or send an email to utrade@unicapital-inc.com. Visit www.utradeph.com to know more about UTrade. You can also contact the Cebu office at (032) 266-6241 or (+63908) 879-9754 or visit us at the 2nd floor, PSE Cebu Office, 2/F Insular Life Building, Cebu Business Center.

UTrade by Unicapital Securities, Inc. is licensed by the SEC and a member of the Philippine Stock Exchange. UTrade is not just a brokerage, it is part of Unicapital Inc. – a full-service investment house that provides a wide array of finance and investment banking-related product lines including underwriting of initial public offerings or IPOs. (Press Release)

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Globe, SM team up for seamless GoWiFi digital experience in Supermalls

Get seamless digital connection while shopping and dining in SM malls nationwide through GoWiFi Auto. The service has been deployed in 34 select SM malls nationwide through the partnership and…

Get seamless digital connection while shopping and dining in SM malls nationwide through GoWiFi Auto. The service has been deployed in 34 select SM malls nationwide through the partnership and collaboration between Globe Telecom and SM Supermalls.

Ernest Cu, president and chief executive officer of Globe Telecom; Hans Sy, chairman of the executive committee of SM Prime; and Willy Ocier, president of Philippine Global Communications, Inc., signed a memorandum of agreement last November 23, 2017 to roll out GoWiFi Auto in SM malls.

“The new GoWiFi access in SM Supermalls is in line with our company’s mission to create wonderful experiences for customers that include premium connectivity even while they are out with their family and friends,” Cu said in a statement.

GoWifiAuto SM

CONNECTIVITY AGREEMENT. (From left) SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia, SM Prime Holdings President Jeffrey Lim, SM Prime Holdings Chairman of the Executive Committee Hans T. Sy, Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu, and Philippine Global Communications, Inc. President Willy Ocier during the signing of the agreement to deploy GoWiFi Auto in SM malls.

Internet while shopping, dining

He said having GoWiFi access in all 34 SM malls gives customers a swift and dependable option when they connect to the internet while shopping and dining.

Globe GoWiFi Auto is a seamless way to connect to WiFi automatically while in a GoWiFi coverage area. Customers who avail themselves of GoWiFi Auto will be able to connect automatically to the Internet and enjoy uninterrupted browsing without ads, and without having to enter user names and passwords.

GoWiFi Auto also allows customers to connect automatically when moving to other locations within the mall and extends browsing time beyond the free daily time allotted to users.

Free GoWiFi Auto trial

A one-time free trial allows new users to access GoWiFi Auto for three days from the moment of successful activation on the GoWiFi portal. The free 3-day trial promo runs until December 31, 2017.

GoWiFi internet access can be used by Globe and TM customers as well as customers from other networks.

Both prepaid and postpaid users can use the paid premium GoWiFi service where charges can be deducted through their load and postpaid bill.

The partnership signing was witnessed by Globe Telecom executives, including Don Rae, head of the WiFi Business Group; Christopher Cheng, vice president of the WiFi Business Group; Adrian Te, director of the WiFi Business Group, and Dominador Perez, head of rollout and deployment, WiFi Business Group.

Globe GoWiFi Auto

PAID PREMIUM SERVICE. Both prepaid and postpaid users can use the paid premium GoWiFi service and charges can be deducted through their load and postpaid bill.

SM branches with GoWifi Auto

SM top executives who joined Sy included Jeffrey Lim, president of SM Prime, and Annie Garcia, President of SM Supermalls.

The 34 SM malls branches with GoWiFi Auto include: SM Southmall, SM Seaside City Cebu, SM City Cebu, SM City Consolacion, SM City Sucat, SM Center Angono, SM City Novaliches, SM Center Sangandaan, SM City Baguio, SM City Olongapo, SM City Baliwag, SM City Iloilo, SM City San Jose del Monte, SM City Bacolod, SM City Molino, SM Center Pasig, SM Megamall Fashion Hall, SM Aura Premier, SM City San Mateo, SM City Santa Mesa, SM City Cauayan, SM City Masinag, SM City Santa Rosa, SM City San Pablo, SM City Rosales, SM City Tarlac, SM Center Valenzuela, SM City Trece Martires, SM CDO Downtown Premier, SM City Cagayan de Oro, SM City Cabanatuan, SM City Calamba, SM City Puerto Princessa, and SM City San Fernando Downtown. (Press Release)

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AirAsia wins 2 awards at 2017 World Travel Awards

AirAsia has been named the World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for the 5th year in a row at the 2017 World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. AirAsia…

AirAsia has been named the World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline for the 5th year in a row at the 2017 World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final in Phu Quoc, Vietnam.

AirAsia topped the category, having received the highest votes from travel professionals and industry players from around the world, beating Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Ryanair, easyJet, Jetstar Airways, Norwegian Air, West Air, flydubai, Air Arabia, flynas, kulula, Mango and fastjet.

Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by passengers also won the inaugural World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award, ahead of the same 13 budget airlines.

The win builds on AirAsia’s success earlier this year when it secured WTA’s first-ever Asia’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award and in 2015, when it became the first ever low-cost carrier to win Asia’s Leading Cabin Crew, ahead of full-service carriers like Singapore Airlines, Korean Air and Cathay Pacific.

Digitalization journey

AirAsia Group Chief Commercial Officer Siegtraund Teh and AirAsia senior cabin crew Rosita Sulaiman accepted the awards at a gala ceremony held at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay in Vietnam.

Also present were AirAsia Berhad Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Berhad independent non-executive director Dato’ Fam Lee Ee and AirAsia’s Vietnam joint venture partner Tran Trong Kien.

AirAsia World Travel Awards

AIRASIA AWARDS. AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (center, left) and AirAsia Berhad Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun with the company’s awards.

“I am very proud to stand here today to receive our fifth WTA World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline award in as many years. I’ve always said we are the world’s true low-cost champion, and I’m thrilled to see I’m not the only one and the industry agrees with me. And we will only get better as we continue on our digitalization journey to better understand what our guests want and to make flying a richer, more enjoyable experience, as we continue to strive to provide world-class service at the lowest fares,” Fernandes said.

Best experience

“An airline is only as good as its people, and we have some of the best. Two years ago, we were named Asia’s Leading Cabin Crew by WTA, beating a field of full-service carriers. Since then, we’ve gone from strength to strength, winning the World’s Leading Inflight Service award in 2016, Asia’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew earlier this year and now, the first ever World’s Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award by WTA. This shows our unwavering commitment to excellence and, as the world’s best low-cost carrier, we promise to continue delivering to our guests on board the best experience money can’t buy,” said AirAsia Group Cabin Crew Head Suhaila Hassan said.

The World Travel Awards is one of the most prestigious, comprehensive and sought-after awards program in the global and tourism industry.

Established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across key sectors of travel, tourism and hospitality industries, the World Travel Awards brand is now recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence. (Press Release)

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HMR launches special Visa credit card in partnership with Union Bank

HMR Philippines, Inc. has tied up with Union Bank to launch a co-brand Visa credit card that offers exclusive promos, exciting rewards, and cashback deals to shoppers. What’s even sweeter?…

HMR Philippines, Inc. has tied up with Union Bank to launch a co-brand Visa credit card that offers exclusive promos, exciting rewards, and cashback deals to shoppers.

What’s even sweeter? Union Bank waives annual fees for life for approved applications submitted by January 15, 2018.

Union Bank First Vice President Ana Aboitiz Delgado said during the special Visa card launch last December 1 that HMR is a recent addition to the over 60 companies that have co-brand arrangements with the bank.

HMR Unionbank Visa card

Union Bank First Vice President Ana Aboitiz Delgado (6th from left) leads the launching of the special co-brand Visa card for HMR.

Customer loyalty

The special HMR card will allow shoppers to enjoy 0.5 percent cashback on all retail spend anywhere as well as exclusive deals and promotions at HMR Trading Haus outlets.

Delgado added that the co-brand card is aimed at helping HMR enhance customer loyalty. It is accepted anywhere in the world where Visa is honored, and every P200 retail spend is equivalent to one reward point.

HMR credit card perks

The partnership with Union Bank will allow HMR to offer more to shoppers, according to HMR Philippines, Inc. chief executive officer (CEO) Sam Powell.

Customers with the special HMR Visa card will get 5 percent off on selected HMR items.

Special perks for Union Bank credit card holders during the launch include 50 percent off on gazebo tents, coolers, and director’s chairs. In addition, a 24-piece Wilmington dinner plate set was given free to customers with purchases worth P15,000. HMR also gave away an Aptus 32” tv as raffle prize for credit card applicants last December 1.

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Cebu Link Joint Venture issued Notice of Award for Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway

The Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV) has been issued the Notice of Award for the “Design and Build” contract of the 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the much-anticipated bridge project…

The Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV) has been issued the Notice of Award for the “Design and Build” contract of the 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the much-anticipated bridge project that will connect Cebu City to the Municipality of Cordova in the island of Mactan.

CLJV is a joint venture of Spain-based Acciona Construccion S. A., and Philippine-based First Balfour Inc. and D. M. Consunji Inc., all of which have proven track records in major infrastructure projects.

Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) issued the Notice of Award to CLJV on November 23, 2017 at an agreed contract amount of P22.6 billion.

CCLEX will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main navigation span bridge, along with viaduct approach bridges, a causeway, roadway and toll facilities.

CCLEC is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the toll road arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), a publicly-listed infrastructure holding company. MPTC is the largest toll road concessionaire and operator in the Philippines that has now expanded its business in other Asean countries namely, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. The CCLEX is the first of MPTC’s envisioned toll road expansion projects in Visayas and Mindanao.

Acciona’s Ruben Camba, representing the CLJV, said: “We are delighted to be part of this landmark project. We have put together a very experienced team, and are looking forward to working closely together with the customer to deliver a new toll bridge that will benefit both local communities and the Philippines.”

“We are very confident that we can deliver a quality state-of-the-art bridge that will provide not just travel efficiency but also drive economic growth and productivity in the entire Visayas region, and improve the overall welfare of the Cebuanos,” said CCLEC President and General Manager Allan Alfon.

“We are happy to be given this opportunity to bring to Cebu and share with the Cebuanos and the people in the Visayas in general, our company’s expertise in building and operating world-class highways and bridges to create more opportunities and spur economic growth,” MPTC President Rodrigo Franco said.

The CCLEX will give Cordova direct access to Cebu City and is envisioned to decongest the traffic in the two existing bridges between Mactan and Cebu.

CCLEC will build, operate and maintain the toll bridge through a joint venture agreement with the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova Municipality.

CCLEX will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main navigation span bridge, along with viaduct approach bridges, a causeway, roadway and toll facilities. The span of the bridge allows for shipping traffic and the link is expected to serve at least 40,000 vehicles daily. It will give Cordova direct access to Cebu City and is envisioned to decongest the traffic in the two existing bridges between Mactan and Cebu.

President Rodrigo Duterte led the groundbreaking for the project in Cordova, Cebu last March 2, 2017. (Press Release)

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GCash launches Scan to Pay QR code payments in Ayala Center Cebu

You can now pay 50 stores in Ayala Center Cebu just by scanning a code via your phone using the GCash mobile app. The digital and cashless Scan To Code…

You can now pay 50 stores in Ayala Center Cebu just by scanning a code via your phone using the GCash mobile app.

The digital and cashless Scan To Code payment system was launched yesterday afternoon by Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu, who bought coffee and pastries in Abaca Baking Company by scanning a QR or quick response code near the cash register area.

Among the 50 stores that can accept payments via QR code scanning are Bo’s Coffee, Chika-an, Casa Verde, and Rose Pharmacy. By the end of the year, more than 100 stores will be able to use this payment option, the company said.

GCash scan to pay

SCAN TO PAY. Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu scans a QR code with his GCash app to pay for the coffee and pastries he bought from the Abaca Baking Company in Ayala Center Cebu.

Easy to set up

Officials said it is easy for vendors to integrate the payment system since all they need is the QR code.

“The people who have used it are amazed at the speed, amazed at the convenience of it,” Cu said in an interview during the launch. He flew into Cebu from Davao, where they also launched the system by partnering with the NCCC supermarket chain.

To pay using the system in partner stores, customers just need to open the GCash app then tap Pay QR, then choose Scan QR and then point the camera at the QR Code near the cash register then tap Pay.

“It is high time that our customers at Ayala Center Cebu experience the convenience of cashless transactions and offer scan to pay with GCash. This way, more people will have hassle-free options in making their transactions as they shop or dine at the mall,” said Ayala Center Cebu general manager Bong Dy.

Before the launch, Globe gave journalists and bloggers a preview on how to set up GCash and use the app to buy cellphone load. GCash allows its users to shop online, pay bills, and send money through the app.

GCash Scan to Pay

LAUNCHING. Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu answer questions of Cebu reporters during the launch of GCash Scan To Pay in Ayala Center Cebu.

Digital payments convenience

Cu highlighted the convenience of digital payments, saying cash “is a real burden for both the merchant and the buyer.”

“I heard a chain of 70 stores in the food business saying they accumulate 2 million pesos worth of coins before Christmas because they are afraid to run out. That’s a problem we need to solve,” he said.

Cu said he is “very confident” people will eventually adopt digital payments “because it solves a problem.”

“I personally have been using GCash for 4 years now. We started in the Globe tower. There was resistance in the beginning but then people used it and there was 99 percent satisfaction rating among employees,” he said.

Analytics for vendors

For merchants, satisfaction is even higher, said Cu.

“When merchants start the day, they just open up. There’s no need to prepare the cash register. And they get analytics, when is your heaviest transaction time? We can finetune the way we curate the vendors or the partners inside our food hall. Alam namin kung sinong malakas kung sinong mahina. Alam namin kung sinong malakas at the certain time of the day. We can do those analytics for them,” he said. “Which guy buys the most from you? Who are your repeat customers? You wanna do a campaign for them? Pwede rin. So many things we can do.”

He said digital payments create opportunities, especially for small business. “When I say small, I mean really small, kasi remember the GCash payment can be enabled for even your balut vendor, your cigarette vendor, your mais vendor. Kasi it requires no POS, just that particular QR code. That’s all you need,” Cu said.

He said the important challenge is to solve problems on cashing in. He said a key funder of GCash accounts are the more than 300,000 employees who receive their pay via the system.

GCash Scan to Pay QR Code

GCASH APP. You can Scan To Pay via the GCash mobile app.

Financial inclusion

Another key challenge is to raise awareness, he said.

“But we will hit the inflection point and it becomes the de facto standard of payment. I mean it happened in China, there was acceleration. It happened in India. Smartphones are coming with lower prices. A P3,000 gets you a decent Android now, which can make this happen,” Cu said.

He said the system is also a way to increase financial inclusion.

“As we gain records of your financial transactions, we are now able to give you a credit score. Together with your telco transactions, we can loan money in micro amounts, automatically. And say because of your transaction record you’re eligible for a loan of X pesos. You can also pay back through GCash. That way you don’t even have to enter a bank,” Cu said.

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Ashima: A simplified, flexible payroll system on cloud

Whether you are to file, track, and manage your leaves or get paid for an overtime and view your payslip, all these can now be done online and even on…

Whether you are to file, track, and manage your leaves or get paid for an overtime and view your payslip, all these can now be done online and even on mobile with the newly released payroll system called Ashima.

Ashima integrates Human Resource (HR) processes from employee onboarding to payroll management, that is government compliant, and in a user-friendly platform. It is highly flexible to suit company’s needs.

Joe Mercado, the CEO of Cebu-based IT company Konsum Technologies Inc., said that the strength of Ashima is its ability to customize. “Ashima means ‘limitless’. Everything here is parameterized. You can make employees’ passwords expire or not. Everything depends on you.”

Transparency is another thing. With Konsum’s payroll system, employees who go on field are able to clock in.

Mercado said there are three ways to logged in the app and these are via kiosk, desktop, and mobile.

“If you use mobile, it automatically takes your GPS and snaps a selfie of you. It’s transparency,” he added. “When you file an adjustment and its pending and your supervisor doesn’t act on it, his or her head will know.”

Ashima Konsum

MOBILE. Screenshots of the Ashima app.

App features

Aside from the leave and overtime application online, Ashima is also able to accommodate change schedule requests, give real-time count of available leaves, view work schedules, access payroll history and many more.

The payroll system is highly configurable, easy to setup and can even carry more than one company.

“It sits on cloud, hence no security issues. All data are encrypted so nobody can see it. The communication is also secure via ssl,” said Mercado.

He added that Ashima can handle all pay scenarios from weekly, semi-monthly or monthly.

For the side of the HR department, it becomes easier to consolidate employee data as Ashima captures information real time and goes on a cloud storage.

With all the features mentioned, Ashima is reasonably priced starting at P50 per employee per month for a minimum of 25 employees.

Ashima payroll

Konsum Technologies Inc. CEO Joe Mercado (third from left) talks about the features of their newly released payroll system Ashima.

First clients

Mercado meantime shared that it took his company almost three years to develop Ashima.

“Very late last year, we started offering the system to Cebu companies. Most of our first clients are from the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry. They are adaptive to technology. Then we had Construction companies,” he said, adding that they are now offering Ashima to Manila.

To learn more about Ashima, visit its website at www.ashima.ph or get in touch with their Sales Team at email address sales@konsum.ph, telephone number +63.32.4127888 or mobile number +63.9176258603.

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Japanese brand Miniso opens 1st store in Cebu

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

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

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

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

Miniso Cebu

ELECTRONICS like these headphones are a popular category in Miniso.

Miniso branches in Philippines

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

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

Miniso Cebu

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

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

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

Miniso Cebu

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

Wide range of products

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

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

Miniso Cebu

MINISO pens.

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

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

More photos of Miniso’s opening in Cebu

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Our stash of Miniso notebooks.

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

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

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

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

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

Jose Soberano III award

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

Top local developer

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

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

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

CLI public offering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GCash QR code

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

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

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

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

Make digital preferred choice

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

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

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

Benefits for business owners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marco Polo German Bierfest Award

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

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

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

Marco Polo Hong Kong

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

Marco Polo Bierfest

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

Marco Polo Bierfest

Marco Polo Bierfest

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

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

Marco Polo Bierfest

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

 

Marco Polo Bierfest

Pretzel

 

Marco Polo Bierfest

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

Hotel upgrades

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

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

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel_Harbour View Room

Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel_Harbour View Room.

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

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

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

Marco Polo Hong Kong

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

 

Marco Polo Hongkong

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

 

Marco Polo Hong Kong

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

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

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

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

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

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

No mismatch; role of portals

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

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

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

Property24 Cebu

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

Cebu real estate sector

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OLX, Property24 Cebu

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

Monthly traffic, sales leads

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

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

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

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

Property sellers, buyers win

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

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

Property24 Cebu.

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PayMaya, Smart accelerate rollout of QR code payments nationwide

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

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

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

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

PayMaya QR Code

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

All kinds of merchants

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

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

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

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

Existing technology, new use cases, right conditions

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

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

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

PayMaya QR Code

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

It takes a village to make ‘cashless’ work

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

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

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

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

Financial technology platforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wellington Greens

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

Zen-inspired ‘smart’ homes

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

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

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

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

Middle class target

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

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

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

Wellington Greens

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

Green living

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

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

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

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Real estate firm CEV ties up with Norkis for property projects

Two strong homegrown companies forged ties recently to undertake real estate developments in Cebu. The Cañedo Equity Ventures, Inc. (CEV) and the Norkis Group of Companies officially sealed their partnership…

Two strong homegrown companies forged ties recently to undertake real estate developments in Cebu.

The Cañedo Equity Ventures, Inc. (CEV) and the Norkis Group of Companies officially sealed their partnership only last August, and two big projects are already in the works.

These include a 10-hectare residential community targeted at the middle market bracket and a six-hectare memorial park in the northern town of Compostela, company executives said in a recent press conference.

CEV, Norkis partnership

CEV chair Filomena Cañedo and Norkis chair Dr. Norberto Quisumbing, the two pillars of the conglomerates, affixed their signatures to the partnership during a separate and much earlier signing ceremony held at the Cebu City Sports Club.

The collaboration is in line with CEV´s mission to address the housing backlog, catering in particular to the rising middle class made up of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and BPO employees and their families.

“Compostela used to be a small and quiet town. Then the Cañedos came with all their ideas and development projects,” Quisumbing was quoted as saying in a press statement released by CEV. He also reportedly expressed high confidence in the venture.

Cañedo Equity Ventures, Inc. Norkis Group

PARTNERSHIP. Cañedo Equity Ventures, Inc. chair Filomena Cañedo and Norkis Group of Companies chair Dr. Norberto Quisumbing seal the partnership between the two companies in the presence of company officials.

Compostela property developments

Land development for the residential community in Compostela will take around two years, said Rey Maribao, CEV VP Strategic Corporate Planning and Business Development, during a talk with journalists.

The project is first in line for the Philippine Paramount Property Ventures, Inc. (PPPVI) and Norkis partnership. It is scheduled to be launched by the last quarter of 2017.

Norkis, a motorcycle manufacturer and distributor with land properties throughout the country, will benefit from horizontal, vertical, and mixed use development projects through CEV´s real estate arm PPPVI.

Compostela is the best place for PPPVI to expand, according to Maribao, citing indicators showing that the third-class municipality is working to become a high growth area in Metro Cebu and a booming population growing at a yearly average of 2.27 percent.

More progressive town

Norkis will likewise partner with CEV’s memorial parks development company, Celestial Meadows and Developers Corporation.

Quisumbing said people will very soon see a progressive Compostela. Cañedo, for her part, thanked Norkis for partnering with CEV.

“We are very honored to partner with the reliable Norkis Group. We are one with you in transforming Compostela into a better community. We look forward to working with you in developing Compostela and other parts of Cebu,” she said in the same press statement.

CEV is a conglomerate in Minglanilla that oversees eight companies performing highly in the fields of real estate, parks and memorial, construction, food, training, and education.

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