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Category: Business

Cebu Landmasters CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year

Jose Soberano III, who steered his homegrown business Cebu Landmasters, Inc. to an initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year, was picked Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand…

Jose Soberano III, who steered his homegrown business Cebu Landmasters, Inc. to an initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year, was picked Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand Chamber Awards.

Soberano received the award from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) during the Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night last June 30 at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The awards night capped the Cebu Business Month 2017 celebration.

Soberano, chairman and chief executive officer of Cebu Landmasters, Inc., left Ayala Land in 2000 to build what is now the top local housing developer in Metro Cebu.

Jose Soberano III

Jose Soberano III speaks during his awarding as the Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand Chamber Awards.

Prestigious award

The Entrepreneur of the Year is the most prestigious among the five awards bestowed by the chamber. The other awards are Corporate Social Responsibility Institution, Small Business Entrepreneur, Countryside Entrepreneur, and Young Entrepreneur. The awardees are chosen by the CCCI board of trustees and past presidents.

CCCI President Melanie Ng said Soberano distinguished himself as the only Cebuano entrepreneur to bring his company public.

“Receiving this most prestigious award is thanks to my whole Cebu Landmasters team whom I consider family. They are the main reason why CLI is where it is today: number one in Cebu and soon to be number one in Visayas and Mindanao,” Soberano said in a speech during the awarding

P12 billion expansion

Soberano announced earlier this year a P12 billion expansion in the Visayas and Mindanao to address the need for housing, offices, and commercial spaces. CLI has simultaneous development projects in Cebu, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao for 2017.

Saying he has confidence in the economic prospects of the Visayas and Mindanao, Soberano urged local entrepreneurs to become champions in their turf and, at the same time, leverage opportunities beyond Cebu and the region. (Press Release)

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International hotelier Brian Connelly to lead Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Marco Polo Hotels has appointed international hotelier Brian Connelly as general manager of its deluxe urban resort hotel Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Connelly served various leadership roles spanning over 38…

Marco Polo Hotels has appointed international hotelier Brian Connelly as general manager of its deluxe urban resort hotel Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Connelly served various leadership roles spanning over 38 years with prominent hotels and resorts in Asia Pacific, Middle East and the United States, making him the ideal successor for Cebu’s hospitality landmark perched atop the hills of Cebu city.

A Bachelor of Science graduate in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Oklahoma State University, Connelly most recently held the position of general manager for Angsana Laguna Phuket & Angsana Villa Resort in Thailand. Earlier in his career, Connelly held senior management roles around the globe with Hilton Asia Pacific and Middle East, Oakwood Asia Pacific, Fairmont Hotels Middle East and Intercontinental Hotels in Thailand and China respectively.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly.

Enhancing the brand

“It is exciting to be on this beautiful island of Cebu. I am honored to have the opportunity to be General Manager of this wonderful hotel, Marco Polo Plaza. I look forward to continuing the success of the hotel and working with the team to grow and enhance the operation. Marco Polo Hotels has a fantastic reputation in the Philippines and I look forward to further enhancing our brand,” Connelly said about his new position.

Connelly’s goals will include ensuring the hotel continues to deliver profits across all market segments and build the brand’s presence in the Cebu and feeder markets.

Passionate leadership

“We are delighted to welcome Brian to our award-winning Marco Polo Hotels family. Brian’s penchant for Asian hospitality embellished with his eagle-eye vision for driving profitable business and passionate leadership will help guide the property in its continuous improvement programmes as well as strengthen its leading position in the city of Cebu,” said Philippe Caretti, Vice President for Operations of Marco Polo Hotels.

Connelly is a member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, the International Food & Wine Society, and is the founding member of Son of Bacchus. He is an oenophile who enjoys reading and working out at the gym.

More information on Marco Polo Plaza is available at mpplaza@marcopolohotels.com and marcopolohotels.com. Real time social media updates are posted on facebook.com/marcopolocebu or on Twitter at @5StarInCebu.

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Accenture launches rapid innovation center in the Philippines

Systems that detect whether mining vehicles are overloaded or its drivers exhausted to an augmented reality platform to train people how to operate machinery or decorate a house were​ put…

Systems that detect whether mining vehicles are overloaded or its drivers exhausted to an augmented reality platform to train people how to operate machinery or decorate a house were​ put on display as Accenture launched today its rapid innovation center in the Philippines.

Liquid Studio is an “open center where clients co-innovate with Accenture engineers to turn concepts into applications and solutions with speed and agility,” the company said.

While it is a venue where Accenture clients can work on innovation to stay ahead in business, it is also a place where the company’s workers can be trained or work on the latest technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality, said Ambe Tierro, senior managing director and technology lead, Accenture in the Philippines.

Accenture Liquid Studio Philippines

ACCENTURE LIQUID STUDIO. Leading the launch of the Accenture Liquid Studio in the Philippines are (from left) Ambe Tierro, senior managing director and technology lead, Accenture in the Philippines; Accenture Technology Services group chief executive Bhaskar Ghosh; and JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines.

Technology innovation hub

It will also serve as a hub in the technology ecosystem in the Philippines, she said.

JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines, said the Liquid Studio would be a place where the company can co-innovate with universities and schools as well as startups.

The center will help answer the question “how do you use technology to create business value?” said Accenture Technology Services group chief executive Bhaskar Ghosh.

During Thursday’s launch at the facility, which occupies an entire floor with about 2,000 square meters in the Uptown Place 3 at the BGC in Taguig City, Accenture showcased technologies on the connected home, artificial intelligence, internet of things, drones, analytics, robotics, and augmented reality.

Speed up development

The rapid innovation approach with agile methodologies can hasten development time from months to a matter of days or weeks, Palpallatoc said.

Among those they put on demo for journalists who covered the launch was a system that is able to scan faces and identify the person, take note of personal characteristics, and determine the mood: whether he or she is happy. It can be deployed in advertising displays that can tailor the marketing material based on data captured by the system.

That system was built in a matter of days by an Accenture team member. Also built quickly and shown on demo was an internal chatbot platform on which the company can provision systems or work on technical tasks just by messaging.

Data analytics

The company also showcased a mini-racing track with toy cars that used the Oracle cloud to display a dashboard of data analytics gathered by the toy vehicles. It shows how using analytics can help managers determine such things as vehicle fuel efficiency. They also showed a model of a system that can monitor and manage mining vehicles. It can guard against overloading and offer data to increase operational efficiency. It can even determine whether the driver is already exhausted by, among other things, monitoring for micro-sleeps via a camera.

The company also showed a crop monitoring system that used sensors, drones and thermal cameras to monitor the health of plants.

In demonstrating the use of augmented reality, the company showed how using an app, people will be able to focus the camera on a car engine and know its parts and how to do such things as replace the battery. The information is overlaid on the actual display of the vehicle. They also demonstrated how using Microsoft’s Holo Lens, people can preview how furniture, carpets and other accessories will look in the actual room.

Palpallatoc said augmented reality is a great technology to tap in training workers. He said it can provide a safer and cheaper alternative to working on an actual equipment.

Social benefits of technology

The Liquid Studio is part of a network of facilities throughout the world. This makes sure innovation is available to clients in its various facilities globally, said Ghosh.

During the launch, Ghosh highlighted the social benefits of technology by showing how an employee in Manila with hearing and speech impairment was able to work with colleagues in India by tapping AI to facilitate video communication. This, Ghosh said, will enable more people to join the workforce. He said it will enable managers to have a more diverse employee pool, including those who previously would not have been able to work.

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Filipino Homes opens new office in Mandaue City

Real estate portal Filipino Homes tied up with Skyscraper Realty to put up its eighth in Cebu and 22nd office nationwide at JCentre Mall in Mandaue City. Anthony Leuterio, president…

Real estate portal Filipino Homes tied up with Skyscraper Realty to put up its eighth in Cebu and 22nd office nationwide at JCentre Mall in Mandaue City.

Anthony Leuterio, president and CEO of multi-awarded Leuterio Realty and Brokerage, said Filipino Homes is a one-stop-shop for real estate buyers and sellers.

Although it already provides an extensive online network, Filipino Homes complements this with actual offices where prospective clients can visit and get advice from real estate agents, look at listings, or report problems.

Filipino Homes Mandaue

MANDAUE OFFICE. Skyscraper president and CEO Gaylord Tingzon (left) and Leuterio Realty and Brokerage president and CEO Anthony Leuterio during the opening the Filipino Homes office at JCentre Mall in Mandaue City.

Property portal

“Our goal is to create the biggest property portal, through our website and also in specific places where they can meet with agents and get good advice,” he added.

Skyscraper Realty decided to open a Filipino Homes in Mandaue because it is next to Cebu City in terms of economic development.

“There’s really a lot of activities happening in Mandaue City,” said Skyscraper president and CEO Gaylord Tingzon, citing the 20-hectare joint venture Mandani Bay project by Hongkong Land and Taft Properties and the Gatewalk Central partnership between AboitizLand and Ayala Land.

Leuterio-Skyscraper partnership

The partnership with Filipino Homes allows Skyscraper Realty access to a full listing of properties nationwide.

“The good thing about Filipino Homes is that we can sell properties nationwide because of our more than 20 branches throughout the country. We have more than 50,000 agents helping each other close a sale and assist clients. Even if you’re in Cebu and you have clients in Davao, someone from Filipino Homes Davao will assist them,” he added.

Real estate brokers accredited by Leuterio with 30 to 50 sales agents under them can use the Filipino Homes trademark when they open an office.

Leuterio said he calls them franchise partners and they can use the Filipino Homes logo and network.

Filipino Homes Mandaue

PHYSICAL OFFICE. Although it already provides an extensive online network, Filipino Homes complements this with actual offices where prospective clients can visit and get advice from real estate agents, look at listings, or report problems.

Filipino Homes Mandaue

Filipino Homes Mandaue is also looking for more real estate sales agents.

Tingzon said they already have more than 50 sellers, 20 of which are active, but the plan is to increase the number to 100 sales agents.

He added that they want to build a big team because there are a lot of projects in Mandaue, citing JCentre Mall’s 40-storey tower project, mix-use project of Cebu Landmasters near Oakridge Business Park, walk-up condo in AS Fortuna St. by Primary Homes, and the bestselling Midpoint Residences towers.

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Smart named Asia’s top digital services provider

“Welcome Change” also named Best Brand Campaign at Asia Communication Awards For its efforts to boost its network and make relevant digital services accessible to Filipinos, PLDT wireless unit Smart…

“Welcome Change” also named Best Brand Campaign at Asia Communication Awards

For its efforts to boost its network and make relevant digital services accessible to Filipinos, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications was named Digital Service Provider of the Year at the Asia Communication Awards (ACA) ceremony held recently in Singapore.

The ACA recognizes outstanding performance by Asian carriers, multimedia content providers, vendors, and other communication service providers. It is conducted annually by London-based industry publication Total Telecom.

Best Brand Campaign

Smart’s Welcome Change campaign – which communicated the company’s digital pivot and encouraged Filipinos to empower themselves through mobile innovations – won the Best Brand Campaign recognition.

Janet Watkin, head of the ACA panel of judges and CEO of a customer experience consultancy, said simply making it to the shortlist was already an achievement, given the challenges faced by the telecommunications industry.

“Doing business has become more digital, global, social, and mobile, and the marketplace is vaster and more crowded than it has ever been. Alongside changes in technology and competition are the changing expectations and behavior of customers. As such, making it onto the shortlist for the Asia Communication Awards is indeed a formidable achievement. To win requires that something extra special that is a cut above the rest,” she said.

Smart Asia Communication Awards

Smart, represented by PLDT SG country manager James Melon, receives the first of two awards at the ACA in Singapore.

Digital transformation

“We are honored to receive these awards from a prestigious institution that understands the rapid changes sweeping through the telco industry. This recognition further inspires us to intensify our pursuit for digital transformation and to bring the benefits of the digital life to more Filipinos,” said PLDT and Smart chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan.

Smart has a multi-pronged approach in encouraging Filipinos to welcome the digital change – it continuously improves and expands its network while making available devices, relevant content, and value-packed service offers to its subscribers.

In 2016, Smart and PLDT launched a $1-billion digital transformation program to enable their fixed and mobile networks to support the rising demand for digital services. Smart has committed to progressively deploy LTE services to 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities by end-2018. To do this, the company is combining low-band frequencies for better indoor penetration and wider coverage, with high-band frequencies for additional capacity. These frequencies include those obtained through the acquisition of the telco businesses of San Miguel Corp.

Smart has finished its LTE deployment in Boracay and Metro Davao, while efforts are ongoing in Metro Cebu and Metro Manila. Internal tests show Smart’s LTE service consistently increasing in speeds and registering improved indoor data coverage. Third-party crowd-sourced tests also show that Smart offers the fastest LTE service in the Philippines.

Because not many Filipinos can afford LTE handsets, Smart has partnered with various device manufacturers to introduce affordable LTE devices with network-compatible frequencies.

Welcome Change

To communicate its digital transformation, Smart in mid-2016 unveiled a new logo resembling the Greek letter Delta which means change. Smart also launched the Welcome Change campaign to encourage more Filipinos to discover what the digital life has to offer.

To expand its library of relevant content, the company has partnered with the likes of iflix, Cignal, ABS-CBN’s iWantTV, and Fox.

On top of these efforts, Smart continues to introduce affordable and value-packed products such as GigaSurf50 which offers 1 GB of data plus 300 MB for YouTube and other apps, as well as unlimited SMS to all networks. All this is valid for three days for only P50.

Smart LTE network

Smart is in the middle of a network transformation program which seeks to bring LTE to 95% of the country’s cities and towns by end-2018.

Digital technology for development

Smart has won several awards at the ACA, including Operator of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

Last year, Smart TechnoCart – a mobile digital laboratory donated to public schools to help develop literacy among kindergarten students – won the Social Contribution Award. This is part of Smart’s efforts to bring digital technology to underserved communities to aid their development.

Smart’s donation of digital tools and content, even in remote areas without electricity, enable more Filipinos to be part of the global knowledge economy. Depending on the terrain, the learning packages come in the form of the TechnoCart or a backpack called School-in-a-Bag. These contain devices such as tablets, laptops, projectors, pocket Wi-Fis, and solar chargers.

More importantly, the devices are preloaded with learning tools such as the Batibot mobile application co-developed by Smart. This is the first educational app for kids in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education. (Press Release) 

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Cebu business group launches CBM 2017

As a campaign to help bring businesses to the next level, Cebu Business Month (CBM) 2017 has lined up a host of activities that seeks to equip companies with the…

As a campaign to help bring businesses to the next level, Cebu Business Month (CBM) 2017 has lined up a host of activities that seeks to equip companies with the tools they need for growth.

Melanie Ng, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president, said during the CBM 2017 Grand Opening Salvo last Friday that the month-long event aims to inspire businesses to contribute to the competitive advantage of Cebu in the global economy through development in the areas of entrepreneurship, productivity, and technology.

CBM 2017, which marks the event’s 21st year, carries the theme “Step Up Cebu” for Sustainable Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Productivity for the Upliftment of Cebu.

Cebu Business Month 2017

CEBU BUSINESS MONTH. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Melanie Ng (4th from left) and Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale (6th from left) flank CCCI brand ambassador Kenneth Cobonpue as they lead CCCI officials during the opening of the annual Cebu Business Month.

Expand business, be next big thing

Charles Kenneth Co, CBM 2017 chair, said the month-long event that serves as the yearly highlight for Cebu business is ready to help entrepreneurs who want to expand their business, tourism stakeholders who are looking to entice more visitors, and startups who dream to become the next big thing.

During the event, Ng also announced the selection of Kenneth Cobonpue as CCCI brand ambassador.

The choice of Cobonpue was in line with the business group’s quest to increase awareness among members, especially millennials, of CCCI’s vision and mission and to have someone represent the best of Cebu with the rest of the world.

Homegrown but global brand

She said the world renowned designer embodies the chamber brand, one that is homegrown but global.

Also during the CBM 2017 Grand Opening Salvo last June 1, business executives unveiled the business group’s priority focus areas of tourism, entrepreneurship, and ICT-BPM.

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Smart mobile data speeds take lead in PH: JP Morgan

‘Significant momentum’ seen for Smart LTE, 3G speeds, according to JP Morgan PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications posted the highest average download speeds for both 3G and LTE, amid steadily…

‘Significant momentum’ seen for Smart LTE, 3G speeds, according to JP Morgan

PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications posted the highest average download speeds for both 3G and LTE, amid steadily improving scores through the months, the latest JP Morgan study showed.

JP Morgan’s Asia Network Quality study, which cited crowd-sourced data gathered by wireless coverage research firm OpenSignal, showed Smart LTE service leading nationwide in terms of speed, with average download speeds of 11.64 Mbps on the country level.

The May 2017 report also showed Smart leading across areas in terms of LTE service, with average download speeds of 12.52 Mbps in Metro Manila, 11.96 Mbps in the Visayas and 9.44 Mbps in South Luzon.

Significant momentum

“PLDT’s Smart has significant momentum across all circles measured. This likely implies a higher likelihood of market share gains going forward, with potentially better pricing power,” said JP Morgan in its study, which covers the months of February to April.

Smart also led in terms of 3G speeds nationwide, posting 2.29 Mbps average download speeds on a country level. Across areas, average download speeds on Smart’s 3G service were at 3.41 Mbps in Metro Manila, 1.74 Mbps in the Visayas, and 1.82 Mbps in South Luzon.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but these test results show that our network improvement program is making progress. They are a testament to Smart’s commitment to continuously contribute to improving overall speeds in the country,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.

Re-equipping cell sites

Smart is re-equipping its cell sites to use low-frequency bands such as 700 MHz and 850 MHz to provide better indoor coverage. It is also deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz to increase the cell sites’ capacity to handle more calls, texts, and ever-increasing mobile data traffic.

PLDT and Smart have committed to make LTE progressively available to 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities by the end of 2018.

“We have ongoing network improvements in Metro Manila, and we look forward to providing our subscribers there with better indoor LTE and 3G data signal, as well as better indoor 3G and 2G voice signal once these activities are done,” he said.

“With these improvements, our subscribers can live their digital lifestyles to the fullest, using a combination of LTE-ready devices, Smart LTE SIMs and Smart’s newest and fastest network, and be there like never before,” Tamayo added.

“We are asking for people’s patience and understanding as we are upgrading our network facilities. We assure you that we are taking steps to minimize the impact of these activities on our subscribers. In the end, our commitment to all our subscribers is that they will enjoy progressively better mobile data services in the next few months, particularly for those using LTE devices,” he said.

Average LTE speeds

Recent internal tests have shown improvements in speed in areas involved in the ongoing network rollout. Average LTE download speeds in northern Metro Manila, for example, are at 22.2 Mbps, while speeds are at 14.5 Mbps on average using Smart’s LTE service in southern Metro Manila. In Cebu, on the other hand, average download speeds on Smart’s LTE service are at 20.7 Mbps.

For these network improvement efforts, Smart was also recently named Digital Service Provider of the Year at the Asia Communication Awards, which recognizes outstanding performance by Asian carriers, multimedia content providers, vendors, and other communication service providers.

This comprehensive network modernization and expansion program is at the core of the PLDT group’s digital pivot. Smart’s network rollout took a big bulk of PLDT’s ramped-up capital expenditure program of P42.8 billion for 2016, which included the utilization of the new frequencies freed up with the acquisition of San Miguel Corporation’s telco assets. PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan has announced a total capital expenditure of P46 billion this year. (Press Release)

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New Nissan Cebu South dealership raises bar with global standards

Nissan Philippines opened its latest dealership Nissan Cebu South and patterns it after a global design standard to enhance the experience of Cebuano customers. The Nissan Cebu South on Highway…

Nissan Philippines opened its latest dealership Nissan Cebu South and patterns it after a global design standard to enhance the experience of Cebuano customers.

The Nissan Cebu South on Highway Linao,Talisay City is the 4th showroom in the Philippines that’s compliant with the Nissan Retail Environment Design Initiative (NREDI) 2.1. developed by Nissan Motor Co. for its global dealership network.

“In the past year, the Nissan brand has grown significantly in the region of Cebu,” said Ramesh Narasimhan, president and director of Nissan Philippines Inc.

“To continue to support this growth, we are very excited to be opening a new NREDI compliant dealership in the south, allowing us to enhance our Cebuano customers’ experience with the Nissan brand.”

NREDI 2.1, brought to Cebu with the opening of Nissan Cebu South through the Gateway Group, adds a number of stand-out features to the showroom. These include a spacious interior layout and trailblazing styling. An iconic Red Tablet showcases the exciting vehicles and technologies on display inside.

The new design was created with the customer experience in mind.

Nissan Cebu South

NISSAN DEALERSHIP OPENING. (From left) Niel Ballares – Regional Executive Officer After Sales, Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI); Francis Ang – Manager, Dealer Development, NPI; Abner Berdos – General Manager, After Sales, NPI; Roland Navarro – General Manager, Sales, NPI; Ramesh Narasimhan- President, NPI; Martin Goho – Chairman, Gateway Group; Estrella Goho – Vice-Chairman, Gateway Group; Noelito Marcos – VP and Div Head, Corp Client Segment Group, BPI; Jovi Abad – VP & Head, Visayas- Mindanao, Eastwest Bank; Rafael Dimalanta – Senior Vice-President, Maybank during the opening of the dealership.

Grand showroom

A large digital display with Nissan’s featured vehicle greets guests when they enter the Nissan Drive area.

The interior lighting perfectly highlights each display car’s craftsmanship and design, even at night, and the expansive glass make it visible even from the outside. Customers and guests can roam freely throughout the spacious grand showroom and check out the 10 different Nissan vehicles on display

Premium customer lounge

The heart of the NREDI 2.1 is the premium customer lounge that provides a relaxing and enjoyable visit to both current and new Nissan customers.

It provides guests a variety of seating options when it comes to engaging with an advisor, from gallery benches, café tables, high bars and club chairs to sofas and semi-private worktables. The lounge is also carpeted, furnished with cozy seats and a dropped timber ceiling with lights. Refreshments are also available at the Refuel Bar, adding to the environment’s premium feel.

Consultation spaces

The consultation area, with its semi-private offices separated by glass walls, are specially designed for customer and advisor engagement. The space offers customers privacy but promotes brand transparency at the same time.

Customers can now have an open experience with dealership advisors, thanks to the roomy new interiors and comfortable seats and tables.

Nissan Cebu South

PARTNERSHIP. Nissan Cebu South is a partnership between Nissan Philippines and the Gateway Group. It is located on the highway in Linao, Talisay City.

Retail gallery

A new addition to the showroom is the parts and accessories boutique. It is equipped with moveable wall displays and gallery fixtures so that customers can decide on the appropriate features and accessories for their vehicle. Here, guests are encouraged to browse and shop while waiting for their vehicle at the service bay.

Service car reception

The service car reception area is equipped with service write-up pods to enable one-on-one interactions between customers and their advisors. The presence of digital screens in the area allows service customers to see the menu of available services and promotions, promoting even more transparency with customers.

Premier delivery

The premier delivery area creates a truly celebratory experience for customers. During the new vehicle delivery process, the car is unveiled with a red curtain and focal halo lighting to excite and delight the customer. The presence of mirrored glass doors enables customers to see themselves with their new cars.

After reviewing the vehicle’s specifications, the advisor and customer may opt to proceed to the high bar so that the other guests can share in the celebration. (Press Release)

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Smart connects Filipinos worldwide through partnership with Orange

PLDT and its wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications, Inc. now make international calls more accessible to overseas Filipinos who want to get in touch with their families in the Philippines thanks…

PLDT and its wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications, Inc. now make international calls more accessible to overseas Filipinos who want to get in touch with their families in the Philippines thanks to a partnership entered with French telecommunications giant Orange.

Through Libon, an app developed by Orange, overseas Filipinos can use their smartphones to make high-quality phone calls to their loved ones on their Smart and Sun mobile numbers or through their PLDT landlines, at affordable rates.

This new service is expected to benefit more than 10 million Filipinos abroad, most of whom are in the US and in Middle Eastern countries.

“This partnership is a testament to our commitment of providing Filipinos overseas with more solutions to connect to the country’s largest subscriber base. With this, they can be assured of quality voice connections, which allow them to constantly communicate with their loved ones on Smart, Sun, TNT and PLDT with Libon packages starting at USD1.99,” said Kat Luna-Abelarde, Head of the International & Carrier Business.

From left: Julien Hodara (SVP – Strategy and International Business, Libon – Orange), Katrina L. Abelarde (FVP and Group Head – International and Carrier Business), Pierre-Louis De Guillebon (Managing Director – Orange International Carriers) and Evarcito Z. Ocampo (General Manager – PLDT US)

“We assure our customers that they will be able to call their families back here in the Philippines with the best quality at the best price,” said Julien Hodara, Project Director for Strategy and International Business at Orange.

Under the PLDT, Smart and Sun partnership with the Libon App, the users can choose from four special packages: the $1.99 package which gives 30 minutes of calls to PLDT, Smart and Sun; the $4.99 package with 120 minutes; the $9.99 package with 300 minutes; and the 14.99 package with 600 minutes.

“We continue to look for the best ways to serve our fixed and mobile subscribers, both here and abroad,” said Eric R. Alberto, PLDT Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer.  “As the market evolves so does the PLDT Group, we are able to offer our subscribers the best of both worlds – the affordability of OTT voice services using smart devices, and the unrivaled voice quality and reach of our nationwidest fixed and wireless networks.” (Press release)

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Change the way you watch TV with new streaming devices for your home

Globe At Home’s portfolio of streaming devices now include the Google Chromecast, Apple TV and the latest AndroidTV. Exclusively available for Globe at Home customers, the new AndroidTV lets customers…

Globe At Home’s portfolio of streaming devices now include the Google Chromecast, Apple TV and the latest AndroidTV.

Exclusively available for Globe at Home customers, the new AndroidTV lets customers enjoy their favorite content on a bigger screen, right in the comfort of their homes. It can be bundled with Globe At Home plans 1299 and up, for only an additional P200 per month for 24 months. This comes with six months access to Netflix, HOOQ and NBA League Pass. The AndroidTV is also sold separately in Globe Stores.

Globe video streaming

Apart from watching movies and TV shows, customers can also play games, listen to music, and surf the web. The Android TV can also make recommendations to customers on what to enjoy based on their past activities.

For more information on Globe At Home, call the hotline at 730-1010, visit any Globe store or at https://shop.globe.com.ph/streaming-device. To check the availability of Globe At Home in your area just visit https://checkavailability.globe.com.ph/. (Press release)

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Want to study in Australia, Canada, New Zealand? Know how in free event by IDP Education

Get to know Australia, Canada and New Zealand as study destinations. IDP Education will hold “Discover Australia, Canada and New Zealand,” a free admission study-abroad session at A Space, Crossroads…

Get to know Australia, Canada and New Zealand as study destinations. IDP Education will hold “Discover Australia, Canada and New Zealand,” a free admission study-abroad session at A Space, Crossroads on Gov. M. Cuenco Ave., Banilad, Cebu City from 1 pm to 5 pm on Saturday, May 27.

Discover Australia, Canada and New Zealand brings a fresh new perspective to the prospect of studying abroad.

The Discover series includes virtual tours of the country destinations and talks by students who have completed their programs. Through the experience-sharing sessions, students are offered in-depth information on the lifestyle on- and off-campus.

Admissions, visa application process

Participants will also benefit from the other elements of the event, namely, talks by IDP Education’s Qualified Education Agent Counsellors (QEACs) on the admissions and visa application processes and IDP’s student services.

There will also be games and free-flowing discussions.

Students may avail themselves of one-on-one counselling services from the QEACs. The QEACs are capable of guiding students through the process of choosing the best country and city destination, school, program and provide information on living arrangements. Through the IDP Student Services, the QEACs dispense expert advice and assistance in student placement free of charge.

Free assessments

Students may bring their transcripts of records, passports and IELTS results, if available, for free assessments.

IDP Education is an ASX listed company that is 50% owned by 38 Australian universities. It has a network of 89 offices in 30 countries offering student placement and English language testing services. Established by Australian universities in 1969, IDP now counts over 45 years of experience in international education. Through its subsidiary IELTS Australia Pty Ltd, IDP is a partner in IELTS, the world’s leading English language proficiency test, delivered at over 450 test locations in 121 countries.

IDP Philippines has been part of IDP Education since 1985. Aside from administering the IELTS, IDP offers free student placement services though partnering with universities and colleges across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Students may call IDP Education Cebu Office at 236 2758 for reservations and more information on Discover Australia, Canada and New Zealand. One may also visit www.idp.com/philippines/studyabroad or check out IELTS IDP Education on Facebook for more information. (Press release)

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AI to empower workers but employees need to enhance skills to meet new challenges: Accenture

Tapping artificial intelligence or AI frees up employees from repetitive tasks to focus on higher value work, officials of Accenture said. “The intent is to amplify, enable, and empower people…

Tapping artificial intelligence or AI frees up employees from repetitive tasks to focus on higher value work, officials of Accenture said.

“The intent is to amplify, enable, and empower people to do more,” said JP Palpallatoc, Accenture managing director and digital lead in the Philippines. “That’s the intent of AI. If we are able to use it properly, we can achieve that.”

Palpallatoc said the tasks that AI can best replace are what the industry dub as the 3 Ds. “Dirty, dull, and dangerous jobs. those are things that are ripe to be replaced by AI,” Palpallatoc said in an interview during the recent Transformation Summit in Cebu.

Accenture Cebu Transformation Summit

AI IS THE NEW UI. Palpallatoc, Accenture managing director and digital lead in the Philippines, discusses key technology trends during the Transformation Summit in Cebu.

Ride the tech wave

“Would it have a negative impact? In our experience in Accenture, we have been able to ride the wave rather than be sunk by it by actively multi-skilling our people,” said Accenture managing director Arvin Yason.

Palpallatoc and Yason gave talks during the Transformation Summit held at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Palpallatoc talked about key technology trends uncovered in a global survey of business and information technology executives by Accenture.

Among the key trends spotted in the study is that of AI being the new user interface or UI.

“AI is becoming more mature. It is simplifying and making all interactions smarter. In the future, the AI will become a spokesperson for a company or the brand,” said Palpallatoc.

Accenture Cebu Transformation Summit

AI CAPABILITIES. Accenture managing director Arvin Yason talks about the capabilities of AI and such fields as video analytics.

Computer vision

Yason expanded on AI and discussed what he described as “one of the more under-appreciated technologies in the past year,” which is computer vision.

“Everything from being able to remember where you left your phone or being able to track who the people are on the production floor. These will be realized over the next few years because of the rapidly evolving computer vision technologies,” he said. During his talk, he showed how security cameras paired with AI can recognize fights and other security issues as well as traffic incidents.

Yason said there are many things AI can do on top of serving as virtual assistants. “Our financial clients use AI to do fraud detection. Whether they are cheating on an insurance form or claim or something else. We also use AI in conjunction with medical specialists to either provide better diagnosis or to even augment certain procedures.”

JP Palpallatoc Arvin Yason Accenture

AI AND KEY TRENDS. Accenture managing directors Arvin Yason (left) and JP Palpallatoc discuss AI and technology trends in a press conference held on the sidelines of the Transformation Summit in Cebu.

More jobs but higher skills needed

When asked whether AI adoption will have a negative impact on employment, Palpallatoc said there is likely to be, instead, a “net addition” in the number of jobs in the country.

“There is a reduction from the low skill but there is also an increase in the mid and the high. And I think the important thing here is for us to get that particular opportunity. We need to re-skill, multi-skill and up-skill our people so that we are able to do the high-level skilled work,” he said.

“In Accenture, we have been actively cross training and upskilling our people from the older technologies and the more manual processes to the relevant technologies that will be used to build AI and other new IT skills,” Yason said.

To those who fear AI, Palpallatoc said, “The power is with us. For the AI to act, they need to be trained, they need to be taught, they need to be provided data, they need to be guided as well.”

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Cebu City gets P9.6 billion monthly from IT/BPM; P20 billion monthly by 2019

The IT and BPM industry brings in P9.6 billion in new money to Cebu City every month. By the end of 2019, that figure will balloon to P20 billion monthly,…

The IT and BPM industry brings in P9.6 billion in new money to Cebu City every month. By the end of 2019, that figure will balloon to P20 billion monthly, even by low estimates, said Cebu City consultant Joel Mari Yu.

Yu gave an overview of IT/BPM in Cebu City in yesterday’s Transformation Summit at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Yu led the now defunct Cebu Investment Promotions Center, which has been credited with bringing in investments to the city.

“The numbers I’m showing you are modest assumptions based on first class data gathered from primary sources,” Yu prefaced his presentation.

Joel Mari Yu IT/BPM Cebu City

WHAT WE NEED TO DO. By dealing with aggravating circumstances for investors in Cebu, the target of 200,000 employees in the IT/BPM industry by 2019 can be easily achieved, said Cebu City consultant Joel Mari Yu.

Direct, indirect employment

The average salary of an IT employee in Cebu City is P30,000 a month, growing at 10% a year. From just 1 company in 2004, there are now 456 IT/BPM companies in Cebu City.

Assuming a 1:1 ratio between salaries and wages and operating expense, P7.6 billion in new money flows into Cebu monthly, Yu said. This is based on an employee count of 130,260 in 2016. The figure is also limited to Cebu City and does not take into account locations like Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City.

With a low estimate of P10,000 monthly rate for indirect employment, Cebu City gets P2 billion from indirect employment.

“Combine the 2, it’s 9.6 billion that flows into Cebu every month. Minimum. That’s on the assumption of 130,000 workers. There could be much more,” he said.

By targeting 200,000 employees in 2019, Cebu City will be getting P20 billion monthly.

Cebu IT/BPM growth

New money coming in

“This is new money coming in monthly,” Yu said. “When Shoemart makes money, they sell to Juan to pay Pedro. It’s recirculated money. But when you bring in a foreign investor, the money is remitted from abroad every month. Every single month they remit money to pay for their expenses, for their operations in this country.”

Today, Yu said, Cebu City gets P464 million in monthly rental income from IT/BPM companies. By 2019, that will grow to at least P700 million monthly.

Hitting the target of 200,000 IT/BPM employees in Cebu City by end of 2019 is achievable, Yu said. It will not even entail promotions and marketing.

Fix aggravating circumstances

“It is a matter of Cebu City dealing with aggravating circumstances facing the IT/BPM industry,” Yu said.

These key problems are transportation and traffic, security and safety, housing, and the need for a one-stop shop for processing employment papers. By dealing with these problems, Cebu City will get even more investments and locators.

“I do not like the former mayor because he was one of the bigger reasons why the CIPC closed shop,” Yu said to end his talk. “But he said something and I would like to end by quoting him. Can we do this? Together we can make it happen.”

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CEDFIT expands mandate, transforms into Cebu IT/BPM industry association

Seeing the need for an organization that will look after the interest of the information technology and business process management sector in Cebu, the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information…

Seeing the need for an organization that will look after the interest of the information technology and business process management sector in Cebu, the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (CEDFIT) has transformed itself into the Cebu IT/BPM Organization (CIB.O).

CIB.O is a full industry association that will look after the interest of the sector, expanding from CEDFIT’s role of bridging the talent gap between industry and academe and taking on more roles like promotions and expanding collaboration.

CEDFIT was organized after the Cebu is IT Summit in 2001, when the business community and government agreed to work together to make Cebu a preferred IT destination. At that time, the biggest concern raised by industry was the gap in skills of graduates produced by schools in Cebu.

CEDFIT CIB.O

TRANSFORMATION SUMMIT. Officials raise a toast to mark the transformation of CEDFIT into the Cebu IT/BPM Organization or CIB.O during the Transformation Summit in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Leading the ceremony is CIB.O chairman Francis Monera.

Bridge academe-industry gap

CEDFIT has been able to partly bridge that gap with its industry programs, officials said. Cebu has a better employability grade, even compared with the National Capital Region. Other places in the country have an employability rate of 6% to 7%. Graduates in Cebu, on the other hand, have a 28% to 29% employability rating.

“CIB.O’s vision is to make Cebu as the preferred IT/BPM location for higher value IT and IT-enabled services,” said CIB.O chairman Francis Monera. “The organization’s mission is to develop and promote the strengths of Cebu and sustain the growth of its IT/BPM industry through driving collaboration, innovation, and excellence.”

Monera said CEDFIT had a lot of successful programs and worked on initiatives apart from talent development but “these were all ad hoc.” CIB.O will formalize and expand that, he said in a press conference held at the sidelines of the Transformation Summit at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Higher value IT services

CIB.O will complement the local industry by continuing to provide human resource development and taking on marketing and infrastructure promotion to make Cebu as preferred IT destination for higher value services. CIB.O has 128 members that comprise IT/BPM companies, academe, support groups, government agencies, and civil organizations.

Digital Transformation Summit chairman Jun Sa-a said a key initial advocacy of CIB.O would be security and data privacy, especially with the Data Privacy Law going into full effect this year.

Sustain industry growth

“It is high time that Cebu has a fulltime industry association after growing so big. We can now become more focused on the needs of our main IT/BPM players and help sustain the industry’s growth,” Sa-a said.

Monera said IT is the main driver behind Cebu’s robust growth. This can be seen with the growth from 2009 to 2014 exceeding the growth in the 20-year period before that.

Cebu now has 300 IT/BPM companies with 140,000 employees. CIB.O said Cebu is “aiming to capture higher value services such IT outsourcing, health information management, shared services, engineering services, banking and financial services, software development, research and development, among others.”

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MPTC appoints Allan Alfon CCLEC president and general manager

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) has announced the appointment of Allan G. Alfon as president and general manager of the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEC) effective May 2. CCLEC…

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) has announced the appointment of Allan G. Alfon as president and general manager of the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEC) effective May 2.

CCLEC is MPTC’s subsidiary that will be responsible for overseeing the construction, operation and maintenance of the P27.9 billion Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX).

Alfon is a Cebuano with more than 25 years of experience in construction and engineering management, business development, commercial leasing and property management, and network development/franchise management across major Philippine companies involved in real estate and property development, food franchising and oil and engineering.

Visayas, Mindanao infra projects

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome Allan G. Alfon to the Tollways group. Allan shall take the lead in pushing the completion and growing the pipeline of our infrastructure projects in the Visayas and Mindanao Regions. He shall also be a member of our senior Management Committee,” said MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo E. Franco.

Cebu Cordova Link Expressway

Groundbreaking of the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway.

Alfon is a licensed civil engineer from the University of San Carlos and has completed the management development program at the Asian Institute of Management.

“I am excited to lead the implementation of the CCLEX project and help realize the vision of the Metro Pacific tollways group. Together with my Cebu-based team, I look forward to working hand in hand with our partners, the Cebu City and Cordova LGUs in ensuring the safe and quality construction, operation, and maintenance ofthe CCLEX. As a Cebuano, I am personally committed to the success of this project knowing the economic and social benefits that it will generate for the people of Cebu and the Visayas region,” Alfon said.

Cebu team

Joining Alfon’s core team at CCLEC are experienced Cebu-based professionals including project manager Engr. Herbert Laboy, Atty. Rosemarie Versoza, Jasmin Suma-oy and Engr. Roman Ranises.

President Rodrigo Duterte led the CCLEX Groundbreaking Ceremonies last March 2. Joining the President were Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Cordova Mayor Therese Sitoy-Cho, cabinet officials and MPTC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Spanning about 8.5 kilometers, the CCLEX is a combined causeway and bridge toll facility between Mactan island and Cebu City initiated by MPTC together with the local government of Cebu City and Cordova. Upon its completion, the project is envisioned to ease traffic congestion in metropolitan Cebu and eventually spark economic growth and productivity not only in Cebu Province but also in the Central Visayas Region. (Press Release)

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BAP expresses full support for new BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr.

The following is an official statement released by the Bankers Association of the Philippines: The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) congratulates Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. for his appointment…

The following is an official statement released by the Bankers Association of the Philippines:

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) congratulates Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. for his appointment as the new Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). We are confident that his 35 years of experience will sustain the implementation of sound macroeconomic policies supporting economic growth.

The association welcomes this new chapter of the BSP and Deputy Governor Espenilla has the full support of the BAP. We will remain a partner of the BSP to ensure implementation of his policy.

We are looking forward to the rest of 2017 and the following years to come with our new BSP governor. The universal and commercial banks are confident that the Philippines will continue to remain as one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.

We would also like to thank Governor Tetangco for his stewardship and many years of strong leadership which help in bringing confidence to the financial system and reliability to the Philippine economy.

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Security Bank, MUFG launch Interbank Fund Management Service

Security Bank Corporation (SBC) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) of Japan jointly announced the launch of the Interbank Fund Management Service (IBFM). A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between…

Security Bank Corporation (SBC) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) of Japan jointly announced the launch of the Interbank Fund Management Service (IBFM). A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between SBC and MUFG’s banking entity, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.

IBFM is a special correspondent banking arrangement where customers from the two banks can enjoy respective services without having to worry about the remittance costs and numerous transfer instructions. The automated IBFM service enables customers to do online collection and disbursement arrangements and instructions directly with SBC.

MUFG will take care of funding and moving excess and deficit funds for those collections and disbursements, free of remittance costs. Customers will know their end-of-day balances by 5:30 PM.

Security Bank Corporation Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

AGREEMENT. Present during the Memorandum of Agreement signing ceremony were the working teams from both banks headed by Security Bank officers: President & CEO Alfonso Salcedo, Jr. (seated, third from left) and EVP & Wholesale Banking Segment Head Eduardo Olbes (seated, fourth from left) along with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ officers: Manila Branch’s General Manager Tatsuto Ishida (seated, second from left) and Deputy General Manager Nobuyuki Hokimoto (seated, first from left).

Tremendous flexibility

The service is backed by the concept of target balance sweeping, done automatically between the two banks without additional remittance fees to the customer. It eliminates the burden of numerous funds checking intraday.

This facility gives tremendous flexibility to MUFG customers to avail of the premium Cash Management Systems (CMS) services of SBC like 24×7 PAS 5 (Real time Customs Duties Payments) and Online Collection facility called BIPPS (Billing Invoice Presentment and Payment System), while maintaining their global core funds with MUFG.

The launch of IBFM comes soon after the first anniversary of the strategic partnership between MUFG and SBC, in which Japan’s largest bank invested 20% in one of Philippines largest domestic banks and a leader in digital CMS. The two have since collaborated on a series of initiatives, such as a successful business matching session in Manila, where both banks introduced their corporate clients to each other. (Press Release)

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Landers Superstore opens in Cebu today

Landers Superstore Cebu, located in 23 Minore Park on Cardinal Rosales Avenue corner Pope John Paul II Avenue, offers a wide selection of goods and exclusive perks for members. The…

Landers Superstore Cebu, located in 23 Minore Park on Cardinal Rosales Avenue corner Pope John Paul II Avenue, offers a wide selection of goods and exclusive perks for members.

The Cebu branch is the first outside Metro Manila. It spans 8,000 square meters of blissful shopping experience, tasting dining choices that include the Doppio cafe, Dough & Co. bakery, and Landers Special, a diner named after a train station.

Landers Superstore Cebu

Landers Superstore Cebu opens today.

The barbershop Federal Barbers gives out free haircuts to Landers Superstore Cebu members, who also get fuel discounts of P2 off per liter for gasoline and P1.50 off per liter for diesel. Landers is able to offer fuel discounts through a partnership with Caltex.

Facebook Live tour of Landers Superstore Cebu

A promo that adds either another premium or an extension membership for every single premium membership registration at only P800 is ongoing up to June 30, 2017. Those interested need to sign up personally at the store to avail of the special offers.

Like Landers Superstore Cebu @LandersSuperstoreCebu on Facebook and @landersph on Instagram.

More Photos

Landers Superstore Cebu

Landers Superstore Cebu is the first outside Manila.

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

With several counters, we didn’t have to wait for long in line during the VIP preview.

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

MEMBERSHIP PROMO. A promo that adds either another premium or an extension membership for every single premium membership registration at only P800 is ongoing up to June 30, 2017.

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu

 

Landers Superstore Cebu free haircut

FREE HAIRCUT. The barbershop Federal Barbers gives out free haircuts to Landers Superstore Cebu members, who also get fuel discounts of P2 off per liter for gasoline and P1.50 off per liter for diesel.

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AboitizLand unveils Foressa Mountain Town project in Balamban

The so-called “urban jungle” life that Cebuanos are experiencing today gave birth to the concept of Foressa, the first mountain town project of AboitizLand in Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu. “The mother’s…

The so-called “urban jungle” life that Cebuanos are experiencing today gave birth to the concept of Foressa, the first mountain town project of AboitizLand in Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu.

“The mother’s womb is our first home. We grow up and discovered the outdoors. Then everything suddenly became tighter and most of us are trapped in cubicles, stuck in traffic. We all yearn to escape. And so why settle for a five-star living when you can have five million stars living? This project is beyond words,” said John Amon, VP for Innovations Group of AboitizLand, when he shared the Foressa story during its launch in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu on April 27.

Foressa Launch

FORESSA LAUNCH. AboitizLand VP for Innovations Group John Amon presents the Foressa story during its launch at Marco Polo Plaza last April 27, 2017.

Foressa Mountain Town is a 300-hectare community. Its development will come in four phases, with the first phase set to start in the last quarter of this year. There will be an initial 114 lots available for buyers with lot cuts ranging from 300 square meters to a maximum of 690 square meters and turnover target is 2020.

Second home

AboitizLand CEO Andoni Aboitiz said Foressa was designed as a second home or vacation residence where families can create lasting memories together.

He added they do not want to compete with the beach concept and instead felt that the Cebuanos are ready for the mountain concept.

Asked for some indicators that Cebuanos are ready to get a second home, Aboitiz cited the demand for condominiums that has been going strong for many years.

“A lot of people, we believe, have already fulfilled their primary residence. Cebu’s economy is also very strong especially with the new airport. There are a lot of beachfront and we felt the people need something else,” he said.

Foressa aims to bring the great outdoors closer to family homes. The community will offer activities like hiking, biking, spelunking, camping, and trail riding, among others.

AboitizLand Foressa Mountain Town.

TRANSFORMED. The Grand Balcony of Marco Polo Plaza was turned into great outdoors during the launch of AboitizLand’s Foressa Mountain Town.

Biggest project

Cebu’s homegrown real estate developer AboitizLand is geared towards national expansion with its first resort residential community in Luzon, the Seafront Residences located in San Juan, Batangas that ws launched also this year.

Aboitiz, however, said they will never forget Cebu. Foressa is the biggest project of AboitizLand to date.

“This (Foressa) is a multi-year project,” he said. Aside from building houses, Foressa will have commercial spaces, too.

Low-impact development

Foressa is a low-impact development. “We will follow natural contours. All will be natural, organic and nothing artificial. Even the house designs are colonial hilltop houses,” said Amon.

This was echoed by Aboitiz as he described Foressa as the first of its kind in Cebu for it ensures the property’s natural assets are preserved and left for future generations to enjoy.

Foressa Mountain Town Launch

LAUNCHING. (From left) AboitizLand’s VP for Innovations Group John Amon, CEO Andoni Aboitiz, and President and COO Patrick Reyes. The photo was taken during the launch of Foressa Mountain Town in Marco Polo Plaza last April 27, 2017.

Nature itself is the amenity in Foressa. “Imagine enjoying the grass, sky, a lot of open spaces for camping,” Amon said.

He ended his Foressa story during the launch with these beautiful words. “In Foressa, we say…Lose your worries to the stars, find yourself in Foressa. Lose your boredom to the trails, find yourself in Foressa. Lose your fears to the woods, find yourself in Foressa. Get lost in your own backyard, find yourself in Foressa.”

At Thursday’s launch, some Cebuanos made reservations and heeded the invitation to find themselves in Foressa.

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PLDT taps Uber to transport employees

PLDT is going digital in its fleet management by tapping ridesharing company Uber to transport employees. Under Uber for Business, sales personnel of PLDT and its subsidiaries Smart Communications and…

PLDT is going digital in its fleet management by tapping ridesharing company Uber to transport employees.

Under Uber for Business, sales personnel of PLDT and its subsidiaries Smart Communications and Voyager Innovations Inc. are given an Uber for Business account that is linked to a central payment account where fares are automatically charged. This means the employees do not need to shell out personal money and ask for reimbursement later on, the company said.

“Through this, the PLDT group takes its digital pivot further by becoming the country’s first and biggest conglomerate to use digital solutions to augment its fleet management,” said Eric R. Alberto, PLDT Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer.

Paperless transactions, analytics

“Through progressive and digital fleet management, we enable our employees to really focus only on delivering awesome customer experiences when they go about their day-to-day duties, without worrying about transportation and parking issues, this via paperless transactions and analytics,” he added.

In this partnership, the PLDT group can also access a dashboard which indicates commonly used delivery routes, thereby supplying data that can help in maximizing these trips.

“Apart from efficiency, this can also translate to savings for the company, because instead of buying additional vehicles and spending for their fuel, maintenance, insurance and parking fees, we are simply outsourcing transportation services whenever the need arises,” Alberto said.

Save costs

“Uber is excited to offer solutions to companies like the PLDT group and allow us to work together not only to solve traffic, but also to save on costs of buying brand new cars. By using technologies like Uber for Business, companies are able to unlock new ways to meet employee transportation needs whenever they want, at the push of a button. We are helping shape the future of travel and simplify processes,” said Uber Philippines General Manager Laurence Cua.

Uber for Business is currently on a pilot test-run among PLDT, Smart and Voyager employees, and will later be rolled out to a larger base in the future.

In addition to cost savings, the partnership also aims to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and ease traffic congestion by facilitating carpooling among employees.

Earlier this year, uberHOP rides for employees during morning and afternoon rush hours were launched, with designated convergence points in Quezon City and Parañaque, which had been pre-identified through a survey. Each uberHOP ride can accommodate up to 6 passengers.  (Press Release)

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