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Category: Feature

Ford Philippines trains Cebu drivers on safe, smart driving

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

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

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

Ford Philippines driving skills for life

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

Philippine situation

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

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

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

Ford Philippines Driving Skills For Life

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

Dangers of distracted driving

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

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

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

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

Ford Philippines

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

2017 program targets

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

The program is also expanding to more areas outside Manila.

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

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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 company builds platform for emergency response, management

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

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

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

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

Response coordination

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

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

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

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

Guardian Cloyd Bere Dedicatoria

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

Emergency response, management

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

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

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

Report incidents

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

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

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

Strict vetting of volunteers

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

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

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

Deployment for LGUs

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

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

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

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

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

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Waterfront hotels in Cebu highlight modern Cebuano flavors in food fest

Ordinary bread, the common danggit, and dried green mango become the creme de la creme of appetizers under the expert hands of celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion in a food feast…

Ordinary bread, the common danggit, and dried green mango become the creme de la creme of appetizers under the expert hands of celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion in a food feast featuring the Flavors of Cebu at the Waterfront hotels in Cebu and Mactan.

The Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino and Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino Mactan have extended the culinary celebration of “Modern Filipino Taste” at the two UNO branches up to November, adding more Cebuano choices in the wide selection of Pinoy dishes available at the buffet.

Watrfront Flavors of Cebu

APPETIZER. Chef Tristan Encarnacion prepares an appetizer of danggit atop crispy bread and topped with diced green mangoes and tomato sorbet.

Chef Tristan revealed during the media launch of Flavors of Cebu that the bread, the base of his starter concoction, can be easily sliced and rolled thin if it is chilled first.

His newest appetizer creation involves putting ground danggit atop the crispy bread and topping it with diced green mangoes and tomato sorbet.

Waterfront Flavors of Cebu

Chef Tristan presents the new appetizer he whipped up from danggit and bread.

Cebuano food flavors

Guests during the launch also saw Chef Tristan in action as he hatched up the favorite dessert of Waterfront Cebu City General Manager Anders Hallden.

Vanilla ice cream got wok-fried and rum-glazed. A topping of cashew nuts and caramel syrup finished off the delectable treat.

Waterfront Flavors of Cebu

WOK-fried and rum-glazed vanilla ice cream with a topping of cashew nuts and caramel syrup.

Mr. Hallden said they’ve added to the UNO buffet food creations of Chef Tristan that highlight Cebuano flavors given a new delicious spin.

Pinoy culinary treats

On top of these dishes, both UNO branches in the Waterfront hotels in Cebu City and Mactan continue to serve the menu of traditional Filipino treats injected with mouth-watering twists by culinary world power couple Chef Roland and Chef Jackie Laudico.

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Paella.

Diners get to enjoy such culinary treats as the pinahungawang isda sa mangga, lechon baka sa kalabasa at mangga, ampalaya na may itlog, des pancit toh, paella one and two, bacon bagnet, and kinilaw.

Buffet rate is P898 per person and the Waterfront hotel in Cebu City has an ongoing promo where 15 guests in a group pay only for the price of 10.

More photos of the event

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Different kinds of dried fish and squid.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Pinahungawang isda sa mangga and lechon baka.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Bacon bagnet

 

Sisig.

 

Different kinds of sauces.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu.

More appetizers.

 

Waterfront Cebu Favors of Cebu.

Ensaladang talong.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu.

Different types of cheese and nuts.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Local desserts.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

More desserts.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Mousse

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Appetizer with mangga and cheese.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Waterfront Cebu City General Manager Anders Hallden and chef Tristan Encarnacion

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Chef Tristant and Waterfront Cebu City staff with bloggers and writers who attended the event.

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Casa de Cacao offers tablea tales, chocolate indulgence

A short lesson on the cacao plant that turns into a decadent feast, Raquel Choa’s The Chocolate Journey at the home she calls Casa de Cacao is an experience that…

A short lesson on the cacao plant that turns into a decadent feast, Raquel Choa’s The Chocolate Journey at the home she calls Casa de Cacao is an experience that is not to be missed.

Imagine an afternoon of sikwate (chocolate drink) in any flavor you can think of: sweet, dark, spicy, flavored with hibiscus, jasmine, or mint.

Mix and match your warm cup with variety of chocolate-based goodies: cookies, crispies, brownies, cakes.

Settle down as the woman behind Ralfe Gourmet and The Chocolate Chamber (TCC) tells you the bittersweet story behind her love affair with chocolate and the need to recreate Maria Cacao’s palace in her Cebu residence.

Raquel Choa Casa de Cacao

SIKWATE. Raquel Choa prepares sikwate, a traditional chocolate drink, using a batirol inside Casa de Cacao, her recreation of the legendary Maria Cacao’s palace in the mountain.

Chocolate journey

This particular culinary indulgence, Ralfe Gourmet marketing manager Edu Pantino said, starts fittingly enough with the American evergreen tree that bears the beans from which chocolate is made.

“The Chocolate Journey of a thousand miles begins with one cacao step,” he cited, in reference to the intricate chocolate-making process and Choa’s journey as the woman behind the artisanal cacao-based food and products that are marketed under the Ralfe Gourmet brand.

Our welcome drink was sikwate with hibiscus.

He shared how the cacao plant grows large fruit pods from tiny flowers, what conditions allow it to flourish, and the process the beans go through – fermentation to roasting – before these are finely pounded and formed into the bitter chocolate rounds we call tablea.

Choa, aided by her kids and long-time staff, shows how they make tablea the old-fashioned way at Casa de Cacao. She then uses the newly-formed chocolate rounds to make Cebu’s famous sikwate using the wooden beater called batirol.

Cacao beans on different stages of fermentation in preparation for roasting.

Sikwate flavors

My favorite was the spicy sikwate which she made by grinding pieces of chili on a small platter, adding atsuete as flavor enhancer, and straining the mix into a jug of chocolate concoction simmering over a hot stove.

We tried a variety of flavors: sikwate with hibiscus, with mint, with jasmine.

Roasting of the beans.

The hot sikwate pairs perfectly with Choa’s cake creations baked without milk, eggs, and water: the torta de cerveza uses cerveza negra while torta de Francisco (hatched in anticipation of the visit of Pope Francis) is made with olive oil and wine.

When I thought I couldn’t take another bite, out came the choco ryza (chocolate crispies), cookies, and brownies courtesy of Choa’s kids and they were just too scrumptious to pass up.

Raquel Choa

Raquel Choa tells the story of Maria Cacao.

Casa de Cacao

Choa grew up with her grandmother’s stories about Maria Cacao, with her golden ship and resplendent palace in the balete tree. Although no human can ever see or visit this place, it didn’t ever stop Choa from wishing.

Casa de Cacao, venue of The Chocolate Journey, is Choa’s creative recreation of Maria Cacao’s palace in the mountain.

“Mi casa, su casa (My home is your home),” she would tell guests who go on The Chocolate Journey with her, adding it is the realm where chocolate is the artist’s medium.

Interested in joining The Chocolate Journey? Call +63917 827 2318 or email info@ralfegourmet.com for inquiries or reservations.

Casa de Cacao

Raquel Choa forms a cacao de bola while her son molds tablea during a press tour at Casa de Cacao.

Chocolate events

Some details:

The Chocolate Journey
Cacao Bean Evolution
Trails and Tales of Maria Cacao
Tablea 101

The rate is P1,500 per person for groups of 11-15, P1,800 for groups of 6-10, P2,100 per person for groups of 4-5, P3,000 per person for groups of 2-3, and P4,800 for one person going on The Chocolate Journey.

Casa de Cacao

Casa de Cacao, venue of The Chocolate Journey, is Raquel Choa’s creative recreation of Maria Cacao’s palace in the mountain.

Chocolate Stop
Hot choco at The Tsokolate Bar
Chocolate tasting
Rate is P550 per person.

Sikwate Ceremony
Tablea-making
Savoring Tablea
Rate is P1,000 good for five persons.

Raquel Choa Casa de Cacao

Raquel Choa’s cake creations baked without milk, eggs, and water: the torta de cerveza uses cerveza negra while torta de Francisco (hatched in anticipation of the visit of Pope Francis) is made with olive oil and wine.

 

Casa de Cacao

Spicy sikwate. Raquel Choa made this by grinding pieces of chili on a small platter, adding atsuete as flavor enhancer, and straining the mix into a jug of chocolate concoction simmering over a hot stove.

 

Cacao fruits.

 

Cacao beans

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

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

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

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

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

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

Displacement inevitable

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

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

AIM-Dadao Banatao Incubator

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

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

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

New kinds of jobs

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

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

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

We can beat them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accenture in Cebu

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

Commitment to Cebu

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

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

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

Cebu talent

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

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

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

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

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

Accenture Cebu

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

Redesign retail experience

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

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

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

Accenture Cebu

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

Empower workers

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

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

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

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

Accenture in Cebu

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

Position as innovation center

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

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

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

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

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Sushisake at Radisson Blu Cebu pairs fine sushi, sashimi with premium sake

When Radisson Blu Cebu flew in Chef Jeff Yalung from the Middle East for a taste test, they asked him to create Japanese food that’s more than the usual fare….

When Radisson Blu Cebu flew in Chef Jeff Yalung from the Middle East for a taste test, they asked him to create Japanese food that’s more than the usual fare.

His creation is now the centerpiece as Radisson Blu Cebu merges traditional Japanese cuisine with modern flavors and came up with new dining concept Sushisake.

Located at the upper lobby of the hotel, the newly-launched restaurant is small and intimate and offers a fine selection of sushi and sashimi prepared in traditional Edomae style as well as an impressive collection of premium sakes.

Sushisake Radisson

DYNAMITE SUSHI. Chef Jeff’s specialty combines tuna, salmon, grouper, and a creamy crab as topping.

Sushisake features the traditional and specialty rolls of Chef Jeff, who has over 10 years culinary experience with international hotel brands in the Middle East, said Radisson Blu Cebu director for sales and marketing Ann Olalo.

Sushisake menu

The menu carries sushi servings that deviate from or improve upon traditional flavors and ingredients.

Sushisake Radisson Blu

TRADITIONAL AND SPECIALTY ROLLS. Sushisake features traditional and specialty rolls paired with a premium sake collection.

One example is Chef Jeff’s dynamite sushi, which combines tuna, salmon, grouper and has creamy crab as topping.

“When you take a bite, something explodes in your mouth. That’s why we call it dynamite,” Yalung said during the restaurant’s recent launch.

Chef Jeff Yalung Radisson Blu Cebu

CHEF JEFF YALUNG has over 10 years culinary experience with international hotel brands in the Middle East.

Chef Jeff also offers the special california, so called since it combines ingredients other than the usual crab sticks and cucumber plus a secret sauce.

A few other specialties include the surf and turf, spicy crab roll, and dragon roll.

Sushi specialties

Olalo said Chef Jeff can do over 50 sushi varieties infused with his own rich sauces and marinades and even welcomes the opportunity to create more. This is what makes Sushisake different from other Japanese restaurants in Cebu.

Sushisake Radisson Blu

INTIMATE VENUE. Located at the upper lobby of the hotel, the newly-launched Sushisake is small and intimate.

She added that they envision Sushisake as innovative and trendsetting, and took great pains with the restaurant layout and furnishings.

The restaurant lights were inspired by chopsticks and the menu incorporated certain design elements: waves of the sea, a fishnet, and rice grain.

Sushisake is open from 6:00-10:00 p.m.daily. Guests are encouraged to make dinner reservations by calling (63 32) 402 9900 or by sending an email to reservations.cebu@radisson.com.

More photos of Sushisake

Radisson Sushisake

SAKE. Sushisake features an impressive collection of premium sakes.

 

Radisson Blu Cebu Sushisake

KANI SALAD of crabstick, cucumber, white cabbage, and orange tobiko with Japanese mayo and ponzu dressing.

 

Radisson Blu Sushisake

Fresh fruits.

 

Radisson Blu Cebu Sushisake

Mochi ice cream.

 

Radisson Blu Cebu Sushisake

Yuzu tart with sake meringue and green tea ice cream.

 

Radisson Blu Cebu Sushisake

Sesame seed panna cotta and coconut ice cream.

 

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

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

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

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

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

Shell Fuels Scientist Mae Ascan

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

Extensive research, development

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

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

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

Shell V-Power Cebu

SHELL V-POWER exhibit in SM Seaside City.

Maximize energy from fuels

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

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

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

Shell V-Power Cebu launch

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

Cleaning molecules

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

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

Shell V-Power Cebu

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

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

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

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

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Oakridge holds Fitstrip Bazaar to promote wellness lifestyle

Fitness and healthy living advice from experts and athletes and access to wellness products marked the first Oakridge FitStrip Bazaar held from July 22-23, 2017 at Oakridge Garden Plaza. The…

Fitness and healthy living advice from experts and athletes and access to wellness products marked the first Oakridge FitStrip Bazaar held from July 22-23, 2017 at Oakridge Garden Plaza.

The weekend activity was intended as a family event and to promote a wellness lifestyle, said Oakridge Realty and Development Corp. Director for Sales and Marketing Estee Marie Plunkett.

She added that they’re looking at holding it on a more regular basis.

Oakridge Fitstrip

Organic vegetables and fruits.

On the first day of the Oakridge Fitstrip Bazaar, Mary Deen of Love Yoga World shared her fitness journey in “Getting Everyone on the Mat.” She also led an hour of outdoor yoga for interested guests at the garden plaza.

After Deen, Pio Gerardo Solon of Epic Performance Fitness talked about getting physically and mentally fit for the Ironman triathlon event.

Oakridge Fitstrip Yoga

Mary Deen of Love Yoga World holds a yoga session.

Oakridge Fitstrip Bazaar exhibitors

Held in partnership with Rustan’s Supermarket Cebu, the event also served as an opportunity for small-scale wellness entrepreneurs to display their wares, added Plunkett.

Made available were beauty and wellness products by Human Nature, Mary Kay, and Gale’s Garden, which sold refreshing desk cacti and succulents.

Oakridge Fistrip

Fruit juices.

Macology 101, which made available its Salted Egg Potato Chips by Little Chef; Ultra Green Coffee Cebu, an organic product whose benefits include weight loss, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and natural detoxification; Leylam Shawarma for shawarma overload; and Thirsty Juices and Shakes for refreshing fruit juices were among the food exhibitors.

A food preparation demo happened on the second day of the Fitstrip Bazaar. Chef Geoffrey Broutin of L’Artisan showed how to make “Quick Healthy Meals on the Go.”

Oakridge Fitstrip

Desk cacti and succulents.

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

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

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

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

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

MICAB monthly bookings

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

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

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

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

MICAB Manila

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

No regulatory issues

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

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

The MICAB app functions similarly with both Uber and Grab.

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

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

Revenue model

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

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

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

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

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Ding How: oldtime Cebu favorite Chinese restaurant reopens

The restaurant that introduced dim sum to Cebuanos in 1969 reopens at Robinsons Galleria Cebu and brings back the popular dishes from the old Ding How menu. “When we talk…

The restaurant that introduced dim sum to Cebuanos in 1969 reopens at Robinsons Galleria Cebu and brings back the popular dishes from the old Ding How menu.

“When we talk about our first experience with Chinese food, we think of steamed rice, siomai, and spring rolls. Cebuanos got to know dimsum through Ding How and it is an experience that is unique to Cebu,” said Steven Kokseng, marketing manager of Harbour City Dimsum House, Inc. The company owns and operates the Harbour City, Dimsum Break, Ding Qua Qua and Ding How brands.

Ding How reopens in Cebu

Steamed rice is a Cebuano favorite.

Ding How Dimsum House opened along Colon Street in 1969 but a shift in the Cebuano preference for fastfood in 2000 prompted the company to replace it with Dimsum Break.

Steven said they noticed over the past few years a growing sophistication among Cebuano diners characterized by an openness to try new things and feel this is the right time to bring back the Ding How brand.

Ding How reopens in Cebu

Egg tarts.

Ding How menu

Today’s Ding How is for customers who want to relish dim sum and eat at a more leisurely pace, according to business development manager Christopher Kokseng.

He said the company’s three other brands are more associated with quick dim sum fixes, adding that a good location was one of the things taken into consideration when they brought back their “grandfather brand.”

Ding How reopens in Cebu

Ding How spread.

The company also looked into the old recipe books and did research and development so it can serve Ding How’s “heritage” dishes with a modern spin.

Dim sum orders like the crystal scallop and kuchay dumplings, baked shaopao, pork trotter, custard with salted egg bun are revived from the old menu and exclusively offered at Ding How.

Although they looked at what people enjoyed before and made it available again, Christopher said they also continue to serve the current favorites throughout their restaurant brands.

More photos of Ding How reopening

Ding How reopens in Cebu

Cabbage pouch.

 

Ding How reopens in Cebu

HERITAGE DISHES. Ding How looked into the old recipe books and did research and development so it can serve “heritage” dishes with a modern spin.

 

Ding How reopens in Cebu

Custard with salted egg bun.

 

Ding How reopens in Cebu

Crystal scallop and kuchay dumplings.

 

Ding How reopens in Cebu

Baked shaopao.

 

Ding How Cebu

Pork trotter.

 

Ding How reopens in Cebu

 

Ding How Cebu

Harbour City Dimsum House, Inc. business development manager Christopher Kokseng and marketing manager Steven Kokseng answer questions in a press conference on the reopening of Ding How.

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Tutelage Learning Center brings progressive education to south Cebu

With its small class sizes, individualized program for regular and special education students, child-centered curriculum, Tutelage Learning Center is every parent’s dream school. What’s even better for preschool and elementary…

With its small class sizes, individualized program for regular and special education students, child-centered curriculum, Tutelage Learning Center is every parent’s dream school.

What’s even better for preschool and elementary kids, Tutelage Learning Center (TLC) will start classes on August 1, 2017 in a second and bigger branch in Pakigne, Minglanilla.

Ava Kristine Rosello, vice president for administration, said they offer all levels of instruction from playgroups to sixth grade as well as early interaction programs for children with special needs.

Tutelage Cebu started out in 2006 with tutorial programs to aid schoolchildren and added classes gradually until they were able to offer the complete primary education levels. Its first school is located on Edros Road, Cebu City.

Tutelage Learning Center

PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION. Officials of the Tutelage Learning Center talk about their school in a press conference. TLC will start classes on August 1, 2017 in a second and bigger branch in Pakigne, Minglanilla.

John Dewey philosophy

TLC espouses the John Dewey method of instruction, which follows the progressive rather than the traditional way of teaching, explained senior curriculum advisor Lanore V. Suico.

She added that aside from the fewer students in Tutelage classrooms, they are also active participants, problem solvers, and planners in classes.

“John Dewey believed that kids learn best if they are doing the activities firsthand. At Tutelage, children express their thoughts and ask questions,” Suico also said.

Curriculum adviser Yollymar Lemente said that aside from the learning they get from academic lessons, kids are also taught such competencies as finance and life skills.

Teacher-student ratio

Riza Sorbito, TLC director, said their ratio per teacher is six to eight kids for the playgroup and nursery levels and 12 for the graders.

She said Tutelage is K-12 ready and has accreditation from the Department of Education (DepEd).

The school, she assured, has zero tolerance for bullying but teachers promote positive discipline.

Tutelage Learning Center decided to open in Pakigne, Minglanilla to cater to residents of the town as well as those in Talisay and Naga.

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Philippine chocolate queen Raquel Choa shares life journey, passion

She didn’t know it then but Raquel Choa spent her childhood days in a place that shaped what she would become: Philippine chocolate queen and the amazing woman behind Ralfe…

She didn’t know it then but Raquel Choa spent her childhood days in a place that shaped what she would become: Philippine chocolate queen and the amazing woman behind Ralfe Gourmet, The Chocolate Chamber (TCC), and just recently, Batirol.

At a young age of seven, Choa went to live with her grandmas in a secluded mountain in Cebu when her parents separated.

It was in that remote community in Balamban in the early 1980s that she first encountered tablea, the bitter chocolate rounds that were popular with the villagers.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol Raquel Choa

BATIROL. The kiosk store concept is named after the wooden beater used to mix the tablea to make the sikwate. This is the latest project of Raquel Choa, who is dubbed the Philippine chocolate queen.

The Chocolate Chamber founder

Today, Choa is recognized for her work to elevate the quality of the products made from local cacao beans, starting with the chocolate buffets she organizes at her home in Cebu City and through her artisan chocolates and chocolate-flavored food and drinks that are available at The Chocolate Chamber restaurant.

The next step in her chocolate journey will be to make mainstream and add a new spin to tablea-based local delicacies such as “sikwate” and “champorado” through the Batirol.

Choa said the Batirol is a kiosk store concept created for franchising and it is a part of the business that her children will manage.

It is aptly named after the wooden beater used to mix the tablea to make the sikwate and was a fixture in households of old Cebu, said Choa’s right hand man Edu Patino.

Raquel Choa Batirol

PUTO-SIKWATE, CHAMPORADO. The puto sikwate and champorado used to be mainstays of the Cebuano dining table. Raquel Choa aims to make these mainstream again.

Food, drinks in Batirol menu

Batirol menu includes local favorites like sikwate, a drink made from tablea dissolved in water, and Chocondense, which is sikwate sweetened with condensed milk. Chocomallow is a chocolate drink topped with mallows.

This new twist to Ralfe Gourmet, Inc. intends to draw in the millennial crowd so drinks come hot or chilled. Since Batirol also seeks to reintroduce the wonders of tablea to young Filipinos, it makes available such delicacies as puto sikwate or sticky rice sprinkled with unpolished sugar and paired with sikwate and champorado or chocolate porridge.

Raquel Choa

Raquel Choa shares her life story.

The 41-year-old Choa also adds to the Batirol menu her soft rolls flavored with chocolate and baked with fillings like bacon and such Filipino favorites as longanisa and tocino.

In addition, she will also introduce one other use of a cacao-based product and that is using chocolate lava for painting, which will be one of the activities offered through Batirol.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

SOFT ROLLS. Raquel Choa and her children with soft rolls flavored with chocolate and baked with fillings like bacon and such Filipino favorites as longanisa and tocino.

Maria Cacao tales

The journey from her early years to founder of Ralfe Gourmet, Inc. took a circuitous route but Choa said the bedtime stories of her grandma, Nanay Nila, sustained her all through those years of hardship.

“Oh, she was a great storyteller. I grew up with her bedtime stories. One in particular was about Maria Cacao. She was the queen of the cacao forest and she travels through the river to the open sea on a ship that turns to gold when she docks. That magical story of Maria Cacao warmed my heart and my love for the chocolate drink made with tablea, sikwate as we call it, remained even when my parents got back together and brought me back to the city after six years,” she said during a small gathering in May.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

COSMETICS. Raquel Choa introduces her cosmetics line that include cacao butter for skin care.

During a trip she made to New York late in 2016, Choa said she met a lot of chocolate makers as well as boutique and shop owners.

“I realized that what makes us unique is we have a story to tell. Our chocolate has life, soul, and spirit and it comes from our ancestors,” she said.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

SIKWATE. Just add hot water and these sticks turn into sikwate.

Casa de Cacao chocolate tours

Ralfe Gourmet holds chocolate appreciation tours at Casa de Cacao, which is also her residence in Casals Village in Mabolo, Cebu City.

Woven into these events is her chocolate story and the circumstances that led to her passion for creating products out of cacao. These are not limited to artisan chocolates or even chocolate-flavored food and drinks but include beauty products as well.

“The mountain where I came from, it was beautiful. The river was clear, it had a lot of rocks. I remember swimming there. In that mountain, there were a lot of treasures,” she added, recalling how they would collect banana leaves to sell for one peso a sack and coconut shells to turn into charcoal just to be able to buy kerosene for the house lamps.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

RICE CRISPIES and peanuts make for a tasty chocolate snack.

Tablea beginnings

The mountain lass left Balamban but she would return decades later, grown up and married with eight children, to her grandma, Nanay Nila, and her other grandmothers, Nila’s sisters, to remember her childhood and learn more about the tablea that had featured prominently in her younger years.

“I got married when I was 16. I became a housewife. I stayed home and raised my children. I brought them to picnics in Ayala and I painted. I’m an artist by heart. I became an interior designer. Then our house in Cebu City was burned down in a fire. We had to stay in Lutopan for two years while we recovered. My kids had to transfer to La Salle,” she said.

It was there that she developed a friendship with the mother of her daughter’s classmate who was from Argentina.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

CHOCOLATE PAINTING. Raquel Choa shows a painting done by a friend and using chocolate lava, one of her latest products.

Chocolate journey

Choa introduced the tablea to her Argentinian friend who had reservations about it at first because it looked dirty. She recalled how they decided to produce quality tablea and make a business of exporting it but it never took off because her friend had to return for good to Argentina.

“She left me with 300 kilos of tablea. I said to myself, ‘I’m a fighter’. I’ve been through so many challenges in my life. I can’t afford not to tell the whole world that we Filipinos know how to make chocolate in our own way,” she added.

She vowed that once her house in Cebu City was finished, she would focus on making chocolate as her artist’s canvas. About five years ago, she organized the first chocolate buffet at Casa de Cacao and that had been the beginning of her chocolate journey.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

PAINTINGS. Raquel Choa and her kids with their paintings that use chocolate lava.

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Global Cebu FC fails to break Davao Aguilas defense, settles for draw

Global Cebu FC wasted a golden chance to go on top after settling to a scoreless draw against a gritty Davao Aguilas at the Cebu City Sports Center in the…

Global Cebu FC wasted a golden chance to go on top after settling to a scoreless draw against a gritty Davao Aguilas at the Cebu City Sports Center in the Philippines Football League.

Global Cebu remains at second place with 21 points, two off leaders Meralco Manila, which saw its unbeaten streak ending in embarrassing fashion with a 7-0 loss to the rampaging Ceres Negros.

A win would have put Global on top on goal difference over Meralco.

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Matt Hartmann splits the Davao defense. (Photo by Albert Flores)

“The players tried really hard but Davao was better organized on defense and they were able to adjust well,” said Global Cebu coach Marjo Allado.

Global Cebu controlled the pace of the match but couldn’t break through in the final third. Misagh Bahadoran, who had two against the Stallions, was ineffective up front, while Sekou Sylla, who came in the second half for Paolo Bugas, couldn’t get past Keeper Marko Trkulja.

Global Cebu Davao Aguilas

Davao Aguilas Jordan Jarvis receives his citation from the Sportswriters Association of Cebu or SAC for making the national u19 team. (Photo by Albert Flores)

The Davao custodian, who was named the Man of the Match, also collected a last-minute header off Sylla deep in injury time to preserve the draw.

“I’m very happy getting the Man of the match but it was the team that helped me make those saves,” said Trkulja.

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Shu Sasaki (25) tries to get past his defender. (Photo by Albert Flores)

Shu Sasaki, whose bicycle kick capped Global Cebu’s 3-0 win over the Stallions, also had a brilliant chance but his first touch off a lovely through ball from Paul Mulders was just too strong.

“Obviously very happy with the results today compared to the last time. They were very organized and Trkilja managed the back four very well,” said Davao coach Gary Philippis, whose team lost to Kaya FC, 5-1, at home in their last game.

More photos of the match by Albert Flores

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

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Batibot now on App Store

Educational app develops essential thinking skills among children Parents using iOS-powered smartphones and tablets can now download for free the Batibot mobile application, an interactive version of the beloved TV…

Educational app develops essential thinking skills among children

Parents using iOS-powered smartphones and tablets can now download for free the Batibot mobile application, an interactive version of the beloved TV show that helps enhance learning among children.

Earlier launched on the Android platform, the app features fun games that teach kids basic learning concepts like matching, sorting, and grouping. The app also lets children practice tracing letters with the proper strokes, and helps them identify shapes, colors, numbers, and letter sounds.

The Batibot app is the first educational app in Filipino that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

Aligned with curriculum

The app’s “Awiting Batibot” feature enables kids to sing along to Batibot songs, while “Kuwentong Batibot” contains local stories that promote good values.

What makes the Batibot app stand out from other educational apps is that it is the only app in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

The Batibot app is the product of a collaboration among Smart Communications, Community of Learners Foundation, and developer startup OrangeFix. The app jumpstarted Smart’s efforts to work with various communities and organizations to create literacy apps in local languages.

Batibot app

The app features local stories that promote Filipino values.

Filipino language, values

Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto said that since the Batibot app was launched on the Android platform, a lot of parents had inquired as to when it would be downloadable on iOS devices.

“Many parents based here and abroad said their kids had grown up speaking English, and that they wanted their children to be proficient in the Filipino language too. The Batibot app will certainly help them brush up on Filipino in a fun, interactive way,” he said.

“When you search for educational content online, you’ll find that most of them are in English. There is a need for digital learning content that promotes the Filipino language as well as Filipino values. The Batibot app addresses that need,” Isberto added.

Kids can now have the fun Batibot experience that their parents had, through the Batibot app.

Technocart, School-in-a-Bag

To bring the Batibot app to remote, underserved communities, Smart installs the app in the tablets it donates to public schools under the TechnoCart and School-in-a-Bag programs.

Smart TechnoCart, which is donated to public schools with electricity, is a 2×2 ft mobile laboratory containing 20 tablets for students, as well as a laptop, projector, and mobile Wi-Fi with starter load for the teacher. The School-in-a-Bag, which is meant for remote public schools without electricity, is a backpack containing a solar panel, a laptop, five tablets, a mobile phone, a pocket Wi-Fi with starter load, LED TV, and learning modules.

Smart as well as individual and corporate sponsors have so far donated TechnoCarts to 40 schools, and School-in-a-Bag units to 18 schools all over the Philippines.

Teachers of the recipient schools are given training on tablet basics and on child and curriculum development.

Powerful learning tools

“Combined with guidance from elders, mobile devices and the internet can be powerful tools in enhancing learning among children,” Isberto said.

“Batibot helped shape a generation of Filipinos, many of whom are now parents and teachers. They now have an opportunity to share the Batibot learning experience with their children and students through the Batibot app,” he added.

To know more about Smart’s initiatives to use technology for the development of different social sectors like education, please follow the Smart Communities page on Facebook. Those interested to sponsor Smart TechnoCarts or School-in-a-Bag units may send an email to TechnoCart@smart.com.ph for more information. (Press release)

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Among Cebu CEOs, technology solutions have yet to make an impact: survey

Despite innovations in the field of finance, e-commerce, consumer services, transport and logistics, only a third of Cebu entrepreneurs believe that technology should be a business priority. Results of the…

Despite innovations in the field of finance, e-commerce, consumer services, transport and logistics, only a third of Cebu entrepreneurs believe that technology should be a business priority.

Results of the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey showed that only 35 percent of business leaders look at how technology can help in the company’s overall strategic plan.

Less than half or only 48 percent of the 108 Cebu CEOs surveyed by Isla Lipana & Co./PwC Philippines feel threatened by the speed of technological advancements.

PWC Cebu CEO survey

Factors for successful innovation

The sentiments of Cebu businessmen are in contrast to the 80 percent of 2015 Philippine CEO survey respondents who consider technology breakthroughs like robotics, automated supply chain, enterprise solutions, and digital platforms as crucial to business transformation.

A slightly higher number or 50 percent of Cebu CEOs, which PwC Philippines calls Cebu’s next generation business leaders, see the need to continuously innovate to stay relevant for the long term.

The CEOs cited strong visionary leadership, right culture, willingness to challenge norms and take risks, capacity for creativity, and close collaboration with customers as factors for a successful innovation.

PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey

CEO SURVEY FINDINGS. Aldie Garcia, PwC Philippines lead branch operations partner, presents findings of the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey. On stage are Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Melanie Ng and PwC Philippines chairman and senior partner Atty. Alexander Cabrera.

Technology as threat, opportunity

Aldie Garcia, PwC Philippines lead branch operations partner, said that for these CEOs, technology is both a threat and an opportunity.

“Our next generation business leaders believe the first to adopt will be the first to succeed,” he added.

Atty. Alexander Cabrera, PwC Philippines chairman and senior partner, said during a forum to share survey findings that “building a lasting legacy for the organization and the people they serve while growing the business is fundamental to our CEOs’ success.”

Vision for Cebu

Sought for their thoughts on how they envision a new Cebu, CEOs said focus should be on stronger partnerships between government and the private sector (83 percent), better investment incentives (63 percent), and maintaining and growing the local Cebu brands (49 percent).

PwC also found out that close to half of business owners were not originally from Cebu but moved here because of trade and economic opportunities.

Many of them or 77 percent worked for top companies as junior executives (40 percent), management executives (32 percent) , and board executives (10 percent) before going into business for themselves.

Series of CEO surveys

The survey was conducted by PwC Philippines in partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and marked the first of a series to be done on Cebu business leaders.

Melanie Ng, CCCI president, said the undertaking is “envisioned to benchmark the changes in how our CEOs think and innovate.”

She added that the CEO Survey will provide a glimpse into the entrepreneurial journey of business owners that hopefully will inspire more entrepreneurs in the region. Respondents in the first CEO survey represent about 12 percent of CCCI members.

Other CEO Survey findings

Other survey findings showed that:

  • Majority of CEOs started their business in trading but have diversified to manufacturing, retail and wholesale distribution, and consumer and food beverage.
  • Over the next three years, business owners plan to enter the following industries: real estate and construction, tourism, food manufacturing, and consumer retail and technology.
  • Business leaders consider infrastructure, tourism, and technology as industries that need priority.

Survey presentation

PWC Cebu CEO survey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Asus ZenFone AR highlights augmented reality, virtual reality capabilities

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

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

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

Asus ZenFone AR

ASUS ZENFONE AR with VR headset and controller.

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

Asus ZenFone AR specs

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

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

Asus Zenfone AR Cebu

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

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

Interior design, Harry Potter game

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

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

Asus ZenFone AR Cebu

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

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Celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion talks burgers

An afternoon of burger-making with celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino demonstrated three distinct ways to prepare this very American fare sans the beef patty….

An afternoon of burger-making with celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino demonstrated three distinct ways to prepare this very American fare sans the beef patty.

Waterfront Cebu prepares a line-up of activities in its “4th of July” celebration of Filipino-American Friendship Day, from the American food buffet available at UNO up to July 4 and the exhibit of American retail brands to the make your own burger event with chef Tristan today, July 3.

Chef Tristan’s ultimate chicken burger featured chicken marinated in buttermilk. The pulled pork adobo with “mungga,” meanwhile, combined baby back ribs cooked adobo-style until tender flavored with mung beans gravy and topped with sweet mango.

BURGER FLAVORS. (From left) Cardava banana peels as patty, pulled pork adobo with monggo gravy and topped with diced mango, and ultimate chicken burger.

Taste of the burger patty

He told media and bloggers who attended the event that the trick to making burgers is to consider the amount of fat to lean meat in the patty.

“The taste of the patty depends on the doneness of the meat. Those who want rare to medium rare patties should ensure more lean meat in the mix,” he added.

A third burger had of all things banana peel as the main ingredient.

Chef Tristan Encarnacion

Chef Tristan Encarnacion demonstrates the making of burgers in an event for bloggers and journalists at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Cardava banana

To make it, chef Tristan said he boiled the peels of the cardava banana for about an hour, removed and washed them, and simmered them again in boiling water until tender. The peels are minced with a knife before spices and seasoning as well as eggs and bread flour are added.

Once formed into patties, these can be stored in the freezer to cook later. To complement the banana peel as patty, he added tomato salsa as topping.

Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino

Pulled pork adobo burger with “mungga” combines baby back ribs cooked adobo-style until tender flavored with mung beans gravy and topped with sweet mango.

To give it the smoky taste of beef, one can choose to add a dash of steak sauce or mix meat with the banana peel to form the patty.

Waterfront Cebu is looking into making the burgers available in the menu.

chef Tristan Encarnacion

The ultimate chicken burger features chicken marinated in buttermilk .

 

chef Tristan Encarnacion

BANANA PEEL. This burger has a patty made of cardava banana peels boiled, minced, and cooked with spices.

 

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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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