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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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Smart holds festival, rekindles love for local stories

Centuries ago, a girl named Maria lived in what is now known as Conalum, a mountainous area in the town of Argao which is about two hours away from Cebu…

Centuries ago, a girl named Maria lived in what is now known as Conalum, a mountainous area in the town of Argao which is about two hours away from Cebu City. People called her Maria Cacao, as she owned a cacao plantation from which they sourced the beans they used to create tablea. To this day, residents of Argao produce these chocolate tablets.

Town Mayor Stanley Caminero shared this legend with a rapt audience of children and adults at the culmination of the three-day “Istorya Mo, Nagpaabot Ako: Kwentuhang Batibot Caravan and Story Festival.” Organized by Smart Communications in cooperation with the local government, the caravan sought to rekindle people’s love for storytelling, especially the sharing of local tales.

Preservation of local heritage, culture

Caminero said the story of Maria Cacao could not be found in any book; it is a story that has been orally passed by Argao locals from generation to generation.

“If you think about it, the oldest heritage is stories,” he said, adding that storytelling is important not just for the preservation of local heritage and culture, but for the education of children as well.

Argao Storytelling

Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero shares the Legend of Maria Cacao with school children.

Aside from Caminero, the festival’s featured storytellers included Rey Bufi of The Storytelling Project, Argao college students and elementary pupils, a parent, a teacher, and Sun.Star Superbalita editors and writers.

The festival also included trainings on storytelling and story writing for Education students of the Cebu Technological University (CTU)-Argao campus.

Make lessons fun

CTU student Chariss Ampoon said that from the trainings given by Bufi and children’s book writer Michael Jude Tumamac, she picked up tips on how to manage a classroom and give life to tales.

Maria Elena Bajo, who teaches second grade in Argao’s Binlod Elementary School, said stories make lessons fun, and can be integrated in a lot of subjects, even Math.

Aside from holding storytelling festivals, Smart also promotes the Batibot app as a way to encourage love for stories among children. Created by Smart in partnership with the Community of Learners Foundation and developer OrangeFix, the app has a feature called “Kuwentong Batibot.”

The Batibot app is the first educational app in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education. It can be downloaded for free on Android devices.

The Batibot app promotes love for storytelling among kids through its Kuwentong Batibot feature.

Modern tools

Through games in the app, such as the Batibot classic “Alin ang Naiba?”, children in their formative years can also learn basic concepts like matching, sorting, and grouping. They are shown how to identify shapes, colors, numbers, the alphabet, and letter sounds. The children can also practice tracing letters with the proper strokes.

Teacher Mira Vissa L. Padron of Argao Central Elementary School said the use of 21st century tools to promote the culture of storytelling would be a big help to them in the classroom. (Press Release)

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Coca-Cola sari-sari store program empowers micro-entrepreneurs

Investing in women leads to the betterment of the family and the community, and Coca-Cola aims to empower as many as it can with its Sari-Sari Store Training and Access…

Investing in women leads to the betterment of the family and the community, and Coca-Cola aims to empower as many as it can with its Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program.

Under this campaign, women micro-entrepreneurs join a 12-week program where they are taught entrepreneurship skills, financial literacy, merchandising, and gender sensitivity among other things, said Atty. Adel A. Tamano, Coca-Cola vice president for public affairs and communications.

He added that studies conducted by Coca-Cola worldwide showed that if women handle the budget in the households, the money primarily goes to food and education.

“When you want to help communities, it makes sense to invest in women,” Tamano pointed out.

Coca-Cola Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources

HELPING COMMUNITIES. Atty. Adel A. Tamano, Coca-Cola vice president for public affairs and communications, says studies conducted by Coca-Cola worldwide showed that if women handle the budget in the households, the money primarily goes to food and education.

Multi-awarded program

Coca-Cola’s multi-awarded STAR program has trained more than 83,000 mostly women sari-sari storeowners in the Philippines over the course of five years, according to Tamano.

He said it makes sense for Coca-Cola to partner with women micro-entrepreneurs since over half of company earnings come from the sari-sari stores in the country that now number one million.

Since it was launched in 2011 as part of the 5by20 global initiative of The Coca-Cola Company to economically empower five million people within its value chain by 2020, the program has evolved and undergone improvements.

Tamano said Coca-Cola partners with local governments, micro-finance and other groups, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to reach as many women as possible. Other partners include Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, Alay sa Kaunlaran, Inc., First Community Cooperative (FICCO), Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc., ASA Philippines, and the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO).

STAR program recruitment

On Sunday, May 7, Coca-Cola gathered over 1,000 women entrepreneurs in Danao City, Cebu as part of a massive recruitment campaign to the STAR program. Tamano said a similar recruitment activity was first done in Davao City.

The training will happen every Saturday or Sunday of the week for 12 weeks. “We used to do the training all in one week but the dropout rate was high. We now do it in a way that works with their schedule. The sari-sari stores are also the women’s homes and they can’t be away for one week,” he said.

Women who join also receive additional benefits: they get connected to Coca-Cola’s bottling partners and learn to take advantage of promos and discounts and have access to microfinance programs.

The STAR program, which now has 390 accredited facilitators to teach and train women retailers, is being implemented in over 47 locations throughout the Philippines.

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Pueblo Mexicano serves good, authentic Mexican food

Enzo Nable knows good Mexican food and he’s sharing his particular love for the cuisine through the family-owned Pueblo Mexicano at Banilad Town Center (BTC) in Cebu City. “In 2010,…

Enzo Nable knows good Mexican food and he’s sharing his particular love for the cuisine through the family-owned Pueblo Mexicano at Banilad Town Center (BTC) in Cebu City.

“In 2010, there wasn’t a lot of Mexican food available here. And the ones that were available, the quality wasn’t so good. To fill my own need, I started a Burrito Bar and served tacos and burritos,” said Enzo, who grew up in California where there are a lot of good Mexican restaurants.

Pueblo Mexicano Banilad Town Center.

Pueblo Mexicano is located at the Banilad Town Center.

His parents, in their travels throughout Mexico, were also fascinated by the artistry and color of Mexican cuisine and culture, having visited the towns of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Puebla, and even Oaxaca, where Mexico’s indigenous Maya heritage remains.

The family decided to expand Burrito Bar to the current full-service restaurant Pueblo Mexicano on May 5, 2013, added Enzo, who is the restaurant manager.

Pueblo Mexicano Tamales

TAMALES. Two steamed corn masa dumplings stuffed with lechon carnitas, cheese, and salsa rojo, wrapped in corn husk.

Pueblo Mexicano menu

Pueblo has an extensive menu that also carries Peruvian, Argentinean, and Spanish food in addition to Mexican cuisine, according to Enzo.

While many Filipinos equate Mexican cuisine with tacos and burritos, it is actually so much more. At Pueblo, diners discover that it is also elegant tamales (steamed corn masa dumplings stuffed with lechon carnitas, cheese, salsa rojo and wrapped in corn husk) or pan-fried canape-sized tortillas topped with chilorio pork and pico de gallo that goes by chalupas poblanas or the fish veracruzana.

To guests dining for the first time in Pueblo Mexicano, Enzo said his recommendation is for them to try the chilorio de puerco. This dish, which is Sinaloa-style lechon Carnitas with salsa rojo, refried beans, and Mexican rice, is a bestseller.

Pueblo Mexicano chilorio de puerco

MUST-TRY. The chilorio de puerco is a dish made of Sinaloa-style lechon Carnitas with salsa rojo, refried beans, and Mexican rice.

Signature nachos

Another must-try is the Pueblo’s nacho grande that is made up of the restaurant’s signature nachos, which Nable said they make themselves. Nacho Grande combines tortilla chips, lechon carnitas, cheese, refried beans, jalapeños, chopped onion, sour cream, pico de gallo, and chicharrones.

The restaurant served many of the dishes in the menu during a food-tasting event that the MyCebu.ph team attended.

Pueblo Mexicano nacho grande

NACHO GRANDE. The restaurant makes its own signature nachos. Nacho Grande combines tortilla chips, lechon carnitas, cheese, refried beans, jalapeños, chopped onion, sour cream, pico de gallo, and chicharrones.

Mariles Alvarez Nable, Enzo’s mom, shared an interesting info about the appetizer shishito al padron. The dish is a hot skillet of pan grilled shishito peppers with olive oil, and it is prepared in the style of Padrón, Spain. You only get one or two spicy peppers in a serving of around 10 or more peppers but you’ll never know which one until you eat them.

Pueblo Mexicano shishito al padron

SHISHITO AL PADRON. Pan grilled shishito peppers with olive oil. You only get one or two spicy peppers in a serving of around 10 but you’ll never know which one until you eat them.

Restaurant hours

Pueblo is open for lunch and dinner, and restaurant hours are extended up to 1 a.m. on weekends.

Enzo said they serve cocktails like frozen margaritas and mojitos for now, but will soon have a full bar.

The vivid blue and orange walls complemented by folkloric tapestries and table covers, brightly painted reclaimed wood furniture, intricately carved wooden cross, colorful animal sculptures, and crystal chandeliers give the restaurant interiors an eclectic look.

More photos

 

Pueblo Mexicano

AGUA FRESCA brewed tea.

 

Pueblo Mexicano Chalupas Poblanas

CHALUPAS POBLANAS. Canape-sized corn tortillas, pan-fried, topped with chilorio pork, pico de gallo.

 

Pueblo Mexicano fish vercruzana.

FISH VERCRUZANA. Pan-grilled tasik fish, tomato wedges, olives, capers, cilantro-lime rice.

 

Pueblo Mexicano gambas pasta.

Gambas pasta.

 

Pueblo Mexicano

MARGARITAS you should try.

 

Pueblo Mexicano

HOUSE SALAD. A delicious mix of chopped greens, jicama, sugar beets, corn kernels, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, cilantro ranch, and tortilla crisp.

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Primary Homes introduces Royal Palms Tres in Panglao, Bohol

Noting the high demand for quality homes in Bohol, premier property developer Primary Homes, Inc. (PHI) rolled out its newest housing development Royal Palms Tres in Dauis, Panglao last April…

Noting the high demand for quality homes in Bohol, premier property developer Primary Homes, Inc. (PHI) rolled out its newest housing development Royal Palms Tres in Dauis, Panglao last April 27.

Ramero Espina, PHI vice president for sales and marketing, said the response to Royal Palms Uno and Royal Palms Dos was very good, adding that housing units in both developments were already sold out.

Royal Palms Tres Bohol

UNVEILING IN BOHOL. Primary Homes officials led by President Stephen Charles Liu unveil the model units of Royal Palms Tres in Pangalo, Bohol. Primary Homes officials led by President Stephen Charles Liu unveil the model units of Royal Palms Tres in Pangalo, Bohol.

Located in Barangay San Isidro, PPI’s newest residential project is just 15 minutes away from the city center of Tagbilaran. Since it is right on the island of Panglao, it has easy access to world-class beaches, malls, churches, hospitals, and the new airport that is set to open soon.

Espina is confident Royal Palms Tres will do well in sales. For this project, PPI targets growing families, business start-up owners, and even investors.

Primary Homes Royal Palms Tres Bohol

ROYAL PALMS TRES. Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto (2nd from left) talks to Primary Homes President Stephen Charles Liu after checking out one of the model units in Royal Palms Tres in Panglao Island.

Mediterranean architecture

During the launch, PPI executives unveiled the available house models in the development.

These are Mediterranean-inspired homes with Spanish-style tiled canopies. Floor areas range from the 45-square meter Hidalgo Royale to the six-bedroom Hermoso Grande that spans 194 square meters. Potential buyers may already check out the model units at the Royal Palms Tres site.

Royal Palms Tres Bohol

PALACIOS GRANDE. A model unit in Royal Palms Tres in Panglao, Bohol.

The Royal Palms Tres received the Highly Commended Best Housing Development in the Philippines award from the Philippine Property Awards (PPA) in 2016.

At 5.3 hectares, the Royal Palms Tres combines the land area of Uno and Dos. It will be made up of around 200 units.

Resort-inspired amenities

The residential project will have resort-inspired amenities, including a clubhouse, swimming pool, fitness gym, and a mini-playground.

Primary Homes said in a statement that Royal Palms Tres is the epitome of world-class resort living at an affordable price. With the development’s perimeter fences and elegant entrance that is secured 24 hours daily, the security of homeowners is assured.

Primary Homes Bohol

BOHOL SALES OFFICE. (From left) Primary Group of Builders Chairman William Christopher Liu, Jr., Primary Homes Inc. (PHI) VP Sales and Marketing Ramero Espina, PHI President Stephen Charles Liu, Board Director and HRD President Paulette Liu, and Board Director Lillian Liu lead the opening of the PHI sales office on the 2nd floor of Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City.

It added that the development is, no doubt, one of the country’s ideal living destinations and best investment opportunities for real estate.

Espina said they also plan to launch Richwood Homes, still in Panglao, within this year. It is intended for Bohol workers and will be sold at affordable prices. The 4-hectare development will feature 300 to 400 homes.

 

Royal Palms Tres launching

 

Primary Homes contact details

Interested in a site visit? Call PHI at (032) 254-7188 or 266-0843. You may also visit its website at www.primaryhomes.com or follow PHI on Facebook at Primary Homes Inc.

PHI has also opened its new sales office at the second floor of Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City.

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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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Bo’s Coffee in Island Central Mactan: Digital Nomad Cebu Hotspot

The latest Cebu branch of the Philippine coffee chain is a cozy two-storey location in a new mall in Lapu-Lapu City- the Island Central Mactan. We went there when it…

The latest Cebu branch of the Philippine coffee chain is a cozy two-storey location in a new mall in Lapu-Lapu City- the Island Central Mactan. We went there when it was newly-opened and so it wasn’t as crowded as most coffee shops are in the city.

On the ground floor of Bo’s Coffee in Island Central Mactan is a long and high table that can be a good place to work on, especially for a group of friends or colleagues. It has a number of power outlets that should be enough to handle several laptops and other gadgets.

Bo's Coffee Island Central Mactan

BO’S COFFEE ISLAND CENTRAL MACTAN. This branch is open from 6 a.m. until midnight.

Ample power outlets

There are a few more tables on the ground floor as well as outside the cafe. Both the ground and second floors have ample power outlets. While not all tables have sockets, there are more than what is available in your average cafe.

The visually appealing industrial finish of the ceiling, however, turns the 2nd floor into an echo chamber that can be quite distracting when you work. Voices and laughter are amplified. Whenever the barista pounds on the filter of the coffee machine to clean it, you’d think someone was operating a jackhammer. Still, the noise can be cancelled out by a decent headphone playing Vivaldi close to the maximum volume.

Bo’s Coffee Island Central Mactan

ECHO CHAMBER. Noise is amplified on the 2nd floor and could be quite distracting if you’re working on something.

Average WiFi connection

The coffee shop’s free WiFi connection is about average – repeated Speedtest checks logged download speeds of about 2 Mbps and upload speeds of .253 Mbps. The area, however, has good Smart LTE coverage and you’re better off using an LTE device or your phone as portable hotspot.

The cafe has enough parking spaces since it is located in a mall. Island Central’s basement parking, however, is still undergoing works and can be difficult and tight to maneuver.

The coffee shop opens daily at 6 a.m. and closes at midnight.

Your other options in the immediate area are the nearby Starbucks in Marina Mall, Coffee Way a little farther away and the Uke Hub Cafe, which has been generating quite a buzz (we’ll write about it in a future post). Nothing outstanding will make you choose this coffee shop over the nearby locations. Of the coffee shops in the vicinity, however, Coffee Way stands out for being open beyond midnight.

Bo’s Coffee Island Central Mactan

POWER OUTLETS. While not all tables have power outlets, there are more than what is available in your average cafe.

BO’S COFFEE ISLAND CENTRAL MACTAN
DIGITAL NOMAD HOTSPOT RATING: 8.14 out of 10

Connectivity: 7
The cafe’s free Wi-Fi connection offers average to below average speeds. The area, however, has strong Smart LTE signal.

Power source: 8.5
The cafe has ample power outlets for its users.

Work ambience: 8
Second floor can be noisy

Coffee: 8.5

Food: 8.5

Parking: 8.5

CR: 8
It doesn’t have its own CR. You can use the mall’s CR, which are, as of this writing, clean and well-maintained.

(Are you a digital nomad? Have you worked here? Share your experience in a comment below.)

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Fitflop marks 10 years of creating footwear for ‘superwomen’

Be it mother or daughter, wife or lover, entrepreneur or business executive, best friend or mentor, women play multiple roles on a daily basis and Fitflop promises to be there…

Be it mother or daughter, wife or lover, entrepreneur or business executive, best friend or mentor, women play multiple roles on a daily basis and Fitflop promises to be there for them every step of the way.

Fitflop, which recently celebrated 10 years of providing superwomen with great footwear, aims to give them the energy and confidence to go further and be absolutely prepared for whatever their busy lives may throw at them, said its global marketing director Louise Barnes during the Manila leg of a series of events known as #SuperWomenNights.

She added that as the brand marks the start of another decade, it comes out with a wide range of products that now includes a whole new category of footwear.

FitFlop Superwomen

WIDE RANGE. Fitflop global marketing director Louise Barnes (right) said that as the brand marks the start of another decade, it comes out with a wide range of products that now includes a whole new category of footwear – athletic catergory.

New Fitflop products

“We’re entering the athletic category in a big way and we’re doing that with lightweight sneakers and ballerinas. We’ve developed brand new products that will change the way you think of Fitflop,” Barnes said.

According to her, the new Fitflop products are super light, anatomically contoured to cover the feet and have front and back cushioning, and come in a host of beautiful bold and bright colors. This is made possible by Fitflop’s all-new trademark iQushion technology, which is a micro-bubble foam impact cushion.

Fitflop has sold over 35 million pairs of shoes and is now in 63 countries, added Barnes, citing that the whole idea of the brand was about empowering women.

“Our founder Marcia Kilgore, she’s really our original superwoman. She strongly believes in supporting women from the ground up with great footwear,” Barnes said.

Brand milestones

FitFlop regional brand manager Melody Tanjimenez said the brand celebrates several milestones in 2017: its 10th year anniversary, launch of the Spring-Summer Collection, a million Facebook followers just in Southeast Asia alone.

She added that the brand’s growth was an incredible milestone especially since it only had a small following in Multiply when it started in 2007.

“They believed in the brand and we were able to build the brand to what it is today through them,” Tanjimenez also said.

FitFlop Superwomen campaign

#ForSuperwomen. The company brought in the Southeast Asian winners of the #ForSuperwomen promo, a social media contest that asked Fitflop lovers to nominate the superwomen in their lives, to the regional launch of the #SuperwomenNights in Manila in March.

Southeast Asian markets

Tanjimenez said the Primer Group of Companies, which distributes the Fitflop brands in Southeast Asia, also has its own milestones.

The first Fitflop free standing store it opened back in 2010 at the SM Mall of Asia has grown to 30 stores across its Southeast Asian markets.

Primer Group distributes Fitflop footwear in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar, and the Philippines

Superwomen campaign

Fitflop is working with Uma Thurman, the brand’s first celebrity ambassador, for the spring-summer 2017 collection and the superwomen campaign.

Barnes said they picked Thurman because she is also an advocate of women empowerment and her values are aligned with that of the brand.

“She (Thurman) absolutely embodies strength, confidence, total control. She is also a multitasking mother of three and represents iconic characters on stage,” she further said.

Fitflop Supwerwomen campaign

NEW COLLECTION. The Fitflop spring-summer 2017 collection.

Contest winners

It also brought in the Southeast Asian winners of the #ForSuperwomen promo, a social media contest that asked Fitflop lovers to nominate the superwomen in their lives, to the regional launch of the #SuperwomenNights in Manila.

In a toast to the winners, Camille Karaan, vice president for Primer International Management Ltd., said that for superwomen, everything is possible.

“We have superwomen all around us. They are mothers, sisters, friends, and even strangers,” she added.

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AirAsia starts new flights, connects Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Boracay, Clark

Philippines AirAsia launched new flights from Cebu to the Philippine summer destinations of Palawan and Boracay, celebrating the new routes with a seat sale that’s available for booking until April…

Philippines AirAsia launched new flights from Cebu to the Philippine summer destinations of Palawan and Boracay, celebrating the new routes with a seat sale that’s available for booking until April 30, 2017.

Beginning yesterday, April 22, AirAsia also resumed and added flights from Cebu to Davao. From Cebu, the airlines now flies twice daily to Davao and daily to Palawan and Boracay via Caticlan.

The first trip from Cebu to Davao left at 4:45 in the morning yesterday, Saturday, followed by the 12:10 p.m. to Caticlan and the 6:45 p.m. to Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

AirAsia new flights Cebu

NEW FLIGHTS. Captain Gomer Monreal (3rd from left), Philippines AirAsia director of flight operations, and Ravishankar Saravu, Chief Commercial Adviser of GMR Megawide Cebu, and AirAsia crew members lead the launch of new AirAsia flights from the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Cebu expansion

Captain Gomer Monreal, Philippines AirAsia director of flight operations, said the company’s expansion will focus on Cebu in the next few years since the Manila airport is already congested.

He added that AirAsia already has a hub in Cebu and it was just a matter of opening new routes and increasing flights.

The first AirAsia flight from Davao for Cebu took off at 10:40 a.m., also on April 22, with Monreal as operating pilot. He was assisted by Captain Bernardino Perez and flight officer Leonardo Orendain.

AirAsia expansion Cebu

CEBU EXPANSION. Captain Gomer Monreal, Philippines AirAsia director of flight operations, said the company’s expansion will focus on Cebu in the next few years since the Manila airport is already congested.

AirAsia seat sale

To celebrate the launch of its six new domestic flights, AirAsia offers promo fares from as low as P788, one way all-in, that’s up for grabs until April 30, 2017 at www.airasia.com. Travel time is between September 5, 2017 to February 8, 2018.

Philippines Airasia also opened daily flights from Davao to Boracay, thrice weekly flights to Palawan, and four weekly flights to Clark. The airline company also maintains daily flights between Manila and Davao.

AirAsia new flights Cebu

INAUGURAL FLIGHTS. The cake that was sliced to mark the new flights from Cebu.

The Davao-Clark route officially opened today, April 23, 2017.

AirAsia started operating thrice weekly Clark-Kalibo flights since March.

Facebook Live video of the event

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Mactan resorts, The Outlets shops hold sale in Great Lapu-Lapu Blowout

Visitors to the yearly Kadaugan sa Mactan have been getting their fill of delectable Mactan food so it’s now time to let them experience what this historic city is about…

Visitors to the yearly Kadaugan sa Mactan have been getting their fill of delectable Mactan food so it’s now time to let them experience what this historic city is about with The Great Lapu-Lapu Blowout from April 28-30, 2017 at The Outlets in Pueblo Verde.

On these 3 days, several Mactan resorts, a few souvenir and pasalubong stores, and shops at The Outlets will offer discounts and promos on accommodations, food and beverage, Lapu-Lapu products like guitars, and even branded retail items, said AboitizLand senior manager for commercial leasing and management Gembelyne B. Icamen.

“The Outlets are already on sale all year round but during this time shops will offer from 30 to 50 percent discount,” she said.

Great Lapu-Lapu Blowout

GREAT LAPU-LAPU BLOWOUT. (From left) Jobelle Arellano of Eloisa Royal Suites, Arianne Manzo of AboitizLand Marketing, Be Resorts Area Communications Manager Ronalaine Sato, Geofel Flores of AboitizLand Marketing, Lapu-Lapu City Tourism Officer Hembler Mendoza, AboitizLand senior manager for commercial leasing and management Gembelyne Icamen, Costabella marketing and communications manager Malu Arriola, and Myla Tabasa of World of Adventures Travel & Tours during the announcement of the Great Lapu-Lapu Blowout.

Top Mactan resorts

Top Mactan resorts like Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark, Be Resorts, Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel and travel agencies like World of Adventures are among the tourism establishments that will participate in The Great Travel Blowout, according to Icamen.

The event is organized by Aboitizland to support Lapu-Lapu City’s celebration of the Kadaugan sa Mactan or Victory in Mactan, which commemorates the historic battle between chieftain Lapu-Lapu and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.

She added that event exhibitors are still accepted but they should be Mactan-based companies.

Great Lapu-Lapu Blowout

YEAR-ROUND SALE. The Outlets are already on sale all year round but during this time shops will offer from 30 to 50 percent discount, said AboitizLand senior manager for commercial leasing and management Gembelyne B. Icamen.

Room, food packages

Malu A. Arriola, Costabella marketing and communications manager, said they will have promos on rooms and special discounts on food and beverages during the blow-out.

Be Resorts will also give special room rates and extend its summer specials like the Summer Salsa every Saturdays to end of May, according resort area communications manager Ronalaine F. Sato.

They’ll also come up with even more special packages for April 28-30, she added.

Great Lapu-Lapu Blowout

CULINARY DESTINATION. The Fork in the Road at The Outlets is a popular dining destination, especially at night.

Tour deals

At least 10 establishments, majority of which are resorts, have agreed to participate in The Great Lapu-Lapu Blowout.

World of Adventures will offer travel packages to such Philippine destinations as Boracay, Coron, and Puerto Princesa. From April 28-30, its two-night tour deals to Coron, at only P6,950, and Boracay, at P5,950, will even include roundtrip airfare.

The Outlets at Pueblo Verde will offer huge discounts on well-known brands. To know more about its offers, visit The Outlets at MEZ II, Basak, Lapu-Lapu City or check it out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheOutletsAtPV.

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Earth Day Cebu to feature bazaars, food booths, organic produce

Local arts and crafts, bazaars, an e-bike parade, organic farmers’ market, food booths, and live music will mark the holding of the Earth Day celebration in Cebu from April 21-22,…

Local arts and crafts, bazaars, an e-bike parade, organic farmers’ market, food booths, and live music will mark the holding of the Earth Day celebration in Cebu from April 21-22, 2017 at the University of the Philippines Cebu Campus.

This will be the third year that Earth Day is celebrated in Cebu, and it carries the theme “Pag-amuma sa Inahang Kalikopan,” said Japamala Arnaldo of Art Cebu.

Art Cebu is one of the organizers of Earth Day Cebu, which advocates for a healthy lifestyle and greener environment. The goal of the event is to build a community that has a high awareness of climate change and other environmental threats to the planet.

Arnaldo calls on Cebuanos to join the celebration and enjoy the activities they’ve lined up for the two days.

Earth Day Cebu 2017

EARTH DAY CEBU. (From left) Roza Javier and Anne Dala of Cebu Food Revolution, Japamala Arnaldo of Art Cebu, and Ma. Rowena Clara Ebdani of Cebu Farmers Market lead the Earth day celebration in Cebu.​

Earth Day highlights

A panel discussion by various climate speakers, including Prof. Henry Espiritu of PCAP, Jakki Lucero of Climate Reality Project, Dada Dharmavedananda of PROUT and Ecology, JCI Cebu Sinulo, and Francis Sollano of Youth for Livable Cebu at UP Cebu’s AS Conference Hall, will happen on the first day, April 21. It will run from 1:30-4:00 p.m. and end with a fellowship meal in the form of a vegetarian boodle fight.

One of the highlights of Earth Day will be the Cebu Farmers Market (CFM) on the second day, April 22.

On that day, according to Ma. Rowena Clara Ebdani of CFM, Cebu’s organic farmers will sell naturally grown local produce at the UP Cebu Campus grounds.

CFM already holds a regular market for farmer members every Wednesday at Streetscape in Paseo Saturnino, Maria Luisa Park and Saturday at Axis Entertainment along Escario St., but they will be at UP Cebu during the week of the Earth Day celebration.

Healthy lifestyle

The second day of the festival will also feature a bazaar for selling or bartering pre-loved items, family cookout fair, picnic and play area, education booths, and vegetarian food stalls, said Anne Dala of the Cebu Food Revolution.

She added that Earth Day Cebu organizers “want to reach out to others so that together we can do something to protect our planet.”

Roza Javier, also of the Cebu Food Revolution, said they want to encourage a healthy lifestyle among families by stressing the importance of home cooking and sharing what they know about preparing tasty vegetarian dishes.

CFM and Cebu Food Revolution are co-organizers of the celebration.

Earth Day festivities will happen from 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. on the second day, and guests will only need to pay an entrance fee of P20. Earth Day Cebu is part of a global series of events in celebration of Earth Day 2017.

Event partners

Other Earth Day partners include:

  • University of the Philippines Gender and Development Studies
  • JCI Cebu Sinulog
  • PCAP
  • YogaSugbo
  • Cebu Local Government
  • International Pharmaceuticals Inc.
  • Handuraw Pizza
  • Persian Palate
  • Uniao Capoiera
  • Healthy Yu
  • Planet Veggies
  • Winnia Products International
  • Ananda Marga Natural Living
  • Ananda Marga Yoga Studio
  • The Detox Bar
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Kadaugan Food Festival features delectable fare by Mactan resorts, restaurants

Lechon kawali by Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark, pork satay set by Bluewater Maribago, chicken shawarma by Movenpick Hotels and Resorts, and a variety of dishes off the menu of…

Lechon kawali by Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark, pork satay set by Bluewater Maribago, chicken shawarma by Movenpick Hotels and Resorts, and a variety of dishes off the menu of top resorts and restaurants in Mactan are served nightly throughout the Kadaugan Food Festival at the Liberty Shrine.

The food fest, which will run up to April 26, is part of a schedule of activities to commemorate the victory of native chieftain Lapu-Lapu against Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in Kadaugan sa Mactan.

Kadaugan Sa Mactan

MANOK BISAYA. Lapu-Lapu City Tourism Officer Hembler Mendoza checks out the roasted Manok Bisaya in one of the stalls at the Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival, which runs until April 26. (MyCebu.ph photo)

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Be Resort, Crimson Resort and Spa, Pacific Cebu Resort, Alta Resorts, Waterfront Mactan, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, and Solea Mactan Cebu Resort are among the hotels and resorts selling delectable cuisine at low prices.

The variety of fare available even includes pizza by Hola España, ebi tempura, sushi, and sashimi by Nonki, roast pig by Gatchalian, grilled tuna by Hotel Eloisa, barbecue choices, and roasted manok bisaya (native chicken). There are also booths that provide drinks, from sodas to fruit shakes and coolers.

Local bands and performers provide entertainment to diners.

Parking is available near the Liberty Shrine area and on either side of the road close to the venue. Enterprising residents have also turned their empty lots into parking areas for a minimal fee of P20 so there’s ample space for those who want to drive to the venue.

More photos of the Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival

Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival

 

Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival

 

Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival

 

Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival

 

Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival

 

Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival

 

Kadaugan Sa Mactan Food Festival

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Authorities hunt Cebu road rage shooter

Authorities in Cebu are in pursuit of David Lim Jr., who is accused of shooting a nurse during a traffic altercation in Barangay Kamputhaw at 3 a.m. on Sunday. Lim…

Authorities in Cebu are in pursuit of David Lim Jr., who is accused of shooting a nurse during a traffic altercation in Barangay Kamputhaw at 3 a.m. on Sunday.

Lim is the son of racer David Lim Sr., who figured in a traffic accident earlier this month that killed a fish dealer. He is the nephew of Peter Lim, the controversial businessman named by the Duterte Government as a drug lord. Peter has denied the accusation.

David Jr. was caught on camera confronting University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed) nurse Ephraim Montalbo Nuñal and then shooting him repeatedly.

 

Traffic incident

Nuñal said he was heading home from a party when the Mercedes Benz (with plate number UWI 731) in front of him zigzagged and stopped in the middle of the road. He said in a Cebu Daily News report that he honked his horn after the driver and a female companion went out of the vehicle, arguing. The man, instead, confronted Nuñal and punched him. Nuñal said he was able to parry the blow.

It was after that point that the man, later identified as David Jr., got a gun from his car and shot him before speeding away.

Nuñal identified David Jr. through pictures shown to him.

The photographer of this picture or anyone who saw it being taken needs to contact the police immediately. 100,000 peso…

Posted by Tommy Osmeña on Sunday, March 19, 2017

Raid on David Lim’s residence

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña later led a SWAT team in a raid on Lim’s house in Maria Luisa and a condo unit in Winland Tower on Juana Osmeña Extension. Osmeña ordered the raid after a judge refused to issue a search warrant.

“The judge has refused to issue me a warrant of arrest. I have ordered SWAT to execute the raid on David Lim’s house. I accept all legal responsibility,” Osmeña posted on his official Facebook page.

The team was told by David’s parents that they did not know where he was.

For the record: the judge has refused to issue me a warrant of arrest. I have ordered SWAT to execute the raid on David Lim’s house. I accept all legal responsibility.

Posted by Tommy Osmeña on Sunday, March 19, 2017

President Duterte’s help

Osmeña also said he reached out to President Duterte via his special assistant Bong Go for help.

“Hi Bong, fyi lang, tonight I personally raided the house of David Lim, brother to Peter. His son was captured on video this morning shooting a nurse. The judge in Cebu refused to issue a warrant of arrest and the police refused to move with no warrant until I threatened to perform the raid by myself. Please tell the President that I need help getting an arrest warrant ASAP so a hold departure order can be placed. This is beyond me na. Need help,” he wrote on Facebook.

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Michelin-rated Tim Ho Wan to open in Cebu on March 25

Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong’s famous Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant, is opening in Cebu at the Upper Ground Floor, Mountain Wing of SM Seaside City on Saturday, March 25. This…

Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong’s famous Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant, is opening in Cebu at the Upper Ground Floor, Mountain Wing of SM Seaside City on Saturday, March 25. This will be its 7th branch in the country and first outside Metro Manila. It will be the first and only Michelin-rated restaurant in Cebu.

Tim Ho Wan started in 2009 when Chef Mak Kwai Pui and Chef Leung Fai Keun opened a modest 20-seater hole-in-the-wall eatery in Mongkok, Hong Kong. A year after, it earned the coveted star in the 2010 HK and Macau Michelin guide, the international benchmark of good food and highest form of recognition in the culinary world.

Since then, the restaurant branched out around Hong Kong and brought its delicious and affordable dim sum overseas with its first international location in Singapore in 2013. It then expanded to the Philippines in 2014, followed by Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Macau, and most recently New York.

Tim Ho Wan Cebu pork buns

Crumbly and fluffy on the outside and oozing with barbecued pork on the inside, Tim Ho Wan PH ‘s famous Baked Buns is worth the wait.

Dim sum specialists

Its inclusion in the Michelin guide was unprecedented at a time when only fine dining and expensive restaurants dominated the list. Renowned as the “most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the world,” the accolade was a testament to the affordable luxury that Tim Ho Wan consistently offers in terms of taste, quality, and value.

Tim Ho Wan, in Cantonese, translates to “additional good luck” but its brand philosophy is anchored on dim sum perfection from dish placement, service delivery, to specific sizing of every morsel, right down to the folds of the snowy skins for dumplings. This precision takes years of mastery to instill, and the consistency in taste and freshness across every Tim Ho Wan outlet is evident.

The dim sum is handmade-to-order, not pre-steamed and reheated, to retain its much-intended flavor and texture. About 70% of its premium ingredients are imported from Hong Kong.

Tim Ho Wan Cebu Beancurd Skin with Pork & Shrimp

Beancurd Skin with Pork & Shrimp

Four heavenly kings

The Four Heavenly Kings are the stars in Tim Ho Wan’s menu that diners queue up hours for. Savor the famed Baked Bun with BBQ Pork, which gained Tim Ho Wan its success and international following, Steamed Egg Cake, Beancurd Skin with Pork & Shrimp, and Pan Fried Carrot Cake.

With no dish over P200 and exquisite flavors that make the experience well worth the wait, Tim Ho Wan continues to earn the acclaim of food critics and heart of epicureans well beyond Hong Kong.

To celebrate its arrival in Cebu, Tim Ho Wan Cebu will be giving 1 complimentary order of Baked Bun with BBQ Pork to the first 100 transactions with a minimum purchase of P500 during its opening week from March 25 to March 31.

Tim Ho Wan Cebu

In the Philippines, Tim Ho Wan was brought in by Foodee Global Concepts, the food authority responsible for Todd English Food Hall, Pound by Todd English, Hook by Todd English, FOO’D by Davide Oldani, MESA Filipino Moderne, Llaollao, and Sunnies Café.

Tim Ho Wan Cebu is located at the Upper Ground Floor, Mountain Wing of SM Seaside City Cebu and is open daily 10 am to 9 pm. Seating for dine-in is on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit www.facebook.com/timhowanph and follow @timhowanph on Instagram for the latest events and updates. (Press Release)

Tim Ho Wan Cebu

Cebu’s first and only Michelin-rated restaurant is finally opening on March 25 at the Upper Ground Floor, SM Seaside City. To celebrate its 7th branch in the Philippines and first outside Manila, they are giving out complimentary pork buns every day from March 25 – 31 to the first 100 guests with a minimum bill of P500.

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Safari to open in Carmen, Cebu this year

Wild animals like giraffes, lions, and tigers, an extensive number of birds, the latest rides, and even snow will be among the attractions of the 100-hectare park that will include…

Wild animals like giraffes, lions, and tigers, an extensive number of birds, the latest rides, and even snow will be among the attractions of the 100-hectare park that will include a safari in the highlands of Carmen, Cebu.

Michel J. Lhuillier, owner of the M. Lhuillier chain of pawnshops and ML Kwarta Padala remittance centers, said he wants everything completed before the park is opened to the public.

He plans to open by October or November 2017.

So glad to have seen these zebras…aren’t they beautiful? #haciendalhuiller #carmen#cebuph

A post shared by Arlene Damiles Buot (@dgorgeousp) on

Wow effect

“It is not yet ready. I want people to go there and say ‘Wow!’ It must always have that wow effect,” he added, correcting posts that came out on social media saying the safari had started operating last April.

Among the plans for the park will be an ice machine to let Cebuanos experience snow, Lhuillier said.

Carmen in Cebu is an hour away from Cebu City and Lhuillier said it would only take 15 minutes to go up to the area from the town center.

Safari animals

Lhuillier is flying in about 70 percent of the animals that will make up the zoo from Texas, the south of France, and Dubai, and they are set to arrive either on the 21st or 22nd of this month. It will feature some 60 kinds of animal species and an extensive aviary.

The safari is inspired by the Singapore Zoo and Lhuillier had people come in from the city state to help with the design and training of the crew that will man it.

“Even the people from Singapore say our safari is better than (the one in) Singapore,” he also said.

The entrance rate to the park will be P550 but this does not include the rides, which are the latest available and include the plunge, roller coaster, and a zip line.

Animal shows

The birds, which include vultures, flamingos, and several species, are being trained so they will take part in the animal shows that will be a regular feature at the park.

“When the training started, we had to use ropes but (they) don’t need that now. The birds can follow instructions like getting a bill of money from your hands and you have to feed them in return,” he said in an interview after the recent launch of the partnership between the Lhuillier group and what used to be the Calayan Medical Group Skincare and Aesthetic Center in Cebu.

He added that his property in Carmen, which he is turning into a theme park, has the same elevation as Tops in Cebu City and appears quite a different world with his horses, picket fences, and all those trees. Other park attractions include the Lhuillier gardens and orchid collection that go back 35 years.

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Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen serves fusion of traditional, creative Pinoy food flavors

Lunch at the newly-opened Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen in Cebu started with an appetizing salad combination of pomelo and singkamas tossed in calamansi dressing followed by a savoury combination of…

Lunch at the newly-opened Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen in Cebu started with an appetizing salad combination of pomelo and singkamas tossed in calamansi dressing followed by a savoury combination of chicharon and salted egg accompanied by just a hint of spice.

Then we were treated to several other dishes that offer creative takes on traditional Filipino dishes, from the vegetarian humba and tahong in coconut milk to the pinaugang balbacua and zarzuela de mariscos.

To continue the tradition of good food at reasonable prices and cater to a market segment that’s after novel and exciting experiences, the Cebu Golden Restaurant, Inc. opened a second branch of its fourth and newest dining concept.

Golden Cowrie Ayala Center Cebu

NEW TAKE ON TRADITIONAL CUISINE. The Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen reinterprets the classic to come up with new dishes.

Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen menu

The Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen reinterprets the classic to come up with such new dishes as the Miki Negra made with squid ink sauce, deconstructed bone marrow served with soup, crostini, and onion jam called Pocherong Katag, and vegetarian depiction of such loved food as sisig and dinuguan. Among the seafood specials is Zarzuela de Mariscos, a dish of crabs, squid, and shellfish is cooked in light tomato sauce, olive oil, tomatoes, and coco wine.

Other refreshing takes on traditional Filipino food include the pinaupong manok, tahong in coconut milk, manong’s real balls, and Salinas kwek-kwek.

Pinaupong manok.

Pinaupong manok.

Still, such Filipino staples as lechon belly, crispy pata, sinigang na hipon, and grilled tuna belly are also available in the Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen menu.

Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen, now open at the 4th level Garden Area of Ayala Center Cebu, is the premium concept in the Cebu Golden Restaurant, Inc. portfolio and it is a fusion of the traditional and creative new flavors of the different brands.

Cab-cab with smoked bangus pate.

Cab-cab with smoked bangus pate.

Good food, reasonable prices

Earl Kokseng, of the executive committee of Cebu Golden Restaurant and Golden Cowrie Franchising, Inc., said they have grown to 31 restaurants and intend to expand some more.

He added that they started out with Golden Cowrie about 35 years ago and evolved into four brands, adding Hukad sa Golden Cowrie, Salinas, and recently Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen.

“We’ve become an institution in Cebu, and our brand has won the heart of many Cebuanos and visitors. We want to continue the Golden Cowrie tradition of good food at reasonable prices and great service,” Kokseng said.

Pinaugang balbacua.

Pinaugang balbacua.

Cebu Golden Restaurant expansion

The first Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen branch was opened in Manila late last year. According to Kokseng, Cebu Golden Restaurant, Inc. had concentrated its expansion in the Visayas and Mindanao in the past few years and believed it was now time to bring the brand to the capital.

Kokseng said the goal is to add 10 more branches, most of which will be in Metro Manila, by end of 2017.

Creating another restaurant concept and adding to their four existing brands will always be an option for company, he added, citing that the end goal will be to evolve according to the needs of the market.

More photos of Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen opening in Ayala Center Cebu

 

Cutting the ribbon. The owners prepare to open the Ayala Center Cebu branch.

 

Sizzling chicharon and itlog maalat.

 

Vegetarian humba.

 

Tahong in coconut milk.

Tahong in coconut milk.

 

Golden Cowrie Filipino Kitchen Ayala Center Cebu

Zarzuela de Mariscos. Seafood cooked in light tomato sauce, olive oil, tomatoes and coco wine.

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Getting visa to Taiwan made simpler for Filipinos

Getting a visa to Taiwan used to be a tedious and expensive process for Philippine passport holders. What many don’t know, however, is that Taiwan has simplified its visa requirements…

Getting a visa to Taiwan used to be a tedious and expensive process for Philippine passport holders.

What many don’t know, however, is that Taiwan has simplified its visa requirements for Filipinos so we can easily enjoy the amazing mix of modernity, culture, and well-preserved nature that our closest neighbor in the north has to offer.

There are several ways by which Philippine passport holders may gain entry to Taiwan. It can be through a:

1) Visa-free certificate or travel authorization certificate

While getting a travel authorization certificate is the easiest way to go, Filipino travellers need to meet some criteria before they can be granted a visa exemption.

You will need to have any of the following documents issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States: 1) a valid resident or permanent resident card; 2) a valid entry visa (electronic visa included); or 3) a resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan.

Applicants who qualify for visa exemption can apply online here. https://niaspeedy.immigration.gov.tw/nia_southeast/

Filipinos who apply for a Republic of China (Taiwan) Travel Authorization Certificate must also meet the following conditions:

  • Should have a passport with remaining validity of at least six months starting from the date of arrival in Taiwan
  • Possess an onward/return air or ferry ticket
  • Have never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan

The travel authorization certificate is free and allows multiple entries to Taiwan valid for 3 months with every stay lasting up to 30 days.

Taiwan E-visa

E-VISA. Applying for a Taiwan E-visa was quick, completing the form and paying for it took around 15 minutes, and we were notified of the approval of our e-visa application by email the very next day.

2) E-visa (Online visa)

If you don’t quality for an exemption, the next easiest thing will be to apply for an online visa. The application is done online through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines website.

This entails filling up an e-visa application form here and paying the fee of about P2,500 by credit card or other online payment methods like PayMaya.

Since we didn’t quality for a Taiwan travel certificate, my husband and I applied for an e-visa. It was quick, completing the Taiwan e-visa form and paying for it took around 15 minutes, and we were notified of the approval of our e-visa application by email the very next day.

For the e-visa, the form will ask for details like trip schedule, Taiwan address (can be address of your hotel or AirBNB accommodation), and name as well as contact number of your friend in Taiwan.

Implemented starting in October 2016, the simplified visa policy is cheaper and more convenient for those living outside of Manila since they don’t have to physically appear at TECO.

The e-visa applies to Taiwan visitors who want to go there for the following reasons: tourism, business, visiting relatives, attending international conference, participating in sport events.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office website

3) Regular visa stamped in passport

The regular visa applies as well to travellers going to Taiwan for the above mentioned reasons as well as for: white-collar employment/ investment/ internship/business training/ entrepreneurs/cooks; studying Chinese, seafarer; religious work; bachelor’s degree, master’s, and doctorate studies; minors under 20 who are joining their parents; Filipino nationals married to ROC nationals; joining spouse or parents holding a Taiwan alien residence certificate.

The requirements differ for the various travel purposes so make sure you have the correct list for your visitor or resident visa needs.

4) Simplified visa regulations for high-end tourist groups

The visa requirements are simplified as well for tour groups from the Philippines organized by travel agencies accredited by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.

For such groups, proof of occupation and supporting financial documents are waived.

Taiwan said the visa relaxing measures are intended to enhance travel between Taiwan and the Philippines and promote bilateral ties between the two countries.

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UTrade boosts campaign to get Cebuanos into stocks investing

Investing in stocks is owning companies without the hassle of getting permits and putting up capital and UTrade wants Cebuanos to see it as a means to achieve financial security….

Investing in stocks is owning companies without the hassle of getting permits and putting up capital and UTrade wants Cebuanos to see it as a means to achieve financial security.

“There is so much potential in Cebu since Cebuanos are by nature entrepreneurial,” said UTrade AVP in marketing Michelle Ungco.

She added that with only about 2 percent of Filipinos currently invested in stocks, the brokerage firm sees “a sea of opportunity” in the remaining 98 percent.

Since its establishment in 2014 when it only had around a hundred clients, UTrade now has 5,000, according to head and manager of sales Neil Gabaldon. UTrade is an online trading platform.

UTrade Cebu seminar

UTrade Investment Consultant Carlos Felipe gives an introduction to stocks trading in a seminar in Cebu City.

UTrade Growth targets

Only a fraction of this number, however, are Cebu residents, Gabaldon said, adding they seek to make securities trading more familiar to Cebuanos by adding more events to the weekly seminars at the UTrade office in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). The weekly seminar is from 3-5 p.m. every Tuesday at the PSE office in Cebu, which is located at the Insular Life building in the Cebu Business Park. UTrade held a Stock Investing 101 workshop in Cebu on March 4, 2017.

Ungco said they don’t plan run after the 2 percent already investing in publicly-listed shares and try to convince them UTrade is the better brokerage firm but would just focus their efforts on the 98 percent that have yet to learn what the stock market is all about.

“The 98 percent are different kinds of people. UTrade wants to talk to those interested in investing or at least know what it is to invest. They’ve invested in funds, merong insurance, my negosyo na, may ari ng lupa. They’re already invested but want to diversify, add to their investment vehicles, and get into something that will give them accelerated financial success,” she added.

UTrade has intensified the campaign to grow its client base particularly in Cebu, Gabaldon added.

UTrade Cebu press con

STOCKS INVESTING. UTrade officials hold a press conference in Cebu to announce expansion plans. From left are: Adeluisa Gesalan, Cebu Business Development Officer; Carlos Felipe, Investment Consultant of UTrade; Michelle Ungco, AVP in Marketing; Neil Gabaldon, Head and Manager of Sales; MJ Catriz, Assistant Manager in Digital Marketing; and Marnelle Apat, Cebu Business Development Officer.

Stock investing

When people save their money in the bank, they only get very little interest in their savings, said UTrade investment consultant Carlos Felipe.

On the other hand, the bank makes money from deposits by loaning the funds out at a high interest.

“Would you rather loan money to the bank or just own the bank? How can you do this? By buying shares of that bank in the open market. This is the power of stocks, you become part owner of a company,” he added.

According to Ungco, the company’s immediate plans involve the launch of a mobile app by April 2017 and distribution of mutual funds for people who are still averse to stock market risks.

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High school team from Bogo City to compete in Singapore contest of fuel-efficient vehicles

The 13-member Team Masiyentista of the City of Bogo Science and Arts Academy (CBSAA) will be competing in the Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) Asia 2017 this March in Singapore. Team Masiyentista…

The 13-member Team Masiyentista of the City of Bogo Science and Arts Academy (CBSAA) will be competing in the Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) Asia 2017 this March in Singapore.

Team Masiyentista will be competing against 100 teams in Singapore from March 16-19, to push the boundaries of energy efficiency. It is one of 14 teams to represent the Philippines in the international event and the only team to represent the whole Visayas region.

Bogo Science and Arts Academy

LABYUG. Team Masiyentista will participate in the Prototype-Internal Combustion Engine category with this gasoline-run vehicle.

The Shell Eco-Marathon is an annual competition sponsored by Shell that challenges student teams to design, build, test and drive the most fuel-efficient vehicles. It is held around the world with events in Europe, the Americas and Asia with the Asian leg being held in Singapore this year.

Team Masiyentista will participate in the Prototype-Internal Combustion Engine category with a gasoline-run vehicle, affectionately called “Labyug,” named after a former local mode of transportation. It has a carbon fiber exterior and is shaped like a raindrop to allow it to cut through the air as efficiently as possible.

The Team is confident that Labyug will finish with a record fuel efficiency of not below 200 km/l.

Bogo Science and Arts Academy

The Team competed last year in the SEM Asia 2016 in Manila where they won 5th Place in the Best University Launch despite being the only secondary school participating in that event as other teams are composed of engineering students, owing to the technical background of conceptualizing and building the vehicles.

The students study at CBSAA, a public school with extensive support from the local government.

Chastren Soon, faculty adviser, said that their participation in SEM Asia 2017 marks a milestone for CBSAA in “molding innovative leaders and globally competitive students, creating a bridge for students to transcend a world of mere blueprints to actual application.”

Bogo City Mayor Carlo Martinez said “SEM Asia 2017 is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the ingenuity, knowledge and skills of our young Bogohanons on the global stage.” (Bogo City PIO)

Bogo Science and Arts Academy

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On offer at Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong: Cultural experience, shopping discounts, iPhone 7 incentive

A guided walking tour, discounts at over 100 Harbour City retail and dining shops, and an iPhone 7 incentive for group bookings are just some of the offers up for…

A guided walking tour, discounts at over 100 Harbour City retail and dining shops, and an iPhone 7 incentive for group bookings are just some of the offers up for grabs at luxury hotel Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong.

Travellers get to experience Tsim Sha Tsui’s forgotten sights, untold stories, and iconic community people through the Cultural Heritage Package that the hotel is offering throughout 2017.

Examples of these historic sites include the city’s oldest military facility, the first Catholic church on Kowloon peninsula, the primary school attended by kung fu master Bruce Lee, and buildings that have received UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage awards.

Harbour view from Kowloon Shangri-La in Hong Kong

 

Sonny Ang, Kowloon Shangri-La director of sales and marketing, said Hong Kong has more to offer than just food, shopping, or nightlife.

Cultural Heritage Package

Tsim Sha Tsui alone is a land of legends that brims with fascinating places and stories, and Kowloon Shangri-La wants to share this side of the district with its guests.

As the very first hotel to open in the reclaimed Tsim Sha Tsui East, the hotel pioneers a project to unearth spots off the beaten paths and interesting facts about the area that have been lost through the centuries.

Kowloon Shangri-La is the first hotel to open in the reclaimed Tsim Sha Tsui East.

Priced from HK$3,800 (US$488), Shangri-La’s heritage package already includes accommodation for two persons, Horizon Club privileges, a three-hour guided tour, and a special edition of the commemorative book The Hidden Gems that features selected examples of Tsim Sha Tsui’s cultural heritage. The package requires a minimum two-night stay at the hotel.

“We are extremely pleased to pioneer this project and design a walking tour for our guests as part of our hotel’s 35th anniversary celebrations. Not only does this project let us help them uncover Tsim Sha Tsui’s cultural heritage, which might have escaped their eyes in previous trips to Hong Kong, but also gives us a chance to work with people from different walks of life within the community,” said Ulf Bremer, general manager of Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong.

Main dining hall of Shang Palace, which has 2 Michelin stars.

 

Shopping discounts, offers

Hong Kong is synonymous with shopping and the hotel makes this activity more pleasurable for guests through a partnership with two nearby mega retail conglomerates – T Galleria by DFS, Hong Kong, TSTE store on Mody Road and Harbour City on Canton Road.

The Kowloon Shangri-La key card gives guests access to over 150 shopping and dining offers at Harbour City or a HK$100 gift certificate from T-Galleria.

T-Galleria by DFS is only steps away from the hotel, which also provides a complimentary shuttle bus service to the mega shopping complex that is Harbour City. These offers are valid until December 31, 2017.

MEDIA BRIEFING. Sonny Ang, Kowloon Shangri-La director of sales and marketing, said Hong Kong has more to offer than just food, shopping, or nightlife.

 

iPhone 7 incentive

For Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) bookers, Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong has quite an offer.

Organizers of group bookings of 25 or more guestrooms for a minimum two-night stay accompanied by two days of meeting made as of March 31, 2017 for stays until September 10, 2017 get a 32GB iPhone 7 as incentive. A minimum accommodation spending of HK$150,000 before the 10 per cent service charge is required for this offer.

For more details about this offer, they may contact the hotel’s convention and incentive sales team at (852) 2733 8789 or e-mail ian.tan@shangri-la.com.

Harbour view suite.

 

Warm hospitality

Situated along the waterfront and right in the hub of a commercial-cum-shopping district, with major transportation in proximity, Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong features 688 guestrooms with a floor-to-ceiling window commanding harbour or city views, as well as seven sophisticated and award-winning restaurants, bar and lounge.

What sets it apart from other luxury hotels is the special kind of warmth that is inherent in Kowloon Shangri-La’s culture of hospitality, added Bremer.

Patsy Chan, hotel director for communications, said a pioneer worker of the hotel had gotten so close to returning guests, he had to be made lobby ambassador so he would be among the first to welcome them back. This staff was even invited to an event at the palace of a Southeast Asian king.

Cafe Kool

 

Kowloon Shangri-La facilities

Kowloon Shangri-La also has 15 versatile function rooms, including a 5,800-square feet pillar-free Grand Ballroom. The function rooms are all installed with the latest audio-visual equipment and can accommodate a boardroom meeting of as small as 10 to a conference of 750 people. Additionally, the fully equipped Health Club and the 24-hour business centre address physical fitness and office needs.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and manages 98 hotels under the Shangri-La brand with a room inventory of over 40,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, Canada, mainland China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in mainland China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka.

St. Andrew's Church Hong Kong

St. Andrew’s Church is part of the hotel’s cultural heritage tour.

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