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ITF 2017: Travel deals to Philippine, international destinations up for grabs

A special section showcasing luxury resorts and a “super seat sale” by Cathay Pacific are just a few of the travel deals available in the upcoming International Travel Festival (ITF)…

A special section showcasing luxury resorts and a “super seat sale” by Cathay Pacific are just a few of the travel deals available in the upcoming International Travel Festival (ITF) 2017 from July 14-16 at Ayala Center Cebu.

Stephanie Villahermosa, ITF project director, said that over 80 exhibitors had already signed up for the travel event a day before its media launch last June 21.

They include hotels and resorts, tour and travel agencies, as well as local and international airline companies.

Seat sale

Cathay Pacific Cebu manager Catherine Sin said they will offer promo fares to destinations like Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand and super discounted rates to Southeast Asian countries, China, and Korea during ITF 2017.

International Travel Festival 2017

TRAVEL DEALS. A special section showcasing luxury resorts and a “super seat sale” by Cathay Pacific are just a few of the travel deals available in the upcoming International Travel Festival 2017 from July 14-16 at Ayala Center Cebu. Photo shows organizers, partners, and guests during the media launch.

During the travel event, national flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) will offer a seat sale to domestic and international destinations as well. The company already has an ongoing seat sale for its recently started Cebu-Tagbilaran route starting at base fare of only P500 up until October 2017.

SilkAir, regional wing of Singapore Airlines, will also join ITF 2017 and offer low fares to various destinations.

Luxury resorts

Now on its fourth year, the travel show organized by MyEventology grows even bigger and will now include a special section featuring several luxury resorts throughout the country.

According to Villahermosa, these include Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, El Nido Resorts, Manila Hotel, and the Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa in Bohol.

She added that previous ITFs had enjoyed high foot traffic based on the official visitor count by Ayala Center Cebu to an average of 90,000 persons daily for the three-day event. Over a hundred exhibitors, including tourism offices of the different Philippine regions, signed up for ITF 2016.

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Marco Polo Plaza serves Thai food in latest culinary event

Pad thai, tom yum goong, pineapple fried rice, and other delectable dishes are highlighted in the Cafe Marco buffet as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates the vibrant flavors of Thailand…

Pad thai, tom yum goong, pineapple fried rice, and other delectable dishes are highlighted in the Cafe Marco buffet as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates the vibrant flavors of Thailand in Thai Sojourn.

Thai Chef Nontra-Udon Buapha came all the way to Cebu from the Marco Polo Prince Hotel in Hong Kong and is currently at the helm of Cafe Marco’s kitchens churning out top-notch Thai delicacies.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Thai Sojourn

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Thai Sojourn. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

Up until June 27, Cebuanos will get to enjoy the best of Thai cuisine on top of the regular buffet spread at Cafe Marco.

At the opening of Thai Sojourn last June 23, restaurant staff in delicate and colorful chut thai welcomed diners.

Marco Polo Thai Sojourn

Thai Chef Nontra-Udon Buapha of the Marco Polo Prince Hotel in Hong Kong. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

Media guests invited to the opening were served Thai Chef Buapha’s selection, which highlighted stir fried squid, steamed fish, pad thai, chicken satay and pork, pineapple fried rice, and mango sticky rice.

Thai Chef Buapha, who has over 38 years of experience in the kitchen, was also present to explain the intricacies of Thai cuisine.

Pineapple salad.

Pineapple salad. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

For drinks, Cafe Marco served a refreshing cold milk tea with a hint of ginger that perfectly complemented the spicy dishes and the delightfully sweet and fruity “Summer Forever.”

Thai Chef Buapha said Thai food is made of the freshest ingredients. In the same way, the Thai cuisine served at Cafe Marco made use of natural local produce.

Marco Polo Thai Sojourn

Chicken and mango salad. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

Take advantage of Café Marco’s on-going special lunch buffet promo at Php 880 net from Monday to Friday until July 31, 2017.

For bookings and inquiries, please email fb@marcopolocebu.com or call Cebu: (63 32) 253 1111 or Manila at (63 2) 887 1263.

More photos

Marco Polo Plaza Thai Sojourn

Pomelo salad. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Thai Sojourn

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Thai Sojourn is ongoing at Cafe Marco until June 27. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

 

Marco Polo Plaza Thai Sojourn

Thai Chef Buapha said Thai food is made of the freshest ingredients. In the same way, the Thai cuisine served at Cafe Marco made use of natural local produce. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

 

Marco Polo Plaza Thai Sojourn

Thai Chef Nontra-Udon Buapha with new Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

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Accenture launches rapid innovation center in the Philippines

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

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

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

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

Accenture Liquid Studio Philippines

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

Technology innovation hub

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

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

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

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

Speed up development

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

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

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

Data analytics

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

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

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

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

Social benefits of technology

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

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

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Marco Polo Plaza Cebu marks Independencia with rich Luzon cuisine

The bagnet of Ilocos, sisig of Pampanga, bulalo of Batangas, and many more Luzon dishes will serve as the highlight of the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu culinary festival Independencia from…

The bagnet of Ilocos, sisig of Pampanga, bulalo of Batangas, and many more Luzon dishes will serve as the highlight of the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu culinary festival Independencia from June 8-15 at Cafe Marco.

For the whole duration of Independencia: Flavors of Northern Philippines, diners will get to experience the rich and vibrant cuisine up north.

Jessica Avila, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s culinary consultant for Independencia, said they decided to focus on the rich flavors of Luzon for this year’s Philippine food festival.

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Tawilis salad.

Best dishes

“Some of the best dishes in Philippines are from the north, such as Pampanga and Bulacan. We also included food from such places as Ilocos and Baguio,” she added.

Brian Connelly, new Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager, said the Philippines gained independence from Spain 119 years ago and the hotel has honored this national celebration with a food festival for the past five years.

The culinary journey Independencia has featured food from across the country and this year it puts focus on the rich cuisine of Luzon, he added.

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Bulalo

Buffet rates

Diners can expect such signature Luzon dishes as pochero, bringhe, Bicol express, tapang Taal, ukoy, bistek Tagalog, and kare-kareng dagat, sisig santol, and tawilis salad to be served during lunch and dinner at Cafe Marco on top of the international spread all throughout Independencia.

Regular buffet rates apply even during Independencia but Cafe Marco currently has a special promo for weekday lunch at P880 net per person.

For more info on the culinary festival, call 253-1111 local 8429 or email mpplaza@marcopolohotels.com.

More Independencia photos

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Jessica Avila, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s culinary consultant for Independencia, with the hotel’s chefs.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Bagnet

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Buko salad and leche flan.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Dinakdakan

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Kare-kareng dagat.

 

Marco Polo Independencia

Adobong manok sa buho.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Ukoy.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Tapang Taal.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Bicol Express

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Bistek Tagalog

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Santol sisig.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Ginataang bilo-bilo.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia.

Various kakanin.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Burong Mangga.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Tokwa’t Baboy.

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Skywaterpark Cebu highlights Philippine culture in Pasundayag night

Traditional Philippine dances like the tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, palayok, Polynesian-inspired performances, and an impressive fire show marked the debut of the Pasundayag cultural night at Skywaterpark Cebu on June…

Traditional Philippine dances like the tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, palayok, Polynesian-inspired performances, and an impressive fire show marked the debut of the Pasundayag cultural night at Skywaterpark Cebu on June 2, 2017.

Simon Yang, Skywaterpark vice president, said the cultural show will now be a weekly event, held every Friday night, and include a scrumptious dinner buffet with steak, lechon, and a salad station.

Skywaterpark Pasundayag

EVERY FRIDAY, traditional Philippine dances will be performed at the Skywaterpark.

Traditional songs, dances

Yang said that when he came to Cebu for the first time, he wanted to experience the local culture. Skywaterpark came up with the event to provide a venue where foreign visitors can see and appreciate traditional songs and dances.

He added that they’ve come to realize that local guests also love watching ethnic performances because these bring back memories of schooldays when they knew the dances by heart.

A very important feature in the show, according to Yang, is letting guests participate by teaching them the tinikling or the pandanggo.

Skywaterpark Pasundayag

FIERY FINALE. An exciting fire show ends the the wonderful performance.

Cultural show, dinner buffet

He said part of the plan is to eventually hold the cultural show thrice weekly. Skywaterpark, located at the sixth floor of JCentre Mall, can accommodate 250 to 300 guests for the cultural night.

The cultural show with dinner buffet has regular rate of P3,000 but Skywaterpark currently has a special promo for locals at only P1,500. It does not include the use of the waterpark.

Skywaterpark Cebu currently holds a pool party every Saturday night and Sunday brunch for families with a host of activities for kids. Yang said they’re thinking of themes for the other days as well.

Skywaterpark Cebu day use rate is P1,000 net for adults and P900 net for kids 12 years old and below. Use of the waterpark facilities is from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Facebook Live of show

More photos

 

Skywaterpark Simon Yang

Simon Yang, Skywaterpark vice president, answers questions of reporters during the launch.

Skywaterpark Pasundayag

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Huawei showcases P10 with portrait photography workshop in Cebu

Beautiful portraits, said fashion and beauty photographer Sara Black, “reveal untold stories.” To improve your portraits, Black offers these tips: use lighting and consider the quality, direction, and color of…

Beautiful portraits, said fashion and beauty photographer Sara Black, “reveal untold stories.”

To improve your portraits, Black offers these tips: use lighting and consider the quality, direction, and color of the light; look for a good facial angle and ask the subject which she or he considers the best; take into account body dynamic, follow composition rules but feel free to break these, connect with your subject, and have your own style.

Black held a short workshop on mobile portrait photography at the Chateau de Busay in Lahug last June 1. The Behind Portrait Photography workshop was held to showcase the superior image quality of the Huawei P10.

Huawei P10, P10 Plus features

Huawei Philippines marketing director Corinne Bacani gave a detailed introduction to the P10 and P10 Plus during the event. Using the phone is like having a “photo studio in your pocket,” she said in her introduction.

“Make every shot a cover shot,” was how Huawei highlighted its camera, which was co-engineered with iconic brand Leica.

Huawei P10 Sarah Black

HUAWEI P10. Photographer Sara Black demonstrates the use of a Huawei P10 to take great portrait photographs.

The front or selfie camera is also a Leica, the first among phones. This allows the selfie camera to capture “2X more light” and “amazing self-portraits, whether day or night.”

“The Huawei P10 even senses groufies and automatically switches to wide-angle shots when more people enter the picture,” the company said.

Leica dual camera

The rear camera, however, is what makes the P10 stand out among flagship phones.

“The new Leica Dual Camera 2.0 uses precise 3D facial detection, dynamic illumination, and natural portrait enhancements to produce stunning artistic portrait shots in Leica image style,” the company said.

The P10 has a Leica Dual Camera 2.0 while the P10 Plus has a Leica Dual Camera 1.0 Pro Edition.

It has an easy option to do photo bokeh, where the subject stands out because the background is rendered blurred or out of focus while taking the shot. The bokeh options can be finely controlled in the P10 while taking the shot.

Trendy colors

Black showcased these as well as other outstanding imaging features of the phone in her talk.

“The most iconic portraits are defined by outstanding lighting and clarity of details. Working as a lifestyle photographer for many years now, I always place a premium on how these two elements are reflected in every shot I make, and the Huawei P10 makes this very convenient. They instantly give dramatic touches to every photo, revealing interesting stories or realities of every subject that are rarely captured even through words,” Black said.

The P10 comes in trendy colors, generated with the help of Pantone, like Dazzling Blue, Prestige Gold, Graphite Black, and Greenery.

Huawei P10 Corinne Bacani

PHOTO STUDIO IN YOUR POCKET. Huawei Philippines marketing director Corinne Bacani gives a detailed introduction to the P10 and P10 Plus during the workshop.

Not only does the phone have formidable tech specs, it uses machine learning algorithms to make applications open and run faster, said Bacani.

Bacani added, “I’m glad people are curious to learn more about portrait photography, and with the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus’ arrival in the Philippines, I believe they now have the perfect devices to carry and express that curiosity and enthusiasm with them everywhere.”

The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus are available at P28,990 and P36,990 via Huawei Experience Stores and retail partners nationwide. It is also available via Globe ThePLAN 1799 for frere. The plan comes with 11GB of data, Unli-All Net Texts and Unli-Calls to Globe & TM, Netflix access for 6 months, Spotify Premium access for 3 months, HOOQ access for 6 months. The Huawei P10 can also be purchased either via any credit card at 0% interest for 6 and 12 months or Home Credit at 0% installment for 9 months without the need for a credit card.

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

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

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

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

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

Accenture Cebu Transformation Summit

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

Ride the tech wave

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

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

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

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

Accenture Cebu Transformation Summit

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

Computer vision

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

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

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

JP Palpallatoc Arvin Yason Accenture

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

More jobs but higher skills needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joel Mari Yu IT/BPM Cebu City

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

Direct, indirect employment

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

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

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

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

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

Cebu IT/BPM growth

New money coming in

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

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

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

Fix aggravating circumstances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CEDFIT CIB.O

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

Bridge academe-industry gap

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

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

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

Higher value IT services

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

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

Sustain industry growth

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

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

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

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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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