MyCebu.ph: Cebu News & Features

Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Bestselling YA authors Jennifer Smith, Jasmine Warga sign books for Cebu fans

Young Adult (YA) author Jennifer Smith was at a queue in a convenience store when the inspiration for her latest book Windfall came in the form of a man with…

Ford Philippines trains Cebu drivers on safe, smart driving

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

Japanese brand Miniso opens 1st store in Cebu

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

Blu Bar and Grill pairs great food, fantastic wines in Moonlit Wine Dinner

Seafood on ice, it said on the menu. It doesn’t quite describe the delight of an appetizer that formally started our Moonlit Wine Dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill…

Cebu company builds platform for emergency response, management

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

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

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

SaladStop! brings “freshness back to the table” with healthy salads

Fresh ingredients sourced locally, homemade dressings made daily, and a wide variety of healthy options for your bowl of greens. These are what SaladStop! offers, a company official said in…

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

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

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

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

Huawei launches Nova 2i in Cebu

Huawei unveiled in Cebu today its latest mid-range phone, the Huawei Nova 2i, and the company said local response has been “overwhelming.” The Nova 2 was launched in key locations…

Social media make celebrities “more relatable:” Pia Wurtzbach

If you have even the slightest doubt about something you want to share online, don’t post it, said former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said during a short talk on social…

If you have even the slightest doubt about something you want to share online, don’t post it, said former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said during a short talk on social media during the annual Asian Carriers Conference in Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu.

She said social media make celebrities like her “more relatable” to fans.

“I’m glad that during my year as Miss Universe they were very open with me sharing my thoughts, sharing the real Pia, my true self on social media. They weren’t too strict on what I posted online They weren’t too strict that sometimes there were photos of me with barely any makeup on,” she said in a short press conference held after her talk.

Bashed online

But at the start, she had to adjust to being bashed on social media.

Pia Wurtzbach ACC2017

POWERFUL TOOL. That’s how former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzback describes social media.

“I used to reply to people who did not like me. But I learned with guidance by my trainers that it’s better to avoid negativity and just ignore these. It’s part of the job – there will always be people who are going to have negative opinion about you,” she said.

She described as her worst experience on social media reading bad comments against her during the pageant. It would upset and rattle her throughout the day.

Filipino support online

But it was also during the pageant that she experienced her best in social media, when legions of Filipino fans voted and mobilized support for her online that it crashed the web server.

“But it also really showed Miss Universe that we are number one. We’re its biggest fans and we’ve proven that through statistics, especially during the online voting. That’s why they had the pageant here early this year,” she said.

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New promos, big discounts in SM City Consolacion sale from September 15 to 17

Enjoy shopping discounts of up to 70 percent off on great finds and get a chance to win a Suzuki Celerio at SM City Consolacion’s 3-day mallwide sale from September…

Enjoy shopping discounts of up to 70 percent off on great finds and get a chance to win a Suzuki Celerio at SM City Consolacion’s 3-day mallwide sale from September 15-17, 2017.

Every P1,000 single or accumulated purchase within the promo period from any mall establishment entitles a shopper to one raffle coupon.

A customer automatically gets double the number of raffle coupons on the Saturday and Sunday of the sale period. Shoppers can also get 2 raffle coupons by presenting their SM mobile app.

Free burger

Raffle draw will be on September 17, 10 p.m., at the Event Center and deadline of submission of raffle stubs is at 9:45 p.m. on the same day.

First 100 shoppers within the 3-day sale period may claim a free burger, donut, slice of pizza, mamon and so much more at the Event Center.

An exclusive and special treat awaits loyal SM cardholders. On the first day of sale, enjoy Friday Prestige Exclusives for the whole day with up to 10% off on items when you present a Prestige or BDO Rewards card on any of the SM affiliate stores.

SM Advantage card

SM Advantage cardholders will enjoy 2 days of SMAC exclusives: a morning SMAC exclusive from 9 a.m. to noontime on Saturday at SM affiliate stores and from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday at The SM Store.

SM City Consolacion is bringing back the new and the old with exciting promos that shoppers enjoyed in the previous sale and new promos that they can look forward to this coming weekend sale.

One of the promos being brought back is Luck Unlocked. During the three-day sale, by simply presenting a P5,000 single receipt purchase at the redemption area, one lucky shopper can take home all the prizes inside the box if they can unlock it by guessing the total price of the items inside.

Gift certificates

Another crowd favorite that will be brought back is the Switcharoo. Shoppers will be asked to arrange the boxes in its correct order and get the chance to bring home P5,000 worth of gift certificates at 4 p.m. on September 15 at the Event Center.

On September 16, the newest In You Go game takes centerstage, 2 p.m., at the Event Center. Participants will rely on their sense of touch to guess the items inside the box for them to win up to P2,500 worth of SM gift certificates.

Minds will be tested in the memory game Remember Me on the last day of sale, 2 p.m., at the Event Center. A group with a minimum single receipt purchase of P3,000 has to team up on pairing the icons correctly for a chance to win up to 2,500 worth of SM gift certificates.

Packed with promos and discounts, the SM City Consolacion mallwide sale brings the best to its shoppers. Mall is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on September 15 and 17, and 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on September 16. For event details and more updates, please call 260-0132 or check out SM City Consolacion (Official) on Facebook. (Press release)

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AirAsia’s Red Hot Sale is back; fly from as low as P17

Up to 5 million promotional seats are up for grabs in AirAsia Group’s Red Hot Seat Sale campaign. Book seats via airasia.com or the AirAsia mobile app from September 11…

Up to 5 million promotional seats are up for grabs in AirAsia Group’s Red Hot Seat Sale campaign.

Book seats via airasia.com or the AirAsia mobile app from September 11 to September 17, 2017 for travel between March 1 to November 21, 2018 to get fares from as low as P17 for flights from/to Manila, Clark, Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Bohol, Kalibo, Caticlan/Boracay, Tacloban and Iloilo.

Also up for grabs from as low as P1,290 are promotional flights to international destinations from the Philippines to Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Incheon/Seoul, Canton/Guangzhou, Shanghai, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Add routes, increase frequencies

AirAsia Philippines CEO Captain Dexter Comendador said, “Now is the perfect opportunity for our loyal guests and Filipino travelers to connect from many places conveniently as we continuously add new routes and increase frequencies into our network. Exciting red hot deals await those who would like to travel overseas to over 120 destinations across all Asean countries, Asia, Australia and beyond.”

AirAsia is set to fly between Manila and Iloilo starting October 1 while direct flights between Davao and Kuala Lumpur will commence on December 21.

Promotional flights from the AirAsia group’s hub in Kuala Lumpur to Australia, Japan, Maldives and other destinations are also available.

AirAsia BIG loyalty program

BIG Members get to enjoy priority access and will be able to make bookings on airasia.com and redeem flights starting from 0 BIG Points, exclusively via the BIG Loyalty mobile app from September 10, 2017. It’s free to sign up as a BIG Member via airasia.com, airasiabig.com or BIG Loyalty mobile app to redeem promo flights during this promotion.

AirAsia Group Chief Commercial Officer Siegtraund Teh said, “AirAsia continues to grow with more flights to even more destinations, making travel easier. We want our valued guests to be able to take full advantage of our unparalleled frequency to new, exciting places, so it is our great pleasure to offer up to five million promo seats in our biggest campaign ever to help them on their way.”

For latest updates on promotions and activities, please follow AirAsia on Twitter and Facebook (Facebook.com/AirAsia).

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DOE raids illegal LPG refilling station in Mandaue City

Authorities seized 16,000 canisters refilled with LPG worth P2.7 million in a raid on a liquified petroleum gas refilling station in Mandaue City. The raid last Friday night was led…

Authorities seized 16,000 canisters refilled with LPG worth P2.7 million in a raid on a liquified petroleum gas refilling station in Mandaue City.

The raid last Friday night was led by the Department of Energy-Visayas Field Office (DOE-VFO) with members of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Douglas Labra, who was identified as the owner of the refilling station, has been detained for investigation and questioning.

DOE raid Mandaue LPG refilling

The raid came on the heels of the #EPowerMoVisayas last September 7 when Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi highlighted the commitment of the DOE to tighten consumer protection under the DOE’s E-Safety Mo campaign against illegal peddling of petroleum products, including LPG-filled/refilled canisters.

The campaign targets the so-called “bote-bote” or reselling of liquid petroleum products using unauthorized containers.

DOE raid Mandaue LPG refilling

The DOE is working in close coordination with the Cebu Provincial Government to go after the illegal practice, following its passage of an ordinance against it.

The DOE also encourages consumers to report illegal activities to the DOE-Consumer Welfare and Promotion Office at 479-2900 loc. 329 or via e-mail through the info@doe.gov.ph. The public may also reach the Department through the Official DOE Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Waterfront hotels in Cebu highlight modern Cebuano flavors in food fest

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

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

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

Watrfront Flavors of Cebu

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

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

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

Waterfront Flavors of Cebu

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

Cebuano food flavors

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

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

Waterfront Flavors of Cebu

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

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

Pinoy culinary treats

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

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Paella.

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

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

More photos of the event

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Different kinds of dried fish and squid.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Pinahungawang isda sa mangga and lechon baka.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Bacon bagnet

 

Sisig.

 

Different kinds of sauces.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu.

More appetizers.

 

Waterfront Cebu Favors of Cebu.

Ensaladang talong.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu.

Different types of cheese and nuts.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Local desserts.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

More desserts.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Mousse

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Appetizer with mangga and cheese.

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

Waterfront Cebu City General Manager Anders Hallden and chef Tristan Encarnacion

 

Waterfront Cebu Flavors of Cebu

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

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Casa de Cacao offers tablea tales, chocolate indulgence

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

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

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

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

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

Raquel Choa Casa de Cacao

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

Chocolate journey

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

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

Our welcome drink was sikwate with hibiscus.

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

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

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

Sikwate flavors

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

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

Roasting of the beans.

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

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

Raquel Choa

Raquel Choa tells the story of Maria Cacao.

Casa de Cacao

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

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

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

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

Casa de Cacao

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

Chocolate events

Some details:

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

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

Casa de Cacao

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

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

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

Raquel Choa Casa de Cacao

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

 

Casa de Cacao

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

 

Cacao fruits.

 

Cacao beans

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DTI leads moves for digital transformation of MSMEs

An online campaign that accompanied an e-commerce mentoring program by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Cebu generated leads from as far as London for a furniture company….

An online campaign that accompanied an e-commerce mentoring program by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Cebu generated leads from as far as London for a furniture company.

The fact that potential buyers visited the Cebu-based company to check out its products shows the reach of digital marketing, said DTI Cebu Provincial Director Maria Elena C. Arbon during the Digitize Cebu conference in Cebu last August 30.

As the agency tasked to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), DTI is now focused on getting them to undergo digital transformation.

“Last year, we went into the startup space. We interfaced with them and developed some programs for tech startups. This year, we’re trying to mix together startups and tech communities with brick and mortar MSMEs,” Arbon said.

Digitize Cebu Maria Elena C. Arbon

PROGRAMS. DTI Cebu Provincial Director Maria Elena C. Arbon goes over the different programs for micro to medium enterprises of her office. Key parts of the program revolve around technology tools and digital developments.

Digital transformation programs

DTI has several programs for micro to medium enterprises, three of which revolve around technology tools and digital developments.

These include startup ecosystem development, digital transformation for brick-and-mortar MSMEs, and e-commerce mentoring.

According to Arbon, the e-commerce program is an intense 6-week, 12-module course that aims to get companies online. Close to the end of the training activity, the enterprises are required to undertake a 3-week selling campaign using what they’ve learned from the course.

The ecommerce campaigns have resulted in sales amounting to as much as P2 million for the first batch and P3 million for the second batch of enterprises. Furniture buyers from London also came to visit a furniture company in Cebu when it went online as a consequence of the e-commerce course.

Cebu startup ecosystem

Arbon cited that DTI also just recently held the Slingshot Conference, a tech event that aims to bring together traditional businesses and startups so they get to serve each other’s needs.

Early this year, she said they came up with a startup ecosystem development program. Part of the process involved using existing tools to determine the maturity of the startup environment taking into consideration talent, capital, and infrastructure among other things.

“On a scale of 1 to 5, we’ve determined we’re at 2 plus,” Arbon added. One of the ongoing campaigns of DTI is to create a master list of existing startups in Cebu.

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Loud and fun with the new Billabong Sundays boardshorts

Billabong’s latest Sundays boardshorts are the perfect combination of style and function for the surfer who wants nothing but the best. With its bold clash of psychedelic colors and texture,…

Billabong’s latest Sundays boardshorts are the perfect combination of style and function for the surfer who wants nothing but the best. With its bold clash of psychedelic colors and texture, the Sundays X boardshort is our pick this season for epic adventures on pumping waves.

For those who prefer something a little subtler, the Sundays X Riot boardshort in Black is sure to become a wardrobe staple. Its minimal design means it will be future-proof for years, while engineered dye prints on the sides add an interesting pop of color.

The Sundays boardshorts are all equipped with the seriously innovative technology that Billabong boardshorts are known for – enhanced flexibility, a lightweight feel, quick-drying material, and most importantly, they are made from recycled bottles so that we can continue to protect what we love.

Billabong Sundays boardshorts

Billabong has been making boardshorts for more than four decades, constantly experimenting with new features, technology, and designs to enhance the surf experience. Every Billabong boardshort creation aims to inspire the wearer to live deeply, and to feel that life truly is better in boardshorts.

Go modern, loud and fun this season with the Sundays boardshorts, available in Billabong SM City Cebu and Grind Ayala Center Cebu.

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Tap digital to boost business growth in a mobile-first Philippine market, Google official tells Cebu SMEs

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan. With 65 million Filipinos now…

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan.

With 65 million Filipinos now online, going digital should no longer be a question, Lingan said during the Digitize Cebu conference held in Cebu last Wednesday and organized by AdSpark, Globe myBusiness, and Department of Trade and Industry Cebu Province.

“For every single month, half a million Filipinos are going online. That’s really massive. You think about that – in a year, you are adding the population of Singapore online into the Philippines,” he said. “That’s the kind of market potential that we are dealing with here.”

Digitize Cebu Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan

GROWING, MOBILE-FIRST. Most new Filipino users access the internet through mobile devices, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan during Wednesday’s Digitize Cebu conference.

Filipinos are mobile-first consumers

But what defines the Filipino internet consumer, he said, “is the fact that we are mobile-first.”

Most new Filipino users access the internet via mobile phones. “In fact that’s really where they spent much of their time,” he said. Filipinos look at their phones 150 times in a day, studies said. People are very engaged on their phones and “it is affecting every aspect of our lives,” he said.

People today do not go online, he said, they “live online” and mostly through their phones.

That can be seen in findings like Filipinos’ growing dependence on services like Waze. While the global usage average is 17 minutes, in Manila Waze is used at an average of 70 minutes per session, he said.

In a world going digital, “small will be the new big,” Lingan said. The internet “could work for big business as much as it could work for small ones.”

He said small businesses are the “backbone of the country,” employing about 60% of the population.

“If you want to drive growth in the Philippines, the only way to really drive that is through empowering small business,” he said. A key driver for this is digitization, Lingan told attendees of the conference.

Digital levels business playing field

In the past, he said business was all about “having big resources.” Digital levels that playing field, Lingan said. With digital tools, business can reach the right customers and at massive scale.

“In the past if you’re a small business, your target market will only be your community. But with the internet, your definition of what your target market is goes beyond your borders,” Lingan said.

With digital advertising, businesses are then able to leverage measurements and tools to make sure their ad spending are getting “the right return of investments.”

He also spoke about the opportunities offered by the emergence of commerce in the country.

Digitize Cebu

DEPENDENT. People are increasingly becoming dependent on their phones to do most tasks.

Opportunities for e-commerce

“I know it’s still small in the Philippines, in fact, it’s just $500 million in terms of value but what we foresee is that the next 10 years this will grow 20X to $10 billion by 2025. And it’s changing consumer habits,” he said.

Among these habits is the practice of researching online via mobile phones even while inside a physical store.

He said people continually engage with phones to find information and these “micro-moments” will become the new battleground for brands.

Lingan said there are 4 types of micro-moments: I want to know, I want to do, I want to go, and I want to buy.

“The path to purchase is changing and evolving. A lot of people now, through that path of purchase, are consulting their smartphones to know more about their services and really making sure that they are better informed and would make the right decisions,” he said.

Influence path to purchase

Lingan said it is important for brands to have a strong digital presence because when Filipinos start researching on purchases, “82% are not absolutely certain of brand choice.”

“It is an opportunity for businesses to influence that decision by making sure that your presence online is strong,” he said. “People would go to their smartphones 6 to 7 times before they make their decisions.”

The role of phones is emphasized by findings that 78% of Filipinos have used a locator or maps app to find a store’s location and 80% have consulted their smartphones while buying in a physical store.

Lingan said the key to influencing the path to purchase and winning in a mobile-first world is to: be seen, be fast, and be smart.

Digitize Cebu

PHYSICAL STORE, ONLINE RESEARCH. Consumer behavior has changed, chief among them is the practive of researching online through mobile phones while buying in a physical store.

Be seen

“If you are not present online, you are saying no to all these people who are online. You are making it impossible for a lot of customers to find you,” he said.

“If I am a foreigner visiting Cebu and if you are not on Google Maps it’s impossible for me to find you,” he said, pointing out how easy it was for businesses to be listed on Google Maps for free.

He also emphasized the importance of online videos, especially on YouTube, in influencing purchase decisions and improving brand perception.

He said “50% of shoppers will more likely seek advice from online videos relating to their purchases.”

Lingan also said that more than 80% say online video “helps convince shoppers to think more positively about a brand.”

“If you have videos, I would encourage you to create a YouTube channel for your business. Every business has a story and videos would be able to tell your story in a much more enriching way,” he said.

Be fast

Demands of customers have changed, they now want things “as fast as possible.”

In a mobile-first world, Lingan said, 53% of users would abandon your website if it loads slower than 3 seconds.

“The important thing about mobile is to be really obsessed about the user experience,” he said.

He cited tools from Google that will help businesses assess their website speed on mobile and offer suggestions to improve this.

Digitize Cebu

BE SMART. Opinions aren’t as important today as data-driven decisions based on analytics.

Be smart

With today’s tools, opinions don’t matter as much as data-driven decisions.

“You now have opportunity for analytics for data. We need more data-driven decisions so that it could tell you what kind of investments have given you ROI,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for businesses to be willing to experiment on digital and use analytics to see if these work.

Online learning resources

Lingan also asked those present to take advantage of online resources to learn about entrepreneurship and tapping digital marketing to boost their businesses.

He cited the following resources as helpful to businesses:

1) YouTube channels for educational videos. He told people to subscribe to Google Small Business and Google for Entrepreneurs.

2) Think With Google website for industry trends and practices.

3) Google Primer, which offers marketing lessons by Google.

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New majority seen in Cebu City Council with resignation of Abella

There will be a new majority again at the Cebu City Council after the appointment by President Duterte of Councilor Hanz Abella as a commissioner with the National Labor Relations…

There will be a new majority again at the Cebu City Council after the appointment by President Duterte of Councilor Hanz Abella as a commissioner with the National Labor Relations Commission, according to members of the opposition Barug Team Rama.

Under the law, Barug Team Rama will nominate his replacement since Abella ran with the group in the last elections, Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said yesterday.

Garcia said the Local Government Code states that in cases of a vacancy at the city council of a highly urbanized city like Cebu City, the president will appoint a replacement who will come from the same party as that of the official who caused the vacancy.

Raymond Garcia, Joel Garganera

NEW MAJORITY. Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia (left) with partymate Joel Garganera at the City Hall. Barug Team Rama is expected to regain council majority after Councilor Hanz Abella resigns to assume as a commissioner of the National Labor Relations Commission. (Photo from Councilor Garcia’s FB page)

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña described Abella’s resignation as bad for the city.

Barug Team Rama was the majority party at the council after last year’s election until Councilors Abella, Dave Tumulak and Jerry Guardo defected to the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).

Councilor Margarita Osmeña described the development as “a disadvantage politically.”

“But the disadvantage may only be today or tomorrow. You win some, you lose some but after you lose, you win,” she said in a Sun.Star Cebu report.

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Diamond Rent-A-Car executive: Digital marketing a must for SMEs

When Diamond Rent-A-Car first tried out digital advertising several years ago, it was a relatively new thing in the Philippines. Quincy Buenaflor, the company’s vice president for operations, said he…

When Diamond Rent-A-Car first tried out digital advertising several years ago, it was a relatively new thing in the Philippines.

Quincy Buenaflor, the company’s vice president for operations, said he was able to successfully sign up for Google Adwords just by following the required steps.

“Just a few minutes after our company ad was posted, we already started getting hits,” he shared during Wednesday’s Digitize Cebu conference, which aims to empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through digital marketing tools.

The family-owned Diamond Rent-A-Car, which was started by Buenaflor’s parents around 40 years ago, had relied heavily on traditional media like newspapers and billboards for its advertising needs.

Digitize Cebu Google Ads

DIGITAL ADS. Diamond Rent-A-Car vice president for operations Quincy Buenaflor shares his experience on using Google ads to grow their business in a talk with Rebeca Siccardi, strategic partner manager for Google Sales. The case study was among the sessions in today’s Digitize Cebu event.

Digital marketing

Buenaflor said that when they tried digital advertising, specifically through Google ads, they found it to be very effective in reaching out to potential customers. The company now spends 80 percent of its budget on digital platforms and only 20 percent on traditional methods.

“With digital marketing, I reach the right person,” he added, citing that he believes it provides the same opportunity in general to SMEs.

According to him, digital marketing should be part of every company’s advertising campaign. Diamond Rent-A-Car operates 1,600 rental vehicles and manages another 4,000 for various clients.

Google AdWords

The Google AdWords campaign helps with the company’s expansion by reaching the target market in a specific location.

Buenaflor said having AdSpark manage the company’s digital ads made the campaign more effective.

“It’s different working with a group with expertise on digital marketing. With AdSpark, we now have peace of mind. We know that for every little bit we spend, AdSpark makes it work for us,” he added.

AdSpark is a digital and mobile advertising company that’s fully owned by Globe.

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Innovation, not digitization, is key: Mayor Tomas Osmeña

Capitalizing on innovation as the key to digitization, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is eyeing an alternative to renewing business permits in the city. Osmeña spoke before an audience at…

Capitalizing on innovation as the key to digitization, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is eyeing an alternative to renewing business permits in the city.

Osmeña spoke before an audience at Digitize Cebu held Wednesday at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel.

“It takes two weeks to renew business permit. I gathered a team of experts to study how to renew business permit. Then they told me now it will be 20 minutes. How? They (business owner) don’t need to fill out form. All they have to do is just confirm the information. But what happened since that time? You run around the city to get all the clearances. This must be solved,” said Osmeña.

Problem with government

He admitted having problems with the government because “we are not allowed to innovate”.

“There’s one missing pillar and that’s innovation. Politics has developed a culture of status quo,” said Osmeña. “Digitization is not necessary. The keyword here is innovation.”

Digitize Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña

INNOVATION. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said they are tapping innovation to improve services at City Hall. He said the challenge with working in government is that “we are not allowed to innovate.”

The mayor shared a story of a logistics company that uses index cards for their operations.

“No computer, just index cards. If you have a question, you write at the index card. The company will write its answer at the back of the index card. And if more than one index card, the company thinks you’re talking so much. You see it’s not computerization but again innovation,” said Osmeña.

Pay taxes

Osmeña pointed out that the City Government will run after businesses not paying taxes.

He further said the role of the Treasurer’s Office is to bring in money. “We can’t bring in money because the sari-sari store cannot secure an SSS clearance.”

Saying that Cebu is trying to innovate, Osmeña said they are looking at issuing certificate that shows the business owner paid taxes.

“If you pay tax, we will do beautiful things for Cebu,” he added.

Digitize Cebu was presented by AdSpark, a Globe-owned digital advertising company, in collaboration with Globe myBusiness and the Department of Trade and Industry-Cebu.

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Utility companies work to rid Cebu City of ‘spaghetti’, dangling wires

Power, telecommunication, and cable companies have banded together to remove unsightly “spaghetti” and dangling wires from Cebu City streets to prevent accidents and as part of a clean-up drive. The…

Power, telecommunication, and cable companies have banded together to remove unsightly “spaghetti” and dangling wires from Cebu City streets to prevent accidents and as part of a clean-up drive.

The Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO) is leading the initiative in collaboration with PLDT, Smart Communications, Skycable, Globe, and Eastern Telecom Philippines.

VECO cleanup

CLEAN-UP DRIVE. Anton Mari Perdices, VECO chief operations officer, answers a question during a press conference on the effort to clean up the city of “spaghetti” and dangling wires. With him are (from left) Richard Trasmonte, technical manager of Eastern Telecom; Rene Lescano, PLDT and Smart customer service and operations zone head; Niño Rey Sarabosing, Skycable general manager; and Edlin Jose delos Reyes, Globe regional manager for cable engineering.

Anton Mari Perdices, VECO chief operations officer, said he was asked by Mayor Tomas Osmeña a few weeks ago to oversee efforts that will address concerns over low-hanging power and cable wires.

When VECO called for a meeting to discuss the mayor’s concerns, PLDT and Smart customer service and operations zone head Rene J. Lescano said he suggested that they form a group like what they did in Iloilo to tackle the same problem.

VECO wires cleanup

TEST AREA. The group first focused on a portion of Gen. Maxilom Avenue, specifically from the corner of F. Ramos St. to the corner of Juana Osmeña St., as a test area for the clean-up.

The group first focused on a portion of Gen. Maxilom Avenue, specifically from the corner of F. Ramos St. to the corner of Juana Osmeña St., as a test area for the clean-up.

Globe regional manager for cable engineering Edlin Jose delos Reyes said that after assessing the situation, they took out the dead wires and bundled the active ones together with clamps.

Clean up drive

UNSIGHTLY. Power, telecommunication, and cable companies in Cebu are working together to remove unsightly “spaghetti” and dangling wires to prevent accidents and as part of a clean-up drive.

The next step will be show it to Mayor Osmeña and get his approval on their solution before coming up with a timeline for clean-up works all throughout the city starting with its main thoroughfares, added Skycable general manager Niño Rey Sarabosing.

Representatives of the utility companies agreed that an underground installation of power and cable wires would be very expensive and not a fitting solution for many areas in Cebu City.

VECO clean up

WIRES gathered after the clean-up.

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4-day work week? House approves measure to let companies offer option

The House of Representatives has approved on 3rd and final reading a bill that would allow companies to designate for employees a 4-day work week. House Bill 6152 will amend…

The House of Representatives has approved on 3rd and final reading a bill that would allow companies to designate for employees a 4-day work week.

House Bill 6152 will amend the Labor Code to allow companies to increase the workday from 8 hours to 10 or 12 hours. It will then allow companies to shorten the work week to 4 days.

The current Labor Code requires workers to work 40 to 48 hours for 5 to 6 days a week.

Baguio City Rep. Mark Go

Baguio City Rep. Mark Go. (Photo taken from official Facebook page)

“These arrangements give employers and employees flexibility in fixing hours of work compatible with business requirements and the employees’ need for a balanced work-life,” Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, one of the authors of the bill, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The workday arrangement remains optional for companies.

When asked whether working 12 hours a day for 4 days won’t be tiring, Go told Rappler, “You have rest day for 3 days. That’s the advantage. You work 4 days but you are given 3 days rest days. So that will reinvigorate already the people working for companies.”

For the measure to become a law, however, it needs to have a counterpart legislation in the Senate.

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Marco Polo hosts viewing party for Game of Thrones Season 7 finale

Watch the Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones with other fans at the Marco Polo Plaza in its epic viewing party on August 28. The screening of the final…

Watch the Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones with other fans at the Marco Polo Plaza in its epic viewing party on August 28.

The screening of the final episode will be at the Manila Function Room. Doors will open at 6:30pm as we kick off the viewing party with a Season 7 analysis featuring some of Cebu’s hardcore GOT fans namely Carlo Borromeo, Shari Quimbo, Kat Layno and Kenneth Ruelan.

Hobby shops selling GOT merchandise like shirts, accessories and other things will also be available for every fan’s shopping pleasure. Of course, you all have to brush up on your GOT knowledge to get a chance to win a prize by answering some trivia questions.

Marco Polo game of thrones

VIEWING PARTY. Photo of the viewing party during the first episode of Game of Thrones Season 7.

You can also join the costume contest by registering on site. The winners for male and female category will each win an overnight stay at the hotel, inclusive of breakfast buffet for two.

Catch a special performance by Dreamcatchers Choir who will give a special rendition of famous Westeros songs. Finally, enjoy the epic finale episode via HBO HD in our 2.5 by 3-meter LED wall care of Guinto Lights & Sounds.

The Game of Thrones viewing party is free of admission with seats at first come-first served basis. Doors open at exactly 6:30 pm and at exactly 9pm the season ender episode will begin. Come early and have your dinner at the viewing party where affordable food and beverage will be available.

Please note that Game of Thrones is Rated R18+.

Stay tuned for more updates through our social media accounts. Like facebook.com/marcopolocebu to stay updated on all hotel activities and promotions. You may also call (63 32) 253 1111 or email mpplaza@marcopolohotels.com. (Press release)

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National Book Store brings Kevin Kwan to Cebu on August 27

National Book Store will bring international bestselling author Kevin Kwan to Cebu for a book signing on August 27 at 2 p.m. in the City Wing of SM Seaside City…

National Book Store will bring international bestselling author Kevin Kwan to Cebu for a book signing on August 27 at 2 p.m. in the City Wing of SM Seaside City Cebu. Registration will start at 10 a.m. Only books purchased from National Book Store and Powerbooks will be accommodated.

Kwan is currently promoting his latest book “Rich People Problems.” The novel is about the rich and powerful problems of Singapore.

When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside—but he’s not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim on their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore—Nicholas’s childhood home turns into a hotbed of speculation and sabotage.

Crazy Rich Asians

Kevin Kwan is the man behind ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, which is now being adapted into a feature film by Ivanhoe Pictures and Color Force, the producers of ‘The Hunger Games’ movies. Its sequel ‘China Rich Girlfriend’ was described by People Magazine as “a field guide to Asia’s uberwealthy echelon and comic satire at its best.”

Kwan was born and raised in Singapore, where he attended Anglo-Chinese School. After obtaining his first degree in creative writing from the University of Houston, Kwan moved to Manhattan to pursue a BFA at Parsons School of Design. Kwan currently resides in Manhattan.

The event is made possible in partnership with SM Seaside City Cebu.

“Crazy Rich Asians,” “China Rich Girlfriend,” and “Rich People Problems” are available in National Book Store, National Book Store Express, and Powerbooks. Shop online at nationalbookstore.com. Share your excitement by using the #KevinKwaninCebu. For more updates, follow NBS on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube (@nbsalert), join their public chat on Viber, and visit their blog at blog.nationalbookstore.com. (Press release)

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Geeks on a Beach 2017 opens in Palawan

Some 400 participants from government and the private sector, including successful technology entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia and Silicon Valley, gathered in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for Geeks on a Beach 2017,…

Some 400 participants from government and the private sector, including successful technology entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia and Silicon Valley, gathered in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for Geeks on a Beach 2017, which started today.

For two days, participants will get to listen to valuable insights from big names in the startup and technology community. There will be keynotes, panels, and discussions with separate breakout tracks in between.

Successful Filipino-Americans Yobie Benjamin and Aldo Carrascoso lead the list of the world’s prominent names in the field of startups and technology who arrived at the Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa Hotel in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Navigating startup ecosystem

The first day will open with keynote speeches by Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron, Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim, Voyager Innovations Vice President and Managing Director Dindo Marzan, and Token.io and ClickSWITCH.com Chief Technology Officer Yobie Benjamin.

This will be followed by the panel “How Founders Can Navigate Treacherous Seas; Path to potential Unicorns in the Philippines” where technopreneurs from Tokien.io, ClickSWITCH.com, GlycoProX Biosciences, Veem, Jukin Media & Verego, Plug and Play Technology Center, InnoVantage, Inc., StartUp Village, and MobKard will display the story of their success.

Another panel entitled “Startup Ecosystem – How to increase the number of successful startups in the Philippines” will highlight speakers from the DICT, Department of Science and Technology – PCIEERD, Department of Trade and Industry, TechTalks.ph, IdeaSpace Foundation, and the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA).

Geeks On A Beach

GEEKS ON A BEACH. (From left) Token.io Founder and CEO Emeritus Yobie Benjamin, Plug and Play Technology Center Co-founder and VP Operations Jojo Flores, GOAB Founder/Lead Organizer Tina Amper, Ideaspace Executive Director Diane Eustaquio, Ideaspace President Rene “Butch” Meily, Smart DevNet Co-Founder and Senior Developer Evangelist Paul Pajo, Voyager Innovations Inc. Managing Director and Vice President Dindo Marzan, and PLDT ICT Research and Development Vice President and Head Joey Limjap.

Investor panel

An investor panel which will bring together tech, design, and startup entrepreneurs to brush shoulders with the world’s biggest venture capitalists and investors in the tech world will meanwhile feature Greylock Ventures, North Ridge Partners, Plug and Play, Hatchd Digital, Endeavor Philippines, and Anthill Ventures.

The first day will include the presentation “Startup Nation – The Israel Story” by Sagiv Massad who is the Director of Technology and Cybersecurity for Business Profiles Inc. and Director of the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.” Jojo Flores of StartupPH.org will also present “State of the Nation’s Startups: How Competitive can PH Startups Get?”

Corporate digital transformation

The second day will kick-off with keynotes by DOST-PCIEERD Engr. Russell Pilli, Center for International Expositions and Missions Executive Director Clayton Tugonon, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce Engr. Ramon Escueta

The panels for the day include “Corporate Digital Transformation: Becoming Victorious in a Collision between Businesses and Today’s Challenging Digital Forces” featuring Dragonpay Corporation, BlastAsia & Xamun Inc., PLDT Innolab, Philippine Chamber of Commerce, Payoneer, and the Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce, “The way of Creatives: Establishing a Sustainable Niche in a Disruptive Economy” with creatives ­ startups GrupoMM, CreateCebu, 22 Tango Records, and Altum, and “Role of Incubators and Accelerators in Growing Mature Startups” with the BNEFIT, NICP, IdeaSpace Foundation, Muru-D Singapore, UP Enterprise, QBO, ASEAN Centre of Entrepreneurship, and MaGIC Malaysia.

GOAB partners

There are also talks on “Boosting FilipinoTrailblazers in Gaming and Animation” by Synergy88 Digital Inc. Managing Director and Co-Founder Jacqueline Chua, “Cultivating Creativity in the Circular Economy” by Altum Director Carlo Delantar, and “Chinese Tech Investment into ASEAN and How Startups in the Philippines Can Leverage On It” by EnterPH Interviews President Atty, Rocky Chan and Kay-Mok Ku of GobiVC.com.

PLDT, Smart, Voyager, PayMaya, ePLDT, Smart DevNet, PLDT Enterprise, PLDT Innolab, Ideaspace, and QBO are supporting GOAB as co-presenters while ASPACE Philippines is co-producer. GOAB is held in partnership with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, Palaweño ICT Association, DOST-PCIEERD, and Mindanao Development Authority. The official airline partner is Philippines Airasia and the official ticketing partner is Ticketbase. The silver sponsors include Payoneer, Zalora, PouchNATION, Istorya.net, Synergy 88 Digital, Uniform Solutions, Temasys, AtoX Solutions, and MaGIC. The bronze sponsors are NXTLVL Academy, LabPH, Spring Valley Corporation, North Ridge Partners, Amazon Web Services, Eastern Communications, Startechup, and Gobi Partners.

The media partners are e27, Tech in Asia, Bohol News Daily by Auza.net, InnoPub Media, Geeks in Cambodia, Asian Journal Publications, Balikbayan Magazine, Mobile Ecosystem Forum, ConnectedWomen.co, QueenCityCebu.com, GMA News Online, MyTV Channel Network, BeFast.TV, Wazzup Pilipinas, TechBlade PH, eMedia Production Network Inc., Inc. Southeast Asia, NU107.COM CO., SnippetMEdia, and Bloomberg TV Philippines. The organizational partners are the Philippine Software Industry Association, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, UP CeBuinIT, Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines, Developers Connect, Science and Technology Advisory Council – Silicon Valley, Mynimo, Teradoor, Israel Chamber of Commerce Philippines, and the Cloud Security Alliance Philippines. GOAB is supported by Purple Cow, Orange Hub, iSkwelahan.com, DOST-MIMAROPA, Science and Technology Advisory Council Silicon Valley, and Science & Openvate Labs.

First staged in 2013, GOAB is organized by TechTalks.ph, powered by Sym.ph, branding by Happy Garaje, and pr by PRWorks. For further details, visit www.GeeksOnABeach.com, follow on Twitter/Facebook Geeks On A Beach. (Press release)

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Nepal taps eHealth system of Smart as disaster risk reduction tool

SHINE OS+, an electronic medical record and referral system initiated by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), has been adopted in Nepal as a tool for disaster risk reduction….

SHINE OS+, an electronic medical record and referral system initiated by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), has been adopted in Nepal as a tool for disaster risk reduction.

Dr. Regina Estuar of Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center (AJWCC) recently conducted a workshop on the open source platform with the Nursing Association of Nepal in Kathmandu. Smart has worked with AJWCC in developing SHINE OS+, which stands for Secured Health Information Network and Exchange.

Shine OS

TRAINING. Representatives from EpiNurse and the Nursing Association of Nepal pose for photos during the EpiNurse training held in Kathmandu recently. Photo shows (from left) Laxmi KC, general secretary, Nursing Association of Nepal; Sakiko Kanbara, founder, EpiNurse; Ma. Regina Estuar, co-founder, EpiNurse; Tara Pokhrel, project leader, EpiNurse; and Shoko Miyagawa, co-founder, EpiNurse.

Prevent outbreaks, mitigate risk

SHINE OS+ Nepal was developed as a post-disaster surveillance system in 2015. Now called EpiNurse or Epidemiology + Nursing for Disaster Risk Reduction, the program will serve as a public health emergency reduction tool for the country. The program is seen as crucial in preventing disease outbreaks and consequently mitigating disaster risk.

Last May, EpiNurse received the Risk Award at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico. The award, issued every two years by the Munich Re Foundation, the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Global Risk Forum Davos, honors innovations aimed at disaster risk mitigation.

For its part, SHINE OS+ has received at least three recognitions this year alone: a Silver Anvil at the Anvil Awards of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines; a Merit Award at the Philippine Quill Awards of the International Association of Business Communicators, and the healthcare category winner at the Golden World Awards of the International Public Relations Association.

Holistic approach

According to Estuar, EpiNurse provides a holistic approach by empowering nurses in Nepal not only in care management but also in surveillance reporting during the different phases of a disaster.

Members of the Nursing Association of Nepal undergo training on the SHINE OS+ mobile app.

“EpiNurse will be powered by SHINE OS+ in developing three applications that will allow EpiNurses to collect data at the school and community levels for preparedness, as well as surveillance data during and post-disaster,” she said. “The system will be simple, straightforward and localized so that the language and the design suit the Nepal culture and community.”

Estuar also said it was possible to apply the same technology for public health monitoring here in the Philippines. “EpiNurse aims to provide a global standard in disaster surveillance,” she said.

Patient information

Smart public affairs center head Maria Jane Paredes welcomed the replication of the project in Nepal. “SHINE OS+ has been embraced by medical practitioners here in the Philippines because of how it made patient information more organized and accessible, while keeping the data private. We hope Nepal benefits from this project as well,” she said.

SHINE OS+ is also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices to assist health workers on the field. Medical practitioners interested in SHINE OS+ may email inquiry@shine.ph. (Press release)

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Celebrity chefs reinterpret local cuisine in Waterfront hotels’ Filipino food fest

What happens when you dip kangkong leaves in a special batter with ground tamarind before deep-frying them to crispy pieces? You get sinigang bites, a new take on an old…

What happens when you dip kangkong leaves in a special batter with ground tamarind before deep-frying them to crispy pieces? You get sinigang bites, a new take on an old favorite, as the Waterfront hotels in Cebu give homage to homegrown Filipino food in a culinary festival that runs up to August 31, 2017.

The Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino Mactan and Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Lahug joined forces to celebrate Cebuano and Filipino cuisines in a food festival called “UNO’s Modern Filipino Taste: A Filipino Feast for All Senses.”

Waterfront UNO's Modern Filipino Taste

SINIGANG BITES. Chef Roland Laudico dips kangkong leaves in batter that includes ground tamarind as he explains their new take on traditional Filipino food. At left is Chef Jackie, the other half of the celebrity chef couple.

Culinary world power couple Chef Roland and Chef Jackie Laudico worked with Waterfront to come up with a menu of traditional Filipino treats injected with mouth-watering twists.

Mr. Anders Hallden, general manager of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, and Mr. BenHur Caballes, hotel manager of Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino Mactan, led the opening of the event at UNO, popular international buffet and a la carte cafe and restaurant.

Filipino cuisine reimagined

In another event held in line with the food festival, Chef Roland and Chef Jackie showed media and bloggers how the regular crispy kangkong can take on a novel taste with a new or extra ingredient.

The batter for the kangkong leaves is made up of the usual flour and baking soda but flavored with fine tamarind (sampaloc) powder to give it that extra kick.

Waterfront UNO's Modern Filipino Taste

KINILAW. With a sauce made of bell pepper roasted and pureed and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil, this kinilaw is one you should try. Dijon mustard tops the dish.

The chefs also give the common table fare sisig a makeover, replacing pig’s head and liver with lechon leftover. It is spiced up with garlic, onions, chili, and kalamansi juice and topped with the Laudicos’ own sauce creation.

The kinilaw na isda gets a boost, too, in both methodology and ingredients. Soaking the fish in kalamansi and vinegar changes its taste so the Laudico chefs add these to the kinilaw last. Other differences in the kinilaw: the bell pepper is roasted and pureed and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil. Dijon mustard tops the dish.

Chefs Lau, Jackie culinary creations

The celebrated husband-and-wife culinary geniuses updated old-time favorites, popular comfort food, and classic dishes by the subtle addition of new and enticing flavors and presenting them in ways that catch attention and whet the appetite.

“Cooking, like any facet of culture and art, keeps evolving and transforming in tune with changing lifestyles and the development of technology. The tastes we presented find a delicious common ground between heritage and technology. Thus, the flavors are familiar but surprising,” a press statement released by Waterfront quoted Chef Roland as saying.

Waterfront Chefs Roland and Jackie Laudico

CELEBRITY CHEFS Roland and Jackie Laudico with Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino general manager Anders Hallden.

The Laudicos reinterpret such delicious selections as Balut Napoleon (layers of balut flavor plus shots of its savory juice), Ngohiong Cones served with a spicy sauce, Sinigang Bites (tamarind-spiced kangkong chips topped with bangus mousse), Palabok Bites, (the goodness of palabok topped with Carcar chicharon), Seafood Paella Negra (made with fresh seafood and squid ink), Paella Valenciana, Spicy Bellychon (oven-roasted pork belly with labuyo chili), Sushi Noy (Filipino maki topped with matambaka flakes), Queso de Bola Cheese Cake, and Tsokolate OH with Peanut Butter Mousse.

All throughout August, diners get to partake of these culinary creations at popular Cebu dining spot UNO in both Waterfront hotels in Cebu City and Mactan.

SISIG MAKEOVER. Chef Roland prepares their new take on the sisig, this time using leftover lechon, and served on a pouch made of dumpling wrappers.

 

More photos of UNO’s Modern Filipino Taste: A Filipino Feast for All Senses

 

 

Ngohiong cones and sinigang bites.

 

Paella

 

 

Sisig basket.

 

Spicy lechon belly

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Grand Land Inc. sees potential in serviced apartments

Cebu developer Grand Land Inc. topped off Grand Residences Cebu North Tower A last Thursday, August 17. Following this milestone, Grand Land’s VP for Sales and Marketing Tina Pestaño revealed…

Cebu developer Grand Land Inc. topped off Grand Residences Cebu North Tower A last Thursday, August 17.

Following this milestone, Grand Land’s VP for Sales and Marketing Tina Pestaño revealed that the North Tower B will be offering serviced apartments.

“There will be serviced apartments to be operated by Dusit D2. That’s 163 units in North Tower B for the serviced apartments. It’s a fully furnished unit and equipped with kitchen, dining, laundry service,” said Pestaño.

More units for North towers

Grand Residences Cebu is a five-tower project in Banilad, Kasambagan, Cebu City. Unit owners are starting to occupy the first two (East) towers. The new towers will have more floors than the East towers.

The North towers are up to the 35th floor. There will be about 700 units per tower for the North towers. Target completion for North Tower A is first quarter of 2018. In North Tower B, the 24th to 34th floors or a total of 10 floors are set aside for the serviced apartments.

Like the East towers, the North towers offer studio units and one-bedroom units. The prices in the new towers start at P3 million for the regular units while those intended for serviced apartments are priced higher.

Grand Residences Cebu

TOPPED OFF. The North Tower A of Grand Residences Cebu that was topped off at 35th floor last Thursday.

Good investment

Pestaño described the serviced apartments as a premium type of condo ownership.

“Serviced apartment is meant for investment,” she said. “(Unit owners) in our service apartment program can get 8 to 11% potential ROI per annum.”

Pestaño added: “It (serviced apartments) will be managed by an international hospitality group and marketed worldwide.”

Grand Land Inc. partnered with Dusit D2 to manage the serviced apartment units. Dusit D2 is the contemporary hotel brand of Dusit International.

The units for serviced apartment are double the normal size of a studio unit, hence higher in price. Rate starts at P8 million.

Pestaño said the service apartments will have a separate lobby and a separate elevator.

Grand Land Inc.

PRESS CON. Officials of Grand Land Inc. face Cebu media in a press conference held during the topping off of Grand Residences Cebu. From L-R: Sales Director Divine Cavan, VP for Sales and Marketing Tina Pestaño, and Chief Finance Officer Larry Tan.

Guests at Grand Residences’ serviced apartments could expect a personalized experience, spacious living, and value for money that’s comparable to living in a home. It’s like living in an apartment that has a 24/7 concierge.

Pestaño said that serviced apartment is more long term than condotel. “Minimum stay for serviced apartment is one week. You could book a stay for a month, six months or a year. With condotel, the stay is per night.”

Hotel occupancy growth

With Cebu being positioned as an international destination, Pestaño said they see growth in hotel occupancy.

“The expansion of the airport (Mactan-Cebu International Airport) signifies Cebu is positioned as an international destination. There will be about 12.5 million influx of tourists and Cebu lacks hotel rooms,” said Pestaño.

The serviced apartments of Grand Residences will then be able to cater to guests staying in Cebu for a longer term. It is targeted to open by 2022.

Grand Residences Cebu sits on a 3.2 hectare property. Of this, 1 hectare will be converted to a commercial complex. “Our concept is live, work, and play,” said Pestaño.

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