Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Chicken, donuts, pizza, tempura, tacos all you can every Wednesday in June

Diners are in for a treat this June. Every Wednesday during the month, 8 brands that are part of the Max’s Group, Inc. will be offering All-You-Can sets for P349…

Diners are in for a treat this June. Every Wednesday during the month, 8 brands that are part of the Max’s Group, Inc. will be offering All-You-Can sets for P349 per brand for 2 hours starting at 2 p.m. until closing time.

This is the first cross-branded promotion by the country’s biggest casual dining group, said Max’s Group Marketing Services Head Charlene Marie Sapina.

The Max’s Group All-You-Can Wednesdays promo will be available in more than 600 stores nationwide on June 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 2 pm until closing time. For 24-hour stores of Yellow Cab, its All-You-Can Pizza deal starts at 12 midnight. For other Yellow Cab outlets, the promo is available for the duration of its opening hours.

All-You-Can Wednesdays Max's Group

ALL-YOU-CAN WEDNESDAYS. Every Wednesday this June, get a dining treat in 6 Max’s Group brands with their all-you-can offerings.

Customers who sign up for the All-You-Can promo will be provided stickers for identification upon entry to the store. They will then have 2 hours to eat as much of the featured product as they could.

Senior Citizens or PWDs may choose to avail themselves either of the promotional discount or the 20% discount

The company said the cross-brand promotions allow them to “leverage their portfolio and store network to delight loyal customers.”

The different All-You-Can promos are:

Max's All-You-Can Chicken

Max’s All-You-Can Fried Chicken with 1 glass of Sago’t Gulaman


All-You-Can Pizza Yellow Cab
Yellow Cab’s All-You-Can Pizza in Hawaiian or #4 Cheese and Mountain Dew with 1 order of regular Salt & Pepper Hustlers


All-You-Can taco Pancake House
Pancake House’s All-You-Can Best Taco in Town and Iced Tea


All-You-Can Donuts
Krispy Kreme’s All-You-Can Original Glazed Doughnut and Signature Coffee


All-You-Can Sisig Dencio
Dencio’s All-You-Can Krispy Sisig (Regular) and Iced Tea


All-You-Can Tempura Teriyaki Boy
Teriyaki Boy’s All-You-Can Ebi Tempura and Iced Tea with 1 cup of Steamed Gohan


All-You-Can Sizzlin Steak
Sizzlin’ Steak’s All-You-Can Beef Belly Strips and Iced Tea with 1 cup of Plain Rice


All-You-Can Jamba Juice
Jamba Juice’s All-You-Can Banana Berry Smoothie with 1 Reusable Metal Straw.


Apart from the individual promos, the Max’s Group is also offering All-You-Can Bundles for barkadas and families. The packages start at P849.

The All-You-Can Bundles are:

  • Get Max’s 3 sets of All-You-Can Fried Chicken with 1 glass of Sago’t Gulaman + a free Plush Toy for P1,249
  • Yellow Cab’s 2 sets of All-You-Can Pizza in Hawaiian or #4 Cheese and Mountain Dew + 1 full order of Chicken Alfredo Pasta for P849
  • Pancake House’s 3 sets of All-You-Can Best Taco in Town and Iced Tea + 1 order of Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Large) for P1,199
  • Krispy Kreme’s 3+1 All-You-Can Original Glazed Doughnut and Signature Coffee for P999
  • Dencio’s 3 sets of All-You-Can Krispy Sisig (Regular) and Iced Tea + 1 order of Hot & Spicy Tofulutan for P1,099
  • Teriyaki Boy’s 3 sets of All-You-Can Ebi Tempura and Iced Tea with 1 cup of Steamed Gohan for P999
  • Sizzlin’ Steak’s 3 sets of All-You-Can Beef Belly Strips and Iced Tea with 1 cup of Plain Rice + 1 order of Cheese Dip with Nachos for P999
  • Jamba Juice’s 3 sets of All-You-Can Banana Berry Smoothie with 1 Reusable Metal Straw for P999

All customers who avail themselves of an All-You-Cam officer will get Delivery Treat Vouchers. For Max’s, customers get a free Sizzling Tofu with a minimum delivery order of P1,500. For Yellow Cab, get a free Ice Cream for every order of Squad Stuff, Boom Bundles, or Hustle Bundles. Pancake House offers free 2-piece Classic Pancakes with a minimum delivery order of P800.

For Krispy Kreme, get a free box of 3 Original Glazed Doughnuts with a minimum delivery order of P1,000. Dencio’s offers free Lumpiang Shanghai with a minimum delivery order of P1,500. Get Teriyaki Boy’s 8-piece California Roll for free for every order of Kazoku Set Meal and for Sizzlin’ Steak, enjoy a free Cheese Dip with Nachos for every order of Platter of 3.

“Max’s Group’s very first All-You-Can promo is the result of a momentous synergy among MGI’s well-loved brands—all of which have become deeply ingrained in the lives of Filipinos,” Ariel Fermin, Group COO for Max’s Group, Inc. said in a press statement.

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Need a cab? Micab app now provides ride-hailing service for 3,000 Cebu taxis

Getting a taxi is now easier in Cebu, thanks to ride-hailing platform Micab that was developed by a team of young entrepreneurs. If you haven’t installed it yet, download the…

Getting a taxi is now easier in Cebu, thanks to ride-hailing platform Micab that was developed by a team of young entrepreneurs.

If you haven’t installed it yet, download the Micab app from the Play Store or App Store to get access to 3,000 taxis enrolled in the platform for Cebu alone.

Micab Systems Corp. was granted accreditation as a transport network company (TNC) by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) last April 30, said founder and CEO Eddie Ybañez.

What makes Micab different from transport networks like Grab and Uber is it doesn’t charge a booking fee when you hail a taxi using the app.

Micab founder Eddie Ybañez

INTERVIEW. Micab founder and CEO Eddie Ybañez answers questions during an interview by Cebu journalists.

 

Taxi 2.0

Ybañez said taxis subscribed to the Micab platform pay P500 a month and the fee covers the tablet and data that drivers need to run the app.

Without the booking fee, Micab Systems Corp. plans to get its main revenues from MiAds advertising. It has partnered with ad agencies to get companies to advertise on the tablets in the taxis.

Ybañez said the Micab platform, which he co-founded with Kenneth Baylosis during the Startup Weekend Cebu in 2012, came about as a solution to the perennial difficulty of getting a taxi that he used to frequently experience.

The TNC accreditation is a step forward in the company’s vision of a Taxi 2.0, which will involve clean and modern cabs driven by polite and friendly drivers. Although drivers can see a passenger’s destination in the Micab app, they won’t be able to cancel a booking once they’ve accepted it.

Micab target

The Cebu-based Micab company also now covers Metro Manila, Baguio, Bacolod, and Iloilo. In Manila, taxi bookings through Micab now go as high as 10,000 per day.

Although 80 percent of taxis in Cebu are already covered by the Micab platform, it still has to catch up with Manila in terms of usage, said Ybañez.

He added that they will continue to work with LTFRB and other government agencies “to innovate how Filipinos commute across our cities” to reach a shared goal that is the convenience of the country’s riding public.

Micab Eddie Ybañez

NO BOOKING FEE, NO SURGE PRICING. Micab founder and CEO Eddie Ybañez says their app does not charge a booking fee.

 

Digital hailing stations

Ybañez said they will also be soon deploying what he described as digital taxi hailing stations in major malls in Cebu City. Through these stations, commuters without the app can book a Micab unit.

The target for the year is to increase the number of taxi units enrolled in the Micab platform from 5,000 to 15,000.

Ybañez also said they will be building a system based on Micab for route-based units like buses, jeepneys, and vans-for-hire. He said this would likely be deployed early next year.

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Millican roll pack: the backpack for travelers, digital nomads

With enough room for a laptop, tablet, phones, portable drives, voice recorder, tripod, selfie stick, pocket WiFi, power cord extension, numerous data cables and several paper notebooks, the Millican roll…

With enough room for a laptop, tablet, phones, portable drives, voice recorder, tripod, selfie stick, pocket WiFi, power cord extension, numerous data cables and several paper notebooks, the Millican roll pack is the backpack for travelers and digital nomads.

I got a 25-liter Maverick roll pack during a sale by the Primer Group, the exclusive distributor of the brand in the country, and it is one of the best purchases I’ve ever had. I’ve used the Millican bag exclusively for weeks and can say that it is the best backpack that I’ve had in the decades of carrying one.

I’ve gone through all the usual brands – Hawk (my go-to brand for years), The North Face, Jansport, and Case Logic – but nothing comes close to Millican in utility, durability, and style.

For one, I finally have a bag that can fit all the stuff I carry around for work or leisure.

Millican MAvericks rollpack

TRAVEL, WORK FROM ANYWHERE. The Millican 25-liter Maverick roll pack has room enough to carry all the things I need to work from anywhere.

 

Hidden laptop sleeve

The Millican has a hidden laptop sleeve at the back panel that’s perfect for my 13-inch Macbook Air. With its padded protection, I don’t need a separate laptop sleeve like I did with the other bags. The hidden pocket can hold a notebook of up to 15 inches. It is also lined with “100% waterproof recycled polyester,” according to the company.

There’s a separate hidden key pocket that can fit an iPad mini or a smaller Android tablet. It’s also perfect for phones and other gadgets.

The Maverick has a large front external pocket that can hold notebooks, phones, pocket WiFi, business cards, and even the 20,000mAh that powers my devices throughout the day. Behind this is an open pocket that is perfect for maps, brochures, or notebooks for easy access and inserts.

Millican rollpack

LAPTOP SLEEVE. The Maverick backpack has a hidden laptop sleeve at the back lined waterproof recycled polyester.

 

Holder for tripod, walking stick

It has 2 large side pockets that can hold a flask, more notebooks or other knickknacks. One side pocket has a holder for tripods or walking stick.

Inside the bag are several more pockets to fit even more things that you need to carry around. These pockets can fit clipboards, notebooks, and other important documents.

The roll top lid opening makes access to the stuff that you need easy. It also makes the backpack adjust to the amount of stuff you carry around. With the Maverick, I finally feel I have more room than things to stuff into it. With previous backpacks, I’d often have to carry a separate messenger bag to carry things that wouldn’t fit for longer trips or coverages that require use of more equipment.

Millican backpack

TO THE BEACH. Millican bags are “made to last” and provide “a protective barrier to keep the wet weather out,” the company said.

 

Made to last

Millican bags, the company said in its website, “are made to last.” Its outer fabric is made of Bionic Cotton Canvas, a company exclusive that is 38% cotton, 57% recycled polyester, 5% HT polyester and impregnated with a paraffin wax and a C6 DWR or durable water resistant coating.

“This creates a protective barrier to keep the wet weather out. Your bag will continue to repel water droplets as long as the fabric is kept clean and nourished every few years with a protective treatment,” the company said.

All Maverick bags use aluminum buckles “tough enough to withstand an average force of around 122 kgf (kilogram force). The aluminium is anodized, which provides a weather resistant surface without tarnishing, and the anodized trims we use are non-toxic and contain no nickel.”

Kindred spirits

If the backpack feels it was made for traveling it is because it was made by hardcore travelers.

Millican was started by Jorrit and Nicky, who met while traveling in the early 90s on the border of Ecuador and Peru. They traveled together for 2 years before returning to regular life in the UK.

“It wasn’t long before we slipped into regular life. Jobs, family, a house and a routine out in the suburbs. But there was always a flicker of light, an ember that never quite went out,” they said on their website.

Millican Maverick backpack

LARGE POCKETS. Millican’s Maverick backpack has large external pockets, including 2 in both sides large enough to carry a 600ml flask. One side pocket has an attachment to carry around a tripod and walking stick.

 

“Then one story changed our lives for good. The true story of Millican Dalton, a maverick from the 1900s who swapped his existence in London for an extraordinary life of adventure in the mountains of the Lake District.”

The co-founders said Dalton inspired them to take a leap of faith and follow their own path.

“In homage to Millican Dalton, who was known to make his own clothing and rucksacks, we decided to name our company after him. His teachings still influence our decisions today,” they said.

In Cebu, Millican bags are available in GRIND and Bratpack.

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Get P75 cashback when you shop with GCash QR in National Book Store branches

Shopping for bags, paper, notebooks, pencils, and all other school items at the National Book Store is a yearly back-to-school ritual. This year, shopping is even better because everything you…

Shopping for bags, paper, notebooks, pencils, and all other school items at the National Book Store is a yearly back-to-school ritual.

This year, shopping is even better because everything you need for school are made available at all National Bookstore branches. Head to any of the over 230 branches nationwide and you’ll find Back-to-School Zones – areas where basic school supplies, uniforms, shoes, bags, and more are grouped together for a quick, easy, and convenient shopping experience.

National Bookstore also launched the 2018 Grand Back to School Fair in select mall locations.

GCash National Book Store

“National Book Store is one of the most recognizable names in the Philippines, and being able to extend GCash’s reach to Filipinos is a big step for us in encouraging more and more people to have a better shopping experience. In recognition of their 75thyear, we are happy to support National Bookstore’s Back-to-school program by offering a 75 pesos Cashback with GCash QR for a minimum spend of 300 pesos at any National Bookstore nationwide,” said Anthony Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Mynt, which operates GCash.

To use the scan to pay feature, Globe users must download the GCash app on their smartphones and update to the latest version of it before registering an account. Get P50 when you use referral code “NBBTOS” upon registration.With over 12,000 GCash partner outlets nationwide, including Globe Stores, SM Business Centers, Puregold branches, Robinsons Business Centers, 7-Eleven Cliqq kiosks, and TouchPay kiosks, shoppers can easily fund their GCash wallets.

Visit www.gcashpromos.com/gcash-national-bookstore-75-cashback to learn more. (Press Release)

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Beatles, Motown, love songs featured in Love Rocks Cebu leg

Nobody in the world appreciates “It Might Be You” more than Filipinos, said singer and songwriter Stephen Bishop. Bishop, an Oscar and Grammy nominee, will be performing tonight with Grammy…

Nobody in the world appreciates “It Might Be You” more than Filipinos, said singer and songwriter Stephen Bishop.

Bishop, an Oscar and Grammy nominee, will be performing tonight with Grammy nominee Bobby Wilson and Love Rocks host and performer J Michaels.

J Michaels said tonight’s show at the IC3 Convention Center in Cebu will have the artists perform top Beatles songs and love song favorites.

Love Rocks Cebu

LOVE ROCKS CEBU. (From left) Stephen Bishop, Bobby Wilson, and J Michaels. The 3 will perform in tonight’s Love Rocks concert at the IC3 Convention Center in Cebu. (Photo by Ian Javier)

Wilson said he will be performing Motown music as a tribute to his father, the legendary R&B singer Jackie Wilson. He will also sing one of the hits of Bruno Mars, with whom he performed with as part of The Love Notes group organized by Mars’ father.

Bishop, on the other hand, is expected to play his favorite hits “It Might Be You,” “Something New In My Life,” and “On and On.”

Love Rocks Cebu

PRESS CONFERENCE. J Michaels answers a question during a press conference for the concert held at The Pyramid in the IT Park. (Photo by Ian Javier)

During the short press conference held at The Pyramid in the IT Park, the artists said they love performing for Filipino audiences.

J Michaels said they are bringing in more artists, including Christopher Cross, in future concerts.

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Wedding and debut exclusives at Marco Polo Cebu with One Sweet Day

Make your dream wedding and debut a reality on this One Sweet Day. Before the “I do’s” and debuts, we are inviting all soon-to-be couples and debutantes to come up…

Make your dream wedding and debut a reality on this One Sweet Day.

Before the “I do’s” and debuts, we are inviting all soon-to-be couples and debutantes to come up to Nivel Hills tomorrow, May 19, 2018, and be part of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s One Sweet Day: A Day of Wedding & Debut Exclusives.

Marco Polo One Sweet Day

Bridal Suite.

For One Sweet Day, book your wedding or debut with us and receive added perks on top of our well-crafted celebration packages. Enjoy a 20% discount on the celebration package price plus two more premium benefits from the following: complimentary bottles of wine, complimentary lechon, additional complimentary night’s stay before or after the event, a gift certificate for Chocolate Indulgence Spa treatment for two, in-room Champagne Breakfast during your hotel stay, waived clearing fee for your dessert buffet or an overnight stay with breakfast at Marco Polo Ortigas.

Marco Polo Cebu One Sweet Day

Champagne Breakfast.

This irresistible offer is only valid on May 19, 2018 with a reservation fee of P30,000 to be settled on that day. This promotion is valid only for new bookings and the wedding or debut must be in 2018 or 2019. The benefits of this promotion can only be availed upon confirmation and full payment six months before your celebration. Our Banquet Sales Team will be at your service from 9AM to 7PM to assist you in arranging your special day.

Sweet things can happen in one sweet day. Allow our team of professional event specialists to help you make your dream celebration come true. For more information, you can call (032) 253-1111 local 8109 or email [email protected]. For real time updates, like the Facebook page at facebook.com/marcopolocebu or follow on Twitter at @5StarInCebu.

Wedding Setup at the Grand Ballroom.

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Cashback, discounts, freebies at GCash Digital Weekend Cebu

Have you tried paying through GCash QR scan to pay? Head to the Cebu IT Park from May 18 to 20, use GCash QR to shop with merchants, and get…

Have you tried paying through GCash QR scan to pay? Head to the Cebu IT Park from May 18 to 20, use GCash QR to shop with merchants, and get exclusive discounts and freebies.

GCash QR is a system launched last year that allows you to quickly pay via scanning a QR Code at the counter. We wrote about the experience in using it here: With GCash Scan To Pay, transactions are quick, cashless.

If you still haven’t tried it, this weekend’s event will be a great venue to test the future of payments. During GCash Digital Weekend Cebu, get 50% cashback on your first transaction. You can get a stamp packet that allows you to win prizes as you complete the stamps by purchasing from GCash QR merchants.

The popular weekend food market and culinary destination Sugbo Mercado now also accepts GCash QR.

Gcash QR scan to pay Cebu Digital Weekend Cebu IT Park

 

Gcash QR scan to pay Cebu

 

Gcash QR Cebu

GCash QR is now accepted in Sugbo Mercado.

Gcash QR scan to pay Cebu

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Move to intelligent operations key to do well in business: Accenture

Companies able to tap innovative talent, harness insights from large amounts of data and applied intelligence and tap benefits from the cloud and smart partnerships will be in the best…

Companies able to tap innovative talent, harness insights from large amounts of data and applied intelligence and tap benefits from the cloud and smart partnerships will be in the best position to survive disruption and do well in business, a recent global report said.

The report by HfS Research and Accenture said the future belongs to organizations that have transformed themselves into “intelligent operations”, said Accenture Operations Lead in the Philippines Benedict Hernandez in an interview on Tuesday.

“The future is about taking your business processes to become intelligent operations,” he said. “That is really capitalizing on digital disruption, access to phenomenal amounts of data, and the need to disrupt or improve the customer experience.”

Accenture Benedict Hernandez

MOVING TO INTELLIGENT OPERATIONS. Accenture Operations Lead in the Philippines Benedict Hernandez discusses results of a study that showed the importance of turning processes into intelligent operations in a press briefing in Cebu.

 

Move to intelligent operations

“The move to intelligent operations is fast becoming a make-or-break proposition for organizations, with 80 percent surveyed saying they are concerned with disruption and competitive threats, especially from new digitally savvy entrants.” Accenture said in a report on the study.

“It’s exciting to be looking at what used to be known as BPO (business process outsourcing) or BPS (business process service) and the challenge in front of us is how do we take our clients to an intelligent operations status to actually deliver all these benefits,” Hernandez said.

The research identified 5 essential components of intelligent operations: innovative talent, data-driven backbone, applied intelligence, leveraging the power of the cloud, and a smart partnership ecosystem.

Innovative talent

To move to intelligent operations, businesses need employees skilled in the new IT – data scientists, analysts, and experts on technology such as the cloud, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence.

In the case of Accenture operations, Hernandez said “talent is very important to us” and the company has 11,000 business advisors globally. “These are process experts who understand where is it that we can apply digital enhancements so that the client actually benefits.” The company also has 49,000 cloud practitioners and 4,000 data scientists globally.

“Having said that, you also have your current workforce that you continue to invest in so that they can actually be up-trained and re-skilled,” he said. Training workers to a redefined and changed nature of work is the “heavy lifting that companies need to be doing.”

“Because we’ve been automating so much over the past couple of years, what we have done is majority of the cost savings in automation is actually re-invested in up-training and upskilling everybody,” Hernandez said.

Accenture augmented reality

AUGMENTED REALITY. Members of an Accenture team demonstrate the use of augmented reality that allows people to virtually check out automobile models.

 

Data-driven backbone

Companies accumulate a large volume of data. The challenge for their clients, Hernandez said, is “how are you able to access and harness all of that data and run analytics, whether it’s predictive or prescriptive, so that you can actually improve the way the companies are performing?”

In one of the booths during the internal innovation roadshow at Accenture, a team showed how companies can spot trends in collection of payments by analyzing volumes of historical data.

Applied intelligence

Applied intelligence is using automation, analytics, and AI to improve processes. While many people see cost savings as a big driver for this, Hernandez said automating a process “benefits many other areas.”

“When the process works better, the end-customer experience is better, and there’s less of the routine tasks that people are doing, it allows the employee experience to also be better,” Hernandez said. “Now I don’t have to do all those mundane, repetitive, boring tasks because applied intelligence has already taken care of that. I can now make use of my human talent and skills to do more judgement, creative, problem-solving, more challenging, and more interesting kinds of activities.”

Automation can also eliminate human errors that expose companies to risk and compliance issues.

Leverage the power of the cloud

Companies are already plugging into “what’s available out there and have infrastructure as a service” rather than building their own. This allows them to be agile and flexible in their technology infrastructure.

“Buying and maintaining your own technology infrastructure is very costly and it actually becomes obsolete faster and faster because of just the rate of evolution,” he said.

With cloud companies continuing to evolve their offerings, “you’re able to get to the latest every time, you don’t need to do your own investment for that,” he said.

Accenture innovation roadshow

INNOVATION ROADSHOW. Accenture Operations Lead in the Philippines Benedict Hernandez with employees taking part of the innovation roadshow that highlights new IT like big data analytics, augmented reality, and AI.

 

Smart partnerships

Companies have also realized they “don’t have to be an expert in all areas” and could just tap partners to move to intelligent operations.

“In the case of Accenture, we have about 150 enterprise partners around the world of different technology and services that we work with. In AI alone, we don’t do AI on our own – we do a lot of R&D on AI but we partner a lot with Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services,” Hernandez said. “The main thing about the partnership ecosystem is that you can plug in to who are the best enterprises out there in their particular fields.”

This migration to intelligent operation is well underway and the nature of work that the company is getting from its clients have markedly changed.

“A lot of the companies getting into operations partnerships with Accenture is actually to innovate their operations to become more intelligent operations. And this is an example of a smart partnership ecosystem. Because they realize that I can’t do this alone. I don’t have the expertise, I don’t wanna build all that expertise so I can actually transform myself. Why don’t I work with Accenture so they can take my process to become more intelligent,” he said.

Where next opportunity is

From cost arbitrage years back, clients conversations have moved beyond that into “how do I make my process more digital, how do you allow my operations to save me money, to give me insights so I can actually improve my cash flow position, how I can be more competitive?” he said.

He said the move to intelligent operations “is really where the next opportunity for us and our clients.”

“My hope is when you now say BPO or you think about Accenture and intelligent operations, these becomes the example that comes to mind versus traditionally what we think about in BPO terms.” Hernandez added.

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Tholons chair: Cebu must embrace, see opportunities in digital disruptions

Cebu needs to improve in the areas of digital credentials and skills to move up to the top 10 in the Super Cities of the World list of Tholons, Inc….

Cebu needs to improve in the areas of digital credentials and skills to move up to the top 10 in the Super Cities of the World list of Tholons, Inc.

Avinash Vashistha, Tholons chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), said Cebu continues to score low in such areas as open innovation, startup culture, cybersecurity, and digital competitiveness.

A Tholons team computed the average scores of the top three and bottom three of the top 20 in the Super Cities list and measured where Cebu fell within the range.

A panel (from L) composed of Jonathan de Luzuriaga, moderator, and resource persons Cebu City Councilor Joy Augustus Young, Symph CEO Dave Overton, Tholons Chair Avinash Vashistha, and Accenture, Inc. Cebu Delivery Center Lead for Technology Arvin Yason discusses Cebu City’s ranking in Super Cities of the World list.

He said Cebu did not fare well in the following areas: 3.5 against a high of 7.2 in digital credentials and 3.8 against a high of 7.14 in quality of life, citing political, social, natural, and commercial risks. Vashistha was one of the speakers of the 2018 Transformation Summit held today, May 16, at Bai Hotel in Mandaue City.

Digital, talent skills

For digital skills and scale, Cebu was in the 4.6 range against the top average score of 8.12. This category looks at the digital talent and evolution of a particular place, also taking into consideration as well the prevalence of mobile and Internet users and patent grants for technology ideas or products.

“All industry in the future will be technology-enabled. We can’t ignore the impact of digital because it is transforming the way business is done,” Vashistha added.

When Cebu thinks about what it needs to do in the area of digital, it has to look at the examples set by Singapore and Seoul. Tholons ranks the two cities as among the top 25 digitally competitive cities throughout the globe.

Compared against the average high score of 8.9, Cebu’s ranking of 6 for talent skills and quality could do with some improvement, according to Vashistha. Cebu rose to seventh place in the list of best outsourcing sites but fell to 12th place in 2017 when Tholons added new digital categories.

New tech opportunities

2018 Transformation Summit Speaker Avinash Vashistha, Tholons, Inc. chair and CEO, talks about what it takes to be part of the top Super Cities of the World list.

He added that Cebu should also focus on the opportunities instead of threats posed by digital disruptions, citing that trillions of dollars in new technology investments from 2013-2022 will result in the creation of more than 200 million jobs. India and the Philippines currently hold close to 5 million jobs in the IT-BPM industry.

These jobs will come in bulk from three main areas, including robotic process automation, big data analytics, and mobile app testing.

Vashistha said during the summit that digital shifts will also require upskilling and reskilling the industry workforce. Degree programs must also include cultivating the culture of innovation in universities through innovation labs and partnerships with industry stakeholders. Other ways will involve utilizing digital media for Cebu’s branding initiatives and collaborating with a global network of startups through mentorship programs.

The 2018 Transformation Summit is organized by the Cebu IT BPM Organization (CIB.O) in partnership with the Cebu City Government and Sykes. Other sponsors include Accenture, Lexmark, and Cognizant.

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PLDT launches P1-billion data center in Cebu

Built from the ground up to withstand an intensity 8 earthquake, secured with 11 layers of protection, powered with electrical capacity enough for 1,600 households, and completed at a cost…

Built from the ground up to withstand an intensity 8 earthquake, secured with 11 layers of protection, powered with electrical capacity enough for 1,600 households, and completed at a cost of P1 billion, the 2nd Vitro data center in Cebu was launched by PLDT yesterday.

The facility was built with quadruple the capacity of the first one that was built in Cebu in 2012, which is now 96% utilized. That, PLDT officials said, illustrates the increasing demand for and embrace of the utility of data centers by businesses, including local enterprises.

Vitro Data Center Cebu 2 illustrates the “stellar rise of the Vitro network and the way it has revolutionized how enterprises from all over the country do business,” said PLDT and Smart Chief Revenue Officer and EPLDT Group President and CEO Eric Alberto. The Vitro network “is now the largest network in the country with 10 locations covering the entire length and breadth of the archipelago. It is internationally recognized and certified.”

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2 lobby

The lobby at PLDT Vitro Cebu 2.

Accelerate digital transformation

“The addition of a second data center in Cebu ensures that even more businesses can gain access to the benefits of having world-class data management,” Alberto said. “All this is in keeping with the vision that started 18 years ago – to accelerate the digital transformation of the Philippines.”

Today’s business environment is marked by heightened risks, said Vice President and Head of PLDT Enterprise Disruptive Business Group Benedict Patrick Alcoseba. He said an an important way to help companies manage business risks is to provide them “digital infrastructure that helps them with business resiliency and continuity.”

PLDT Group EVP and Chief Revenue Officer and ePLDT President and CEO Eric R. Alberto

SUPPORT COMPANIES. PLDT Group EVP and Chief Revenue Officer and ePLDT President and CEO Eric R. Alberto says, “this new state-of-the-art facility is part of the PLDT Group’s nationwide effort to support local organizations and enterprises of all sizes—helping them store, manage and safeguard mission-critical data from cybersecurity threats and physical disasters.”

Alcoseba highlighted key features of the data center launched yesterday – 4 days of uninterrupted full load operations during a power outage and without refuelling, 99.99% service availability, 11 layers of facility security, cyber defense, and a highly resilient configuration in power, cooling, and connectivity.

Stability, reliability, security

“If I were to summarize what Vitro Cebu 2 is all about, it’s about providing business stability, ensuring ultimate reliability, and security of clients. When you talk about security it’s all about peace of mind, knowing that they are in a facility that will allow them to run, regardless of what happens,” Alcoseba said.

PLDT said in a statement that “the second Cebu VITRO Data Center is supported by PLDT’s robust fiber optic network spanning over 187,000 kilometers, enabling the delivery of digital solutions nationwide.”

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2

PLDT officials after a press conference held to launch the new facility. In photo are (from left) ePLDT Chief Information Security Officer Angel Redoble, ePLDT Group Chief Technology Officer Dave Simon, ePLDT Group SVP and Chief Operating Officer Nerisse Ramos, PLDT Group EVP and Chief Revenue Officer and ePLDT President and CEO Eric R. Alberto, PLDT SVP and Head of PLDT & Smart Enterprise Business Groups Jovy Hernandez, and PLDT VP and Head of Disruptive Business Group Benedict Patrick Alcoseba.

The new facility in Cebu has a capacity of 800 server racks, bringing the nationwide network’s capacity to 9,150 racks, said ePLDT Group SVP and Chief Operating Officer Nerisse Ramos. With that addition, total utilization of the entire network is now at 35%, said Alberto.

This increasing adoption contrasts with the tepid initial response of a few years back, said SVP and Head of PLDT & SMART Enterprise Business Groups Jovy Hernandez.

Vitro Cebu data center

“Six years ago when we launched Vitro Cebu 1, the companies weren’t really going into data centers. Over the past 6 years, a lot of companies, even small and medium enterprises, saw the value – why will I put up my own cooling system? I can never make my own cooling system on my own scale similar to the one here. As more companies now rely on their servers, which traditionally were hosted only in my room at the back of my office, we’re seeing a lot more demand,” Hernandez said.

Alberto said the pace of technology adoption has accelerated. “More and more companies are undergoing their own digital transformation where they have to look to technologies to be able to enable their business to be competitive,” he said. “Looking toward the future, I think it is imperative now that you get connected and you expand your market beyond the typical brick and mortar physical sphere of your legacy market.”

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2 security

SECURITY LAYERS. The security monitoring room in PLDT Vitro Cebu 2. The facility is protected by 11 security layers, including finger-vein scanning features, special CCTV cameras, and 24/7 monitoring and surveillance.

“The rapid pace at which technology changes, particularly in hardware and software, is forcing a lot of business owners to rethink their digital transformation strategies. Are we going to spend CAPEX to be able to own this hardware and software or are we going to turn into an expert partner who has the skill, the reach, plus the attendant and necessary connectivity by which to protect me from high CAPEX outlay into an OPEX?” Alberto said.

Adding to the equation is the “managed service that aptly protects me from cyber security attacks that have become more prevalent, more dynamic, and disruptive,” he said.

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2 Benedict Patrick Alcoseba

PEACE OF MIND. “If I were to summarize what Vitro Cebu 2 is all about, it’s about providing business stability, ensuring ultimate reliability, and security of clients,” said Vice President and Head of PLDT Enterprise Disruptive Business Group Benedict Patrick Alcoseba.

PLDT expertise, scale, network

He said businesses that build such facilities on their own have to contend with the rapid technology advances that quickly render systems outdated.

“So are you gonna take the obsolescence risk? And do you have the capability to be able to provide the necessary cooling, the power, the security, the connectivity, plus the cyber security protection? Do you want to own these elements where you don’t have the scale nor the expertise?” Alberto said.

“These are the challenges that we put to the market and we present ourselves in PLDT Group to be the trustworthy and leading partner when you are ready to look at those issues and you are prepared to take on the world through technology,” he said.

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2 cooling towers

The cooling towers at the facility.

“Our expertise, our scale, our buying power, our connectivity, our investments in network connectivity and diversity, our purpose-built data centers with security experts and the managed services experts actually are resources that no one particular company – no matter what the size – will be ever able to scale to,” Alberto said.

Hernandez said their customers are “pretty diverse” in terms of size and location. “More and more companies from our Asian neighbors are actually looking at the Philippines. Before when you talked about data centers in Asia, it was only 2 countries — Singapore and Hong Kong. That’s it. But the Philippines is now being looked at even by international companies as a place for them to co-locate.”

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2

COLOR-CODED. Lines in the facility are color coded – blue for primary and yellow for secondary.

No longer just contingency but business strategy

Ramos said that changes in the business environment encourage them to build capacity. She said that they often ask themselves, “are we over-building?”

“But the reality is whenever we have discussions with our clients, in all industries, even government, dati ang usapan, we need a data center for contingency, but right now that’s not the discussion anymore. The discussion is about the need to be hosted because of risk management, because it’s a business strategy. (It’s no longer) simple contingency but part of a business strategy. This kind of discussion is happening in their boardrooms, not anymore at the IT level,” Ramos said.

Alberto said demand for data center services will increase with the changing business environment. “This is the wave of the future – big data, analytics, AI. Artificial Intelligence is machine learning. It’s growing. And machine learning must be fed with continuous data, historical as far back to be more accurate and current,” he said.

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2

SECURITY LAYER. Entry and exit to the facility include going through this security-controlled turnstile.

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Smart, Ateneo to boost Central Visayas health programs with SHINE OS+

The Department of Health Region VII is integrating the SHINE OS+ electronic medical record system of Smart Communications and Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center with its existing reporting tool to…

The Department of Health Region VII is integrating the SHINE OS+ electronic medical record system of Smart Communications and Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center with its existing reporting tool to enhance the region’s health programs.

SHINE OS+ or the Secured Health Information Network Exchange open-source system enables health units to submit aggregated medical data directly to the region’s Health Console for faster retrieval of information.

An efficient electronic medical record system redounds to better health care by ensuring that patient information is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. The system also guards against loss of or damage to patient files.

Smart, Ateneo DOH Central Visayas

Signing the memorandum of agreement are (in photo, from left) Smart Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Attorney Maria Jane Paredes, Regional Health Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas, and AJWCC executive director Ma. Regina Estuar. (Press Release)

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CCCI forges partnerships for Cebu Business Month 2018

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) will celebrate Cebu Business Month 2018 with public and private sector partners. CBM 2018 is organized by CCCI in partnership with the…

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) will celebrate Cebu Business Month 2018 with public and private sector partners.

CBM 2018 is organized by CCCI in partnership with the Cebu Provincial Government, Cebu City Government, and several other partners.

CBM 2018 sponsor Waterfront

SPONSORSHIP. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino General Manager Anders Hallden (center) during the ceremonial signing of the sponsorship contract for Cebu Business Month 2018. With Hallden are (from left) Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Executive Director May Ybañez, CCCI President Antonio Chiu, CBM 2018 Chair Benny Que, and CBM 2018 Publicity and Ways and Means Chair Lilu Aliño.

Below is a complete list of CBM 2018 sponsors.

Event Partners

Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
Department of Tourism (DOT)
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)


Omnibus Co-Presenter

Cebu Holdings, Inc./Ayala Center Cebu
PLDT Enterprise/Voyager/Paymaya
Robinsons Land Corporation/Robinsons Galleria Cebu
SM Prime Holdings, Inc.
Unionpay International Southeast Asia
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino


Omnibus Platinum

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu


Omnibus Diamond

Cathay Pacific
Cebu Landmasters, Inc.
F2 Logistics Philippines, Inc.
Golden Prince Hotel and Suites
Lexmark Research and Development Corporation
Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation
Philippine AirAsia
Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc.
The Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd.


Omnibus

Treasure Island Industrial Corporation


Prime Partners

ABS-CBN
Alcordo International, Inc. (Alcordo Advertising)
Businessworld Publishing Corporation
GMA Network, Inc.
Manila Bulletin
Ocean Fast Ferries, Inc. (Oceanjet)
Skycable Pacific ATV


Media Partners

Brigada 93.1 News FM CEBU
Cebu Daily News
Expat Travel Lifestyle Phils.
Graphicstar Imaging Corporation
Greenworld LED Solutions, Inc.
InnoPub Media
Mynimo.com
NU107
Sonshine Radio
Sun.Star Publishing
The Freeman


CBM 2018 Specific Event Sponsors

Aboitiz Power Corp.
Bank of the Philippine Islands
BDO Unibank, Inc.
Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp.
Cebu Pacific Airlines
CT4 Philippines, Inc.
Eastern Communications
Global Business Power
GT Cosmetics Manufacturing, Inc.
Hyundai Cebu, Inc.
Ng Khai Development Corporation
Oakridge Business Park
Philippine Airlines
Seaoil Philippines
Security Bank Corporation
Tsuneishi Technical Services Philippines


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CBM 2018 schedule highlights innovations for business

Organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cebu Business Month (CBM) was envisioned as the engine of Cebu’s growth towards global competitiveness. Now on its 22nd year,…

Organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Cebu Business Month (CBM) was envisioned as the engine of Cebu’s growth towards global competitiveness.

Now on its 22nd year, CBM 2018 banners the theme Innovate Cebu to underscore the importance of innovation in all aspects of business.

CBM is one of CCCI’s flagship projects. It is held yearly on the month of June.

Below is the full CBM 2018 schedule of activities:

June 1

Grand Opening Salvo
The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu


June 1-3

One Town, One Product Exhibit
Organizer: Department of Trade and Industry
Ayala Center Cebu


June 8

Cebu International Film Festival (Cebu.CIFF) Curtain Raised
Organizer: Cebu.CIFF
SM Seaside City


June 10-12

Lumba’g Laag sa Sugbo: A Race to Cebu’s Hidden Attractions
Organizer: CBM 2018
SM Seaside City to South of Cebu


June 14

Tourism Innovation Forum
Organizer: CBM 2018
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu


June 19-20

Innovation Summit
Organizer: CBM 2018
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino


June 21

Business-in-Golf Tournament
Organizer: CBM 2018
Alta Vista Golf and Country Club


June 22

MSME Industry Educational Tour
Organizer: CBM 2018
Different Companies


June 23-24

Sugbo Entertainment Expo (SEE) Cebu
Organizer: Enigmaworkz
Robinsons Galleria Cebu


June 29

Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night
Organizer: CBM 2018
Oakridge Pavilion

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CCCI forges partnerships, lines up big events for CBM 2018

To help inspire, promote, and grow the business community, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) partnered with top companies and government agencies and invited high-profile personalities for Cebu…

To help inspire, promote, and grow the business community, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) partnered with top companies and government agencies and invited high-profile personalities for Cebu Business Month (CBM) 2018.

AirAsia Group chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Fernandes and Utah Valley University president Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez will be among the speakers of the month-long business event scheduled this June 2018.

Benedict Y. Que, CBM 2018 chair, said this year’s business month theme is aimed at helping local companies deal with digital disruptions.

“Today, we see and hear of the paradigm shift facing businesses. On our 22nd year, we align with the needs of companies through the theme Innovate Cebu,” Que, who is also Golden Prince Hotel and Suites president, said during the CBM 2018 Grand Launch last May 10.

CBM 2018 sponsorship

SPONSORSHIP. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly (center) during the ceremonial signing of the hotel’s sponsorship of Cebu Business Month 2018. With him are (from left) Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Executive Director May Ybañez, CCCI President Antonio Chiu, CBM 2018 Chair Benny Que, and CBM 2018 Publicity and Ways and Means Chair Lilu Aliño.

Innovation Summit

The Innovation Summit, Tourism Innovation Forum, Grand Chamber Awards, and Lumba’g Laag sa Sugbo are just among the activities throughout June 2018 for Cebu Business Month. Check out the full CBM 2018 schedule here.

Scheduled for June 19-20, the Innovation Summit aims to bring together policy makers, industry business sectors, academe, innovators, and other business support institutions essential to creating an ecosystem that supports enterprise development and increase innovation capabilities of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Benny Que

CBM 2018 CHAIR Benny Que speaks during the launch of the event at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Fernandes, who is behind the highly-successful budget airline company AirAsia, will talk about “Flying Open in the Skies” during the two-day forum. Tuminez, first woman president of Utah Valley University and Microsoft External and Legal Affairs Regional Director for Corporate, will touch on “A Technology Revolution for All.”

Other Innovation Summit speakers: Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña, Department of Science and Technology (DOST); Research and Development Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST; Dr. Soontorn Piromsartkoon, GlowGlobe Lighting System Co-Inventor; Robert Y. So, President and CEO, Eco-System Technologies, Inc.; Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr., Department of Information, Communication, and Technology (DICT); David Lim, Senior Vice President, Solid Group, Inc.

CBM 2018 sponsors

CCCI forged partnerships with top businesses as well as government units and agencies to bring about a CBM 2018 that will have a huge impact on Cebu businesses especially the small and medium enterprises.

The month-long business event is organized by CCCI in partnership with the Province and City of Cebu and with the support of DOST, Department of Tourism (DOT), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Antonio Chiu

CEBU BUSINESS. CCCI President Antonio Chiu gets interviewed after the ceremonial signing with CBM 2018 sponsors.

CCCI also collaborated with Cebu Holdings, Inc. and Ayala Center Cebu; PLDT Enterprise, Voyager, and Paymaya; Robinsons Land Corporation and Robinsons Galleria Cebu, SM Prime Holdings, Inc.; UnionPay International Southeast Asia; and Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino.

Another sponsor, the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, will host the Tourism Innovation Forum on June 14, 2018. The event is a venue for tourism industry stakeholders to network, interact, and discuss issues and concerns as well as share relevant information and solutions for the continuous growth of the sector throughout the country. Here is the complete list of CBM 2018 omnibus partners and sponsors.

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Cebu student teams dominate Smart innovation contest

A system that allows students to set up classes online for special lessons on areas they need help with was picked this year’s winner of the SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering…

A system that allows students to set up classes online for special lessons on areas they need help with was picked this year’s winner of the SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program) Innovation and Excellence Awards.

The project, called Team ERYL from the University of San Carlos (USC), won the top prize of P300,000 during the live pitching and final judging held today in Makati City. Sportify by a team from the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R), and Salvar by another USC team completed the top 3 winners and domination by Cebu of the annual innovation contest.

ERYL is mobile platform that allows students to set up classes online, whether 1-on-1 or by group.

“Students may opt to join existing classes that they are interested in or organize one themselves. When the class is ready, they select from the teacher pool someone they want to handle the lesson. They are then given the teacher’s details, including contact number,” the project brief said.

Smart Sweep winners

CEBU TEAM SWEEPS SWEEP AWARD. The teams from University of San Carlos and University of San Jose-Recoletos with their awards for topping this year’s SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards. At left is Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering. At right is Ramon Isberto, Public Affairs Head of PLDT and Smart. (Photo by @SmartNewsroom)

Four teams from Cebu, 3 from USC and 1 from USJ-R, made it to today’s finals.

When asked about Cebu’s dominance of the contest, Smart Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Attorney Maria Jane Paredes said she was elated by the turnout.

“Congratulations to USC and USJ-R and all the other winners. The winning projects address specific concerns and have practical uses. The first prize winner bridges the gap between teachers and students and allows students to set up classes online,” Paredes said.

Smart Sweep Team ERYL

Smart SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards winners.

Placing 2nd and winning P200,000 is Sportify from USJ-R. It is a web and mobile platform that seeks to connect sports enthusiasts, from players, coaches, to talent scouts. Sportify “gives the opportunity to our aspiring Filipino athletes specially who are located in the provinces and isolated areas, to be discovered and have that chance to be the next big name in sports,” the project brief said.

Completing the triumvirate is Salvar, an application that seeks to address problems on mental health. The app by a USC team allows users to search and set appointments with mental health care professionals. The team won P100,000.

Smart Sweep Sportify

Smart SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards 2nd placer.

“The app will allow users to have their therapy done through the application’s video-chat feature. This app will address the problem of accessibility to mental healthcare, mainly the distance, lack of mental healthcare providers within communities, and the stigma that scares people from asking for help by digitizing the mental healthcare process,” according to the project brief.

The SWEEP Awards was started in 2004 as a venue for college students to build applications to address community problems and needs. It is part of SWEEP, a collaboration between Smart and the academe aimed at raising “the standards of engineering and IT education in the country.”

Smart SWEEP Salvar

Smart SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards 3rd placers.

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Smart employees, families donate digital learning packages to far-flung communities

English teacher Dexter Masiado has a problem with student absenteeism. Not even half of his 75 pupils at Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo attend his classes at any given…

English teacher Dexter Masiado has a problem with student absenteeism. Not even half of his 75 pupils at Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo attend his classes at any given day.

He doesn’t blame his students, who are composed mostly of indigenous people. To get to school, they need to walk three hours on a mountain path – and that’s on a good day. On rainy days, they need to trudge muddy trails wearing nothing on their feet but plastic. They would arrive at school drenched and shaking.

“A lot of them also forgo classes to help their parents earn a living. Instead of attending classes, they would plough the field, harvest rice, or weave sawali,” Masiado said.

The teacher was thus very happy when he learned that their school would receive a School-in-a-Bag from Smart Communications. This is a big backpack containing a laptop, tablets, TV, a solar panel with batteries, pocket Wi-Fi, and educational content. The package also includes teacher training and yearlong monitoring.

“The students will definitely be more interested to go to school now. They have not yet been introduced to 21st century tools like tablets, laptop, and the internet,” Masiado said.

Smart School-in-a-bag

Smart meets three of its latest School-in-a-Bag recipients. In the photo are Smart employees led by Chief People and Culture Officer Liza Sichon (center) and People Group AVP Cheryll Agsaoay (standing fourth from left), and representatives of Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo; Jubilee Shelter Program in Plaridel, Bulacan; and an Alternative Learning System center in Tanay, Rizal.

Previous recipients of the Smart School-in-a-Bag have reported enhanced literacy and heightened interest in learning among their students. One teacher in Albay noted that some of her students would even go to school despite class suspensions so they could learn from the tablets.

The School-in-a-Bag is donated by Smart and its partner individuals and organizations to remote communities, including those without electricity, to help enhance the learning of students through technology and non-tech solutions.

The package that Trangka Elementary School will receive is a donation from Smart employees and their families, who sponsored the P100,000 kit by participating in a program called Smart Saturdays.

For three Saturdays last year, employees were invited to watch blockbuster movies with their loved ones and buy special event shirts for a certain amount. The collected amount was enough to put together seven School-in-a-Bag kits for underserved schools.

“I am really pleased that thousands of our employees participated in the program, not just to enjoy the movies with their families, but also to help other people,” said Smart People Group AVP for Communication and Engagement Cheryll Agsaoay. “I’m proud to say that our employees have taken to heart Smart’s mission of improving the lives of Filipinos through technology. The devices, connectivity, and educational content included in the School-in-a-Bag will help students in remote areas learn more about the world beyond their hometowns.”

Agsaoay added that Smart would continue its Smart Saturdays program to reach more far-flung schools.

So far, Smart and its partner donors have delivered 38 School-in-a-Bag units to 65 learning communities all over the country. Those interested to help can email [email protected] for more details.

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4 teams from Cebu in finals of Smart’s innovation competition

Four student teams from Cebu are in the running for the country’s biggest technology competition, the SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program) Innovation and Excellence Awards. Three teams from the…

Four student teams from Cebu are in the running for the country’s biggest technology competition, the SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program) Innovation and Excellence Awards.

Three teams from the University of San Carlos and one from the University of San Jose Recoletos are among the 10 student teams from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that would battle it out next week in SWEEP.

The other teams are from Adamson University, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Aurora State College of Technology, Davao Central College, and Gordon College in Zambales.

SMART Sweep 2018

SWEEP Awards finalists undergo a two-day boot camp so they could polish their entries in time for judging.

The teams will compete for the P300,000 top prize in the final judging to be held on May 11. The second placer will get P200,000, while the third placer will receive P100,000. Schools of the top three teams will each get a digital campus package from Smart Communications and parent company PLDT.

Smart received more than 300 applications for the 14th SWEEP Awards, which has the theme “#LifeLikeNeverBefore: Digital Innovations for a Better Tomorrow.”

Projects that made the cut include an app that could help farmers reach produce buyers directly, an app that could link sports enthusiasts with each other so they could schedule games, and a chatbot that could enable users to control home appliances remotely via a messaging app.

To help the finalists improve their projects before the judging, Smart introduced them to mentors who, over two days, taught them to validate the existence of problems before creating solutions, the importance of getting feedback from peers and potential customers, and the need to adjust their plan of action based on these feedback.

Smart SWEEP 2018 pitching

Students get a taste of what it’s like to pitch proposals before potential investors, during their presentation to SWEEP Awards judges.

The mentors also taught the finalists how to pitch their proposals to judges and potential investors.

Participant Gian Guerrero said the two-day boot camp helped his team create a business model for its project. “What was very hard was the business model because we’re into IT (information technology) and engineering, so we’re not very knowledgeable about it. But the SWEEP Awards experience proved to be a treasure trove of knowledge. It’s fun, more than I expected, and I’m thankful to be part of it,” he said.

The SWEEP Awards was launched in 2004 to provide college students with the platform to create innovative applications that solve consumer pain points. It is an initiative under SWEEP, a long-running collaboration between Smart and the academe which aims to raise the standards of engineering and IT education in the country.

Because of SWEEP, Smart was cited in 2016 by international magazine Fortune as one of 50 companies that have “changed the world.” For more information on SWEEP and the SWEEP Awards, please visit facebook.com/sweepschools and smartsweep.ph. (Press Release)

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Chef Juanito takes charge as 1st Filipino executive chef of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

A chef who rose from the ranks now takes charge of the highly-regarded Marco Polo Plaza Cebu kitchen. The hotel, which takes pride in being known as a leader in…

A chef who rose from the ranks now takes charge of the highly-regarded Marco Polo Plaza Cebu kitchen.

The hotel, which takes pride in being known as a leader in culinary excellence in Cebu, recently named Chef Juanito Abangan as its first Filipino executive chef. The promotion marks a major milestone for someone who discovered his love for cooking at a very young age.

Chef Juanito started with the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu kitchen in 2007 as Chef De Partie at the Pool Bar.

He later explored opportunities outside the hotel but came back in 2008 to serve as Junior Sous Chef during the opening of Blu Bar & Grill.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Executive Chef Juanito Abangan.

Passion for great food

He imbued his cooking with the passion for great food that saw him rising from the ranks, getting promoted to Sous Chef, Senior Sous Chef, Executive Sous Chef, and finally, the hotel’s first Filipino Executive Chef.

Chef Juanito discovered his love for cooking at a very young age. He began his culinary career in fine dining restaurants as a commis. His work ethic and culinary excellence paved the way for a career in 5-star resorts and hotels.

“Through the years, I have learned the value of teamwork, passion and continuous improvement from my past mentors” he said. Chef Juanito said his learnings from previous executive chefs and general managers he worked with in the industry contributed greatly to the success he now enjoys.

Kitchen team effort

Chef Juanito believes that effective communication is key when running the kitchen. He sees being a Cebuano as something that he can use to his advantage in working and communicating with his all-Filipino team of chefs. With hard work, passion and team effort, he believes that he can lead his Marco Polo team into achieving great success by continually creating wonderful dining experiences for hotel guests.

As Executive Chef, Chef Juanito oversees the hotel’s four dining venues, including the hotel’s signature restaurant – Café Marco, as well as Blu Bar & Grill, El Viento Restaurant & Pool Bar and Lobby Lounge. On top of it, he also oversees the hotel’s in-room dining and banquets and catering events ranging in size from small meetings to grandiose weddings and conventions.

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Honor 9 Lite: Your perfect wanderlust companion on sale at Shopee today

Our phones have become an integral part of our toolbox to freeze and create our most memorable and cherished memories. They have become our go-to companion for entertainment, connection and…

Our phones have become an integral part of our toolbox to freeze and create our most memorable and cherished memories. They have become our go-to companion for entertainment, connection and relaxation. At no time do we depend on our devices more than during our travels.

Enter a new travel companion: the Honor 9 Lite.

With its professional-grade performance producing the most striking photographs, superb quad-camera technology, and a long-lasting battery, the Honor 9 Lite has won global awards and raves.

The phone is finally available in the Philippines at an exclusive price of P7,990 between 12:00pm to 3:00pm today, May 5, through https://shopee.ph/honor9lite.

Honor 9 Lite dual cameras

The Honor 9 Lite is packed with dual cameras on both the front and rear of the phone: the front camera features a 13MP + 2MP dual-lens system, while the rear boasts of a 13MP+2MP dual-lens camera that features one lens for capturing the image and another for depth detection.

Through the wide-angle panoramic function and the help of an upgraded beauty algorithm, you will be able to capture more stunning, natural portraits, whether with panorama selfie, hand-gesture shooting, fun selfie, or other modes. The upgraded Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) also makes the Honor 9 Lite ultra-fast in focusing.

Equipped with the latest Kirin 659 Octa-core processor and powered by a CPU that runs as fast as 2.36GHz, and 3GB of high-speed RAM and 5th generation smart battery technology that lasts one full day at a single charge, the Honor 9 Lite is built for road warriors.

Honor 9 Lite.

Exclusive partnership

Moreover, the 18:9 screen ratio (that is close to the 21:9 ratio used by cinemas) combined with the 2160 X 1080 resolution, allows for ultra-high definition and remarkable display quality, making this phone the ultimate companion to have on long-haul travel for game-playing, binge-watching and multiple app use all at once.

From the 2.5D glass to the stunning layered nano-etched design on its back and its mirror-like reflective glass back, the Honor 9 Lite is simply beautiful and definitely feels like a bona fide luxury item. The phone is sleek, light, and stunning. It is made to enable light to flow around the device, bringing a seamless visual experience.

In just a few years, Honor is impressively emerging as one of the fastest growing brands globally, having accumulated over 80 million fans worldwide and it is no surprise how this feat was achieved. Honor is part of the Huawei Consumer Business Group.

On the back of this momentum, Honor is bringing the 9 Lite to consumers in the Philippines through its exclusive partnership with Shopee.

Available in Sapphire Blue and Glacier Grey, consumers can purchase the Honor 9Lite exclusively on Shopee at https://shopee.ph/honor9lite and at the best price yet of P7,990 between 12:00pm to 3:00pm on May 5, 2018. (Press Release)

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2018 Transformation Summit to tackle AI adoption, digital innovation

Cebu needs to develop a pool of skilled workers and adapt to digital disruptions like artificial intelligence (AI) to secure its position as an IT-BPM hub. These crucial issues that…

Cebu needs to develop a pool of skilled workers and adapt to digital disruptions like artificial intelligence (AI) to secure its position as an IT-BPM hub.

These crucial issues that affect the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector will be tackled during the 2018 Transformation Summit scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 16.

“The need for human resource is the most critical of objectives to ensure Cebu sustains its operations as an ICT hub regardless of challenges,” said Gregg Victor Gabison, president of the Cebu IT-BPM.Organization (CIB.O).

He added that a main focus of CIB.O is sustainable growth for ICT in Cebu, and the group had worked on talent development through the years even when it was still known as the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology or Cedf-IT.

Transformation Summit

TRANSFORMATION SUMMIT. (From left) Cebu IT-BPM.Organization (CIB.O) President Gregg Victor Gabison, Managing Director Wilfredo “Jun” Saa, Jr., and Sykes Vice President for Area Operations and Shared Services Group John Sneed during the press conference to announce the holding of the 2018 Transformation Summit on May 16.

Transformation Summit topics

Another advocacy of CIB.O right now, according to Gabison, is for Cebu to inject more AI systems in ICT operations.

The summit carries the timely theme “Embracing New Realities” to reflect the need for AI integration and digital innovation in the IT-BPM industry, said CIB.O Managing Director Wilfredo “Jun” Saa, Jr.

The group will bring in Avinash Vashistha, chairman and CEO of Tholons, Inc., to talk about the Super Cities of the World during the 2018 Transformation Summit.

Other forum topics include:

  • Effective Industry-Academe Partnership on Talent Development by Convergys Senior Director for Talent Acquisition Lorelie Juntilla,
  • From the Pioneer to More Complex Services by Sykes Vice President for Area Operations and Shared Services Group John Sneed,
  • Digital Cities of the Philippines by OIC Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. of the Department of ICT.

AI, high value IT services

Saa also cited the need for IT-BPM companies to shift to high value and complex services, focusing specifically on artificial intelligence.

“AI is here and it’s real. It should be part of the way we do things. We need to do more complex services because a lot of cities, countries compete for simple (IT-BPM) tasks,” he added.

At the same time, the summit will discuss the impact of the K to 12 program on the industry. Saa said Cebu can make use of its senior high graduates to sustain industry growth.

According to Saa, a few pilot Cebu City high schools now implement the Learning English Application for Pinoys or LEAP, and majority of senior high students who undergo LEAP immersion get offered jobs by IT-BPO companies upon graduation.

Registration fees

He encouraged IT-BPM stakeholders to join the summit, which will be held at Bai Hotel. They may register online at www.tscebu.com/registration.

The registration fees for the different sectors are: P2,000 for academe, ICT councils, and local government units; P2,500 for CIB.O members; and P4,000 for non-CIB.O members.

The fee already covers meals and snacks for the plenary sessions and conference kit.

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