Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Want to market to Chinese tourists? Go digital, mobile, social, says airline exec

China is the world’s largest outbound tourism market and offers a lot of opportunities for destinations like Cebu and the Philippines, said AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan. To…

China is the world’s largest outbound tourism market and offers a lot of opportunities for destinations like Cebu and the Philippines, said AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan.

To engage with Chinese tourists, however, brands have to go digital, especially mobile, Tan said.

“What’s happening is that if you look at China they now have 1 billion smartphone users, it’s a cashless country right now. Everyone pays using the mobile,” Tan said during an interview held at the launch of AirAsia’s daily Cebu-Shanghai flights.

AirAsia China Kathleen Tan

AIRASIA China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan with AirAsia Philippines CEO Dexter Comendador.

 

Tan said “social media is a must-have channel today” for brands.

“AirAsia is a very big brand in China because we started before anyone. We were the first low cost airline-we put the low cost concept into China. When we started no one has heard of the AirAsia brand, no one has heard what is the low cost concept,” she said. “So we spent a lot of years educating young Chinese and it is now a brand that when you search on Baidu, AirAsia is a brand name that pops out.”

Tan said this is important because young independent Chinese travelers comprise a huge market.

AirAsia China Kathleen Tan

MUST-HAVE CHANNEL. AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan says social media is a must-have channel today for brands.

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World’s biggest book sale in Cebu from July 13 to July 23

The world’s biggest, baddest book sale arrives in Cebu to captivate Cebuano book lovers from July 13 July to July 23 at the IEC Convention Center, Cebu. Enjoy 24 hours…

The world’s biggest, baddest book sale arrives in Cebu to captivate Cebuano book lovers from July 13 July to July 23 at the IEC Convention Center, Cebu. Enjoy 24 hours of non-stop browsing of 1 million brand new English books, all at 60% to 80% off regular prices.

“In an aim to advocate English literacy, we are bringing a variety of books to Cebu across diverse genres including children’s books, literature, non-fiction, business books, biographies, cookbooks and more,” said Miguel Mercado, Head of Marketing of Big Bad Wolf Philippines. “Physical books are here to stay as they stimulate deep reading and engage readers more. We are really happy to bring the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale to Cebu as we want to make affordable books available to all,” Mercado added.

Part of the proceeds from the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale will benefit programs by Gawad Kalinga (GK).

“Gawad Kalinga believes in empowerment. Books and reading allow us to reach our potentials. The presence of Big Bad Wolf gives all communities – not just GK’s, not just Cebu’s – everywhere in the Visayas the opportunities we otherwise would not have. We would like to thank Big Bad Wolf for coming to Cebu and for making GK their partner,” shares Toby Florendo, Cebu Provincial Head of Gawad Kalinga.

Big Bad Wolf book sale Cebu

PRESS CONFERENCE. Gawad Kalinga Provincial Head Toby Florendo, Big Bad Wolf Philippines Marketing Head Miguel Mercado, and Marketing Manager Amelia Peng during the press conference to announce the Cebu leg of Big Bad Wolf book sale.

 

To all Cebuano book lovers, mark your calendars and get ready to grab your favorite titles at the Sale. No two visits are the same, so come hungry and ready to explore!

Selected invitees will also stand a chance to attend a special preview of the Sale on 12 July 2018, from 10:00am – 11:00pm, a day before the sale opens to the public. Eager readers can stand a chance to get their hands on these exclusive preview passes through Big Bad Wolf’s social media pages.

Big Bad Wolf Cebu

BIG BAD WOLF BOOK SALE. From July 13 to July 23, head to the IEC Convention Center, Cebu and enjoy 24 hours of non-stop browsing of 1 million brand new English books, all at 60% to 80% off regular prices.

 

Big Bad Wolf social media pages:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bbwbooksphilippines/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bbwbooksph

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AirAsia launches daily Cebu-Shanghai flights; Cebu told to be ready for influx of Chinese tourists

Cebu is the “perfect destination” for Chinese tourists because they are into diving and love the water and islands, said AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan. AirAsia launched today…

Cebu is the “perfect destination” for Chinese tourists because they are into diving and love the water and islands, said AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan.

AirAsia launched today its daily Cebu-Shanghai flights at the new Terminal 2 of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

“Cebu has so much to offer. You have a rich culture and amazing, beautiful islands,” said Tan during the inaugural ceremonies. “The Chinese love to eat. Food is very important to them, and shopping.”

“Cebu,” Tan told those gathered at the event, “your city will never be the same again with China coming in.”

AirAsia Cebu-Shanghai

DAILY FLIGHTS TO SHANGHAI. AirAsia launches its daily flights to Shanghai with an inaugural at the newly-opened Terminal 2 of Mactan Cebu International Airport. Present during the event are (center stage, from left) AirAsia Philippines Chairperson Maan Hontiveros, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Antonio Chiu, Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, AirAsia China and North Asia President Kathleen Tan, Chinese Embassy Deputy Consul Wu Xiaomin, and AirAsia Philippines CEO Dexter Comendador.

 

Long-term growth

AirAsia Philippines CEO Capt. Dexter Comendador said the new terminal provides the airline “great capacity for long-term growth and expansion in Cebu as AirAsia’s hub.”

He said AirAsia now has 3 planes based in Cebu, which is the most outside Manila, ground equipment to support it, and about 200 employees.

“It’s a huge investment for us but we’re very happy that we did the right thing in connecting with China. It’s the largest market.” Comendador said.

 

AirAsia Shanghai-Cebu

MUCH TO OFFER. Cebu has much to offer to tourists based in China, said AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan.

 

Market doing very well

He said they initially only wanted to divert passengers from Boracay, with the closure of the island in April, but “we found out that the market is working very well.”

“It’s a good problem for me,” Comendador said, “because when Boracay opens, I will need to find other planes to fly that route because I cannot, I will not, pull out the routes that we have established as alternate to Boracay.”

Tan described the development as “very exciting” because the airline has been able to connect “Cebu to a very important market. China is now ranked as one of the biggest outbound travel market in the world.”

Encouraging response

She described the initial response as very encouraging, with the inaugural flight from Shanghai to Cebu set to arrive past midnight at 99% of load capacity with 179 passengers.

Tan said forward sales also show good booking rates. She said they are aiming to have at least 80% load factor for the routes.

She said the Chinese “now have a big appetite for travel.” It is a “lifestyle commodity” especially for travelers from Shanghai.

She also said that she learned from Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Antonio Chiu that after they opened their routes to China, there have been Chinese business people who expressed interest in investing in Cebu.

AirAsia Cebu-Shanghai

CEBU IS READY. Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale said Cebu is ready for the influx of tourists from China with the new flights by AirAsia.

 

Young, independent travelers

Tan said many of their customers are those born in the 1980s and 1990s and they see more independent and young Chinese travelers. To engage them, she encouraged those in the industry to go digital, mobile, and social.

Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale welcomed the new routes as opportunities for Cebu to get more exposure to the Chinese market.

Magpale said that with the opening of Terminal 2, Cebu can accommodate more international flights.

AirAsia Shanghai-Cebu

EXPANSION. AirAsia Philippines CEO Capt. Dexter Comendador said the new Terminal 2 of MCIA provides the airline “great capacity for long-term growth and expansion in Cebu as AirAsia’s hub.”

 

Cebu is ready

“Cebu is really, really ready for more Chinese tourists,” she said during the event.

“With these added flights, we know that we will hit our 10 million mark for Cebu. We’ve asked the hotels, the resorts and they are really ready. The Provincial Government as well as the City Government are right behind the business community to make Cebu ready,” she added.

Chinese Embassy Deputy Consul Wu Xiaomin said that last year, the number of tourists from China to the Philippines increased 75%, the fastest growing among foreign markets.

“Tourism brings economic benefits both to the host country and the tourists’ home country,” he said. “I believe that improved relations between the Philippines and China is a key factor in the improved tourism market.”

 

AirAsia Cebu-Shanghai flights

The cake to mark the new flights.

 

Facebook Livestream of event

 

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3-day Grand Travel Bazaar offers top deals on airfare, travel packages

Tick off that elusive dream destination in your bucket list as the Grand Travel Bazaar opens today at The Gallery in Ayala Center Cebu with the best deals on plane…

Tick off that elusive dream destination in your bucket list as the Grand Travel Bazaar opens today at The Gallery in Ayala Center Cebu with the best deals on plane fares and tour packages.

Book flights with such premier airlines as Cathay Pacific, SilkAir, EVA Air, Korean Air, Turkish Airlines, and Philippine Airlines at super discounted rates.

The Grand Travel Bazaar, which brings together Cebu’s top travel agencies and their premier airline partners, is an exclusive sale for BPI Cardholders and allow them to enjoy real zero percent interest rate for 3 months installment payments.

Cebu Grand Travel Bazaar

ZERO PERCENT INTEREST. The Grand Travel Bazaar, which brings together Cebu’s top travel agencies and their premier airline partners, is an exclusive sale for BPI Cardholders and allow them to enjoy real zero percent interest rate for 3 months installment payments.

 

Longer installments are also available with a little add-on interest rate, said BPI Cards Visayas Regional Marketing Head Fe Emlyn Boltron-Aleonar. She said flights booked during the event already include travel insurance.

Cathay Pacific bestsellers

For the 3-day event up to Sunday, July 8, 2018, Cathay Pacific offers travel deals out of Cebu on economy class to Hong Kong for as low as USD185, to Narita, Osaka, Nagoya, Seoul, and Busan for as low as USD335, and to Taipei for as low as USD225.

Cathay Pacific District Sales and Marketing Manager Hazel Tagimacruz urged Cebuanos to take advantage of the really good deals offered up to Sunday.

North America destinations out of Cebu via Hong Kong start from USD695 while Australia flights start from USD460. Cathay Pacific fares to several European cities from Cebu are priced around USD700.

Cebu Grand Travel Bazaar

OPENING. Organizers cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the 3-day Grand Travel Bazaar in Ayala Center Cebu.

 

Extensive SilkAir network

Jake Jeow, SilkAir Country Manager, said they are offering discounted fare rates for economy, premium economy, and business class flights to more than 100 destinations in their network.

SilkAir flights to Singapore go for as low as USD168 for travel in 2018 and USD184 in 2019.

Promo fares to SilkAir’s Southeast Asian destinations like Phuket, Vientiane, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur is at USD237 for travel in 2018 and USD243 in 2019 for return trips.

Return flights to London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Barcelona, Paris, Dusseldorf, Munich, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan, Moscow, and Rome are at USD737 all-in for travel within 2018.

Grand Travel Bazaar Cebu

TRAVEL ESSENTIAL. Customers get discount coupons for Delsey products courtesy of the Primer Group.

 

More Europe destinations

Turkish Airlines joins the Grand Travel Bazaar with flights out of Manila to Europe and Asia.

Patricia Villagracia, airline sales executive, said they fly to more destinations in Europe and their extensive network even includes Belarus, Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, and other key European cities. Return fares on economy class range from USD600 to USD800. From Manila, flights to the Turkish Airlines hub in Istanbul is only about 12 hours with layover of 2-3 hours before proceeding to the final destinations.

 

Facebook Livestream of opening

 

International, local flights

EVA Air offers the lowest return flights to Taipei at USD200. Other airline destinations on sale include the US cities of Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Houston, and Chicago.

Direct return flights from Cebu to Narita, Osaka, Nagoya, and Incheon via Philippine Airlines go for as low as USD209. PAL’s Cebu-Bangkok round-trip fare is at USD149.

PAL is also offering discounted rates to 14 local destinations from Cebu, with one way-fares starting from P699.

Korean Air also joins the bazaar for the second year with flights to the West and East coasts going for as low as USD697 and USD789.

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Cebuano kids, parents urged to download Kaalam learning app

Third grader Christine Sosas of Argao Central Elementary School recently discovered a fun mobile application that enables her to learn important lessons in her native Cebuano. Sosas enjoyed exploring the…

Third grader Christine Sosas of Argao Central Elementary School recently discovered a fun mobile application that enables her to learn important lessons in her native Cebuano.

Sosas enjoyed exploring the Kaalam app, launched recently by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications and its local partners in Cebu. The app, which can be downloaded for free from Google Play, features Cebuano culture and folklore. It also teaches kids to count, read, and write in Cebuano.

Sosas said her favorite feature is Magbasa na ta (Let us Read) which contains local stories. “Siyempre ang story, kay nindot gyud kaayo unya makakat on pud ka sa story (The stories are my favorite because they are very nice and you can learn lessons from them).”

Kaalam app launch

KAALAM LAUNCH. (From left) Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino, CTU-Argao Campus Director Dr. Juanita Pinote, Smart Public Affairs Center Head Atty. Jane Paredes, Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero, and DepEd Regional Director for Region 7 Dr. Juliet Jeruta during the launch of Kaalam in Argao.

 

Moma Ortega, dean of the College of Computer Studies at University of Cebu-Banilad campus (UC Banilad), encouraged parents like her to download the app for their children. “The output is very good and it can help the kids. It is also timely for the K-12 program wherein we have the mother tongue-based lessons.”

UC Banilad is one of Smart’s partners for the Kaalam app. Other partners are the local government of Argao in Cebu, Department of Education (DepEd) in Cebu Province and Cebu City, and Cebu Technological University-Argao (CTU-Argao).

The Argao local government and CTU-Argao provided content for the app, which includes local folktale. This content was then digitized by UC Banilad students. Smart took care of app development.

Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero said the Kaalam app facilitates learning for kids using technology with which they are very familiar. “The app is a very effective way of trying to marry culture, heritage and infuse these in the learning environment of the children.”

During the recent launch of the app, Smart also turned over 10 tablets preloaded with Kaalam to the local government of Argao.

Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino said the Kaalam app is part of Smart’s larger efforts to help develop literacy apps in different local languages. She said studies show that children learn better when they are taught using their mother tongue.

Smart and its partners have worked on apps in Arabic, Ilokano, and indigenous languages. For more information on Smart’s efforts to use technology for development, please visit the Smart Communities page on Facebook. (Press Release)

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Morissette to hold homecoming concert on July 14

Morissette Amon, a native of Cebu, is holding a homecoming concert titled “Morissette Is Made” at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu on July 14 at 8 p.m. It…

Morissette Amon, a native of Cebu, is holding a homecoming concert titled “Morissette Is Made” at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu on July 14 at 8 p.m. It is the first major solo concert of the Filipino pride in Cebu.

“It is a dream concert for me. I cannot wait to sing for my fellow Cebuanos.” says Morissette. The concert comes on the heels of her successful, sold- out concerts in Araneta Coliseum and Biñan City.

Morissette recently released her new single titled “Panaginip.” Her fans will hear her perform her new song as well as some favorite Cebuano songs.

Morissette Amon

CEBUANA SINGER Morissette Amon. (Photo from her Facebook page)

Touted as the most awaited concert of the year, “Morissette Is Made,” which will also have some special guests, is also a birthday concert of sorts for the lady singer who earned the moniker Asia’s Phoenix.

“Morissette Is Made” is directed by Paulo Valenciano with Adonis Tabanda as musical director.

The concert is produced by AEP- Aldueza Events Production of Glenn Aldueza and co- presented by Waterfront Hotel and Casino and Wish 107.5.

For tickets, please call 0916 230 0796 and 0915 535 3873 or visit Waterfront Hotel lobby, SM City Cebu, Ayala Center Cebu Concierge and Robinsons Cebu. You can also buy at www.ticketworld.com.ph. (Press Release)

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MVP is Asia’s telco CEO of the Year

PLDT and Smart Communications chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan was named Telecom CEO of the Year at the Telecom Asia Awards ceremony held on June 26 in Singapore. The…

PLDT and Smart Communications chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan was named Telecom CEO of the Year at the Telecom Asia Awards ceremony held on June 26 in Singapore.

The Telecom Asia Awards is the region’s longest-running industry awards program, which seeks to recognize the continent’s premier service providers and telco executives. It is organized annually by Telecom Asia, the largest telecom publishing group in the region.

Also nominated for the award won by Pangilinan were Andrew Kwok of HGC Global Communications Limited, Bill Barney of Reliance Communications & Global Cloud Xchange, Chua Sock Koong of the Singtel Group, Dian Siswarini of XL Axiata, Ernest Cu of Globe Telecom, Vinod Kumar of Tata Communications, and Yang Jie of China Telecom.

Reinvent businesses

“I accept this award with caution and humility,” Pangilinan said. “I am very mindful that in this age of relentless disruption, each new day brings fresh challenges. If anything, this award serves as a reminder that we must keep striving to reinvent our businesses and improve the lives of our people.”

He added: “I must also thank my colleagues at PLDT and Smart for the great work they have done in transforming our network and creating new digital businesses for the group. In these times, collaboration is critical to success. This honor belongs to them as well, and I am proud to accept this on their behalf.”

Under Pangilinan’s leadership, PLDT and Smart have committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation. This year, capital expenditures are expected to reach P58 billion, and will likely stay at that level over the next two years, bringing the group’s total capex to nearly P260 billion since it embarked on its network and IT transformation programs in 2016.

Improved coverage

Aiming to bring world-class connectivity to Filipinos all over the country, Smart accelerated the deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE), LTE-Advanced, and carrier aggregation technology by re-equipping cell sites with low-frequency and high-frequency bands for improved coverage, capacity, and speeds. Carrier aggregation is the capability of LTE-A to combine two or more radio frequency bands to deliver bigger bandwidth and faster data speeds.

Manny V. Pangilinan

MVP. PLDT and Smart Communications chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan.

In the first quarter of 2018 alone, Smart installed more than 1,300 LTE base stations, raising the total count to more than 10,000. This year, Smart plans to double the number of LTE base stations on its network to about 17,700 and raise the number of LTE-equipped cell sites to 6,800.

The accelerated rollout has boosted revenues, with mobile data revenues jumping 21% to P6.5 billion in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2017. Data now accounts for 44% of the revenues of the wireless individual business.

Improvements in network

Third-party tests have also noted improvements on Smart’s network. Independent mobile analytics firm OpenSignal has cited Smart for having the Philippines’ fastest LTE network. Apart from winning the best in 4G LTE download speed award from OpenSignal, Smart was also cited for having the best overall download speed, best 4G latency performance, and best 3G latency performance.

Smart is also at the forefront of heralding fifth-generation wireless broadband technologies and services in the country, or 5G. Just last week, Smart, together with its technology partner Huawei Technologies Phils. Inc., successfully breached 5G speeds of over 14Gbps during a test held at the recently launched 5G TechnoLab, PLDT-Smart’s flagship facility for the research and development, standardization, and testing of 5G. (Press Release)

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American favorites on the buffet menu in Marco Polo Plaza

To mark American Independence Day, iconic Cebu hotel Marco Polo Plaza has prepared a sumptuous spread of classic American dishes on top of its regular international buffet spread for lunch…

To mark American Independence Day, iconic Cebu hotel Marco Polo Plaza has prepared a sumptuous spread of classic American dishes on top of its regular international buffet spread for lunch and dinner in Cafe Marco.

The latest of the hotel’s Culinary Journey, which highlights specific cuisines to time with a global celebration, will run from July 4 to 7.

At the Fried Bar, diners can get buffalo wings and potato mix fries. Those who want burgers can have their choice of beef, chicken, and lamb patties at the Burger Station. The café also has a Barbecue Corner and Mac and Cheese Bar.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu burger

BURGER. You have the choice of beef, chicken, and lamb patties.

Food choices

At the Carving Station, diners can have their fill of USDA grade roast beef, herb roast chicken, and a lot more options.

Cafe Marco also set up a DIY station for quesadillas, burritos, tacos, enchaladas, and nachos. A must-try is its chili con carne.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu apple pie

APPLE PIE.

 

Leave room for desserts and get a slice of All American favorites apple and pecan pie. You should also try the delicious star spangled ice cream cake.

On July 7, a Saturday, you can bring your friends and family to the hotel and avail yourselves of the Star Spangled Celebration Lunch Buffet, which includes free use of the swimming pool.

World Chocolate Day

Also on July 7, Cafe Marco will mark World Chocolate Day with an array of chocolate goodies.

“The dessert buffet will be overflowing with these bitter-sweet confections that will surely satisfy your sweet tooth,” the hotel said in a press release.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu chili con carne

CHILI CON CARNE.

 

Cafe Marco will serve chocolate-infused dishes such as baked chocolate pasta, coffee and chili crusted barbeque back ribs with tablea sauce, dark chocolate corn tacos, chocolate salami, and many more.

Cafe Marco buffet rates are P1,230 nett per person for lunch and P1,520 nett per person for dinner.

For bookings and inquiries, you can email [email protected] or call Cebu: (+6332) 253 1111 or Manila at (+632) 887 1263.

 

More photos of Star Spangled Celebration at Cafe Marco

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

MARCO POLO LOBBY.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu July 4 culinary journey

BEEF FAJITAS.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu dessert station

DESSERT STATION.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

BERRY SHORTCAKE.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

BURGERS.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

CHICKEN FAJITAS.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

SMOKED BARBECUE PORK.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

CHIMICHANGA.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu baked fish

SALT-BAKED FISH.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

PINTO BEANS SALAD.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

SPICY SHRIMP.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

TORTILLA SALAD.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

TORTILLA ROLLUP.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

TEX-MEX chicken chopped salad.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

ICE CREAM CAKE.

 

Marco Polo Plaza buffet

FISH AND CHIPS.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu burger station

BURGER STATION. At the burger station, you have the choice of beef, chicken, and lamb patties.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Cafe Marco

ROULADE.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu buffet

UNTIL JULY 7. The Star Spangled Celebration in Cafe Marco will run until July 7.

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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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