To encourage more entrepreneurs to secure an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced it is easing the requirements for the privilege.
The ABTC is valid for 5 years and serves as visa waiver for business owners and executives to all 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies except for the US and Canada, said Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Acting Director Oliver Delfin.
Young entrepreneur Andre Allen Suarez was traveling through New York and London in 2018 when he decided to look for the best doughnuts to bring home.
He found them in London.
Suarez liked the stuffed doughnuts so much, he took a short course to learn how to bake them. “I began to think about the business aspect of it. I believe it’s an underserved market that I can enter,” he said in an interview.
There’s no need to be in Taiwan to taste its delectable xiao long bao or even stinky tofu because both these and other iconic dishes are now available at the newly opened restaurant Tien Ma’s Taiwanese Cuisine along Ouano Avenue in Mandaue City.
The soup dumplings that are popular fare in Taipei’s dining establishments and night markets are made fresh and by hand at the Cebu branch of Tien Ma’s. They follow the recipe of Tien Liyuan, who was born in 1932 the Fang-shan township of Taiwan’s P’ing-tung county.
Cebu Parklane International Hotel lights up a tree made out of old newspapers fashioned into autumn-colored leaves with the nativity scene as centerpiece to usher in the Christmas season.
Sugilanon sa Pasko-The Cebu Parklane Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is a retelling of how this most important of events came to be celebrated in the Philippines.
Basil Ting, hotel president, said Parklane is putting emphasis on the Christmas story to highlight its real meaning and essence.
Tree-lighting guests, which included Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, were treated to amazing performances by the Fidelis Choir and MDF Productions.
The hotel also served a sumptuous feast that included its signature local dishes as well as delicacies from the town’s of Liloan, Asturias, Aloguinsan, Bogo, and Catmon.
Parklane continues to live up to its tradition of using recycled materials for its tree.
According to the hotel, “To many, a Christmas Tree is just a tree full of lights, trinkets and decorations. But for Parklane, behind the tree’s shimmer and glitter is a purpose and a reminder for us to nurture, sustain and preserve our environment.”
It also continues to assist children with cancer through fund-raising activities during the Christmas season.
To keep up with the emergence of more discerning buyers, Mandani Bay Quay launched the third and last residential tower in the second phase of the waterfront development with its first ever fully-furnished units.
It will not just be throwing in furniture and appliances together though as the interior will be styled by world-renowned designer Ptang Studio Limited, said HTLand Project Director Gilbert C. Ang.
Mercedes-Benz Cebu makes it easy for you to acquire your dream vehicle with a blowout sale this November. Get as much as one million pesos off on such quality pre-owned units as the compact tourer B-Class, sporty crossover GLA, and executive saloon S-Class in “The Great Mercedes-Benz Blowout” from Nov. 22-24, 2019.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Pinoycare Visa Center, Inc. will hold a free orientation on immigrant visa processing for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand from 1-5 p.m. this November 23 at SM City Cebu.
Prisca Niña Mabatid, Pinoycare founder, invites Cebuanos to come and listen to experts discuss the different pathways to becoming permanent residents in any of the three countries.
She said school representatives from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will also be around to entertain questions of those who wish to use the student visa as their mode of entry. Mabatid is also a Cebu City councilor.
Lack of transparency in some government agencies and the practice of informal payments to move business transactions forward pose the biggest threats to Cebu’s competitiveness.
A good number of Cebu enterprises that were the respondents of a survey conducted by Isla Lipana & Co. in collaboration with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) admitted they were asked for gifts and tokens in the course of their dealings with government officials and agencies.
At least 20 percent of those surveyed said they made informal payments within the last 12 months, according to CCCI Trustee Aldie Garcia who revealed the survey results in a press conference shortly before the CCCI General Membership Meeting yesterday, October 29, 2019.
Raquel Choa’s favorite childhood tales of Maria Cacao shape not only the artisan chocolates that she creates but the spaces where one gets to appreciate them.
At a gathering to launch the second phase of the partnership between Choa’s The Chocolate Chamber and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, she explained that she imagines Maria Cacao with dainty ceramic pieces for her banquets while the chandelier represents the fireflies that provide the dazzling glow to her palace.
Through the collaboration with the resort, Choa gets to show guests the local way of tablea production as a precursor to TCC’s artisan cocoa drinks (locally known as sikwate) and chocolate products.
Talks on cacao and its history and experiential activities will be regular features at The Chocolate Chamber.
Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa General Manager Rene Egle said he was looking for a local product that can be brought from farm to table in 2015.
To promote European culture and celebrate the link between Europe and the Philippines that started almost 500 years ago, Cine Europa 22 will visit 8 cities in the country up to November 2019 with 12 films for free screening.
The Cebu leg of the film festival started last Thursday, October 3, and will run up to Sunday, October 6 at Cinema 1 in SM City Cebu.
Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas said the event becomes more important in light of the upcoming celebration of the first circumnavigation of the world where Cebu, in particular the island of Mactan, played a crucial role.
“It was a multinational expedition with sailors from almost all European countries—Spanish, German, Polish, French, Greek, and of course, Portuguese—that left Seville in Spain 500 years ago,” he added.
EU Delegation First Counsellor Rafael de Bustamante said Cebu is the first city visited by Cine Europa 22 outside of Manila. The group’s next stop is Iloilo City with the Dutch ambassador as key person.
He revealed that they have a system where an EU ambassador travels to a city where the film festival would be held and the opening movie would be from his country.
CINE EUROPA 22. EU Delegation First Counsellor Rafael de Bustamante, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas, SM Prime Holdings Inc. Vice President Marissa Fernan, a member of the delegation, Information Officer Robert Leon during the opening of Cine Europa 22 in SM City Cebu.
Ambassador Moragas said Spain picked Cebu, where they showed the multi-awarded Spanish movie 10,000 Kilometros and translated for English-language viewing as “Long Distance.”
While the movie doesn’t have a direct connection to the circumnavigation, it makes sense in the context of Spain and the Philippines because it touches on human relations and bridging the distance between peoples. The distance 10,000 kilometers is also more or less the distance between Spain and the Philippines, he added.
Cine Europa 22 films
For today, Saturday, Cinema One in SM City Cebu will show three European films, starting with Belgium’s Achter De Wolken (Behind the Clouds) at 2 p.m., Hungary’s Béúk (Happy New Year) at 4:30 pm, and De Marathon (The Marathon) by The Netherlands at 7 pm.
Behind the Clouds, with a PG rating, is a story about two lovers whose lives took different paths but met and fell in love again after 40 years.
Happy New Year, on the other hand, is R-13 and tells of a group of friends that has been celebrating New Year’s Eve together for years. They agreed to play a game that started out playfully enough but quickly turned serious when secrets, lies, and betrayals that were kept secret came to light.
The Marathon (R-13) is about four out-of-shape men who trained for a marathon hoping to win money to pay off a tax debt.
Sunday’s screenings include: Teorie Tygra (The Tiger Theory, PG rating) of the Czech Republic at 2 pm, Tour de France (R-13) of France at 4:30 pm, and Mary Shelley (R-13) of the United Kingdom at 7:00 pm.
Two things made my Hong Kong trip in early February 2016 unforgettable: the cold surge and ultra plush accommodations in one of the Marco Polo Hong Kong-Hotels.
As a Marco Polo Hong Kong-Hotels team led by General Manager Dalip Singh provided updates on new offerings in the three properties during a recent dinner in Cebu, I remembered our amazing stay at Gateway Hotel as below normal temperatures swept through Hong Kong.
Cebu’s filmmaking industry is young and fragmented and the Cebu International Film Festival (Cebu.IFF) is working to become the platform for showcasing and reviving love for local films.
Festival Director Peachy Fajatin said the Cebu film scene is growing but it’s in the early stages and divided into several small groups.
And while there are promising Cebuano filmmakers, many of them leave for Manila so they can practice their craft, added Cebu.IFF President Mel Allego.
FILM FESTIVAL IN CEBU. Organizers of the Cebu International Film Festival (Cebu.IFF) hold a press conference on the event that will run from September 25 to 27. From left are Cebu.IFF President Mel Allego, Festival Director Peachy Fajatin, and Board Members Christelle Dychangco and Lilu Aliño.
One of the objectives of Cebu.IFF will be to encourage the creation of films with global reach, according to Board Member Lilu Aliño. She added that they continue to hold the festival to raise enthusiasm for filmmaking and improve the status of the industry.
The Cebu International Film Festival 2019, which is the event’s 8th edition, will run from September 25-27 and takes on the theme “Celebrating 100 years of Philippine Cinema.”
Fajatin said they will be screening over 100 films that are competing under the full length and short feature categories for international and Philippine focus, animation, and student group.
This year, Cebu.IFF will introduce for the first time a pitching event that includes a workshop and pitch market where local filmmakers can find co-producers or funding for their films.
The workshops scheduled for September 25 are another festival highlight. These include the talk on “Setting up Your Animation Studio with No Capital” by Emot Amodia and “Film Storytelling and Animation Workshops: Ideas Into Action” by Crispo Mojica.
Festival organizers urged Cebuanos to take advantage of free screenings of films submitted by filmmakers from 17 countries in the following venues: USC-SAFAD Theatre, St. Theresa’s College, and USC South Campus.
Aliño said one of the challenges of the local filmmaking industry is the lack of interest from the audience. She hoped that Cebuanos would make time to watch the full length, short feature, and animation film submissions by filmmakers from the US, Australia, Turkey, Russia, Japan, India, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Argentine, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, France, Germany, and the Philippines.
A special screening of Japanese Director Takuya Fukushima’s film “FLOATING” is also scheduled on September 25, 9 am-12 pm, at the USC-SAFAD Theatre.
Designed like two overlapping pearls with interiors that take inspiration from the surrounding greenery, Marco Polo Parkplace will soon rise within exclusive Nivel Hills as the fifth and final tower in the Federal Land development Marco Polo Residences.
The latest condominium building, which has just began construction, will have 350 residential units covering a selection of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom with living spaces ranging from 30 to 79 square meters.
CEBU AS INVESTMENT DESTINATION. John Cabato, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing for Federal Land, Inc., said Marco Polo Parkplace will start accepting reservations for condo units within September.
Get ready for out-of-this-world deals on such popular attractions as Universal Studios Japan and Hong Kong Disnyland or activities like the Crazy Rich Asians tour in Singapore at the upcoming Klook Travel Fest 2019 on September 7-8, 2019 at SM City Cebu.
TRAVEL FESTIVAL. Klook market lead for the Philippines Michelle Cruz says the Klook Travel Fest 2019 on September 7-8 at SM City Cebu will be an exceptional two-day community-powered festival of music, food, and travel offers that include airfare promos through event partner Cebu Pacific and bookable activities in over 300 major destinations across the world.
Klook promises an exceptional two-day community-powered festival of music, food, and travel offers that include airfare promos through event partner Cebu Pacific and bookable activities in over 300 major destinations across the world, said Michelle Cruz, the company’s market lead in the Philippines.
Cruz said they strive to bring travel experiences to customers through offline events, and the Klook Travel Fest 2019 will be held simultaneously in Manila and Cebu during the company’s anniversary month in September.
Exclusive Cebu Pacific sale
Cebuanos can also enjoy low fares through the Cebu Pacific sale happening exclusively during the Klook Travel Fest.
“We have always been a firm believer in making travel more accessible and affordable to every Juan,” said Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications Specialist Michelle Lim.
Cebu Pacific’s partnership with Klook allows the airline to go not only provide affordable flights to customers but provide them access as well to budget-friendly activities and attractions in their chosen destinations, she added.
EXCLUSIVE SALE. Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications Specialist Michelle Lim says the airline will be holding an exclusive sale during the event.
Klook Travel Fest 2019
Klook is able to offer amazing deals on tours, attractions, and activities through its good relationship with its partners.
By making available a range of services, from airport transfers and wifi services to bookable activities, it has allowed tourists to go on hassle-free vacations.
Order your favorite caffeine fix from Bo’s Coffee even when you’re still on your way so that it’s ready for you when you arrive.
All you need to do is look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks. After picking your drink and choosing your payment option, you will be informed how many minutes it would take to get your order ready and again when it is.
The system has been rolled out in 47 mostly company-owned Bo’s Coffee outlets across the Philippines, including 19 in Cebu.
SKIP THE COFFEE ORDER LINE. Bo’s Coffee allows you to order in advance via Facebook Messenger and pick it up at the store.
Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez said during the launch of the Advance Ordering BOTTY in Cebu that the move is intended to enhance the customer experience and a means by which he intended to bring his homegrown coffee chain to the future.
Bo’s Coffee tech innovations
“As we reach our 25-year mark, we want to cater to the fast-paced lifestyle of our customers. We want to make your daily coffee runs simpler, faster, and more accessible so you have more time for more important things in life – your passions, your advocacies, and your relationships,” added Benitez, who is President and CEO of WS & Landin, Inc., the corporation behind Bo’s Coffee.
The Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY is just the first of several technology innovations that are on the pipeline for Benetiz’s coffee shop chain.
BETTER EXPERIENCE. Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez says they deployed Facebook Messenger chatbot to enhance the experience of their customers.
According to Benitez, the goal is to integrate Bo’s Coffee rewards and even delivery services to Messenger-based system through Grab Express.
Digital payment options
While the Advance Ordering BOTTY allows customers to pay cash, its secure and cashless digital payment options through PayMaya as well as credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) allow customers to really skip the line, according to Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme.
“In a developing world like ours, we have to do all we can to optimize our efforts and save time,” she added.
CHATBOT LAUNCH. Speaking during the press conference to launch the Bo’s Coffee Facebook Messenger chatbot are (from left) Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme, founder Steve Benitez, and developer Cary Gee.
By paying via the system, customers can park curbside in strategic stand alone branches, get their coffee, and continue on with their day. Payment options like Grabpay and GCash will also be available soon.
Some of the Bo’s Coffee branches with the Advance Ordering BOTTY include Capitol, Banilad Town Center, Filinvest Cyberzone, Ayala Center branches, SM City Cebu branches, SM Seaside, and Mactan Domestic and International Airports.
CHAT TO ORDER. Look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks.
Consumer market patterns
System developer Cary Gee, who was also present during the launch in Bo’s Coffee Capitol Branch last July 25, 2019, said the Advance Ordering BOTTY was initially developed for the Singaporean market.
He decided to bring the system to the Philippines when he saw similar patterns in the two consumer markets, both of which are fast-paced, in need of personalization while skipping the queue, and has a good percentage using Messenger instead of downloaded apps.
TRYING IT OUT. Ka Bino Guerrero tries out the Bo’s Coffee chatbot to order drinks.
The system keeps a record of orders and helps the coffee shop push the right promotions to customers. It can also be used to engage customers for rewards purposes.
While it was created with customers in mind, the system will also free up some tasks for coffee shop employees.
After a successful first run last year, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2019 will happen in Cebu this month with over a million brand-new English books priced down by 50 to 90 percent.
Book lovers and new readers will have time to search for their favorite titles and authors as the BBW Book Sale will be open 24 hours daily from Aug. 16-26, 2019 at the IEC Convention Center (IC3) in Cebu City and entrance is free.
The Big Bad Wolf is not just a book sale but an organization that advocates reading and English literacy, its founder Jacqueline Ng told media and bloggers during a press conference yesterday, August 2.
BACK TO CEBU. (From left) Gawad Kalinga representative Toby Florendo, Big Bad Wolf Books founder Jacqueline Ng, and Philippines Country Manager Narisa dela Peña discuss the upcoming return of the book sale to Cebu in a recent press conference.
“The Filipinos are readers and know the value and importance of books. There are other people out there who don’t. The Big Bad Wolf creates the market for books—the desire to know more, learn more—and aims to convert the non-reader,” she added.
VIP Day passes
Ng said the Cebu leg of the BBW Book Sale in 2018 welcomed over 200,000 visitors. She added there had been many requests for the Book Sale to return to Cebu since then and they were more than happy to oblige.
The BBW Book Sale 2019 in Cebu will carry various genres, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, and rare titles. It will be adding eight more titles to interactive books with augmented reality technology that range from fairy tales to educational, bringing the total to 12.
“We’ve been to many places in the Philippines these past two years from Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Pampanga. It has been amazing to see droves of people, young and old, come together for the love of books. It surely affirms that reading is a beloved hobby, very much alive, and an effective tool for learning,” Ng added.
Book buying behavior
Big Bad Wolf Books Philippines Country Manager Narisa dela Peña said one of her realizations in the Book Sale is that Filipinos prefer fiction books.
She said she noticed from the book sales held in Manila, Pampanga, Davao, and Cebu that people buy more works of fiction over other genres.
The Filipinos are readers and know the value and importance of books. There are other people out there who don’t. The Big Bad Wolf creates the market for books—the desire to know more, learn more—and aims to convert the non-reader
Jacqueline Ng, Big Bad Wolf founder
Ng said book buying behavior is different in the Philippines compared to other countries where BBW Books also hold sales. In Taiwan, a country with high disposable income but with limited English proficiency, parents invest on their kids and around 90 percent of titles sold are children’s books. It’s the same situation in the Book Sale’s biggest market, Indonesia, where 75-80 percent of books bought are for kids.
The ratio for adult and children’s books is 60-40 percent in the Philippines, according to Ng, who added that Filipinos love fiction and are also into such range of categories as history, religion, music, health and wellness.
As a way of giving back to the community, BBW Books continues its Red Readerhood Programme partnership with Gawad Kalinga through a donation of 500 books to the group. They also appeal to customers to take part in the advocacy by doing their own donation.
Gawad Kalinga (GK) representative Toby Florendo said they believe that everyone, regardless of status and age, has a right to learn. His group has the same goal as BBW Books and that is to unleash an individual’s potential.
“Big Bad Wolf Books always makes sure to give back and help make a difference in every place they visit. We share in their advocacy and are grateful to have worked with them since their very first sale in the country. Dozens of partner communities around the country have benefitted in their work to promote literacy and education with both children and adults discovering the joys and benefits of reading as we believe reading is meant for all, regardless of their status,” Florendo added in a statement released during the press conference.
BBW Books is now on its 10th hear and has held book sales in such countries as Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It held its first event in the Philippines in 2018, specifically in Manila in February, followed by Cebu in July, and Davao in November.
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
OVER A MILLION BOOKS. Big Bad Wolf Books Philippines Country Manager Narisa dela Peña, founder Jacqueline Ng, and Gawad Kalinga representative Toby Florendo.