Events Feature Lifestyle

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale returns to Cebu with more books, bigger discounts

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.

Big Bad Wolf 2019 Cebu

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.

Organizers have identified August 15 as VIP Day and around 4,000 passes will be given out to the public through the BBW social media pages @bbwbooksphilippines on Facebook and @bbwbooksph on Instagram.

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.

Big Bad Wolf 2019 Cebu

“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.

Big Bad Wolf 2019 Cebu

Community partnership

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.

Toby Florendo Gawad Kalinga during Big Bad Wolf 2019 Cebu

“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

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Cebu press conference
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.

OVER A MILLION BOOKS. Big Bad Wolf Books Philippines Country Manager Narisa dela Peña, founder Jacqueline Ng, and Gawad Kalinga representative Toby Florendo.

Business Feature Properties

Priland launches 2-tower Vertex Coast in Mactan’s resort neighborhood

Homegrown real estate developer Priland Development Corporation brings the resort concept to home and office with the launch of Vertex Coast in Punta Engaño.

The two-tower residential development will rise alongside Cebu’s most premier beach resorts and prime real estate in Mactan.

With a combined 738 units for residential and small office-home office (SOHO) use, Vertex Coast incorporates the 360 living concept that capitalizes on the spectacular views of the Mactan Channel, said Priland Sales Manager Irvin Paul Pastoriza.

Priland President Ramon Carlo Yap said they plan to break ground for the project by first quarter of 2021 and complete it three years after or in 2024.

Home office units

The mid-range development will offer customizable studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and penthouse units, making them the ideal investment for home, retirement, or source of rental income.

According to Pastoriza, three floors or 54 units in each tower will be set aside for small office-home office or SOHO use. SOHO units measure around 26 square meters for studio and 50 square meters for one-bedroom.

VERTEX COAST PRESS CONFERENCE. Priland President Ramon Carlo Yap (center) talks to reporters about Vertex Coast in Punta Engaño in Mactan. With him are Priland Sales Manager Irvin Paul Pastoriza (left) and Priland Chief Operating Officer Marcelino Relampagos.

VERTEX COAST PRESS CONFERENCE. Priland President Ramon Carlo Yap (center) talks to reporters about Vertex Coast in Punta Engaño in Mactan. With him are Priland Sales Manager Irvin Paul Pastoriza (left) and Priland Chief Operating Officer Marcelino Relampagos.

Yap added that the company decided to set aside a considerable number of SOHO units in its Punta Engaño development after observing a growing demand for office space, especially among small businesses.

Another Priland development, Paseo Grove Mactan, has been modified to incorporate two towers solely made up of spaces that can double as small offices.

Exceptional amenities

Purely residential units in Vertex Coast measure around 24-26 square meters for studio, 39-45 square meters for one-bedroom, and 53-67 for two-bedroom. Unit cost ranges from P3.1 to P15 million.

Encompassing a total area of 2,700 square meters, Priland’s mid-range development will feature exceptional amenities, according to company executives.

An amenity deck with a spacious lobby will allow residents to move between two towers with ease. Shared amenities include an infinity pool, kiddie pool, garden deck, gym, and game room. There will be multi-purpose rooms in both towers for functions.

Vertex Coast will also have commercial spaces open to establishments that will provide modern conveniences to homeowners.

Prestigious location

The Vertex Coast launch follows another successful Priland development administered under a similar group, Vertex Central in Cebu City. Pastoriza said Vertex Central is already 80 percent sold, with only the bigger and penthouse units still available.

In line with its goal to support a modern lifestyle, the company brings the Priland Advantage to every development.

Provisions for air-conditioning unit, telephone line, cable line, induction stove, and range hood are standard in all Priland Residences project, including Vertex Coast.

Located in Mactan’s prestigious barangay of Punta Engaño, the Vertex Coast neighborhood includes such top resorts as Mövenpick Hotel, Seagrove, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Mactan Newtown, Emerald Bay, Sheraton, Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu Resort, Arterra Discovery Bay, The Reef, and Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan.

About Priland

Part of a well-established and diversified group of companies that has excelled for over 20 years, Priland Development Corporation channels decades of business expertise into providing families and investors with quality real estate properties.

Events Feature Food

Rico’s Lechon opens flagship restaurant in Mandaue, to reopen Escario branch

Rico’s Lechon will open its biggest restaurant this Friday, June 28, in Cebu, bringing back the particular taste of its roasted pigs that has become popular with diners.

Meat Concepts Corporation President George N. Pua said in yesterday’s media preview for the Mandaue branch that Rico’s Lechon has changed ownership but the quality and taste of its roasted pigs remain the same. Pua heads the company that now owns the lechon chain.

NOT JUST LECHON. Rico’s Lechon will serve Filipino favorites on top of its renowned lechon.

NOT JUST LECHON. Rico’s Lechon will serve Filipino favorites on top of its renowned lechon.

The 500-square meter branch, which is the brand’s flagship outlet and newest restaurant, is located at Unit F1 Jamestown, Mantawi International Drive, Mandaue City.

Pua added they will soon work double time to have the branch in Axis Entertainment Avenue along Escario St. in Cebu City reopened by July.

Rico’s Lechon menu

Rico’s will continue to serve its famous lechon in two flavors, original and spicy. It will also offer such Filipino favorites like special boneless bangus, sizzling lechon sisig, monggos, Bicol express, kinilaw na tangigue, calamares, camaron rebosado, garlicky squid balls, sinigang, pinakbet, chopsuey, and pancit canton.

NEW OWNER, SAME LECHON QUALITY, TASTE. Meat Concepts Corporation President George N. Pua said in yesterday’s media preview that Rico’s Lechon has changed ownership but the quality and taste of its roasted pigs remain the same.

NEW OWNER, SAME LECHON QUALITY, TASTE. Meat Concepts Corporation President George N. Pua said in yesterday’s media preview that Rico’s Lechon has changed ownership but the quality and taste of its roasted pigs remain the same.

When it opens, the Mandaue branch will introduce as well new dishes like the grilled pork belly, grilled daing na bangus, ginataang laing, chicken binakol, beef ampalaya, sizzling adobong pusit, buttered mixed seafoods, seaweed salad, sisig fried rice, chorizo fried rice, sinigang na boneless bangus, sinigang na baka at baboy, and seafood sotanghon.

Pua said all their pigs are sourced from local suppliers, adding that they’ve hired the services of an abattoir and outsourced the roasting to another group.

Rico's Lechon

Flagship outlet

Rico’s flagship outlet in Mandaue is the second in Cebu, the other being in Mactan Promenade, and the seventh overall.

There are currently five Rico’s Lechon branches in Manila but two more — along Balintawak and in SM North Edsa — will be added soon, according to Pua.

Rico’s Lechon Mandaue has a seating capacity of 300, with  four VIP rooms for meetings, gatherings, and special functions with family and friends. The largest room can seat up to 80 guests while the other three can fit up to 20 persons each.

Pua said they wanted to achieve a fiesta ambience, hence the colorful restaurant interior. The chandeliers are made from lechon plates and are manufactured in Cebu together with the furniture.

Seafood sotanghon.

Seafood sotanghon.

Traditional Cebu lechon

Founded in 1997 by Enrico Dionson, Rico’s Lechon will turn 22 in August 2019. It serves traditional Cebu lechon roasted to perfection and mixed with garlic and leeks.

Some years back, Pua said he came to Cebu, which is known for having the best lechon, and tried the products of different outlets. He came to the conclusion that Rico’s Lechon has the best roasted pig and proposed a partnership deal.

Chicken binakol

Chicken binakol

He added that Dionson wasn’t interested then but later changed his mind and sold the restaurant chain six years after that initial proposal.

Follow @RicosLechonOFFICIAL on Facebook and Instagram for restaurant and other updates. You may also visit or contact 253-4650 or 0917-8238263 for more information.

Share your Rico’s Lechon experience on social media with the hashtags #DaBestGyud and #RICOmeback.

More photos of Rico’s Lechon Mandaue media preview

RICO’S LECHON in Mandaue is a 500-square meter branch located at Unit F1 Jamestown, Mantawi International Drive.

RICO’S LECHON in Mandaue is a 500-square meter branch located at Unit F1 Jamestown, Mantawi International Drive.

Buttered mixed seafood

Buttered mixed seafood

Chicken skin

Chicken skin

Chorizo fried rice

Chorizo fried rice

Ginataang laing.

Ginataang laing

Rico's lechon grilled pork liempo

Grilled pork liempo

Kinilaw Rico's Lechon


Scallops Rico's Lechon


Sinigang na baka at baboy Rico's lechon

Sinigang na baka at baboy

Sisig fried rice Rico's Lechon

Sisig fried rice

Sizzling adobong pusit Rico's Lechon

Sizzling adobong pusit

Rico’s Lechon’s mascot entertains bloggers and journalists who covered the media preview.

Rico’s Lechon’s mascot entertains bloggers and journalists who covered the media preview.

Feature Food Heritage

Golden Prince highlights heritage month with Kabilin cuisine

Simple and authentic, the Humba Cebuana of Golden Prince Hotel and Suites exemplifies the Filipino dishes that it has made available in its ala carte menu beginning in May to highlight the celebration of National Heritage Month.

The dish is the typical humba that can be found in Cebuano homes: cooked slow to make the meat tender and prepared with boiled egg and saba (a banana variety), said Aaron Que, Vice President for Corporate Communications.

Humba Cebuana and other Filipino dishes like pochero and sinuglaw can now be ordered for lunch or dinner from 12 noon to 10 p.m. at Golden Prince’s Kabilin Heritage Lounge.


Humba Cebuana

Golden Prince’s Pochero Cebuano uses uses beef shank since Cebuanos love to feast on the marrow in the bones. To bring out the flavor of the beef, it’s simmered for no less than an hour. Corn, banana, string beans, and cabbage are added to the mix.

The vegetables in Cebu’s pochero differentiates it from a similar dish in Luzon called bulalo, according to Louella Alix, the hotel’s heritage ambassador.

Other items in the menu include the sinuglaw, a dish originating from Mindanao that combines grilled pork with fish ceviche, shrimp halanghalang, and Pescador, which takes inspiration from escabeche. Golden Prince’s main fish dish is deep fried grouper with sweet and sour sauce on the side.

Sinuglaw combines grilled pork with fish ceviche

Cebuano cooking is based on the freshness of the ingredients and this is one thing that Kabilin can guarantee for its newly launched ala carte dishes.

Alix likened dining at Kabilin as being a dinner guest of a Cebuano home as the food items are family favorites,

With the launch of its ala carte menu, Kabilin also introduced a new line of iced and hot tea drinks by Signature Estate. The tea varieties are of single origin from the Assam Estate in India.

HERITAGE DISHES. Louella Alix, Golden Prince Hotel and Suites heritage ambassador, and Aaron Que, vice president for corporate communications, with two of the hotel’s chefs during the presentation of their Filipino dishes.

The tea selections, blended with such spices as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper, are said to be good pairing for the heavy Filipino cuisine.

Kabilin, described as the “first heritage home in a hotel,” was awarded early this year with the Best Merienda Buffet in Cebu. The merienda or snack buffet is served daily from 2p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Kabilin Heritage Lounge is located at the ground floor of Golden Prince Hotel in Acacia Street corner Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Cebu City.

For bookings and inquiries, call (032) 230-1588 or 230-1500. You may also check it out at

More photos of food, drinks at Kabilin Heritage Lounge in Golden Prince Hotel and Suites

Community Events

Multi-awarded school holds summer camps to spread strengths-based culture

A Cebu school that cultivates a strengths-based culture will hold two summer workshops between May and July to spread educational innovations geared towards the development of children and the youth.

The Children’s Paradise Montessori School (CMPS) plans to undertake the Youth Empowerment and Strengths (YES) camp and the Integrated Boot Camp (IBC).

CMPS President Marivic Bathan said the two activities are geared towards helping participants identify and hone their strengths and at the same time find a way through their weaknesses.

Education roadmap

She added that at this period in time, when there are countless upheavals brought about by environmental changes and the digital revolution, education is still the vehicle that will prepare children for the future that is just around the corner.

Children's Paradise Montessori School
STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES. CMPS President Marivic Bathan says the two activities are geared towards helping participants identify and hone their strengths and at the same time find a way through their weaknesses.

According to Bathan, the roadmap in a strengths-based school is to start with talent and develop it into strength.

Talent becomes strength when it produces a consistent, positive outcome and this is the philosophy they want to teach those who will be joining YES and IBC.

YES camp

The first ever YES camp, which will run from May 30 to June 1, will be held at the Rafi-Kool Adventure Camp and open to those who are from 12-18 years old.

By the end of the camp, which will focus on the individual and collective strengths of the youth, participants should already have a concrete grasp of their talents, been coached on how they can develop these into strengths, and a support group made up of their parents and other relatives as well as their YES camp family.

Internationally awarded Life executive and Gallup Strengths coach May Soriano and Fr. Loretto Jaque, who has been trained in Play Expressive Arts Therapy in France and Switzerland will help facilitate the activity. Bathan and RAFI-KAC staff will also help out as facilitators.

Integrated Boot Camp

Scheduled from May 29 to July 6, IBC will delve on theater arts and creative ecology. Participants are expected to mount a full scale production at the end of the camp and this will be performed at the USP Theater for Performing Arts.

A competent pool of professional artists will serve as trainers and facilitators, including Rudy Aviles who will serve as creative director, Emman Mante as assistant creative director, and professional songwriter Jude Gitamondoc as musical director. Other trainers are Nino Banares for percussion and rhythmic instruments, Alfie Mosqueda as choreographer, Crisanto Etorma as visual artist, and Rosabelle Daculan as camp facilitator.

Children's Paradise Montessori School
MENTORS. CMPS President Marivic Bathan with creative director Rudy Aviles and assistant creative director Emman Mante during the press conference for the Youth Empowerment and Strengths (YES) camp and the Integrated Boot Camp (IBC).

White said emphasis will not only be on output but the process as well so that participants will become not only performers but creators as well.

Aviles added that the camp will use an integrated arts approach so that participants l will learn a range of creative skills set, from script writing and acting to photography and video production.

Registration details

To register for any of the camps, all you need to do is call CPMS at 0920-9522509 or 422-3446. Those who register get an early bird discount.

About CPMS

The Children’s Paradise Montessori School was founded by Bathan, who has been its president since its inception in 2005, with the mission of providing children with an education for life.

It has created a learning environment based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy and principles. CPMS has been awarded as Montessori School of the Year in the Business Achievement and Recognition Awards for 10 straight years since 2010.

The school is located along H. Abellana St. in Canduman, Mandaue City.

Feature Travel

Macau in 2 days: Gambling, glitz, and old world culture

They strap you to your seats, turn the lights off so the whole theater turns pitch black, and—just as you start to wonder what comes next—your seats begin to rise.

All around you, dark and menacing Gotham City comes to life in the 4D flight simulation ride Batman Dark Flight in Studio City Macau.

You hear Gotham hero Batman telling you things both worrisome and reassuring as he takes you on a hair-raising ride through the streets and above or between buildings—sometimes narrowly missing objects, flying up and plunging down while the city burns and explodes, to battle villains and bring you to safety.

Fontaine de Mers

A replica of this iconic fountain greets guests at the cavernous Parisian lobby. Above it is a dome with classical paintings.

Roller coaster rides scare me so I avoid them at all cost and I went into the Batman Dark Flight ride thinking it would be similar to my previous 4D theater experiences. Boy, was I wrong.

Cebu-Macau flights

My first time in Macau some years back was through a ferry ride out of Hong Kong, but it’s now easier to travel to this special administrative region of China with Cebu Pacific Air direct flights from Cebu.

CEBU-MACAU FLIGHTS. Cebu Pacific flies to Macau every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. The flights leave Cebu at 6:50 pm, and arrive in Macau at 10:00 pm. The return flight leaves Macau at 10:45 pm and arrives in Cebu at 01:45 am the next day.

Since my first visit was just a day trip added to our Hong Kong itinerary, our must-go list consisted only of The Venetian Macau and Senado Square. We had to rush both.

Macau’s many casinos, currently over 40, have earned it the nickname “Las Vegas of Asia.” The biggest ones along the Cotai Strip are equalled only by the fancy hotels and plush clubs.

Our recent travel to this vibrant city, courtesy of Cebu Pacific Air and Klook, showed there is so much more to Macau than gambling and glitz

Ruins of St. Paul

Another facet of this vibrant city, one that traces back 300 years of Portuguese rule and influence, we discovered through the Macau Sightseeing Day Tour booked through Klook. Discounted down to a little over P3,000, the tour came with transport and buffet lunch and allowed us to cover most of Macau’s top attractions.

Our outing took us through the taste, sounds, and sights of old Macau with its mix of Chinese and Portuguese culture. Our guide regaled us with the idiosyncrasies of its rich and famous, pointed out the best souvenir shops, and enumerated delicacies that had us looking for soup, egg tarts, dim sum, and pork chop buns even late at night.

Ruins of St. Paul in Macau
BEST PHOTO SPOT. On the suggestion of our tour guide, we had our photo taken with the Ruins of St. Paul further down the stairs to where this arch can frame the image.

We didn’t just check out the Ruins of St. Paul, once a 16th century Portuguese church, we learned how the colonizers made it acceptable to the Macanese by building it with steps that summed up to the Chinese lucky number of 68.

Within Senado Square, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as it forms part of the Historic Centre of Macau, our guide led us along ancient cobbled streets with their names inscribed on Portuguese tiles, through buildings with European features, and to the other 16th-century St. Dominic’s Church.

OPULENT. The Venetian Macau is a picture of luxury and opulence and has replicas of various Venetian landmarks.

Macau sights

Through the Macau Sightseeing Day Tour, we had time for The Venetian with its replicas of Venice’s top sights: St. Mark’s Square, the Grand Canal, and ornate Venetian architecture. Of course, The Venetian also hosts Macau’s biggest casino.

A brief stop at the Macau Tower was also included in our itinerary. We had time to go up the tower and even bungee jump if we so wished.

The Macau Sightseeing Day Tour also brought us to the 14th century A-Ma Temple, one of three famous Buddha halls in Macau. It was along a sea promontory near this temple that the Portuguese landed in Macau over 400 years ago.

We took our lunch at a local restaurant that provides a buffet menu of Macanese and Portuguese food. It was there that I had my first taste of the popular Portuguese soup caldo verde.

SPOTLIGHT. Studio City’s premium restaurant serves a delicious buffet of international cuisine and seafood.

Studio City

Day 2 of our short trip was reserved for two top Macau activities: the 4D flight simulation ride Batman Dark Flight and Golden Reel Ferris Wheel.

The ferris wheel is shaped like a figure 8 suspended 130 meters high up Studio City’s facade. Make sure to schedule your ride on a clear day to make the most of the views from the glass cabins.

Flying with Batman was a different kind of experience. They don’t just rush you into the activity, they prep you first by herding you into a holding room where you get a primer from Batman on the situation you’re in. For a moment, you get this crazy idea that whatever was going to happen will take place in that room and that made it even more scary.

Photos of our Macau trip

Klook activities

On our second day in Macau, we had lunch at Studio City’s premium restaurant Spotlight. With a cinema theme and Art Deco style, Spotlight serves a wide range of international cuisine and seafood in the buffet menu. Lunch came with unlimited coffee and drinks.

Availed through Klook, our sumptuous buffet lunch came at a great discount.

Booking our activities through Klook also made things easier. There was no need to line up for tickets; we simply had to present our Klook vouchers at the entrance for scanning.

CEBxKlookTravels Team Macau. Our group of Cebu bloggers and writers in front of the replica of Eiffel Tower in the Parisian in Macau. (From left) Ryan Calle, Deneb Batucan, Sweet Veloso-Selma, Jude Bacalso, me, Max, Sven Macoy Schmid Lysa Amor Diaz -Ota, and Miong Pelimon.
CEBxKlookTravels Team Macau. Our group of Cebu bloggers and writers in front of the replica of Eiffel Tower in the Parisian in Macau. (From left) Ryan Calle, Deneb Batucan, Sweet Veloso-Selma, Jude Bacalso, me, Max, Sven Macoy Schmid Lysa Amor Diaz -Ota, and Miong Pelimon.

More Macau experiences

This gave us time for a quick visit to the Parisian Macao with its replicas of the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees as well as hotel concierge made out like a gallery of the Louvre and a room in Château de Versailles.

A copy of the Fontaine de Mers under a painted domed ceiling decorates the Parisian’s spacious lobby.

We had time to look for pork chop buns at Taipa food street because we heard that one of the stalls there offers the tastiest servings.

Macau is definitely more than a day-trip destination, but we made the most of our two days by flying direct from Cebu via Cebu Pacific Air and booking experiences through Klook.

Egg tart Macau
Egg tart
Pork chop bun Macau
Pork chop bun
Events Feature Lifestyle

Newly opened CebuDoc Dental Institute offers complete lineup of services

As a way of evolving dentistry by incorporating it with other fields of medicine and including it among its wellness brands, the Cebu Doctors University Hospital opened the CebuDoc Dental Institute with state-of-the-art facilities.

Aside from general dentistry, it also offers preventive and cosmetic dentistry, dental diagnostic laboratory services, orthodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry, TMD management, periodontics, dental implants, and oral maxillofacial surgery.

Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, CebuDoc Group President and Chairman, said their newest facility seeks to change the perception exclusively associating dentists with teeth and cavity.

We are known to innovate. Whatever is new in the industry, we provide. Our center has a CBCT, digitized x-ray system, three dental chairs, and one operating room.

Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, CebuDoc Group President and Chairman

Wellness brand

The newly-built CebuDoc Dental Institute becomes part of the developing Wellness Complex situated in the Medical Arts Building 2 of Cebu Doctors University Hospital. It is the second facility that will comprise the Wellness Complex since it was introduced last year with the opening of the Center for Aesthetics and Laser.

Cebu Doctors University Hospital CebuDoc Dental Institue
DENTAL INSTITUTE. CebuDoc Group President and Chairman Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III talks about the group’s Dental Institute during its launch. With him are Binibining Cebu 2018 Steffi Aberasturi (2nd from left) and CebuDoc Dental Institute Chair and College of Dentistry Dean Dr. Imelda P. Montuerto (2nd from right).

Larrazabal added that the healthcare system in the CebuDoc Group has been continuously upgrading so it could provide holistic care and the dental healthcare system is part of this.

CebuDoc’s latest wellness brand is made up of the most reputable and top-caliber dentists, starting with CebuDoc Dental Institute Chair and College of Dentistry Dean Dr. Imelda P. Montuerto.

Innovation leader

The multi-specialty institute, with its diagnostic laboratory services that include a dental cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) or what is commonly known as the CT scan for dentists, will have lower rates compared to other dental clinics, according to Montuerto.

“We are known to innovate. Whatever is new in the industry, we provide. Our center has a CBCT, digitized x-ray system, three dental chairs, and one operating room,” added Dr. Larrazabal.

He also intends the CebuDoc Dental Institute to further revolutionize the profession by offering a residency training program that will allow dentists to go into different specializations.

Binibining Cebu 2018 CebuDoc wellness ambassadors
WELLNESS AMBASSADORS. To help spread its wellness message in dental health, CebuDoc took in the Binibining Cebu 2018 queens as its wellness ambassadors.

Wellness ambassadors

To help spread its wellness message in dental health, CebuDoc took in the Binibining Cebu 2018 queens as its wellness ambassadors. The partnership, said Dr. Larrazabal, is to reach out to more people and inspire them to take care not only of their dental health but total well-being.

The CebuDoc Dental Institute is committed to delivering high quality healthcare and working to ensure that its dental services will be available to everyone who needs them.

“Having healthy teeth can boost someone’s confidence especially in dealing with other people. It brings out the best of your personality and, for me, that is enough reason for people to take care of their teeth,” said Binibining Cebu 2018 Steffi Aberasturi.

CebuDoc Dental Institute Opening
OPENING. Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, president and chairman of the board of the Cebu Doctors’ Group of Companies, leads ceremonies to mark the opening of the CebuDoc Dental Institute on the 5th floor of its Medical Arts building on Osmeña Blvd. With Dr. Yong are other members of the family, including his mother Zeny (2nd from left), and the board as well as Binibining Cebu winners who serve as wellness ambassadors.
Business Feature Lifestyle

Restaurant, gym and yoga centers, other lifestyle outlets planned for Axis in Vibo Place

Shared office spaces and more units for lifestyle outlets are just some of the new and exciting developments at Axis Entertainment Avenue on Vibo Place.

The Country Basket restaurant, which is known for its chicken dishes as well as breads and pastries, and an architectural showroom are set to open in May at a newly completed cluster expansion, said Axis General Manager Andre Allen Suarez.

Opening soon in another building cluster is a yoga studio and an eyelash extension facility.

Axis Entertainment Venue expansion plans

Axis General Manager Andre Allen Suarez says they plan to fill the new cluster building with a gym, spa or salon, convenience store or pharmacy and are currently looking for locators.

Axis expansion

Suarez added that they will also add 11 units in a new two-storey building that’s currently being constructed after Burger King. This will increase the gross lease area of Axis by 28 percent.

The plan is to fill the new cluster building with a gym, spa or salon, convenience store or pharmacy and are currently looking for locators.

“We already have several restaurants. What we’re looking for now are activities for our customers. We’re listening to their needs,” Suarez explained.

Axis Entertainment Avenue on Vibo Place
NEW DEVELOPMENTS. Shared office spaces and more units for lifestyle outlets are just some of the new and exciting developments at Axis Entertainment Avenue on Vibo Place.

He estimates the schedule of building completion to be around the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Shared offices

One other thing that is currently in development at Vibo Place is a shared office space that is intended for startups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.

Suarez said they have converted what used to be a serviced apartment spanning 800 square meters into small office spaces that can fit a minimum of three to five people. An events space and a bar are two unique features of the new facility.

According to him, shared office locators will have the advantage of a strategic address in Cebu City.

Business Feature Food

The Abaca Group plans expansion while keeping quality of products

Amid baking challenges and overcoming the perception of being expensive, The Abaca Group has managed to achieve healthy growth—starting out in 2006 with a boutique resort + restaurant and expanding to eight brands with over 20 outlets in Cebu today.

Several more will be added to the number this 2019, including Red Lizard branches in Manila that will be opened through a franchising agreement, said The Abaca Group Founder Jason Hyatt.

“The only requirement for expansion is that customers can’t notice,” he added, citing the need to maintain the group’s exceptional food and service.

Chef Patrick Corpuz, Director for Business, credited their consistent growth to a strengthened team. The company is set to open another Abaca Baking Company in Ayala Center Cebu and Luncheonette outlets in SM City Cebu and Ayala Center Cebu.

The Abaca Group
COMPANY GROWTH. The Abaca Group Director for Business Chef Patrick Corpuz (left) and founder Jason Hyatt discuss with reporters the company’s expansion plans.


Filipino restaurant at The Reef

The Reef Mactan Hotel and Residences, where Abaca plans to put up a Filipino restaurant, is also scheduled for completion and opening this year.

Mr. Hyatt said their vision for the Filipino restaurant is it should replicate home cooking and showcase local ingredients.

“Isn’t it strange that we don’t have Filipino restaurants in our hotels?,” he asked, adding that tourists who come to the country usually ask for places where they can try local food.

The Abaca Group founder also announced he has been tapped to handle the food and beverage management of the upcoming “apart’hotel” Citadines in Cebu City and has created a separate business for this purpose.

According to him, what they wanted to do was create partnerships with developers that will allow them to open commissary kitchens in hotels to aid in their expansion.

The Abaca Group
CHALLENGE. The Abaca Group Founder Jason Hyatt says the requirement for their expansion is the need to maintain the group’s exceptional food and service.


Expansion opportunities

To put up an Abaca Baking Company in other areas, added Mr. Hyatt, the challenge is to figure out how to make baked goods travel.

Since ABC prides itself in fresh breads and pastries, it needs to find a way to bake everyday and bring the products across great distances.

Partnerships with other businesses that will allow them to put up their own kitchens in hotels and similar developments will help solve this particular challenge, said Mr. Hyatt, adding that The Abaca Group will need such collaborations to grow nationwide.

Mr. Corpuz said they have several concepts in mind for additional brands that will probably be introduced in the next two years.

“We’re streamlining our product line and trying out different techniques,” he cited. The different Abaca outlets serve to cater to different business segments.

The Abaca Group


Challenges to growth

Through its growth years, The Abaca Group also had to contend with a reputation for being expensive.

While this has hounded them for a few years, Hyatt said they see it as working to their advantage now.

According to Corpuz, the typical business model of targeting a specific price point has worked well for their restaurants.

All through the years of serving quality and exceptional food, albeit at prices seen in the past as costly, the market is now finally ready for The Abaca Group.

The Abaca Group


The Abaca Group


The Abaca Group


Business Feature Travel

Cebu Pacific starts Cebu-Shanghai route by April 15, offers 1 peso promo base fare

CEBU Pacific Air has opened a new international route to Shanghai from Cebu, offering promo base fare of 1 peso until the end of the company’s anniversary month of March.

Cebu Pacific’s Cebu-Shanghai and return flights will be six times weekly starting April 15, 2019.

Charo Logarta Lagamon said the new route will make Cebu a bigger international hub, as it also connects other Visayas areas like Dumaguete and Iloilo as well as Mindanao cities like Davao and Cagayan de Oro with Shanghai via Cebu. Logamon is Director for Corporate Communications Corporate Affairs of Cebu Pacific.

Logamon and Director for Marketing Blessie Cruz led today’s announcement in Hai Shin Lou in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The new Cebu-Shanghai route increases the airline’s international destinations out of Cebu to six.

Cebu Pacific Cebu-Shanghai
TO SHANGHAI. Charo Logarta Lagamon, Cebu Pacific Director for Corporate Communications Corporate Affairs, announces the start of the Cebu-Shanghai route.


Cebu-Shanghai flight schedules

Cebu Pacific will fly the Cebu-Shanghai route six times weekly, departing Cebu every Monday and Friday at 6:45 p.m., every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:05 p.m., and every Wednesday and Saturday at 11:55 p.m. Flight arrives in Shanghai at 10:45 every Monday and Friday, 11 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, and 11:10 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday.

Flights to Cebu leave Shanghai at 11:45 p.m. every Monday and Friday and 11:55 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Arrival times in Cebu are: 4 a.m. every Monday and Friday and 4:10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Cebu Pacific currently has a network of 37 domestic and 26 international destinations with 2,100 weekly flights.

Cebu Pacific Cebu-Shanghai
ANNOUNCEMENT. Cebu Pacific Director for Corporate Communications Corporate Affairs Charo Logarta Lagamon and Director for Marketing Blessie Cruz led the announcement of new routes.


What to do in Shanghai

Shanghai is a major industrial and commercial hub in China with quite a colorful colonial history.

That ancient network of trade routes called the Silk Route which connected East and West started out of Shanghai, and visitors can check out such attractions as The Bund, Yuyuan Gardens, and Shanghai Tower, added Lagamon.

Cebu Pacific said it is committed to growing the Cebu hub, by continually increasing flight frequencies and adding more domestic and international routes.

Events Travel

Great travel deals on offer at Cebu Travel Catalogue from Feb 15 to 17

Japan, Korea, and Taiwan continue to be popular travel destinations for Filipinos and those who come to the Cebu Travel Catalogue International (CTCI) 2019 can expect great deals on airfare and tour packages to these places.

But the three countries just make up a few of the international destinations on sale during the annual travel event, now on its fifth year, that will be held from Feb. 15-17, 2019 at Ayala Center Cebu, said Cebu Travel and Tours Association (CTTA) president Baby Dy.

Cebu’s top tour agencies will be offering big discounts and exciting incentives as well for travel packages to such places as Scandinavia and Russia, the Lapland, New Zealand, Eastern Europe, Spain and Morocco, Portugal and Spain for a Marian Pilgrimage, India, and South Africa.

Cebu Travel Catalogue International
TRAVEL CATALOGUE. Organizers of the Cebu Travel Catalogue International after their press conferences announcing the event.


International destinations

Dy added that many Filipinos travel to Israel as part of a Holy Land pilgrimage but the Israel Tourism Ministry is joining CTCI to promote its country for other activities as well. The three-day event is jointly organized by CTTA and CATOS.

According to Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists (CATOS) Vice President Marget Villarica, a lot of tour packages to China will also be on offer particularly with several Chinese airlines opening new routes to Cebu from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

Taiwan has also become a top travel choice after it waived the visa requirement for Filipinos, said Dy. The no visa policy for Philippine passport holders has been extended by the Taiwanese government to July 2019.

Eco-tourism products

For inbound travel, CATOS President Alice Queblatin said focus will be on eco-tourism products involving areas that are beyond the usual tourist attractions.

She added that the Cebu Provincial Government, one of CTCI 2019 exhibitors, has come up with and will heavily promote tour packages to northern and southern destinations beyond the usual go-to spots like Oslob or Moalboal.

It was also heartening to see that more destinations are joining travel events to promote themselves, Queblatin also said. The Cebu Safari and Adventure Park in Carmen and Danasan Eco Adventure Park, for example, have joined this year’s Cebu Travel Catalogue International.

Cebu Travel Catalogue
PRESS CONFERENCE. Organizers of Cebu Travel Catalogue International answer questions from the media during their press conference.


Travel Catalogue participants

A new resort in Romblon that is set for soft opening in March will also be at CTCI 2019 to offer half off on published room rates. The Oceans Edge Resort in Carabao Island can cater to a variety of holiday goals, from relaxation and wellness to adventure, said PR and Communications Manager Jonice Pangilinan.

The resort, which has Caticlan as jumpoff point, will start with 51 villas. Oceans Edge is one of over a hundred participants and exhibitors to this year’s CTCI.

Czech Tourism joins the event for the first time while the Korean Tourism Organization, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Hong Kong Tourism Board, and Singapore Tourism Board will return to promote their respective destinations.

Airline partners

CTCI 2019 will have nine local and international airline partners, including Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, EVA Air, Korean Air, Silk Air, Tiger Air, and Turkish Air. Guests can expect promo airfares when booking through the different travel and tour agencies.

There will be daily activities throughout CTCI, with Lapu-Lapu City bringing in 200 cultural performers for the opening ceremony, said Queblatin.

Other activities include a fashion show by Rustan’s and travel auction. The Korean tourism group will reportedly bring in a surprise celebrity on the second day.

Events Properties

Primehomes launches exclusive housing community Luana Dos

With its wide roads, tropics-inspired amenities, and spacious homes, Luana Dos aims to create a community where families can live idyllic lives.

This is exactly why the fifth and newest residential project of Primehomes Development Corp. is named after the Hawaiian word for “hayahay”, said Harold Vince See, the company’s business development manager.

He added that while Luana Dos will only have 55 homes, it will still have such amenities as a gazebo, basketball court, and swimming pool.

PRIMEHOMES. The PrimeHomes Development Corporation Team headed by President and CEO Benedict Que.


Luana Dos unveiling

Primehomes unveiled Luana Dos, located in the town of Minglanilla, at dinner or luau in Golden Prince Hotel and Suites last Saturday, January 26, 2019, where it also announced it held a blessing for the model units of the development earlier in the day.

Luana Dos spans an area of about 10,000 square meters and will be primarily composed of single attached and single detached units. The first development in the Luana series had 110 units and was sold out in a year.

“We want to be top of mind choice for medium to high income subdivision with our Luana series. All Luana developments will have a swimming pool, basketball court, lush greenery, community area, 24-hour security personnel, and property management team. We want our residents, the residents of Luana Dos, to have a place to relax, chill out, mingle with their neighbors as well as have peace of mind,” said Primehomes President and CEO Benny Que.

BLESSING. Officiating priest Fr. Jumao-as, President and CEO Benedict Que, Vice President Henry See, and Business Development Manager Harold Vince See.


Upper middle class

He estimated the project cost of Luana Dos, which is being targeted for the upper middle class bracket, to be around P200 million. The price of subdivision units ranges from P3.8 to P7.4 million. The smallest house will be 88 square meters while the biggest unit will reach 156 square meters.

According to Que, Primehomes was formed in 2008 with a mission to deliver quality, safe, and efficient homes.

Its first project was a 306-unit economic housing development named Henaville in Compostela. Henaville was the first residential community of its kind where homes came with a carport, a consequence of the company’s objective to be always on the lookout for innovative ideas.


Primehomes Benny Que
QUALITY, SAFE HOMES. Primehomes President and CEO Benny Que says the company was formed in 2008 with a mission to deliver quality, safe, and efficient homes.

Events Properties

Bamboo Bay holds annual post-Sinulog celebration

Sinulog performances, street parade, reenactment of the arrival of the Señor Sto. Nino image in Cebu, and a feast of local cuisine marked the post-Sinulog celebration in the Bamboo Bay Community.

The Halad Kaniño Sinulog Open House last Saturday, January 26, 2019, was in observance of an event that has become a yearly tradition for the community, said Jojie Benitez-Tajanlangit of Contempo Property Holdings, Inc.

She added in her welcome message that traditions of faith and culture like the Sinulog in Cebu serve to bind Cebuanos together and Bamboo Bay contributes to keeping the festival alive through its annual event.

Contempo is the developer behind the three-tower condominium Bamboo Bay Community.

Bamboo Bay Sinulog
SINULOG AT BAMBOO BAY. Dancers of Tribu Mabolokon from Mabolo perform a Sinulog number during the annual celebration at the Bamboo Bay Community.


Post-Sinulog party

Many homeowners showed up for the post-Sinulog 2019 celebration in colorful festival outfits and some had on the typical Sinulog headdress of lace, ribbons, and feathers. A few brought their Sto. Niño images for the street dancing.

They received a crash course on the Sinulog steps from the Cebu Normal University dance troupe shortly before the parade. To give the event more meaning, residents were also treated to a short historical explanation of the Sinulog through a reenactment of the arrival of Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.

Performers comprising the Sinulog 2019 contingent from Mabolo, the Tribu Mabolokon, wowed guests with several performances. The group placed 7th in the ritual showdown and third in the street dancing categories during the Sinulog sa Barangay earlier this January.

Bamboo Bay Sinulog
Contempo Property Holdings Inc. Founder and CEO Beverly Dayanan with performers during the annual Sinulog celebration at Bamboo Bay Community. The housing community is a project of Contempo.


Festival food

Bamboo Bay’s sales and marketing team showed interested guests around the community. The condominium also accepted model unit viewing after the Halad Kaniño Sinulog Open House.

The Sinulog celebration entails a feast and Bamboo Bay prepared a sumptuous one for homeowners and guests. Lechon and other local food were served in the lunch buffet held at the community’s multi-purpose hall.

A Halad Kañino exhibit featuring the works of Celso Pepito and several other artists was also ongoing at the Contempo Art Gallery. A few lucky guests won portrait sketching prizes during the event.


More photos of the Sinulog celebration at Bamboo Bay Community


Sinulog dance
SINULOG DANCE. Residents get a quick lesson from performers on how to dance the Sinulog routine.


Sinulog at Bamboo Bay Community


Sinulog at Bamboo Bay


Sinulog at Bamboo Bay Community

Food Lifestyle

The Abaca Group rewards diners with free treats in promo cards

The Abaca Group of great food comes up with an appealing offer for diners: a promo card for every order at any of its dining establishments.

Get a card for a Jake’s chicken sandwich or luncheonette burger for an order of P1,000 or more at Red Lizard, a free corn chien fried rice or phat cooler when you spend P1,000 or more at Phat Pho, and either a free pasta pomodoro or hand tossed pizza with orders of P750 or more.

I particularly love the freebies offered by the Abaca Baking Company: getting your second frozen or hot coffee drink for only P50 or free and a complimentary boxed retail with your first two orders.

Abaca Group promo cards
PROMO CARDS. The Abaca Group promo cards with appealing offers to diners.


Signature treats

Nina Olalo, Events and Marketing Coordinator, said they wanted to reward diners with signature treats in The Abaca Group’s restaurants through a series of cool and distinct cards.

The promo cards come with fun scripts like “Have a brew-tiful day” and “I like you a latte” for the ABC coffee treats or “This is nacho ordinary snacks” for the mini nacho freebie at Red Lizard. There’s even “You & me pho’ever” for a free large pho with orders of P750 or more at Phat Pho.

Abaca Group promo cards
The launching of the promo cards was held in Red Lizard.


Promo cards

Receive one of these 21 unique promo cards when you dine in at any of The Abaca Group restaurants, including Maya, Abaca Baking Company, Phat Pho, and Tavolata.

Other sumptuous treats offered for free or at a huge discount with #TheAbacaGroupPromoCards — chicken taquitos, mini nacjos, tacos, burritos, and queso dips at Red Lizard; corn chien fried rice, phat cooler, banh mi sandwich, egg rolls and phos at Phat Pho, and margarita at Maya.

The Abaca Group made the announcement during a gathering of media and bloggers at Red Lizard last Friday, January 25, 2019.


Photos of the launch at Red Lizard

The Abaca Group promo cards


The Abaca Group promo card


Tha Abaca Group promo card


The Abaca Group promo card

Events Travel

China Southern Airlines starts direct Cebu-Guangzhou flights

China Southern Airlines opened a direct route between Guangzhou and Cebu believing it was time for greater people, business, and cultural exchanges between the two places.

“Cebu’s strategic location, cultural heritage, and beautiful beaches make it an attractive destination that serves to complement Guangzhou’s cosmopolitan character,” said Mr. Pan Feng, the general manager of China Southern Airlines Manila.

Feng welcomed the inaugural flight of China Southern from Guangzhou when it arrived at Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport on Jan. 22, 2019. The plane from Guangzhou arrived way ahead of schedule at a quarter past 3 p.m.

China Southern Airlines Cebu-Guangzhou
NEW CEBU-GUANGZHOU CONNECTION. Launching the China Southern Airlines flight connecting Cebu and Guangzhou are (from left) Department of Tourism Central Visayas Director Shalimar Tamano, China Southern Airlines Manila General Manager Pan Feng, Consul General Jia Li of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu, Janette Cordero of the Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions, Inc., and GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. Chief Commercial Adviser Ravishankar Saravu.


Cebu-Guangzhou route

China Southern Airlines will serve the Cebu-Guangzhou route with thrice weekly flights scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

It will depart Cebu at 17:15 and arrive in Guangzhou at 20:25. The Guangzhou-Cebu flight is from 12:25 to 16:05. To mark the opening of the new route, China Southern offers Cebu-Guangzhou return tickets starting from USD49.

Guangzhou, China’s third biggest city after Beijing and Shanghai, combines colonial-era and avant-garde architecture. The numerous traditional dim-sum eateries that can be found throughout the city have contributed to its reputation as one of China’s tastiest cities.

China Southern Airlines Cebu-Guangzhou route
CELEBRATING NEW CONNECTION. Officials led by Consul General Jia Li of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu and key leaders of the Cebu business community and tourism sector make a toast to celebrate the launch of the China Southern Airlines Cebu-Guangzhou route.


Strategic development

Consul General Jia Li of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu described the Guangzhou-Cebu direct flights as comprehensive, strategic, and a welcome development. Consul Li attended the short ceremony at the airport and the dinner event in Radisson Blu to celebrate the launch of the new flights.

Improved relations between the Philippines and China have resulted in the steady growth of Chinese tourists in Cebu and this will increase even more with China Southern’s new route, Consul Li cited.

He added that other than contributing to Cebu’s economic development, this will also pave the way for a better understanding of one another’s culture. Consul Li said he looks forward to the opening of direct flights to more cities in China from Cebu.

China Southern Airlines Cebu
CEREMONIAL CAKE. DOT 7 Director Shalimar Tamano, China Southern Airlines Manila General Manager Pan Feng, Consul General Jia Li of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu, and GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. Chief Commercial Adviser Ravishankar Saravu slice the traditional ceremonial cake to mark a new route.


Business opportunities

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Antonio Chu in his message talked about the wealth of opportunities in Cebu in such key sectors of tourism, business process outsourcing, transport and logistics, manufacturing, and retail.

He added that the presence of more international airlines like China Southern goes a long way towards beefing up investor confidence.

This newest route will serve to bring in Chinese tourists from one of China’s biggest metropolis and cater as well to the growing number of Filipinos who are flying to various destinations in China. Foreign and domestic guests visiting Cebu to swim with the whale sharks can now put Guangzhou as part of their travel itineraries.

China Southern Airlines Cebu
IN CEBU. The China Southern Airlines plane that flew from Guangzhou. The airline will serve the Cebu-Guangzhou route with thrice weekly flights scheduled every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.


About China Southern Airlines

China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd. is a direct affiliate of China Southern Air Holding Company Ltd., which specializes in air transportation services.

It has built an extensive network that covers all of China, radiating throughout Asia and linking Europe, America, Oceania, and Africa. It operates more than 3,000 daily flights to 224 destinations in 40 countries and regions across the world.

The airline is committed to building up the Canton Route, making Guangzhou as an international air hub.

China Southern Airlines
SINULOG. Sandiego dancers perform a Sinulog number during the celebration after the inaugural flight.


SKYTRAX four-star rating

On June 15, 2018, China Southern Airlines was honored with the 2-Star Flight Safety Diamond Award by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), becoming the leading Chinese carrier to maintain the highest safety records in China.

In 2011, China Southern Airlines earned its four-star status from SKYTRAX, the world’s most prestigious airline performance evaluation organization.

China Southern was also recognized as the Top 50 Most Admired Chinese Company by “FORTUNE China Magazine” in 2012 and 2013.


China Southern Airlines
LECHON CEREMONY. Consul General Jia Li of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu and retired Ambassador Frank Benedicto, who was once assigned to China, cut the lechon to mark the start of evening celebrations for the new route.


Klook to host Sinulog Beach Festival at Happy Beach in Mactan

Fast growing travel platform Klook will hold its very first Cebu event, the Sinulog Beach Festival, at Happy Beach in Lapu-Lapu City in time for the island’s grandest festival

Partygoers can expect a lot of fun under the sun with on-ground carnival games, water activities, and live music performances by Cebu’s homegrown musicians and Manila’s top DJs at the Klook Sinulog Beach Festival from 2 p.m. onwards this January 18, 2019.

The music personalities and groups performing at the festival will include Mandaue Nights, Sepia Times, Lourdes Maglinte, and Eco plus Manila DJs Deuce and Nix Damn P! along with John Bosque, Renzo Senining, and Victor Jao.

Klook Sinulog Beach Festival

The event is part of Klook’s mission to help build local tourism and promote local destinations, said Klook Philippines Market Lead Michelle Cruz.

“A lot of our efforts in the past year have been focused on attracting different key destinations in the Philippines,” she added, citing that Klook has entered into exclusive partnerships with Ocean Park, Enchanted Kingdom, Aqua Planet in Clark, and Happy Beach in Cebu. The company already has over 70 partners in the Philippines, 10 of which are in Cebu.

Happy Beach

Klook targets to gather around 5,000 guests to its Sinulog Beach Festival in Happy Beach.

Carnival games, face painting, henna tattoo and such water activities as kayaking, parasailing, waterboarding as well as sidewinder, jetski, and banana boat rides are just some of the fun activities they can expect during the event.

Klook Philippines Market Lead Michelle Cruz
PROMOTE LOCAL. The event is part of Klook’s mission to help build local tourism and promote local destinations, said Klook Philippines Market Lead Michelle Cruz.


Klook’s festival partners include Cebu Pacific, Havaianas, and Happy Beach.

Cruz said they’re working with other merchants to provide festival guests with a wide selection of food and drinks.

She added that Klook has a lot of plans for Cebu, beginning with its very first activity Sinulog Beach Festival. They also hope to bring a mobile-led experiential travel festival that Klook first introduced in Manila last September 2018.

Klook Sinulog Beach Festival
The inflatable island.


Festival tickets

Early bird admission ticket is priced at P795, but only P500 each for groups of four under the Barkada Bundle offer. This already includes an admission ticket to the Sinulog Beach Festival, one drink, and point-to-point transportation to and from Happy Beach. Pick-up points start at 11 a.m. from SM City Cebu and Parkmall in Mandaue City.

The Sinulog Beach Festival will run from 2:00-10:00 p.m.

Founded in 2014, Klook provides travellers a seamless way to discover and book attractions, tours, local transportation, best food tours and must-eats, and other unique experiences around the world. Download the Klook App and enjoy P200 off on your first booking when you use promo code <KLOOKIT200>.

Visit their website at and follow them on Facebook at @klookph and on Instagram at @klooktravel_ph.

Business Feature Lifestyle

Co-working facility Workplace Cafe opens new branch in Banawa

Sturdy desks, comfy seats, high-speed fiber internet, soft music, warm lights, abundance of power outlets, plus good food and coffee, the WorkPlace Cafe in Banawa, Cebu City is designed as a place where one can be most productive.

Couple Aden and Gretchen Sigue were looking to start another line of business and came upon the Workplace Cafe in Ramos St., Cebu City.

Mr. Sigue said they reached out to the Workplace Cafe owners and suggested a franchise agreement.

WorkPlace Cafe
WorkPlace Cafe is designed as a place where one can be most productive.


Co-working cafe

Kristoff Villanueva, CEO of the company that owns the brand, said the facility is intended as a co-working cafe for students, creative sector, and freelance community.

“The Workplace Cafe is meant as a space for study and work within a coffee shop experience,” he said during the grand opening of the Workplace Cafe in Banawa yesterday, July 8, 2019.

Since the best ideas always come about when one is well rested, the facility provides a power nap station that allows customers to relax or doze off on comfy bean bag seats.

The newest cafe is only its second branch, added Villanueva, chief executive officer of Rise and Grind Equity Ventures, Inc. They plan to open a third Workplace Cafe, company-owned this time, in Mandaue City by next month.

Workplace Cafe
The Workplace Cafe is meant as a space for study and work within a coffee shop experience.


Workplace Cafe Banawa

Workplace Cafe Banawa, located at Unit 2, Autogas Station, R. Duterte St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. the following day. It offers three options for customers: hourly, daily, and monthly.

The hourly rate is only P50 and it comes with complimentary beverage of either iced tea or brewed coffee. Additional hour costs P35. A customer who orders a handcrafted beverage automatically gets a free stay of one hour.

WorkPlace Cafe


If you choose to stay for the day, you pay only P280. This also comes with one complimentary drink. Mr. Sigue said customers who opt for the daily rate need only to add P70 to have access to unlimited coffee.

Customers may also avail of the monthly rate of P4,000, which is inclusive of locker use.

WorkPlace Cafe
WorkPlace Cafe opens its 2nd branch in Banawa, Cebu City.


Cafe menu, amenities

The Workplace Cafe in Banawa all-day breakfast sets, several kinds of pasta, and short orders that range from green salads, fries and chicken wings, to pastries.

It can accommodate 120 customers and has two function rooms for those who wish to hold meetings and sessions. One function room can seat up to 10 people while the other can host up to 16. Rates start at P550 for the first hour and P450 for succeeding hours and come with one-time credits of P200 consumable on food and drinks.

Since it first opened along F. Ramos St. last November 2016, the Workplace Cafe has adopted a Plant and Grow program. For every bag of Bukidnon-sourced Hineleban coffee beans consumed, a tree is planted in return.

WorkPlace Cafe Cebu


WorkPlace Cafe Cebu


WorkPlace Cafe power nap station
The power nap station.


WorkPlace Cafe
FRANCHISE. Couple Gretchen and Aden Sigue (center) and CEO Kristoff Villanueva along with other business partners during the launch of WorkPlace Cafe in Banawa, a franchised branch.


Events Food

Dairy Queen brings best selling ice cream to Cebu

Touted as one of the most delicious ice cream brands in the world, Dairy Queen begins serving its signature soft serve products to Cebuanos as it simultaneously opens its SM City Cebu and Robinsons Cybergate branches today.

The Dairy Queen Cebu branches carry the bestselling Blizzard, which is soft serve ice cream mixed with such ingredients as fruit, chocolate chunks, cookie, and nuts, as well as ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwich, and dilly bar.

One of the unique features of the DQ Blizzard is it is served upside down and there are two reasons for this, according to Lorent Adrias, Chief Marketing Officer of Philippine Pizza, Inc. (PPI).

Dairy Queen Cebu
RED SPOON. Each serving of Dairy Queen comes with its iconic red spoon. A company official says customers have come to look at it as the “pathway to happiness.”


Served upside down

The brand wants to make the customer experience fun and at the same time show the quality of its ice cream, he added. Aside from Dairy Queen, PPI also holds the franchise for Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in the Philippines.

“Serving the Blizzard upside down is an affirmation of the quality of our ice cream. The thick and creamy consistency of the ice cream makes it possible,” Adrias also said.

Another Dairy Queen icon is the red spoon, which comes with every serving of soft serve ice cream. Customers have come to look at it as the “pathway to happiness,” he cited.

Dairy Queen Cebu
Dairy Queen’s ice cream sandwich.


Oldest franchise

Dairy Queen has been around for 78 years, making it the oldest franchise in the whole world, said the brand’s VP for Operations Erryl Ramos.

Including the two newly-opened branches in Cebu, DQ now has 108 stores all over the Philippines.

Ramos said during a media preview last night that he believes the opening sales for Cebu will surpass the highest store opening record held by SM City Clark.

Dairy Queen Cebu
CEBU BRANCHES. In Cebu, Dairy Queen is available in SM City Cebu (above) and Robinsons Cybergate.


Dairy Queen Cebu branches

The Dairy Queen Cebu stores are the first outside of Luzon, said Adrias, adding they decided to open here because the Cebuanos have been very active in asking for a DQ branch in Cebu on social media.

Adrian said they want Dairy Queen to be the Filipinos’ treat of choice for life’s little and big victories.

The SM City Cebu branch is located beside the newly renovated Pizza Hut restaurant. New Pizza Hut features include a different look, new menu, takeout window, and open kitchen. It can accommodate about a hundred customers.

Dairy Queen Cebu


Tretorn, Fantasy Sandals now in Res|Toe|Run lineup of brands

Those who grew up in the 90s will remember the popular Tretorn sneakers with the classic gullwing accent that were often the footwear choice in PE classes.

The Primer Group of Companies brings back to the Philippines the stylish whites manufactured in Sweden that now incorporate new technology innovations for maximum wear comfort.

Carlo Cecilio, Tretorn brand executive, said the company has upgraded its classic Nylites with EcoOrtholite technology that puts more support in the heel and ankle.

He added the gullwing accent now comes in more hues, including such school colors as yellow, blue, and green.

The Tretorn Nylite line, which offers leather and canvas choices and colors other than white, is available at all Res|Toe|Run outlets in Cebu.

Tretorn Cebu

Classic sneakers, chic sandals

According to Cecilio, the Primer Group continues to bring in more brands in line with its mission to provide an exciting range of comfortable footwear that will cater to different styles and personalities.

Aside from Tretorn, it now also carries chic and comfy leather sandals for women that are manufactured in Greece. Fantasy Sandals is produced by an established Greek brand that also makes leather bags.

The sandals have full polyurethane outsoles so they are lightweight and resistant to abrasions. Fantasy Sandals footwear also utilizes the bubble sole technology, where the air trapped during the moulding process provides extra cushioning. These are also available at Res|Toe|Run branches in Cebu.

The Res|Toe|Run stores, with its unique and out-of-the-box concepts and impressive selection of rare and iconic brands, has come to be a top-of-mind choice among the youth and the young at heart.

Tretorn Cebu


Tretorn Cebu

Your Kind of Comfort campaign

Knowing best that millennials value style as much as comfort when out shopping for the perfect pair, it comes up with the “Your Kind of Comfort” campaign for the season.

In the active comfort category, those who love engaging in various fitness activities can find such footwear brands as FitFlop, DC and People. On the other hand, lazy weekend mornings are best paired with easygoing footwear from Native and Faux Pas Paris.

Stylish comfort footwear offers a diverse mix of brands that embody edgy style without the wearer needing to sacrifice comfort. Check out the latest designs by Dr. Martens, Tretorn, Native, Regetta Canoe and FitFlop.

Believing that footwear must be comfortable no matter what the occasion, the polished comfort category carry styles that can fit a wide range of activities. Think Faux Pas Paris, Fantasy Sandals, FitFlop, Kickers, Sledgers, and Flossy for work, business meetings, and other special events.

Fantasy Sandals
Carlo Cecilio of the Primer Group of Companies talks about Tretorn and Fantasy Sandals in a media briefing in Cebu.


Res|Toe|Run branches

From ensuring the most optimal shopping experience all the way to housing the latest in comfortable footwear, Res|Toe|Run will always make sure that you enjoy nothing less than “Your Kind of Comfort.”

Res|Toe|Run branches may be found in the following locations: Banilad Town Centre, Ayala Center Cebu, and Robinsons Galleria Cebu. You may also shop for the latest footwear offers by Res|Toe|Run through its official e-commerce website,

Fantasy Sandal


Israel ambassador sees big potential for trade, tourism with Philippines

Israel sees a big potential for stronger trade, tourism, and diplomatic ties with the Philippines, said new Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz.

An important role of government, he added, is to create the conditions for nurturing business and one way to do this is to cultivate good political relations with other nations.

He explained during his courtesy call to the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) that his activities in the Philippines, which involved meeting local executives and business groups, serve to complement the four-day visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in Israel.

Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz
OPPORTUNITIES. Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz talks about trade and tourism opportunities with officers of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) during a courtesy call last October 23. Beside Harpaz is CCCI vice president for external affairs and relations Charles Kenneth Co.


Harpaz said there were special agreements signed between Israel and the Philippines during that visit, including business to business and government to government deals. He mentioned the oil exploration agreement that the Philippine government entered into with an Israeli company.

Israel has a lot to offer the Philippines, from innovations in agriculture and water management to new technology products, the Israeli ambassador also said.

“Your challenge is water management and quality. We can help you with this. Our challenge is not having enough water so we developed new sources. Saving water is also in our DNA,” Mr. Harpaz added, citing that Israel also excels in agriculture. Food security is one area where Israel and the Philippines can work on together.

He said his country also appreciates the role of Filipino caregivers, and the two countries recently inked a deal to regulate their working conditions. It is also looking at opening the hotel industry to Filipino workers, he further said.

Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz
TRADE LINKS. Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz with officials of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


According to Mr. Harpaz, the two countries can also benefit from increased tourism activities, noting that Filipinos do not need a visa to visit Israel. Many Filipinos travel to Israel as part of a pilgrimage tour to the Holy Land.

He also said they’re working on having direct flights between the Philippines and Israel as one way of further boosting tourism, adding he is confident that it will serve to increase visitor arrivals in both countries.

Israel might not manufacture mobile phones but it is responsible for many applications running on these devices. Waze, after all, was created by an Israeli startup, which is also behind other technology products pertaining to travel, transportation, and finance.

The Philippines in general and Cebu in particular can benefit from big companies in Israel outsourcing the manufacture of new products born out of research and development in Israel.

Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz
PRESS CONFERENCE. Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz answers questions of Cebu journalists during a press conference after a courtesy call with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry. With him are Honorary Consul of Israel in Cebu Emily Benedicto-Chioson (standing), his wife Shulamit, and Deputy Chief of Mission Yulia Rachinsky-Spivakov .