Feature Places Travel

A weekend in Huni Sicogon

Rough waters turn gentle and the cerulean deep gives way to aquamarine shallows as a speck in the distant horizon transforms into Sicogon Island.

Our destination slowly appears as a towering mass of green bordered by a strip of white that glistens under the noonday sun.

Nearer still, we can make out a gently sloping mountain with a curious peak that tapers down to an expanse of coastline with creamy sand.

Huni Sicogon
HUNI SICOGON. The spring water swimming pool looks across the seas to Islas de Gigantes.


The tide was high enough to allow our motorized outrigger boat to dock on the beach right where the makings of a modern and upscale resort have taken shape.

Huni Sicogon

Huni Sicogon, our home for three activity-filled days, sits right before the coastline and where in the far distance a grouping of islands called Islas de Gigantes forms the shape of a sleeping giant.

From our spot on the beach, we can make out a huge pool with bar, open-air restaurant, and sprawling two-level building with rooms that look out either to the sea or the green foliage of Sicogon’s iconic Mt. Opao. Parched from the journey, we gladly downed the drinks offered by a resort welcoming party led by resident manager Bayon Abescola.

Huni Sicogon
Our room in Huni Sicogon opens to the beach,


Huni currently testing out amenities, facilities, and services with half of the total of 52 rooms open in preparation for grand opening day sometime in the last quarter of 2018, according to Abescola. was among those invited to the resort’s soft opening.

We were billeted in spacious deluxe rooms that can accommodate a maximum of three and offer varying bed sizes. Family rooms are good for four and come even bigger at 53 square meters.

Huni Sicogon Island
HUNI SICOGON will have 52 rooms when all phases are done. It sits on a beautiful beachfront looking across the Islas de Gigantes.


Tourism estate

Named for the humming sound of the sea, Huni is a central figure in the Sicogon Island Tourism Estate in Carles, Iloilo. The tourism estate is a development born out of a partnership between Ayala Land and the Sicogon Development Corp., said Jonah Villena, Marketing and PR supervisor of the Ayala Land subsidiary Ten Knots Development Corporation.

Soon enough, a fully completed airport on the 1,100-hectare Sicogon Island will welcome the first commercial flight from the capital while a jetty port will make it more accessible to seaborne visitors. Bayon said he expects two motorized outrigger boats for island transfers and e-jeeps for travel within Sicogon.

Huni Sicogon Mt. Opao
SCALING MT. OPAO. One of the fun activities you should try when in Sicogon Island is to scale Mt. Opao. Huni Sicogon arranges hikes to Mt. Opao and provides local guides.


Ayala Land will also bring in a four-storey Seda hotel as well as a 77-bed hostel called Dayon to be conveniently located right beside the Sicogon airport within the next three years. A resort town center with retail shops surrounding a 4.3-hectare lagoon is also in the pipeline.

For now, though, there is Huni Sicogon with its easy access to warm sea and unspoiled mountain.

Island activities

Imagine afternoon walks by the coast, a cool dip in the freshwater spring pool, cocktails and karaoke. There are also such activities as kayaking, stand up paddle, and snorkeling to satisfy a craving for more energetic sport.

A trek through the dense undergrowth up Mt. Opao is a must-try but be warned that it does require a certain fitness level. The nearby islet of Tumaquin offers the more challenging cliff jumping activity.

Antonia Beach Islas de Gigantes
ISLAND-HOPPING TOUR. Huni Sicogon is the perfect jumpoff point to a tour of Islas de Gigantes, including to Antonia Beach, where you can eat scallops for P1 apiece.


Off site, there are the popular islands that make up the Gigantes group: the selfie island Cabugao Gamay, Bantigue Sandbar, and Antonia Island. Sicogon’s location makes it the perfect jump off point for hopping from one island to another.

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the seafood in the islands. Whether you order it as part of resort fare or from a local community in a Gigantes island, you are always assured it is the freshest it can be.


More photos of our Huni Sicogon weekend


Huni Sicogon Island
BEACHFRONT. Huni Sicogon has an expansive beachfront that looks across to Islas de Gigantes.


Huni Sicogon Island
SOFT OPENING. Our group of writers from Cebu at the Huni Sicogon all-day dining restaurant.


Huni Sicogon Island
HUNI SICOGON ROOM. Our room during the weekend stay.


Huni Sicogon Cabugao Gamay
SELFIE ISLAND. Rock formations on Cabugao Gamay, more known as the selfie island for its iconic spot for taking selfies.


Huni Sicogon Bantigue Sandbar
1-PESO SCALLOPS. Feasting on scallops, sold by the tray at P1 apiece, on the Bantigue sandbar.


Huni Sicogon beach
DINNER ON THE BEACH. First night’s dinner on a the beautiful Huni Sicogon beach.


Huni Sicogon
FRESH SEAFOOD is always on the menu on Sicogon Island.


Huni Sicogon dinner


Huni Sicogon restaurant


Huni Sicogon dinner
Gising gising


Huni Sicogon dinner


Huni Sicogon Mt. Opao
TO MT. OPAO. Our group heading to the summit of Mt. Opao.


Mt. Opao Sicogon Island
AIRSTRIP. The airstrip and lagoon, which will have retail shops in the future, can be seen from the peak of Mt. Opao.


Balay Kogon Sicogon Island
BALAY KOGON. The beachfront of nearby Balay Kogon, which is part of the tourism estate.


Balay Kogon Sicogon Island
CHICKEN BINAKOL is chicken soup with coconut meat and water. We had this delicious dish in Balay Kogon.


Huni Sicogon


Huni Sicogon
THE WINNICK. This cocktail is named after Katheryn Winnick, an actress known for her role in Vikings. It’s her favorite drink and she requested the resort to make it during her stay. It has since become part of the drinks menu of Huni Sicogon.


Huni Sicogon Mt. Opao
HUNI SICOGON. The beachfront of Huni Sicogon and Mt. Opao on the background.


Events Food

Cebu Journeys 2018 showcases local destinations, products

Local delicacies and travel products in 20 Cebu towns and cities are showcased at the Cebu Provincial Capitol during the 3-day travel fair Cebu Journeys 2018. The fair closes tomorrow, August 30.

On display at the Capitol Social Hall are homemade rhums and jams from Samboan, Guilang’s tablea from Argao, cranberry juice from Santander, ground and roasted coffee beans from Tuburan, rice cakes and budbud from Asturias, podreda cookies from Oslob, cassava cookies from Tudela, and a wide range of specialty merchandise produced from abundant local resource.

Cebu Journeys Argao torta and tableya
Torta and tableya from Argao.

Travel made easier

There are such products as hablon from Argao, decorative pieces made using upcycled materials from Naga, baskets from Tabogon and San Remigio, woven mats from Pilar, soap and polvoron with goat milk as main ingredient from Bogo, and turmeric tea from Alegria.

Through Cebu Journeys 2018, which is initiated by the Cebu Provincial Tourism Office, travel to top local destinations has also been made easier.

Cebu Journeys Tuburan coffee.
Tuburan coffee.

Ever wanted to visit or go on a repeat trip to Camotes? You can get all the information you need from representatives of local government units that make up the Camotes Group of Islands present at the travel fair.

The town of Dalaguete offers a tour package that includes excursions to historical landmarks, cold spring and mountain, flower and strawberry farms, and vegetable market.

Cebu Journeys Cranberry juice from Santander
Cranberry juice from Santander

Town destinations

Oslob showcases island getaways to Sumilon, waterfalls experience, and whale shark adventure.

Aloguinsan offers the Bojo River Cruise with sumptuous lunch and snacks as well as handicraft demo.

Want a more adventurous tour? Alegria has you covered with its canyoneering experience.

Cebu Journeys Hablon from Argao.
Hablon from Argao.

South of Cebu, the Naga boardwalk is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. That’s not all it offers, though. It also has treks to Mt. Naupa and world class sports facilities that include an eight-lane Olympic size swimming pool.

The dive paradise that is Moalboal also offers beach and island hopping experiences as well as caving and heritage site visits.

Cebu Journeys 2018
OPENING. Cebu First Lady Jobel Davide and Department of Tourism Central Visayas Director Shalimar Tamano lead the opening of Cebu Journeys 2018 at the Capitol Social Hall.

Guests get a passport stamped with the 20 participating Cebu towns and cities. They will need to have all these signed by local government representatives. In the passport are three questions about Cebu that they must answer before they can submit it with their details to organizers for a chance to win great prizes.

Cebu Journeys 2018
MUSIC. Trixie Anne Alturas of Parklane with her colleagues perform during the event.

The event is sponsored by Smart Communications Inc.

Get all the details to top Cebu destinations and enjoy local delicacies while you’re at it when you check out the Cebu Journeys 2018 Travel Fair.

Cebu Journeys
THE CHEFS. These chefs of different Cebu hotels showcased Cebuano cuisine with a high-end twist. The chefs are June Fernandez of Parklane, Melba Pranza of Golden Prince, Deofrey Vistal of Radisson Blu, Coke Semblante of Radisson Blu, and Richard Hao of USJ-R.

Cebu Landmasters launches mixed-use Astra Centre in Mandaue

Two high-rise towers with a world-class hotel, residential units, and office spaces linked by a podium hosting an upscale boutique mall will make up Cebu’s upcoming lifestyle hub Astra Centre, Cebu Landmasters, Inc.’s second full-range mixed-use development.

Jose Soberano III, CLI chief executive officer, said during the launch of the P3.6-billion project yesterday, August 8, that Astra Centre is “an astounding, aspiring, and all-in-one development” well suited to the dynamic lifestyle of the Cebuanos.

Astra Centre Landmaster Joe Soberano III
CHANGE LANDSCAPE. Jose Soberano III, CLI chief executive officer, says Astra Centre “will change the landscape of Mandaue City.”


Mandaue growth corridor

It will rise on a 1.2-hectare lot along AS Fortuna St., which Soberano described as Mandaue City’s new growth corridor.

“Astra Centre will change the landscape of Mandaue City “ he added, citing that the project espouses a compact community concept where everything is within walking distance—from residence and workplace to shopping and entertainment.

First Radisson RED

CLI plans to finish the first phase of the project, which will include the 30-floor first tower and lifestyle mall, in three years or by 2021, according to the company’s chief operations officer, Jose Franco Soberano.

Astra Centre Jose Franco Soberano
LIFESTYLE HUB. CLI COO Jose Franco Soberano talks about upcoming lifestyle hub Astra Centre during its launch.


He said the high-rise building will host both the first Radisson RED in the Philippines and the residential component One Astra Place.

The 146-room hotel, to be operated by the Radisson Hotel Group, will have a unique design and upscale service offerings that will be informal, aspirational, and targeted towards millennials, according to a press statement released during the launch.

One Astra Place

One the other hand, One Astra Place will occupy 15 floors consisting of 478 units with such amenities as an infinity pool, kiddie pool, function rooms, gym, al fresco area, and skydeck.

The three-level Astra Centre Mall will be a new concept as well, with half of retail spaces located outdoors, said the younger Soberano.

Tower 2, which is part of the development’s second phase, will combine Astra Corporate Center’s 12 floors of modern office spaces and residences.


Astra Centre Cebu Landmasters
LAUNCH. Jose Soberano III, CLI chief executive officer, leads his team in unveiling Astra Centre.
Events Feature Travel

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

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

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

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

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


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

Cathay Pacific bestsellers

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

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

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

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


Extensive SilkAir network

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

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

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

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

Grand Travel Bazaar Cebu
TRAVEL ESSENTIAL. Customers get discount coupons for Delsey products courtesy of the Primer Group.


More Europe destinations

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

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


Facebook Livestream of opening


International, local flights

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

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

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

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

Business Feature Tech

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

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

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

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

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

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


Taxi 2.0

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

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

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

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

Micab target

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

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

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

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


Digital hailing stations

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

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

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

Business Entrepreneurship Tech

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital, talent skills

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

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

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

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

New tech opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

Business Events

CCCI forges partnerships for Cebu Business Month 2018

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

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

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

Below is a complete list of CBM 2018 sponsors.

Event Partners

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

Omnibus Co-Presenter

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

Omnibus Platinum

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Omnibus Diamond

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


Treasure Island Industrial Corporation

Prime Partners

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

Media Partners

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

CBM 2018 Specific Event Sponsors

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

Business Events

CBM 2018 schedule highlights innovations for business

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

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

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

Below is the full CBM 2018 schedule of activities:

June 1

Grand Opening Salvo
The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu

June 1-3

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

June 8

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

June 10-12

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

June 14

Tourism Innovation Forum
Organizer: CBM 2018
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

June 19-20

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

June 21

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

June 22

MSME Industry Educational Tour
Organizer: CBM 2018
Different Companies

June 23-24

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

June 29

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

Business Tech

CCCI forges partnerships, lines up big events for CBM 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Innovation Summit

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

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

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

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

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

CBM 2018 sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

Business Tech

2018 Transformation Summit to tackle AI adoption, digital innovation

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

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

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

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

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

Transformation Summit topics

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

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

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

Other forum topics include:

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

AI, high value IT services

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

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

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

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

Registration fees

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

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

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

Community Tech

Cebu City library gets free wifi in partnership with Smart

Shortly after expanding to 24-hour daily operations, the Cebu City Public Library and Information Center rolled out a carrier-grade wifi service for users in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc.

Students, researchers, and other library patrons get their first 30 minutes of Smart Wifi access for free. They can extend access by buying credits via cellphone load.

A wifi connection is particularly useful for studying and research and would be a big help to library goers, said Ramon Isberto, concurrent Public Affairs Head of leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT and wireless subsidiary Smart.

Cebu City Library Smart Wifi
SMART WIFI. (From left) Smart Public Affairs AVP and Center Head Maria Jane C. Paredes, Mitch Roldan, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto, Cebu City Hall Assistant City Administrator Annabeth Cuizon, Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña, Cebu City Librarian Rosario Chua, and PLDT SME Nation AVP Jimmy Chua during the launching of the Smart Wi-Fi in the Cebu City Public Library.

“When you turn a library into a community hub, you make it more powerful and influential,” he added, citing that users get access not only to books housed there but to a global library through the Internet.

High-speed Internet

Jimmy Chua, AVP and Head CRM of PLDT SME Nation, said high-speed Internet is essential for going digital and that the provision of Smart Wifi at the library was only the beginning of the company’s collaboration with Cebu City.

Isberto and Chua attended the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to formalize the provision of up to 30 minutes of free wifi at the city library last April 5, 2018.

Cebu City library Smart wifi
AGREEMENT. (From left) PLDT SME Nation AVP Jimmy Chua, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto, Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña, and Cebu City Librarian Rosario Chua after the signing of the agreement.

Councilor Margot Osmeña said the City Government was more than willing to transform the Cebu City Public Library and Information Center into a daily 24-hour operation when student Mitch Roldan requested it.

“Whatever the City can do, we will do for you,” Osmeña, who represented the City Government at the signing, added.

Cebu City study centers

Cebu City plans to put up 24-hour study centers in selected barangays so students don’t need to go far to study. Osmeña said she hopes to get the support of PLDT and Smart for the other areas as well.

Cebu City public library Smart wifi
BIG HELP. A wifi connection is particularly useful for studying and research and would be a big help to library goers, said Ramon Isberto, concurrent Public Affairs Head of PLDT and Smart.

Aside from the city library, Smart Wifi is also available for students at Cebu Institute of Technology, Cebu Technological University, University of Cebu Banilad in Cebu City, and in more school across Cebu Province.

Cebu City Hall was the first establishment in Cebu that offered public Smart Wifi. Other areas with Smart Wifi are the Cebu Provincial Capitol, Larsian Food Center, Cebu North and South Bus Terminals, Cebu Port Terminals 1 and 3, Cebu Port Terminals 1 and 3, and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Facebook Live broadcast of launch


AirAsia opens 3 Cebu-China routes; starts Clark flights from Cebu

To meet the demand of a fast growing Chinese travel market, Philippines AirAsia will start new routes to Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Shanghai in China from Cebu in May and July.

The Cebu-Shenzhen daily flights will start on May 9, 2018 with promo fares from as low as P888 for bookings until April 22, 2018 and for travel from May 9, 2018 to October 27, 2018.

“Cebuano travelers will be delighted to experience Shenzhen’s modern metropolis and marvel at how the southern city that links Hong Kong to mainland China built the world’s largest electric bus fleet, massive malls, contemporary buildings, and amusement parks,” said Philippines AirAsia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dexter Comendador.

AirAsia’s first China route from Cebu will further strengthen the company’s network outside Metro Manila and open up new and exciting places to visit this summer, he added.

AirAsia new routes
NEW AIRASIA ROUTES. (From left) Allenie Caccam, AirAsia Senior Marketing Manager for International Routes; AirAsia CEO Dexter Comendador; Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Antonio Chiu; and Domestic Marketing Manager Cathy Cabahug.

“AirAsia feels strongly about developing tourism and trade outside of Metro Manila,” Comendador also said. In Cebu, he was grateful for the support of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).

New domestic, international routes

One more route, Cebu-Hangzhou, will be opened in May and a third, Cebu-Shanghai, will start in July. Comendador said they’re still getting the necessary permits and will announce the inaugural dates for these flights soon.

Allenie Caccam, AirAsia Senior Marketing Manager for International Routes, said the new Cebu-China routes would invite more Chinese tourists and businessmen to visit Cebu and experience how wonderful it is as a destination. At the same time, more tourists in the Visayas and Mindanao would get connected to AirAsia’s international routes.

AirAsia new routes
NEW CEBU-CHINA ROUTES. Philippines AirAsia will start new routes to Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Shanghai in China from Cebu in May and July.

Philippines AirAsia will also start Cebu-Clark flights on May 11, 2018. Seats for this route are being offered from as low as P17 only for bookings up to April 22, 2018 and travel between May 11, 2018 to October 26, 2018.

“AirAsia is here to support the government’s flagship projects to boost tourism and trade. We aim to better connect Clark to secondary cities within the Philippines like Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Tacloban followed by inter-Asean connectivity where the AirAsia Group has massive network covering over 120 destinations in the whole of ASEAN, in greater Asia, Australia, United States, and beyond,” Comendador added.


Ayala Center Cebu lines up craft, music, fitness activities for #SummerAtAyala

The school break promises to be a fun time for families as Ayala Center Cebu launches a plethora of activities to turn it into one #HappyColorfulSummer.

Cebu’s premier destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment has scheduled a lineup of entertaining pursuits for the whole family throughout the sunniest season of the year.

These include a range of play and learn activities for kids, fitness sessions, weekend fun events, and music fests.

Ayala Center Cebu summer
LAUNCHING. Celeste “Bong” Dy, Ayala Center Cebu general manager, talks about #SummerAtAyala during the launch.

Celeste “Bong” Dy, Ayala Center Cebu general manager, led the #SummerAtAyala launch where guests experienced a little of the enjoyable times ahead through craft flower assembling and a smoothie-making competition courtesy of Mooshi.

Kids’ workshops, play activities

The mall will offer voice, dance, painting, arts and crafts, sewing, and taekwondo lessons from April to May in the kids’ workshops. Children can also look forward to fun times at Bounce N Play Gleeful Moppets, My Little Craft Corner, Jumping Clay, Creative Minds, Hoverball, and KPUP Spritely Gym and Party Racer Go Carts. Kids who complete certain designated activities will get a premium prize.

Ayala Center Cebu summer 2018
CONTEST. Ayala Center Cebu held a smoothie-making competition courtesy of Mooshi to mark the launch of #SummerAtAyala.

For weekends, the mall will showcase marching bands and live mannequins, balloon twister and photobooth, bubble show, magic show, face painting and sticker tattoos.

Staying in shape will also be easier in the summer with Ayala Center Cebu’s zumba and capoeira classes as well as fitness bootcamp.

Nightly entertainment will come in the form of good music by local talents. It will be folk music every Wednesday from 8:00-10:00 p.m. at the Garden Area, and ACCoustic Sessions every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Level 2.

Ayala Center Cebu summer
CRAFT, SMOOTHIE. The launch included craft flower assembly and healthy refreshments from Mooshi.


Ayala Center Cebu summer
AYALA CENTER CEBU. The Ayala Center Cebu team led by general manager Celeste “Bong” Dy hosted the launch party for the mall’s summer activities.








Business Feature

Mactan Doc starts expansion, breaks ground for Medical Arts building

To better cater to the growing local and tourist population, Mactan Doctors Hospital will undergo a three-phase expansion starting with the construction of a Medical Arts Building.

Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, chairman and president of the CebuDoc Group of Hospitals, said it has been a longtime dream of the company to make Mactan Doctors in Lapu-Lapu City a major player in the health industry.

“One of the marching orders I’ve given down the line is don’t let the patients cross the bridge. For this to happen, the expansion must ensure that Mactan Doctors Hospital carry the complete facilities and offer affordable rates,” he added.

Mactan Doctors Hospital expansion
TIME CAPSULE. Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, chairman and president of the CebuDoc Group of Hospitals, lead company officials and partners in laying down the time capsule to mark the groundbreaking of the Medical Arts Building at Mactan Doctors Hospital.

3-phase expansion

After the construction of a new Medical Arts building, the second phase of the expansion will be to transform the space currently occupied by the clinics into a two-storey structure that will house the emergency room with a 24-hour concierge.

Increasing hospital capacity from 160 to 300 beds will be the third phase of the expansion, added Larrazabal. He led the groundbreaking of the Medical Arts building last March 10. Once completed, the structure will have at least 50 shared clinics.

Mactan Doctors, which is part of a network of facilities under the CebuDoc Group of Hospitals, will spend from P150 to P175 million for the whole development. According to Larrazabal, each phase of the expansion will take about six months.

Healthcare demand

This will be the fourth expansion by Mactan Doctors since its opening in 1993, said Medical Director Dr. Joselito Montesclaros. He added that the move is necessary because the demand for healthcare in Mactan has risen exponentially with the increase in the number of residents and tourists.

Mactan Doc expansion
CEREMONY. Mactan Doctors, which is part of a network of facilities under the CebuDoc Group of Hospitals, will spend from P150 to P175 million for the whole development.

Mactan Doctors will also be introducing medical procedures previously offered only in Cebu City hospitals, such as a dialysis treatment, laparoscopic surgery, hyperbaric medicine, and positron-emission tomography (PET) scan. It will soon offer residency training programs as well.

Other members of the CebuDoc Group of Hospitals are also scheduled for upgrades and expansion. These initiatives will include a trauma center in South General Hospital and Mother and Child Center in North Gen.

Mactan Doc expansion
SIGNING. Officials led by Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III, chairman and president of the CebuDoc Group of Hospitals, sign building plans and documents to mark the groundbreaking.
Feature Food

Manang Juling’s Kilawan brings specialty seafood menu to Cebu City

A legacy of Cebuano flavors passed down through three generations of women continues on with the opening of Manang Juling’s Kilawan in Cebu City.

Sisters Sarah A. Suizo and Alicia A. Daan said the family business of serving kinilaw and seafood dishes started as a single table in Tangke, Talisay with their grandmother Estel Labajo in the 1960s.

Hers was one of the first eateries to serve fish prepared through the “sutukil” or sinugba, tinola, and kinilaw method.

Manang Juling’s Kilawan
KINILAW or ceviche is a specialty of the eatery then known as Kilawan sa Talisay that started on a single table in Barangay Tangke in the 1960s.

Estel’s daughter Juling Abarquez took over the business that was known then by the generic name Kilawan sa Talisay together with a few other eateries that were serving similar fare.

New Kilawan branch

The small eatery grew and transformed into Manang Juling’s Kilawan in Tangke beginning in 1986, due in part to the family being able to buy the lot it was squatting on and build a more permanent structure.

Manang Juling’s Kilawan nilarang
Nilarang tasik.

Manang Juling’s Kilawan brings the experience closer to Cebuanos with the opening of a branch in Mango Square Mall (right across Century Plaza) in Cebu City.

Suizo said her promise to customers in both Manang Juling’s Kilawan branches is that they will be served the freshest seafood. The restaurant gets its supply of fish, shellfish, crabs, and shrimps directly from fishers immediately after they dock with the day’s catch in Tangke.

Manang Juling’s Kilawan
NEW BRANCH. Sisters Sarah A. Suizo and Alicia A. Daan at the new branch of Manang Juling’s Kilawan in Mango Square Mall in Cebu City.

Manang Juling’s menu

Manang Juling’s serves appetizers like kinilaw na tangigue, sinuglaw, kinilaw na sunlutan, kinilaw na lato, guso, or lukot. Soup orders include tinolang halaan or tangigue, sinigang na lapu-lapu or pasayan, and tinolang bug-atan.

Main courses range from seafood to sinugba as well as meat dishes. Diners can choose from inun-unan (tuna belly or tangigue), nukos adobao, steamed lambay, garlic shrimp, fried nukos, ginisang scallops, steamed bongcawil, and crispy ikog sa tuna.

Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
Ginisang scallops.

There is also a wide selection of sinugba menu: tuna na panga, tuna belly, kitong, tasik, nukos, pork belly, and manok.

Restaurant hours

The main dining area in Manang Juling’s Kilawan in Mango Square Mall can seat around 50 people. There is additional space in the function room.

Suizo said they had refused partnership offers in the past for the opening of a branch in Cebu City. They were recently persuaded by members of the Yap family, who are also longtime customers of Manang Juling’s. This is why it took them 40 years to put up another branch, added Daan.

Manang Juling’s Kilawan also offers catering and packed meals. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. For reservations and catering inquiries, Manang Juling’s may be reached at +6332 254 2283. Get updates by following them on Facebook @manangjulingskilawan and Instagram @manangjulings.

More photos of Manang Juling’s Kilawan in Mango Square Mall

Manang Juling’s Kilawan
Garlic shrimp.


Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
Crunchy delicious bagnet.


Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
Sinugbang tuna belly.


Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
Tinolang bug-atan


Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
STEAMED BONGKAWIL. Sarah Suizo said her promise to customers in both Manang Juling’s Kilawan branches is that they will be served the freshest seafood. The restaurant gets its supply of fish, shellfish, crabs, and shrimps directly from fishers immediately after they dock with the day’s catch in Tangke.


Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
Kinilaw na lato


Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
Nukos adobao


Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
More kinilaw and mini-turon.


Manang Juling’s Kilawan Mango Square Mall
The kinilaw was our favorite.


Manang Juling’s Kilawan
Sisters Sarah A. Suizo and Alicia A. Daan with their staff at Manang Juling’s Kilawan in Mango Square Mall. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Business Properties

Megaworld set to open La Salle-supervised school in Mactan Newtown

A student-centered learning institution under the supervision of the De La Salle Brothers will open this June for school year 20018-2019 within the Mactan development of property giant Megaworld and has been officially named “Newtown School of Excellence.”

Megaworld Cebu Properties, Inc. president Noli D. Hernandez said the school will initially offer classes for the nursery and kindergarten levels.

The Newtown School of Excellence is a partnership between Megaworld and the Lasallian Schools Supervision Services Association, Inc. (LASSSAI).

Newtown School of Excellence
Megaworld Cebu Properties, Inc. president Noli D. Hernandez (left) and Brother Narciso Erguiza Jr. shortly after the announcement of the opening of Newtown School of Excellence in the property giant’s township in Lapu-Lapu City.

It occupies around a hectare of space near the entrance of Mactan Newtown along the Mactan Circumferential Road. Megaworld has spent P240 million since it started building the school in 2014, according to Hernandez.

La Salle-supervised school

Brother Narciso Erguiza Jr., LASSSAI president, said a La Salle-supervised school is one that they don’t directly own but run for certain companies or groups under the same educational standards.

A De La Salle school operates with the learners as the central concept. Two other criteria they require for a school they run or supervise are that it must be a Catholic and there must be a good percentage of students from poor families, he added.

Newtown School of Excellence
Newtown School of Excellence. The school will initially offer classes for the nursery and kindergarten levels.

Erguiza cited they ensure that at least 20 percent of the student population are on full scholarships in all their schools. He added he would want to raise this to 30 percent in the Newtown School of Excellence.

“This school will primarily cater to the children of township homeowners, particularly those who live in our condominium developments. We will also cater to the children of the expat community and residents of Lapu-Lapu City and nearby towns and cities as well as the children of those working in nearby businesses and business process outsourcing companies,” said Hernandez.

Newtown School of Excellence
PRESS CONFERENCE. Harold Geronimo (right), Megaworld Senior Assistant Vice President and Head for Public Relations and Media Affairs, answers a question during the press conference to announce the opening of Newtown School of Excellence. 

Technology-based learning

The target is to add grade levels by school year until the Newtown School of Excellence will be running on full capacity up to Grade 12.

Erguiza said the school can accommodate around 1,000 students when it is fully operational.

Newtown School of Excellence
The Newtown School of Excellence, as with any De La Salle school, operates with the learners as the central concept.

The Newtown School of Excellence will have two main buildings when completed. The single-storey Kindergarten Building is composed of three classrooms, a library, playground, and multipurpose hall. On the other hand, the five-story Elementary Building will feature 21 classrooms, audio-visual rooms, computer rooms, music room, home economics room, prayer room, library and learning resource center, auditorium, covered court, physical education instruction room, science laboratories, clinic, and its own canteen.

According to Hernandez, the curricula in the different programs offered at the school will be technology-based and geared towards academic excellence and proficiency.

The Newtown School of Excellence will have two main buildings when completed. Megaworld has spent P240 million since it started building the school in 2014.
Events Lifestyle Properties

SM Home out to beautify condos in weekend event in Cebu

Condo living has become popular in Cebu and SM Home helps unit owners make the most of the lifestyle through a series of talks by design experts this weekend at the Northwing Atrium of SM City Cebu.

Cebuano designers Maybelline Te, Hannah Lim, Janet Lo-Lee, and Kate Ngo will share tips on choosing colors and furniture or hiring design help as well as secrets to maximizing space and sprucing up a starter condominium during the SM Home Design Series: The Essentials of Condo Living from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this February 24 and 25.

SM Home Design Series
DESIGN IDEAS. SM Home assistant vice president for marketing Tom Castañeda at the Northwing Atrium where home vignettes have been set up to showcase condo interior design ideas.

One goal of this campaign is to show customers that everything they need for their homes is available at SM Home, said the brand’s assistant vice president for marketing Tom Castañeda.

SM Home Design Series

Since a lot of people who come into the store may be overwhelmed by all the available options especially because they don’t have design backgrounds, SM Home launched the Design Series last September in Makati and brings it to Cebu for the first time this weekend, he added.

SM Home Design Series: The Essentials of Condo Living
BEDROOM AND LIVING ROOM. The bedroom was designed by Hannah Lim, the living room by Maybelline Te.

The event’s theme highlights the growing popularity of condo living not just in Makati but also in Cebu.

“These days, it’s common to see condo sizes diminish in size. They’re getting tinier and tinier! And as developers offer less space, homeowners have to figure out how to best maximize their spaces, how they can avoid sacrificing some of their needs without feeling cooped up,” Castañeda said.

Condo living essentials

Castañeda said those who come to the SM Home Design Series: The Essentials of Condo Living at the Northwing Atrium either today or tomorrow, Sunday, can expect free talks from a powerhouse of Cebuano design talents, check out styled home vignettes that demonstrate great condo design, raffle prizes, and an additional 10 percent off on all items at the SM Home in both SM City Cebu and SM Seaside City braches from Feb. 22 to March 8, 2018.

“Since small condos demand creativity when it comes to optimizing space, SM Home has turned to design experts to help highlight ways people can do that in their own homes through a series of condo-like setups, as well as expert-led talks,” he said.

SM Home Design Series: The Essentials of Condo Living
KITCHEN, DINING. The kitchen was designed by Janet Lo, the dining by Kate Ngo.

Beyond the weekend, SM Home also has a visual display person who is trained on interior design and offers free consultation to prospective customers.

Cebuano talents who designed the home vignettes now displayed at the Northwing are Te for the living room, Lim for the bedroom, Lo-Lee for the kitchen, and Ngo for the dining area.

More photos

Bedroom by Hannah Lim

Bedroom by Hannah Lim

A compact bedroom for a childless couple in their late thirties, interior designer Hannah Lim’s iteration of a husband and wife’s love for adventure are punches of refreshing pink and green, as well as rustic wood elements. Hannah Lim is the founder of HL Designs, a Cebu-based studio specializing in model units and common areas for real estate showrooms.

Dining Area by Kate Ngo

Dining Area by Kate Ngo

The furniture designer managed to apply depth to a limiting space. Instead of sticking to the basics, Kate injected drama to an otherwise fuss-free condo dining area by choosing a Scandinavian-inspired dining set which also complements the kitchen, amidst an overflow of leafy foliage and rose gold hang lights—an appetizing concoction of swanky and cozy.


Kitchen by Janet Lo-Lee

Kitchen by Janet Lo-Lee

A minimalist maven, the head designer of Janet Lo Lee Design Studio lends her signature style to her interpretation of a Scandinavian chic condo kitchen. An encompassing warm and inviting theme, the area intelligently makes use of space with streamlined, functional fixtures.


Living Room by Maybelline Te

Living Room by Maybelline Te

The layering of colors, textures and furniture is what makes Maybelline Te’s condo living room interpretation an exciting one. A designer and manufacturer of home furniture and accessories, Maybelline knows how to stir interest through the depth of decor elements—in this case, a blue tufted sofa bed atop a hot pink hairy rug, two differently-leveled coffee tables placed side by side, and the use of muted pinks and yellows that tempers a frivolous lounge area just right.

Events Food Heritage

Marco Polo Cebu marks Chinese New Year 2018 with traditional ceremony, food fest

Celebrating the Chinese New Year is tradition in Cebu, and no one does it better than Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The hotel welcomed CNY 2018, the Year of the Earth Dog, with lion and dragon dances, eye dotting ceremony, Yee Sang Ceremony, firecrackers to ward off evil, coin toss, and a culinary celebration at Cafe Marco.

Cafe Marco serves up Chinese dishes in the food fest Culinary Impressions of China where diners can indulge in delectable creations for the Lunar New Year up until February 18.

Marco Polo Chinese New Year
CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION. Guests prepare to hold the Prosperity Toss as part of the celebration at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Prosperity toss

Former Philippine Ambassador to China Francisco L. Benedicto,  Cathay Pacific Marketing and Communications Supervisor Connie Cimafranca, and Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Melanie Ng were among the guests of honor.

They joined Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly in the eye dotting ceremony and the Prosperity Toss. It is said that the higher the toss, the better the luck.

On occasion of the Chinese New Year 2018 celebration, the hotel is giving away freebies for those who book a stay by February 28, 2018. They get to enjoy extra benefits, including breakfast for two plus early check in and late check out subject to availability, 30 percent discount on second room booking, and complimentary room upgrade for those staying for three consecutive nights or more.

More photos of the event

Marco Polo


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Former Philippine Ambassador to China Francisco L. Benedicto during the eye dotting ceremony.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Prosperity Toss.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly leads the lighting of firecrackers outside the hotel.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
A traditional dragon dance at the lobby.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Chili Beef Ribs


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Pan-seared fish in green curry coconut and tomato sauce.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Stir fried beef.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Sauteed scallops.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Mixed seafoods.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Crispy noodles and pork


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Chinese cold platter.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Chorizo Macau salad.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Mushroom and corn salad.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Spicy tofu salad.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Lychee cream puff.
Business Travel

New Mactan Cebu airport terminal set to open by middle of 2018

Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is on track to open as scheduled by July 1 this year, but GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) is working to have it ready to operate by the first of June.

In the lead-up to opening day, GMR-Megawide will invite stakeholders to check out and test the facility through a series of activities that will be held from April to June, said chief executive advisor Andrew Acquaah Harrison.

To be invited are representatives from the academe especially engineering students, media, and tourism industry such as those in the hotel, travel, and transport sectors.

There will also be open days when GMCAC, the consortium managing the terminal operations and other related areas of MCIA, will invite members of the general public to register for a tour of the facility, according to branding head JR Torres.

MCIA Terminal 2
CONSTRUCTION UPDATE. Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 is on track to open as scheduled by July 1 this year.

Terminal 2 features

Harrison added that the new terminal will have three levels with total space of 65,000 square meters and increase the Cebu airport’s passenger capacity to 12.5 million.

It pays tribute to Cebu as a resort island and Cebuano heritage of furniture making in the terminal roof that uses glulam, first ever use of the material in an airport, and mimics ocean waves. Glulam, also called glued laminated timber, is made up of layers of wood bonded together with structural adhesives.

The new terminal will have a spacious and airy atmosphere, featuring ceilings that are 26 meters high and full glass walls. The polished concrete floor will have mother of pearls mixed in so it would sparkle like sand in the sunlight.

Mactan airport Terminal 2
SPARKLING FLOOR. The polished concrete floor will have mother of pearls mixed in so it would sparkle like sand in the sunlight.

Located on a separate floor from the arrival area, the departure level will only have two check-in islands but with several counters.

Increasing passenger traffic

MCIA eyes passenger traffic of 11.2 million in 2018, an increase of 12 percent from last year, with the opening of Terminal 2 and the launch of new flights out of Cebu.

The airport welcomed six additional airlines in 2017, including Air Juan, Juneyao Air, OK Air, Lucky Air, Sichuan Airlines, and Pan Pacific Airlines.

GMCAC credits the positive growth in MCIA’s passenger traffic to its destination marketing initiatives and its positioning of Cebu as gateway to the rest of the Philippines and major transfer hub to international destinations. Harrison said they will continue with their efforts in this direction.

Once the new terminal is operational, Torres said they will start a major renovation of Terminal 1. GMCAC had started initial rehabilitation of the old terminal when it took over management of MCIA and put up a rooftop solar power system that resulted in monthly savings of P1.2 million in electric consumption.

Mactan airport Terminal 2
INCREASED CAPACITY. GMR-Megawide chief executive advisor Andrew Acquaah Harrison says the new terminal will have three levels with total space of 65,000 square meters and increase the Cebu airport’s passenger capacity to 12.5 million.

SM2SM Run 2018 adds age categories, offers bigger prizes

The SM2SM Run returns for the eighth straight year with a new route, bigger prizes, open and age categories, and newer shirt and medal designs.

Race organizer Joel Baring said the SM2SM Run on February 18, 2018 will feature the 21k, 12k, 8k, and 4k categories but only those joining the two longest distances will get medals and have timing chips.

This will be the first time in the yearly running event that the 21k and 12k distances will carry the 40-49 and 50 and above categories, he added. The event was launched last January 24 with SM Prime Holdings Inc. Vice President Marissa Fernan and SM Supermalls Assistant Vice President for Marketing Jenjen Amigo in attendance.

MEDALS. Finishers of 21K and 12K in the SM2SM Run will receive these medals.

Encourage running

Fernan said she couldn’t believe how far they have gone after organizing the run for eight years. She said the SM to SM run was able to encourage people to start running and provide the Cebuano running community a quality race to look forward to yearly.

Beneficiaries of this year’s run are the Cebu Newspaper Workers Foundation and the Cebu City Task Force on Street Children.

According to Baring, they expect around 7,000 runners to sign up for the event.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. Vice President Marissa Fernan and race organizer Joel Baring during a press conference held for the SM2SM Run.

SM2SM Run prizes

The first male and female runners in the 21k open category will get P50,000 each. Other prizes in the same category: P30,000 for second placers, P20,000 for third placers, P3,000 for the fourth to 10th placers.

Cash prizes also await the top 3 foreign runners in the 21k open category (P15,000 – P10,000 – P7,000 for first to third) and 12k category (P10,000 – P7,000 – P5,000 for first to third).

The top 3 male and female runners in the 21k age categories will get the following prizers: P10,000 for first place, P5,000 for second place, and P3,000 for third place.

On the other hand, the 12k open category lists the following prizes: P20,000 (first place), P10,000 (second place), P8,000 (third place), P2,000 (4th to 10th). The 12k winners in the age categories will get: P5,000 (1st place), P3,000 (2nd place), P2,000 (3rd place).

Gun time, race route

Gun time is 4:00 a.m. for 21k, 5:00 a.m. for 12k, and 5:15 for the 8k and 4k distances. Depending on the distance, the race route will include such roads as S. Osmeña Boulevard, Osmeña Boulevard from Plaza Independencia up to the Provincial Capitol, Escario St., Gorordo Avenue, Salinas Drive, Archbishop Reyes Ave. up to Family Park, and Pope John Paul II Avenue.

The run will accept registrants only up to February 14 at the registration area outside of iStore in the 2nd level of the Northwing Atrium.

SM2SM Run route

Each runner will get a breakfast meal, loot bag, and ticket for the raffle draw.

Exciting prizes will be raffled off during the SM2SM Run, including 8 Cathay Pacific Cebu-Hong Kong roundtrip tickets, 8 Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and 8 Samsung LED TVs.