Categories
Events Lifestyle

Jessica Sanchez returns to Cebu for 1st major concert

American Idol singing sensation Jessica Sanchez is returning to Cebu with her first major concert here on November 29 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Sanchez rose to prominence in her stint with American Idol, which included a dramatic save by the judges after she was nearly voted off. She was just 16, a petite singer with a soaring voice highlighted when she performed “And I am Telling You.” Her season culminated with a masterclass vocal calisthenics with Jennifer Holliday in the series finale, which many still litigate on YouTube that she should have won.

Categories
1521 Feature Heritage History

Cebu Archdiocese, CBCP to focus on first baptism, spread of faith in 2021 celebration

The baptism of Cebuanos led by Rajah Humabon will be the focus of the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in their celebration of the 500th year of the Christianization of the Philippines

On December 1, 2019, the church will start a 500-day countdown to April 14, 2021, the 500th anniversary of the first baptism in the Philippines. On that day in 1521, 800 Cebuanos under Humabon were baptized by members of the Spanish armada led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

On April 14, 2021, 500 children with special needs will be baptized as part of the reenactment of that first baptism.

Jubilee Cross sendoff

Also on December 1, church officials will send off the Jubilee Cross, a replica of Magellan’s cross made of tindalo wood that will have in it a relic of the True Cross. The Jubilee Cross will visit the different parishes in Cebu and the rest of the Philippines.

The activities were announced earlier today by church officials led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and CBCP President and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles during a press conference in the Executive Lounge of Oakridge Business Park in Mandaue City.

2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.
2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.

Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili said the 2021 celebration has three pillars around which events are organized – celebration, formation, and legacy. He said the 2021 celebration has many highlights – including the arrival of the Sto. Nino, for which the Augustinian community started a countdown today. He said the archdiocese chose to focus on the baptism because “it is when our faith was planted in our hearts.”

Open Holy Door

Fr. Balili said they requested Pope Francis for permission to open the Holy Door for plenary indulgence and extend this to the 9 oldest churches in Cebu. Archbishop Palma will also celebrate the Misa de Gallo in 2020 in these 9 oldest churches, which include Bantayan, Argao, Barili, Boljoon, Carcar, San Nicolas, among others.

Key events leading to 2021 including the holding of monthly jubilees involving church organizations, ministries, and sectors of society. The jubilees are pegged on feast days of saints.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones highlighted the importance of the events saying 2021 is unrepeatable, irreplaceable and irrevocable. He said it is a “once in a lifetime event.”

“If Bethlehem is point x of our salvation history, in the Philippines, Cebu – the cradle of Christianity – is the point x where faith spread,” he said.

HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.
HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.

Mission congress

Part of the preparation for the year-long celebration leading to the quincentennial is the holding of mission congresses in the different parishes from August to October 2020. The Archdiocesan Mission Congress will be held on October 24, 2020. This will culminate with the sendoff of 500 missionaries outside extra during the National Mission Congress on April 12-16, 2021.

On April 11 to 18, 2021, organizers will stage an Amorsolo Painting Exhibit. One of Fernando Amorsolo’s most important paintings is “The First Baptism in the Philippines.”

Triduum celebrations will also be held three days before the baptism anniversary. Preceding it is the arrival of the Jubilee Cross scheduled on April 10, 2021. The first day of Triduum on April 11 will be held at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The second day will be at the National Shrine of St. Joseph while the last day will be at the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center. The Triduum will end with a procession around Cebu City.

First recorded Easter Mass

Valles said the church will mark the first recorded Easter Mass with a national celebration of masses. The Mojares panel is still looking into the question on where the first mass in the Philippines was held. Two previous panels have ruled in favor of Limasawa against the other claimant Butuan.

During today’s press conference, renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who is head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, unveiled the planned downtown heritage walk that would take people to historical buildings and locations, including churches, in Cebu City. (See separate story).

Valles said the CBCP will send an invitation to Vatican for Pope Francis but they said they are aware of how tight his schedule is. He said it is likely that a papal legate will attend the events for the Vatican. He said they will also be sending an invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Categories
1521 Feature History

Lapulapu statue implicated in deaths of Opon mayors

In the old town center of Opon, the old name of Lapu-Lapu City when it was still a municipality, stands a statue of Lapulapu carrying a staff. Far from being the warrior that is depicted in the bigger and more popular statue in Liberty Shrine eight kilometers away, this Lapulapu looks less menacing.

He’s more shepherd than warrior. It’s ridiculous, said historian Jobers Bersales in an interview, “alho man daw na.”

Lapulapu legends

That alho or pestle figures in the many legends and myths that obscure the historical Lapulapu, National Artist Dr. Resil Mojares said in a paper he read during the Symposium on Lapulapu at the University of San Carlos on April 21, 1979.

One of the legends had the mythical Datu Mangal, said to be Lapulapu’s father, asking the warrior to make an alho out of a biyanti tree and hurl it against a coconut tree and if the pestle pierces the trunk then it would serve as a good omen that he will be victorious in the upcoming battle with the Spaniards. Lapulapu did so and not only did the pestle pierce the coconut trunk, it went through five, according to some accounts.)

Mojares said that folk tradition has Lapulapu himself killing Magellan with a blow of the alho.

Lapulapu statue then and now.

While interesting, there are scant historical bases for the tradition, Mojares said.

The killing by Lapulapu of Magellan with a blow of the alho does not jibe with Pigafetta’s account of his killing. He was killed with a poisoned arrow, Bersales said.

Also, Oponganons during Lapulapu’s time may have been orang-laut or sea-nomads who inhabit the sea, Mojares wrote. “They were obviously more attached to the sea than the land,” he wrote.

Canuto Baring and stories of Lapulapu

“It strikes us therefore as strange that an alho, an agricultural implement, should figure prominently in the Lapulapu legend,” said Mojares.

The alho myth ties up with the stories of Canuto Baring “a popular source of Lapulapu legends who claimed direct descent from the hero.” He died in 1962.

Mojares wrote that in 1930, a giant alho and kuwako (pipe) said to be of Lapulapu and owned by Baring were put on exhibit. Kuwako ug alho ni Lapulapu ipasundayag sa Kamabal, reported Bag-ong Kusug on January 3, 1930.

His daughter Antonia, however, told Mojares in an interview that “these were just old artifacts that were dug up and “ascribed” to the hero.”

LAPULAPU. A photograph of the Lapulapu stature on October 10, 1949 by “Life” photographer Jack Birns. Beyond the statue is the old Opon church. (Photo from John Tewell’s Flickr account)
LAPULAPU. A photograph of the Lapulapu stature on October 10, 1949 by “Life” photographer Jack Birns. Beyond the statue is the old Opon church. (Photo from John Tewell’s Flickr account)

Deaths of Opon mayors

But when the statue was put up in 1933, Lapulapu was armed with a bow and arrow and aimed at the direction of the old Opon municipal hall across the town plaza.

Three successive mayors then died in office – Rito de la Serna, Gregorio de la Serna, and Simeon Amodia – all serving short terms. Superstitious townsfolk blamed the Lapulapu statue for their deaths.

It was modified during the term of Mariano Dimataga, who assumed as Open chief executive in 1938. The bow and arrow were taken away and replaced with the staff or pestle. Dimataga remained chief executive for the next 30 years, the longest serving town mayor of Opon and the first city mayor when the town became Lapu-Lapu City.

Categories
1521 History

Marica! Bisaya words in use when Magellan was in Cebu

I’ve long been curious about the word marica, which I first heard when I relocated to Cebu more than 20 years ago. I never heard it growing up in Polomolok, South Cotabato where we talked a patois that was a mix of Cebuano and Ilonggo.

For us, it was “dali” or “adto diri” or “ari di.” For years I spoke an ungrammatical “adto ko dinhi ugma (I’ll be here tomorrow).” The correct phrase is “anhi ko ugma.” To come here is anhi, to go there is adto, I was to learn soon enough.

I can no longer recall when I first heard marica but I’ve always thought it a modernism, a portmanteau of “muari ka” (edit: several people have said the root is the phrase “umari ka“) that evolved into a single-word bidding.

Categories
1521 History

Magellan’s Cross offers indulgence to Catholic faithful

Augustinian friar Santos Gomez Marañon, who served as bishop of Cebu from 1829 to 1840, granted the Magellan’s Cross plenary indulgence to those who pray before it every Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14.

The indulgence is gained by praying the Creed.

For those unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, an indulgence is a way to reduce the punishment for sins. It can be attained by performing a good deed or reciting a prayer or visiting a place.

Categories
1521 Feature Heritage History

In Oslob, Fr. Bermejo looks out to sea he protected in his lifetime

Just outside the compound of the Inmaculada Concepcion parish church in Oslob, southern Cebu, stands a forlorn statue of a slightly hunched priest holding a cross — as if to offer a blessing — while looking out to the open sea.

The statue is that of Fr. Julian Bermejo, an Augustinian priest who played a pivotal role in protecting Cebu and other parts of the Visayas from devastating Moro raids in the 19th century.

He was called “El Padre Capitan” and served as the commander-in-chief of the defense network, centered in nearby Boljoon, against Moro raiders who staged regular pirate attacks for looting and slave raiding, said Paul Gerschwiler in his book “Bolhoon A Cultural Sketch.”

EL PADRE CAPITAN. The statue of Fr. Julian Bermejo OSA in Oslob stands in front of the ruins of the baluarte – the watchtower part of a network that he organized to protect southern Cebu towns from Moro raiders.
EL PADRE CAPITAN. The statue of Fr. Julian Bermejo OSA in Oslob stands in front of the ruins of the baluarte – the watchtower part of a network that he organized to protect southern Cebu towns from Moro raiders.

Behind his statue are the ruins of a watchtower, a defensive structure that he organized into a grid that served as sentinels against the marauding Moros. That network and the defensive system he set up ultimately stopped the pirate raids in the middle of the 19th century.

Categories
1521 Feature Heritage

You think you’re kinky? Wait till you read about sexual practices of ancient Cebuanos

(WARNING: this article tackles a mature subject in graphic fashion)

These people go naked, Italian scholar Antonio Pigafetta wrote in his account of the Armada de Molucca’s stay in Zzubu or Cebu, “wearing only a piece of cloth made of palm around their shameful parts.”

“They have as many wives as they wish, but there is always a chief one,” he added.

Then he wrote about a practice that, according to historian Laurence Bergreen, both fascinated and appalled explorers from around the world: palang.

“The males, both large and small, have the head of their member pierced from one side to the other, with a pin of gold or of tin as thick as a goose feather; and at each end of this pin some have a star-shaped decoration like a button, and others, one like the head of a cart nail,” Pigafetta said.

The middle of the pin has a hole through which they urinate, he added. “The pin and the stars always remain firm, holding the member stiff.”

Categories
Events Feature People

Kim Chiu diplomacy

It all started when Vladimir, our tour guide in Davao City, sang a Kim Chiu song over the bus PA system.

We were headed to our hotel from another full day of school visits and government courtesy calls. Traffic was terrible. To while away the gridlock, Vladimir asked everyone in the bus – students, teachers, and journalists from both the Philippines and China who are part of the Fujian Youth Exchange Program – to introduce themselves and answer a cliche beauty pageant question: if you were a fruit, what would you be and why?

Categories
1521 Feature History

Is the original really encased inside Magellan’s Cross?

No, according to several historians. The panel placed at the foot of the cross makes two astonishing claims: that it contains the original Magellan’s Cross and that it was planted by the Portuguese explorer on that very spot.

Neither claim holds up to close scrutiny.

It is also interesting to note that the commemorative marker put up by the then Philippines Historical Committee in 1941 never made that claim.

MAGELLAN’S CROSS. This undated photo shows a view of the cross from Cebu City Hall. Behind it is the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño convent. (Photo from the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

MAGELLAN’S CROSS. This undated photo shows a view of the cross from Cebu City Hall. Behind it is the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño convent. (Photo from the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

Putting up of Magellan’s Cross

Antonio Pigafetta, chronicler of the Spanish armada led by Magellan, wrote that they put up the cross to mark the conversion of Cebuanos, led by ruler Rajah Humabon, to Christianity.

“A large cross was set up in the middle of the square. The Captain General told them that if they wished to become Christians as they had declared on the previous days, they must burn all their idols and set up a cross in their place. They were to adore that cross daily with clasped hands, and every morning after their custom, they were to make the sign of the cross (which the Captain General showed them how to make); and they ought to come hourly, at least in the morning, to that cross, and adore it kneeling,” Pigafetta wrote.

Magellan planting the cross. (Image from the New York Public Library)

National Artist and Cebuano historian Dr. Resil Mojares wrote in his book “The Feast of the Santo Niño: An Introduction to the History of a Cebuano Devotion” that it was the practice of Spaniards to plant crosses on land they “discover” to mark possession for the crown and signify divine presence.

But after Magellan’s death in the Battle of Mactan, which author Hugh Thomas described as “a gratuitous adventure that deserved to end badly,” the Cebuanos turned against the Spaniards, allegedly at the incitement of the explorer’s slave Enrique.

Humabon invited the surviving Spaniards to a feast on May 1. He promised them gifts and jewels to take with them to the King of Spain.

FERDINAND MAGELLAN. This portrait of the Portuguese explorer and captain of the Armada de Molucca is “believed to be one of the few accurate likenesses of Magellan,” wrote historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over the Edge of the World.

FERDINAND MAGELLAN. This portrait of the Portuguese explorer and captain of the Armada de Molucca is “believed to be one of the few accurate likenesses of Magellan,” wrote historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over the Edge of the World.

Pigafetta, who did not join because he was still nursing injuries from the battle in Mactan, said a quarter of the crew attended, including the two new co-commanders, Juan Serrano and Duarte Barbosa.

During the meal, the Spaniards were killed by Humabon’s men. The massacre culminated in a standoff at the shore where the Cebuanos held for ransom Juan Serrano, who pleaded with his compatriots to save him. After an initial negotiation on ransom when the Cebuanos kept asking for more, the armada decided to leave Cebu.

NO SUCH CLAIM. The official marker put up in 1941 by the then Philippines Historical Committee, which is now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, never made the claim about the original cross being encased in the one now at the site.

NO SUCH CLAIM. The official marker put up in 1941 by the then Philippines Historical Committee, which is now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, never made the claim about the original cross being encased in the one now at the site.

IS THIS ACCURATE? Thousands of tourists visiting Magellan’s Cross daily think, because of this panel, that part of the cross is still there and that it was planted at this very spot. Those claims don’t have historical support.

IS THIS ACCURATE? Thousands of tourists visiting Magellan’s Cross daily think, because of this panel, that part of the cross is still there and that it was planted at this very spot. Those claims don’t have historical support.

Tearing it down

“Only 115 men remained of the 260 who had left Spain, and as they fled to safety, their last sight of Cebu was of enraged islanders tearing down the cross on the mountaintop and smashing it to bits,” wrote American historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over The Edge of The World Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe. (Emphasis mine. Note the reference on a mountaintop. I haven’t found a similar one but the Spaniards were reported to prefer to plant the cross on the highest point of a place.)

“Simultaneously, before the ships had cleared the harbour, amid cries of jubilation from the indigenes, another party of them was tearing down the great Cross which Magellan had erected. What the leader had achieved during weeks of careful and patient work came to naught in an hour,” wrote Stefan Zweig in his seminal book Magellan.

In her dissertation on the Santo Niño de Cebu for her doctorate in anthropology, Astrid Sala-Boza said “there is no archaeological or historical evidence that this cross is actually the original (or at least the site of the original) Magellan’s cross.”

“Instead, because of its proximity to the Basilica, the site of the finding of the Holy Image during Legazpi’s expedition, there is the possibility that the cross could be “Legazpi’s cross” (now encased in wood),” Sala-Boza wrote. She also pointed out that the Legazpi expedition did not mention finding a cross.

NO TEXT OF CLAIM. This photo after a restoration of the kiosk by the Knights of Columbus several decades ago (we’re still looking into date) does not show at the base of the cross the panel that contains the claims about the original cross and its site.

NO TEXT OF CLAIM. This photo after a restoration of the kiosk by the Knights of Columbus several decades ago (we’re still looking into date) does not show at the base of the cross the panel that contains the claims about the original cross and its site.

Rada cross

In 1565, the Spaniards returned to the Philippines under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. They planted another cross, made of bamboo and measuring five fathoms.

“It is credited to the Augustinian Martin de Rada and has been called the cross of Rada,” wrote Mojares. He said Rada was known as the Apostle of Cebu because of his evangelization work here.

The cross of Rada was reputed to be miraculous because it “did not suffer the least lesion” in a fire that destroyed houses around the cross on November 2, 1565.

MAJOR TOURIST SPOT. Magellan’s Cross is a top tourist attraction in Cebu. It’s part of the tour circuit that includes the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Fort San Pedro, and Plaza Independencia. (Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu)

MAJOR TOURIST SPOT. Magellan’s Cross is a top tourist attraction in Cebu. It’s part of the tour circuit that includes the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Fort San Pedro, and Plaza Independencia. (Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu)

“Augustinian prior Juan de Albarran, during the construction of the current church complex in 1735-40, built an enclosure around the cross. In 1834, Santos Gomez Marañon, the Augustinian bishop of Cebu (1829-40), had an octagonal temple built to protect the cross from the weather and devotees who, regarding it as miraculous, were accustomed to chip away splinters from it as relics,” Mojares wrote. “The “original” cross is now contained in another hollow hardwood cross set in the middle of a stone altar inside the kiosk.

Sala-Boza said the cross was once referred to as “the cross on Magallanes street” and became eventually known as Magellan’s Cross.

Magellan's Cross in 1965. ({Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto.  Niño.

Magellan’s Cross in 1965. ({Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

“The lack of definitive documentary evidence on the identification of this cross obliges us to admit that it is a relic from the expedition of Legazpi, and not from that of Magellan,” Sala-Boza wrote in her study, quoting Villanueva’s 1969 work.

Did you know?

Until our research for the interactive marker that will be installed at the site, I did not know that it was granted an indulgence. To Catholics, an indulgence is “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.”

Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon granted the Magellan’s Cross plenary indulgence who those who pray before it every Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14. The indulgence is gained by praying one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory to the Father for the intention of the pope in Rome.

PLENARY INDULGENCE. This framed document found in the basilica library is the actual plenary indulgence granted by Cebu Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon for the Magellan’s Cross.

PLENARY INDULGENCE. This framed document found in the basilica library is the actual plenary indulgence granted by Cebu Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon for the Magellan’s Cross.

Categories
Events Travel

MCIA raffles off plane tickets, Mercedes-Benz

Travelers who shop and dine at the Mactan Cebu International Airport will get the chance to win a Mercedes-Benz A Class A180 2019 model and round trip tickets via Royal Air to various destinations throughout the country.

MCIA and its partners launched the Shop and Win raffle promo on Monday in MCIA Terminal 2. The promo will run from July 1, 2019 to October 15, 2019.

“This is our way of giving back and thanking all the travelers, passengers, and stakeholders for MCIA’s successful operations and the continued support the past years, especially since the opening of Terminal 2 a year ago,” said Ravishankar Saravu, Chief Commercial Advisor of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation.

Mactan airport retail

Saravu said the promo is also a way to encourage people to explore the retail areas of the airport. He said currently the shops are in Terminal 2, which hosts international flights, but more will open when work on Terminal 1 is done before the end of the year.

“What you see here are not just international and branded items but also Filipino products. If you explore a bit more, you will see the best of food options and the best of souvenir products from the Philippines,” Saravu said in an interview. “We want the travelers to explore a bit more.”

MCIA PROMO. Unveiling the grand prize for the Shop and Win raffle promo in Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport are (from left) Royal Air Marketing Manager Joanna Marie Garcia, Royal Air VP Commercial Margarita Obejas, Standard Insurance Marketing Manager Anna Lisa Opay, Standard Insurance Vice President Joy Alampay, GMCAC Chief Commercial Advisor Ravishankar Saravu, Global Star Owner and President Edward Onglatco, Global Star General Manager Ritchell Selma, Global Star Sales & Marketing Manager Aimee Ting, and GMCAC Deputy Chief Commercial Officer Ma. Cristina Angan.

MCIA PROMO. Unveiling the grand prize for the Shop and Win raffle promo in Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport are (from left) Royal Air Marketing Manager Joanna Marie Garcia, Royal Air VP Commercial Margarita Obejas, Standard Insurance Marketing Manager Anna Lisa Opay, Standard Insurance Vice President Joy Alampay, GMCAC Chief Commercial Advisor Ravishankar Saravu, Global Star Owner and President Edward Onglatco, Global Star General Manager Ritchell Selma, Global Star Sales & Marketing Manager Aimee Ting, and GMCAC Deputy Chief Commercial Officer Ma. Cristina Angan.

Ritchell Selma, General Manager of Global Star, exclusive distributor of Mercedes-Benz, said they partnered with MCIA because travelers comprise a wide new market they want to reach out to.

Under the mechanics of the promo, travelers must have a single receipt purchase as follows:

  • P500 from T1 Food and Beverage shops, T1 retail shops, T1 or T2 WH Smith, T2 K2 Pharmacy, and T2 PArk & Fly
  • P1,000 from T2 F&B shops, T2 The Spa at Cebu, T2 Plaza Premium Lounge, and T2 Aerotel
  • US$50 from T2 Mactan Travel Retail, T1 or T2 Duty Free Philippines shops

Raffle Draws

  • 1st Raffle Draw – July 31, 2019 (Wednesday)
    3 winners of 2 round trip tickets to and from Cebu to Puerto Princesa
  • 2nd Raffle Draw – August 30, 2019 (Friday)
    3 winners of 2 round trip tickets to and from Cebu to Cagayan De Oro
  • 3rd Raffle Draw – September 30, 2019 (Monday)
    3 winners of 2 round trip tickets to from Cebu to Davao
  • Grand Raffle Draw – October 16, 2019 (Wednesday)
    1 winner of Mercedes Bens A Class A180 2019 model and 2 winners of 2 round trip tickets to and from Cebu to Manila
Categories
Events Feature Food

Marco Polo features Flavors of Mindanao in Independencia culinary festival

From durian rice cakes to fish stewed in turmeric to slow-cooked beef in burnt coconut broth, an interesting and delicious range of dishes with Moro and lumad heritage are on the menu in Café Marco at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The dishes are made available as part of Flavors of Mindanao, this year’s Independencia Culinary Journey from June 7 to 12.

PIYALAM is a Tausug dish of stewed fish with turmeric.

PIYALAM is a Tausug dish of stewed fish with turmeric.

Independencia is a celebration of the food of the Philippines, said Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly.

“We’ve featured cuisine in the past seven years from heroes of the country, actually also from the president himself who signed the proclamation. Last year, we did food of northern Philippines. This year we wanted to go south. And we wanted to do this in conjunction with our sister hotel in Davao, the Marco Polo Davao,” Connelly said during the opening last Friday.

“It’s part of our experience here in Marco Polo to share cuisine of different parts of the world, of different parts of the region, as well as different parts of our country. We’ve got this wide range of food and this year, it’s southern Philippines – Mindanao,” he said.

Chef Alex Destriza

Chef Alex Destriza

The executive chef of Marco Polo Davao has been studying the dishes for 2-3 years.

Marco Polo Davao Executive Chef Alex Destriza and Chef King James Tinio worked with the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu team of Executive Chef Juanito Abangan to create the menu.

Destriza said native Mindanao cuisine is divided into that of the Moros and lumads. The region is rich in rice and coconuts and they figure prominently in their cuisine. An example of this is the Tausug dish Tiyulah Itum, where beef is slow cooked in a broth made of burnt coconut meat.  The use of burnt coconut meat in the preparation of the food is widespread and includes dishes with chicken, beef, and fish, he said.

TIYULAH ITUM is a Tausug dish of slow-cooked beef in burnt coconut broth.

TIYULAH ITUM is a Tausug dish of slow-cooked beef in burnt coconut broth.

Many of the dishes, including Tiyulah Itum, are cooked in bamboo, a process that intensifies the flavors, Destriza said. The Marco Polo chefs just improvised to adapt the preparation in a modern kitchen and experimented with the cooking methods.

Coconut and rice also figure prominently in the desserts of the different communities with such treats as durian rice cake and a ball made of camote with bukayo or sweetened coconut meat strips filling.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly

OPENING. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly welcomes guests to the opening of Independencia.

Destriza said he has been researching these dishes for two to three years. These are served mostly during special occasions like weddings and are rarely available outside their communities or region. He said, however, that slowly, the food is being introduced in other places of the country. Marco Polo Davao, for example, has a halal station with these dishes.

The dishes are available on top of the regular international lunch and dinner buffet spread at Café Marco until June 12. Lunch buffet rate is P1,300, while dinner is P1,600. For reservations, you can contact (+6332) 253 1111, email [email protected].com or link them up on Facebook or Twitter.

More photos of Flavors of Mindanao

Kulma baka

KULMA BAKA is Tausug dish of beef stewed in coconut milk.

Piassak

PIASSAK is cow liver cooked with burnt coconut.

Piyanggang manok

PIYANGGANG MANOK is a Tausug dish of grilled chicken in burnt coconut.

Riyandang kambing

RIYANDANG KAMBING is a Lanao dish of mutton with coconut and spices.

Piyaren Udang

PIYAREN UDANG is a Lanao dish of prawn with sauteed coconut.

Palapa

PALAPA is made of ginger and other spices that is then roasted.

Agal agal

Agal agal

Guava membrillo

Guava membrillo

Kagikit manok

Kagikit na manok

Kagikit na isda

Kagikit na isda

Kamatis patis
Kamias ug dayap

Kamias ug dayap

Kiyuning golden rice

Kiyuning golden rice

Pan-Pan Kamote
Pan-Pan Kamote

PAN-PAN KAMOTE has bokayo or sweetened coconut meat strips as filling.

Pan-pan monggo

Pan-pan monggo

Wadjet makadurian durian rice cake

WADJET MAKADURIAN is durian rice cake.

Daral sweet coconut pancake

DARAL or sweet coconut grating pancake.

Tuna ceviche

KINILAW na tuna or tuna ceviche.

Talong sa gata

Talong sa gata

Pomelo green papaya with prawns salad

Pomelo green papaya with prawns salad

MARCO POLO CHEFS. Marco Polo Davao Executive Chef Alex Destriza (center) talks about the dishes they prepared as part of Flavors of Mindanao. With him are Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Executive Chef Juanito Abangan (left) and Marco Polo Davao Chef King James Tinio.

MARCO POLO CHEFS. Marco Polo Davao Executive Chef Alex Destriza (center) talks about the dishes they prepared as part of Flavors of Mindanao. With him are Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Executive Chef Juanito Abangan (left) and Marco Polo Davao Chef King James Tinio.

Categories
Business Feature Tech

Tap social media, digital tools to grow your business, Facebook tells Cebu companies

Businesses that embrace technology and social media grow at incredible rates, according to an official of Facebook Philippines.

With platforms like Facebook, there has never been a better time to have a business idea or solution and connect that idea with someone who will need it, Facebook Philippines Client Partner Chay Mondejar-Saputil said in a media briefing last Friday in Cebu City.

Facebook Philippines held last Friday an Accelerator Workshop to train Cebu businesses on online marketing, branding, and digital tools provided by the platform. Saputil said the business tools offered by the social media giant “level the playing field” for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB).

Reach potential customers

“Whereas before only big businesses were able to reach out to a large number of people, now even small businesses can reach hundreds of thousands” of potential customers using Facebook and its tools, she said.

More than 50 million Filipinos are connected to an SMB page on Facebook, the company said in a press statement. About 130 million people outside the country are connected to a Philippine-based SMB on the platform, it added.

The biggest shift right now is how we are so connected to our mobile phones

Chay Mondejar-Saputil, Client Partner, Facebook Philippines

Saputil said a survey of small businesses showed that by using technology and social platforms, 86% were able to sell their products outside their geographic boundaries and to customers in other provinces and even abroad. The same survey also found that 91% of businesses saw these tools as having helped them attract customers and 73% said they were able to hire more people. She said 82% of businesses reported increased sales because of the Facebook platform. She also said that 60% of these companies built their businesses on Facebook.

Saputil also shared what she said were the four Cs that are important to do well online: community, curation, conversation, and commerce.

Facebook Accelerator Workshop Cebu

Empower SMBs with training

Facebook Philippines said the digital skills training they conducted for SMBs started in 2017 and have trained over 5,000 small businesses in 23 cities all over the Philippines.

“We are glad to be working with Facebook in helping create inclusive, innovation-led growth for Philippine SMBs. Ninety-nine percent of businesses in the country are SMBs and they are the backbone of the Philippine economy. Together with Facebook, we will continue to empower SMBs as their success ultimately translates into more jobs and economic opportunities for Filipinos,” said Department of Trade and Industry Central Visayas OIC Assistant Regional Director Ma. Elena Arbon.

Jackie Morales of Digital Printing PH said platforms like Facebook allowed their company to operate fully online. Digital Printing PH started with two physical locations in Manila. Morales said that with the shops, they were limited by their location and their customers were mainly students. By going online, they were able to attract corporate customers from all over the country and even abroad.

Fully online, relocate to Cebu

She and her husband eventually decided to go fully online and relocate to Cebu, having been attracted to the province after spending their vacation here. Morales said her biggest consideration in going online is her being a mother. With the physical stores, she barely had time with the responsibilities of running their operations while raising a child. By going fully online, she now has more time for the family and for herself. She said she was able to travel more since she could run the business from anywhere.

EMPOWERING ENTREPRENEURS. (From left) Jackie Morales of Digital Printing PH; Gina Romero, CEO and co-founder of Connected Women; Facebook Philippines Client Partner Chay Mondejar-Saputil; and Facebook Philippines Communications Manager Michelle Fojas brief reporters and bloggers about Friday’s Accelerator Workshop for Cebu businesses.

EMPOWERING ENTREPRENEURS. (From left) Jackie Morales of Digital Printing PH; Gina Romero, CEO and co-founder of Connected Women; Facebook Philippines Client Partner Chay Mondejar-Saputil; and Facebook Philippines Communications Manager Michelle Fojas brief reporters and bloggers about Friday’s Accelerator Workshop for Cebu businesses.

Gina Romero, CEO and co-founder of Connected Women, said technology is empowering to women and allows them to connect with other female entrepreneurs and share tips and experiences. Romero used to be a flight attendant while selling used laptops on eBay. With technology, she was able to run the business wherever her assignment was. She later on started organizing sessions for women entrepreneurs. She has brought that online by tapping Facebook and her community now has 35,000 members.

Saputil said tools like Messenger foster interaction with the community and potential customers. She said this “conversational commerce” drives business and will be increasingly contributing to transactions in the coming months.

Mobile is biggest shift

Romero said they had to hire a dedicated employee to handle chats and would be adding another person soon. She said people prefer to use Messenger chat than other avenues like email and contact forms. Morales said she often has a deluge of chat messages that she has to use the “away” option because she is unable to deal with all messages.

Saputil said tools like chatbots will enable entrepreneurs like Morales to deal with the volume of customer inquiries.

Romero said platforms allow her members to interact with each other. She shared how a post or question by a member would often generate hundreds of answers by others in the community by the time she reads it when she wakes up in the morning.

Saputil also emphasized the importance of thinking mobile in doing business in today’s digital and connected world.

“The biggest shift right now is how we are so connected to our mobile phones,” Saputil said, citing a study by We Are Social that indicated Filipinos spent up to 10 hours a day online, mostly via phones.

“Most of our users are on the phone. Think of what your photo will look like on the phone, if you can’t read what’s on the photo on the phone then I would say 90% of our users won’t be able to read it as well. If it’s on the phone, the rule is the bigger the better,” she said.

Saputil also said that based on feedback and their experience in attending and holding events in Cebu, “I feel and I see that digital transformation is happening here.”

Categories
1521 Feature

Is Colon really the oldest street in the Philippines?

No, writes Dr. Resil Mojares in Integracion/Internacion: The Urbanization of Cebu in Archival Records of the Spanish Colonial Period.

There were already streets even before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, Mojares asserts in the book’s opening chapter Calle Colon and the Sites of Public Memory.

“In a commonsensical way, one can say that where a sufficient number of people pass, a street is made,” explains Mojares, a National Artist for Literature.

“But even when one requires that some premeditated design, apart from being trodden, is what makes a path a street, it can be assumed that there were already streets in the country’s populous centers when the Spaniards first came,” he says.

OLD COLON. This archival photo shows the corner of Mabini and Colon streets. This is the point of view were you to stand across the obelisk that stands on Colon. According to the text that accompanied this photograph at the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos, the building at the end of the road used to Hijos del Pueblo. It is where the present-day Gaisano Main is located.

OLD COLON. This archival photo shows the corner of Mabini and Colon streets. This is the point of view were you to stand across the obelisk that stands on Colon. According to the text that accompanied this photograph at the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos, the building at the end of the road used to Hijos del Pueblo. It is where the present-day Gaisano Main is located.

Historical marker

The historical marker installed by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines on the obelisk on Colon Street proclaims it as the oldest in the country.

“Colon St., known also as Parian, is the oldest street in the Philippines. It was built by the Spaniards who arrived in Cebu in 1565 on the fleet composed of the vessels San Pedro, San Pablo and San Juan under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi,” says the marker published in English, Filipino, and Cebuano. (Emphasis mine.)

It is the only street in the country recognized as a national historical landmark, Mojares writes. What may be distinct, Mojares writes, is “Spanish colonial urbanism” and the deliberate planning of the settlement.

HISTORICAL MARKER. Three markers proclaim in English, Filipino, and Cebuano that Colon is indeed the oldest street in the Philippines.

HISTORICAL MARKER. Three markers proclaim in English, Filipino, and Cebuano that Colon is indeed the oldest street in the Philippines.

The street was known as Calle del Parian before it was named after Christopher Columbus or Cristobal Colon.

Colon is a short street, Mojares writes, extending from the corner of present day D. Jakosalem Street to the Mabini deadend (see photos).

Postcards, books

Present day Colon, especially the area of the old Calle Parian, is dirty and stinky. It’s strewn with litter, including cigarette butts and plastic wrappers. It’s not an area that Cebu City can proudly show off to tourists.

The book traces popularization of the claim to postcards and school books published at the turn of the 20th century. Among the first post cards was one published in 1910 by American Bazar labeled “oldest street in Cebu.” It used a photograph taken by a discharged American soldier who put up a photo studio in Cebu, the book said.

PRESENT DAY. Colon from the point of view of where the old photographs show the old street to be.

PRESENT DAY. Colon from the point of view of where the old photographs show the old street to be.

In 1914, William Boyce, a publisher from Chicago, wrote about the “many reminders of the earliest Spanish days in Cebu. Colon with its tiles and arcades, is the oldest street in the Philippines.” His book printed a photo of Colon with the caption “Calle Colon, Cebu, the oldest street in the Philippines.” (Emphasis mine.)

Mojares said that after Boyce, travelers would subsequently refer to Colon as the oldest street in the country.

That Colon became “an icon of Spanish colonial urbanism,” a fame founded on error, provides “fine irony,” writes Mojares. It lies outside the intramuros of Spanish settlement envisioned by Legazpi, in the periphery where the Chinese and Chinese-mestizos lived.

“The case of Colon suggests that urbanism is not the pure product of Legazpi’s mental map of what a civilized settlement should be,” Mojares writes. Colon is what “Cebuanos made it to be.”

OLD COLON. According to the information card that came with the photo, the presence of wires strung on the electric poles indicated that the power plant of Albert Bryan and RR. Landon was in operation. Their company is the forerunner of the current utility Visayan Electric Company Inc. or VECO.

OLD COLON. According to the information card that came with the photo, the presence of wires strung on the electric poles indicated that the power plant of Albert Bryan and RR. Landon was in operation. Their company is the forerunner of the current utility Visayan Electric Company Inc. or VECO.

Categories
Feature Travel

Are you #Ready2Go? Travel the Philippines with 2Go Travel, 2Go Supercat

With the Philippines being an archipelago, going around the different destinations by ship is often the best and most scenic way to get anywhere.

In the Philippines, the top shipping company, whether for travel or logistics, is 2Go. It is the biggest cargo mover with close to a quarter of the market share. In passage, it corners 95% of the market coming in and out of Metro Manila.

With 2Go Travel, you can head to Manila, Cagayan and Butuan and vice versa. (Check schedules below). You can get 60 kilos free baggage allowance with free meals when you book your passage.

With 2Go Supercat, you can travel to Ormoc and Tagbilaran and vice versa several times daily. Passengers get 15 kilos free baggage allowance.

To contact 2Go Travel, call Cebu +6332 233 7000 | Tagbilaran +6338 501 9472 | Ormoc +6353 561 9818.

2Go Travel and 2Go Supercat schedules Cebu
Categories
Events Feature Sports

Naga City hosts inaugural Sun Life 5150 Triathlon Cebu

Cebu is the “crown jewel in Asia” when it comes to triathlons, a race organizer said Friday.

That is the reason why when Sun Life Financial Philippines and Sunrise Events decided to stage the first Sun Life 5150 Triathlon Cebu, they knew “this is where we should be,” said Princess Galura during Friday’s press conference for the event.

Galura, who is the General Manager of Sunrise Events, said the 5150 is the Ironman brand for the official Olympic distance of the triathlon. It covers 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike, and a 10-kilometer run.

Sun Life 5150 participants

All these segments will be done in host Naga City, said Galura. The City Government of Naga wanted all events within their boundaries so that they can have total control and jurisdiction in order to make sure participants are safe, she said. The event is also supported by the Cebu Provincial Government.

Princess Galura Sun Life 5150 Triathlon Cebu
SUN LIFE 5150 TRIATHLON CEBU. Sunrise Events General Manager Princess Galura talks about the inaugural Sun Life 5150 Triathlon Cebu to be held in Naga City on Sunday.

Galura said in Friday’s press briefing that there will be 300 participants on Sunday, including 7 professionals. The number also includes those who are joining the Go for Gold sprint distance.

She said the 5150 allows veterans to race and prepare for the longer Ironman event in Cebu later in the year. It also offers newbies who want to take up the sport an event to try things out.

Celebrities who will be joining the race include Sun Life ambassadors Piolo Pascual, his son Iñigo and fellow celebrities Paul Jake Castillo, who is a Cebuano, and Enchong Dee.

Handog Palangoy with Enchong Dee

Before the race, Dee will hold a swimming clinic called Sun Life Handog Palangoy on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Forty kids under the non-government organization Feed The Children will undergo the clinic led by Dee and other members of the Sun Life Tri Team.

“At Sun Life, we believe that preparation is key to a brighter future, especially with the many surprises that life may throw our way. This is perfectly exemplified in Handog Palangoy and Enchong’s cause,” said Sun Life Foundation Executive Director Kristine Millete.

There will also be a mangrove planting at 6 a.m. on the same day.

Sun Life Tri Team
SUN LIFE TRI TEAM. Members of the Sun Life Tri Team bannered by brand ambassador Piolo Pascual (center).

The 5150 triathlon is held as part of Sun Life Financial Philippines’ health and wellness efforts, said Sun Life Financial Philippines Institutional and Client Marketing Head Carla Chong. It seeks to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and undertake multi-sport training for fitness.

Sun Life health, wellness journey

Chong discussed Sun Life programs and products that cater to various needs of people, from wellness to investment to retirement, among others.

“At Sun Life, we aim to provide Filipinos different avenues to enrich their health and wellness journey, whether they are already deep into their fitness goals or are just discovering their passion for it,” said Sun Life Chief Marketing Officer Mylene Lopa.

Sun Life employees will also be joining the event, including Business Development Managers Herbert Juaneza and Hilario Malapad, Sales Training and Development Head Ged Custodia, and Training Manager Aslagan Cuyugan. All these employees are Ironman finishers and are competing in the individual category.

Categories
Feature Sports

Hunat Sugbo returns for 9th year; organizers move to cut down trash

A fun run started by a hotel to call for justice in the killing of its top official is now on its 9th year. Hunat Sugbo has also taken on Cebu Parklane ‘s advocacy for protecting the environment.

The annual Hunat Sugbo is meant to encourage a healthy lifestyle, said Cebu Parklane International Hotel General Manager Cenelyn Manguilimotan. It also serves as venue to raise funds for the hotel’s medical missions,

Starting this year, they will ask runners to bring their own water bottles to cut down on the use of paper cups along the race route, she said. Manguilimotan, who is also a runner, said she notices large amounts of garbage, especially water cups, after every run.

Cebu Parklane recently announced its #ParklaneEcoWatch campaign. It includes regular cleanup drives, including along the Luyang River in Carmen, and a focus on cutting down on single-use plastic.

HUNAT SUGBO ORGANIZERS. Seated from left are Hunat Sugbo Chairman Nicanor Nacorda, Cebu Parklane General Manager Cenelyn Manguilimotan and Race Director Joel Baring. Standing are (from left) members of the hotel marketing team Trixie Raboy, Patricia Anne Alturas, Ervin Limpag, Marketing Manager Jaybee Flores Aquino, and Reena Cañada.

Manguilimotan said encouraging runners to bring their own hydration bottles is part of that campaign.

Hunat Sugbo will be held on June 23, said Hunat Sugbo Chairman Nicanor Nacorda. The run categories are 3K, 6K, 12K, and 21K. Registration fees are P400 for 3K, P500 for 6K, P750 for 12K, and P900 for 21K.

Nacorda said more than 200 signed up during the early bird registration in January. He said that was a record for the run. These runners got a special shirt.

Nacorda asked those planning to join 12K and 21K to register early because they will no longer be adding slots to these distances. He said they set aside 500 slots for 12K and 700 slots for 21K.

Hunat Sugbo Race Routes

Race Director Joel Baring said there are no significant changes to the race routes. He said the race will start at 4 a.m. and will have cold water stations as well as Pocari Sweat stations for runners.

Hunat Sugbo registration will open today at the hotel lobby. Nacorda said registration is from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will accept signups in SM City Cebu from May 27 to June 9 and in Ayala Center Cebu from June 10 to June 21.

Manguilimotan said those who finish 12K and 21K will get finishers’ medals. Baring said they will be using timing chips for these 2 distances.

Categories
Feature News Travel

MCIA to build Airport Village ‘to improve travel experience’

It takes a village to welcome home or send off a Filipino traveler and authorities at the Mactan Cebu International Airport want to create the space and ambience for that by building an Airport Village.

“We all know in the Philippines one person arrives, half the barangay comes to meet them. So we are creating the space that will allow all of these people to be there, to meet them and welcome them home,” said GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Harrison.

“Our culture has always been for people to meet and greet our visitors as many of us as possible. No airport has that kind of facility – this is the first airport that will allow that,” said Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority General Manager Steve Dicdican.

Mactan Cebu Airport Village
PEDESTRIAN ZONE. The old MCIA arrivals road will be permanently closed and designated a pedestrian zone as part of the Airport Village.

 

Better experience

Harrison said, “the Airport Village is designed to provide a much better arrival experience for passengers and significantly expanded waiting areas for meeters and greeters.”

The Airport Village is scheduled to be completed by September 2019.

Escalators and high-capacity elevators will link arrivals and departures in the Airport Village.

The Airport Village is part of the renovation of MCIA Terminal 1 based on designs by Architects Budji + Royal Design. The terminal “will have its own unique identity further building on resort-airport themed concept seen with the newly-opened Terminal 2,” GMR Megawide said in a press statement.

Harrison said the Airport Village will have a range of services, tourist counters, transport counters, and various concessionaires.

Mactan Cebu International Airport arrivals pick-up zone
PWD-FRIENDLY. GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Harrison demonstrates the ramp that people on wheelchairs can use to get on the bus that takes people from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 with stops on the car park. With Harrison is Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority General Manager Steve Dicdican.

 

Pedestrian zone

Dicdican said the increased space will allow the airport to have more local stores and products. He said it “is important for this resort-themed terminal to feature local products.”

Harrison said the Airport Village will be located at the arrivals area. The whole arrivals road will be closed to vehicles and “become a pedestrian zone.”

The increased space will also allow the airport to double the capacity for reclaim bags. Previously, 3 belts were set aside for domestic baggage and 3 for international. After the renovation, all 6 will be for domestic baggage.

Harrison said passengers might encounter “minor inconveniences” with work on the terminal and asked them to be understanding. He said the challenge with the project is that they are working with a “live terminal.”

MCIA Pick-Up Zone
NEW PICK-UP ZONE. Airport authorities recently opened this new Pick-Up Zone for passengers at Terminal 1.

 

New arrivals pick-up zone

Harrison and Dicdican led the inauguration on March 14 of the new Arrivals Pick-Up Zone in Terminal 1. The zone has several bays where passengers can be fetched by private vehicles. Waiting time in the bays is limited to 2 minutes.

With the opening of the new Pick-Up Zone, the old Arrivals Pick-Up Road in Terminal 1 will be permanently closed. Vehicles fetching passengers have the option of using the main car park between Terminals 1 and 2 or the new Pick-Up Zone.

 

Categories
Business Feature Tech

POSIBLE brings digital payments, financial tech to neighborhoods

Rather than drive to a mall and get stuck in traffic to pay your VECO dues, you can soon just go to your nearest sari-sari store that has a POSIBLE system in place and settle your electricity bill there.

POSIBLE is a Filipino financial technology company that seeks to drive financial inclusion by bringing these services to communities by working with micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“We are talking micro – sari-sari stores, your neighborhood bakeries, auto shops. We are community-based as opposed to those that you can see in the mall. Our thrust is inside the community, your neighbor,” said POSIBLE CEO JG Puzon.

POSIBLE Cebu
DIGITAL PAYMENTS. POSIBLE CEO JG Puzon demonstrates the use of their digital payments device in an interview with Cebu journalists.

 

Digital payments centers

Puzon was in Cebu last February 19 to formally launch the system here.

POSIBLE is a system that allows small neighborhood businesses to become digital payments centers.

Those interested to become agents can sign up by paying P45,000 for the package, which comes with the device and marketing materials. After that, they will need to pay P150 as monthly fee.

The device is “Filipino-developed and very localized. It was designed to work with how small Filipino entrepreneurs do business,” Puzon said.

The device offers more than 300 services from bills payment, remittances, prepaid loading, bus ticketing, bank deposits and even government transactions for NBI clearances, SSS, birth certificate and passport payments.

POSIBLE Veco
PAY VECO. Among the utilities you could pay using the POSIBLE device is VECO, the power company servicing Metro Cebu.

 

Bridging the gap

“We want to make the digital world accessible to people who do not necessarily have access to digital. A lot of people have smartphones but they don’t have bank accounts. This bridges that gap,” Puzon said.

He said the system allows stores to become online shops because they are able to sell via a catalogue and purchases are then delivered to their location.

Puzon said there are 3,200 POSIBLE agents nationwide, mostly concentrated in the General Metro Manila area, where they started in 2016. There are 50 agents in Cebu and, after last week’s formal launch, they are targeting 100 in the next 3 months. They are then planning to get 30 to 40 new agents per month as well as expand to nearby areas like Bohol and Dumaguete.

Puzon said they are confident with the prospect of the system in Cebu, which shares a lot of problems with Manila, especially on traffic. He said the ability to pay and transact in your neighborhood will be a big help to consumers.

Like any business, Puzon said potential earnings depend on things such as location and efforts put in by the business owner. The average earnings of their agents run to P4,000 to P5,000 a month. Some, however, earn as high as P30,000, he said.

POSIBLE Cebu
CEBU LAUNCH. POSIBLE CEO JG Puzon during the launch of their financial technology platform in Cebu City.

 

Expand quickly

POSIBLE has now processed more than P5 billion worth of transactions, the company said in a statement.

Partnering with POSIBLE will help companies expand quickly throughout the country, Puzon said.

“It’s like having 3,200 branches right away. You can imagine how much it costs them to put up a branch – you rent a place, put a security guard, pay workers, put up aircon, etc. If they go on board with us, they are immediately nationwide,” Puzon said.

“It works both ways, it helps the small entrepreneurs, it also helps the big service providers,” he added.

Categories
Business Feature Tech

If everyone has gone digital, how do you stand out? Accenture report points way

Digital is no longer a differentiator for enterprises but “the price of admission to do business,” a top official of a global technology company said in a briefing on Tuesday.

Digital technologies are already an expectation and no longer a differentiator, said JP Palpallatoc, Managing Director and Accenture Digital Lead in the Philippines in a briefing for media.

“Now that everybody is doing digital, what will differentiate you?” Palpallatoc said in a briefing in Manila and connected via video conferencing with one of their offices in Cebu City.

Palpallatoc gave an overview on key technology trends in the next few years as identified by the Accenture Technology Vision 2019 report. He said the time we are in is “post-digital,” because using technologies is already a given in the enterprise.

“Just as people no longer say they live in the “age of electricity,” the days of calling something digital to insinuate that it is new and innovative are numbered,” Accenture said in its report.

The company said the “post-digital” era means companies need to “double down on completing their digital transformations to get the most value from those investments—and at the same time, turn a strategic eye toward what’s next.”

What’s next, Palpallatoc said, are a new set of technologies that will make a major impact in the next 3 years.

Accenture Tech Vision 2019

 

1) New technologies

Accenture lists these technologies as DARQ for Distributed ledger or blockchain, Artificial intelligence, extended Reality, and Quantum computing.

“Future-minded leaders know that mastering the next set of technologies will give them every advantage,” the company said in a video clip explaining DARQ.

Palpallatoc cited as example Volkswagen, which “uses quantum computing to study traffic flow optimization analysis and looking into the chemical structure of batteries to find out how to make better ones.” He said they are also using AI for its vehicles and extended reality through googles that guide its workers in repairing units.

Volkswagen also extensively uses the blockchain to increase the security of its system as well as for payments. Palpallatoc cited UnionBank of the Philippines as a local company “deep into the blockchain,” using it to connect rural banks and for internal processes.

2) Technology identity, individualized experiences

People’s use of technology creates an identity that enriches their demographic, which can then be tapped to created individualized experiences, Palpallatoc said.

“In the past, what we talked about in getting to know your consumer was called personalization. We used traditional demographics – are you female are you male do you live here, etc? ” he said.

“What we’re seeing from a post-digital area is going beyond personalization to individualized experiences and leveraging technology identity. These are the technology choices that individuals make as well as how they are using those technologies. That information is being used to enrich the demographics,” he said.

The Accenture report said 83% of respondents found that digital demographics allow them to identify unmet needs of customers.

Palpallatoc cited as example the SlicePay lending platform in India that targets unbanked students. By going over their social media for information on the vacations that they take or the restaurants they visit, they are able to identify to whom they lend money.

Another use case is the John Hancock Vitality Program, an insurance package that uses wearables like smartwatches to offer consumers discounts on their premiums if they meet fitness goals.

3) Empowered human workers

Empowered by technology and with improved skills and expertise, workers are becoming “human+,” said Palpallatoc.

“In a post-digital era, people are still central to the innovation agenda. We need to keep people front and center,” he said.

He said technologies like AI, analytics, extended reality are extending the capabilities of employees. Companies, however, “still recruit, hire and manage for the workforce of years past,” according to the Accenture study.

Palpallatoc said, “71% of respondents said digital workers are more mature now compared to their organizations. Workers are waiting for the company to catch up. There is a need for company to change the way they organize their work to be able support the human+ workers and enable them.”

He cited as example the use by Unilever of technology and AI for interviews and assessment of entry-level hires. This resulted in a 90% increase in job applications and the shortening of time it took to fill the job from 4 months to a few days, he said.

Accenture Technology Vision 2019
TECH VISION BRIEFING. Reporters in Cebu join via video-conference a briefing on the Accenture Technology Vision 2019 by Managing Director and Digital Lead in the Philippines JP Palpallatoc.

 

4) Ecosystem security

Enterprises have found that security today requires that they also keep an eye out beyond their premises.

“In the past, their approach to security was my company first, secure your walled garden, make sure nobody gets in,” Palpallatoc said. “What we’ve seen with the advent of ecosystems is that you cannot just protect yourself, you need to protect each one of your ecosystem as well.”

Security is a team sport and enterprises have to protect each other, he said.

He cited as example the decision by Netflix to open source its security tools.

5) My Markets

Technology and data now allow companies to customize products and services and deliver them fast and on demand, Palpallatoc said.

This trend is “about using technologies like IOT (internet of things) on being able to capture the reality at that point in time and being able to respond,” he said.

“Technology is creating a world of intensely customized and on-demand experiences, and companies must reinvent their organizations to find and capture those opportunities,” Accenture said in its report.

The company reported that 85% of executives they surveyed said “that the integration of customization and real-time delivery is the next big wave of competitive advantage.”

Palpallatoc cited as example of hyper-customization a beverage company in India that offers different flavors depending on where these are sold. He said the company even has a custom flavor sold only for a few days a year – during a festival.

Categories
Community Feature

Columbia, Primer Group of Companies bring potable water to Sibugay school

Each day at school, Sibugay Integrated School Grade 6 student Riza Mae Ardiente spends P2 of her P20 allowance to buy water from a decrepit dispenser near the faculty office.

For P1, she gets about a glass of water in a plastic bag that she twirls on top to seal and then bites off on one side to suck in the liquid. She gets one in the morning and another after lunch. She counts herself lucky. Others in school only have P5 as allowance and those who do not have money often ask teachers like Ryan Steve Panerio, “sir, naa kay piso? (do you have a peso?)”

Starting this school week, Ardiente can save the P2. Her school now has potable water, filtered to World Health Organization standards by an Aqua Tower put up on Valentine’s Day by volunteers from Columbia Sportswear Company and Primer Group of Companies working with the Planet Water Foundation.

Columbia, The Primer Group Aqua Tower in Sibugay
WATER DISPENSER. Grade 6 student Riza Mae Ardiente gets P1 worth of water from this machine near the faculty office of Sibugay Integrated School.

 

Water supply not safe

The Aqua Tower can serve 1,000 people daily, more than enough for the school’s 765 students from Kindergarten to Senior High School and 25 teachers and administration employees, said Jinn Brunk, Columbia Sportswear Community Program Manager.

Brunk, who is based in the company’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon, was in Cebu to help the group put up the water tower and turn it over to the school community.

Before the tower was put up, the school only had spring water and deep well supply that were found not safe for drinking by a team from the Cebu City Health Department, said school principal Madeline Tinapay. There were cases of people getting sick because of the water, she said.

Tinapay said her school is “very lucky and thankful” to receive the donation.

The Primer Group, Columbia Aqua Tower
AQUA TOWER. Volunteers from Columbia Sportswear and The Primer Group prepare to erect the Aqua Tower that will provide potable water to students and faculty of the Sibugay Integrated School in a mountain barangay in Cebu City.

 

Aqua Tower filtration system

The Aqua Tower stores water and then makes it potable through a two-stage filtration process that uses ultrafiltration technology. The system uses activated carbon to enhance drinking water quality, according to the Planet Water Foundation.

Last Thursday, February 14, the team from Columbia Sportswear and The Primer Group of Companies went to Sibugay to assemble the tower, hold lectures on hygiene for students, and turn over the system to the school.

The group arrived mid-morning and then put together the different parts of the water tower. By lunch, it was up and ready for commissioning.

The community served a sumptuous traditional celebratory feast of lechon or roast pig, pansit, and native chicken soup. Tinapay explained It was a contribution of the parents, many of whom were unable to attend the momentous event for the community. Most families in the area grow and sell flowers and Valentine’s Day was one of their biggest business days.

Columbia Sportswear, The Primer Group Aqua Tower
VALENTINE CARD. Students gave a Valentine’s Day card to express their gratitude to Jinn Brunk, Columbia Sportswear Community Program Manager. Brunk was with the team that built the tower and turned it over to the Sibugay Integrated School last Valentine’s Day.

 

Environmental conservation

The tower is the 9th installation by Columbia. The company started the project in 2016 and has worked with their factories to build 7 in Vietnam and 1 in India. This is the first time they worked with a distributor, Brunk said.

“Columbia is very committed with environmental conservation. We are an outdoor apparel company. We make products for going outside and if the environment is not clean, is not preserved, people don’t want to go out. It’s that easy, ” Brunk told MyCebu.ph in an interview.

She said the company has been “actively working with NGOs in protecting the environment and we’ve noticed that water is such an important issue, especially in emerging markets.”

Brunk said this is the first time they are working with a distributor. She said they always work with local partners because “they know which communities need clean drinking water.”

Columbia The Primer Group Aqua Tower
FILTRATION SYSTEM. The heart of the Aqua Tower is this filtration system that purifies water to World Health Organization standards. Working on the system are The Primer Group Director Johnny Thai and wife Evelyn (standing left and center) and Regional Manager Dino de Leon (seated).

 

The Primer Group CSR programs

Primer Group Corporate Social Responsibility Program Manager Kristine Villaflor said they worked with the Department of Education (DepEd) Cebu City to identify the beneficiary of the project. DepEd shortlisted 5 schools that the Primer Group visited to evaluate in October. They eventually chose Sibugay based on their criteria.

Villaflor said The Primer Group has different CSR programs on such areas as eco-tourism, environment, institutional partnerships, and donations.

Brunk said that to make sure the program is sustainable, Planet Water will send someone to regularly inspect the Aqua Tower and check its water quality.

Columba Sports Wear, The Primer Group Aqua Tower
FIRST GLASSES. Students drink their first glasses of the water made potable by the Aqua Tower put up by Columbia Sportswear and The Primer Group.

 

Planet Water Foundation Program Manager Dario Operario said the filtration system will last 5 to 7 years before needing replacement.

Teachers and students thanked Columbia, The Primer Group, Planet Water, and the volunteers during the turnover in the afternoon. The commissioning ended with students playfully trying out the water tower in the rain that had been pouring since early morning. The students were washing their hands with soap according to the training they had earlier that day and drinking their first glasses of water filtered by the Aqua Tower.

 

 

More photos of the building of the Aqua Tower and its turnover to Sibugay Integrated School

 

Columbia The Primer Group Aqua Tower
BRIEFING. Planet Water Foundation Program Manager Dario Operario briefs volunteers from Columbia Sportswear and The Primer Group before the assembling of the Aqua Tower.

 

Columbia The Primer Group Aqua Tower
WATER FILTER. Jinn Brunk, Columbia Sportswear Community Program Manager, talks about the filtration system at the heart of the Aqua Tower.

 

Columbia, The Primer Group Aqua Tower
TURNOVER. Jinn Brunk, Columbia Sportswear Community Program Manager, Sibugay Integrated School Principal Madeline Tinapay and DepEd Cebu City Division Superintendent Dr. Bianito Dagatan lead the ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the turnover of the water facility.

 

Columbia Sportswear Primer Group of Companies
VOLUNTEERS from Columbia Sportswear Company and Primer Group of Companies with School Principal Madeline Tinapay after the turnover of the project.

 

Columbia Sportswear, Primer Group of Companies
Volunteers get ready to put up the water tower.

 

Columbia Sportswear Primer Group of Companies Aqua Tower
VOLUNTEERS put up the water tower.

 

Columbia Sportswear Primer Group of Companies
HYGIENE LESSONS. Evelyn Thai discusses tips on hygiene and sanitation and how students should make sure their water containers are clean.

 

Columbia Sportswear Primer Group of Companies Aqua Tower turnover
MEMBERS of the school’s drum and bugle corps perform during the turnover ceremonies.

 

Columbia Sportswear Primer Group of Companies Aqua Tower
COMMUNITY DANCE. The highlight of the event was when students led volunteers, teachers, parents, and fellow students dance “I Love Cebu.”

 

Columbia Sportswear Primer Group of Companies
CLEAN, SAFE DRINKING WATER. The Aqua Tower put up by Columbia Sportswear Company and the Primer Group of Companies will serve clean and potable water to up to 1,000 people daily.