Book a Grab and get free coffee this week

Need a pick-me-up to get you through the week? Passengers of app-based transportation service Grab don’t need to look far to get a cup of joe or a fancy frappuccino.

Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing platform, announced that from June 6 to 10, it will be giving some of its GrabTaxi passengers with free GrabCoffee.

“Grab always believes that everyone should be able to go anywhere with the safest transportation option. But we go the extra mile for our local patrons by offering them with free caffeine fix this week. A free coffee and a comfortable ride indeed go hand in hand in giving passengers the best transport experience,” said Grab Philippines Country Marketing Head, Khriz Lim.

Grab Coffee Cebu

By using the promo code GRABCOFFEE, passengers will be given a chance to win free gift certificates to their local coffee shops. To avail themselves of the promo, passengers should book a GrabTaxi and follow four easy steps:

  1. Open the Grab app.
  2. Tap on the GrabTaxi icon in the Grab app to book.
  3. Input pick-up & drop-off points.
  4. Input promo code GRABCOFFEE and get a chance to ride a GrabTaxi giving out free coffee vouchers.

According to Lim, Grab has tapped some of the favorite local coffee shops in key Grab cities to offer passengers coffee vouchers when they ride with GrabTaxi. GrabCoffee will be available in key areas in the country, including, Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Baguio.

Bringing more unique rides to its local customers, Grab Philippines has previously mounted different regional campaigns that aim to promote the unique traditions of the major cities where Grab serves. The viral GrabHorse campaign was available for a time in Baguio and just recently, Cagayan de Oro’s white water rafting was promoted with GrabRaft.

For more details and updates on Grab Philippines, visit their Facebook page, To book a GrabTaxi, download the Grab app, available in the Apple AppStore and Google PlayStore. (Press Release)

Business Community Tech

Smart’s mobile digital lab for preschoolers wins award in Singapore

Smart TechnoCart – a mobile digital laboratory donated to public schools to develop literacy among kindergarten students – won the Social Contribution Award at the prestigious Asia Communication Awards (ACA) ceremony held recently in Singapore.

Organized annually by London-based industry publication Total Telecom, the ACA recognizes outstanding performance by Asian carriers, multimedia content providers, vendors, and other communication service providers.

The TechnoCart, developed by Philippine mobile leader and PLDT unit Smart Communications, is a 2ft x 2ft cart containing 20 student tablets and a laptop, projector, and mobile WiFi for the teacher. The tablets are preloaded with the Batibot mobile application, the first educational app for kids in Filipino which is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

Smart TechnoCart
Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino receives the Social Contribution Award for Smart TechnoCart.

Digital learning

In just a year, 29 public schools from as far as Pangasinan in the North and Tawi-Tawi in the South have received a Smart TechnoCart. Fifteen of these were donated by Smart, while the rest were sponsored by individuals and organizations who wanted to help spread the benefits of digital learning to more public schools.

Because the TechnoCart can be easily wheeled from one classroom to the next, each unit can reach up to 20 kindergarten classes or 250 students per day.

“The Smart TechnoCart introduces public school kindergarten classes to the benefits offered by tablets and relevant digital content. It is one of Smart’s many initiatives to use technology for the development of various sectors of society,” said Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino.

Positive feedback

“Since we launched the program last year, we have received a lot of positive feedback from teachers. They say their students’ skills have significantly improved, and that they have become more eager to learn,” she added.

Preschool teacher Violeta Bellen of Bacacay East Central School in Albay, one of the recipients of the Smart TechnoCart, shared: “Absenteeism has declined. One time, classes were suspended because of heavy rains. But a lot of the students still went to school. They asked me, ‘Teacher, aren’t we using the tablets today?’ I had to tell them to go home.”

“During our first grading lecture, my children were not really interested in reading letters and they didn’t even participate in our daily activities. Only a few of them could identify the letters or the numbers. But when the TechnoCart arrived they improved a lot. They really enjoy tracing letters using the Batibot app, and I am surprised they can now easily identify the letters,” said kindergarten teacher Hja. Shaiha A. Irahani of Datu Halun Laboratory School in Tawi-Tawi.

Smart Technocart
The Batibot app, downloadble for free on Google Play, has fun features that teach kids the alphabet and basic skills like grouping similar objects. It also features stories that highlight values.


Aside from winning in the ACA, the year-old Smart TechnoCart program has also received a Gold Anvil from the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, and a Quill Award of Excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators-Philippine chapter.

Those interested in sponsoring Smart TechnoCarts may get more information at


OLX, PPCRV partner to promote responsible voting

As part of its commitment to promote responsible voting among Filipinos, OLX partnered with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the citizen arm that helps monitor the country’s elections.

The partnership was forged by the shared vision of OLX and PPCRV of a free, fair, and fraud-free elections in the Philippines.

PARTNERSHIP. (From lefT) Hans Adrian Lagman, Brand Marketing Officer, OLX; Carlo Rosales, Senior Brand Marketing Officer, OLX; Ana De Villa Singson, National Communications and Media Director, PPCRV; Jean Magboo, Brand Marketing Manager, OLX; Reiman John Santos, Senior Brand Marketing Officer, OLX; Timmy del Agua, Marketing Officer, OLX. (Photo:


OLX donated cash and merchandise to support volunteers working numerous shifts at the PPCRV Command Center in Paco, Manila. OLX’s donation helped run the PPCRV Command Center, which hosted hundreds of volunteers, some as young as eight years old, who all hope to make a difference in the Philippines.

“We are glad to have found like-minded partners who share the mission of helping Filipinos understand the importance and impact of an individual vote. OLX’s ‘Ibenta mo na ang gamit mo, ‘wag lang boto mo’ campaign resonated well with the thousands of volunteers throughout the country working on educating voters against vote buying and vote selling,” said Ana De Villa Singson, PPCRV national communications and media director.

Win Together Fist Bump

Voter education campaign

Last April, OLX empowered Filipinos with their voter education campaign “Ibenta mo na ang gamit mo, ‘wag lang boto mo” to encourage voting responsibly. Its aim was to cultivate an informed and responsible electorate for the 2016 national elections for May 9. This campaign educated Filipinos on the value of voting and encouraged them to take part in spreading this message through online content and on-ground initiatives.

“As enablers of win-win exchanges that improve the lives of Filipinos, we at OLX feel a responsibility for helping remind Filipinos about the importance of understanding the impact of each individual in shaping the nation. Like PPCRV, OLX believes that only through an informed, responsible electorate can we achieve true democracy and win together as a nation,” said Jean Magboo, Brand Marketing Manager of OLX. (Press Release)

Brand Partnership Events Lifestyle

Forever 21 to launch Style Insider in Cebu

Forever 21 is launching on June 8 in Cebu the Style Insider, a styling service that is the first of its kind from any high street brand in the Philippines. The launch, happening in the Forever 21 store in the Northwing at SM City Cebu, will be hosted by model and TV host Mia Ali and will feature the styling prowess of Cebuano social media influencers Kym Maitland-Smith, Lance de Ocampo, Jean Yu, Toni Pino-Oca, and stylists Blaq Mafia.

Fashion blogger Kym Maitland-Smith of @kmaitlandsmith and styling team, Blaq Mafia, are each styling a 10-piece capsule collection that will be on display in the store. A collective comprised of Edward James Castro, Ching Villar, and Axel Que, Blaq Mafia has done styling for numerous magazine covers and fashion editorials.

Forever 21 Style Insider
Forever 21 stylists in action. On June 8, Style Insider will be launched in Cebu.

On-the-spot styling

Bloggers Lance de Ocampo of and the duo Jean Yu of and Toni Pino-Oca of will be doing on-the-spot styling for guests at the event.

Exciting gifts are also up for grabs courtesy of MasterCard. Shoppers can get a free golf umbrella or USB flash drive if they present a P2,000 single receipt purchase with their BDO F21 MasterCard or a free power bank for a P5,000 single receipt purchase with their BDO F21 MasterCard.

During the launch, Forever 21 will also give out one P21,000 shopping spree to be awarded to a raffle winner and Forever 21 gift cards worth P5,000 each to be awarded to two best-dressed guests. Customers who try the Forever 21 Style Insider service from June 8-11, 2016 will receive a 10% discount on a minimum purchase of P5,000 on regular-priced items.

Forever 21 Style insider

Easier shopping

Forever 21’s Style Insider is an all-inclusive personal styling and shopping service, offered for free and with no purchase requirement at all Forever 21 stores in the Philippines including its two stores in Cebu in SM City Cebu and SM Seaside Cebu. The service aims to make shopping an easier and more intuitive experience, with a unique touch from Forever 21’s in-house stylists.

The Style Insider service begins with a personalized consultation. The Forever 21 stylist then creates a Style Prescription outlining the customer’s body type and flattering fits and cuts for their shape. The Forever 21 stylist proceeds to curate pieces from Forever 21’s expansive collections to suit the prescription.

No more hunting for the right size, or searching for the perfect color, or being unsure if the latest trend is appropriate – Forever 21’s stylists do the hard work so you can enjoy a fuss-free and fun shopping experience.

Now, everybody can not only shop at Forever 21, they can be #StyledByForever21. (Press Release)


Vispop 4.0 offers new batch of Visayan hits

Six Visayan songs that sing of love, friendship, journeys, and the longing between a wife and her sailor husband have made it as finalists of this year’s Vispop.

Vispop is a nationwide songwriting campaign that encourages Visayan-speaking composers and musicians to write quality Visayan songs that speak of today’s generation. A brainchild of Artist and Musicians Marketing Cooperative or ArtistKo, Vispop puts the Bisaya language and music in the mainstream consciousness of listeners.

ArtistKo is a non-profit, non-stock organization that supports individual creativity, skill and talent. Having artists, musicians and entrepreneurs as members, the cooperative aims to mount self-help mechanisms to provide benefits to all its members and continuously develop the local music and arts. ArtistKo’s biggest project, Vispop, was conceptualized in 2009 and had its first staging in 2013.

Vispop 2016 finalists.
This year’s Vispop finalists.

Topping charts

The first batches of Vispop finalists and winners captured the hearts of not just Cebuano listeners but non-Cebuano speaking music fans all over the country as well. It produced well-crafted songs such as Duyog, Laylay, and Papictura ko Nimo, Guapo, Bok Love, Dili Pa Panahon, Labyu Langga, Buwag Balik, among others. The songs have been topping charts nationwide.

Now on its 4th year, Vispop is once again set to make waves with its new set of 6 finalists meticulously chosen from among 360 entries from all over the country’s Visayan-speaking regions. The six finalists of this year’s Vispop are Baklay by Jerika Teodorico, Damgo by John Cadelina and Irving Guazon, Imoha Ra Akong Kasingkasing by Sherwin Fugoso and Marajane Monton, Paghunas by Joseph Gara, Pep-Pep by Kenneth Corvera, and Suwat Ni Maria by Maria Salvaleon.

Vispop 4.0 finalists

Jerika Teodorico Baklay
Jerika Teodorico / Baklay: “Baklay is a first person point-of-view story of what basically happens when friends decide to go out for a walk and end up travelling long distances because they are enjoying each other’s company. As the writing progresses, the song unintentionally transformed from just a story about laag-laag to an ode to Cebu.”


John Cadeliña, Irving Guazon Damgo
John Cadeliña and Irving Guazon / Damgo: “I wrote the song one lazy afternoon years go out of sheer boredom, naglupad akong imagination ug didto na ko na-inspire sa pagsulat sa akong mga damgo ug panimpalad”


Mara Monton, Sherwin Fugoso, Imoha Ra Akong Kasingkasing
Mara Monton and Sherwin Fugoso / Imoha Ra Akong Kasingkasing: “Ang among entry resulta sa experimentation. Wala gyod mi kahibawo kon asa mi padulong. What was sure was that we wanted it to be specific, clear ug expressive nga bibo ang feel. Ang kanta gikan sa linya nga “pagkasayon gyod nimo higugmaon” kay ana man gyod nang love nga tinug-anay (sorry sa mga bitter nga mituo nga walay forever).”


Joseph Gara, Paghunas
Joseph Gara / Paghunas: “Paghunas is inspired by a typical drama drawn between a wife and a sailor husband risking his life at the sea. The lyrics of the song will tell you the whole story.”


Kenneth Corvera, Pep-Pep
Kenneth Corvera / Pep-Pep: “The song is about relationship as a journey. Relationships may face bumpy roads along the way. Dili kanunay straight ang dalan, usahay daghang mga libaong, but despite the hardships, happy nga kauban nako siya. Ug and word nga ‘pep-pep jeep’ is a expression nako sa akong happiness samtang kuyog nako siya sa journey. Ang inspiration nako ani is my girlfriend ug ang among pag-travel sa Hongkong and Macau last year.”


Marie Salvaleon, Suwat ni Maria
Marie Salvaleon / Suwat ni Maria: “There’s nothing fancy about the back story of Suwat ni Maria. I was just so sad and frustrated about a lot of things three years ago and instead of crying the whole night, I chose to write a song. It’s just kind of funny because when you read over the lines (of the song), it seems to be talking about being to inspired, happy, to the extent that you feel so euphoric and falling in love when in fact, I felt the opposite while writing it.”


Finals night

On June 18, Saturday, this year’s ultimate song will rise during VISPOP 4.0 Finals Night. Happening at Centerstage SM Seaside, live performances from the six finalists and other special guests will fill the night with love for the language and music. Criteria for judging includes Music – 30%, Lyrics – 30%, and Over-all Impact including musical treatment, commercial appeal, radio-friendliness, uniqueness and breakthrough qualities – 40%.

Vispop 4.0 songs

You can vote for your favorite Vispop 4.0 song to be this year’s Netizens’ Choice by liking and sharing the video posted on the Vispop page. For votes to be counted, one must like the Vispop page first then like or share the video from there. In partnership with MOR Cebu 97.1, speak out and be heard by voting for the Listener’s Choice Awards.

Vispop is supported by Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Inc. (FILSCAP) and Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. For the latest updates, please like VISPOP on Facebook. (Press Release)


Smart records fastest growth in mobile postpaid

PLDT wireless subsidiary gains 6x more subscribers, 5x more revenue than competition

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications scored twin victories in the hotly-contested postpaid segment in the first quarter, posting the fastest growth both in terms of revenue and subscriber base.

Smart’s postpaid revenues rose 16% year-on-year, more than five times faster than competition’s 3% revenue growth. Smart added P614 million to its postpaid revenues, ending the quarter with P4.3 billion.

On top of this, Smart acquired new postpaid subscribers at a much faster rate than competition did, 25% vs 4%. Smart grew its postpaid subscriber base by 322,000 to end the first quarter with 1.6 million subscribers.

Best plans and perks

“Smart’s continued postpaid leadership can be attributed to our compelling device offers, improved customer experience, as well as to the groundbreaking content partnerships that have enabled us to offer a wider array of digital services that are relevant to our customers,” said Smart and PLDT executive vice president and head of consumer business Ariel Fermin.

Smart achieved all-time high iPhone sales in the first quarter of 2016, with sales volume up by 60% year-on-year. This was recorded after Smart launched unbeatable postpaid offers for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Subscribers can get a free iPhone 6s at Plan 2000 with a supersized 10 GB data allowance for all their videos, music, and games. On top of this, they will get All-Month Surf for access to their favorite websites and apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter; plus 150 minutes of all-net calls and 200 all-net texts.


Meanwhile, the iPhone 6s Plus is free at Plan 2499 on a 30-month contract, with a 15GB monthly data allowance, All-Month Surf, 300 minutes of all-net calls, and 300 all-net texts.

Last March, Smart was the first to offer the Samsung Galaxy S7 which comes free at Surf Plus Plan 1999. This monthly plan is inclusive of a 9GB data allowance, 150 minutes of calls and 200 texts to all networks, and free access to an app chosen by the subscriber.

Meanwhile, Smart’s premium postpaid brand Smart Infinity offered its subscribers two units of the Samsung Galaxy S7 plus a Samsung Gear VR under the Infinity LTE Consumable Plan 8000.

A state-of-the-art virtual reality headset, the Samsung Gear VR is set to usher in the next frontier in mobile entertainment, instantly transporting users in 3D and computer-generated animated worlds, as well as 180- or 360-degree live action scenes.

Richest digital content

Also driving postpaid growth was the wide breadth of video and digital content made available by Smart’s partnerships with the world’s content leaders. An example of this was Smart’s partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures, which enabled Smart to take the hit film Batman v Superman to the digital realm.

Smart opened a Batman v Superman online portal where subscribers could watch exciting videos and join interactive online challenges. Smart Postpaid subscribers, as well as Smart Prepaid and Smart Bro subscribers, also had the chance to win a trip for two to Japan or Hong Kong with every top-up of Big Bytes promos.

Smart also partnered with Uber to provide its passengers with free in-car Smart WiFi – a first in Southeast Asia. With this service, more Filipinos have experienced the Smart Life even while struck in traffic or breezing through the metropolis.

Improved customer experience

Fermin said Smart’s postpaid growth indicates enhanced consumer trust in the company, as it boosts efforts to improve customer experience.

“We are happy that Filipinos trust us to fulfill their various mobile needs. We value this trust, and we are continuously improving our network so our customers would truly live digital and enjoy a Smart Life,” he said.

PLDT and Smart have set aside about P43 billion in capital expenditures this year, the bulk of which is budgeted to boost internet services in the country, including the recently announced initial deployment of LTE-Advanced also known as 4.5G. (Press Release)


Smart empowers Eversley Childs Sanitarium in Cebu with digital services

Wireless leader Smart Communications (Smart) has partnered with Cebu-based Eversley Childs Sanitarium to further improve the delivery of health care to patients in the northern part of the province.

Smart recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Eversley to facilitate the referral of patients from the rural health units that are located in the northern part of Cebu to Eversley and if needed, referral from Eversley to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, which is the regional hospital in Cebu.

Shine OS+ Eversley Childs Sanitarium
SHINE OS+ TRAINING. Smart Communications trained 24 hospital personnel of Eversley Childs Sanitarium during the SHINE OS+ Users Training Workshop early this month. Smart was represented by Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes, head of Public Affairs VisMin (seated, rightmost), while Eversley was led by Dr. Lope Ma. Carabaña, medical center chief (seated, second from right).

This will be made possible via the award-winning mobile health platform Secured Health Information Network and Exchange (SHINE) OS+. It is an electronic medical record platform leveraging on open-sourced technologies developed in partnership with Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center (AJWCC).

SHINE OS+ has opened its API to provide access to other systems to enable data sharing or data exchange for interoperability that can greatly impact the function of the local government and national health agencies in improving its healthcare services, adhering to its goal on Universal Healthcare program. (Press Release)

Eversley Childs Sanitarium Shine OS+
Smart digitizes Eversley’ health care services. Smart Communications signs an agreement with Eversley Childs Sanitarium for the use of SHINE OS+. Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes, head of Public Affairs VisMin, signed on behalf of Smart (rightmost), while Felixberto E. Eltanal, chief, hospital operation and patient support division, and Dr. Lope Ma. Carabaña, medical center chief, signed on behalf of Eversley.

First-ever #TwitterElection showcases people power of the Philippines

After three months of watching, hearing, and talking about the political candidates, the Filipino public has cast its vote and has elected a new set of government officials in the national and local levels. But what marked the difference for the election this year is the higher level of inclusiveness Filipinos enjoyed through the country’s first-ever #TwitterElection. Engaging the first-time voters who are heavy social media users, or one-third (17 million) of the country’s 50 million registered voters, is critically important for any candidate to win the election. And the people’s voices have been heard on Twitter with over 35 million elections-related Tweets sent since the start of the year, of which over 4 million Tweets came on Election Day (May 9th) alone.

There was global interest in the Philippines general election and this was reflected in the #TwitterElection conversation, too. When you zoom out on the heatmap below, you can see the elections-related conversations on Twitter over the past 30 days from all over the world – from the US to UK to Europe to the Middle East to Asia Pacific – including Tweets from many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). For example, the three #PiliPinasDebates2016 Presidential TV debates generated Twitter conversations worldwide, nearly 5 million Tweets combined, with the last one on April 24, 2016 shown on the heatmap.


Said Rishi Jaitly, Twitter’s Vice President of Media for the Asia Pacific and Middle East: “This has been a special #TwitterElection in the Philippines with its People Power grassroots efforts to get more young Filipinos to participate in the elections, all thanks to COMELEC’s partnership to understand how important social media can be for #Pilipinas2016. Twitter is the first place Filipinos go to find out what’s happening on the campaign trail as well as to see diverse conversations about the political candidates and election issues. The live conversations on Twitter, from the Presidential TV debates to Election Day, provide the pulse of the nation and enable any Filipino’s voice to be heard around the world.”

As Twitter is often a reflection of society, the most mentioned Presidential candidates on Twitter can be a leading indicator of people’s interests. Over the past 7 months (from October 12, 2015 to May 9, 2016), Rodrigo Duterte was the most discussed Presidential candidate on Twitter, accounting for 40% of all mentions, almost equal to the next two leading candidates (Jejomar Binay and Mars Roxas) combined.


The Live Twitter Conversation on Election Day

The roar of the crowd was heard on Twitter with over 4 million Tweets on Election Day alone, or more than 10% of all elections-related conversations in 2016. The Twitter conversation peaked at 5,600 Tweets per minute at 7:30pm on May 9th as people began talking about the early voting results.

The real-time nature of Twitter also provides live insights into the people’s preferences for their Presidential candidates on Election Day:


In this Twitter data chart, Santiago/Duterte/Binay all had around the same share of voice (roughly 30% of Presidential candidate mentions) on Election Day, but Duterte had broader voter interest as 1.5X more Twitter users Tweeted about him vs Santiago and a whopping 7X more Twitter users Tweeted about him vs Binay. Binay’s supporters were fewer, but more organized and passionate on Twitter, as they Tweeted more often to account for nearly the same amount of Tweets as Duterte’s supporters.


Another Twitter data chart for Election Day conversations showed that Binay started strongly, but he faded throughout most of the day. Meanwhile Duterte had the opposite reaction by starting slowly and peaking at the end of the polling day. Santiago also built up momentum throughout the day and spiked higher than Duterte when her supporters started questioning why the early polling results showed her in last place. Grace Poe spiked at the end of the day when she conceded defeat.

Filipino voices heard on Election Day

In fact, some of the most Retweeted Tweets on Election Day came from young Filipinos expressing their opinions about the early voting results. While they do not have a lot of followers, their Tweets resonated with thousands of Filipinos who shared their point of view.

Voting rules violations were also being reported via Twitter on Election Day. Another most shared Tweet came from the @COMELEC spokesperson’s account:

And of course, Filipinos were proudly showing off their inked fingers on Twitter as a sign of their democratic right to vote for their next set of government leaders:

Continue to follow all the elections-related conversations and candidates’ actions on Twitter using #Pilipinas2016, #PHvote and #HalalanResults as the voting results are tallied in the days ahead. (Press Release)