You can now use PayMaya with Uber; promo offers 50% on first ride until July 10

Those without credit cards can now use transport service Uber via PayMaya, the pioneering and leading digital payments app in the Philippines. PayMaya Philippines (formerly Smart eMoney, Inc.), the digital financial services unit of PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), recently announced a partnership with Uber that will allow more Filipinos to experience the ride sharing service even without a credit card.

This unique partnership in Southeast Asia will enable faster, more secure, and convenient cashless transactions for Uber. Through the partnership, consumers can now link their virtual PayMaya Visa account to their Uber account via the Uber app, so they can request for an Uber ride even without a credit card. Consumers just need to download the PayMaya app from Google Play or App Store and register to get a 16-digit PayMaya virtual Visa account that can immediately be topped up and used for digital transactions.

“Today, PayMaya has once again changed the game for digital payments by pioneering a unique partnership with Uber. Filipinos who do not have credit cards will now have a chance to experience Uber and the ease of cashless transportation. We’re excited to collaborate with the world’s leading ride-sharing service and support Uber’s mission of ‘making transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone,’” said PayMaya Philippines president and CEO Orlando Vea.

PayMaya Uber
PAYMAYA-UBER PARTNERSHIP. (From left) Benjie Fernandez, Co-COO of PayMaya Philippines and COO of Voyager Innovations; Laurence Cua, General Manager of Uber Philippines; Manuel Pangilinan Chairman of PLDT, Smart, and Voyager Innovations; Orlando Vea, President and CEO of Voyager Innovations during the announcement of the PayMaya-Uber partnership.


Uber Philippines general manager Laurence Cua said, “PayMaya and Uber share the same vision of reliable services for all. For Uber, it’s reliable transportation everywhere, for everyone. For PayMaya, it’s digital payments made available for everyone, anywhere. Together, the synergies in payment and transportation will create an unparalleled commuting experience for users founded on convenience and reliability.”

Aside from the mobile app, PayMaya customers can also opt to have their own PayMaya physical prepaid card which can be used in brick-and-mortar stores worldwide that accept Visa. A variant also comes with its own beep wallet, allowing users to ride the MRT and LRT for their daily commute. Users who upgrade their PayMaya account can use their PayMaya for peer-to-peer money transfers and ATM withdrawals.

Going cashless with PayMaya

Ever since its launch in 2014, Filipinos have found Uber to be an innovative transport alternative, even if credit card penetration remains at a low 7 percent of the population, according to the Credit Card Association of the Philippines. While Uber has been accepting cash transactions since late 2015, the partnership with PayMaya today will allow consumers to enjoy the digital convenience that both services offer.

Cashless transactions are more convenient since paying through cash causes delays for both riders and Uber drivers. It also eliminates the security risk of cash handling for Uber partner drivers. Consumers who use PayMaya have more control over their expenses compared to credit card holders. A text message of the transaction is automatically sent to the user’s mobile number upon end of trip. The latest transaction history can be viewed on the PayMaya app for easier expense tracking.

Loading up a PayMaya account is also convenient as it can be topped up at any of the over 15,000 PayMaya reloading stations nationwide that include SM Malls Business Centers, Robinsons Malls Business Centers, Bayad Centers, 7-Eleven stores with Cliqq kiosks, TouchPay Kiosks, and Smart Padala Centers, on top of online banking via BDO.

50% off on first ride

As a special promo for PayMaya users, who take their first Uber trip from June 10 to July 10, 2016 will get 50% off on their ride when they use the promo code PAYMAYAxUBER. The promo is valid for both Black Car and UberX rides (Metro Manila and Cebu only). To avail of the promo, PayMaya users just need to have at least Php300 in their account.

PayMaya is powered by Visa and regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to ensure all user transactions are secure. Aside from being the first non-financial institution in Asia to be granted by Visa with an issuing and acquiring license, PayMaya Philippines also counts MasterCard as its partner giving it the unique opportunity to offer both Visa and MasterCard products.

For more information about PayMaya and how users can get their own PayMaya card, visit Talk to us on social media:,, and (Press release)

Get the new Chromecast for P99 a month from Globe

The Google Chromecast is a device that allows people to “cast” or broadcast content from personal devices like phones, tablets and computers to bigger screens like a TV through an HDMI connection. The content can be movies, TV shows, music, and even games.

Globe, in collaboration with Google, is offering the new generation of Chromecast as an add-on to their broadband subscription at P99 a month.

Google Chromecast Globe
Google Chromecast allows you to display content in your phone on bigger screens like the TV.

Broadband plan add-on

Globe Broadband customers with any plan can get the new Chromecast for P99 add-on monthly in a 24-month period. Subscribers can avail by calling 02-730-1010, browsing online at or visiting Globe Stores nationwide. The offer is available until Nov. 18, 2016.

“Customers today are no longer just tied in using their smartphones and PC’s at home for personal consumption, they also demand better content to share and experience on a bigger screen,” the company said in a press statement.

The new Chromecast, according to the Globe announcement, is equipped with better connectivity with the latest 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi and three antenna structure for a faster and stable, with less buffering, streaming using the latest mobile devices.

Digital lifestyle

Aside from providing better hardware, the new Chromecast is also fully compatible to cast with the latest entertainment apps including Globe exclusive digital content partners such as HOOQ, NBA and Spotify.

“With our continuous partnership with Google, we stay true in providing new and meaningful innovations to fully maximize the digital lifestyle of our customers. The latest installment in this is the new Chromecast, now with better features and compatibility to our content partners such as Spotify, HOOQ, NBA to a more immersive casting experience,” said Globe senior vice president for broadband business Martha Sazon.

During the first quarter of this year, Globe Broadband logged a significant growth of 51% in revenue and additional subscribers of 41% resulting in a total broadband revenue of P3.5 billion. The impressive growth in revenues was driven by the increasing demand for data connectivity and positive response to various home broadband offerings bundled with entertainment-related content, Globe said. (From a press release)

Wedding and debut exclusives in One Sweet Day at Marco Polo Plaza on June 18

What if we told you that Marco Polo Plaza can make your wedding and debut dreams come true?

To all soon-to-be-wed couples and soon-to-be-debutantes, come up to Nivel Hills on June 18 and be part of One Sweet Day: A Day of Wedding & Debut Exclusives. This will be held at the newly-renovated Cebu Grand Ballroom where our Banquet Sales Team will be at your service from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Why are we calling it One Sweet Day? If you book your wedding or debut with us on this special day, you will get all the benefits of our well-crafted celebration packages, plus the added One Sweet Day advantage.

Marco Polo Plaza One Sweet Day

This includes a 20% discount on the celebration package price. You will also get to choose two more premium benefits from the following: waived corkage for wines and lechon, additional complimentary night’s stay before or after the event, a gift certificate for Chocolate Indulgence Spa treatment for two, in-room Champagne Breakfast during your hotel stay, waived clearing fee for your dessert buffet, or a gift certificate for an overnight stay with breakfast for two at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila.

This irresistible offer is only valid on June 18 with the following terms and conditions: a reservation fee of P30,000 should be paid on that day, this is valid only for new bookings, the wedding or debut must be in 2016 or 2017 and the benefits can only be availed upon confirmation and full payment on or before February 2017.


Sweet things can happen in one sweet day. Allow our team of professional event specialists to help you make your dream celebration come true.

For more information, you can call (032) 253-1111 local 8109 or email [email protected]. For real time updates, like the Facebook page at or follow on Twitter at @5StarInCebu. (Press release)

Enjoy mobile games, videos at breakneck speeds via Smart LTE-Advanced

Bigger, faster, better.

This is how unrivaled mobile services leader Smart Communications is changing the way Filipinos are enjoying their favorite apps, games and videos on their smartphone with its recent launch of the country’s first LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service in the renowned island of Boracay in Aklan.

Using a capability called “carrier aggregation,” which combines two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and faster data speeds, Smart’s LTE-A services has posted speeds of up to 250 Mbps, allowing users to download and upload huge files in seconds, stream movies and music seamlessly, and play their favorite games on a LTE-A capable device – such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 – without any hiccup.

Smart LTE-A Launch
Smart’s LTE-Advanced site in Boracay – the first of its kind in the country – offers blazing speeds of up to 250Mbps on a LTE-A capable device such as the Samsung Galaxy S7.

Technology forefront

“LTE-A is like being able to put together two or more separate highways in order to create a wider highway through which vehicular traffic can flow more freely and at a much faster rate,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT and Smart chief technology and information advisor.

“With the introduction of our LTE-Advanced service, the next stage of development of 4th generation of mobile technology, Smart is again at the technology forefront, setting the bar higher for mobile service and changing our customers’ digital experience for the better.”

“This is a milestone for Filipino mobile users, whose lives are constantly changed for the better by Smart’s mobile innovations and services,” said Smart Wireless Consumer Operations Head Kat Luna-Abelarde at the launch.

Future of mobile Internet

“Smart has brought the future of mobile internet experience here and now, sparking a fundamental shift in our lifestyle and the way we pursue our passions, connect, and celebrate life-defining moments with our family and loved-ones.”

This latest development also goes hand in hand with Smart’s push for a richer digital experience through super-sized data and compelling device offers, which cater to the growing appetite of Filipinos for mobile videos, games and music.

“LTE-A, along with our continuing efforts to improve existing network technologies, strengthen our efforts to give our subscribers the best internet services and mobile video experience.”

SMART LTE-A LAUNCH. Representatives of Smart Communications and technology partners Samsung and Huawei toast to the deployment of the country’s first ever Smart LTE-Advanced service in Boracay island. In the photo are (from left) Samsung Electronics Rhinn Piczon, Smart Broadband Head Pamela Santiago, Smart Consumer Broadband Marketing Head Gary Dujali, Smart Infinity Head Julie Carceller, Samsung Electronics Minsu Chu, Smart Chief Financial Officer Chaye Cabal-Revilla, PLDT & Smart Chief Technology & Information Advisor Joachim Horn, Smart Brand Head Kathy Carag, Smart Network Portfolio Management Senior Supervisor Christopher Alzona, PLDT & Smart Network Services Head Mario Tamayo, PLDT Chief Operating Advisor & Board of Directors Member Tadashi Miyashita, Huawei Account Director for PLDT Jerry Li Zhichao.
SMART LTE-A LAUNCH. Representatives of Smart Communications and technology partners Samsung and Huawei toast to the deployment of the country’s first ever Smart LTE-Advanced service in Boracay island. In the photo are (from left) Samsung Electronics Rhinn Piczon, Smart Broadband Head Pamela Santiago, Smart Consumer Broadband Marketing Head Gary Dujali, Smart Infinity Head Julie Carceller, Samsung Electronics Minsu Chu, Smart Chief Financial Officer Chaye Cabal-Revilla, PLDT & Smart Chief Technology & Information Advisor Joachim Horn, Smart Brand Head Kathy Carag, Smart Network Portfolio Management Senior Supervisor Christopher Alzona, PLDT & Smart Network Services Head Mario Tamayo, PLDT Chief Operating Advisor & Board of Directors Member Tadashi Miyashita, Huawei Account Director for PLDT Jerry Li Zhichao.

Enhance network

Since the start of the year, Smart launched the country’s hottest device deals such as the P888 handset with free data and load rebates and, even more recently, the P888 Pocket WiFi – making it easier for Filipinos to discover the real-life benefits of online connectivity.

To deliver a super-sized mobile Internet experience to subscribers, Smart has also doubled its data offer for Big Bytes 50, which now comes with 700MB – up from the previous 350MB – for surfing and streaming plus 650MB for YouTube, YouTube Gaming and iflix – valid for 3 days, still at P50.

Apart from deploying the country’s first LTE-A service, Smart has also been working on its 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE networks to enhance network resiliency and quality of data services to deliver the best possible digital experiences for subscribers nationwide. (Press release)

Fitbit Blaze, Fitbit Alta now available in the Philippines

Fitbit, the leader in the global connected health and fitness market, announced the availability of Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Alta devices in the Philippines. These products are now available at leading retail and online stores across the country including all Digital Walkers and Beyond The Box stores, as well as select Toby’s outlets.

A part of the Fitbit platform – consisting of of devices, apps, social and motivational features, advice and personalized coaching – these products help people make behavioral changes to be more active, exercise more, eat smarter, track their sleep and manage their weight.

Fitbit Blaze is a highly-rated device among consumers.
Fitbit Blaze is a highly-rated device among consumers.

As part of the global launch, Fitbit shipped more than one million Fitbit Blaze devices in its first month of availability, exceeding internal Fitbit sales forecasts. Fitbit also announced that more than one million Fitbit Alta devices shipped since US retail availability began on March 9.

Consumer response

These are the highlights of the consumer response to Fitbit Blaze:

  • Fitbit Blaze, which won 18 awards at CES, has captured the ranking of #1 bestselling device in the smart watch category on Amazon in the US
  • Fitbit Blaze has earned more than 1,600 customer reviews on Amazon in the last month, with 82% giving Fitbit Blaze a 4- or 5-star rating.

These are the highlights of the consumer response to Fitbit Alta:

  • Fitbit Alta is currently one of the top selling devices in the fitness tracker and pedometer categories on Amazon in the US
  • Fitbit Alta is one of the top selling devices in the fitness tracker and pedometer categories on More than 75% of customer reviews on Amazon give Alta a 4- or 5-star rating.

“At Fitbit, we continue to focus on developing innovative and motivating fitness-first products that our customers love and that help them achieve their health and fitness goals,” said Steve Morley, Vice President and General Manager, Fitbit Asia Pacific. “We’ve received positive response around the globe for Blaze and Alta, and we’re excited to bring these new products to the Philippines as our most motivating and most stylish devices for active and everyday consumers.”

Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Alta join the diverse line of award-winning products from Fitbit including Fitbit Surge, Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip activity trackers, as well as the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale. The devices are part of the Fitbit platform, which empowers people with information, offering a fun and engaging experience, providing insights and guidance for users to get the most out of their trackers and help them reach their health, fitness and wellness goals.

Fitbit Blaze (P9,999)

Fitbit Blaze.
Fitbit Blaze.

Fitbit’s most motivating and smartest fitness tracker – puts the emphasis on next generation health and fitness features first and foremost, such as PurePulse continuous, wrist-based heart rate tracking; SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition; automatic sleep tracking; and FitStar by Fitbit on-screen workouts.

Curated to fit your life, Fitbit Blaze includes the smart notifications that matter most, like call, text and calendar alerts, so you can stay connected to what’s important. It also has a long battery life that lasts up to 5 days , allowing you to keep up with your life, day and night.

Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Blaze accessory bands began shipping to retailers and consumers in North America in late February and are now available in the Philippines, Asia and Australia, as well as Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Blaze will begin shipping to China, Korea and Japan later this Spring.

Fitbit Alta (P6,479)

Fitbit Alta.
Fitbit Alta.

This model is a slim, sleek fitness wristband designed with a satin finish, stainless steel body and features a line of stylish, interchangeable bands in multiple popular colors and premium materials so you can find the right style for every occasion. Features include Reminders to Move, SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition, and all day activity and automatic sleep tracking.

Fitbit Alta also helps you stay connected with the smart notifications you need, delivering call, text and calendar notifications when your phone is nearby with a gentle vibrating alert on its vibrant, slender display. Fitbit Alta lasts up to 5 days on a single charge and is compatible with more than 200 Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices and computers.

LONG-LASTING. Fitbit Alta lasts up to 5 days on a single charge and is compatible with more than 200 Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices and computers.
LONG-LASTING. Fitbit Alta lasts up to 5 days on a single charge and is compatible with more than 200 Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices and computers.

Fitbit Alta and Fitbit Alta accessory bands began shipping to retailers and consumers in North America on March 9 and are also currently available in Philippines, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore and South Asia Pacific and Latin America. Alta will begin shipping to additional global locations in Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa later this Spring. (Press Release)

Something Blu: A wedding-of-a-kind by Radisson Blu Cebu

Make Radisson Blu Cebu your touch of Something Blu of the wedding you’ve always dreamed about. Stylish, sophisticated, stress-free and flawless, experience a bespoke approach in creating one of your life’s lasting moments.

As your day-come-true unravels, savor the unparalleled service of a seasoned wedding team dedicated to meet your needs along with the finely-detailed wedding menu crafted by the executive chef – all happening in the exquisite celebratory spaces of Radisson Blu Cebu’s grand ballrooms.

Delight in a collection of premium Signature Wedding Packages from Tru Blu to Royal Blu starting at P1,600 to P2,000 per person, tailored to appeal to every budget and taste.

Radisson Blu Something Blu: A Wedding of a Kind
BRIDAL FAIR. The Something Blu: A Wedding of a Kind will be held on June 10 and 11 and will gather over 40 top wedding industry movers in an exquisite display of the finest wedding options. (Photo: Radisson Blu Cebu)

Something Blu bridal fair

Your journey to “I Do” begins on June 10 and 11 as Radisson Blu Cebu presents Something Blu: A Wedding of a Kind at the Northwing Atrium of SM City Cebu from 10AM to 9PM. On this two-day bridal fair, over 40 top wedding industry movers gather in an exquisite display of the finest wedding options handpicked for your day come true. Exclusive deals await from all suppliers and the SM Gift Registry.

On June 10, catch celebrated wedding videographer Jason Magbanua as he shares the process of his renowned visual storytelling followed with a bridal fashion show by leading Cebu designers – Barbie Alvez, Edwin Ao, Hanz Coquilla, Protacio Empaces Jr., Ronald Enrico, Dino Lloren, Mel Maria, Lord Maturan, Wendell Quisido, Philip Rodriguez, Mary Ty and Philipp Tampus. Interactive events are happening on June 11 featuring a talk show on real wedding advice by Cebuano personalities and an exhibition by junior stylists.


Bride pampering options

For all brides-to-be, pamper yourself and toast in style with your friends in a SparTea. Bask in Afternoon Delight which includes a 1-hour aromatherapy massage and afternoon high tea with cups of premium Dilmah tea for P2,000 net per person or Relax and Rejuvenate with a 1-hour facial treatment and Aromatherapy massage plus an afternoon high tea with cups of the finest Dilmah tea and a glass of Prosecco.

Keep up-to-date with the hotel’s latest offerings by joining us on Facebook at, Twitter, Instagram (@radissonblucebu) or Pinterest. (Press release)

Globe fires up PH 1st 700 MHz cell site; logs speeds ranging from 60 to 100 Mbps

Globe Telecom fired up over the weekend the country’s first cell site that uses the 700 megahertz spectrum, generating speeds that range between 60-100 Mbps. The company expects to deliver performance improvements as it completes ongoing optimization.

The move came less than a week after Globe acquired half of San Miguel Corp.’s telecommunication assets that included the 700 MHz frequency.

700 MHz cell sites rollout

According to Joel Agustin, Globe senior vice president for program governance, Network Technical Group, the first 700 MHz cell site is located near Hardin ng Bougainvillea in UP Diliman, Quezon City. It benefits customers within a 2.2 kilometers radius from the cell tower.

So far, there are almost a hundred customers in the area using devices compatible with the LTE 700 MHz band experiencing the value of the technology. Officials of the National Telecommunications Commission, led by Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios inspected the site last Monday, June 6.

Agustin said the company plans to initially roll out 200 sites using this particular frequency. “The intention is that the first batch of the 200 sites we plan to roll out will be in areas where connectivity matters most to our customers as well as in locations with high convergence of users like here in the National Capital Region,” he said.

NEW CELL SITE. Photo shows the 700MHz antenna, 2.5 meters in height, mounted on a Globe cell site in Diliman, Quezon City.
NEW CELL SITE. Photo shows the 700MHz antenna, 2.5 meters in height, mounted on a Globe cell site in Diliman, Quezon City.

Decongestion of other frequencies

Globe plans to activate all 200 sites progressively, which means that more and more customers will get to experience the benefits of the 700 MHz moving forward. Users of phones that are not compatible with LTE are also expected to benefit from the deployment of 700 MHz cell sites as this will lead to decongestion of users on other frequencies.

The 700 MHz frequency is considered a key in providing faster internet speeds in the country as it can easily penetrate buildings and walls and has greater coverage with fewer infrastructures needed compared to frequencies on higher bands. Its qualities make it the most valuable frequency range for 4G/LTE technology.

Agustin emphasized that use of the 700 MHz bodes well with the company’s capacity enhancement initiative amid increasing demand for bandwidth on growing customers’ propensity for multi-media content.

Better coverage

“About 70% to 80% of our customers are transacting data indoors and we need the 700 MHz spectrum to provide better coverage and stable connectivity inside their homes. Indoor connectivity is one issue that the 700 MHz spectrum addresses,” he said.

Agustin further emphasized that using the 700 MHz would allow the deployment of a high-capacity LTE-based wireless and fixed broadband network in rural areas, supporting the company’s initiative of expanding internet reach to many Filipinos. “Using low-frequency 700 MHz enables mobile signals to travel farther, which, in turn, will enable the company to significantly improve the coverage of its broadband services in rural areas and allow our customers in those locations to gain internet access,” he added.

More and more devices are supporting the 700MHz that now include Samsung’s S6 Edge+, Note 5, S7, S7 Edge, and J5 2016. (Press release)

Looking for a Father’s Day gift? Put a spring in Dad’s step with Havaianas

Instead of the usual socks and jocks, why not give something fun for Dad this year? Here are four Havaianas styles that are perfect for the occasion.

Havaianas Top Basic
Havaianas Top Basic

Havaianas Top Basic is a go-to style perfect for the go-to guy in your life. The designs are simple, unassuming and go well with almost everything.


Havaianas 4nite
Havaianas 4nite

Is Dad a rock star? Make him feel like a hotshot with Havaianas 4nite! It features rock and roll glow in the dark prints. Come on, need we say more? They glow in the dark!


Havaianas Casual
Havaianas Casual

If Dad’s style includes skinny jeans, V-neck shirts, thick-rimmed glasses and a mustache for good measure, then he’s definitely a hipster! He will fancy a pair of Havaianas Casual which features a bi-color matte strap for a surefire style.


Havaianas Disney
Havaianas Disney

A young-at-heart dad is as fun to shop for as he is to hang around. He’s fun, easy going and does not take himself too seriously. It’s easy to picture him in a pair of Havaianas Disney Stylish with soles printed with well-loved Disney characters you grew up watching with him.

So save the date. Father’s Day this year is on June 19. Whatever style you decide to get, just make sure to make him special because he deserves it.

Check out the rest of the Havaianas Collection on and follow @havaianasphils on Twitter and Instagram. (Press Release)

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)

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)

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)