Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Author: press-release

The Mactan Newtown holds grandest “Lechon Festival” in Cebu

Everyone agrees that the best lechon is found in the “Queen City of the South.” In the Philippines, no festival would be a complete celebration without the world-renowned lechon on…

Everyone agrees that the best lechon is found in the “Queen City of the South.”

In the Philippines, no festival would be a complete celebration without the world-renowned lechon on the table.

In celebration of this culinary pride, The Mactan Newtown, in partnership with the Lapu-Lapu City Government, is once again putting the spotlight on the world-famous Cebu lechon, along with the rich history, artistry, and skill that goes into preparing this celebrated dish, with its very own “Lechon Festival.”

Mactan Newtown Lechon Festival

 

From August 1 to August 12, foodies can indulge in the finest lechons right off the roasting pit of Cebu’s best lechon makers as The Mactan Newtown Lechon Festival showcases Cebu’s mouthwatering dish for tourists, guests, and locals.

“This annual gastronomic and cultural celebration is aimed at bringing awareness to small-scale and less commercialized lechon businesses. Apart from giving local businesses the platform to showcase their lechon products, we are also looking to raise the status of this great dish as a main pillar of food tourism in Cebu. Through this, we hope to grow Cebu’s reputation further as a top tourist attraction, while also becoming a catalyst for regional economic growth and more livelihood opportunities,” said Kevin Tan, Head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.

Lechon Festival Lapu-Lapu

LIVE ROASTING. Lapu-Lapu City Tourism Head Hembler Mendoza and Megaworld Lifestyle Mall Vice President and Head of Marketing and Business Development Tefel Pesigan-Valentino lead the live lechon roasting at The Mactan Newtown as part of the Lechon Festival.

 

Week-long ‘lechon’ festivities underway

Experience a dining celebration like no other at the 500-seater Mactan Alfresco where you can savor the best iterations of Cebu’s beloved pork dish. Sample the signature lechon varieties from Cebu’s best lechon-makers, including delicious arrays of lechon-themed dishes and lechon pairings.

Making this delicious gathering even more appetizing is The Mactan Newtown’s introduction of exclusive lechon deals throughout the week-long festival. From August 3 to 12, guests can avail themselves of a whopping price drop of P400 per kilo of lechon for a limited time only from all participating lechon sellers.

Lechon sisig by KKB Seafood.

Lechon sisig by KKB Seafood.

 

Festival goers can also immerse themselves through the entire lechon preparation process at Mactan Alfresco’s very own Lechon Pit. Here, they can witness how a lechon is prepared right before their very eyes—from seasoning to roasting at the coal pit, to portioning, and serving on their own plates.

The 30-hectare The Mactan Newtown of Megaworld is the country’s first “Live-Work-Play-Learn” lifestyle township with its own beachfront located in Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu. For more information, visit www.megaworld-lifestylemalls.com or like The Mactan Newtown on Facebook or follow @mactannewtown_ on Instagram and Twitter. (Press Release)

Lechon Festival Mactan Newtown

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Sing Your Story: learn about singing, songwriting in crash course by Cattski

Room Eleven Recording Studio and 22 Tango Records are hosting a singer-songwriter workshop on August 11. Presented by singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and studio director Cattski Espina, the workshop covers…

Room Eleven Recording Studio and 22 Tango Records are hosting a singer-songwriter workshop on August 11.

Presented by singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and studio director Cattski Espina, the workshop covers establishing musician identity, learning stage essentials, laying out the process of collaboration, preparing for recording, and exploring the business side of music.

Formerly called the Singer Songwriter Bootcamp, the upcoming crash course aims to educate and encourage aspiring singer songwriters to tell their stories by fostering interaction and creativity through the use of voice. The workshop will culminate with a co-writing activity.

Cattski Espina

Cattski Espina

Espina’s years-long expertise led her to co-founding 22 Tango Records, a local independent record label and publishing house, and the establishment of Room Eleven Recording Studio. She has released over five albums and has performed in New York City, Nashville, Tennessee, and Vancouver, Canada. Her most recent projects included the production of the Wonggoy’s single “Wa’y Blema” and Vincent Eco’s album “Kiss and Disappear.”

The workshop will run from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm at the Room Eleven Recording Studio Annex, Mango Square Mall, Gen. Maxilom Avenue. Registration slots are limited at P1500 each.

For more inquiries, visit www.room11.studio or email [email protected].

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SYKES Cebu stages grand 15th anniversary affair

IT was a night of fun and entertainment as SYKES Cebu marked its 15th anniversary at the Grand Hall of SYKES Synergis last July 20. More than 800 SYKES employees…

IT was a night of fun and entertainment as SYKES Cebu marked its 15th anniversary at the Grand Hall of SYKES Synergis last July 20.

More than 800 SYKES employees joined the celebration made more exciting by the presence of It’s Showtime Hashtag member Zeus Collins as special guest.

The event opened with an energetic opening number courtesy of the SYKES Talent Circle, SYKES Cebu’s homegrown dance group.

This was followed by a rousing welcome from SYKES Cebu’s Head of Operations and Vice President of Area Operations and Shared Services John Sneed.

Sykes Cebu 15th anniversary

“Congratulations to everybody here. I thank you all for this. You earned this,” he said in his message.

SYKES Involve, the umbrella organization for SYKES Cebu’s various interest clubs, graced the stage and treated everyone to a sneak preview of their talents and hobbies.

One by one, the Basketball Club, Volleyball Club, Oh Pets Club, Outdoor Club, Anglers and Fishing Club, Talent Circle, Table Tennis Club, Moto Club, and Football Club showed why they are the ambassadors of work-life balance in SYKES Cebu.

Sykes Cebu 15th anniversary

SYKES Cebu employees also had the chance to showcase their talents in the Dance Cover Competition. A total of 9 pairs flaunted their dancing prowess and wowed the audience with their stage presence.

In the end, Aljury Jed Maluya and Ariel Puelas Garing of Team MLBU emerged as the champions and took home Php10,000. But they are not the only winners of the night. Several lucky others won SYKES Merchandise and gift certificates during the raffle.

The night’s loudest cheer was reserved for special guest of the night, Zeus Collins, who sizzled onstage with his signature song and dance performance. (Press Release)

Sykes Cebu 15th anniversary

Sykes Cebu 15th anniversary

Sykes Cebu 15th anniversary

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Big Bad Wolf joins Cebu LitFest

The Big Bad Wolf book sale is the talk of Cebu with over a million brand new books and over 20,000 titles on sale at 80% off regular prices. The…

The Big Bad Wolf book sale is the talk of Cebu with over a million brand new books and over 20,000 titles on sale at 80% off regular prices. The sale at the IEC Convention Center continues to draw massive crowds.

Behind Big Bad Wolf are its founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng. Cebuanos can get to know them more at the Cebu Literary Festival.

Scheduled to speak at 11 am on Sunday, July 22, at the Activity Center of Ayala Center Cebu, the leaders of the pack who brought the world’s biggest, baddest book sale to Cebu for the first time, will talk about their Big Bad Wolf Cebu journey, their Cebu experience, and how and why they started the movement in Malaysia in 2009.

BIG BAD WOLF book sale founders Jacqueline Ng and Andrew Yap.

BIG BAD WOLF book sale founders Jacqueline Ng and Andrew Yap.

Andrew and Jacqueline will also answer questions from the audience who want to know more about the Big Bad Wolf books. Joining them will be Miguel Mercado, marketing head of Big Bad Wolf Philippines.

The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is known for offering a wide selection of high-quality English books at huge discounts. Readers can expect to find bestsellers, novels, business books, art and design titles, cookbooks and a fantastic range of children’s books ranging from activity books, story books, and interactive books. Big Bad Wolf first arrived in the Philippines last February 16 to 25 in Manila, drawing huge crowds and sparked an online campaign from cities like Cebu and Davao.

Big Bad Wolf Cebu

UNTIL JULY 23. The Big Bad Wolf book sale in IEC Convention Center is open 24 hours daily until 11:59 pm on July 23.

Their advocacy to promote the love for reading and to make books more accessible to the masses ties in with Cebu Literary Festival’s aim to celebrate the written word.

The Cebu Literary Festival is an annual gathering of all things literary — talks, stories, books, spoken word, theatre, music, and poetry among others. Now on its fifth year, the CebuLitFest x KomiKet will be held for two days starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 21. This year’s featured names include Manix Abrera, Hulyen, Myke Obenieta, Merlie Alunan, Denver Torres, Gingging Dumdum, Larry Ypil, Resil Mojares, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Ian Rosales Casocot, and TEAM Magazine’s Phil De La Torre.

Join the hunt and discover bestselling books that have been restocked and new titles to devour at the IEC Convention Center. Bibliophiles have until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 23 to grab their favorite books at 60% – 80% off their regular prices. The sale is open 24 hours daily until the very last day and admission is free. (Press Release)

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Get P75 cashback when you shop with GCash QR in National Book Store branches

Shopping for bags, paper, notebooks, pencils, and all other school items at the National Book Store is a yearly back-to-school ritual. This year, shopping is even better because everything you…

Shopping for bags, paper, notebooks, pencils, and all other school items at the National Book Store is a yearly back-to-school ritual.

This year, shopping is even better because everything you need for school are made available at all National Bookstore branches. Head to any of the over 230 branches nationwide and you’ll find Back-to-School Zones – areas where basic school supplies, uniforms, shoes, bags, and more are grouped together for a quick, easy, and convenient shopping experience.

National Bookstore also launched the 2018 Grand Back to School Fair in select mall locations.

GCash National Book Store

“National Book Store is one of the most recognizable names in the Philippines, and being able to extend GCash’s reach to Filipinos is a big step for us in encouraging more and more people to have a better shopping experience. In recognition of their 75thyear, we are happy to support National Bookstore’s Back-to-school program by offering a 75 pesos Cashback with GCash QR for a minimum spend of 300 pesos at any National Bookstore nationwide,” said Anthony Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Mynt, which operates GCash.

To use the scan to pay feature, Globe users must download the GCash app on their smartphones and update to the latest version of it before registering an account. Get P50 when you use referral code “NBBTOS” upon registration.With over 12,000 GCash partner outlets nationwide, including Globe Stores, SM Business Centers, Puregold branches, Robinsons Business Centers, 7-Eleven Cliqq kiosks, and TouchPay kiosks, shoppers can easily fund their GCash wallets.

Visit www.gcashpromos.com/gcash-national-bookstore-75-cashback to learn more. (Press Release)

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Cashback, discounts, freebies at GCash Digital Weekend Cebu

Have you tried paying through GCash QR scan to pay? Head to the Cebu IT Park from May 18 to 20, use GCash QR to shop with merchants, and get…

Have you tried paying through GCash QR scan to pay? Head to the Cebu IT Park from May 18 to 20, use GCash QR to shop with merchants, and get exclusive discounts and freebies.

GCash QR is a system launched last year that allows you to quickly pay via scanning a QR Code at the counter. We wrote about the experience in using it here: With GCash Scan To Pay, transactions are quick, cashless.

If you still haven’t tried it, this weekend’s event will be a great venue to test the future of payments. During GCash Digital Weekend Cebu, get 50% cashback on your first transaction. You can get a stamp packet that allows you to win prizes as you complete the stamps by purchasing from GCash QR merchants.

The popular weekend food market and culinary destination Sugbo Mercado now also accepts GCash QR.

Gcash QR scan to pay Cebu Digital Weekend Cebu IT Park

 

Gcash QR scan to pay Cebu

 

Gcash QR Cebu

GCash QR is now accepted in Sugbo Mercado.

Gcash QR scan to pay Cebu

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Smart, Ateneo to boost Central Visayas health programs with SHINE OS+

The Department of Health Region VII is integrating the SHINE OS+ electronic medical record system of Smart Communications and Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center with its existing reporting tool to…

The Department of Health Region VII is integrating the SHINE OS+ electronic medical record system of Smart Communications and Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center with its existing reporting tool to enhance the region’s health programs.

SHINE OS+ or the Secured Health Information Network Exchange open-source system enables health units to submit aggregated medical data directly to the region’s Health Console for faster retrieval of information.

An efficient electronic medical record system redounds to better health care by ensuring that patient information is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. The system also guards against loss of or damage to patient files.

Smart, Ateneo DOH Central Visayas

Signing the memorandum of agreement are (in photo, from left) Smart Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Attorney Maria Jane Paredes, Regional Health Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas, and AJWCC executive director Ma. Regina Estuar. (Press Release)

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Smart employees, families donate digital learning packages to far-flung communities

English teacher Dexter Masiado has a problem with student absenteeism. Not even half of his 75 pupils at Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo attend his classes at any given…

English teacher Dexter Masiado has a problem with student absenteeism. Not even half of his 75 pupils at Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo attend his classes at any given day.

He doesn’t blame his students, who are composed mostly of indigenous people. To get to school, they need to walk three hours on a mountain path – and that’s on a good day. On rainy days, they need to trudge muddy trails wearing nothing on their feet but plastic. They would arrive at school drenched and shaking.

“A lot of them also forgo classes to help their parents earn a living. Instead of attending classes, they would plough the field, harvest rice, or weave sawali,” Masiado said.

The teacher was thus very happy when he learned that their school would receive a School-in-a-Bag from Smart Communications. This is a big backpack containing a laptop, tablets, TV, a solar panel with batteries, pocket Wi-Fi, and educational content. The package also includes teacher training and yearlong monitoring.

“The students will definitely be more interested to go to school now. They have not yet been introduced to 21st century tools like tablets, laptop, and the internet,” Masiado said.

Smart School-in-a-bag

Smart meets three of its latest School-in-a-Bag recipients. In the photo are Smart employees led by Chief People and Culture Officer Liza Sichon (center) and People Group AVP Cheryll Agsaoay (standing fourth from left), and representatives of Trangka Elementary School in Maasin, Iloilo; Jubilee Shelter Program in Plaridel, Bulacan; and an Alternative Learning System center in Tanay, Rizal.

Previous recipients of the Smart School-in-a-Bag have reported enhanced literacy and heightened interest in learning among their students. One teacher in Albay noted that some of her students would even go to school despite class suspensions so they could learn from the tablets.

The School-in-a-Bag is donated by Smart and its partner individuals and organizations to remote communities, including those without electricity, to help enhance the learning of students through technology and non-tech solutions.

The package that Trangka Elementary School will receive is a donation from Smart employees and their families, who sponsored the P100,000 kit by participating in a program called Smart Saturdays.

For three Saturdays last year, employees were invited to watch blockbuster movies with their loved ones and buy special event shirts for a certain amount. The collected amount was enough to put together seven School-in-a-Bag kits for underserved schools.

“I am really pleased that thousands of our employees participated in the program, not just to enjoy the movies with their families, but also to help other people,” said Smart People Group AVP for Communication and Engagement Cheryll Agsaoay. “I’m proud to say that our employees have taken to heart Smart’s mission of improving the lives of Filipinos through technology. The devices, connectivity, and educational content included in the School-in-a-Bag will help students in remote areas learn more about the world beyond their hometowns.”

Agsaoay added that Smart would continue its Smart Saturdays program to reach more far-flung schools.

So far, Smart and its partner donors have delivered 38 School-in-a-Bag units to 65 learning communities all over the country. Those interested to help can email [email protected] for more details.

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4 teams from Cebu in finals of Smart’s innovation competition

Four student teams from Cebu are in the running for the country’s biggest technology competition, the SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program) Innovation and Excellence Awards. Three teams from the…

Four student teams from Cebu are in the running for the country’s biggest technology competition, the SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program) Innovation and Excellence Awards.

Three teams from the University of San Carlos and one from the University of San Jose Recoletos are among the 10 student teams from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that would battle it out next week in SWEEP.

The other teams are from Adamson University, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Aurora State College of Technology, Davao Central College, and Gordon College in Zambales.

SMART Sweep 2018

SWEEP Awards finalists undergo a two-day boot camp so they could polish their entries in time for judging.

The teams will compete for the P300,000 top prize in the final judging to be held on May 11. The second placer will get P200,000, while the third placer will receive P100,000. Schools of the top three teams will each get a digital campus package from Smart Communications and parent company PLDT.

Smart received more than 300 applications for the 14th SWEEP Awards, which has the theme “#LifeLikeNeverBefore: Digital Innovations for a Better Tomorrow.”

Projects that made the cut include an app that could help farmers reach produce buyers directly, an app that could link sports enthusiasts with each other so they could schedule games, and a chatbot that could enable users to control home appliances remotely via a messaging app.

To help the finalists improve their projects before the judging, Smart introduced them to mentors who, over two days, taught them to validate the existence of problems before creating solutions, the importance of getting feedback from peers and potential customers, and the need to adjust their plan of action based on these feedback.

Smart SWEEP 2018 pitching

Students get a taste of what it’s like to pitch proposals before potential investors, during their presentation to SWEEP Awards judges.

The mentors also taught the finalists how to pitch their proposals to judges and potential investors.

Participant Gian Guerrero said the two-day boot camp helped his team create a business model for its project. “What was very hard was the business model because we’re into IT (information technology) and engineering, so we’re not very knowledgeable about it. But the SWEEP Awards experience proved to be a treasure trove of knowledge. It’s fun, more than I expected, and I’m thankful to be part of it,” he said.

The SWEEP Awards was launched in 2004 to provide college students with the platform to create innovative applications that solve consumer pain points. It is an initiative under SWEEP, a long-running collaboration between Smart and the academe which aims to raise the standards of engineering and IT education in the country.

Because of SWEEP, Smart was cited in 2016 by international magazine Fortune as one of 50 companies that have “changed the world.” For more information on SWEEP and the SWEEP Awards, please visit facebook.com/sweepschools and smartsweep.ph. (Press Release)

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Honor 9 Lite: Your perfect wanderlust companion on sale at Shopee today

Our phones have become an integral part of our toolbox to freeze and create our most memorable and cherished memories. They have become our go-to companion for entertainment, connection and…

Our phones have become an integral part of our toolbox to freeze and create our most memorable and cherished memories. They have become our go-to companion for entertainment, connection and relaxation. At no time do we depend on our devices more than during our travels.

Enter a new travel companion: the Honor 9 Lite.

With its professional-grade performance producing the most striking photographs, superb quad-camera technology, and a long-lasting battery, the Honor 9 Lite has won global awards and raves.

The phone is finally available in the Philippines at an exclusive price of P7,990 between 12:00pm to 3:00pm today, May 5, through https://shopee.ph/honor9lite.

Honor 9 Lite dual cameras

The Honor 9 Lite is packed with dual cameras on both the front and rear of the phone: the front camera features a 13MP + 2MP dual-lens system, while the rear boasts of a 13MP+2MP dual-lens camera that features one lens for capturing the image and another for depth detection.

Through the wide-angle panoramic function and the help of an upgraded beauty algorithm, you will be able to capture more stunning, natural portraits, whether with panorama selfie, hand-gesture shooting, fun selfie, or other modes. The upgraded Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) also makes the Honor 9 Lite ultra-fast in focusing.

Equipped with the latest Kirin 659 Octa-core processor and powered by a CPU that runs as fast as 2.36GHz, and 3GB of high-speed RAM and 5th generation smart battery technology that lasts one full day at a single charge, the Honor 9 Lite is built for road warriors.

Honor 9 Lite.

Exclusive partnership

Moreover, the 18:9 screen ratio (that is close to the 21:9 ratio used by cinemas) combined with the 2160 X 1080 resolution, allows for ultra-high definition and remarkable display quality, making this phone the ultimate companion to have on long-haul travel for game-playing, binge-watching and multiple app use all at once.

From the 2.5D glass to the stunning layered nano-etched design on its back and its mirror-like reflective glass back, the Honor 9 Lite is simply beautiful and definitely feels like a bona fide luxury item. The phone is sleek, light, and stunning. It is made to enable light to flow around the device, bringing a seamless visual experience.

In just a few years, Honor is impressively emerging as one of the fastest growing brands globally, having accumulated over 80 million fans worldwide and it is no surprise how this feat was achieved. Honor is part of the Huawei Consumer Business Group.

On the back of this momentum, Honor is bringing the 9 Lite to consumers in the Philippines through its exclusive partnership with Shopee.

Available in Sapphire Blue and Glacier Grey, consumers can purchase the Honor 9Lite exclusively on Shopee at https://shopee.ph/honor9lite and at the best price yet of P7,990 between 12:00pm to 3:00pm on May 5, 2018. (Press Release)

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UBS Phils, PSF turn over School-in-a-Bag for Mindanao learners

Students of remote schools in Talayan, Maguindanao and Patikul, Sulu will soon benefit from digital learning made possible by Smart Communications’ School-in-a-Bag. Containing a laptop, five tablets, TV, a solar…

Students of remote schools in Talayan, Maguindanao and Patikul, Sulu will soon benefit from digital learning made possible by Smart Communications’ School-in-a-Bag. Containing a laptop, five tablets, TV, a solar panel with batteries, and educational content, the learning package is donated to far-flung communities, especially those without electricity.

UBS Investments Philippines and the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) recently turned over two School-in-a-Bag packages to the Department of Education (DepEd). These are part of the P1 million donation UBS made to the PSF last year.

School in a bag UBS

DONATION. Photo shows (from left) Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino, DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua, and PSF President Esther Santos.

Smart created the School-in-a-Bag to improve the quality of education in remote schools. Since launching the program in 2016, Smart and partner donors have delivered 38 School-in-a-Bag units to 65 learning communities all over the country. Each bag, inclusive of training for teachers, costs P100,000.

Because there are about 6,000 public schools that still do not have access to electricity, organizations and even individuals are encouraged to donate School-in-a-Bag units. Interested parties may send an email to [email protected]. (Press Release)

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Cebuano energy firm, partners launch hybrid power plant and micro-grid

Vivant Corporation, a publicly listed energy company established and based in Cebu, broke ground Tuesday to launch Palawan’s first hybrid power plant with a micro-grid to electrify the growing needs…

Vivant Corporation, a publicly listed energy company established and based in Cebu, broke ground Tuesday to launch Palawan’s first hybrid power plant with a micro-grid to electrify the growing needs of the area that hosts the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Vivant partnered with WEnergy Global and Gigawatt Power Inc. to form the Sabang Renewable Energy Corporation (SREC), a Department of Energy-registered renewable energy (RE) developer that aims to provide households and businesses in Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa with 24/7 electricity.

The project is expected to be operational in 2019 and will be run by SREC under an Energy Regulatory Commission-approved Qualified Third Party (QTP) Agreement with the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO). As QTP, SREC is authorized to generate and distribute electricity in Barangay Cabayugan, which has been waived from PALECO’s franchise area.

ENERGY. Vivant and its partners will provide households and businesses in Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa with 24/7 electricity. (Creative Commons Photo by Ryan Kaldari)

Renewable, reliable energy

“We are proud to become part of a project that supports the economic development of Barangay Cabayugan by providing renewable and reliable energy,” said Emil M. Garcia, SREC chairman and VP-Operations of Vivant Corporation.

The hybrid power plant will consist of 1.4 MWp solar PV with a 2.3 MWh battery storage system and 1.2 MW diesel generators to power its 14-circuit kilometer distribution facility. Due to its solar component, SREC will provide an average of 50% of renewable energy and will be less vulnerable to the volatility of imported fuel prices.

Every year, thousands of tourists visit Cabayugan—located about 80 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa city proper—but only a few households and tourism-related establishments in the area have electricity, with supply lasting for about three to six hours from small diesel generators. The SREC project will electrify more than 650 residential, public and commercial establishments that will enjoy uninterrupted power supply.

Hybrid power generation technology

“We will continue to invest in projects that empower communities and improve everyday living, particularly in off-grid areas,” Vivant Corporation COO Arlo G. Sarmiento said.

SREC’s hybrid power generation technology will avoid about 25,700 metric-tons of CO2-equivalent emissions over a 20-year lifetime. (Press Release)

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Fire-proof your business to protect your assets

The rising temperatures during the summer months put properties at risk of fires. From 2013 to 2017, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) recorded 77,724 fire incidents, averaging 15,545 fire…

The rising temperatures during the summer months put properties at risk of fires. From 2013 to 2017, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) recorded 77,724 fire incidents, averaging 15,545 fire incidents every year. In this time frame, the BFP estimates that property damage reached P23.273 billion or an average of P4.65 billion every year.

Avoiding fire emergencies becomes vital to the operation of every business. Here are a few things to keep in mind to fire-proof your business:

1. Research fire safety requirements. Your business property needs to comply with the fire safety requirements as mandated by the Fire Code of the Philippines. Additionally, for new businesses, acquiring a Fire Safety Inspection Certificate is a pre-requisite for various permits and licenses from local governments and other government agencies. Taking time to research these requirements will help you cover all your bases.

2. Install fire safety equipment. This encompasses fire detection systems like alarms, to firefighting equipment like fire extinguishers and automatic sprinklers. Should a potential fire start in your property, the equipment help control and avoid the spread of fire and ensure the safety of people in the property.

3. Conduct regular fire drills and training. It is not enough to have fire safety equipment if nobody knows how to use it. Fire drills can teach personnel how to suppress a fire, and if needed, how to evacuate the property. These not only help people absorb the emergency plan better but can also update them on any changes that have been made in fire safety equipment and fire escape routes.

4. Routinely review and maintain fire prevention mechanisms. Like most things, equipment and processes need to be reviewed in order to ensure that they function should the need arise. Inspecting, replacing or repairing faulty equipment, combined with checking and updating evacuation plans will better the chances of avoiding losses in fire emergency.

5. Get protection from fire and other business and property damage. Business insurance, like Malayan Insurance’s Business Protect, covers fires and a wide range of other risks such as liability, accidents and Money, Security and Payroll. Business Protect is an SME insurance package that offers asset protection for business establishments such as retail stores, offices, restaurants, clinics, shops and even small kiosks. For as low as P2,750.++, you can rest assured that in the event of a fire emergency, your business is protected.

To learn more about Business Protect, visit www.malayan.com.

Founded in 1930, Malayan Insurance is a member of the Yuchengco Group of Companies. Malayan Insurance is the leading non-life insurer of the Philippines. (Press Release)

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Buy movie tickets using GCash Scan-to-pay at all Robinsons Movieworld branches nationwide

Moviegoers can now seamlessly purchase tickets for the latest movies in one of the biggest cinema chains in the country. This has been made easier thanks to a new partnership…

Moviegoers can now seamlessly purchase tickets for the latest movies in one of the biggest cinema chains in the country. This has been made easier thanks to a new partnership between Robinsons Movieworld (RMW) and the Philippine’s top mobile e-payment scheme, GCash Scan-to-Pay.

Robinsons Movieworld has now embraced the cashless payment system in all of its branches nationwide in order to bring added convenience to its moviegoers.

“The push for a cashless payment system is strongly supported by Robinsons Movieworld. With Robinsons Movieworld adapting the e-payment scheme, we are confident that our customers can fully experience convenience with this feature in all our cinema branches nationwide,” said Arlene Magtibay, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Robinsons Land Corporation’s Commercial Center Division.

GCash Scan To Pay Robinsons Movieworld

GCASH SCAN TO PAY. (From left) Robinsons Movieworld Senior Marketing Manager Michelle Araullo, Robinsons Land Corporation Senior Vice President & General Manager Commercial Center Division Arlene Magtibay, Mynt President and CEO Anthony Thomas and Robinsons Movieworld General Manager Jose Rodrigo Lim during an event to announce that moviegoers can now use GCAsh Scan To Pay to buy movie tickets at Robinsons Movieworld nationwide.

20% cashback promo

“The growing number of merchants is proof that GCash is moving towards fulfilling its vision for a cashless ecosystem in the country. With partners like Robinsons Movieworld on board, Filipinos are more empowered to maximize their connectivity and provide ease and security in various transactions,” says Anthony Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Mynt.

As part of the newly forged partnership, Robinsons Movieworld, together with GCash, will carry out more than the usual promos to its customers. Movie patrons who use GCash scan to pay to purchase their tickets will enjoy a 20% cashback up to 500 pesos daily from April 15 till May 31, 2018.

How to pay with GCash

To use the scan to pay GCash feature, a customer with an iPhone or an Android smartphone only needs to download and update to the latest version of the GCash App. They would need to register for an account and fund their GCash wallet in any of over 12,000 GCash Partner Outlets nationwide—which includes Robinsons Business Centers. Once funds are loaded in the GCash wallet, a customer can then swipe to the left or choose PayQR then Scan QR and point the smartphone’s camera to the RMW’s QR code to scan.

GCash is operated by Mynt, which is owned by Globe Telecom, Ant Financial and Ayala Corp. (Press Release)

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GCash, Alipay team up for single QR code payment solution

A new payment solution will allow merchants in the Philippines to accept payments from local users of GCash and Chinese visitors using Alipay through a single connection to the GCash…

A new payment solution will allow merchants in the Philippines to accept payments from local users of GCash and Chinese visitors using Alipay through a single connection to the GCash QR Code solution.

The announcement was jointly made by Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc, (Mynt), which operates GCash, the country’s largest mobile wallet, and Ant Financial Services Group (Ant Financial or Ant), which operates Alipay, the world’s largest mobile and online payment platform.

Alipay and GCash will work together to promote the new QR code payment to enable local merchants to service an even bigger pool of consumers with seamless payment experiences. This service will be rolled out over the next few weeks across GCash’s merchant network.

Ant Financial earlier entered into a joint venture with Globe Telecom and the country’s oldest conglomerate Ayala Corporation to boost Mynt’s operations, parent company of GCash mobile wallet service. Under this strategic partnership, Ant Financial will partner with Mynt for merchant acquiring activities for Alipay across the Philippines.

GCash remains the only mobile wallet partner for Ant Financial in the Philippines, serving local users in their everyday mobile payment needs from buy load, movie tickets to microloans and other financial services.

“We have enjoyed a strong and trusting relationship with Mynt since 2017, as we witnessed GCash’s phenomenal growth to becoming a world-class online and offline payment provider well-loved by Filipinos. With the success GCash has demonstrated over the last twelve months, we are pleased to elevate this strategic partnership today by establishing GCash QR code as the common QR code for both local users and visiting Alipay users,” said Douglas Feagin, senior vice president of global business at Ant Financial.

“By jointly establishing this QR code with Alipay, all merchants working with GCash will be able to accept Alipay as a payment option for Chinese travelers in their stores, while also catering to the local user pool that have now grown to love our cashless lifestyle app. We are hopeful that our merchants can benefit from the increased footfall and revenue stream brought by the increasing number of Chinese tourists coming to the country,” said Anthony Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mynt.

Alipay is now accepted by brick-and-mortar merchants across 41 countries and regions. They connect with travelers via the Alipay’s in-app marketing platform and accept payments in stores and online.

According to a survey named “Outbound Chinese Tourism and Consumption Trends: 2017 Survey” conducted by research firm Nielsen, over 94% of Chinese tourists expect they will utilize mobile payment methods when travelling, bringing their cashless lifestyle overseas. A record-breaking number of Chinese tourists were seen visiting Philippines in the month of February 2018 according to the Philippines Department of Tourism. (Press Release)

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Smart, YouTube partnership offers free 1-hour daily access to video site

PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) is giving Smart, TNT, and Sun prepaid customers free access for one hour daily to YouTube and soon to other online video services…

PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) is giving Smart, TNT, and Sun prepaid customers free access for one hour daily to YouTube and soon to other online video services until July 15.

These subscribers can watch YouTube for one hour for free daily by simply registering to load packages like GigaSurf99, AllOutSurf99, GigaSurf 50, AllOutSurf 30, Panalo Data 30, Panalo Combo 30, Super Combo 20, and Big Time Data 70. They can enjoy this special offer for the duration of the packages that they buy.

“Through this path-breaking partnership, many more Filipinos can pursue their passions like music and entertainment, and learn a wide range of skills, hobbies, educational material, news and information through the massive library of video material of YouTube. This service is something every Filipino should have access to,” said Oscar A. Reyes, Jr., SVP of Consumer Business Market Development for PLDT and Smart.

Smart Free YouTube

YOUTUBE PARTNERSHIP. Filipino YouTube creators during the announcement of Smart’s partnership with the video platform. (Photo from Smart Newsroom)

Enhance digital lifestyle

“With this new offer, mobile phone users now have everyday access to the richest video library with content from every corner of the planet—for free,” Reyes said. He added that this special promo will soon be available to postpaid subscribers as well.

“We are proud to partner with YouTube to bring the service closer to our customers. This is just the start of a fruitful partnership, and we are working on a lot of other exciting initiatives that will enhance the digital lifestyle of Filipinos,” Reyes said.

Aside from YouTube, another video service is also set to be part of the offer. Access to Smart360, a web portal where Smart, TNT and Sun subscribers can access various digital content like live TV, movies, series, music and games, will soon be free for a limited time. Other video content providers are also eligible to be included in the offer, subject to mutually agreed terms with Smart.

Smart, TNT and Sun subscribers are now better able to enjoy video streaming services like YouTube as a result of Smart’s massive network investments over the past several years which has enabled the mobile phone carrier to provide high-speed mobile data services via its expanded LTE and 3G networks throughout the country.

Internet experience at par with the world

To provide customers with a better video and mobile internet experience, Smart is accelerating the deployment of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and carrier aggregation technology to more areas this year. Carrier Aggregation (CA), a feature of LTE-A, enables the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and much faster data speeds, which are crucial in providing the best video streaming experience to mobile phone users.

Smart has already rolled-out 3CC CA sites in cities across Metro Manila, as well as in major cities in other regions of the country, including Baguio, Calamba, Iloilo, Bacolod, Tagbilaran, Ormoc, Cagayan de Oro, Dipolog, Zamboanga, among others. In Metro Manila and areas where there is a concentration of capable devices, Smart is also deploying 4CC, starting with Marikina and Quezon City, where customers with 4CC CA-capable devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 have reported enjoying data download speeds of over 200 Mbps.

Smart’s accelerated deployment of LTE-Advanced follows the stepped up roll out of its LTE network. It is also upping the ante by deploying another LTE-A based technology called 4×4 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), which raises the radio frequency efficiency by using multiple antennas for sending and receiving data.

Parent company PLDT has committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation. Capital expenditures reached P40 billion in 2017, of which about 67% was allotted for the mobile network. For 2018, PLDT capex is expected to reach P58 billion, which includes allocations for the aggressive roll-out of its fiber broadband service, which also supports the stepped-up deployment of the mobile network by providing high-capacity links for cellular base stations. (Press Release)

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Big discounts, exciting deals in 3-day SM Seaside sale

Get huge discounts on top brands like Cath Kidston, Guess, Ziya, Clinique, Sperry, Florsheim Kids USA, Onesimus, Mizuno, All Flip-Flops and other stylish finds at The Great Seaside Sale on…

Get huge discounts on top brands like Cath Kidston, Guess, Ziya, Clinique, Sperry, Florsheim Kids USA, Onesimus, Mizuno, All Flip-Flops and other stylish finds at The Great Seaside Sale on April 13, 14, and 15.

Alberto, Pabder, Arrow, Pacsafe, Urbanize, and Dickies are offering up to 70 percent off on selected items during the three-day sale at SM Seaside City Cebu.

Top shops like Izod, Van Heusen, Oro Italia, Saturday Dress, Islands Souvenirs, Terranova, Calliope, Mango, Gold Creation, Hush Puppies, Time Depot, Onesimus, Primadonna, Ziya, Oro China, The Face Shop are offering half the price off on certain products and pieces.

Other great deals: lip bundling promo at MAC Cosmetics; discounts by Geox, Seiko, Levi’s, Sperry, Parfois, M. Lhuillier Jewellers, Unisilver, Hannah’s, St. Paul’s, Perfect Secret, Onitsuka Tiger, Eye Society, and ME&U; buy one, get one on all items at Yves Rocher; save and spend promo at Forever 21.

Enjoy big markdowns when you shop during The Great Seaside Sale and get a chance to bring home a brand new Suzuki Celerio during the grand raffle draw at 10 p.m. on April 15.

More deals for Advantage, Prestige, BDO Rewards members

SM Advantage, SM Prestige and BDO Rewards members enjoy exclusive deals when they shop at The SM Store and other participating SM affiliate stores:

Prestige Friday

There’s an extra 10 percent off for SM Prestige and BDO Rewards Diamond members when they shop at The SM Store, Ace Hardware, Our Home, Kultura, Toy Kingdom, Surplus Shop, Uniqlo, Forever 21, SM Appliance Center, Sports Central, Crocs, Levi’s, Miniso, and The Baby Company for the whole day of April 13.

SMAC Saturday

SM Advantage, SM Prestige, BDO Rewards members also get 10 percent off on top of sale discounts from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday when they shop at The SM Store, Ace Hardware, Our Home, Kultura, Toy Kingdom, Surplus Shop, Uniqlo, Forever 21, SM Appliance Center, Sports Central, Crocs, Levi’s, Miniso, and The Baby Company.

Sunday Special

SM Advantage, SM Prestige, BDO Rewards members get an additional 10 percent discount when they shop from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday at The SM Store, Ace Hardware, Kultura, Levi’s, Miniso, Sports Central, and Surplus Shop.

Free, discounted rides to SM Seaside City

Thinking of using Grab to get to SM Seaside City sale? Get P50 off on your ride by using the promo code SMSEASIDE50.

There will also be free MyBus rides to SM Seaside City at hourly intervals from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at the following routes:

Fuente Osmeña-V. Rama-N. Bacalso-SM Seaside City
Pick-up and drop-off at BDO Fuente and SM Seaside City and pick-up only at V. Rama Skywalk (USC South Campus) and N. Bacalso Ave. Skywalk (Salazar Institute of Technology)

Fuente Osmeña-Banawa-Labangon-N. Bacalso-SM Seaside City Cebu
Pick-up and drop-off points at BDO Fuente and SM Seaside City; pick-up only at Petron Gas Station and Paseo Arcenas along R. Duterte St., Katipunan St. Skywalk near Labangon Elementary School, N. Bacalso Ave. Skywalk near Salazar Institute of Technology; drop-off only at N. Bacalso Ave. Skywalk along B. Aranas Extension and V. Rama Ave. Skywalk near USC South Campus.

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Ian in 3 Acts in Cebu

Versatile actor Ian Veneracion will show another side of him to Cebuanos this coming April 21. Ian will be staging a concert dubbed “Ian in 3 Acts” at the Waterfront…

Versatile actor Ian Veneracion will show another side of him to Cebuanos this coming April 21. Ian will be staging a concert dubbed “Ian in 3 Acts” at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Ian Veneracion Cebu concert

Ian in 3 Acts is on April 21 at 8pm, featuring LA Santos and special guests. Tickets are available in Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino and SM Customer Service counters. For ticket inquiries, call 232-6888 or 0915 535 3873. (Press Release)

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Smart wins Grand Prix, Grand Anvil at Oscars of PR

Smart Communications maintained its winning streak at the Anvil Awards, receiving top honors for the third straight year at the Oscars of public relations in the Philippines. In a ceremony…

Smart Communications maintained its winning streak at the Anvil Awards, receiving top honors for the third straight year at the Oscars of public relations in the Philippines.

In a ceremony held recently in Taguig, Smart won the Grand Prix Award for having the highest number of Gold Anvils this year. The company also got the Grand Anvil recognition for SHINE OS+ (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange), an electronic medical record system that enables health facilities to provide faster and better service to their patients. The Grand Anvil is given to the most outstanding public relations program of the year.

The Anvil Awards has been conducted annually for 53 years by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.

Anvil Awards

ANVIL AWARDS. Smart representatives – led by Chief Financial Officer Chaye Cabal-Revilla (center), SVP for consumer business market development Oscar Reyes Jr., and public affairs FVP Mon Isberto – receive Anvil awards last March 23 at Shangri-La Fort.

Smart received Gold Anvils for the following corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, and customer service programs:

SHINE OS+, an open system that allows developers to create plugins addressing the various needs of health workers. Among the plugins created are a system that automates the sending of reminder SMS to diabetes patients, and a plugin that enables nurses in Nepal to collect health surveillance and preparedness data during and after disasters.

Learning as One Nation, an effort to help improve the Department of Education’s Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) program in General Santos and Sarangani. Smart is helping develop an app that teaches Arabic language and values, while promoting independent learning among ALIVE students through the Dynamic Learning Program created by Ramon Magsaysay Awardees Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido.

School-in-a-Bag, a learning package donated to public schools in remote areas without electricity. The donation includes a solar panel, mobile devices, digital educational content, teacher training, and monitoring.

TNT Tropang Ready Caravan, which inculcates disaster preparedness among college students and encourages them to promote preparedness in their respective communities

Smart Saturdays, a program where employees pay a participation fee to watch blockbuster movies with their families and colleagues. The participation fees are then used to donate School-in-a-Bag units to underserved schools.

Smart Chatbot, a tool on Facebook Messenger that enables Smart customers to view their billing statements and remaining balance, subscribe to promos, purchase eLoad, and request to chat with an agent.

Meanwhile, Smart’s Silver Anvil awardees are Smart Bro’s Bond Like Never Before campaign which encourages parents to use mobile technology to bond with their children, Doon Po Sa Amin Storytelling Caravan which promotes local storytelling for Filipino children, the Paskong Pinoy yearend celebration for employees, the PLDT Group’s efforts to transform its corporate culture to support its digital pivot, the Smart Communities Facebook page which provides information about Smart’s CSR programs, and Smart Millenniors which engages the youth to guide their elders on the use of mobile devices and the internet.

The Silver Anvil list also includes Smart Paywall, a web tool that helps Smart Bro customers avoid unwanted mobile internet charges; Smart TechnoCart, a donation package similar to the School-in-a-Bag that targets more urban communities and contains more devices; the SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program) Awards which encourages students to create innovations solving real problems; the TNT App and TNT Online Store which make it easier for TNT customers to complete transactions; and TNT Tropa Trip, a nationwide summer road show promoting the Choose Your Tropa Apps promo. (Press Release)

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Fujitsu PH expands array of cloud solutions, services in VisMin

Fujitsu Philippines, Inc., a leading Information Technology (IT) systems integrator and solutions provider, is strengthening its array of cloud offerings in Visayas and Mindanao amid the growing market demands in…

Fujitsu Philippines, Inc., a leading Information Technology (IT) systems integrator and solutions provider, is strengthening its array of cloud offerings in Visayas and Mindanao amid the growing market demands in the region.

According to Raul “Cricket” Santiago III, president and CEO of Fujitsu Philippines, the VisMin markets sustained a stellar development, especially that their “next wave cities” like Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Davao offer the necessary infrastructure, security, labor pool, and government policies, that attract investors to grow their businesses in the region.

Cloud solutions

“As these markets continue to thrive, organizations of all sizes across all industry sectors are realizing the importance of moving to new cloud models,” added Santiago. To support the goals of these organizations, this year, Fujitsu Philippines sets to offer a more comprehensive range of trusted cloud solutions not just for its growing number of customers, but also for potential clients in the area.

Fujitsu cloud

CLOUD SOLUTIONS. Fujitsu Philippines Sales Director for Visayas-Mindanao Terry Ybanez, Managed Services and Cloud Mark Pandy, Marketing Director Marje Balbuena and Marketing Associate Erika Garcia.

“Our goal is really to bring our global cloud expertise closer to organizations in Visayas and Mindanao, which need a wide array of solutions and services for their IT requirements,” said Santiago. “We want to work with them, together with our systems integration partners, in ensuring the deployment of solutions that tackle their IT challenges and maximize their business potential.”

At present, Fujitsu Philippines has two cloud infrastructures present in the country, one in Metro Manila and the other in Metro Cebu, making it more reliable and compliant with industry standards.

Satellite offices

Aside from these data centers, the company also has a satellite office in Davao, which was opened last year, and in Sta. Rosa in Laguna.

Fujitsu Philippines offers public, private, and hybrid cloud offerings, geared towards helping companies achieve the success of their cloud adoption more rapidly, at lower costs, and with greater agility. It also extends standardized IT services, which can be used within a short lead time without having to deal with complex hardware and software.

For enterprises that need to implement their own cloud infrastructure, Fujitsu Philippines also offers pre-integrated and tested infrastructures for faster implementation and earlier savings with minimum cost outlay.

“With over 40 years of relevant experience in the local market, Fujitsu has already established positive results for our cloud customers nationwide. We want to continue shaping a better future in these emerging and markets by driving business agility, greatest cost-efficiencies, and rapid innovation for organizations, wherever they may be in their cloud adoption journey,” said Santiago.

Aside from cloud solutions and services, Fujitsu Philippines also provides businesses with cutting-edge IT solutions and services nationwide. It has also made Japanese IT design and technology available through its server, storage, and scanning hardware and solutions.

To know more about Fujitsu Philippines, Inc., visit the website at http://www.fujitsu.com/ph.

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