Bid July goodbye with up to P2,650 in cashback, more amazing perks from PayMaya

The rainy season is here and with it comes a deluge of discounts, cashback, and other perks as the leading digital financial wallet and app PayMaya brings more amazing surprises to all account holders every time they pay using their PayMaya account.

From today until July 31, you can get up to a total of P2,650 in cashback when you pay your purchases with your PayMaya account!

“With all of these perks and rewards, it’s time to leave your wallet at home because paying using your PayMaya account today brings you even more value than cash or your credit card! PayMaya is not just convenient, it also offers you the best cashback deals and discounts for all the things you have to pay every day–whether it’s shopping online, buying load, or paying at the supermarket,” said Raymund Villanueva, Head of Growth and Marketing at PayMaya.

Until July 31, PayMaya account holders can enjoy the following perks and discounts for every transaction:

  • Get up to 100% cashback every time you buy load (max. P200) in the PayMaya Shop so you can keep calling and texting your friends and family
  • Buy discounted Mobile Legends: Bang Bang gaming pins and get up to 100% cashback on all gaming pins (max. P200) for all-day power-ups for your games
  • Get P300 cashback when you shop online with your PayMaya card (min. P3,000 single transaction) so you can snag the latest deals on your favorite e-Commerce sites
  • Get P150 cashback when you send money of at least P3,000 to another PayMaya user so you can easily send money to friends and family
  • Get up to P1000 cashback whenever they pay using PayMaya QR at any partner merchants (for upgraded accounts) for more value each time you shop

And from July 29 to 31, PayMaya is multiplying the fun as users can get double the cashback on QR purchases (maximum P500), which means double the savings on every purchase so you can splurge on that gadget accessory or cute dress you’ve seen in the mall.

What’s more, qualified users who pay their bills with PayMaya can also have the chance to earn as much as P200 cashback for two bills paid from July 29 to 31.

Not yet a PayMaya account holder? Signing up for one is easy. Simply download the PayMaya app on the Play Store and the App Store and sign up using your mobile number.

Get started on transacting by instantly adding money to your account through more than 30 bank partners via Instapay, or through the more than 40,000 PayMaya Add Money channels nationwide that include Smart Padala by PayMaya centers, Smart stores, Bayad Center, SM Business Center, Robinsons Business Center, Gaisano Capital Business Center, 7-Eleven, ExpressPay, Palawan Pawnshop, Cebuana Lhuillier, RD Pawnshop, Shopwise, Wellcome, UnionBank ATMs, BDO, Metrobank, RCBC, iBayad, ECPay, VMobile and Touchpay, eTAP & Pay&Go Kiosks, among many others.

PayMaya, the digital financial services arm of Voyager Innovations, is the only FinTech company in the Philippines offering integrated consumer and merchant payment solutions with the widest on-ground branch network. It is the first to give millions of Filipinos an e-wallet that allows them to pay cashless transactions at any time of the day, anywhere in the world, and from any device.

To know more how you can maximize your PayMaya account, visit or follow @PayMayaOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Press Release)

Events Sports

Fox Racing supports Ride MTB Day 2019

Fox Racing, the global leader in MX and MTB gear and apparel, announced its continued support for the annual holiday of mountain biking known as “International Ride Mountain Bike Day” on July 20.

Globally recognized as #RIDEMTBDAY, the movement is composed of community-based events that take place around the globe with mountain bike brands, media, professionals, retailers, parks and local riders. They hold group rides, fundraisers, races and demos every July 20.

With promotion and support from a number of mountain bike brands, advocacy groups and athletes, the first annual #RIDEMTBDAY in 2018 included participants from over 40 countries. It generated tens of thousands of social media impressions.

Fox Ride Mountain Bike Day 2019

For 2019, Fox plans to take #RIDEMTBDAY to the next level by helping promote the day with even more industry partners around the world. Fox will be supporting a number of events globally and promoting the fact that #RIDEMTBDAY doesn’t belong to any one person or group.

To celebrate, Fox Racing Philippines partnered with R.O.X. and The Bike Playground in Quezon City and prepared activities fit for all ages. Activities like The Pump Track Challenge, Time Trial, Bike Clinic, Strider Cup and more will be held on that day.

Since this is the official day of mountain biking, the event will be joined by other brands as well. Brands like GT Cycles, BMC Bicycles, Shimano, Dan’s Bike Shop, Gran Trail Cycles, Columbia Sportswear, DC, Nalgene, Osprey, Sea to Summit, The North Face, and more.

To join, you may visit FOX SM City Cebu, FOX SM Seaside, or ROX Ayala. Or register online at Bring your bikes on July 20 and celebrate with us!


PLDT, Smart named fastest networks, widen lead over competitors

PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) continue to set the pace for Internet services in the Philippines, posting the country’s fastest fixed and mobile data speeds for the first half of 2019, according to Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis.

The latest report, which covers Q1-Q2 2019, also shows both PLDT and Smart widening their respective leads over their competitors.

According to the Ookla report, PLDT achieved a Speed Score of 20.44, with top download speeds of 51.36 Mbps and top upload speeds of 54.22 Mbps. The fixed network award is based on 25,169,867 customer-initiated Speedtest nationwide for the same period.

On the other hand, Smart achieved a Speed Score of 17.07, with average download speeds of 19.33 Mbps and average upload speeds of 9.16 Mbps. The mobile award is based on 1,857,286 consumer-initiated tests taken with Speedtest on LTE-capable devices in the Philippines.

Speed score improvement

Speed Score is a measure that takes into account both upload and download speeds.

These latest figures are improvements from the Q3-Q4 2018 scores, when Smart posted a Speed Score of 15.57 and PLDT achieved a speed score of 18.57.

PLDT and Smart have also widened their respective leads over their competitors in terms of Speed Scores. For instance, from a gap of between 7.3 to 9.2 in Q3-Q4 2018, PLDT now leads over its competitors by as much as 8.7 to 10. Smart, on the other hand, widened its lead from 5.5 to 7.

Drilling down, initial data also showed PLDT posting big leads in key cities like Quezon City, Cebu City and Pasig, whereas Smart’s Speed Score more than double that of competition in Quezon City, Makati, and Manila.

In Pasig City, for example, PLDT posted a Speed Score of 21.7, more than 9 points ahead of Globe’s 12.2, while PLDT’s 20.77 Speed Score in Cebu City is double that of Globe’s 10.46 Speed Score in the area.

Meanwhile, Smart’s Speed Scores were consistently more than double that of Globe’s in Quezon City, Makati and Manila.

Better customer experience

“Our network investments have considerably improved customer experience so that they can now watch videos without buffering, update their social media accounts, or easily check their email and open attachments while on-the-go,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.

“Now that our subscribers use more data, and as we continue to bring in new customers, we have to ensure they get fast and reliable connection all the time. We continue to build and expand our fiber and LTE network to meet those needs,” Tamayo added.

For mobile, Speed Score incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance. Tests used to calculate the Speed Score exclusively come from ‘modern devices’, which are devices capable of connecting to the market’s fastest, generally available technology.

For fixed, Ookla assesses the best network speeds attained across a given network, accounting for tests that are taken on various Speedtest applications that connect to a fixed network, including tests taken on mobile phones over a Wi-Fi connection. Each top carrier accounts for at least 3% of the sample size in the geographic area.

Speedtest Fastest Fixed Network PLDT OOKLA

Integrated fixed, mobile network upgrades

PLDT’s total fiber optic cable network footprint is now at over 259,000 kilometers, while its fiber-powered fixed line broadband network has now passed 6.7 million homes as of end-March.

Of LTE sites nationwide, 71% have already been upgraded to LTE-A, which means each cell site has multiple LTE base stations activated. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, Smart deployed an additional 1,700 LTE base stations across its sites nationwide, raising the LTE base station count to around 18,000 as of the first quarter.

Smart has also already fulfilled its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover at least 90 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities to address the growing demand for broadband infrastructure and internet access.

Investment in network transformation

This recognition comes as PLDT and Smart continue to pour significant resources into their integrated fixed and wireless network expansion, which is backed by a historic-high capital expenditure of P78.4 billion this year.

Alongside Smart’s ramped-up LTE and LTE-A roll out, PLDT is also aggressively rolling out its fiber broadband service, which also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links for cellular base stations.

PLDT has also partnered with global technology leader Cisco to help transform its fiber transport network in to a fully automated, software-defined 5G-ready IP transport network over the next three years.

Community Tech

Smart LTE up in more mountain sites in Cebu

More mountain barangays are now enjoying fast, reliable, and affordable mobile internet connection with the activation of Smart Communications Inc. LTE cell sites. The latest is Barangay Linut-od, 24 kilometers from the Argao town center in Cebu, or about an hour by motorcycle on rough road.

Improved connectivity is boosting livelihood, community efficiency and the general wellbeing of residents of this farming and coal mining village.

Seventy percent of households have members living elsewhere, and residents had to move from one place to another in search of a signal just to keep in touch, said former Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero. “So, when Smart fired up its new LTE cell site, people were ecstatic!”

LTE NOW AVAILABLE. LTE is finally in Linut-od, Argao after Smart fired up their LTE cell site in the mountain barangay. Leading the ceremony to mark the availability are former mayor Stanley Caminero (3rd from left) and Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes, AVP and Center Head of SMART Public Affairs Visayas and Mindanao.

Contact family members

Among them were farmer Luciano Zamora and wife Lorenza, who see their three grown children only on special occasions. “We are thankful that now the signal is strong even up here in the mountains. We can contact our children anytime, and we don’t even have to leave the house,” said Luciano. It is a comforting thought, in case of an emergency, he added.

Now the couple even get to see their grandchildren, by making video calls using smartphones provided by their children, along with an “allowance” of credit load.

Farmers like Zamora are also learning to search the internet for new and better farming methods, Caminero said. Improved connectivity could also help boost upland tourism through social media, he added.

With better connectivity, families in Linut-od can stay in touch with relatives working far away.

Information dissemination

Councilor Resurreccion Gonzaga of barangay Cabantug said the new technology helps facilitates information dissemination and processing of documents, thus improving efficiency of local government units.

Aside from Linut-od, Smart has also fired up LTE sites in the mountain barangays of Colawin in Argao, and Guba and Bonbon in Cebu City.

LTE can be quickly upgraded to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), which can provide even greater capacity and speeds to users with capable smartphones. In Cebu, major cities like Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Mandaue City already have LTE-A sites.

Better connectivity also means peace of mind for Linut-od residents, who can easily contact family especially in times of emergencies.

Fiber backbone

To date, Smart has fulfilled its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover at least 90 percent of cities and municipalities to address the growing demand for broadband infrastructure and internet access in the country. Supporting Smart’s mobile network is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, now extending over 259,000 kilometers.

PLDT and Smart’s nationwide network transformation efforts are backed by a historic-high capital expenditure of P78.4 billion this year. The capex investments are to further expand coverage and to increase capacity to handle the exponential growth in data traffic, with the ultimate aim of delivering the best data customer experience.

Linut-od residents can use this improved connectivity to stream videos online and share photos via social media.


Xiaomi launches Mi 9T flagship in Philippines

Xiaomi announced the arrival of Mi 9T, the latest smartphone in its highly popular flagship Mi 9 family, in the Philippines today.

Mi 9T will be available on July 12, 2019 with prices starting at P15,990. The device sports the latest Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 730 Mobile Platform, a 6.39-inch Full Screen Display, a 20MP pop-up front camera and a rear 48MP triple camera setup.

“We’ve seen an incredible reception for Mi 9’s current flagship series, including Mi 9 and Mi 9 SE. With Mi 9T bringing features like a massive 4000mAh battery and true full screen display, we are demonstrating our philosophy of bringing innovation to every Filipino consumer at honest prices,” said Steven Shi, Head of Southeast Asia, Xiaomi

35% increase in CPU performance

Mi 9T features the best-in-class Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 730 mobile platform, offering an increase of 35 percent for CPU performance, and of 10 percent for GPU, as well as twice the AI performance, compared to its predecessor SnapdragonTM 710– all enabled an octa-core KryoTM 470 chip processor based on the 8nm process for extreme power efficiency, along with the 4th generation AI smart engine for delivering powerful AI performance.

Xiaomi Mi 9T

The smartphone comes with the new Game Turbo 2.0 for an ultimate gaming experience by optimizing touch response, display, sound quality, network and in-game calls. Touch response rate goes up to 180Hz, while click and touch response times are reduced to about 70 milliseconds, the new Mi 9 family member is able to offer an esports-level gaming experience.

Featuring a 6.39-inch AMOLED screen without a notch, the display of Mi 9T supports Reading and Sunlight mode 2.0, low-brightness color grayscale optimization, and 256-scale eye protection technology, delivering an incredible immersive viewing experience. It has also received low-blue-light eye protection certification by Germany’s VDE Testing and Certification Institute. By adopting an elegant pop-up selfie solution, Mi 9T is able to achieve a true full screen display.

Mi 9T applies a nano-holographic technology to produce a unique flame design on its four-sided curved glass back. The combination of 3D-glass and extremely narrow frame gives the phone an incredibly comfortable hand-feel.

The device is equipped with the 7th-generation in-screen fingerprint technology. The dual optimization of hardware and software significantly improves the fingerprint recognition rate and speed.

48MP AI triple camera

Offering an AI triple camera setup, Mi 9T features a main 48MP camera with a 1/2″ Sony flagship IMX 582 sensor that can produce ultra-high resolution photos. For night portraits, the camera sensor supports merging four pixels to form large 1.6μm pixels to capture more details in low-light conditions.

In addition to the 48MP main camera, the Mi 9T also features a 13MP ultra wide-angle lens with a 124.8-degree field of view, and an 8MP telephoto lens. The options offered by the combination of these three lenses can cover most settings, delivering an SLR-like photography experience.

Mi 9T sports a 20MP pop-up front-facing camera with a sapphire glass cover. When the front camera is raised, it will display lighting effects and is accompanied by one of six sound effects. The light ring on top acts as a notification light for incoming messages and charging status. Group selfies taken with the panorama feature, which allows panning the 20MP selfie camera, will let you include all your friends in a single shot.

Xiaomi Mi 9T

Power to last through day

Featuring a large 4000mAh battery and an AI energy saving mode to automatically adjust screen brightness and for activating sleep mode at night, Mi 9T has power to last through a day of heavy use. Mi 9T supports up to 18W charging.

Mi 9T offers multi-function NFC, with payment transaction speeds increased by up to 30 percent. It also offers superb audio quality, featuring 1217SLS speakers and Smart PA as well as a 0.9cc large sound chamber for powerful playback. The device retains a 3.5mm headphone jack, and has received Hi-Res Audio certification.

Pre-orders for the Mi 9T will be from June 24, 12 noon, until June 30, 2019 at Xiaomi’s official store on Lazada and at Mi Authorized Stores. It will first come in Carbon Black at a retail price of P15,990 for 6GB+64GB, and P17,990 for 6GB+128GB. The Mi 9T will be initially be exclusive on Lazada and will soon roll out on Mi Authorized stores. (Press Release)

Product sheet


Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway project completes piling works for main bridge pylons

Progress on the construction of the 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) will be more visible now, particularly for those passing by the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) viaduct, after the completion of all the bored piles for the project’s main bridge pylons.

The concrete pours for the pile caps of the two towers between Mactan Channel are almost done, after which, self-climbing formworks for the building of the twin pylons or towers will follow. Piling works for the main bridge’s support anchors have also been completed.

Onshore piling continues for the Cordova viaduct from the temporary causeway while construction of the CSCR ramps’ columns and piers are ongoing. Embankment works are also ongoing for the permanent causeway.

Major milestone

As of the latest count, a total of 1,519 personnel has been fielded for the construction of the CCLEX project.

CONCRETE POURING. The photo above shows Tower 2 2nd stage concrete pouring.

CONCRETE POURING. The photo above shows Tower 2 2nd stage concrete pouring.

“We are delighted to give this update that we have hurdled this major milestone of completing the piling works for the pylons of the main bridge and almost done with the large concrete pouring for the pile caps. We are working hand in hand with our team to complete the works on the other components of the project and be able to deliver the CCLEX, as committed, in 2021,” Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) President and General Manager Allan Alfon said.

The P30 billion CCLEX project will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main navigation span twin pylon stay cable bridge, viaduct approach bridges in Cebu City and Cordova sides, CSCR on and off ramps, causeway and toll plaza.

Decongest traffic

The span and height of the bridge will allow large vessels to pass underneath and the link is expected to serve at least 50,000 vehicles daily. It will also give Cordova direct access to Cebu City and is envisioned to decongest the traffic in the two existing bridges and provide faster link between Mactan island and mainland Cebu.

CCLEX features a lighted cross on top of the pylons to symbolize Cebu’s significant role as the cradle of the Catholic devotion.

CCLEC, a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), will build, operate and maintain CCLEX under a joint venture agreement with the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova.

Architectural render of Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

MPTC is the largest toll road developer in the Philippines and currently owns, manages and operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Cavite Expressway (Cavitex). MPTC has other toll roads currently under construction, namely the Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAEX), the NLEX Connector Road, as well as the ongoing expansions of the NLEX. MPTC also has substantial investments in other toll roads in southeast Asia notably in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia

CCLEC broke ground on the CCLEX project on March 2, 2017, an activity led by President Rodrigo Duterte. CCLEC awarded the “Design and Build” contract for CCLEX to Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV) on December 19, 2017.

Bridge financing

CLJV is a consortium of Spanish company Acciona Construccion S.A., and Filipino companies First Balfour, and D. M. Consunji Inc. CCLEC also engaged the services of COWI A/S of Denmark with the Philippines’ DCCD Engineering Corporation, as its sub-consultant, to be the project’s technical advisor/owner’s engineer. Norconsult, a Norwegian consultancy firm, was also tapped as the project’s independent consultant.

The toll bridge project started civil works in July 5, 2018 and has successfully secured financing to ensure its completion.

On Feb. 7, 2019, CCLEC held a signing ceremony for the 15-year omnibus loan and security agreement with the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Development Bank of the Philippines, Robinsons Bank Corporation, Union Bank of the Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands and Security Bank Corporation. The remaining funding requirements for the project will be shouldered by the project company.

CCLEX is MPTC’s first expressway project outside Luzon and first public-private partnership project with the local government units of Cebu City and Cordova.

Aside from beefing up Cebu’s road network, CCLEX will help spur economic growth and boost investments not just in Cebu City and Cordova Municipality, but also in the entire Cebu Province and Visayas region. (Press Release)


Cebu Pacific offers exclusive Piso Sale for Cebu

Cebu Pacific kicks off its special Independence Day sale by paying homage to its Cebuano roots. Beginning today until June 8, 2019, domestic and international routes coming in and out of the Cebu hub are up for grabs with fares starting at just one peso!

All Cebu Pacific and Cebgo destinations from Cebu are now on sale for as low as P1 up to June 8, 2019, or until seats last. Travel is valid from July 1 to October 31, 2019.

All rates will be sold without fuel surcharge, giving everyJuan the freedom to just go on that long-awaited trip – be it a special romantic getaway, a family vacation, barkada bonding, or a solo sojourn –with more money left to spend at their chosen destination. Payment centers will also be made available especially for this sale, opening more options for a fast and convenient finalization of bookings.

More important, with 21 domestic and six international direct connections from Cebu, there are more options for a getaway.

Cebu is an important hub for Cebu Pacific, as it serves as the gateway for travelers in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. It is a viable alternate to fly to other destinations in the country or to reach some of the most popular destinations abroad like Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Book your seats now at (Press Release)

Community Tech

Adult learning gets boost with Learning Center, Smart School-in-a-Bag

When the Department of Education (DepEd) conceptualized the Alternative Learning System (ALS) over 15 years ago, its primary goal was simple: to assist out-of-school youth and adult learners who haven’t completed basic education.

Years later, the government agency realized the need to further enhance ALS education interventions. This led to the development of ALS-Education and Skills Training (ALS-EST), an initiative that combines the ALS curriculum with technical, vocational, and other skills training.

The integrated program aims to produce completers who are not only able to catch up with basic education, but have also acquired technical competencies for immediate employment. “The program was developed based on the assessment that ALS learners showed they were more likely to stick with the program if they also learned work skills along the way,” said DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno A. Malaluan.

Improved employability for ALS learners

While the ALS-EST is already implemented in 98 volunteer DepEd schools and five non-DepEd partners, the recently completed pilot ALS-EST Learning Center in the town of Lawaan in Eastern Samar is expected to further promote the effectiveness of alternative learning.

Located within the Lawaan National School of Craftsmanship and Home Industries, the facility has a large hall for lectures and workshops that can be divided or merged. The structure also takes into account the needs of student mothers and learners with disabilities, which would help remove the misconception that non-formal schooling equates to second-class education. “ALS is just another modality or pathway to literacy and – for many learners of special circumstances – it is their prized chance at basic education,” he said.

The first-ever ALS-EST Learning Center was funded by the Australian government through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and implemented by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). The partnership intends to construct four more identical facilities throughout the Philippines as they believe that education is the most effective solution against poverty.

“We hope that this donation will provide a conducive environment for learning and ensure that young people will get access to relevant skills,” said Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno A. Malaluan with Smart’s Head for Education Programs Stephanie V. Orlino at the inauguration of the pilot Alternative Learning System - Education and Skills Training (ALS-EST) facility in Lawaan, Eastern Samar.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno A. Malaluan with Smart’s Head for Education Programs Stephanie V. Orlino at the inauguration of the pilot Alternative Learning System – Education and Skills Training (ALS-EST) facility in Lawaan, Eastern Samar.

“The end goal is to improve the employability of ALS learners and provide them with the expertise to start microenterprises,” he added.

Platform for offsite learning

According to USEC Malaluan, many alternative learners are unable to regularly show up for school, thus preventing them from completing their basic education. This is where Smart Communications (Smart) was able to support ALS-EST, as it provides a platform for offsite learning through the Smart School-in-a-Bag.

The flagship education program of the Philippines’ leading wireless services provider, Smart School-in-a-Bag is a portable digital classroom designed to provide access to technology to help deliver 21st century education even to remote schools without access to electricity. The 2×2 feet backpack contains a solar panel and battery, teacher’s laptop and tablet, Smart pocket WiFi, projector and screen, DVD player, TV, and student tablets that are pre-installed with literacy apps developed by Smart together with its community partners. Teacher training and program evaluation are also conducted.

With over 110 kits donated as of May 2019, the School-in-a-Bag program has benefitted over 30,000 learners and over 1,000 teachers in communities nationwide. These numbers are expected to grow with the use of the technology package in Lawaan ALS-EST.

“Having access to technology tools provided by School-in-a-Bag will surely motivate ALS-EST learners to attend sessions, since there are no limits to the resource materials that we access on the internet,” said Vicente R. Antofina Jr., a teacher for over 14 years.

More skills trainings

Aside from the School-in-a-Bag donation tailored for the program, Smart also plans on supporting ALS-EST by providing technology support and digital skills training, where needed,” said Stephanie V. Orlino, Head for Education Programs, Smart.

To learn more about the Smart School-in-a-Bag and Smart’s other CSR initiatives, visit or send an email to [email protected]. (Press Release)


VECO wins award for employee breastfeeding support program

The Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO) was awarded in the recently concluded #InahanKugihan Breastfeeding Awards for having the Most Beautiful Lactation Room in a Private Establishment.

The Breastfeeding Awards Program, an initiative of the website, is “lovingly created by and Milk Making Mommies” to recognize all the #InahanKugihan in Cebu as well as the OB/Pedia and Businesses in Cebu who have been very supportive of breastfeeding. The awards program is open to all Cebu-based mommies who are actively feeding and breast milk feeding, Cebu-based OB/Pedia and businesses that have breastfeeding support programs for its employees or customers.

Dr. Marini Tabon-Esguerra of Titadocmom Breastfeeding Center – Cebu, the person behind the website and one of the promoters of breastfeeding in Cebu, said parents of breastfed babies have less health care claims, less absent days and are able to save from not buying milk formula, water, or medications.

MOTHER-FRIENDLY. The Visayan Electric Company was recognized for having “The Most Beautiful Lactation Room in a Private Establishment” during the recently concluded #InahanKugihan Breastfeeding Awards. The VECO Lactation Room is equipped with the necessary facilities that breastfeeding employees need to comfortably express and store milk even while at work.

“However, I think the most special contribution of breastfeeding at work is the feeling of empowerment of the employee when his or her family’s goals are supported. This has been statistically proven to increase employee loyalty to the company and increased productivity from feelings of well-being. Also, breastfed children grow to become healthy, social and intelligent adults with much to offer to their communities,” she added.

Visayan Electric was nominated by one of their breastfeeding employees, Ronimay Ducay-Alvarado.

“I nominated VECO because of its wonderful support to my fellow breastfeeding moms in our office. Our lactation room or Mother’s Room as we call it, is very useful to moms like me who want to continue our breastfeeding journey even when we’re working. I am so thankful to VECO for providing us more than what is required by law and for helping us nourish our babies with the best nutrition that we can ever afford,” Ducay-Alvarado said.

Republic Act 10028 of the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 was signed to support, protect and encourage women who are breastfeeding working moms. The law requires workplaces to establish a lactation station for nursing mothers complete with equipment and facilities such as lavatory for hand washing, refrigeration for storing breast milk, electrical outlets for breast pumps, comfortable seats and tables. The law also provides for nursing mothers to be given additional breaks called lactation periods of not less than 40 minutes in an 8-hour working period.

“More than compliance, we want our nursing VECO employees to feel comfortable that even though they left their little ones at home, they can still continue to provide breast milk. The lactation room is just a tool for them to accomplish their breastfeeding goals,” said Johanna Samson of the VECO Human Resources.

The Visayan Electric Company, owned and managed by publicly-listed Aboitiz Power Corporation and Vivant Corporation, is the second largest electric utility in the country. VECO has three ISO certifications — ISO 9001:2015 for Quality Management Systems (QMS), ISO 14001:2015 for Environmental Health and Safety Management Systems (EHSMS) and ISO 45001:2018 for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS). (Press Release)

Business Tech

GCash innovations foster growth of Philippines’ gig economy

With its 20 million users composed mostly of young, working Filipinos, GCash has tailored its mobile financial platform to fuel the growth of the country’s gig economy.

Anthony Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Mynt (Globe Innovations, Inc.), which operates GCash, said the company sees a huge opportunity in the gig economy and continually innovates to address the needs of freelancers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“Most of our businesses are micro-businesses, and the gig economy is alive and well. A lot of opportunity comes from freelancers or businesses that employ just a few people. GCash could be a very convenient disbursement platform for them,” Thomas said at the IN_PACT Asia 2019 forum held on May 28 at the ADB headquarters in Manila.

GCash solutions

The Philippines’ leading mobile wallet and a pioneer in fintech services, GCash provides an efficient end-to-end payroll to payout solution for Filipinos operating outside the usual employment schemes, Thomas said. It also allows payment acceptance through QR transactions, and InstaPay transfers, which lets users send money to any banks in the Philippines for free.

“We make it very easy to accept payments offline through QR codes, or online with minimum to no cost so entrepreneurs, small businesses and freelancers can really focus on what they need to do rather than worrying about administrative problems in their lives and businesses,” he said.

The Mynt CEO was one of the speakers representing the fintech sector at the IN_PACT Asia forum, which this year centered on “Convening for Collective Impact.” The event gathered more than 300 social designers and innovators, and over 30 thought leaders and experts on social innovation and impact.

Anthony Thomas speaking at the ADB In_Pact Asia 2019 - Convening for Collective Impact

Anthony Thomas speaks at the ADB In_Pact Asia 2019 – Convening for Collective Impact.

Financial inclusion

The Philippines, which has one of the youngest workforces in Asia, is an emerging hub for social entrepreneurs, numbering nearly 165,000, and online freelancers, estimated to be around 1.5 million. Self-employed Filipinos make up 26.9% of the country’s 41.2 million labor force, the second biggest category of employed workers, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Still, financial inclusion remains a challenge as 2 out of 3 Filipinos do not have access to bank accounts, and 9 out of 10 do not have access to loan credit.

“But the smartphone penetration is good, and the Philippines is an increasingly social media savvy country… What we’re doing is incentivizing people to go online,” Thomas said, presenting GCash’s financial services, which include GScore, GCredit, GSave and GInvest.

Financial services platform

“We’re not stopping at just creating payment convenience in your day-to-day lives. We are ultimately a financial services platform where we collaborate with lenders, asset managers, banks, and insurance companies. And we’ve already launched a way where we’re giving people a digital identity,” he said.

UNDP resident representative Titon Mitra, who was also a guest speaker at the forum, recognized that the most impressive social innovations were coming from emerging economies, citing fintech companies like GCash.

“In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, innovations are imperative,” Mitra said. “It’s not just about fostering social innovations but fostering social innovations with a coherent purpose. If we’re going to drive social innovations the right way, we have to make it everyone’s responsibility.” (Press Release)

Community Tech Uncategorized

Smart literacy apps named sole Filipino finalist in GSMA’s Asia Mobile Awards 2019

The roster of mother tongue-based literacy apps developed by leading wireless services provider Smart Communications (Smart) has been shortlisted in this year’s Asia Mobile Awards (AMO 2019).

Organized by mobile network operators group GSMA, AMO 2019 serves as the Asia Region’s leading stage for the latest and most innovative mobile products, apps, devices, services and initiatives.

Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the UN SDGs in Asia

Smart is in the running for its #LearnSmart Mother Tongue-Based Literacy Apps that were developed in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and academic institutions nationwide. The PLDT subsidiary initiated the local content development program in 2018 as a response to the lack of interactive local content for education and is the only finalist from the Philippines among the 50 contenders shortlisted by the AMO.

#LearnSmart app

The apps are nominated under the category of Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the UN SDGs in Asia. Other finalists include edotco Myanmar for Sustainable Connectivity Solution, China Mobile, Huawei Technologies & The 301 Hospital for The World’s First Successful 5G-Enabled Remote Surgery on a Living Human Patient, KaiOS for the emerging OS, KT & UNEP for Air Map Korea, and Mahindra Comviva for AsiaHawala.

The presentation of the Awards will take place at this year’s Mobile World Congress-Shanghai from June 26 to 28, 2019.

First of its kind

The LearnSmart mother tongue-based literacy apps feature lessons on local alphabet and numbers, videos showcasing local stories and songs, and games that help develop a learner’s essential memory and thinking skills. The mobile tools were designed to be interactive to make teaching and learning basic literacy in the local language more interesting and encouraging for both the teachers and the learners.

To-date, Smart has launched nine #LearnSmart literacy applications: Bahay Kubo (Filipino), Kaalam (Cebuano), Ta’allam and Tahderiyyah (Arabic), Matisalug (Matigsalug indigenous peoples Tribe of Davao and Bukidnon), Kaaram (Waray), Katao (Inabaknon), Singsing (Kapampangan), and Sanut (Ilokano). To-date, the suite of apps are the only mobile tools in the Philippines that feature localized educational content. In the case of Matigsalug, it is the first tribal app of its kind in the country, while Tahderiyyah is the first literacy app for the Bangsamoro children.

The main delivery pipeline of the apps is through the Smart School-in-a-Bag program, which are portable digital classrooms that are donated to remote and under-served schools in the Philippines with intermittent to no power. With more than 110 learning packages deployed as of end-2018, over 30,000 students around the Philippines have been given the opportunity to improve their performance in school though Smart’s flagship education initiative.

Aside from School-in-a-Bag beneficiaries, anyone can also download the #LearnSmart apps for free via Google Play.


Game-changing mobile devices and technologies

Prior to being named as a finalist in AMO 2019, the roster of mother-tongue literacy apps was previously awarded by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines with Silver citations at the 54th Anvil Awards. The nods were for Best PR Program Directed at Specific Stakeholders and Best PR Tool – Mobile Application.

Now on its fourth year, the AMOs recognize game-changing mobile devices and technologies, to applications and services developed for, or available in Asian markets, showcasing the ever growing value that mobility brings to users, industries, businesses, communities and economies across Asia’s countries and regions.

Smart’s previous AMO nods include a nomination in 2018 for SHINE OS+ (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange), an electronic medical record and referral system spearheaded by Smart and the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center. From 2007 to 2009, the company also won AMOs for several Mobile Money and Advertising-Marketing initiatives, as well as a nomination under the Green Mobile Award for the company’s tarpaulin recycling initiatives. (Press Release)


VECO cleans up, improves Liloan school for Brigada Eskwela 2019

The more than 500 pupils of the Suba Elementary School in the Municipality of Liloan in Cebu will have better classrooms once the new school year opens. The school, which is located in the northernmost part of the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) franchise, was the utility company’s beneficiary for this year’s Brigada Eskwela.

A total of 160 VECO Kaibigan, headed by Chief Operating Officer Anton Mari G. Perdices, participated in the annual Brigada Eskwela activity, a program of the Department of Education that started in 2003. The activity brings together teachers, parents, and community members every third week of May to work on repairing and preparing public schools for the school opening.

Conducive to learning

Suba Elementary School Brigada Eskwela coordinator Hazel Balaba was grateful that Visayan Electric once again helped their school.

“Suba Elementary School is thankful to Visayan Electric Company for we are very lucky to be chosen as the recipient of this year’s Brigada Eskwela. This activity will surely help us achieve classrooms that are more conducive to learning,” Balaba said.

Perdices, meanwhile, thanked VECO employees for volunteering for the activity. “I am very happy and excited to see all the Kaibigans in this annual event. This is by far the most attended Brigada Eskwela since we started it in 2010,” he added. He also inspired the students by reminding them to be good citizens of the country and to always do good in their studies.

BRIGADA ESKWELA 2019. A total of 160 Visayan Electric Kaibigans, led by Chief Operating Officer Anton Mari G. Perdices, volunteered during the 2019 Brigada Eskwela at the Suba Elementary School in Liloan last May 25.

BRIGADA ESKWELA 2019. A total of 160 Visayan Electric Kaibigans, led by Chief Operating Officer Anton Mari G. Perdices, volunteered during the 2019 Brigada Eskwela at the Suba Elementary School in Liloan last May 25.

Armed with paint brushes, buckets of paint, brooms, rags and hammers, Visayan Electric Kaibigans repaired, repainted and cleaned the classrooms to prepare these for the school opening. Visayan Electric also donated 100 armchairs made from scrap wood. These will be used by the Grade four and five pupils.

Active partner

Suba Elementary School is the tenth school beneficiary of the Visayan Electric under the Brigada Eskwela program. The school also received an AGAPP building in 2016 and its wiring system was upgraded in 2017.

Through the years, VECO, the second largest electric utility in the Philippines, has been an active partner of DepEd in implementing different projects geared toward improving education in the different public schools within its franchise area.

VECO serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu — Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando. (Press Release)


Smart fires up LTE in Eastern Visayas

PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. is ramping up the rollout of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology across the Eastern Visayas to improve the mobile data experience of customers in one of the country’s biggest regions.

Smart LTE is already available across the region’s major cities of Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte, and was recently fired up in the Eastern Samar capital city of Borongan, the tourist town of Guiuan, Northern Samar capital of Catarman City, and Western Samar cities of Calbayog and Catbalogan.

For veteran Borongan-based broadcast journalist Daisy Belizar, better connectivity would be a boon to her city, where almost all of the families have at least one member working abroad. “With LTE in Borongan, we will now be connected to the rest of the world,” she said.


This year, Smart will continue upgrading all its Eastern Visayas sites to LTE, as well as add more LTE capacity by deploying multi-band base stations. Doing so will enable Smart to cater to more subscribers and improve speeds with the activation of LTE-Advanced and carrier aggregation.

Carrier aggregation is a feature of LTE-A which allows the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver much faster data speeds to customers using capable phones.

In Eastern Visayas, particularly in Leyte and Eastern Samar, around half of Smart subscribers are already smartphone users, bulk of whom are also already using LTE devices. Compared to a year ago, the number of customers in the region who use mobile data on LTE devices with LTE SIMs has also increased significantly.

Aside from upgrading its existing sites, Smart is also rolling out additional sites in the coming year, particularly to provide seamless network coverage from Tacloban City to Ormoc City and from Baybay to Abuyog, as well as to improve connectivity in heavy foot-traffic areas such as airports in Calbayog, Catarman, Ormoc and Tacloban; in malls and hospitals; and in dense residential and resettlement areas, among others.

World class internet

“With our continuing rollout across Eastern Visayas and in the rest of the country, we are bringing the benefits of world class internet closer to Filipinos nationwide,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.

“Improved connectivity in the region will enable our Waray customers to access services like online banking and e-commerce while on-the-go, stay in contact with friends and family through messaging apps, and share photos and videos of their beautiful beaches and historic spots to help boost tourism in the area,” Tamayo added.

Underpinning PLDT and Smart’s fixed and mobile network roll-out is the expansion of PLDT’s fiber optic transmission and distribution network. PLDT’s fiber footprint, now the most extensive in the country at more than 259,000 kilometers, also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity fiber connections for LTE base stations.

PLDT and Smart’s network transformation efforts are backed by a historic-high capital expenditure of P78.4 billion this year. The capex investments are to further expand coverage and to increase capacity to handle the exponential growth in data traffic, with the ultimate aim of delivering the best data customer experience. (Press Release)

Business Tech

Miss Universe Catriona Gray is the face of the new Smart Signature Plans

Catriona Gray’s journey to the Miss Universe crown is an inspiring story of a woman who has reimagined herself to win the most coveted beauty pageant title, bringing pride and honor to our country.

Make no mistake about it, Catriona could have simply rested on her laurels with her Top 5 finish in Miss World 2016, plus a flourishing career as a commercial model. But, fueled by the support of family and friends, the now 25-year old beauty queen decided to embark on a much bigger dream that revealed the goal slayer in her – someone who is confident with her vision, and put every ounce of her energy to realize it. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fast-paced digital lifestyle

“Catriona’s inspiring story and her disposition as the ultimate goal slayer makes her the perfect ambassador for Smart Signature, a new mobile experience that prioritizes customers,” said Oscar A. Reyes, Jr., PLDT-Smart SVP and Consumer Business Market Development Head.

“Designed to cater to a new generation of goal slayers like Catriona, Smart Signature keeps up with the fast-paced digital lifestyle of our customers and empowers them as they tick off more milestones in their career or life,” he added.

“I’m very goal-oriented, and once I’ve set my mind on something, I put my heart and soul to it, and make sure I have all the tools to make it happen,” said Catriona, whose dedication showed in her hands-on approach to preparing for an international title: from putting together her own team or designers, trainers and creatives to displaying her proud Filipino heritage in her captivating national costume and now iconic gowns.

“This is why I am thrilled to represent Smart Signature, which empowers everyone with the digital experience they need to achieve more and realize a much better version of themselves. With Smart Signature, we have one less thing to worry about while pursuing our goals and making a difference.”

Tech-savvy beauty queen

Catriona uses digital platforms not only to connect with family, friends, and fans, but as an effective way to get her voice out there as an advocate for educating the youth and raising HIV/AIDS awareness.

But what else does the most beautiful woman in the world do when she’s online? For starters, she listens to music. “I never like it when it’s quiet. So, I stream music all the time,” she shared. She also enjoys watching videos, especially during her downtime. Here’s a fun fact: She likes watching beauty and make-up videos online, and even trained to do her own make-up as part of her preparation for the MISS UNIVERSE competition.

As an only child who lives away from her parents, and with a hectic travel schedule, she also heavily relies on mobile apps to constantly keep in touch with family and friends.

Always a go-getter, Catriona is ready to embark on her new role as endorser for Smart Signature. It’s going to be a hectic reign, but it’s a journey that she has prepared for all her life, and one that she hopes will inspire more Filipinos.

“I would love to share to people that my story is not an overnight success, and there were years that I really struggled. But I never gave up,” she revealed. “I always play to my own strengths. You need to find a circle of people that believe in what your goals are. And in this digital age, you need a mobile partner that will always prioritize your needs.”

Postpaid reimagined

Smart Signature prioritizes subscribers on the Smart LTE network, the country’s undisputed fastest mobile network as awarded by world-renowned firms including Ookla, OpenSignal, Tutela, and P3. This prioritized network experience makes sure that you can enjoy consistent data to connect to their favorite apps, sent messages in real time, and make uninterrupted calls – even during peak hours.

Smart Signature comes in four plans – Plan S, Plan M, Plan L and Plan XL – with generous data allocation; worry-free unlimited calls to Smart, Sun, and TNT; worry-free AnyNet call minutes to PLDT landline and other networks; and unlimited texts to all networks – so you never have to worry about connecting with family, friends, and colleagues on any network.

Experience a reimagined postpaid and achieve more with Smart Signature Plans now! Sign up as a new subscriber, or upgrade your current Smart Postpaid Plan for free, at select Smart Stores nationwide.

Learn more about the Smart Signature Plan perfect for your lifestyle at (Press Release)


Negros Oriental, Leyte residents boost disaster preparedness

Parishioners and students from Negros Oriental and Leyte recently participated in disaster preparedness trainings conducted in partnership with Smart Communications.

Close to 100 members of the clergy and lay people from the Diocese of Dumaguete attended Smart’s #SafePH training held in Ayungon, Negros Oriental.

The activity is part of Smart’s ongoing #SafePH series of disaster preparedness trainings to help build the capacity of communities during calamities.

Preparedness as way of life

The training was facilitated by Dr. Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), and Louie Domingo of Emergency Management Center.

Daep shared information on weather disturbances and the possible effects of earthquake and other hazards. There is still no proven scientific way to predict earthquakes, so it is important to make preparedness a way of life, according to Daep.

He also taught the participants how to develop project proposals for disaster mitigation in their own communities.

Dr. Cedric Daep shares his knowledge on hazards and disaster preparedness to the participants composed of members of clergy and lay people.

Dr. Cedric Daep shares his knowledge on hazards and disaster preparedness to the participants composed of members of clergy and lay people.

Emergency kits

Domingo, meanwhile, taught the participants what to do before, during, and after a calamity and shared practical survival tips, from how to apply first aid and what to put in their emergency kits or “e-balde,” to how to protect themselves in times of danger.

The training was set just after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit Luzon and the Visayas in April.

In March, about 800 students of Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) in Tacloban City also participated in a 2-day TNT Tropang Ready activity initiated by Smart. Resource speakers from the academe and local authorities shared with the students information about hazards and safety tips.

Help of technology

TNT Tropang Ready is a program that tours schools nationwide to help enhance the preparedness of the youth and develop them into preparedness ambassadors in their own communities. The program includes a series of talks, workshops, and teaching sessions integrated in their educational curriculum.

Smart promotes the culture of preparedness in communities with the help of technology as part of its #SafePH advocacy. It has initiated mobile solutions such as the Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS) with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and community caravans for the youth, families, and members of the Church, in the company’s efforts toward resilience. (Press Release)


VECO inaugurates upgraded Consolacion substation

To meet the demands of growing residential developments and the vigorous economy in the northern part of its franchise area, the Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO), inaugurated its upgraded Consolacion Substation on May 10.

The Consolacion Substation, which was built in 1995, originally had a 33MVA capacity. Assistant Vice President for Engineering Operations Noel Modesto said VECO saw the need to improve, rehabilitate, and upgrade the substation to 66MVA to improve reliability and flexibility to better serve its customers in the municipalities of Consolacion and Lilo-an.

Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, in her speech during the inauguration, said the municipality is thankful that VECO keeps up with the demands of the municipality’s growing economy.

“We in Consolacion consider VECO as a partner in growth and development and we are very thankful that VECO readily answers the call of the times. In fact, VECO is several steps ahead. Seeing that Consolacion is growing rapidly, you are also preparing your facilities to meet the demands. We look forward to working with you more and we assure you that we will always be hand in hand in the development of Consolacion,” the mayor said.

CONSOLACION SUBSTATION UPGRADE. VECO inaugurated its upgraded Consolacion Substation last May 10. Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado attended the event and praised the utility for “keeping up with the times.”

A substation is a set of equipment where voltage is transformed from high to low, which is suitable for supply to consumers.

VECO has a total of 19 substations. It started the rehabilitation works at the Consolacion Substation in October 2017 and upgraded its capacity in August of 2018. The upgrading of the Consolacion Substation is also in preparation for the upcoming rehabilitation of the nearby Paknaan Substation, which will be implemented by June this year with a 2020 targeted commissioning. Rehabilitation and upgrading works for the Calamba Substation in Cebu City into 66MVA is ongoing and is expected to be completed this year.

Owned and managed by publicly-listed Aboitiz Power Corporation and Vivant Corporation, VECO serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu — Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando. (Press Release)


One Sweet Day: A weekend of wedding & debut exclusives at Marco Polo Plaza

From a single day, Marco Polo Plaza has turned One Sweet Day into a weekend of wedding and debut exclusives on May 25 to 26, 2019.

Marco Polo is on its 5th year of making dream weddings and debuts come true. The hotel is inviting all couples and debutantes to come up to Nivel Hills to plan their special day with Cebu’s top event coordinators. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on those days at the Cebu Grand Ballroom.

One Sweet Day Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
One Sweet Day will be held on May 25 to 26, 2019.

The hotel is offering special packages and discounts from Cebu’s top event suppliers. There will also be a raffle with prizes including 2 roundtrip tickets to Bangkok via Philippine Airlines and 2 pairs of Sledgers shoes for grooms-to-be.

Book your wedding or debut with Marco Polo Plaza and receive added perks on top of well-crafted celebration packages. Enjoy a 20% discount on the celebration package price plus two more premium benefits from the following: complimentary 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 waived energy fee. There is also an option for complimentary two hours use of function room for a Ting Hun.

One Sweet Day Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

This offer is valid only on May 25 to 26 with a reservation fee of P30,000 to be settled during the promo period. This promotion is valid only for new bookings and weddings or debuts that will be held on 2019 or 2020. The benefits of this promotion can only be availed upon confirmation and full payment six months before your celebration.

Special classes will also be given during the two-day event. On May 25, join the Wines 101 Talk by D+B Wines at 2:45pm, followed by Make-up 101 by Janice the Beauty Fairy at 3:30pm. These classes are free and open to all. On May 26, unleash the creative in you by joining our Calligraphy Class by Coyligraphy at 1:30pm. Free slots will be given to those with confirmed One Sweet Day bookings. For more information on the rates and early bird promotions, email [email protected] (Press Release)


Coding the future of payments: GCash breaches 50k QR merchant mark

The use of QR for mobile digital payments is very popular in various emerging and developed economies. In China, for example, mobile digital payments account for over half of the country’s total transaction volumes.

In the Philippines, the use of the technology is still in its nascent stage, and has yet to see an explosion in usage.

Despite that, GCash, operated by Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), sees the value of setting up as many QR-enabled merchants as possible, as it believes that the future of mobile digital payments lies on innovative technologies.

Secure, convenient

“QR payments provide security and convenience to both merchants and their customers. Our thrust as a mobile wallet is to acquire as many merchant partners as possible — even micro-entrepreneurs such as taho vendors — to future-proof us from the expected boom in usage,” said JM Aujero, Vice President for Merchant Solutions.

Already, GCash has breached the 50,000 merchant mark in the first quarter of 2019, a huge milestone for the company that introduced this technology first in the Philippines in 2017.

“We want to be as pervasive as our partner Ant Financial is in China. QR is the future of payments, and we are committed to lead in this arena here in the Philippines,” he said.

The QR technology of GCash is far reaching, spanning from Luzon to Visayas and down to Mindanao, including popular tourist destination Boracay.

Empower MSMEs

This particular technology is empowering micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt into the digital arena. Aside from giving them access to millions of customers, the QR payments solution of GCash allows merchants to enjoy auto-sweeping of their daily transactions into their account.

It likewise provides a better performance evaluation of the business, as the system provides for QR transaction reports, which allows enterprises to study and analyze their transactions real time. Cash handling issues are also addressed through the QR payments system.

GCash offers merchants no set up fees, a huge customer base, lower rates than most debit and credit cards, a chance for increased marketing, and access to periodic reports to oversee their business performance.

“Merchants and social sellers can leverage on the ubiquity of GCash in the Philippines, as well as benefit from this simple, cost-effective, and secure alternative to cash,” he said.

Get more users

GCash is embarking on a battle against cash to capture more users this year, and the need to increase the number of merchants in the GCash platform only continues to be more pronounced.

The GCash QR payments solution, he explained, is supportive of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ goal of reducing cash payments and increasing the share of non-cash transactions to 20 percent of the total volume by 2020.

“Our aggressive stance in fighting for more QR-enabled merchants stems from the fact that every day, more and more GCash users onboard the platform. Use cases for QR payments also continue to sprout,” he said.

“With Ant Financial as our partner, we are well-equipped to deliver the best QR experience in the Philippines. Ant Financial will also help us in strengthening our hold while massively scaling up our QR reach in the country,” he said. (Press Release)


GT Northeast Academy – soon to be B.E.S.T. School in Cebu

For the past 5 years, GT Northeast Academy (GTNA)  in Tayud, Liloan has established a reputation for academic excellence.

It has a reputation for training brilliant and elite students of northeast Cebu. The school, however, offers scholarships to deserving top students from both public and private schools.

Enrolling your child at GT Northeast Academy ensures that they receive a well-rounded training by the school’s talented and supportive teachers. GTNA’s fully air-conditioned classrooms are equipped with projectors and conducive for learning. Rooms have a capacity of only 25 students.

Science laboratory.

Students undergo a matchless experience in learning and discovering their talents and potentials. Through extensive and precise measures, teachers make sure students have a proficient learning curve.

GT Northeast Academy amenities

GTNA offers the following amenities: comprehensive biology, natural science, chemistry, and physics  laboratories; complete computer laboratories for encoding and software application learning; a standard gymnasium for sports and recreational activities; a semi-Olympic size swimming pool; a canteen with friendly staff; an inclusive kitchen for culinary and gastronomic lessons; a library; a fully-functioning music room; a dance hall; carpool services; and a Roman Catholic chapel.


Course subjects are delivered in a variety of pedagogical approaches using multiple learning methods and educational materials, which are constantly reviewed and evaluated.

Students are also taught social graces, which are infused in the school’s academic culture.

Students of the school have garnered various achievements in inter-school competitions. These achievements live up to the school vision of being “A community in pursuit of excellence.”

B.E.S.T. school by 2025

To continue its pursuit of excellence, GTNA aims to become B.E.S.T. school in Cebu by 2025.  B.E.S.T. stands for Business, Entrepreneurial, Science, and Technology school.

The move is anchored on the school’s strong adherence to science and technology research, business entrepreneurship, and the multi-discipline of social sciences.

GTNA recently launched its first ever ‘Business and Research Conference 2019” – a learning showcase that highlighted research papers and business proposals of senior high school students.

Computer laboratory.

The conference boosted the confidence of students by providing them a venue to showcase their writing and public speaking skills. The school plans to make the conference and annual event and include junior high school students.

B.E.S.T School in Cebu by 2025 is GTNA’s 5-year program for uplifting its vision. It includes projects like the acquisition of a robotics laboratory, installation of a business stimulation hub, and increase in the amenities of existing science and technology labs. It also covers broadening the library facility by expanding materials for e-learning programs and reviewing the current curriculum to include the B.E.S.T. ideals.

Science laboratory.

Best K to 12 education

GT Northeast Academy guarantees the best K to 12 education of your child.

It is currently accepting reservations for Preschool (Nursery 1 & 2 and Kindergarten); Elementary; Junior High School; and Senior High School. For Senior High School, it offers the Academic Tracks for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM); Accountancy, Business & Management (ABM); Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS); and General Academic Strand (GAS).  

GTNA school building.

Enrollment is going on for Summer Classes on School Readiness, Singapore Math, Reading, Writing, and Comprehension. Non-Academic Summer Classes include Basic Arts & Crafts, Music (Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, and Keyboard), Taekwondo, and Ballet Dance Workshop.

Visitors are welcome and school tours can be arranged. For inquiries, GTNA can be reached at (032) 424-4901, (032) 424-4511, or at 0920-221-6086. You can also send an email to [email protected]. (Press Release)


National Book Store brings Book Binge Bazaar back to Manila, Cebu

National Book Store’s Book Binge Bazaar is back, and this time it’s happening in Manila and Cebu! Shop at National Book Store Mango Plaza in Cebu City and at National Book Store Quezon Avenue in Quezon City from May 1 to 12, 2019 to get huge discounts on books.

May 1 is exclusively for Laking National cardholders, while May 2 to 12 is open to the public. Doors are open from 9 am to 10 pm every day except for Fridays and Saturdays when they are open until 12 midnight.

Admission is free and thousands of imported books will be available for as low as P75. Fill your shelves with bestselling young adult titles, fiction novels, and inspiring reads. Surprise kids with new coloring books, activity books, and story books to support their learning. Continue your self-improvement and lifelong learning with guidebooks on work, travel, fashion, health, fitness, and many other topics.

Join the discussion online and share your hauls by using the hashtag #BookBingeBazaar. Connect with National Book Store on social media – @nationalbookstore on Instagram and @nbsalert on Facebook and Twitter.