Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Sen. Cayetano: small enterprises like sari-sari stores important to economy

Micro and small enterprises like sari-sari stores are important and companies like Prince Hypermart should be commended for connecting with them, said Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. Cayetano spoke before the “TENdahang Karnabal: 10th Annual Sari-Sari Store Festival 2015” on August 15. The festival is an annual event organized by Prince Hypermart and held this year in the Amnezia Superclub on Ouano Ave., Mandaue City.

Micro and small enterprises like sari-sari stores are important and companies like Prince Hypermart should be commended for connecting with them, said Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. Cayetano spoke before the “TENdahang Karnabal: 10th Annual Sari-Sari Store Festival 2015” on August 15. The festival is an annual event organized by Prince Hypermart and held this year in the Amnezia Superclub on Ouano Ave., Mandaue City.

The company said the event is meant to give back to their Prince Royalty Members and “thank them for the years of continued loyalty and support.”

“It’s our way of giving back and also a celebration for our loyal and happy members,” said Rina Janine Go, supply chain director of Prince Retail Group of Companies.

Whole day event

The whole-day event had games, helpful discussions, talks, surprises and giveaways of prizes.

Cayetano, the Senate majority leader, said government should consider allocating part of the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or conditional cash transfers to lend to micro and small businesses. He said the government can set aside P1 billion per region for this.

TENdahang Karnabal: 10th Annual Sari-Sari Store Festival 2015

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Senate majority leader, speaks before the “TENdahang Karnabal: 10th Annual Sari-Sari Store Festival 2015” gathering organized by Prince Hypermart.

 

Cayetano also discussed how small and medium enterprises can plan and allocate their budgets. He also gave additional capital to the top 10 customers for each Prince Hypermart branch.

Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas was invited to the event but he could not come and was represented by Rep. Luigi Quisumbing and Atty. Carlo Fortuna who delivered his message.

Other guests

Chinkee Tan, popular wealth management author, speaker and TV personality, presented a lively talk on having the right business mindset and how stores can specialize according to market needs. He cited as example selling school supplies if the store is within a school’s vicinity. Pinoy Big Brother Housemate Paul Jake Castillo entertained the crowd with games and gave away a tricycle from International Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The Sari-Sari Store Festival is a yearly gathering exclusive to members of the Royalty Program, Prince Hypermart’s membership rewards and points program. A total of 1,223 of these members, based in Cebu province, attended this year’s event. The membership base is growing with 75,457 members in Cebu Province and a total of 245,166 members all over the Visayas and Mindanao— mostly sari-sari store owners.

TENdahang Karnabal: 10th Annual Sari-Sari Store Festival 2015

EXHIBITORS’ BOOTH. Prince Retail Group of Companies President and CEO Robert Go lead guests to a tour of the booths during the event.

 

Prince loyalty program

Go says that what distinguishes Prince’s loyalty program are rebates to earn direct discounts on purchases, exclusive monthly deals to get higher resell profits. Its Royalty Gold Program offers exclusive deals and access to life and health insurance.

Royalty Gold Member Fe Ramos of Danao, gave a heartfelt and moving testimonial on how the Royalty Program’s insurance helped her pay the hospital bills. She was crying as she thanked the Go family for the benefits she received.

Prince Hypermart is one of the leading retail and wholesale chains in the Visayas and Mindanao region, with 24 stores to date. Since its founding in April 1990, the retail chain currently has seven branches in Cebu at the North Reclamation Area, Old MCWD building in M.C. Briones, Danao City, Minglanilla, Dalaguete, Argao, and Daanbantayan.

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Eagles’ Nest perfect for Ateneo de Cebu students, property investors

Top developer PrimaryHomes, Inc. opened on August 11 its showroom for the loft units of Eagles’ Nest Condominium in Canduman in Mandaue City. The mid-rise residential condominium was developed primarily to address the need for quality yet affordable living for families with students enrolled at the Sacred Heart School Ateneo de Cebu.

Top developer PrimaryHomes, Inc. opened on August 11 its showroom for the loft units of Eagles’ Nest Condominium in Canduman in Mandaue City.

This mid-rise residential condominium was developed primarily to address the need for quality yet affordable living for families with students enrolled at the Sacred Heart School Ateneo de Cebu. The development, according to Cebu’s most reliable developer, carries the catchword PLEASE, offering accessibility and convenience with its Perfect Location, having Enriching Amenities, and being School-Endorsed.

Perfect location

With its Perfect Location, Eagles’ Nest helps parents and students avoid wasting time on the road and reduces transportation costs by more than P20,000 a month in savings on transportation expenses like car amortization, driver’s salaries and gas. It is located right beside the school.

Eagles’ Nest is also School-Endorsed, fully supported by the Ateneo de Cebu as an alternative living arrangement for students. This will allow students more time for both studies and extracurricular activities, aiding them to become well-rounded individuals. Eagles’ Nest also boasts of Enriching Amenities such as a study hall, science observatory deck, themed lounge per floor, commercial area for laundry, convenience shop, food court, and tutorial services. Tutoring Club Cebu already opened at Eagles’ Nest last month.

Eagles' Nest

ENRICHING AMENITIES. Eagles’ Nest boasts of amenities such as a study hall, science observatory deck, themed lounge per floor, commercial area for laundry, convenience shop, food court, and tutorial services.

Top-of-the-line safety features

Top-of-the-line fire alarm and sprinkler system with fire exits, back-up power generation, and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system are also installed at Eagles’ Nest to ensure the safety of residents.

Eagles’ Nest is the seventh condominium project of PrimaryHomes, which was launched last August 2012. It is now 70 percent sold and all remaining units are ready for move-in. Eagles’ Nest has a total floor area of 15,025 square meters designed with two unit types – the studio and loft. The 22 square-meter studio units are at P1.6 million; while the 34 square-meter loft units are at P2.8 million.

With all the conveniences the development offers, Eagles’ Nest is perfect for investors. Even with a captured market, the developer has shared the great opportunity for investors to earn rental income from Eagles’ Nest – the only condominium of its kind in Cebu.

Eagles' Nest Sacreat Heart School Ateneo de Cebu

SCHOOL-ENDORSED. Eagles’ Nest is fully supported by the Ateneo de Cebu as an alternative living arrangement for students. This will allow students more time for both studies and extracurricular activities.


QUICK FACTS

Number of Floors: 16 Floors
Number of Units: 348 Units
Breakdown of Units
Studio: 319 Units
Loft: 29 Units

Return on Investment
Rental Yield: (after 5 years) 40% to 50 %
Resale ROI: (after 5 years) 40% to 50 %
Capital Outlay: P360 million


Studio units can be rented out at P13,000 to P15,000 per month yielding 8% to 10% per year – higher than the average annual rental yield for Philippine property investments. According to globalpropertyguide.com, Philippines is one of the best places to invest in Asia, with 7.5% rental yield, ranking 2nd to Indonesia with 8.9%; while next to the Philippines is Cambodia with a much lower yield of 5.3%.

The Eagles’ Nest showrooms for studio and its newly opened loft units are available for viewing Monday to Sunday, from 9 AM to 5 PM.

For questions and to schedule a site visit, please call +6332 254 7188 (tap on number to call on your phone) or visit the company website at www.primaryhomes.com and its official Facebook page at facebook.com/PrimaryHomesOfficial.

eagles-nest-poster

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Cebu outsourcing industry faces competition from emerging sites

Although Cebu is currently among the top outsourcing destinations in the world, it stands to lose to other emerging sites like Iloilo and Davao if it becomes complacent, a top economist warned business leaders.

Although Cebu is currently among the top outsourcing destinations in the world, it stands to lose to other emerging sites like Iloilo and Davao if it becomes complacent.

“If you don’t improve your infrastructure, if your traffic situation becomes as bad as Manila, there are other places that will appeal to the business process outsourcing (BPO) and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) sectors,” said economist Bernardo Villegas in last Friday’s Mandaue Business Summit at the Oakridge Pavillion in Mandaue City.

Aside from Iloilo and Davao, the cities of Dumaguete and Cagayan de Oro show potential for the IT-BPO industry, he said. Cebu placed eighth in the 2015 Tholons International Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations Report, keeping its rank for the third straight year. The only other Philippine outsourcing site in the top 10 was the National Capital Region (NCR).

Villegas, who talked about the positive prospects for the Philippine economy in the next 20 years during the Mandaue Business Summit 2015, said IT-BPO was one of the country’s main engines of growth.

Outsourcing edge

He added that when it comes to this industry, the country’s edge is its young, educated, English-speaking population.

“Not only that, they speak the correct English with the correct accent and the right mood,” he pointed out, citing that Indians by contrast are argumentative.

Although voice services still hold the biggest share of the pie in the outsourcing industry, it registers the lowest growth compared to knowledge processing or health management, Villegas said.

“More and more, it’s going to KPO. You know why? Millennials don’t depend on voice for info,” he added, telling members of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) who are into outsourcing that they should start providing accounting, architectural design, and legal documentation services to the rest of the world.

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Whatever the outcome of 2016 elections, PH economy will still grow: economist

An economist has bright prospects for the Philippines no matter the results of the 2016 elections. Dr. Bernardo Villegas said the Philippine economy will grow 6% to 7% regardless of who gets elected in next year’s presidential elections.

An economist has bright prospects for the Philippines no matter the results of the 2016 elections. Dr. Bernardo Villegas said the Philippine economy will grow 6% to 7% regardless of who gets elected in next year’s presidential elections.

“Whatever happens in May 2016, even if we elect Vice Ganda, the economy will continue to grow at a high rate for the next 20 years,” he added during the Mandaue Business Summit held last Friday as part of Mandaue Business Month activities.

The main engines driving the country’s growth include remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), business process outsourcing (BPO) and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) revenues, and the 40 or so million Filipino tourists who travel around the country.

“Last year, the country received US$28 billion in remittances from the more than 10 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). This grows 3-5 percent every year come hell or high water,” he further said.

Outsourcing industries

According to Villegas, the BPO and KPO industries already generate US$18 billion in revenues every year and employ 1.1 million “very well-paid, highly-educated” workers.

He also noted the growing number of Filipinos visiting and talking about new and popular local destinations that has spurred the high growth of domestic tourism in the country.

Another positive development is the decision of around a hundred Japanese companies that plan to transfer their manufacturing facilities out of China.

Although the Japanese multinationals are looking at other Southeast Asian countries, one thing going for the Philippine is the industrial peace it has attained, he said, citing that there hasn’t been a labor strike in the last three to five years that ended in violence.

“These are things that do not depend on political developments. They will continue to happen whatever may occur in May 2016,” he pointed out.

New economic era

On the other hand, if the Filipinos manage to elect the right leader next year, especially one who is good at executing the hundreds of billions of infrastructure projects that didn’t happen under the present administration, Villegas believes the country will grow 8-10 percent from 2016 onwards.

“We are definitely in a new era in the Philippines. It is not an exaggeration to call the Philippines the new tiger of Asia,” Villegas said.

According to him, the country has reached its tipping point and is at a new level of growth from changes that happened over a quarter of a century.

He cited economic forecasts from such international credit rating agencies as HSBC, Goldman-Sachs, and Asian Development Bank (ADB), which are the ones singing the praises of the Philippines.

He listed a stable democracy, improving governance, strong macroeconomic fundamentals, labor peace, educated young population, high rate of savings due to OFW remittances, and a strategic location in the middle of East Asia as among the positive trends going for the Philippines.

On the other hand, he added, some of the challenges facing the country involved its high rate of poverty, low level of direct investments, corruption at the lower levels of government, and a Constitution that’s restrictive to foreign business.

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Globe named 2015 Telecom and Mobile Service Provider of the Year

GLOBE Telecom was named the Telecom Service Provider of the Year and Mobile Service Provider of the Year for 2015 by Frost and Sullivan Philippines following a remarkable company performance brought about by efforts and initiatives in the past year.

GLOBE Telecom was named the Telecom Service Provider of the Year and Mobile Service Provider of the Year for 2015 by Frost and Sullivan Philippines following a remarkable company performance brought about by efforts and initiatives in the past year.

Globe Telecom, coming from its extensive transformation posted outstanding results by end 2014. It figured prominently in revenue growth, market share growth, product introduction and innovation, consumer acquisition, growth in subscriber base and business/market strategy. These resulted to Globe catapulting to leadership in the Philippine telecommunications industry.

“We have established ourselves as the preferred telco brand in the country as manifested by impressive business gains across all business segments and expansion of both mobile and broadband. We were successful in creating business opportunities riding on the strong mobile data adoption, as well as increasing smartphone penetration. We thank Frost and Sullivan for this recognition given to us,” said Globe Chief Finance Officer (CFO) Alberto De Larrazabal who received the award on behalf of Globe.

Achievement

The annual Frost and Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development.

De Larrazabal also served as keynote speaker for the Customer Experience Philippines Summit 2015 organized by Frost and Sullivan Philippines with the topic “Visionary Innovator and Thought Leader: The Future of Telecom” which discussed the transformation journey of Globe.

De Larrazabal shared how Globe embraced innovation and the need to transform in order to remain relevant in the market. “We have made leaps in our transformation journey which led to where Globe is now today. Our initiatives which translate to being quicker and more efficient in serving our customers plus our strong culture of innovation have allowed us to achieve leadership in the mobile industry in the country.”

Keeping up with chane

The Globe CFO said, “ With the fast paced landscape of telecom and technology, one must be aware of what the future will look like. Now that we have a view of what it can become, we must be able to adjust and invest in the foundation of the company. We must deliver the best possible network, an innovative brand, and a customer-centric organization that keep up with the changing trends. We are trying to build Globe to last. “

Frost & Sullivan’s inaugural Customer Experience Philippines 2015 summit focused on the needs of changing business models, new technology evolution, support for cloud services, the effects of regulation, and real-time customer insight analysis in order to provide superior customer experience and drive better business outcomes.

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Security Bank scores double win in Asian Banking & Finance Awards 2015

Security Bank was recognized twice during the Asian Banking & Finance (ABF) Wholesale and Retail Banking Awards 2015 at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. Around 200 bankers from over 30 countries flocked to the event, dubbed as the “World Cup of banking and finance,” to reaffirm their position in the regional financial sector.

Security Bank was recognized twice during the Asian Banking & Finance (ABF) Wholesale and Retail Banking Awards 2015 at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. Around 200 bankers from over 30 countries flocked to the event, dubbed as the “World Cup of banking and finance,” to reaffirm their position in the regional financial sector.

For the third year in a row, Security Bank was recognized as ‘Philippines Domestic Foreign Exchange Bank of the Year’ in the Wholesale Banking Awards. This distinction once again validates Security Bank as an industry leader and highlights its outstanding foreign exchange services and financial expertise. This is the third regional citation given to the bank’s Treasury Sales Team, recognizing the team’s world-class capabilities in servicing clients’ foreign exchange and interest rate hedging requirements.

Beyond banking, Security Bank was also hailed for its outstanding multimedia rebranding campaign and was given the ‘Philippines Advertising Campaign of the Year’ distinction in the Retail Banking Awards. In 2014, the bank underwent an extensive rebranding initiative that revitalized its brand identity and introduced the brand promise of BetterBanking.

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Global Star Motors opens Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler dealerships in Cebu

Not only is it easier to acquire luxury vehicles under the Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram brands in Cebu, maintenance and other services are also now readily available with the recent opening by Global Star Motors Corp. of full facility dealerships along Nivel Hills in Cebu City.

Not only is it easier to acquire luxury vehicles under the Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram brands in Cebu, maintenance and other services are also now readily available with the recent opening by Global Star Motors Corp. of full facility dealerships along Nivel Hills in Cebu City.

Global Star Motors president Edward Onglatco said they pulled out all the stops to bring the brands to Cebu.

“Beginning today, Cebuanos need not settle. They won’t have to travel to Manila just to bring their dream cars home,” he added during the launch of the company’s dealerships for Mercedez-Benz and Fiat Chrysler last July 25.

Jeep Cherokee Cebu

A Jeep Cherokee. The Chrysler dealership distributes vehicles under four brands: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram.

Global Star Motors was appointed by Auto Nation Group (ANG), exclusive distributor of the classic American and German marques in the Philippines, to bring the brands to the Visayas market, beginning with a flagship hub in Cebu.

Top automobile brands

Atty. Augusto Go, Global Star director, said the development shows that Cebu is not only a world-class tourist destination but also a “location of choice” for the top global automobile brands.

He thanked former Ambassador Francisco L. Benedicto, Gothong Manufacturing Corp. president and CEO Barbara Gothong-Tan, and the “passionate youngbloods” in the team – Onglatco and Benedicto Group of Companies board of director Kenneth O. Huan – for joining forces with him to put up Global Star Motors.

Its partnership with ANG symbolizes Global Star’s commitment to bring the best and most luxurious automobiles to the Cebuanos and serves as testament to the company’s unwavering support to the local economy, as it further fuels Cebu’s growth and progress, said Ambassador Benedicto.

“This is a new opportunity for us to contribute to the economic gains that our country has achieved in the last few years, which has allowed us to be identified as an emerging Asian economy,” he pointed out.

Although the current agreement with ANG covers the Visayas area, Onglatco said he hopes that they will also become the partner of choice for Mindanao in the near future.

Chrysler 300C

A Chrysler 300-C.

Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler cars

There are 33 Mercedez-Benz models worldwide and 15 are available in the Cebu, said Hans Lienaw, Global Star Motors general sales manager for the Daimler vehicles.

“The opening of a brand dealership in Cebu means the company has a lot of confidence in the economy and the market being ready for the luxury automobiles, he added.

The Chrysler dealership distributes vehicles under four brands: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram, according to Global Star Motors dealer sales and marketing manager Ritchell Selma.

In terms of sales target achievement, Selma said Cebu posted the highest percentage since they started in December. Prices for automobiles under the Chrysler dealership start at P2.5 million.

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Cebu listed among top alternative cities to Silicon Valley

An article in Entrepreneur.com has listed Cebu as one of the “6 Global Alternative Cities to Silicon Valley to Start Your Company.” “Cebu is a hub for social enterprises, those organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and improving quality of life in the developing world,” according to the article written by Josh Steimle.

An article in Entrepreneur.com has listed Cebu as one of the “6 Global Alternative Cities to Silicon Valley to Start Your Company.”

“Cebu is a hub for social enterprises, those organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and improving quality of life in the developing world,” according to the article written by Josh Steimle.

It is a “great place to build products, test them and then scale them to the global market at a low cost to your company.” It is also a “beautiful and economical place to live,” the story said.

Cebu as business destination

CHANGING SKYLINE. With the booming Cebu economy comes a rapidly changing skyline as building after building is completed to meet the demand for more office and living spaces.

The story also quoted EngageSpark founder Ravi Agarwal as saying that Cebu has a “large talent pool” of English-speaking workers and good infrastructure.

Others listed as top alternative locations to Silicon Valley are Santiago, Chile; Shenzhen, China; Hong Kong; Berlin, Germany; and Dubai, UAE.

For the full article, read: 6 Global Alternative Cities to Silicon Valley to Start Your Company

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From Magellan’s stew to tableya ice cream, Feria reimagines Cebu street food for Grand Chamber Awards

Balbacua turns into slow cooked oxtail stew topped with ginger flakes, dinuguan comes in a quiche topped with chicharon and crispy kangkong, while paella is wrapped in palm leaves shaped into a diamond container that Cebuanos call puso.

Balbacua turns into slow cooked oxtail stew topped with ginger flakes, dinuguan comes in a quiche topped with chicharon and crispy kangkong, while paella is wrapped in palm leaves shaped into a diamond container that Cebuanos call puso.

If you’re wondering what Cebu’s comfort or street food would be like turned into fine dining fare, then Feria Restaurant at Radisson Blu Cebu has the answer for you.

Feria provided a preview of the four-course dinner menu it will serve during the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night that will be held at the hotel’s Sta. Maria Grand Ballroom this June 30. The awards is one of the highlights of the ongoing Cebu Business Month (CMB) 2015 celebration.

Grand Chamber Awards

MAIN COURSE. The main dish is a selection of all-time Cebuano favorites: adobo, pork, chicken and chorizo barbecues, crispy pork belly arranged around the puso paella as centerpiece.

Radisson Blu Cebu director for sales and marketing Ann Olalo said CCCI asked for a different take on Cebuano cuisine to stay true to the CBM 2015 theme of a “Glocalized Cebu.”

In “Glocalized Cebu”, CCCI enjoins Cebu establishments to capitalize on local strengths as they compete in a global marketplace, said CBM 2015 overall chair Francis Dy.

Awards dinner

Rising to the challenge, Feria executive chef Roberto Kunitz and his culinary team went out and sampled Cebu street food to determine the taste of original Cebuano fare.

“Cebu is a melting pot of culture, flavor, colors and different colonial influences. Most of the Cebu dishes we tasted were flavorful and urban; it was difficult to combine all those in a plated dinner,” added Kunitz, citing he and his team came up with dishes that are local but of modern approach.

Kunitz’s 4-course menu, presented to CBM and Grand Chamber Awards organizers last week, included appetizers, soup, a main course, and dessert.

Grand Chamber Awards

STARTERS. The Island Platter contains the colorful fare of the island’s bounty.

The feast begins with starters called the Island Platter and it contains the colorful fare of the island’s bounty. It’s a full plate of kinilaw served in fish skin tortilla, sous vide pumpkin marinated in shrimp paste and coconut milk, dried fish arranged on fish bone, pork fois poached in extra virgin coconut oil, pork blood quiche with cured pork belly and crispy kangkong, and fresh herb salad with edible flowers on the side.

Magellan’s Stew is balbacua with a twist, cooked slow the traditional way but with oxtail dumpling topped with ginger flakes.

The main dish is a selection of all-time Cebuano favorites: adobo, pork, chicken and chorizo barbecues, crispy pork belly arranged around the puso paella as centerpiece.

The 4-course menu ends on a sweet note with local tablea ice cream on a rice cake (bibingka) bed and topped with diced mango, shredded buko and banana chips. Dessert is fittingly served on a coconut shell.

Grand Chamber Awards food

BALBACUA WITH A TWIST. Magellan’s Stew is balbacua with a twist, cooked slow the traditional way but with oxtail dumpling topped with ginger flakes.

Four Fs

Food is one of the four Fs that will be the highlight of the Grand Chamber Awards, said awards committee chair Beverly Dayanan. The other three are Fashion, Furniture, and Fabulous Prizes.

Cebu is acknowledged as the Furniture Capital of the Philippines and those who attend the awards night will be treated to a showcase of furniture and design, she added.

According to Dayanan, top manufacturers and designers in Cebu will be tasked with providing the dinner furniture and designing the table settings. These include Finale Furniture and Home Accessories and Luisa Home.

There will also be a runway show of modern Filipiniana fashion by such designers as Philip Rodriguez, Cary Santiago, Oj Hofer, Edwin Alba, Dino Lloren, Philip Tampus, Jun Escario, Ditas Rodriguez, Protacio, Albert Arriba, and Arcy Gayatin.

Tablea Ice Cream

TABLEA ICE CREAM. The 4-course menu ends on a sweet note with local tablea ice cream on a rice cake (bibingka) bed and topped with diced mango, shredded buko and banana chips.

At the same time, attendees will enjoy the prizes to be raffled off during the awards night, said Dayanan. One major prize will be a P750,000 discount to a condominium unit at the Bamboo Bay Community in Mandaue City.

A ticket to the Grand Chamber Awards costs P1,250 and can be bought at the CCCI office or at Radisson Blu Cebu.

CCCI will recognize outstanding businessmen and companies and give out Special Citations and awards for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Countryside Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business Entrepreneur, CSR Institution of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year during the Grand Chamber Awards.

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Philippine Government’s goal: 500 startups by 2018

Develop at least 500 startups with a total worth of US$2 billion by 2018. That is among the “ambitious” goals of a Philippine Startup Roadmap that’s currently being formulated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under the lead of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO).

Develop at least 500 startups with a total worth of US$2 billion by 2018.

That is among the “ambitious” goals of a Philippine Startup Roadmap that’s currently being formulated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under the lead of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO).

“We would like to establish a framework for the development of startups…The various sectors in the (Philippine startup) ecosystem believe it is possible to achieve these goals,” said Frederick Amores, director of the DOST-ICTO Visayas Cluster 1 field operation office.

There was a debate over suggestions to propose higher targets but a consensus was reached on “more realistic” figures, he added.

Rik Amores Geeks On A Beach

STARTUP ECOSYSTEM. Frederick Amores, director of the DOST-ICTO Visayas Cluster 1 field operation office, says that under the 2018 goals of the Philippine Startup Roadmap, government will be able to foster 1,250 startup founders that will lead to the generation of 8,500 high-skilled jobs.

500 startups

To achieve its goal to create around 500 startups in three years, Amores said they would need funding of US$200 million and are looking at the private sector to help them out.

According to Amores, under the 2018 goals of a Philippine Startup Roadmap, government will be able to create no less than 1,250 startup founders that will lead to the generation of 8,500 high-skilled jobs.

“This will all depend on the cogs of the ecosystem working together,” he added, citing that events like Geeks on a Beach play a significant role in shaping the country’s startup community.

The third installment of Geeks on a Beach or GOAB 3 will happen on August 20-21, 2015 at the Boracay Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center, said Techtalks.ph founder Tina Amper. Techtalks in organizing the event in collaboration with Sym.ph and other parties.

Geeks On A Beach

GEEKS ON A BEACH 3. (From right) Frederick Amores, iSkwelahan.com founder Keith Lumanog, TechTalks.ph founder Tina Amper, Dave Overton of Sym.ph and Dulce Lada of TechTalks.ph during the launching of Geeks On A Beach 3.

GOAB 3

DOST-ICTO supports GOAB 3 because it can help with the department’s targets for Philippine startups, added Amores.

Aside from promoting technopreneurship, GOAB 3 will help generate leads for tech startups and introduce them to possible venture capitalists and angel investors.

DOST places the tentative number of startups in the country at 100. Amores said the more immediate objective is to define what a startup is and vet the current numbers against this definition.

“When we give figures, it will be based on this definition. We will then be able to come up with a complete inventory in the next few months,” he cited.

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AboitizLand introduces space-saving solutions in Persimmon Studios

Since condominium living can be tight and presents a problem when you have visitors, AboitizLand, Inc. introduces the “transformative living concept” in its Persimmon Studios units at Persimmon Plus along MJ Cuenco Ave.

Since condominium living can be tight and presents a problem when you have visitors, AboitizLand, Inc. introduces the “transformative living concept” in its Persimmon Studios units at Persimmon Plus along MJ Cuenco Ave.

This involves space-saving solutions for the 24.5-square meter and 26.4 studios being acquired as fully-furnished units, said AboitizLand assistant vice president for marketing Joey R. Zamora.

“Young condo owners, who are vibrant and love to entertain, want to have friends over but are constrained by the small space. We thought of something to address this need,” he added during a recent AboitizLand event.

Aboitizland Persimmon Studios

PERSIMMON STUDIOS units are located at Persimmon Plus along MJ Cuenco Ave.

According to Zamora, AboitizLand, Inc. worked with Maya Franco, a well-known young interior designer, to provide innovative design concepts for small condominium spaces.

One of the ingenious solutions she came up with was a retractable bed that transforms into a sofa by day. The bed becomes part of the wall when it’s not being used, freeing much of the space for a living room where young owners can do their entertaining.

“With the bed out of the way, they can entertain about eight people comfortably,” he pointed out.

 

Aboitizland Persimmon Studios

FROM BED TO SOFA. A retractable bed transforms into a sofa by day. The bed becomes part of the wall when it’s not being used, freeing much of the space for a living room where young owners can do their entertaining.

Aboitizland Persimmon Studios

Furnished units

Zamora said they offer fully-furnished units primarily to cater to their overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) market.

There are a lot of Cebuano OFWs who are interested in investing in condominium units but want something they can rent out immediately without the headache of having to furnish them, he added.

Furnished Persimmon Studios units come with the pull-down bed, kitchen base and overhead cabinets as well as countertop, wardrobe cabinets, dining table and chairs, and a floating office desk.

A 1.5hp Window-type aircon, electric stove and range hood, 7 cubic feet refrigerator, and a 32-inch Smart LED tv are also included.

Aboitizland Persimmon Studios

SMALL BUT NOT CRAMPED. AboitizLand, Inc. worked with Maya Franco, a well-known young interior designer, to provide innovative design concepts for small condominium spaces.

Persimmon Studios

Persimmon Studios is a two-tower development that is currently ongoing construction, said Piscataway real estate consultant Junrey A. Heredia. He added that condominium amenities and facilities are located at the sixth floor.

These include an adult lap pool and kiddie pool, clubhouse with gym, function room, game room, multipurpose court for basketball and badminton, children’s playground, landscaped open spaces, 24/7 security and CCTV system, and a commercial area in front of the residential buildings.

Only 202 24-square meter and 26-square meter studio units remain as 70 percent of the two towers have been sold off.

The price of furnished units ranges from P2.7 to P3.1 million.

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CBM 2015 schedule of activities

To make the most of the many opportunities opening up as a consequence of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration, Cebu Business Month or CBM 2015 schedule of activities will focus on establishing networks of local and global interconnections.

To make the most of the many opportunities opening up as a consequence of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration, Cebu Business Month or CBM 2015 schedule of activities will focus on establishing networks of local and global interconnections.

CBM 2015 has adopted the theme “Glocalized Cebu” to put emphasis on companies needing to focus on local strengths as they compete in a global marketplace.

Organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), CBM 2015 is now on its 19th year. CBM 2015 chair is Francis Dy.

CBM 2015 Launch

LAUNCHING. The CBM2015 launching and press conference. (Photo Credit: CBM official website)

CCCI expects to attract a bigger number of out-of-Cebu locals and international participants to this year’s Cebu Business Month and a variety of offered no deposit casino apps to take advantage of the sports events.

Below is the official CBM 2015 calendar of events released by CCCI.

May 29 (Friday)
CCCI Advocacy Fair Opening and Ribbon Cutting

5 pm – Paseo Solana, Ayala Center Cebu

Grand Opening Salvo
6 pm – The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu

May 29-31 (Friday to Sunday)
CCCI Advocacy Fair
Mall hours – Ayala Activity Center

June 3-4 (Wednesday to Thursday)
ICT & BPM Conference and Expo
Theme: Glocalized Cebu – Local Solutions for Global Challenges
8 am – Cebu City Marriott Hotel

June 4-6 (Thursday to Saturday)
Philconstruct Visayas 2015
8 am – Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino

June 5-6 (Friday to Saturday)
Career Expo 2015
10 am – Active Zone, Ayala Center Cebu

June 5-7 (Friday to Sunday)
Startup Weekend Cebu (SWC)
8 am – UP Cebu Campus

June 11 (Thursday)
Business-in-Golf Tournament
4 am – Cebu Country Club

June 11 (Thursday)
Curtain Raiser
Launching of the Cebu International Film Festival 2015 and
4th Cebu International Documentary Film Festival
3 pm – Cinema One, SM City Cebu

June 17-18 (Wednesday to Thursday)
4th Environmental Congress
“Experiential Tourism through Technology”
7:30 am – Radisson Blu Hotel

June 16-18 (Tuesday to Thursday)
Technotour Amazing Adventure Challenge
“Experiential Tourism through Technology”
7 am – Southern and Midwest, Cebu Province

June 18-19 (Thursday to Friday)
Entrepreneurship Conference
With break-out sessions
8 am – Cebu City Marriott Hotel

June 18-20 (Thursday to Saturday)
Technology and Innovation Expo
Featuring: 2015 Regional Invention Contest & Exhibit
8 am – Cebu CIty Marriott Hotel

June 19-21 (Friday to Sunday)
Cebu International Travel Fiesta
Mall hours, SM City Trade Hall & Northwing Atrium

June 19 (Friday)
Interactive Workshop on Tourism Fusion
1 pm – Conference Rooms A-B-C, SM CIty Cebu Trade Hall

June 20 (Saturday)
Tourism Night
6 pm – Cebu City Marriott Hotel

June 25 (Thursday)
4th Southeast Asian Creative Cities Network Forum
8 am – City Sports Club

June 26 (Friday)
Visayan Pop Songwriting Competition
8 pm – Cinema One, SM City Cebu

June 27 (Saturday)
Local Jobs Fair
8 am – Abellana Sports Complex

June 27 (Saturday)
Cebu Blogging Summit 2015
8 pm – Cebu City

June 27 (Saturday)
New Media Awards 2015
6 pm – Cebu City

June 28 (Sunday)
3rd Cebu Run for the Rivers
4 am – SM City Cebu Parking Area (start-end point)

June 30 (Tuesday)
Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night
5:30 pm – Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu

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‘We raised bar for Cebu entrepreneurs,’ CCCI president cites successes, business development activities in report

A year into her term as president, Ma. Teresa B. Chan reported that the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) improved the productivity and broadened business ties of Cebu’s entrepreneurs. Cebu’s leading business organization conducted seminars, workshops, and trainings on entrepreneurship, human resource development, financial management, and other topics crucial to business growth and development from the start of her term on May 16, 2014, Chan said.

A year into her term as president, Ma. Teresa B. Chan reported that the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) improved the productivity and broadened business ties of Cebu’s entrepreneurs.

Cebu’s leading business organization conducted seminars, workshops, and trainings on entrepreneurship, human resource development, financial management, and other topics crucial to business growth and development from the start of her term on May 16, 2014, Chan said.

“In promoting the continuous improvement of productivity, quality standards and efficiency, we raised the bar for Cebu’s entrepreneurs,” she cited, adding that CCCI conducted year-round activities in collaboration with other groups to provide companies with the necessary skills to remain competitive in a global business environment.

Tess Chan CCCI

RAISING THE BAR. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Tess Chan says that “in promoting the continuous improvement of productivity, quality standards and efficiency, we raised the bar for Cebu’s entrepreneurs.”

She added during the CCCI General Membership Meeting and Induction of New Officers and Trustees on May 15, 2015 that they also organized inbound and outbound trade missions to expand the network of member companies.

As a solution to the challenge hounding micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that is lack of credit access, Chan said that CCCI signed an agreement with the Small Business Corporation and Philexport Cebu to facilitate developmental financing for MSMEs.

Business activities

One major achievement of CCCI in 2014 was the launch of the Cebu Food Consultancy Group that’s tasked to assist the food sector meet international safety standards so it can participate in the global market.

The group was formed in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) 7 and AFOS Foundation, Chan said in her report.

CCCI also entered into partnerships with such groups as the Cebu Bankers Club, Federation of Countryside Rural Banks, SGV and Company, and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to strengthen the capabilities of micro, small and cottage industries.

The chamber also continues to offer administrative aid to businesses, such as exporters who need help in authenticating their export documents.

According to Chan, the group also serves as forum for gathering business consensus on matters with economic significance. These include such concerns as identifying the necessary road and infrastructure projects in support of industries that act as economic drivers of Cebu and other Central Visayas provinces.

The Coordinating Roads and Infrastructure Investment for Development (CR+ID), a project funded by the Australian Government through the Asia Foundation, is one example of such mechanism, she said.

Broader trade links

To widen the market and network of CCCI members, Chan said they co-hosted an international event, organized a trade mission to Malaysia, and facilitated forums and sessions with trade delegations from different countries that visited Cebu.

CCCI partnered with the Provincial Government in hosting the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders or OCEAN event in May 2014, added Chan. It also acted as the liaison of the United Nations, International Labor Organization, and AFOS Foundation in bringing about the early recovery and rehabilitation of livelihood and commerce in Northern Cebu, which sustained heavy damages from super typhoon Yolanda.

The trade mission to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia from September 17-20, 2014 resulted in broader trade links between Cebu and Malaysia and resulted in CCCI signing a sister chamber agreement with the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Sabah Branch as well as the Federation of Malaysian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

At the same time, CCCI held business matching sessions with trade delegations from Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Canada, Israel, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Chan said they expect delegates from the trade, services, manufacturing, ICT and other sectors of Japan to arrive in Cebu this June 1.

Multi-sectoral issues

CCCI continued to highlight national, regional, and local issues through position papers, public hearings, and other activities that put the spotlight on such concerns as importation requirements, port and airport congestion, waste management, flooding, and power shortage.

The chamber, Chan said, was instrumental in bringing about a solution to the congestion in Cebu ports. The problem, caused by overstaying and seized cargoes, was compounded by confusing and new documentary requirements from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), she added.

After almost a year of dialog and meetings and with the help of various stakeholders, all parties were able to come to an agreement on surcharges and storage fees that eliminated the congestion before the issue can become a pilot case for the Ombudsman Visayas.

The business group, at the same time, lent its expertise to other chambers. It formed the CCCI Bantayan Chapter to facilitate recovery in the Yolanda-stricken island and guided business organizations in Bohol, Ormoc, Siquijor, Dumaguete, Negros Occidental, and Bislig.

Cebu Business Month

Last year’s Cebu Business Month (CBM), chaired by trustee Felix Tiukinhoy, Jr., focused on preparing enterprises for ASEAN 2015.

CBM 2015, on the other hand, carries the theme “Glocalized Cebu” and is aimed at teaching companies to focus on local strengths to compete in the global marketplace.

As CCCI enters its 112th year, it will continue to focus being a catalyst for Cebu’s economic development, Chan added.

“We all have an enormous responsibility to continue the very challenging process of creating more solid strategic plans and ensure that it be inclusive, not only of everyone’s thoughts and opinions but that the benefits to be reaped would also be encompassing,” she further said.

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Internet vital to businesses, groups told in ‘Panalo Ang May Alam’ Communities launch

Online promotions and word of mouth referrals through social networks helped a community in Aloguinsan build its eco-tourism project into what it is now: a sustainable project that has become a benchmark for other places embarking on a similar program.

Online promotions and word of mouth referrals through social networks helped a community in Aloguinsan build its eco-tourism project into what it is now: a sustainable project that has become a benchmark for other places embarking on a similar program.

Jomelyn Manigos, vice president of the Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETA), stressed the importance of the Internet in spreading word on businesses like theirs during the launch of the “Panalo Ang May Alam” Communities by Talk ‘N Text and Smart Communications, Inc. in Boljoon, Cebu.

Manigos said marketing is about providing information and the Internet is where people get information from nowadays. She said BAETA was able to grow largely because of word of mouth through social networks. She also cited the importance of the Internet in educating people. The group has a Facebook page where people can contact them to book tours.

Panalo Ang May Alam launch

CONNECTIVITY, RETAILER PACKAGES. Representatives from partner communities in Aloguinsan, Boljoon, Samboan and Santander receive connectivity and retailer packages from Smart and Talk ‘N Text. The packages include a laptop, a pocket Wi-Fi, printer, and Android phones.

Award-winning eco-tourism program

Many now know about Aloguinsan and their tours because of the Internet, Manigos told MyCebu.ph in an interview.

BAETA is the group behind the award-winning eco-tourism program centered on the Bojo River. The group was organized by the local government in collaboration with Boboi Costas of Grassroots Travel.

During the event on Tuesday in the Boljoon Sports Complex, Smart and Talk ‘N Text introduced Internet.org to members of partner communities from Aloguinsan, Boljoon, Samboan, and Santander.

Boljoon Mayor Merlou Derama said people now understand the importance of social media and the Internet and their use in boosting tourism.

Connecting to mobile Internet

Representatives from Smart and Talk ‘N Text demonstrated to those present how to connect to the Internet using feature phones and smartphones. They also walked them through connecting for free via the Internet.org program, which is being implemented in partnership with Facebook.

Internet.org is a program that offers free Internet access to a group of websites that provide important information. In the Philippines, Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun subscribers can get free access to 24 websites, among them Accuweather, ESPN, Inquirer.net, Interaksyon, JobStreet.com, OLX.ph, Philstar.com, Rappler, Spin.ph, Wattpad, wikiHow, and Wikipedia.

“A groundbreaking app, the Internet.org provides Filipinos with free access to an initial list of 24 informative and useful websites, including Facebook and Messenger, so that more are able to benefit from the wealth of information available through the mobile Internet,” Smart said in a press statement.

The launch on Tuesday is the first in the country, company officials said during the event.

‘Panalo ang may alam’

The program’s rallying call “Panalo ang may alam” (loose translation: knowledge wins) stresses the importance of information in a global knowledge economy.

“These communities are admirable for their own panalo or winning stories, and we see them achieving more as they learn to harness the power of free online information and services through TNT and the Internet.org app by Facebook,” TNT marketing head Cherish Canizares-Tupaz said in a press statement.

Even in the purchase of airtime load, more people are buying for Internet connectivity, said Glenn Loayon, Smart Communications retail sales manager for the region. He said this shows Filipinos are increasingly going online.

He said the event was “just the start” and that Smart and Talk ‘N Text would engage with the communities in helping them do business. He cited as example one of the company’s retailers who is now a millionaire after 10 years of selling airtime load.

Panalo Ang May Alam launch

PANALO ANG MAY ALAM LAUNCH. Smart and Talk ‘N Text officials and representatives from various communities in Cebu mark the launch of “Panalo Ang May Alam” Communities in Boljoon with a groufie or group selfie.

Business training

Apart from lessons on going online, the program also covers “business training specially designed according to their needs,” Smart said.

The partner communities were also given connectivity and retailer packages to help them in their respective programs. The packages include a laptop, a pocket Wi-Fi, printer, and Android phones.

“Through this unique program, TNT hopes to assist deserving communities in creating new opportunities and reaping the many real-life benefits of mobile Internet. For example, they can easily promote their products and services on Facebook and coordinate with peers through Messenger,” said Canizares-Tupaz in the Smart statement.

TNT launched Internet.org with Facebook last month, which is the first in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, the company said. Facebook director for global operator partnerships Markku Makelainen said during the launch that Internet.org is a tool to “address the barriers that prevent people from connecting and joining the knowledge economy.”

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Calayan Medical Group opens in Cebu

With little funfare, the Calayan Medical Group opened in Cebu last week and made available some aesthetic and wellness as well as dermatology services. The company started operations at Oakridge…

With little funfare, the Calayan Medical Group opened in Cebu last week and made available some aesthetic and wellness as well as dermatology services.

The company started operations at Oakridge Business Park in a limited capacity as a way of testing the market and correcting kinks in its operations, said Lalen Calayan, who is overseeing the operations in Cebu.

In a month or so, she added, the plan is to already operate full-blast and this involves making available all possible services, including body treatments, injectables, laser and light treatments, stem cell therapies, and cosmetic surgeries.

Calayan Medical Group Cebu

CEBU BRANCH. The Calayan Medical Group in Cebu is located at Oakridge Business Park in Mandaue City.

According to Lalen, the Calayan Medical Group is a family-owned company operated by a family of doctors spanning three generations.

Professional image

“We’re trying to change our image into one that’s really professional. We want to highlight that we also do reconstructive, not just plastic surgery,” she said, citing that their surgeons are among the best in the country but she couldn’t name them because medical ethics prevent them from advertising themselves.

The Calayan Surgicentre Corp. in Manila is a household name in the cosmetic surgery industry, counting top Philippine celebrities among its endorsers.

Lalen said her grandparents are doctors and started the business and many of their children and grandchildren followed in their footsteps. For Lalen, though, the interest is in the operations and not the medical side of the business.

Calayan Medical Group

TREATMENT ROOM. One of the treatment rooms in the Calayan Medical Group in Cebu.

She added that the Calayan Medical Group’s plastic and reconstructive surgeons are from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and will come over to Cebu to do surgeries, in charge of the stem cell therapies is a former president of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), and dermatological services will be handled by a resident dermatologist and two visiting dermatologists.

Opening promo

Certified estheticians will be in charge of aesthetic and wellness services like facials, peels, and body treatments.

One of Calayan Medical Group’s estheticians is Selina Sevilla, a 1990s singer who was among the first beneficiaries of the Calayan Surgicenter Foundation.

Sevilla said she was inspired by what the Calayan foundation is doing and studied to become an esthetician and become part of the business.

Lalen Calayan

CHANGING IMAGE. Lalen Calayan, who overseeing the operations in Cebu, stresses they also do “reconstructive, not just plastic surgery.”

Lalen believes there is a market for Calayan’s services in Cebu but the rates take into consideration the value for money characteristic of Cebuanos.

“The prices (for our services here) will be reasonable,” she said, adding it will be cheaper than in Manila.

As part of its opening promotions, the Calayan Medical Group is offering facial services for only P688 until June 8, 2015.

Facial services

Having been invited to try out any of the company’s aesthetic and wellness services during its soft opening last May 8, 2015, I picked out the ultima biodynamic facial and it was the ultimate in skin pampering.

It was a thorough and relaxing process that lasted close to two hours and involved cleaning, exfoliating, and nourishing the skin. When it came to removing whiteheads and blackheads, the process was surprisingly pain-free.

Calayan Group Cebu

EGYPTIAN ROOM. The medical group’s Egyptian room in Cebu. Figuring prominently is the image of Cleopatra, which they say is the epitome of beauty.

Since the Calayan Medical Group believes in being thorough and there are a limited number of beds, Lalen advised potential customers to schedule appointments to ensure they would be accommodated.

For the whole list of services being offered by the Calayan Medical Group, check out www.calayanmedicalgroup.com. For inquiries or to schedule an appointment, the Calayan Medical Group contact numbers are (63-32) 263-7056 and (63-917) 890-8306 (tap on numbers to call on your phone).

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Marco Polo Plaza Cebu to spend P300 million on hotel upgrades

An even bigger ballroom with sophisticated sound system, more seating and music choices for Blu Bar and Grill, and upgrades to the five-star hotel’s 101 premium rooms and suites are…

An even bigger ballroom with sophisticated sound system, more seating and music choices for Blu Bar and Grill, and upgrades to the five-star hotel’s 101 premium rooms and suites are just among the many changes at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu this year and in 2016.

Cathay International Resources Corp., the owning company of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, has set aside P300 million to fund this extensive hotel renovation, said general manager Julie Najar in an interview with MyCebu.ph.

She said work on the hotel’s Grand Ballroom started in March and is being done in phases. The first phase is set for completion by August.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu upgrades

DESIGN ELEMENTS. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar shows MyCebu.ph design elements for the hotel’s expansion and upgrade. With her are (from left) director of sales and marketing Lara Constantino-Scarrow and communications manager Manna Alcaraz.

Once done, according to Najar, the ballroom will have an expanded area of around a thousand square meters and be able to accommodate 800 guests, from the original 500, in a banquet set-up.

“Cebu is a top destination in the Philippines. We decided to upgrade the Grand Ballroom because the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibits) market for regional, national and even international groups is growing fast. The need for a bigger venue is there and management wanted to address that,” she said. The MICE market contributes 40 percent to hotel revenues.

APEC hotel

Part of the ballroom renovation is the upgrading of the audio-visual equipment, and this will allow the hotel to set different moods for different events through lighting and music.

Although it will be a much bigger Grand Ballroom, it would still be able to accommodate smaller functions, Najar said, saying that it is designed in such a way that it can be divided three ways.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu was also one of the three major hotels identified by the national organizing committee for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 events from August to October this year.

Najar said that during the APEC meetings, at least 50 percent of hotel rooms will be set aside for delegates.

Hotel operations will go on as usual for other guests during this period but more stringent security measures will be in place, she also said.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu upgrades

GRAND BALLROOM. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar shows MyCebu.ph plans for the grand ballroom redesign and expansion. With her is communications manager Manna Alcaraz. Once done, the ballroom will have an expanded area of around a thousand square meters and be able to accommodate 800 guests, from the original 500, in a banquet set-up.

Blu Bar and Grill

Blu Bar and Grill, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s award-winning restaurant located a thousand feet high, will also undergo renovation.

Started in 2008, the Blu Bar and Grill offers fantastic views, good food, and quality entertainment, said Najar, adding it has been steadily gaining popularity. Blu Bar and Grill was named by the Philippine Tattler as one of the country’s best restaurants.

Improvements to Blu Bar and Grill, according to Najar, will start on May 15 and result in a much bigger area, one that can now seat 150 persons from the original 60.

It will retain its alfresco space but will also now have an indoor dining area with a private room for exclusive dinners and events.

According to Najar, the outdoor dining space will have a roof covering so diners wouldn’t be disturbed even if it rains. After the renovation, the restaurant will have different zones, each with different furnishings, lighting, and music to cater to a wide range of clientele.

Premium rooms

In line with the Marco Polo’s core value of continuous improvement, upgrades will also be introduced to the Cebu hotel’s 101 premium rooms and suites, Najar said. The hotel’s 228 deluxe rooms had already undergone a makeover last year.

Work on the premium rooms in five floors will start after the APEC meetings. The premium rooms in two floors will be renovated in 2015 and the remaining ones in three floors will be done in 2016.

Najar said that after the renovation, the rooms will be able to meet “international standards” and give every convenience to guests.

They will have new furnishings and upgraded with the conveniences of new technology in relation to communication, she said. The hotel is working closely with PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. to bring this about.

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OLX Philippines opens office, strengthens campaign in Cebu

Since it started its campaign to attract Cebuanos to earn extra cash by disposing of unused secondhand items online, OLX Philippines has been doubling its number of Cebu listers per…

Since it started its campaign to attract Cebuanos to earn extra cash by disposing of unused secondhand items online, OLX Philippines has been doubling its number of Cebu listers per month.

In the past few months, the average number of Cebuanos listing their items on the buy and sell website monthly was at 20,000, said OLX Philippines managing director RJ David.

He added that the ads placed on the online marketplace reached around a hundred thousand in the last 30 days alone.

OLX OFFICE IN CEBU. (From left) OLX Philippine founders RJ Davide and Arianne David, Cebuano singer and OLX brand ambassador Jewel Villaflores with the OLX team in their new office in the Cebu Business Park. At 5th from left is OLX Cebu senior marketing manager Regina Aguilar. (Photo by Max Limpag)

OLX OFFICE IN CEBU. (From left) OLX Philippine founders RJ Davide and Arianne David, Cebuano singer and OLX brand ambassador Jewel Villaflores with the OLX team in their new office in the Cebu Business Park. At 5th from left is OLX Cebu senior marketing manager Regina Aguilar. (Photo by Max Limpag)

The online company opened a new office at the Ground Floor of Mercedes Benz Tower on Mindanao Avenue in Cebu Business Park today, Wednesday. The OLX Cebu office, which measures 103 square meters, will serve as the main headquarters of its operations in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Deal hub

OLX Cebu senior marketing manager Regina Aquilar said the office will also serve as deal hub or meet-up place for Cebu-based OLX sellers and buyers.

“Those who are new to online buying and selling, they’re a little afraid about meeting up. The office is a safe place for them to meet and conclude their transaction,” added David.

A lot of Cebuanos have been encouraged to sell unused items when OLX started its “Yesss, Yaman!” campaign in Cebu in March 2014.

“We want to encourage them to continue selling their secondhand items and they can always consider meeting in the OLX office for a smooth and secured transaction,” cited Aguilar.

David said the top items searched for by Cebuanos on OLX are cars, motorcycles, and mobile phones. The top-selling items, however, are cellfones.

OLX Cebu office

DEAL HUB. The OLX office in Cebu will also serve as a deal hub where buyers and sellers can meet for transactions. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Brand ambassadors

Since last year, David said OLX Philippines has been sending two people to visit homes in Metro Cebu and explain what the website is all about. They also helped identify unused items in homes and explained to homeowners how to list them on the online marketplace.

This April, OLX will deploy 20 brand ambassadors (BAs) and they’ll be going around barangays in Mandaue City.

OLX Cebu encourages residents to sort through their household items and identify those that can be sold off so the BAs can post these at OLX on their behalf.

According to David, the BAs started their campaign in Cebu City in January and the people they visited, especially those without access to the Internet, were really thankful. David added that OLX Cebu is looking to add to its staff and is hiring marketing personnel and customer support representatives.

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Eagles’ Nest offers convenient home in heart of Metro Cebu

With traffic worsening in Metro Cebu, it has become highly desirable to live close to the workplace and the children’s schools. Eagles’ Nest, a project of premier property developer Primary Homes, Inc., provides owners with the convenience of a home located in the heart of the metropolis.

With traffic worsening in Metro Cebu, it has become highly desirable to live close to the workplace and the children’s schools.

Eagles’ Nest, a project of premier property developer Primary Homes, Inc., provides owners with the convenience of a home located in the heart of the metropolis.

Primary Homes aims to “PLEASE” with its new residential condominium along H. Abella St., Barangay Canduman, Mandaue City, citing the Perfect Location, Enriching Amenities, and School Endorsement by Sacred Heart-Ateneo of Eagles’ Nest as alternative living arrangement for its students.

Eagle's Nest condominium

The Eagle’s Nest residential condominium in Canduman, Mandaue City provides a convenient residence in the heart of the metropolis.

A unit at Eagles’ Nest, which is just beside the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu campus, allows owners to cut down on the time and cost of travel to their children’s school and the business centers in the cities of Mandaue, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu as well as Cebu’s international airport in Mactan.

Eagles’ Nest units

The residential condominium features two units: modular studio (22 square meters) and two-level loft (32 square meters). The units come with finished floors and walls, kitchen sink and countertop, and tiled toilet and bath complete with bathroom fixtures.

Studio Unit Eagle's Nest

A model studio unit of Eagle’s Nest by Primary Homes.

Owners get the added benefits of 24-hour security through a closed circuit television (CCTV) and top-of-the-line fire alarm and sprinkler systems.

At Eagles’ Nest, outages wouldn’t be so much of a problem as the residential condo will have 100 percent back-up power.

The condominium’s three elevators provide ease of access to the units, and the indoor parking makes it convenient for car owners. A warm welcome awaits visitors in the modern reception and lobby area.

In further support of condo residents and to add value to their investments, Primary Homes sets aside commercial spaces in Eagles’ Nest. These will be leased out to, among others, food establishments, a laundry shop, and a convenience store.

Investment events

To explain this development better to prospective investors, Primary Homes will host an exhibit at the upper ground floor entrance (between Pizza Hut and McDonald’s) of SM City Cebu from March 17-30, 2015. Its sales team will be at hand to answer any questions about the Eagle’s Nest residential condo.

Eagle's Nest loft unit

An artist’s perspective of the loft at Eagle’s Nest, a residential condominium development by Primary Homes.

From March 20-21, 2015, Primary Homes will put up a sales booth and give out flyers about the project during the elementary and high school graduation activities of the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu. This will be at the school’s arena.

Watch out also for the Investment Opportunity Meeting scheduled this March 27. It will be from 5 p.m. onwards, with the venue to be announced later.

Primary Homes is a top developer of large-scale housing projects, condominiums, and other residential projects in Cebu.

Among its projects are the upscale subdivisions Argao Royal Palms in Argao, Astele in Lapu-Lapu City, and Pinecrest Residences in Cebu City as well as high-end condominiums Avalon and The Penthouses at Woodcrest Residences.

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SM Hypermarket Lapu-Lapu opens at MEZ II

SM Hypermarket opened a third branch in Cebu at the commercial complex of the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) II to cater to the diverse mix of people in Lapu-Lapu City….

SM Hypermarket opened a third branch in Cebu at the commercial complex of the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) II to cater to the diverse mix of people in Lapu-Lapu City.

This will be Cebu’s first SM Hypermarket with a provision for 33 retail spaces that can accommodate dining facilities, clothing and other dry goods shops, and services outlets, said company vice president Arnold Paul D. Daluz.

SM Hypermarket Lapu-Lapu

SM Hypermarket opens third Cebu branch in Lapu-Lapu City.

He added that the whole complex in Pueblo Verde in Barangay Basak covers 7,000 square meters of space and about 3,000 square meters make up the hypermarket.

The SM Hypermarket Lapu-Lapu City branch is in the ground floor of the two-storey building, while most of the retail facilities will be in the second level.

Joy Veloso, SM Supermalls vice president for Visayas operations, said they will open the second floor outlets on March 20, 2015.

Store hours

The hypermarket makes it convenient for MEZ workers, Mactan residents, and travellers flying in or leaving Cebu from the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) by opening at 6 a.m.

Its product offerings include groceries, household items, appliances, clothes, toys, and furniture. Within the hypermarket are stalls providing drinks, full meals, and snack items. SM Hypermarket counts among its tenants food outlets like Leylam Shawarma, Master Siomai, Pritong Manok, Thirsty? Juices and Shakes, Masitta Food Shop, and Julie’s Bakeshop.

SM Hypermarket Lapu-Lapu also incorporates bills payment, foreign exchange, and Western Union money transfer services to answer monthly, weekly, and routine transactions.

“There is about a million daytime population in Mactan and SM Hypermarket Lapu-Lapu caters to their needs. We decided to build a hypermarket in Lapu-Lapu as it is a booming city,” Daluz explained during the opening of the facility on February 26, 2015.

He added that they started construction of the building two years ago, but it was finished only recently because of some challenges. Daluz said part of the building was built over the lagoon at MEZ II and this offered construction difficulties.

Asked about SM Hypermarket’s expansion plans, Daluz said the company is looking at areas north and south of Cebu City.

Retail outlets

According to Veloso, the SM Hypermarket Lapu-Lapu is the first in Cebu with a second floor for retail facilities.

The retail spaces, which will be managed by SM Supermalls, measure from 80 to 500 square meters, she added.

Nine of the facilities are on the ground floor while 24 will be on the second level, which will host computer, accessories, clothing, food, services, and other retail segments, she further said.

Daluz added that the hypermarket will employ around 2,000 employees and that another 1,000 will be added when the second floor opens later this month.

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GMR-Megawide signs financing agreement for Mactan airport project

GMR-Megawide signs loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and top Philippine banks ensuring solid funding for Mactan airport project.

GMR-Megawide celebrated a collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a consortium of Philippine banks that ensure solid funding for the rehabilitation and expansion of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

Executives of ADB and six Philippine banks and officials of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) recently marked the project’s financial closure with a ceremonial signing of the Omnibus Loan and Security Agreement (OLSA).

mactan airport project

GMR-Megawide executives sign loan agreement with officials of ADB and a consortium of six Philippine banks for Mactan airport project.

The OLSA allows the corporation to cover 70 percent of the total Mactan airport project cost, a press statement from the company said.

GMR-Megawide signed the loan agreement with a consortium of banks composed of the BDO Capital and Investment Corp., its lead arranger, and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank), Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (MBTC) and Philippine National Bank (PNB) in December 2014.

OLSA signing

It was amended in January 2015 to include the $75 million loan for the airport project from ADB, the biggest social development funder in the Asian region. ADB and the six big Philippine banks provide a total of P23 billion in debt financing to GMR Megawide for the project.

GMR Megawide was represented by its President Manuel Louie Ferrer and Chief Executive Adviser Andrew Acquaah-Harrison during the ceremonial signing at the Mactan airport last February 18, a company statement said.

It added that ADB President Takehiko Nakao and the presidents or key officers of the banks participating in the consortium attended the milestone event.

Undersecretary Jaime Limcaoco of the Department of Transportation and Communications and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao were also in attendance.

Growth catalyst

The support of the ADB and wide participation of Philippine banks in the financing of the MCIA expansion is a validation by the banking industry of the financial viability of the MCIA project and its role in the growth of Cebu and the rest of the Philippines, Ferrer said in his welcome message.

He stressed that infrastructure improvements boost the country’s growth, “particularly in tourism and other key sectors that create employment opportunities and promote sustainable and inclusive economic progress.”

With Cebu contributing 6.2% to the Philippine gross domestic product, the expansion of MCIA is considered a significant catalyst to economic development.

Citing that the Philippines was ranked in 2014 by the World Economic Forum 113th out of 148 countries in terms of airport transport facilities, Ferrer says the MCIA is poised to raise airport standards through “hard work” and “genuine, impeccable service.”

He added that GMCAC is mindful of “the chance we have been given to improve, not only this facility, but also the country’s competitiveness in airport infrastructure.”

MCIA capacity

The concession will effectively expand the annual passenger handling capacity of the MCIA from its present 4.5 million to 12.5 million. The existing terminal currently operates well above its capacity with about 7 million passengers yearly.

GMCAC was formed after the consortium of GMR Infrastructure Ltd. of India and the Philippines’s Megawide Construction Corporation was awarded the concession for the renovation and expansion of the country’s second busiest aviation hub.

Under the concession agreement, it will manage landside operations for 25 years. The project is the first large-scale PPP project rolled out under the Aquino administration.

The GMR Group, with a diverse portfolio of businesses, is the world’s fourth largest airport operator. Megawide Construction, on the other hand, is recognized in the Philippines as a leader in the infrastructure sector, pioneering cutting-edge technology and innovation within the industry. (Press release)

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