Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

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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Argao Royal Palms provides easy access to Southern Cebu attractions

Primary Homes Inc. makes it possible for you to easily enjoy southern Cebu’s charms with its resort-inspired community Argao Royal Palms and Tropical Flats. Built alongside Argao’s aquamarine seas in Barangay Suba, the development features two-storey houses, bungalows, townhouses, and condominium units.

From white sand beaches and seas to waterfalls, caves, and mountains, southern Cebu hosts a varied mix of pristine natural marvels.

The southern town of Argao, in particular, serves as home to such unspoiled nature sites as Bugasok Falls, Balay sa Agta (House of the Ogre) cave, Mahayahay Beach as well as ancient churches, houses, and monuments built so well, they have been able to withstand the ravages in time.

The El Pueblo Hispano Antiguo de Argao, which translates to old Spanish town of Argao, or simply Cabecera de Argao (town center of Argao) is a blueprint for Spain’s settlement in the colonies and a well-preserved memorial to life in colonial times.

Argao Royal Palms

ARGAO ROYAL PALMS. Built alongside Argao’s aquamarine seas in Barangay Suba, the development features two-storey houses, bungalows, townhouses, and condominium units.

Within the cabecera is the Casa Real, oldest Spanish-period munisipyo (Municipal Hall) still in use today, and St. Michael the Archangel Church, which distinguishes itself from similar Spanish period structures in Cebu by the rich religious symbolism and high artistic quality of its masonry.

Resort-inspired community

Primary Homes Inc. makes it possible for you to easily enjoy these southern charms with its resort-inspired community Argao Royal Palms and Tropical Flats.

Built alongside Argao’s aquamarine seas in Barangay Suba, the development features two-storey houses, bungalows, townhouses, and condominium units.

Faith Gabrielle Ytang, a businesswoman and an Argao Royal Palms homeowner, loves her beachside home in Argao. “I am a beach lover and I love to travel. Argao Royal Palms is the perfect place for me to unwind and relax,” she added, citing the exceptional house designs and subdivision amenities.

Just at the back of the Argao Royal Palms subdivision is a sandbar that straddles the Argao River and the sea, making it a good spot for swimming or simply relaxing with the wide vista of the southern mountains and Bohol.

From the comforts of your own residence or weekend home in Argao Royal Palms or vacation condo unit at Tropical Flats, it is also a short trip to many natural and heritage attractions in Argao and the rest of southern Cebu.

Argao Royal Palms Aspen

ASPEN. This unit features 3 bedrooms, 2 toilet & baths, 1 powder room, and 1 maid’s quarters with 1 toilet & bath.

Southern Cebu attractions

From Argao, it is an easy journey to so many other waterfalls in Southern Cebu, including Oslob’s Tumalog Falls, Barili’s Mantayupan Falls, Badian’s Kawasan Falls, and Samboan’s Aguinid Falls. The long stretch of white sand beaches of Tingko in Alcoy, Lambug in Badian, and Basdaku in Moalboal are less than an hour away.

For some years now, whale sharks have flocked to the neighboring town of Oslob. This has made whale shark watching or swimming with the whale sharks (for the daring) quite such a sought after attraction that visitors line up at wee hours in the morning to be accommodated in the activity.

Argao Tropical Flats

Argao Tropical Flats

A house in Argao Royal Palms allows you unparalleled access to Oslob’s whale sharks and much more besides: skimboarding at Mahayahay, scaling Cebu’s highest Osmeña Peak, spelunking at Balay sa Agta, river cruising in Aloguinsan, snorkelling or scuba diving in Moalboal.

If you envision a home that allows you to take a break from the city’s hectic lifestyle, you have it at Argao Royal Palms. Primary Homes allows you to choose from five houses or a condo unit with contemporary Asian design themes on a 2.2-hectare property.

Located within Argao Royal Palms, the Tropical Flats is a three-floor walk-up condominium by the beachfront for those who prefer a cozy unit.

With its oceanfront clubhouse, infinity pool, fitness gym, aqua golf range, jogging trail, sauna and jacuzzi, Argao Royal Palms is by itself a complete destination.

Argao Royal Palms map

Are you interested in getting a unit or scheduling a site visit, call (032) 254-7188 (tap on number to call) or visit its website: www.argaoroyalpalms.com.

(This article is published under a brand partnership with Primary Homes.)

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Cebu Province creates investment, incentives center

Promote Cebu Province as an investment destination, attract investors, and spread the development from urban to rural areas are just among the goals of the newly-created Cebu Provincial Investment and…

Promote Cebu Province as an investment destination, attract investors, and spread the development from urban to rural areas are just among the goals of the newly-created Cebu Provincial Investment and Incentives Center.

The center will actively collaborate with other government agencies and the private sector, business groups in particular, to create a favorable climate for local and foreign investments in Cebu, said Investment and Promotions Officer Benjamin Joseph Yap.

Yap, who was appointed in October 2014 to head the center, will be holding office at the third floor of the Cebu Provincial Capitol. His office gets a budget of P5 million in 2015 sourced from the Office of the Governor.

Atty. Mark Tolentino, Provincial Administrator, said the creation of the center has been the clamor of business groups and is necessary for the development of the entire Cebu.

Cebu factsheet

Its first task will be to create a factsheet on Cebu, a database of information on the province’s 44 towns and seven cities that will be relevant to potential investors, Yap added during the forum KapiStorya sa Kapitolyo last Friday.

“Most of the data asd we have right now are regional (Central Visayas Region). We need to compile demographic and economic statistics on the province,” he cited, adding that the center’s main challenge right now is updating the outdated information on Cebu.

To compile the database, Yap said they will be coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), and other relevant groups.

Cebu Provincial Investment and Incentives Center

INVESTMENT CENTER. Investment and Promotions Officer Benjamin Joseph Yap talks about the Cebu Provincial Investment and Incentives Center in a media forum at the Capitol. With him are Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino and Information Officer Ethel Natera.

One-stop-shop

Their output will be posted on a website that the center will put up to promote Cebu and serve as guide to investors. Promotional materials can include an audio-visual presentation (AVP) showcasing what Cebu is all about, he added.

Aside from this, the Cebu Provincial Investment and Incentives Center will also become a one-stop-shop that will serve to simplify and shorten business procedures.

“Investors want to go to a single office (for all their requirements), and we will be that office,” explained Yap, adding they’re collaborating with the political foundation Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) to ensure transparency and accountability.

The center’s creation is backed by a Provincial Board ordinance that was passed last year. Yap said the Province is currently finalizing the ordinance’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Tourism investments

The center’s third project for the year is attracting tourism investments. In line with this, it will oversee the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) project in Yolanda-affected areas in Northern Cebu.

Covered by the Canadian-supported program are the city of Bogo and the towns of Medellin, San Remigio, Daanbantayan, Malapascua, and Bantayan. According to Yap, its output will be three tourism circuits for northern Cebu areas that are expected to generate P223.6 million in potential investments, generate 200 direct jobs at the minimum, and increase tourist arrivals by 10 percent.

This is in line with the center’s goals to promote Cebuano products and Cebu as a premier tourist destination, he pointed out.

Through the program, the Provincial Government aims to create the necessary infrastructure in the north that will make tourism sites more accessible and replicate this in Southern Cebu.

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Filinvest beefs up mall portfolio, to launch Il Corso at SRP this year

The Filinvest Group of the Gotianun family from Cebu will beef up its mall portfolio this year. Festival Supermalls Inc., the wholly owned subsidiary of Filinvest Land Inc., said it…

The Filinvest Group of the Gotianun family from Cebu will beef up its mall portfolio this year. Festival Supermalls Inc., the wholly owned subsidiary of Filinvest Land Inc., said it will bolster its presence nationwide with the launch of new malls in Cebu and Laguna and the expansion of its flagship mall, Festival Supermall in Alabang, Muntinlupa.

Festival Supermall’s expansion and the opening of the Il Corso at SRP in Cebu City and Brentville’s Village Front in Laguna will increase the gross leasable area of Filinvest by nearly 60 percent to 219,195 square meters from 134, 090 square meters.

With Lantaw at SRP already operating at Il Corso, the mall within the 50.4-hectare business and residential community City di Mare (City by the Sea) of Filinvest opened recently its second restaurant, the Parilya (Lechon • Seafood • Grill) operated by the Laguna Café Group.

Il Corso at SRP Cebu

IL CORSO. An artist’s perspective of the Il Corso at SRP in Cebu City.

Central Piazza

“The Central Piazza where the main entrance and amphitheater are located has started to welcome guests,” said Filinvest Land senior vice president for commercial center and retail management Joy Polloso.

Il Corso will have 11 connected buildings and a gross floor area of 55,000 square meters and a gross leasable area of 36,000 square meters upon completion, she disclosed.

The first tranche of the Il Corso development will be a central area with two buildings which will showcase Cebuano-artisan food concepts, she added.

“We would like to attract not just the locals but also the tourists that abound in Cebu and the region. We envision Il Corso to be Cebu’s newest, unique, refreshing dining, shopping and recreational destination,” Polloso said.

Il Corso is Filinvest’s flagship mall project in Cebu.

Among largest in Asia

Also, with a gross floor area of 328,756 square meters upon completion of its expansion area, Festival Supermall is seen to be in the top 25 largest malls in Asia and one of the top five in the Philippines.

“Festival Supermall remains the premier regional shopping mall in Southern Metro Manila,” Polloso said.

Meanwhile, Filinvest announced it also has two more malls in the pipeline for 2016.

Fora, a mixed-used development of Filinvest in Tagaytay City, will have 32,000 square meters of retail and mall space.

The Center Square Community Mall in Molino, Cavite is also scheduled to be launched next year, adding 20,000 square meters in new retail space for Filinvest.

Other than Il Corso at SRP, the Gotianun-owned real estate firm has been committed to the growth of Cebu with various projects, including Amalfi Oasis and Sanremo Oasis also at SRP, and One Oasis Cebu in Mabolo, three separate exclusive, resort-style, mid-rise condo community.

Developing high-value properties in Cebu since 1997, Filinvest is also expanding Seascapes and Aldea del Sol in Mactan, and Escala at Corona del Mar in Talisay City. It has also completed the first of four buildings at Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu in Apas-Lahug beside Cebu IT Park.

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Leuterio Realty, Rent.ph sign partnership with Lamudi

Starting next week, property inventories of Leuterio Realty and Brokerage and Rent.ph will also be found on top Philippine real estate list site Lamudi. Anthony O. Leuterio, chief executive officer…

Starting next week, property inventories of Leuterio Realty and Brokerage and Rent.ph will also be found on top Philippine real estate list site Lamudi.

Anthony O. Leuterio, chief executive officer of Leuterio Realty and Brokerage, signed an agreement Tuesday, February 17, 2015, for cross branding promotion with Lamudi Philippines represented by Jacqueline van den Ende, its founder and managing director.

The partnership, which Leuterio described as on its experimental stage, will involve Leuterio and Rent.ph adding more properties on Lamudi and the companies collaborating in marketing and promotional activities.

Lamudi currently has over 90,000 listings of properties, either for sale or lease, and gets over 700,000 visitors per month, making it the top real estate list site in the Philippines, said van den Ende.

Lamudi-Leuterio partnership

COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIP. That’s how Lamudi Philippines founder and managing director Jacqueline van den Ende (left) described her company’s partnership with Leuterio Realty and Brokerage and Rent.ph, founded by Anthony O. Leuterio (right).

Leuterio-Lamudi partnership

She added that under their agreement, Leuterio will add about 10,000 to 15,000 more.

“We have a complementary partnership. Lamudi will generate leads for Leuterio, which will turn them into sales. Lamudi has a strong position in Manila while Leuterio is well known in Cebu and Davao, where everybody knows Leuterio and Rent.ph,” van den Ende said, adding Lamudi wants to be more visible in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Their long-term goal, said van den Ende, is to have the highest number of unique real estate listings in the country, citing she wants to have every property for rent or sale in Lamudi.

Leuterio Realty, at leuteriorealty.com, and Rent.ph have total listings of 23,000, according to Leuterio, saying they will be adding properties by batches to the Lamudi listings.

Lamudi-Leuterio partnership

NETWORK. Lamudi will generate leads for Leuterio agents to turn into sales, Jacqueline van den Ende, its founder and managing director.

Increase property sales

Since a lot of people interested in buying or renting a house search in Lamudi, Leuterio said getting their property inventories on the site would translate to sales.

“In the last few months alone, Lamudi noticed a 50 percent increase in the number of searches on its site. In our deal, Lamudi will point potential buyers to Leuterio-managed properties but we will be the ones to close the sale,” he explained.

Lamudi charges a certain fee for property brokers or sellers but not for Leuterio and Rent.ph since the partnership involves the companies helping each other out and bringing each other’s brand in marketing activities and other events.

The real estate list site was put up in January 2014 as one of online businesses founded by Rocket Internet together with Lazada and Zalora. Rocket Internet recently received a 33 million euro investment from PLDT. Van den Ende said the Lamudi app will be pre-installed in Android and iPhone units issued by wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PLDT.

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Astana Subdivision in Lapu-Lapu City offers ‘quality economic houses’

Even with the big players getting into the mix, Johndorf Ventures Corp. believes its newest residential project Astana Subdivision shows the company continues to have an edge in the economic…

Even with the big players getting into the mix, Johndorf Ventures Corp. believes its newest residential project Astana Subdivision shows the company continues to have an edge in the economic housing segment.

The Johndorf Communities in Barangays Babag II and Kalawisan in Lapu-Lapu City covers about 20 hectares and will comprise four residential developments when completed, said sales and marketing manager Michele Chiu-Bacungan. It’s the company’s first township in the Visayas and Mindanao.

She added that Hanniyah Homes, the first housing project, is sold out while about a hundred of the total 413 units in Astana, the second development, are still available.

Johndorf Astana Lapu-Lapu City

ASTANA SUBDIVISION. A scale model of the Astana Subdivision, which is part of the Johndorf Communities in Barangays Babag II and Kalawisan in Lapu-Lapu City.

According to her, the high-grade materials and exacting construction method ensure that buyers are getting quality houses.

“Ours is not the typical pre-cast construction. We invested in our own formworks for a cast in place system. This makes the house faster to build, stronger, and more durable,” Chiu-Bacungan explained.

Astana Subdivision

An Astana townhouse has floor area of 52 square meters and lot area of 72 square meters. Its current contract price is P1.35 million. Buyers pay off the 20 percent downpayment in equal installments for 36 months without interest.

The big space shortly before the subdivision’s entrance gate will be developed for commercial purposes, said Lucille D. Parcon, Johndorf finance and admin manager for the Visayas and Mindanao.

Johndorf Astana Lapu-Lapu City

ASTANA MODEL UNITS. Johndorf uses a cast in place system that “makes the house faster to build, stronger, and more durable,” a company official said.

She added that Johndorf will be leasing out the commercial spaces to establishments that can province a service to residents and add value to the community. These can include laundry shops or convenience stores.

In Astana and their other housing projects, Chiu-Bacungan said they build the units ahead and do not base the construction on sales take-up. This allows them to be more flexible when it comes to allowing buyers to move in even if they haven’t completed paying off the three-year downpayment.

Chiu-Bacungan estimates the Astana development to be completed by 2016. She said they’re set to launch Navona, the third subdivision component of the Johndorf Communities in Kalawisan, soon.

Johndorf Astana Lapu-Lapu City

LIVING ROOM. The living room in one of the model units of Astana Subdivision in Lapu-Lapu City.

Johndorf property plans

Since it is where its strength lies, Johndorf will continue to focus on developing economic housing projects. Chiu-Bacungan said they also look at studies showing the backlog in housing units for the low-income to middle-income class.

Parcon, meanwhile, said the company is very aggressive in acquiring lands within Cebu, and it has a total of 25 hectares in Mactan alone.

Besides Mactan, Chiu-Bacungan said Johndorf plans to develop housing projects in Carcar and Consolacion. It is set to launch the Carcar project by the fourth quarter of 2015.

In 2012, when the company started standardizing its system, it also started initiating market studies. Chiu-Bacungan said the studies allow them harmonize development plans with the needs of the housing sector.

Johndorf Ventures, according to her, is very strong with the housing fund Pag-ibig. In terms of housing loan take-out, Johndorf is second top developer in the Visayas.

Johndorf Astana Lapu-Lapu City

BARE UNIT. An Astana townhouse has floor area of 52 square meters and lot area of 72 square meters. Its current contract price is P1.35 million.

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With Filinvest condotel investment, ‘money works for you,’ Grand Cenia owners say

FIRST-time property investor Alfredo Uy has proven that his money can work for him instead of him working for the money. He invested in the condotel project of Filinvest Land…

FIRST-time property investor Alfredo Uy has proven that his money can work for him instead of him working for the money. He invested in the condotel project of Filinvest Land Inc. in Cebu, the Grand Cenia. Combined through an asset pool, the Grand Cenia condotels are used as rooms of affiliate Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu.

The hotel distributes rental income to each qualified condotel unit owner quarterly. Uy just got his share for the last quarter of 2014 and it increased by 40 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013, the company said.

“I feel proud that I am part owner of the successful condotel of Filinvest here in Cebu. Every quarter I earn an added income that can offset ownership expenses,” Uy said.

Grand Cenia rental share

RENTAL SHARE. Couple Zenaida and Rodolfo Ramos (center) receive their share of the rental income for the use of condotel units by Quest Hotel & Conference Center Cebu at Grand Cenia from (from left) Prosper president Tristan Las Marias, Quest front office manager Regina Moga, tenant relations assistant Marilou Iway and engineer Allan G. Alfon, Filinvest general manager. (Contributed photo)

Average rental income

Grand Cenia condotel owners have so far earned from an average of 35 to 40 percent year-on-year rental income that Filinvest distributes through Prosperity Specialists Resources, Inc. (Prosper), its condotel management company.

This is about P20,000 to P55,000 in additional income for the condotel owners, according to Prosper president Tristan Las Marias. It was an average P49,000 last quarter, he added.

Overall, Grand Cenia earnings in 2014 increased by 14.1 percent compared to the previous year, he disclosed.

“Grand Cenia condotel unit owners benefit from Cebu’s bullish hotel business, generating a steady flow of recurring income with a possible upside on the real estate’s value appreciation,” he noted.

Better passive income

A restaurant owner, Uy said the passive income he earns is so much better than investing in just a residential unit for lease because he gets professional help keeping the place clean and intact.

“I avoid the hassle and headache of maintaining the unit myself if it is just a condo,” he pointed out.

Uy also said he is excited to avail himself of his free condotel use allocated on a yearly basis. “It is high time I reward myself and enjoy the amenities of the hotel,” he added.

Another Grand Cenia condotel owner is Ms Loida Yu, a bag designer-entrepreneur, who is also satisfied with her property investments with Filinvest’s Cebu condotel, having also received her ninth share of the rental income since the last quarter of 2012.

“Hopefully the rental income gets better over the years. But so far I am satisfied that I am earning from this investment,” she said.

Quest Hotel at Grand Cenia

QUEST HOTEL and Conference Center Cebu forms part of the 25-storey Grand Cenia at Archbishop Reyes ave. across Cebu Business Park. (Contributed photo)

High occupancy

Yu also wants to share how the hotel can improve the hotel shop and draw more condotel guests.

James Montenegro, area general manager for Quest Hotel and Crimson Mactan Resorts, attributed the significant increase in the rental income share for each qualified condotel unit owner to the high average occupancy performance of the hotel for the last quarter.

“Ät 81 percent is the best so far since the hotel started operations,” he disclosed.

“The hotel’s ability to attract more and more returning guests and longer-staying corporate clients during the period led to the increase in rental income share of qualified condotel owners,” Montenegro said.

“We also have to credit our sales team for their tireless efforts to aggressively market the property both locally and abroad,” he added, as he also noted that the previous quarter was a holiday season.

Grand Cenia

A member of the international chain hotels by Aston International, Quest Hotel forms part of the 25-storey Grand Cenia at Archbishop Reyes ave. across Cebu Business Park.

Some 119 residential condominium units are located at the 19th to 25th floors, while 432 condotel units are used by Quest Hotel in the 8th to 18th floors.

Other than Grand Cenia, Filinvest is constructing the 50.4-hectare business and residential community City di Mare (City by the Sea) at South Road Properties.

The Gotianun-owned real estate firm also a has 3-hectare One Oasis Cebu, which is an exclusive, resort-style, mid-rise condo community in Mabolo district, just five minutes away from the Cebu Business Park and Asiatown It Park.

Developing high-value properties in Cebu since 1997, Filinvest is also expanding Seascapes and Aldea del Sol in Mactan, and Escala at Corona del Mar in Talisay City.

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Pueblo de Oro builds 30-hectare community in Lapu-Lapu City

Whether you’re getting a starter house or a more permanent home, the Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities in Lapu-Lapu City provides a wide range of products that caters to the…

Whether you’re getting a starter house or a more permanent home, the Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities in Lapu-Lapu City provides a wide range of products that caters to the different needs of Cebuano families.

Pueblo de Oro Cebu is building a 30-hectare masterplanned residential community in Barangay Babag II that is divided into three housing developments, said its marketing manager Edrin T. Castor.

The first of its residential development is La Aldea del Mar, which offers affordable townhouses for young families.

Park Place Pueblo de Oro Lapu-Lapu City

PARK PLACE. The expanded model house of Park Place, a development by Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities in Babag II, Lapu-Lapu City.

La Aldea del Mar

Caster said a La Aldea del Mar two-storey townhouse has gross floor area of 44.5 square meters for both inner and outer units. The minimum lot area for inner units is 40 square meters and 60 square meters for outer units.

The selling price for La Aldea del Mar inner house and lot is P1.047 million while the cost of outer units can range from P1.37 million to P1.54 million depending on the size of the lot.

Pueblo de Oro offers easy downpayment terms for La Aldea, which range from P4,805 to P7,126.25 monthly for 36 months. There are over 2,000 house and lot units at La Aldea del Mar.

Pueblo de Oro Park Place

DEVELOPMENT. Pueblo de Oro will build only 478 housing units under the Park Place community.

Park Place

Another housing development within the Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities is Park Place. This residential development is a lot smaller than La Aldea since it only has 478 housing units. The houses are built in pairs or as duplex homes.

Each Park Place unit has gross floor area of 64.5 square meters and minimum lot area of 80 square meters and costs P1.91 million. Pueblo de Oro sells only bare units. This means that homeowners will be the ones to do the finishing works, such as painting, tiling, and putting in partitions.

Park Place downpayment terms can be as long as 36 months at P8,568.58 per month. Pueblo de Oro also offers in-house, bank, and Pag-ibig financing for La Aldea and Park Place housing units.

Pueblo de Oro La Aldea del Mar, Park Place, and The Horizons

3 COMMUNITIES. The Pueblo de Oro Cebu Communities in Lapu-Lapu City are La Aldea del Mar, Park Place, and The Horizons Residences. Each community is separate from each other, with its own gate and amenities.

The Horizons Residences

An upcoming residential development within the 30-hectare Pueblo de Oro Cebu community is The Horizons Residences. Housing units here will be single detached and have bigger floor and lot areas than La Aldea and Park Place, explained Caster.

Pueblo de Oro is located in Babag II, shortly before the Pilipog Bridge that connects the main island of Mactan to the town of Cordova.

The access road that leads to the Pueblo de Oro Cebu community from the main Mactan Circumferential Road is narrow and covered with gravel, but Caster said the property developer is collaborating with the Lapu-Lapu City Government to have this widened and asphalted.

Pueblo de Oro Park Place kiosk

ROTUNDA. The kiosk at the rotunda near Park Place.

More pictures of the development

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