To meet the demands of growing residential developments and the vigorous economy in the northern part of its franchise area, the Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO), inaugurated its upgraded Consolacion Substation on May 10.
The Consolacion Substation, which was built in 1995, originally had a 33MVA capacity. Assistant Vice President for Engineering Operations Noel Modesto said VECO saw the need to improve, rehabilitate, and upgrade the substation to 66MVA to improve reliability and flexibility to better serve its customers in the municipalities of Consolacion and Lilo-an.
Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, in her speech during the inauguration, said the municipality is thankful that VECO keeps up with the demands of the municipality’s growing economy.
“We in Consolacion consider VECO as a partner in growth and development and we are very thankful that VECO readily answers the call of the times. In fact, VECO is several steps ahead. Seeing that Consolacion is growing rapidly, you are also preparing your facilities to meet the demands. We look forward to working with you more and we assure you that we will always be hand in hand in the development of Consolacion,” the mayor said.
A substation is a set of equipment where voltage is transformed from high to low, which is suitable for supply to consumers.
VECO has a total of 19 substations. It started the rehabilitation works at the Consolacion Substation in October 2017 and upgraded its capacity in August of 2018. The upgrading of the Consolacion Substation is also in preparation for the upcoming rehabilitation of the nearby Paknaan Substation, which will be implemented by June this year with a 2020 targeted commissioning. Rehabilitation and upgrading works for the Calamba Substation in Cebu City into 66MVA is ongoing and is expected to be completed this year.
Owned and managed by publicly-listed Aboitiz Power Corporation and Vivant Corporation, VECO serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu — Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando. (Press Release)
The use of QR for mobile digital payments is very popular in various emerging and developed economies. In China, for example, mobile digital payments account for over half of the country’s total transaction volumes.
In the Philippines, the use of the technology is still in its nascent stage, and has yet to see an explosion in usage.
Despite that, GCash, operated by Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), sees the value of setting up as many QR-enabled merchants as possible, as it believes that the future of mobile digital payments lies on innovative technologies.
“QR payments provide security and convenience to both merchants and their customers. Our thrust as a mobile wallet is to acquire as many merchant partners as possible — even micro-entrepreneurs such as taho vendors — to future-proof us from the expected boom in usage,” said JM Aujero, Vice President for Merchant Solutions.
Already, GCash has breached the 50,000 merchant mark in the first quarter of 2019, a huge milestone for the company that introduced this technology first in the Philippines in 2017.
“We want to be as pervasive as our partner Ant Financial is in China. QR is the future of payments, and we are committed to lead in this arena here in the Philippines,” he said.
The QR technology of GCash is far reaching, spanning from Luzon to Visayas and down to Mindanao, including popular tourist destination Boracay.
This particular technology is empowering micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt into the digital arena. Aside from giving them access to millions of customers, the QR payments solution of GCash allows merchants to enjoy auto-sweeping of their daily transactions into their account.
It likewise provides a better performance evaluation of the business, as the system provides for QR transaction reports, which allows enterprises to study and analyze their transactions real time. Cash handling issues are also addressed through the QR payments system.
GCash offers merchants no set up fees, a huge customer base, lower rates than most debit and credit cards, a chance for increased marketing, and access to periodic reports to oversee their business performance.
“Merchants and social sellers can leverage on the ubiquity of GCash in the Philippines, as well as benefit from this simple, cost-effective, and secure alternative to cash,” he said.
Get more users
GCash is embarking on a battle against cash to capture more users this year, and the need to increase the number of merchants in the GCash platform only continues to be more pronounced.
The GCash QR payments solution, he explained, is supportive of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ goal of reducing cash payments and increasing the share of non-cash transactions to 20 percent of the total volume by 2020.
“Our aggressive stance in fighting for more QR-enabled merchants stems from the fact that every day, more and more GCash users onboard the platform. Use cases for QR payments also continue to sprout,” he said.
“With Ant Financial as our partner, we are well-equipped to deliver the best QR experience in the Philippines. Ant Financial will also help us in strengthening our hold while massively scaling up our QR reach in the country,” he said. (Press Release)
Accenture has, for the third time, been named “Best Employer of the Year” at the annual International ICT Awards Philippines, recognized for its industry-leading initiatives in developing talent, advancing inclusion and diversity, and supporting the welfare of its employees.
Organized by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and supported by the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, the International ICT Awards Philippines recognize outstanding companies that have exhibited leadership and excellence in the local information and communications technology (ICT) industry.
As a people-driven company, Accenture remains focused on developing and upskilling our workforce, enabling them to deliver innovative services to our clients in this digital age.
Lito Tayag, country managing director for Accenture in the Philippines
The Best Employer of the Year award, which Accenture also won in 2008 and 2017, is given to the company that has showcased leadership in elevating employee potential and success by institutionalizing a talent-led approach that paves the way forward to a more diverse, inclusive and future-ready workforce.
“We are honored to be named Best Employer of the Year for the third time, reaffirming our leadership position in the local ICT industry and our commitment to building a community of innovators across our facilities in Manila, Cebu and Ilocos,” said Lito Tayag, country managing director for Accenture in the Philippines.
“As a people-driven company, Accenture remains focused on developing and upskilling our workforce, enabling them to deliver innovative services to our clients in this digital age. Moreover, we are steadfast in our commitment to become the most inclusive and diverse employer in the industry, as highlighted by the expansion of our parental benefits package and the EDGE Move Certification that recognized our efforts in promoting gender equality in the workplace,” Tayag added. (Press Release)
Shared office spaces and more units for lifestyle outlets are just some of the new and exciting developments at Axis Entertainment Avenue on Vibo Place.
The Country Basket restaurant, which is known for its chicken dishes as well as breads and pastries, and an architectural showroom are set to open in May at a newly completed cluster expansion, said Axis General Manager Andre Allen Suarez.
Opening soon in another building cluster is a yoga studio and an eyelash extension facility.
Axis Entertainment Venue expansion plans
Axis General Manager Andre Allen Suarez says they plan to fill the new cluster building with a gym, spa or salon, convenience store or pharmacy and are currently looking for locators.
Suarez added that they will also add 11 units in a new two-storey building that’s currently being constructed after Burger King. This will increase the gross lease area of Axis by 28 percent.
The plan is to fill the new cluster building with a gym, spa or salon, convenience store or pharmacy and are currently looking for locators.
“We already have several restaurants. What we’re looking for now are activities for our customers. We’re listening to their needs,” Suarez explained.
He estimates the schedule of building completion to be around the end of 2019 or early 2020.
One other thing that is currently in development at Vibo Place is a shared office space that is intended for startups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.
Suarez said they have converted what used to be a serviced apartment spanning 800 square meters into small office spaces that can fit a minimum of three to five people. An events space and a bar are two unique features of the new facility.
According to him, shared office locators will have the advantage of a strategic address in Cebu City.
Amid baking challenges and overcoming the perception of being expensive, The Abaca Group has managed to achieve healthy growth—starting out in 2006 with a boutique resort + restaurant and expanding to eight brands with over 20 outlets in Cebu today.
Several more will be added to the number this 2019, including Red Lizard branches in Manila that will be opened through a franchising agreement, said The Abaca Group Founder Jason Hyatt.
“The only requirement for expansion is that customers can’t notice,” he added, citing the need to maintain the group’s exceptional food and service.
Chef Patrick Corpuz, Director for Business, credited their consistent growth to a strengthened team. The company is set to open another Abaca Baking Company in Ayala Center Cebu and Luncheonette outlets in SM City Cebu and Ayala Center Cebu.
Filipino restaurant at The Reef
The Reef Mactan Hotel and Residences, where Abaca plans to put up a Filipino restaurant, is also scheduled for completion and opening this year.
Mr. Hyatt said their vision for the Filipino restaurant is it should replicate home cooking and showcase local ingredients.
“Isn’t it strange that we don’t have Filipino restaurants in our hotels?,” he asked, adding that tourists who come to the country usually ask for places where they can try local food.
The Abaca Group founder also announced he has been tapped to handle the food and beverage management of the upcoming “apart’hotel” Citadines in Cebu City and has created a separate business for this purpose.
According to him, what they wanted to do was create partnerships with developers that will allow them to open commissary kitchens in hotels to aid in their expansion.
To put up an Abaca Baking Company in other areas, added Mr. Hyatt, the challenge is to figure out how to make baked goods travel.
Since ABC prides itself in fresh breads and pastries, it needs to find a way to bake everyday and bring the products across great distances.
Partnerships with other businesses that will allow them to put up their own kitchens in hotels and similar developments will help solve this particular challenge, said Mr. Hyatt, adding that The Abaca Group will need such collaborations to grow nationwide.
Mr. Corpuz said they have several concepts in mind for additional brands that will probably be introduced in the next two years.
“We’re streamlining our product line and trying out different techniques,” he cited. The different Abaca outlets serve to cater to different business segments.
Challenges to growth
Through its growth years, The Abaca Group also had to contend with a reputation for being expensive.
While this has hounded them for a few years, Hyatt said they see it as working to their advantage now.
According to Corpuz, the typical business model of targeting a specific price point has worked well for their restaurants.
All through the years of serving quality and exceptional food, albeit at prices seen in the past as costly, the market is now finally ready for The Abaca Group.
CEBU Pacific Air has opened a new international route to Shanghai from Cebu, offering promo base fare of 1 peso until the end of the company’s anniversary month of March.
Cebu Pacific’s Cebu-Shanghai and return flights will be six times weekly starting April 15, 2019.
Charo Logarta Lagamon said the new route will make Cebu a bigger international hub, as it also connects other Visayas areas like Dumaguete and Iloilo as well as Mindanao cities like Davao and Cagayan de Oro with Shanghai via Cebu. Logamon is Director for Corporate Communications Corporate Affairs of Cebu Pacific.
Logamon and Director for Marketing Blessie Cruz led today’s announcement in Hai Shin Lou in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.
The new Cebu-Shanghai route increases the airline’s international destinations out of Cebu to six.
Cebu-Shanghai flight schedules
Cebu Pacific will fly the Cebu-Shanghai route six times weekly, departing Cebu every Monday and Friday at 6:45 p.m., every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:05 p.m., and every Wednesday and Saturday at 11:55 p.m. Flight arrives in Shanghai at 10:45 every Monday and Friday, 11 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, and 11:10 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday.
Flights to Cebu leave Shanghai at 11:45 p.m. every Monday and Friday and 11:55 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Arrival times in Cebu are: 4 a.m. every Monday and Friday and 4:10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Cebu Pacific currently has a network of 37 domestic and 26 international destinations with 2,100 weekly flights.
What to do in Shanghai
Shanghai is a major industrial and commercial hub in China with quite a colorful colonial history.
That ancient network of trade routes called the Silk Route which connected East and West started out of Shanghai, and visitors can check out such attractions as The Bund, Yuyuan Gardens, and Shanghai Tower, added Lagamon.
Cebu Pacific said it is committed to growing the Cebu hub, by continually increasing flight frequencies and adding more domestic and international routes.
A new and faster roll-on roll-off or RORO passenger ship will service the Cebu City to Ormoc City route starting Monday, March 25.
M/v Lite Ferry 19 will be launched tomorrow as the twin sister ship of m/v Lite Ferry 18. It was built in 2002 and is the youngest vessel to ply the Cebu-Ormoc route. It is also the fastest ship on the route, with a travel time of 4 and 1/2 hours.
The vessel is equipped with 2 new Ningbo diesel engines built in 2017, with a total power of 7,800 HP. It has a maximum speed of 16.8 knots and service speed of 15 knots.
Lite Ferries President and Chief Executive Officer Lucio E. Lim, Jr. said the ship is intended to improve their servicing of the existing Cebu to Ormoc route. The acquisition of the new ship is also part of Lite Ferries’ efforts to contribute to the modernization of the country’s shipping industry.
“This is in answer to the call of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to modernize the Philippine domestic fleet. By the end of the year, 50 percent of our fleet will be either brand new or 20 years below upon acquisition,” Lim said.
A ceremonial ribbon cutting is scheduled during tomorrow’s launch aboard m/v Lite Ferry 19. Guests scheduled to join the ceremony are Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Labor Undersecretary Renato Ebarle, and Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.
Lim will lead the launching together with COO Fernando A. Inting, VP for Ship Management Jonathan Lim-Imboy, Assistant Manager for Operations Jethro Lim-Imboy, and other members of the Lite Ferries management.
When it starts servicing the route, m/v Lite Ferry will leave Cebu City for Ormoc City at 11 a.m. daily and from Ormoc City to Cebu City at 11 p.m.
The company said in a press release that m/v Lite Ferry 19 has interior-designed accommodations with hotel like features and amenities including an air conditioned 40-seater restaurant, a fully stocked canteen that will open overnight, an information desk, and multi-purpose kiosk.
It has two economy passenger decks, tourist class, business class, and four executive cabin rooms that can accommodate a total of 856 passengers. Its deck pathways have bigger spaces than Marina standards and its facilities are compliant with international maritime standards.
Lite Ferries continues to improve its existing fleet by acquiring more vessels, with deliveries expected later in the year.
Lite Ferries’ main ticketing office is located at the Lite Ferries Corporate Building, Lite Port Center, M.J. Cuenco Ave., Barangay Tejero, Cebu City. For booking and inquiries, you may visit our website at www.liteferries.com.ph.
Xiaomi recently launched Redmi Note 7, the latest smartphone in the highly popular Redmi Note series. Redmi Note 7 continues the series’ tradition of featuring a large display and excellent battery life, and pushes smartphone photography to a new level in this price range. Redmi Note 7 will be available from March 27, with prices starting at P7,990.
“We are marking our second year in the Philippines inspired by our Mi Fans’ strong love of Xiaomi, which propelled us to become the best-selling brand in the biggest online sales events last year,” said Steven Shi, Head of Southeast Asia, Xiaomi Global.
“As we update our multi-brand strategy in January with Redmi becoming an independent smartphone brand, we are strengthening our commitment in the Philippines by launching the latest device under the superior quality yet extremely cost-effective Redmi brand, the Redmi Note 7. This comes with an 18-month warranty, making sure that Filipino Mi fans will be able to get the best out of the device,” he said.
Stunning all-new design
Redmi Note 7 marks the greatest shift in design in the series, sporting a new premium style with the front and rear covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The gorgeous 19.5:9 Dot Drop display measures 6.3 inches diagonally and has an FHD+ resolution of 2380 x 1080. The Redmi Note 7 screen’s high pixel density and accurate colors (84% NTSC color gamut) offers one of the finest visual experiences in its class.
Class-leading camera for amazing photos even in low light
On the back, Redmi Note 7 sports the Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 backside illuminated CMOS sensor that has 48 million physical pixels. When taking pictures, the sensor uses Samsung’s Tetracell technology that merges four pixels to work as one large 1.6µm pixel. This greatly increases light sensitivity and makes the resulting 12MP image much brighter and clearer, even in low-light conditions.
Xiaomi couples Redmi Note 7’s cameras with the latest AI features, including the night mode photography feature that was introduced along with Xiaomi’s flagship Mi MIX 3, as well as AI scene detection, AI beautify and AI portraits that allow users to create amazing photos with ease.
Uncompromised performance and battery life
Redmi Note 7 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 AIE SoC, with a 2.2GHz maximum clock speed, ensuring uncompromised peak performance when playing games and processing data.
Redmi Note 7 carries on the Redmi tradition of excellent battery life with its large 4000mAh battery, which will last over a day for almost all users. Recharge via the USB Type-C port, and enjoy shorter charging times thanks to support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 4. Redmi Note 7 also includes an IR blaster capable of controlling numerous home appliances, such as televisions or air conditioners. In addition, it comes with Smart PA audio for louder and higher-quality sound.
Built to last
Redmi Note 7 is built to be reliable, designed to last so users can use it worry-free for longer. It features Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, making it less vulnerable to damage from drops. Corners on the chassis are also reinforced, further improving durability. In addition, buttons and ports come with watertight seals to lessen the impact of accidental splashes that may occur in everyday use.
Redmi Note 7 will come in Space Black, Neptune Blue, and Nebula Red, and will retail at P7,990.00 for the 3GB+32GB version, P9,990.00 for 4GB+64GB, and P11,490.00 for 4GB+128GB. The first 100 customers who will purchase the device online will get Mi in-ear basic earphones and t-shirts. It will be available on Lazada and Mi Authorize Stores. (Press Release)
A large number of accounting firms in Australia, New Zealand and the United States are looking to hire accountants, bookkeepers, finance professionals and other support roles. Due to the steady demand for different offshore roles, TOA Global anticipates more positions to open in the coming months.
“2018 has been an awesome year for TOA Global. We’ve witnessed an enormous amount of growth—we’re now at over 1,000 accounting and support professionals. This year, we are amplifying our efforts to bring more awesome opportunities to people here in Cebu,” said TOA Global Founder and Chairman Nick Sinclair.
“The amount of talent here in Cebu is astounding. As a matter of fact, during the last CPA board exam, 11 of the highest scorers are from universities in Cebu. That’s an awesome indicator of the quality of professionals we can tap for our clients,” Sinclair said.
A market leader in dedicated outsourcing solutions for accounting firms. TOA Global is continuously on the lookout for talented professionals. The introduction of the Cebu facility is part of its continued efforts to establish a footprint in the country’s major economic hubs.
Currently, the company houses more than 1,000 employees in its one Manila office and three Clark sites. Construction of another building in the Philexcel compound in Clark, Pampanga is ongoing. The Cebu facility brings to six TOA Global’s base of operations.
Thanks to the opportunities made available by TOA Global, several of its Luzon-based employees have already been sent to Australia for training and leisure. It’s only one of the many perks accounting professionals enjoy at the company.
TOA Global aims to bring these sought-after global career opportunities previously available only to those in Luzon to exceptional Filipino accounting professionals in the Visayas and Mindanao region who wish to explore broader career paths.
The thriving business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in Cebu—bullish economy and upbeat atmosphere—gives accounting professionals more reasons to explore career opportunities here, like work-life balance, enhanced learning, skills development, and global career advancement.
Ideal offshoring destination
“Our expansion reinforces the fact that the Philippines is an ideal offshoring destination. The influx of job requests from enterprises not just in Australia but other countries like the UK, New Zealand, and the US, shows that businesses value the work ethic, skills, and knowledge of Filipino professionals,” said TOA Global CEO Craig Mansell.
A significant factor in the company’s robust growth is its focus on people. Empowering its employees through platforms for learning and development has allowed TOA Global to provide excellent services to its clients and create more opportunities for local professionals.
“We are always on the lookout for highly talented and motivated professionals who aspire to grow in their careers,” said Mansell. “If you think you are one of the A-players we are looking for, join us today.”
Filipinos have some of the best experiences of work-life balance in Southeast Asia, according to a new study by recruitment portal Monster.com. Nearly two thirds (65%) of working professionals in the Philippines said they are generally satisfied with their current work-life balance, although 28% said they would like more options to spend time with their friends and family.
The study found 41% of Filipino professionals feel “content” with the balance of their personal and professional lives – significantly higher than employees in Singapore and Malaysia, where just 24% and 32% respectively reported feeling the same way.
● 41% of Filipinos feel ‘content’ with their balance between personal and professional lives.
● 59% of professionals said having flexible working hours that are suited to their lives and needs is a key aspect of work-life balance.
● 44% said their managers are supportive and understand that there is life beyond work
The data was gathered from more than 1,000 respondents across Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines as part of Monster’s #WorkLifeBalance campaign, which aims to explore working professionals’ sentiments around work-life balance and raise awareness among employers as to what aspects of work-life balance are most valued by their employees.
The major aspect of work-life balance for Filipino professionals is having flexible working hours that are suited to their lives and needs (59%). Beyond this, Filipinos want to be able to leave work on time (51%), while 47% say they simply strive to find the right blend between work and life.
On the employer side, bosses in the Philippines were more accepting of work-life balance, with 32% offering official flexi-work policies – this is more than double the numbers reporting the same across Singapore and Malaysia. An impressive 44% of Filipino respondents said their managers are supportive of them finding balance – once again trumping Singapore (23%) and Malaysia (31%).
Overall, almost half of respondents across all three countries rated their current overall work-life balance as “average, but could have more balance”. More than 80% felt good work-life balance can enhance productivity and positively impact the business.
Positive impact on business
“The Philippines is considerably ahead of its Southeast Asian peers in terms of fostering a workforce that is satisfied with the equilibrium between their professional and personal commitments. This has a positive impact on the business, increasing engagement and boosting happiness levels, which in turn encourages higher productivity and overall business growth,” said Abhijeet Mukherjee, CEO, Monster.com – APAC & Gulf.
“A supportive company culture, understanding managers, and clearly communicated initiatives go a long way in helping employees cultivate better balance. As more professionals seek non-financial incentives, employers need to be proactive in taking necessary steps to attract and retain quality talent.”
Online recruitment platform Monster.com is launching its first #WorkLifeBalance campaign this March, aiming to highlight the the importance of ensuring that professional responsibilities do not overpower other aspects of the lives of employees, and to encourage employers to formulate policies which promote a wholesome, complete and harmonious life.
Please see this infographic for a full breakdown of the survey findings. (Press Release)
Rather than drive to a mall and get stuck in traffic to pay your VECO dues, you can soon just go to your nearest sari-sari store that has a POSIBLE system in place and settle your electricity bill there.
POSIBLE is a Filipino financial technology company that seeks to drive financial inclusion by bringing these services to communities by working with micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“We are talking micro – sari-sari stores, your neighborhood bakeries, auto shops. We are community-based as opposed to those that you can see in the mall. Our thrust is inside the community, your neighbor,” said POSIBLE CEO JG Puzon.
Digital payments centers
Puzon was in Cebu last February 19 to formally launch the system here.
POSIBLE is a system that allows small neighborhood businesses to become digital payments centers.
Those interested to become agents can sign up by paying P45,000 for the package, which comes with the device and marketing materials. After that, they will need to pay P150 as monthly fee.
The device is “Filipino-developed and very localized. It was designed to work with how small Filipino entrepreneurs do business,” Puzon said.
The device offers more than 300 services from bills payment, remittances, prepaid loading, bus ticketing, bank deposits and even government transactions for NBI clearances, SSS, birth certificate and passport payments.
Bridging the gap
“We want to make the digital world accessible to people who do not necessarily have access to digital. A lot of people have smartphones but they don’t have bank accounts. This bridges that gap,” Puzon said.
He said the system allows stores to become online shops because they are able to sell via a catalogue and purchases are then delivered to their location.
Puzon said there are 3,200 POSIBLE agents nationwide, mostly concentrated in the General Metro Manila area, where they started in 2016. There are 50 agents in Cebu and, after last week’s formal launch, they are targeting 100 in the next 3 months. They are then planning to get 30 to 40 new agents per month as well as expand to nearby areas like Bohol and Dumaguete.
Puzon said they are confident with the prospect of the system in Cebu, which shares a lot of problems with Manila, especially on traffic. He said the ability to pay and transact in your neighborhood will be a big help to consumers.
Like any business, Puzon said potential earnings depend on things such as location and efforts put in by the business owner. The average earnings of their agents run to P4,000 to P5,000 a month. Some, however, earn as high as P30,000, he said.
POSIBLE has now processed more than P5 billion worth of transactions, the company said in a statement.
Partnering with POSIBLE will help companies expand quickly throughout the country, Puzon said.
“It’s like having 3,200 branches right away. You can imagine how much it costs them to put up a branch – you rent a place, put a security guard, pay workers, put up aircon, etc. If they go on board with us, they are immediately nationwide,” Puzon said.
“It works both ways, it helps the small entrepreneurs, it also helps the big service providers,” he added.
Digital is no longer a differentiator for enterprises but “the price of admission to do business,” a top official of a global technology company said in a briefing on Tuesday.
Digital technologies are already an expectation and no longer a differentiator, said JP Palpallatoc, Managing Director and Accenture Digital Lead in the Philippines in a briefing for media.
“Now that everybody is doing digital, what will differentiate you?” Palpallatoc said in a briefing in Manila and connected via video conferencing with one of their offices in Cebu City.
Palpallatoc gave an overview on key technology trends in the next few years as identified by the Accenture Technology Vision 2019 report. He said the time we are in is “post-digital,” because using technologies is already a given in the enterprise.
“Just as people no longer say they live in the “age of electricity,” the days of calling something digital to insinuate that it is new and innovative are numbered,” Accenture said in its report.
The company said the “post-digital” era means companies need to “double down on completing their digital transformations to get the most value from those investments—and at the same time, turn a strategic eye toward what’s next.”
What’s next, Palpallatoc said, are a new set of technologies that will make a major impact in the next 3 years.
1) New technologies
Accenture lists these technologies as DARQ for Distributed ledger or blockchain, Artificial intelligence, extended Reality, and Quantum computing.
“Future-minded leaders know that mastering the next set of technologies will give them every advantage,” the company said in a video clip explaining DARQ.
Palpallatoc cited as example Volkswagen, which “uses quantum computing to study traffic flow optimization analysis and looking into the chemical structure of batteries to find out how to make better ones.” He said they are also using AI for its vehicles and extended reality through googles that guide its workers in repairing units.
Volkswagen also extensively uses the blockchain to increase the security of its system as well as for payments. Palpallatoc cited UnionBank of the Philippines as a local company “deep into the blockchain,” using it to connect rural banks and for internal processes.
People’s use of technology creates an identity that enriches their demographic, which can then be tapped to created individualized experiences, Palpallatoc said.
“In the past, what we talked about in getting to know your consumer was called personalization. We used traditional demographics – are you female are you male do you live here, etc? ” he said.
“What we’re seeing from a post-digital area is going beyond personalization to individualized experiences and leveraging technology identity. These are the technology choices that individuals make as well as how they are using those technologies. That information is being used to enrich the demographics,” he said.
The Accenture report said 83% of respondents found that digital demographics allow them to identify unmet needs of customers.
Palpallatoc cited as example the SlicePay lending platform in India that targets unbanked students. By going over their social media for information on the vacations that they take or the restaurants they visit, they are able to identify to whom they lend money.
Another use case is the John Hancock Vitality Program, an insurance package that uses wearables like smartwatches to offer consumers discounts on their premiums if they meet fitness goals.
3) Empowered human workers
Empowered by technology and with improved skills and expertise, workers are becoming “human+,” said Palpallatoc.
“In a post-digital era, people are still central to the innovation agenda. We need to keep people front and center,” he said.
He said technologies like AI, analytics, extended reality are extending the capabilities of employees. Companies, however, “still recruit, hire and manage for the workforce of years past,” according to the Accenture study.
Palpallatoc said, “71% of respondents said digital workers are more mature now compared to their organizations. Workers are waiting for the company to catch up. There is a need for company to change the way they organize their work to be able support the human+ workers and enable them.”
He cited as example the use by Unilever of technology and AI for interviews and assessment of entry-level hires. This resulted in a 90% increase in job applications and the shortening of time it took to fill the job from 4 months to a few days, he said.
4) Ecosystem security
Enterprises have found that security today requires that they also keep an eye out beyond their premises.
“In the past, their approach to security was my company first, secure your walled garden, make sure nobody gets in,” Palpallatoc said. “What we’ve seen with the advent of ecosystems is that you cannot just protect yourself, you need to protect each one of your ecosystem as well.”
Security is a team sport and enterprises have to protect each other, he said.
He cited as example the decision by Netflix to open source its security tools.
5) My Markets
Technology and data now allow companies to customize products and services and deliver them fast and on demand, Palpallatoc said.
This trend is “about using technologies like IOT (internet of things) on being able to capture the reality at that point in time and being able to respond,” he said.
“Technology is creating a world of intensely customized and on-demand experiences, and companies must reinvent their organizations to find and capture those opportunities,” Accenture said in its report.
The company reported that 85% of executives they surveyed said “that the integration of customization and real-time delivery is the next big wave of competitive advantage.”
Palpallatoc cited as example of hyper-customization a beverage company in India that offers different flavors depending on where these are sold. He said the company even has a custom flavor sold only for a few days a year – during a festival.
Property giant Megaworld is expanding its commercial retail portfolio this year, with the opening of 11 commercial properties across its townships all over the country.
By end of the year, the company will open new retail spaces in Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao, Iloilo City; Alabang West along Daang Hari in Las Piñas City; McKinley Hill and Uptown Bonifacio, both in Taguig City; Arcovia City in Pasig City; Boracay Newcoast in Boracay Island, Aklan; and Davao Park District in Lanang, Davao City.
These new commercial properties cover around 54,000 square meters in gross floor area.
“The biggest chunk of the new retail spaces will be in Uptown Bonifacio, as we embark on an expansion of our new retail row in front of Uptown Mall and Uptown Parade. We are also launching a new retail development inside Arcovia City, our newest and must-visit township along C-5 in Pasig fronting Valle Verde. Down south, there is something exciting coming up in Alabang West, which is part of our Beverly Hills-themed commercial row,” said Kevin L. Tan, Megaworld chief strategy officer.
During the second half last year, Megaworld opened its first full-scale lifestyle mall in Iloilo Business Park, the P2.2-billion Festive Walk Mall, offering around 90,000 square meters of retail spaces. It also opened three new community malls in Alabang and Makati, namely, The Village Square in Alabang, Muntinlupa City; Three Central in Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City; and San Lorenzo Place in EDSA corner Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. These three new commercial centers offer around 26,500 square meters in retail spaces.
“Every mall that we build has curated spaces that evoke the character of the township where it is located. We want to create commercial properties that are not just for shopping and dining, but those that help drive tourism,” said Tan.
By yearend, Megaworld’s commercial retail footprint will reach around 771,000 square meters, with presence all over Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
The Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) is on track to be finished by mid-2021 and will transform the economy and social landscape of Cebu, according to officials of the company undertaking the project.
The Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) signed on February 7 a P19-billion loan and security agreement with 6 banks: Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Development Bank of the Philippines, Robinsons Bank Corporation, Union Bank of the Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Security Bank Corporation. CCLEC is a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC).
The total project cost of CCLEX is projected to be P30B. The rest will be funded by MPTC through equity or supplemental loans, said MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco.
Vote of confidence as investment destination
“This financing facility is also a vote of confidence for the attractiveness of the City of Cebu and the Municipality of Cordova as investment destinations,” Franco said. “The CCLEX is expected to transform the economic and social landscape of Cebu.”
CCLEC President and General Manager Allan Alfon said in welcoming guests to the signing that he looked forward to the ceremonial drive-through to mark the opening in a little over 2 years.
Construction of the CCLEX started last July 5 and all 21 piles of the main bridge’s Tower 2 have been completed while 17 of the 21 piles at Tower 1 have been constructed. These, the company said, form part of the bridge’s main foundation.
Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho said her town has been preparing its people and implementing infrastructure projects ahead of the completion of the 3rd bridge.
Outstanding partnership model
Francisco Fernandez, executive assistant of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, said they could see the project “from our 8th floor office and we would testify that things are progressing very well. ”
Fernandez spoke for Osmeña during the signing and said the Cordova-Cebu City bridge was an “outstanding model for public-private partnership.”
“First, it reflects our philosophy that government should only provide a service that the private and civic sector are unable or unwilling to do so. Metro Pacific and all the other entities are willing to fill a need so please go ahead then we can reserve our resources for the other needs of our citizens.” Fernandez said.
The project is also a “model of bipartisan support.”
“This was approved by the previous administration and continued by the present administration and today it is receiving unanimous support from the council and all the other government and non-government agencies. It is a fantastic example of what unity can do,” he said.
“Most of all, it is outstanding because the taxpayers do not pay for this project, it is the users. Those people who are not willing or are unable to use this project, they do not have to pay for it. In fact, the City of Cebu and the Municipality of Cordova are not going to spend a single centavo of taxpayers’ money for the bridge,” he said. Instead, they will earn from this project.
More infra projects
Secretary Adelino Sitoy of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office said that as part of the preparation of the bridge, government has started to build a coastal highway from the CCLEX approach in the Cordova side to the Gabi Bridge “in order to be nearer to the beach areas of Lapu-Lapu.”
Sitoy said P187 million has already been released for the project with a further P400 million to be disbursed soon. He said what is needed after this would be a skyway to connect the bridge to the passenger terminal of the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
And there’s more, said Sitoy, who shared that he had been dreaming about the 3rd bridge for close to 30 years.
“We look forward to another bridge, to Getafe in Bohol from Cordova,” Sitoy added.
The Toyota Vios is the best-selling subcompact sedan in the Philippines. With the recent introduction of the Vios XE, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) further strengthens the line’s hold on the market.
Created to provide customers with an entry-level but top-quality sedan with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that is easy to own at 735,000 SRP, the Vios XE is aptly named for being Xtra Economical, Xtra Efficient, and Xtra Easy to Drive.
“Now more than ever, Filipino drivers will get to experience the comfort of automatic transmission while enjoying all the hallmark features of the Toyota brand,” said TMP First Vice President Cristina Arevalo.
Under the Vios XE’s hood is the tried-and-tested 1.3L Dual VVT-i engine, which has proven itself to be a preferred powertrain for fuel efficiency. The XE also shares the same safety features present across all Vios variants: a 5-star ASEAN New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) rating, 7 SRS airbags, Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, and Anti-Lock Brake System.
With the Vios XE, drivers can relax on the road with their carefully curated playlist as the newly introduced variant comes equipped with a touch screen 7” Display Audio with CD/MP3, weblink for both iOS/Android, as well as Bluetooth, USB, and AUX connectivity. In addition to its continuously variable transmission, the Vios XE makes the daily city drive easier with power steering, front and rear power windows, and power door locks.
“As a testament to the quality, durability, and reliability of its entire model lineup, Toyota brings together a new variant that combines the signature elements of an enduring automotive icon,” Arevalo added. “And because it’s a Vios, customers can still expect to get the most out of their investment with the high resale value and reasonable maintenance cost that the model has been known for.”
The SRP for the current Vios lineup including the XE variant is as follows.
1.5 G Prime A/T
1.5 G A/T
1.5 G M/T
1.3 E Prime A/T
1.3 E A/T
1.3 E M/T
1.3 J M/T
The new Toyota Vios XE comes in 4 colors: Thermalyte, Red Mica Metallic, Freedom White, and Alumina Jade Metallic—now available in all Toyota dealerships nationwide.
Sturdy desks, comfy seats, high-speed fiber internet, soft music, warm lights, abundance of power outlets, plus good food and coffee, the WorkPlace Cafe in Banawa, Cebu City is designed as a place where one can be most productive.
Couple Aden and Gretchen Sigue were looking to start another line of business and came upon the Workplace Cafe in Ramos St., Cebu City.
Mr. Sigue said they reached out to the Workplace Cafe owners and suggested a franchise agreement.
Kristoff Villanueva, CEO of the company that owns the brand, said the facility is intended as a co-working cafe for students, creative sector, and freelance community.
“The Workplace Cafe is meant as a space for study and work within a coffee shop experience,” he said during the grand opening of the Workplace Cafe in Banawa yesterday, July 8, 2019.
Since the best ideas always come about when one is well rested, the facility provides a power nap station that allows customers to relax or doze off on comfy bean bag seats.
The newest cafe is only its second branch, added Villanueva, chief executive officer of Rise and Grind Equity Ventures, Inc. They plan to open a third Workplace Cafe, company-owned this time, in Mandaue City by next month.
Workplace Cafe Banawa
Workplace Cafe Banawa, located at Unit 2, Autogas Station, R. Duterte St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. the following day. It offers three options for customers: hourly, daily, and monthly.
The hourly rate is only P50 and it comes with complimentary beverage of either iced tea or brewed coffee. Additional hour costs P35. A customer who orders a handcrafted beverage automatically gets a free stay of one hour.
If you choose to stay for the day, you pay only P280. This also comes with one complimentary drink. Mr. Sigue said customers who opt for the daily rate need only to add P70 to have access to unlimited coffee.
Customers may also avail of the monthly rate of P4,000, which is inclusive of locker use.
Cafe menu, amenities
The Workplace Cafe in Banawa all-day breakfast sets, several kinds of pasta, and short orders that range from green salads, fries and chicken wings, to pastries.
It can accommodate 120 customers and has two function rooms for those who wish to hold meetings and sessions. One function room can seat up to 10 people while the other can host up to 16. Rates start at P550 for the first hour and P450 for succeeding hours and come with one-time credits of P200 consumable on food and drinks.
Since it first opened along F. Ramos St. last November 2016, the Workplace Cafe has adopted a Plant and Grow program. For every bag of Bukidnon-sourced Hineleban coffee beans consumed, a tree is planted in return.
Bo’s Coffee, a brand known for its promotion of Filipino coffee, has opened its first tribute store in its hometown in Cebu.
A tribute store, according to founder Steve Benitez, is a flagship branch that offers people a new coffee experience. He said the concept took 3 years to plan and was meant to “showcase the best of what we offer.”
The company picked Bo’s Coffee Capitol branch – the first Bo’s outlet, explained Benitez – for its first tribute store because it is “about paying tribute to our roots here in Cebu.”
Bo’s Coffee expansion
Benitez founded Bo’s Coffee in 1996 and has since expanded throughout the country. It recently expanded overseas by opening 5 stores in Qatar. Bo’s plans to have 200 stores and be present in 5 countries by 2020.
Central to the tribute store concept is the coffee bar. Specially trained baristas are able to prepare coffee using Philippine beans in various ways – from cold drip to pour over.
“The tribute store is where you can experience the best coffee in the Philippines,” he said.
It serves coffee made from coffee beans handpicked in Sagada, Benguet; Mount Kitanglad in Bukidnon; Mount Matutum in South Cotabato; and Mount Apo.
Bo’s coffee bar
“Our version of a perfect blend is not only the sensuous taste and aroma of Philippine coffee but also the overall presentation of Philippine culture – its indigenous and nearly forgotten products, Filipino music and artistry, and even Philippine-grown tea,” Benitez said in a press statement.
Apart from just preparing your drink, the baristas at the tribute store’s bar can interact with customers and talk coffee with them.
Benitez said they are trying out the concept here with the plan of replicating it in other areas such as Manila.
“We will continue to work on giving the best customer experience,” Benitez said.
The store also highlights products by social enterprises they partnered with. The interiors highlight the work of local artisans such as renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue.
“We want to showcase the best of Philippine artistry and talent in the most ambitious project we ever had. The tribute store will be the commemoration and statement of the brand’s promise that this homegrown brand will continue to pave empowerment to the communities we serve,” Benitez added.
Bo’s Capitol has 300 square meters of space and can seat up to 110 persons. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Rather than giving your usual Christmas gifts, why not hand out artisanal products made by local small businesses this year? One of the best places to buy these products from will be the Pop District Bazaar on December 10 to 11 at The Tent, in Mandani Bay in Mandaue City.
Jayneil Enriquez, District Events Head of Marketing and Promotions, said Pop District Bazaar highlights small businesses in Cebu and offers them a venue to sell their products.
She said most of the locators are “lifestyle vendors” who sell garments, toys, and other fashion items. She said there are also vendors of men’s gear and locally crafted bags and shoes, including branded pairs made in Carcar.
One of the fashion locators is No Filter, a Cebu-based company whose products include NSFW (not safe for work) shirts with texts about sex.
“We sell parody and gag tees. We have statement tees that are bold enough to express the thoughts you are too afraid to say. We have no filter, we say what we want to say. If offended ka, wa mi labot,” No Filter says in a disclaimer near their items.
Enriquez said one locator imports hard-to-find cosmetics such as certain lines of lipsticks.
She said Pop District Bazaar will have 2 types of food vendors: outdoor tenants that cook a varied range of menu and food types and indoor tenants that offer packaged products.
Among the food locators is SumTim Fishy with its delicious jars of gourmet danggit. The small company named after the owner’s children was present during the press conference to display their products.
Other locators will be selling various pre-loved items.
Mitch Ledesma, District Events Head of Resource Mobilization and Sponsorship, said they expect more than 100 locators during the bazaar.
District Events General Manager Charmaine Ong De Leon said the idea behind the event is to support local businesses and give a venue for Cebuanos to see what they can offer.
District Events Head of Leasing Ruby Pansoy said the event supports online and startup businesses. She said the theme of the bazaar is “Polar Express.”
Local music will also be highlighted during the event with the company’s partnership with FatBoys Production. Local and national “influencers” will also be made available for meet and greet during the event.
To make it easier for people to go to the venue, the company has partnered with Angkas, which assured them of priority for bookings from the venue. The company said they are also talking to MyBus to make it easier for attendees to go to and from the venue.
Treats not tricks greeted SYKES employees and their families who attended the Halloween and Family Day celebration last October 28 at the SYKES Grandhall in the Synergis Building in Mabolo, Cebu City.
Over a thousand people showed up to enjoy the joint celebration for Halloween and Family Day.
Kids and adults alike enjoyed the fun games and abundant food and drinks.
A magician treated the attendees to several amazing magic tricks. Inflatables, face painting, and the photobooth added to the enjoyment.
The participants came in their favorite cartoon character outfits, and the kids prepared presentations. Best in Costume awards were later given out. Everyone went home with smiles on their faces.
About SYKES Philippines
SYKES is a digital marketing and customer service global outsourcer, providing customer-engagement services to Global 2000 companies. With global headquarters in Tampa, Florida, SYKES’ sophisticated solutions satisfy the needs of major companies around the world, primarily in retail, communications, financial services, technology and healthcare industries.
SYKES’ differentiated end-to-end service platform effectively engages consumers at every touch point in their customer lifecycle, starting from digital marketing and acquisition to customer support, technical support, up-sell/cross-sell and retention. The company provides services through multiple communication channels encompassing phone, e-mail, web, chat, social media and digital self-service.
In 1997, SYKES became the first multinational call center in the Philippines. It paved the way for what is now known as the country’s sunshine industry. Taking the company’s pioneering spirit, it was also the first to venture outside Luzon, opening SYKES Cebu in 2003. The move created new possibilities and opportunities. To date, it takes care of more than 3,000 employees in Cebu alone. (Press Release)
Israel sees a big potential for stronger trade, tourism, and diplomatic ties with the Philippines, said new Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz.
An important role of government, he added, is to create the conditions for nurturing business and one way to do this is to cultivate good political relations with other nations.
He explained during his courtesy call to the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) that his activities in the Philippines, which involved meeting local executives and business groups, serve to complement the four-day visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in Israel.
Harpaz said there were special agreements signed between Israel and the Philippines during that visit, including business to business and government to government deals. He mentioned the oil exploration agreement that the Philippine government entered into with an Israeli company.
Israel has a lot to offer the Philippines, from innovations in agriculture and water management to new technology products, the Israeli ambassador also said.
“Your challenge is water management and quality. We can help you with this. Our challenge is not having enough water so we developed new sources. Saving water is also in our DNA,” Mr. Harpaz added, citing that Israel also excels in agriculture. Food security is one area where Israel and the Philippines can work on together.
He said his country also appreciates the role of Filipino caregivers, and the two countries recently inked a deal to regulate their working conditions. It is also looking at opening the hotel industry to Filipino workers, he further said.
According to Mr. Harpaz, the two countries can also benefit from increased tourism activities, noting that Filipinos do not need a visa to visit Israel. Many Filipinos travel to Israel as part of a pilgrimage tour to the Holy Land.
He also said they’re working on having direct flights between the Philippines and Israel as one way of further boosting tourism, adding he is confident that it will serve to increase visitor arrivals in both countries.
Israel might not manufacture mobile phones but it is responsible for many applications running on these devices. Waze, after all, was created by an Israeli startup, which is also behind other technology products pertaining to travel, transportation, and finance.
The Philippines in general and Cebu in particular can benefit from big companies in Israel outsourcing the manufacture of new products born out of research and development in Israel.