Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Filinvest completes amenities of SRP project Sanremo Oasis

Unit owners of Filinvest’s mid-rise residential community Sanremo Oasis will have access to major amenities like swimming pools, kids’ play area and playroom, basketball court, lawn and jogging trail, and clubhouse beginning December 1.

Unit owners of Filinvest’s mid-rise residential community Sanremo Oasis will have access to major amenities like swimming pools, kids’ play area and playroom, basketball court, lawn and jogging trail, and clubhouse beginning December 1.

Filinvest inaugurated the newly-completed facilities of its condominium development within the 50-hectare master-planned community City de Mare at the South Road Properties (SRP) last Saturday, November 14, 2015.

Sanremo pool clubhouse

The pool as seen from the 2nd floor of the clubhouse.

 

Sanremo facilities

SANREMO FACILITIES. The development’s fitness gym and playrooms will be opened on December 1 to its homeowners.

 

85 percent sold

Even if only six of the eight-building clusters have been built and 85 percent of their total units sold off, Filinvest still sees it fit to complete and make the development’s amenities available to homeowners, said senior manager for City de Mare project development Julie Castaños.

Around 450 of the total 924 Sanremo Oasis units already bought have been turned over to homeowners, but only 214 are currently using their condos, she added.

Sanremo’s two-level clubhouse has a fitness center, playroom for kids, and private meeting rooms. The kiddie, pre-teens’ and lap pools are behind the clubhouse.

Sanremo clubhouse

SANREMO CLUBHOUSE. The 2nd floor of the Sanremo clubhouse.

 

Sanremo facilities launch

LAUNCHING. Filinvest inaugurated the newly-completed facilities of Sanremo within the 50-hectare master-planned community City de Mare at the South Road Properties last November 14.

 

Future development

When finished, the development will have eight mid-rise building clusters with a total of 1,200 units, which have floor areas of 22 square meters for studio and 30 square meters for the two-bedroom.

Castaños said Sanremo will be the last City de Mare development featuring five-storey buildings, as the next projects can go as high as 14 floors. She added that they’re set to inaugurate and open the amenities for another City de Mare residential development, Amalfi Oasis, and its commercial component Il Corso in a month or so.

Sanremo playroom

The Sanremo playroom

 

Sanremo fitness room

Sanremo fitness room

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OFWs can start their own businesses with TackThis! and Smart Padala

Overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong were treated to a weekend of business and entrepreneurial opportunities during the Smart Pinoy – Go Negoyso Caravan and Media Day, an event jointly-organized and presented by GoNegosyo, SmartPinoy, PLDT Global, Smart eMoney, Inc., and Voyager Innovations.

Overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong were treated to a weekend of business and entrepreneurial opportunities during the Smart Pinoy – Go Negoyso Caravan and Media Day, an event jointly-organized and presented by GoNegosyo, SmartPinoy, PLDT Global, Smart eMoney, Inc., and Voyager Innovations.

The goal of the event was to inspire OFWs to think beyond just saving by putting their money to smarter use and not just keeping it passively in a bank account. Among the opportunities and solutions showcased at the iconic Kennedy Center were online store creator TackThis! and remittance service Smart Padala.

TackThis! online store creator

TackThis! presents an attractive option for OFWs. Fueled by Voyager Innovations, the digital arm of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and PLDT, TackThis! is an online store creator that allows Filipino entrepreneurs to set up a fully functional online shop in just a matter of minutes.

TackThis! allows sellers to showcase products, manage store inventory and accept payments through a variety of providers. Advanced features include analytics, so sellers can have actionable data by which to generate more sales; marketing and promotions to entice customers to buy and buy more; and customer support to make it easier to facilitate interaction and address consumer concerns.

More than these set of convenient features, TackThis! allows sellers to easily “tack” their store to Facebook and other websites. With TackThis!, sellers are able to not only post their products to social media sites and blogs but they can now actually sell them as they post because the platform allows them to integrate their store to various channels seamlessly.

TackThis! is a natural fit for OFWs according to Mitch Padua, vice president for digital commerce at Voyager Innovations.

TackThis Smart Padala Hong Kong

OFWs in Hong Kong were encouraged to explore business opportunities with TackThis! and Smart Padala.

 

Path to entrepreneurship

“Most OFWs erroneously assume that they have to wait until they return to the Philippines to begin their business. WithTackThis!, they can start selling online in the present, and in fact, do so only in a matter of minutes. At its core, then, TackThis! is not just a means to create stores – it’s a path to entrepreneurship,” said Padua, who added that the natural mindset of OFWs is very entrepreneurial.

While most of the OFWs in attendance at the event were not necessarily tech oriented, they were very keen on creating their own online store, particularly given how easy it was to do so via TackThis!

The TackThis! team shared best practices and tagumpay stories in the world of ecommerce. Such advice was especially well received when coming from Ginger Aganon, the co-owner of Xplo Adventure Shop and a former OFW herself. While many people assume you need a physical store before opening an online one, Aganon did the opposite: She started selling via TackThis! and then established several brick-and-mortar locations in Metro Manila as she became more and more successful with her online venture.

“What I wanted to convey to the OFWs is that I am no exception. Everyone in the room could achieve what I have achieved, if only they equip themselves with the right tools. On this front, the highest recommendation I can possibly give is to TackThis!, which was not just a storefront creator, but an entire ecosystem that enabled me to be a successful technopreneur,” said Aganon.

A kababayan in Hong Kong won a tablet during the Go Negosyo event encouraging OFWs to start their ownbusiness. The event was supported by Smart Padala and TackThis!

A kababayan in Hong Kong won a tablet during the Go Negosyo event encouraging OFWs to start their ownbusiness. The event was supported by Smart Padala and TackThis!

 

Smart Padala business

Smart eMoney also presented the opportunity to start your own Smart Padala business to the OFWs. The advantage of setting up a Smart Padala upon their return to the Philippines, as opposed to another type of business, is the low barrier to entry. All you need to set up a Smart Padala is the requisite government license, an electronic wallet, a small brick-and-mortar location, and only a minimum of 5,000 pesos.

Being a Smart Padala Center allows small business owners to be a one-step center for remittance and payment needs in their community, while providing additional income for their families. These Smart Padala center offers convenience to theircustomers, whether it is on sending or receiving money, loading their prepaid accounts, or paying their bills.

“We want our OFWs to move beyond thinking of themselves as OFWs. When they re-establish themselves back home, we want them committed to becoming entrepreneurs. While it would be nice if they chose to set up a Smart Padala, our goal is really to just get them to see themselves for what they are: leaders with the vision to see a sacrifice through,” said Joshua Jerald Deomano, manager for domestic business at Smart eMoney who spoke at the event.

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APEC leaders get Caraboom sound amplifier made by Cebu-based furniture maker

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) who will be attending the summit in the Philippines will return home with a piece of Cebuano ingenuity: the Caraboom, a non-electronic amplifier made of rattan and other indigenous Philippine materials.

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) who will be attending the summit in the Philippines will return home with a piece of Cebuano ingenuity: the Caraboom, a non-electronic amplifier made of rattan and other indigenous Philippine materials. You can use the Caraboom to amplify the sound of your phone.

The Caraboom was designed by Cebu-based furniture manufacturer and exporter Pacific Traders & Manufacturing Corporation and “showcases world-class Filipino artistry and innovation,” Smart Communications said in a press statement.

Smart is giving each of the APEC Head of Economies the Caraboom as a gift. (From a press release)

Caraboom Smart DOT

CARABOOM. The Caraboom was made by a Cebu-based furniture maker and exporter and amplifies the sound of mobile phones. Presenting the Caraboom to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. (left) is Smart Public Affairs Group head Ramon R. Isberto. (Smart Communications photo)

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Travel Weekly Asia readers name AirAsia Best Low Cost Carrier

AirAsia won the Best Low Cost Carrier award at the inaugural 2015 Travel Weekly Asia Reader’s Choice Awards recently. The much-coveted award is based on votes by the leading travel trade magazine’s strong base of readers comprising seasoned travelers and industry players.

AirAsia won the Best Low Cost Carrier award at the inaugural 2015 Travel Weekly Asia Reader’s Choice Awards recently. The much-coveted award is based on votes by the leading travel trade magazine’s strong base of readers comprising seasoned travelers and industry players.

Readers of Travel Weekly Asia magazine voted from August 14 to September 25, 2015 on www.travelweekly-asia.com to choose their favorite travel and hospitality establishments out of 31 award categories ranging from airlines, cruise lines to travel agencies and hotel chains.

AirAsia Singapore CEO Logan Velaitham received the award on behalf of the AirAsia Group at the award ceremony held in Singapore.

“On behalf of AirAsia Group, we are both delighted and proud to be recognized as the Best Low Cost Carrier among the readers of Travel Weekly Asia. Each award received is a testament to the hard work and determination of 17,000 AirAsia Allstars around the globe and it drives us to develop even better products and services for our guests. We would like to thank everyone for voting for us,” said Logan.

AWARD FOR AIRASIA. Logan Velaitham (center), CEO of AirAsia Singapore, accepts the award from Arnie Weissmann (left), editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly, and senior VP and editorial director of Travel Group, Northstar Travel Media and Mr Ian Jarrett (right), editor-at-large of Travel Weekly Asia.

AWARD FOR AIRASIA. Logan Velaitham (center), CEO of AirAsia Singapore, accepts the award from Arnie Weissmann (left), editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly, and senior VP and editorial director of Travel Group, Northstar Travel Media and Mr Ian Jarrett (right), editor-at-large of Travel Weekly Asia.

 

This is the first Travel Weekly Reader’s Choice Awards to be held in Asia as the spin-off of its American version, which has been running for over a decade now in the United States. The Travel Weekly Asia Reader’s Choice Award will be presented annually to industry leaders as recognition for their service and product excellence, voted by the magazine’s pool of discerning readers.

Irene Chua, Group Publisher for Northstar Travel Media (Asia) said, “The awards are a confirmation of the travel industry’s most outstanding companies and lauds their achievements. Congratulations to all our winners, who truly deserve this recognition in the industry. Travel Weekly Asia heralds the travel professionals who have truly made a difference.”

This year alone, AirAsia has been recognized as the best in the industry multiple times when it received the World’s Best Low Cost Airline recognition by Skytrax for seven consecutive years, Best Low-Cost Airline at the Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Travel Awards 2015 for four years in a row, and very recently the airline group also clinched the Excellence Award under the Airlines category at Expatriate Lifestyle’s Best of Malaysia Awards. In this same week, AirAsia also received SimpliFlying Awards’ Top 3 Best Overall Airline in Asia Pacific while a special individual award was given to Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia for Leadership in Social Media, recognizing AirAsia’s creative and effective integration of social media into overall marketing and business strategy.

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Aboitizland opens newest residential project Amoa in Compostela

More open spaces and a hectare of amenities distinguish the newly launched residential development of Aboitizland, Inc. called Amoa in the northern Cebu town of Compostela.

Set in the rolling terrain of Barangay Tamiao, the development will leave close to half of its total area of 60 hectares as open spaces, said Aboitizland vice president for marketing John Amon.

More open spaces and a hectare of amenities distinguish the newly launched residential development of Aboitizland, Inc. called Amoa in the northern Cebu town of Compostela.

Set in the rolling terrain of Barangay Tamiao, the development will leave close to half of its total area of 60 hectares as open spaces, said Aboitizland vice president for marketing John Amon.

Amoa amenities

“Amoa will have a hectare worth of amenities. There will be a central park within which the clubhouse, three swimming pools, grand lawn, and children’s play area will be located,” he added during the Amoa launch at SM City Cebu last October 23.

The open spaces, which make up 46 percent of the residential community and also include wide vistas of hills and pocket parks, will be seamlessly interconnected to inspire activities like walking, hiking, jogging, and bicycling.

Amon said the name Amoa has an equivalent word in the Visayan dialect that translates to “Ours,” evoking a strong sense of community ownership and belonging.

Amoa Compostela Aboitizland

COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP. Aboitizland vice president for marketing John Amon says Amoa comes from the Visayan word for “ours,” evoking a strong sense of community ownership and belonging.

 

Amoa units

The mid-end residential village will be divided into seven smaller communities and developed by enclave, according to Aboitizland assistant vice president for marketing Joey Zamora. Enclave 1 will have around 400 house and lot units and is scheduled for completion by June 2018.

Amoa offers house and lots ranging from townhomes to two-story single detached units as well as a few raw lots.

Amon said they limited the lots to only 10 percent of available units because they want to grow a thriving community, adding that those who buy lots tend to put off constructing a house.

Buyers can choose from five house designs and sizes priced between P1.7 million to P3.1 million. Lots are offered at P5,000 per square meter.

Residential homes are designed to let the cool breeze flow in and allow natural lighting, and the architectural style is patterned after the “balay na bato” during the colonial period. They are fitted with “ventanillas” or window and wall grills for more natural ventilation, and homeowners can pick their favorite from six designs.

Amoa Compostela Aboitizland

AMOA DESIGN. Amoa homes are designed to let the cool breeze flow in and allow natural lighting, and the architectural style is patterned after the “balay na bato” during the colonial period. They are fitted with “ventanillas” or window and wall grills for more natural ventilation, and homeowners can pick their favorite from six designs.

 

High sales

Aboitizland’s newest residential project has been well-received, with already P250 million worth of sales just three weeks into last Friday’s launch, said Zamora. This translates to around 130 units.

Amoa is targeted towards middle income earners, which are currently real estate’s fastest growing market, Amon said, adding that many of those buying units are Cebuanos working outside the country.

In line with its vision to build communities, Amon said Aboitizland will come up with more horizontal housing projects in Cebu next year with a focus on the middle market.

The premier property developer is also looking into expanding to Luzon and will be launching several projects out of Cebu in the next five years, he added.

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PLDT pilots Pay Express Van in Cebu to accommodate more customers

To ease the pain of long lines in the few days before cut-off period, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Co. piloted the Pay Express Van in Cebu to make paying bills more convenient for customers. This newest innovation from PLDT can augment a payment center in Metro Cebu with four to six more cashiers especially in the days leading to the bill due date, said PLDT head of operations for Cebu, Bohol, Samar, and Leyte Elmer “Bong” Lintag.

To ease the pain of long lines in the few days before cut-off period, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Co. piloted the Pay Express Van in Cebu to make paying bills more convenient for customers.

This newest innovation from PLDT can augment a payment center in Metro Cebu with four to six more cashiers especially in the days leading to the bill due date, said PLDT head of operations for Cebu, Bohol, Samar, and Leyte Elmer “Bong” Lintag.

The Pay Express Van is a mobile truck that will be assigned by schedule to the five Sales and Service Centers (SSCs) located in Metro Cebu, including PLDT Jones, Mabolo, Mandaue, Mactan, and Talisay, he said.

PLDT vice president and Credit and Collection Management Group head Jonel Ladaban said the plan is to assign the payment van to a business center when the due date for customers in that zone draws near. He added that the van, outfitted to accommodate six cashiers, can stay there from three to five days to help collect payments.

PLDT Pay Express Cebu

PLEASANT EXPERIENCE. PLDT officials lead the blessing and unveiling of the PLDT Pay Express Van in the PLDT Jones branch on Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City. PLDT vice president and Credit and Collection Management Group head Jonel Ladaban said the project is all “about the customer having a pleasant experience.”

 

Cashiering on Wheels

“This is an initiative under Project COW for Cashiering on Wheels. The idea came from the food trucks that operate in big commercial centers. We looked at those and agreed we can put tellers there instead of sellers,” he said during an interview after the PLDT Pay Express Van launch in Cebu last Wednesday, October 21.

According to Ladaban, the four principles that served to guide PLDT when it came to the payment van were customer safety, speed, comfort, and convenience.

“It’s about the customer having a pleasant experience,” he said, adding they might consider adding more trucks in Cebu if one can’t cope with the transaction traffic. For now, they want to see how the truck fares in Cebu, which is PLDT’s biggest zone in terms of subscriber base, and make improvements according to what they’ve learned before deploying a similar payment system in other key areas like Metro Manila.

The PLDT Pay Express Van gives customers one more choice from several bill payment options, which already include over the counter, online, and third party alternatives like banks, mall payment centers, 7-Eleven stores.

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Marco Polo Hong Kong hotels offer new perks, packages for travelers

The Marco Polo hotels in Hong Kong consider the Philippines a key market and want to provide Filipinos their best stay in the cosmopolitan city with several new perks and offerings.

The Marco Polo hotels in Hong Kong consider the Philippines a key market and want to provide Filipinos their best stay in the cosmopolitan city with several new perks and offerings.

Philippine travelers staying at the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Gateway Hotel, and Prince Hotel get a complimentary service in the form of a handy smartphone that provides free calls within Hong Kong and to their country. Unlimited complimentary calls to China, Japan, United States, and United Kingdom are also available.

Sonny Ang, Marco Polo Hong Kong head of sales and marketing, said the phones are found in all rooms of the three hotels and come bundled with unlimited mobile internet, instant access to hotel concierge, popular social media apps like Facebook and WeChat, and dining and city guide. It can be turned into a Wi-Fi hotspot that other mobile devices can connect to.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo Gateway

 

Business and other travelers are assured that they get incoming room calls wherever they are in Hong Kong through the handy phone, he added. Guests can call the hotel concierge while they’re out exploring to arrange such personalized services as transportation or travel tips.

The Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong led by general manager James Ong hosted a dinner at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu last October 9 to present new offerings and packages. He was accompanied by Ang and Director of Communications Samantha Poon.

Marco Polo Hongkong

Marco Polo Hotels-Hong Kong general manager James Ong, Director of Communications Samantha Poon, and head of sales and marketing Sonny Ang during a dinner they hosted at the Blu Bar and Grill of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

 

Great Winter Escape

With its Great Winter Escape package, the Marco Polo Hong Kong hotels make the months from October 2015 to February 2016 the best times to visit.

A guaranteed room upgrade, free extra bed for rooms with three guests, and complimentary breakfast for two are among the features of the winter offering. It also comes with a 20 percent discount on food and beverage at Cucina, Cafe Marco, and Lobby Lounge at Marco Polo Hongkong, Three on Canton at Gateway Hotel, and All Day Dining at Prince Hotel and on laundry and dry cleaning services.

Other perks for staying at the Marco Polo hotels include discounts or complimentary gifts from 12 shops at Harbour City, Hong Kong’s largest shopping complex of more than 450 shops featuring leading luxury brands.

At Gateway, guests get a free mini-bar with their stay. It is replenished daily with refreshments that include two bottles of water, two cans of beer, Coke drinks, and orange juice.

Marco Polo Hongkong, Gateway, and Prince are located in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and form part of Harbour City. The three hotels have a total of 1,461 guestrooms and suites.

Marco Polo Prince

Marco Polo Prince

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Globe Telecom signs P5B and $45M term loan with Metrobank

Globe Telecom, Inc. signed a 10-year P5 billion and 7-year $45 million term loan with Metrobank. The loans will be used to finance Globe’s capital expenditures.

Globe Telecom, Inc. signed a 10-year P5 billion and 7-year $45 million term loan with Metrobank. The loans will be used to finance Globe’s capital expenditures.

“This new loan facility from Metrobank will help us address the demands of our customers in their continuing shift to a digital lifestyle. Globe is committed to invest in additional network capacities to handle the robust growth in data traffic from our customers,” said Globe chief financial officer Alberto de Larrazabal.

Globe invested about P11.4 Billion in capital expenditures in the first half of 2015. Bulk of the investment was allocated to data-related projects, including investments for the company’s broadband network, capacities for wireless data, LTE, and domestic and international transmission facilities.

Record revenues

Globe Telecom, Inc. closed the first half of 2015 with record-level consolidated service revenues of P53.8 billion, 13% higher than the P47.7 billion reported a year ago, on the strength of robust revenue gains on mobile data and broadband, as more customers adopt a digital lifestyle. On a sequential basis, Globe posted its highest ever consolidated service revenues of P27.6 Billion for the second quarter of the year, outpacing both the record-level revenues in the seasonally strong fourth quarter of 2014 of P26.3 billion and last quarter’s P26.2 billion by 5%.

Aside from the growing number of smartphone users in the Globe network, sustained emergence of various products and services that include OTT applications, music, video streaming, gaming and social media also provided support for the company’s mobile data business. Various partnerships with global digital giants such as Facebook, Viber, Spotify, NBA and HOOQ enabled the company to build a portfolio of products and services that provide relevant content to fit its customers’ digital lifestyle. This allowed the company to continue capitalizing on these partnerships to further seed data adoption among its customers.

Mobile data

Globe strengthened its leadership in mobile data business after it registered in the January-June period P9.5 billion in mobile browsing and other data revenues, a 53% growth from previous year’s level of P6.2 billion in the first six months of the year.

This achievement brought the contribution of mobile data revenues to 23% of total mobile revenues as of 1st half of 2015, coming from 16% the previous year. With mobile data business growing at a rapid pace, data users from overall Globe mobile customer base grew to 37% during the same period, a substantial increase from previous year’s 17%. Wireless data traffic in the Globe network also increased by 82% year-on-year with the growing number of smartphone users and applications that leverage the internet.

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Primary Homes unveils residential project Solare within Mactan tourism hub

Right within the tourism mecca of Maribago in Mactan with its beach resorts that serve as the hub for such water activities as snorkeling, diving, parasailing and jet skiing, top property developer Primary Homes, Inc. unveiled recently another master-planned residential community called Solare.

Right within the tourism mecca of Maribago in Mactan with its beach resorts that serve as the hub for such water activities as snorkeling, diving, parasailing and jet skiing, top property developer Primary Homes, Inc. unveiled recently another master-planned residential community called Solare.

The development, which caters to the middle market bracket, is made up of a total of 139 single detached houses in four different designs, said Primary Homes vice president for sales and marketing Ramero Espina.

Solare is open and expansive as it sits on a 3.5-hectare property along Buyong Road in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City. Nearby landmarks include the Tambuli Beach Resort, Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort, and Cebu White Sands Resort and Spa. The residential community is a few minutes away from the Mactan Newtown and several other commercial areas.

Solare Mactan

Palacios Grande is an 87-square meter 4-bedroom house with a lot area of 120 square meters.

Built with family in mind

“Breathing life to our tagline ‘Live the Bright Life,’ we’ve built Solare with the family in mind. We have incorporated into the development many amenities that promote the celebration of life’s special moments,” Espina added.

The residential community has easy access to major facilities and establishments, from the airport to hospitals to malls, in Mactan, he pointed out.

Espina said owning a unit at Solare does not have to cost a fortune, as it offers a wide range of housing choices with prices ranging from P2.5 million to P4.5 million and flexible payment schemes.

At this stage in the development, around 10 percent of Solare units are covered by letters of intent (LOI) from prospective customers.

Housing demand to continue

With Cebu’s economic development growing more than the national average, buoyed by rapid growths in the tourism, business process outsourcing (BPO), and manufacturing sectors, Espina said the housing demand would continue to rise.

“In Cebu, there is a big influx of workers and the same is true for Mactan. Many of them are middle-income earners. They will need homes here,” Espina added.

A Primary Homes statement said Solare is the ideal home for professionals working in manufacturing and BPO companies at the Mactan Ecozones, overseas Filipino workers, retirees, investors, and foreigners with Filipino spouses. Units are scheduled for turnover to buyers by the fourth quarter of 2017.

Solare Mactan

Hermoso is an 81-square meter 3-bedroom house with lot area of 180 square meters.

 

Solare units

Available Solare units include Hidalgo Royale, a 45-square meter 2-bedroom house with lot area of 120 square meters; Hermoso, an 81-square meter 3-bedroom house with lot area of 180 square meters; Turriano, a 56-square meter 3-bedroom house with lot area of 120 square meters; and Palacios Grande, an 87-square meter 4-bedroom house with lot area of 120 square meters.

Solare homes are Mediterranean-inspired with Spanish-tiled canopies and arched window molding. Finished units already have tiled floors, bedroom closets, kitchen counter with sink, bathroom fixtures, built-in cabinets and come with landscaped front garden and carport.

Subdivision amenities include a multipurpose hall, basketball court, selected landscaped sites, and play area.

Solare Mactan

Primary Homes “built Solare with the family in mind,” said vice president for sales and marketing Ramero Espina.

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Smart gives free rides, in-car WiFi in partnership with Uber

Smart subscribers in Metro Manila can now gear up for a sleeker and more convenient ride through the city as the country’s undisputed mobile services provider is giving away free rides on Uber, the world’s leading ride-sharing tech company.

Smart subscribers in Metro Manila can now gear up for a sleeker and more convenient ride through the city as the country’s undisputed mobile services provider is giving away free rides on Uber, the world’s leading ride-sharing tech company.

As an exclusive treat, Smart is giving away two free Uber rides – worth P300 each – to Metro Manila-based subscribers who are also first time-users of the Uber app. The rides can be used anywhere within Metro Manila from now until Sept. 30.

To avail yourself of Smart’s free Uber rides, simply visit www.smart.com.ph/uber and register your Smart number. Upon successful registration, you shall receive a Promo Code which you can input on the Uber app before requesting a ride.

Free in-car Smart WiFi on Uber rides

This exciting promo comes with Smart and Uber’s groundbreaking partnership that will allow Uber passengers to enjoy free in-car Smart WiFi – a first in Southeast Asia.

With free in-car Smart WiFi on Uber rides, more Filipinos can now experience the Smart Life even while stuck in traffic or breezing through the metro. This means you can now update your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and stay productive by accessing your work and personal email on the way to work or school.

The snarling rush hour traffic on the way home can also be a bit more bearable now that you can stream your road trip music on Spinnr and catch your favorite sport and Fox shows on Viewstream, or even binge-watch trending series and shows on iFlix and YouTube – all in the comfort of your Smart WiFi-powered Uber car.

“Uber and Smart share the same vision – a world where transportation is smarter and more convenient to passengers. By powering Uber cars with free Smart WiFi, we are able to bring the Smart Life experience to more Filipinos who can now stay productive and entertained while rushing to work or school, heading to the mall or on the way back home after a long day,” said Ariel P. Fermin, executive vice president and head for consumer business for both PLDT and Smart.

More exclusive Uber perks for Smart subscribers

Uber’s free in-car Smart WiFi will be available initially in select Uber Black vehicles and will be rolled out in other Uber vehicles over the next few months. Smart is also set to introduce exclusive voice and data packages, bundles and add-ons for Uber partner drivers, as well as offer special promotions, discounts and on-demand experiences for subscribers.

Experience the Smart Life on the road now by downloading the Uber app on Google Play Store, App Store and Microsoft Store for free. Also follow Smart’s official accounts on Facebook and Twitter @SMARTCares for the latest promos and services. (Press Release)

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PLDT boosts data connections for APEC meetings in Cebu

Leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT has stepped up its efforts to provide internet services for the meetings being held by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) delegates in Cebu City….

Leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT has stepped up its efforts to provide internet services for the meetings being held by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) delegates in Cebu City.

PLDT has strengthened its network coverage by deploying up to 100-mbps connectivity at Cebu’s premier hotels where the key APEC committee conferences are being held. These include the Waterfront Hotel, Marriott Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel, and Movenpick Hotel.

Free Smart WiFi

PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Communications is also providing free Smart WiFi connectivity at the Cebu international and domestic airports to accommodate the influx of diplomats and officials arriving for the APEC meetings.

“With the Philippines hosting this year’s APEC meetings, we at PLDT have taken steps to ensure that these events have the internet connectivity the delegates need to do their work,” said PLDT President and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno.

Showcase PH capabilities

“We want to help showcase the Philippines’ capabilities to host the APEC Summit,” he added.

Spread out over three weeks, the APEC consultations in Cebu will culminate with the Senior Officials and Finance Ministerial Meetings on September 9 to 11. The discussions cover trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, and economic cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region.

On September 5-6, the Senior Official’s Meeting was held. The SOM is traditionally is the most heavily-attended meeting because it brings together various APEC Working Groups, Sub-fora and Committees where Vice Ministers and Directors General will endorse initiatives that aim to make the region more dynamic, resilient, and inclusive.

Key issues

Specific issues tackled included illegal logging, mining, health, counter-terrorism, food safety, intellectual property rights, standards and conformance, sustainability of cities, disaster risk management, among others.

The SOM will be followed by two ministerial-level meetings: the Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM) on 7-8 September 2015 and the Finance Ministerial Meeting (FMM) on 9-11 September 2015.

These meetings continue to focus on this year’s four priorities of APEC under the overarching theme of “Building Economies, Building a Better World,” through enhancing regional economic integration; fostering MSMEs’ participation in regional and global markets. (Press Release)

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Security Bank BetterBanking campaign wins Best Brand Program at Bank Marketing Awards

Security Bank Corporation (SBC) bagged the award for Best Brand Program in the first-ever Bank Marketing Awards (BMA) organized by the Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines (BMAP). The event, which was attended by senior executive officers and leaders of BMAP member-banks, was held on August 28 at the Jonathan Y. Dy Hall of SBC’s head office in Ayala Avenue.

Security Bank Corporation (SBC) bagged the award for Best Brand Program in the first-ever Bank Marketing Awards (BMA) organized by the Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines (BMAP). The event, which was attended by senior executive officers and leaders of BMAP member-banks, was held on August 28 at the Jonathan Y. Dy Hall of SBC’s head office in Ayala Avenue.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. was keynote speaker during the event.

Rebranding initiative

SBC won the coveted Best Brand Program award for its rebranding initiative in 2014 with an integrated marketing and multi-media advertising campaign that introduced a revitalized brand identity and the new service promise of BetterBanking.

The campaign is in line with the bank’s move to strengthen its retail banking business, which entailed process improvements and product and service innovations that created a customer-centric banking experience for its clients.

SBC President and CEO Alfonso Salcedo, Jr. cited collaboration and focus as key factors that determined the campaign’s success.

Collaboration

“This award is the fruit of the collaborative efforts of the different groups in our organization,” he said. “The success of the campaign is the product of our collective ability to translate strategy and creative ideas into results through proper execution, focusing on our commitment to deliver a superior customer experience.”

Nominees also vied for awards in the following categories: Best Product Program, Best Electronic Delivery Channel, Best Program in Social Media, Best Financial Inclusion Program, and Best Kiddie Savings Program. For each of the six categories, entries were meticulously screened and scored based on a criterion of strategy, execution, creativity, and results.

Other awards

Judges were composed of independent marketing experts which included renowned professionals in their respective fields; namely, Cultural Center of the Philippines Chairperson Emily Abrera, BSP Director for Corporate Affairs Fe dela Cruz, past BMAP President and current BSP consultant Max Edralin, Asian Banker Associate Director Christian Kapfer, and marketing guru Dr. Ned Roberto.

SBC’s rebranding campaign also made distinctions recently in the Asian Banking & Finance (ABF) Awards 2015 when it took home the award for ‘Philippines Advertising Campaign of the Year’ (Retail Banking Awards). ABF also recognized SBC as ‘Philippines Domestic Foreign Exchange Bank of the Year’ (Wholesale Banking Awards). The bank is pursuing long-term plans to expand its retail banking business while continually upholding its brand promise of BetterBanking. (Press Release)

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The Courtyards at Brookridge combines best of modern, rustic living

Landscaped gardens, walk-up flats, and modern comforts, The Courtyards at Brookridge redefines condominium living in Cebu. This condominium community in Happy Valley, a premium residential location in Cebu City, will have a total of 10 building clusters, each with 20 to 25 units.

Landscaped gardens, walk-up flats, and modern comforts, The Courtyards at Brookridge redefines condominium living in Cebu.

This condominium community in Happy Valley, a premium residential location in Cebu City, will have a total of 10 building clusters, each with 20 to 25 units.

It is the second low density condominium project of Primary Homes, Inc. after The Courtyards at Banawa, a P300-million development that introduced Cebu’s first “walk-up” units.

The units are targeted for people who feel confined in medium-rise to high-rise buildings, said Primary Homes vice president for sales and marketing Ramero Espina.

It is also for those who want to cash in on the booming property rental business by investing in a unit or units at The Courtyards in Brookridge, he added, citing that there are a lot of students not from Cebu but studying here who need a place to stay.

The Courtyards at Brookridge clusters

Clusters A, B, and C will have three floors while Clusters D to J of The Courtyards at Brookridge will have four floors.

Potential buyers can choose from studio to two-bedroom units that range in size from 14 to 59 square meters. Finished condo units already have painted walls, partitions and ceiling, tiled floors, tiled toilet and bath with bathroom fixtures, provision for a water heater in the shower, kitchen sink and countertop as well as cabinets.

Except for the studios, all other units have service areas for a washing machine and dryer. Some one-bedroom and two-bedroom units come with their own balconies, from where one can best enjoy the greenery.

 

The Courtyards at Brookridge. Potential buyers can choose from studio to two-bedroom units that range in size from 14 to 59 square meters.

The Courtyards at Brookridge. Potential buyers can choose from studio to two-bedroom units that range in size from 14 to 59 square meters.

 

Each building cluster gets its own open courtyard with manicured gardens, mini-playground, and strolling lane. It also comes with its own fire detection and alarm system and a back-up power generator so condo owners need not suffer from outages.

Additional amenities for the whole condominium community include a swimming pool and clubhouse, pedestrian bridge, shooting hoops, and wastewater treatment facility.

Modern comforts

Located at the heart of urban Cebu City, the community has close access to medical centers such as Chong Hua Hospital and Cebu Doctors’ Hospital, malls and convenience stores like Paseo Arcenas, One Pavilion, 7-eleven and Mini-Stop, churches, as well as big colleges and universities.

SALES PROMO. The Courtyards at Brookridge is offering a great BER deal promo with payments start at P7,000 per month.

SALES PROMO. The Courtyards at Brookridge is offering a great BER deal promo with payments start at P7,000 per month.

 

The Courtyards is not just a name, it is a way of life that’s open and free. It comes with all the modern comforts of a home right in the middle of the urban action but still with the breathing spaces of a rustic retreat.

Live in a home that’s less than 30 minutes from the business, shopping, and academic centers without missing on the goodness of fresh air and lush greens that only nature can provide.

You can have the best of both rustic and modern worlds from your home in The Courtyards at Brookridge.

PROMO ALERT:

The Courtyards at Brookridge is offering a great BER deal promo. Payments start at P7,000 per month. To know more about the low monthly payments call the company at +6332 254 7188

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BPI opens auto, housing, and lifestyle event at Ayala Center Cebu

BPI makes it easy for Cebuanos to avail themselves of bank products and services during its ongoing Auto, Housing, and Lifestyle Madness event at Ayala Center Cebu. The bank brings the whole range of its financial services – from account opening and deposits to personal and business loans – in one place from September 3-6, 2015 for the convenience of Cebu residents, said BPI-Cebu Capitol Cluster relationship manager Maximo Rey S. Eleccion.

BPI makes it easy for Cebuanos to avail themselves of bank products and services during its ongoing Auto, Housing, and Lifestyle Madness event at Ayala Center Cebu.

The bank brings the whole range of its financial services – from account opening and deposits to personal and business loans – in one place from September 3-6, 2015 for the convenience of Cebu residents, said BPI-Cebu Capitol Cluster relationship manager Maximo Rey S. Eleccion.

For 2015, he added, BPI has set aside a total of P11 billion for consumer loans, including credit card, auto, personal, and housing loans, for the Cebu Business Center, which covers Cebu and the cities of Tagbilaran, Tacloban, and Ormoc.

“BPI has had a long and lively relationship with Cebu, and since Cebu City is at the heart of the Visayas and is accessible to everyone in the region, the Lifestyle Madness will always be here,” said Cebu and Eastern Visayas area business director Joseph Sidney Quimbo in a press statement.

BPI consumer loans

The bank has partnered with the country’s top automotive, real estate, franchising, and electronic brands to give Cebu and the rest of the Visayas the convenience of a one-stop-shop “for a new car or house, new business, new investment opportunities, or simply a lifestyle upgrade.”

Eleccion explained that anyone planning to buy a new car can pick from a variety of brands and even get lower rates or freebies when they take out an auto loan during the Lifestyle Madness event.

In terms of interest rates and appraisal, BPI’s housing loan is one of the most competitive in the industry, he cited, adding this is made possible by their partnership with several of the top property development companies.

At the same time, BPI is waiving the annual membership fee for life of credit cards applied for at the Auto, Housing, and Lifestyle Madness fair, Eleccion added. Other products the bank is offering during the event: BPI Family Ka-Negosyo franchising loans, asset management, zero percent installment plans or buy now, pay later options for gadgets and appliances.

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PLDT, Smart boost open Wifi access in Cebu airport, key hotels for Asian Carriers Conference 2015

LEADING telecoms and multimedia service provider PLDT, through its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, is boosting its Smart Wifi connectivity services covering Mactan international and domestic airports in Cebu and the city’s premiere hotels to accommodate the influx of international and local delegates attending the Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) this year from September 1 to 4.

LEADING telecoms and multimedia service provider PLDT, through its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, is boosting its Smart Wifi connectivity services covering Mactan international and domestic airports in Cebu and the city’s premiere hotels to accommodate the influx of international and local delegates attending the Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) this year from September 1 to 4.

Delegates can access free Wifi connectivity through Smart-powered access points in the primary areas of the International and Domestic airport including the airport’s entrance, waiting lounges, pre-departure and check-in areas, and Mabuhay lounge.

Guests will also be able to access free Smart Wifi at the Shangri-La in Mactan and Marco Polo Plaza in Cebu City, while LTE and 3G Smart signals have also been enhanced to complement the wireless connectivity in these areas for Smart subscribers.

International gathering

“ACC has become an international avenue for hundreds of global industry leaders from the wholesale fixed and mobile carriers to discuss and share the latest technologies, breakthroughs, and trends in the telecoms field,” said PLDT and Smart President and CEO Napoleon Nazareno. “Through this initiative, we are supporting Cebu’s efforts to build its position as a vital business hub with enhanced connectivity services.

ACC 2015 is anticipated to exceed the number of participants last year which drew in almost 1,500 guests flying in from 45 countries and local carriers and service providers who are constantly utilizing the local connectivity to communicate to their headquarters.

Supporting events

PLDT and Smart have long been supporting local celebrations and international events in Cebu providing the region the resilient and robust communications systems for its residents, business establishments, and tourists flying in to the city including the Sinulog Festival which draws millions of tourists every year.

This year’s ACC also closely coincides with the Senior Officials Meeting and scheduled Ministerial meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) where more than 2,000 officials from the participating countries will gather in Cebu. (Press Release)

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People ‘aren’t talking anymore’ and telcos are worried

People have made the shift to data connectivity and it is time for carriers to change the way they perceive their roles and move beyond connectivity, Hot Telecoms president Isabelle Paradis said in Tuesday’s opening of the 11th Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) in Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

People have made the shift to data connectivity and it is time for carriers to change the way they perceive their roles and move beyond connectivity, Hot Telecoms president Isabelle Paradis said in Tuesday’s opening of the 11th Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) in Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

Voice, however, is the foundation of the whole industry and the shift away from the traditional and lucrative “voice calling services” is a threat that must be addressed, said Disruptive Views editor Tony Poulos.

In her presentation “Above and beyond connectivity,” Paradis said the world “is going into a new era and carriers have to evolve with it in order to survive.”

Voice is not dead …. yet

“Until up to recently, carriers were busy connecting specific services,” she said, “now it’s all about connecting individuals and meeting their specific requirements.”

While she said that voice is not dead, she added and stressed “yet.” She said the introduction of the Internet into the handset has created new technology, new services, new competitors and new requirements. It also created a new type of user: the “me, me, me generation.”

“Now everything is about me, what I want and I have the power to get it,” she said.

Everything wireless, IP and data

Paradis said service providers have ceded control to users, who want “everything wireless, everything IP and everything data.” The challenge is that users “want everything for free” and they want them anywhere and at any time.

She said people have already made the shift away from voice. Now, data has become the basis of communication and voice is just one part of it. We can do all that we want with data and if people feel they want to talk to someone, they can call them using data.

Paradis cited a survey that said 64% of 4G users prefer to have access to data instead of voice in times of emergencies.

She said that from being just communication tools, mobile devices have evolve into entertainment devices and will soon be a digital lifestyle device.

Asian Carriers Conference Isabelle Paradis

SHIFT TO DATA. Hot Telecoms president Isabelle Paradis says consumers have made the shift from voice services to data and telcos have to evolve in order to survive.

Voice is a ‘wonderful thing’

Poulos, on the other hand, said telcos had it good with voice services.

“Voice has been the same but we managed to present it differently, we billed it differently. How did it work out that the longer the call distance was, the more we could charge for it? It is a wonderful thing,” he said.

“If you were a hundred miles from the power station or a thousand miles from the power station you still pay the same electricity, it’s the same with gas but in the telephone industry, we managed to charge people more because they were a longer distance away. We were very clever,” he said.

But then things change when smartphones arrived and so-called over-the-top services and products rose.

Threat or opportunity?

While companies like PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. work with and see OTT players as a business opportunity, some view them as threats.

“Many in the industry are terrified of these people and don’t actually want to talk to them, they want to keep away from them and for some reason they’re not here at our ACC event. It makes you wonder why they are not here. Because if we were so relevant for them running their business, then perhaps they should come along and have a chat with us.”

Poulos said issues on security and privacy on mobile can be a potential new area of business for telcos.

But, he asked, with “people talking less and applications taking over,” are telcos losing control of their networks?

“I’d like to know why we can’t make money like the utilities do. When you buy water from the utility, you pay for the amount of water you use, when you get electricity you pay for the amount of electricity you use. What do we do? We give it away, we created this monster. We allowed people to access data for a set price per year,” he said.

They need our networks

Telcos, he said, should be making money out of data and from OTT players.

“They need our networks. We can provide the thing that they need. None of the OTTs can survive without our networks. We have seamless delivery, we can do quality of service, we can bill for the stuff and they need that,” he said.

He proposed to differentiate connectivity into various service standards. “We can sell gold quality standard to companies that need high bandwidth such as those for videos,” he said.

Internet of Things challenge

“Don’t think videos will be about people watching movies, the problem of the Internet of things is that every monitor or surveillance camera in the world is now connected to the internet and that’s the video that’s gonna clog our networks,” Poulos said.

But net neutrality legislation will stop telcos from doing this, he said.

“Maybe we should change emphasis from constantly improving our networks to improving or even controlling the technology that uses and abuses those networks. Maybe that’s what we should be spending our money on or doing our innovation,” he said.

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Telcos need to transform into platforms for digital services: PLDT president

Although networks remain a core business for carriers, these are no longer enough for them to thrive in the digital age, PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon L. Nazareno said during the opening of the 11th Asian Carriers Conference at the Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City. “We need to go beyond that to survive and thrive,” Nazareno said.

Although networks remain a core business for carriers, these are no longer enough for them to thrive in the digital age, PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon L. Nazareno said during the opening of the 11th Asian Carriers Conference at the Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

“We need to go beyond that to survive and thrive,” Nazareno said.

He said today’s telcos, as with every major industry in the world, have to operate in an environment reshaped and disrupted by digital technologies. He said there is a profound change in the lives and livelihood of people brought about by the widespread move to mobile.

The increasing availability of powerful and yet affordable smartphones “has made it possible to put the magic of the Internet in the hands of more and more people,” Nazareno said.

Mobile, Nazareno quoted the GSMA Mobile Economy Report 2015, “is at the heart of the new digital ecosystem.”

“Indeed, mobile penetration has soared from just about 20% of the population 10 years ago to 50% by 2014. This is expected to further increase to nearly 60% in 2020,” he said.

Massive network investment

That shift, however, requires telecommunications companies to build and run extensive, ubiquitous, and robust data networks.

He said carriers globally are “stepping up to this task.” Mobile broadband or 3G and 4G account for 40% of total connections in 2014 and will increase to 70% by 2020. Mobile operators, Nazareno quoted a 2015 GSM Association report, “will invest US$1.4 trillion in networks until 2020 to support a data-driven future.”

That, he said, is the traditional role of carriers.

He said Internet companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple, “have balance sheets that dwarf those of telecom companies.”

Today, there is an opportunity for carriers “to transform themselves into platforms for delivering new digital services – both their own and those of other players in the digital ecosystem,” Nazareno said.

Compelling content and solutions

“The name of the game is compelling digital content and powerful digital solutions,” he said, adding that these are the ones that drive customer engagement and generate revenues.

Nazareno said PLDT is undergoing “digital diversification by partnering with global digital content and solutions companies” and investing in them or setting up joint ventures “in ancillary businesses that add value to our core network business.”

“We are putting not only money, but also our own innovations into these joint ventures,” Nazareno said.

ACC Napoleon Nazareno Smart TechnoCart

TECH IN EDUCATION. PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon L. Nazareno (center) with Smart officials and teachers from Lapu-Lapu City schools that are recipients of the latest batch of Smart TechnoCart units, an education package that contains a laptop, projector, portable WiFi and tablets for use in classrooms. (See separate story.)

 

Partnership, investments

He said that it was this approach that spurred them to invest in global e-commerce group Rocket Internet. “Alongside that investment, we are setting up with Rocket Internet a joint venture e-payments company that will use our award-winning Smart Money platform. This e-payments service will help power the growth of Rocket Internet’s e-commerce businesses in the Philippines and emerging markets all over the world where the majority of consumers are uncarded and unbanked,” he said.

Nazareno said PLDT has also partnered with companies like Fox and Disney and invested in iFlix as part of its digital diversification.

Enrich connections

The company has also undertaken projects that provide government digital solutions for development work, such as one with the Department Of Agriculture that involved distributing tablets with an app that “enabled municipal agriculture officers to quickly and efficiently calculate and report the fishing capacity of the boats of small fishermen all over the country.”

“As telecom companies, we are here not just to provide connectivity in the digital economy but more importantly, to enrich connections that improve the quality of life of our people,” Nazareno said.

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Launch of Philippine Startup Roadmap just the start: GOAB organizer

The Philippine Startup Roadmap, launched at the just-concluded third Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) in Boracay, looks forward to spawning 500 startups with an estimated cumulative valuation of $2 billion by 2020.

The Philippine Startup Roadmap, launched at the just-concluded third Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) in Boracay, looks forward to spawning 500 startups with an estimated cumulative valuation of $2 billion by 2020.

Deputy Executive Director Mon Ibrahim of the Department of Science ande Technology-Information Communication Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) led the launch of the roadmap, which he described as a list of what the Philippine startup community needs to do. The roadmap declares that its “main goal is to produce the next billion dollar tech startup from the Philippines.”

“The launch of the roadmap is just the beginning,” said Tina Amper of TechTalks.ph, the community that organized the annual Geeks on a Beach conference.

Next steps are critical

“The next steps of implementing, funding and constant collaborating are critical to positive impact to the Philippine economy,” she said. Amper said GOAB 2015 generated inquiries to take GOAB to other parts of the country.

“We are open to partnering with like-minded companies who can bring this happiness business to other parts of the world,” Amper said.

According to Amper, “Year 3 produced lots of positive feedback from participants about connections made, lessons learned, dreams re-discovered, and passions stirred.”

Partners

“We are so honored to work with some of the best in the country and the world during GOAB3. With the solid support of our co-organizer DOST-ICTO and the groundbreaking launch of the Philippine Startup Roadmap, TechTalks.ph feels a sense of accomplishment in participating in this collaborative effort to uplift our startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs, she said.

Amper also expressed thanks for the support of the co-presenters: IdeaSpace.ph, Smart Communications, Smart DevNet, SmartBro and PLDT Innolab. With their anchor sponsorship, they provide GOAB3 with seed money to start organizing the event long before the audience hears about it.

Strategic partners include Sym.ph, Happy Garaje, PRWorks and Third Team Media with AirAsia, Amazon Web Services, 1337 Ventures, A-Space, Ipanema, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Plug and Play Tech Center, Mingle, One Pouch, Microsoft, Islands, Salarium, Pascual Pharma Corp., Frontier Ventures, RTI International and USAID-STRIDE, Metro Drug Inc., GT Cosmetics Manufacturing, Synacy, Kickstart, STAC-Silicon Valley, Istorya.net, Department of Tourism Region VI, Chef on Demand, RC Victory World Trading Inc., Medifi, Partyphile, and The Tide as main sponsors.

Other partners include Syntactics as official event app partner, Globaltronics as official out of home advertising partners, Agos Boracay as accommodation partner. Media partners are Everything Cebu, Auza.net, Innovation is Everywhere, Geeks in Cambodia, InnoPub Media, OurAwesomePlanet.com, Tech in Asia, Vigattin Radio, Asian Journal Publications, Balikbayan Magazine, Amplify.ph, Speed Magazine, InewMedia.org, Hubnob.tv, and MyTechIsland.com.

Impact

Organizational partners are Philippine Software Industry Association, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, Brain Gain Network, Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology, Game Developers Association of the Philippines, Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines, Developers Connect, Young Entrepreneur Society, Mavericks Web Marketing Solutions. Supporters include Tekworx, E-science, Impact Hub, SkyEye Inc., and ventureLab Growth Partners.

“Do we want to do it again? Yes, we want to continue to impact people’s lives. As a startup ourselves, we have to continue to evolve and move with the times to make sure there is a product-market fit. So, we welcome the public’s feedback and support on how we can make this more worthwhile and sustainable,” she said.

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RAFI Micro-finance opens 5 more branches to serve more mothers

To serve more client nanays, The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Micro-finance has opened five more branches in Bohol, Cebu, and Leyte, bringing the total number of branches to 23.

To serve more client nanays, The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Micro-finance has opened five more branches in Bohol, Cebu, and Leyte, bringing the total number of branches to 23.

Last June 25, it inaugurated its Tagbilaran City, Bohol branch, which is located at Door 2, Seaview Apartment, CPG East, Bool District; followed by the opening of its Square One Commercial Complex, Tipolo, Mandaue City, Cebu branch on June 29; the Travelers Inn, Valladolid, Carcar City, Cebu branch on July 2; the Proper Damolog, Sogod, Cebu branch on August 4; and the Taft Street, Central 1, Poblacion, Palompon, Leyte branch on August 20.

Elevating lives

“True to RAFI’s promise of elevating lives, RAFI Micro-finance has committed to provide responsive and value-based micro-finance services to the communities, especially to poor entrepreneurs,” said Jonar Dorado, head of the RAFI Micro-finance Business Development Unit, on the opening of the Tagbilaran branch.

“We are currently serving over 46,000 families in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte, and determined to reach out to 120,000 families in the next three years, by expanding our operations through the opening of branches within and beyond the areas we currently cover,” he said.

RAFI Micro-finance aims to provide capital to nanay business entrepreneurs and to those wanting to establish their own small economic ventures as a way to empower them as co-pillars of their respective families. Aside from loans, it also provide micro-insurance seminars, business trainings, consultancy, medical missions, and other services.

Micro-finance program

Hazel Guille, one of those who attended the Carcar branch opening, was ecstatic that RAFI Micro-finance already has a branch near her.

“Nalipay kaayo ko ug nagpasalamat nga aduna nay branch nga duol diri sa Carcar kay sa una muadto pa ko sa Argao branch,” she said.

RAFI Micro-finance is a program under the Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship focus area of RAFI. It provides financial resources and know-how to women micro-entrepreneurs to nurture financial independence and entrepreneurship. Other focus areas of RAFI are Integrated Development, Culture & Heritage, Leadership & Citizenship, and Education. (Press Release)

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Lenovo launches VIBE Shot in Cebu

With a 16-megapixel camera, a dedicated shutter button and a toggle to activate auto and a pro mode with manual controls, the Lenovo VIBE Shot “gives consumers the best of both worlds.”

“It is a stylish and powerful smartphone that consumers want and an advanced camera that budding and seasoned photographers will love to use,” said Dino Romano, Country Manager, Lenovo Smartphones Philippines.

With a 16-megapixel camera, a dedicated shutter button and a toggle to activate auto and a pro mode with manual controls, the Lenovo VIBE Shot “gives consumers the best of both worlds.”

“It is a stylish and powerful smartphone that consumers want and an advanced camera that budding and seasoned photographers will love to use,” said Dino Romano, Country Manager, Lenovo Smartphones Philippines.

Vincent dela Cruz, marketing manager of Lenovo Smartphones Philippines, said the Lenovo VIBE Shot is a great camera phone that is exceptional in low-light photography. It also has optical image stabilization (OIS) technology to reduce blurring and shakes.

Lenovo VIBE Shot Cebu launch

Lenovo Smartphone Philippines marketing manager Vincent dela Cruz, National Geographic photographer Hannah Reyes, and Lenovo Smartphone Philippines country manager Dino Romano show journalists some photos Reyes took using the Lenovo VIBE Shot.

 

First with tri-color LED flash

Dela Cruz said the Lenovo VIBE Shot is the first smartphone to have a tri-color LED flash “that offers the most natural-looking photos.” The phone also has an on-board infrared auto-focusing (AF) system that is “twice as fast as conventional autofocus.”

Dela Cruz also said that the Lenovo VIBE Shot has a dedicated camera shutter button that wakes the phone into camera mode in just a second. It also has a hardware toggle that turns on either a smart auto mode or a pro option that has manual controls. The auto mode has point and shoot composition guides for portrait, food and scenery shots. In this mode, the viewfinder will tell you whether the shot is good or whether the subject is too close, among other tips.

Manual controls

In pro mode, users have controls on various aspects of the camera from aperture, shutter speed, white balance and ISO setting. Controlling the settings is via a slider interface that’s intuitive, dela Cruz said.

The phone also has a panoramic selfie capability that lets users take 3 selfies to include more people and combine these into 1 image.

Using the Lenovo VIBE Shot is like “having a full camera but the only difference is that I’m touching the screen and not the buttons,” said National Geographic documentary and travel photographer Hannah Reyes.

Lenovo VIBE Shot launch in Cebu

MANUAL CONTROLS. Multi-awarded photographer Tonee Despojo, Cebu Daily News photography chief, tries out the Lenovo VIBE Shot in taking a culinary photo.

 

Designed for users

Reyes said during the launch in Cebu last August 14 that the VIBE Shot “feels good in my hands.” She said she liked that it had a dedicated shutter button and you didn’t have to press screen controls to take a photo. She said she felt that the phone was “designed for the user.”

Reyes, who has been using the phone to take photographs, including in Cebu, for an exhibit, said she “liked that there is a lot of manual controls.” She also said that the Lenovo VIBE Shot’s “range of focus is really good, even up close.”

VIBE Shot hardware specifications

The VIBE Shot has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with an octa-core chip “engineered for multitasking, but is extremely power efficient at the same time,” the company said. It has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage, expandable up to 128GB through a microSD card. The VIBE Shot has 4G / LTE connectivity.

Dela Cruz said the VIBE Shot uses Corning Gorilla Glass front and back with an aluminum outer frame.

The Lenovo VIBE Shot is sold at P17,999 and comes with a free screen protector worth P299 and free back cover worth P599.

Lenovo VIBE Shot launch in Cebu

AUTO, MANUAL MODES. The Lenovo VIBE Shot has a toggle that turns on either a smart auto mode or a pro mode that offers manual control of the aperture, shutter speed, white balance and ISO setting.

 

VIBE ON campaign

Romano said the phone is part of the VIBE ON campaign for Lenovo smartphones targeted at millennials.

“The VIBE ON brand promise aims to empower individuals to go their own way, by providing smartphones with the latest technology and features that they care about, at a price they wouldn’t expect. VIBE ON is not only a rally cry for millennials to accomplish what matters to them, but also expresses Lenovo’s commitment to making cutting-edge innovation and premium technology accessible to help them achieve that,” the company said.

Vibe Shot photos

The following photos were taken by documentary photographer Hannah Reyes using the Lenovo Vibe Shot. They have been scaled down to reduce file sizes.

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