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Tutelage Learning Center brings progressive education to south Cebu

With its small class sizes, individualized program for regular and special education students, child-centered curriculum, Tutelage Learning Center is every parent’s dream school. What’s even better for preschool and elementary…

With its small class sizes, individualized program for regular and special education students, child-centered curriculum, Tutelage Learning Center is every parent’s dream school.

What’s even better for preschool and elementary kids, Tutelage Learning Center (TLC) will start classes on August 1, 2017 in a second and bigger branch in Pakigne, Minglanilla.

Ava Kristine Rosello, vice president for administration, said they offer all levels of instruction from playgroups to sixth grade as well as early interaction programs for children with special needs.

Tutelage Cebu started out in 2006 with tutorial programs to aid schoolchildren and added classes gradually until they were able to offer the complete primary education levels. Its first school is located on Edros Road, Cebu City.

Tutelage Learning Center

PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION. Officials of the Tutelage Learning Center talk about their school in a press conference. TLC will start classes on August 1, 2017 in a second and bigger branch in Pakigne, Minglanilla.

John Dewey philosophy

TLC espouses the John Dewey method of instruction, which follows the progressive rather than the traditional way of teaching, explained senior curriculum advisor Lanore V. Suico.

She added that aside from the fewer students in Tutelage classrooms, they are also active participants, problem solvers, and planners in classes.

“John Dewey believed that kids learn best if they are doing the activities firsthand. At Tutelage, children express their thoughts and ask questions,” Suico also said.

Curriculum adviser Yollymar Lemente said that aside from the learning they get from academic lessons, kids are also taught such competencies as finance and life skills.

Teacher-student ratio

Riza Sorbito, TLC director, said their ratio per teacher is six to eight kids for the playgroup and nursery levels and 12 for the graders.

She said Tutelage is K-12 ready and has accreditation from the Department of Education (DepEd).

The school, she assured, has zero tolerance for bullying but teachers promote positive discipline.

Tutelage Learning Center decided to open in Pakigne, Minglanilla to cater to residents of the town as well as those in Talisay and Naga.

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Philippine chocolate queen Raquel Choa shares life journey, passion

She didn’t know it then but Raquel Choa spent her childhood days in a place that shaped what she would become: Philippine chocolate queen and the amazing woman behind Ralfe…

She didn’t know it then but Raquel Choa spent her childhood days in a place that shaped what she would become: Philippine chocolate queen and the amazing woman behind Ralfe Gourmet, The Chocolate Chamber (TCC), and just recently, Batirol.

At a young age of seven, Choa went to live with her grandmas in a secluded mountain in Cebu when her parents separated.

It was in that remote community in Balamban in the early 1980s that she first encountered tablea, the bitter chocolate rounds that were popular with the villagers.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol Raquel Choa

BATIROL. The kiosk store concept is named after the wooden beater used to mix the tablea to make the sikwate. This is the latest project of Raquel Choa, who is dubbed the Philippine chocolate queen.

The Chocolate Chamber founder

Today, Choa is recognized for her work to elevate the quality of the products made from local cacao beans, starting with the chocolate buffets she organizes at her home in Cebu City and through her artisan chocolates and chocolate-flavored food and drinks that are available at The Chocolate Chamber restaurant.

The next step in her chocolate journey will be to make mainstream and add a new spin to tablea-based local delicacies such as “sikwate” and “champorado” through the Batirol.

Choa said the Batirol is a kiosk store concept created for franchising and it is a part of the business that her children will manage.

It is aptly named after the wooden beater used to mix the tablea to make the sikwate and was a fixture in households of old Cebu, said Choa’s right hand man Edu Patino.

Raquel Choa Batirol

PUTO-SIKWATE, CHAMPORADO. The puto sikwate and champorado used to be mainstays of the Cebuano dining table. Raquel Choa aims to make these mainstream again.

Food, drinks in Batirol menu

Batirol menu includes local favorites like sikwate, a drink made from tablea dissolved in water, and Chocondense, which is sikwate sweetened with condensed milk. Chocomallow is a chocolate drink topped with mallows.

This new twist to Ralfe Gourmet, Inc. intends to draw in the millennial crowd so drinks come hot or chilled. Since Batirol also seeks to reintroduce the wonders of tablea to young Filipinos, it makes available such delicacies as puto sikwate or sticky rice sprinkled with unpolished sugar and paired with sikwate and champorado or chocolate porridge.

Raquel Choa

Raquel Choa shares her life story.

The 41-year-old Choa also adds to the Batirol menu her soft rolls flavored with chocolate and baked with fillings like bacon and such Filipino favorites as longanisa and tocino.

In addition, she will also introduce one other use of a cacao-based product and that is using chocolate lava for painting, which will be one of the activities offered through Batirol.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

SOFT ROLLS. Raquel Choa and her children with soft rolls flavored with chocolate and baked with fillings like bacon and such Filipino favorites as longanisa and tocino.

Maria Cacao tales

The journey from her early years to founder of Ralfe Gourmet, Inc. took a circuitous route but Choa said the bedtime stories of her grandma, Nanay Nila, sustained her all through those years of hardship.

“Oh, she was a great storyteller. I grew up with her bedtime stories. One in particular was about Maria Cacao. She was the queen of the cacao forest and she travels through the river to the open sea on a ship that turns to gold when she docks. That magical story of Maria Cacao warmed my heart and my love for the chocolate drink made with tablea, sikwate as we call it, remained even when my parents got back together and brought me back to the city after six years,” she said during a small gathering in May.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

COSMETICS. Raquel Choa introduces her cosmetics line that include cacao butter for skin care.

During a trip she made to New York late in 2016, Choa said she met a lot of chocolate makers as well as boutique and shop owners.

“I realized that what makes us unique is we have a story to tell. Our chocolate has life, soul, and spirit and it comes from our ancestors,” she said.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

SIKWATE. Just add hot water and these sticks turn into sikwate.

Casa de Cacao chocolate tours

Ralfe Gourmet holds chocolate appreciation tours at Casa de Cacao, which is also her residence in Casals Village in Mabolo, Cebu City.

Woven into these events is her chocolate story and the circumstances that led to her passion for creating products out of cacao. These are not limited to artisan chocolates or even chocolate-flavored food and drinks but include beauty products as well.

“The mountain where I came from, it was beautiful. The river was clear, it had a lot of rocks. I remember swimming there. In that mountain, there were a lot of treasures,” she added, recalling how they would collect banana leaves to sell for one peso a sack and coconut shells to turn into charcoal just to be able to buy kerosene for the house lamps.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

RICE CRISPIES and peanuts make for a tasty chocolate snack.

Tablea beginnings

The mountain lass left Balamban but she would return decades later, grown up and married with eight children, to her grandma, Nanay Nila, and her other grandmothers, Nila’s sisters, to remember her childhood and learn more about the tablea that had featured prominently in her younger years.

“I got married when I was 16. I became a housewife. I stayed home and raised my children. I brought them to picnics in Ayala and I painted. I’m an artist by heart. I became an interior designer. Then our house in Cebu City was burned down in a fire. We had to stay in Lutopan for two years while we recovered. My kids had to transfer to La Salle,” she said.

It was there that she developed a friendship with the mother of her daughter’s classmate who was from Argentina.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

CHOCOLATE PAINTING. Raquel Choa shows a painting done by a friend and using chocolate lava, one of her latest products.

Chocolate journey

Choa introduced the tablea to her Argentinian friend who had reservations about it at first because it looked dirty. She recalled how they decided to produce quality tablea and make a business of exporting it but it never took off because her friend had to return for good to Argentina.

“She left me with 300 kilos of tablea. I said to myself, ‘I’m a fighter’. I’ve been through so many challenges in my life. I can’t afford not to tell the whole world that we Filipinos know how to make chocolate in our own way,” she added.

She vowed that once her house in Cebu City was finished, she would focus on making chocolate as her artist’s canvas. About five years ago, she organized the first chocolate buffet at Casa de Cacao and that had been the beginning of her chocolate journey.

Chocolate Chamber Batirol

PAINTINGS. Raquel Choa and her kids with their paintings that use chocolate lava.

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Global Cebu FC fails to break Davao Aguilas defense, settles for draw

Global Cebu FC wasted a golden chance to go on top after settling to a scoreless draw against a gritty Davao Aguilas at the Cebu City Sports Center in the…

Global Cebu FC wasted a golden chance to go on top after settling to a scoreless draw against a gritty Davao Aguilas at the Cebu City Sports Center in the Philippines Football League.

Global Cebu remains at second place with 21 points, two off leaders Meralco Manila, which saw its unbeaten streak ending in embarrassing fashion with a 7-0 loss to the rampaging Ceres Negros.

A win would have put Global on top on goal difference over Meralco.

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Matt Hartmann splits the Davao defense. (Photo by Albert Flores)

“The players tried really hard but Davao was better organized on defense and they were able to adjust well,” said Global Cebu coach Marjo Allado.

Global Cebu controlled the pace of the match but couldn’t break through in the final third. Misagh Bahadoran, who had two against the Stallions, was ineffective up front, while Sekou Sylla, who came in the second half for Paolo Bugas, couldn’t get past Keeper Marko Trkulja.

Global Cebu Davao Aguilas

Davao Aguilas Jordan Jarvis receives his citation from the Sportswriters Association of Cebu or SAC for making the national u19 team. (Photo by Albert Flores)

The Davao custodian, who was named the Man of the Match, also collected a last-minute header off Sylla deep in injury time to preserve the draw.

“I’m very happy getting the Man of the match but it was the team that helped me make those saves,” said Trkulja.

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Shu Sasaki (25) tries to get past his defender. (Photo by Albert Flores)

Shu Sasaki, whose bicycle kick capped Global Cebu’s 3-0 win over the Stallions, also had a brilliant chance but his first touch off a lovely through ball from Paul Mulders was just too strong.

“Obviously very happy with the results today compared to the last time. They were very organized and Trkilja managed the back four very well,” said Davao coach Gary Philippis, whose team lost to Kaya FC, 5-1, at home in their last game.

More photos of the match by Albert Flores

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

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Batibot now on App Store

Educational app develops essential thinking skills among children Parents using iOS-powered smartphones and tablets can now download for free the Batibot mobile application, an interactive version of the beloved TV…

Educational app develops essential thinking skills among children

Parents using iOS-powered smartphones and tablets can now download for free the Batibot mobile application, an interactive version of the beloved TV show that helps enhance learning among children.

Earlier launched on the Android platform, the app features fun games that teach kids basic learning concepts like matching, sorting, and grouping. The app also lets children practice tracing letters with the proper strokes, and helps them identify shapes, colors, numbers, and letter sounds.

The Batibot app is the first educational app in Filipino that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

Aligned with curriculum

The app’s “Awiting Batibot” feature enables kids to sing along to Batibot songs, while “Kuwentong Batibot” contains local stories that promote good values.

What makes the Batibot app stand out from other educational apps is that it is the only app in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

The Batibot app is the product of a collaboration among Smart Communications, Community of Learners Foundation, and developer startup OrangeFix. The app jumpstarted Smart’s efforts to work with various communities and organizations to create literacy apps in local languages.

Batibot app

The app features local stories that promote Filipino values.

Filipino language, values

Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto said that since the Batibot app was launched on the Android platform, a lot of parents had inquired as to when it would be downloadable on iOS devices.

“Many parents based here and abroad said their kids had grown up speaking English, and that they wanted their children to be proficient in the Filipino language too. The Batibot app will certainly help them brush up on Filipino in a fun, interactive way,” he said.

“When you search for educational content online, you’ll find that most of them are in English. There is a need for digital learning content that promotes the Filipino language as well as Filipino values. The Batibot app addresses that need,” Isberto added.

Kids can now have the fun Batibot experience that their parents had, through the Batibot app.

Technocart, School-in-a-Bag

To bring the Batibot app to remote, underserved communities, Smart installs the app in the tablets it donates to public schools under the TechnoCart and School-in-a-Bag programs.

Smart TechnoCart, which is donated to public schools with electricity, is a 2×2 ft mobile laboratory containing 20 tablets for students, as well as a laptop, projector, and mobile Wi-Fi with starter load for the teacher. The School-in-a-Bag, which is meant for remote public schools without electricity, is a backpack containing a solar panel, a laptop, five tablets, a mobile phone, a pocket Wi-Fi with starter load, LED TV, and learning modules.

Smart as well as individual and corporate sponsors have so far donated TechnoCarts to 40 schools, and School-in-a-Bag units to 18 schools all over the Philippines.

Teachers of the recipient schools are given training on tablet basics and on child and curriculum development.

Powerful learning tools

“Combined with guidance from elders, mobile devices and the internet can be powerful tools in enhancing learning among children,” Isberto said.

“Batibot helped shape a generation of Filipinos, many of whom are now parents and teachers. They now have an opportunity to share the Batibot learning experience with their children and students through the Batibot app,” he added.

To know more about Smart’s initiatives to use technology for the development of different social sectors like education, please follow the Smart Communities page on Facebook. Those interested to sponsor Smart TechnoCarts or School-in-a-Bag units may send an email to [email protected] for more information. (Press release)

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Among Cebu CEOs, technology solutions have yet to make an impact: survey

Despite innovations in the field of finance, e-commerce, consumer services, transport and logistics, only a third of Cebu entrepreneurs believe that technology should be a business priority. Results of the…

Despite innovations in the field of finance, e-commerce, consumer services, transport and logistics, only a third of Cebu entrepreneurs believe that technology should be a business priority.

Results of the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey showed that only 35 percent of business leaders look at how technology can help in the company’s overall strategic plan.

Less than half or only 48 percent of the 108 Cebu CEOs surveyed by Isla Lipana & Co./PwC Philippines feel threatened by the speed of technological advancements.

PWC Cebu CEO survey

Factors for successful innovation

The sentiments of Cebu businessmen are in contrast to the 80 percent of 2015 Philippine CEO survey respondents who consider technology breakthroughs like robotics, automated supply chain, enterprise solutions, and digital platforms as crucial to business transformation.

A slightly higher number or 50 percent of Cebu CEOs, which PwC Philippines calls Cebu’s next generation business leaders, see the need to continuously innovate to stay relevant for the long term.

The CEOs cited strong visionary leadership, right culture, willingness to challenge norms and take risks, capacity for creativity, and close collaboration with customers as factors for a successful innovation.

PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey

CEO SURVEY FINDINGS. Aldie Garcia, PwC Philippines lead branch operations partner, presents findings of the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey. On stage are Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Melanie Ng and PwC Philippines chairman and senior partner Atty. Alexander Cabrera.

Technology as threat, opportunity

Aldie Garcia, PwC Philippines lead branch operations partner, said that for these CEOs, technology is both a threat and an opportunity.

“Our next generation business leaders believe the first to adopt will be the first to succeed,” he added.

Atty. Alexander Cabrera, PwC Philippines chairman and senior partner, said during a forum to share survey findings that “building a lasting legacy for the organization and the people they serve while growing the business is fundamental to our CEOs’ success.”

Vision for Cebu

Sought for their thoughts on how they envision a new Cebu, CEOs said focus should be on stronger partnerships between government and the private sector (83 percent), better investment incentives (63 percent), and maintaining and growing the local Cebu brands (49 percent).

PwC also found out that close to half of business owners were not originally from Cebu but moved here because of trade and economic opportunities.

Many of them or 77 percent worked for top companies as junior executives (40 percent), management executives (32 percent) , and board executives (10 percent) before going into business for themselves.

Series of CEO surveys

The survey was conducted by PwC Philippines in partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and marked the first of a series to be done on Cebu business leaders.

Melanie Ng, CCCI president, said the undertaking is “envisioned to benchmark the changes in how our CEOs think and innovate.”

She added that the CEO Survey will provide a glimpse into the entrepreneurial journey of business owners that hopefully will inspire more entrepreneurs in the region. Respondents in the first CEO survey represent about 12 percent of CCCI members.

Other CEO Survey findings

Other survey findings showed that:

  • Majority of CEOs started their business in trading but have diversified to manufacturing, retail and wholesale distribution, and consumer and food beverage.
  • Over the next three years, business owners plan to enter the following industries: real estate and construction, tourism, food manufacturing, and consumer retail and technology.
  • Business leaders consider infrastructure, tourism, and technology as industries that need priority.

Survey presentation

PWC Cebu CEO survey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Asus ZenFone AR highlights augmented reality, virtual reality capabilities

From checking out how furniture looks in a room you’re decorating to seeing dinosaurs in the sala as you tell a story to your kids or even doing a virtual…

From checking out how furniture looks in a room you’re decorating to seeing dinosaurs in the sala as you tell a story to your kids or even doing a virtual and yet hyper-realistic tour of a car, augmented reality (AR) plays a central role in the Asus ZenFone AR.

The latest flagship device from Asus was highlighted during a gathering of developers in Mandaue City last Saturday.

Asus ZenFone AR

ASUS ZENFONE AR with VR headset and controller.

The ZenFone AR will be available starting July 17 but the company provided a preview during the Google I/O Extended Cebu 2017 last July 1. Mike Santos, of Asus product and brand marketing – smartphones, said they are working with developers to build AR applications for use on ZenFone AR.

Asus ZenFone AR specs

Santos did a demonstration for journalists and bloggers on the capabilities of the ZenFone AR. He said the phone supports both Google Tango and Daydream. Tango is an AR technology while Daydream offers immersive virtual reality or VR.

Santos said the phone is able to do this because of its top of the line specs: Snapdragon 821 optimized for Tango and up to 8GB of RAM. “That’s like your laptop,” Santos said.

Asus Zenfone AR Cebu

AR DEMO. Mike Santos of Asus product and brand marketing – smartphones demonstrates the augmented reality capability of the ZenFone AR with a virtual and yet realistic tour of a BMW unit.

The ZenFone AR has a TriCam system that lets the phone track your location as you move through space. It also has depth-sensing. This Santos demonstrated through an augmented reality tour of a BMW vehicle. Using the phone, Santos was able to show reporters and bloggers features of the car – from the engine to its interior – as if they were checking an actual vehicle.

Interior design, Harry Potter game

Santos also did a demonstration of how the phone can overlay furniture on a live camera view of a room: allowing a homeowner to preview design options. He also did a demonstration of how AR can be used for shopping of dresses via an augmented reality display of the items.

For its virtual reality capability, Santos did a demonstration through a Harry Potter game that transported the player to the popular book’s universe by donning the phone as a VR headset and using a controller to wield a virtual magic wand.

Asus ZenFone AR Cebu

VIRTUAL REALITY DEMO. Students check out the VR capability of the ZenFone AR with an immersive Harry Potter game.

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Celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion talks burgers

An afternoon of burger-making with celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino demonstrated three distinct ways to prepare this very American fare sans the beef patty….

An afternoon of burger-making with celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino demonstrated three distinct ways to prepare this very American fare sans the beef patty.

Waterfront Cebu prepares a line-up of activities in its “4th of July” celebration of Filipino-American Friendship Day, from the American food buffet available at UNO up to July 4 and the exhibit of American retail brands to the make your own burger event with chef Tristan today, July 3.

Chef Tristan’s ultimate chicken burger featured chicken marinated in buttermilk. The pulled pork adobo with “mungga,” meanwhile, combined baby back ribs cooked adobo-style until tender flavored with mung beans gravy and topped with sweet mango.

BURGER FLAVORS. (From left) Cardava banana peels as patty, pulled pork adobo with monggo gravy and topped with diced mango, and ultimate chicken burger.

Taste of the burger patty

He told media and bloggers who attended the event that the trick to making burgers is to consider the amount of fat to lean meat in the patty.

“The taste of the patty depends on the doneness of the meat. Those who want rare to medium rare patties should ensure more lean meat in the mix,” he added.

A third burger had of all things banana peel as the main ingredient.

Chef Tristan Encarnacion

Chef Tristan Encarnacion demonstrates the making of burgers in an event for bloggers and journalists at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Cardava banana

To make it, chef Tristan said he boiled the peels of the cardava banana for about an hour, removed and washed them, and simmered them again in boiling water until tender. The peels are minced with a knife before spices and seasoning as well as eggs and bread flour are added.

Once formed into patties, these can be stored in the freezer to cook later. To complement the banana peel as patty, he added tomato salsa as topping.

Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino

Pulled pork adobo burger with “mungga” combines baby back ribs cooked adobo-style until tender flavored with mung beans gravy and topped with sweet mango.

To give it the smoky taste of beef, one can choose to add a dash of steak sauce or mix meat with the banana peel to form the patty.

Waterfront Cebu is looking into making the burgers available in the menu.

chef Tristan Encarnacion

The ultimate chicken burger features chicken marinated in buttermilk .

 

chef Tristan Encarnacion

BANANA PEEL. This burger has a patty made of cardava banana peels boiled, minced, and cooked with spices.

 

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Cebu Landmasters CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year

Jose Soberano III, who steered his homegrown business Cebu Landmasters, Inc. to an initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year, was picked Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand…

Jose Soberano III, who steered his homegrown business Cebu Landmasters, Inc. to an initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year, was picked Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand Chamber Awards.

Soberano received the award from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) during the Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night last June 30 at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The awards night capped the Cebu Business Month 2017 celebration.

Soberano, chairman and chief executive officer of Cebu Landmasters, Inc., left Ayala Land in 2000 to build what is now the top local housing developer in Metro Cebu.

Jose Soberano III

Jose Soberano III speaks during his awarding as the Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand Chamber Awards.

Prestigious award

The Entrepreneur of the Year is the most prestigious among the five awards bestowed by the chamber. The other awards are Corporate Social Responsibility Institution, Small Business Entrepreneur, Countryside Entrepreneur, and Young Entrepreneur. The awardees are chosen by the CCCI board of trustees and past presidents.

CCCI President Melanie Ng said Soberano distinguished himself as the only Cebuano entrepreneur to bring his company public.

“Receiving this most prestigious award is thanks to my whole Cebu Landmasters team whom I consider family. They are the main reason why CLI is where it is today: number one in Cebu and soon to be number one in Visayas and Mindanao,” Soberano said in a speech during the awarding

P12 billion expansion

Soberano announced earlier this year a P12 billion expansion in the Visayas and Mindanao to address the need for housing, offices, and commercial spaces. CLI has simultaneous development projects in Cebu, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao for 2017.

Saying he has confidence in the economic prospects of the Visayas and Mindanao, Soberano urged local entrepreneurs to become champions in their turf and, at the same time, leverage opportunities beyond Cebu and the region. (Press Release)

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ITF 2017: Travel deals to Philippine, international destinations up for grabs

A special section showcasing luxury resorts and a “super seat sale” by Cathay Pacific are just a few of the travel deals available in the upcoming International Travel Festival (ITF)…

A special section showcasing luxury resorts and a “super seat sale” by Cathay Pacific are just a few of the travel deals available in the upcoming International Travel Festival (ITF) 2017 from July 14-16 at Ayala Center Cebu.

Stephanie Villahermosa, ITF project director, said that over 80 exhibitors had already signed up for the travel event a day before its media launch last June 21.

They include hotels and resorts, tour and travel agencies, as well as local and international airline companies.

Seat sale

Cathay Pacific Cebu manager Catherine Sin said they will offer promo fares to destinations like Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand and super discounted rates to Southeast Asian countries, China, and Korea during ITF 2017.

International Travel Festival 2017

TRAVEL DEALS. A special section showcasing luxury resorts and a “super seat sale” by Cathay Pacific are just a few of the travel deals available in the upcoming International Travel Festival 2017 from July 14-16 at Ayala Center Cebu. Photo shows organizers, partners, and guests during the media launch.

During the travel event, national flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) will offer a seat sale to domestic and international destinations as well. The company already has an ongoing seat sale for its recently started Cebu-Tagbilaran route starting at base fare of only P500 up until October 2017.

SilkAir, regional wing of Singapore Airlines, will also join ITF 2017 and offer low fares to various destinations.

Luxury resorts

Now on its fourth year, the travel show organized by MyEventology grows even bigger and will now include a special section featuring several luxury resorts throughout the country.

According to Villahermosa, these include Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, El Nido Resorts, Manila Hotel, and the Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa in Bohol.

She added that previous ITFs had enjoyed high foot traffic based on the official visitor count by Ayala Center Cebu to an average of 90,000 persons daily for the three-day event. Over a hundred exhibitors, including tourism offices of the different Philippine regions, signed up for ITF 2016.

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Marco Polo Plaza serves Thai food in latest culinary event

Pad thai, tom yum goong, pineapple fried rice, and other delectable dishes are highlighted in the Cafe Marco buffet as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates the vibrant flavors of Thailand…

Pad thai, tom yum goong, pineapple fried rice, and other delectable dishes are highlighted in the Cafe Marco buffet as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates the vibrant flavors of Thailand in Thai Sojourn.

Thai Chef Nontra-Udon Buapha came all the way to Cebu from the Marco Polo Prince Hotel in Hong Kong and is currently at the helm of Cafe Marco’s kitchens churning out top-notch Thai delicacies.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Thai Sojourn

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Thai Sojourn. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

Up until June 27, Cebuanos will get to enjoy the best of Thai cuisine on top of the regular buffet spread at Cafe Marco.

At the opening of Thai Sojourn last June 23, restaurant staff in delicate and colorful chut thai welcomed diners.

Marco Polo Thai Sojourn

Thai Chef Nontra-Udon Buapha of the Marco Polo Prince Hotel in Hong Kong. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

Media guests invited to the opening were served Thai Chef Buapha’s selection, which highlighted stir fried squid, steamed fish, pad thai, chicken satay and pork, pineapple fried rice, and mango sticky rice.

Thai Chef Buapha, who has over 38 years of experience in the kitchen, was also present to explain the intricacies of Thai cuisine.

Pineapple salad.

Pineapple salad. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

For drinks, Cafe Marco served a refreshing cold milk tea with a hint of ginger that perfectly complemented the spicy dishes and the delightfully sweet and fruity “Summer Forever.”

Thai Chef Buapha said Thai food is made of the freshest ingredients. In the same way, the Thai cuisine served at Cafe Marco made use of natural local produce.

Marco Polo Thai Sojourn

Chicken and mango salad. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

Take advantage of Café Marco’s on-going special lunch buffet promo at Php 880 net from Monday to Friday until July 31, 2017.

For bookings and inquiries, please email [email protected] or call Cebu: (63 32) 253 1111 or Manila at (63 2) 887 1263.

More photos

Marco Polo Plaza Thai Sojourn

Pomelo salad. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Thai Sojourn

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Thai Sojourn is ongoing at Cafe Marco until June 27. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

 

Marco Polo Plaza Thai Sojourn

Thai Chef Buapha said Thai food is made of the freshest ingredients. In the same way, the Thai cuisine served at Cafe Marco made use of natural local produce. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

 

Marco Polo Plaza Thai Sojourn

Thai Chef Nontra-Udon Buapha with new Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Brian Connelly. (Photo by Rafelle Allego)

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Accenture launches rapid innovation center in the Philippines

Systems that detect whether mining vehicles are overloaded or its drivers exhausted to an augmented reality platform to train people how to operate machinery or decorate a house were​ put…

Systems that detect whether mining vehicles are overloaded or its drivers exhausted to an augmented reality platform to train people how to operate machinery or decorate a house were​ put on display as Accenture launched today its rapid innovation center in the Philippines.

Liquid Studio is an “open center where clients co-innovate with Accenture engineers to turn concepts into applications and solutions with speed and agility,” the company said.

While it is a venue where Accenture clients can work on innovation to stay ahead in business, it is also a place where the company’s workers can be trained or work on the latest technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality, said Ambe Tierro, senior managing director and technology lead, Accenture in the Philippines.

Accenture Liquid Studio Philippines

ACCENTURE LIQUID STUDIO. Leading the launch of the Accenture Liquid Studio in the Philippines are (from left) Ambe Tierro, senior managing director and technology lead, Accenture in the Philippines; Accenture Technology Services group chief executive Bhaskar Ghosh; and JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines.

Technology innovation hub

It will also serve as a hub in the technology ecosystem in the Philippines, she said.

JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines, said the Liquid Studio would be a place where the company can co-innovate with universities and schools as well as startups.

The center will help answer the question “how do you use technology to create business value?” said Accenture Technology Services group chief executive Bhaskar Ghosh.

During Thursday’s launch at the facility, which occupies an entire floor with about 2,000 square meters in the Uptown Place 3 at the BGC in Taguig City, Accenture showcased technologies on the connected home, artificial intelligence, internet of things, drones, analytics, robotics, and augmented reality.

Speed up development

The rapid innovation approach with agile methodologies can hasten development time from months to a matter of days or weeks, Palpallatoc said.

Among those they put on demo for journalists who covered the launch was a system that is able to scan faces and identify the person, take note of personal characteristics, and determine the mood: whether he or she is happy. It can be deployed in advertising displays that can tailor the marketing material based on data captured by the system.

That system was built in a matter of days by an Accenture team member. Also built quickly and shown on demo was an internal chatbot platform on which the company can provision systems or work on technical tasks just by messaging.

Data analytics

The company also showcased a mini-racing track with toy cars that used the Oracle cloud to display a dashboard of data analytics gathered by the toy vehicles. It shows how using analytics can help managers determine such things as vehicle fuel efficiency. They also showed a model of a system that can monitor and manage mining vehicles. It can guard against overloading and offer data to increase operational efficiency. It can even determine whether the driver is already exhausted by, among other things, monitoring for micro-sleeps via a camera.

The company also showed a crop monitoring system that used sensors, drones and thermal cameras to monitor the health of plants.

In demonstrating the use of augmented reality, the company showed how using an app, people will be able to focus the camera on a car engine and know its parts and how to do such things as replace the battery. The information is overlaid on the actual display of the vehicle. They also demonstrated how using Microsoft’s Holo Lens, people can preview how furniture, carpets and other accessories will look in the actual room.

Palpallatoc said augmented reality is a great technology to tap in training workers. He said it can provide a safer and cheaper alternative to working on an actual equipment.

Social benefits of technology

The Liquid Studio is part of a network of facilities throughout the world. This makes sure innovation is available to clients in its various facilities globally, said Ghosh.

During the launch, Ghosh highlighted the social benefits of technology by showing how an employee in Manila with hearing and speech impairment was able to work with colleagues in India by tapping AI to facilitate video communication. This, Ghosh said, will enable more people to join the workforce. He said it will enable managers to have a more diverse employee pool, including those who previously would not have been able to work.

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Marco Polo Plaza Cebu marks Independencia with rich Luzon cuisine

The bagnet of Ilocos, sisig of Pampanga, bulalo of Batangas, and many more Luzon dishes will serve as the highlight of the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu culinary festival Independencia from…

The bagnet of Ilocos, sisig of Pampanga, bulalo of Batangas, and many more Luzon dishes will serve as the highlight of the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu culinary festival Independencia from June 8-15 at Cafe Marco.

For the whole duration of Independencia: Flavors of Northern Philippines, diners will get to experience the rich and vibrant cuisine up north.

Jessica Avila, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s culinary consultant for Independencia, said they decided to focus on the rich flavors of Luzon for this year’s Philippine food festival.

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Tawilis salad.

Best dishes

“Some of the best dishes in Philippines are from the north, such as Pampanga and Bulacan. We also included food from such places as Ilocos and Baguio,” she added.

Brian Connelly, new Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager, said the Philippines gained independence from Spain 119 years ago and the hotel has honored this national celebration with a food festival for the past five years.

The culinary journey Independencia has featured food from across the country and this year it puts focus on the rich cuisine of Luzon, he added.

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Bulalo

Buffet rates

Diners can expect such signature Luzon dishes as pochero, bringhe, Bicol express, tapang Taal, ukoy, bistek Tagalog, and kare-kareng dagat, sisig santol, and tawilis salad to be served during lunch and dinner at Cafe Marco on top of the international spread all throughout Independencia.

Regular buffet rates apply even during Independencia but Cafe Marco currently has a special promo for weekday lunch at P880 net per person.

For more info on the culinary festival, call 253-1111 local 8429 or email [email protected].

More Independencia photos

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Jessica Avila, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s culinary consultant for Independencia, with the hotel’s chefs.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Bagnet

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Buko salad and leche flan.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Dinakdakan

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Kare-kareng dagat.

 

Marco Polo Independencia

Adobong manok sa buho.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Ukoy.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Tapang Taal.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Bicol Express

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Bistek Tagalog

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Santol sisig.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Ginataang bilo-bilo.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia.

Various kakanin.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Burong Mangga.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Independencia

Tokwa’t Baboy.

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Skywaterpark Cebu highlights Philippine culture in Pasundayag night

Traditional Philippine dances like the tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, palayok, Polynesian-inspired performances, and an impressive fire show marked the debut of the Pasundayag cultural night at Skywaterpark Cebu on June…

Traditional Philippine dances like the tinikling, pandanggo sa ilaw, palayok, Polynesian-inspired performances, and an impressive fire show marked the debut of the Pasundayag cultural night at Skywaterpark Cebu on June 2, 2017.

Simon Yang, Skywaterpark vice president, said the cultural show will now be a weekly event, held every Friday night, and include a scrumptious dinner buffet with steak, lechon, and a salad station.

Skywaterpark Pasundayag

EVERY FRIDAY, traditional Philippine dances will be performed at the Skywaterpark.

Traditional songs, dances

Yang said that when he came to Cebu for the first time, he wanted to experience the local culture. Skywaterpark came up with the event to provide a venue where foreign visitors can see and appreciate traditional songs and dances.

He added that they’ve come to realize that local guests also love watching ethnic performances because these bring back memories of schooldays when they knew the dances by heart.

A very important feature in the show, according to Yang, is letting guests participate by teaching them the tinikling or the pandanggo.

Skywaterpark Pasundayag

FIERY FINALE. An exciting fire show ends the the wonderful performance.

Cultural show, dinner buffet

He said part of the plan is to eventually hold the cultural show thrice weekly. Skywaterpark, located at the sixth floor of JCentre Mall, can accommodate 250 to 300 guests for the cultural night.

The cultural show with dinner buffet has regular rate of P3,000 but Skywaterpark currently has a special promo for locals at only P1,500. It does not include the use of the waterpark.

Skywaterpark Cebu currently holds a pool party every Saturday night and Sunday brunch for families with a host of activities for kids. Yang said they’re thinking of themes for the other days as well.

Skywaterpark Cebu day use rate is P1,000 net for adults and P900 net for kids 12 years old and below. Use of the waterpark facilities is from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Facebook Live of show

More photos

 

Skywaterpark Simon Yang

Simon Yang, Skywaterpark vice president, answers questions of reporters during the launch.

Skywaterpark Pasundayag

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Huawei showcases P10 with portrait photography workshop in Cebu

Beautiful portraits, said fashion and beauty photographer Sara Black, “reveal untold stories.” To improve your portraits, Black offers these tips: use lighting and consider the quality, direction, and color of…

Beautiful portraits, said fashion and beauty photographer Sara Black, “reveal untold stories.”

To improve your portraits, Black offers these tips: use lighting and consider the quality, direction, and color of the light; look for a good facial angle and ask the subject which she or he considers the best; take into account body dynamic, follow composition rules but feel free to break these, connect with your subject, and have your own style.

Black held a short workshop on mobile portrait photography at the Chateau de Busay in Lahug last June 1. The Behind Portrait Photography workshop was held to showcase the superior image quality of the Huawei P10.

Huawei P10, P10 Plus features

Huawei Philippines marketing director Corinne Bacani gave a detailed introduction to the P10 and P10 Plus during the event. Using the phone is like having a “photo studio in your pocket,” she said in her introduction.

“Make every shot a cover shot,” was how Huawei highlighted its camera, which was co-engineered with iconic brand Leica.

Huawei P10 Sarah Black

HUAWEI P10. Photographer Sara Black demonstrates the use of a Huawei P10 to take great portrait photographs.

The front or selfie camera is also a Leica, the first among phones. This allows the selfie camera to capture “2X more light” and “amazing self-portraits, whether day or night.”

“The Huawei P10 even senses groufies and automatically switches to wide-angle shots when more people enter the picture,” the company said.

Leica dual camera

The rear camera, however, is what makes the P10 stand out among flagship phones.

“The new Leica Dual Camera 2.0 uses precise 3D facial detection, dynamic illumination, and natural portrait enhancements to produce stunning artistic portrait shots in Leica image style,” the company said.

The P10 has a Leica Dual Camera 2.0 while the P10 Plus has a Leica Dual Camera 1.0 Pro Edition.

It has an easy option to do photo bokeh, where the subject stands out because the background is rendered blurred or out of focus while taking the shot. The bokeh options can be finely controlled in the P10 while taking the shot.

Trendy colors

Black showcased these as well as other outstanding imaging features of the phone in her talk.

“The most iconic portraits are defined by outstanding lighting and clarity of details. Working as a lifestyle photographer for many years now, I always place a premium on how these two elements are reflected in every shot I make, and the Huawei P10 makes this very convenient. They instantly give dramatic touches to every photo, revealing interesting stories or realities of every subject that are rarely captured even through words,” Black said.

The P10 comes in trendy colors, generated with the help of Pantone, like Dazzling Blue, Prestige Gold, Graphite Black, and Greenery.

Huawei P10 Corinne Bacani

PHOTO STUDIO IN YOUR POCKET. Huawei Philippines marketing director Corinne Bacani gives a detailed introduction to the P10 and P10 Plus during the workshop.

Not only does the phone have formidable tech specs, it uses machine learning algorithms to make applications open and run faster, said Bacani.

Bacani added, “I’m glad people are curious to learn more about portrait photography, and with the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus’ arrival in the Philippines, I believe they now have the perfect devices to carry and express that curiosity and enthusiasm with them everywhere.”

The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus are available at P28,990 and P36,990 via Huawei Experience Stores and retail partners nationwide. It is also available via Globe ThePLAN 1799 for frere. The plan comes with 11GB of data, Unli-All Net Texts and Unli-Calls to Globe & TM, Netflix access for 6 months, Spotify Premium access for 3 months, HOOQ access for 6 months. The Huawei P10 can also be purchased either via any credit card at 0% interest for 6 and 12 months or Home Credit at 0% installment for 9 months without the need for a credit card.

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AI to empower workers but employees need to enhance skills to meet new challenges: Accenture

Tapping artificial intelligence or AI frees up employees from repetitive tasks to focus on higher value work, officials of Accenture said. “The intent is to amplify, enable, and empower people…

Tapping artificial intelligence or AI frees up employees from repetitive tasks to focus on higher value work, officials of Accenture said.

“The intent is to amplify, enable, and empower people to do more,” said JP Palpallatoc, Accenture managing director and digital lead in the Philippines. “That’s the intent of AI. If we are able to use it properly, we can achieve that.”

Palpallatoc said the tasks that AI can best replace are what the industry dub as the 3 Ds. “Dirty, dull, and dangerous jobs. those are things that are ripe to be replaced by AI,” Palpallatoc said in an interview during the recent Transformation Summit in Cebu.

Accenture Cebu Transformation Summit

AI IS THE NEW UI. Palpallatoc, Accenture managing director and digital lead in the Philippines, discusses key technology trends during the Transformation Summit in Cebu.

Ride the tech wave

“Would it have a negative impact? In our experience in Accenture, we have been able to ride the wave rather than be sunk by it by actively multi-skilling our people,” said Accenture managing director Arvin Yason.

Palpallatoc and Yason gave talks during the Transformation Summit held at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Palpallatoc talked about key technology trends uncovered in a global survey of business and information technology executives by Accenture.

Among the key trends spotted in the study is that of AI being the new user interface or UI.

“AI is becoming more mature. It is simplifying and making all interactions smarter. In the future, the AI will become a spokesperson for a company or the brand,” said Palpallatoc.

Accenture Cebu Transformation Summit

AI CAPABILITIES. Accenture managing director Arvin Yason talks about the capabilities of AI and such fields as video analytics.

Computer vision

Yason expanded on AI and discussed what he described as “one of the more under-appreciated technologies in the past year,” which is computer vision.

“Everything from being able to remember where you left your phone or being able to track who the people are on the production floor. These will be realized over the next few years because of the rapidly evolving computer vision technologies,” he said. During his talk, he showed how security cameras paired with AI can recognize fights and other security issues as well as traffic incidents.

Yason said there are many things AI can do on top of serving as virtual assistants. “Our financial clients use AI to do fraud detection. Whether they are cheating on an insurance form or claim or something else. We also use AI in conjunction with medical specialists to either provide better diagnosis or to even augment certain procedures.”

JP Palpallatoc Arvin Yason Accenture

AI AND KEY TRENDS. Accenture managing directors Arvin Yason (left) and JP Palpallatoc discuss AI and technology trends in a press conference held on the sidelines of the Transformation Summit in Cebu.

More jobs but higher skills needed

When asked whether AI adoption will have a negative impact on employment, Palpallatoc said there is likely to be, instead, a “net addition” in the number of jobs in the country.

“There is a reduction from the low skill but there is also an increase in the mid and the high. And I think the important thing here is for us to get that particular opportunity. We need to re-skill, multi-skill and up-skill our people so that we are able to do the high-level skilled work,” he said.

“In Accenture, we have been actively cross training and upskilling our people from the older technologies and the more manual processes to the relevant technologies that will be used to build AI and other new IT skills,” Yason said.

To those who fear AI, Palpallatoc said, “The power is with us. For the AI to act, they need to be trained, they need to be taught, they need to be provided data, they need to be guided as well.”

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Cebu City gets P9.6 billion monthly from IT/BPM; P20 billion monthly by 2019

The IT and BPM industry brings in P9.6 billion in new money to Cebu City every month. By the end of 2019, that figure will balloon to P20 billion monthly,…

The IT and BPM industry brings in P9.6 billion in new money to Cebu City every month. By the end of 2019, that figure will balloon to P20 billion monthly, even by low estimates, said Cebu City consultant Joel Mari Yu.

Yu gave an overview of IT/BPM in Cebu City in yesterday’s Transformation Summit at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Yu led the now defunct Cebu Investment Promotions Center, which has been credited with bringing in investments to the city.

“The numbers I’m showing you are modest assumptions based on first class data gathered from primary sources,” Yu prefaced his presentation.

Joel Mari Yu IT/BPM Cebu City

WHAT WE NEED TO DO. By dealing with aggravating circumstances for investors in Cebu, the target of 200,000 employees in the IT/BPM industry by 2019 can be easily achieved, said Cebu City consultant Joel Mari Yu.

Direct, indirect employment

The average salary of an IT employee in Cebu City is P30,000 a month, growing at 10% a year. From just 1 company in 2004, there are now 456 IT/BPM companies in Cebu City.

Assuming a 1:1 ratio between salaries and wages and operating expense, P7.6 billion in new money flows into Cebu monthly, Yu said. This is based on an employee count of 130,260 in 2016. The figure is also limited to Cebu City and does not take into account locations like Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City.

With a low estimate of P10,000 monthly rate for indirect employment, Cebu City gets P2 billion from indirect employment.

“Combine the 2, it’s 9.6 billion that flows into Cebu every month. Minimum. That’s on the assumption of 130,000 workers. There could be much more,” he said.

By targeting 200,000 employees in 2019, Cebu City will be getting P20 billion monthly.

Cebu IT/BPM growth

New money coming in

“This is new money coming in monthly,” Yu said. “When Shoemart makes money, they sell to Juan to pay Pedro. It’s recirculated money. But when you bring in a foreign investor, the money is remitted from abroad every month. Every single month they remit money to pay for their expenses, for their operations in this country.”

Today, Yu said, Cebu City gets P464 million in monthly rental income from IT/BPM companies. By 2019, that will grow to at least P700 million monthly.

Hitting the target of 200,000 IT/BPM employees in Cebu City by end of 2019 is achievable, Yu said. It will not even entail promotions and marketing.

Fix aggravating circumstances

“It is a matter of Cebu City dealing with aggravating circumstances facing the IT/BPM industry,” Yu said.

These key problems are transportation and traffic, security and safety, housing, and the need for a one-stop shop for processing employment papers. By dealing with these problems, Cebu City will get even more investments and locators.

“I do not like the former mayor because he was one of the bigger reasons why the CIPC closed shop,” Yu said to end his talk. “But he said something and I would like to end by quoting him. Can we do this? Together we can make it happen.”

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CEDFIT expands mandate, transforms into Cebu IT/BPM industry association

Seeing the need for an organization that will look after the interest of the information technology and business process management sector in Cebu, the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information…

Seeing the need for an organization that will look after the interest of the information technology and business process management sector in Cebu, the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (CEDFIT) has transformed itself into the Cebu IT/BPM Organization (CIB.O).

CIB.O is a full industry association that will look after the interest of the sector, expanding from CEDFIT’s role of bridging the talent gap between industry and academe and taking on more roles like promotions and expanding collaboration.

CEDFIT was organized after the Cebu is IT Summit in 2001, when the business community and government agreed to work together to make Cebu a preferred IT destination. At that time, the biggest concern raised by industry was the gap in skills of graduates produced by schools in Cebu.

CEDFIT CIB.O

TRANSFORMATION SUMMIT. Officials raise a toast to mark the transformation of CEDFIT into the Cebu IT/BPM Organization or CIB.O during the Transformation Summit in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Leading the ceremony is CIB.O chairman Francis Monera.

Bridge academe-industry gap

CEDFIT has been able to partly bridge that gap with its industry programs, officials said. Cebu has a better employability grade, even compared with the National Capital Region. Other places in the country have an employability rate of 6% to 7%. Graduates in Cebu, on the other hand, have a 28% to 29% employability rating.

“CIB.O’s vision is to make Cebu as the preferred IT/BPM location for higher value IT and IT-enabled services,” said CIB.O chairman Francis Monera. “The organization’s mission is to develop and promote the strengths of Cebu and sustain the growth of its IT/BPM industry through driving collaboration, innovation, and excellence.”

Monera said CEDFIT had a lot of successful programs and worked on initiatives apart from talent development but “these were all ad hoc.” CIB.O will formalize and expand that, he said in a press conference held at the sidelines of the Transformation Summit at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Higher value IT services

CIB.O will complement the local industry by continuing to provide human resource development and taking on marketing and infrastructure promotion to make Cebu as preferred IT destination for higher value services. CIB.O has 128 members that comprise IT/BPM companies, academe, support groups, government agencies, and civil organizations.

Digital Transformation Summit chairman Jun Sa-a said a key initial advocacy of CIB.O would be security and data privacy, especially with the Data Privacy Law going into full effect this year.

Sustain industry growth

“It is high time that Cebu has a fulltime industry association after growing so big. We can now become more focused on the needs of our main IT/BPM players and help sustain the industry’s growth,” Sa-a said.

Monera said IT is the main driver behind Cebu’s robust growth. This can be seen with the growth from 2009 to 2014 exceeding the growth in the 20-year period before that.

Cebu now has 300 IT/BPM companies with 140,000 employees. CIB.O said Cebu is “aiming to capture higher value services such IT outsourcing, health information management, shared services, engineering services, banking and financial services, software development, research and development, among others.”

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Smart holds festival, rekindles love for local stories

Centuries ago, a girl named Maria lived in what is now known as Conalum, a mountainous area in the town of Argao which is about two hours away from Cebu…

Centuries ago, a girl named Maria lived in what is now known as Conalum, a mountainous area in the town of Argao which is about two hours away from Cebu City. People called her Maria Cacao, as she owned a cacao plantation from which they sourced the beans they used to create tablea. To this day, residents of Argao produce these chocolate tablets.

Town Mayor Stanley Caminero shared this legend with a rapt audience of children and adults at the culmination of the three-day “Istorya Mo, Nagpaabot Ako: Kwentuhang Batibot Caravan and Story Festival.” Organized by Smart Communications in cooperation with the local government, the caravan sought to rekindle people’s love for storytelling, especially the sharing of local tales.

Preservation of local heritage, culture

Caminero said the story of Maria Cacao could not be found in any book; it is a story that has been orally passed by Argao locals from generation to generation.

“If you think about it, the oldest heritage is stories,” he said, adding that storytelling is important not just for the preservation of local heritage and culture, but for the education of children as well.

Argao Storytelling

Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero shares the Legend of Maria Cacao with school children.

Aside from Caminero, the festival’s featured storytellers included Rey Bufi of The Storytelling Project, Argao college students and elementary pupils, a parent, a teacher, and Sun.Star Superbalita editors and writers.

The festival also included trainings on storytelling and story writing for Education students of the Cebu Technological University (CTU)-Argao campus.

Make lessons fun

CTU student Chariss Ampoon said that from the trainings given by Bufi and children’s book writer Michael Jude Tumamac, she picked up tips on how to manage a classroom and give life to tales.

Maria Elena Bajo, who teaches second grade in Argao’s Binlod Elementary School, said stories make lessons fun, and can be integrated in a lot of subjects, even Math.

Aside from holding storytelling festivals, Smart also promotes the Batibot app as a way to encourage love for stories among children. Created by Smart in partnership with the Community of Learners Foundation and developer OrangeFix, the app has a feature called “Kuwentong Batibot.”

The Batibot app is the first educational app in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education. It can be downloaded for free on Android devices.

The Batibot app promotes love for storytelling among kids through its Kuwentong Batibot feature.

Modern tools

Through games in the app, such as the Batibot classic “Alin ang Naiba?”, children in their formative years can also learn basic concepts like matching, sorting, and grouping. They are shown how to identify shapes, colors, numbers, the alphabet, and letter sounds. The children can also practice tracing letters with the proper strokes.

Teacher Mira Vissa L. Padron of Argao Central Elementary School said the use of 21st century tools to promote the culture of storytelling would be a big help to them in the classroom. (Press Release)

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Coca-Cola sari-sari store program empowers micro-entrepreneurs

Investing in women leads to the betterment of the family and the community, and Coca-Cola aims to empower as many as it can with its Sari-Sari Store Training and Access…

Investing in women leads to the betterment of the family and the community, and Coca-Cola aims to empower as many as it can with its Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program.

Under this campaign, women micro-entrepreneurs join a 12-week program where they are taught entrepreneurship skills, financial literacy, merchandising, and gender sensitivity among other things, said Atty. Adel A. Tamano, Coca-Cola vice president for public affairs and communications.

He added that studies conducted by Coca-Cola worldwide showed that if women handle the budget in the households, the money primarily goes to food and education.

“When you want to help communities, it makes sense to invest in women,” Tamano pointed out.

Coca-Cola Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources

HELPING COMMUNITIES. Atty. Adel A. Tamano, Coca-Cola vice president for public affairs and communications, says studies conducted by Coca-Cola worldwide showed that if women handle the budget in the households, the money primarily goes to food and education.

Multi-awarded program

Coca-Cola’s multi-awarded STAR program has trained more than 83,000 mostly women sari-sari storeowners in the Philippines over the course of five years, according to Tamano.

He said it makes sense for Coca-Cola to partner with women micro-entrepreneurs since over half of company earnings come from the sari-sari stores in the country that now number one million.

Since it was launched in 2011 as part of the 5by20 global initiative of The Coca-Cola Company to economically empower five million people within its value chain by 2020, the program has evolved and undergone improvements.

Tamano said Coca-Cola partners with local governments, micro-finance and other groups, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to reach as many women as possible. Other partners include Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, Alay sa Kaunlaran, Inc., First Community Cooperative (FICCO), Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc., ASA Philippines, and the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO).

STAR program recruitment

On Sunday, May 7, Coca-Cola gathered over 1,000 women entrepreneurs in Danao City, Cebu as part of a massive recruitment campaign to the STAR program. Tamano said a similar recruitment activity was first done in Davao City.

The training will happen every Saturday or Sunday of the week for 12 weeks. “We used to do the training all in one week but the dropout rate was high. We now do it in a way that works with their schedule. The sari-sari stores are also the women’s homes and they can’t be away for one week,” he said.

Women who join also receive additional benefits: they get connected to Coca-Cola’s bottling partners and learn to take advantage of promos and discounts and have access to microfinance programs.

The STAR program, which now has 390 accredited facilitators to teach and train women retailers, is being implemented in over 47 locations throughout the Philippines.

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Pueblo Mexicano serves good, authentic Mexican food

Enzo Nable knows good Mexican food and he’s sharing his particular love for the cuisine through the family-owned Pueblo Mexicano at Banilad Town Center (BTC) in Cebu City. “In 2010,…

Enzo Nable knows good Mexican food and he’s sharing his particular love for the cuisine through the family-owned Pueblo Mexicano at Banilad Town Center (BTC) in Cebu City.

“In 2010, there wasn’t a lot of Mexican food available here. And the ones that were available, the quality wasn’t so good. To fill my own need, I started a Burrito Bar and served tacos and burritos,” said Enzo, who grew up in California where there are a lot of good Mexican restaurants.

Pueblo Mexicano Banilad Town Center.

Pueblo Mexicano is located at the Banilad Town Center.

His parents, in their travels throughout Mexico, were also fascinated by the artistry and color of Mexican cuisine and culture, having visited the towns of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Puebla, and even Oaxaca, where Mexico’s indigenous Maya heritage remains.

The family decided to expand Burrito Bar to the current full-service restaurant Pueblo Mexicano on May 5, 2013, added Enzo, who is the restaurant manager.

Pueblo Mexicano Tamales

TAMALES. Two steamed corn masa dumplings stuffed with lechon carnitas, cheese, and salsa rojo, wrapped in corn husk.

Pueblo Mexicano menu

Pueblo has an extensive menu that also carries Peruvian, Argentinean, and Spanish food in addition to Mexican cuisine, according to Enzo.

While many Filipinos equate Mexican cuisine with tacos and burritos, it is actually so much more. At Pueblo, diners discover that it is also elegant tamales (steamed corn masa dumplings stuffed with lechon carnitas, cheese, salsa rojo and wrapped in corn husk) or pan-fried canape-sized tortillas topped with chilorio pork and pico de gallo that goes by chalupas poblanas or the fish veracruzana.

To guests dining for the first time in Pueblo Mexicano, Enzo said his recommendation is for them to try the chilorio de puerco. This dish, which is Sinaloa-style lechon Carnitas with salsa rojo, refried beans, and Mexican rice, is a bestseller.

Pueblo Mexicano chilorio de puerco

MUST-TRY. The chilorio de puerco is a dish made of Sinaloa-style lechon Carnitas with salsa rojo, refried beans, and Mexican rice.

Signature nachos

Another must-try is the Pueblo’s nacho grande that is made up of the restaurant’s signature nachos, which Nable said they make themselves. Nacho Grande combines tortilla chips, lechon carnitas, cheese, refried beans, jalapeños, chopped onion, sour cream, pico de gallo, and chicharrones.

The restaurant served many of the dishes in the menu during a food-tasting event that the MyCebu.ph team attended.

Pueblo Mexicano nacho grande

NACHO GRANDE. The restaurant makes its own signature nachos. Nacho Grande combines tortilla chips, lechon carnitas, cheese, refried beans, jalapeños, chopped onion, sour cream, pico de gallo, and chicharrones.

Mariles Alvarez Nable, Enzo’s mom, shared an interesting info about the appetizer shishito al padron. The dish is a hot skillet of pan grilled shishito peppers with olive oil, and it is prepared in the style of Padrón, Spain. You only get one or two spicy peppers in a serving of around 10 or more peppers but you’ll never know which one until you eat them.

Pueblo Mexicano shishito al padron

SHISHITO AL PADRON. Pan grilled shishito peppers with olive oil. You only get one or two spicy peppers in a serving of around 10 but you’ll never know which one until you eat them.

Restaurant hours

Pueblo is open for lunch and dinner, and restaurant hours are extended up to 1 a.m. on weekends.

Enzo said they serve cocktails like frozen margaritas and mojitos for now, but will soon have a full bar.

The vivid blue and orange walls complemented by folkloric tapestries and table covers, brightly painted reclaimed wood furniture, intricately carved wooden cross, colorful animal sculptures, and crystal chandeliers give the restaurant interiors an eclectic look.

More photos

 

Pueblo Mexicano

AGUA FRESCA brewed tea.

 

Pueblo Mexicano Chalupas Poblanas

CHALUPAS POBLANAS. Canape-sized corn tortillas, pan-fried, topped with chilorio pork, pico de gallo.

 

Pueblo Mexicano fish vercruzana.

FISH VERCRUZANA. Pan-grilled tasik fish, tomato wedges, olives, capers, cilantro-lime rice.

 

Pueblo Mexicano gambas pasta.

Gambas pasta.

 

Pueblo Mexicano

MARGARITAS you should try.

 

Pueblo Mexicano

HOUSE SALAD. A delicious mix of chopped greens, jicama, sugar beets, corn kernels, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, cilantro ranch, and tortilla crisp.

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