Feature Properties Uncategorized

Federal Land unveils 5th tower in premier Cebu development Marco Polo Residences

Designed like two overlapping pearls with interiors that take inspiration from the surrounding greenery, Marco Polo Parkplace will soon rise within exclusive Nivel Hills as the fifth and final tower in the Federal Land development Marco Polo Residences.

The latest condominium building, which has just began construction, will have 350 residential units covering a selection of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom with living spaces ranging from 30 to 79 square meters.

CEBU AS INVESTMENT DESTINATION. John Cabato, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing for Federal Land, Inc., said Marco Polo Parkplace will start accepting reservations for condo units within September.

CEBU AS INVESTMENT DESTINATION. John Cabato, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing for Federal Land, Inc., said Marco Polo Parkplace will start accepting reservations for condo units within September.

Community Tech Uncategorized

Smart literacy apps named sole Filipino finalist in GSMA’s Asia Mobile Awards 2019

The roster of mother tongue-based literacy apps developed by leading wireless services provider Smart Communications (Smart) has been shortlisted in this year’s Asia Mobile Awards (AMO 2019).

Organized by mobile network operators group GSMA, AMO 2019 serves as the Asia Region’s leading stage for the latest and most innovative mobile products, apps, devices, services and initiatives.

Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the UN SDGs in Asia

Smart is in the running for its #LearnSmart Mother Tongue-Based Literacy Apps that were developed in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and academic institutions nationwide. The PLDT subsidiary initiated the local content development program in 2018 as a response to the lack of interactive local content for education and is the only finalist from the Philippines among the 50 contenders shortlisted by the AMO.

#LearnSmart app

The apps are nominated under the category of Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the UN SDGs in Asia. Other finalists include edotco Myanmar for Sustainable Connectivity Solution, China Mobile, Huawei Technologies & The 301 Hospital for The World’s First Successful 5G-Enabled Remote Surgery on a Living Human Patient, KaiOS for the emerging OS, KT & UNEP for Air Map Korea, and Mahindra Comviva for AsiaHawala.

The presentation of the Awards will take place at this year’s Mobile World Congress-Shanghai from June 26 to 28, 2019.

First of its kind

The LearnSmart mother tongue-based literacy apps feature lessons on local alphabet and numbers, videos showcasing local stories and songs, and games that help develop a learner’s essential memory and thinking skills. The mobile tools were designed to be interactive to make teaching and learning basic literacy in the local language more interesting and encouraging for both the teachers and the learners.

To-date, Smart has launched nine #LearnSmart literacy applications: Bahay Kubo (Filipino), Kaalam (Cebuano), Ta’allam and Tahderiyyah (Arabic), Matisalug (Matigsalug indigenous peoples Tribe of Davao and Bukidnon), Kaaram (Waray), Katao (Inabaknon), Singsing (Kapampangan), and Sanut (Ilokano). To-date, the suite of apps are the only mobile tools in the Philippines that feature localized educational content. In the case of Matigsalug, it is the first tribal app of its kind in the country, while Tahderiyyah is the first literacy app for the Bangsamoro children.

The main delivery pipeline of the apps is through the Smart School-in-a-Bag program, which are portable digital classrooms that are donated to remote and under-served schools in the Philippines with intermittent to no power. With more than 110 learning packages deployed as of end-2018, over 30,000 students around the Philippines have been given the opportunity to improve their performance in school though Smart’s flagship education initiative.

Aside from School-in-a-Bag beneficiaries, anyone can also download the #LearnSmart apps for free via Google Play.


Game-changing mobile devices and technologies

Prior to being named as a finalist in AMO 2019, the roster of mother-tongue literacy apps was previously awarded by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines with Silver citations at the 54th Anvil Awards. The nods were for Best PR Program Directed at Specific Stakeholders and Best PR Tool – Mobile Application.

Now on its fourth year, the AMOs recognize game-changing mobile devices and technologies, to applications and services developed for, or available in Asian markets, showcasing the ever growing value that mobility brings to users, industries, businesses, communities and economies across Asia’s countries and regions.

Smart’s previous AMO nods include a nomination in 2018 for SHINE OS+ (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange), an electronic medical record and referral system spearheaded by Smart and the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center. From 2007 to 2009, the company also won AMOs for several Mobile Money and Advertising-Marketing initiatives, as well as a nomination under the Green Mobile Award for the company’s tarpaulin recycling initiatives. (Press Release)


VECO cleans up, improves Liloan school for Brigada Eskwela 2019

The more than 500 pupils of the Suba Elementary School in the Municipality of Liloan in Cebu will have better classrooms once the new school year opens. The school, which is located in the northernmost part of the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) franchise, was the utility company’s beneficiary for this year’s Brigada Eskwela.

A total of 160 VECO Kaibigan, headed by Chief Operating Officer Anton Mari G. Perdices, participated in the annual Brigada Eskwela activity, a program of the Department of Education that started in 2003. The activity brings together teachers, parents, and community members every third week of May to work on repairing and preparing public schools for the school opening.

Conducive to learning

Suba Elementary School Brigada Eskwela coordinator Hazel Balaba was grateful that Visayan Electric once again helped their school.

“Suba Elementary School is thankful to Visayan Electric Company for we are very lucky to be chosen as the recipient of this year’s Brigada Eskwela. This activity will surely help us achieve classrooms that are more conducive to learning,” Balaba said.

Perdices, meanwhile, thanked VECO employees for volunteering for the activity. “I am very happy and excited to see all the Kaibigans in this annual event. This is by far the most attended Brigada Eskwela since we started it in 2010,” he added. He also inspired the students by reminding them to be good citizens of the country and to always do good in their studies.

BRIGADA ESKWELA 2019. A total of 160 Visayan Electric Kaibigans, led by Chief Operating Officer Anton Mari G. Perdices, volunteered during the 2019 Brigada Eskwela at the Suba Elementary School in Liloan last May 25.

BRIGADA ESKWELA 2019. A total of 160 Visayan Electric Kaibigans, led by Chief Operating Officer Anton Mari G. Perdices, volunteered during the 2019 Brigada Eskwela at the Suba Elementary School in Liloan last May 25.

Armed with paint brushes, buckets of paint, brooms, rags and hammers, Visayan Electric Kaibigans repaired, repainted and cleaned the classrooms to prepare these for the school opening. Visayan Electric also donated 100 armchairs made from scrap wood. These will be used by the Grade four and five pupils.

Active partner

Suba Elementary School is the tenth school beneficiary of the Visayan Electric under the Brigada Eskwela program. The school also received an AGAPP building in 2016 and its wiring system was upgraded in 2017.

Through the years, VECO, the second largest electric utility in the Philippines, has been an active partner of DepEd in implementing different projects geared toward improving education in the different public schools within its franchise area.

VECO serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu — Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando. (Press Release)


Doc uses ambulance as personal chauffer; CA issues writ of Kalikasan; Cebu City declares state of calamity over dengue–Cebu News Digest for October 12, 2016.

Doc uses ambulance to go to mall, makes patient wait

A DOCTOR is facing charges for causing the delay of a a patient’s transfer from Pinamungajan to the Vicente Sotto Medical Center. The patient, 15-year-old John Michael, died at Vicente Sotto due to a blood clot in the head. The doctor denied she was the cause of delay.

…Larano said he and his son were already inside the ambulance with the doctor, expecting that she would assist them in going to the city. However, the doctor only hitched a ride because she allegedly did not have money to pay for her fare. The doctor reportedly asked to be taken to her house in Cebu City using the ambulance. On their way to the city, the doctor reportedly stopped at a mall in Toledo City to buy something with them waiting inside the ambulance at the parking area. Freeman report on the incident.

Read: Freeman: Doc uses ambulance as personal car, goes to mall with patient waiting in parking area.


Wheelchair-bound activist honored for advocacy; Rama worried over worker’s fate; New BOPK-Digong alliance emerges–Cebu News Digest for Jan 10, 2016.

This is the roundup of stories that came out in local publications today, June 10.

HERO. Cebuano activist Norlan Pagal, left paralyzed after an ambush last year, was honored for his fight against illegal fishing. (Photo from Oceana Philippines facebook page.)
HERO. Cebuano activist Norlan Pagal, left paralyzed after an ambush last year, was honored for his fight against illegal fishing. (Photo from Oceana Philippines facebook page.)

Wheel chair-bound Cebuano feted for fight against illegal fishing .

WHEELCHAIR bound anti-illegal fishing crusader Norlan Pagal, who has survived several attempts on his life, was recognized for his efforts and was named one of the four Ocean Heroes Award. Pagal, who survived an ambush last year and a dynamite blast thrown at his patrol boat in 2010, has been a staunch advocate of fishery laws for 13 years. He received P50,000 as part of his reward.

I am standing up for my principle because we earn our living from the sea. It is where we get our food and our livelihood that sends our children to school. Norlan Pagal.

Read: Freeman: Wheelchair-bound activist honored for fight against illegal fishing.

Sun.Star Cebu: NGO recognizes Cebuano for fight against illegal fishing.


Radaza charges rival of vote buying; City Hall tightens security as ballots arrive; Duterte presidency would be chaotic–Cebu News Digest for May 3, 2016

This is the roundup of stories that came out in local publications today, May 3, 2016.

Lapu-Lapu City mayor Paz Radaza says another candidate is trying to lure voters by giving them insurance cards. (Photo from
Lapu-Lapu City mayor Paz Radaza says another candidate is trying to lure voters by giving them insurance cards. (Photo from

Radaza warns voters over insurance cards.

Re-electionist Lapu-Lapu City Mayor warned voters to be wary of insurance cards handed by candidates, and said voters should not be deceived by these gifts. He accused mayoralty candidate Rolando Patalinjug of distributing accident insurance cards during a rally and that one of her supporters got one. However, when her supporter tried to avail of the benefits, she was turned down.

Radaza has the right to say what she want to say but that insurance card, before you can avail yourself of it, you should have approval from the insurance company. The insurance cards were given to our leaders. Mayoralty candidate Rolando Patalinjug.

Read: Sun.Star Cebu: Paz to file charges of vote-buying against rival.

City Hall tightens security as ballots arrive.

837 boxes containing official ballots for the 630,000 voters in Cebu City is now with the City Treasurer’s Office. The ballots arrived on two 10-wheeler trucks escorted by a Swat team. City Hall guards will augment the 12 policemen assigned
to secure the ballots, which is stored at the third floor of the City Hall.

We have also improved the fire exits of the City Hall buildings as requested by the inspectors last week. Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas.

Read: Freeman: 12 cops on rotation guard Cebu City ballots.

Ex-Cebu governor blasts Digong.

He may be leading in some of the surveys in Cebu, but former Cebu governor Tingting dela Serna said if Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte means what he says, then his presidency would be a chaotic one. Dela Cerna based his statement on Duterte’s own words; specifically the statements he issued against the US and Australia, whose ambassadors criticized him for his “rape joke.”

My idea of a president is one who might not be able to do much for the country as much as we want but who will definitely not do anything to damage it more. Dili na nato tiwasan ug guba bah. We cannot get a perfect president…Pero ari lang ta sa presidente nga dili lang ta mosamot ka-empyerno. Vicente dela Serna.

Read: Cebu Daily News: Cebuanos hold rally against Duterte.

More Cebu News.

Sun.Star Cebu: Online survey shows curious mix of PB winners

Sun.Star Cebu: PRO 7 chief reminds cop not to take sides in polls

Sun.Star Cebu: Pinamungajan cops subjected to surprise drug test

Freeman: Animals also suffering from El Nino phenomenon

Cebu Daily News: Capitol team blames heat, fight over access to water in 47 conflicts, 7 deaths

Cebu Daily News: Supreme Court to release bar exams results today

Cebu Daily News: CBCP issues guidelines for voters

Cebu Daily News: Pharmacy of Team Rama candidate gets strafed

Cebu Business News.

Sun.Star Cebu: CDA hopes to add 9 million more coop members

Sun.Star Cebu: Realtor tries luck in online car trading business

Freeman: Exec urges: Respect Bank Secrecy Law

Cebu Daily News: BSP reminds banks to implement bank secrecy law

Cebu Daily News: BSP urges public to be vigilant against fake money

Cebu Sports News.

Sun.Star Cebu: Cebuano pro eyes podium finish in Xterra Malaysia

Freeman: Mayweather hints at return to ring

Cebu Daily News: Bolts beat Alaska, extend series to Game 5



One Cebu backs Digong; Rama blasts transfer of PRO 7 head; Airport officials told to remain neutral.

This is the roundup of stories that came out in local publications today, April 4, 2016

Digong gets support of One Cebu.

After ditching vice-president Jejomar Binay, One Cebu has thrown its support behind Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte, promising to give him a one-million lead in Cebu.

The unqualified support of One Cebu for Duterte is expected to significantly boost his presidential bid. This may turn out to be the start of a bandwagon effect as other parties and politicians across the country may follow suit and switch loyalties and adopt him as their presidential candidate. One Cebu press statement.

Read: Sun.Star Cebu: One Cebu promises to deliver one million votes for Digong.

Freeman: One Cebu announces alliance with Digong.

Cebu Daily News: Davide belittles One Cebu-Duterte alliance.

Mike cries politics over PRO7 re-shuffle.

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama said politics is behind the change of command at the Police Regional Office 7, five weeks before the elections. Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr. will replace Chief. Supt. Manuel Gaerlan as PRO 7 head starting April 4.

It is the changing of guards that I will consider detestable, appaling and scandalous. There should be no changing anymore. What is needed now is stability and continuity. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.

Read: Sun.Star Cebu: Rama blasts PNP over changing of PRO 7 head.

Freeman: Rama blasts transfer of PRO 7 chief.

Airport workers told to remain neutral.

A DAY after DOTC secretary Joseph Abaya campaigned for Mar Roxas, the MCIAA issued a memorandum reminding workers to remain neutral and not engage in partisian politics.

No office, or employees in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectily, in any electioneering or partisian political campaign,” MCIA general manager Paul Villarete.

Sun.Star Cebu: MCIA workers told to remain neutral.


Other Cebu News:

Sun.Star Cebu: Digong meets leaders of women’s, youth groups.

Sun.Star Cebu: Suspect flees drug bust; Cops seize P6M worth of shabu.

Sun.Star Cebu: Minglanilla tests new traffic scheme.

Freeman: ERC approves power hike in Cebu.

Freeman: Labella urges Cebu to continue Tres de Abril legacy.

Cebu Daily News: Toledo rolls red carpet for Duterte.

Cebu Daily News: Lolypop kicks off campaign with motorcade.

Cebu Business News.

Sun.Star Cebu: Group announces partnership to address need for more ICT workers.

Sun.Star Cebu: Council urges removal of “anti-export regulations.”

Freeman: BSP official says AMLA could have spotted $81M scam.

Freeman: Asean integration to boost PH BPO industry.

Cebu Daily News: Cebu climbs to No. 7 in top BPO destinations.

Cebu Daily News: Samsung launches new air con units.

Cebu Sports News.

Sun.Star Cebu: Mandaue City gears up for Palarong Pambansa football.

Freeman: Hiroshi dominates Tayud Futsal Cup.

Cebu Daily News: Monhas, Cosino top Halad ni Leon Kilat marathon.



Cebu News Digest for Feb. 12, 2016: Commuters get one-month reprieve; Cebu City faces P2M/day fine; BOPK, Team Rama bicker of dance party.

This the roundup of stories that came out in local publications today, Feb. 12, 2016.

30-DAY RELIEF.  Commuters who pass through the Mandaue-Mactan bridge get a relief after authorities decided to allow two-way traffic for a month.
30-DAY RELIEF. Commuters who pass through the Mandaue-Mactan bridge get a relief after authorities decided to allow two-way traffic for a month.

One-month reprieve

Motorists who pass through the Mandaue-Mactan bridge will get a reprieve for a month after authorities decided to allow two-way traffic while repairs are limited to the sidewalk.

The sidewalk repair, which will last for a month, will have a team of 30 workers who can complete one side in two to three weeks. Authorities were criticized when the repair started and the bridge was limited to one-way traffic when the repair was limited to the sidewalk only. Worse, motorists who pass by the bridge only saw a few workers involved in the repair.

The key here is proper coordination. The result to that is better information dissemination to the public. Sixth district rep. Luigi Quisumbing.


Cebu View: Watching backs of cars all day, what are we to do with traffic?

When you think of Cebu, do you think of coconut trees, huts and white sand beaches? True, it is that. But often, this is your most common view in Cebu.

Cebu Traffic Problem

Traffic has gone worse by the day. Earlier this week, The Freeman warned in its editorial, “Cebu is imploding from a traffic mess.”

What should we do? What can the government do to ease this daily gridlock? What can drivers and commuters do to deal with traffic?

Join our discussion by leaving your comments in this Facebook post.


Smart Prepaid kicks off ‘Live All Out’ season in Sinulog 2015; subscribers get chance to win iPhone 6

Smart Prepaid subscribers are up for exciting perks and awesome experiences this 2015 as Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the country’s wireless services leader, kicks off another “Live All Out” season at the Sinulog Festival 2015 in Cebu.

Smart Prepaid “Live All Out” is a much-anticipated presence in the country’s major celebrations. It offers subscribers passes to epic parties and exciting activities and prizes that raise the festival experience to another level.

“Our subscribers all around the country know that beyond reliable services and groundbreaking products, Smart Prepaid is also their ticket to a host of awesome experiences,” said Joel Lumanlan, Smart Prepaid Head. “This is most reflected by Smart Prepaid’s ‘Live All Out’ activities, which give subscribers nothing but fun, rewarding and unforgettable moments with family and friends.”

TOP DJs. Smart Prepaid is backing the Sinulog Lifedance on January 16 at the Sugbu Open Field in South Road Properties (SRP), where top local and international DJs are sure to whip up some wicked beats until the wee hours of the morning. (Photo taken from official Lifedance Facebook page)
TOP DJs. Smart Prepaid is backing the Sinulog Lifedance on January 16 at the Sugbu Open Field in South Road Properties (SRP), where top local and international DJs are sure to whip up some wicked beats until the wee hours of the morning. (Photo taken from official Lifedance Facebook page)

Sinulog ‘Live All Out’ Parties

There are two major Sinulog parties this year that bear the ‘Live All Out’ brand of epic partying: Sinulog Lifedance and Sinulog Invasion.

Smart Prepaid is backing the Sinulog Lifedance happening on January 16 at the Sugbu Open Field in South Road Properties (SRP), where top local and international DJs are sure to whip up some wicked beats until the wee hours of the morning.

Thousands are expected to head to the Sinulog Invasion on January 18 at Fooda on Mango Avenue, and party all out to the hottest sounds by Smart ambassadors DJ Ace Ramos and MC Pao as well as internationally acclaimed DJ Quinto and DJ Alvaro. is holding a contest for 10 free tickets to these two major parties. Learn more at the MyCebu official FB page.

Hang out at the Smart Zone

In both Sinulog Lifedance and Sinulog Invasion, Smart subscribers have access to the Smart Zone, a cozy hangout where they can retreat and re-energize from time to time.

At the Smart Zone, subscribers can spend time at the Spinnr Corner to win special tracks, create and share their own music by using their selfies at the hi-tech Photowalk, and enjoy watching live music visualizations of their ‘Live All Out’ moments while recharging their devices at the Chill All Out nook. Smart Zone also offers exciting games, where subscribers have a chance to win passes to tourist attractions.

Get a chance to win an iPhone 6

By simply loading up their mobile account at designated agents around Cebu, new and loyal Smart Prepaid subscribers joining the Sinulog festivities get a chance to win a brand new iPhone 6.

Subscribers also have a chance to take home cool ‘Live All Out’ premium items by simply topping up their mobile account and subscribing to the latest Smart promos.

Free Sinulog photo souvenirs

At select tourist destinations, Smart Prepaid subscribers also have access to ‘Live All Out’ Stations, where they can enjoy free wifi, as well as snap their own Sinulog photo souvenirs.

At the festival, subscribers will also surely make the most the 30MB worth of Smart Free Internet by staying in touch with friends and posting their best moments on their social networking sites for all the world to see using #SmartLiveAllOut and #SmartSinulog.

To get more information and updates, visit and follow @SMARTcares on Twitter. (Press Release)

(NOTE: The Facebook comments you see below are answers to a tickets giveaway promo. Questions were sent to the Sinulog 2015 Guide app. The answers could be found in the article above and they had to leave their answers in the comments below.)


Vivo Sugbo in Cebu holds cultural shows for tourists

Seeing all those graceful Sinulog Grand Parade dancers, have you ever wished you knew how to execute those forward-backward steps? Have you ever been interested in learning a traditional Philippine dance, such as the tinikling? When you travel to a place, do you consider cultural shows just as important as the other tourist attractions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Cebuanos have a treat for you in the Teatro Sugbo component of Vivo Sugbo – an initiative of business Eric Ng Mendoza in collaboration with celebrated choreographer Val Sandiego.

Mendoza is turning what was once the music and dance club Amnezia along Ouano Avenue in Mandaue City into Vivo Sugbo, a one-stop complex for tourists.

Teatro Sugbo performance
CULTURAL PERFORMANCE. Val Sandiego and his renowned Sandiego Dance Troupe are behind the Teatro Sugbo component of Vivo Sugbo. They will perform various dances and the shows will vary and can adopt international themes as well, such as Las Vegas or Polynesian. (Photo by Dr. Peter Mancao)

Vivo Sugbo

The grand plan, he explained during the Vivo Sugbo launch on Tuesday, January 6, is to have nightly cultural shows at the ballroom, build stalls where about 40 vendors can sell their Cebuano specialty food and products, and put up four two-storey building clusters for high-end dining.

Mendoza said they’re currently putting up 3-square meter stalls and talking to micro, small, and medium enterprises while construction of the glass buildings in front of the former Amnezia Superclub is ongoing and scheduled for completion by March 2015.

They launched Vivo Sugbo in anticipation of the high number of tourists coming in for the Sinulog 2015 celebration and because Val Sandiego’s Teatro Sugbo is ready with its cultural shows, he explained.

“We have so much to offer, we failed to realize we haven’t offered our very own self, our culture and heritage, to visitors or even locals,” Mendoza pointed out.

ENTRANCE TO BALLROOM. A replica of the Magellan's Cross kiosk serves as entrance to the ballroom.
ENTRANCE TO BALLROOM. A replica of the Magellan’s Cross kiosk serves as entrance to the ballroom.

Cultural shows

Since Val Sandiego and his Sandiego Dance Troupe have a prior commitment for the Philippine visit of Pope Francis, the nightly shows for now will be every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Tourists have the option of paying for both the buffet dinner and show at P1,500 or just the show at P1,000, which already comes with drinks.

Sandiego said the shows will vary and can adopt international themes as well, such as Las Vegas or Polynesian.

“The show is set for an hour starting 8 p.m. but it will probably exceed this as there will be interaction with the tourists. We will teach the tourists how to dance,” added Mendoza. The ballroom can seat around 300 people.

Sinulog shirts
SINULOG SHIRTS. You can buy souvenir shirts for Sinulog 2015 at the venue.

Cebuano delicacies

To provide tourists a venue to buy local products, Mendoza said they will invite producers of Cebuano delicacies like torta, masareal, dried mangoes, even Carcar lechon to come and sell at the Vivo Sugbo complex.

The Mandaue City businessman said he is also talking to vendors outside of Cebu, such as the Bohol Bee Farm and those in Bacolod and Iloilo.

He added that the rates for small vendors are very affordable at P2,250 per stall per week. Vendors can choose to continue selling, at the same stall rental, after the week is over or take a break. They can come back and sell again anytime for a minimum of seven days.

According to Mendoza, around five to 10 vendors will open shop in a couple of weeks and another 20 more in a month’s time.

BLESSING of the facility during its soft launch.
BLESSING of the facility during its soft launch.


Azia Suites offers promo room rates for Sinulog 2015

This early, many Cebu City hotels are already fully booked for the important Sinulog 2015 dates of January 17 and 18.

These dates are the third Saturday and Sunday in January when Cebu celebrates the eve and actual day of the Feast of the Señor Sto. Niño.

Azia Suites and Residences lobby
Azia Suites and Residences lobby

Since many Cebu hotels and pension houses are already full, you might be one of those still looking for a place to stay when Cebuanos celebrate the festival of festivals known as the Sinulog.

Azia Suites

Opened just this June, Azia Suites and Residences still has available accommodations for Sinulog 2015 revelers. One great thing about Azia, which means “sunshine” in Greek, is its location near Gen. Maxilom Avenue (formerly Mango Avenue), along the route of the Sinulog 2015 dancing contingents.

About half of the 60 rooms at Azia Suites are still open on the Sinulog Festival weekend, said outgoing manager for hotel operations Ian V. Fresnido. All of the hotel’s four family suites are taken, however, and what remains are standard rooms with double or twin single beds.

Azia Suites charges P4,000 per night for its standard room from January 15 to 19, 2015 and requires a minimum stay of three nights. This comes with breakfast for two. Room rate goes down to P3,500 if booking is paid by December 15, 2014 and P3,800 if by January 4, 2015.

Promo rates

From December 16, 2014 to January 14, 2015, Azia Suites offers a promo rate for standard rooms at P2,000 per night with breakfast for two for a minimum three-night stay.

Rooms come with cable tv and free wifi connection.

Fresnido said the hotel’s location at 8 Rahmann Extension, just beside what used to be the USC Boys’ High School, gives it easy access to Cebu City’s business, shopping, and entertainment centers. Getting a ride on a taxi or jeepney is not a problem as Azia Suites is of walking distance from Gorordo and Gen. Maxilom avenues.

Hotel amenities

The 9-storey hotel has two function rooms that can cater to an event requiring from 30 to a hundred seats.

Only one of Azia’s two restaurants, Cafe Lazat, is currently open. Fresnido said they plan to open the second one, Platela Grill, by January. The hotel also plans to open by the Sinulog season the Raya Bar, where guests can have coffee or drinks, on the topmost floor.

The top floor lounge will be a vantage point for the fireworks displays during the Sinulog Festival as well as cityscape views.


Everything Yummy in IT Park perfect for small groups

It goes by Everything Yummy and so far the dishes I’ve tasted at the restaurant seem to bear its name out.

The Everything Yummy IT Park branch is cozy and tastefully decorated and perfect for small groups of diners. It is at eBloc Tower 2, Cebu IT Park, Cebu City.

Everything Yummy is at eBloc Tower 2 in Cebu IT Park.
Everything Yummy is at eBloc Tower 2 in Cebu IT Park.

My favorite starter dish is the greens, which come in two kinds: summer salad and delightful mornings.

Everything Yummy menu

Everything Yummy IT Park opens at 9:30 a.m. and serves breakfast of bacon and pancakes, with servings priced from P140 to P170. It closes at 11 p.m.

Summer Salad dish at Everything Yummy IT Park.
Summer Salad dish at Everything Yummy IT Park.

Other dishes in the menu: smoked turkey, smoked farmers’ ham, and Angus beef steak sandwiches; aglio olio, smoked chorizo and mushroom cream, and fusili and shrimps in basil pomodoro pasta; gambas and singa pepper prawns as well as Asian style and seared fish dishes for seafood.

Ribs can be had at half or full slabs; other pork dishes are adobomb chops, grilled pork belly, and chorizo burger. Then there’s steak: prime rib, rib eye, or US black angus.

Adobomb Chops
Adobomb Chops

Dessert can be a choice of mango tapioca pudding or Belgian choco lace cookies.

Everything Yummy branches

Aside from IT Park, another Everything Yummy location is Piazza Elesia in Talamban, Cebu. Contact the restaurant for inquiries and reservations.

Everything Yummy contact numbers:
Piazza Elesia – +63-917-8998669 or +63-32-4180081
IT Park – +63-917-8898669 or +63-32-4106511


Sinulog 2014 Grand Parade winners

Tribu Lumad Basakanon and the Province of Masbate were picked champions in the Sinulog 2014 Grand Parade free interpretation and Sinulog-based categories

Rising up from calamities and misfortunes with the help of the Señor Sto. Niño were main concepts in many of Sunday’s Sinulog 2014 Grand Parade performances.

Other entries incorporated Philippine historical accounts.

After a whole day of performances, the judges picked the Sinulog 2014 Grand Parade winners.


Perennial Sinulog winner Tribu Sinanduloy prepares ‘epic’ performance

The Filipinos as a nation have encountered many struggles and yet their faith and devotion to the Holy Child remain constant.

Tribu Sinanduloy of Tangub City, Misamis Occidental will portray the religiosity and hopefulness of Pinoys in its Sinulog Grand Parade 2014 performance.

Its entry centers on a series of wars fought in the country in the last century or so and how the Sto. Niño was there for the people at all time. Choreographer Emilio “Jojin” S. Pascual said the presentation will be epic in scope, with five changes in set props and five sets of costumes.


Free Sinulog guide app from InnoPub, Smart now out

InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag conducts a demo of the Sinulog Guide app to a small group of Cebu media and bloggers.
InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag conducts a demo of the Sinulog Guide app to a small group of Cebu media and bloggers.

Sinulog Guide can be downloaded to Android phones and tablets from the Google Play Store and to Windows Phone devices from the Windows Phone Store for free.

Those using other devices can access the mobile web version of the guide at Standard mobile data browsing charges apply when using the app.

The Sinulog Guide is a comprehensive resource on the festival, said InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag during a demo today, Monday, for a small group of Cebu media and bloggers at Smart’s Jump Center in SM City Cebu.


Many Philippine destinations open to tourists after Yolanda

Trips to the Cebu destinations of Bantayan and Malapascua are now available albeit with some limitations, an advisory from the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas said.

DOT 7 Regional Director Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo said ferry operations in Bantayan have returned to normal a few days after super typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) wrecked havoc in the Philippines.

Tourists may avail of special trips to Malapascua, Montecillo added in the advisory.


Sinulog festival guide Android app now available

Sinulog 2014 is less than 3 months away. If you’re planning to attend the grandest festival in the country, you can get help in preparing for it by downloading our Sinulog Guide Android app in the Google Play Store.

The app contains stories about the and offers tips on how to make the most out of your stay in Cebu for the Sinulog festival. It lists places where you can stay – complete with phone numbers and location data.

The phone numbers and location data are active – you only need to tap on a phone number to make a call or on the “check location link” to let the system check the location and, through GPS, provide you with directions to the place.


Coal Mountain Resort opens in Argao

There is a relatively new nature site in Argao called Coal Mountain Resort and it is offering an underground tunnel tour to both day visitors and overnight guests. (Update: We wrote about experience in the resort here: Coal Mountain Resort in Argao is retreat heaven.)

Argao Vice Mayor Stanley Caminero, whose family owns the mountain retreat, said it is in the mountainous barangay of Linut-od, which is an hour away from the main town center.

We asked for more information about the underground exploration, and he told us that it happens in a demo tunnel used by miners for their safety training.

Underground tunnel

This demo tunnel is 70 feet below the ground and 475 feet in total length, according to a Coal Mountain Resort brochure.

coal mountain resort
One of the interesting activities at Coal Mountain Resort is a walk on the hanging bridge built on the forest canopy. (Photo taken from Coal Mountain Resort Facebook page.

Visitors have the option of going down in complete mining gear and paying P80 or doing without for P30.

Coal Mountain Resort appears to be very interesting the way the vice mayor described it, and we’re already planning our visit.

The vice mayor said there has been a lot of interest in overnight stays and rooms, which can accommodate a maximum of 50 persons, are usually full. To ensure that you can be accommodated, the safest option would be to book a room a week in advance, he added.

Coal Mountain Resort

Coal Mountain Resort amenities and activities include:

* Spring-fed pools: 7 feet deep for adults and 4 feet deep with slides for kids; diving pool (16 feet diving bottom, 7 feet general depth)
* Restobar with videoke (P5 fee for two songs)
* Conference/Dining Hall
* Multi-purpose Covered Court
* Cable Car (220 meters) P100 one way
* Zipline (220 meters) P100 to P120
* Demo tunnel (70 feet below the ground, 475 feet total length)
* Canopy Walk on hanging bridge


Accommodations come in three kinds: rooms with twin beds that can accommodate four persons for P1,000 a night, rooms with common shared bed good for six persons at P1,200 a night, bahay kubo good for four persons at P1,000 a night.

Coal Mountain Resort is located 468 meters above sea level and used to be a grazing ground for carabaos owned by the Caminero family.

In the 1950s, farmers discovered and started mining coal in the area and neighboring sites. Underneath the resort, a network of tunnels still exists which is why the family decided to call it Coal Mountain.

Transport services

Coal Mountain Resort offers transport services, either from Cebu City or Argao town center, with the following fees.

coal mountain transport fees

For more information, check out InnoPub Media’s mobile web guide to Argao or download the Android app Argao guide. The guides contain a listing of places and activities of interest in the town as well as important contact numbers.


Postboxes in Argao

Postboxes in Casa Real in Argao #argao #digitaltourism