Events Feature Sports

Naga City hosts inaugural Sun Life 5150 Triathlon Cebu

Cebu is the “crown jewel in Asia” when it comes to triathlons, a race organizer said Friday.

That is the reason why when Sun Life Financial Philippines and Sunrise Events decided to stage the first Sun Life 5150 Triathlon Cebu, they knew “this is where we should be,” said Princess Galura during Friday’s press conference for the event.

Galura, who is the General Manager of Sunrise Events, said the 5150 is the Ironman brand for the official Olympic distance of the triathlon. It covers 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike, and a 10-kilometer run.

Sun Life 5150 participants

All these segments will be done in host Naga City, said Galura. The City Government of Naga wanted all events within their boundaries so that they can have total control and jurisdiction in order to make sure participants are safe, she said. The event is also supported by the Cebu Provincial Government.

Princess Galura Sun Life 5150 Triathlon Cebu
SUN LIFE 5150 TRIATHLON CEBU. Sunrise Events General Manager Princess Galura talks about the inaugural Sun Life 5150 Triathlon Cebu to be held in Naga City on Sunday.

Galura said in Friday’s press briefing that there will be 300 participants on Sunday, including 7 professionals. The number also includes those who are joining the Go for Gold sprint distance.

She said the 5150 allows veterans to race and prepare for the longer Ironman event in Cebu later in the year. It also offers newbies who want to take up the sport an event to try things out.

Celebrities who will be joining the race include Sun Life ambassadors Piolo Pascual, his son Iñigo and fellow celebrities Paul Jake Castillo, who is a Cebuano, and Enchong Dee.

Handog Palangoy with Enchong Dee

Before the race, Dee will hold a swimming clinic called Sun Life Handog Palangoy on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Forty kids under the non-government organization Feed The Children will undergo the clinic led by Dee and other members of the Sun Life Tri Team.

“At Sun Life, we believe that preparation is key to a brighter future, especially with the many surprises that life may throw our way. This is perfectly exemplified in Handog Palangoy and Enchong’s cause,” said Sun Life Foundation Executive Director Kristine Millete.

There will also be a mangrove planting at 6 a.m. on the same day.

Sun Life Tri Team
SUN LIFE TRI TEAM. Members of the Sun Life Tri Team bannered by brand ambassador Piolo Pascual (center).

The 5150 triathlon is held as part of Sun Life Financial Philippines’ health and wellness efforts, said Sun Life Financial Philippines Institutional and Client Marketing Head Carla Chong. It seeks to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and undertake multi-sport training for fitness.

Sun Life health, wellness journey

Chong discussed Sun Life programs and products that cater to various needs of people, from wellness to investment to retirement, among others.

“At Sun Life, we aim to provide Filipinos different avenues to enrich their health and wellness journey, whether they are already deep into their fitness goals or are just discovering their passion for it,” said Sun Life Chief Marketing Officer Mylene Lopa.

Sun Life employees will also be joining the event, including Business Development Managers Herbert Juaneza and Hilario Malapad, Sales Training and Development Head Ged Custodia, and Training Manager Aslagan Cuyugan. All these employees are Ironman finishers and are competing in the individual category.

Business Feature Lifestyle

Sun Life posts high growth, launches new campaign in Cebu

While a growing number of Filipinos now see the value of insurance products as a means of preparing for every life stage, a big majority has yet to achieve financial security, said top insurer Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.

Citing a study conducted by the company in collaboration with the research institute Social Weather Stations (SWS), Sun Life chief marketing officer Mylene Lopa said 9 out of 10 Filipinos admitted experiencing financial shortage in the past 12 months from when the survey was done.

The company also found out that only 15 percent of households can manage the loss of a breadwinner, only 22 percent can shell out money in the next two years for car or house purchases, and only 43 percent can confidently say they can pay for their kids’ education all the way up to college.

“There is still so much work to be done when it comes to boosting the financial literacy of Filipinos. The challenge is to make them understand the intimidating and challenging topic that is insurance,” Lopa added.

Sun Life Cebu
CEBU CAMPAIGN. (From left) Deo Orpilla, Sun Life business development head; Kenneth Cobonpue; and Sun Life chief marketing officer Mylene Lopa answer questions during a press conference in Cebu.

#BrighterLife campaign

Sun Life has set a high target of insuring 5 million Filipinos in the next 5 years, said Lopa, citing that only 4 million are currently covered by insurance. Of this figure, 1.7 million are Sun Life customers.

Deo Orpilla, Sun Life business development head, said part of the company’s campaign to widen its reach in Cebu includes putting up more sales offices in the metro and even farther areas in the island, having world-renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue as one of its brand ambassadors, and holding a series of financial literacy activities.

After opening two new sales offices in Cebu last year, Orpilla said the company was able to achieve a 25 percent growth in sales. Sun Life now has five sales offices in Metro Cebu.

Sun Life has lined up for the coming days a series of talks dubbed #LiveBrighter, a business opportunity forum that will feature Cobonpue and his journey to success through passion and the desire to touch lives.

Sun Life Kenneth Cobonpue
BRAND AMBASSADOR. World-renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue is a brand ambassador of Sun Life. In his talk, Cobonpue said It’s not just about creativity and talent, it’s also about hard work and business acumen.

Sun Life opportunities

Orpilla said Sun Life envisions a brighter life for Filipinos, ensuring they’re able to achieve their life goals and ready for unexpected events.

At the same time, the company offers them a career with opportunity for big earnings, as a Sun Life advisor, that is also a noble endeavor as they are able to help fellow Filipinos secure their financial future, he added.

“Those who aspire to find fulfillment the same way that Kenneth did in his career are invited to join us as financial advisors. It could be their key to a more fruitful and a more rewarding career,” he cited.

Of Sun Life’s 1.7 million customers, most are concentrated in the 35-45 age range, according to Lopa. Many of the company’s new sales though, especially mutual fund products, are coming from those in their 20’s.

The average age range of Sun Life advisors today is also younger at 30, compared to 42 before 2012, the start of the company’s big campaign.


Car, home purchase or travel goals? Sun Life shows Pinoys how

From travelling or purchasing a car to preparing for a wedding or buying property and even getting ready for retirement, Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. wants to help Filipinos achieve every “stage-of-life” goal.

That is why Sun Life, the oldest life insurer in the country today, has set an ambitious target to increase its clients to 5 million by 2020 under a five-year plan called Rise PH, said chief marketing officer Mylene Lopa.

Although this seems a tall order, Lopa said they’re dreaming big because it is the country’s future that is at stake. Since it started operations in the Philippines 121 years ago, Sun Life still has 1.5 million clients.

Sun Life Mylene Lopa
MONEY PROBLEMS. Sun Life Financial Philippines chief marketing officer Mylene Lopa discusses findings by the SWS in a survey they commissioned. The study found that 9 out of 10 Filipinos experienced money problems within the past 12 months.

The campaign took root from a study that Sun Life commissioned the Social Weather Stations (SWS) to undertake 2 years ago. The insurance company found out that 9 out of 10 Filipinos experienced money problems within the past 12 months when the SWS study was conducted. Of those who experienced financial difficulties, the reasons cited were: housing and day-to-day activities (74 percent), school expenses (41 percent), health and medical needs (25 percent). The respondents were asked to check all applicable answers.

Financial literacy

According to Lopa, Sun Life believes not much has changed since SWS did its research and that the Filipino life is still filled with uncertainty. She added that one major reason for this is lack of financial knowledge and preparation.

Several initiatives aimed at reaching out to a broader market and further boosting Sun Life’s financial literacy advocacy are being launched under Rise PH in June, which the company has declared Financial Independence Month, Lopa said.

These include campus and mall caravans in a customized “Bus to the Future,” 360-degree virtual reality (VR) video, and the Money for Life e-planner. The VR video allows the viewer to get a glimpse of their dream life and how to go about achieving it through Sun Life’s insurance and investment products.

Lopa said the response to their use of VR to promote financial planning has been good because Filipinos love to try out new gadgets. She said they wanted to make a topic like financial planning more accessible to people, thus the use of a “cool and new thing” like VR.

Sun Life virtual reality
PEEK ON LIFE DREAMS. Sun Life used virtual reality to show people a glimpse of a dream life.

Money e-planner

Through the money e-planner, the company presents financial products like insurance and investments in a simple way, said Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. president Valerie Pama.

By logging on to, one gets an idea what life category he or she falls into: from getting started with goals like travelling or buying a car, moving up to such decisions as getting married and buying property to having a baby, preparing ahead for retirement and sickness or accidents, to leaving a legacy by maximizing retirement funds and securing inheritance for kids and grandkids.

Pama added that whatever a potential client’s life goals, the Money for Life e-planner suggests the top three Sun Life products to best achieve them.

Sun Life’s Bus to the Future, which is set to visit campuses and malls nationwide, allows potential clients to view a short VR video of life scenarios made possible through financial instruments like insurance and investments in mutual funds, stocks, commodities, and bonds. In Cebu, the Bus to the Future was deployed to SM City on June 25 after stopping at the University of San Carlos (USC) Talamban the day before.

Sun Life Valerie Pama
E-PLANNER. Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. president Valerie Pama discusses the company’s online platform for investments.