Brand Partnership Tech

Tourism in Southern Cebu gets digital boost from Talk ‘N Text,

FOUR eco-tourism groups in Aloguinsan, Cebu are now ready to move to the digital space after attending the Panalo Community Training sponsored by Talk ‘N Text (TNT), the value brand of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), and organized by Grassroots Travel, a local company working with communities to help promote responsible and sustainable travel.

During the four-day training, the participants were able to create a demo website for their community groups. They also learned about travel trends, branding and packaging, blogging, photography, videography, social media marketing and analytics, online and digital marketing tools, and responsible use of the Internet.

Aloguinsan training
Boboi Costas, founder of Grassroots Travel, talks about sustainable eco tourism during the four-day Panalo Community Training in Aloguinsan, Cebu sponsored by Talk ‘N Text. During the training, members of people’s organizations who run eco-tourism programs in the town were able to create a demo website for their community groups and learned about travel trends, branding and packaging, blogging, photography, videography, social media marketing and analytics, online and digital marketing tools, and responsible use of the Internet.

“We are happy to support Aloguinsan people’s organizations (POs) because we see their commitment to promote their town through eco-tourism. The goal of the Panalo Community trainings is to help them provide better tourism experience by going digital,” said Smart Public Affairs-VisMin Senior Manager Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes.

Eco-tourism associations

Aloguinsan Mayor Cynthia Moreno, during the closing remarks, also thanked the communities for taking the lead in promoting Aloguinsan. “Kamo, ang mga local community dinhi sa Aloguinsan, ang nagdala sa pangalan sa atong lungsod nga mailhan sa tibuok probinsya sa Sugbo, sa tibuok nasud ug sa kalibutan. Diba, nindot kaayo palandungon? (You (the local communities) made Aloguinsan known in the province of Cebu, in the country, and in the world. That’s really wonderful.),” said Mayor Moreno.

The participants of the training are members of four associations managing four different eco-tourism activities in Aloguinsan: Baetas or Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (Bojo River cruise), Kea or Kantabogon Ecotourism Association (The Hermit’s Cove), Chat or Cultural Heritage for Aloguinsan Tourism (organic farm and culinary), and Arra or Aloguinsan Reef Rangers Association (snorkeling and dolphin-watching).

Atty. Haidee Acuña talks about the responsible use of the Internet during the training.
Atty. Haidee Acuña talks about the responsible use of the Internet during the training. initiative

The Panalo Community trainings are part of TNT’s campaign to promote to empower communities by providing free access to 30 websites using mobile devices.

A Facebook-led initiative, aims to make mobile Internet services available to two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected. Currently, over 4.5 million Filipinos use

Some of the sites that can be accessed without data charges are Accuweather and Rain Check for weather updates;, Bing Search, WikiHow and Wikipedia for general information; BabyCenter and MAMA for pregnancy and childcare;,,, GMA News Online, Rappler and Sun.Star for news updates;

ESPN and for sports updates; for entertainment news; Facts for Life for health and hygiene; and Your Money for personal finances, for job search; Facebook and Messenger; OLX for online shopping; for bus and train directions; TESDA for free programs and training; Wattpad for books and stories; and


First of 3 modules

TNT subscribers who are Android users may download the app on Google Play Store while non-Android users can access the site by typing on their mobile browser. For step-by-step instructions, text INTERNET to 9999 or visit

Participants gather after the day’s session.
Participants gather after the day’s session.

The Panalo Community training in Aloguinsan is the first of three modules designed by TNT and Grassroots Travel to help POs maximize the use of online and digital technologies in promoting eco-tourism in their town. The other two modules will cover resilient and sustainable tourism; and effective customer service as well as online mobile payments, respectively.

The same set of trainings will be held in three other towns in Southern Cebu namely Boljoon, Samboan, and Santander. (Press Release)

Business Tech

Internet vital to businesses, groups told in ‘Panalo Ang May Alam’ Communities launch

Online promotions and word of mouth referrals through social networks helped a community in Aloguinsan build its eco-tourism project into what it is now: a sustainable project that has become a benchmark for other places embarking on a similar program.

Jomelyn Manigos, vice president of the Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETA), stressed the importance of the Internet in spreading word on businesses like theirs during the launch of the “Panalo Ang May Alam” Communities by Talk ‘N Text and Smart Communications, Inc. in Boljoon, Cebu.

Manigos said marketing is about providing information and the Internet is where people get information from nowadays. She said BAETA was able to grow largely because of word of mouth through social networks. She also cited the importance of the Internet in educating people. The group has a Facebook page where people can contact them to book tours.

Panalo Ang May Alam launch
CONNECTIVITY, RETAILER PACKAGES. Representatives from partner communities in Aloguinsan, Boljoon, Samboan and Santander receive connectivity and retailer packages from Smart and Talk ‘N Text. The packages include a laptop, a pocket Wi-Fi, printer, and Android phones.

Award-winning eco-tourism program

Many now know about Aloguinsan and their tours because of the Internet, Manigos told in an interview.

BAETA is the group behind the award-winning eco-tourism program centered on the Bojo River. The group was organized by the local government in collaboration with Boboi Costas of Grassroots Travel.

During the event on Tuesday in the Boljoon Sports Complex, Smart and Talk ‘N Text introduced to members of partner communities from Aloguinsan, Boljoon, Samboan, and Santander.

Boljoon Mayor Merlou Derama said people now understand the importance of social media and the Internet and their use in boosting tourism.

Connecting to mobile Internet

Representatives from Smart and Talk ‘N Text demonstrated to those present how to connect to the Internet using feature phones and smartphones. They also walked them through connecting for free via the program, which is being implemented in partnership with Facebook. is a program that offers free Internet access to a group of websites that provide important information. In the Philippines, Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun subscribers can get free access to 24 websites, among them Accuweather, ESPN,, Interaksyon,,,, Rappler,, Wattpad, wikiHow, and Wikipedia.

“A groundbreaking app, the provides Filipinos with free access to an initial list of 24 informative and useful websites, including Facebook and Messenger, so that more are able to benefit from the wealth of information available through the mobile Internet,” Smart said in a press statement.

The launch on Tuesday is the first in the country, company officials said during the event.

‘Panalo ang may alam’

The program’s rallying call “Panalo ang may alam” (loose translation: knowledge wins) stresses the importance of information in a global knowledge economy.

“These communities are admirable for their own panalo or winning stories, and we see them achieving more as they learn to harness the power of free online information and services through TNT and the app by Facebook,” TNT marketing head Cherish Canizares-Tupaz said in a press statement.

Even in the purchase of airtime load, more people are buying for Internet connectivity, said Glenn Loayon, Smart Communications retail sales manager for the region. He said this shows Filipinos are increasingly going online.

He said the event was “just the start” and that Smart and Talk ‘N Text would engage with the communities in helping them do business. He cited as example one of the company’s retailers who is now a millionaire after 10 years of selling airtime load.

Panalo Ang May Alam launch
PANALO ANG MAY ALAM LAUNCH. Smart and Talk ‘N Text officials and representatives from various communities in Cebu mark the launch of “Panalo Ang May Alam” Communities in Boljoon with a groufie or group selfie.

Business training

Apart from lessons on going online, the program also covers “business training specially designed according to their needs,” Smart said.

The partner communities were also given connectivity and retailer packages to help them in their respective programs. The packages include a laptop, a pocket Wi-Fi, printer, and Android phones.

“Through this unique program, TNT hopes to assist deserving communities in creating new opportunities and reaping the many real-life benefits of mobile Internet. For example, they can easily promote their products and services on Facebook and coordinate with peers through Messenger,” said Canizares-Tupaz in the Smart statement.

TNT launched with Facebook last month, which is the first in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, the company said. Facebook director for global operator partnerships Markku Makelainen said during the launch that is a tool to “address the barriers that prevent people from connecting and joining the knowledge economy.”