Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Converge ICT earmarks $250M investment to nationwide expansion

(L-R) Converge ICT COO Jesus C. Romero, Converge ICT President & CEO Dennis H. Anthony Uy, Maria Grace Y. Uy, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan, and Warburg Pincus LLC Managing Director Saurabh Agarwal

Converge ICT, the country’s premier pure end to end fiber internet service provider, received a multi-million-dollar investment from Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm based in the United States.

Converge ICT has been aggressively expanding its fiber infrastructure with the aim of providing Filipinos access to the more reliable fiber internet connection. The $250 million or P12.8 billion investment will be earmarked on rolling out more fiber connections nationwide.

"Since going full throttle with our fiber network roll-out and package offerings, the change in overall Philippine performance has been noticeable," said Dennis Uy, founder and president, Converge ICT. "In 2018, the average connection has risen to 18Mbps. We don't take full credit but the company’s contributions have been undeniable."

This is the Warburg Pincus' first investment in the Philippines. One of the world's biggest equity firms has $20 billion invested in Asia and about $65 billion in assets under management.

"We are excited about the country’s young, digital-savvy population and its thriving services industries, which have created an outsized need for connectivity and will create explosive growth in the broadband space," said Saurabh Agarwal, managing director, Warburg Pincus. "Converge ICT is a remarkable business and growth story and I am confident that it will continue to achieve significant growth milestones and solve the ever-increasing connectivity needs of the country."

Converge ICT is looking at capturing 30% of the country's broadband market in the next few years. With this investment, Converge ICT will be able to fastrack the construction of its $1.8-billion nationwide internet backbone. The current rollout includes a $70-million domestic submarine cable with 20 landing stations across the Philippines. The Luzon backbone is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.

"Converge ICT is the only pure end-to-end fiber internet provider in the country with all-in house capabilities," said Uy. "We have been investing heavily on innovations that would move the broadband market forward so we can be on par with our neighbors. We have rolled out 400Gbps per channel in the past."

At present, Converge ICT is looking at doubling its half-a-million subscribers by next year. Seventy percent of the company's customer base are first-time fixed broadband service users and Uy plans to increase that with more expansions in the coming months.

Photo caption 2: (L-R) Converge ICT President & CEO Dennis H. Anthony Uy, Maria Grace Y. Uy, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan, and Warburg Pincus LLC Managing Director Saurabh Agarwal

"We are 100% committed to the long-term success of our partners Converge ICT and, more importantly, the success of the Filipino customers whom we serve, and their connectivity needs we seek to provide," said Agarwal.

The choice of Warburg Pincus to stream fresh funds to Converge ICT is due to the former's deep understanding of the business and expertise. Uy reiterated that it is not always about the money but making the Philippines more competitive in the world market by providing more reliable broadband service.

"To bring about real-life change and progress," Uy said. "That is our commitment to the Filipinos. To serve the under-served and unserved. Together, we will use technology to be what it has been set out to be. To make information more readily available, services faster, communities safer and life, in general, better. Convenience on-demand."


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Easy ways to teach kids about money

With so many online sites and television shows advertising toys, clothes and gadgets for children, today's kids are tempted to buy all sorts of things at a very early age. 

It is important that parents teach their children as early as possible how to manage money well.

AXA Philippines, one of the country’s leading insurance companies, offers some tips on how to teach children important financial lessons:

Introduce the concept of money. Helping children understand and respect money from an early age will help them manage it well when they become adults. Start by letting the child see and handle coins and small bills so they become familiar with money as part of everyday life.

Start with a savings jar. A piggy bank is a good idea, but a clear jar is even better. With a clear jar, the children see their money growing. Saving loose change or 10 percent of their allowances can make a big difference. Talk this through with them and stress the importance of savings. 

Let them earn. Summer jobs will help young people learn about business and hard work. The same goes for doing chores. If they get an allowance, call it a commission instead. Allow kids to earn commissions for different household chores.

Show that things cost money. Do more than simply saying, “That toy car costs ₱300.” Let them get some cash from their jars to bring to the store and let them be the ones to hand the money to the cashier. This simple action will have more impact than a five-minute lecture on the value of money.

Set an example. Children learn by example. The best way to teach them about saving money is to set a healthy example for them that they will be much more likely to follow  when they get older. Show children how prices differ and explain how to make more intelligent choices. Reiterate the message that every time they get money, they should save part of it to prepare for the future.

For more information, visit www.axa.com.ph

The Enclave Alabang: The new prestige residential address in the south

The Enclave Alabang, an exclusive residential development by Filigree, has leveled up unique southern living with its tropical modern architecture.

The impressive development is a collaborative work of top names in architecture and design - architectural firm H1 Architecture, landscape consultant AECOM Singapore, and interior designer Budji+Royal Architecture+Design – brought together to give residents the extraordinary feel of comfort, safety and convenience they deserve to enjoy in their homes.

“We are very happy with the outcome of the harmonious collaboration between these renowned experts. With the clubhouse and landscaping done, lot owners are now eagerly starting to build their homes,” says Catherine Ilagan, Filigree head.

For the masterplan, Filigree tapped well-renowned H1 Architecture,known for putting premium on green, open spaces. A nature-inspired sanctuary, The Enclave Alabang has dedicated 40% of the development to roads and open spaces, with a central park that’s almost 10,000 square meters in size and complete with a man-made lagoon, ample landscaped green spaces for outdoor activities, and a children’s playground.

“For this project, we wanted an ideal residential community for the family. Anexpansive central park, wide sidewalks and the adjacent clubhouse are part of the development’s vision to encourage outdoor activities within the family,” says Juan Seriña, H1 principal architect.

H1’s Raymond Hernandez adds that it started with the concept of a resort. “We wanted every feature, from the beautiful park which flows into the clubhouse to be an extension of each homeowner’s house, framing every family activity.”

AECOM shares the same principle of providing residents communal spaces that are thoughtfully designed with amenities, circulation, access, and harmony between greenery and hardscape. And offering residents a nature sanctuary where they can find peace and quiet even in one of the busiest, most dynamic parts of Metro Manila is what sets The Enclave Alabang apart.

The Enclave Alabang’s vision also fits perfectly with Budji+Royal Architecture+Design’s design principles. Working in collaboration with H1 Architecture and AECOM Singapore on the impressive 1,500-square meter clubhouse that offers a full suite of recreation facilities and amenities, the award-winning design team sought to meet, eve exceed, the industry’s best standards.

The Enclave Alabang clubhouse interior design carried the tropical theme and incorporated unique features that set the development apart. It has a contemporary resort feel that is conducive to rest and relaxation and offers respite from the day’s stresses. For Budji Layug, “It (interior design) is about simplicity, luxury of space, openness, lightness. After all these years, there’s a project, The Enclave Alabang, that represents all the things I believe in.”

With a relaxing lap pool for a revitalising dip, well-equipped fitness center with the latest and most essential exercise machines and facilities and a game room. It also has a main function hall that can hold up to 100 people or one of two 50-person function rooms.

The Enclave Alabang, which adds a tropical modern touch to what has become a major thoroughfare in the metropolis, has unique deliberately planned features. It is greater than the sum of its parts, exceeding expectations, redefining perceptions and setting new standards for luxury real estate.

To know more about this exceptional residential development, visit www.enclavealabang.com, or call 0977-808-0832.

Top things to enjoy at So Shop! A Social Sellers’ Bazaar Empowered by LBC

Online shopping offers a different level of convenience for shoppers but to those who want to touch, feel, and experience a product before throwing in the bucks, LBC Express Inc. (LBC), the leading courier and logistics company in the Philippines, is providing a venue for both the buyer and the seller.

LBC is holding "So Shop! A Social Sellers’ Bazaar Empowered by LBC" on October 5 at SMX Manila, Seashell Lane, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City to provide customers an opportunity to interact with their favorite online sellers in person!

To go or not to go is not even a question. LBC's "So Shop!" is definitely a must and here are the things to see and expect from the bazaar.

#1 "Shop 'til you drop" cliché could never be more true with "So Shop!" as it offers a diverse and wide array of products from cosmetics to clothes to household items to fitness equipment. The whole bazaar caters to all types of shoppers from all walks of life. If you have been looking for one particular item for a long time, this may be the place to finally get hold of it.

#2 Get to experience a potential purchase from the booth of your favorite online seller. It's a chance to hold, feel, and inspect an item before parting with your cash or credit card. Online sellers will now have a chance to meet their patrons while shoppers can score exclusive deals offered only during the bazaar. Online shoppers will get to personally choose their next purchase from an assortment of products from cosmetics to ready-to-wears to household items from the booths of their favorite online shops.

#3 While still focused on finding the next purchase, the bazaar is holding live engagement with customers, thought leaders, and influencers. Get to see and interact with popular celebrity entrepreneurs and influencers and listen to success stories that may inspire your own shopping story.

#4 This is an opportunity to meet and mingle with the online seller you have been communicating with for weeks or even months. Are you a fan of a specific online shop? It may be your chance to get to know the brains behind the creative ideas!

#5 This is an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to get a headstart and finally live the dream. Learn how you can effectively use LBC’s Cash on Pick up and Cash on Delivery services for your online business. As part of its mission to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises, LBC invites aspiring online entrepreneurs to see for themselves the opportunity that awaits them. Just by visiting each booth will give them the idea of what products they want to sell or which ones actually sell.
There you have it — so mark your calendars and gear up for "So Shop! A Social Sellers’ Bazaar Empowered by LBC."


LBC is the Philippines’ market leader in retail and corporate courier & cargo, money remittance, and logistics services. With a growing network of over 6,400 branches, hubs & warehouses, partners, and agents in over 30 countries, LBC is committed to moving lives, businesses, and communities and delivering smiles around the world. Listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange through LBC Express Holdings, Inc., LBC aims to deliver value to all of its stakeholders, as it has for over 60 years.  Founded in 1945 as a brokerage and air cargo agent, LBC pioneered time-sensitive cargo delivery and 24-hour door-to-door delivery in the Philippines. Today, it is the most trusted logistics brand of the Global Filipino. LBC can move it for you: visit www.LBCexpress.com, or call telephone +632 8585 999 (Metro Manila), 1 800 10 8585 999 (Provincial), +632 9086 522 (Solutions) and follow LBCExpress (Facebook and Twitter).

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Nestlé NANKID holds a Museum Gala to celebrate every child's "Amazing Possibles"

The 19 Portraits of Amazing Possibles shown at the Nestlé NANKID Museum Gala at the Yuchengco Museum.

For every parent, nothing can be more rewarding than seeing a child reach a milestone. Whether it’s watching your child take his first unassisted step, or seeing him tie his shoelaces independently, the joy that parents feel in their hearts for each amazing possible is beyond compare.

To celebrate these everyday milestones of parents, Nestlé NANKID kicked-off their newest global brand relaunch campaign called Amazing Possibles. 

The campaign was brought to life through The Museum of Amazing Possibles held at the Yuchengco Museum, Makati City. It featured 19 Amazing Possibles stories of real parents and individuals who continue to strive to nourish every possible for the children of this generation. 

Among the personalities featured are influential moms -- Cat Arambulo, Joy Sotto, and Nicole Hernandez. The gallery also presented different narratives from health care professionals, and individuals with invaluable advocacy on unlocking every child’s potential.

Guests experienced a night of art and awe as they discovered every child’s surprising possibles and how Nestlé NANKID continues to thrive to become the best partner for every parent who wants only the best for their child, now and in the future. 

Every portrait and piece at the gallery had its own QR code that guests scanned to see and hear the narrative behind. Attendees were taken on a journey to discovering amazing possibles through the four exhibits inside the museum:

  • Memories of Amazing Possibles: A collection of mementos of captured moments of many amazing possibles. The collection features memorable items that evoke nostalgia to amazement in every surprising moment. 
  • Portraits of Amazing Possibles: A gallery that highlights animated captured moments of amazement. Showcasing inspiring stories of greatness behind every emotion.
  • Stories of Amazing Possibles: An animated collection showcasing the narratives and anecdotes of many amazing possibles. Showcasing inspiring stories, from humble advocacies, to surprising tales of personal greatness.
  • Partner in Amazing Possibles: An exhibit showcasing Nestlé and its rich heritage of passion in innovating child nutrition. This display showed the brands continuous efforts in providing advanced holistic growth & development, helping parents understand how strong foundations of today nourish a child’s every possible now and in the future.

Throughout the years, Nestlé NANKID has remained a partner of parents all over the world in nourishing every child. This 2019, parents can look forward to the best from Nestlé NANKID as the brand continues to push to be frontiers of innovation in nutrition and continue to help parents prepare their children for all the possibles of tomorrow.

“We know the depth of emotions that parents experience as their child achieves every amazing possible, the astonishment, happiness, and fulfillment that parents experience has remained the same throughout the years, unchanged by shifting mindsets and beliefs. This is why Nestlé endeavors to lay the path towards more amazing possibles. Together with NANKID’s continuous innovations, experts’ opinions, and your endless care, you can help your child become the best in every stage,” said Arlene Tan-Bantoto, Business Executive Officer for Nestlé Infant Nutrition.

Be amazed by your child, for life. Nourish your child’s every possible with Nestlé NANKID. Visit www.facebook.com/NANKIDOPTIPRO for more details.

Ever Bilena goes to Davao for the EB Beauty Fiesta

Ever Bilena, the country’s leading cosmetics retail company, and its brands EB Advance, Careline, and Blackwater recently held its first ever EB Beauty Fiesta in Davao. The attendees, who consisted mostly of local influencers, got to try, swatch, and review the newest products from the various Ever Bilena brands.
Photo shows (L-R) Blackwater brand manager Ivan Banez, EB Advance brand manager Creole David with winners Michael Ferdinand Tan for Ginoong Blackwater, Pau Ruta for Binibining EB Advance, Julia Elle Macadangdang for Binibining Careline, and Joana Yulo for Binibining Ever Bilena, Ever Bilena marketing manager Olive Padilla, Careline brand manager Miya Inomata, and Ever Bilena brand manager Elin Katipunan.       

Monday, September 09, 2019

Young people take charge of the future at Global Youth Summit 2019

Organizers and speakers. From left: SM Supermalls COO Steven Tan, tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, SM Cares Children and Youth program director Royston Cabunag, Global Peace Foundation vice-president for Global Partnerships David Caprara, and Global Youth Summit head Leonard Faustino

More than 13,000 student leaders proved that young people can achieve great things during the Global Youth Summit 2019, the largest gathering for young Filipino leaders that aims to engage and inspire the world's future experts, held recently at the SM MOA Arena. 

Hosted by SM Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings Inc., and Global Peace Foundation (GPF), Global Youth Summit (GYS) aims to engage and inspire young minds by providing a space where they can share their ideas and utilize their diverse skill-sets, knowledge, and networks to effectively address today’s persistent problems.

“If you do not make a move to change the world, who else will make the Philippines the best it can become? That is why we enjoin everyone to use this forum as a platform to build a very strong foundation and uplift the role of the youth in decision-making. Today, we work harder to create an impact and start positive change by being the example of change to a global community that truly cares,” said SM Cares Children and Youth program director Royston Cabunag.

David Caprara, vice president for strategic partnerships of Global Peace Foundation, also emphasized the important role that young people must undertake in achieving the global goals. He reminded thousands of attendees, “You [the youth] are today's pioneers in applying innovative technology and entrepreneurial spirit, inspired by universal values that underlie a vision for a more prosperous world. Your efforts and accomplishments are crucial small steps in ultimately accomplishing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”

Prior to the main summit, participating students had the opportunity to develop and present project ideas that can be implemented in communities to help advance this year’s topics for Global Youth Summit which are: (1) Inclusive education; (2) Youth-responsive health services; (3) Creating youth-enabling employment and self-employment; (4) Ecosystems in sustainable tourism; (5) Civic awareness and participation; and (6) Creating safe spaces and reducing all forms of violence against children

The highlight was the awarding of five innovative youth ideas, namely BoluntirMISMO, an end-to-end youth caravan that aims to build nationwide awareness and appreciation of volunteerism and the role that it plays in nation building; ToReal Peace, a promotional and peace training program designed to enlighten youth with the real vision of TORIL, an Islamic Institution, toward REAL PEACE and development; Project 97, a project that will provide 475 internally displaced youth of Marawi City access to sustainable livelihood opportunities through tourism promotion and entrepreneurship development; Cafesidad: Good Food Crafted by Good Hearts, a project which aims to raise awareness, break barriers and highlight the abilities of exceptional learners to be equipped with the necessary skills for their future employment while building bridges towards a more inclusive society; and Mindify (Mental Intuitive Device for Filipino Youth), an application and device that will provide accessible and subjective mental health support, to improve the well-being of Filipino youth. 

Dozens of entries were received from all over the country, and each of the winning concept were awarded P200,000.00. These targets are aligned with the priority areas of the UN Youth Strategy for Sustainable Development launched in September 2018.
Influencers, international and local speakers, gave inspiring talks about their advocacies and the role of youth in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Guest speakers included Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador Anne Curtis, United Nations Development Program Ambassador Antoinette Taus, G-Talks Host and Health-XPh co-Founder Dr. Gia Sison, Consuelo Foundation President and CEO Greg Auberry, and Asian Institute Management’s Executive Director, Prim Paypon.

“Every child has the right to grow up in an environment where they feel safe and secure, have basic services and clean air and water, can play, learn and grow and where their 
voices are heard and matter,” said UNICEF national goodwill ambassador Anne Curtis.

Global Peace Foundation (GPF) is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peace building. GPF engages and organizes a global network of public and private sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peace building models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies.

SM Cares is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings. Its advocacies include Programs on Persons with Disabilities, Environment, Children and Youth, Women and Breastfeeding Mothers, Senior Citizens, and Overseas Filipino Workers. 

This year’s Global Youth Summit was organized by SM Cares and Global Peace Foundation and endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education. It is supported by Mall of Asia Arena, Cebu Pacific Air, Consuelo Foundation, CIE British School, Inner Wheel Club Central Ortigas, Rotary International District 3830, Lions Club District 301-A2, Lopez Group Foundation, Skin Rejuve, Unilever, SM Youth & Huawei.

A Cebu-leg of the Global Youth Summit is scheduled on August 24, 2019, at the Cebu Trade Hall, SM City Cebu. 

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Revisiting the culinary treasures of Luzon

From the savory sisig to the spicy Bicol Express, Luzon is a trove filled with culinary treasures. Hence, six chefs from the island group were able to explore the gastronomic delights of their hometowns through Solane Kitchen Hero: Chefs' Edition, a nationwide cooking competition which aims to recognize a new generation of local talented chefs.
These chefs simply revisited their roots and took inspiration from their provinces’ staple to create their winning masterpieces. Now, all of them are a step closer to winning the grand prizes at the national round which are P100,000 cash and a culinary trip to Japan.

Igadobas Ti La Union

A unique twist on Igado was rustled up by Chef Xavier Mercado during the Ilocos leg. Igado is a famous Ilocano stew made of pork and liver braised in soy sauce-vinegar mixture and Mercado decided to amp up his version of the traditional dish by adding local fruits such as guava and grapes.

Dinakdakan with ensalada, roasted shallots, and candied calamansi

Another famous Ilocano dish, Dinakdakan, helped Chef Jan Daryl Doculan from Nueva Vizcaya prevail in his regional competition. A dish traditionally made of pig ears, head, brain, and vegetables, Doculan’s Dinakdakan was served with assorted achara, ensalada, toasted shallot, and candied calamansi.

Smoked duck and arroz valenciana arancini with sampaloc sauce and spicy apple chutney

Smoked Duck Arroz Valenciana Arancini was the star of the competition during the regional leg in Central Luzon. Chef Marlon Manuel from Nueva Ecija wowed the judges with his dish which he served with Sampaloc Sauce and Spicy Apple Chutney for added flavor.

Herbs and cashew nut-crusted beef tenderloin in Bistek sauce, puree of squash, green pea coulis, sago and kalamansi kropek and crispy shallot

Bistek, a Filipino favorite, was prepared by Chef Roberto Roldan Jr. during the fourth leg. Roldan improved Bistek’s salty and savory flavors with herbs and cashews, a puree of squash, green pea coulis, sago and calamansi kropek, and crispy shallots.

Steamed sweet potato stuffed in spicy taro leaves with creamy coconut sauce

A famous Bikolano dish, Laing or spicy taro leaves with creamy coconut sauce, was also highlighted thanks to Chef Rommel Abion. Proving that Bicolanos have a penchant for spicy food, Abion cooked the traditional Laing and enhanced it by adding in steamed sweet potatoes and shrimp.

Ginataang lamang dagat with Salinas curry sauce, seafood custard and shrimp bisque froth

Ginataang lamang dagat was prepared by Chef Mcrhyan Rodrigo during the last regional leg in Luzon. He served his winning dish with salinas curry sauce, seafood custard, and shrimp bisque broth.
These chefs from Luzon, together with the regional winners from Visayas and Mindanao, will go head-to-head in the highly anticipated grand finals wherein the next culinary master in the country will finally be named.
Solane Kitchen Hero: Chefs' Edition is sponsored by Midea, Jolly, Jolly Heartmate Canola Oil, Dona Elena Olive Oil, Dona Elena Al Dente Pasta, Masflex Cookware, Ajinomoto, King Sue, Anvil Publishing, Philtranco, Fastcat, and Chef Plus.

To know more about Solane Kitchen Hero: Chefs' Edition, visit Solane’s website www.solane.com.ph and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/solane.ph/ .


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