Thursday, August 27, 2020

Quarantine creativity: 19-year-old Cebu student uses soy sauce to make art

As the quarantine keeps everyone at home for their safety, many young Filipinos spend their time honing their skills and creativity, finding ways to express themselves. With all this free time on their hands, there are those who even go the extra mile when it comes to being creative.

This was certainly the case for 19-year-old communication student Thea Sophia Disabelle, from Bantayan Island, Cebu, who stirred buzz on the internet after creating art not just through traditional mediums, but also using a medium no one thinks could be used for art: soy sauce. Yes, the very same soy sauce you ordinarily see in kitchens at home.

“It all started when I poured a little amount of soy sauce into a saucer, since I needed it for my fried fish,” said Thea, who made her first soy sauce artwork back in March using Silver Swan Soy Sauce, a staple in their pantry. “After that, I paused for three seconds while staring at it—something was beautifully formed. After I had my breakfast that day, I asked myself, ‘Why not make art using soy sauce?’”


Working with soy sauce

While Thea always had access to Silver Swan Soy Sauce as it was the family’s preferred brand since her childhood, it would take her a few more months before trying to make another soy sauce artwork after her first one. This time, however, people took notice.

“I posted it on Facebook and didn't expect to get many likes, comments and shares,” she said.
“Fortunately, it really went viral and I was so overwhelmed.”

Although Thea also creates art using more traditional mediums such as paint, pastels, and pencils, she likes the convenience that soy sauce allows, recommending it to artists who may have challenges getting art materials during the quarantine. Silver Swan Soy Sauce, made of high-quality soybeans, also provides artists a unique texture to work with, distinguishing it from the usual materials and providing a tamang-tamang timpla even to art.

“The texture looks so cool after a while,” she says. “Artists just need soy sauce, a large plate, and imagination. It's tricky to do this kind of artwork because one wrong move, you'll have to start all over again. It might be an ephemeral artwork but it's worth the effort.”

Inspiring young Filipino creatives

As some artists find new ways to make breathtaking art during the quarantine using everyday items, Thea believes that there’s really no limit to what anyone can create as long as they keep trying. She herself wants to pursue a fine arts course and eventually turn her hobby into her life’s work.

“I encourage them to be creative and make use of their time through art,” she says. “You don't need expensive art materials—you just have to go to your kitchen, get some stuff and make it your masterpiece. It's just a matter of creativity, dedication and willingness to learn something new. You just have to be creative in making nothing into something. That's how art works.”

As a token of recognition for Thea’s astounding creativity and resourcefulness, NutriAsia, makers of Silver Swan will be sending her and her family more of their products for their use—whether it’s for their food or for more of Thea’s art.


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Quarantine Creativity: 19-year-old Thea Sophia Disabelle only had a bottle of Silver Swan Soy Sauce, large plate, and a limitless imagination to create unique works of art.

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Photos from Thea Sophia Disabelle’s Facebook Account




Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Smart launches new Giga Study data pack for learning



As the world continues to deal with the pandemic, many schools have resorted to online classes as a safe and innovative way for students to continue learning new knowledge and skills.


To help students adapt to this new normal, mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. has launched Giga Study, a prepaid data pack aimed at giving students simpler access to a selection of learning apps and productivity tools.


Register via *123# or the new Smart App


Available to all Smart Prepaid and TNT subscribers, Giga Study 99 comes with 1 GB of data for specific study apps every day for 7 days, plus 2 GB of open-access data for only P99. To register, simply dial *123# and choose Giga and select Study. Subscribers can also avail of the promo conveniently via the new Smart App.


Giga Study offers access to Google Suite, which includes Google Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, Meet, and Drive. Learning via video is also an option with YouTube and YouTube Kids. The data pack also offers access to Microsoft 365, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Teams, and OneDrive. 


Giga Study adds to Smart and TNT's line of Giga offers, which are designed to cater to the various lifestyle needs and passions of customers. Recently, Smart also introduced Giga Work for those who need access to work and productivity apps.


Country’s fastest mobile data network


Smart and TNT subscribers can enjoy all these Giga offers powered by Smart LTE, the country’s fastest mobile network, as certified by third-party mobile analytics firms such as Ookla and Opensignal.


Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis, recently named Smart as the country’s fastest mobile data network in the first half of 2020 after it achieved a Speed Score™ of 18.33, with average speeds of 15.94 Mbps for download, and 7.57 Mbps for upload, based on 2,810,963 user-initiated tests taken with Speedtest®.


On the other hand, Opensignal, an independent mobile analytics firm, reported in its April 2020 Mobile Network Experience Report for the Philippines that Smart remained ahead of the competition in terms of Video Experience, Upload and Download Speed Experience, Voice App Experience, Games Experience, and 4G Availability.


For more details on Smart’s products and services, follow Smart’s official accounts on Facebook at and Twitter and Instagram at @LiveSmart.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Creative snacks for homeschool recess


As students prepare to take their classes online for their safety amid the pandemic, it is important to keep them fueled and motivated for school. To help boost their creativity and learning, Solane, the country’s leading LPG solutions provider, suggests smart tips for creative snacks that are perfect for study breaks:   

Create fun snacks during craft-making day. Parents can bake butter cookies, cupcakes or cakes while kids decorate them with designs like the planets of the solar system or their favorite literary characters. The key is to think out of the box and prep ahead of time or during the weekend so everything is ready for a quick snack break. Doing this can help make their homeschooling experience more fun and give them something enjoyable to look forward to every week.

Have a weekly themed recess. Turn recess into an opportunity to learn something new. It can be a fun science experiment like turning milk into ice cream or it can be a short “tour around the world,” discovering different cultures through food. Serve them various cuisines as their snacks with a new country as the theme every day or every week.

Make bento boxes. Some parents struggle to make their kids eat nutritious foods. To encourage and excite the kids to eat well-balanced meals, why not make bento boxes? Utilize colorful ingredients or shape them into cute animals to make the bento box visually appetizing. Other great ideas for bento lunch sets are sushi sandwiches with sliced fruits or nori-wrapped rice sandwiches that can be made from leftovers.

Incorporate food that boost memory and concentration. Help kids get through their homeschool hours by preparing “brain food” to boost memory and concentration. Try fruit bowls or smoothies with blueberries, strawberries, kiwis and oranges. Studies show that these fruits contain vitamin C and antioxidants, which help prevent mental decline and improve communication in the brain cells, respectively. Be sure to include fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, which are rich in omega-3s for better cognition and thinking abilities.

Prepare these fun and healthy snack options suggested by Solane to help students be well and learn better. To know more, visit

This Grade 12 artist can make awesome artworks with banana catsup


When hard times strike and traditional resources are out of reach, the most creative of us can find ingenious ways to make one-of-a-kind works of art.

This is especially true for Filipinos—and no one proves our resourcefulness and creativity more than this amazing Grade 12 artist, who didn’t need paint or pencils to create artwork. No, Vincent Dwight Paulo from Nueva Ecija uses banana catsup to draw portraits of famous personalities while staying at home during the community quarantine.

While he first started with a catsup portrait back in 2018, it was during the quarantine when he really started honing this unique art skill. “I really engaged myself in doing catsup art since school and art supplies shops were closed,” said Vincent. “I was running out of materials, so I used catsup instead.”

With creating catsup art being only a hobby for him, Vincent never thought it would become as popular as it did.


Working with catsup

Catsup was not the first medium he had used to create art, but it was the one within reach at home—which is how he ended up creating portraits of celebrities like Liza Soberano, Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Taylor Swift, and One Direction.

“I really loved catsup because it is readily available inside the house,” Vincent shared. “I really love exploring and trying other mediums just to try something new. I don’t like to stick to the conventional and typical artworks that we see.”

Vincent primarily uses UFC Banana Catsup as it is the family’s favorite catsup brand at home. “It’s always what’s in our kitchen, and we really like fried foods dipped in UFC Banana Catsup because of its tamis-anghang taste,” he said. “I don’t want to try other brands for my art because I’m already used to UFC.”

Artist Vincent Dwight Paulo received various NutriAsia products which the family can enjoy both for cooking and creating unique artwork

Vincent’s resourcefulness led him to their kitchen pantry, where he used a bottle of UFC Banana Catsup to create one-of-a-kind portraits that went viral on social media.


Inspiring creativity in Filipinos

While Vincent wows admirers online with his amazing catsup art, his plans are a little more different, as he dreams of taking up architecture in college. He realizes that such a course could be expensive, hindering others from pursuing their passion, but with his work he wants to inspire fellow artists and creatives to be resourceful.

“Being more creative and resourceful really is my objective. Painting does not stop if you don’t have art materials,” he continued. “Alternative materials are everywhere; you just have to explore. If you could think of some other materials than those usually used in making art, that would be great.”

As a token of recognition for Vincent’s astounding creativity and resourcefulness, NutriAsia sent him and his family more of their products for their use—whether it’s for their food or for more of Vincent’s art.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

PLDT ramps up its Infoteach Outreach Program with a webinar series


Empowering teachers and students for blended learning

To enable various sectors in the new normal of online teaching and learning, leading telco PLDT, through its Infoteach Outreach Program, is conducting a webinar series called "Gearing up for the New Normal in Teaching and Learning.”  

The webinar series recently kicked off with the topic “Preparing your course for online delivery,” and was attended by almost 15,000 registered participants. These include teachers and students who were selected by PLDT in coordination with the Department of Education (DepED) Schools Division Superintendents, while the program’s long-time partner UP Open University (UPOU) provided the learning modules. The session was also extended to the public through the UPOU Networks’ Facebook Live and YouTube streams, with peak views reaching over 8,000 individuals.  

"We echo our Chairman's commitment that there should be no learner left behind. Amid the pandemic, we continue to empower our teachers and students by providing them with digital capabilities. Our webinar series aims to equip them for a smoother transition to a blended learning set-up,” said PLDT Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto.    

"Through the webinar series, we advocate the culture of sharing. We become architects as we design our own modules. Through this, we enable our fellow teachers to learn from our best teaching and learning practices,” said UPOU Chancellor Dr. Melinda Bandelaria during the first session.  

There are several topics educators can watch out for, including engaging learners online (August 3), assessment of online engagement tools (August 7) and supporting online learners (August 10). Students will be given an online course on preparing to be an online learner (August 5), while parents will be offered a special webinar on how to support their children as online learners (August 18). There will also be a webinar session on cyber security open to the general public (August 14), led by PLDT Chief Information and Security Officer Angel Redoble. 

This webinar series in partnership with the UPOU is a milestone that aims to uplift our country’s new digital education system. We continue to take strides in ensuring that we utilize our resources in helping the teaching and learning community," he said. 

Recognizing the vital role that the local government units (LGUs) play in supporting the education sector’s transition to digital learning, PLDT will also hold a special webinar session for them on August 12. 

For more details on how to participate, visit the UPOU Network’s Facebook Page: 

Through the shared goal of enriching the country’s education sector, PLDT and UPOU are dedicating this webinar series not only to the teachers, but also to the whole ecosystem of the teaching and learning process: the students, their parents, and their communities. [END


About the Infoteach Outreach Program 

Now on its 16th year, the PLDT Infoteach Outreach Program started in 2004 as a barangay-based initiative on digital literacy training, and was later transformed into a school-based program. As the company’s flagship educational program, it champions digital literacy by empowering public school teachers and students nationwide. Its partnership with UPOU started in 2012 and has already produced over 30,000 graduates from different public schools all over the country. 


For more details on PLDT’s efforts for the education sector, please visit 


About PLDT

PLDT is the leading telecommunications and digital services provider in the Philippines. Through its principal business groups – fixed line, wireless and others – PLDT offers a wide range of telecommunications and digital services across the Philippines’ most extensive fiber optic backbone, and fixed line and cellular networks.

PLDT is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE:TEL) and its American Depositary Shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:PHI). PLDT has one of the largest market capitalizations among Philippine­listed companies.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Maxicare gives free COVID-19 testing for thousands of members

To provide continuity of care and to ensure their members’ safety and well-being, Maxicare successfully recently hosted a 4-day free SARS COV2 Antibody Testing activities for 4,061 Maxicare members. 
With a simple and convenient process, members simply had to register and fill out a risk assessment form online. This was a quick and easy screening process that determined their risk category. Instructions were then given based on their respective categories. 

The initiative was met with much appreciation and gratitude from members and their families, both during the event and after.  “Maxicare was very efficient. You will get a 1-hour window to show up and take the test in a large, events-purposed building in Bridgetowne, Quezon City. There were testing stations with proper queuing, social-distancing etc. The whole process took only about 30 mins,” Attorney Butch Dado narrated of his experience.  
Benjunar Barcoma, a sales engineer from Rohde & Shwarz (Philippines) Inc., was grateful for the peace of mind it afforded him.  Another member, Dr. Kenneth Y. Hartigan-Go, an Associate Professor and Head of the Stephen Zuellig School of Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management, commended Maxicare’s integration of science and heart in this time of uncertainty. “It was  a well-organized COVID-19 testing one Sunday morning, offering myself peace of mind.” 

Aside from the free tests, Maxicare continues to cover members infected with COVID-19. A total of 631 cases were confirmed, and 592 already recovered as of July 11, 2020. Amidst the lockdown, Maxicare clinics remained open, while strictly adhering to appropriate health protocols. Maxicare members who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and other health concerns are encouraged to call in through the 24/7 TeleConsult service to verify with licensed physicians whether or not they need to head to the hospital to avoid unnecessary exposure.     
During these uncertain times, a sense of shared responsibility has seen the country coming together, while staying apart.  The free test is “consistent with Maxicare’s mission of helping people achieve peace of mind through quality healthcare so they may live their best lives,” added Christian Argos, Maxicare President & CEO. 


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