Wednesday, March 30, 2016

POST EVENT: G.S.M. Blue, Bar Skills Showdown

Last March 7 at the San Andres Complex in Malate, its the 9th year of the GSM Blueniversity Skills Showdown. It has become a major event for all Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) students in the Philippines, The event was hosted by Vince Uy, GSM Blueniversity's Ambassador from 2011 and 2012.

The event from 7AM to 12 noon was focused on a mixology seminar and discussed the following topics:

  1. Basic cocktails
  2. Current trends and innovation in mixology
  3. Responsible drinking
  4. Responsible service of alcohol
  5. First aid and other bar-related injuries
  6. Career talks

Speakers were the prominent figures in the HRM and mixology scenes, including Mr. Geronimo Ele, a Bar Management lecturer at the University of the Philippines, as well as the University of Sto. Tomas. Mr. Ele is also a co-founder of the Organization of the Bar Professionals (OBP) Flaming Olives Mobile bar. Also speaking is Mr. Jean Paul Ceron, manager of numerous bars around the country, including Club Chill Bar (Tomas Morato), the Polo Kai Grill (Taguig) Twisted Lemon Beverage Services, JMCafe and GSB Food Counter. Another speaker would be Mr. Brando Tanauan, one of the official trainers of the GSM Blueniversity Mixology Seminar , as well as the Grand Champion in the Ilocos Invitational Bartending Tournament and the 1st Runner-up in the Bottle for Supremacy All-Star competition in 2010.

In the afternoon event, from 1 PM to 7 PM, the skills showdown and bartending competition was take place. One representative from each participating school competing in the following categories:

  1. Best trick
  2. Garnish making
  3. Sensory test
  4. Flairtending

For each category, 3 winners was chosen to receive a cash prize. The overall winner of the Flairtending category will be sent by the GSMI team to represent the Philippines in an international competition later this year.

Judges of the event was the multi-awarded Derick de Borja (winner of Chefs on Parade, and the Creative Flairtending Competition), Mr. Jun Arabejo (champion of the PBL Flairtending showdown in 2002), Mr. Marlon Aseoche (grand champion for the Robinsons Wine and Liquor festival in 2012), and Mr. Benjie Lavarias (operational manager and owner of Bartenders at Work Mobile Bar and *G Tuazon Café).

The guest judge and technical head of the event was Mr. Erwyn Unigo, former head bartender at the EDSA Shangri-la hotel, founder and president of the Philippine Flair Bartending Alliance, owner of cocktail caterer, Blueshot Mobile Bar, and the first ever GSM Blue Flair Idol Grand Champion in the professional division.

It was jam-packed with exciting activities, superstar guests, and jaw-dropping flairtending displays, the 2016 GSM Blueniversity Bar Skills Showdown is sure to be bigger and better than ever.

G.S.M. BLUE BLUENIVERSITY CUP WINNERS. Now on its 9th year, the GSM Blueniversity Skills Showdown has become a highly anticipated event for all Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) students across the country. For its 2016 leg, students were treated with a whole day of topics on current trends in mixology, responsible drinking and service of alcohol.  Winners for the bartending competition received cash prizes and the overall winner of the Flairtending category will be sent by the GSM to represent the Philippines in an international competition later this year. (From left) GSM Blue assistant brand manager Winchie Tobias, Gold awardee students all from Lyceum of the Philippines University; Alexis Cabugao, John Caballes, Charmaine Dela Paz, Noel Reyes, and GSM group brand manager Marvin Dancel.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cherry Mobile Festival 2016: Everyday is a Cherry Day!

Now on its 7th year, the Cherry Mobile Festival 2016 dubbed as 777, Swerte, Panalo sa Cherry Mobile is set to bring more  fun, excitementand surpirses to every Filipino. This is the brand’s unique way in returning its gratitude to its partners and consumers through special discounts, exciting activites, freebies and new handsets.

Some of the highlights of Cherry Mobile F estival2016 are: Lucky 7 Hits: expect special discounts for lucky customers. Cherprize Araw Araw: instant prizes await lucky customers with up to
Php3 million worth of prizes at stake. May Bonus Ka! Lucky customers will get additional treats from Cherry Mobile when they avail of select Cherry Mobile Phone bundled with Cherry Pre-paid SIMs.

Everyday is a Cherry Day: this year’s new  campaign for Cherry Mobile featuring the country’s hottest young loveteam: JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) plus Cherry Mobile’s latest jingle
Barangay Cherry Mobile: various store activations to attract and make the customers engaged in various activities.

According to Mr. Michelle Ngu, company's Vice President, “Cherry Mobile Festival has always been exciting since we launched it 7 years ago. But this year, Cherry Mobile ensures that customers get more on what they have purchased on a daily basis, because Everyday is a Cherry day.” 

All these and more await the customers this March as Cherry Mobile formerly launches CMF 2016 along with more details on how everyone will be able to avail of the special discounts, treats, and freebies. Make sure to not miss out on of these special treats from Cherry Mobile and get ready to join this year’s Cherry Mobile Festival, where Everyday is a Cherry day!

For more details, please check the following:;; IG: @cherrymobileph;
TWITTER: @cherryPHsupport

Ripple8 the new PR agency of the Food Giant Jollibee

Jollibee Brand CMO and Jollibee Philippines Marketing Head Francis E. Flores (L) selected Ripple8, Inc. headed by Managing Director Timmy Jayme (R), as one of its new PR agency partners.

Beginning 2016 Jollibee Foods Corporation, the largest fast food chain and dominant Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) market leader in the Philippines, recently appointed Ripple8, Inc. as its public relations agency-on-record for its Brand PR initiatives. This was after the agency emerged as the top scorer in a competitive pitch with three other PR agencies. While Strategic Works, Inc, the former PR agency of Jollibee for over 10 years, will continue to oversee the food company's public relations for corporate affairs.

Global Brand Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Marketing of Jollibee Philippines Francis E. Flores said, “We are looking forward with great excitement to working with the team as Jollibee welcomes the year with bigger opportunities to bring joy to Filipino families in the country and worldwide.”

Flores furthered that Jollibee chose Ripple8 on the strength of its fresh, innovative ideas and integrated communications approach presented during the competitive bid.

Ripple8 managing director Timmy M. Jayme said the team is eager to implement “its winning strategies for transformative PR that will empower its trailblazer client to achieve the changes in consumer beliefs and behavior they work and aspire for.”  

Jayme added that the agency aims to make a difference for Jollibee by offering “evolved PR thriving in the high-tech, digital and social landscape to create the ripple effects of positive change.”


Merrell® believes that nothing should get in the way of enjoying active outdoor adventures.  Merrell hiking boots, trail running shoes and apparel are built on Merrell’s outdoor heritage, quality and performance. The trail is the core of our design philosophy and has continued to guide us in the development of innovative products that inspire and enable enjoyment of the outdoors.

Outdoor getaways range from water to land and trails to mountains. With tons of options available for beginners and pros as well as with the increasing popularity of outdoor activities, the demand for the right footwear has become more apparent. With Merrell’s advocacy to “Getaway to Adventure,” the brand has created a line of footwear fit for any type of outdoor adventure.
Treading the great outdoors with the perfect footwear has always been essential, and Merrell’s Capra Collection which will be out in April will offer an array of shoes ready to take on any terrain.

Target Destination: Bakun Trio
Conquering mountains is always a test, and hiking Cordillera’s Bakun Trio is no exception. The Bakun Trio consists of three mountains: Mts. Lobo, Tenglawan, and Kabunian. Imagine braving uneven terrain, steep and slippery trails to and from the summit of each mountain in three days.

Recommended Gear: Merrell Capra Bolt
The lightweight Capra Bolt is designed for adrenaline-packed hiking adventures and will keep you surefooted and rooted in confidence. Its UniFlyTM midsole ensures stability, agility, and a more efficient stride on faster trails, while the M SelectTM GRIP’s Capra hoof-inspired sole allows optimal footing on unpredictable terrain.

Waterfalls Hopping
Destination: Laguna Waterfalls (Hulugan Falls, Aliw Falls, and Pagsanjan)
Those who like water adventures can give waterfall hopping a try. The Hulugan, Aliw, and Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna are great choices. Dip into each of these waterfalls to cool down and relax this summer, but be sure to wear suitable footwear.

Recommended Gear: Merrell Capra Rapid
The Merrell Capra Rapid features M SelectTM Wet Grip and Capra hoof-inspired siped sole ideal for wet, slick, and unpredictable terrain. Its quick-drying upper and midsole are self-draining, keeping the feet light.

Urban Exploration
Destination: Cebu (Bantayan Island, Malapascua, and Cebu City Tour)
Exploring cities is always a pleasant way to discover new things, and the city of Cebu has a lot to offer. Take the tour to discover Cebu City’s hidden gems and hop on a boat to soak in the scenic beach of Bantayan Island and the small yet stunning island of Malapascua. Wear shoes that provide good traction and keep you at ease with all the walking you will do.

Recommended Gear: Capra Sandal and Capra Rapid Sieve
Don't slow down for anything—not even streams—in Merrell’s quick-drying, highly ventilated hydro-hiker sandal with a grippy outsole and supportive upper.

Taking on new adventures is made easy with Merrell’s high-performance footwear specially made for the urban adventurer and outdoor enthusiast in everyone of us.

Find the perfect pair for your next getaway in Merrell stores at TriNoma, SM North EDSA Annex, Glorietta 3, Market! Market!, Festival Mall Alabang, Marquee Mall Pampanga, Harbor Point Subic, SM City Dasmariñas, Gaisano Mall Davao, Abreeza Mall Davao, SM Lanang Premier, and SM Ecoland Davao. Merrell is also available in leading department stores and sports specialty stores nationwide.

Visit Merrell on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @Merrell_PH.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Upgraded Pag-IBIG savings for Deped RO V

Pag-IBIG Fund and DepEd partnership. DepEd Regional Office No. 5 (DepEd RO V) and Pag-IBIG Fund Legazpi Branch signed a Memorandum of Agreement on March 1, 2016 at The Concourse Convention Center in Legazpi City, allowing DepEd personnel to avail of the savings programs of the Fund through salary deduction. Seated (from left): Mr. Roberto A. Salvosa, Head of Pag-IBIG Fund Legazpi Branch; Ms. Ma. Luisa P. Barcebal, Area Head of Member Services Branch Operations for Bicol Region; Mr. Ramon Fiel G. Abcede, Regional Director of DepEd-RO V, Mr. Roey Alferez, DepEd–RO V OIC Chief Administrative Officer, and Mr. Santiago Villafuerte of the DepEd ROV Legal Section. Standing at the back are other officials and staff of DepEd–RO V and Pag-IBIG Fund Legazpi Branch. 

Teachers and non-teaching staff of the Department of Education Regional Office No. 5 (DepEd-RO V) may now conveniently increase their savings with Pag-IBIG Fund through salary deduction.

This was made possible through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on March 1, 2016 at The Concourse Convention Center in Legazpi City, by DepEd-RO V Regional Director Ramon Fiel G. Abcede, and Pag-IBIG Fund Legazpi Branch Head Mr. Roberto A. Salvosa and Area Head Ms. Ma. Luisa P. Barcebal.

The increase in savings may be done through the Fund's Upgraded Savings Program, which allows Pag-IBIG members to save over and above the mandatory monthly savings of P100, or through savings in the Modified Pag-IBIG II (MP2) Program of the Fund – an additional savings facility which yields higher annual dividends than Pag-IBIG 1 savings and has a fixed maturity period of five years.

"We are happy to enter into this partnership with DepEd-RO V as this will enable our teachers and other DepEd personnel in the Bicol Region to save for their future," Ms. Barcebal said.

Under the MOA, availment of the programs will allow employees to effect the increase of their savings through salary deduction.

Director Abcede lauded the said undertaking, saying "this would re-awaken and re-integrate the culture of savings amongst its personnel."

He immediately issued Regional Memorandum Circular No. 29 (s.2016), instructing all DepEd divisions under the Bicol Region to allow the conduct of Benefits Orientation by Pag-IBIG Fund during Management Committee Meetings of Division officials.

DepEd Bicol Region has, at present, under its employ more than 50,000 personnel including teachers. 

In response, Pag-IBIG Fund Legazpi committed to conduct financial literacy briefings highlighting the savings products of Pag-IBIG.

Pag-IBIG Fund President & CEO Atty. Darlene Marie B. Berberabe congratulated both parties for their efforts in promoting saving for the DepEd personnel and teachers, who are all Pag-IBIG members.

"The savings program of the Fund is designed to help Pag-IBIG members prepare for their future.  Pag-IBIG  savings are government guaranteed, have higher yield than other savings instruments, and the yield is tax free" Atty. Berberabe said.

In 2015, Pag-IBIG declared its highest-ever dividends amounting to P14.24 Billion, with a dividend rate of 4.83%.

In the past five years, the annual dividend rate of the Fund has not gone down below the 4% level.

Meanwhile, Pag-IBIG records show that from 2013 to 2015, 457 DepEd personnel in the Bicol Region availed of Pag-IBIG housing loans worth P253.043 Million. Over the same period, 11,449 DepEd personnel nationwide availed of housing loans with a loan value of P7.58 Billion.


One Meralco Foundation (OMF) President Jeffrey Tarayao (fifth from left) and Meralco Assistant Vice President and Public Information Head Joe Zaldarriaga (third from right) with the OMF and Meralco communications team present their five-trophy haul at the 51st Anvil Awards.

Meralco and One Meralco Foundation (OMF) were once again recognized for excellence in public relations and communications as they took home three Gold Awards and two Silver Awards at the recently concluded 51st Anvil Awards at the Makati Shangri-La Grand Ballroom.

Meralco won a Gold Anvil for Salba-bote, the improvised flotation device distributed to rescue groups and local government units for flood & disaster response. Salba-bote highlights the company's involvement in the safety and survival of the communities it serves. Another Gold Anvil was awarded to the 2015 summer supply shortfall campaign which helped the company overcome a reputational crisis threat via tapping the Filipinos’ nationalism and empowering customers with energy solutions. OMF also bagged a Gold Anvil for its school electrification program which provides sustainable energy through the installation of solar power systems in remote off-grid mountain and island public schools. Since 2012, the Foundation has energized a total of 120 off-grid mountain and island public schools in the country, fifteen (15) of which are attended by students from indigenous people communities from the provinces of Surigao del Sur (Manobo Community), South Cotabato (T’boli Community), Pampanga (Aetas) and Sarangani (B’laan Community).

A Silver Anvil was awarded to Meralco for its internal communication program, “In The Know” series, which strengthened employees’ know-how on power industry concerns via creative and informative materials. Another Silver Anvil was awarded to OMF for the One Meralco Rice Bucket Challenge – the campaign which motivated Meralco employees to donate buckets of rice to typhoon victims in several provinces and less fortunate families in Metro Manila. The “Rice Bucket Challenge” campaign yielded 5,700 rice buckets, which helped 5,700 families.

Conducted annually by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, the Anvil Awards recognizes excellence in public relations with a distinguished multi-sectoral jury choosing outstanding public relations programs and tools designed and implemented during the previous year.

Merrell Getaway to Adventure

Merrell is a leading outdoor footwear brand established in 1981. It all started with a pair of boots that won the Backpacker Magazine’s seal of approval for being “the most comfortable and functional boots in North America.” In 2013, the Philippines launched ‘Pretty Strong’ to further reach out to the female market. And in 2014. Merrell partnered with the Philippines’ Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board with its campaign project “Getaway to Adventure” which won the Philippine Quill Award for Excellence under the Communication Management Category. And has also tied up with various entities that believe in the same advocacy of promoting safe and fun adventures such as Trail Adventours, PH Mountains App, Looloo App, Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB)—effectively producing an enticing and holistic offering of an adventure to remember.

The Department of Tourism’s TPB Chief Operating Officer Domingo Ramon C. Enerio III says that “Merrell’s ‘Getaway To Adventure’ dovetails with the DOT’s and TPB’s efforts to highlight the diverse attractions of our over 7,500 tropical islands, whether popular or unchartered, and to promote the Philippines as Asia Pacific’s adventure capital, serving international and domestic travelers who choose to explore the great outdoors.”

Today, there’s more to the brand than just boots, Merrell offers performance shoes that encourage people, from beginner to seasoned pro, to be active and get outside. The brand is committed in delivering exceptional footwear and apparel. After all, their customers are the heart and soul of their brand, and the inspiration behind the products they create.

With a mantra of ‘getaway to adventure’, Merrell inspires people to enjoy the outdoors and not settle a life on the sidelines. It is the gear that gets you out there – from city streets to mountain trails and everywhere in between. Available in concept stores at TriNoMa, SM North EDSA - Annex, Market! Market! , Festival Mall Alabang, Marquee Mall, Harbor Point Subic, SM City Dasmariñas, Glorietta 3, Gaisano Mall Davao, Abreeza Mall Davao, SM Lanang Premier, SM City Cebu. Also available in leading department stores and sports specialty stores nationwide.

Visit Merrell on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @Merrell_PH.

Jollibee Tuna Pie: Your perfect snack for Lent

A classic choice this Lenten season, the delicious and savory Jollibee Tuna Pie is available for dine-in, take out or delivery for P40 apiece.

Count on your favorite Jollibee Tuna Pie to satisfy your appetite for a tasty, filling snack this Lenten season. Truly a classic choice this time of the year, Jollibee Tuna Pie is a savory pie with a generous portion of chunky tuna flakes, peppery sauce, cheese, and vegetables, enveloped in a crunchy, golden pie crust.
The craveable Jollibee Tuna Pie is also available in a Trio Pack for P115 – best shared with friends on your get-togethers or road trips.

Available for dine-in, take out or delivery for P40 apiece, the Jollibee Tuna Pie is a snack item that you can enjoy any day! This craveable pie is also available in a Trio Pack for P115 – best shared with friends on your get-togethers or road trips. What’s more, the newly introduced Jollibee Tuna Pie Value Meal with Fries and Drink for P80 pairs this delectable pie with the equally loved Jolly Crispy Fries and a refreshing drink.
Enjoy  the new Jollibee Tuna Pie Value Meal with Fries and Drink for P80.

Truly, Jollibee’s Tuna Pie allows you to enjoy a delicious snack, making it much easier to go meat-less this season.


Monday, March 21, 2016


Linemen at work
During the Holy Week break the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) advised its customers to ensure electrical safety at home, especially for those who will head out of town, 

Meralco Public Information Office Head Joe Zaldarriaga said, “For a worry-free vacation, we encourage our customers to heed electrical safety and efficiency measures. This includes keeping combustible materials away from outdoor lighting and other sources of heat, and using only light bulbs of specified wattage.” Zaldarriaga also reiterates the importance of turning off and unplugging appliances not in use when on vacation to avoid overheating and waste of energy consumption. Lastly Zaldarriaga added that apart from the regular maintenance and upgrading of facilities, Meralco is ready to provide 24/7 assistance during the Holy Week. According to him, Meralco personnel will also be on standby to respond to any contingency or unexpected power interruptions. "We are one with the nation in observing a solemn and safe Holy Week", he said.

Most important tips are to include adjusting the thermostat of refrigerators to slightly warmer setting when going on a short vacation. For an extended vacation, turn-off and empty the refrigerator, and keep its door open to prevent growth of molds.

One Meralco Foundation (OMF), the company’s social responsibility arm, is also partnering with TV5 for the Gabay Byahe program to ensure the safety of motorists and provide assistance to travelers this Holy Week. OMF has also set up free electronic device charging stations at the Araneta Bus Center Terminal beginning Holy Monday (March 21) until Maundy Thursday (March 24).

For power-related concerns, customers may get in touch with Meralco’s 24-hour Call Center at 16211. They may also send their reports via Meralco’s Facebook ( and Twitter (@meralco) accounts. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

PRESS RELEASE:Kasambahays, drivers, security guards now Pag-IBIG homeowners

Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees Chairman Atty. Chito M. Cruz said recently that more workers belonging to the non-formal sector groups avail of housing units through Pag-IBIG Fund's housing loan programs.

In his report to the Fund stakeholders during the Pag-IBIG State of the Fund Address in January 2016, Cruz said that since 2013, more than 12,000 acquired properties with a loan value of P3.5 billion have been acquired by informal sector workers through Pag-IBIG housing loans.

"Ikinagagalak ko po na ibalita sa inyo na ang ating mga drivers, mga nag-aalaga sa ating mga anak, ating mga cook sa bahay, mga naglilinis ng ating opisina – ay mayroon nang pagkakataon na magkaroon ng sariling bahay sa pamamagitan ng acquired assets disposal program ng Pag-IBIG," Cruz said.

Cruz also reported that 185 house helpers or Kasambahay are now proud homeowners.

"House helpers have very low probability, if not nil, of being approved of a housing loan by private banks. With Pag-IBIG programs, owning a home is now possible for a Kasambahay," Pag-IBIG President Atty. Darlene Berberabe said, adding that the unserved sectors of our society, when empowered, can contribute so much more. 

Atty. Berberabe also announced the partnership between Pag-IBIG Fund and the Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators, Inc. (PADPAO) for the development of an 822-unit housing project in Davao City for security guards.

Aside from the Kasambahays and security guards, drivers of public utility vehicles have also availed of the housing program of Pag-IBIG.

She explained that some acquired assets of the Fund went through improvement works before being turned over to the driver-borrowers. The improvement works were done by a Pag-IBIG accredited contractor and is part of the agreement with the borrowers.

She said that the availment of Pag-IBIG acquired properties by informal sector workers consistently increased since 2013. From 1,652 units availed of by non-formal sector-workers in 2013, it climbed to 3,448 the following year (2014), then rose to 7,525 in 2015.

"We are now seeing the results of the innovative reforms and inclusive programs introduced over the past five years. More importantly, the non-formal sector-workers benefit from all these, allowing them to make the most out of their Pag-IBIG membership," Berberabe said.

M/V St. Therese of the Child Jesus the newest addition of 2GO launched

The M/V St. Therese of the Child Jesus providing passengers with world-class and cruise-like experience on board. It's a luxurious and modern sea vessels with the aim of promoting local tourism and strengthening the economy. 2GO Travel launches the 16,622-ton and 160-meter long M/V St. Therese of the Child Jesus in time for peak travel season to serve the ports of Manila, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Cagayan de Oro. The ship has a capacity of 1,856 passengers and 200 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of cargo. The M/V St. Therese of the Child Jesus serves the Manila-Bacolod-Iloilo-Cagayan de Oro route every Thursday at 9pm. 

Stephen Tagud
According to 2GO’s senior vice president Stephen Tagud, the company acquired a new vessel to address the growing demand for domestic sea travel and to provide tourists an affordable, safe, and convenient alternative for travel. “It has always been 2GO’s mission to promote local tourism and to introduce both Filipino and foreign tourists to the many beautiful and interesting destinations all over the country. At the same time, we wanted to raise the bar in domestic travel by providing passengers not just safety and convenience but a most leisurely, cruise-like experience aboard our vessels,” Tagud said.

Suite Room

The M/V St. Therese of the Child Jesus, like the rest of the fleet, has been refurbished to become a domestic cruise ship, with 6 suite rooms, 12 state rooms, 21 business class and 34 tourist accommodations, and elegantly designed furnishings. It also has a spacious first-class bar and restaurant, a 24-hour convenience store and gift shop, a spa and salon, areas for karaoke, comedy, and other forms of entertainment held nightly, a clinic, chapel, and an open-air deck where guests can enjoy island sightseeing and stargazing.

2GO, the country’s largest shipping company, also sees the addition of the new vessel as an opportunity to strengthen the economy by providing better service to meet high demands for cargo space for the transportation of goods and produce all across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. 2GO Travel also offers a wide range of hotel accommodations, tours and events packages, entertainment options, and amenities. With a combined history of more than 148 years in the travel industry, it works with over 1,200 outlets nationwide, catering to various ports across the country. For more information and updates on 2GO Travel services, visit their website at

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

More Pag-IBIG members upgrade their savings

Pag-IBIG Fund Chairman of the Board of Trustees Atty. Chito M. Cruz said recently that the amount collected from Pag-IBIG members who opted to save more than that which is mandated by law is increasing.

Cruz reported that Pag-IBIG in 2015 collected a total of P4.2 billion from the upgraded savings program of Pag-IBIG members, up by 8% from the P3.9 billion collected in 2014. In 2013, the Fund collected P3.5 billion from the same program.

"Upgraded savings" refers to the voluntary contribution by Pag-IBIG members over and above the mandatory monthly contribution of P100.

"Pag-IBIG offered this upgraded savings option to encourage more Pag-IBIG members to save for their future. Aside from bigger savings upon retirement, Pag-IBIG members who opt to increase their savings also get the benefit of higher dividend earnings – which are tax-free, and bigger loanable amounts in case they need to borrow," Pag-IBIG President & CEO Darlene Berberabe said. 

She pointed out that Pag-IBIG's yearly dividend is significantly higher than the interest rates offered by other savings instrument, adding that in the last five years, Pag-IBIG's dividend rate has not gone down below the 4% level.

"For 2015, we declared a total of P14.2 billion in dividends, with a rate of 4.8%, which will be proportionately distributed and credited to the accounts of Pag-IBIG members," Atty. Berberabe said.

She added that the upgraded savings program is beneficial to both the Fund and the Pag-IBIG members.

"Campaigning for upgraded savings has been our strategy to generate more funds. Instead of increasing the mandatory monthly contribution, we decided that we will instead campaign for members to voluntarily upgrade their contributions. We had  hoped that if members knew that Pag-IBIG is managing their money well, and they feel the benefits of their membership, members will see the value of increasing their contributions, which are actually their savings, and then they will actually save more," Beberabe said.

Pag-IBIG has the twin mandates of savings generation and provision of affordable housing for its members.


First of all I would like to thank Solar Entertainment Corp. for inviting me for the premiere of TRUMBO. The movie is very beautiful and I would strongly recommend to watch it especially in time of our election. Here they show how they fight their political beliefs and it’s an eye opener for the first time to vote for the coming election. I  also saw my Mom to Cleo who always very supportive to her husband and at the same time very strong for their children. There is also resemblance of my childhood when my dad was detained because of politics just like Trumbo. It’s good my Mom is always there for us. Just like my Dad, who risked everything to keep his family together. Lastly, I discover here the holywood worst kept secret.     
I can say that the actors and actresses here we’re excellent in their acting. They internalized their role as if their not acting, they just do it very normal. The setting of the movie I love it so much, it’s really 1940’s.

Once again please don’t miss this good movie and it will be showing already tomorrow, March 16, 2016 in your favorite theaters.

The 3 Women of Trumbo

In time of Women's Month  celebration, here's the three ladies of TRUMBO the movie. Diane Lane as Cleo Trumbo, Elle Fanning as Nikola Trumbo, and Helen Mirren as Hedda Hopper. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s acclaimed career comes to a crushing halt in the late 1940s when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. But all throughout this tumultuous period of his life, he was surrounded by very strong women ---friend, family, and foe.

Diane Lane played as Cleo, the first lady and lovely wife of Trumbo, Cleo was a former child performer who supported her mother and brother as a youngster. She epitomized Hollywood glamour but also had the strength of character to stand up to her headstrong husband. When Cleo and Trumbo first met, she was a carhop at a Hollywood drive-in where her talent for juggling water glasses made her a favorite with customers. Taken with both her beauty and her spirit, Trumbo quickly proposed. She turned him down flat and even returned the outsized tips he tried to leave her, but Trumbo’s persistence eventually paid off and Cleo remained by his side throughout his ordeals.
Cleo was the emotional anchor for Trumbo. She allowed her husband to get all of the attention. Similarly, Diane is a very generous, giving actress, who recognized that she was going to play second fiddle to Bryan, the way Cleo did to Dalton. She was not only comfortable with that, but she created a kind of stillness that represented what Cleo did in real life. 
Although Cleo had the looks and charisma to be a film star, she chose to focus on being a wife and mother. She was very devoted to her husband and her children and her determination to protect them gave her strength. Lane says that while she had heard of the Hollywood Ten and Trumbo, she learned much more while shooting the film. “I became convinced that this story needed to be told,” she adds. “It’s frightening how little history people, myself included, are aware of. The human drama behind it is shocking. This story will be relevant as long as patriotism can be hijacked by whatever group is in charge.”

Elle Fanning played as Nikola ‘Niki’ Trumbo, She fiercely proud and protective of her father’s legacy. “He believed Congress had no right to compel him to give testimony about his political beliefs,” says Niki. “I think he was stunned to have lost that battle. This is a story about a man who held true to his own beliefs and principles. We can all aspire to be that kind of hero, whatever our flaws and weaknesses may be.” According to Nikola, the film makers “did a remarkable job of recreating the complexity and passion of my relationship with my father. He and I were, I think, very much alike – stubborn, very determined and challenging. It’s no surprise we butted heads a lot of the time.”
The real-life Niki Trumbo has high praise for Elle Fanning, the then 16-year-old actress who portrays her in a startlingly mature performance that takes the character from age 13 to 31. It became clear to Fanning through her contact with Trumbo that everyone in the family were victims of the blacklist. “They had to change their entire lives and live in secret,” she says. “Niki couldn’t tell anyone who her dad was or what he did. There’s already so much pressure as a teenager without adding to that, but she came out a fighter. Her sense of right and wrong saved her. And that came from her father.”

Lastly, Helen Mirren played as the main protagonist Hedda Hopper. Hopper was a stage actress before becoming a contract player in silent movies. She managed to make the transition to talkies, but her film career was not a glittering success. When the roles started drying up, she transferred her substantial energy into becoming a very influential Hollywood columnist with a very large readership. And that she as was good at. “Helen is a consummate professional and all about the work,” says producer Monica Levinson. “She was incredibly wonderful and you could tell everyone on set felt like we were in the presence of Hollywood royalty. She brought a very human element to Hedda Hopper, who essentially is the villain of the film.”
Mirren was enthralled by the story and setting of Trumbo. “How interesting Hollywood was at that time,” she exclaims. “Hollywood was an extraordinary construct, fed by publicity, by the Hedda Hoppers of the world, by the publicity agents and by the studios. There were titans abroad, all the great, great movie stars and filmmakers.” Also, part of the attraction was the opportunity to work with Cranston whom she has admired for a long time. Mirren quips, “Working with Bryan was like being with an old friend. Actors watch each other’s work and we can develop certain little crushes on each other. Bryan has always been one of those actors for me.” And Mirren is a lover of hats, as was Hopper. She was once deemed worst-dressed at the Golden Globes for her hat, but in 'Trumbo', Mirren rocks the awesome accessory.
According to Mirren, Hopper truly believed she was fighting for what was best for America and for ideals that many Americans believed in. “The political dialogue hasn’t changed much. There is still a battle between those who believe that we have an obligation to look after people who are vulnerable and those who believe in individualism and self-determination.”
So, who “run the world?”

Trumbo in cinemas beginning tomorrow, March 16.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Holcim PH’s Galing Mason shows that Women can thrive in men's world

Elvira Hapulon, Rhena Almazan, Angelica Sorio and Rosana Bonglay were part of the top 20 semifinalists in the 2015 Galing Mason Awards, the nationwide recognition for the country’s best masons by construction solutions company Holcim Philippines, Inc. Galing Mason is the flagship corporate social responsibility initiative of the company and the country’s first such program launched in 2005.

Holcim Philippines is engaged in the manufacture, sale and distribution of building materials and
construction solutions in the country. The Company operates four cement plants in La Union, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental and Davao, an aggregates facility in Rizal and several ready-mix concrete plants nationwide. Cement, hollow blocks, concrete, and blue collar jobs are commonly associated with male brawn. But in the construction industry, particularly in the field of masonry, women are proving equally capable. Four women were among the Top 20 finalists in the 2015 Galing Mason Awards, a recognition program for the country’s best masons by construction solutions company Holcim Philippines, Inc. Galing Mason is the flagship corporate social responsibility initiative of the company and the country’s first such program launched in 2005.

The lady masons were Rosana Bonglay and Elvira Hapulon of Cagayan Valley, and Rhena Almazan and Angelica Sorio of Bicol, who were chosen from a field of 181 male and female nominees. Along with the rest of the finalists, these women spent three days in Javier, Leyte building a perimeter wall for a community that Holcim Philippines is helping construct in partnership with the local government. The contest was eventually won by 20-year veteran Rick Pasco of Davao, but the women showed they can keep up in a field traditionally dominated by men.

“We learned a lot from the Galing Mason program, which I am able to share with my fellow female masons at work. Knowing there are companies like Holcim that support women who want to do well in a male dominated-field inspires me to do my job very well,” Bonglay said in the vernacular. Hapulon and Bonglay said they want to join the Galing Mason program again.

Eva Tolentino, Galing Mason’s focal person of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Nueva Vizcaya, said it was Region 2’s first time to have female masons join the Galing Mason Award. According to her, the successful participation of Bonglay and Hapulon started a whole new advocacy for female masons in the region. “Masonry provides them with a good source of livelihood so they can help provide for their family, especially during off-harvest season when there is no opportunity for farm work, a dominant occupation in the province,” she said.

Holcim Philippines President and Country CEO Eduardo A. Sahagun said the company is proud to have a program that enables both men and women improve their lives. “Being an inclusive program that does not discriminate, Galing Mason is able to attract female participants. We are happy that we are able to help female masons who are now working in their respective communities, some of whom have assisted in the construction of their own houses,” he said.

The Galing Mason Award is a nationwide biennial search for the most outstanding Filipino mason who shows great skills and pride in his or her work and is a model citizen in the community. It also aims to further enhance their knowledge and skills in masonry through trainings. The Galing Mason has helped train over 5,000 masons and has produced five grand champions in partnership with TESDA, the Philippine Constructors Association, the Association of Construction and Informal Workers, and the National Housing Administration.

Friday, March 11, 2016

First European Motor Show on March 11 to 13 at BGC

Fairs and More Inc. (a subsidiary of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines) in cooperation with the EU – Philippines Business Network comprising of the Belgian, British, European, French, German, Italian, Nordic and Spanish chambers of commerce in the Philippines. Will be holding the first European Motor Show at Bonifacio High Street, Taguig on March 11 to 13, 2016.

The show will feature top European car makers to showcase their latest models. According to the organizers, the theme of the first European Motor Show is “See, Feel, Drive” which stresses the opportunity to: See for yourself the wonders of European car design, technology, tradition and brand equity; Feel the luxury of European vehicles to convince you why they are ‘A Cut above the Rest’ as you experience the great comfort and elegance that go with any European car; and Experience the Drive that brings out the quality and superiority of European cars when it comes to safety, performance and reliability.

The event is supported by Shell, MAN and CNN Philippines. Exhibiting during the event are Audi, BMW, BMW Motorrad, MAN, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Ural, Volkswagen and Volvo. Also showcasing their product lines are Car Lack, Continental, DB Schenker, Liqui Moly, Philips and Wuerth.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

CineFilipino Film Festival opens on March 15, 2016

The directors of CineFilipino Film Festival

Get ready to experience moving stories at the CineFilipino Film Festival and celebrating movies that best represent the ever-evolving Filipino cinema, the CineFilipino Film Festival, organized and led by Unitel Productions, in partnership with the MVP Group of Companies, offers cineastes with more moving stories and a more diverse mix of genres. The festival begins with the screening of sociopolitical drama/thriller “Whistleblower”, starring Nora Aunor and directed by Adolf Alix Jr., on March 15, 6:00 pm at Newport Cinema 4, Resorts World Manila. The film festival will run from March 16 to 22 in select cinemas in the metro* while the awards night will be held on March 19 at Teatrino Greenhills.

With the theme “Kwento pa rin ang Hari”, the second installment features more categories including, Feature-Length, Documentaries, TV Series and Shorts under which finalists will showcase works in Short Features, Mobile and Online. CineFilipino Film Festival attendees can choose from nine Feature-Length films, five Documentaries, five TV Series and 17 films under the Shorts category – 11 Short Features, 5 Online Content and 1 Mobile Content.
The directors and artist of CineFilipino Film Festival
“The essence of the story will always be at the core of CineFilipino, and with this year’s various categories, moviegoers are offered a more enriching experience,” said Madonna Tarrayo, CineFilipino Film Director and Unitel Productions President and Group COO.

In the Feature-Length category alone, moviegoers can surely experience a wide array of emotions and stories. In “1st Sem”, first-time film festival directors Dexter Hemedez and Allan Ibanez present an intensified love-hate relationship between a mother and son after the latter decides not to pursue college education in Manila. In Carla Baful’s “A Lotto Like Love”, moviegoers can expect a different kind of love story as two strangers are brought together in luck and love by a single winning lotto ticket.

Love in spite of weight issues takes center stage in Jason Paul Laxamana’s “Ang Taba Ko Kasi” while Alvin Yapan’s “Ang Tulay ng San Sebastian” explores the richness (and reality) of Filipino superstitions. Meanwhile, Paolo Herras’ “Buhay Habangbuhay” takes on life after death and the importance of moving on and celebrating life despite seemingly bleak circumstances.

A lesbian woman’s dream of becoming a mother is the subject in Lemuel Lorca’s “Ned’s Project” while Dave Fabros’ “Straight to the Heart” is filled with uniquely Filipino humor and hugot lines as it explores a situation that has surely crossed the minds of many: what happens when a gay hairdresser slips into a coma and wakes up a straight guy?

Ice Idanan’s “Sakaling Hindi Makarating” takes the beauty of the Philippines and uses it as a dramatic backdrop for a poignant story of heartbreak and moving on. And lastly, moviegoers get the privilege of witnessing a touching story about a child with Down’s Syndrome whose dream is to become an artista in Randolph Longjas’ “Van Damme Stallone”.        

Jury deliberations will take place on March 16, 17 and 18; winners will be recognized in CineFilipino’s Awards Night on March 19 at Teatrino Greenhills, which will be attended by the finalists, executives and the film festival’s sponsors and partners.

*Catch the CineFilipino Film Festival on March 16 to 22 in participating cinemas: Gateway Cineplex, Festival Cinemas, Eastwood Cinemas, Robinsons Galleria Movieworld, Robinsons Manila Movieworld, Robinsons Metro East Movieworld, Newport Cinemas in Resorts World, EDSA Shangri-La Cineplex and Greenhills Theater Mall Cinema.

CineFilipino Film Festival partners are Mediaquest, TV5, Cignal, Unitel, Optima Digital, Metro Pacific Tollways, PLDT Smart Foundation and Meralco. For further information, visit the official website,

This Summer Jollibee Trains Future ‘Mini Managers’

Jolly Kiddie Club (JKC) members as the country’s favorite fast food chain launches the Jollibee Mini Managers Camp. The Mini Managers Camp is a fun and productive way for children to make the most out of summer and learn the value of work through fun and games. Camp session will start on April 4, Monday in 380 participating Jollibee stores nationwide.The aims of workshop is to make JKC members embrace and apply values that will help them become better individuals in the future. Through various activities, camp participants are taught the importance of excellence, respect for individual, honesty and integrity, leadership and teamwork, and other core values that a Jollibee restaurant manager embodies.

The camp’s highlight is the Mini Managers’ hands-on and interactive role-play activity, where kids are exposed to Jollibee’s best store practices and are asked to carry out what they have learned as they are assigned to different food, service, and cleanliness stations in the store. The said activity helps kids apply the values learned since day one of the workshop. Each participant is given their own Jollibee Manager uniform that they can use during the exercise.

The workshop also includes a variety of creative art activities,storytelling, and other fun opportunities for kids to learn while meeting and bonding with new friends. In line with the launch of the Jollibee Mini Managers Camp, Jollibee also premieres its web infomercial for the summer camp featuring JKC ambassador and TV personality Marco Masa, best known for his lead role in the TV show Nathaniel.

Registration for the Jollibee Mini Managers Camp runs from February to March nationwide, while the workshop proper is from April until May. The workshop is ideal for  JKC members age 4 to 7 years old. If your kids are not JKC members yet, just visit a Jollibee store to apply for a membership and register for the Mini Managers Camp. 

For more details, visit

Invest with Affordable Computing

Information technology infrastructure is one of the major problem encountered by many businesses in terms of complexity and affordability.  How can you make computing and IT affordable in the Philippines. So Mustard Seed brings affordable computing and continue to expand its business solutions in the Philippines in order to help business grow.

NComputing vSpace Server new 300x243

NComputing is one of the company’s most popular product and had been initially deployed in public schools in the country.  It provided affordable computer labs in public schools decreasing the need for actual desktops while increasing the student-computer ratio. This year launched its latest innovation, vSpace Server 8.3 and L350 Thin Client.  The latest innovation increases the already powerful and robust capacity of the patented and award winning vSpace Server that changes the economics of desktop virtualization.

This is how NComputing provide affordable computing, let us visualize it.  A company with 100 employees who are technology based usually needs 100 workstations as well.  Each workstation needs a CPU, a monitor, keyboard and desktop among others.  This means 100 desktops with at least 300 watts power consumption and needs repair at least once every quarter.

NComputing reduces the number of desktops needed.  For the same setup above you just need 10 desktops which will act as server and 100 Ncomputing kits.  Each kit consumes only a maximum of 5 watts and does not go obsolete nor does it need the usual desktop maintenance.

By the example above you can clearly see that affordability comes by reducing your power consumption cost, maintenance cost and hardware cost while retaining the computing capability that is required from the usual company setup.

If you are interested to know more on how you can reduce your computing and information technology cost then visit our website at and contact us.  We will help you tap into the power of affordable computing.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – Mustard Seed Systems Corporation @mseedsys.


Ymmanwel Rico Provinio

What tyrannical disservice could a democratic country, like the US of A, impose to its people? Why would a democratic country suddenly brandish communism in its own land?

World War is waving in the horizon, as the relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. deteriorated and the fear of the “Red Menace” reached unprecedented heights. A group called the House of Un-American Activities otherwise known as H.U.A.C., investigated thousands of Americans suspected of being communist sympathizers. Nobody was spared, when teachers, military contractors, civil servants, journalists, and others lost their jobs, their reputations, and even their families as suspicion and paranoia swept the nation. And Hollywood land and its denizens suffered from its claws and pangs.

Familiar Situations During the Philippine Martial Law

In the 1940s, Dalton Trumbo (played by Emmy & Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee, Byan Cranston) is one of the highest paid screenwriters in the world, penning movie classics including the Oscar-nominated “Kitty Foyle” and “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”. A fixture on the Hollywood social scene, and a political activist supporting labor unions, equal pay, and civil rights. Brilliant, ambitious and contentious, Trumbo enjoyed exposing what he perceived as the world’s hypocrisy and injustices in his films. Academy Award-winners “Roman Holiday” and “The Brave Ones” were both written under pseudonyms during his 13-year exile from Hollywood.

In the late 1940s, the HUAC paid special attention to Hollywood, aimed at rooting out communists in the film industry. The Blacklist became a dreaded document when scores of prominent actors, directors, producers and screenwriters were publicly berated about their association with an array of organizations deemed to be “un-American”. Threatened with the loss of their livelihoods, many witnesses gave evidences against friends and colleagues. Ten of those called the “Hollywood Ten” refused to testify and answer any questions, denying the committee’s right to ask them about their political beliefs and denouncing the hearings as a violation of their civil rights. All ten were sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress. The best known among them was Dalton Trumbo.

“Trumbo was still known as a communist, but people don’t realize that he was actually patriot. He was a communist in the late 30s and early 40s, when that meant you were pro-labor and anti-Jim Crow, and you fought for civil rights for African-Americans,” says screenwriter John McNamara. “It had nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with how an already great country could improve itself”.

Trumbo’s story really breaks down to human rights as U.S. citizens to free speech and assembly. Trumbo and the other blacklisters were not only denied those rights – but persecuted without having committed any crimes. He was a true patriot – he loved his country. But the system failed him. His story is still relevant today, as the world in which we are living has many people facing too much intrusion from their government.

Indeed, these situations are familiar to the Filipinos who had experienced the dictatorial regime of Marcos in the 1970’s up to the 1980’s.

Powerful Enemies

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, actors John Wayne and Edward G. Robinson, together with a gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (played by Oscar winner Helen Mirren) were among Trumbo’s antagonists.

The quintessential man’s man and All-American hero, John Wayne, was one of the chief architects of Trumbo’s downfall. As the head of the Motion Pictures Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, he led the charge to ferret out communist sympathizers who wanted to use movies to influence the American people. Famed actor, Edward G. Robinson, who testified in front of the HUAC four times, ended betraying his friends and colleagues by giving out their names. He faced a moral dilemma of the most profound proportions.

Chief among Trumbo’s adversaries is the legendary gossip maven, Hedda Hopper, was a starlet whose career was never a success. She transferred her substantial energy into becoming a very successful Hollywood columnist with a large readership and enormous power. She marshaled the forces of anti-communism in Hollywood and came out strongly against Trumbo in particular. She was determined to convince America that these patriotic writers were traitors, and she wrote scathing, gossipy smears that were read by 35 million people.

Unexpected Allies    


At the apex of his career, Kirk Douglas, the superstar was one of the few brave insiders who used their influences to force the end of the blacklist in Hollywood. Douglas was instrumental in helping put blacklisted writers, performers, directors and other entertainment professionals back to work when he hired Dalton Trumbo.

Trumbo prevailed when star Kirk Douglas and director Otto Preminger each put the screenwriter’s real name on screen in their respective 1960 blockbusters, “Spartacus” and “Exodus”, effectively brought down the blacklist era to an end.

The history of the blacklist era and its continued relevance today were also big attractions for all those involved. “We sometimes take our rights for granted,” says the film director Jay Roach. “Free speech is easy to protect when we are saying things that are popular, but the Bill of Rights is designed to protect unpopular speech, especially in times of crisis. The blacklist era is almost forgotten, but everyone recognized that we had a singular chance to remind the world of the importance of this story”.

Trumbo will be showing in the Philippines beginning March 16. For more information, visit Solar Pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram (@solarpicturePH).