Saturday, April 29, 2023

HONOR Philippines Vice President Stephen Cheng, Brand Manager Joepy Libo-on, PR Manager Pao Oga, and Sales Director for Central Luzon Jim Li with SM City Marilao Tenant Relations Officer Rafael Martinez and AVPO North 5 and 6 Anna Datu

Manila, Philippines, April 29, 2023 – The leading smart devices provider, HONOR Philippines, has achieved another milestone with the opening of its third and fourth experience store in SM City Marilao and SM City Marikina.

Officiated by HONOR Philippines Vice President Stephen Cheng, Brand Manager Joepy Libo-on, PR Manager Pao Oga, and Sales Director for Central Luzon Jim Li with SM City Marilao Tenant Relations Officer Rafael Martinez and AVPO North 5 and 6 Anna Datu in SM City Marilao and HONOR Philippines National Sales Officer Jett Hermosura and Regional Retail Manager Jen Rayala with Power Premium Area Supervisor Kiwi Billy Arce and Sales and Retail Operation Consultant Matt Basilan in SM City Marikina, both store openings were another jam-packed success for the tech giant.

“This is such a sweet success for us. Seven months ago, no one would have ever thought that we would grow this early and this fast. We really owe it to our loyal customers, that’s why we are making our services more accessible to more and more Filipinos,” said Stephen Cheng, HONOR Philippines Vice President.

To those who are on the lookout of the next HONOR experience stores to open, here’s the updated list from HONOR Philippines:

Ultra-Tough gets Tougher

The crowd-favorite HONOR X9a 5G that now comes in the new limited-edition Midnight Black color, sports a 120Hz Premium OLED Curved Display bringing users a large screen with an impressive screen-to-body ratio. HONOR X9a 5G has an impressive 64 MP Super Triple Camera and a 2-Day Battery Life.

It was tested yet again during the store opening in SM City Marilao where select fans participated in the viral HONOR smash challenge. Lucky winner got to take home an HONOR smartphone.

Visit your nearest HONOR Experience Store or any partner dealer store now as this HONOR X9a 5G Midnight Black comes in limited stocks only!. It is also now available through your favorite online stores – Shopee (, Lazada (, and TikTok Shop (, still priced at P16,990.

You can find the HONOR Experience Store in SM City Marilao at Second Level while the HONOR Experience Store in SM City Marikina is at Cyberzone.

For more announcements, you may visit HONOR’s website or social media platforms: Facebook (, Instagram ( and TikTok: ( To check out HONOR’s complete list of retail stores, go to

Friday, April 28, 2023


Flexing its financial muscle on its 69th year, Sun Life Grepa Financial, Inc. (Sun Life Grepa), a major life insurance company in the country, improved its rankings in the end-2022 industry report released recently by the Insurance Commission (IC).

In 2022 alone, its total premium income (TPI) grew by 21% to P11.54 billion from P9.52 billion in the previous year. The company continues to be in the top 10 among insurers with the highest net income, climbing a notch to rank 8th with P1.19 billion in 2022 from its 9th spot in 2021 with P597.7 million. Furthermore, it increased its net worth in 2022 by 24% to P5.7 billion – the 8th highest in the industry.

Total assets at end of 2022 stood at P52.3 billion from P51.1 billion. The life insurer also climbed to 11th in 2022 with total new business APE of P1.69 billion from its 13th rank in 2021.

“We attribute our exponential growth to our singular commitment to helping our clients fulfill their protection needs, now and in the future,” said Sun Life Grepa President Richard S. Lim. “We, at Sun Life Grepa also has been proactively focusing on product innovation to meet the needs and expectations of our clients. As we believe that in these times of uncertainty, having an insurer that they can lean on because of its financial stability and strength, is very important.”

Sun Life Grepa has protected over 3 million lives, contributing to the country’s goal of providing Filipinos health insurance coverage and access to cost-effective and quality healthcare services.

It scored several milestones that coincided with its 69th anniversary celebration, including the recognition “Best Insurance Provider for SMEs – Philippines” from the 2022 International Finance Award and “MSME Insurance Initiative of the Year – Philippines” from the 2022 Insurance Asia Awards for its tailor-made insurance and protection solutions for the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises under its MSME MyBiz.

As part of sustaining its growth trajectory, the company boosted its affiliated medical providers by 25% in 2022 from the previous year. More than 1,300 hospitals and clinics across the country are now its affiliated partners. To support its network reach and enable customers to access Sun Life Grepa solutions and services faster and easier, the company also launched Sun Life Grepa Healthcare Teleconsult so Group Medical members can consult with doctors at the comfort of their homes. It also enhanced its online servicing platform to include semi-automated requests for the issuance of letters of authorization and consultation. On another note, Sun Life Grepa also recently received a Great Place To Work® Certification, the global standard for workplace excellence and culture.

This year, Sun Life Grepa aims to encourage more Filipinos to avail of health protection and life insurance coverage to secure their loved ones’ brighter future. The company plans to partner with more hospitals and clinics and make its products and services more accessible in the digital landscape, ensuring Filipinos’ convenient and easy access to quality healthcare.

“While uncertainties remain, I am optimistic that we will tackle the future fiercer and smarter. Sun Life Grepa’s commitment to helping every Filipino live healthier lives and achieve lifetime financial security remains unwavering,” said Sun Life Grepa President Richard S. Lim. “As we move forward in 2023, we will continue to have a laser-sharp focus on creating innovative ways to deliver quality insurance products and services that push Filipinos closer to their dream of financial freedom.”

Thursday, April 27, 2023

For uplifting the lives of Filipinos by giving them access to innovative, safe, and convenient digital finance technology, GCash, the country's leading e-wallet, is recognizing outstanding enterprises and MSMEs through its annual GCash Digital Excellence Awards 2023 held recently at the Grand Hyatt Manila in BGC, Taguig City.

The second GCash Digital Excellence Awards for enterprise honored the hard work and dedication of its partners to help make Filipino lives better every day. Moreover, it also aims to inspire more public, private, and MSME sectors to continue innovating their services for Filipinos and help transform the country into a more financially inclusive society.

The ceremony opened with a video message from the president and CEO of Globe Group Ernest L. Cu and was graced with the presence of G-Xchange Inc President and CEO Ren-Ren Reyes, chief technology and operations officer Pebbles Sy, chief marketing officer Neil Trinidad, head of new businesses Winsley Bangit, chief finance officer Tek Olano, chief people officer Robert Gonzales, Fuse chief finance officer Gabriel Lacuesta, strategy officer Ron Testa, GCash vice president for enterprise Luigi Reyes, vice president and head of wealth management Jong Layug, head of consumer experience Joanne Avendano

“The new normal brings unique challenges to the economy, especially to the fintech industry. Through the GCash Digital Excellence Awards, we pay tribute to private and public entities for their innovative achievements that span digital transformation, customer-centric solutions, business and technology agility, and product and service innovation. We hope that this will serve as an inspiration for our key partners in various sectors to continue to innovate, serve millions and make the lives of Filipinos better every day,” GCash chief commercial officer Ren-Ren Reyes said.

This year’s awardees were recognized in six different categories.

The Excellence in Innovation award was given to partner industry leaders who have implemented a trailblazing project or initiative and has contributed to partners' digitization efforts leading to better customer experience and has improved overall business efficiency and fasted more convenient transactions to GCash’s 79 million and growing GCash users. These partners are Robinsons Department Store which won 1st place, Villarica Pawnshop Inc., and Max’s Group Inc. which won 2nd and 3rd awards, respectively.

For the Excellence Ecosystem Award, key partners were honored for embracing the digital lifestyle and fully integrating the different solutions of GCash into their ecosystem. The awardees include Puregold Price Club Inc. (1st place), Robinsons Supermarket (2nd place), and Globe Telecom, Inc. (3rd place)

Taking home the Excellence in Growth Potential Award were PMFTC Inc. (1st place), BDO Unibank, Inc. (2nd place), and McDonald’s Philippines (3rd place), for showing promise to grow in terms of transaction volume, door count, or expansion into new lines of businesses with GCash.

Recognizing their efforts to achieve exponential growth in Gross Transaction Value (GTV) and sustained user base, the Excellence in Growth and Usage Award was given to AB Leisure Exponent, Inc. (BingoPlus) Abenson, Appboxo Pte. Ltd. Dragonpay Corporation, Gaisano Mall of Davao, Jollibee Foods Corporation, Lalamove Philippines Inc., Lazada E-Service Philippines, Inc., Mercury Drug Corporation, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, P.J. Lhuillier, Inc. (Cebuana Lhuillier), Seaoil Philippines, SM Retail Inc., Landers Superstore, and Unilever Philippines Inc.

Meanwhile, the Pioneer Awards which recognize companies that pioneered the adoption of GCash’s innovative business solutions were divided into four categories: the Pioneer Award for Best GGives Merchant which was awarded to Zalora, the Pioneer Award for Best GCredit Merchant on the other hand was given to MERALCO. Meanwhile the Pioneer Award for Ad Solutions was given to Smart Communications, Inc., and taking home the Pioneer Award for Data Solutions was Trusting Social AI Philippines, Inc.

Lasty, the highlight of the evening and the most prestigious of the awards, the Partner of the Year was granted to Puregold Price Club Inc. by being one of the GCash’s key partners that exhibited excellence in digital finance and aided in promoting financial inclusion in the country. Along with GCash, Puregold Price Club Inc. introduced the first-ever barcode payment solution to Filipinos, effectively providing a safe and convenient digital payment solution to anyone with a smartphone and a GCash account.

By continuously building strategic collaboration with its partners, GCash is on track to make its mission of ‘Finance for All’ a reality and to help millions of Filipinos have a safer, more inclusive, and better financial future.

Filipinos have embraced all things of the Hallyu wave. Kdrama, KPop, food, and fashion—what’s not to love about South Korea? Whether you’re heading to go on a pilgrimage to your favorite idol group, or just can’t wait to immerse yourself in their culture, it can’t be denied Filipinos have put the country high on top of their travel bucket list. 

GCash has now made it easier and hassle-free to roam the country without worrying about running out of Korean Won or having to hastily exchange money and paying pricey foreign exchange fees. If you’re planning a trip to South Korea, make sure to include the following retail partners where you can pay with  GCash to your list.


Lotte Duty-Free 

Give yourself a day or two to properly explore Lotte Duty Free—you won’t regret it! Boasting the most brands and goods in South Korea, Lotte Duty Free is a haven for tourists seeking the best brands of the country at the most attractive prices. Found in several locations in South Korea, also be on the lookout for exclusive items that you can only find on their shelves, such as collabs with popular idol groups. 

Shinsegae Duty Free

Enjoy the first ever duty free store from one of the biggest names in retail in South Korea! Once the Shinsegae Chaebol opened their first department store in 1930, they never looked back. And they were the first department store in the country, too! 

Shinsegae Duty Free is a stone’s throw away from their first and main shopping mall, and you’ll find everything you want, from luxury goods to affordable finds, from electronics to character goods. There’s even an art space inside! 

LINE FRIENDS – Flagship Store 

If you're someone who gets excited seeing cute knick-knacks, then you're definitely going to love the super cute characters of LINE FRIENDS. This global character brand can trace their popularity from Japan, where the Line App came from, and also from Naver, the internet search company that’s numero uno in SK—yup, it’s not Google! 

LINE FRIENDS have their mainstay characters called Brown & Friends, but they also carry BT21, the super popular characters of the world-famous idol group and South Korea’s pride, BTS. Find these characters in merch ranging from notepads to bags, and everything in between! 


Hai Di Lao 

You can’t go to South Korea without going on a food trip! Don’t miss out on the world-famous street food and convenience store treats in SK, and make sure to visit the hot pot restaurant Hai Di Lao. One of the largest hotpot chains hailing from China, Hai Di Lao is now found in different countries, including South Korea. Expect one of the widest hotpot varieties you’ll ever find in Hai Di Lao—make sure to come on an empty stomach!  

Starbucks, Hongdae neighborhood 

The coffee and café culture in South Korea is well-known—you can’t walk a few steps without running into a quaint café to step into SK. If you’re looking for the comforts of a familiar place though, Starbucks in Seoul can rival such quaint cafes. Make sure to check out the exclusive merch that can only be found in South Korea, and to try their seasonal drinks. 

Pay with GCash

Pay your way through these places with GCash which is now available in over 1 million Alipay+ merchants across Asia and in key countries including Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Qatar. GCash is the way to control your budget when you’re outside the Philippines—enjoy real-time forex, zero service fees and get access to exclusive deals all inside the app!  

Simply look for the Alipay+ sign and you can pay with GCash! After logging into the GCash app, select the QR or PayQR button at the bottom of the screen. Scan the merchant’s QR code, or tap “Pay Abroad with Alipay+” to have the merchant scan your generated QR. Then  check the amount, and click Pay to see the receipt. No more traveling with large sums of money—you get to travel light and get deals and discounts from different places, but with the same payment. Go with GCash!

To learn more about paying with GCash in South Korea, tap the  “A+ Rewards” page in the app and select South Korea as your destination. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Norwegian pop act Fra Lippo Lippi returns to the Philippines with a two-part concert that celebrates their legacy as one of the most iconic hitmakers of the new wave era.

Fra Lippo Lippi will be staging another show on June 17, 2023, at the Santa Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna, Philippine-based promoter DMC Philippines has recently announced.

The Norwegian pop act, headed by lead vocalist and keyboardist Per Sorensen, returns with a two-part concert that celebrates their legacy as one of the most iconic hitmakers of the new wave era.

Fra Lippo Lippi made a name in the '80s for producing classic tunes such as "Everytime I See You," "Beauty and Madness," "Stitches and Burns," "Light and Shade," "The Distance Between Us," "Angel," and more.

After bassist and founding co-member Rune Kristoffer decided to call it quits, Per Sorensen kept the band's music alive through live concert tours all around the world, with the Philippines as one of its regular stops.

In 2002, Per Sorensen and his band released "Later," a chart-topping smash in Asia and the rest of Europe. He even managed to collaborate with Filipino R&B star Kyla on "Wish We Were Two," which garnered heavy airplay on various top 40 stations in Manila and major cities across the Philippines.

This year, he is set to headline the concert as the prominent personality behind Fra Lippo Lippi, performing some of the band's greatest hits, as well as some rarities.

This event is supported by Steve Hovington of B-Movie, who will be performing with Fra Lippo Lippi's Per Sorensen at both venues: The Theatre at Solaire on June 16, 2023, Friday, and the Santa Rosa Sports Complex on June 17, 2023, Saturday. The event is presented by New DMC Entertainment Production Management, Maui & Sons, and The Rail.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023


Women of today have shown how formidable and tenacious they are by breaking through multiple glass ceilings at work, at home, and in society all in the name of gender equity. This relentless path to gender equity has been paved by women who wholeheartedly embrace their individuality day in and day out, and who constantly strive to become their best selves.

A lot of care and consideration is needed when trying to become your best self. Since women have varying definitions of what that ‘best self’ looks like, it is important to note that the only way to fully achieve any of those definitions is by choosing to take proper care of yourself every day.

As women, one of the best ways to practice self-care is through good feminine hygiene. Your intimate region or your “femzone” not only requires attention, it also requires delicate and essential care in order to keep your overall health in tip-top shape — because when you win in health, you win at life.

Here are five things you need to know about feminine hygiene:

1. Confidence is key

Being able to embrace one’s uniqueness comes down to one crucial factor: confidence. To build that confidence up, you must practice taking care of your body and health regularly because when you look and feel good, you become more confident in yourself and more appreciative of your individuality.

This is one of the reasons why organizations from all over the country are making consistent efforts to aid women in becoming more confident in their own skin, by creating brands and products that make them feel good both inside and out.

2. A clean femzone is a happy femzone

While the femzone is known for its self-cleaning abilities, it wouldn’t hurt to give it the occasional wash from time to time. The best way to keep your femzone happy and clean is to use feminine washes that are formulated to be gentle and maintain your femzone’s balance.

Considering that the femzone requires distinct care from the rest of the body, long-trusted products like Lactacyd Feminine Wash is a perfect fit as it has a long-standing history of helping women as early as 1947 in protecting and cleansing the femzone.

3. Get deep and learn what your femzone needs

Before starting and creating any routine with your femzone, remember that every femzone is unique. Methods that might work for others might not work for you. Make sure you get deep and learn your femzone’s specific needs, by testing products and routines to know what kind of care works best for your femzone.

Luckily for women everywhere, there are products that offer a full range of options for every kind of care that your femzone might need. Whether the need might be having it moisturized or revitalized, naturally and safely whiten, having long-lasting coolness and freshness or keeping irritation and odor away, there is a feminine wash fit for you.

4. Get your femzone checked

While home remedies work for the common cold, it will not do when trying to resolve an issue with your femzone, like menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea.

For matters as sensitive as this, the simple hot compress will no longer do. Fortunately for women everywhere, over-the-counter medications exist to target this very unique experience. Medications like Hyoscine N-butylbromide + Paracetamol (Buscopan Venus) provide the dual action formula that targets the source of menstrual cramps and simultaneously provides relief versus usual analgesics that just mask the pain.

But, while this medication exists, make sure to accompany this with regular doctor visits to always be updated on the condition of your femzone.

5. Find your purpose and live it out

In owning all the ways you can take proper care of yourself, you learn to appreciate your unique perspective, skills, and experiences even more. Use that appreciation to identify your life’s purpose and decide to live it out every day.

Make the intention to positively impact groups as small as your circle of friends or crowds as big as communities around you, and influence others to do the same. After all, every woman is a woman of impact and influence in their own way.

Bodies grow and change with age. Your femzone is a part of your body that faces health challenges at various points of your life, which is why brands like Lactacyd and Buscopan Venus exist; they recognize that caring for one’s femzone is a continuous process and keeping it healthy is an important part of your overall health.

“We know that taking care of the femzone is not easy, but it is necessary. We wanted women to know that we understand their struggle and we want to make caring for their femzone a little bit easier,” said Ysabel Banson, Group Brand Lead for Sanofi Consumer Healthcare.

SM Supermalls, in collaboration with its corporate social responsibility arm, SM Cares, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local government units, and partner schools and organizations, joined the rest of the world in celebrating Earth Day at SM malls nationwide on 22 April 2023.

With the theme, “Invest In Our Planet, Invest In Our Youth,” SM Supermalls and SM Cares lined up various activities that aimed to raise awareness among children and their families about the importance of coming together across various sectors to take care of the environment. SM malls nationwide simultaneously held relevant and impactful celebrations with activities such as Children’s Storytelling, Coloring, and Sustainability Tours, gathering 1,700 children and 350 employee volunteers. These activities aimed to encourage everyone in the family, particularly the young ones, to protect and respect Mother Earth.

Earth Day is an annual celebration led by the Earth Day Network that puts the spotlight on issues that are affecting the environment. First held in 1970, Earth Day was the result of a need for a unified response against various environmental problems like pollution and resource depletion. Today, the event is considered the biggest environmental movement in the world, with millions joining celebrations every year.

Children learn about how to protect the environment individually and as a community through art, storytelling, and a Sustainability tour around SM malls

“At SM, every day is Earth Day. However, today we are reminded of our responsibility to protect the planet we live in. We believe that we must all come together and take the necessary steps against this climate crisis and accelerate a greener and more equitable future for everyone,” shared Liza B. Silerio, SM Supermalls vice president for corporate compliance and SM Cares program director for the environment.

SM Supermalls featured the art of multi-awarded Filipino artist, sculptor, and illustrator, Manuel Baldemor. His works depict the rich cultural aspects of the Philippines and can be found in multiple institutions worldwide. His drawings and Earth Day poem inspired the Earth Day program at SM, reflecting a long-time partnership on SM Cares programs for the environment, starting with his design of SM’s first eco bags in 2007.

The storytelling activity featured a special Earth Day story based on Baldemor’s artworks. The story reflected simple ways children can participate in living sustainably on their own and with their families. Meanwhile, kids and kids-at-heart were welcomed at the coloring activity section. Participants were given art materials and a selection of Baldemor’s drawings to color in. Malls used recycled materials in designing the activity areas.

And to cap off the celebration, a sustainability tour was held wherein everyone participated in a guided tour to one or more of the mall’s eco-friendly facilities, such as the EV charging stations, water recycling treatment plants, waste segregation bins, Plastic Waste Collection booths, E-waste Collection bins, and various bicycle amenities.

Filipino artist Manuel Baldemor’s artistic contribution provides inspiration for the Earth Day program. Joining him at SM City Fairview were DENR NCR Director Manuel T. Escasura; Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto; Andrea Villaroman, Head of the Quezon City Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Department; Planet CORA’s Partnerships Director Cat Trivino; and SM Supermalls executives.

To highlight the role of collaborating with the public sector in driving environmental programs forward, SM City Fairview hosted the DENR Gawad Taga-ilog Awards photo exhibit, which recognized winning local government units that are leading in protecting Metro Manila’s waterways. The agency also further provided 800 tree seedlings to participants and customers through a DENR Community Pan-TREE to encourage at SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM North EDSA, SM City Fairview, SM City Novaliches, SM City Marikina, SM City East Ortigas, and SM Southmall.

The Quezon City Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Department also promoted the city’s Trash to Cashback program to encourage its citizens to be Eco Warriors and promote recycling.

Youth participants join forces with SM Supermalls for a sustainable future.

The Earth Day celebration is just one of the numerous ways that SM is promoting sustainable living among Filipinos, and the company has other programs aimed at helping care for the environment. These are the Trash to Cash Recycling Market held every first Friday and Saturday of the month; daily water recycling systems, and environmental campaigns such as the Green Film Festival, Green Retail Agenda, and the International Coastal Cleanup Drive, just to name a few.

SM Cares is the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, responsible for initiatives that promote sustainability and the development of the community. SM Cares’ advocacies include programs for women and breastfeeding mothers, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and children and youth, as well as the bike-friendly SM initiative, in addition to its programs on the Environment.

METRO Manila is comprised of 16 cities and 1 municipality – is the economic, political, and cultural capital.

Metro Manila’s forecast of becoming a global power city is challenged by the consequences of rapid urbanization. The UN-Habitat lists the effects of climate change, natural disasters that hamper urban infrastructures and city competitiveness, unequal livability, job creation, and poverty reduction.

Is there a way out of Metro Manila’s challenges? Architect and urban designer Chintan Raveshia, and urban planner and sustainability consultant Tony Chan of Singapore-based Arup emphasize urban development should also consider people’s aspirations, its changing needs and expectations, and the national identity of the residents.

1. Finding the identity of the city

Raveshia inspires responsible stakeholders to ask themselves first the most fundamental question: “What’s the identity of the city and how do we make its residents proud?”

He quips, “Singapore, a city that is high on everyone’s liveability list, is also working with citizens and grass roots organizations to inculcate a sense of ‘lovability’ for the city. This helps to strengthen the societal bond, increase equity, improve community safety, and exude pride and a feeling of ownership of the city amongst the residents. The balance of liveability, efficiency, and lovability paves the way for a true success of our cities in this climate emergency era”.

For his part, Chan believes that a successful sustainable urban development goes hand in hand with the capability to enhance people’s quality of life. “We must develop and harness models of development that have low-carbon targets, which are also of a human scale, thriving and inclusive; models that are also just, secured and enhances the quality of life for all its residents. In addition, we should look at creative ways to increase local citizen participation as well as new technologies or products that can support the overarching vision and development objectives”, says Chan.

Melbourne is considered by many experts as one of the most liveable cities for the past decade.

If Singapore reclaims lands for more affordable housing and increased integrated city developments and Melbourne builds accessible green spaces to promote social interaction, what plans would best fit Metro Manila’s sustainable and livable future while maintaining its identity? Here are five urban development aspirations Filipinos hope for the country’s main political and economic hub.

Accessibility across all social classes. 

While Metro Manila is the Philippines’ major economic driver – accounting for 32% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) – it’s often challenged in sustaining accessible living conditions for residents across all social classes. UK-based The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Metro Manila 105th out of 139 cities in the Global Liveability Index 2022. The increasing population density in Metro Manila has resulted in some inconveniences in daily conditions like vehicular traffic situations, least green open spaces, high carbon footprint, inaccessibility to affordable housing, and unequal income opportunities.

Urban planners and developers suggest mixed-use planning in the metropolis and coastal developments because they are crucial to achieving the 15-minute concept. Here, residents across all walks of life are encouraged to live a healthy, affordable, and sustainable lifestyle because residential, commercial, and office spaces are integrated within a single development.

2. Open green spaces for a healthy and sustainable living environment. 

Despite land scarcity, Singapore manages to be one of the greenest cities in the world with over 400 parks, more than 3,300 hectares of nature reserve, and over 300 kilometers of park connector network.

Studies shows that Metro Manila has only 5 square meters of green space available per person, this number is well below the 9 square meters set by the World Health Organization.COVID-19 had the entire world reassess their health conditions, lifestyle practices, and environmental situations. The impact was even more drastic in Metro Manila due to population density, crowded space, and insufficient parks and open areas.

Aside from improving air quality and enhancing biodiversity, green spaces also moderate temperatures during the warm season.

3.Enhancing Human health and wellbeing.

Cities with sufficient healthcare facilities, access to health coverage, and infrastructures that enhance well-being and promote a healthy lifestyle, produce prosperous societies.

The way cities are planned, designed, and executed has a crucial impact on how people live as it presents opportunities and effects on their lifestyles and overall well-being. While there is evident progress in Metro Manila’s health sector, rapid urbanization continues to pose risks in communities due to challenges in overcrowded neighborhoods, vehicular emissions, heavy traffic, pollution, and flood-prone areas.

4.Resilient community. 

Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, and systems to adapt, survive, and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it. Relevant dimensions under the City Resilience Index ( by the Rockefeller Foundation & Arup, other dimensions include Health & Well Being, Economy & Society, Infrastructure & Environment as well as Leadership & Strategy

As Philippines and Manila grows, we face a dual challenge of adapting to climate change and the need to alter development strategies that are increasingly contributing to global warming. Philippines is among the top 10 countries in the world most affected by climate change in the past 20 years, according to the Global Climate Risk Index As an archipelago, impacts resulting from climate change are immense. In addition, metro Manila’s safety and resilience are endangered by various natural disasters.

Natural disasters persist every season due to our geographical location.

Well-planned and executed urban designs have the power to build safe and resilient communities in Metro Manila. Infrastructures like proper bike lanes and walkable streets ensure residents’ safety, accessibility, and comfort, whereas science and technology-based solutions that can build flexible structures, multi-use systems, and technologies can help residents adapt and prepare for changing conditions.

5.Global and competitive city.

In 2022, Singapore is placed 3rd in the World Competitiveness Ranking – the small country out of Asia even placed 1st in 2019 and 2020.

Metro Manila is one of Asia’s premier regions. As the country’s engine growth driver, it has growing investments in infrastructures and multitudes of business investments and developments.

The metropolis’ rising potential can further step up by following global models like Singapore, Melbourne, and Hong Kong which created several integrated cities and coastal developments that ushered in a vibrant economy and paved for a better urban lifestyle. These visions create an avenue to further increase opportunities for jobs, better education, better lifestyle, and bustling economic activities.

These can contribute to the Philippines’ national and local economies by driving tourism and infrastructure development while also creating equitable and inclusive communities. These, in turn, create a wider room of opportunities and, therefore, attracts more talent.

Building inclusive and sustainable growth centers

When all stakeholders are listened to and addressed, communities will be energized when introduced to well-designed, master-planned and implemented developments. This will result to a lasting impact on Metro Manila’s future and its residents because it fosters more inclusive growth and makes the urban landscape an extension of their home.

When a city embraces its history, celebrates its milestones, innovates and adopts for the future, and most importantly, nurtures its residents and responds to their aspirations – it is a city working toward competitiveness and unlocking future potential.

How about you? What would you aspire your city to be?

SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SM Prime) has partnered with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) to further promote the country’s pursuit of sustainable development.

Through a scholarship grant, SM Prime aims to assist select students pursue undergraduate degrees in Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology (BSHE) and Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF) – courses geared towards sustainability.

The scholarship will be awarded to students from low-income households in Pasay City intended to provide better employment prospects and help reduce poverty and inequality, which are major obstacles to sustainable development.

Members of the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) and SM Prime Holdings Inc ink partnership to create scholarships geared towards sustainable development. Present during the signing are (From left) UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources Dean Marlo Mendoza, UPLB College of Human Ecology Dean Dr. Ricardo Sandalo, SM Prime AVP and head of marketing, PR, and communications Rida Reyes Castillo, UPLB chancellor Dr. Jose Camacho Jr., and vice chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Janette Malata-Silva.

Collaboration for innovation and sustainability

In an interview, UPLB Chancellor Dr. Jose Camacho, Jr. shared his optimism about the partnership, citing the impact of education, especially sustainability-related fields of studies, in social and economic mobility.

“The scholarship will enable more students to pursue their studies in areas related to sustainability such as environmental science, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture. By investing in education in these areas, we are preparing a new generation of leaders who will have the knowledge and skills to address the complex environmental and social challenges facing our world today,” Dr. Camacho said. “It will encourage research and development in areas related to sustainability. By providing support for students to pursue advanced studies, we are creating a pipeline of future researchers and innovators who can develop solutions to pressing environmental and social problems."

Aside from enabling students to pursue their education without financial burden, the UPLB chancellor believes that the scholarship can produce competent leaders capable of solving complex environmental and social challenges, and create a pipeline of innovative researchers.

He further stressed how fostering collaborations and innovation in sustainability between the academic community and the private sector can lead to new environmentally and socially responsible products, technologies, and services that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

SM Prime AVP and head of marketing, PR, and communications Rida Reyes Castillo signed the memorandum of agreement alongside UPLB chancellor Dr. Jose Camacho Jr. The scholarship formed under the partnership continues SM Prime’s pursuit of sustainable development.

Ripples of social good

SM Prime AVP and head of marketing, PR, and communications Rida Reyes Castillo shared that the partnership between SM Prime and UPLB is a testament to the shared commitment of both institutions towards promoting sustainability and creating a better future for the next generation.

By supporting the education of would-be scholars, SM Prime hopes to create ripples of social good within families and communities, ultimately contributing to the development of a more sustainable and equitable society.

“Improving the well-being of its partner communities and investing in people’s growth have long been among SM Prime’s sustainability pillars woven at the core of its business strategies and operations. As such, SM Prime deems it important to create programs that would provide access to quality education for all, and in the long term, create a pool of proactive human resources who can responsibly carry out and balance the economic, social and environmental aspects of a society’s sustainable development aspirations,” Castillo said. “SM Prime believes UPLB would be the best partner to support its sustainability initiatives in promoting a conducive learning environment while honing new Iskolars ng Bayan leaders committed to knowledge creation and public service."

The SM Prime Sustainability Scholarship is open to students from Pasay City, under UPLB's BSHE and BSF programs with an annual gross family income of not more than P150,000.00

For more information, interested applicants may contact the UPLB OSG +63 49 536 3209 or email at

Leading mobile wallet GCash strengthens its efforts to promote women empowerment and inclusion during Women’s Month with a fireside chat to build women leaders of the GNation and create a space for learning from different experiences and expertise.

The workshop was held in collaboration with She Talks Asia, a movement that celebrates the modern woman and provides a space for inspiration and support among women across multiple platforms.

Entitled “Her Story, Her Power: A Women's Month Fireside Chat”, the workshop highlighted the value of embracing one’s self-worth and achieving one’s full potential in order to succeed in both personal and professional life. The event also conducted a breakout session to broaden the discussion on relevant topics on women empowerment, aimed to show how the company values women’s contributions.

In his remarks, GCash Chief People Officer Robert Gonzales highlighted the company’s commitment to champion inclusivity and diversity in GNation and in the fintech sector.

“GCash has always taken pride in promoting equality in its work culture, particularly in recognizing its women workforce who continue to change the game in the FinTech Industry. We are truly excited to be building a community that allows the women of GNation to empower and lean on one another ​​and be courageous and ambitious in any pursuit” Robert said.

GCash currently has 46% women in its workforce, compared to 28.8% industry average. With this, 44% of its leaders are proudly female versus 10% industry average.

The talks and panel discussion were conducted by women leaders from different expertise and diverse backgrounds. G-Xchange, Inc. Chief Finance Officer Marshi Go- Brozo was one of the key speakers and shared her journey of healing, resilience, self-love, and how she found her own voice and purpose.

“When my husband passed away, I was afraid that I would not be able to give my best to my kids. Then one night, I looked at my life and I realized if I believe in my heart that God won’t give me anything beyond what I can bear then it must be true for my kids also. I just have to be here to guide them on what we really need in life. Know your identity. You are valuable because of who you are,” Marshi said.

During the workshop, Dr. Rea Celine Villa, a psychologist in Pasig City General Hospital and a Senior Psychologist at mental health company Mind You, highlighted the value of recognizing one’s self-worth.

“You need to understand and implement self-compassion. It’s loving yourself even if tingin mo hindi ka lovable. Sometimes it’s easier to love someone else but the concept of doing the same is not always taught in our culture, kasi it’s like you work for the family, get high grades for prestige, but we never focus on ourselves. In dire need na you’re in a crisis, doon mas kailangan ng compassion. Not during your wins, but more on your bad times,” Dr. Villa said.

Behavioral economist and Gallup-certified Strengths coach Rose Fres Fausto shared insights on how to address gender gap in the workplace and how to create a better, and more empowered version of yourself.

“We have to champion each other. We, women, have a lot of work interruptions to do unpaid work. More than proving ourselves as a woman, we have to put it on the conversation table because this is just not a problem of women but of society. When we empower women, we don’t just empower the 50 percent of society, but the entire society,” Rose said.

Lynn Pinugu, She Talks Asia CEO and co-founder moderated the fireside chat and offered attendees meaningful insights centered on the event theme.

“Conversations like this are what actually create and allow us to continue building that positive culture because it’s so easy to be complacent. And that’s why I celebrate companies like GCash who always make sure conversations like this are at the forefront,” Lynn said.

Proving itself as a company that values equal opportunity, more and more women leaders can also be seen taking the helm at GCash including its president and CEO Martha Sazon, Chief Technology and Operations Officer Pebbles Sy, Chief Compliance Officer Atty. Cef Sison, Chief Legal Officer Maricor Alvarez-Adriano, Chief Risk Officer Ingrid Berona, and GCash Chief Strategy Officer Rowena Zamora, just to name a few. 

Beyond Women’s Month, GCash continues to support gender equality, create safe spaces for women, and help them become more empowered in pursuit of its vision of achieving Finance for All.

While access to quality healthcare continues to be hampered by challenges, medical missions have become an increasingly vital source of support for low-income communities. Through time, they have gone beyond providing medical care and have taken up a new role: transforming the lives of individuals and communities.

The SM Foundation, Inc. (SMFI) recognizes just this, so it has made its mission to travel from Luzon to Mindanao to provide free medical care and services to thousands of patients from various hard-pressed communities.

Just recently, the medical mission team headed to the cities of Tuguegarao and Cauayan in Northern Luzon and provided services to thousands of low-income families. Two of them are Roland Bariuan and Angeline Cacanindin.

Strength to do more

Roland Bariuan takes home free medicines after his medical check-up.

Roland has been a tricycle driver in Tuguegarao City since 1994. But, two years ago, he suddenly felt weak and had to spend money on medical consultations and examinations.

“Napansin ko na kahit malakas ako kumain, namamayat ako at nanghihina. Nalaman ko na may diabetes na po ako. Pero hindi pwedeng pabayaan ko ang sarili ko. Hindi pwedeng maging tamad ako dahil may sakit ako. Kung tamad po ako mamasada, wala kaming pangaraw-araw at gagastushin pambili ng gamot,” he shared.

Determined to care for his health, he goes to the city health office for his routine checkups. The same drive to boost his health is also what led him to SM group’s medical mission, led by SMFI: “Dahil magastos po magpagamot, kadalasan po akong pumunta sa city health office para sa lahat ng aking checkups. Ngayon, nataon pong nalaman kong mayroon medical mission dito sa SM City Tuguegarao.”

Through the medical mission, he received free consultation, blood tests, x-ray, and medicines–services that would break the bank if he had it done elsewhere. With the assistance extended to him, he had his scheduled checkup without worrying about the finances and even managed to put aside money originally allotted for medicine and laboratory tests.

“Ang kinikita ko sa pamamasada ang ginagamit ko at ng pamilya ko para sa aming pangangailangan. Kaya mahalaga sa akin ang aking kalusugan. Ang magandang pangangatawan ang nagbibigay sa akin ng lakas para mas lalo pang pagsumikapan ang pamamasada,” he said.

“Pero bilang tricycle driver, hindi namin maiiwasang magkasakit dahil usok ang kasabayan namin sa pamamasada. Kaya malaking tulong ang libreng check-up sa ang libreng gamot mula sa SM Foundation. Malaking tulong ito dahil kahit papaano, hindi ko muna iisipin ang pang gamot ko,” he added.

Making quality healthcare attainable

Roland’s fellow resident from Cagayan Valley, Angeline Cacanindin, knows full well the need to maintain a healthy body, for this is her tool to fulfill her duty as a house helper. She also believes that this is what her children can rely on as they strive in school.

However, her youngest daughter has been complaining about a toothache, which was already interfering with her nutrition and attendance in school.

“Butas na po ang mga ngipin niya. Kaya tuwing kumakain po siya, pumapasok ang kanin at nasasaktan siya. Hindi na rin po siya makapag focus sa school dahil sa sakit,” she shared.

“Nito lang po, tumawag po ang teacher niya at sinabing umiiyak po ang anak ko per hindi umiimik. Nung kinausap ko po siya, nalaman kong sobrang sakit na po ng ngipin niya. Umiyak din po ako dahil ramdam ko ‘yung sakit. Hindi ko siya agad madala sa dental clinic dahil nasa trabaho po ako at mahal din po ang magpabunot,” she said.

When she heard about SMFI’s medical mission in SM City Cauayan, she immediately brought her daughter for a checkup. Here, her daughter’s tooth was extracted. She also received free paracetamol, antibiotics, vitamins apt for her child’s age, and dental hygiene tips from volunteer dentists.

“Ang medical mission na ito ay malaking tulong kasi libre po serbisyo pati ang mga gamot. Ngayon po, makakapagsimula muli kaming subaybayan ang kalusugan ng aming anak para maganda po ang kinabukasan niya.” she said.

Through the ongoing medical missions of SMFI, many economically disadvantaged individuals like Roland and Angeline get lifelines–an intervention that provides immediate relief to those in need and a chance to access medical care and resources that are often unavailable or unattainable.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Sun Life Financial-Philippines Foundation, Inc. (Sun Life Foundation), the philanthropic arm of Sun Life Philippines, recently signed a memorandum of agreement with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines to establish two (2) Food Shed Farming Enterprise projects in the province of Surigao del Norte to provide food source and economic resiliency for low-income urban communities through food security, and sustainable livelihood among the locals. 

The Food Shed Farming Enterprise projects aim to secure food and livelihoods as well as mitigate food shortages in the community by using sustainable agriculture interventions, increasing the capacity to utilize technology, and promoting climate-resilient and sustainable production systems that minimize the impact of the stresses that contribute to limited food accessibility. 

“With this collaboration, we hope to further improve the resiliency of the food supply of communities, especially with the threats that climate change poses to our food resources,” says Katherine Custodio, Executive Director of WWF.

 Located in Del Carmen, Siargao Island, the Food Shed Farming Enterprise projects will be established in Brgy. Caub and Halian Island and are expected to benefit 250 individuals through sustainable livelihood, as well as provide almost 2,000 locals with access to hyperlocal nutritious food. 

“Through this collaboration with WWF, the Sun Life Foundation aims to provide food security, sustainable livelihood, and climate-adaptive technologies for the locals of the island in an environmentally sustainable manner,” says Kristine Dianne Millete, Executive Director of the Sun Life Foundation. “It is our earnest hope that through this project, we can alleviate the effects of food shortages and help our farmers with alternative farming technologies that support food security even during times of pandemic,” Millete concluded. 

The Sun Life Foundation strives to uplift communities as part of its commitment to sustainability. Other notable projects in the provinces include the Sun Life Barangay Health Stations, which provide basic healthcare in remote areas.

Panda Heist ML, the champion of this year’s
Panda Legends: Ultimate Battle, receives their prize

foodpanda crowns the champion team for this year’s Panda Legends: Ultimate Battle, a Mobile Legends online tournament for its Ka-panda delivery partners.

Out of the 128 teams who registered last March 14 and showcased their gaming skills, only one team prevailed, taking home a prize pool of Php 250,000. Aside from the cash prize, each winning team member also received Php 2,000 worth of gas vouchers, which they can use for their delivery shifts.

Before the finals round last April 21, the online tournament had a series of elimination games, with each round offering cash prizes to the participants.

The tournament is the third time foodpanda opened the mobile game competition to its delivery partners.

According to operations director Patricia Jacinto, Panda Legends aims to encourage foodpanda’s Ka-panda delivery partners to play like a panda and foster friendly competition amongst the rider fleet. “There’s no doubt that eSports continues to boom and is a favorite past-time within the Ka-panda community. After our successful first run last 2021, we knew we needed another round of competition, and this year became the perfect time to do it again.”

“Nabuo yung grupo namin habang nag-aantay lang ng booking sa isang waiting shed. Di namin akalain na makaka-abot kami hanggang finals at mananalo pa,” narrates Ka panda Art Randy Maliwat from the winning team. “Salamat foodpanda dahil bukod sa sobrang enjoy na makasama at makalaro yung mga kapwa Ka-panda ko, nanalo pa kami ng malaking premyo.”

Yran Basco, a Ka panda working student from Marikina is elated to make it to the finals. “Pinag-igihan talaga namin yung practice para dito at nagbunga naman yung paghahanda namin dahil nakatungtong kami hanggang finals,” he shares. “Yung cash prize na natanggap namin, sobrang laking tulong para sa mga pansariling gastusin kaya malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa foodpanda dahil nabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na makasali dito.”

The champion team and finalists also received exciting and valuable prizes from the tournament’s co-presenters and official partners such as Panther Gaming Gear, Unioil, GCash, and Motivo Tech.

The semi-finals and grand finals match was streamed live via foodpanda ph riders official social media pages, with eight finalist teams competing for the title.

Jacinto also added that initiatives like Panda Legends are a great way to bring a sense of community to their delivery partners from all corners of the country. “With initiatives like this, we are encouraging community-building nationwide as we provide a space for our Ka-pandas to take a break from their usual daily routine and come together for playful engagement activities – whether you’re a Ka-panda from Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao.”

To reward the Ka-panda community for their hard work, Jacinto revealed that they still have a lot in store to continuously engage their delivery partners for the rest of the year. “We will strive to offer our Ka-pandas with the best possible programs, services and assistance that will add value to their livelihoods.”

The Department of Health (DOH) regards rabies as a significant public health problem due to it being one of the most acutely fatal infections. It is responsible for 200-300 deaths of Filipinos annually.

To address this issue, pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim Philippines, through their Animal Health arm, collaborates with the government in observing March as Rabies Awareness Month (RAM). To encourage public participation, Boehringer Ingelheim has launched a RAM photo wall at NAIA Terminal 2 where pet owners can capture and share their photos on social media.

Dr. Apple Nagera, Head of Business Segment – Pets for Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Philippines, Inc. emphasized the significance of raising awareness about rabies and the importance of vaccination for both pets and their owners. “Our RAM photo wall is an excellent opportunity for pet owners to showcase their love for their furry companions and to spread the word about this serious health issue. By using the hashtags #RabiesFreePHand #FunWithPetsAwaitWhenWeVaccinate, pet owners can help raise awareness about the importance of vaccination and show their support for our mission to make the Philippines rabies-free.”

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Philippines, Inc. is committed to its partnership with the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program (NRPCP) and its attached agencies, the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Education (DepEd) in achieving the program aim of “Rabies-free na pusa’t aso, kaligtasan ng pamilyang Pilipino”.

To join the campaign, participants can have their photo(s) taken with the RAM Photo Wall as the backdrop. Post it on their Facebook (FB) Wall with a caption on how they can help make the Philippines Rabies Free. The participants are reminded to set their posts to “Public” and to tag the FB pages of Boehringer Ingelheim Pets PH and the Veterinary Quarantine Services – NAIA, while using the hashtags #RabiesFreePH and #FunWithPetsAwaitWhenWeVaccinate. Ten (10) posts with the most positive reactions will be chosen per week throughout March, making a total of 40 lucky winners who will receive a travel essential kit for their pets.

The Philippines is one of the top 10 countries worldwide with a rabies problem. Recent statistics from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) notes the increase of rabies cases in the country, from 1,038 in 2021 to 1,160 in 2022. Human rabies also showed a rise, from 228 in 2021 to 305 cases in 2022.

Assistant Mall Manager Engr. Janette Aguilera gives a sustainability tour to elementary students by discussing proper waste segregation during the Earth Day Celebration at SM City Marilao. The sustainability tour highlights the many green practices implemented in the mall to educate and inspire participants to adopt sustainable practices and eventually contribute to the environment conservation.

SM Supermalls in North Luzon recently gathered to celebrate Earth Day 2023 with a series of activities designed to promote environmental sustainability and inspire action towards a more sustainable future. The event, titled “Earth Day 2023: Invest in Our Planet, Invest in Our Youth” featured an Art and Storytelling activity, a Sustainability Tour, and a Tree Planting activity.

The Art and Storytelling activity kicked off the celebration. SM Bulacan malls in Marilao, Baliwag, Pulilan, San Jose del Monte, and Grand Central in Caloocan invited participants to express their love for the planet and share their stories through various artistic forms such as fun coloring activity. The community artists and storytellers led the activity as they read the story based on Manny Baldemor’s artworks. The story reflects the simple ways children can participate in living sustainably on their own and with their family.

Following the Art and Storytelling activity, the Sustainability Tour showcased various sustainability initiatives and practices that are implemented in the SM Malls. The tour aimed to educate and inspire participants to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives and contribute to the planet’s restoration and regeneration.

Grade school students in SM City Marilao had rare opportunity to learn about sustainable practices and proper disposal of e-waste. Assistant Mall Manager Engr. Janette Aguilera discussed the harmful effects of e-waste on the environment and human health, as well as the importance of proper disposal and recycling. Apart from the discussion, participants also engage in hands-on activities on proper waste segregation and disposal.

The team of SM City Baliwag, led by Assistant Mall Manager Eugene Martin, introduced the mall’s bike-friendly facilities to students of Baliwag South Central School while reiterating the significance of using bikes as a mode of transportation in order to lessen air pollution and reduce petroleum consumption. In addition, students were taught about the process of water recycling by converting used potable water to non-potable purposes. In SM Center Pulilan, students from Colegio de Sta. Philomena School learned the proper ways of waste segregation to facilitate the process of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste.

The celebration concluded with a Tree Planting activity in other SM malls, where participants planted trees to increase awareness of the importance of trees in the ecosystem and inspire others to act towards reforestation and conservation. Trees play a crucial role in the planet’s ecosystem and help combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide.

The Earth Day Celebration at SM Bulacan malls in Marilao, Baliwag, Pulilan, San Jose del Monte, and Grand Central in Caloocan demonstrated the power of art, storytelling, and community engagement in promoting environmental sustainability and inspiring action towards a more sustainable future. It is also an annual activity of SM Supermalls as part of its advocacy for environmental conservation


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