Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Manulife Peso Smart Extends Financial Literacy Program to Elementary and University Students, as well as Filipina Heads of Household


Manila, Philippines
— Manulife expanded its award-winning Peso Smart financial literacy program with new sessions for over 300 university students from across the country and extended the program to provide financial lessons to 50 female heads of household from two communities in Quezon City and Sagada, Mountain Province. To further promote financial education through creative storytelling, a new iteration of the Manulife Peso Smart storybook series is also available to download for free on the company’s website. 

These initiatives are aligned with a key area of focus within Manulife’s Global Impact Agenda – driving inclusive economic opportunities to create a more even playing field for all. Since it started in 2017, Peso Smart has produced more than 1,500 graduates nationwide.

“We continue to evolve Peso Smart, so we can reach more Filipinos and equip them with the financial skills they need to be smarter money managers,” said Melissa Henson, Chief Marketing Officer, Manulife Philippines. “Through customized modules and activities that are delivered using various media, we share knowledge and practical skills that can empower them to save, grow their money, and more confidently take charge of their future.”

Manulife’s recent study, “The Modern Filipino Family: Exploring family dynamics and digitalization in the new normal,” revealed that 69% of Filipino Gen Zs surveyed cited financial challenges as one of the top triggers of family conflict, signaling the need to learn smart money habits so they can learn how to financially protect themselves, especially in times of uncertainty. To respond to the increasing desire among Filipinos for financial well-being, Manulife held a four-part virtual Peso Smart University class attended by 300 university students who learned more about personal finances, investments, and unit investment trust funds (UITFs), as well as explored a career as a financial advisor. 

This year’s Peso Smart University students included Gawad Kalinga scholars who study at various universities, along with students from Silliman University, St. Scholastica's College Manila, University of Santo Tomas, and University of the Philippines-Los Baños.

Peso Smart Pinays

In partnership with Corazon Sanchez Atayde Memorial Foundation (CSAMF), Peso Smart has also produced self-learning modules and instructional videos for female heads of household from Quezon City and Sagada, Mountain Province under its Peso Smart Pinays program. As part of this program, these women gathered weekly for two-hour huddles with a financial expert to discuss, share and analyze outputs. 

“To make financial education a family affair, we hope to empower Filipino families to manage their finances and make informed decisions together – like setting and monitoring their budget for basic necessities, saving for emergencies, and covering school expenses – so that they can collaboratively build their plans for a better future and live every day better,” added Henson.

Dalia de Guzman, a mother of three and Peso Smart Pinay participant from Quezon City, shared how the program has enabled their family to achieve their short- and medium-term financial goals, including their home renovation in November 2022. Masaya po ako na natutuhan namin ang tamang kaalaman sa pag-manage at pagpapalago ng aming kinikita sa tulong ng Peso Smart Pinays. Maraming salamat sa Manulife at CSAMF sa pagiging tulay upang maging Peso Smart ang aming pamilya, at mas maging handa sa aming kinabukasan,” Dalia said.

 New Peso Smart storybook launched

To promote creativity in learning, Manulife has also recently launched Manny and Liv: The Saving Jars, the fifth Peso Smart storybook installment. This is based on a winning entry from the Peso Smart University storybook creation competition, submitted by University of Santo Tomas (UST) AISEC members.

The story follows the adventures of siblings Manny and Liv, who learn how to use three “Saving Jars”: “Savings (for my future),” “Just in case,” and “Wants.” The story also includes financial literacy concepts that are common in everyday life, so children can better understand and replicate these in their behavior. 

To learn more about Manulife’s Peso Smart financial literacy program, visit


About Manulife Philippines

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company opened its doors for business in the Philippines in 1907. Since then, Manulife’s Philippine Branch and later The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. (Phils.), Inc. (Manulife Philippines) has

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

DTI Seizes Almost P.5M Uncertified Products in Manila; Affirms Stable BNPC Prices and Supply


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), clutches Php418,578.00 worth of uncertified products; and verified the compliance of retail firms to the latest DTI Suggested Retail Price (SRP) bulletin in its simultaneous technical regulation enforcement and price and supply monitoring in Manila, on 16 December 2022.

Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo led the DTI monitoring and enforcement teams in inspecting retail firms within Manila.

The heightened enforcement resulted in the confiscation of 650 pieces of uncertified products including 67 pieces of self-ballasted LED bulbs; 144 pieces of lavatories and water closets; and 39 pieces of electric fans, electric rice cookers, electric food mixers, and induction cookers.

“The DTI’s intensified enforcement operation is to ensure that household appliances and other consumer products in the market have undergone and met safety standards,” Usec. Atty. Castelo said.

Usec. Atty. Castelo also reiterated that the DTI’s enforcement initiative is not to restrict business transactions. Instead, it safeguards product quality that guarantees market competitiveness and consumer safety.

All nine (9) firms inspected were issued a Notice of Violation. Thus, as part of the due process, the representative of the stores was given 48 hours to provide an explanation related to the findings of noncompliance.

Last 07 December 2022, DTI also conducted a similar activity that seized 609 pieces of uncertified products worth Php90, 569.00. Such has caused the issuance of NOVs to eight (8) retail firms for selling uncertified electric kettles, electric food mixers, electric fans, electric grills, electric cookers, electric food processors, electric rice cookers, electric juicers, and self-ballasted LED lamps.

From January to November 2022, FTEB has already confiscated 219,693 pieces of uncertified products worth Php67,490,780.90

The nationwide campaign of DTI against uncertified items in the market underscores the enforcement of DTI technical regulations mandating compliance with Philippine Standard Certification Mark Schemes, particularly Department Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 2007.

To protect consumers or potential buyers of electrical and electronic products; mechanical or building and construction materials; and chemical and other consumer products and systems, DTI- Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) regulates 87 products and systems through implementing Mandatory Product Certification Schemes: the Philippine Standard (PS) Quality and/or Safety Certification Mark Licensing Scheme and the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) Certification Scheme.

Meanwhile, Usec. Atty. Castelo also headed the price monitoring teams in inspecting two (2) supermarkets in Manila to check their compliance with the latest SRP bulletin, released last 12 August 2022.

Aside from being compliant with the latest SRP bulletin, Usec. Atty. Castelo affirmed that both of the monitored supermarkets follow the Noche Buena Price Guide. Moreover, all of the Shelf Keeping Units (SKUs) including Noche Buena items have appropriate price tags.

Furthermore, Usec. Atty. Castelo also expressed that based on their discussion with retail chains, owners, and operators, the DTI is certain that the supply and prices of Basic Necessities and Prime Commodities (BNPCs) including Noche Buena Products will continue to remain stable.

The DTI urges consumers to report retailers, distributors, and manufacturers that sell basic necessities above their SRPs or uncertified items, through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or

Friday, December 23, 2022

DTI Hosts the 58th ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ) Meeting in Boracay


The Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS), under the Consumer Protection Group (CPG), successfully hosted the 58th ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ) Meeting and its Related Meetings in Boracay, Malay, Aklan on 06-09 December 2022.

The Meeting was attended by ACCSQ Leaders from the following ASEAN Member States: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam with the ASEAN Secretariat. The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Nou Thara, Deputy Director General, Institute of Standards Cambodia and vice-chaired by Mrs. Konny Sagala, Director, Directorate of Standard Implementation System and Conformity Assessment, National Standardization Agency of Indonesia. 


The Philippine Delegation was led by BPS Director Neil P. Catajay as Head of Delegation, Director Jesusa Joyce Cirunay from the Department of Health - Food and Drug Administration (DOH-FDA), Directory Romulo Aggangan from the Department of Science and Technology - Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) together with representatives from the DTI-Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB), DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), DTI-Aklan,  DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), and other BPS partners. 



Delegates of the 58th ACCSQ Meeting in Boracay, Philippines 


During the opening ceremony, DTI-CPG Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo and the ACCSQ Chair Mr. Nou Thara provided the welcome messages to the delegates. 



DTI-CPG Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo delivered her welcome remarks for the 58th ACCSQ Meeting via recorded video message 


"The ASEAN has shown resilience and perseverance amidst the pandemic. It has created purposeful measures to allow the region to recover from the effects of the pandemic. While we are on our way to recovery, it is still an uphill battle and would require enormous effort from all stakeholders. Aside from the post-pandemic effects, we are also witnessing new heights of development in the area of digital trade, and the fourth industrial revolution which present opportunities and challenges in the area of online consumer protection and product safety," underscored by Usec. Castelo. 


With the said developments, Usec. Catelo enjoined the ASEAN Member States to move forward together through collective and individual efforts, across different ASEAN communities: political-security, economic and socio-cultural. 



The ACCSQ Leaders, ASEAN Secretariat, and Other Delegates during the 58th ACCSQ Meeting Proper 


The Meeting discussed matters arising from the 57th ACCSQ Meeting, updates on the recent developments in the ASEAN Economic Integration, progress of 2022 Annual Priority (AP) Deliverables, latest updates in the signing of ASEAN legal instruments in 2022, AP Deliverables for 2023 proposed by Indonesia, the Standards and Conformance Strategic Plan 2016-2025 and Third Sector Masterplan of ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025, progress reports of ACCSQ Working Groups and Product Working Groups as well as Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures (STRACAP) in ASEAN Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand, China, Korea, Japan, and Canada. The ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) upgrade negotiations and cooperation with Dialogue Partners were also tackled. 


In addition, the following Dialogue Meetings were held back-to-back with the 58th ACCSQ Meeting:  

1.      1st ACCSQ - UK Dialogue Meeting on Standards and Conformance, which highlighted UK’s overall support to ASEAN particularly for the economic sector, technical support for ACCSQ, and updates on the activities and engagements in international standards bodies; 


                    1st ACCSQ - UK Dialogue Meeting on Standards and Conformance 


2.      20th ACCSQ - EU Dialogue Meeting on Standards and Conformance, which discussed the overall support from EU to ASEAN and the progress of the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from EU (ARISE Plus); and 


              20th ACCSQ - EU Dialogue Meeting on Standards and Conformance 


3.      8th ASEAN Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) Sub-Committee on STRACAP Meeting, which discussed the progress of ASEAN activities and projects in cooperation with Japan particularly the ASEAN-Japan Partnership Program for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Safety Conformity Assessment of Multi-Media Equipment (MME) and the development of ASEAN Common Qualification Scheme for Quality Control Experts. 


                  8th ASEAN Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) Sub-Committee on STRACAP Meeting 


The IEC Asia-Pacific Regional Centre (IEC-APRC) also provided updates to the Meeting on IEC's latest activities and programs. 


The ACCSQ is a sectoral body under the purview of the ASEAN Economic Ministers that is tasked to reduce, if not to remove, technical barriers to trade in order to realize the goals of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). It was established to harmonize national standards with international standards, implement mutual recognition arrangements on conformity assessment, and develop harmonized regulatory regimes. 


The DTI-BPS functions as the Philippines’ lead agency to the ACCSQ. As lead, the DTI-BPS represents the country in the programs and events of the ACCSQ Leaders on standards and conformity assessment procedures and coordinates with other government agencies and the private sector involved in the activities of the Working Groups (WGs) and Product Working Groups (PWGs) under the ACCSQ. 


For more updates and information on standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures (STRACAP), please visit the BPS website ( Emails and messages may also be sent to or through the official BPS Facebook page (

A Heritage of Giving


The history of Negros Occidental is replete with occasions to help fellowmen. What may have started as a logical act of a farm owner taking care of a farm worker has, in time, rooted itself to a psyche that leans to help wherever possible. This holiday month, the Negros Season of Culture brings to the center of celebrations the works of NGOs whose missions have become modern-day conduits of this heritage of giving.

O Senyor Tagbalay!

We welcome good tidings with a reenactment in song of the story of the birth of Christ. In Hiligaynon musical tradition, the daigon or caroling opens with the song, O Senyor Tagbalay!, echoing Joseph’s plea for a room for Mary. Against the majestic façade of the Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental, the singers of the De La Salle Chorale lend their voices to beseech all to open their doors to love and the Christ child. Joining the chorale are singers from Kalipay Negrense Foundation and Suntown Camp Foundation. Suntown comforts children with cancer and serious illnesses. Kalipay is a home for abused and abandoned children. We hope you think of them this Christmas.


Making Artisans of Hope

In recent years, our Christmas trees have been decked less with imported stuff and replaced with ornaments created by a group of homegrown handicraft artists. Their works are boldly artistic, intent on wooing shoppers and giving artists a chance at sustainable livelihood, while helping fund feeding and educational programs. Trained and encouraged by the Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation, these “artisans of hope” mirror our collective mission to give, in turn making all of us creators of hope for others who have none. See what Santa’s elves have been busy with in Making Artisans of Hope.


Kusinera Diaries

Often we forget who puts the “happy” to our New Year’s celebration. Not this time. As we approach 2023, we celebrate one particular person who has been part of our heritage, from the kitchens of our old hacienda homes to the kitchens of our modern subdivision dwellings. Kusinera Diaries is a three-part documentary giving tribute to one of the most influential characters in the traditional home of the Negrense, the cook. For sure, this story is also about favorite holiday family food. But more significantly, we recognize the contributions and the place of the kusinera in our kitchens. Many of them have given all of their productive years to us. Many more have foregone marriage to devote their time to our families. And so, meet Dhalia, Alicia, and Dominga. Let them take you to a Happy New Year.

Text By: Alan Gensoli
Photos By: Unit A Creatives and Bem Cortez

Thursday, December 22, 2022

KADIWA Brings Noche Buena Goods and Local Products in Tacloban


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Leyte Provincial Office joined the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 8 to conduct Kadiwa ng Pasko through its Diskwento Caravan: Noche Buena Edition.

The Diskwento Caravan has been a part of Kadiwa from November 16-18, 2022 in Rizal Plaza, Tacloban City. Basic necessities, prime commodities, Noche Buena products, and Christmas decorations from major distributors in the region, as well as locally manufactured delicacies and handcrafted items of assisted MSMEs were on display in this huge marketing event.

After the three-day selling event, Kadiwa ng Pasko continued to showcase basic goods, farm fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, local delicacies and items for five Sundays - November 20, November 27, December 4, December 11, and December 18, and will run before Christmas Day.

Through the Diskwento Caravan, DTI invited and helped nine retail distributors and 32 DTI-assisted MSMEs to generate total cash and booked sales of P1.2M over the course of 8 days.

This year's successful edition of Kadiwa ng Pasko is a testament of the strong partnership between DTI, DA, DILG, DOLE, DSWD, and Tingog Sinirangan.

DTI will continue to establish strong local presence and partnership among government enablers.

McDonald's Shares the Light this Christmas by Giving Back

McDonald's Shares the Light this Christmas by Giving Back

PHILIPPINES - December 22, 2022 – McDonald’s continues to share more Happy Meal smiles by sharing the light this season to children from partner communities by donating one million toys through the McDonald’s Happy Meal Toy Donation Drive.

On December 16, during the official turnover event, Dr. George T. Yang, McDonald’s Philippines Chairman & Founder himself led the sharing of the one million Happy Meal toys to the beneficiaries of McDonald’s charity of choice, Ronald McDonald House of Charities Philippines or RMHC. Present to receive the Happy Meal toys was Haron S. Meling, a representative from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and joined by Sen. Robin Padilla.

With the leadership of Dr. George T. Yang, McDonald’s was able to share the gift of Happy Meal smiles to various LGUs such as Pasig, Mandaluyong, Antipolo, Marikina, Floridablanca, Presidential Security Group (PSG), Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, and the MMDA. In addition to this, other organizations and different LGUs also received Happy Meal toys from McDonald’s to share more smiles within their local communities. 

Everyone is invited to take part in the McDonald’s Donation Drive. Watch McDonald’s newest online video with Dr. George T. Yang and Jose Mari Chan who once again went virtual caroling to raise funds and share more smiles through Happy Meal books, toys, and McDonald’s meals donation to Filipino children and families in need. To know more about RMHC, how you can help and #ShareTheLight, simply scan the QRistmas Code or click on

Make bonding moments with your loved ones more precious this Christmas at McDonald’s! Be sure to follow @mcdo_ph on Facebook and Instagram too to keep updated on their exciting offers this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Enjoy a Well-deserved Pawer Pamasko with TM FunPasko Raffle


If you’re still wishing to win at your Christmas party raffle, wait no longer. TM FunPasko Raffle is giving Ka-TMs the chance to win up to P1 million pesos until December 30, 2022, so you can achieve your well-deserved memorable Christmas.

“TM believes that Filipinos deserve to have a more enjoyable Christmas celebration this year despite the challenges they continue to face. With TM FunPasko Raffle, Ka-TMs have the chance to win P2,000 GCash credits weekly for shopping or grocery, five Samsung 5G mobile phones for their raket or online school, a Motorcycle for additional income, and P1 million peso cash prize to help them get back on their feet and indulge in the good vibes that the Christmas season brings,” said Bea Lacson, TM Brand Head.

Dasurv ang panalo sa TM raffle promos

Every year at TM FunPasko Raffle, many Ka-TMs win different raffle prizes that bring good vibes and help improve lives.

Among those who have been enjoying the good vibes that their wins bring are Arlene Baxter of Parañaque City, who was able to buy a house and start a business with her P1 million cash prize. Emilie Somera of Marikina City, who experienced changes in her life when she got her own house and lot, started to own an apartment space for rentals, and bought a tricycle for her husband’s raket. Ma Crisan Tabor of Makati, P1 million peso winner of Doble Dekada Raffle, on the other hand, used her cash prize to buy her own motorbike and sustain the medication of her mother.

John Clyford of Makati won P1 million pesos from the recent TM is the Key Raffle, which he used to put up a house in the province and help his siblings. Meanwhile, Lara Cardona from Manila has finally achieved her car and travel goals when she won P2 million pesos alongside Cagayan De Oro winner Rodolfo Romorosa, who bought his own lot and has started to build his dream home. 

“Pawer” Prizes Ka-TMs “dasurv”

To help Ka-TMs celebrate their well-deserved Christmas celebration this year, TM is giving away up to ₱1 million cash prize through TM FunPasko Raffle that can help uplift their lives and start a more abundant year; up to ₱2,000 GCash Credits for a fun shopping spree; or Motorcycles or Samsung 5G Mobile Phones to help them gain extra income or at school. 

TM also made it easy for Ka-TMs to join TM FunPasko Raffle. They just need to register to any of the TM promos until December 30, 2022 through SMS or GlobeOne App, to increase their chances of winning.

“Pawer” Freebies Ka-TMs “dasurv”

To extend the good vibes to others, TM is also offering a powerful LTE/5G sim that has free EASYSURF50 with extra freebies, TM Rewards points and up to 20GB free data that they deserve!

To know more about TM FunPasko Raffle, visit TM Tambayan, because you deserve a PAWERful FunPasko with TM

Brace Yourselves for a SUPER Adventure with McDonald’s Super Mario Happy Meal!


PHILIPPINES – December 21, 2022 – Brace yourself for an adventure as McDonald’s launches Super Mario Happy Meal, bringing 8 unique toys to children and Super Mario fans and encouraging them to create their own hero journey.

Originally played through the Nintendo Entertainment System, fans and kids can now take part in Mario and his friends’ journey to save the day outside of the video game. Whether through digital or in real life, parents can encourage their kids to be heroes in their own way. After all, you don’t need a cape or supernatural powers to accomplish something great.

Aside from inspiring kids to be their own hero, this new Happy Meal collection also aims to hype up the little ones and fans prior to the launch of the Super Mario Bros. Movie in 2023!

The simple and fun characters of Super Mario will come to life through 8 toys that you can collect by purchasing your favorite McDonald’s Happy Meal. Get the full heroic adventure by completing all 8 toys! 

The collection includes Sliding Mario, Mario Kart (Mario sitting in a rollerball-powered kart), Luigi, Toad in a truck, Lumalee, Donkey Kong, Bowser, and Princess Peach. You can go on a journey to save Princess Peach from Bowser together with Mario and his friends. You can also opt to to turn Princess Peach—usually treated as damsel in distress—into a hero in your story! Play with the Super Mario Happy Meal toys according to your own hero journey! 

What are you waiting for? Become heroes with Happy Meal Super Mario Toy Collectible! Get your favorite character for every purchase of McDonald’s Happy Meal via Dine In, Drive-Thru, Take Out, and McDelivery. For more information about this offering, follow McDonald’s Philippines on Facebook and Instagram.


Explore the Samsung Galaxy world with the New Try Galaxy Experience

Samsung Galaxy world

Mobile phone users who want to #SwitchToGalaxy but want to test the experience first can now easily do so with the Try Galaxy app.

The Try Galaxy app is a web-based application especially designed to let non-android users get a glimpse of the great Galaxy experience. All they need to do is scan the QR code above, or visit in their browsers and add the app to their home screens. This will launch an interactive simulation of the Samsung Galaxy user interface, featuring the latest One UI 4.1.1, which is now optimized for the foldable experience. 

With Try Galaxy, users can expect immersive demos of the key features that make the Galaxy experience unique. Here’s everything worth looking into before making the switch: 

  1. Galaxy Z Flip4 and Z Fold4 Tutorials  

Watch walkthroughs of the newly-launched Z Series and discover how easy it is to navigate through each interface. The experience will show how both devices encourage more flexibility and productivity with their hands-free and multi-windows features. 

  1. Galaxy Camera and Gallery  

Experience the Galaxy’s built-in Object Eraser and Photo Remaster tools—two must-have camera features for young content creators. The Try Galaxy app also lets users see what makes the ZFlip’s FlexCam different with a fun, interactive tutorial video. 

  1. Galaxy Themes and Customization Tools

From personalized themes to customizable color palettes, and custom-made emoji pairs, the Galaxy experience has it all. These tools take users on a journey of self-expression, inspiring them to try designing their interface as authentic to their personal style as possible with the Galaxy Themes. 

  1. Galaxy Ecosystem Simulation

Check out simulated pages of Galaxy’s amazing features and settings. The Try Galaxy app provides a realistic view of its ecosystem with a simplified virtual experience of various message-and-call-related Galaxy features, as well as in-app demos of the Privacy, Smart Switch, Samsung Health, and Quick Share dashboards. 

Other simulations and in-app tutorials to check out include Samsung Kids, Game Launcher, Galaxy Store, Galaxy Wearable, and SmartThings.

With the Try Galaxy app, users can discover how easy, intuitive, and customizable the Galaxy experience is, making the #SwitchToGalaxy an effortless decision to make.

Download the Try Galaxy app today by scanning the QR above or visiting


About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, digital appliances, network systems, and memory, system LSI, foundry and LED solutions. For the latest news, please visit the Samsung Newsroom at