Tuesday, October 31, 2023

PLDT, Smart Expand Teaching Strategies of Las Piñas SPED Teachers

PLDT and Smart have bolstered the teaching strategies of Special Education (SPED) teachers in Las Piñas City to help them respond and interact more effectively with students who have disabilities.

“PLDT and Smart advocate using technology for good. We believe that digital technology can be a great equalizer. Together with our partners, we support digital inclusion initiatives that aim to open opportunities for those who are in unique circumstances,” said Stephanie Orlino, AVP and Head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart.

Facilitated by ATRIEV, the prime Information and Communications Technology (ICT) specialist non-profit organization that empowers persons with visual impairment through technology-enabled assistive programs, PLDT and Smart launched the first Disability Sensitivity and Mobile Accessibility Usage Workshop for teachers. Tucked under the Infoteach program, the activity also supports the celebration of the National Teacher’s Month and the World Teachers’ Day.

Working with the DepEd – Division of Las Piñas City, more than 20 SPED teachers from elementary and high schools across the city participated in the training. The first part covered disability sensitivity where participants learned appropriate terms to refer to persons with disability. The interactive course also shared practical tips on assisting students with visual, speech, and mobility impairments.

The afternoon session centered on mobile accessibility with the help of TalkBack, an Android-native screen reader application. The trainers who have visual impairment themselves demonstrated angle gestures and two-part swipes that help persons with disability navigate their devices. Teachers also tried operating the onscreen keyboard to write messages and fill out forms and search boxes.

The Infoteach program underscores PLDT and Smart’s efforts to help the nation meet UN Sustainability Development Goal 10 on reducing inequality by empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including persons with disabilities. It also helps underscore the PLDT Group's commitment to innovation and digital inclusion, and to assist in the government's key digitalization efforts. The PLDT Group is a founding member of the Digital Infrastructure pillar of the presidential Private Sector Advisory Council or PSAC.

Tears from Heaven: CHILD Haus Celebrates 21 Years

CHILD Haus founder 'Mader' Ricky Reyes and SM Prime Holdings Inc. Chairman of the Executive Committee Hans Sy (center) celebrate the institution's 21st anniversary with the CHILD Haus beneficiaries.

The SM Mall of Asia Music Hall was the venue of the 21st-anniversary celebration of CHILD Haus, an institution founded by ‘Mader’ Ricky Reyes to be a bastion of hope for children stricken by cancer. Throughout its history, one consistent major supporter of the establishment has been the Sy family – in its early years, Henry ‘Tatang’ Sy, Sr., and over the last decade, SM Prime Holdings Inc. Chairman of the Executive Committee Hans Sy continuing the tradition established by his father.

Leading the event were Mr. Sy and ‘Mader’ Ricky, and several individuals and companies who, over the years, have contributed to the well-being of CHILD Haus were invited. Many children, who have been ‘adopted’ by CHILD Haus and now call it home, were also in attendance. The media was present as well, recognizing how establishments like CHILD Haus make a big difference and become the ‘answered prayers’ of so many children and their parents.

CHILD Haus founder 'Mader' Ricky Reyes

CHILD Haus founder 'Mader' Ricky Reyes

Three CHILD Haus stories, featuring Aya, Laura, and Jessa, were turned into video vignettes that highlighted the message of hope and the life-saving work of the organization. While it is easy to describe such events as heartwarming and tear-jerking, it was truly remarkable to witness even the most seasoned press photographers being moved to tears by these videos. This is a clear testament to the profound impact that these testimonials had on the audience at the event.

After ‘Mader’ Ricky's heartwarming welcome, Mr. Sy himself took the stage to present plaques of appreciation to the many friends of CHILD Haus whose generous donations have made the organization's life-saving work possible.

CHILD Haus founder 'Mader' Ricky Reyes and SM Prime Holdings Inc. Chairman of the Executive Committee Hans Sy award plaques of appreciation to the generous friends of CHILD Haus whose contributions have enabled the organization's life-saving mission.

CHILD Haus founder 'Mader' Ricky Reyes, SM Prime Holdings Inc. Chairman of the Executive Committee Hans Sy, and three inspiring CHILD Haus children, Aya, Laura, and Jessa
CHILD Haus founder 'Mader' Ricky Reyes, SM Prime Holdings Inc. Chairman of the Executive Committee Hans Sy, and three inspiring CHILD Haus children, Aya, Laura, and Jessa

Those suffering from cancer and ‘adopted’ are provided food and shelter. There are presently two CHILD Haus locations - one in Manila, near the Philippine General Hospital, and one in Quezon City. Until the children are declared cancer-free and/or have completed their treatments and medical procedures, one child and one parent are allowed to live at CHILD Haus. If it’s an infant, both parents can stay.

Singer Karylle leads the CHILD Haus children in an uplifting song.

Singer Karylle leads the CHILD Haus children in an uplifting song.

A longtime supporter and regular visitor to CHILD Haus, Karylle, led the children in a rousing song composed by Karylle’s husband, Yael Yuzon. Then ‘Mader’ Ricky’s daughter sang a rendition of Florante’s ‘Handog’ that had been reworded to fit the sentiments of the children at CHILD Haus. These were two songs that the children had learnt and practiced as a “thank you” to the many guests who have helped make the ‘haus’ a reality.

In the end, both ‘Mader’ Ricky and Mr. Sy acknowledged the significance of this event, which commemorates 21 years of compassion, fortitude, and the spirit of giving and sharing.

To know more about inspiring stories and events at SM, visit www.smsupermalls.com or follow @smsupermalls on social media.

HONOR Opens in the All-New SM City Sto. Tomas Batangas, Aims to Dominate South


Manila, Philippines, October 31, 2023 – Much to the delight of Batangueños on the unveiling of the all-new SM City Sto. Tomas Batangas, the leading smart devices provider HONOR Philippines also officially welcomed shoppers to its newest Experience Store in the said mall, located at the 2/F Cyberzone.

“It is really an honor to unveil our newest HONOR Experience Store the same time the much-anticipated SM City Sto. Tomas Batangas opened. This is part of our promise to continuously service our HONOR fans and tech enthusiasts alike and we are very far from what we have envisioned for the country,” said HONOR Philippines Vice President Stephen Cheng.

The successful store opening was officiated by HONOR Philippines GTM Manager Steven Yan and HONOR Philippines Retail Sales Director Tom Yuan together with Greentelcom Chief Operating Officer Ma. Theresa Luna and President Edwin Luna.

The viral smartphone brand also pledged to dominate the South as Experience Stores in SM City Dasmarinas Cavite and SM City San Pablo Laguna is soon to open.

The Unstoppable Trio: HONOR X9a 5G, HONOR 90 5G, HONOR 90 Lite 5G

Who would forget the HONOR X9a 5G that catapulted the brand into virality, with its industry-leading ultra-tough OLED curved display that was put to test through various means, including smash and drop challenges. HONOR X9a 5G is still available at Php 16,990 in Titanium Silver, Emerald Green, and Midnight Black.

HONOR 90 5G, beyond its 200 MP Flagship camera performance, also has one of the most advanced high-frequency Pulse Width Modulation dimming technology at 3840 Hz, which greatly helps with lessening eye strains with long periods of phone usage. Available in three colors – Diamond Silver, Emerald Green, and Midnight Black, HONOR 90 5G is priced at Php 24,990.

Last but definitely not the least, the HONOR 90 Lite 5G – the newest HONOR iteration still packs a wide array of specs that other competitors unusually carry within the same price range. Apart from its 100 MP Camera system, which allows for ultra clear photography, this phone packs 8GB + 256GB Super Storage, and a 4500 mAh battery that can last for up to two days. HONOR 90 Lite 5G is priced at Php 12,990 and available in Cyan Lake and Midnight Black.

For more announcements, you may visit HONOR’s website www.hihonor.com or social media platforms: Facebook (Facebook.com/HonorPhilippines), Instagram (Instagram.com/honorphilippines/) and TikTok: (Tiktok.com/@honorphilippines). To check out HONOR’s complete list of retail stores, go to https://www.hihonor.com/ph/retailers/.

IBBY-Ph Announces 2024 Honour List Selections

The International Board on Books for Young People Philippines (IBBY-Ph), the Philippine national section of the international non-profit IBBY, has announced the Philippine nominees to the 2024 IBBY Honour List.

Every two years, IBBY national sections select the best books from their respective countries and submit them to the IBBY Honour List, one of the most prestigious children’s book awards in the world. Three books are chosen for excellent and outstanding writing, illustrations, and translation. The books that will make the list will be formally presented at the IBBY World Congress and will be exhibited at international book fairs and conferences.

The 2024 Philippine honorees are Si Cielo at Ang Asong Si Stella, Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo and Eugene Evasco for writing; Agawan Base, Jericho Moral for illustration; and Bum Tiyaya Bum, Angela Narciso Torres for translation.

Acclaimed children’s picture book writer and creative writing professor Eugene Y. Evasco reimagined Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo’s short story about a little girl’s journey of finding, befriending, and losing a pet. Si Cielo at Ang Asong Si Stella (Cielo and the Dog Named Stella) is illustrated by Tokwa Peñaflorida and is published by Chikiting Books. “Masaya kami na makasama ang Pilipinas sa IBBY Honour List. Pagkakataon ito na makilala ng ibang bansa ang ating talento at mga kuwento,” says Evasco. “Challenge din ito na sumulat na hindi lang mahusay para sa bansa kundi mahusay para sa mundo.” said Eugene Evasco

Jericho Moral, a visual artist from Markina City who works primarily with painting, provided the illustrations for Agawan Base (Steal the Base), an action-packed game of birds versus insects published by CANVAS. “I'm thankful to the CANVAS team and the author Jez Martin de Veyra for entrusting me with the illustrations for the book, and to IBBY Philippines for the recognition," said Moral. "The illustrations were inspired by my fascination with birds and insects. And so, I hope that the book will spark interest in appreciating and preserving the local wildlife.” said Moral.

CANVAS Executive Director Gigo Alampay said that CANVAS is proud and honored to have played a part in Moral’s recognition. “CANVAS is proud and honored to have played a part in this recognition. We have always believed that it is not enough for children to learn to read. For reading to truly be a lifelong skill, children have to learn to love books. Jericho Moral's artworks bring Jez Martin de Veyra's original and whimsical story to vivid life, making it more likely that young readers will love this book,” said Gigo Alampay, CANVAS Executive Director.

Moral is a visual artist from Marikina City whose practice is rooted in worldbuilding and narratives. Working primarily with painting, his works have been exhibited through CANVAS, Art Underground, and other galleries in the Philippines

“If poetry is a universal language, translation is the bridge that connects us all, reminding us of our shared humanity,” said Angela Narciso Torres who provided the vibrant English translation that recaptured the delight and nostalgia of Rene Villanueva’s Bum Tiyaya Bum, a collection of Filipino rhymes and verses for the very young published by Ilaw ng Tahanan. Torres says that she is, “It’s a thrill[ed] to see Bum Tiyaya Bum on the IBBY Honour List (for Translation)” in thanking IBBY-Ph for the inclusion of this work in the honor’s list. "I’d like to thank IBBY-Philippines for the inclusion which will allow readers worldwide to enjoy this book."

“I’m grateful for Rene O. Villanueva’s inspired curation and for Sergio Bumatay’s magical illustrations that enliven these pages. Most of all, I’m indebted to Reni Roxas and Tahanan Books for trusting my vision as a translator, allowing me to explore ways to preserve and breathe new life into this Philippine childhood treasury,” said Torres. "If poetry is a universal language, translation is the bridge that connects us all, reminding us of our shared humanity. Bum Tiyaya Bum is now part of that bridge, and I am deeply grateful,” said Torres.

Torres is the author of the poetry collections What Happens is Neither (Four Way Books, 2020) and Blood Orange (Willow Books, 2013). Her work has appeared in Poetry magazine, Missouri Review, and Quarterly West. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she serves as a senior and reviews editor for RHINO.

IBBY Philippines President Kristine Mandigma said that submitting these books to the IBBY Honour List was the first official activity of IBBY-Ph after being awarded that national section status. “We created a selection committee composed of writers, editors, artists, illustrators, and parents with young children and asked them to choose the honorees. We are proud of these books and happy that they will be showcased internationally. It is time for the world to discover the stories and the books produced by Filipinos,” said Mandigma.

IBBY Philippines is mandated to fulfill IBBY’s commitment to bring books and children together. It supports literacy initiatives to promote the love for reading and children’s books in schools, communities, and among the general public. Its flagship projects are opening a research library on children’s literature, publishing and funding a professional journal review of children’s books, and organizing seminars, workshops, and conferences on children's literature for authors, illustrators, translators, publishers, teachers, parents, and readers.

To learn more about IBBY Philippines, please email rblim@ibby-philippines.org.

LRMC, Renacimiento Manila team up for LRT-1 Heritage Transit Tour

26 October 2023, MANILA, Philippines – LRT-1 private operator Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) partners with Renacimiento Manila, a cultural organization that holds regular walking tours in the City of Manila, in launching the LRT-1 Heritage Transit Tour to promote urban tourism by riding LRT-1 and exploring important historical spots near LRT-1 stations.

The LRT-1 Heritage Transit Tour aims to promote Manila’s rich cultural heritage through one of its most vital mass transit systems, the LRT-1.

Participants of the tour will visit select LRT-1’s historic routes with a meet-up point at Central Station then ride the train going to the following: Vito Cruz Station for an exploration of Calle Vito Cruz landmarks; Carrriedo Station to rediscover the old downtown area of Manila; and United Nations Station for an appreciation to the historic Luneta Park and view of National Museum. It will also include discussions on the history of LRT-1 and the significance of different stations as gateways to other cities.            

“We recognize that tourism is inevitably linked to transport. LRT-1 holds a special place in the daily lives of our commuters, as well as in our country’s rich history. It is uniquely positioned to highlight the viral role of public transport in encouraging more people to explore the city and discover the stories that have shaped it through the years. We are thankful for this partnership with Renacimiento Manila, and look forward to further collaboration,” says LRMC Head of Corporate Communications and Customer Relations Jacqueline S. Gorospe.

LRT-1 is Southeast Asia’s first light rail transit system, and is considered the spiritual successor of the tranvias, the electric trams of pre-war Manila.

“We are deeply honored to be in this partnership with the LRMC,” says Renacimiento Manila President Diego Gabriel B. Torres. “We are united in our advocacy of promoting Manila’s cultural heritage and historical routes through active transport like the LRT-1.”

A large portion of LRT-1 cuts through the City of Manila. One of the routes it passes through, the north-south axis of Avenida Rizal and Taft Avenue, is lined with many historical structures and heritage sites. The LRT-1 snakes through the city's key arteries, making it the ideal mode of transport to promote the rich history of Manila—from key cultural institutions and commercial establishments, to towering architectural marvels and landmarks.      

The LRT-1 Heritage Transit Tour is on pilot run this year, with scheduled paid tours for the general public on the following dates: November 19 (Sunday), November 25 (Saturday), and December 10 (Saturday). The tour is available for only Php500 inclusive of beepTM  card with unlimited LRT-1 rides for the day, souvenir map, and limited edition LRT-1 ikotMNL merchandise.

Interested tour participants may visit the Facebook page of Renacimiento Manila (@Renacimiento Manila) for further details and register through the link that can be found on the dedicated announcement for the said tour.

Why Investing in a Memorial Lot Now is the Best and Most Responsible Financial Decision You Can Make

Forest Lake Memorial

Manila, Philippines — The word “death” is often euphemized in sentences, with people instead using the terms “no longer with us” or “passed away” to lighten the impact of loss. The COVID-19 pandemic has also raised anxiety surrounding death as the general public struggled to cope with grief.

But it is also a known fact that death is inevitable, and that early end-of-life planning remains crucial not only for an individual but for their loved ones as well. It is also a responsible move you can make today that will spare your family of stress and burden in the future. 

Memorial service solutions you may be surprised to know about 

This is why Forest Lake, the Philippines’ largest total death care provider, makes it a point to ease the pain of loss by providing diverse memorial service solutions that cater to different needs and preferences. 

Libing Anywhere is a flexible memorial solution that adapts to changing circumstances by allowing you to use your lot in any Forest Lake park in the country. 

Libre Burol, on the other hand, gives Forest Lake lot owners complimentary body retrieval, embalming, casketing, and chapel viewing services as cost-effective solutions for dignified burials.

Financial and emotional benefits of investing in memorial lots now 

But before you and your family can benefit from these vital end-of-life services, the first step is to invest in a memorial lot. 

Here’s why it’s the best financial decision you can make:

  1. Memorial lot values tend to appreciate steadily over time, allowing more financial stability. The earlier you invest in a memorial lot, the higher are your chances of gaining large profit over the years, as the value of this type of asset does not easily depreciate.

  1. If you’re a beginner investor, memorial lots can diversify your investment portfolio. This way, you can limit your risks, which are often associated with having only a single type of asset to your name, while ensuring investment returns.

  1. Purchasing power also tends to decrease over time due to inflation. But with the historically steady appreciation of real estate prices—including memorial lots—it can act as a hedge against inflation.

  1. This kind of investment is also a way of legacy planning. A memorial lot is a valuable financial asset to your name that can help future generations in need.

  1. Apart from financial gains, memorial lot investments also provide high emotional value. Coping with loss sometimes includes having to search for an available lot with limited time. But if you have already invested in your own memorial lot early on, this gives peace of mind and a sense of belongingness to your loved ones left behind.

“Interment service providers such as Forest Lake do more than just offer coffins. We are an important after-death partner because we put a high premium on the legacy that an individual builds for themselves both in life and in death,” shares Forest Lake president Alfred Xerez-Burgos, Jr.

For more information on how you can start end-of-life planning, you may visit the Forest Lake website.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Chinabank is 2023 Employer of the Year

China Banking Corporation (Chinabank) was named as the 2023 Employer of the Year in the Philippines by the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP).

The prestigious Employer of the Year (EOY) award represents a standard for excellence in people management. Chinabank, the only bank to win this coveted award in the last 30 years, was recognized during the 60th PMAP Annual Conference Awards Night on October 26, 2023 at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu.

“Our legacy is not just about banking, it's about people. This achievement reflects our commitment to the wellbeing and happiness of Chinabankers and to creating an empowered and inclusive workplace,” President & CEO Romy Uyan said.

PMAP received a total of 77 nominations from all over the country for the three Award categories—Employer of the Year, People Manager of the Year, and People Program of the Year. There were 33 nominations for the EOY category, which were evaluated based on the following criteria: strategic business management and HR partnership, performance focus, HR competence and credibility, leadership focus and approaches, people engagement, and risk management and sustainability.

employer of the year

The rigorous evaluation process narrowed down the list to seven Regional Exemplars, including four Exemplar Employers that vied for the EOY award—Chinabank, Manila Water Company, Inc., Murata Philippines, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

PMAP is the premier group of companies and professional management executives engaged or interested in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations work in the Philippines. Now on its 47th year, the PMAP Awards program continues the tradition of recognizing the best practices in the people management profession for others to emulate.


Marikina City - Gilren Bajado, lady security guard of RJC Security Solutions, was recognized as the Outstanding Security Guard of the Year at the 43rd Founding Anniversary of the Civil Security Group at Camp Crame. The recognition ceremony was presided over by PNP Chief PGen Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. SM Supermalls Customer Relations Services Senior Assistant Vice President Mr. Almus J. Alabe and Regional CRS Manager Harold James E. Herrera were also in attendance to witness the awarding ceremony.

LG Bajado's outstanding accomplishment stems from her remarkable act of honesty and integrity on August 3, 2023, at SM Cinema, SM City Marikina. During her clearing duties, she discovered a lost black pouch containing 64,800 pesos, along with ATM cards and assorted ID cards belonging to Mr. Starsky D. Paunan, a 44-year-old staff member of Palarong Pambansa.

Without hesitation, she reported this to the CRS office, ensuring the safe return of the lost valuables to their rightful owner. Her integrity, honesty, and dedication have earned her this prestigious recognition and admiration from her peers and superiors.

SM Supermalls and RJC Security Solutions take immense pride in her achievement, as it reflects the company's core values of professionalism, honesty, and integrity. Her commitment to her duties, her sense of responsibility, and her exemplary character have brought honor not only to herself but also to RJC Security Solutions as a leading provider of comprehensive security services.

The recognition of LG Gilren Bajado as the Outstanding Security Guard of the Year strengthens SM Supermalls’ commitment to maintaining the highest standards of excellence. The company consistently strives to provide security solutions while ensuring that its employees embody the highest ethical standards.

SM Supermalls extends its warmest congratulations to LG Gilren Bajado for her outstanding achievement and for being a shining example of integrity and professionalism. Her actions serve as an inspiration to all and remind us of the impact that a single individual can have on building a safer and more trustworthy society.

Sunday, October 29, 2023


Shoppers entering SM City Grand Central will be greeted by a towering display of the Color-Changing Glowing LED Letter Blocks, meticulously arranged to spell out the timeless greeting "Grand Holidays". This larger-than-life installation is poised to be the pièce de résistance of the season, with its mesmerizing shifting hues that change seamlessly from rich reds and emerald greens to tranquil blues, creating a captivating visual symphony.

"We're thrilled to bring this dazzling display of holiday cheer to our shoppers," said SM’s Assistant Vice President for Operations, Ana T. Datu. "SM’s Christmas centerpieces are testament to our commitment to creating memorable experiences for our shoppers. We want every visit to our mall to be a delightful journey as we dazzle our shoppers with a display that is both grandiose and luminous," Ms. Datu added. 

Strategically positioned at the mall atrium, the Color-Changing Glowing Letter Block Centerpiece combines traditional charm with modern technology. Each block is meticulously illuminated, casting a warm and inviting glow for a joyful shopping experience.

Surrounding this dazzling display are gigantic 30-foot Christmas trees and towering star poles, each beautifully lit and home to Santa's charming reindeer companions. Adding to the enchantment, SM City Grand Central’s Grand Holiday will be adorned by Santa’s gigantic red chair and sleigh, which will serve as perfect spots for shoppers to create lasting moments with family and friends through a picturesque, unique Christmas attraction.

Shoppers at SM City Grand Central may also discover Christmas around every corner as they come across the collection of holiday trees and wreaths spread throughout the mall. There would also be surprises, Christmas markets, and family-filled Christmas activities that would add an extra touch of wonder to holiday shopping.

SM’s holiday centerpieces have been a part of the longstanding tradition that ushers in Christmas time in cities where SM has malls. 

SM City Grand Central’s Grand Holiday will be on display until January 7, 2024.