Monday, November 30, 2020

Iloilo To Ramp Up Economic Recovery Starting With An Investment Forum On Dec. 9-10

Iloilo is on the move for economic recovery and an introductory Investment Forum is set to ramp up the effort starting December 9 to 10, 2020 in Iloilo City.

The Iloilo Investment Forum 2020 is being organized by the Iloilo Provincial Government, the Iloilo City Government, and the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation, Inc. (ILEDF), and in collaboration with three regional agencies, namely: Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Tourism.

"Reimagining Iloilo's next economy and transforming it into a resilient sector is now imperative. There is no other time to align the local economy back on its high-growth track than today," said Terence S. Uygongco, chairman of ILEDF.

According to the business group, Iloilo possesses the fundamentals to realize the national government's "new thinking" in agriculture development which pushes a modified focus from advancing specific crops towards overall wellness of the rural sector in terms of resilience, competitiveness, and sustainability.

"This new thinking is expected to be spotlighted in the Iloilo Investment Forum 2020 considering our vibrant rural economy. Iloilo's exemplary quality of place makes it an ideal environment to start, recover, and grow business," Uygongco shared.

The Iloilo Investment Forum 2020 is designed to show Iloilo's various potentials for agribusiness investments. It will be a good venue for investors to identify opportunities in the area of agriculture, tourism, and digital economy, among many major areas that are worth pursuing investment.

A three-part forum

The business forum in December is a kick-off for the three part series event. Part two will be comprised of business meetings set between January to February 2021 and it will be capped by part three which is an international investment forum in March 2021.

The business meetings will offer a venue for potential investment locators to identify specific opportunities and match them with priority commodities. In addition, this is also the time for business groups and Local Government Units to prepare and discuss project briefs where priority commodities are situated.

The International Investment Forum set on March 2021 is a networking opportunity in the area of food processing, agribusiness logistics centers, and light processing and manufacturing industry to absorb production of other areas or regions.

An online event with an on-the-venue activity

The Iloilo Investment Forum is a two-half days event. It will be available online through Zoom and it will also be live-streamed through Facebook from a hotel venue in Iloilo City. More details on this will be released soon.

The on-venue activity will be limited for pre-identified participants in compliance with the health protocol requirements as outlined by the Inter-Agency Task Force and by the Provincial and Local Governments of Iloilo.

Invited to speak on various topics during the forum are national and local political and business leaders, and industry experts.

Register to attend online

The Iloilo Investment Forum is a free event. Visit the event website to learn more about the event, the program, and the speakers at

Interested participants need to register in order to gain access to the forum. You can register at

Globe Seals Brand Endorsement Of Biggest Global Music Group BLACKPINK

At a time wherein we can only see the world through our screens, Filipinos are known to find the silver lining in every situation. In this case, that silver lining blinks brightly in black and pink. Globe welcomes the biggest international music group, BLACKPINK, into its family!

The record-breaking K-pop quartet joins the world-class roster of the telco's endorsers to enlighten a rather eventful year for all. Among its accolades, the group has become the first K-Pop group to have the most music videos viewed, surpassing more than 1 billion views with their music video "Boombayah" in October. In line with Globe's mission to bring world-class connectivity to its customers, it follows through by also bringing in brand ambassadors of the same caliber.

"This year has brought unprecedented challenges for everyone, locally and globally. Despite this, we strive to provide customers better everyday experiences that they will enjoy. Having BLACKPINK join the Globe family is proof that we won't stop bringing the world into our customers' homes. BLACKPINK being one of the world's biggest groups has a huge following in the country. We want to bring our customers nothing less than the best in entertainment," says Ernest Cu, Globe's President & Chief Executive Officer.

Globe will soon bring more surprises featuring BLACKPINK. Watch out for it!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Safe Shopping, Customer Convenience At SM Retail Stores

SM Retail stores assure shoppers that their safety and convenience remain a top priority amid efforts to reopen the economy reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SM Retail is comprised of The SM Store and other specialty brands such as Kultura, SM Appliance Center, Our Home, Baby Company, Surplus Shop, Toy Kingdom, and Pet Express among others.

As the government continues to ease restrictions to buoy efforts to revive the economy, these stores have implemented stringent measures to ensure the well-being of their employees and customers.

SM Retail stores are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Shoppers must go through a temperature check and must wear their face masks and face shield before going inside the facilities. Public areas such as aisles and escalators are marked and access points are controlled to regulate the number of entrants and promote the practice of physical distancing. Shopping carts and baskets are regularly sanitized. Hand sanitizers and hand soaps are available in strategic locations, ensuring that both customers and employees are practicing proper hand hygiene. Sales personnel follow a prescribed distance when dealing with customers. SM Retail stores also take part in Trace Together, the contact tracing initiative of The SM Group of Companies as a response to the government's effort to fight the spread of COVID-19.

SM Retail stores also remind their employees and shoppers about precautionary measures to fight COVID-19 through physical and digital information materials. Signages at store entrances remind shoppers to follow guidelines for their own safety.

The same stringent measures are implemented in the back offices of SM Retail. All employees and service providers of SM Retail undergo regular COVID-19 testing. This is to rule out any potential COVID-19 cases on the company premises. Employees get their temperature checked three times during their shift and must also accomplish a health survey daily. They must wear a face mask and other applicable PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) while at work. Office spaces have also been reconfigured to promote physical distancing among employees.

SM Retail is implementing a hybrid strategy to reach and provide convenience to its customers. While making sure its stores are safe, SM is also introducing innovations in its retail operations.

"This pandemic has reinforced our commitment to our customers' safety and convenience; and for us, the need to adapt and transform. Through our hybrid operations in our brick and mortar stores and online platforms, we are building new ways to reach and serve our customers," said Chito Manalo, President of SM Retail Inc.

Exemplifying this hybrid approach is ShopSM, SM's own e-commerce platform, which complements the offerings of SM's physical stores and brings the SM experience online. With just a few clicks, shoppers can purchase their essentials and favorite items from The SM Store, SM Markets, and other specialty brands from the comforts of their own home. Through its Click and Collect and Get & Go options, shoppers may also opt to order online and pick up their items at SM.

The SM Store's Call To Deliver is another exciting retail innovation. Shoppers can choose from a wide range of items and just call the hotline #143SM (#14376), coordinate with their personal shopper assigned to them, and have their purchases delivered to their doorsteps.

Aside from its commitment to continue giving the exceptional SM experience in its physical stores, online platforms and hybrid offerings, SM is also dedicated to ensure the safety of its customers and employees, all in the effort to win the fight against COVID-19

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Amid Pandemic, Iloilo's Local Art Community Finds Hope Through PLDT's Early Christmas Project

Winning artwork by Centino

PLDT, in partnership with Museo Iloilo, invited 25 local artists to participate in the e-Christmas card-making project. Anchored on the theme, "FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE this Christmas in the Time of Pandemic", the artists created masterpieces, which are collectible and unique Christmas e-cards.

Winning first place at the first-ever Christmas e-card-making contest was 19-year old Mimi Centino. She received a cash prize of P5,000.

A resident of Lapaz District in Iloilo City, Centino is an Architecture student at the University of San Agustin. "My art journey began when I joined an art club when I was in elementary school where I was mentored by Jonathan Jaleco," Centino said.

Centino said that it was Jaleco who encouraged her to join several art competitions, which boosted her self-esteem as she openly shares her craft. This also exposed her to new mediums and art styles.

"I find art as a kind of sanctuary. It is where I started to have a better understanding of myself," Centino said.

Joining Centino in the top 5 are Jan Christian Palma (2nd place), Kirby G. Majaque (3rd place), Jancel A. Boday (4th place), and Jude Portillo Alcalde (5th place)

Contest winner Mimi Centino, center, receives her award from PLDT Iloilo representative Cyrill Haresco and Iloilo Cultural Research Foundation Inc., Museo Iloilo President Gina Espinosa

PLDT's e-Christmas card project enables Museo Iloilo's mission of supporting its local artists. It has been more than seven months since the art community has created an exhibition, which resulted in the lack of income of its local artists. Thanks to PLDT - there is hope amid the pandemic. 

"PLDT and the Museo Iloilo have been long-time partners in ensuring that the local art community thrives. These 25 Ilonggo artists who joined in the exhibit, submitted one original art piece. The artists' interpretation of the theme is rendered on any recycled art medium. With us also in this project is the Catholic Women's League (CWL)  San Jose unit," said PLDT Community Relations Head Katherine P. Diaz De Rivera.

"Through this virtual art contest, we hope that we are able to share the story behind each piece of artwork and its message. My only wish is that this experience for each and everyone involved in this program has brought meaning, purpose, faith, and hope into your lives - making each and everyone's Christmas memorable and meaningful," Diaz De Rivera added.

"We would like to share three things to make this work truly happy this holiday season - something to give, someone to love, and something to hope for. We want to inspire everyone. Thank you to PLDT for the 10 years of continued partnership. Thank you for your trust and confidence. We are forever grateful," said Museo Iloilo President Gina S. Espinosa.

According to Espinosa, most of the artists who joined this contest were kids, who used to join the Museo Summer Art Workshop and the Museo Dinagyang On-the-spot Painting Contest. These artists are now part of Museo Iloilo's art community, one that simply feels like family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

10 Creative Christmas Tree Centerpieces That Will Surely Bring Joy To SM Shoppers

 It is said that Filipinos began decorating their homes with Christmas trees in the early 1900s, as influenced by our American colonizers. Earlier, however, Dr. Jose Rizal, our National Hero, introduced and brought the idea about the Christmas tree in his letter to his eldest sister when he was in Berlin in November 1886. He simply described how Christmas is celebrated in Germany and Spain, and how a forest pine tree decorated with glitter, lights, candies, and fruit is placed inside the house where everyone celebrates Christmas around it.

Since that time, the Christmas tree has found its place in many Filipino homes. Beyond the display and the ornaments, it has conveyed a message of love, unity, and joy in every member of the family.

The iconic Christmas tree has also found its way as a creative centerpiece in SM's malls with artistic renditions in modern and traditional themes. Some like the Christmas in Bloom at SM Aura Premier, and the Southacular Carnival Christmas at SM Southmall, highlight blooms and fair images, respectively, instead of ornaments.

Others highlight the work of artisans in the regions - the lantern makers of Pampanga in SM City Clark's Parul Kapampangan and indigenous fabrics from local communities - hablon, jusi, piña, abaca, and rattan - at SM City Iloilo.

More than just beautiful centerpieces, these have become symbols of hope, love, and joy during these most challenging times. These have become focal points where we can reconnect with our traditional celebrations, and join the Filipino community in hoping for safer, brighter, and merrier times.

Here are 10 creative Christmas Tree Centerpieces that will surely bring joy to SM shoppers:

SM Southmall

SM Southmall's Southacular Carnival Christmas features a 34-foot tree, life-size bears, and a gigantic Ferris wheel! Carnival snacks like cotton candy and popcorn and a myriad of colorful neon lights celebrate the spirit of the season.

SM City Iloilo

Inspired by the beautiful heritage houses around the city, SM City Iloilo's 40-foot tree is born out of love for everything Ilonggo. The indigenous fabric from local communities - hablon, jusi, piña, abaca, and rattan are wrapped around this regal centerpiece, a symbol of the city's solid foundation rooted on its rich history and noble tradition.

SM City North EDSA

It's a Holly Jolly Christmas at SM City North EDSA with a towering 40-foot Christmas tree glittering in wine red tinsel and covered with shimmering gold ornaments. Playful artisan sculpted reindeer surrounding the tree awaken the child in us that cherish and rekindle the warmth and joy this season brings.

The Podium

With its Holiday Blossoms theme, The Podium's 40-foot tree is adorned by giant red and gold lotus leaves, Christmas balls, and lanterns. It is surrounded by reindeer with intricate antlers.

SM City Baguio

SM City Baguio's Winter Wonderland spectacle features a 35-foot tree with snow-capped pine cones, sparkling snowflakes, and glimmering garlands surrounded by adorable polar bears. Built by the artistry of local craftsmen, it celebrates Baguio as the cradle of creative culture and traditions.

SM Megamall

Everything is Mega and Bright in SM Megamall's dazzling Christmas tree with bright light and sparkling ornaments. The gold and fuchsia palette is carried on to the giant Santa Chair with stars upholstered in pink satin, and a telephone booth accented with stars and pink fairy lights.

SM Lanang Premier

Embellished with crystals and twinkling lights, SM Lanang Premier's 57-foot Christmas tree glows in classic Christmas colors of red, white, and gold. This festive holiday centerpiece symbolizes an overflow of hope and cheer, inspiring shoppers to give joy and celebrate life amid challenging times.

SM Seaside City Cebu

Get a glimpse of Christmas Mornings in the Orient with SM Seaside City Cebu's 45-foot tree with red and gold peony flower embellishments, and stately crane birds at the side.

SM City Sucat

SM City Sucat's A Magical Christmas Tale centerpiece features a 20-foot castle-themed Christmas tree, which glows with pages from a storybook, and has well-loved fairy tale characters on each side.

SM City Clark

SM City Clark's Parul Kampampangan centerpiece is a tribute to Pampanga's lantern-making industry. The dazzling 45-foot tree with 1,680 bulbs and spinning lights is proudly designed and assembled by Kapampangan parol makers

Saturday, November 21, 2020

SM City Iloilo Conducts 2-Day Trade Fair For KSK Farmers

SM City Iloilo opened the 2-day Trade Fair on November 21, 2020, as part of SM Foundation Inc.'s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (SMFI-KSK) project.

The activity which is until November 22, showcases the produce of the farmer-beneficiaries who are undergoing training in Center for Agriskills and Livelihoods Inc. in Brgy. Magancina in Santa Barbara, Iloilo. Products of DSWD's Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) is also part of the fair.

The Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan trade fair aims at helping its beneficiaries reach a wider market by selling the crops to the shoppers in the mall, as well as equip farmers with the skills to find a sustainable livelihood in the community.

Officials from the DSWD. TESDA, SM City Iloilo, Macondray Philippines and CRISEL Integrated Farm were represented during the opening ceremony

This Township In Iloilo Could Be Your Next Favorite Destination

Iloilo has grown to be an investment hub by property investors because of its strategic location, strong economy, and skilled workforce. The Sta. Barbara Heights, a 173-hectare land mixed-use development of Global Estate Resorts, Inc., offers a progressive yet relaxed atmosphere that is designed by nature which addresses a luxurious lifestyle. It's distinct gently rolling terrain that visualizes residential and commercial township that captivates tourism appeal. A lifestyle that offers an entirely complete community where you can LIVE, WORK, PLAY, LEARN AND SHOP.

As a community inspired by nature, Sta. Barbara Heights has its own natural lake where one could go out, enjoy the water, the sun, and the activities that are happening. When you're at the lake, there are some very distinct smells. The hickey smell of campfire smoke always lets you know that there are marshmallows and hotdogs being roasted. You can also enjoy the sweet coconut smell of tanning lotion that people put on themselves while they lay under the sun.

Of all the amenities that constitute a residential real estate project, the most important one is obviously the clubhouse. The Santa Barbara Heights Clubhouse provides a safe and luxurious clubhouse that summarizes how a happy and healthy lifestyle should be. The Clubhouse Phase 3 which is situated at the hilly side of the phase, will give you a very good view of the Shophouse District.

But what sets Sta. Barbara Heights apart from its contemporaries is the Gently Rolling Terrain, a 3km length spine road from Brgy. Inangayan, Sta. Barbara to the Iloilo International Airport that provides accessibility for residents and guests alike while enjoying the beautiful rolling that The Heights is built upon.

As Sta. Barbara Heights is expanding its proliferating business venture, the Shophouse district was added to its flagship project. The Shophouse District, a mixed-use commercial and residential venue where you can live within your business' vicinity is envisioned to be the new entrepreneurial catalyst for Sta. Barbara.

The Shophouse District is a vibrant and commuter-friendly destination, with its four-lane road and bike lanes, which offers visitors and residents a chance to mingle and blend. Inspired by Boca Raton in Florida, the Shophouse District features architecture that highlights the landscape's lush and natural beauty. Enjoy leisure living in a serene, curated space of retail, food, and service establishments as The Shophouse District is slated to be the next premier lifestyle and leisure hotspot, offering exceptional opportunities for entrepreneurs.