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PurrBox Café: Cuteness overload

PurrBox Café: Cuteness overload Click To Tweet

Text and photos by Jojie Alcantara (Published in SunStar Davao on June 10, 2018)

I was once a cat lover. Those were awkward pre-teen years of bringing home a stray cat which found a home inside my closet, and gave birth to two kittens. Several cats later, my allergologist gave me the bad news. I was allergic to cats, and they were deemed hazardous to my health. I switched to dogs, despite my asthma.

Purrbox Cafe © Jojie Alcantara

Purrbox Cafe © Jojie Alcantara

Fast forward to the present– I visited Purrbox Café thrice this month for good reasons. First, it was my daughter’s classmate’s birthday, and parents watched amusingly as our kids happily romped around petting the cats (and risked being scratched).

On my second visit, I brought two cat ladies for some Zen relaxation away from stressful office work:  my editor Stella Estremera (check their articles), known for bringing home stray cats (and naming them strangely). The other was my former colleague in a TV station, Ida Damo, who just lost her 6-year old pet Budo.

Purrbox Cafe © Jojie Alcantara

Cat Studio on the second floor (me in a mask)

The next day, I was bringing the millennial bloggers/vloggers, a noisier bunch that I had to separate from my calmer colleagues.

Jojie with bloggers inside the Cat Studio

Arthur ‘Uloy’ Ong, Jr. accommodated us patiently on behalf of his partners, as he explained the fondness for cats. His business partner Erwin Lee Tan (fashion designer of Kasuotan shop just beside the café) has been buying pure breed cats (mostly from Manila and abroad) and wanted to open a cat gallery to showcase the beautiful felines. The other partner, Keseree Ng, was more interested in a café. This resulted into a merging of ideas and a cat café called Purrbox Cafe, Supplies, & Accessories Co.

Purrbox Cafe © Jojie Alcantara

Purrbox Cafe © Jojie Alcantara

“The business was inspired by our visits to different pet cafes in Asia. If you observe our interiors, it is minimalist and mostly accented by light colored woods inspired by Japanese and Korean interiors,” said Uloy.

Purrbox opened in May 2017 and they just celebrated their first year anniversary.  Hesitant on how the market will receive this first of a kind café in the city, along with the tight, small space which limits their chances to offer more variety, the partners came up with a fresh and delicious menu for customers to keep coming back. Indeed the Bolognese, Mushroom pastas and sandwiches, flavored lattes and milk teas are best sellers, along with the cakes, waffles, nachos, coffee, fresh fruit blends and more.

Purrbox was awarded as the best Pet Cafe for 2017 from several award giving bodies. Uloy believes the approval and recommendation of customers was another top recognition for them.

Second floor Cat Kingdom

Purrbox Cafe © Jojie Alcantara

“Right now, we are truly humbled and honored to be asked if we offer franchising or next expansion. We do have plans in mind in the future. We are planning to be the ultimate go-to place for all the cat lovers here in Davao and eventually throughout Mindanao,” he said.

Uloy Ong and Jin the Sphinx

Purrbox not only aims to promote and widen the knowledge of people about cats, but to educate non-pet owners that there are more to cats than just catching rats. The business also aims to provide quality products and beneficial food supplements for these pets.

Purrbox Cafe © Jojie Alcantara

Birthday boy Champ surrounded by cats

“The common advice entrepreneurs can give is to make your customers happy. But for concept cafes like ours, it is to also to make the welfare of your cats or dogs or whatever animal it may be, your priority. Make sure that they get the care they deserve. We want to promote cat awareness so that we can enjoy the company of cats like how the other countries are enjoying,” Uloy explained.

Enjoying the company of 26 pure breed cats was what I actually did as I took time in taking portraits and getting to know each cat with the Japanese names (guess who is the diva and pregnant right now). That was the last count.  Erwin still dreams of getting an expensive Savannah or the huge Maine Coon to add in the future. Kudos to the friendly and watchful staff as well.

For now, the furry kingdom in the upper floor (one order per person gives you access to paradise meow) is occupied with the cuteness overload of Bengals, Siamese, Rug Hugger Munchkin, Ragdolls, Exotic Shorthairs, British Shorthair, Exotic Longhairs, Scottish Fold and two gorgeous gentle Sphinxes. These are the real scene stealers.

You can check both Facebook and Instagram at @PurrBoxCafe.

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This article was also published here. 

Purrbox Cafe by Jojie Alcantara SunStar Davao June8 2018

 

When you hear it through the Vine

By Jojie Alcantara

When one thinks of a vine, a vision of a plant which grows from the ground come to mind, its stems climbing and winding steadily up the trees or walls for support.

Vine Molave, Zamboanga del Sur

Vine Molave, Zamboanga del Sur

Close your eyes and you will feel the breeze of a rustic countryside where peace and quiet offers solace to your need for some stress-free getaway.  Think of a vintage house where vines are creeping in close comfort, not to cover its beauty, but to add distinct character to it.

 

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In a quiet town of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, such a bucolic stylish lodge has emerged as a new homestay to experience, thanks to the ancestral home of the Geraldizos.  The Vine Molave is born.

 

Vine Molave, Zamboanga del Sur

Vine Molave, Zamboanga del Sur

“We thought of a name that best describes the overall mood of Molave, its fertile grounds ripe for progress. We want something organic to a valley, not too modern for a town setting. Something that would represent a strong spirit to thrive, grow and stand out,” explains Gary Dujali, a second generation Geraldizo, and the youngest son of Eulalia Dujali. She is the eldest daughter of Hospicio Geraldizo, the matriarch of the family who inherited this ancestral home which stands out as the first concrete house in the 1950s.

 

Vine Molave opened completely this year as a cafe, resto+bar, and bed & breakfast in one spacious location. Nestled within a sleepy town where time slows down to accommodate yearning for a laidback R&R, this structure stands imposingly, beckoning visitors with the familiar Mindanaoan warmth and hospitality.

Its logo depicts that of a vine which stands out for its stark simplicity, elements and focus, created by Anjo Philip Dujali Quinalayo, the family’s multimedia arts graduate of Benilde and nephew of Gary.

 

VINE MOLAVE

What makes a B&B setting so comforting in provincial areas is that relaxation is the essence of vacation. Coupled with lovely amenities, personal top-notch service and beautiful ambience to view and unwind— one does not think twice to experience such a memorable stay.

Vine Molave sits on the second and third floor with 11 rooms, individually prepared in distinct style and character, and making you feel like it is your own from the comforts of home. Full bed and breakfast amenities include an access to the mini jacuzzi pool which exudes privacy in a stylish setting.

 

The introductory rate starts reasonably at P1,888 with free hearty breakfast for two, and a creatively crafted countryside menu set that whets the appetite.

Designed meticulously with the history of Molave and the legacy of the family in mind, Gary explained how they planned a modern and youthful architectural design that does not veer away from the pride of heritage.

 

Vine Molave, Zamboanga del Sur

The owners made sure the place will boast of modern amenities that will respond to the basic needs, and “not just for mere showing off.”

“In one of our travels together with my nephew we thought of turning this ancestral lot into a building that represents our passion as a family…. the love for good food and relaxed dining, coffee and night life. Until today we still look for rented rooms and apartment. We were inspired by an idea of a structure that will house all of these,” Gary says.

They both took in all the inspired ideas from those trips, looked over condo designs, put it together and applied it to Vine with the nephew as the architect.

 

“I had some friends with ‘good eye and impeccable taste’ help me put together the look and the pieces, a lot of which are actual pieces from our family house.  It is passion over business, or rather passion with business sense as we want this to be a long term family business.  We are a private family and we’ve never engaged in such type of business in the past,” explains Gary.

Vine is deeply rooted in its origins coming from a valley, and it manifests its strong homey feeling to the residents who may not be aware of the family legacy or the history of Molave.

 

Molave sits in the heart of Salug Valley.  With agriculture as a predominant source of business, it is considered one of the most progressive towns and classified as a first class municipality of Zamboanga del Sur.

 

 

Though it offers less of the tours you expect from other destinations, it is a fresh breath from the hustle of urban commotion, a change of pace and a needed opportunity to recharge the spirit.

 

Vine Molave’s picturesque ambiance, architectural design and homey feel easily make it a favorite among photographers and creates a perfect setting for intimate gatherings such as birthdays, engagements, family reunions, and more importantly, prenuptial pictorials and the weddings that follow.

 

As the center of commerce for its neighboring towns, it is a wonderful exploration for the adventurous type — a 30-minute drive to Pagadian City (capital of Zambo Sur), 45 minutes away from Ozamis City in Misamis Occidental, or 2 hours away from Dipolog City.  One can also explore the neighboring municipalities with yet unknown potential destinations still under the radar of Mindanao’s tourism boom.

 

Zamboanga del Sur photo by Jojie Alcantara, published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008

Zamboanga del Sur photo by Jojie Alcantara, published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008

This is one of the tourist attractions in Zamboanga del Sur, a natural habitat called Pod-ok Mangrove Boardwalk in the municipality of Tabina, which cradles century-old mangroves lining the coastal area.  In the 70s, an earthquake and tsunami devastated this municipality, but what protected and saved the townsfolk from total damage were the mangroves deeply rooted in the soil. Photo by Jojie Alcantara,published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008

 

Zambo Sur offers many idyllic locations from underwater and snorkeling explorations in nearby Tabina municipality (Talisay Beach, Tambunan Beach and Marine Sanctuary, and the Pod-ok Mangrove Boardwalk) to the more challenging hilly treks and cultural immersion in the tribes of the gentle Subanen people who lives by the edge of the enchanting Lakewood.

 

Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, photo by Jojie Alcantara, published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008

Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, photo by Jojie Alcantara, published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008

 This mystical spot called Lakewood (a huge mountain lake with a quiet town in its riverbanks) holds a peculiar belief among the river dwellers, a tribe called Subanen.  The old folklore was that a giant sea serpent lived underneath this huge lake, somewhat of a local Loch Ness monster.  Photo by Jojie Alcantara, published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008

 

For the rather laidback traveler who yearns for a serene staycation with only a book, coffee and a swim in mind, however, Vine Molave awaits like a mother about to cradle you in its arms, offering its warmth and strange, comforting familiarity.

It is just like coming home to your grandmother’s vintage home, and feeling this sudden, overpowering urge to stay for some time.

[vsw id=”205587186″ source=”vimeo” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]

 

 

“The best hotel in the South, ayaw ko ng umalis (I didn’t want o leave). I really enjoyed my stay, awesome room, it feels like I am at home, awesome food mura at masarap (cheap and delicious), super linis (clean), the architecture design of the hotel, the lobby, garden and rooms are unique,  above all the people working in this hotel are very nice, the service is great! They always greet you with a smile, you will feel the sincerity, you will really feel you are welcome. Two thumbs up” – Ronnie Liang, International DJ

 

VINE CAFE

Vine Molave houses Vine Cafe which opened the earliest (May 2016) while the whole building was still under construction.

 

 

Although its menu showcases heirloom recipes proudly passed on from generations, it is not your usual little town café, exuding a metropolis feel to accommodate bakasyonistas from Luzon and Visayas. Baristas were trained and supervised by a Manila team. Expect hot coffee mixes, exclusive frappe drinks and café specialty dishes of pasta and sandwiches which tickles the palate.

“Not just your ordinary café in the province, Vine Café offers a brand-new and high-end experience! We were so delighted with the get-up of the place, city-like and stylishly modern.  It’s like stepping into a state-of-the-art facility but in a garden setting. Though modern, Vine does not sacrifice a cozy and homey ambiance. With that, you can comfortably work in your own space and pace, leisurely bond with your group of friends, or wholeheartedly talk with your special someone. More importantly, the food and drinks do not disappoint!  Their bestsellers are the Beef and Cheese Super Fries and Minty Oreo. The fries are generously topped with ground beef, corn kernels (which I found absurd but good), lettuce, and whole lot of cheese.  Mexican tacos and dogs, eh!  Those are just my faves! So for a one-of-a-kind café, Vine’s food can be rated excellent as per town’s standard.” – Mary Rosalie Olandesca, lifestyle blogger

 

 

VINE RESTO + BAR

Another first for the Molave community is the Vine Resto+Bar, situated at the back of Vine Café.  The full service restaurant offers heirloom recipes coupled with a fusion of Japanese dishes, pasta specials and delicious Filipino favorites like the kare-kare. Trained by the Manila team, the full bar arrangement offers premium co cktails and exclusive concoctions, cocktails and frappe mixes.

 

On Fridays and Saturdays, the area transforms into the party place after dinner with live acoustic bands and featured DJs to liven up the evening. Top Manila DJs have come to perform like manila hypins master Dj Ron Poe, Lady Dj Brendz of Penthouse Manila, and Dj Kael of Cable Car, Royal.

 

To date it has hosted memorable parties and anticipated events in town, featuring popular performers in the country, like Jona Viray, Maricel Callo and Michael Pangilinan.

 

 

For full information on contact details and how to get to Vine Molave, please visit www.vinemolave.com. Book a stay and your new kind of adventure awaits in Zamboanga del Sur!

 

 

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Lifescapes & Landscapes Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire

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Ribbon cutting ceremony of Rhonson Ng exhibit in Solaire led by Mrs. Eduviges Huang (Chairman of the Federation of Philippine Photographer's Foundation)

Ribbon cutting ceremony of Rhonson Ng exhibit in Solaire led by Mrs. Eduviges Huang (Chairman of the Federation of Philippine Photographer’s Foundation)

RHONSON SAMSON NG is a mountaineer, caver, diver and award-winning photographer whose images are printed in brochures, coffee table books, airport billboards, and tourism materials all over the country. Born in Manila in 1975, he moved to Davao City in 2003 to conquer Mount Apo each year since then. His photos of the majestic peak have been on cover of Mabuhay Magazine twice, and published in Action Asia Magazine. He has worked as the official photographer for the Department of Tourism Region XI, before he went freelance. He has done projects for other tourism regions as well.

Travel photographer Rhonson Ng

Travel photographer Rhonson Ng

An avid trekker and climber who has scaled several challenging peaks around the Philippines and in Kota Kinabalu, Rhonson is also noted for his cave photography.  As a diver, one of his underwater fashion images was shortlisted in a popular UK photography contest. His photos are included in DOT’s It’s More Fun in the Philippines campaign, and the Best of the Best of the Philippines Coffee Table Book. He was also commissioned to shoot exclusively for the coffee table book of San Juan in 2013.

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort

Rhonson contributes to local and international publications and has been featured in magazines and TV shows. His most memorable photo exhibit was a first major solo in the Metropolitan Museum featuring the Lumads of Mindanao. He holds the indigenous people close to his heart and aims to preserve the rich but dying culture through his documentaries. He was embraced by the Ovu-Manuvu tribe who christened him “Datu Maumpid”, which means “he who makes beautiful things”.

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort

This adopted Dabawenyo has won in top competitions, recently bagging the grand prize in the conventional category of the PAGCOR National Photography Competition 2015.  Currently, he conducts photography workshops around Mindanao as a resource speaker for Fujifilm Philippines.

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort

Through the years, he has raised funds (free workshops and exhibits) for his personal advocacy and charity works (Kids of Hope Davao Cancer Foundation). He initiated relief operations for the victims of typhoon Pablo, Sendong, and Yolanda and traveled to devastated areas. He had also risked documenting this year’s forest fire in Mount Apo from a chopper and delivered food supplies to firefighter volunteers. Rhonson is among five of Filipino members of the International Environment Photographers Association (IEPA), an organization based in Japan.

Lifescapes and Landscapes Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Lifescapes and Landscapes Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Currently he continues to travel and shoot on commission, and has led the documentation team for DOT Davao in the recent Miss Earth 2016 visit to the city.  He is also invited to be one of the resource speakers in the coming PhotoWorld Asia 2017 in Manila.

Lifescapes and Landscapes Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Lifescapes and Landscapes Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

“Lifescapes and Landscapes: A Travel Documentary by Rhonson Ng” is a collection of sixty five (65) memorable works (several are published) taken from his journey around his beloved country. Despite threat of typhoon Karen, his opening on October 15 was successful in the Solaire Resort and Casino’s Shoppes Hallway in Paranaque.

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

The large images of 24×36 inches in size were printed by Fujifilm Philippines. Gracing the event in the ribbon cutting ceremony were Mrs. Eduviges Huang (Chairman of the Federation of Philippine Photographer’s Foundation), Maeda Takuya and Nelson Perez of Fujifilm Philippines, Jun Ventura (Eastgate Publishing), Rhonson’s mentor Manolo Araneta, Chia David (Manfrotto), Ariel Murillo (Camera Club of the Phils), Pablo Beltran (FPPF), James and Maxine Loyola (PLDT Home), as well as Rhonson’s family and relatives. Among friends from Davao who graced the event were Ian Garcia (M Magazine), Joyce Mariscal, Carlos Munda and family. Those who stayed away from the typhoon came to visit in the next few days.

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Rhonson’s photo exhibit will run for a month, until November 15, 2016 (UPDATE: It has been extended until December). He wishes to thank his bestfriend Antoinette Sison-Guevarra who organized the exhibit, Mr. Donato Almeda (Board Director, Solaire) and Ms.Regina Kaimo (Production Manager, Solaire), Mr. Allen Capuyan of MIAA and to former DOTXI Regional Director Ms. Sonia Garcia and the late columnist Roger Layson who opened doors for him by hiring him as photographer for the region in 2003.lifescapes-and-landscapes-travel-documentary-photo-exhibit-by-rhonson-ng-in-solaire-resort-and-casino

Featured in SunStar Davao : Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Featured in Manila Bulletin : Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Featured in Manila Bulletin : Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Featured in Manila Bulletin : Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

Featured in Manila Bulletin : Lifescapes and Landscapes Travel Documentary Photo Exhibit by Rhonson Ng in Solaire Resort and Casino

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Gabay Guro Chairman Ms. Chaye Revilla with the students

PLDT Gabay Guro: On its 9th year of building the nation one teacher at a time

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PLDT Gabay Guro

PLDT Gabay Guro

Gabay Guro was born and became the CSR arm under the PLDT-Smart Foundation when a small group of like-minded PLDT executives banded together over coffee nine years ago for an advocacy for teachers. With a common dream of being a catalyst of change in the lives of teachers, Gabay Guro became an education arm and a flagship project of the PLDT-SMART Foundation under the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Manny V. Pangilinan.

This program run by volunteers composed of the PLDT Manager’s Club Inc. revolutionized education-based advocacy efforts in so many levels giving birth to a holistic approach anchored on the now famous Gabay Guro pillars – Scholarships, Trainings, Housing and Educational Facilities, Livelihood Programs, Broadbanding and Computerization, and Teachers’ Tribute.

 

Gabay Guro Chairman Ms. Chaye Revilla with the students

Gabay Guro Chairman Ms. Chaye Revilla with the students

 

Gabay Guro paid tribute to teachers all over the country (and nearby countries) by bringing attention to their heroic deeds and at the same time, providing them with the necessary tools to contribute to the change in the lives of their students and families.

Nine years later Gabay Guro has over 1,100 scholars in various state colleges and universities nationwide.  There are over 300 LET passers, 496 active scholars as of August, 2016 and a projected 167 graduates in 2017. Gabay Guro also celebrates the fact that 137 scholars graduated with honors – 112 cum laudes and 25 magna cum laudes.

Gabay Guro has also partnered with local government units to further teacher education. The foundation has conducted trainings for over 16,000 teachers in the course of its nine years.  Today, it runs eight training programs for teachers around the country namely: Teacher’s Treasure Chest; English Proficiency Training; Computer Literacy; Emotional Intelligence; Teacher’s Armor; Leadership Training; IT Sustainability and Literacy; and Unleashing Creativity in Teaching.  At the same time, Gabay Guro answers to the needs of the times by doing grassroots anti-drugs trainings in schools.

 

tribute-to-teachers1

Gabay Guro’s initiative on Broadband and Computerization has had great impact nationwide. All partner-schools were recipients of either computers/laptop or internet connections from PLDT or Smart.

Knowing that shortage of educational facilities is a major disaster area in the Philippine education system, Gabay Guro has taken the cudgels in the construction of classrooms in the provinces, mostly those that have been hit by debilitating calamities. There are over 40 classrooms constructed and donated already in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Capiz.

In the beginning, there were only a couple of thousand member-teachers under its stable. 2016 sees a 20,000-strong membership at its helm, taking over the leadership, setting the bar of service in all education-related NGOs around the nation.

 

PLDT VP and HOME Marketing Head Gary Dujali and Chairman of Gabay Guro Chaye Revilla

PLDT VP and HOME Marketing Head Gary Dujali and Chairman of Gabay Guro Chaye Revilla

 

Ms. Chaye Revilla and the Gabay Guro team of visionaries were propelled by this belief:  “our nation’s children depend on our nation’s teachers to lead them to the future.  And this teachers’ month, Gabay Guro gives tribute to those who teach the next generation of nation-builders.”

The pinnacle of Gabay Guro’s celebration is embodied in the tribute event held every year at the SM MOA Arena.  Year after year, the organizers leave no stone unturned ensuring that it is in Gabay Guro where teachers get to be treated like royalty. Raffle prizes have generously grown into the staggering house and lot and vehicle showcases and livelihood opportunities that they give in every tribute event.

 

Janno Gibbs, Jaya and Ogie Alcasid are among celebrities to grace Teacherfest 2016 in SM MOA Arena

Janno Gibbs, Jaya and Ogie Alcasid are among celebrities to grace Teacherfest 2016 in SM MOA Arena

 

The Gabay Guro’s 9th Teacher’s Tribute this year has the biggest gathering of the country’s celebrities, and will not disappoint on Sept. 25 at the MOA Arena.  Stellar names include Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Gary Valenciano, Pops Fernandez, James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Ms. Lea Salonga, Mega star Ms. Sharon Cuneta and more surprise guests on the big day.

 

 

Vina Morales and Pops Fernandez are among the surprise stars who will be in SM MOA Arena for the Teacherfest 2016

Vina Morales and Pops Fernandez are among the surprise stars who will be in SM MOA Arena for the Teacherfest 2016

 

This year  is made possible through the help of the sponsors:  Perry’s Group of Companies (house and lot), Foton (Gratour Van), Intel, Devant, Motorlandia (Honda and Suzuki motorcyles), Ropali, Penshoppe, National Bookstore, Enchanted Kingdom, Splash, Tempra, Flanax, Bonamine, Vivalyte, Mundipharma, Gardenia, Bic, Art Attack, Microsoft, Smart Bro, Ultera, Talk N Text and 51 Talk.

 

mpr

 

To this day, Gabay Guro managed to thrive on volunteerism among the ranks of the executives from PLDT and Smart. By helping shape the future of the teachers, Gabay Guro hopes to spread the gift of learning to students across the country, thereby taking part in nation building.

The PLDT Gabay Guro grand tribute event is exclusive for teachers only, and admission is free.  Follow Gabay Guro on Facebook, twitter and Instagram at @PLDTGabayGuro or visit the Gabay Guro official website for more details.

Published in SunStar Davao on Sept. 21, 2016 “PLDT Gabay Guro: Building the nation one teacher at a time”

 

Published in SunStar Davao on Sept. 21, 2016 - "PLDT Gabay Guro: Building the nation one teacher at a time"

Published in SunStar Davao on Sept. 21, 2016 – “PLDT Gabay Guro: Building the nation one teacher at a time”


PLDT and SMART Chairman and CEO Manny Pangilinan unveils new logos © Jojie Alcantara

Glitz and glam in PLDT-Smart major rebranding event

Jojie Alcantara article for SunStar Davao

Article by Jojie Alcantara

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Text and photos by Jojie Alcantara, published in SunStar Davao (June 22, 2016)

 

A "New Day Unfolds" for PLDT and Smart © Jojie Alcantara

A “New Day Unfolds” for PLDT and Smart © Jojie Alcantara

 

Flying to Manila with my fellow media colleagues, I was wondering what the fuss and secrecy was all about as the cryptic invitation’s only clue were the words “A New Day Unfolds”.

 

Invitation

 

Turns out that the country’s leading telecom and digital services provider, PLDT, and its mobile subsidiary, Smart Communications, are about to welcome a new day with a fresh brand identity that aims to “reflect their desire to empower their customers who are increasingly embracing digital services in their daily lives.”

 

 

In an utmost confidentiality for a big announcement that was to go simultaneous nationwide, top guns planned in hush arrangements that sent employees in a frenzy on whether this was good or bad change for them. Overall, the result turned out beneficial to all.

 

 

The program was short and sweet. Hosted by Bianca Valerio and Steven Silva, they called PLDT and SMART Chairman and President Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) onstage for the welcome remarks, before the unveiling of two new and upgraded corporate logos in red and green. MVP was joined by the heads of Smart and PLDT for a toast to this major rebranding.

 

Toast by MVP and executives of PLDT and Smart

Toast by MVP and executives of PLDT and Smart

 

The new logos were said to symbolize the powerful convergence of PLDT and Smart, combining fixed and wireless technologies to serve individual and enterprise customers.

With the new logo comes the change in name of the company from “Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company” into “PLDT Inc.”, to better represent the company’s current thrust and business shift to data-driven services.
PLDT-Smart is pursuing a three-year digital pivot that aims to transform its networks into “the country’s most data capable infrastructure delivering a growing array of compelling digital services.” The said logo changes are just the tip of an iceberg, one of the many steps towards digital transformation.

 

pldtsmart-logo-2016 s

New logos of PLDT and Smart

 

“We have embarked on a digital pivot to enable us to serve the increasing needs of our people’s digital lifestyle and the country’s growing digital economy,” said MVP.

“We shall lead the digital revolution by embracing the smart life within the organization, pursuing digital innovations and enabling our customers to go digital in their own ways. The biggest winners will be our customers who will have a growing range of choices at their fingertips.” The word ‘digital’ couldn’t be emphasized any better than this for the search engine optimization.

pldt-logo-evolution

PLDT logo evolution

 

Shaped like a triangle, the new identical logos represent “three sides of the Company’s business pillars – for exceptional people, meaningful innovations, and valuable customers.” The said figure is also the symbol for Delta, the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet, which means “Change”.

Smart logo evolution

Smart logo evolution

 

The three pillars when taken together, according to MVP, “create tremendous energy that will enable our customers to achieve their limitless potential. The triangle’s three sides support each other. Thus, there is an inherent strength flows harmoniously among the sides to sustain the structure.”

 

DSCF5914

 

The historic change was met with celebration nationwide in every office. We were lucky to have been given an icing on the cake up close – that of a surprise reunion with the members of the legendary band, Eraserheads. Ely Buendia and colleagues sang several songs that made them famous, while the crowd was revved up from beginning to end, singing along with the popular tunes. What a treat!

 

 

While we moved about for celebrity-spotting and a little “selfie ambush” with program director Rowell Santiago, we weren’t able to get close to the MVP for a quick snap.

 

Jojie and director Rowell Santiago

Me and director Rowell Santiago

 

We managed to rub elbows with pretty faces, though, like the Bb. Pilipinas Queens, PLDT FVP and Head of Home Business Operations Renren Reyes, and the VP and Head of Marketing for PLDT Home and Smart Bro Gary Dujali, who recently headed the successful Smart Bro tours in Mindanao.

 

The night was young, and though we bonded with our Cebu media colleagues, we went back to emjoy our cozy lair in Discovery Primea Suites, thanks to our gracious host, PLDT Home. A new day begins again, and we look forward to a faster and more efficient technology that will help change lives for the better.


Ms. Universe on her new PLDT HOME TVC : ‘This is my story.’

Pia Wurtzbach

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Miss Universe 2015 and Filipino pride Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is being featured in the latest TV commercial of PLDT HOME, representing the digital services leader’s flagship DSL brand.

This is one relationship that Pia is quite proud of and excited to continue with. Pia has been an ambassador of PLDT HOME since she became a Bb. Pilipinas titleholder in 2015. She remembers how much fun she had, going around the country promoting PLDT HOME DSL even in the remote areas of Mindanao. She says of the brand new partnership, “I am really very happy that PLDT HOME decided to continue with our relationship. I believe in what they stand for,” she said.

 

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In the recently released TVC featuring the Filipina stunner, Pia is seen backstage as pretty little girls, all aspiring beauty queens, go through the rigors of beauty pageants with their number one fan and supporter—their mothers. Pia was teary-eyed during the pre-production for this commercial revealing that the story “felt really close to home.” She said, “This is my story. I feel that this was specifically written for me. I should have brought my mom with me today. I left her in the hotel. I want her to see this, too,” she told those around her during that meeting.

VIEW THE VIDEO HERE :
https://www.facebook.com/PLDTHome/videos/998815083538908/

video

According to PLDT VP and Home Marketing Director Gary Dujali, the heartwarming video is in honor of mothers and the beautiful connections they help create for their children. “The perfect combination of a mother’s unwavering support and the power of technology which allowed her to connect with the world, helped pave the way for Pia to achieve her goal,” he said. “With this new TVC, we hope to inspire and empower people in their own journeys towards their dreams. It is certainly an honor to have no less than the reigning Miss Universe help us spread the message that the strongest and most beautiful connections begin at home.”

 

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Pia was endearing during the shoot. She made no effort to hide how she felt that the experience unraveling before her felt exactly the same as when she was still competing for the crown. “Her down-to-earth attitude makes her all the more loveable. She was genuinely enthralled by the little girls who acted with her in the commercial. She was playing with them and having fun until the end of the shoot. We didn’t even notice that she was already feeling under the weather. She even bought taho at one point! What a real trooper she truly is!” Gary pointed out.

 

Pia during a closed door taping

Pia during a closed door taping

 

The partnership between Pia and PLDT HOME DSL began when she was crowned Bb. Pilipinas-Universe in 2015. Since then, PLDT HOME has been a steadfast supporter of Pia’s Miss Universe journey. As PLDT HOME ambassador, she traveled around the country to help families create beautiful connections through the reliable family-sized connection of PLDT HOME DSL. Her powerful story also served as an inspiration to millions of Filipinos who were captivated by her journey and perseverance despite multiple setbacks.

 

screenshot-www facebook com 2016-08-23 08-08-01

The partnership between Pia and PLDT HOME DSL began when she was crowned Bb. Pilipinas-Universe in 2015. Since then, PLDT HOME has been a steadfast supporter of Pia’s Miss Universe journey. As PLDT HOME ambassador, she traveled around the country to help families create beautiful connections through the reliable family-sized connection of PLDT HOME DSL. Her powerful story also served as an inspiration to millions of Filipinos who were captivated by her journey and perseverance despite multiple setbacks.

cignal switch

It also helps them stay connected to their families and loved ones wherever their journey leads them, especially now with PLDT HOME DSL’s CIO Asia Award-winning data sharing service through the Speedster Fam Plan 1299. This plan offers speeds of up to 10 Mbps and a monthly data allocation of 50 GB. Subscribers who upgrade their Speedster Plan with a Smart Mobile Plan 399 or Plan 600 can share 6 GB of the 50 GB monthly data allocation to their smart phones so they can always easily reach out to the people that matter most.

*****

MJ Lastimosa, Gretchen Ho led Smart Bro 888 Tour in Davao

© Rhonson Ng 2016

© Rhonson Ng 2016

 

[Tweet “MJ Lastimosa, Gretchen Ho led Smart Bro 888 Tour in Davao”]

By Jojie Alcantara  [ photos by Rhonson Ng ]

In an era of fast technology, people particularly the millennials adapt to online communication as a necessity nowadays.  Having no wifi connectivity becomes a burden as everyone tries to communicate as quickly as they can with the need to be updated on a 24/7 basis, more so with work related matters.

Smart Bro brings good news to Davao as it takes its best deal ever in a grand tour around the city featuring two of the BRO-kadas,  beauty queen and Mindanao pride MJ Lastimosa and celebrity athlete and host Gretchen Ho.

 

Host Ian Garcia, beauty queen MJ Lastimosa and celebrity athlete and host Gretchen Ho © Rhonson Ng 2016

Host Ian Garcia, beauty queen MJ Lastimosa and celebrity athlete and host Gretchen Ho © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

Now available for only P888, the Smart Bro 4G Pocket WiFi offers fast and reliable mobile connectivity for up to 10 gadgets, making it the perfect companion for sharing online fun with the barkadas – from streaming videos and music, playing online games, to sharing files and photos during fun adventures.

 

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Smart Bro invites everyone to experience firsthand its fast and reliable mobile broadband service as the country’s unrivaled mobile services leader continues to boost its coverage and connectivity experience in key areas across the country, including the Davao region, with the latest network technologies.

 

 © Rhonson Ng 2016

Davao bloggers in Marco Polo Davao for the launch © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

In a lunch press conference in Saragani Room of Marco Polo Hotel, Smart Bro showcased its 4G Pocket WiFi which can power up to 10 devices with fast and reliable 4G connection. They gave away units to media guests and bloggers which came preloaded with free internet for 3 months (350 MB of data per month), making it easier to watch streaming videos, download TV series and movies on iflix, and listen to the latest hits on Spinnr.  Davaoenos can now share online activities with friends and family with less lagging issues.

 

© Rhonson Ng 2016

© Rhonson Ng 2016

 

Davao bloggers in Marco Polo Davao for the launch © Rhonson Ng 2016

Davao bloggers in Marco Polo Davao for the launch © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

 

Davao media in Marco Polo Davao for the launch © Rhonson Ng 2016

Davao media in Marco Polo Davao for the launch © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

Hosts Ian Garcia and me © Rhonson Ng 2016

Hosts Ian Garcia and me © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

Media colleague and buddy Ian Garcia and I hosted the event, and introduced Smart Bro Prepaid Acquisitions Manager James Jorge who shared a short presentation on the features of the unit.  Smart Marketing Head for consumer broadband and PLDT Home VP and Marketing Director Gary Dujali said a few words of welcome before we introduced Smart Bro Celebrity Brokadas Gretchen Ho and Mary Jane “MJ” Lastimosa whose first break was winning beauty pageants in her hometown of Davao. Both endorsers happily shared their experiences with the Pocket WiFi as well as tips on handling the social media scene.

 

PLDT Home VP and Marketing Director Gary Dujali © Rhonson Ng 2016

PLDT Home VP and Marketing Director Gary Dujali © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

“Davao is brimming with young millennials who love to bond together and share their passion with friends online, and the Smart BRO-Kada is here to show how all of this can be a lot more enjoyable and more affordable with our 4G Pocket WiFi at only P888 – our best 4G Pocket WiFi deal to date,” said Gary Dujali.

 

PLDT Home VP and Marketing Director Gary Dujali with Gretchen Ho and MJ Lastimosa © Rhonson Ng 2016

PLDT Home VP and Marketing Director Gary Dujali with Gretchen Ho and MJ Lastimosa © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

With our recent connectivity enhancements in Davao, now is definitely the perfect time for Davaoenos to own a Smart Bro 4G Pocket WiFi and put it at the center of your online experiences with friends. It’s a must have for every barkada!” he continued.

 

PLDT Home VP and Marketing Director Gary Dujali © Rhonson Ng 2016

PLDT Home VP and Marketing Director Gary Dujali © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

The Smart Bro team also raffled off gift certificates among guests which include the Davao media and bloggers, the distributor and sales group led by Erlan Besin, Area Manager for the sales team, and guests from Manila media, namely:  Dolly Mae Carvajal of Philippine Daily Inquirer, Isah Red of The Standard, Shirley Pizarro of Manila Bulletin, and Natalie Tomada of Philippine Star.

 

© Rhonson Ng 2016

© Rhonson Ng 2016

 

After MJ and Gretchen’s motorcade and mall tours, the evening continued with the Smart Bro team treating the bloggers to a night of fun in Matina Town Square.

Smart brought the Smart Bro 4G Pocket WiFi nationwide with their celebrity “BRO-kadas” MJ Lastimosa, Michael Pangilinan, Michelle and Marco Gumabao, Bea Santiago and Gretchen Ho. Their stops have included Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Pampanga, Davao and Makati.

 

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

SMART BROkada Tour in Davao © Rhonson Ng 2016

 

The nationwide caravan included a motorcade and mall tours with the celebrities, and a chance to win premium items from Smart and adventure vouchers worth P10,000 for a BRO-kada Trip by simply purchasing Smart Bro 4G Pocket WiFi.  These adventure vouchers are for summer getaway destinations like Sandbox Adventure Park, Enchanted Kingdom, a White Water Rafting adventure, and a resort stay in Samal Island.

For more of Smart Bro’s awesome offers, visit www.smart.com.ph/bro and follow Smart’s official accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@LiveSmart).

Photos are provided by Rhonson Ng.

* * * *

New Breed of Amihan Team © Jojie Alcantara

Mati’s new breed of Amihan Team

[Tweet “Mati’s new breed of Amihan Team”]

Text and photos by Jojie Alcantara (see published print in SunStar Davao below, February 24. 2016)

The new Amihan Team is composed of 27 young boys and girls who are being honed by the same trainor and father figure responsible for producing champs in the first batch of the Amihan Boys. These are the young local skimboarders in my beloved birthplace of Mati, Davao Oriental.

Amihan kids meet the waves with high energy © Jojie Alcantara

Amihan kids meet the waves with high energy © Jojie Alcantara

George Plaza, “Bochok” or “Kuya Jun” to loved ones and friends, is the founder of the original Amihan Team which has been featured in national papers and international magazines, thanks to his perseverance, love and strict discipline culled from his years in the seminary. I have featured the young champs way back in 2007 in Mabuhay Magazine, and have also highlighted the booming white shorelines of Dahican Beach.

Amihan kids at sunrise by Jojie Alcantara

Amihan kids at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

Having trained the former skimboarders who have grown into champs and moved on to find work elsewhere, Bochok aims to teach these new young kids to prioritize their studies, respect their parents, finish early morning chores before concentrating on their favorite water sports. Being involved in drugs and drinking will automatically kick one off the team, regardless of his skills.

Four year old Julian Sacedor is the youngest future skimboarding champ © Jojie Alcantara

Four year old Julian Sacedor is the youngest future skimboarding champ © Jojie Alcantara

The word amihan refers to the season dominated by the trade winds in Philippines, producing a cool northeast wind from September or October and ends in May or June, which varies annually. During the said season, good waves abound for surfing and skimming on the beach.

Amihan kids waiting for the waves at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

Amihan kids waiting for the waves at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

 

Dahican, now a popular skimboarding destination, is an extended strip of stunning white beach lined with coconut trees, facing sparkling turquoise waters that ebb and flow wildly into the Pacific, inviting adventurous beach fanatics to swim, surf, skim, paddleboard or kayak in glee. Its white shoreline is also blessed with the habitat of endangered sea turtles (pawikan). Sightings of dolphins and sea cows (dugongs) crossing the waters happen on regular occasions if you are lucky to chance upon them.

 

Dawn groufie by Jojie Alcantara

Dawn groufie © Jojie Alcantara | Fuji XA2 with tripod and timer

 

Skimboarder at sunrise by Jojie Alcantara

Skimboarder at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

 

One early dawn, I waited for my beautiful sunrise while waiting for the young kids to come out for their morning exercise. We were still shivering from the chill at 5am.

 

Jojie gives the kids each a souvenir print from her Fuji Instax camera © Jojie Alcantara

Jojie gives each a souvenir print from her Fuji Instax camera © Jojie Alcantara

 

Jojie gives the kids each a souvenir print from her Fuji Instax

Jojie gives each kid a souvenir print from her Fuji Instax

The kids enjoyed posing for me as I gave them a souvenir Fuji Instax print each for their keepsakes.  The youngest one particularly caught my attention, cute little Justin Sacedor, who at four, is confidently skimming the waves along with his older brother Longlong and sister Isobel.

Four year old Julian Sacedor © Jojie Alcantara

Four year old Julian Sacedor © Jojie Alcantara

Hopefully these new breed of Amihan team will again bring back pride to Mati by collecting more championship trophies in regional, national and international skimboarding competitions. Bochok insists, however, that their schooling should come first.

The New Amihan Team © Jojie Alcantara

The New Amihan Team © Jojie Alcantara

My article published in SunStar Davao on February 24. 2016

New Breed of Amihan Team by Jojie Alcantara | Published in SunStar Davao February 24. 2016

New Breed of Amihan Team by Jojie Alcantara | Published in SunStar Davao February 24. 2016 New Breed of Amihan Team by Jojie Alcantara

Cebu Pacific Air’s Smile Magazine June issue features Davao region

Smile Magazine June 2015 photos by Rhonson Ng and Jojie Alcantara

Smile Magazine June 2015 photos by Rhonson Ng and Jojie Alcantara

 

[Tweet “Cebu Pacific Air’s Smile Magazine features Davao region XI on its June 2015 issue”]

While its cover title says, “How now Davao? Why Mindanao’s crown-jewel region is riding a fresh wave of popularity“, the photo is of the pristine Dahican beach which is in my birthplace of Mati City.  Though not mentioned in the title, the feature story is inside (cover photo not mine).

 

Smile Magazine June 2015 cover featuring Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental

Smile Magazine June 2015 cover featuring Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental

 

Here is another photo of the beachscape I grew up in, which used to be empty and undiscovered. Now it’s quite a popular hangout for beach bums, surfers and celebrities in hiding.  Resorts are now filling up the shorelines.

 

Smile Magazine June 2015 Mati feature photo by Jenny Penas

Smile Magazine June 2015 Mati feature photo by Jenny Penas

 

Inside main photos of the Davao story are by me and Rhonson Ng.  These images are also on framed displays inside Museo Dabawenyo  (San Pedro Cathedral, Monument of Peace and Unity, Sangguniang Panglungsod Building and night shot of San Pedro Street).  Feature story is written by Jonathan Evans.

 

Smile Magazine June 2015 San Pedro Cathedral and Monument of Peace and Unity photo by Rhonson Ng

Smile Magazine June 2015 San Pedro Cathedral and Monument of Peace and Unity photo by Rhonson Ng

 

 

Smile Magazine June 2015 San Pedro Street photo by Jojie Alcantara

Smile Magazine June 2015 San Pedro Street photo by Jojie Alcantara

Samal: Tripping with Tridacna

Tridacna Tours in Adecor Kaputian Samal by Jojie Alcantara

Tridacna Tours in Adecor Kaputian Samal by Jojie Alcantara

 

Samal: Tripping with Tridacna
(By Jojie Alcantara – published in SunStar Davao and M Magazine, photos also featured in Manila Bulletin,  and Silkwinds Magazine)

It was easier to change the title to “Swimming with Tridacna” but I had to be honest, I didn’t take a dip in the waters. Plus, you may be wondering what in tridacna are we talking about.

Tridacna is a genus of large saltwater clams, marine bivalve mollusks in the subfamily Tridacninae, the giant clams. Unfortunately, the global conservation status is listed as Vulnerable in the 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. All species of giant clams are listed in CITES (Convention on Inernational Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna). cIn the Philippines, it is locally known as “taklobo”.

 

DNSC Marine Reserve Park by Jojie Alcantara

DNSC Marine Reserve Park © Jojie Alcantara

 

The Davao del Norte State College (DNSC) in Panabo City was awarded the 2010 CHED (Commission on Higher Education) Best Regional Extension Award for its biodiversity and environment project, “Development Interventions in the Island Garden of Samal”, which revolves around livelihood, cooperatives and harnessing community involvement in marine and environment protection. A program component is a CHED-funded project on the Conservation of the Endangered Giant Clams: A Strategy for Environmental Protection under Save Our Shore (SOS) Program.

 

Measuring the tridacna by Jojie Alcantara

Measuring the tridacna © Jojie Alcantara

 

The University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) is distributing hatchery-produced giant clam juveniles to various parts of the Philippines in efforts to save and enhance the stocks of this endangered species. As a recipient of the UP-MSI Giant Clam Stock Enhancement Program in 2001, DNSC in collaboration with UP MSI has successfully protected 5 species of endangered giant clams and other marine species, making the Marine Reserved Park a home of more than 3,000 giant clams. It is identified as one of the learning and tourist sites in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS).

 

DNSC Marine Reserve Park by Jojie Alcantara

DNSC Marine Reserve Park © Jojie Alcantara

 

The DNSC, LGU-IGaCoS and BLGU-Adecor jointly pool resources for a conservation and livelihood project for Adecor United Fisherfolk Organization (ADuFOr). The project aims to promote the outcome of a marine protected area (MPA) in the conservation of endangered species and enhance the income of local communities through advocacy, tourism and community participation. The farming of giant clams is foreseen as means of promoting biological sustainability and maintaining biodiversity.

Four species of giant clams, Tridacna gigas, T. squamosa, T. derasa and H. hippopus were transplanted in the 14-hectare Marine Reserve in Barangay Adecor, Kaputian District of Samal Island, one among the program’s successful sites.  The site is a marine protected area recovering from illegal and overfishing practices.  The DNSC Marine Reserve Park has now become part of the tourism package of Visit Samal Tours.

Tridacna Eco-Tours had a grand launch on February 2013 (after a MOA was signed on Tridacna Tours Project in July 18, 2012, funded by CHED, amounting to P1.3 M).

 

Tridacna Tours Project in Samal © Jojie Alcantara

Tridacna Tours Project in Samal © Jojie Alcantara

 

The tourism entrance fee of Php75 excluding boat fare shall be used to sustain the project and offer income to key players, AdUFOr and Fisherfolk tour guides; as well as development fund to supporting institutions, DNSC, LGU-IGaCoS and BLGU-Adecor. The project demonstrates the benefits from marine protected areas that provide equity for both environmental protection and socio-economic development.

Now thriving at a depth of about 15 to 20 feet, these fascinating creatures have a lot to teach us. Giant clams are restricted to shallow, well-illuminated waters of coral reefs. They require clean, clear water of oceanic salinity. There is an increasing interest in these endangered species among local and international tourists because only a number of them are found in the wild.  I have only seen these clams up close in Dinagat Islands and in Palau’s Clam City back in 2006.  In Samal, it was fascinating to see rows of them all lined up like a cabbage patch garden underwater.

 

Jojie with Ian and ABS-CBN MagTV Crew © Jojie Alcantara

Jojie with Ian and ABS-CBN MagTV Crew

 

Last April, 30 tourists from ASEAN nations toured the Tridacna Sanctuary as part of the tour of participants in the ASEAN Climate Change and Tourism Protocol Development Workshop held in Davao City. Dr. Girley S. Gumanao, Research Director, personally gave an orientation while locals of Adecor provided tour guiding, and LGU-IGaCos provided boats.

I have read that giant clams play an important role in the ecology of the reef.  Clam seeding is good for the marine ecosystem, and reseeding activities provide an upsurge in fish density and biodiversity in seeding sites, even before the clams have reached sexual maturity.  Interestingly, clams become male mature at the age of 8 years and become female mature by 10. At which time they become hermaphrodites, producing both female eggs and male sperms.

 

Tridacna Tours Project in Samal © Jojie Alcantara

Tridacna Tours Project in Samal © Jojie Alcantara

 

Mass spawning of clams releases millions of eggs and sperm in the waters, triggering a feeding frenzy and providing nourishment to thousands of tiny fish and organisms in a reef area, thereby attracting bigger fishes that seek clam meat. Studies and experiments reveal that putting both live and dead clam shells in the reef also entice fishes. With the shell being organic, fish, algae and other organisms will attach to it and take residence, a more effective reef enhancement technique than materials used for artificial reefs. Small fish, shrimps, snails, nudibranchs, sea slugs and urchins are known to be grazing on the outer shells. This contribution to a healthy reef ecosystem has great implications to our country’s fisheries and food security.

 

Me with ABS-CBN Crew

Me with ABS-CBN Crew

 

Be warned, however. In the Republic Act 8550 of the Philippine Fisheries Code, Section 97 states the Fishing or Taking of Rare, Threatened or Endangered Species, that “it shall be unlawful to fish or take rare, threatened or endangered species as listed in the CITES and as determined by the Department. Violation of the provision of this section shall be punished by imprisonment of twelve years to twenty years and/or a fine of one hundred and twenty thousand pesos (P120,000.00) and forfeiture of the catch, and the cancellation of fishing permit.”

Interested parties on the Tridacna Tours may contact Adecor United Fisherfolk Organization (0930-272-3748), City Tourism Office of Samal (0917-311-1521) or Davao del Norte State College (0930-272-3801).  Thank you DOT XI, for the tour as we jumped off from Punta del Sol Resort to a 10-minute boat ride to the marine park.

By the way, my title says “Tripping with Tridacna”, not tripping over them.

 

 My BFF Ian Garcia with TV Crew © Jojie Alcantara

My BFF Ian Garcia with TV Crew © Jojie Alcantara

 

 

Article published in SunStar Davao by Jojie Alcantara on May, 2013

Article published in SunStar Davao by Jojie Alcantara on May, 2013

 

Samal feature in Silkwinds Magazine July 2015, photos by Jojie Alcantara

Samal feature in Silkwinds Magazine July 2015, photos by Jojie Alcantara

PLDT Home and Smart bring you “Entertainment Everywhere” with iflix

PLDT HOME and Smart let you experience entertainment everywhere with PH’s largest library of movies and TV series with iflix

iFLIX

Three industry leaders teamed up to bring “Entertainment Everywhere” to millions of digitally connected Filipinos. PLDT HOME, Smart and iFLIX recently announced their partnership for content streaming of the Philippines’ largest library of movies and TV shows. In photo during the grand launch are (front row, from left): iflix Group COO and iflix Malaysia CEO Azran Osman-Rani, Glee star Heather Morris, PLDT Group Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan and PLDT EVP and Consumer Business Group Head Ariel P. Fermin; and (back row, from left): iflix Group Chief Content Officer James Bridges, iflix Philippines Country Manager Sherwin dela Cruz and iflix Group Chief Technology Officer Ash Crick.

 

Enter the no-TV-zone that lets you watch what you want when you want in just two clicks with iflix, country’s biggest library of video on demand content to partner with the country’s biggest multimedia networks PLDT HOME and Smart.

The Philippine launch of iflix comes at spot-on timing since it recently secured topline content deals with giant Hollywood studios The Walt Disney Company, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution (Fox), BBC Worldwide (BBC) and Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (Warner Bros.).

 

Top models Joey Mead-King (left) and Jason Godfrey (right) hosted the night’s affairs.

Top models Joey Mead-King (left) and Jason Godfrey (right) hosted the night’s affairs.

 

This means that on top of existing over 11,000 hours of TV serial titles and updated catalogue of Hollywood, European and Asian releases, shows like “Sherlock”, “Doctor Who”, “Homeland” and “The Big Bang Theory” are now part of iflix’s growing library.

For movies, iflix beefs up its Hollywood selection with action blockbusters like “Star Trek”, “Batman Begins” and “Green Lantern”, among thousands of other choices.

 

Binibining Pilipinas beauties led by Miss Universe Philippines 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (second from right).

Binibining Pilipinas beauties led by Miss Universe Philippines 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (second from right).

 

PLDT HOME and Smart welcome the addition of iflix as part of its ever-expanding entertainment ensemble. “This is literally entertainment everywhere. With all of these titles bannered under PLDT HOME and Smart’s power-packed lineup of reliable Internet services for families and individuals, your choice of entertainment device deserves its own star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” rationalized PLDT EVP and Consumer Business Group Head Ariel P. Fermin.

 

Child actor turned international DJ Tom Taus provided the night’s music.

Child actor turned international DJ Tom Taus provided the night’s music.

 

“You already have the device that has the capability to showcase your guilty viewing pleasures—whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet, laptop, desktop computers and even TV screens. All you need is that one movie, that particular episode or even an entire season that you’ve had on your must-watch list. From small escapes like whenever you’re stuck in traffic, to binge-watching rare moments when time is on your side, subscribers now have the access to the widest library of entertainment content with iflix. It gets so much better because you are able to gain access to these titles through PLDT HOME and Smart’s strongest and largest multimedia platforms wherever you are in the Philippines,” explained Fermin.

 

Actress, model and singer Solenn Heussaff joined the night’s festivities.

Actress, model and singer Solenn Heussaff joined the night’s festivities.

 

Meanwhile, iflix chairman Patrick Grove raved over this exclusive big-gun partnership move with PLDT and Smart by saying: “In PLDT we have found a like-minded partner who is committed to changing the way entertainment content is consumed in the region. We look forward to building an extraordinary business in the Philippines together.”

Grove added, “We are extremely proud to have come together with the largest telecommunications company in the Philippines and, indeed, one of the region’s leading companies, to offer iflix to PLDT’s enormous customer base. With well over 75 million Filipinos communicating and being entertained using PLDT services, they are the absolute perfect partner for iflix in the Philippines.

 

From left: Red carpet host Bianca Valerio, socialite siblings Ruffa and Raymond Gutierrez, iflix Chairman Patrick Grove and singer and TV personality Karylle Yuzon.

From left: Red carpet host Bianca Valerio, socialite siblings Ruffa and Raymond Gutierrez, iflix Chairman Patrick Grove and singer and TV personality Karylle Yuzon.

 

Access granted

Iflix also eliminates streaming setbacks because it’s available through PLDT and Smart. The service also liberates users from incompatible streaming due to regional conflicts.

For entertainment everywhere, register an account via www.iflix.com and instantly enjoy a complimentary 14-day trial of the service. Once the trial expires, PLDT Home and Smart users will be able to subscribe to the P99 per month package through the iflix website.

For PLDT HOME subscribers, iflix is available via TVolution Trio Plan 1599 inclusive of a TVolution kit, unlimited DSL and unlimited access to iflix. Existing users of PLDT Home DSL and PLDT Home Ultera can get iflix as an add-on option on top of their monthly fees for only P99 per month, while it comes free with PLDT HOME Fibr and PLDT HOME Telpad plans.

On the other hand, Smart subscribers may now bring entertainment anywhere for P99 a month, charged to their prepaid loads or on top of their postpaid accounts. No credit card required!

Apart from the Philippines, iflix will soon be available in other countries including the United States, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Thailand and Tokyo. The iflix app is also downloadable via Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. To know more on how to subscribe to iflix with your PLDT HOME or Smart account, log on to www.pldthome.com or www.smart.com.ph.

Davao in Singapore’s Silkwinds Magazine, April 2014

Silkwinds April 2014 Cover of Boracay by Jojie Alcantara

Silkwinds April 2014 Cover of Boracay by Jojie Alcantara

 

This is my cover photo of aerial Boracay waters in April 2014 issue of Silkwinds, the inflight magazine of SilkAir (Regional Wing of Singapore Airlines). I shot the fishermen and boat from a helicopter over Boracay.  This is my second aerial photo on cover of an international airline magazine.  🙂 Read More

The Best of the Best Philippines book launch

The Best of the Best Philippines book launch
(by Jojie Alcantara)

Launched last April 10 at the Tapas Bar of the Makati Shangri-La Manila hotel, the first travel coffee table book of its kind with a quirky and confident title of The Best of the Best of the Philippines was eagerly awaited by guests when it was finally unveiled to the public. Read More

Come to Davao!

Smile Magazine May 2014 photo by Jojie Alcantara

Smile CebPac May 2014 photo by Jojie Alcantara

SMILE Magazine of Cebu Pacific Air showcases my beloved city of Davao in a page, represented by two most familiar landmarks in the heart of downtown area (inside page, cover not included). On the left is San Pedro Cathedral where my Mom and Dad had gotten married back in the late 60s. In front of the prominent church is the Commemorative Monument of Peace and Unity.

This photo used to be published in a passport size box along with other fast facts on flight destinations. On this May issue of Smile, it was given more than half a page (with notes from a writer).

Come visit Davao City now!Davao City in Cebu Pacific Smile Magazine

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum

[Tweet “Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum”]

The new state of the art museum built by Davao Oriental Provincial Governor Cora Malanyaon, Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum, opens to the public on January 8, 2014 in the Provincial Tourism Complex, Mati City.

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Interactive Forest in Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Interactive Forest in Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Subangan will showcase a fascinating cultural heritage and rich ecosystem of the province. It is also home to DAVOR, the sperm whale that first beached on the shores of Gov. Generoso on June 2010, and was given such an affectionate name by Governor Cora.

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

A memorial and a symbol of the rich biodiversity of our seas, the gentle giant was approximately 53 feet in length, the 7th in terms of size in the World List (the largest on record is 59 feet and died in 1937).

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Truly an animal of extremes, this amazing cetacean has the largest brain and the longest intestine on the planet. DAVOR’s immense skeletal display which took years to assemble and transport (almost complete except for the teeth, one fin and an eardrum) has finally found a resting place in Subangan.

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum © Jojie Alcantara

* * * *

 

SM Lanang Premier Musical Fountain

SM Lanang Premier Musical Fountain © Jojie Alcantara 2013

This night shot was for an advertorial in Philippine Airlines’ inflight Mabuhay Magazine.  I was commissioned by SM Malls to do the layout spread for the international magazine.

The Fountain Court is a two-level strip of fine dining restaurants with a spectacular view of this 122-meter musical fountain, the first of its kind in Davao and Mindanao and the longest in the country. It stages a Waterworks Show, a water and light show that runs daily at the Fountain Court and has become the mall’s regular attraction.

Fountain at SM Lanang Davao © Jojie Alcantara

Fountain at SM Lanang Davao © Jojie Alcantara

At night, friends and families come over to hang out in the breezy garden area and watch the dancing fountain play every hour.  Children scoot around dancing with the music while older ones just chill out by the stairs which double as viewing seats.  Most of them whip out cellphones and cameras for colorful shots of the amazing spectacle which, according to my Mom whom I often bring here, makes one forget the stress of the day. 🙂

Davao City Hall © Jojie Alcantara

Historic Davao City Hall (built 1926)

The local government building was built as a municipal hall by the American government in 1926, eleven years before the place was declared as a chartered city by then President Manuel L. Quezon in 1937.

DID YOU KNOW? Davao's local government building was built as a municipal hall by the American government in 1926, eleven years before the place was declared as a chartered city by then President Manuel L. Quezon in 1937. #DavaoNow… Click To Tweet
Davao City Hall © Jojie Alcantara

Davao City Hall © Jojie Alcantara

Depicting the American architecture in the 1920s, the Davao City Hall was the latest infrastructure in the country declared as a historical site in 2012, with the unveiling rites of a marker by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Ludivico Badoy, chair of the National Historical Commission.

Davao City Hall © Jojie Alcantara

Davao City Hall © Jojie Alcantara

These shots were taken during my street photography workshop with Davao Bloggers last June 8, 2013.

One beautiful sunrise I was lucky to have captured

Of golden sunrise and statues in the Baywalk

One spectacular sunrise in 2010 © Jojie Alcantara

[Tweet “Of golden sunrise and statues in the Baywalk by Jojie Alcantara”]

I grew up playing and swimming in the black sandy shore of Times Beach in Matina decades ago.  It is Davao’s public beach.

Morning has broken in Baywalk, Times Beach © Jojie Alcantara

Morning has broken in Baywalk, Times Beach (Oct. 2011) © Jojie Alcantara

Back then, it was a lot cleaner.  Many families I know used to spend wonderful picnics there.  As the population grew, my family stopped making it our weekend outing in the mid-90s.  The shore became congested with people, trash and pollution (including bathing dogs and horses).  A growing community of houses were built.  A few years back, the resort and homeowners made a move to clean up and revive the old popularity of Times Beach, trying to restore its old glory.

 

Baywalk at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

Baywalk at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

 

A portion called Baywalk was constructed by the family who owns Queensland, a popular motel by the sea.  There  used to be this infamous seawall where a young crowd  would hang out in parked cars and blared music, leaving bottles of beer littered around (that once “young crowd” must now be parents with beer bellies).

 

Golden David at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

Golden David at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara

 

The Baywalk is now transformed into a clean park with manicured gardens, a mini zoo and a shark pool (am not sure if there are any left now).  At dawn, there used to be an aerobics class going on.  Here joggers, pregnant women, families spend time around the place to walk, run, fish, exercise, eat and drink and just watch the sunset without swimming. I haven’t been here for quite some time.  I was told that some of the massage therapists from San Pedro and Rizal Park now hang out there.

 

Little Mermaid replica in Baywalk Davao © Jojie Alcantara

Little Mermaid replica in Baywalk Davao © Jojie Alcantara

 

Two famous replicas of statues were built: the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen looking forlornly out at sea;  and the other more controversial nude Statue of David.  When it was first erected (pardon the pun), conservative folks reacted to the owner having the “balls” to build the structure (more pun coming ahead), deeming it an affront to the senses.  There was a huge protest over a dong.

 

Statue of David replica in Davao Baywalk © Jojie Alcantara

Statue of David replica in Davao Baywalk © Jojie Alcantara

[Tweet “Behold… the great balls of fire! “]

Sorry, that was a momentary glitch.  Where was I?

The hoopla has died down by now, and the initial shock went “limp” (I can’t help it!).  Today,  David’s still hanging by his balls soaked in the golden shower splendor of the sun.  I think the fountains by the pool are still working.  While it has initially been met with resistance,  it is now a popular tourist attraction with lots of selfie done below the belt… so much ado over David’s Goliath.

I used to frequent this place whenever I have the urge to get some beautiful daybreak.  Sunrise never disappoints me here.  They were almost always beautiful.  Other times, they were spectacular.

More images of sunrise in Baywalk (October 2011)  :

 

Sunrise in Baywalk © Jojie Alcantara 2011

Sunrise in Baywalk © Jojie Alcantara 2011

 

 

Little Mermaid replica at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara 2011

A lonely Little Mermaid replica at sunrise © Jojie Alcantara 2011

 

There is more in my other photo gallery, if you are interested.

“Here Comes the Sun” series,2009

My Birthday Sunrise, 2009

Baywalk, Times Beach Sunrise, 2011

Enjoying Davao on a budget

Enjoying Davao on a budget
(published in November issue of Cebu Pacific’s SMILE Magazine, Shoestring Diaries)

Discover all that Davao has to offer without breaking the bank.  Jojie Alcantara gives us a guide to time-crunching and penny-pinching in the southern city.

Smile Inflight Magazine, Nov. 2011

Smile Inflight Magazine, Nov. 2011

View large pages here

ACCORDING TO statistics, Davao City — at 2,443km² or 244,300 hectares — is the largest city in the country and the rest of the world in terms of land area.

So how do you cover such a large sprawl with limited time and without emptying your pockets? Tagged by local tourism authorities as the “Island to Highland Destination,” Davao has a variety of things to offer — and the best way to get the most for less is to spend the day as I did: with a plan, and a mind open to welcome detours.

Day 1

Be a culture vulture
First rule of touring Davao: keep your itinerary flexible, and be prepared for a change of plans at any time. But when the day is bright and the weather is mild, grab the chance to walk the city and see what it has to offer.

I recommend getting a better understanding of the people and the local heritage for a start. Davao is an interesting melting pot of indigenous cultures (it has 11 recognized colorful tribes), so Museo Dabawenyo, which showcases the city’s history and artistic life, is top on my list (open 1pm–6pm daily except Mondays and special holidays; admission is free).

San Pedro Cathedral by Rhonson Ng

San Pedro Cathedral by Rhonson Ng

Just a short walking distance away is Osmeña Park, where people hang around to play chess, discuss religion, and have an al fresco back massage (PHP75). A two-minute walk further is the imposing San Pedro Cathedral. Built in 1847 by the Spanish conquistador Don Jose Oyanguren, who later became the first governor of Davao region, it is the oldest church in the city.

Across the cathedral is the Sangguniang Panglungsod Building with the Monument of Peace and Unity right between them. I passed by the City Hall building on my way to Jaltan Restaurant for a lovely meal of dinuguan with puto, sapin-sapin and fresh lumpia (PHP150).

A jeepney ride (PHP8) took me to People’s Park, which features a mini- forest, an interactive fountain, waterfalls and ponds, a children’s fantasy park, a sunken garden, and large sculptures of local kids as well as the Philippine eagle. A prominent attraction is the durian- shaped dome where people love to hang out until the evening.

A short distance from the park is the Sampaguita Tourist Inn, where I booked a two-night stay (PHP600). Dinner was also just a walking distance away at Dimsum Diner along Ilustre Street (toppings, siomai and tea, PHP150).

Shoestring budget for Day 1: PHP983

Smile Inflight Mag Nov Issue

Smile Inflight Mag Nov Issue

Day 2

Art and animals
I took a late breakfast at the hotel, then a taxi (PHP55) to Ponce Suites Gallery Hotel to check out the works of Davao’s pride, artist Kublai Milan, a prolific sculptor, painter and photographer (and my first mentor!). The hotel displays a number of Milan’s early and recent paintings on every wall of every floor, as well as art installations of found objects.

Smile Inflight Mag Nov Issue

After the hotel tour, I grabbed a strawberry shake (PHP90) at Kublai’s Café, and rushed off for a quick photo op with a huge sculpture for which I had modeled for him years ago — a woman entwined in the arms of a naked tree man with branches as arms and kids hanging all over.

My face on the sculpture created by Kublai Millan

My face on the sculpture created by Kublai Millan

A tricycle (PHP5) took me to nearby Victoria Plaza where I ordered my favorite grilled pork chop with rice (PHP200) at Basti’s Brew, another homegrown coffee bar with free Wi-Fi.

I took another cab ride (PHP120), this time to Crocodile Park (www.psdgroupph.com ), to snap photos of exotic animals, two full-grown tigers, and a chimpanzee. No trip to the park is complete without a snapshot of the 18ft Pangil, the country’s largest croc in captivity before Lolong, the 21-footer from Agusan, came along.

After taking more photos of the park’s Butterfly Sanctuary, I headed back downtown in a cab for dinner at Majid’s Kebab, owned by my good friend Majid. Majid is Iranian but has lived in Davao for several years now, right after his Hollywood fighting stint with Chuck Norris, and after a spell acting as the bad guy opposite FPJ in Philippine movies. Eating a full dinner of beef kebab and chicken biryani (PHP113) made me feel sleepy and content. After taking a peek at Promenade, the party place right across Majid’s, I took a short walk back to the inn for an early trip to dreamland.

Shoestring budget for day2: PHP583

Smile Inflight Magazine Nov issue

Smile Inflight Magazine Nov issue

Day 3

Shop non-stop!
As it was the last day of my budget tour, I took the jeep (PHP8) to Aldevinco, the first shopping center in Davao (inaugurated in 1965). Located along C.M. Recto Street, it is right in front of Marco Polo Hotel downtown.

Aldevinco is more popularly known as a rich one-stop shop of Mindanaoan heritage and cultural diversity. Tourists are regularly brought to this treasure trove where pasalubongs abound, from native products, ethnic woven batiks, tinalak, bags, malongs, elegant antiques, brassware, household décor, jewelry and South Sea pearls of different colors. All this on top of imported textiles from Asia. Moneychangers are everywhere too. (My go-to place is called Al Shizamin Store.) At Aldevinco, there are over 100 shops to choose from and to happily haggle (“tawad”) with.

Here I indulged in a trinket (PHP30), a souvenir Davao shirt (PHP120), an ethnic colored veil (PHP75), and a silky blouse made in Pakistan (PHP230).

Smile Inflight Mag Nov Issue

Smile Inflight Mag Nov Issue

Across nearby Marco Polo Hotel, I ducked into the spacious City Triangle with its large selection of food outlets for a quick meal. The food mall is filled with students from nearby Ateneo de Davao enjoying the cheap eats from various stalls. Mine totaled PHP60.

For dessert, I strolled over to Madrazo Fruit Stand, where I bought durian in season (PHP60) and durian candy bars (PHP45). Other fruits on display were the sweet pomelo, marang, green and yellow mango, and the elusive mangosteen. Suitably satisfied, I went back to my home in Matina (PHP55), and continued living the good and cheap life in Davao. Some people like to call it one of the most livable cities in the country, and it only takes three days to know why.

Shoestring budget for day 3: PHP675

TOTAL SHOESTRING BUDGET:
PHP2,241

Smile Inflight Mag Nov Issue

Smile Inflight Mag Nov Issue

The Shoestring Traveler: Jojie Alcantara

Her motto
“It’s great to have a plan of action, but make room for more possibilities. The best memories often come from the unexpected.”

Her mission
To explore Davao City’s wide-ranging and varied attractions in 72 hours with less than PHP3,000.

TRAVELING ON THE CHEAP?

You’ll be glad to know that…
1. On a lazy day, you can lounge at Davao’s Wi-Fi-ready coffee shops such as Bo’s Coffee, Basti’s Brew, Coffee Dream, BluGre Café, Fagioli, Firenzo, SouthBrew Express, Kangaroo Coffee, Yellow Haus and many more.

2. You can try durian in ice cream, cake or coffee form in various restaurants and coffee shops. Or have the fruit itself in one of the stalls on Magsaysay Road. You can’t take it into the hotel or on the plane, unless it’s in a tightly sealed box.

3. Davao City is typhoon-free. But it does rain cats and dogs during wet season, so bring the necessary gear.

4. Frozen tuna is available to take back home to family and friends. Get frozen seafood delicacies from Marina Tuna, Sarangani Bay Prime Bangus, and Palaisdaan at Iba Pa.

* * * *

April 2011 Mabuhay Magazine Issue

Davao’s Perfect 10

“Davao’s Perfect 10” is an article written by Mabuhay Magazine editor-in-chief  Jun Ventura back in 2011 (president of Eastgate Publishing Corporation), describing our beloved city as thus:

Davao feature in Mabuhay Magazine April 2011 issue

Davao feature in Mabuhay Magazine April 2011 issue

So I share with you the pages of the feature article published with my partner’s (Rhonson Ng) photos.  Two of his three cover photos are of Davao (both Mount Apo shots) published in Mabuhay Magazine in the past.

P40-P48 Davao in Mabuhay Magazine Mt, Apo peak sunrise photo by Rhonson Ng

P40-P48 Davao in Mabuhay Magazine Mt, Apo peak sunrise photo by Rhonson Ng

 

Eden Resort, wildwater rafting and Zip City by Rhonson Ng

Eden Resort, wildwater rafting and Zip City by Rhonson Ng

 

Oboza old mansion photos by Jun Ventura

Oboza old mansion photos by Jun Ventura

 

Paseo de Legaspi, fruitstand and Paradise Island Resort by Rhonson Ng

Paseo de Legaspi, fruitstand and Paradise Island Resort by Rhonson Ng

 

Marco Polo Hotel photo by Raf Dominguez

Marco Polo Hotel photo by Raf Dominguez

SKY Subscribers can witness Filipino greatness in 2019 SEA Games across multiple platforms

SKY Subscribers can witness Filipino greatness in 2019 SEA Games across multiple platforms

Celebrate the best of Filipino athletes with SKY’s all-out coverage of the 2019 SEA Games. #GalingNgPilipinoSaSKY Click To Tweet

Celebrate the best of Filipino athletes with SKY’s all-out coverage of the
Philippines 2019 30 th Southeast Asian Games. SKYcable and SKYdirect
subscribers can cheer for our athletes in their quest for glory and gold by
watching the live telecast on SKY via SKY Free View, ABS-CBN, S+A,
Liga and TV5.

Football aficionados can catch all the football action live on LIGA
Channel and find out if the Azkals can make it all the way to the top.

On S+A, watch out for team captain Alyssa Valdez and her team as they try
to get through the feisty volleyball teams of our neighbor countries to win
the crown. Viewers can also catch the men’s volleyball live on the same
channel.

Subscribers can also witness the best of aquatics, gymnastics and athletic
matches on SKY Free View.

Leaving the house? You can livestream the games via SKY on Demand or
iWant you don’t miss out on the action. Visit mysky.com.ph/seagames for
the schedule of televised matches and their channel assignments. /pr

* * *

ABS-CBN to air Gazini’s fight for back-to-back Miss Universe win

Live Telecast in HD on SKY : ABS-CBN to air Gazini's fight for back-to-back Miss Universe win Click To Tweet

Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados makes her bid to bring home the Miss Universe crown for a back-to-back win for the Philippines when she competes in the 68th Miss Universe to be aired live from the US on ABS-CBN on December 9 (Monday), at 8 AM.

Hailing from Talisay, Cebu, Gazini first impressed pageant enthusiasts during her performance at the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 where she showed confidence, grace, and wit, ultimately taking home the coveted title. Now, fans are excited to see her strut as the country’s representative in the popular pageant with her signature “Ganado walk” and be the successor of the current Miss Universe titleholder Catriona Gray.

Hosted by comedian Steve Harvey, the Miss Universe coronation night will be held at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Filipinos can also root for the country’s bet via Skydirect on channel 2, SKYcable channel 08
(SD) or 167 (HD) in Metro Manila and channel 2 (SD) and 700 (HD) in regional areas. Sky subscribers can also live stream The 68th Miss Universe via SKY on Demand or iwant.ph.

Pageant fans, meanwhile, can relive Gazini’s battle against the other candidates from 92 countries on Metro Channel on December 17 at 7pm, with replays on December 18 (8am), December 20 (9pm), December 22 (8am), and December 25 (3pm).

For more stories and information, follow @abscbnpr on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

From classroom to cockpit: Cebu Pacific welcomes second batch of Cadet Pilots

The second batch of Cebu Pacific cadet pilots (L to R): Neil Mark Enriquez, David Jonathan Francisco, Norman Viktor Tugot, Jr., Orville Anana, Maria Angelica Ignes, Jerson Leonardo, Michelle Jean Saquing, Christian Andrew Esguerra, Kert Rafols, Terence Cruz, Tristan Gacott, Ferdyn Ranosa

From classroom to cockpit: Cebu Pacific welcomes second batch of Cadet Pilots

Search for next batch of Cebu Pacific Cadet Pilots opens Click To Tweet

A second batch of Cadet Pilots from Cebu Pacific successfully completed 56 weeks of rigorous and complex training at the prestigious Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) in Australia and are set to join the pilot corps of the Philippines’ leading carrier.

The second batch of 12 Cadet Pilots returned to Manila and will complete ground school and other requirements before becoming full-fledged commercial pilots. They are: Neil Mark Enriquez, David Jonathan Francisco, Norman Viktor Tugot, Jr., Orville Anana, Maria Angelica Ignes, Jerson Leonardo, Michelle Jean Saquing, Christian Andrew Esguerra, Kert Rafols, Terence Cruz, Tristan Gacott, and Ferdyn Ranosa

Among those who completed the FTA flight training program is Boljoon, Cebu resident Orville Anana, a certified civil engineer and master plumber who graduated from the Cebu Institute of Technology. Another newly-pinned cadet pilot is Karl Nino Dionson, a native of Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur who earned a degree in electronics and communication engineering from the University of San Carlos.

The Cebu Pacific Cadet Pilot Program aims to enable aspiring Filipinos who wish to become commercial pilots. It is a “study now, pay later, zero-interest” training program wherein Cebu Pacific shoulders the entire cost of the pilot training and guarantees employment to cadet pilots who successfully complete the training. To date, there are five batches comprised of 71 Cebu Pacific Cadet Pilots currently at FTA in Adelaide, Australia, one of the best aviation training facilities in the world.

Coinciding with the homecoming of the cadet pilots is the search for a new batch of Cebu Pacific Cadet Pilots. Application period for Batch 9 of the Cebu Pacific Cadet Pilot program will run from November 4 to 13, 2019. The program is open to Filipino citizens who hold a college or university degree and are proficient in English. Applicants must have an average grade of at least 80% or its equivalent in subjects related to Math, Physics and English, and be in good physical condition. They must hold a passport with minimum validity of two years

There is no application fee for the program, and only applicants who pass the online pre-screening will proceed with the next stages of the selection process.

Interested applicants may apply for the program through https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JWFMS5G .

For more information, visit http://www.flyfta.com/pilot-training/cebu-pacific-cadet-program

About Cebu Air Inc. (PSE: CEB)

Cebu Air Inc. is the largest carrier in the Philippine air transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline.

CEB and subsidiary Cebgo fly to 37 domestic and 26 international destinations, with over 108 routes. The CEB network operates flights out of seven strategically placed hubs in the Philippines: Clark, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Kalibo, Cebu, Iloilo and Manila.

The Cebu Pacific fleet is comprised 74 aircraft—three (3) Airbus A321NEO, three (3) A320NEO, seven (7) Airbus A321CEO, 31 Airbus A320, eight (8) A330, seven (7) ATR 72-500, 13 ATR 72-600, and an ATR Cargo Freighter. CEB boasts of one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average fleet age of five (5) years.

A member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Cebu Pacific has achieved full compliance with IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)—considered as the benchmark of the highest standards for safety in the airline industry, joining a roster of 429 airlines worldwide that have strictly complied with the most stringent of international standards governing aviation safety.

For bookings and inquiries, guests can visit www.cebupacificair.com or call the reservation hotlines (+632)7020-888 or (+6332)230-8888. The latest seat sales can be found on CEB’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages.

Guests may also download the Cebu Pacific official mobile app on the App Store and Google Play

 

‘Taiwan in Design’ Set to Grace Taiwan Expo 2019 in Davao

‘Taiwan in Design’ Set to Grace Taiwan Expo 2019 in Davao Click To Tweet

‘Taiwan in Design’ is a major project organized by TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council) that seeks to catalyze business transactions between Taiwan and the Philippine through design.

The project will be featured in the upcoming Taiwan Expo 2019 in SMX, Lanang this November 8-9, 2019. This design showcase will demonstrate the designs of Taiwan as an important added-value for their products.

The exhibit will run under the theme “enjoy design, enjoy life”, and will be presenting 50 select products that exhibit superior design and creativity. The products which will be featured in the expo are some of the most awarded in the industry. They have received global design awards among iF, Red Dot, Taiwan Excellence, GIA, Tokyo Design and more.

The 14 Taiwanese manufacturers will demonstrate how Taiwan transforms life inspiration into product value and enhance the beauty element of life and business. The works that will be displayed will show creative design comprising of traditional Taiwanese culture with emphasis on science and technology as well as remaining environmentally safe and promoting green technology.

Bacolod’s Masskara Festival on SKY Freeview

Bacolod's Masskara Festival on SKY Freeview livestream via SKY Fiber Click To Tweet

Be part of the 40th Masskara Festival celebrations and witness performers in stylish masks and costumes move to the beat of the city as SKY airs a two-day coverage of the annual Negrenses party live on October 26 to 27.

Masskara Festival 2016 by Jojie Alcantara

 

Witness the street dancing competition featuring school and barangay participants on October 26 (Saturday) October 27 (Sunday), respectively.

Masskara Festival 2016 by Jojie Alcantara

 

SKYcable subscribers can just tune in to channel 211 and 200 (Mega Manila), channel 64 and 702 (Cebu/Bacolod/Iloilo/Baguio/Davao/Gen San/Dumaguete) while SKYdirect users can switch to channel 48 from 1 PM onwards.

Masskara Festival 2016 by Jojie Alcantara

 

The festivities can also be streamed online. Subscribe now to SKY Fiber Super Speed plan 25mbps for only P1,499/month to tune in the fun.

Don’t miss out on the grand celebration this year with live performances from the MassKara Festival.  Check out the SKY booths at the Lacson Tourism Strip and NGC Grounds offering various fun activities for all SKY subscribers.  For more details, visit mysky.com.ph/masskara.

Masskara Festival 2016 by Jojie Alcantara

Binge-watch VIU’s Hottest Kdramas with SKY

Binge-watch VIU’s Hottest Kdramas with SKY Click To Tweet

SKY subscribers can now get their K-drama fix for only P99 a month on Viu Premium, with SKY.

In as fast as eight hours after broadcast, latest dramas, variety programs, reality shows, and entertainment news are already available on VIU, complete with English subtitles. With features to download and stream content offline via the app, it’s definitely a must-have for Asian drama enthusiasts.

K-drama fans can binge-watch some of today’s hottest titles, including “Hotel del Luna,” featuring 2019 BaekSang Arts Awards Most Popular Actress IU, who stars as Jang Man Wol. Yeo Jin Goo, last seen on “Absolute Boyfriend,” co-stars in this spooky romantic comedy, where the duo works to service the hotel’s exclusively all-ghosts guests, and preparing them for the afterlife.

Another title recommended for hopeless romantics is the latest historical drama, “Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency,” starring Seo Ji Hoon as the newly crowned King of Joseon. He hires a matchmaking agency to transform his first love, GaeDdong (played by Gong SeungYeon), from a commoner into a noble lady he can marry.

If you’re into more riveting, darker stories, then you’ll want to check out “Strangers from Hell.”  In this thrilling horror webtoon adaptation, award-winning actor and ZE:A member Im Si Wan takes the role of a young man who moves to a cheap apartment in Seoul for his new job. He finds, however, that his housemates, including Seo Moon Jo played be top actor Lee Dong Wook, aren’t exactly the cleanest of people, and hide much more sinister secrets than meets the eye.

Viu is available for streaming on major desktop browsers, Android, and iOS. As a legit source of Asian content, subscribers need not worry about security when browsing or streaming content on Viu.

SKY’s partnership with VIU offer its subscribers the ability to charge their Viu subscription to their SKY bill. Residential SKYcable, SKY Fiber, and SKYdirect postpaid subscribers can choose between a one month, or a monthly recurring all-access pass to premium Asian content that are not available on HD cable.

 

To subscribe, visit www.mysky.com.ph/viu now.

KBO now available on  SKY,  premieres “Between Maybes” AND “MOMOL  Nights”

KBO now available on SKY, premieres “Between Maybes” AND “MOMOL Nights” Click To Tweet

Fresh Filipino movie treats come to families every week as SKY starts offering a five-day access to KBO.

Be among the first to catch Gerald Anderson and Julia Barretto’s movie, “Between Maybes” on TV.   Shot in Japan, the movies gives viewers a glimpse of the lives of Hazel (Julia), a struggling actress who impulsively flies to Saga and Louie (Gerald), a man who decided that seclusion would help mend his broken heart.

See how the two strangers meet at the most vulnerable time of their lives and how will they change each other’s paths. Catch this on September 20 to 24 together with 8 bonus content – A KBO Special: The ABS-CBN Ball 2019, Can We Still Be Friends?, Sisterakas, Walwal, The Third Party, One More Try, and remastered versions of Dekada ’70 andAnak.

In the timely iWant original “MOMOL Nights,” Kim Molina and Kit Thompson star as the loveless Peng (Kim) and the jaded Marco (Kit).

Peng is dared by her friends to make out with a complete stranger hoping it would help her find “the one.” One night, she crosses paths with Marco (Kit), whom she decides is the perfect man to make out with.

Where will her ‘MOMOL’ escapade lead her to? Will this be the answer of her loveless life? Find out on September 27-October 1 along with other love stories – S.P.A.R.K., Working Beks, Past Tense, The Mistress, Now That I Have You, Must Be Love, Everyday I Love You.

For only P30 per movie bundle, all SKY subscribers can catch the TV premieres of these films on KBO.

To avail of this offer, SKYdirect subscribers can text PPV (AIRING DATE) (BOX ID) to 23667 using Globe/TM.SKYcable subscribers can text PPV <ACCOUNT NO.> to 23662 or call 305-5456. To watch it on any device via SKY On Demand, SKY Fiber subscribers need only to activate online.

For more details, visit mysky.com.ph/kbo30.

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SKY Fiber launches new Speed Plans and country’s first All-In Box

SKY Fiber launches new Speed Plans and country’s first all-in box

A superior internet experience is now within more Filipinos’ reach as SKY launches its new Super Speed Plans, a set of fiber-fast home internet subscription plans that are the most affordable in the market and offers the most value for their money.

SKY launches its new Super Speed Plans, a set of fiber-fast home internet subscription plans that are the most affordable in the market and offers the most value for their money. Click To Tweet

SKY Fiber’s Super Speed Plans start with its most affordable unlimited fiber internet offer, the Plan 5mbps that is available at only P999/month. Its new Plan 25mbps is its best value plan priced at only P1,499/month while its Plan 50mbps at P1,999/mo.

 

Hooking up to fiber-fast internet connection gives users the chance to enjoy faster and smoother music and video streaming, play video games without lag, or simply have a seamless surfing experience.

 

But a new entertainment experience also awaits subscribers of the Super Speed Plans as they can choose to bundle them with the new SKY Fiber All-In Box. The first of its kind in the country, this device combines the power of a WiFi-enabled modem, digital terrestrial TV and cable TV modem for total entertainment.

The SKY Fiber All-In Box frees users from the hassles of maintaining three different devices for their broadband, cable TV, and digital terrestrial TV services. It allows Filipino families to enjoy unlimited, fiber-fast internet speeds of up to 50mbps and watch television and online shows.

Users can  catch FREE ABS-CBN TVplus channels such as Cinemo, Yey, Jeepney, Knowledge Channel & more; binge on ABS-CBN shows, iWant Originals, and local movies on the TV screen via the built-in iWant app; plus add SKYcable channels—from Cartoon Network HD, Nickelodeon, Cinema One, Metro TV, CNN HD, to NBA Premium, and more; or subscribe to Pay Per View, any time.

The All-In Box also offers a full range of other conveniences that include a program schedule reminder, the ability to record shows, a built-in media players for video and music, parental control settings for those who want to keep track of their kids’ viewing, and even access to one’s account information such as account data and billing information.

Bloggers who won in the contest and raffle draw

Subscribers can choose to avail of the new All-In Box with SKY Fiber’s unlimited and affordable Super Speed Plans 5 up to 50mbps.

SKY Fiber’s All-In Box is available for a special introductory installation fee of P1,499. It is initially available in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Davao.

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Ateneo Marketing Club Photography Workshop

Ateneo Marketing Club Photography Workshop

By Jojie Alcantara (published in SunStar Davao)

For three successive years, I have been conducting my basic photography workshop with the Ateneo Marketing Club (AMARC) under its moderator Ms. Donna Abrina. The club is composed of marketing students from second to the fourth year. This year, my recent workshop with the club reached a hundred enthusiastic participants.

Held inside the Ateneo de Davao University campus, my lecture was about promoting a product through creative photography and its basic compositions. Visual communication is an essential part of advertising and the most effective way of delivering messages to the public through images.  This is how photography creates an impact in the minds of consumers.

Once again my students were quick learners as they formed teams and collaborated on several product shoots using their digital cameras and mobile phones. The teams were given a chance to present their photos and explain their creative process. They submitted their entries without editing or retouching.

Thanks to our favorite sponsors, their products were used as subjects and later on after judging, we announced the best photo entries and gave prizes to the winning teams.  Just like last year, everyone was given discount coupons by Dhan Store and one of my favorite Davao made organic soaps Pino Tropika from MySkin Origins. The awarding also ended with a Fujifilm instax print for each group.

Big thanks to my invited guests who are social media influencers : Tammy “TammyKikoy” Francisco, Jean “Pal Raine” Cawad, Christian “CJ” Salas, my sister Karen Alcantara, and Jocelyn Nefiel who brought special cupcakes from Cake Galerie.  Ms. Donna also treated us to a delicious healthy lunch and merienda from Wynward Garden Bistro.

This year my generous sponsors who gave wonderful prizes were Dhans Gadget Store, Fujifilm Philippines and Instax,  MySkin Origins, Gana Dry Goods, Angels and Crystals with Artzy Quartzy, Wakaba Garlic Chili Oil, May Sparkling Juice, SkyCable, Bioskin, AromacologySensi and Cake Gallerie. Special thanks to MX3 products which continuously keep my energy in high gear talking and bouncing in whole day activities such as this.

(Jojie Alcantara is a long time columnist, photographer, traveler and workshop speaker proudly writing for SunStar Davao for more than two decades. Email at jojiealcantara@gmail.com or visit kodakerdabawenya.com.)

This article was published in SunStar Davao on September 5, 2019.

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“Sunshine Family” and “Stranded” premiere on SKYCable Pay-per-view this August

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Witness the TV premieres of two 2019 films, “Sunshine Family” and “Stranded” this August in SKYcable Pay-Per-View.

See how the Mapalad family navigates its patriarch Don’s (Nonie Buencamino) problem when he got involved in a hit-and-run accident in the family drama “Sunshine Family.” As the family tries to hide his crime, they also uncover some secrets that will challenge in keeping the family intact.

Arjo Atayde and Jessy Mendiola team-up for the second time in the romantic-comedy film, “Stranded.” The movie centers on Julia (Jessy), a workaholic girl who gets stranded with a delivery boy played by Arjo in her office. This is director Ice Idanan’s second film after her indie film debut in 2016. Watch out how a laid back Spencer (Arjo) entertains Julia while waiting for the super typhoon to stop.

Also in this month’s SKYcable Pay-Per-View line-up is the 2014 “Relaks It’s just Pag-ibig”  of Inigo Pascual and Sofia Andres and “Para sa Broken Hearted” headlined by Marco Gumabao and Shy Carlos, Sam Concepcion, Louise delos Reyes, and Yassi Pressman.

Enjoy this bundle for your family and loved ones  in high definition on your TV or on any device via SKY On Demand from August 5-18 for only P30 for a 5-day access. To avail, subscribers may call 305-5456, text PPV <Account No.> to 23662 or visit mysky.com.ph/moviesppv.

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