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Saturday, July 4, 2020

METROBANK-SUPPORTED MOLECULAR LABORATORY FOR COVID-19 TESTING INAUGURATED: LARGEST IN THE COUNTRY


On June 27, the country inaugurated its largest molecular laboratory capable of detecting COVID-19 and other contagious diseases at the former Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Headquarters in Port Area Manila. Through the initiatives of the Philippine Red Cross, the project was partly funded by Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings through a PhP 18 million donation, coursed through its corporate social responsibility arm Metrobank Foundation (MBFI) and Ty family’s GT Foundation (GTFI)
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman Senator Richard Gordon hand a plaque to GT Foundation president and Federal Land chairperson Alfred Ty (center) and Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobreña (left) to recognize the Php18 million donation of Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings to construct and equip the country’s largest molecular laboratory at the former PRC Headquarters in Port Area Manila on June 27.



The donation went for the construction and equipping the facility with two automated extraction machines for testing of samples. With additional contributions from the Australian Embassy and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCII), the laboratory has an overall capacity to test 14,000 samples a day.
The ceremonies were led by PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Inter-Agency Task Force Deputy Implementer Undersecretary Vivencio Dizon, Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson AO, GTFI president and Federal Land chairman Alfred Ty, MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña and FFCCCII president Henry Bon Liong. 

“We have been working hard in supporting various initiatives to address and combat the effects of the pandemic since the start of the lockdown. We advocate and support the conduct of “Test, Trace, and Treat” or T3 in order to identify the various factors in the development and mitigation of the spread of virus which could lead in flattening the curve," said Mr. Ty.

The laboratory will also go a long way in ensuring early detection and efficient treatment of other contagious and deadly diseases such as cancer, human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis, dengue, malaria, tuberculosis, Zika virus among others. 
The donation was part of the P220 million contribution by Metrobank Group and GT Capital Holdings to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. 

The amount was allocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to benefit healthcare and security frontliners; support for the production of RT-PRC testing kits through the UP National Institutes of Health; “Project Ugnayan” led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation; distribution of meals and food packs to underprivileged families; construction and equipping of molecular laboratories for the testing of cases in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Red Cross, and Ayala Group; and Go Negosyo’s Project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits) of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation. Just recently, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation donated 30 VIOS units for the mobility of healthcare frontliners of DOH and local government hospitals.

SAMSUNG officially launches the new Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and is now available nationwide

SAMSUNG officially launches the new Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and is now available nationwide starting today. 

Turn ideas into action with the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite’s precise and ergonomic S Pen, which lets users write down notes and accomplish their tasks with ease. From writing notes, creating artwork, and developing presentations, learning can be done easier with the S Pen. The best part is that it is magnetically attached to the tablet, ready for use anytime and anywhere.

The tablet ensures the best learning experience without interruptions as it comes with a 10.4” WUXGA+ display, as well as dual speakers by Dolby Atmos and sound by AKG, that allow for an immersive viewing and listening experience in one compact companion. With these features that offer premium quality display and sound, focusing and immersing in education and inspirational videos is easier. 

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is also seamlessly integrated with Samsung’s Galaxy ecosystem. With Call and Text Continuity support, conveniently answer calls and texts anywhere using the tablet. Learning also becomes more fun as the tablet comes with pre-installed Netflix and Spotify apps which provide access to a wide array of content. 

Speaking of content, parents can rest easy as the tablet comes with Samsung Kids, providing children access to age-appropriate and family-friendly materials. Additionally, the tablet also lets users enjoy up to 4 months of FREE Youtube Premium[1].

Experience new kinds of learning at home with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, now available nationwide! With a retail price of PHP 26,990, the tablet comes in beautiful Angora Blue and Oxford Gray with a free book cover.

To know more about the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, visit samsung.com/ph/

Specification Sheet: 





[1] Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-100289 Series of 2020.

Enjoy 50% off on Kuya J Lumpia Prito


Are you craving for some deliciously crispy Lumpia Prito? Well, you indoor salo-salo just got more exciting as Kuya J is offering a 50% discount on its special Lumpia Prito. These crispy, meaty, and flavor-packed treats will surely complete a perfect, satisfying meal.

Customers can avail of this offer for dine-in or take-out at Kuya J restaurants. No need to worry because health protocols are in place to ensure the safety of diners.



This special offer is also available for delivery via www.centraldelivery.ph during the promo period with multiple orders in one transaction allowed.

The 50% discount runs until July 5 and is available in the following branches: Kuya J Otis, SM San Lazaro, Robinsons Manila, SM Megamall, Eastwood, Paseo de Magallanes, Waltermart North EDSA, SM Novaliches, SM Cubao, SM Sucat, SM Southmall, Festival Mall, Robinsons Naga, and SM Legazpi.


For the latest deals and promos, follow @kuyajresto on Facebook and Instagram.

Shopee 7.7 Flash Deals: Catch it on Wowowin and Eat Bulaga!



Now is the best time to mark your calendar for that much awaited Shopee Flash deals. =) Maybelline beauty products are on sale! You also have to check out Vivo's Vivo Y15 for that amazing discount. 

Grab the best deals on Shopee’s Shake & Win TV Special on GMA’s Wowowin and Eat Bulaga this coming July 6 and 7. In addition to that, users can enjoy offers such as low-priced deals, free shipping with 0 minimum spend for featured stores, up to 90% off on selected products, and cash prizes











Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water 













Anker PowerCore Select 10000mah, Portable Powerbank 






BDO Remit assists in distribution of hygiene kits to repatriated OFWs


PRIORITIZING HEALTH. Repatriated overseas Filipinos at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) receive hygiene kits before they go back home to their respective provinces.



In coordination with BDO Foundation, BDO Remit turned over hundreds of bags of hygiene kits to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 and the PITX, which were then distributed to overseas Filipinos who were sent back here due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

The repatriated overseas Filipinos, who have already tested negative in the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and completed their required quarantine period, were then transported back to their home provinces thru the assistance of OWWA.

Friday, July 3, 2020

New BDO videos put a humorous twist on some of Piolo Pascual's most iconic scenes



BDO recently held a virtual presscon featuring Celebrity ambassador Piolo Pascual's TVCs. Its a parody from his two classic movies, "Starting Over Again" and "Milan". As the videos’ release coincides with OFs’ present situation , they take on more significance and meaning in Piolo’s view. 
Experts in the Philippines and other countries have been warning us: along with the wave of COVID-19 infections would be a wave of mental illness. There’s no avoiding that: people are anxious, afraid, and many have lost jobs and face an uncertain future. Add to that our collective isolation, loneliness, and dread. Overseas Filipinos (OFs) are particularly vulnerable. 
Actor Piolo Pascual is among those calling for more support for OFs during the pandemic. He said that overseas Filipinos are already under a great amount of pressure as they face tough emotional, physical, and financial challenges. It’s not surprising then that some of them would have mental health issues. 
“For decades, our economy benefited from billions of dollars in remittances. At this time, it’s our turn to give back and support OFs now that they are going through both a pandemic and an economic downturn,” said Piolo. 
OF roles in movies, TVCs 
Piolo has played several OF characters in various dramatic films--it’s a role that he also knows in real life because he used to be a security guard in Los Angeles, California before he achieved Philippine movie stardom. Recently, it was revealed that he again played versions of these characters in three new videos that will be shown in BDO branches, on BDO’s YouTube channel and on BDO Kabayan Facebook page. 
The commercials are light-hearted spin-offs or even slight spoofs of classic scenes in his movies “Milan” (with Claudine Barretto) and “Starting Over Again” (with Toni Gonzaga). 
“Mahilig ang mga Pinoy sa drama eh. Pero pati comedy rin. Etong mga videos, parang pinagsama yan tapos may twist. Yung pangkalahatan na mensahe ng video ay kailangan natin ngayon: yung kasiyahan at pag-asa. 
“Ang drama natin ngayon, real life. Pandemic. Lost jobs. Quarantine. Sandaang araw na itong drama. Hindi kagaya ng drama sa pelikula, two hours lang. So we need relief, we need to feel lighter, to see that we can still smile. Ma-realize lang natin na, oo nga, okay pa rin tumawa, magsaya. Na meron pa ring pag-asa. May solusyon. We can always find ways,” said Piolo. 





Reaching out, getting help 
Piolo said that the most important thing that OFs need to remember is to reach out for help. “Marami kasi sa atin, may tendency to keep things to ourselves. Masyado tayong matiisin. Akala natin puntos para sa atin yung magdusa. No, it’s not. Kung malungkot ka, o masama ang loob, call a friend. Makipag-usap sa kapamilya. Wala namang award na ibibigay sa iyo kapag sinarili mo ang problema mo. Nagiging delikado lang lalo ang mental health mo,” he said. 
He also reminded OFs not to hesitate getting professional help if needed. “There’s still a stigma over mental health. Sa panahon ngayon, hindi na dapat ikahiya ang mental illness. Tratuhin natin na tulad lang ng ibang sakit sa katawan.” He noted that there’s no shame in getting help in order to be better in our minds and emotions.’ 
Piolo added that people should be more empathetic and compassionate. “Pag may lumapit sa atin dahil nalulungkot, o may problema. Huwag balewalain. Sometimes, we say, ‘Kaya mo yan!’ pagkatapos iiwanan natin.. Hindi sapat yun. Huwag natin iwanan. Samahan natin tapos pakinggan natin.Hindi naman kailangan tayo ang mag-solve ng problema. Basta maiparamdam natin na hindi siya nag-iisa. Na nandon tayo to support him or her.” 
Call for bayanihan 
Piolo added that the new videos show precisely how to help. “In all the videos, mapapansin mo na kahit light and funny ang approach, malinaw ang mensahe: kapag ang kapwa Pinoy ay nasa alanganin, kapwa Pinoy ang tutulong. Hindi naman kailangan na solohin natin ang problema. Ang lakas ng Pilipino, nasa pagtutulungan, bayanihan. Especially during this pandemic, which is a huge, global problem, we need to call on the best in ourselves and help each other,” he said. 
In one video, “Starting Over There”, a desperate man (named Marco Villanueva, played by Piolo) chases after a taxicab in the rain, calling after “Ginny” (the character played by Toni Gonzaga in the original film). It is implied that, similar to the film, Ginny is leaving Marco to work abroad. 
We then realize that Marco is doubly desperate as he kneels in the rain, because Ginny seems to have left with his ATM card. He says that he needs it to access a remittance. Then a twist happens when an old woman, hair done in curlers, finds Marco as he fumbles in his pockets. Marco sees the ATM card was in his pocket all along. 
The old woman chides him, pointing out that with his ATM card, Marco can access an ATM, a BDO branch, and even a BDO Cash Agad kiosk at a sari-sari store. All of which are just around the same block as they are. 
Another video, “Starting Over Today,” shows the same character, Marco, passionately delivering the classic lines from the original film. We realize that Marco is inside a bank, somewhat mortified that he wasn’t able to get a BDO Kabayan Savings earlier--because he thought it would be a complicated, arduous process. The teller assures him otherwise. 



The third video, based on “Milan,” shows Marco asking help from a lovely fellow OF in sending money from Italy to a BDO Kabayan Savings account. The lady – whose features are noticeably familiar – is supposed to be a stand-in for Claudine Barretto. 

All the new videos aren’t just fun and enjoyable to watch but also showcase how Filipinos, deep down, are ready to help someone in need. During this public health and economic crisis, all essential services--including banking and remittances--have become crucial to our survival, sanity, and happiness. The pandemic and economic crunch may last longer than expected. But as Piolo’s commercials show, in their own witty and hilarious way, we still have each other. And that’s worth the effort to keep on fighting and hoping. 

Scents to uplift your quarantine mood




Feeling down and bored at home? Life in quarantine has been a tedious experience for many. One of the clever ways to improve your daily disposition is through scents. 

You may not be aware of it but different scents affect your brain. Think about how excited you get when you smell your favorite food from the kitchen; the same effect happens when you catch a whiff of your favorite perfume.

So turn that frown upside down and let Blackwater help you lift your spirits during these times.



Calm your mind. Research has shown that perfume relieves stress and anxiety. For example, the scent of aquatic perfumes is instantly energizing and refreshing. The light and fresh notes will make you feel like taking a stroll along a breezy sea shore. Looking for a similar fragrance? Try Blackwater Aqua for Men (P135) for a relaxing marine scent.

Improve productivity. Experts say that working from home can be mentally exhausting. If you face distractions at home, wearing a perfume can help one way or another. Spraying on stimulating fragrances, like citrus, can enhance performance on work-related tasks by increasing alertness and promoting concentration. If you need some vitalizing citrus scent, you can spray on Blackwater Sports 4 (P135).

Create a sense of normalcy. Missing your ordinary life? A scent can be nostalgic and make you remember people, places, and things that you can’t interact with at the moment. Even if you are just at home, why not use the perfume you wear at work or during a night-out with friends? If you also want to try a different scent, you can also can also find more fresh-smelling perfumes from Blackwater by visiting its website and official Lazada page.


Times may be difficult but it only takes a few spritz to help you continue smelling good and feeling good.

Cravng for Goldilocks Pinoy Deli favorites? Grab their newest additions to PinoyDeli meals!


As the "New Normal" is slowly accepted all over the country, eager Filipinos are finally allowed to go back to work given they follow specific social distancing guidelines. 
Along with the return to the workforce is a return to bringing packed meals, that is why Goldilocks the country's number one bakeshop is proud to introduce the newest additions to their acclaimed PinoyDeli meals!


Indulge in delicious pre-packed meals such as Beef Caldereta, Kare-Kare, Boneless Chicken, Dinuguan, Korean Beef Bulgogi, and Chicken Teriyaki, all of which come with a side of white rice and simply need to be heated in a microwave to enjoy!


Grab these and other goodies at select Goldilock Full Stores in the Philippines, namely; Shaw, Pasong Tamo, Robinsons Manila, SM 1, SM Valenzuela, SM Mall of Asia, Gatchalian Paranaque, GMA Kamuning, Alphaland Southgate, Marikina Concepcion, Market Market, Espana, SM Megamall, SM Bicutan, SM San Lazaro, SM Masinag and various Bakeshops which include; Rosario Pasig, Parang Marikina, Cogeo, Antipolo 1, Tanay, Montalban, Waltermart North EDSA, Waltermart Makati, 11th Ave. Caloocan, JP Rizal, Waterfun Taguig, Masangkay, Scout Borromeo, Casimiro Las Pinas. 


For more information, you may follow @GoldilocksPH on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or visit the official Goldilocks website at www.goldilocks.com.ph.


Shakey's Rolls Out ‘S.A.F.E." dining in the new normal



In an effort to restart the country’s economy, many establishments are welcoming customers with new normal protocols in place. Among them is Shakey’s—a family favorite for pizza, chicken, and mojos. 




To ensure the safety of guests, Shakey’s has implemented a number of stringent protocols under what it dubs as “Secure Atmosphere and Food Execution” (S.A.F.E.) program. Surpassing even the safety standards set by the government under the new normal, efforts in this initiative include regular safety audits and the designation of a Health Safety Officer (HSO) for every branch. 


The HSO’s sole duty is to ensure that all employees, from managers to security guards, will adhere to the new rules set by the company at all times. He or she is also tasked to check the body temperature of all employees at least three times a day, supervise the regular sanitation of highcontact areas, spot flu-like symptoms on guests and employees, as well as look for areas to improve safety, specific to each store. 

“We owe our guests peace of mind when they choose to dine in, take out, or have food delivered from our stores. Aside from the guarantee of delicious food, we also guarantee their safety,” shares Vic Gregorio, President and CEO of Shakey’s Pizza Asia Ventures, Inc. “We invested a significant amount of time and resources to think through every aspect of operating in the new normal. The world still has a lot to learn about this pandemic. In order to make every Shakey’s a venue where people can have a great time and create great memories, we decided to work with experts from various fields to minimize the chances of infection.”

In addition to these efforts, the company has also started employing heightened safety measures for all guests and employees. This includes strict implementation of social distancing of at least one meter apart, mandatory thermal checks, better dinnerware sanitation and handling, the use of sanitation mats, compulsory wearing of face masks for guests, providing PPEs to staff, and regular hand sanitizing. Staff are also required to not wear their uniforms while on the way to work, and all suppliers are obliged to follow safety protocols. 


Under S.A.F.E., Shakey’s is also rolling out intensified sanitation protocols, which include regular sanitation of all trays in between use, disinfection of high-traffic areas every 30 minutes and of restrooms every 30 minutes. Contactless payment settlement shall also be observed at all times and each store is encouraged to provide disposable masks for guests who may need them. In addition, guests—through a QR code printed on every single-use placemats—will have the option of viewing Shakey’s menu using their mobile phones. Helpful signages and markers to remind guests of new house rules are also on display. 


Bars and Funzones in stores shall remain closed to ensure the safety of guests. They have also separated the carryout area from food aggregator area to ensure social distancing. As with most other establishments, contactless transactions shall also be made for deliveries. 

“We are taking the coronavirus threat very seriously—not just for our guests, but for our employees as well. We spent weeks preparing for our return, and this includes several passes of operational plans and numerous trainings. But much like everyone else, we are still trying to navigate our way in this new normal. Everyone’s safety remains our highest priority, and we will never stop looking for ways to provide you with a clean and safe space where you can enjoy great food with friends and family,” Gregorio adds. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Domestic travel to drive recovery of tourism industry, says survey


Domestic travel will lead the recovery of the country’s tourism industry with Filipino travelers expecting to go to destinations closer to home and spending less amid lingering health concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the gist of the results of the recent survey conducted on the pandemic’s effects on domestic and international tourism and on Filipinos’ travel behavior in the new normal.
The Department of Tourism released the report entitled “Philippine Travel Survey: Insights on Filipino Travel Behavior Post-COVID 19” to various tourism stakeholders in a webinar on Monday (June 29). 


The key insights of the survey, which was conducted last May among over 12,000 respondents across the country, were:
1.     Domestic leisure travel will lead the recovery of Philippine tourism;
2.     Majority of travelers expect a reduction of their income and travel budget;
3.     Health and safety remains the primary concern of travelers;
4.     Travelers prefer reduced-contact activities once leisure travel restrictions are lifted;
5.     Travelers prefer online and digital channels for convenience and reduced contact; and
6.     Travelers plan to travel close to home.
The survey represents the data-driven efforts of the DOT and tourism stakeholders to restart the local travel industry, which had been gravely affected by restrictions caused by the pandemic.
“We believe in a collaborative approach to recovery,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. “The survey, which was distributed online, sought the sentiments and concerns that respondents have concerning domestic travel in light of the pandemic, in order to provide insights to tourism enterprises to better prepare, respond, and serve guests and tourists again.”
The travel survey is a joint project of the DOT, the Asian Institute of Management Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines. It shows how the public, the government, the private sector, and the academe can collaborate for the industry’s eventual recovery, Puyat said.
Domestic leisure travel will be a huge driver
The survey found that domestic travel will lead the recovery of the Philippine travel industry, with 77 percent of respondents expressing their willingness to travel to local destinations once restrictions are lifted. More than half of the respondents also look forward to travel for leisure or vacation, even in the absence of a vaccine against COVID-19. 
Popular local tourist spots, especially beaches, are expected to see a surge in visitors. Boracay, Siargao, and Baguio top the list of destinations to visit when travel is permitted again. Filipinos also prefer to travel to destinations closer to home. 
The majority of the respondents also prefer activities they deem “safe” with limited face-to-face interaction. Top travel activities that are high on their minds are beach trips, road trips, and staycations at 69, 54, and 41 percent, respectively.
Domestic travel will be the main priority as fewer people are likely to travel internationally in the near future. This is due to reduced incomes and travel budgets in the light of the pandemic’s impact on the economy.
Domestic tourism expenditure expanded from PhP 2.85 trillion in 2018 to PhP 3.14 trillion in 2019. It’s also worth noting that about 10.8% of the 12.7% gross domestic product (GDP) share comes from domestic tourism, making it the biggest contributor to the tourism industry.
The digital shift
Travel plans are also largely going digital, as 72 percent of travelers directly and independently book travel arrangements with establishments online. Nearly half of the respondents will also go with online travel agencies and aggregators.
Channels with reduced contact will become the new norm. Majority of Filipinos are expecting tourism establishments to implement self-service processes such as contactless check-in and digital payments. 
Health and safety still travelers’ top priority
Although Filipinos expressed a desire to travel as soon as restrictions are lifted, their main concern is still their health and safety. Many said they would only feel comfortable taking their trips once a reliable anti-COVID-19 vaccine or treatment becomes available, and when the situation in the country gets better.
The pandemic has raised traveler expectations on health and safety, with more than 80 percent of the respondents expecting tourism establishments to follow best practices in sanitation and health. At least 88 percent of respondents also express willingness to comply with existing health and safety protocols, such as undergoing rapid COVID-19 tests prior to departure and submitting a medical certificate before traveling.
Building travelers’ trust and confidence in the industry is vital in ensuring its recovery. The report recommends that establishments and organizations emphasize safety and be transparent in addressing customers’ concerns. It also recommends that tourism stakeholders closely collaborate with other authorities and find ways to innovate and adapt to the new normal—including digital shifts where it is needed—to help manage uncertainties about traveling.
Earlier this month, the DOT released new health and safety guidelines in the new normal to local tourism-related sectors such as hotels, resorts, tourist transportation, surfing and restaurants in anticipation of their reopening.
To read the full report and survey results, click www.guidetothephilippines.ph/ph-travel-survey.


METROBANK-SUPPORTED MOLECULAR LABORATORY FOR COVID-19 TESTING INAUGURATED: LARGEST IN THE COUNTRY

On June 27, the  country inaugurated its largest molecular laboratory  capable of detecting COVID-19 and other contagious diseases at the ...