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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Galing Pook Foundation Recognizes Outstanding Local Government Programs for 2022

Ten outstanding local governance programs were recognized in the 2022 Galing Pook Awards held at the Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang Palace last Tuesday, November 22, 2022.

Galing Pook Foundation with its co-presenters SM Prime Holdings Inc., and the DILG-Local Government Academy, and sponsors Cebu Pacific and Airspeed named local government units from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that promote innovation and excellence.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. commended the Galing Pook Foundation for recognizing and incentivizing top performing LGUs. He stressed how strong collaboration between the public and private sector can lead to more meaningful and successful programs that truly benefit the Filipino people.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. recognizes the 10 winners of the Galing Pook Foundation 2022 at the Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang Palace. He commended the Galing Pook Foundation for recognizing and incentivizing top performing LGUs. With them in the photo are: Galing Pook Foundation chairman Mel Sarmiento, Local Government secretary Benjamin Abalos, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. 

“The recognition that you give to cities and municipalities inspires them to accelerate their drive towards improvement and it encourages LGUs to adopt practices that make us paragons of excellence in public service. It is necessary for us to underscore the importance of strengthening partnerships between the government and private organizations, such as the Galing Pook Foundation, especially as we bring about meaningful progress in the country.”

Galing Pook Chairperson Mel Sarmiento expressed his gratitude to all the local executives and LGU teams that participated this year: “It’s truly inspiring to see the impact of the work that you do, and I’m sure you’ve brought value to many Filipinos all over the country. Our collaborations bring us closer to realizing our shared vision, na ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino, may simple pero kumportableng buhay.”

The winners of the 2022 Galing Pook Awards were: The Green Wall of Alcala (Alcala, Cagayan);

Advancing and Sustaining Good Governance and Community Actions towards Resiliency and Empowerment (Basilan Province); Bataan Public-Private Partnership Programs (Bataan Province);

Balik-Biñan Project: Tourism Development through Heritage Conservation (Biñan City, Laguna); From Black to Green: Fishponds, Eco-Tourism and Full Employment (Brgy. Cayabu, Tanay, Rizal);

Trekking to Unlock Community Ailments and Difficulties (TUCAD) (Goa, Camarines Sur); “I-BIKE” A Program Promoting the Development of the Iloilo City Bike Culture (Iloilo City); Yaru: A Whole-of-Community Approach Towards Disaster Management (Itbayat, Batanes); Libertad Fish Forever Savings Club (Libertad, Antique); and Basta Piddigueño, AgriHenyo: Consolidated Farm Production System (Piddig, Ilocos Norte)

The 10 winners were chosen from 18 finalists and a record field of 196 applications from different LGUs in the country.

Launched on October 21, 1993, the Galing Pook Awards has recognized 329 LGU programs from 200 LGUs in the country that have been promoted for replication to benefit more communities.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A Christmas Smartphone for Those Who Have Been Nice

As much as we lola’s deny it, we always have that one child, whom we love and favor even for just a little teeny bit. He/she might be a little bit more malambing, more matalino, more talented, or even just more mabango.


It might not even be an apo. It could be a pamangkin, or maybe an inaanak, but when he/she is around, we just light up when they come running for an embrace or kiss.


So instead of just getting them a generic gift like a toy, or a dress, we want to give them something special for Christmas.


A couple of weeks ago Huawei introduced us to their latest smartphone the Huawei Nova Y61 and for those of you looking that would make your favorite feel extra special. This might be the perfect gift you are looking for.

Okay so a smartphone might be a debatable gift as I know there are those who don’t want their kids to be so consumed by their phones. But hear me out, after the pandemic changed the way our kids study, a mobile phone can be one of the most useful tools for school. They could use it for research, for communication, and socialization, and it can even help them discover new interests by watching the right content.  


They can enjoy a more immersive viewing experience with the ‘HUAWEI nova Y61’s big 6.52-inch screen with a resolution of 1600x720p. This HD+ screen makes watching those tutorial videos clearer or reading those web articles much easier. I’ve seen a lot of interesting content on Huawei Video that they can enjoy on a bigger screen.


On top of this high-definition viewing experience, this smartphone also has a new feature called the 8x Ultra High-Resolution Touching Control and Intelligent Dimming Control. You don’t have to worry about hurting their eyes as it screen adopts Huawei's unique 10,000-level dimming technology. The screen brightness adjuster is now more sensitive and smoother.


This AI-powered auto-dimmer can also record the user's dimming preferences in low-light environments and strong-light environments, and generate benchmarks for their preference.  It has Eye Comfort Mode that reduces the blue pixels of the image, effectively reducing the proportion of blue light, providing better protection to the user’s eyes so you don’t have to worry too much about them looking at the screen for long periods of time like when they need to do research or read.

Speaking of reading, for those kids who love books, the built in e-Book Mode will let them enjoy a paper-like reading experience for a more comfortable and focused viewing experience


If you are a family who likes to travel or  just do a lot of family bonding activities, they can use the Huawei nova Y61’s triple camera to take photos and videos to document your special moments.


Huawei has established a name for having great phone cameras and the nova Y61’s has a triple camera that could set off their interest in photography.


The main 50MP AI Camera can capture highres photographs with crystal clear details and ideal brightness. It works quite well in great lighting conditions and could teach them how to experiment when there is less ideal lighting by using night mode. The second rear lens is a 2MP Depth Camera. Working in tandem with the 50MP Main Camera it can produce well-lit aperture photographs that highlight the subject and their features in full clarity with that bokeh background. The third lens is a 2MP (4cm) Macro Camera, now this would work great when they are exploring the outdoors trying to capture small objects or animals and they can zoom up close to the subject 4cm from the lens to capture more details.

Sample Shots

I’ve actually been using the Huawei nova Y61 to cover events and its capable of taking photos with good detail, nice colors and there are several modes that are quite interesting to experiment with like super night shot for capturing those Christmas lights and some street photography.


Young kids love Short videos like reels and Tiktoks and the Y61 has this cool video feature which supports continuous recording between front and rear cameras. During the video recording process, the front and rear shots can be switched multiple times with a simple click, preventing inconvenient delays when shooting. Now they can shoot quick vlogs and share them with other family members and friends. I on the other hand am quite fixated with Slow Motion as its fun to create detailed slow-mo videos that captures changing micro-expressions and little micro-movements.


Do they love taking selfies? The 5MP Front Camera comes with the AI-powered Beauty Mode 5.1, which enables smoother and brighter skin tones, face-lifting, and other AI-powered effects to achieve personalised skin beautification while also detecting the user’s gender and age. They might not need it—but it wouldn’t hurt if they can also make us look younger in their photos right?


If other family members are using HUAWEI phones, the nova Y61 also supports multi-party calls through MeeTime, this will be a great tool to stay connected with their loved ones over long distances, so they won’t miss family gatherings with other relatives or friends on the other side of the world.

Kids love to download app and they can discover more games and apps via the Huawei APP Gallery. As the 3rd biggest app store they are sure to find a lot of interesting applications to download. If they need to download Google apps there’s this new app called GBox that will let them download the apps they might need like Gmail, Maps, Photos etc.,


I was easily able to find and install my favorite apps via the APP Gallery and Petal search and they all work on the Huawei nova Y61. Using it as a work device, everything worked fine with very little slowdown (that’s only when I forget that I’ve opened too many apps or browser windows.) And while this might not be a gaming phone, I was able to enjoy my usual tita puzzle games without lag or error messages.

Sample Shots

Another thing I liked is the battery life. Since kids probably would use the phone for long periods of time to play or watch, the Huawei nova Y61’s 5,000mAh battery can keep up with them. It also comes with a 22.5W fast charger. Huawei said it has an intelligent battery management that learns charging habits through AI. And with a total of 20 layers of charging protection, fast charging protection, and USB port overheating protection you don’t have to worry about your kid forgetting to unplug it. Charge the HUAWEI nova Y61 for 30 minutes, and it you can use it for 4.3 hours games, 11.3 hours of phone calls, 6.1 hours of web surfing, and 6 hours of video streaming.


Lastly, the Huawei nova Y61 has that trendy design I’m sure the young kids will love to show off. Huawei said it calls it the Star Effect design as a tribute to the universe. When placed under light, the back panels glow exquisitely and remind us of a bright shimmering star in a distant galaxy. Its available in three colors Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue and Minty Green which is a light pastel hue inspired by the colors of nature. The Y61 is also very slim to fit in any bag and light enough to make it comfortable to hold and use.


So there, if you are planning to get your favorite kid a smartphone this Christmas, the Huawei nova Y61 has an eye catching design, fun camera modes, nice display good overall performance and a battery that lasts.

The Huawei nova Y61 is priced at PHP 7,999 and those who buy now at offline and onlineHUAWEI Stores, authorized retail outlets, and leading e-commerce sites Shopee and Lazada will get a free mug worth PHP 999.

Lazada releases its first Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) Impact report, Shaping the Future of the Digital Economy for 2022


Leading eCommerce platform Lazada releases its first Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) Impact report, Shaping the Future of the Digital Economy for 2022. The report details the company’s efforts to leverage eCommerce as a force for good to uplift communities, champion accountable and sustainable business practices and manage its impact on the environment.


“What we have started lay the foundation of our ESG commitments in the Philippines, which contribute to the overall positive impact that we are creating as a group across the region.  I am looking forward to strengthening our collaborations with our partners and stakeholders to shape the future of a sustainable digital ecosystem in the country," Lazada Philippines CEO Carlos Barrera said.


"These include our Lazada x For The Women (FTW) Data Science Scholarship program where we offer data science training to promising young women who are looking to build a career in tech for example, and LazGoGreen, our initiative addressing our environmental impact," Barrera added.


The report unveils the company’s ESG framework and its four core pillars: Empowering Communities, Future-Ready Workforce, Responsible Stewardship, and Effective Governance. It highlights many notable achievements for the company under these pillars, including:


Empowering Communities


Lazada Group created 1.1 million economic opportunities[1] within its ecosystem of sellers, digital commerce enablers, third-party logistics partners and dedicated employees. Lazada’s commitment is to give back to societies and communities in recovery efforts and building a more resilient society. Lazada works with local stakeholders to develop programs that support women in their journeys to becoming entrepreneurs and celebrates female entrepreneurs who have overcome obstacles to grow their businesses successfully with Lazada. 


Lazada Philippines launched capacity building activities and invites entrepreneurs from across the country to participate as the company aims to boost digitization and eCommerce integration of Filipino owned small businesses. In partnership with ASEAN, Lazada pushes to globalize local Filipino goods and make them more accessible across the region. 



Future-Ready Workforce


As of August 2022, women make up 66% of Lazada Philippines' workforce, supporting the Group's gender and inclusion goals in the region.


In addition, since the launch of Lazada x For The Women Data Science Scholarship, 70% of the scholars have been placed in new data science roles, effecting an almost +110% increase in their average monthly earnings. The company also endeavors to develop the skillset of its workforce by implementing skill building initiatives that provide soft and functional training to employees. Lazada works in close coordination with its leaders, workers, and stakeholders to uplift their employees' well being, and maintain a healthy, creative, and stress-free working environment.


Lazada Philippines established initiatives such as Lazada University, an exclusive education program to empower MSMEs and small business sellers, and the Lazada Learning Festival 2022, the biggest virtual learning festival in Southeast Asia to educate and engage with aspiring entrepreneurs. 


Responsible Stewardship


Lazada Group introduced a baseline carbon inventory to identify key sources of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission across its operations. The results from the carbon inventory exercises will serve to enhance Lazada’s decarbonization roadmap in the coming years and align with global ambitions to reduce GHG emissions. The company prioritizes forming partnerships with independent contractors with electric vehicles.


In line with this, Lazada Philippines has launched LazGoGreen, an initiative that continually reduces the environmental impact of Lazada’s packaging through efficient plastic recovery and reduction efforts mobilized across the Philippines. Lazada boosts this effort by collaborating with businesses and communities to create a network of sustainability partnerships to drive the future of plastic production and consumption. In March of 2020, 70,000 alternative packaging pouches were sold, with 35 of Lazada’s sellers fully adopting plastic alternatives. By 2020, the company launched as much as 18 plastic collection sites across the country.


Effective Governance


Lazada Group is one of the few eCommerce platforms in Southeast Asia to be certified against the ISO 27001:2013 standards, an international standard for information security that sets out a holistic approach to securing confidentiality. It is the first Southeast Asian digital commerce company with a dedicated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Protection Team. In March 2020, the team piloted a proactive detection and takedown of counterfeit goods, which resulted in 98% of proactive removals occurring before a transaction took place in 2021. Lazada Philippines has developed strong partnerships with DTI, DICT, and NPC to execute events and activities aimed at driving awareness on several topics concerning cyber security and online safety practices. 


This report has been prepared with reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards 2021[2].


"Beyond being the eCommerce pioneer, we remain committed to enabling a sustainable and healthy ecosystem that connects our buyers and sellers in more meaningful ways. Our approach is to adopt an 'ecosystem mindset', where stronger ties with our partners and stakeholders along our value chain are key to creating a lasting, positive impact," Barrera said.


The full FY2022 ESG Impact Report: Shaping the Future of the Digital Economy can be found here. 


[1] As of 31 March 2022

[2] See Editor’s Note for more details

Make the most of your Christmas gift budget with this Xiaomi gift guide!

Christmas is only a few weeks away, so now is the perfect time to start picking and buying gifts for your friends and family! This way, you can avoid crowded malls and last-minute shopping and manage your budget better because you’re not in a hurry.

To make your holiday shopping even easier, we've compiled this Xiaomi gift guide with some of the best smartphone choices. Xiaomi offers many high-quality products in the Xiaomi Christmas Sale that fit different needs and budgets. From wearables to smartphones and innovative home accessories, you can find something for every person on your list – including yourself!  Here are some budget-friendly suggestions:

Redmi A1 

Very stylish, packed with a good AI camera, a massive battery, and a sizable HD+ display, the Redmi A1 is great for capturing and sharing your bida moments and handling all-day everyday digital tasks. Surprisingly very affordable at Php 4,499, this phone would make a great Christmas gift for a student, a parent, a young professional on their first job, and practically anyone who needs a reliable smartphone for daily use.  

Chock-full of great specs, this dual-SIM Redmi device has a crystal clear 6.52" full-screen display that gives off a superb visual performance that is good for gaming and watching movies. Its AI-powered 8MP rear dual camera delivers star-quality photos and videos, complementing a 5MP selfie camera in front. On a full charge, its long-lasting 5000mAh battery can last up to 30 call hours, 22 hours of video playback, and 161 hours of music. The phone is available in Light Green, Light Blue, and Black.

Plus, during the Xiaomi Christmas Sale, those who buy a Redmi A1 get a free Mi Portable Bluetooth Speaker. That’s one more Christmas gift item ideal for a loved one who loves listening to music! 


Redmi Note 11 

A classy-looking budget-friendly gadget that flaunts a Full HD OLED screen, the Redmi Note 11 (8GB+128GB) is now made even more irresistible at Php 9,999 during the Xiaomi Christmas Sale. With its excellent screen quality, massive battery life, and outstanding audio, the Redmi Note 11 is best for loved ones on your gift list who love watching Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, and other video streaming services.

Redmi 10 

Loved ones who love taking photos and selfies will love you even more when you gift them a Redmi 10. Among other good specs, this budget phone is known for its super excellent 50-megapixel primary camera. Two variants are available in the promo. The one with 4GB, RAM +64GB storage is priced at only Php 7,799, while the higher-memory variant (6GB+128GB) is priced just a little bit higher at Php 8,799. Get a Xiaomi Ceramic Mug as a freebie when you buy either variant. To make the phone even more affordable, both variants of the Redmi 10 are available at 0% installment via Home Credit.

Redmi 9A 

Another entry-level smartphone with many great features, the Redmi 9A is excellent for anyone on your gift list. With 2GB RAM and 32GB storage, the phone sports a 6.53-inch IPS DotDrop display with HD+ resolution, a 13MP front camera, and a large battery that will last two days with moderate to light use. Usually available for Php 4,999, the Redmi 9A is priced during the promo for only Php 4,599 – that’s a considerable saving. The Redmi 9A is also available on installment basis via Home Credit at 0% interest.


The Xiaomi Christmas Sale will run until January 1, 2023. Please visit Xiaomi’s official website and official Facebook page for more details. 


PalawanPay launches “My Ninong, My Ninang, May Papremyo Promo”


The pandemic has paved the way for non-traditional ways of gift-giving. Sending aguinaldo to your inaanaks and loved ones is now faster, safer, easier, and more convenient with PalawanPay, the e-wallet of the Palawan Pawnshop Group. PalawanPay not only lets you send your cash gift from one PalawanPay cash wallet to another anytime, anywhere, but you also have the chance to win exciting prizes in the “My Ninong,My Ninang, May Papremyo Promo ng Palawan! campaign.

PalawanPay is a one-stop app with features that include Pera Padala, bills payment, e- loading, scan to pay, and cash in, cash out. With over 400 billers and QR Ph code, PalawanPay gives Filipinos all year-round financial convenience. 

A QR Ph code can be used to send and receive money, pay your favorite merchants or settle your bills. To generate your PalawanPay QR Ph code, just simply click the yellow QR icon at the bottom of your PalawanPay app and then click download. 

PalawanPay is a QR Ph-Compliant app, it adheres to the National QR Code Standards set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Using QR Ph Code will give you more convenience, security, and accessibility when it comes to financial transactions.

With PalawanPay adhering to QR Ph requirements, you can now pay, transfer and transact with other e-wallets or banks with the QR Ph Logo. If you are the one sending money, you do not have to input the account details of the receiver. If you are the one receiving the money, you do not have to share your account details with the sender. All you need to do is provide your PalawanPay QR Ph code and you’re all set. 

As a long-time service provider for Filipinos throughout the country, Palawan Pawnshop Group through its latest PalawanPay is celebrating the yuletide season with its loyal Sukis! Palawan will be running its promo entitled “My Ninong, My Ninang, May Papremyo Promo ng Palawan!” from November 19 to December 25, 2022. 

How to Join

Participants need to send their aguinaldos by using the “Send Money” feature on the PalawanPay app to another PalawanPay Wallet or to any Palawan Express branch. For every five transactions with unique recipients, participants will automatically earn one raffle entry to win big and exciting prizes 

This means the more people you send aguinaldos to, the higher your chances of winning! So, make sure to remember all of your inaanaks and loved ones  ask them to download and register at PalawanPay!

Inaanaks can also generate their own PalawanPay QR Codes to send to their Ninongs and Ninangs! Here’s how:

1.    Open the PalawanPay App and enter your pin code.

2.    At the dashboard, press the QR Code icon. 

3.    Select “View My QR Code”

4.  If your Ninong/Ninang is nearby,  you can approach them  and present your personal PalawanPay QR Code Request them to scan it so they can send you their Aguinaldo or Pamasko via PalawanPay! 

5  If sending to a distant Ninong /Ninang,  you may share your QR with your Ninongs and Ninangs. Just click “Share QR to a friend” and select your preferred platform.


Perks and Benefits

All qualified PalawanPay users automatically get insurance from Palawan ProtekTODO with annual coverage of Php 20,000. Qualified users also get one raffle entry to win big and exciting prizes. 10 Noche Buena packages worth Php 2,000 and 5 Php10,000 PalawanPay credits will be up for grabs weekly for all the winners. For the grand raffle, at stake are 5 Yamaha NMAX motorcycles.  All the winners will receive their prizes tax-free.

Winners of the raffle will be announced on PalawanPay’s Facebook page. A PalawanPay representative will reach out to the winners via registered mail, email, and text message. For more promo details, please go to

Make your Christmas merrier and more effortless with PalawanPay by downloading the App from the Apple Store  or the Google Play Store. Get verified to use more features of PalawanPay app such as fund transfer to other banks and e-wallets, higher transaction limit and use of QR Ph to send and receive money and pay your favorite merchants.  Join “My Ninong, My Ninang, May Papremyo Promo ng Palawan” and make the holidays merrier for your inaanaks and loved ones.

Metrobank Offers Exclusive Perks for Booklovers at Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2024

  For book lovers, it’s always a good time for a new read — which is why Metrobank is empowering your passion with exclusive benefits at thi...