Friday, July 2, 2021

Leading Hospitality Company recognized by Great Place to Work in its list of Best Workplaces in Sri Lanka

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Global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work announced Hilton’s placement on this year’s Best Workplaces in Sri Lanka list. This is the second time that Hilton has been named as one of Sri Lanka’s Best Workplaces.

"We are honored to be recognized as one of the best places to work in Sri Lanka, especially during such a challenging year for the hospitality industry. As a business of people serving people, we are fiercely committed to leading with our culture, and this means creating an environment where our Team Members can be the best versions of themselves, regardless of circumstance. Our Team Members continue to be our greatest asset, and are truly the heart of our business, enabling us to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality every day," said Paul Hutton, Vice President, Operations, South East Asia, Hilton.

The accolade had been awarded to Hilton following a survey by Great Place to Work® of over 100 registrations representing 51,000 employees in Sri Lanka. The survey assesses employees' perceptions of leadership, organizational culture, and trust, and is critical to a company being selected to the list of Best Workplaces in Sri Lanka. To be eligible for this list, organizations must be Great Place to Work Certified™ in the past year. A total of 40 companies were named in the list this year.

Recognising the importance of mental wellness, Hilton has incorporated a series of family-focused benefits for Team Members, including flexible working environments and mental health campaigns. Hilton also provides a variety of resources and programs aimed at attracting, developing, and supporting Team Members at various stages of their careers. Through the Thrive@Hilton Program, Hilton supports Team Members in their professional and personal growth. Globally, Hilton also provides further learning and development opportunities through Hilton University, its Executive Committee Networking Program, as well as Team Member benefits such as Go Hilton.

Further to creating opportunities for its Team members, Hilton had also launched a specially-curated female development program in Sri Lanka in March 2021 through a partnership with the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. Translating to ‘female courage,’ Hilton Liya Diriya aims to provide training opportunities for local female students keen to build a career in hospitality, and in doing so, advance women’s economic empowerment and grow the country’s hospitality talent pool.

"We applaud Hilton Sri Lanka for seeking employees' feedback and the opportunity to certify itself," said Kshanika Ratnayake, CEO of Great Place to Work® in Sri Lanka. "These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees' trust and create a great workplace - critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with Hilton should take into account as an indicator of high performance."

ePLDT Achieves a Microsoft Gold Competency for Security and Enterprise Mobility Management, and Silver Competency for Project Portfolio Management

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ePLDT Inc., one of the country’s leading enablers of digital solutions in the Philippines, continues to widen its range of Microsoft competencies after having successfully earned three more recently.

Committed to deliver best services to customers as far as Microsoft technology is concerned, ePLDT recently earned its Gold Competency for Security and Enterprise Mobility Management, demonstrating a “best-in-class” ability and commitment to meet Microsoft customers’ evolving needs in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world and distinguishing itself within Microsoft’s partner ecosystem/ePLDT and Silver Competency for Project Portfolio Management.

To earn a Microsoft gold competency, partners must successfully complete exams (resulting in Microsoft Certified Professionals) to prove their level of technology expertise, and then designate these certified professionals uniquely to one Microsoft competency, ensuring a certain level of staffing capacity. They also must submit customer references that demonstrate successful projects, meet a performance (revenue and or consumption/usage) commitment (for most Gold competencies), and pass technology and/or sales assessments.

To earn a Microsoft silver competency, partners must successfully demonstrate expertise through rigorous exams, culminating in Microsoft certifications. In addition, to ensure the highest quality of services, Microsoft requires customer references for successful implementation and customer satisfaction.

To date, ePLDT currently has Gold Competencies in Cloud Productivity, Cloud Platform, Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions, Datacenter, and Collaboration and Content and Microsoft Silver Competencies on Messaging and Application Development—with Project Management Portfolio Management, Security and Enterprise Mobility Management competencies being the most recent advancements.

“We at ePLDT have always been committed to help enterprise customers manage their mobile security and compliance needs. The attainment of these Microsoft Gold competencies highlights our continuing pursuit of global-class expertise to enable customers in their digital transformation journey,” according to Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups.

Having five certified Microsoft 365 (M365) Security Administrators, customers can have confidence that their Microsoft 365 enterprise and hybrid environments are proactively secured, implemented and managed and that security compliance solutions, respond to threats, and data governance are strictly enforced.

This competency is not limited to Microsoft 365 only, as ePLDT also has three Microsoft Azure Security Engineers with subject matter expertise implementing security controls and threat protection, managing identity and access, and protecting data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments as part of an end-to-end infrastructure.

Marilene Tayag, ePLDT Chief Information Security Officer, says “ePLDT’s investment in completing Microsoft Gold Security Competencies further demonstrates our abilities in Microsoft implementation, management and monitoring security and compliance services for cloud and hybrid environments”.

Meanwhile, achieving a Silver Competency in Microsoft’s Project Portfolio Management will further demonstrate ePLDT’s capabilities to build and deploy an enterprise-wide project management solution to customers. With the Project Portfolio Management competency, ePLDT expands its acumen on designing, building, and deploying Project Management solutions based on Microsoft’s Project for the web the Power Platform.

Nico Alcoseba, VP & Head of ICT Business for PLDT Enterprise, further explains that “the sustained upskilling of employees for Microsoft technology enabled ePLDT to secure these Microsoft Gold Competencies. Our ICT solutions including the Microsoft portfolio are critical to serving our customers, as they continue to redefine their business."

In December, ePLDT was given the Tech Intensity Award by Microsoft Philippines, proving its leadership in the tech industry as it sustains strategic partnerships with technology providers in the business. Within a month, ePLDT was also recognized as one of the Top Cloud Solutions Providers (CSP) Direct Providers in the Philippines and the Number 1 Telco CSP in the country.

LRT-2 East Extension project Inauguration

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LRT-2 commuters going to Pasig, Marikina, and Antipolo can now enjoy a more comfortable, convenient, and faster travel as President Rodrigo Duterte, together with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade, inaugurated the LRT-2 East Extension project on 01 July 2021.Also opened were two additional LRT-2 stations – the Marikina-Pasig and Antipolo stations – which will enable the rail line to accommodate an additional 80,000 passengers. Daily ridership was increased to 320,000 passengers from the previous 240,000 passengers. The rail extension line also cuts the usual three-hour road travel time from Recto, Manila to Masinag, Antipolo to just 30-40 minutes.

President Duterte commended the efforts of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), under the leadership of Secretary Tugade, and its key private sector partners for the completion of the project despite difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Your efforts and determination show that the government stops at nothing to carry on its mandate, to serve the people’s interest no matter the circumstances,” he said.

“I’ve been saying this over again, I have been redundant about it. This guy [Sec. Tugade] is our valedictorian in law school. Alam ko talaga this guy is marunong, kaya ito ang unang pinakiusapan ko sa journey ko as President. Sila ni Secretary [Mark] Villar ‘yung nag-perform exceedingly well and I thank them. I am really grateful for their services, these are my idol sa gobyerno,” the President shared.

During the ceremony, the President asked Secretary Tugade to give commuters free rides for the first two weeks of the extended line's operations.

On Monday, 05 July 2021, when the extended line opens, passengers from Santolan to Antipolo and vice versa, will ride for free.

Secretary Tugade said the project’s completion has impact on the lives of daily commuters, especially students going to Manila's university belt.

"Ito 'ho 'yung isang alignment ng tren na kung saan ang malaking makikinabang ay ang mga mag-aaral. Kasi po, Mr. President, ito 'hong LRT-2 extension ay babaybay at dadaan sa sa tinatawag natin na University District sa Claro M. Recto. Bago nag-pandemya ang mga estudyante na sumasakay dito sa LRT-2 ay 40% ng total ridership, mga 80,000,” Secretary Tugade said.

“Malaking bagay 'ho ito, sasabihin ko lang kung mararapatin. 'Pag nagbiyahe ka sa C.M. Recto papuntang Antipolo, by land – between 3 to 4 hours. With the LRT Extension, magiging 30 minutes na lang po 'yan. Ang ibig sabihin, maraming oras na mabibigay sa pamilya, pag-aaral at oras sa ating pagnenegosyo,” Tugade added.

Meanwhile, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Gen. Reynaldo Berroya, for his part, said the project fulfills the government's promise to provide commuters with a safe, reliable and efficient mode of transportation.

He added that the LRT-2 East Extension project also took more than two decades before it was realized.

“The need to extend the LRT-2 existing system to Antipolo was seen two decades ago through a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The nod was given in 2012 by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) leading to a groundbreaking ceremony held in June 2015 followed by groundbreaking ceremonies in June 2017, and April 2019 for its Packages 2 and 3,” Gen. Berroya pointed out.

On Monday, 05 July, commuters will board a shuttle train that will take them from the line's Antipolo Station to the Santolan Station, and vice versa.

During the line's shuttle operations for the next two weeks, passengers will board at the Antipolo Station or at the Marikina-Pasig Station and alight at the Santolan Station.

From the Santolan Station, passengers will transfer to another train that will take them to the Recto Station (and vice versa).

PLDT Enterprise urges companies to adopt 'zero trust' security against increasing cyber threats

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PLDT Enterprise, the B2B arm of the largest integrated telecommunications company in the Philippines PLDT, promotes the advantages of implementing a zero trust architecture in strengthening businesses' cybersecurity measures amid the increasing demand for cloud and IoT-based (Internet of Things) systems in industries such as healthcare and gaming.

Zero trust security upholds principles of ‘never trust, always verify,’ assumption of breach, and explicit verification as it focuses on the premise that trust is never granted implicitly.

Jojo Gendrano, FVP and Head of PLDT Enterprise Core Business Solutions, said that “despite the innovations brought by cloud technology, security risks are present which could compromise data and potentially cause revenue losses for businesses.”

“Adapting a zero-trust cloud security platform could help institutions strengthen its network security wherein users and devices are always treated untrusted and continual authentication is applied,” Gendrano added.

According to cybersecurity firm Check Point Software, ransomware attacks on organizations worldwide increased 57 percent since January this year and had cost over $20 billion. The report cited the healthcare industry as the sector with the greatest number of attacks globally, with an average of 109 ransomware attack attempts per organization every week.

The gaming industry, meanwhile, has also been exposed to threats including distributed denial of service (DDoS), malware, and credential stuffing among others.

Last year, PLDT Enterprise partnered with NetFoundry for its PLDT Zero Trust Acceleration Platform (PLDT ZAP) which enables businesses to securely connect to business applications and cloud environments over an Internet connection.

Through PLDT ZAP, information from various devices is transmitted as encrypted packets, optimizing user experience while ensuring that data is secure. As the service integrates NetFoundry’s cloud-native zero trust platform, ZAP customers are able to deploy new private network in minutes thereby providing their companies with a competitive advantage in the markets they serve.

“Aside from that, PLDT ZAP is agile, performant, and flexible as it can easily address various solutions such as cloud migration and IoT integration,” Gendrano said.

Gendrano noted that cloud and IoT helped redefine industries such as healthcare by allowing medical institutions to efficiently gather and transmit information for more effective delivery of services.

Likewise, it was also the technology behind cloud gaming and streaming where players can access games through remote servers without the need for specific devices.

For more information on PLDT ZAP, visit

Fears for children as thousands evacuate Taal Volcano zone amid COVID-19 chaos

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Concern is mounting for the safety of children and families in Batangas as the Taal Volcano was raised to Alert Level 3 following a phreatomagmatic eruption yesterday which experts warned could be followed by further, more dangerous eruptions.

Some barangays in Agoncillo and Laurel –towns which are considered as high-risk areas- have undergone forced evacuation already. More than 7,000 residents in Laurel and nearly 14,500 people from Agoncillo are now affected.

In addition, communities around the Taal Lake are advised to evacuate, take precautionary measures, and remain vigilant for possible hazards and volcanic tsunami according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Authorities are evacuating hundreds of families from their homes to safer areas. But as the country continues to grapple with a second wave of COVID-19, Save the Children warned that another eruption will also increase the risk of the virus spreading.

Jerome Balinton, Humanitarian Manager at Save the Children in the Philippines, said:

“If the volcano erupts again, it could be deadly. Thousands of families and children have been forced to evacuate their homes and are temporarily sheltered at evacuation centers. We are also concerned that, amidst the chaos of the evacuations, families will be unable to follow social distancing guidelines and are at risk of being infected with the virus. There are 16 active cases of COVID-19 reported in Agoncillo and Laurel. If the evacuation of families becomes overwhelming, it may contribute to the spread of the virus.

With the country still reeling from the fallout of COVID-19, a life-threatening volcanic eruption is the last thing these areas need. Many families have already lost their homes and their livelihoods because of the pandemic. Disasters like this exacerbate their present condition and coping with life struggles.”

Atty. Albert Muyot, Chief Executive Officer at Save the Children in the Philippines, said:

“We are appealing to the local government units to ensure the safety and protection of children and their families during this crisis, as well as to develop their Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children (CEPC) to address the safety, protection, participation, and development of all children when emergencies or disasters strike.

Children’s rights to protection from all forms of harm, to be with their families at all times, to remain healthy, and to continue learning amidst the pandemic and emergencies such as the latest Taal Volcano eruption, should always be realized.”

Save the Children’s humanitarian teams are on stand by and ready to respond, and provide displaced families with temporary shelters and other essentials, as needed.

Philippine Post Office employees gets vaccinated

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Given their work on the frontlines of Covid-19 pandemic, more than 500 Philippine Postal Corporation (Post Office) employees and letter carriers have already received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, through the massive rollout of “Resbakuna program” of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the City of Manila’s Health Department.

Postmaster General Norman “Mr. Postman” Fulgencio thanked Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher "Bong" Go for assisting in the vaccination of post office workers and for his continuing effort to protect employees from contracting the virus to keep the workplace safe.

According to Postmaster General Fulgencio, it is necessary for their essential workers to secure vaccines most especially the letter carriers who are usually exposed in the field, as they continue to interact with the public in delivering mails and parcels.”

Deputy Chief Implementer of the national policy against COVID-19, Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and chief operating officer Secretary Vince Dizon and GSIS President and General Manager Rolando Macasaet witnessed the ceremonial vaccination program for post office employees.

He also expressed his sincere appreciation to Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso for his initiative to organize a vaccination program for Post Office personnel.

Fulgencio promised to make the vaccine available and accessible to all essential post office workers.

Moreover, he lauded the government headed by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force against Covid-19 for continuously supporting the country's pandemic responses especially for government postal workers.

A special “Frontliners Stamp Frame” were also presented to Secretary Dizon and PGM Rolando Macasaet of GSIS respectively. Secretary Dizon praised the Postal Service for issuing the stamps in honor of the Frontline heroes in the fight against Covid-19. “We were told that the Philippines is one of the first country in the World to issue stamps for Frontliners”, he said.

Meanwhile, PGM Rolando Macasaet of GSIS offered the Coconut Palace which they owned; to be used as quarantine facility for post office workers should they turn out positive with Covid-19. This is important since Post Office Letter Carriers are highly exposed to the risk of getting infected with the virus. He also announced that GSIS will install a GW@PS Kiosk at Manila Central Post Office and grant GSIS Personal Accident Insurance for the benefit of all Post Office workers.

Major FIDO Updates Launched to Accelerate Global Charge Past Passwords

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New FIDO UX Guidelines and Specification Enhancements Enable Consumers and Enterprises to Meet Growing Demand for Simpler, Stronger Authentication

The FIDO Alliance today announced its first user experience (UX) guidelines and new FIDO2 standards enhancements aimed at accelerating the world’s move beyond passwords. With over 4 billion devices, all major browsers and operating systems now supporting FIDO authentication, today’s releases make it even easier for service providers and enterprises to provide simple, phishing-resistant and privacy-enhancing sign-in experiences.

Today’s announcements come as the widespread support for FIDO Authentication has led to an increased demand from service providers and consumers alike – but they need an implementation path to follow that maximizes adoption and simplifies FIDO deployments. The FIDO UX guidelines provide that path, allowing service providers to help consumers understand, adopt and benefit from logging in with FIDO.

At the same time, the increase in remote work and subsequent increase in phishing attacks on their infrastructure is accelerating enterprises’ digital transformation plans and making strong authentication a priority. The FIDO2 enhancements announced today address enterprises’ unique authentication and device management needs for faster, more efficient FIDO deployments.

“Eliminating the reliance on passwords is now a major objective for everyone offering online services – both to provide a more seamless yet secure access to consumer services, as well as to address the growing threat from sophisticated attacks targeting distributed workforces and systems. Our first UX guidelines and FIDO2 enhancements give consumers and enterprises the tools, protection and roadmap to a simpler, more secure, passwordless future,” said Andrew Shikiar, executive director and CMO of the FIDO Alliance.

UX Guidelines to speed consumer adoption of FIDO authentication

Virtually every modern device and web browser now supports FIDO Authentication, allowing consumers to leverage the same technology they use to unlock their device (a fingerprint or face scan for example) to now sign-in to web services in a secure and private manner. A growing number of large service providers and financial institutions are providing this built-in functionality in order to give their customers the option to log in without the risk and hassle of passwords. These FIDO UX guidelines were created as a set of best practices to help service providers encourage their customers to log in with FIDO Authentication on desktop environments; other FIDO authentication use cases will be addressed through UX guidelines in the future.

The UX guidelines are available to view and download at

The UX Guidelines were developed following many sessions of moderated and unmoderated consumer research conducted by third-party research firm Blink UX, in collaboration with UX and design experts from FIDO Alliance member companies including Bank of America, eBay, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intuit, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Microsoft, Trusona, Visa and Wells Fargo.

For more detail on this work and recommendations visit Andrew’s blog. FIDO Alliance also has updated the consumer resource site with added information on how and where to use FIDO Authentication.

Enhancements to FIDO standards to accelerate passwordless in the enterprise

The FIDO Alliance has announced enhancements to its FIDO2 specifications, which include several new features that will be helpful for passwordless enterprise deployments and other complex security applications. Both FIDO2 specifications were recently updated by their governing bodies – with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approving WebAuthn Level 2 and FIDO doing the same for CTAP 2.1.

Key to these enhancements is enterprise attestation, which provides enterprise IT with improved management of FIDO authenticators used by employees. Enterprise attestation enables better binding of an authenticator to an account, assists with usage tracking and other management functions including credential and pin management, and biometric enrollment required in the enterprise.

Other updates include support for cross-origin iFrames and Apple attestation, as well as improvements to resident credentials. More details on these and other FIDO specification enhancements are available here.

About the FIDO Alliance

The FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance was formed in July 2012 to address the lack of interoperability among strong authentication technologies, and remedy the problems users face with creating and remembering multiple usernames and passwords. By harnessing the collective expertise of hundreds of leading technology, consumer services and government organizations, the FIDO Alliance is enabling simpler and stronger online experiences and more secure online identities and devices. The FIDO Alliance creates and publishes specifications, executes rigorous certification programs and educates consumers in order to build confidence and trust in FIDO Certified products and services.

Gov’t agencies should help employees quit smoking - law group

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Law group ImagineLaw on Tuesday urged government agencies to provide smoking cessation tools as part of their health and wellness program for employees, especially in light of the ongoing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Helping people quit smoking is not just the responsibility of the Department of Health (DOH). It is in the interest of government agencies to improve productivity and overall well-being of their employees,” said Atty. Anna Bueno, policy associate for ImagineLaw.

The law group said that this program can be done in line with the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 or Republic Act 9211 that mandates a national smoking cessation program.

“It is more urgent now, with the COVID-19 pandemic that also primarily attacks the lungs. Smokers and former smokers experience more severe COVID-19 symptoms compared to non-smokers,” Atty. Bueno also said.

She added that government agencies should provide their employees with scientific and medical knowledge and tools to help them quit smoking. “Counseling, nicotine-replacement therapy, and community support, among others, are just some of the doctor-recommended tools to help individuals quit nicotine addiction,” she remarked. “These should be made available to employees by the State employer in coordination with the DOH or their healthcare provider,” she urged.

ImagineLaw maintains that there is a need to go beyond establishing smoke-free government offices and premises. “Making sure that a smoking ban is implemented in government offices is a fundamental first step,” Atty. Bueno said. President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 26 in 2017 that established smoke-free environments that included government premises.

“Smokers who want to quit need support. Nicotine, a substance present in cigarettes, is highly-addictive,” the lawyer explained. “Six in every 10 smokers want to quit. But tobacco companies, through their aggressive marketing and introduction of more addicting alternatives, are deliberately making it difficult for smokers to quit,” Atty. Bueno said.

"Cessation support services are a way for the government to protect workers from the tactics of the tobacco industry to prevent smokers from quitting,” she urged. “Helping workers who value their health to quit smoking fosters a good health-seeking work culture,” she added.

The law group also said that the Civil Service Commission (CSC), in partnership with the DOH, can provide the mechanisms for the smoking cessation program in the civil service sector. In fact, a 2020 Joint Memorandum Circular between the CSC and DOH (JMC 2020-01) on occupational health and safety standards supports the establishment of such mechanisms in light of COVID-19.

ImagineLaw said that government agencies have the opportunity to serve as an example to the private sector. “As more workers return to work, thanks to our vaccination program, it is important that the government sets the new normal for a healthy and productive workplace,” Atty. Bueno concluded.

Call DOH Quitline at 1558 or 165 364. You may also text 0921 203 9534 (Smart/TNT/Sun) or 0977 627 7539 (Globe/TM).

ePLDT empowers disaster resiliency of enterprises in Visayas

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ePLDT, the ICT arm of PLDT Enterprise and the premier provider of end-to-end digital solutions in the Philippines, empowers the disaster resiliency and business continuity of businesses and organizations based in the Visayas region with the official inauguration of its first disaster recovery facility in Cebu.

ePLDT currently has two data centers in Cebu (VITRO Cebu 1, VITRO Cebu 2) that use the most up-to-date and globally competitive technologies to serve businesses requiring colocation, cloud hosting, disaster recovery, managed servers, security and network services. VITRO Cebu 1 has a capacity of 193 data center racks while VITRO Cebu 2—which is the biggest purpose-built commercial data center outside Luzon—offers 796 racks. VITRO Cebu 2 is also the first TIA-942 Rated 3 Facility certified data center in the VisMin region and has Nexcenter, PCIDSS, and ISO Certifications.

Housed in VITRO Cebu 2 in Mandaue City, the new disaster recovery facility will enable Cebu-based enterprises in developing their own Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and becoming compliant with global standards. The facility will serve as a data backup site or alternative office space which companies can use to recover and restore its IT systems or operations in the event of a failure or natural disaster.

Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups said “Cebu has always been a strategic area not just for the PLDT Group but also for the Philippine economy. That is why we believe that building a Disaster Recovery facility in the region will further boost its booming and diverse business atmosphere.”

Cebu is one of the top-of-mind disaster recovery locations for Metro Manila-based enterprises. The fast-growing economy of Visayas and Mindanao requires business continuity services to be in place to ensure the economy will remain strong and open regardless of the circumstance.

In his remarks, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said, “this pandemic is an opportune time for enterprises to work on their business continuity plans, as more and more businesses have embraced e-commerce. Mandaue is blessed to have PLDT Enterprise as our partner. Congratulations and thank you for making Mandaue your home. Together, let us move forward.”

The disaster recovery site is a crucial component of any company’s BCP and part of standards on operational risk management. Highly regulated industries such as banking & financial institutions are required to abide by a clear and complete BCP to keep its services running no matter the circumstance.

Mitch Locsin, PLDT FVP & Enterprise Revenue Group Head, noted that “this backup site assures operational continuity, with round the clock power and operational security and customer support, especially job functions that require critical employee presence in the work site in the event of calamities. PLDT Enterprise and ePLDT will always endeavor to provide digital solutions that will enable businesses in Visayas to become unbreakable. With the support of local government and the business sector associations, we can help industries emerge even stronger and more resilient in the new world business environment.”

Local business leaders remain optimistic and are determined to keep striving for industry and enterprise in the region to be bustling and profitable, despite the challenges the global pandemic has brought on the economy. The opening of the DR facility now allows the businesses that compose it to ultimately become disaster-proof.

“On behalf of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I congratulate ePLDT and PLDT Enterprise for this brilliant innovation to help propel the growth of Cebu’s economy by ensuring organizations have the confidence to resume their operations with a more comprehensive approach to our business continuity. May this new facility stand as a symbol of prosperity as we work together towards a safe and brighter Cebu," said Felix Taguiam, President of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Meanwhile, Steven Yu, President of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry said “Businesses should have the ability to quickly adapt to disruptions such as disasters to ensure the continuity of business operations, and we commend PLDT Enterprise and ePLDT for this trailblazing facility that will help Cebu-based companies. This initiative shows the vision, foresight and leadership of PLDT, making it always ahead of the game.”

The disaster recovery facility features a secure and resilient contingency workspace, with capacity for 100 seats. It is flood-proof at 20 meters above sea level, and is seismic zone 4 compliant. Redundant generator sets also ensure uninterrupted power supply. Moreover, the facility is designed to be carrier-neutral, allowing other telcos both foreign and local to provide network connections according to the customer’s preference.

ePLDT recently built an additional 86 racks in VITRO Cebu 2 to further support enterprises’ demand for a strong business continuity solution which provides IT infrastructure and workspace backups.

For more information, visit 

PHOTO CAPTION: ePLDT officially inaugurates its first disaster recovery facility in Cebu with a ribbon-cutting ceremony

(L-R) PLDT Enterprise Corporate Relationship Management Business Heads Kent De la Calzada and Hazel Amoyan, and Corporate Relationship Management AVP & Head for Visayas Jimmy Chua.

Joshua Pacio stays ready, excited to defend title for the Philippines

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Hungry is an understatement for Joshua "The Passion" Pacio as the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion has been on the shelf for more than a year now.

"I'm more than thrilled to get back inside the circle as it’s more than a year since my last bout," he said.

The last time Pacio stepped on the cage was in January 2020 in the main event of ONE: Fire & Fury when he edged Alex Silva via split decision to successfully retain his belt.

It's the longest lull for the 25-year-old who has been one of the most active fighters out of the legendary Team Lakay over the past few years.

But that's just the way it is in these extraordinary times, with the global COVID-19 pandemic putting everything to a halt.

Nonetheless, Pacio isn't letting this setback sideline him for good as he does his due diligence in keeping himself in shape and training his hardest in the confines of the Team Lakay Gym in Baguio.

"It's been tough for all of us because of this pandemic. But we're not just a cage warrior, we're also warriors in life. We have to deal with this and move forward," he said.

"We have been finding ways to train amidst the restricted movements we have now. We've already got back in the gym and we're already doing what we are passionate about -- a lot of drills, repetitions, and learning new techniques in MMA."

That kind of fortitude is what's expected of Pacio, who has reigned atop the strawweight division since April 2019.

After all, the field has just gotten stronger over the past few years.

Among the top contenders in the weight class include former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yosuke "The Ninja" Saruta, who is currently the no. 1-ranked contender.

Not far behind are no. 2 and former titleholder Yoshitaka "Nobita" Naito of Japan, no. 3 Bokang "Little Giant" Matsunyane of South Africa, no. 4 Hiroba Minowa of Japan, and no. 5 Alex Silva of Brazil.

"The strawweight division is very stacked right now with the finest strawweight athletes in the world," said Pacio. "I watch their bouts and I continue to learn them and from them. I know for sure that I need to continuously level up because I can't stay idle. But that's a challenge I'm enjoying."

Pacio, though, has his eyes set on one guy only: Saruta, who he feels has unfinished business with him.

The two fighters hold one win each over each other: with Saruta taking their first clash via a split decision win at ONE: Eternal Glory in January 2019, while Pacio reclaimed his crown with a fourth round knockout victory at ONE: Roots of Honor that April.

"A trilogy with Saruta would be great, but it really depends with ONE Championship if who will be my next challenger," he said.

As Pacio awaits for that next call, all his focus lies on improving his all-around game as he makes the most of this opportunity to better himself.

"You can see a wider-ranging, more well-rounded Joshua Pacio in my future bouts. These are the things that we are working on in the gym," he said.

Pacio also carries a little more weight on his back as he remains as the lone Filipino champion standing in ONE Championship. It's a complete 180-turnaround from three years back when the Philippines had five champions -- four of whom are under the Team Lakay banner.

But after Brandon "The Truth" Vera lost the ONE Heavyweight World Championship to Arjan Singh Bhullar at ONE: Dangal in May, the strawweight king is the only Filipino sitting on a throne.

Still, you can see the spring in Pacio's step as it's evident that he's revitalized with the arrivals of stablemates such as Stephen "The Sniper" Loman and Jhanlo Mark Sangiao.

That alone should indicate that Pacio will go tooth-and-nail just to keep the belt on his waist.

"I'm super motivated to get back and defend our title, especially that my other teammates have joined ONE Championship already. I’m very happy for them and for us, and you will see the next generation of Team Lakay athletes come in full force," he said.

FDCP, Quezon City Gov’t Kick Off Bakuna Nights for 1,500 Film & AV Workers


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A total of 1,500 film and audiovisual (AV) workers will be vaccinated during the “Bakuna Nights para sa Film at Entertainment Workers,” a partnership between the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and Quezon City (QC) Government’s #QCProtekTODO program.

Launched on June 24 at the Quezon City Hall Vaccination Site, the “Bakuna Nights para sa Film at Entertainment Workers” has three sessions scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The first session on June 24 had 500 slots, with 477 workers vaccinated, and the next two sessions on July 1 and 8 will also have 500 slots each.

“Sa ating mga manggagawa, because of you, Quezon City is the City of Stars and I do intend to make sure to take care of all of the individuals who contribute to making Quezon City the great city that it is. At siyempre, nangunguna ang ating pong mga manggagawa from the film at television industry,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said in her Opening Remarks.

She also recognized the perseverance of film and AV workers, especially the daily wage earners, whose livelihoods have been greatly affected by restrictions in production activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Ako ay umaasa na kapag tuluy-tuloy na ang pagbabakuna, babalik din sa normal ang ating mga buhay at ang ating pong industrya ay magiging masigla muli,” she added.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño expressed her utmost gratitude to Mayor Belmonte for being the first to extend a helping hand for the vaccination of film and AV workers. She also revealed that because of the FDCP-QC vaccination initiative for A4 Priority Group workers, the national film agency has pending partnerships with various local government units (LGUs).

“Malaking bagay po ito para sa aming industriya. Napakalaking bagay nito para makabangon kami, maging protektado kami, at makapagtrabaho kami nang walang takot,” said Diño, who called on fellow vaccinated film and AV workers to encourage other members of the industry to get vaccinated as well as to register with the FDCP’s National Registry (NR), which is in charge of coordinating with workers regarding their vaccination schedule and requirements.

The FDCP’s National Registry for Audiovisual Workers (NRAW) has more than 5,000 workers, and almost 1,500 of them are based in Quezon City as workers or residents. All workers to be vaccinated during the QC Bakuna Nights will be contacted by the FDCP National Registry (NR) team via a call and text brigade for proper scheduling.

The FDCP NR team was at the “Bakuna Nights para sa Film at Entertainment Workers” launch to assist the workers and help facilitate inoculation process together with the #QCProtekTODO team. A short program featured the free performance of Ice Seguerra together with his band, The Pogi Boys. There was also a lugaw station for the film and AV workers because their vaccination schedule was set during dinner time.

One of the 477 vaccinated workers is performing artist and commercial model Victoria Mina, who was happy to be part of the Bakuna Nights launch for film and AV workers. “It was rather heartwarming to see people from the industry gathering and getting vaccinated together,” Mina told the FDCP. “Malaking tulong ang programang ito. Kapit lang tayo, babangon tayo ulit!”

Videographer Benedict Suarez, who was also vaccinated during the Bakuna Nights launch, said to fellow industry workers, “Please avail ‘yung libreng offer ng FDCP para at least lahat tayo makabalik nang dahan-dahan sa normal.”

A surprise segment during the program featured the singing of “Happy Birthday!” to Chairperson Diño, who was celebrating the eve of her birthday. She remarked, “It is an honor to be part of the synergy between the government and industry to ensure the welfare of our workers. This gives me hope and fuels my purpose for public service. Indeed, we can make things happen such as working together towards having our workers vaccinated for the recovery of our film and audiovisual industry.”

QC Bakuna Nights is Quezon City’s evening vaccination program that addresses the scheduling concerns of daily wage earners and those who are unable to take a leave of absence. It is open to FDCP NR registrants as well as non-registered workers who may send their full name, job designation, email address, mobile number, and home address to

Those who want to register with their respective LGUs may present as proof of occupation the FDCP National Registry Certification, which can be downloaded from their MyFDCPRegistry Profile on the NR website (

For inquiries and other concerns, email or visit

The Gonzaga Sisters sing the praises of water for health and beauty

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A lot of money is spent on cosmetics, facelifts and other so-called beauty solutions to achieve young skin and a smooth, glowing complexion. The same goes for fitness products, supplements, gym fees and equipment to possess a fit, healthy and ageless body.

But did you know that the simple, often costless solution to all those must-haves is just right under our noses? The answer is water.

If your skin is dry, dull and prone to getting wrinkles, maybe you’re just not drinking enough water. Besides changing weather conditions and environmental irritants, not drinking enough water can give you a dry complexion.

As we grow older, the skin slows its production of the substances that keep our faces hydrated. Hydration becomes more and more important to keep skin elastic and wrinkle-free. Hydrated skin does look more plump, healthy and youthful looking. And here’s the thing. Hydration also keeps skin from being oily. Did you know that dehydrated skin produces more oil to compensate for the lack of inner moisture?

When it comes to health and fitness, water is the perfect solution as well. Water maintains our digestive, heart and lung functions, helps lubricate our joints, protects our tissues, regulates our body temperature and so much more.

Contrary to common impressions, drinking more water will reduce bloat and flush out toxins, minimizing the harmful results of salty foods and snacks.

Some studies say water also helps with weight loss. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can help decrease appetite, help with portion control, aid in food digestion and boost metabolism. If water is consumed instead of high-calorie drinks, it reduces calorie intake as well.

So how much water should you drink? Experts say eight glasses or two liters per day. But water requirements may differ based on age, environment and activity levels. The more active you are, the more water you should drink.

The Gonzaga Sisters, Toni and Alex, are certified water buffs, the reason why they were selected by Nature’s Spring Water to be their official icons. Alex takes two liters of water per day while Toni is meticulous about the water she drinks, making sure it’s always bottled water she’s taking “because it’s safe, it’s sealed and you can trust it”.

“I didn’t believe in hydration before, but now I do. I know how water flushes out all the toxins in your body that you get from whatever you eat or drink. I always feel good after drinking water. And I also drink water to lose weight. It helps me to stay regular and I noticed that my “puson” (belly) is trimmer when I take water instead of juices and sugary drinks,” says Alex.

“When you drink water, you’re moisturizing your body and your inner beauty. Your cells are given more life, and this helps you glow. When you’re clean from within, you glow,” adds Toni.

The dynamic sisters continue to make waves in whatever passion they pursue, their respective YouTube vlogs, among others, where they have millions of subscribers. Visit for more hydration tips and subscribe to Nature's Spring newsletter to get 10% off on your first purchase.

Easy ways to take care of your body

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We all have bodies and so, we must do all that we can to better take care of them. After all, we only have one, so do not mess it up. If you want to live for longer and live a happy and healthy life, you must pay attention to your body and treat it with love, affection, and care. So, if you are reading this article, then congratulations, you are one step closer to learning how to best take care of your body. 

Take care of your mind 

Our mind and bodies are inseparable and connected—you cannot have one without the other. So, if you want to best take care of your body, you must also take care of your mind. How does one take care of their mind? Well, this refers to actions taken to secure and maintain your mental health. There are many ways in which you can take care of your mental health, some of which are listed below: 

Spend some quality time with friends and family: social isolation can spark and negatively affect your mental health. So, it is best to try and avoid spending too much time alone. Humans are social creatures after all and so, it is important that we build and maintain relationships with others in order to keep us happy and healthy. So, if you notice feelings of depression or loneliness, reach out to somebody you trust, and speak and connect with them. Make sure you spend some time socializing and spending time with others.

Declutter your mind: having too much on your mind and many issues to worry about will undoubtedly have negative impacts on your mental health; as will living in an untidy, messy, and overcrowded space. If this applies to you then you should take the necessary actions to declutter the space you live in, in order to declutter your mind. One way in which you can do this is by investing in a company such as Storage Area, who can provide a place for all the possessions and belongings that you do not have space for. 

Avoid or at least reduce your consumption of alcohol and drugs. 

Get professional help if you need it—do not be afraid, there are people out there who can help you. 

Eat a healthy diet 

You will certainly have had this recited to you multiple times, but it still important to highlight and mention the importance of a healthy diet. If you want to truly take care of your body, you must make sure that the food that you are putting inside of it is nutritious and good for you. So, where you can, try to avoid eating unhealthy, non-nutritious junk food, and instead, opt for food items and beverages that will aid your body in its development and that will enable it to function at is peak. It is important to note that you do not have to eat a fully clean diet. While this is ideal, it may not be realistic for everyone. So, as a start, make a few simple healthy changes in your diet. 

Learn to Cook like Cibo’s Margarita Fores and Other Famous Chefs at La Germania’s Masterclass Series

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There’s nothing like ordering takeout from your favorite restaurants and enjoying these meals from the comfort and safety of your home! But what if you could cook them yourself, and skip the hefty delivery fees and long waiting time?

To help you elevate your culinary skills and recreate dishes from your favorite restaurants, La Germania is hosting the Cooking with La Germania: Masterclass Series, a five-part installment of virtual cooking classes in partnership with your favorite chefs and celebrities.

During these online lessons, expert instructors will be present to guide you through the step-by-step process of how to cook their signature dishes from your favorite restaurants. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with the chefs, who will be ready to assist you throughout the cooking process.

Among the stellar lineup is award-winning restaurateur and founder of Cibo, Margarita Forés. If you’re a fan of Cibo’s signature pasta, Penne al Telefono, you’re in luck! Chef Margarita will be sharing the recipe behind this beloved classic, and demonstrating the procedure behind it.

Can’t get enough of Italian food? Chef Lau of Chef Laudico Guevarra’s and OK Cafe will also be demonstrating how you can whip up a delicious and filling meal of Italian Style Meatballs for your next family gathering.

Joining them is Chef Lee Jose, who is the Executive Chef of none other than Yabu and Ippudo from the Standard Hospitality Group. Chef Lee will be teaching his special recipe for Okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese savory pancake, so you can bring a taste of Japan to your homes.

Taking fried chicken to the next level is Chef Kalel Chan, who will demonstrate how to make your own Chicken Namban. Chef Kalel is the Corporate Chef of the Raintree Group, which manages restaurants like Chelsea Kitchen.

Finally, celebrity mom Saab Magalona-Bacarro and her husband Jim Bacarro will tackle how to prepare Steak and Mashed Potatoes, which is the perfect recipe for your next date night.

 Join these famous foodies and learn how to wow your family, friends or significant other during your next get together! Classes are limited to 10-12 participants per class to ensure that each attendee receives the appropriate amount of guidance, except for Saab’s class which is open to the public! Aside from Saab, there is also a joining fee of Php 500 to take part in this exclusive masterclass. Interested participants may view more details and sign up through La Germania’s Facebook page.

 While it’s important to know how to cook delectable dishes, it’s equally important to use good quality kitchen equipment like La Germania. Built according to the highest European standards in terms of construction and design, La Germania appliances allow you to prepare restaurant-worthy dishes in an efficient and easy way. With guaranteed durability and superior quality, they’re a good investment for you to channel your inner chef, and unleash your kitchen genius.

La Germania products are available online through La Germania’s official e-commerce website and e-commerce platforms on Shopee and Lazada. For more information on La Germania and its products, you may follow the official Facebook and Instagram accounts of the trusted kitchen and appliance brand.


Italian-heritage brand La Germania has been the preferred kitchen companion of Filipino homemakers for 53 years and counting. Its wide array of ovens, cooktops, and stoves is made of high-grade materials and designed to stand the test of time and extensive use. La Germania’s current line of products continues to serve the cooking needs and lifestyle of this generation and the next. To know more about La Germania and its products, visit The trusted kitchen partner of Filipinos also has its official stores on Shopee and Lazada.

Enjoy 50% off on 7-Eleven’s signature food products and on over 250 items this #711Day

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Celebrate 7-Eleven’s birthday sale with big discounts from July 7 to July 11

It hasn’t been an easy year for most of us, and so 7-Eleven is inviting all to celebrate every win, big and small, through #711Day, its annual birthday treat for customers! From July 7 to 11, 7-Eleven is slashing 50% off from the original price on over 250 of its signature food items, snacks, liquor, and groceries while other non-food items will also be at 50% off for one-day only on Sunday, July 11. Whether it’s your favorite snack, drink, or health and beauty must-have, expect to score a great deal on this week-long discount dash!

The convenience store giant is also offering a one-day only 50% off special for Crunch Time Carrier (buy 1, take 1 via Foodpanda), 7-Fresh Budget Siopao (from ₱32 to ₱16), and Big Bite Hotdogs (from Php ₱30 to ₱15), on July 11. Customers who will visit 7-Eleven stores during the week-long celebration can also enjoy the new flavors mushroom sisig and tuna pimiento from its Fresh Siopao menu and grab a P10 discount on all one-piece Crunch Time Chicken orders.

Just in time for the festivities, 7-Eleven is also launching their new coffee brand, City Cafe. Customers hankering for a caffeine fix can enjoy even bigger discount at 56% off on all small coffee cups and get it for only Php 11 from July 9 to 11.

7-Eleven’s implemented safety protocols will still be in place during the course of the week! Face masks and shields will be required for entry to stores, and there will be alcohol, sanitizers, and social distancing markers at each location. Contactless payments like the CLiQQ app or GCash are also highly encouraged.

With 7-Eleven’s pursuit of providing affordable and accessible goodies to all Filipinos, it’s no surprise then that they’ll also be celebrating a major milestone: Its 3000th store nationwide at Meycauayan, Bulacan!

Don’t miss out on 7-Eleven’s week-long celebration! Visit for a list of the complete sale items available from July 7 to 11.

It hasn’t been an easy year for most of us, and so 7-Eleven is inviting all to celebrate every win, big and small, through #711Day, its annual birthday treat for customers with over 250 items at 50% off from July 7 to 11.

7-Eleven signature treats like Crunch Time Carrier is BUY ONE, TAKE ONE while Big Bite Hotdog and 7-Fresh Budget Siopao are at 50% off on July 11 only. Other crowd favorites Slurpee, Gulp, and Fundae are available at half the cost on July 7, 8, and 9 respectively. You can also grab a P10 discount on all one-piece Crunch Time Chicken orders during that week-long celebration.

From July 7 to 11, 7-Eleven is slashing 50% off from the original price on over 250 of its signature food items, snacks, liquor, and groceries while other non-food items will also be at 50% off for one-day only on Sunday, July 11.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Bea Alonzo and the Utang na Loob Culture in the Philippines


Wazzup Pilipinas!?

People bashing Bea Alonzo for transferring to another network shows how terrible the "utang na loob" culture/mindset here in the Philippines. Please, your disappointment wont pay her bills. STFU!

If you’re bitter when an artist transfers networks, you’re part of the problem why the PH entertainment industry doesn’t prosper that much in the global scene. If you support all Filipino talents regardless of networks, we’d be powerful. Crab mentality is a disease.

Hindi ba dapat sa network nagagalit kasi sila naman nagsula ng exclusive contracts eh. HAHAHA tapos naggayahan na to the point na nagka network war na. Kung freedom din naman pala bat di nalang ilaban na no to exclusives? Correct me po if I am wrong.

Mas malala pag nagtransfer from kabilang network todo bash pero pag papunta sa gusto nila ay super welcome.

And while Bea was on ABS-CBN, si Bea lang na nakinabang? Nagkapera rin ang ABS-CBN dahil sa kanya! Such a toxic Filipino culture!

Meanwhile sa Kdrama, ang mga actors at actress nila ay nakakalayang nakakagawa ng drama sa kung saan-saang channel then never silang nagrely sa mga loveteam as a result ayon milya milya ang layo ng mga shows at actor at actress nila sa atin.

Regardless of what mentality PH viewers have... parang sa PH lang may issue if an actor accepts projects from different media network, si Kim Seon Ho nga may variety show sa KBS, while Start Up is shown on tVn (1 example of many actors having multiple shows in diff network).

Unbothered nga po yung chairman ng ABS-CBN kasi it's part of the business talaga. Normal lang po sa kanila 'yon kaya di ko po gets bakit ang dami pong kumakahol na mas affected pa. Hihi. 

GMA Network has Bea Alonzo na and other Kapamilya artists. It’s about time to hire BETTER WRITERS!!! Can’t imagine Bea doing a show with ghosts wearing face shield. 

Since GMA has the money to sign John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo in their network, can they hire better writers too ?? it's hard to imagine John Lloyd and Bea, who are one of the top caliber actors of their generation, starring in a poorly written and directed teleserye.

Also, Kapuso artists, medyo manginginig na ko kung ako sa inyo. These artists from the other network are farrrrr better than you. Hahaha. Plus priority sila ngayon, so galingan din naman.

Goodluck sa homegrown artists ng GMA. Mapag-iiwanan na sila. Mas hindi na kikinang.

Puro kase loyal dito sa Pinas loyal sa network at loyal sa pulitika nakakaloka.

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