Friday, October 28, 2022

Mobile connectivity can supercharge careers, but employers need to do better – Telenor Asia study

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Improved productivity, enhanced career skills and tapping into new business opportunities are just some of the ways people in Asia are turning to their mobile phones to enhance their working lives, according to a study by Telenor Asia.

The study, and second instalment in the “Digital Lives Decoded” series launched in conjunction with Telenor Asia’s 25th anniversary, looks at how respondents across the region are using their mobiles to adapt to changing realities, as new work cultures emerge post-pandemic.

It also examines the changing relationships between employers and employees, highlighting growing concerns over trust and control as hybrid work imposes a physical disconnect between employees and their managers. The study surveyed 8,000 mobile internet users across eight countries (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) in South and Southeast Asia.

"Our research points to mobile connectivity as an enabler of productivity, progress, flexibility and economic opportunity. Yet, we continue to see gaps in how this technology is used between urban and rural populations, large companies and SMEs, between industries and even between C-suite executives and their junior counterparts. In addition, people remain highly concerned about their skills and ability to keep pace with advancing technology. The aspect of trust is also preventing people from realising their full potential through mobile use in the world of work. As time spent working online increases, our survey findings can help identify the right tools and knowledge to close these gaps and improve digital work lives,” said Jørgen Rostrup, Head of Telenor Asia.

1. More Women and C-suite executives say they gain from mobile connectivity for work

Echoing the first instalment of the report, where more women reported that mobile usage significantly improves their lives, 54 percent of women respondents compared to 46 percent men, said their mobile phones also connect them to better job and career opportunities. In Bangladesh, the Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan, women are leading the way in using their mobile to find new ways of generating an income.

More C-suite executives also said they benefit from mobile use at work, as compared to employees at any other level. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of C-suite executives say mobile devices have significantly improved their careers and skills development, compared to 47 percent of junior-level employees. They are also more likely to see productivity gains, with 60 percent of C-suite executives as compared to 52 percent of those at a junior level saying productivity has improved by over 20 percent. Despite this, C-suite executives (53 percent) signalled greater concerns than other employees (39 percent average) about their skills becoming outdated in this fast-paced working environment.

2. Workplace policies and practices lag behind

Almost seven in ten (69 percent) respondents believe that mobile connectivity is ‘very important’ to the success of their organisation. However, a similar number of people (62 percent) feel there are untapped business opportunities that could be exploited with better developed mobile technology infrastructure.

People named a lack of skills and knowledge (49 percent), resistance to changing practices and habits (31 percent) and unhelpful workplace policies (28 percent) as key barriers to fully utilising mobile connectivity at the workplace.

This is supported by 62 percent of respondents stating learning and development as an area in which their employer could improve the use and application of mobile technology; while 54 percent also cited HR systems and processes as another area for improvement.

3. Trust issues on the rise

While employees currently value the impact mobile technology has on their work life (only five percent believe that using their mobile device for work reduces their quality of life), establishing safeguards to bolster trust will be critical for organisations in the pivot to a digital-first economy. This will become even more important in the future, as many of the respondents indicated that they expect, a significant rise in their use of mobile phones for work over the next six to twelve months.

Already, privacy and security (60 percent) and lack of trust in technology (40 percent), are the top concerns flagged by respondents that prevent them from utilising mobile technology for greater benefits at work.

4. Singapore most sceptical about benefits of mobile devices at work

On multiple fronts, respondents in Singapore reported the least significant positive impact of mobile usage on their working lives. Just 35 percent (regional average 55 percent) indicate that mobile devices have improved their personal productivity at work by more than 20 percent, while 69 percent (regional average 90 percent) felt that mobile devices have contributed positively to their skills development in the workplace.

While the majority of respondents across the region still believe that using their mobile devices for work improves quality of life, in Singapore only two in ten felt the improvement is significant – the lowest among all markets surveyed. A notable 11 percent of Singaporean respondents said that mobile phones have reduced or significantly reduced their quality of life.

Science and the supernatural: Filipino folklore through a scientific lens

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Even with the rise of science and technology, Filipino folklore is still passed on from generation to generation – including stories of creatures and curses that heretofore have seemed scientifically unanswerable.

Filipino folklore is an interesting topic to delve into for scientists as the Philippines’ library of research on such supernatural phenomena continues to grow. Discoveries in science and technology have helped shed light on some folklore beliefs that generations of Filipinos grew up believing in. Scientists and researchers from the University of the Philippines - Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS), as well as from other institutes, have researches that focus on health conditions linked to Filipino folklore, enriching our understanding of what we heretofore could only think of as supernatural.

Tracing the Aswang’s true roots

One of the most feared Filipino supernatural beings is the aswang, a shapeshifter that takes on human form during the day but transforms into a grotesque creature at night that would feast on humans. Aswangs are said to live mainly on Panay Island, particularly in the province of Capiz. But in 1975, Filipino doctors discovered a neurodegenerative disorder there called X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism (XDP).

People diagnosed with XDP exhibit symptoms of dystonia, such as cramping of the foot and involuntary pulling of the neck. The jerky, seemingly unnatural movement of XDP sufferers could easily lead one to think that they are being possessed by the devil. Then it progresses to Parkinsonism symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, slow movement, and impaired balance and coordination which could sometimes lead to falls.

“The [aswang] myth tried to explain the transformation when these people eventually started to manifest the trait,” said National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) Director Dr. Pia Bagamasbad, who recently published a study on how stress hormones affect the expression of genes of XDP patients. “They [XDP patients] were born normal, they grew up to be normal, then they suddenly transformed, exhibiting these involuntary contractions na parang nagtatransform. Ganoon ‘yung sinasabi na ‘aswang’. Kaya nagkaroon ng myth.”

Dr. Bagamasbad visited Capiz in 2019 for a completely different reason, but talking to the citizens piqued her interest in probing the link between stress and XDP. “‘Yung iba sinasabi na after a very stressful situation, like [typhoon] Yolanda, doon nagsimulang magmanifest ‘yung symptoms,” Dr. Bagamasbad narrated her experience.

XDP is due to a mutation in a gene found on the X-chromosome. Therefore, this disease more commonly affects males. All individuals afflicted by XDP can trace their roots to Panay Island. There is still no cure for XDP yet, but according to a case study on XDP published in the Philippine Medical Association Journal, it is important for this disease to be recognized.

“The patients who suffer from X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism are people who need care and are not supposed to be feared. Perhaps, if the disease becomes common knowledge, the fear will be turned into understanding, the stigma would be abolished, and the patients afflicted with the disease will be given the appropriate management and be given hope,” the study said.

Blindness due to a ‘curse’

Meanwhile, according to ophthalmologist Dr. Ryan Collantes, it is rare for young people to suffer from glaucoma. So he was naturally intrigued when a 16-year-old approached him because of possible glaucoma.

“The patient also offered an interesting history. Both of his siblings were blind in one eye. His father was also blind. In his case, [glaucoma] was a familial disease. I thought that there was a genetic component because there was a strong penetrance of the disease,” said Dr. Collantes in an interview.

Dr. Collantes flew to the patient’s hometown to learn more about the patient’s family history and genetics, only to meet more than 50 family members who had juvenile open-angle glaucoma (JOAG), a rare glaucoma condition.

After collecting blood samples from the family members and analyzing its extracted DNA at the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), Dr. Collantes discovered a new type of mutation that causes glaucoma in affected family members.

His further research on this disease allowed Dr. Collantes to become a research fellow at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear and the Harvard Medical School. He also received the international Dr. David L. Epstein award for clinician-scientists pursuing research on glaucoma.

“These people [with JOAG] think that they’re cursed. But, through this scientific discovery, we proved that they aren’t [cursed]. I want to give patients hope. It means a lot to them that we’re looking into their situation. I want to genuinely look out for them,” Dr. Collantes shared.

The mystery behind kulam

Whenever severe adverse events happen, Filipinos often wonder if it has something to do with kulam or sorcery. Usually, kulam involves serious ailments that cause pain, and uses kontra-kulam remedies as treatment.

However, Department of Anthropology Professor Emeritus and former UPD Chancellor Dr. Michael Tan wrote an essay elaborating on how certain diseases can be thought to be caused by kulam. Neuritis, a condition involving inflammation of nerves, is one such disease. Sicknesses that are visually disfiguring are also commonly assumed to be an aftermath of kulam. Psoriasis is another example, where patches of thick red skin and scaly patches appear on the skin. And these diseases can also overlap with nervous diseases: anxiety can cause people to scratch their skin and experience mild pain that could worsen over time.

Chronic ailments such as ascites, a condition in which fluid builds up in the abdomen, are also commonly associated with kulam. Ascites may be often caused by liver problems, but some people readily believe that a mangkukulam placed foreign objects into the sufferer’s body.

Psychosis or paranoia, a mental health condition that involves irrational suspicions or mistrust of others, is another ailment commonly associated with kulam. Patients with paranoia often believe they are being threatened despite having little or no evidence.

Kulam, according to Dr. Tan, reveals Filipinos’ lack of health literacy and how widespread and dangerous that can be.

Building on the supernatural

And yet, modern science doesn’t always necessarily have to debunk folk beliefs.

In some ways, science can supplement or even enrich our appreciation of folklore by enabling us to understand what makes the seemingly impossible, possible. And it is through this understanding that we are able to make better-informed decisions.

“Words like ‘mutation’ or ‘carrier’ are very common now, and there’s less stigma among the people afflicted with this disease [XDP],” recounted Dr. Bagamasbad as she talked about her research on XDP. “Now, their health-seeking behavior has improved. Some of them even volunteered their post-mortem brain to advance the understanding of what’s happening at the tissue level.”

Through folklore, we are able to glimpse our ancestors’ perspectives on life, which can in turn cultivate our own self-understanding. Folklore also points the way towards the unknown, raising to our awareness the mysteries of our world, thereby setting the stage for our innate scientific curiosity to learn more about and understand them.

Written by Eunice Jean Patron, UPD-CS SciComm Team

Eunice Jean Patron is a graduate of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. She is a Senior Science Communicator at the UP Diliman College of Science.

Food, Negros Food!

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Visitors to Negros Occidental always take away happy memories about their gastronomic discoveries. From iconic pastries to Bacolod City’s branded chicken inasal, to hearty, steaming, extraordinarily rich bowls of kansi, Negros has become the new food destination. In the last decade alone we’ve earned the moniker “Organic Food Capital”. We’ve also taken a seat among seafood farmers, Negros being the leading prawn producer in the country. We’re graduating a record number of culinary arts professionals from our colleges and universities. Our chefs are second to none. And most recently, Negros Occidental has become the bedrock of the slow food movement in the Philippines. No wonder then, Negros Season of Culture celebrates Negrense Food. That’s how we’re rooted. And that’s how we’ll take on the world.

Popular Lumpia Ubod Versions: Can You Tell the Difference?

First on the table is Lumpia Ubod. To be clear, our version is different. Our wrapper is not made from eggs, but ground rice. We don’t put sauce outside. We put it inside where it can suffuse well the filling of palm heart and choice meat. The lumpia ubod (or, as Tagalogs would say, lumpiang ubod) is a traditional snack hereabouts. It even lists among the esteemed “mahjong merienda” fare. Families known for special cuisines take pride in their version of the lumpia ubod. In ages past home kitchens used special ingredients, like the tahure paste made with tofu, sugar, and ginger, spread inside the lumpia wrapper to give every bite heat. But with time, the lumpia ubod has evolved to delight modern palates. In Lumpia Ubod, Negros Season of Culture spent a day with Chef Richard Ynayan of the Institute of the Culinary Arts of the University of St. La Salle for a chat about these innovated offerings.

Negros Seafood

In addition to being a big player in the country’s prawn and fish pond industry, Negros Occidental has many fish ports throughout the province. Outside the capital, three easily come to mind, the Tagda Fish Port in Hinigaran, the Tabao Fish Port in Valladolid, and the Sagay Fish Port in Sagay City, each one fetching over five tons of harvest daily. Seafood has always been a major food group in the Negrense’s daily menu. In Negros Seafood, we set up kitchen at a private resort in Silay City to create the perfect setting for Chef Gabriel “Gab” Melocoton and Chaela Ruth Mirano to take us on a seafood cooking show that re-issues three popular delicacies into five-star dishes. Beyond steaming, beyond smothering them with chili garlic sauce, Chef Gab tweaks the lukon, diwal, and litog to surprise you.

Peanut Gang

Peanuts Gang is a story of MSME success, one of many uplifting entrepreneurial stories in Negros Occidental. At the recent Negros Trade Fair in Manila, Negros Season of Culture met Shiena Becaro Pobleto, a young mother who has pushed the peanut business started by her parents beyond what they ever dreamed of. There in Glorietta, within her two-by-three booth, she wooed the world with her branded peanuts. Now we know, it’s not all about selling. One of her siblings has integrated farming into the picture to ensure the supply chain. This is not so “MSME” anymore, it seems, but that’s exactly what happens when MSME turns big.

While in the subject of food, the Negros Season of Culture looks forward to celebrating an upcoming event at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell Center, Makati City. Happening from November 4-6 is Namit Namit Food Festival, Best of Negrense Favorites. Negros Season of Culture ambassador, actor Joel Torre, is the man behind JT’s Manukan. Fancy meeting him and savoring his famous chicken inasal at the Power Plant. Mark your calendars.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Wazzup Pilipinas and Puno Sagip Buhay form "Farmacy" partnership with the municipality of Montalban

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Wazzup Pilipinas and Puno Sagip Buhay in Montalban for #LagingHanda #HealthyNation Philippines!!

Forming Montalban Farmacy with Mayor Gen. Ronnie Evangelista 

Mr. Patrick D. Roquel and Dra. Elinor Tee Roquel of  RICHCORP and BinhiBiofarm, together with Ross Flores Del Rosario of Wazzup Pilipinas has formed an alliance with Montalban Mayor General Ronnie Evangelista by way of the Puno Sagip Buhay advocacy.

During the visit, they have also donated several lagundi and citronella-powered products for the benefit of the Montalbenos.

RICHCORP President Mr. Patrick Roquel and his wife, Vice President Dr. Elinor Roquel has partnered with Wazzup Pilipinas founder and Montalban-based influencer Mr. Ross Del Rosario, to discuss with Montalban Mayor Gen. Ronnie Evangelista, the many possibilities of lagundi, as well as other medicinal plants, and how they could help the municipality in exploring medicinal plants as among the crops the municipality could cultivate, process and distribute as among their main products.

Lagundi is the primary source of raw materials for making RICHCORP's products like HappyCha lagundi tea and Immune Advance capsules. These FDA-approved natural, non-synthetic and non-chemical based products does not only help in strengthening our immune system, their formulation were also scientifically proven as an effective defense against viruses like the dreaded Covid or Coronavirus.

Mr. Roquel's ROQS International Consumer Health Corporation or RICHCORP is the maker of HappyCha 100% dried Lagundi Tea Beverage, Immune Advance Lagundi Food supplement capsules, and other products like Citronella Andas spray, lotion, hand sanitizer, and scented candles, among many others. They are the biggest processor and supplier of lagundi and other well studied DOH-listed medicinal plants like Citronella used as raw materials by the many popular herbal brands that we know. Mr. Roquel is also the founder of "Puno Sagip Buhay" and "I plant, I share, I save Communities" that reaches out to communities to encourage communities to cultivate medicinal plants as alternative yet potentially profitable crops. These companies often gives out donations of their products as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, especially during the height of the pandemic, and since the fight against Covid should be continuous, the group have also donated several boxes of their products to the municipality of Montalban so Montalbenos, especially senior citizens and those with comorbidities, will have stronger immune systems against Covid and other illnesses.

The group also plans to donate lagundi seedlings and provide training programs to the people of Montalban so Montalbenos could learn more on how lagundi can help in improving both their health and source of livelihood.

. They have also invited everyone to freely come visit their farms in Tanauan, Batangas and other locations.

" Sa Lagundi, Tiwala Ako"

#WazzupPilipinas #RICHCORP #BinhiBiofarm #PunoSagipBuhay #Lagundi #Citronella #SaLagundiTiwalaAko #LagingHanda #HealthyNationPhilippines

Critically-endangered Irrawaddy dolphin subpopulation exists in San Miguel Bay

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

A joint team of researchers from the UPD-CS IESM and BFAR5 conduct a boat survey of the Bicol River as part of a reconnaissance trip in search of the rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. (Photo credit: IESM/BFAR5)

Scientists from the University of the Philippines - Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS) are hot on the trail of a subpopulation of rare and endangered dolphins in the San Miguel Bay area in Bicol. Key Informant Interviews with local fisherfolk indicate that the dolphins may have been thriving there for decades, even while so far eluding capture and official documentation.

Previous sightings of Irrawaddy dolphins

Last August 16, an Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) was found accidentally entangled and drowned in a fisherman’s net in San Miguel Bay off Calabanga, Camarines Sur. This was the first time that this species — considered critically endangered by the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) — had been found in the Eastern part (Pacific side) of the country.

Apart from other Irrawaddy dolphin populations scattered in South and Southeast Asia, all previous sightings in the Philippines were exclusively in the Western part of the archipelago: in Malampaya Sound, Palawan, and in the Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros Occidental area.

The new discovery prompted Dr. Lemnuel Aragones, a professor at the UPD-CS Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM) and president of the Philippine Marine Mammals Stranding Network (PMMSN), to organize a reconnaissance trip in the hopes of finding more of these dolphins in the area.

Careful interviews reveal telltale clues

From October 21 to 24, a joint team of researchers from the IESM and BFAR Regional Office 5 conducted opportunistic boat surveys and key informant interviews with local fisherfolk in areas surrounding the location of the initial Irrawaddy dolphin sighting and beyond (see map below).

From October 21 to 24, 2022, a joint reconnaissance team from the UPD-CS IESM and BFAR5 traversed the Bicol River from Camaligan to its mouth, which splits into Cabusao and Calabanga. The Tambang River was also surveyed by navigating through San Miguel Bay north of Calabanga, then eastward towards Tinambac, passing through Siruma, Camarines Sur, by boat. The team also made land trips to the areas of Mercedes and Vinzon’s-Talisay in Camarines Norte. (Photo credit: IESM)

The team carefully crafted open-ended questions for the interviewees, allowing the latter to describe the features of the dolphins that they saw, or still see, in their areas. The responses helped the researchers validate the species of the creatures in these sightings. Some of the informants noted telltale features that point to these being Irrawaddy dolphins — such as their small size (2-2.5 meters long); the absence of a beak; and a small rounded dorsal fin. Afterwards, the interviewees were shown pictures of Irrawaddy dolphins so they could confirm the actual appearance of the creatures they had seen. As an added step, the researchers also prudently documented the interviewees’ fishing gounds, gear, and catch.

A thriving subpopulation

Based on some local key informants’ long-term recollections, it seems that a subpopulation of Irrawaddy dolphins may be thriving in San Miguel Bay and seasonally visiting specific areas for several decades now.

“Some preliminary but important information derived from this recon trip includes the possible seasonal movement of the dolphins in response to prey abundance, and some localities have confirmed sighting these animals in their areas,” Aragones said.

“Our key informant interviewees provided preliminary information which showed that these animals may have been in the area since the 1960s, and are usually sighted in small groups of three to seven individuals. There’s even an exceptional sighting in 2021 of a group of over ten dolphins by a key informant from Tinambac, Camarines Sur,” he added.

Also, Aragones said that "the locals just referred to them as dolphins, and this might have been the reason why they all along thought that they were just the usual ordinary ones often sighted offshore.”

Researchers from the UPD-CS IESM and BFAR5 listen to one of their key informant interviewees describe his sighting of what experts believe to be rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. (Photo credit: IESM/BFAR5)

Moreover, careful measurements of the temperature, salinity, and depth of the waters surrounding Tinambac point to an environment that is conducive to attracting Irrawaddy dolphins.

“The combination of the shallow depth of the Bay; nearby islands; isolated embayment; the wide range of available possible prey items such as small fish and crustaceans; and the wide range of salinities in San Miguel Bay, are some of the features that enable the Irrawaddy dolphins to thrive in this area,” Aragones explained.

The reconnaissance trip was part of the IESM’s Assessment and Mobilization of Research Initiatives on Philippine Marine Mammals (PHLMarMams) Project funded by the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).

A full-blown survey to possibly quantify the relative abundance and range of distribution of Irrawaddy dolphins in San Miguel Bay and adjacent areas is scheduled for early 2023.

For interviews and further information, you may contact IESM Professor and PMMSN President Dr. Lemnuel Aragones via mobile no. (0928)5018226 or email; and BFAR5 Resource Management Section Chief Nonie Enolva at mobile no. (0915)9316884.

PAL set to attain Net Zero Emissions by 2050

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The PH flag carrier taps UN-awarded scientist to help achieve the ambitious goal

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is poised to attain net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in support of international agreements for climate action, including the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact.

The Philippine flag carrier is investing in an all-out carbon reduction program as part of a multi-year commitment to combat the worldwide scourge of climate change. According to United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), GHG emissions from aviation could increase by a factor of two to four times 2015 levels by 2050. Aviation produces around 2% of all global CO2 emissions: 1.3% international and 0.7% domestic.

“Our Net Zero initiative comes at a crucial time for the international aviation industry, which is seeking to further lessen its environmental impact in response to the global scientific community’s clarion call against irreversible climate change,” PAL President & COO Capt. Stanley K. Ng said.

“Being the country’s flag carrier and Asia’s first airline, we recognize that our essential role in bridging our country and the rest of the world goes hand in hand with the need for climate action across international borders,” added Captain Ng.

PAL’s Net Zero goal will be holistic and comprehensive, covering both flight and ground operations. PAL began this process by shifting to renewable energy for the electricity supply of its major offices and working on the potential use of sustainable aviation fuel to power its fleet of high-technology aircraft.

The airline is continually improving its operational efficiency by implementing fuel efficiency initiatives such as Single Engine Taxi In (SETI) and Reduced Acceleration Altitude (RAAL) that help reduce CO2 emissions while adhering to strict safety standards. In the long term, PAL seeks to develop a robust Net Zero Emissions (NZE) strategy and take substantive actions to foster a more earth-friendly aviation environment based on scientific best practices.

To underscore PAL’s commitment to improving its carbon footprint, the country’s premiere airline has tapped the services of U.N.-acclaimed climate scientist and science diplomat Glenn Banaguas to help guide the company’s efforts.

Sci. Dpl. Banaguas is the president and founder of the Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute (ECCRI). In 2010, he spearheaded the institute's flagship program, Climate Smart Philippines: Science for Service, which brings scientific experts and stakeholders together in addressing disasters and preventing losses from climate change and other hazards. For these initiatives, Banaguas received the prestigious global UN Sasakawa Award, the first individual Filipino recipient in the award’s 35-year history. He is the honoree of The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Laureate, which is the Nobel Prize of the Philippines. He is the Chairman of the ASEAN Science Diplomats and the US-ASEAN Fellows for Science and Technology. He is the Climate Diplomat of the EU-Asia Expert Panel for Climate Diplomacy and Environmental Security. He is also the Executive Fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Lee Kuan Yew Senior Fellow in Public Service.

With Banaguas providing expert guidance, PAL aims to conduct comprehensive assessments of its overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and move towards full decarbonization.

In the long haul, PAL seeks to develop a roadmap for its own Net Zero Emissions (NZE) strategy; develop and integrate emissions scenarios projected until the year 2050 using internationally accepted models and relevant standards, and develop and recommend science- and evidence-based targets as well as gender-based programs for the entire PAL community.

“PAL’s commitment to climate action is a great service to the country and to the world,” Banaguas said. “More than just a rallying call, it is a reminder of our shared responsibility for, and stewardship of, the environment.”

PHOTO CAPTION: PAL President & COO Capt. Stanley K. Ng and UN Sasakawa Laureate Sci. Dpl. Glenn S. Banaguas


Ghosts of WW2: Loss of life and genetic variation in Manila due to war

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The iconic Oblation stands at its original location ca. 1945 in front of the war-torn ruins of what is now UP Manila. Over 100,000 civilians are said to have died in Manila towards the end of World War II, out of a population of 1 million people. (Photo credit: j&b photos/

The ravages of World War II — particularly the destruction of Manila in 1945 — continue to haunt the Philippines even almost a century after they happened, as evidenced through the difficulty in the search for native Manileños.

Since 1996, researchers from the University of the Philippines - Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS) Natural Sciences Research Institute’s (NSRI’s) DNA Analysis Laboratory have been surveying the genetic ancestry of Filipinos across the country. More recently, the laboratory’s ambitious Filipino Genomes Research Program (FGRP) has aimed to document and understand the rich diversity of Filipinos’ genetic heritage. The study’s findings, when completed and made available, will have far-reaching implications on many fields, from forensics and medicine to history and anthropology.

But despite the program’s urgency and lofty goals, there is at least one place in the country where genetics and local ancestry have proven to be difficult to document for the most poignant of reasons.

Searching for native Manileños

Partnering and volunteering for the FGRP seems simple enough: to become a representative of a particular Filipino group from a particular Filipino region, you as well as your parents and grandparents on both sides should also be from the same place. Meeting these criteria outside of the National Capital Region (NCR) would be no problem — especially in largely homogeneous ethnic groups, such as those in the Cordilleras and in Mindanao. However, the researchers have found it next to impossible to obtain samples from Metro Manila, despite repeated efforts.

“Nahihirapan talaga kami hanapin silang mga at least third generation na born in Metro Manila, kahit na ikinalat na namin ang aming recruitment sa iba't-ibang LGUs, universities, at maging sa Facebook at Twitter,” said FGRP researcher Noriel Esteban. “Kaya we are now relaxing our inclusion criteria to at least having both parents born in Metro Manila.” Yet even despite these adjustments to the eligibility criteria, Esteban said that out of over 40 potential partner-volunteers from the NCR, only 17 were able to be accepted into the study.

This present dearth likely hints at an ominous past, according to evolutionary geneticist and FGRP Program Leader Frederick Delfin.

Genetic ghosts of lost people

“Such a massive loss of native populations can be due to a natural event, such as a volcanic eruption, or as is most likely in this case, a man-made event such as war,” Delfin explained.

More than one in ten civilians were killed out of a population of just 1 million people in the Battle of Manila towards the end of the Second World War in 1945, based on historical accounts and census data. This decimated the local population, which never completely recovered and is the likely reason for the near absence of native Manileños today.

“Catastrophic events can severely reduce the population size, with locals either killed or forced to leave. This can result in the reduction of genetic diversity in an area. It takes a very long time for local populations to recover, if at all,” Delfin lamented. “In a way, we can think of the lost genetic variation as the ghosts of the people we lost.”

FGRP seeks partner-volunteers

The FGRP is a comprehensive study that emphasizes the informed consent of its participants, especially indigenous peoples. A similar earlier study, published by the University of Uppsala in 2021, was plagued by ethical issues.

With COVID-19 pandemic restrictions easing up, the FGRP’s nationwide sampling is proceeding at a steady pace as the team is focused on acquiring permission from, as well as explaining the project’s objectives and potential impact to, the country’s various indigenous peoples.

To learn more about the FGRP and to inquire about becoming a partner-volunteer, please contact Frederick Delfin at You may also visit their Facebook page for ongoing and future recruitment postings at

Geyser: A Comprehensive Guide

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Geysers are a great way to save money on your electricity bill. They can help you reduce your overall energy consumption; it's an investment that will pay for itself in no time. A geyser can be a valuable addition to your home if you live in an area with cold winters.

This is a comprehensive guide on geysers. It covers the different types of geysers, their benefits, and how to choose the right one for your home. It also includes information on installation and maintenance.

How to Choose a Geyser

Types of Geysers:

There are two main types of geysers:



Storage geysers have a built-in tank that heats up water and then stores it until you need it. Tankless geysers, on the other hand, heat water on demand.


Geysers are available in a variety of sizes, so you can choose one that's right for your needs. You'll need a larger geyser if you have a large family or live in a warm climate. On the other hand, if you live alone or have a smaller family, a 10-litre geyser will be sufficient.


When shopping for a geyser, be sure to compare features. Some models have additional features, such as a timer, that can save you even more money.


Anyone can easily install a geyser with some simple instructions. However, if you're not comfortable doing it yourself, you can always hire a professional.


Geysers are a great way to save money and energy. You can find a geyser that perfectly fits your home in various types, sizes, and styles. Be sure to compare features and prices before making your final decision. And once you have your geyser installed, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for maintenance.

Masskara Festival Food Trip at Bacolod - 18th Street Palapala Seafood Grill & Restaurant

Wazzup Pilipinas! Our Team goes to Negros together with Wyatt Belmonte and Jayson Biadog to celebrate the much-awaited and exciting 3 weeklong Masskara Festival. Too bad that our Editor in Chief Ross Del Rosario was out, covering several out-of-town events in Ilocos and different regions in the country.

But what happened last Sunday was the final main event highlight of the Bacolod Masskara festival. So before heading to the main event in Lacson Street Bacolod city. Together with Wyatt and the 3 owners of the restaurant we just had a great late lunch. A little talk about being owners managing the 40-staff restaurant now on its 19th year in business. It's the usual routine and different unique tasty menus.

Also, a little chitchat when it comes to who visits the restaurant like it was called 4 times by former VP Leni Robredo, Chavit Singson, and Manny Pacquiao. And supposed to be VP Sarah Duterte, with her staff having lunch beside us at the other table. Also the most viral talks with Joel Torre and Edu Manzano dining in the area.

With lots of car park available and can dined around 300+ persons. I think this will be a perfect lunch or dinner stopover when you are touring around Negros or the Bacolod area to feel the local vibe. To taste the rich taste of local seafood from different Cities and Towns of the Negros Island.

Teodoro, Sister, and Roy Lopez talked to us about how fresh they sourced the seafood with a roving freezer. To make sure the freshness of seafood in different areas in Negros like Ilog, Victorias, Hinobaan, Bacolod, Silay, and much more. The Tuna and Marlin were not coming from Davao or Mindanao area but all from Negros Island.     

Roy told me about that Kinilaw with salted egg and beans. Is kinda unique and he recommends this to anybody that will visit the place. Also, the Chef or Cook recommends the Crab to be cooked with butter and it really tastes good. Also, their crab was fat and tasty. 

You can customize the way you want the seafood to be cooked for as low as 250 grams or 1/4 kilo or more. You can just tell the cook or chef what kind of dish you wanted to be prepared.  The food looks expensive but they have a platter that only cost 1000 peso good for 4 people.  Perfect budget for students, workers, and OFW returning home for vacation. Also with lots of Foreigners as well visiting the restaurant.

See more of photos and videos at and visit the place at Address: Aguinaldo St., Cor 18th St., Brgy. 4, Bacolod, Negros Occidental, Philippines 6100  Cell no. 0905 543 4136 Email

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Paldak at Pulayi Fundraiser for Angeles Church

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Back-to back events aimed to raise funds for the continuing conservation of the Holy Rosary Parish (Angeles Church)

Now in its third year, PALDAK AT PULAYI will be held again this coming October 29. 

“Paldak at Pulayi '' is a community event with more than 500 runners and bikers expected to participate. It aims to raise funds for the continuing conservation of the Holy Rosary Parish or Pisambang Maragul while raising awareness on this important cultural heritage site.

The fundraiser will have 3 components, namely: Paldak (bike ride), Pulayi (fun run) which are both scheduled on October 29, and a pre-Christmas bazaar which will simultaneously open from October 28 to 30, from 6am to 9pm. The fun run will commence at: 4:00 am to be followed by the fun ride at 6:00 am. The Church grounds will be the starting point for both activities and will be the venue of the Christmas bazaar.

The event also aims to promote Angeles City by featuring the areas to be used for the event routes (bike stops) as well as to promote running and cycling as a healthy lifestyle, and cycling as a sustainable means for transportation.

According to Rev. Fr. Nolasco Fernandez, parish priest of Holy Rosary Parish, “our goal is to raise resources to fund what is needed for the current restoration of the church. While it is a fundraiser, the event also encourages a sense of community and camaraderie, and the meeting of people from different parts of our parish. Paldak at Pulayi manifests the initiative of the people to strive for the restoration of the Holy Rosary Parish, beloved not only by Angeleños but by Filipinos from different places and walks of life."

The Holy Rosary Parish Church, a towering landmark in the middle of Angeles, has been declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NCHP) and is recognized as an Important Cultural Property by the National Museum of the Philippines. The conservation currently being done by the Parish and Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation Inc. began in September 2019 to address the damage and deterioration of the masonry walls, including those of the bell towers.

This fundraiser is organized by AdCentral Consulting and Smoke 10 Events Management, in partnership with Curia Sancti Rosarii, the city government of Angeles and the Angeles City Tourism Office.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

DOST-SEI, QUT sign pact for STEM teachers’ scholarships in Australia

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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in the Philippines gets a much-needed boost as 28 STEM teachers obtained full scholarships for postgraduate studies in Australia.

This is the highlight of the International Cooperation Agreement (ICA) signing between the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), held on October 21, 2022, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. and DOST-SEI Director Josette Biyo signed the accord for the DOST-SEI, while QUT School of Teacher Education and Leadership Head Prof. Dann Mallet and QUT International Projects Unit Director Dr. Nelson Salangsang represented QUT.

The ICA signing was witnessed by Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Hae Kyong Yu who outlined the partnership’s significance.

“We all know that science, technology, and research doesn’t happen by itself. It all starts in a classroom with students inspired by teachers who create a sense of fun and excitement around STEM. How exciting that we got excellent teachers going to QUT to become even better experts,” she said in a well-applauded speech at the ceremony.

An economist, Amb. Yu, reiterated how science and technology leads to economic growth. She also cited that the ICA is an opportunity to welcome Filipino STEM educators to the dynamic Australian alumni community, and a means to emphasize the remarkable ties of Australia and the Philippines.

FROM DOST SCHOLARS TO WORLD-CLASS STEM EDUCATORS. The first batch of PROJECT SASE qualifiers pose with the leaders behind the scholarship opportunity. Photo by Mark Gerard Bailon, DOST-SEI.

Project SASE: from STEM teachers to education leaders

The partnership will fuel DOST-SEI’s “Scholarship for the Advancement of STEM Education” or Project SASE.

The first batch of scholars are from the Philippine Science High System (PSHS) System. Sixteen teachers will take Master of Education specializing in STEM Education, while 12 will pursue Doctor of Education at the QUT in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, to commence in January 2023.

“This is another milestone for the DOST-SEI, one that is so special to us because it is an outcome of our recent Executive Leadership Training in Australia,” shares Dr. Biyo. She credits SEI Scholarship Division Chief Peter Gerry Gavina for conceptualizing and leading the project.

Biyo and Gavina led the DOST team who attended the training in May 2022. They developed six re-entry plans for implementation in 2023, including the League of Developers Initiative (Project LODI), which aims to engage DOST scholars in DOST’s digital transformation; the DOST-National Youth Science, Technology, and Innovation Festival; and Project SASE.

Project SASE is a capacity building program under DOST-SEI’s Foreign Graduate Scholarships (FGS). To date, the Institute has 101 FGS scholars pursuing their graduate studies in 23 different countries, mostly in fields of study not yet offered in any higher education institute in the Philippines.

The DOST-SEI spearheads the country’s science scholarship programs, including the S&T Undergraduate Scholarships which recently awarded more than 10,000 scholarship slots to incoming college students.

Scholars heed call to improve STEM education

Project SASE scholars are challenged to develop innovative STEM teaching strategies and lead the transformation of STEM education in the country.

Ph.D. scholar Erika Eunice Salvador shared that in June 2022, she was among those nominated and shortlisted for the program. She then submitted her application, credentials, and research proposal.

After a rigorous screening process conducted by PSHS Campus Directors and Executive Director, she took the English Proficiency Test where she and many fellow SASE scholars received the highest possible marks.

“This priceless experience comes with a high cost from the taxes of the Filipino people. We are determined to earn our keep as scholars and give back through our service to the Filipino learners,” Salvador said.

She vowed they will “come back better, brighter, bolder STEM educators and doctors,” affirming PSHS Executive Director Lilia Habacon’s call for them “to be a model of excellence and make the scholarship program a success.”

Dr. Biyo, who also served as PSHS Executive Director, underscored the scholars’ responsibility to share their knowledge with STEM teachers from the Department of Education (DepEd). The PSHS is an attached agency of the DOST.

BETTER, BRIGHTER, BOLDER STEM EDUCATORS. Ph.D. scholar Erika Eunice Salvador speaks on behalf of Project SASE scholars, assuring everyone that their research studies will contribute to STEM education and make an impact in the lives of Filipino learners. Photo by Aaron Esguerra, DOST-SEI. 

“This is another milestone for the DOST-SEI, one that is so special to us because it is an outcome of our recent Executive Leadership Training in Australia,” shares Dr. Biyo. She credits SEI Scholarship Division Chief Peter Gerry Gavina for conceptualizing and leading the project.

Biyo and Gavina led the DOST team who attended the training in May 2022. They developed six re-entry plans for implementation in 2023, including the League of Developers Initiative (Project LODI), which aims to engage DOST scholars in DOST’s digital transformation; the DOST-National Youth Science, Technology, and Innovation Festival; and Project SASE.

Project SASE is a capacity building program under DOST-SEI’s Foreign Graduate Scholarships (FGS). To date, the Institute has 101 FGS scholars pursuing their graduate studies in 23 different countries, mostly in fields of study not yet offered in any higher education institute in the Philippines.

The DOST-SEI spearheads the country’s science scholarship programs, including the S&T Undergraduate Scholarships which recently awarded more than 10,000 scholarship slots to incoming college students.

Scholars heed call to improve STEM education

Project SASE scholars are challenged to develop innovative STEM teaching strategies and lead the transformation of STEM education in the country.

Ph.D. scholar Erika Eunice Salvador shared that in June 2022, she was among those nominated and shortlisted for the program. She then submitted her application, credentials, and research proposal.

After a rigorous screening process conducted by PSHS Campus Directors and Executive Director, she took the English Proficiency Test where she and many fellow SASE scholars received the highest possible marks.

“This priceless experience comes with a high cost from the taxes of the Filipino people. We are determined to earn our keep as scholars and give back through our service to the Filipino learners,” Salvador said.

She vowed they will “come back better, brighter, bolder STEM educators and doctors,” affirming PSHS Executive Director Lilia Habacon’s call for them “to be a model of excellence and make the scholarship program a success.”

Dr. Biyo, who also served as PSHS Executive Director, underscored the scholars’ responsibility to share their knowledge with STEM teachers from the Department of Education (DepEd). The PSHS is an attached agency of the DOST.

One DOST for you

For Science Chief Renato Solidum, Jr., the SEI-QUT partnership will strengthen the country’s S&T human capital and exemplify the Department’s new slogan ‘One DOST for you’. The DOST is refocusing some of its programs to align with the government’s economic agenda.

“We wanted science, technology, and innovation to address challenges faced by key sectors. But to accomplish that, we must build our human capital,” he said.

Sec. Solidum highlighted the importance of qualified STEM teachers in producing competent researchers, engineers, and scientists, especially amid a pandemic and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


MAKING STEM HAPPEN. DOST and QUT officials sign partnership in a bid to make STEM education in the Philippines more engaging and inclusive. (L-R) DOST-SEI Director Josette Biyo, DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr., Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Hae Kyong Yu, QUT School of Teacher Education and Leadership Head Prof. Dann Mallet, and QUT International Projects Unit Director Dr. Nelson Salangsang. Photo by Aaron Esguerra, DOST-SEI. 

BingoPlus adds smiles to MassKara Festival celebration with Bacolod Yuhum Foundation team-up

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BingoPlus, the first live streaming bingo in the Philippines, added more life and gaiety to Bacolod’s MassKara Festival, one of the country’s biggest festivals that came back with a vengeance after an absence of two years.

From October 1 to 23, BingoPlus was in the mainstream of the celebrations as sponsor of the Festival. With the celebration theme of “Balik Yuhum” (comeback), BingoPlus joined hands with the Bacolod Yuhum Foundation to pull out all the stops in staging a memorable and super-fun return to revelry in Bacolod City.

BingoPlus brought its signature feel-good mission to the month-long celebration of food festivals, beauty pageants, concerts, racing competitions, football games, and dance contests capped by a colorful, glittering night parade and street party, making this a Festival to remember for a long, long time.

The brand’s presence was felt in major events such as the Electric MassKara, the MassKara Street Dance & Arena Competition, the Miss Bacolod MassKara beauty pageant, and the Dance Off Competition. The competition where participants donned colorful costumes and smiling masks while dancing to festive music was the highlight of the Festival.

From October 1 to 22 BingoPlus also ran the MassKara Raffle Campaign and awarded Php100,000, Php 75,000, and Php 25,000 to lucky winners.

The annual festival, first held in 1980, showcased the Bacolodnon’s joyful spirit and creative talents. MassKara made Bacolod the “City of Smiles”, which became a catalyst for the city’s development in tourism, crafts, arts, and services. It eventually became one of the major annual tourist attractions of the Philippines.

“We see the passion shared by MassKara and BingoPlus in bringing entertainment that gives rewarding experiences and added value to participants and audiences,” said Jasper Vicencio, AB Leisure Exponent Inc. (ABLE) President. “It is for this reason that we find our support of Masskara as a very meaningful CSR initiative for BingoPlus.”

Since its launch, BingoPlus has supported numerous local talents and sports events. It is the official bingo partner of the PBA’s 47th season, and is the official gaming partner of the Premiere Volleyball League.

In September, Bingo Plus held BingoPlus Day, an online celebration for its loyal supporters where Maine Mendoza was introduced as its newest celebrity endorser who will work alongside its first endorser, the most sought-after host, Luis Manzano.

BingoPlus also plans to grant scholarships to lucky dreamers who will be given a chance to take a technical course in one of the schools in Metro Manila.

BingoPlus is licensed by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the flagship brand of Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC)’s subsidiary, AB Leisure Exponent Inc. (ABLE).

The 9 nicest cheap hotels in Dubai that still feel luxurious

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Stay in these cheap hotels to see Dubai without breaking the bank

Dubai… Desert safaris, Pier 7, the Burj Khalifa, indoor skiing, the largest shopping center in the world, the Dubai Spice Souk, kiting. There is clearly more than enough to do and see in Dubai! But the city is not really cheap. You can of course make it as expensive as you want, but if you'd rather have more money left over for fun activities, then this article is just what you need.

I list the best cheap hotels in Dubai below.The price may differ for your chosen date. All hotels receive a guest rating of 8 or higher.

Address: Tecom, Hessa Street, Al Barsha South, Tecom, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The 4-star Atana Hotel in Dubai is a five-minute drive from the Mall of the Emirates. There is free parking and free shuttle buses to the shopping Centre, DIC metro station, Jumeirah Beach and several other attractions. The rooms are modern furnished and equipped with all comforts.

Hotel Atana features three good restaurants, food outlets and a Piano Café Lounge, an outdoor pool with sun terrace, a fitness center and a shopping arcade. The Tecom district is ideal for travelers who enjoy tourist attractions and sights, and relax by the beach. The hotel itself is an impressive building nestled among many other skyscrapers.
The hotel also has its own restaurant and some family rooms for up to 4 people.
You spend the night here from €65/night.

Address: Khaleed Bin Waleed Street, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hotel Gateway is located in the Bur Dubai district, about 850 meters from the Dubai Metro Green Line. The rooms are modern furnished and equipped with every comfort. There is also an outdoor pool, lounge area, fitness center, ticket service, free parking, and a tour desk.

About 700 meters away you will find the Dubai Museum in the Al Fahidi Fort. The airport is located about seven kilometers from the accommodation. Bur Dubai is ideal for travelers who love shopping, sightseeing and tourist attractions.

Address: Sheikh Zayed Road Al Barsha 1, Al Barsha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Al Khoory Atrium is located in the heart of New Dubai, not far from the Mall of the Emirates and the central business districts. It is therefore a good base for both tourists and business travelers.

The hotel is near Dubai Airport, Al Maktoum Airport, Exhibition and Convention Center, Expo 2020 site, Jebel Ali Port, Free Trade Zones, Sharaf DG Metro Station, among others. The rooms are stylishly and colorfully decorated and feature a customizable lighting system. The atrium of the hotel is a real eye-catcher!

Address: Near DAFZA, Al Qusais, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The four-star Time Grand Plaza hotel is just a ten-minute drive from Dubai Airport. With stylishly furnished rooms, a fitness center, a mini spa, two restaurants and a rooftop swimming pool, you will find everything you need here.

The hotel is approximately a 15-minute drive from Al Mamzar Beach and the Exhibition and Conference Centre. The Dubai Airport Free Zone metro station is just a five-minute walk away. While Al Qusais is ideal for those who enjoy shopping, markets and family-friendly travel.

Address: 4C street, Al Mankool, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai is a four-star hotel that has a lovely rooftop pool, beautifully furnished rooms with all necessary facilities, three restaurants, a fitness room and a sports bar. The hotel is located on Mankhool Road about two kilometers from the World Trade Center.

The hotel offers a free shuttle service to Kite Beach and several shopping centers nearby. You will find the hotel about a twelve-minute drive from Dubai Airport and near Khalid Bin Waleed Metro Station. The hotel also offers free parking. The Bur Dubai district is ideal for those who enjoy tourist attractions, sightseeing and good shopping.

Address: King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St Apt 3204, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

It is located approximately 100 meters from The Walk at JBR, approximately 3.3 kilometers from Dubai Marina Mall, approximately eight kilometers from Gurunanak Darbar Sikh Temple, and approximately twelve kilometers from Mall of the Emirates.

The rooms are equipped with all necessary facilities, bicycles for rent and fitness center are available. The nearest airport is Al Maktoum, which is approximately 33 kilometers away. Travelers who love relaxation, good food and beaches would do well to stay in this district, the Jumeirah Beach Residence.

Address: Address:United Arab Emirates, Airport Road, PO Box 125275, Garhoud, Dubai

The Flora Inn is about a ten minute drive from Deira City Centre, Festival City and Al Ghurair. The accommodation features an outdoor swimming pool with a sundeck on the roof, modern furnished rooms with all necessary facilities, spa and wellness facilities, and a good restaurant.

Nearby you will find attractions such as Dubai Creek Park, the Gold Souq and the Spice Souq. Dubai Airport is barely two kilometers away. The Garhoud district is ideal as a base for travelers who enjoy shopping and typical sights.

8. Holiday Inn Express Dubai - Internet city
Address: Knowledge Village,Pob 282647, Dubai,

The hotel offers convenience to business and leisure travelers. It gives easy access to the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Expressway. It is also close to the city's largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall of the Emirates, the rapidly developing Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Palm. The hotel offers delicious foods with a variety of services and amenities.

9.Hotel Ibis Al Rigga
Address: Deira Dubai

Ibis Dubai Al Rigga Hotel is just a 10-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, a 5-minute walk from the metro station and easy access to the Dubai Expo 2020 site. It is a best option for both business and leisure travelers.

Take advantage of the free shuttle service to Kite Beach and stay connected with free WiFi throughout the hotel.

SSS partners with CDA to strengthen social security coverage and protection among members of cooperatives

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The Social Security System (SSS) signed on October 20, 2022 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) formalizing their partnership in ensuring that cooperatives and their members will have access to social security protection through SSS membership.

Under the MOU, the SSS will conduct orientation and awareness campaigns regarding SSS membership and cooperative accreditation in various fora that the CDA may organize; provide cooperatives and its members with information, education, and communication materials about SSS programs, assistance in the registration of their members and remittance of their contributions, as well as access to SSS’ list of benefits and privileges through various e-services; and create, develop, improve, and implement programs and policies for their welfare.

On the other hand, the CDA will assist the SSS in raising awareness about the value of SSS membership for cooperatives and their members by collaborating with the SSS on different venues and opportunities to conduct coverage campaigns, including social security programs as one of the topics during CDA briefings, assemblies, and council meetings, and linking the SSS to various cooperatives nationwide.

Moreover, the agency will also assist the SSS in the formulation of policies to improve access to social security protection for cooperatives and their members.

The MOU signing coincides with the celebration of the National Cooperative Month, as declared under Republic Act No. 11502, which aims to promote the conduct of activities and programs that uplift the principles and values of cooperatives and encourage cooperative movement.

SM Megamall starts to spread sparks of happiness with an out-of-this-world Christmas event

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It’s a Happy Christmas at SM Supermalls!

SM Supermalls brings back the excitement in every visit, joy in every sight, and a magical connection in every experience that will make every Filipino’s Christmas happier and brighter.

Ode to outer space: An out-of-this-world celebration starts at SM Megamall

SM officially ushered the holiday season with an out-of-this-world celebration at the Mega & Bright: Christmas in Space 2022 at the SM Megamall on October 20.

The mall’s mega Christmas Tree decked in stars and lights was lit, signaling the start of SM’s nationwide Happy Christmas campaign. And starting October 20 until December, SM shoppers can have a glimpse of the universe through SM Megamall’s Mega Space Odyssey. The 3D LED tunnel transports individuals into space and allows them to view it immersively.

If you missed the SM Megamall Christmas event, there are still more ways to celebrate the joys of the holidays. SM Supermalls has lined up exciting and festive activities just for you and your loved ones! Check out the details below:

More Christmas Tree lighting activities in your favorite SM mall!

Apart from SM Megamall, other premier SM malls will light up their massive 50-foot Christmas trees to share hope, joy, and love with every SM shopper. Check out the dates below so you can drop by your favorite SM mall and watch the lighting of its dazzling trees full of lights, stars, and colorful ornaments:

● SM North EDSA, SM Lanang Premier, SM Seaside City Cebu - October 21

● SM Mall of Asia, SM Aura Premier, The Podium - October 22

● SM Southmall and SM Cagayan de Oro Downtown Premier - October 23

● S Maison - October 25

Santa-approved Christmas Playpark

Witness as your favorite SM mall opens a new world of Christmas with towering centerpieces, functional spaces, and sprawling activities at the Christmas Playpark. Explore the Christmas markets and play areas, and watch out for Santa appearances, character meet and greets, and other surprises! Plus, you also get to have a multisensory experience at the playpark’s light and sound shows, festive eats and holiday treats, and a whole lot more scents and feels that will embrace you in holiday warmth and ambiance.

Sparkling lights to brighten up your holidays

Christmas won’t be festive without lights. Be in awe as you pass by hallways decked with twinkling lights, illuminated tunnels, beaming driveways, and lit parking spaces as they glow at their best.

Dining out al fresco style at the Super Spots decked with lights

SM Supermalls has also created outdoor attractions for that picture-perfect, memorable shopping, dining, and leisure activities for the whole family. At The Podium, shoppers are in for Joie De Vivre with its Holiday Night Cap on October 21-23 and 28-30 at the ADB Al Fresco, and the Food Lab on October 24-30 at the Atrium East Level 2 so everyone can discover new food specials this Christmas. You can also enjoy special treats, promos, and exclusive deals from your favorite restaurants and food merchants at the SM mall near you!

Turn Christmas AReality at SM

Don’t miss out on a phygital Christmas experience as SM incorporates the festive season with Augmented Reality. In SM Megamall, four AR filters have been made available, including Santa Claus, Reindeer, Snowman, and Sparkle. You just need to scan the QR code at the SM mall near you and see the Christmas centerpiece and magical spots come alive! 

Check out the Happiness Stations

SM installed various happiness stations where you can create lasting memories with family and friends. Spot the giant bears with lights at Bears of Joy corner, the happiness photo wall, the Christmas tree decors with your family photos, or the huge TV screen where you can watch your recently filmed Tiktok or IG video at your favorite mall.

Make your furbabies feel the happiness and love

Christmas is for the whole family including furbabies! Make them happy and feel loved by joining the Holiday Paw Play Dates and Costume PAWty. You can also flex them at the Christmas photo challenge and win amazing prizes, or shop for them at the Christmas markets. Also, SM Supermalls will be partnering again with organizations for a pet adoption drive so you can help the little ones find a home in time for the holiday.

Unlock a bigger, better, and brighter virtual Christmas Village

SM will reopen its virtual Christmas Village to bring an exciting, engaging, and rewarding holiday experience to Filipinos. Check out as it goes live from October 28 to January 5 for an awesome augmented reality shopping, dining, and leisure experience. Create your own avatar, e-meet fellow shoppers and SM ambassadors, and enjoy bonding time with your family and friends while playing fun games at the immersive virtual Christmas zones made for you.

Create circles of happiness by buying products for cause-oriented programs

Since it’s the season of giving, you can support cause-oriented advocacies of individuals and organizations by purchasing products that provide opportunities and livelihood to marginalized sectors. For this year’s 100 Days campaign, SM partnered with bag designer Zarah Juan, Spark PH, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP), the Association of Foot and Mouth Artists of the Philippines, and the Quezon City LGU for its Vote to Tote initiative.

“This Christmas, we are sending a message of happiness to every Filipino. With every activity we have for them, we hope to inspire everyone to spread sparks of happiness in their homes and communities as we celebrate this year’s holiday festivities,” said Steven T. Tan, president of SM Supermalls.

A new light of experiences will bring happiness and kindness to every Filipino as SM Supermalls create more magical memories and opportunities to touch other people’s lives this holiday season. Check out and follow @smsupermalls on all social media accounts to stay updated on the various holiday happenings. 

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