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Friday, December 9, 2022

SSS inks agreement with banks to upgrade Regular UMID Cards to UMID ATM Pay Cards


Wazzup Pilipinas!?



The Social Security System (SSS) announced that it has entered into agreement with banks for the issuance of UMID ATM Pay Cards.

With the UMID ATM Pay Cards, SSS members will enjoy the advantages of having a disbursement account for their benefits, loans, and refunds, and access to the participating banks’ available ATMs and online & mobile platforms to make their banking transactions apart from having a valid government-issued ID.

“The UMID ATM Pay Card Program aims to promote the accurate and timely payment of SSS benefits and loans to rightful recipients. It is a step towards the national government, the SSS, and its partners’ shared goals of greater financial inclusion and payments digitalization,” SSS President and CEO Michael G. Regino said.

“Currently, SSS is offering UMID ATM Pay Cards that are linked to a regular savings account, with the Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP) as the first participating bank,” he added.

UBP has made ready an initial one million UMID ATM Cards for those who have not been issued the UMID cards.

“The UBP will also allow those with pending generic UMID cards for production to avail of this upgrade for free. To do so, they must give their Data Sharing Consent through the Services Tab of their My.SSS Web Portal account and undergo the electronic Know-Your-Customer (eKYC) process through the online or mobile platform of the UBP,” Regino said.

Members who will avail of said card this year will also receive a ₱200 Jollibee e-Gift Certificate and the chance to win a Mitsubishi Xpander from the UBP upon the activation of their account and funding it with ₱1,000. This UBP promo runs up to February 28, 2023, only.

By the first quarter of 2023, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) will also be ready to issue UMID ATM Pay Cards to SSS members.

“In the coming months, we will continue to pursue partnerships with other financial institutions to provide our members with more options for this program,” Regino said.

“As soon as a substantial percentage of the UMID ATM Pay Cards are issued, SSS would start re-carding the rest of the issued 13 million generic UMID cards,” he added.

The SSS encourages all members to register to the My.SSS Portal at www.sss.gov.ph, and enroll their updated contact information, including mobile numbers and email addresses, in their account for them to receive important announcements and updates regarding the UMID ATM Pay Card and other SSS information.

Reasons the Holidays are Basically Food Fests


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Holidays are mostly about remembering loved ones, exchanging gifts with them, and bringing more than the usual amount of food on the table–not just any ordinary food, but the best ones, if not the trendiest ones on the internet. They’re just some reasons that make the meal enjoyable and worthwhile to share. Aside from these things, one of the reasons why Filipino food is so tasty is because of shared concepts and techniques that get passed from one generation to another. Below are some reasons we listed down that make us think that celebrations are basically food fests–and great ones at that.
 
You can expect a lot of flavor served in one large table.

Appetizers? We have at least two. Desserts? Three will do. How about the main dishes? Well, good luck counting as there will surely be a lot to go around. Heck, there will even be a lot of those to give to your friends and neighbors, so going hungry during the holiday season is next to impossible. But if you think something’s missing on the table, you can easily whip up something to complement the other dishes that are already there. Just make sure to prepare yourself for the possibility that it may be gone once you set it on the table.
 
The holidays are where you get to share some secret recipes and techniques.

Aside from food, a gathering of this kind usually calls for a lot of conversations if you’re up to those. If you’ve been cooking for and with the family for quite some time now, chances are you already developed a recipe you can call your own. Depending on your comfort level, you may swap recipes with the other folks at the party or try to determine the ingredients and the techniques used by tasting the dishes on the table. Somehow, the latter can be a fun activity if you’re enjoying the entire process of cooking and preparing food.
 
Everyone gets seconds, no matter the type of food brought out.

Because there are a lot of food options laid out on the table, it’s not a big deal if you go for second or third servings if you think the food is to your liking. It’s not like you’re paying for each instance you go to the buffet section to try out a new dish, so make sure to have your fill and feed your soul in the process.
 
Each celebration requires a large group of people to organize the entire menu.

You’re in for a big surprise if you think it only takes two to three people to get a large feast going in no time. At least that’s the norm in large family gatherings for the holidays. Aside from the ones doing the actual cooking, there are also those who are in charge of organizing the list of ingredients, going to the market to buy the ingredients (and some additionals), and doing the food preps (think about slicing, lining up the ingredients, and peeling the veggies, among others). If you think about it, this phase is like a part of the family activities for the festivities, but not quite.
 
You get to participate in the process of preparing and serving the food.

It doesn't even matter if you're a part of the family or not. If you're willing to extend the much-needed help to help get the holiday table together, you're more than welcome to take part in the beauty of chaos that is preparing all the food for the upcoming meals.

This is where the magic of working together enters the picture. Some will wrap up the lumpia for deep frying, some will prepare the marinade for the chicken lollipops, and some others will run random errands to make sure that the rest of the members of the house can play their roles during this season well.
 
Because of the hustle and bustle of preparation, you get some throwbacks here and there.

Who says the process of preparing the food should be a quiet one? If anything, it’s a phase with a lot of noise and talking. And there’s no shame in that because it’s the essence of the season: to make lasting connections that will go beyond the feasts and the seasons after those. So go ahead, make the most out of the tasks at hand, talk to the person you’re working with, and make sure to let everyone else join in on the conversation. You don’t always have to endure the uncomfortable and invasive questions but just go with the lighter topics that everyone will enjoy.
 
You can even have some take-home food with you if you love the taste and the texture.

This is one great thing about the holidays. If you don’t have your trusty microwavable containers to keep you company, the host most likely has some plastic bags to give out so you can get the food that your tastebuds fancy after all the meals have been served. As the festivities usually call for an excess of food to serve, they will most likely have a hard time eating the leftovers by themselves. So with you and the other guests taking home some of the food, you’re doing them a favor by significantly decreasing the amount of work they need to do when it comes to cleanup.
You may also bring in your specialty if you want to share it with the people you’ll visit.

There’s no written or unwritten rule that says you can’t bring some food along, unless the party host calls for a potluck. Whatever the case may be, they will most likely graciously receive the food you’ll be bringing, especially if the person you’re visiting is someone close to you. Aside from the usual cakes and pastries, bringing along something for the main course is a good idea to have more to go around. Somehow, it’s a way to create stronger and more lasting connections with them.
 
The traditional dishes won’t go missing–at least in the beginning of the party.

You know the drill: everything will be laid out on the table, so all of you will get a chance to take some photos and post on social media. After that, all hell breaks loose and everyone is free to dig in. At this point, make sure to get some from each of the prepared dishes to try them out. If you have a particular traditional favorite, prioritize those as it will surely be gone before you even have a chance to get second helpings.
It’s a gathering not just for the food but for the new memories and the stories.

If there’s anything notable about the food on the holiday celebrations, it’s the amount of laughter and witty banters you get to hear on the table while you’re having a bite of the classic chocolate cake or the crunchy fried chicken that your grandma made for everyone. More than the yummy food that’s sure to last all of you more than a couple of days is the amount of fun and new memories to take with you for the next holiday seasons to come. So take all that you can get and give out as much love as you can because it’s the season of giving, after all.

WWF-Philippines marks 25 years as a ‘Force For Nature’


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WWF-Philippines awarded Filipinos who have demonstrated a passion for conserving the environment and for playing a significant role in being forces for nature over the past years. 



From left: Dr. Deo Onda, Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan, Janice Paglinawan, Mikee Cojuanco-Jaworski, Chef Reggie Aspiras, and the members of the WWF-Philippines National Youth Council. Photo: WWF-Philippines/Matikas Santos

WWF-Philippines celebrated its 25th year this month by looking back at its journey, milestones and challenges in the past quarter of a century.

A Partners’ Night with the theme “Force For Nature” held at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City on November 29, honored long-time employees, community partners and private donors, as well as leaders in conservation.

WWF-Philippines recognized conservation champions outside of the organization whose contributions made a significant impact in promoting and scaling WWF’s advocacy of protecting biodiversity and promoting sustainability.




The Force of Nature Award recipients were marine biology professor and Br. Alfred Shields Ocean Research Center founding director Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan, Zamboanga del Sur-based social enterprise AgriBata founder Janice Paglinawan and microbial oceanographer and associate professor Dr. Deo Onda.

Special awards were given to WWF-Philippines National Youth Council (NYC), long-time ambassador Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski and Chef Reggie Aspiras for their dedication to the organization.

The NYC is WWF’s youth arm that has led successful campaigns such as the Earth Hour Camp and the Youth Environment Summit for Oceans. Cojuangco-Jaworski was the first female Earth Hour Ambassador in the Philippines, while Chef Reggie helped secure additional livelihood for partner tuna fishing communities in Lagonoy Gulf and Mindoro Strait.

WWF-Philippines also acknowledged partners in the private sector for supporting its projects throughout the years. The corporate awardees included GCash, BPI and BPI Foundation, Globe, Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Foundation, HSBC and NEO.

Former DOE Secretary, WWF-Chairman Vince Perez, one of the founders of WWF-Philippines in 1996, was honored for his leadership and significant contributions to WWF’s advocacy on biodiversity protection and climate change. By leading Asia’s first debt-for-nature swap in 1996, Mr. Perez helped create the El Nido Marine Sanctuary, the St. Paul Underground River National Park, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and Management Office, and other protected areas in the country. A special commemorative marker was dedicated to Mr. Perez in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Ranger Station. Atty. Ana Melissa Lichaytoo was also awarded for her contribution, and dedicated service as the organization’s Corporate Secretary since it was founded in 1996.

Leading up to Partners’ Night, WWF-Philippines also prepared a commemorative Impact Report which chronicles its 25-year journey from the perspectives of WWF members, leaders, and conservation workers who have witnessed the impact of the organization throughout the years. It outlines the various narratives and change stories as told by advocates and individuals who are all part of the work and advocacy on conservation. It talks about the collective accomplishments of conservation work in the Philippines and the key lessons learned which may serve to inspire other organizations and other countries, in pursuit of a future where nature and humans thrive.

The night closed with the reciting of a pledge to nature or the Panata sa Kalikasan and Kinabukasan to seal WWF-Philippines’ commitment to conservation in the years to come.



About WWF-Philippines:

The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines is an environmental non-government organization committed to create an impact on biodiversity protection and responding to the climate crisis -towards a safe and just recovery. WWF-Philippines works with a host of partners including national and local governments, to co-create inclusive, innovative, and interdisciplinary solutions that emphasize the role of science in the service of life.

WWF-Philippines' focus is on scaled solutions with our partners to match the enormity of the tasks required to address the urgent environmental challenges facing the present and next generations of Filipinos. Its mission is "to stop, and eventually reverse the accelerating degradation of the Philippine environment – to build a future where Filipinos live in harmony with nature."



Photos:

Dr. Deo Onda (right) of the UP Marine Science Institute receives his Force of Nature Award from WWF-Philippines’ Board of Trustees Chairperson Maribel Garcia (left) and National Advisory Council member Vincent Perez (center). Photo: WWF-Philippines/Matikas Santos

Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan receives his Force of Nature Award from WWF-Philippines for his more than 25 years of work in studying and monitoring coral reefs in the Philippines. Photo: WWF-Philippines/Matikas Santos

Janice Paglinawan, founder of AgriBata social enterprise from Zamboanga del Sur, received WWF-Philippines’ Force of Nature Award for dedicating her work to the advocacy of food security and production. Photo: WWF-Philippines/Matikas Santos

WWF-Philippines Executive Director Katherine Custodio (first from left) gave special recognition to the National Youth Council for their dedication in spreading awareness about environmental conservation among the youth since their founding in 2016. Photo: WWF-Philippines/Matikas Santos

Thursday, December 8, 2022

THC-O: Discover What This Synthetic Cannabinoid Is About



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The legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill has given rise to several cannabis-based substances and their derivatives, which flood the market daily. Often referred to as cannabinoids, these compounds extracted from the legal plants offer various options and alternatives to smoking the dried hemp plant and still achieve a high.

The most common group of these compounds is the THC, which has variants like the delta 8 THC, delta 9 THC, and delta 10 THC. While most of these compounds occur naturally in cannabis, some newer variants have been synthesized from hemp through chemical processes.

One of such synthetic compounds is the THC-O, manufactured via a chemical process called esterification. Like its counterparts, THC-O has found its footing in the legal and semi-legal drug market, with growing demand as more people discover its uniqueness and numerous benefits.

This article looks into everything considered unique about THC-O, its benefits, and what makes it stand out from other forms of cannabinoids. Read further to discover what this synthetic cannabinoid is about.

 
What Is THC-O?

THC-O is a compound derived from the esterification of THC. As the acetate ester form of the cannabinoid, it sometimes goes by the name THC acetate ester or THCO-acetate. The abbreviation THC-O is a more common alternative to ATHC, and THC-Oa, which is often used scientifically. Some utilize the common name without the hyphen, further shortening it to THCO.

So what exactly is THC-O? Going by the chemical nomenclature O-acetyl-delta 9-THC is a stronger and more traditional weed variant somewhat identical to delta 9 in terms of its intoxicating effect. However, it has more bioavailability than delta 9 and its counterparts, making it easier for the body to absorb.

One should note that this cannabinoid is a prodrug and only becomes active after being metabolized by the body. Once effective, it hits harder and gives a more psychoactive effect than delta 9 and most other weed variants.

Some users have also reported experiencing immobilization upon usage, but its potency and speculated health benefits have somehow outweighed this questionable side effect.


 
Ways of Consuming THC-O

Although the THC O cartridge is the most common form of consumption available in the online market, THC-O comes in various other forms. Some other common products of THC-O include:

 
THC-O Vape Cartridge

THC-O cartridges also known as THC-O vape carts exist as vaping carts filled with THCO vape juice in various flavors and sizes. It is the most dangerous form of consuming THC-O as it involves heating the highly flammable chemicals in them to facilitate smoking from some kind of vape pen.

Aside from the risk of explosion, smoking THC-O poses health risks like cardiac arrests, lung diseases, and other diseases affecting the respiratory tract.

 
THC-O Gummies

THC-O gummies are also popular, like most other cannabinoids that exist as gummies. These gummies are essentially fruity candies infused with the right amount of THC-O to achieve the desired high.

 
THC-O Distillate

THC-O distillate or dabs is a rare variant of the cannabinoid. It is a black, resin-like substance with an oily appearance, which is sticky to touch.

 
THCO Tinctures

Arguably the most desired type of this synthetic cannabinoid, THC-O tinctures are about the safest means of enjoying the cannabis experience without potential health risks. It is a fat-soluble substance derived from a mixture of distillate and carrier oil and is easily absorbed by the body.

 
What Are the Effects Of THC-O? THCO Cartridges And Health

THC-O’s potency and ability to produce an amazing psychoactive effect are indisputable. This isn’t to say it has no downside. In fact, as many have reported positive reviews about this drug, many more have experienced undesirable side effects, some of which can be life-threatening.

Generally though, when consumed, THC-O produces an effect three times more potent than delta 9 and up to five times more potent than delta 8. This makes its effect commendable. Furthermore, users can experience any of the following effects:

● Euphoria

● Sedative effects

● Mild hallucinations and visuals

● Psychedelic experiences

● Increased Appetite

● Body High

● Buzz

● Consciousness Expansion

● Joy

● Relaxations

While users enjoy and even crave some of these effects, THC-O sometimes produces non-beneficial and potentially harmful effects. Vaping THC-O cartridges, for instance, may result in dire health conditions, as previously mentioned. Others include:

● Lethargy

● Immobilization

● Dizziness

● Grogginess

● Nausea

● Vomiting

● Seizures


THC-O Vs Other Common THC Compounds


THC-O

Delta 9

Delta 10


Source

Synthetic

Natural cannabinoid

Natural Cannabinoid


Availability

Available online, some vape shops, gas stations and convenience stores.

Difficult to obtain legally.

Offered by select brands


Psychoactive effect

Strong psychoactive effect

Very Psychoactive

Mild psychoactive effect


Benefits

● Euphoria

● Sedative effects

● Psychedelic experiences

● Increased Appetite

● Consciousness Expansion

● Joy

● Relaxation



●Sedative

● Relaxing

● Boosts creativity


Relaxation

● Reduces Anxiety

● Relieves stress

● Happiness


Side Effects

● Lethargy

● Immobilization

● Dizziness

● Grogginess

● Nausea

● Vomiting

● Seizures

● Mild Hallucinations

● Paranoia delusions

● Mental fog

● Increased anxiety

● Impaired motor skills

● Headache

● Grogginess

● Mouth Dryness

● Dry Eyes

● Undesirable Interactions with other drugs


Legality

Debated

Federally illegal

Federally legal, legal in 38 states of the U.S
 

Frequently Asked Questions About THC-O

Having discovered the pros and cons of this synthetic cannabinoid, let’s look into some frequently asked questions about THC-O that are yet unaddressed in this piece.

 
Is THC-O Safe?

The production process of THC-O is dangerous due to its Acetic anhydride content, a highly flammable substance. This factor alone makes THC-O a risky substance both while producing it and during usage. Hence, one must never attempt producing it at home or in substandard labs to avoid explosion.

Regarding its consumption, the lack of sufficient research on the drug and its effect on the body calls for concern. Like other unregulated substances without scientific or medical backing, many deem THC-O unsafe. This is especially true for variants like the THC-O vape cartridge.

 
Is THC-O Legal?

While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized cannabis and its derivatives, the legality of THC-based substances remains questionable. The Farm Bill only covers hemp products containing less than 0.3% delta 9. Hence, drugs like the delta 9 THC and hundreds of other THC-derived substances remain federally illegal Schedule 1 drug under the Federal Analogue Act.

The act also classifies all substances similar to a Schedule 1 drug as illegal, leading to a ban of delta 8, Delta 9, and many chemically-altered CBDs in most states. Furthermore, the DEA rules all synthetic THC products illegal, thereby making the synthetic cannabinoid, THC-O an illegal substance.

 
Does THC-O Show Up In Drug Tests

Yes, THC-O would likely be detectable in a drug test for cannabis usage, as with most cannabinoids and THC-based substances.

 
Does THC-O Have Healing Properties?

Hemp, in any form, has not been approved by the FDA for medical use. However, many users have credited cannabinoids with treating a variety of ailments, including epilepsy, chronic pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and multiple sclerosis.

However, research on the subject is still in its early stages. With little evidence linking THC-O use to these health benefits, it’s best to not bank on the healing properties of this synthetic cannabinoid.

 
To Conclude

THCO, or THC-O, is made by a chemical process called esterification. It is sometimes known as THC acetate ester or THCO-acetate because it is the acetate ester form of the cannabinoid. THCO for sale and its potency and ability to produce a psychoactive effect is undeniable. It is advised that you do your own research if you're interested in purchasing THCO.

CleverTap Unveils RenderMax


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A Proprietary Technology to Boost Push Notification Render Rates Up To 90%



CleverTap, the World's #1 Retention Cloud today unveiled RenderMax - a proprietary technology that can increase mobile push notification render rates up to 90% on low-end Android devices.

Push notifications have the power to increase customer retention rates anywhere from 3 - 10 times. Most marketers just focus on their push notification delivery rates, but a "delivered" notification that doesn't render on the user's device is a wasted effort. For those who equate delivery and rendering as equal, render rate is the percentage of the number of push notifications the end user received (and were rendered) on the user's device compared to the total number of push notifications that were sent.

All Chinese OEM devices use a custom variant of the stock Android OS. To optimize battery consumption, these OS variants are configured to bypass the Google/Firebase push delivery service, resulting in low delivery rates and even lower render rates.

RenderMax gives CleverTap customers a significant competitive advantage as they can now engage users they could not before and elevate the ROI from their push campaigns. This is especially true for devices that are in battery saver mode or cannot be reached due to inactivity.

"RenderMax is a testament to our continued commitment towards product development and innovation. Low render rates stifle the true potential of mobile push notifications. We are confident that with RenderMax, brands will be able to harness the full power of push notifications. What's interesting is that we are offering RenderMax to all customers at no additional cost to any brand that wants to try it out," said Anand Jain, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, CleverTap.

Betterhalf, India's first and only marriage super app was provided an early access to RenderMax and their push notification render rates more than doubled! Shankar Krishnamurthy, Group Product Manager, Betterhalf said, "At Betterhalf, mobile push notifications are critical for our business. With CleverTap's innovative RenderMax solution our push notification render rates have skyrocketed to 85%."

RenderMax powers up the render rates of customers' push notifications, amplifies the push notification reach, and maximizes user engagement. Enhancing the reach of push notifications can help CleverTap customers lower costs, increase engagement and conversion rates, and reduce churn.

"The CleverTap platform has a great breadth of capabilities, and this innovative mobile push solution will certainly help them stay much ahead of the competition," Shankar added.

CleverTap RenderMax works with Android OEMs such as Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo, One Plus, POCO, Realme, and Samsung.


About CleverTap

CleverTap is the World's #1 Retention Cloud that helps app-first brands personalize and optimize all consumer touch points to improve user engagement, retention, and lifetime value. It's the only solution built to address the needs of retention and growth teams, with audience analytics, deep-segmentation, multi-channel engagement, product recommendations, and automation in one unified product.

The platform is powered by TesseractDB(TM) - the world's first purpose-built database for customer engagement, offering both speed and economies of scale.

CleverTap is trusted by 1500 customers, including Gojek, ShopX, Electronic Arts, TED, English Premier League, TD Bank, Carousell, AirAsia, Papa John's, and Tesco.

Backed by leading investors such as Sequoia India, Tiger Global, Accel, and CDPQ the company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with presence in San Francisco, New York, Sao Paulo, Bogota, London, Amsterdam, Sofia, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, and Jakarta. For more information, visit clevertap.com or follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Forward-Looking Statements

Some of the statements in this press release may represent CleverTap's belief in connection with future events and may be forward-looking statements, or statements of future expectations based on currently available information. CleverTap cautions that such statements are naturally subject to risks and uncertainties that could result in the actual outcome being absolutely different from the results anticipated by the statements mentioned in the press release.

Factors such as the development of general economic conditions affecting our business, future market conditions, our ability to maintain cost advantages, uncertainty with respect to earnings, corporate actions, client concentration, reduced demand, liability or damages in our service contracts, unusual catastrophic loss events, war, political instability, changes in government policies or laws, legal restrictions impacting our business, impact of pandemic, epidemic, any natural calamity and other factors that are naturally beyond our control, changes in the capital markets and other circumstances may cause the actual events or results to be materially different, from those anticipated by such statements.

CleverTap does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or updated or revised status of such statements. Therefore, in no case whatsoever will CleverTap and its affiliate companies be liable to anyone for any decision made or action taken in conjunction with the information and/or statements in this press release or any related damages.

Manila Central Post Office holds Christmas lighting ceremony, launches stamps


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The Philippine Postal Corporation (Post Office) lit up the façade of the iconic Manila Central Post Office Building with the launching of “Christmas Stamps 2022” featuring traditional Filipino Christmas scenes inspired by Christ’s Love through Unity, Faith and Prosperity.

According to Postmaster General Norman Fulgencio, the postage stamps were issued to illustrate the loving nature of Filipinos and strong faith in God such as the sharing gifts and food, lanterns lighting up the houses and families reuniting to celebrate the joy of the Christmas season.

He also led post office employees in distributing food packs to about 200 indigents around the area in Liwasang Bonifacio.

“No matter how hard it is; Filipinos will always have the heart to celebrate Christmas. After all, Jesus is the reason for the season, kaya “tayo nagdiriwang ng pasko” (that is why we celebrate Christmas). The simple act of sharing brings happiness and blessings”, he said.

Fulgencio added, “The event will also give us the opportunity to showcase the city post office's historic building, promote domestic tourism, and propagate the development of Filipino arts and culture through postage stamps”.





The Post Office has printed 40,000 copies of the four (40 different designs) of stamps at 12 pesos each. In-house graphic arts designers’ Agnes Rarangol, Ryman Dominic Albuladora , Eunice Beatrix Dabu and Israel Viyo collaborated to produce colorful and artistic cartoon-style postage stamps.

Stamps and Official First Day Covers are available, starting December 09, 2022 at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office. For inquiries, please call 8527-01-08 or 8527-01-32 or follow/like the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PilipinasPhilately/ for updates.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Explore and play at Hong Kong’s newest attractions


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Some things just never get old and Hong Kong is definitely the perfect example of this. The ever-changing and dynamic world city always has new sights in store for visitors and families looking for a wholesome family vacation. Hong Kong has been quite busy sprucing up its tourism offerings during the pandemic, and here are just a few of the new attractions Hong Kong has to offer:




Revel in the wonders of Castle of Magical Dreams at Hong Kong Disneyland

A favorite amongst kids and young at heart, the iconic Hong Kong Disneyland recently unveiled its newest castle – the Castle of Magical Dreams, inspired by the Disney Princesses and Queens and how these heroines pursued their dreams. Alongside this new castle is the breathtaking night-time spectacular entitled “Momentous,” where large-scale projections illuminate the castle, transforming it into an inspiring narrative featuring Disney’s beloved characters.

Filipino Hong Kong Superfan Caren White shares about her visit, “My family saw the fireworks in Disneyland last month and it was beautiful. We loved how they synchronized the music and the water fountains.”



Hop onto Exhilarating Escapades at The Peak

To fully appreciate Hong Kong’s iconic skyline, take a trip on the recently upgraded Peak Tram – the ultimate experience to get that Insta-worthy views of skyscraper-flanked Victoria Harbor, Kowloon peninsula, and green mountain peaks. The Peak Tower is also home to Madame Tussauds, Peak Galleria, and Monopoly Dreams - the first Monopoly-themed attraction in the world, sure to bring fun for every family member. Filipino Hong Kong Superfan Richard Juan regards The Peak as “one of the most iconic places in HK as you can see the Harbor at its most majestic angle!”.




Dip and Splash at Water World Ocean Park

After four years in the making, Ocean Park’s Water World finally opened to the public late last year. Water World is Asia’s only year-round, all-weather water park, nestled between rolling hills and magnificent views of the South China Sea. Families can enjoy over 27 different attractions at the park, including a trio of thrilling body slides that can take you through 58-meter-long loops, daredevil free falls, and see-through slides to test your courage




 
Experience Oodles of Fun and Flavors at the Nissin Cup Noodle Museum

Noodle lovers are sure to enjoy this fun-filled Nissin Cup Noodle Museum over at Tsim Sha Tsui. This interactive space features multiple exhibitions highlighting the classic and all-time favorite Nissin Cup Noodles. The museum also offers visitors a chance to make their own version at the My CUPNOODLES Factory – where guests can choose their ingredients, and even design their own packaging.



Jump into the Biggest Box of Bricks Ever at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

The largest indoor LEGO playground in Hong Kong is home to 10 LEGO-themed play areas ranging from Kingdom Quest to LEGO friends and many more. This 30,000-square-foot playground boasts 1.5 million LEGO brick creations that feature Hong Kong’s iconic landmarks like Star Ferry and Central Pier! Families can also feast their eyes on their favorite film characters in 4D and build epic LEGO creations alongside master builders – all under one roof.



Learn through play at the Newly Opened Kiztopia

Singapore’s award-winning indoor “edutainment” theme park opened its first overseas flagship in Hong Kong this September. The award-winning 12,000 square feet mega playroom features eight original cartoon characters who will guide kids through the 15 major play zones where they can learn arts and crafts, speech and drama, roleplay, and many more!



A wholesome and exciting adventure awaits on your next visit to Hong Kong! Whether a first-time visitor or a returning one, experience Hong Kong and all its new delights through these fresh and fun attractions. Learn more about what Hong Kong has to offer here.

Come explore and play at Singapore Art Week 2023!


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Singapore's premier visual arts season presents over 130 events across the island this January.

Created by the city, for the city.

Helmed by the National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore Art Week (SAW) returns to kickstart the new year with its 11th edition from 6 to 15 January 2023, drawing local and international art enthusiasts, collectors and the curious to congregate at Singapore’s premier visual arts season.

An annual pinnacle event in Asia’s visual arts calendar, SAW 2023 will see over 700 artists and curators from Singapore and around the world come together to present more than 130 programmes and exhibitions. Over the past decade, SAW has showcased the best of Singapore’s visual arts community - representing its diversity, vibrancy and growth. 

From leading art fairs, experiential programmes, exhibitions, tours, talks, to lifestyle activations, the wide range of arts offerings across the island in the upcoming edition provides access to the arts, connecting it to the wider society.

Driving growth for Singapore’s visual arts ecosystem SAW continues to be a key platform for the visual arts scene and a catalyst for discovery where artists and visitors alike are inspired and engaged to create, collaborate and connect through Singapore’s visual arts as we work with the arts community and our partners in both the public and private sector.

This edition serves as a nexus for creative collaborations where artists can expand new forms of art even beyond their usual practice, providing a platform for them to build capabilities and strengthen cross-sector collaborations such as Art x Design and Art x Tech.

With its continued focus on thought leadership, SAW 2023 will also present a consolidation of panels and talks featuring invited artists and experts to share insights and experiences on pertinent topics on art today.

Mr Low Eng Teong, Deputy Chief Executive (Sector Development) at NAC, said, “SAW continues to be a key platform for us to further grow our visual arts ecosystem. As we embark on the next phase of our journey through Our SG Arts Plan (2023 - 2027), SAW represents NAC’s efforts to build a connected society for Singaporeans through accessible arts initiatives, and our hope to establish our nation as a distinctive city that inspires and creates new opportunities for our creative sector, strengthening Singapore’s creative economy.”


Enhancing Singapore as a global destination for the arts

Bringing together players from the Singapore and international visual arts ecology, this edition will also see two significant art fairs taking place – homegrown art platform S.E.A. Focus, as well as the inaugural edition of ART SG.

With the return of the Singapore Pavilion from the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, and the ongoing Singapore Biennale, SAW 2023 exemplifies the strength and unity of Singapore’s visual artscommunity in creating a distinctive city for the arts. Said Ms Emi Eu, Project Director of S.E.A. Focus and Executive Director of STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery, “As a pioneering art platform that brings the artistic talents of Southeast Asia together to be showcased to an international audience, S.E.A. Focus plays an important role in placing Singapore in the global spotlight as a dynamic art market player from Asia. For five years running as the anchor event of SAW, we have been working closely with NAC and our private stakeholders to expand our capabilities and influence with each edition, propelling the visual arts scene of Singapore and across the region.”

Ms Lim Shoo Ling, Director, Arts and Cultural Precincts, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), added, “SAW invites both local and international visitors to experience first-hand the best of Singapore’s visual arts through a variety of innovative and immersive experiences. The strong line up of events under SAW, including the inaugural edition of ART SG, is a show of confidence in Singapore as a regional arts hub, and strengthens our position as a leading arts and culture destination. STB will continue to work with our partners to curate and deliver innovative and exciting arts events and experiences that appeal to different interests and passions.”



Playful interactions in our city state


SAW 2023 is set to take over the island with playful interventions that transform spaces.

Audiences can explore their personal connection with the environment that spark meaningful yet spontaneous interactions. This continues to be part of NAC’s commitment in making visual arts accessible for a wider audience, with experiential offerings for everyone, such as our first-ever collaboration with People’s Association, to engage with Community Arts & Culture Clubs in five neighbourhoods across Singapore as part of #ArtsInYourNeighbourhood.

Added Mr Low Eng Teong, “As art takes over our city this January, we hope many will encounter arts serendipitously and see spaces enlivened by the arts. We want the public to explore and participate in the diverse range of exciting art offerings that our arts community, cultural institutions and partners have put together. It is through these shared arts experiences that we will understand, engage and foster a deeper connection with one another.”

Starting from today, members of the public can access the refreshed SAW website for a teaser of the 2023 edition, as well as the full programme line-up and participating artists. For more information on SAW 2023 programmes, please refer to artweek.sg, or follow @sgartweek on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram.

For more information on the programme highlights, please refer to the Annex.

Chooks-to-Go Offers Employment Opportunities to Sisters of Mary Graduates


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Chooks-to-Go has extended its support for the Sisters of Mary Girlstown and Boystown, Inc. as it will invest in the future of the students in the foundation.

In a historic agreement between Chooks-to-Go under the leadership of President Ronald Mascariñas and the institution, the company committed to providing employment opportunities to graduates of Sisters of Mary Schools Girlstown and Boystown.

This is on top of Chooks-to-Go's promise to refurbish the sports facilities of the two campuses and the supply of monthly meals to each of the 2,000 students of the schools.

Part of the agreement is that the Human Resources Department of Chooks-to-Go will provide the Sisters of Mary with a list of the job openings in the company which is known for being the biggest chicken rotisserie chain in the Philippines.






The Sisters of Mary, for its part, will give names of graduates they will be recommending for employment who will be given priority by Chooks-to-Go's HR.

The applicants from Sisters of Mary will, of course, have to go through the standard hiring process of Chooks-to-Go.

Joining Mascariñas during the MOA signing was Chooks-to-Go Head of Human Resources Atty. Nedo Sasing while Sisters of Mary was represented by Sr. Belinda Sacayan, Local Superior of Girlstown, Sr. Eva Aringo, Local Superior of Boystown, and Karl Victor Lagustan, CPA and Alumni President of the Sisters of Mary School.

“Ang partnership ng Chooks-to-Go at Sisters of Mary ay napakahalaga dahil mabibigyan ng trabaho ‘yong mga graduates namin, “ said Sister Belinda Sacayan, Local Superior Sisters of Mary Girlstown.

Chooks-to-Go has long been a staunch supporter of Sisters of Mary Schools.

Mascariñas explained why Chooks-to-Go decided to expand its assistance to the Sisters of Mary.

“‘Yong mga bata na graduates dito ay napakaganda ng values formation. Nahubog sila dito not only as good Christians but they also learned the value of hardwork and honesty. More importantly, napakahusay makipagkapwa ang mga graduates dito sa Sisters of Mary," said the amiable executive.

10 unique Christmas gifts for mothers that will make them emotional



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Christmas is the festival loved and celebrated by all.

One of the festivals where the whole family meets and celebrates it together.

The famous tradition of exchanging gifts to each other makes the festival more interesting, loveable, and popular.

For those who can never decide on gifts for anyone, they give money envelopes.

Mothers are an important part of everyone’s life and are so precious.

We all have received so many gifts from our mothers and still do.

When it's time to give them something, we get confused and can't decide on the most marvelous gift for her.

Here is the list of Christmas gifts for your mother.




Mother- my first love

This customized mug is so unique and brings a smile to your face whenever you look at it.

You can print a picture of you and your mother and the mug also says ”Thank you mother for all your love”.

Every time your mother drinks something in this cup, she is gonna read the message and get a big smile on her face.




Travel Organizer for Jewelry and Makeup

Girls have lots of makeup and jewelry.

This makeup and jewelry organizer is the perfect Christmas gift you can give your mother.

It will help her keep her makeup and jewelry safe and neatly at home and while traveling.

Gift this to her and she will end up loving this organizer.




What a Difference a day makes Burlap print

Frames are an all-time gift loved and decorated at home.

This frame is unique to any other.

Remind your mother of all the important dates of her life like anniversary date, the day you and your sisters/brothers were born, etc.

This frame will have all the special dates printed along with the titles.

This is the best-personalized gift that will be loved by your mother.




I Love You Mom ad here’s Why Book

Mothers have done so many things and to remind her about everything and being grateful is the best gift.

This book is incomplete and you have to complete it in your own words and share your own emotions and stories about your mother.

She will love this book and will keep her safe for the rest of her life.




Mom-Preneur- Certificate of appreciation

Moms are born entrepreneurs and they run their entire family and house alone.

This is a framed certificate that says how much you love them and how she is the best mom in the world and that you will also help her.

This is the best gift you can give your mom.




Smart Yoga mat

Being healthy and fit is equally important in life.

This yoga mat is perfect for a Christmas gift for your mother.

This is not just a normal yoga mat, Alexa is attached to it so that at one-word command music will be played and her workout will be smooth too.

After the workout, the yoga mat also rolls itself back due to the interlocking mechanism.

The best gift you can give your mom.




Amazon gift card in a pop-up gift box

For all the people that cannot decide what to gift to her mom.

This gift card might be the best for you.

You can select the gift amount and she can use it at anything on amazon.

The gift card will come in a gift box.

It is the best gift for your mother on Christmas.




Handheld turning vegetable Spiralizer

To make your mother’s work easy in the kitchen, this is the best gift for her.

It can easily cut your vegetables into thick or thin slices.

She will love this gift as it will make her work in the kitchen very easy and save her time too.

Give her this Christmas gift and she will praise and love how much you care about her.




Personalized phone cover

Everybody needs a phone cover.

This phone cover is transparent and the desired name will be printed on it.

The phone case is cute and the font on the name is attractive.

Your mother will love this personalized phone case so gift her this case.




Letters to my mom

Writing a letter to your mom and expressing your love towards her is the best gift you can give.

These letters are unique as there are multiple letters and she can open them according to the mood.

There are eight letters and some of them read me when you miss me or read me to know how much I love you, etc.

Each letter will melt her heart and she will realize how much you love and care about her.

Give these letters on Christmas and she will read it throughout the year.

10 Best Unique Gifts for Your Boss



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Nobody loves their boss but they all want to impress them and be in their good books too.

Whether it is a Christmas or new year’s gift, you want it to top the last year’s gift.

You need to give them a formal and yet personal gift to have the barrier between personal and professional life.

These gifts and ideas will help you impress your boss.

Here is the list of 10 unique gifts for your boss


The Office Mug

If you have seen the office show, then you know this mug is the best for every employee in your office.

You can take a cool picture of your boss and get it printed on the mug.

This mug will help your boss drink caffeine drinks all the time and he/she can take this mug at their home or keep it in the office.

This office mug will have your boss’s name and this makes the perfect gift too.



Charging Stand

Your boss doesn’t have the time to charge his phone and his watch as he/she is very busy managing this office.

This charging stand charges your boss's phone and watches together very fast.

Your boss doesn’t need to carry a power bank or cord with him/her daily as this stand will do that.

Gift this charging stand to save your boss’s time and impress him/her at the same time.




Holiday Bakery Tin

If you are thinking of gifting your boss something, then this bakery tin is the best gift.

This bakery tin has a loaf of cake, cookies, shortbread, gingerbread, etc.

There are different types of bakery items and your boss will love it and he/she can share it with their friends and family.

Give this to your boss on his birthday or at Christmas to impress.




Big personality desk sign

Your boss has a name sign on his desk.

But what would be great? Having a funny sign at his/her desk that also shows authority.

This funny sign has a sweet message and it is hilarious too.

Give this sign desk to your boss so he/she can flaunt it on his/her desk.

Gift this sign on your boss’s birthday or as a Christmas gift.




Luxury Spa Box

Everybody loves to take a day off and treat their skin and hair right.

This spa box does the same, it helps you take care of your skin and hair.

The box includes items like lip balm, natural bath bomb, body spray, clay mask, soy candle, body butter, and Loofah soap.

This is the best gift box for your boss that you could get to relax at home on a weekend.




Mug Warmer

Everybody loves to enjoy their coffee or tea hot and warm.

This mug warmer quickly warms the mug and the drink that is inside it in merely 15 seconds to 1 minute.

You don’t have to throw away the coffee every time it gets cold, you can just warm it up with a mug warmer.

Give this to your boss in your office so that they can enjoy their coffee or tea hot and work efficiently too.




Vinebox traditional whites

You can never go wrong by gifting wine.

But you surely don’t know everybody’s favorite wine in your company.

Let Vinebox do their magic, so instead of giving one bottle of wine to each of the employees.

Vinebox gives 9 different types of wine of each 100ml so that they can explore and discover their favorite wine.

Gift this Vinebox to the employee of the month.




Desk Humidifier

You must have fresh air even if you are working late in the office.

This desk humidifier will convert the dry air near you to fresh air.

This way, you can breathe fresh air which will help you feel a sense of refreshment.

It can be connected to any USB port

Gift these desk humidifiers to every employee in your company so they can breathe fresh air without going out.




Fitreserve Gift Card

If your boss does all the work sitting in a chair, you may encourage your boss to oversee his/her fitness.

This gift card is valid anytime and they can redeem it for some sessions to be fit.

This gift card will motivate them to go to a class and get fit.

Gift this card on your boss’s birthday.




Activity Tracker Watch

You may sit in your office for hours with no exercise.

This watch lets you keep track of your health and how many calories you burnt, etc.

This will help the boss to start exercising and give a look at their health.

Gift these to the boss in your company on his/her birthday so they can also focus on their health.

Undersea discovery leads to multilingual childrens’ books on Pinoy scientists



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A children’s storybook about a pioneering Filipino scientist who made a surprising discovery in one of the deepest parts of the world’s oceans has led to a collaboration between the University of the Philippines - Diliman’s College of Science (UPD-CS) and College of Arts and Letters (UPD-CAL) for a series of inspiring multilingual children’s books on the lives of Filipino researchers.

UPD-CAL DFPP Professor Emeritus Dr. Rosario Torres-Yu and UPD-CS Associate Dean Dr. Lillian Rodriguez (2nd and 3rd from left, respectively) hold up copies of the children’s book, “Doktor ng Dagat,” the first volume of the Sulong-Agham Book Series. Looking on are publisher Supling Sining, Inc. Vice President Jose Monfred Sy (leftmost) and the DFPP Assistant Chair Maynard Manansala.

The Sulong-Agham Book Series is set to launch in December with the book, “Doktor ng Dagat.” Written by CAL Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas (DFPP) Professor Emeritus Dr. Rosario Torres-Yu and developed for publication by Supling Sining, Inc., the tome touches on the life and work of Dr. Deo Florence Onda of the UPD-CS’ Marine Science Institute (MSI) who was the first Filipino and one of the first humans ever to explore Emden Deep in the Philippine Trench.

The third deepest place on Earth, Emden Deep is one of the world’s most inaccessible regions even though it is just barely 100 kilometers away from Eastern Samar. And yet, despite its depth and isolation, it was not untouched by humans. You will have to read the storybook to find out what Dr. Onda saw in the depths of the ocean, but it was enough to prompt him to dedicate his life to helping raise public awareness about maintaining the health of our rich marine resources.

Dr. Onda’s life story comes to life in the expert hands of Dr. Torres-Yu, a renowned storyteller and beloved mentor, with illustrations by Paul Eric Roca. Aside from winning and, later, being a judge of the prestigious Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Dr. Torres-Yu is also the former dean of CAL and former director of the Sentro ng Wikang Filipino. Meanwhile, Roca is a painter, illustrator, and internationally-published editorial cartoonist.

“Doktor ng Dagat” is written in Filipino with translations in Dr. Onda’s native Cuyonon as well as in English. It is the pilot volume of the Sulong-Agham Book Series, done in partnership between UPD-CS and UPD-CAL, which aims to inspire Filipino children to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by showcasing the lives and work of Filipino scientists. Other books in the series will also be published in Filipino and other Philippine languages, with English translations.

“We hope that this series of stories, beginning with Dr. Onda’s, will help bring about a new generation of scientists and a more science-minded public,” Dr. Torres-Yu said.

“This pioneering project between CS and CAL underscores the importance of collaboration between the arts and sciences and invites young readers to experience the wonders of science,” noted UPD-CS Dean Giovanni Tapang.

“Doktor ng Dagat” and the Sulong-Agham Book Series will be formally launched on December 12, 2022 at 4:00pm in the lobby of the CS Administration Building in UP Diliman. Supling Sining is open to sponsors who are interested in gifting the book to underserved communities, at just ₱100 a copy.

To purchase copies of “Doktor ng Dagat” or to inquire about sponsorships, please contact China Pearl de Vera at chinapearldevera@gmail.com. For interviews and other media requests, please contact media@science.upd.edu.ph.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Paco Park on its Bicentennial Years


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Last November 27, 2022, avenues of events were held at the Paco Park as we commemorate its 200 years of existence as organized by GottaBeFamous Events Management in partnership with the National Parks Development Committee, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism.

During the first glimpse of the event, A fashion photography lecture was held as facilitated by our very own Fashion Designer, Rey Calajate with models dressed in Filipiniana bridal gowns. After which, a Photography workshop was done with our Playlight Studio owner Mark Cristobal showcasing the designs of the bridal couture as Paco Park is now a perfect mood for Photo opportunities.










 

The National Artist for Architecture Ildefonso P. Santos Jr.'s improvement of the public park in Paco became one of the symbols of contemporary Filipino landscape architecture, making it a popular location for special occasion photographs like wedding and prenuptial photoshoots even if the Paco Park itself mirrors a dark history.

Furthermore, at the second part of the event was the Paco Park Walking Tour conducted by Mr. Micbael Angelo Tabuyan, a Social Studies Teacher and the Executive Director of Project Saysay in which he discusses the “betweens and beyonds” of the Paco Park History as it has served as a sanctuary for our heroes, ancestors, and collective memories of the past during the Spanish Regime.

Overall, Several communities of photographers and groups of students took part in the said activities. In celebration of the 200 Years of Paco Park, we recognize the park as a center for Philippine arts and heritage, and as a site of history.
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