Saturday, January 28, 2023

PUP Junior Marketing ExeBLINDSPOT: Exposing Aptitude, Magnifying Opportunities

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Let tap the untapped and reach for the unreached!

To widen our knowledge and open our minds to the untapped marketing niche, PUP Junior Marketing Executives is now ready to uncover, BLINDSPOT: Exposing Aptitude, Magnifying Opportunities that will take place on January 29, 2023 (Sunday) from from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm live on their Facebook page.

BLINDSPOT aims to promote diversity and inclusivity in the market by opening a discussion about PWDs. This event focuses on enlightening the students on how to serve and reach them from a marketing perspective.

There will be three (3) exceptional speakers that will join us in a Round Table Discussion invited by PUP JME that will open our eyes on the following topics:

INVESTigate: Finding the best practices to promote inclusivity and diversity using assistive technologies

Unmask: Denaturalizing Advertising to sell Physical Perfection and able-Embodiment,

and Reveal: Targeting PWD Market from Expert are the topics to be discussed during the live event

Aside from the much anticipated live event, PUP JME is inviting Marketitas to join us in reaching for this opportunity!

EXPOSE: A Short-Ad Making Competition a commercial making features our partner brands by incorporating the goals of the business showcasing the magnificent products of our partner client.

MAGNIFYING OPPORTUNITIES: ACCESS and OUTLET a virtual career fair posting on giving internship and job opportunities to (1) students with disabilities and PWD in general and (2) marketing students.

EXTEND: Lending Hands; Touching Hearts an activity that aims to touch the hearts of the beneficiaries through physical interaction and gift giving.

Come and join PUP JME in discovering more about tapping the untapped PWD market niche, and be sure to bring your pen and paper!





Top 5 Cryptocurrency Exchanges of January 2023

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

When you plan to become a crypto investor there are two main issues to solve: what asset to buy and where to do that. Picking crypto assets for investments, you should pay attention to the following characteristics:
price chart helps you understand how an asset behaves in different market trends;
market cap helps to understand the level of the asset’s dominance in the market;
trade volume allows us to see how many transactions are conducted with the asset per day.

Also, you should pay attention to the technology of a project and its application. If an asset has real use cases, it has more chances to be in demand, and if there is demand for the asset, its price will hold at a decent level.

When it comes to the market cap indicator, it is essential to understand that the higher it is, the more stable the asset’s price against market volatility. That means, on the one hand, large-cap coins (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.) are worth buying for the long-term, and on the other hand, low-cap asses (Dash) are more sensitive to market trends changes and have bigger chances to boost during the next bull run.

As of mid-January 1023, the DASH cryptocurrency price is $47.82. The peak indicator was $1110 in December 2018.

Top Crypto Exchanges

Next thing to do after picking an asset is to choose a crypto platform. Here are the five best platforms with the most relevant cryptocurrency prices:

The WhiteBIT crypto exchange is the most suitable for a beginner trader, for it offers the most convenient interface and quality customer support. The platform has two options for interface - basic and advanced. Users can also configure the interface according to their needs. The platform charges fixed fees - 0,10% per transaction and ensures a high safety level for users' funds. Check out its official website and blog.

Friday, January 27, 2023

DepEd joins International Holocaust Remembrance Day, highlights importance of cultivating value of social justice

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the importance of the culture of social justice and diversity during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on January 26.

“The Holocaust saw the systemic oppression and persecution of six million Jewish victims and millions of others. The atrocity committed by the Nazi regime and their collaborators is beyond comprehension. Still, we must remember, and we must not forget, the names and the faces of the victims, the families torn apart, and the communities destroyed. We must remember so we may never forget the dangers of hate and intolerance,” Vice President and Secretary Sara Z. Duterte said in her message.

“We are responsible for ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust and the stories of the survivors are passed on to future generations so that it will never happen again. We must ensure that these stories are not lost so we can learn from them and prevent other atrocities from happening again,” she added.

Spearheaded by the International Cooperation Office (ICO), the event was attended by DepEd Executive Committee, the United Nations delegation represented by the Department of Foreign Affairs-United Nations and International Organization Assistant Secretary Kira Danganan-Azucena, the Israel Embassy headed by Ambassador Ilan Fluss, and the Department of Foreign Affairs represented by Assistant Secretary Mardomel Melicor of the Middle East and African Affairs.

Additionally, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching Gina O. Gonong highlighted the lessons imparted by the Holocaust. "This unfortunate event inspires us to produce peace-loving and peace-building learners and strive to transform our schools into safe spaces for everyone where keep our human values alive," Usec Gonong said.

DepEd also recognized the need to continue to promote Holocaust education across all schools in the county and to persuade other DepEd field offices to join these kinds of commemoration events. The Department also used this day to reaffirm its commitment to encouraging its teachers and learners to be advocates for social justice and respect for human rights.

The DepEd Secretary also cited the late President Manuel Quezon’s Open-Door Policy that enabled thousands of Jewish refugees to seek temporary refuge in the Philippines, which embodies the Filipinos’ kindheartedness.

Led by VP Secretary Duterte and the various partners in attendance, six candles were lit to remember the six million Jews that were victims of the Holocaust. A prayer was also offered before the ceremonial candle lighting.

9 FEU DepComm shorts vie for Adamson filmfest awards

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Nine short films made by Digital Cinema and Convergent Media students from Far Eastern University (FEU) Department of Communication qualified for “REALIFILM 2023 | Haze of Truth: Underlying Gap of Life,” an interschool film competition organized by Adamson University’s Silip@Lente in collaboration with the AdU Cultural Affairs Office.

“Akin ang Buhok Ko” written and directed by Luke Salazar, “All the Things Left Unsaid” by Josh Van Ulric Ocampo, “Ang Babayi” by Sydney Dominic Roxas, “Baka Búkas, Bukás Na” by Ely Baculo, “Banaag” by Frangel Obien, “Heels On” by Daniel John Sanchez, “Hilahil” by JD Mardo, “If You Leave Me, Please Let Me Know” by Patrick Pangan, and “Save the Last Dance for Me” by Kaloy Cabarrubias will compete with 17 other student finalists at AdU Theater on January 27, from 1 to 5 p.m.

“Akin ang Buhok Ko” follows the story of a nine-year-old boy who simply wants to keep his long hair against the wishes of the adults around him. It previously won Best Short Film and Best Director for Salazar at FEU’s “LIKHANG MULAT: Gabi ng Parangal 2022.”

In “All the Things Left Unsaid,” a boy narrates his life as a queer individual speaking about his inner child in a very mundane setting. He starts by unfolding his imaginative perspective on the laundry as a colorful world with dirty clothes and cute little fishes.

On the other hand, “Ang Babayi” tells an alternate version of The Story of Creation, this time Eve (Joyce Macalia) emerges from the water and becomes the first human instead of Adam. Her exploration of survival in the Garden of Eden leads her to a predatory foe and an unlikely companion.

In “Baka Búkas, Bukás Na,” two old men, who hang out every day in a local coffee shop, reminisce about their bittersweet past when two young men enter the coffeehouse.

“Banaag” is about a woman who creates an almost perfect life as she co-exists with her younger and future self in an attempt to heal the wounds of trials and tribulations.

In “Heels On,” a young father (Dani Sanchez) wears fabulous clothes and heels as a dance teacher at a studio in Cubao. As he gets home, he thinks that his daughter does not have any idea about his work.

Meanwhile, chaos erupts as an uninvited guest interrupts three men having a casual drink in “Hilahil.”

In “If You Leave Me, Please Let Me Know,” a young boy (Kaloy Estrella) thoroughly looks at a giant felled tree in front of their house. The tree seems oddly mysterious to him as he finds connection to it. This as bullies tease him that he is a son of a Kapre, a giant creature who lives in a tree. The short film is one of the finalists in the Young Voices section of Sine Halaga 2 and Sorok Short Film Festival.

Finally, in “Save the Last Dance for Me,” a young man (Aristedes Lamorena, Jr.) meets a mysterious woman (Bjorn Pestaño) in the middle of a forest. Mesmerized by her beauty, he is determined to pursue her, and they develop a deep connection. He is unaware that this encounter will alter his life forever.

FEU DepComm program chair Herwin Cabasal lauded the FEU films for being “proud to tell the stories of the unheard and explore the gaps in today's society.”

REALIFILM has “Romanticizing Life and Social Issues” as its theme in this year’s competition.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Coco Martin chosen as 'The RiteOne' to continue legacy of Ms. Susan Roces

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The country's leading pharmaceutical brand RiteMed has officially unveiled its new brand ambassador with the launch of its latest TV commercial (TVC) featuring the well-loved and highly respected actor-director Coco Martin.

Coco graciously accepted the challenge of continuing the legacy and advocacy of the Queen of Philippine Movies, Ms. Susan Roces, of empowering the masses in opting for quality and affordable healthcare.

Coco rightfully opened the TVC with the line “Ang sabi ng lola ko, ‘wag mahihiyang hanapin ang check", which not only gives honor to Ms. Susan but also reminds the people of the Filipino culture of listening to the advice of their elderly loved ones.

Filipinos remember the wife of the late Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), the King of Philippine Movies, for her famous lines in TV and radio commercials that espoused affordable medicines such as: “Bawal ang Mahal” and “Huwag Mahihiyang Magtanong”. Ms. Roces passed away in May 2022. Since then, RiteMed conducted a long and thorough selection process to be able to choose "The Rite One" to take the place of the late actress.

Coco, who became a hero of the masses for his role in "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano", one of the longest-running and most successful soap operas in Philippine TV's history, emerged as the hands-down choice.

The actor-director even suggested the adaptation of Ms. Susan’s famous tagline, Huwag Mahihiyang Magtanong, well-aware that everyone should have the right to ask questions. “Una, para hindi tayo magkamali. Pangalawa, ang mga ang mga Pilipino po ay likas na mahiyain; tinuturuan tayo dito na may alternatibo. Pag naiisip natin na ‘mahal yan’, tinuturo sa atin ng RiteMed na may alternatibo na mas mura," Coco stressed.

“Maraming maraming salamat po sa pagtitiwala. Napakalaking obligasyon po itong ipinasa po sa akin,” Coco said in his speech during the contract signing with RiteMed. “Naikwento ko nga po na kapag dumadaan ako sa Quiapo at pag nakikita ko yung overpass doon, ang laki laki ng billboard ni Tita Susan. Pumasok sa isip ko, ‘sino kaya ngayon ang papalit kay Tita Susan?’ kasi iba po talaga. Hindi lang bilang apo niya sa 'Ang Probinsyano' o sa mga proyekto naming. Alam na alam ko po kung anong klaseng tao si Tita Susan. Hindi po siya basta basta nagtitiwala sa mga produkto ng hindi niya nasusubukan dahil ayaw niyang masira ang kanyang pangalan.

The actor-director emphasized the impact and the legacy that Ms. Roces left and how she became the voice of every Filipino especially when it comes to affordable health care.

“Sobrang laki po ng naging impact. Alam naman po natin na mahirap ang buhay, lagi tayo nag-iisip kung paano makakamenos at paano pa rin natin maitatawid yung pangangailangan, lalo na yung kalusugan. Kasi si Tita Susan, silang mag-asawa ni FPJ, parang sila yung simbolo ng bawat Pilipino eh, na kapag may sinabi sila o may ginawa sila, lahat nakikinig. Napakalaking impluwensya nila sa mga Pilipino, kaya ingat na ingat si Tita Susan talaga sa mga paggawa niya ng mga proyekto at kung ano man ang mga ineendorso niya, lalo na po itong RiteMed.

Atty. Joey Ochave, RiteMed President, welcomed the new brand ambassador with great honor.

“It was 11 years ago when we had Ms. Susan and it was one of the best decisions that we’ve made. She was not just a face and a voice. She was a co-creator of the brand. The sudden shift on the lighter tone of 'Huwag Mahihiyang Magtanong' was her idea,” recalled Ochave. “From then on, RiteMed took this advocacy to heart.”

“Just a brief history, RiteMed was launched upon the request of the government then. Before, people had the impression that generics are sub-standard. Because of this, we strived to change that perception as people still wanted to associate themselves with a brand, because a brand is a badge of trust. Parang pangalan iyan, ang hirap magtiwala sa hindi mo kilala, sabi nga ni Ms Susan.”

RiteMed, thus, worked hard to make quality healthcare more affordable. “We want to assure everyone that [RiteMed] is a brand that you can trust. It’s a company branding and not just a product brand,” Ochave highlighted.

RiteMed General Manager Vince Guerrero said Coco possesses the traits that they are looking for in a brand ambassador.

"Coco not only understands but actually represents the aspirations of the masses, which is why he is esteemed by the common people for advocating what is right," Guerrero said. "As the new face of the brand, we believe he will be a good reflection of RiteMed’s continuing thrust to provide affordable quality healthcare to our people.”

Coco acknowledges the weight of being the new face of a trusted brand. “Alam kong ang laki ng responsibilidad bilang brand ambassador ng RiteMed. Ito po ay legacy ni Tita Susan at iyon po ang panghahawakan ko.”

How To Pay for Flights Using Cryptocurrency

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

According to buidlbee, the cryptocurrency has become a rapidly gaining popularity as a way to pay for the services of airlines. Already in 2022, you can fully pay for the trip with cryptocurrency, starting with booking airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, etc.

In this article, we will tell how you can purchase airline tickets with cryptocurrency, as well as about airlines that sell tickets by paying with cryptocurrencies.

How to buy a plane ticket with cryptocurrency

The process is about the same everywhere: you start any supported crypto on the website of the air carrier, simply by downloading and registering a wallet on your phone and sending your crypto to it (we do not recommend starting a lot or storing it, because the services are centralized).

After that, simply select the payment method of the airline, which will convert your crypto into a currency to pay for the airline and the ticket will be issued within 24 hours (or during the time that is written on the site). However, in most cases, it is issued immediately.


The first airline in the world to start selling tickets for its flights to the Baltic countries, Europe and Russia for bitcoins since 2014 is airBaltic, an airline based in Latvia. According to AirBaltic, over seven years, more than 1,000 tourists have bought plane tickets from the airline using cryptocurrency.

In addition to the Latvian National Airlines, companies such as Polish Airlines (LOT), the Canadian Airlines and the Japanese low-cost airline Peach Aviation are leading in the sale of air tickets for cryptocurrency. CheapAir, a California-based firm, was one of the first airlines to sell tickets for bitcoin in the US in 2013. It is believed that crypto transactions are not only confirmed and safe, but also that purchases using electronic currencies are easy and fast.

Travel companies

Electronic currencies are quite popular, especially among travel agencies that sell tickets via the Internet. The Australian travel site and the Spanish joined the list of "advanced" companies. This platform was created with the ability to book travel. The platform is based on the blockchain. Based on this, its big plus is the flexibility when paying with a crypt (besides this, of course, flights can also be paid with ordinary cards). On the Travala platform, there is a wide choice of cryptocurrencies to pay for services. There are also thousands of hotels, car rental services to choose from. A feature of this platform is the presence of its own AVA cryptocurrency.

In addition, entire service sites have appeared, for example, is a partner of Binance, one of the largest exchanges for cryptocurrencies in the United States. For digital currencies and, of course, bitcoins, hotels and flights are available for booking on the site. The service allows tourists to compare flights listed in the selected state currency before buying with cryptocurrency.

No less famous is the Alternative Airlines platform, where you can find flights from numerous airlines and pay for the purchase of tickets using digital money.

Benefits and risks

As an addition, it can be noted that all cryptocurrencies, of course, are not without risks, but the benefits that accompany them outweigh the possible disadvantages. Users of virtual money get anonymity, high speed of transactions, lack of dependence on financial institutions, small commissions, no “limits” for transfers. However, it is also important to monitor the risks, for example, jumps in the rate of the crypt, the real benefit of such payment, the lack of sufficient technical capabilities.


When buying air tickets, we often lose money on conversion, or additional commissions. Innovations in terms of new settlement options can significantly reduce the cost of air tickets due to the elimination of unnecessary commissions, and sometimes even certain types of tax. At the moment, not many companies have decided to optimize in this area, but the list of services is constantly expanding, and it is only a matter of time when payment with cryptocurrency will be available everywhere.

It is worth saying that the above airlines and services are not the only ones where you can pay for the flight using cryptocurrency. For example, Abitsky, thanks to this service you will be able to pay for a flight while traveling all over Europe.

Planning your trip is always difficult and time-consuming, but finding a travel agency that accepts bitcoins is no longer difficult.

Must-Have Things to Carry on Hiking or Trekking Trips

Wazzup Pilipinas!


Even though most people don’t have enough free time to enjoy their favorite hobbies, that doesn’t mean that they can’t have some fun and do something extraordinary every once in a while. And if you’re one of those who love being in the open as often as possible instead of doing nothing but watching TV - you’re lucky, because those outdoorsy people always have tons of options to explore! From swimming and camping to hiking and trekking, you can do quite a lot even if you don’t have that much free time. All you need to do to maximize your time in the open is to get organized adequately and pack all your essentials. In case you’re a fan of hiking and trekking, but don’t know how to do that, here are a few essential items you need to carry with you whenever you’re about to start a new hiking/trekking trip.

The backpack

This might not sound like the most important thing at first, but you can’t even start packing your essentials if you don’t have the right backpack. And if you’re serious about hiking and trekking, you can’t pick just any model - you have to ensure that it’s strong, durable, large, full of various compartments, and, most importantly, waterproof. To make the selection process easier, you can find local trekking companies and use their expertise. They have in-depth knowledge of the terrain, weather conditions, and the type of gear best suited for the region you plan to explore.

This is why finding a new backpack is a process that might take a while. Lots of hiking and trekking fans have several different models at home and they choose which one they’ll use depending on where they’re going and how long they’ll be staying on their trip. So, don’t be afraid to choose whichever you like first and then get a new backpack if you notice that the first one isn’t working for you. Alternatively, you can talk to your hiking and trekking buddies and buy the same backpack they’re using - if it’s working for them, it’s probably going to work for you as well.

Handy tools

Many things will be beneficial for your trip and you should have them by your side during your hiking adventure. One of the most common items is a flashlight which can be found in a very small and practical size and can be of great help if your trip turns into an overnight adventure or you stay up too late and you end up watching the sunset. In addition to that, you’ll need hand sanitizer because during your walk you’ll probably want to explore nature and will end up with potential germs on your hand. It is better to be safe and clean your hands before making a break to eat or drink water.

Also, Sunscreen, sunblock, and lip balms will be a great thing to keep in mind because people tend to forget that they need to protect themselves from the sunlight and UV rays which is crucial especially if you are hiking on a mountain. Make sure to use high SPF ratings to protect your skin and avoid any potential problems. Thi sis something you need to carry close to reach in order to always be able to use it.

Safety features

Though lots of us believe that hiking and trekking are among the safest hobbies in the world, things are quite different in reality. You can do this for ages and still run into situations that can escalate quickly and become potentially dangerous without you even noticing it. Whether we’re talking about a weather disaster or an encounter with dangerous animals, you need to be safe, protected, and always alert.

That’s why it’s important to have lots of protection by your side at all times. Navigation, headlamps, protective boots, fire matches, and sun-protective clothes are among the most important pieces you need to have whenever you go. Also, don’t forget a practical OTF knife that’s going to come in handy in different situations, from building shelter to preparing food. Speaking of which, make sure you always have enough food and water with you, as well as some extra clothes in case you get wet or muddy.

Sleeping options

If you want to enjoy hiking and trekking to the fullest, you must try doing it overnight and sleeping under the open sky. This might not look like the best way to spend your free time and enjoy your hobby, but you’re going to end up having a blast, especially if you’re surrounded by people you know and love.

But, if you want this to turn into an adventure you’ll never forget, you have to think about where you’re going to sleep and how you’re going to spend your night. Luckily, sleeping bags and tents are now easy to find and they’re more advanced than they’ve ever been, which means you shouldn’t have a problem finding models that are going to work for you. Still, when buying them, ask the salesperson to show you how to set up your tent in no time at all, and pay some extra money for a waterproof and windproof model that’s going to keep you warm and dry all night long.

Clothes, clothes, clothes

When getting ready for a hiking and trekking trip, thinking about your appearance is probably not your main priority. However, there’s nothing to do with the way you look, but with the fact that you need adequate clothes that will help you enjoy your time in the open even more and you can browse through a travel magazine to see what type of clothes you’ll need.

First, keep in mind that you need to dress in lots of different layers regardless of the weather. Most hiking and trekking trips end up being wet, cold, and windy, which is why you need protective jackets, warm socks, and quick-dry shirts. Also, don’t forget protective shoes that will keep you dry and safe whenever you go, so take some time to choose the right pair you’ll be able to use for ages.


Of course, these are just some of the things you’re going to need when you go hiking or trekking, so learn how to pack them properly, without wasting too much time or energy. And after you do, you can hit the road and enjoy your time in the open to the fullest!


Emma Joyce is an avid traveler who likes to explore new places and takes on new adventures. When she's not exploring new grounds, she's reading or writing about them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

SDCA Comm frosh wins 3SF Best Director

Wazzup Pilipinas!

A first year Communication student from St. Dominic College of Asia bagged the Best Director prize during the 3 Shots Film Fest awards night held at the Cinematheque Center Manila.

Franc Louie Sancha, who also served as writer and casting director of the short film “Gitara,” bested 19 other finalists who competed for the award.

In “Gitara,” a musician-vlogger (John Kenneth Talania) stumbles upon a haunted guitar he took from his grandfather’s province. He soon experiences supernatural events happening around him, and a mysterious creature starts to haunt and chase him. Erica Ubay-Ubay and Bong Ryan Reyes provide acting support to Talania.

Apart from Talania, Ubay-Ubay, and Reyes, Sancha also got help behind the camera from director of photography Mariel Perez and production and costume designers Alekzandra Noviebein Carias and Azi Amagna.

This is the second straight year that SDCA has barged into the finals of the event. In 2021, SDCA seniors CK Dela Cruz, Lourdes Mae De Gala, Kristzen Joy Mendoza, and Jhody Sacramento made it to the competition through their film “Laruan.”

All finalists from SDCA are members of the Association of Dominican Communicators, a student organization composed of Communication majors.

Joining Sancha in the 3SF winners’ circle are Best Film “/em/beddeəd” by Adrian Bolante; John Patrick Domingo of “Sack of Confessions,” Best Performance; Christine Anne Crisostomo of “Gula,” Best in Cinematography; “Awang” by Ruth Nicole Modina, Jury Honorable Mention; and “Sack of Confessions” by Francis Lacambra, People’s Choice Award.

The 3SF Festival is organized by Media Underground or MUD Studios with the Film Development Council of the Philippines and co-presented by RSVP Film Studios, Clayshop Inc., Coffee Gallery PH, UFO Workshops Manila with partners Giya Studios, Fire and Ice Media, The Playground Studios,, and Mapua University Makati Film Arts and Media Enthusiasts (FAME) organization.

The 3SF finalists were shown at the Cinematheque Centers in Manila, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Davao, and Nabunturan and streamed at JuanFlix: The FDCP Channel and

WTTC and Group global traveller report reveals shift towards sustainable travel

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Travellers set to splurge on international travel this year

“Demand for travel is now stronger than ever” says WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson

A major new report by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Group, together with Deloitte, reveals a heightened appetite for sustainable tourism amongst consumers, with 69% of travellers actively seeking sustainable travel options.

In this follow-up report, WTTC joined forces again with leading global travel service provider, Group and its major consumer brands, Ctrip and Skyscanner, with additional data sourced from Deloitte, to analyse the trends that shaped the Travel & Tourism sector last year and will continue to do so over 2023.

The report, “A world in motion: shifting consumer travel trends in 2022 and beyond”, shows that sustainability is a key element of the travel agenda, with travellers eager to reduce their carbon footprint and support sustainable tourism. 

According to a survey included in the report, three quarters of travellers are considering travelling more sustainably in the future1 and nearly 60% have chosen more sustainable travel options in the last couple of years1.

Another survey also found that around three quarters of high-end travellers are willing to pay extra to make their trips more sustainable2.

Last year, following more than two years of travel disruption, travellers made clear their 

wanderlust is very much alive, with a 109% increase of international overnight arrivals, compared to 2021.

According to the report, last year consumers were willing to stretch their budget for their holiday plans, with 86% of travellers planning on spending the same amount or more on international travel than in 20193, with U.S. tourists leading the list as big spenders4. 

But 2023 is looking even better in terms of travellers’ spend. Despite concerns about inflation and the cost-of-living crisis around the world, nearly a third (31%) of travellers said they intend to spend more on international travel this year than in 2022. 

Additionally, according to Deloitte’s ‘Global State of the Consumer Tracker’, last year more than half (53%) of global consumers surveyed during the summer said they plan to stay in a hotel over the following three months4.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “The demand for travel is now stronger than ever and our report shows that this year we will see a significant bounce back. 2023 is set to be a very strong year for Travel & Tourism.

“Sustainability is top of travellers’ agenda, and consumers highlight the value they put on protecting nature and travelling responsibly.”

Jane Sun, Group CEO, said: “Travel & Tourism is a powerful force in driving the global economy, creating jobs, stimulating economic growth, and lifting communities out of poverty.

“The Asia-Pacific Region, with its rapidly growing middle-class and dynamic economies, is well￾positioned to capitalise on the growth of the industry and take its place as a leader in the global tourism economy.

“I’m optimistic about the positive momentum for the global resumption and growth of travel in 2023, primarily driven by mainland Chinese consumers, which will help accelerate worldwide recovery and development.”

Scott Rosenberger, Deloitte Global Transportation, Hospitality & Services Sector Leader: 

“Travel is rebounding from the pandemic while innovating and meeting the demands of more modern alternative travel-types, sustainable travel, luxury travel, and much more. 

“Even the rise in inflation-driven financial concerns is not slowing the pace; incredibly travel is being prioritized and flexible/remote work arrangements are creating new opportunities. We are actively engaging with our clients as they embrace these new trends and create memorable experiences for consumers.”

Other findings revealed in the report include:

• 2022 sun and sea package holiday sales are estimated to be up 75% compared to the previous year5

• Last year during the summer, international arrivals in European sun and beach destinations were just 15% below 2019 levels6

• According to WTTC’s recent ‘Cities Economic Impact Research’, in 2022 visits to major cities are expected to see a 58% year-on-year increase, less than 14% below 2019 levels

• Luxury holidays will prove particularly popular, with sales of luxury hotels expected to reach $92 billion by 2025 (compared to $76 billion in 2019)5

• In a survey, nearly 60% of travellers said they were either already paying to offset their carbon emissions or considering it if the price was right.

To access more information and read the report in full, please click￾trends.

Philippine Post Office warns against “Mr. Vishing”

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Philippine Postal Corporation (Post Office) again warned the general public against the proliferation of fraudulent activities by “Mr. Vishing” that uses telephone calls in the guise of the Post Office in their extortion activities.

The scammers use computer skills to configure their calls in order to make them appear that these are legitimately coming from the Customer Service Hotline, (02) 8288 7678, of the said government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) which is under the Office of the President.

Hence, the phone number registered in the Caller ID of the recipient is the “spoofed or cloned” hotline number of the postal corporation. This official number, however, is being used by the Post Office for the sole purpose of entertaining inbound calls from the mailing public who are tracing the whereabouts of their mail or parcels. It is never used for outgoing or outbound calls for verifications on senders or addressees of postal matters.

Dubbed as “Mr. Vishing” for easier recall of the general public, “Vishing” is a criminal racket that uses telephone lines to call would-be victims in order to extract personal information, and generate fear against fabricated illegal acts or issues that eventually lead to extortion. These scammers are able to make their calls appear to come from reputable institutions or government agencies.

Based on the initial information gathered, the modus operandi which began in November 2022 asking would-be victims for their personal information through text or online messaging. In this case, the callers would then tell the targets that they “had discovered an outbound mail or parcel containing illegal substances purportedly sent by the prospective victim through the postal service”. They then claim that these parcels are bound to Malaysia, Thailand or any foreign country but were allegedly “shipped and intercepted at Cebu Central Post Office” or at any post office.

“Mr. Vishing’’ would then refer them to a “local police” who would then use their social engineering skills to instill fear in these victims for them to avoid “legal entanglements”.

The victims are then duped or coerced (even by video calls) to shell out huge amounts of money for protection to avoid trial and possible imprisonment. So far, there were three (3) private individuals who visited Cebu Post Office to inquire about these dubious phone calls. They were then referred by postal officials to the local police as these were proven to be spoofed or cloned calls with an end view of extortion.

The public is hereby warned not to give personal information over the phone to avoid falling prey to “Mr. Vishing”. It is best and wise to check first the authenticity of the calls, emails, or texts that they receive from proper and legitimate sources or can access valuable information available online against vishing, phishing and other frauds.

The Post Office has already referred this matter for investigation to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) or its National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is one of its lead agencies. Likewise, the postal service is coordinating and seeking the assistance from the Philippine National Police (PNP) as well as the current telephone service provider in order to resolve and address the PHLPost Package Scam.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Save the Children Philippines ignites passion and cradles young dreams through disaster recovery response

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Pudpud [not his real name] maybe the youngest and the smallest in his family of nine, but he is definitely the most courageous. When Severe Tropical Storm Nalgae [local name: Paeng] struck the Philippines last year, it caused massive flooding in several regions in the country, most especially in Mindanao, at the south of the Philippines. Pudpud braved the muddy waters and howling winds using a rickety raft to help save his aunt who lived nearby. Pudpud is a 5th grade learner and was one of the 1.9M in the list of children affected by the disaster. It was also in this encounter with Save the Children’s Humanitarian Response Team, who set-up the temporary learning spaces in his school, that his dream to be a soldier was set aflame.
The onslaught of Nalgae devastated the school of Pudpud and his classmates. They were worried because their learning materials have been soaked or washed away by the heavy rains and flooding.

Seeing the destruction of his school and how Save the Children worked with the government and different sectors to help affected families and children recover through humanitarian work and “bayanihan spirit” or communal unity ignited his patriotism and made him realize that he wanted to help when disaster strikes again.

“Because of the typhoon, many children in the community felt troubled because of their problems inside and outside their home. But psychosocial activities in the learning spaces really made us feel better. We lost our books and bags but thanks to Save the Children, we have new school bags and school supplies. I am now excited to go back to school and study. I want to be a soldier someday,” Pudpud expressed.

How was Joao Félix's debut for Chelsea?

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The 2022/2023 season will not be the best for Chelsea. A series of injuries, the head coach

change, and many newcomers to the squad – all harmed the team's performance. By the way,

it is easy to find the football scores today of the games involving the Blues on the sports statistics website.

So, to improve their standings, Chelsea entered the transfer market in January 2023. One of the team's most high-profile transfers was the signing of Joao Félix from Atlético Madrid.

The Portuguese came to Chelsea on loan, but the Blues had to pay 11 million euros even on his temporary move. However, it is still not much compared to that Atlético spent on the player 127 million in 2019. By the way, today, scores of football matches involving the “mattress makers” are easy to watch on a proven platform.

So, Félix made his debut immediately after his transfer. His first match was Chelsea against Fulham. And unfortunately, it did not turn out well for the Portuguese.

He was active in the game, constantly interacting with partners and creating chances for them. It was evident that Félix was motivated and wanted to prove himself in the new club.

However, the episode at the beginning of the second half crossed it out. Then the player fouled roughly, receiving a direct red card. As a result, he seriously let his club down.

Because of this, the team eventually had to change the tactical scheme. As a result, Chelsea conceded in that meeting with a score of 1-2. Naturally, this was a lot of blame on the Portuguese.

Why was the debut relatively unsuccessful?

Félix didn't just let the team down in their first meeting. He received a three-match suspension for his rough foul. Given that he has been at the club for a short time, it's a big blow. By the way, if fans suddenly missed football scores yesterday in confrontations with Chelsea in the EPL or other tournaments, they will find the necessary information on the sports statistics website.

Factors of not the most successful debut of the Portuguese in the "blues" are the following:

1. The need to adapt to the new championship. Joao needs to adapt to the game's speed and dynamics.

2. Lack of interaction with partners. It was the first match, and the player had just joined the team. Obviously, he did not have time to play with his partners.

3. The desire to prove himself. Yes, it played a cruel trick on the Portuguese. And in the episode, with the gross violation, he decided to go all the way, although he could not have rushed into the sling, which would not have led to a suspension in the end.

Following the football scores of Chelsea matches, which are live or have been played yesterday, is easy on the proven platform. The schedule of games is quite tight, but now no meeting will pass fans by.

DepEd underscores inclusive, equitable quality education in IDE 2023

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Ahead of the agency’s Basic Education Report 2023, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday observed the annual International Day of Education (IDE) by highlighting initiatives to realize Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 4 (Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education).

“This year’s theme ‘To Invest in People, Prioritize Education’ affirms that the new administration is on the right track. At the UN Transforming Education Summit in September last year, President Marcos announced our commitment to recover the learning losses from the pandemic and rebuild our education to be more inclusive, relevant and resilient to future shocks and disruptions,” Vice President and Secretary of Education Sara Z. Duterte said.

“Let us work together to ensure that our education system empowers our young people to navigate lives, challenges with 21st century skills, resilience, leadership, and strength of character as they join us in reshaping and rebuilding a better and stronger Philippines,” VP-Secretary Duterte added.

The said activity is primarily envisioned to generate visibility from local to global level on prioritizing education to reach the SDGs ahead of the SDG Summit, building on the outcomes of the United Nation’s Transforming Education Summit.

2022 Global Student Prize Finalists Ms. Leah Angela Cioco and Mr. Zanti Alfonso Gayares discussed their respective perceptions on “Unmuting the Youth: Seeing Philippine education in the eyes of this generation.”

Meanwhile, grade school learner Mithi Chua, and ALS high school learner Richard A. Roces expressed their hopes for education sector to Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z., Duterte, and the Department.

The Department’s celebration of IDE was participated by United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres, Director of UNESCO Office, Jakarta Mr. Mohamed Djelid, and SEAMEO Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Specialist Dr. Kamaleswaran Jayarajah, among others.

DepEd has likewise recognized the Institute of APEC Collaborative Education (IACE), KOICA, Foreign Service Institute (FSI), Global Peace Foundation, World Bank, UNICEF, and JICA for their continuous support to promote quality education.

As proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), IDE is celebrated yearly on January 24 to promote the role of education in peace and development. This year, the UNGA invited all Member States to observe the IDE in support of the efforts of all Member States relevant to the realization of SGD 4.

BingoPlus amps up Sinulog Festival 2023

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BingoPlus amped up the celebration of the Sinulog Festival 2023 by joining the Sinulog Grand Parade and co-presenting the concert of Asia’s Phoenix and Cebu songbird Morisette Amon at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino on January 14.

The first and only live-streaming Bingo in the Philippines threw its support behind one of the country's most popular and colorful festivals that brings millions of tourists yearly to the Queen City of the South. The festival and Bingo Plus’ contributions were hailed by revelers as a fitting revival of the liveliness and vigor of the Festival that had to be momentarily sidelined due to the pandemic. BingoPlus provided buses at multiple flash points in the city to ferry merrymakers from their localities to the center of the Sinulog celebrations.

Out to fulfill its mission of providing joy and positive vibes by providing worthwhile and profitable leisure entertainment to Filipinos, the brand went all out to support the festivities this year which was like a coming-out party for the City of Cebu.

“Fiestas are part of the Filipino culture and BingoPlus has consistently supported the various local festivals in different parts of the country. The Sinulog is a special day of celebration and an outpouring of thanksgiving to the Santo Niño for His protection and abundant blessings. It is a day for food, parade, dance and party,” said Jasper Vicencio, AB Leisure Exponent Inc. president.

“BingoPlus is a champion of local talents, thus who best to entertain fellow Cebuanos at this Festival but their most admired performer, Morisette? Rest assured BingoPlus will continue to honor Philippine tradition and culture through music, sports, camaraderie, and festivities. As a promoter of entertainment we will continue to be present in major leisure events and activities nationwide,” Vicencio added.

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).

A Complete Success: Face-to-face Dinagyang exceeded expectations

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With thousands of domestic and foreign visitors packing various festival activities, Dinagyang’s return to the city’s streets exceeded expectations, according to Mayor Jerry P. Treñas.

A “complete success” was how he described the festival’s return to a face-to-face celebration after two years of restrictions due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.

“Everyone wanted a strong comeback…It was a complete success and this showed that Dinagyang and our Sto. Niño are beyond politics,” added Treñas.

Dinagyang Festival is known far and wide for its participants’ impressive choreography and striking costumes that reflect Ilonggo ingenuity, craftsmanship and artistry.
Treñas congratulated the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI), organizer of Dinagyang 2023, the participating tribes and corporate sponsors, among others.

“I acknowledge all our sponsors from the private sector for their significant contributions in the success of Dinagyang. Of course, sa inyo tanan, mga pinalangga ko nga Ilonggo. Ang tanan nga ini bangud sa inyo kag para man sa inyo. Your strong support in all our activities played a meaningful role in the overall success of the festival,” said Treñas.

The festival’s top sponsor was SM City Iloilo; it also served as venue for many Dinagyang activities, including the first-ever Dinagyang Ilomination on Jan.21, Batchoy Festival, festival costumes exhibit, and concert of various performing artists including Asia’s Pop Heartthrob Darren Espanto, among others.

The festivities were graced by no less than First Lady of the Philippines Atty. Liza Araneta Marcos and some prominent government officials including House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Jinggoy Estrada, Mark Villar, Francis Tolentino, Bong Revilla, former senator Franklin Drilon, among others. YouTube sensation Small Laude, broadcast journalist Karen Davila, lifestyle columnist and philanthropist Tessa Prieto Valdez, television presenter and entrepreneur Tim Yap were also there to join the festivities. They were warmly welcomed by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and SM Supermalls president Steven Tan.

Several dignitaries form foreign embassies attended the festivities as well: Romanian Ambassador to the Philippines HE Raduta Dana Matache with Mr. Constantin Matache ; Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines HE Agus Widjojo and his wife, Mme. Ranny Agus Widjojo; Royal Thai Ambassador to the Philippines HE Tull Traisorat; Royal Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines HE Christian Halaas Lyster; Hungary Ambassador to the Philippines HE Titanilla Toth; Embassy of Polland Ambassador to the Philippines HE Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz ; Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Ms. P.G.P. Kaushalya; Consul General of Japan in Cebu Hideki Yamaji; and Embassy of the United States in the Philippines Chief Consuls Kristofer Graf and Leo Balantac;

Dinagyang is the Hiligaynon word for revelry or "merrymaking." The festival is Iloilo City’s version of the Ati-atihan celebrations widely observed not only in Panay Island but also in other parts of the country.

Two of the many foreign dignitaries who graced the festival were full of praises.

FDCP FilmPhilippines Opens Application for its Incentives Program

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Launching its new campaign tagline “Tell your Stories in our Islands,” the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ FilmPhilippines Office officially opened the applications for the first cycle of the FilmPhilippines Incentives (FPI) program this 2023. The call is open to foreign production companies in business with a Filipino production company or producer on an ongoing project.

With the primary goal to promote the Philippines as a highly-viable filming destination, the FDCP FilmPhilippines Office offers location incentives to attract international productions to film in the country.

The Philippines also offers co-production funds to foreign producers who are looking to co-produce their respective projects with Filipino production companies and producers. Interested filmmakers and production companies may apply to the following incentive programs:

● Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP): A selective rebate of up to PHP 10 million per project granted to Filipino production companies that are producing TV/VOD series, music videos, and feature-length or short films with a minimum Qualified Philippine Production Expenditure (QPPE) of PHP 50 million.

● International Co-production Fund (ICOF): A selective fund of up to 40% of Qualified Philippine Production Expenditure (QPPE) capped at PHP 10 million per project granted to Filipino production companies who are producing feature-length or short films with a minimum QPPE of PHP 8 million.

● ASEAN Co-production Fund (ACOF): A selective fund of PHP 2.5 million to PHP 7.5 million per project granted to Filipino production companies who are producing feature-length films. 50% of the applicant’s production budget must be spent on Qualified Philippine Production Expenditure (QPPE).

The first cycle of the FilmPhilippines Incentives (FPI) Program is open until March 17, 2023 which will be followed by a Selection Committee Deliberation.

Some of the most notable film grantees of the FPI include “Ella Arcangel: Awit ng Pangil at Kuko” by Melvin Malonzo, “Arnold is a Model Student” by Sorayos Prapapan, “In My Mother’s Skin” by Kenneth Dagatan, “The Gospel of the Beast” by Sheron Dayoc, and popular television series “Survivor.

Through this initiative, the FDCP FilmPhilippines Office aims to provide funding to local and international production companies to foster collaboration between the Philippines and other foreign countries. The incentive program also opens up a lot of opportunities for Filipino talents and service providers to work on international co-productions.

Now in its fourth year, the FilmPhilippines Incentives Cycle 1 of 2023 comes with a new set of guidelines which interested applicants may download here. For inquiries, kindly send an email to

Monday, January 23, 2023

Top 5 Online Blackjack Strategy Tips for Newbies

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Blackjack remains one of the most popular and preferred card games. Nowadays, every respected online casino offers a variety of live dealer tables as well as electronic options. It looks like players can choose from a wide range of games. But the problem is that many of them have no experience and often make mistakes in their pursuit of quick profit.

If you are also a newbie, it would be good to learn the rules and come up with a strategy before betting with real money. Of course, there are no guarantees, but you might walk away as a winner with a little logical thinking and more practice. Here are some easy tips that beginners will find useful while playing online blackjack:


1.Pick the Right Blackjack Table

You should remember not all blackjack tables at online casinos are the same. Some of them pay 3:2, and others – 6:5. Therefore, you should only choose tables where you have a fair shot at winning. Plus, there are live blackjack tables at which you can double down on any two cards, whereas at others you can only double on 11 or 10. To make sure you have chosen the right table, you should take into consideration the following things:

· How much a blackjack pays

· The minimum and maximum bet at the table

· The number of decks in play

· The doubling options

· The number of times you can split aces

2. Follow Basic Strategy Guides

There are basic online blackjack strategy guides in the form of small cards or charts which can be a great help to beginners. They show the player what to do in any scenario which may come up at the table. If you are just starting out, you should look at the strategy guide before making important decisions such as to hit or to stand. For example, if you are not sure whether to hit or stand with a 14 to a dealer’s up card of 7, you can quickly consult with your blackjack strategy card. It will only take a few seconds and will definitely help you improve your game.


3. Play Within Your Bankroll

Every player’s financial situation is different, so their bankroll will be different as well. The key is to make sure you stay within your bankroll while playing blackjack games online. It is easier to do that when you slow down and spend more time at the table. If you play too fast, you can easily go broke. Therefore, stay within the parameters that you have set and play the game for longer periods to gain more experience. Most logical for beginners is to start playing blackjack at low-limit tables. In every online casino, there are tables with varied limits and you can choose the one that suits your bankroll.


4. Double Down More Often

Many beginner level players make a big mistake in blackjack by not doubling down enough. Users are allowed to double the bet after they see their first two cards and one of the dealer’s cards. And this is usually considered a huge advantage. According to some online blackjack strategy guides, players should double every time they get an 11. If you don’t do it, you are likely to miss out on value. Another recommendation that most newbies probably don’t know is that it’s better to double with a soft 13 against the dealer’s 4,5 or 6. When it comes to doubling down in blackjack games, you shouldn’t overdo it, but you shouldn’t be so hesitant either.


5. Do Not Play Insurance

Blackjack insurance is a type of side bet which is offered to the player if the dealer’s up card is an Ace as insurance against their hand being “blackjack”. But it pays 2 to 1 and the maximum bet allowed is half of the player’s main bet. This will be a winning bet if the dealer has a natural blackjack. It happens when their down card is worth 10 points. Even the most inexperienced player in online blackjack can guess that the odds of this are too small. That is why insurance bet is not considered profitable and should be avoided in most cases.

Before trying the strategy tips described above, don’t forget to study the rules of the online blackjack variant you have chosen in detail first. In such games, knowing the rules is very important. Only when you understand them well, you can begin to implement strategies. It is also not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the principles of responsible gambling because you can easily get carried away, especially when playing exciting live blackjack.

Seven Features of A Successful Mobile App

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“Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub but also the bridge to the physical world.” -Thomas Husson.

It has been said that mobile is where everything is at.

With mobile phones and tablets becoming more powerful, conventional desktops and laptops are used primarily for education and corporate purposes. On the other hand, most users are glued to their mobile phone screens 24/7. Considering how the online marketplace never closes, allowing your customers to learn about and interact with your company around the clock is imperative.

Needless to say, developing a well-designed mobile app is paramount for every business. Unfortunately, designing mobile apps is a complex process. Great and effective apps allow consumers to complete transactions, enable them to gather information, and allow them to contact your business. On top of that, it should be user-friendly with an easy navigation tool and interface that does not turn off users from using it further. Lastly, it should assure visitors that any personal information they encode on your app is protected.

All that considered, the idea and prospect of developing an effective mobile app may be a little daunting. However, having one for your business is essential as it allows users to keep coming back to your app (and business) for more. Before you seek the help of a mobile app developer in the Philippines, however, knowing the features of a successful mobile app will help you determine what you need for your business’s own mobile app.

a.) Simplicity for the End-User

Your users do not want to spend time figuring out how to use a complicated app. That said, developing a mobile app with logical navigation and a convenient user interface is necessary. Just this characteristic alone can make an app rank the best among its competitors. Developing an app that is simple, straightforward, and easy to use is key. This way, your target users will have no reason to look for alternatives. Keep in mind that functionality matters as well, but the simplicity of the app should not be overlooked.

b.) iOS and Android Should Be Covered

There are two basic mobile app platforms which are iOS and Android. Partnering with a credible mobile app development company in the Philippines allows you to develop a cross-platform app. As a business owner, it is imperative that you include both iOS and Android users to ensure that you are maximizing your reach.

c.) Security

Regardless of what industry your business is in, this feature is important and cannot be emphasized enough. Mobile security means that your users' personal data is legally protected. Therefore, a successful mobile app has this feature as a critical requirement.

d.) Regular Updates

Developers who create well-designed mobile apps know that in order to stay at the top, they need to continuously improve and refine their apps through updates. Regular updates mostly guarantee the popularity of a mobile app. That said, you should maintain your server and ensure that your content is always up-to-date. Additionally, your mobile app should keep up with the times and regularly supplement it with new features.

e.) Offline Work

With a good and stable internet connection, most apps work. However, successful mobile apps should be able to work offline as well. While it is not critical for all sorts of apps, there are specific applications, such as complex corporate apps, that would be incredibly useful if the user could use them offline. That said, you should have a little forethought, think of situations where there may be no internet connection, and create mobile app features that will work offline.

f.) High Performance

Your target users do not want to wait for something to work. That said, your software product should not make users wait long for something to be loaded. Your mobile app should be as functional and fast as it was when it first launched. Ensure that your app works fast. If it is clunky, determine what is not working and find ways to resolve it. Additionally, you should continuously work on mobile app optimization to ensure that screens and in-app processes are loaded in a speedy or timely manner.

g.) Personalization

Users tend to gravitate toward products that offer avenues for customization. So make sure you use it whenever possible. Successful and well-developed apps have features such as settings, colors, flexible fonts, backgrounds, etc. Allow your users to make an app look and function how they want it to, and they will keep coming back to your app for more.

h.) Social Media Integration

Your mobile app should have a feature that allows users to share information or content about your app or business with their friends on social networks. Social media integration should be seamless, and more importantly, it should make sharing posts and content easy. This is an important feature as it helps spread awareness and information that your business has a mobile app. As a result, more people will be introduced to it, and your business can begin engaging new users through the app.

Avoid cold weather diseases like pneumonia through vaccination – local health expert

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Did you know that PAGASA lists the coldest months in the Philippines as December through February? 5 We like the cold because it is a nice change from the country's oppressive heat, but we are also aware that this is the time of the year when weather-related illnesses like pneumonia are on the rise.

Respiratory diseases, like pneumonia, is common in cold weather, according to World Health Organization. 6

Pneumonia, a dangerous disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi, can affect people of all ages, especially unvaccinated children. The chilly temperatures and low humidity levels can weaken the immune system and increase a person's susceptibility to respiratory infections during the cold months.

The best method to avoid pneumonia is still to get vaccinated. This is in addition to maintaining good personal hygiene, avoiding direct contact with sick people, staying warm and dry, drinking plenty of fluids, quitting smoking, and maintaining a nutritious diet.

According to Dr. Maria Margarita Lota, chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of the Philippines’ College of Public Health, vaccination is one of the most effective ways to combat pneumonia, which is also one of the leading causes of death in children less than five years old.

“Being a pediatrician, we have to protect our children. As pneumonia continues to be a top cause of morbidity and mortality, we are fortunate that we are in an era where vaccination for many of these infectious diseases, like pneumonia, are available. Aside from proper hygiene and nutrition, vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent pneumonia.”

Right PCV against the Right Strains

In this context, Dr. Lota reinforced that a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) should be suitable against local strains and backed up by sufficient real-world experience before being introduced in the National Immunization Program (NIP).

Dr. Lota gave her expert opinion on factors that should be considered before implementing a PCV under the NIP. Alongside cost-effectiveness and programmatic characteristics, she reinforced that a PCV should be suitable to protect against strains that are prevalent in the Philippines.

“One of the things that we really have to look for when we are considering the inclusion of a particular PCV in the NIP is your serotypes. ‘pag alam natin kung ano yung mga nag-eexist na serotypes in the community, we have to directly target these serotypes, or if not directly, ensure that there are reports of [this PCV] doing cross-protection,” she remarked.

In 2020, the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) of the Department of Health (DOH), which is in charge of appraising health technologies that can be included for public use, recommended the use of PCVs protecting against 11 important strains which accounted for 48% of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD) cases found in the Philippines, namely: 1, 4, 5, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and 23F.1 The recommendation was based on local surveillance data of the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) from 2012-2019.2

“By knowing which serotypes are circulating, kung meron naman ‘yong brands, this can already be used to prevent pneumonia significantly in the country. In the report that was made in 2019 by RITM, 48% of the circulating serotypes in the country can be addressed by currently available PCVs,” she remarked.

On the other hand, Dr. Lota also recognized the urgent need to improve surveillance of circulating strains of pneumonia in the Philippines.

“Different countries have different circulating serotypes. In our anti-microbial resistance surveillance program, they identified several serotypes causing pneumonia, but the problem with that was that there were low reports of isolates submitted to RITM. This becomes a barrier for us to really understand what are the prevalent serotypes in the country,” said Dr Lota.

Real-world Experience to combat Vaccine Hesitancy

Despite the availability of PCV in the National Immunization Program (NIP), a root cause to the still high number of cases of vaccine preventable diseases can be attributed to parents' hesitancy to vaccinate their children, leading to less infants being brought to health facilities to be vaccinated against diseases like pneumonia.

“Unfortunately, even if we have all of these vaccines against pneumonia available in the NIP, it continues to be a burden of disease in many countries especially in low to middle income countries like the Philippines. The uptake of our vaccines is not very high because of the controversy of the dengue vaccine in 2016. Therefore, less babies are being brought to the health centers, so the consequence will be an increased number of pneumonia cases, one of the vaccine-preventable diseases that could have been prevented.”

To address this, Dr Lota highlighted that a PCV should have sufficient experience and accessible real-world evidence before being implemented in the Philippine NIP to address vaccine hesitancy.

“Accessible real-world evidence is connected to vaccine hesitancy. Even if we know that a vaccine can trigger a good immune response (“immunogenicity”), we need to still see if a vaccine is really effective when it is introduced in the community rather than just a sample cohort for instance. This will give confidence to parents that they can actually use this particular vaccine,” said Dr. Lota.

As a concrete example, Dr. Lota mentioned that we could learn from the slow acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines when it was first introduced in the Philippines.

“An example of this is your COVID-19 vaccine. In spite of being licensed and approved, many parents were hesitant during its release because it did not have enough data to show to the public. But if you have real-world evidence, which usually comes after the post-marketing, they will have more confidence that, yes, I can use this because it is safe and effective,” she added.

In October last year, HTAC released the final priority list of health technology topics that will be assessed for possible inclusion in the Philippine National Formulary (PNF), of which includes PCV.

Currently, there are three PCVs pre-qualified by the World Health Organization—PCV13 and 2 kinds of PCV10: PHID-CV and SIIL-PCV. The two PCVs that were reviewed by HTAC in 2020—PHID-CV and PCV13—were assessed as suitable to address the 11 important strains in the country.

Speaker Background

Dr. Maria Margarita M. Lota is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Medical Microbiology. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Public Health at University of the Philippines and pursued her Doctor of Medicine at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center. Further training in Pediatrics was completed at the Philippine General Hospital. Thereafter, she joined as faculty in the College of Public Health. She actively participates in the conduct of medical microbiology courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs. She acts as the lead coordinator for the various microbiology courses in the College of Medicine. Further, she has coordinated several local and international training programs. Her clinical expertise in Pediatrics contributes to her approach in teaching the different infectious diseases which has become her main focus in the field of Microbiology. As a complement to her passion for teaching, she completed her Masters in Health Professions Education at the National Teacher Training Center for the Health Professions of the University of the Philippines Manila. Dr. Lota is a member of the Las Piñas Medical Society and a fellow of the Philippine Pediatric Society.She has done several researches and publications on antimicrobial resistance, tuberculosis and enteric bacteria. Her interest include pediatric microbial infections, vaccinations and antimicrobial resistance. With her experience in the field of Medical Microbiology, she has been invited as speaker to different local and international workshops and conferences.


This material is compliant to the guidelines and standards set forth in section 17 (Communications with the General Public) of the Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP).
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