Saturday, March 2, 2024

DepEd grateful to Metrobank Foundation for PEACE recognition

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Department of Education (DepEd) extended its gratitude to the Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI) for citing the agency as one of the recipients of the Partner in Empowerment, Advocacy, and Commitment to Excellence (PEACE) Award during its 45th Founding Anniversary last February 29.

Vice President and Secretary of the Department of Education Sara Z. Duterte, in a message, emphasized that DepEd’s partnership with the Metrobank Foundation led to various opportunities and innovations to inspire the education sector.

The PEACE Award is presented every five years by the Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI) to recognize partners that have collaborated impactfully in the mission of uplifting the lives of the most vulnerable and underserved sectors in Philippine society.

DepEd also acknowledged the Foundation, led by MBFI President Aniceto M. Sobrepeña, for being an active partner of the agency in its various activities for the celebration of the National Teachers’ Month.

MBFI also honors excellent educators, military, and police personnel through its Outstanding Filipinos Award. During the 2023 awards, Mr. Rex Sario of Balogo Elementary School in Bukidnon, Mr. June Elias Patalinghug of Catalunan Grande Elementary School in Davao City, and Mr. Edgar Durana of Don Jose Ynares Memorial National High School in Binangonan, Rizal were recognized in the basic education sector.

Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Atty. Michael Wesley T. Poa credited the Department’s teaching and non-teaching workforce when he received the award on behalf of the agency during the ceremony.

“This PEACE Award is a recognition of the men and women of DepEd who embody excellence in their profession and passion to serve our communities. More importantly, it is a recognition of the unrelenting dedication and efforts of our teachers to deliver quality education and contribute to realizing the MATATAG Agenda,” Usec. Poa said.

In the awarding ceremony, the Department is one of the five government agencies cited by MBFI, which also include the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and the Philippine Postal Corporation.

One More Chance, The Musical featuring the songs of Ben&Ben

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

One More Chance, The Musical is based on the motion picture One More Chance (2007), produced by ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc.

One More Chance is a popular Filipino romantic drama film released in 2007. The movie tells the story of Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo), a couple whose long-term relationship faces numerous challenges.

PETA’s musical adaptation not only brings the iconic love story of Popoy and Basha to life but also creates a more nuanced and expanded experience for audiences, thanks to Ben&Ben's poetic, emotionally charged, and LSS-inducing songs. The musical includes the band’s smash hits “Kathang Isip,” “Araw-Araw,” “Leaves,” and “Paninidigan Kita,” to name a few.

With the stage play adaptation, we relive the moments of the central characters with much more intimacy, intensity, dimension, and perspective. Here we see them in the flesh; we are with them in the same room, watching them and seeing what goes behind every choice made and chance taken or not taken by the characters we all love so well.

The musical features the songs of the massively popular and award-winning Filipino nine-piece band, Ben&Ben.

One More Chance, The Musical is slated to run from April 12–June 30, 2024, at the PETA Theater Center in Quezon City. The musical is presented by PETA and co-presented by Metrobank and Robinsons Malls.


One More Chance is a classic and an icon. Loved by a generation that saw themselves in Popoy, Basha, and the many friends and lovers that came into their lives. In them, we saw how a seemingly picture-perfect and solid relationship can easily crumble when the small cracks are ignored, or worse, covered up. With Popoy, we learned that giving your best doesn’t mean you won’t get your heart broken, and with Basha, we hoped to be chosen once again for another chance for a better kind of love. In the present context, this story about taking chances and living life without regrets resonates more than ever.

A chance to get closer

The intimacy of theater and the nuanced expression

Hope, love, and chances. These are sentiments that don’t escape us, sentiments that were captured so well by One More Chance because of how the film provided a closer look at a couple growing into themselves as individuals, and as lovers. Now, with the stage play adaptation, we relive the moments of Popoy and Basha with much more intimacy, as lent by the theater. To see them in the flesh, to be with them in one room goes beyond what cinema captured. In this version, we not only show the nuanced and expanded experience of the couple but also their friends, the Thursday barkada—the level-headed Kenneth and Krizzy and their couple goals, the jovial Chino and his heartbreak, tough-loving Anj’s tenacity, and carefree JP’s adventures as a playboy. We can also look into the people who were there for the protagonists at their lowest, Mark and Tricia.

Beyond Love

Behind the choices and chances

A musical provides the avenue to pick the characters’ hearts and minds, for their inner monologues to be heard in song as they make their choices. With the adaptation, the relevant themes and issues presented in the film can be further explored. More than the relationship,

Popoy and Basha’s struggles were also tied up to the expectations shouldered by the age group they belonged to—young professionals making a name for themselves; breaking boundaries in society while establishing their own; expectations from family; expectations to hit the ground running in a rat race that diminishes the self and self-care. These, along with the interrogation of how one handles pressure, pain, heartbreak, and depression, among others, are possibilities the stage play could accommodate.


Sam Concepcion as Popoy

CJ Navato as Popoy

Anna Luna as Basha

Nicole Omillo as Basha

Kiara Takahashi as Tricia

Sheena Belarmino as Tricia

Jef Flores as Mark

Jay Gonzaga as Mark

Ada Tayao as Krizzy

Rica Laguardia as Krizzy

Poppert Bernadas as Kenneth

Paji Arceo as Kenneth

Via Antonio as Anj

Dippy Arceo as Anj

Jon Abella as JP

Johnnie Moran as Chinno

Chez Cuenca as Helen/Guia/Roselle

Coleen Paz as Helen/Guia/Roselle

JC Galano as Francis/Mr.Tan

Matthew Barbers as Francis/Mr.Tan

Neomi Gonzales as Rose/Edith

Carla Guevara Laforteza as Rose/Edith

Raul Montesa as Bert/Willie

Floyd Tena as Bert/Willie

Hazel Maranan as Elvie

Icon for an icon

Bridging generations with music

As an iconic film, One More Chance is only befitting of the iconic music that is Ben&Ben.

Their songs capture the emotional angst that will bring the scenes of the movie to the ‘now’.

The music of Ben&Ben reflects the brokenness of a person and his or her journey to heal from it and come out stronger. Their music is a fitting anthem to the film that embodies just those. This coming together of cinema, music, and live performance aims to be a heartwarming welcome for Filipinos back to the theater, for one more chance at love, healing, and the songs that go along with it.

Ben&Ben has endeared itself to many with their heartfelt lyrics, unique musicality, and their electric vibe onstage. In the prime of their youth, the band is keen on dedicating themselves to bringing richness to the music they create through songs of hope, love and positivity.

In a few years’ time, folk-pop collective Ben&Ben has maintained a level of cultural relevance that earned its place in the history of contemporary Philippine music. The award-winning band rose to prominence with heartfelt anthems that define an entire generation and show-stopping performances that mesmerize the audiences from all over the world.

For three years, the dynamic young band emerged as the most streamed OPM Artist and Group in the Philippines, being the first Filipino act to surpass more than a billion streams. In addition to this game-changing feat, Ben&Ben has averaged nearly three million monthly listeners on Spotify, and eclipsed its previous record by simultaneously charting a total of 10 songs on the platform’s Top 50.

Ben & Ben is a 9-piece band from the Philippines, composed of:

● Twin brothers Miguel Benjamin and Paolo Benjamin on acoustic guitars and vocals

● Poch Barretto on electric guitar

● Keifer Cabugao on violin

● Andrew De Pano and Toni Muñoz on percussion

● Pat Lasaten on keyboards

● Agnes Reoma on bass

● Jam Villanueva on drums

Show dates:

April 12 - June 30, 2024

📌 PETA Theater Center


Matinee Shows - 2:00 pm

Evening Shows - 7:30 pm


VIP - 3,000

Orchestra Center - 2,500

Orchestra Side - 2,200

Balcony Center - 2,500

Balcony Side - 1,500






Friday, March 1, 2024

UP Diliman Professors Share Scientists’ Procurement Struggles at Senate Hearing

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

College of Science (CS) Dean Giovanni Tapang held up a little white device as he finished his presentation. “This is a ₱150,000 component,” he described. “Isa lang gumagawa nito sa buong mundo, pero ang hirap pilitin sila na magregister sa PhilGEPS,” he continued, referring to the requirement that foreign companies must first register to the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) before they can sell products to local scientists.

Marine Science Institute (MSI) Deputy Director Dr. Irene Rodriguez explained that the small device is a resin that filters metals in water. “May budget tayo,” she said, “pero ang problema ko ay ‘yung resin na ito.”

This and other bottlenecks brought about by the procurement law, or the Government Procurement Reform Act (RA 9184), slow down research and development in the country. UPD leaders were invited to the Senate hearing to discuss the proposed revision of the procurement law at the House of Representatives on February 21, 2024.

Aside from Dean Tapang and Dr. Rodriguez, among those present were CS Associate Dean Dr. Eizadora Yu, CS Associate Dean Dr. Deo Florence Onda, National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) Dean Dr. Kristoffer Berse, NCPAG Assistant Professor Herisadel Flores, and NCPAG Atty. Lawrence Villanueva.

The procurement law, enacted in 2003, is a set of rules and regulations for using government funds to acquire goods and services. Although meant to deter corruption and promote transparency, the law introduces numerous problems for researchers and scientists.

Among the problems is that products become exorbitantly priced which hinders research progress. Dean Berse said that when a product cannot be locally produced, foreign-sourced products can be bought through local suppliers. But this method increases and even doubles the products’ prices. “In the event that no local suppliers are interested,” he added, “this will result in the loss of access to the target equipment.”

When researchers fail to procure the necessary equipment, they cannot meet project objectives and need to realign budgets. This will “ultimately delay the dissemination of knowledge and information and in providing solutions to our country’s pressing problems,” Dean Berse said.

Moreover, the procurement law impacts the retention of local scientists. “Once frustrated, they leave [the country] for greener pastures,” Dean Tapang said.

The amended procurement law aims to solve these problems. The revised law, for example, would allow for direct sales and direct acquisition of products in certain circumstances, bypassing the slow bidding process. Under the new law, the sole supplier of resin needed for Dr. Rodriguez’s research would not need to undergo bidding.

UPD professors fully support the amendments to the procurement law. They also proposed further improvements and recommendations, such as on how to counteract “abnormally low bids” or bids that offer equipment and services at suspiciously low prices.

One of the authors of the revised law, Senator Sonny Angara, stated that the law is already in its finalization stage and is expected to be finalized in the next two weeks.

New show highlights take center stage at WORLDBEX 2024!

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Mark your calendars! The Philippines' largest and most awaited event in building and design is back for its 27th edition. Get ready to propel greater heights and ascend boundaries as WORLDBEX 2024 takes place from March 14-17 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila and SMX Convention Center Manila. From local to international innovators, WORLDBEX delivers unparalleled leverage of advanced algorithms and personalized insights through various platforms, learning experiences, network opportunities, and new show highlights!


With the theme "Drawn to Ascendancy," WORLDBEX 2024 promises to be a groundbreaking event, showcasing the latest trends and innovations in architecture, design, construction, engineering, real estate, and related industries. The diverse world of building and design through the dynamic environment of WORLDBEX is packed with engaging activities and captivating highlights that will surely fascinate your senses. 


Immerse yourself at THE WORLD OF ARCHITECTURE and witness the brilliance of the nation's top architectural firms as they unveil their latest groundbreaking works. Prepare to be inspired by their creativity and vision. Get a glimpse into the future with scale models and projects depicting the revolutionary advancements shaping the urban landscape at WORLDBEX CITY OF TOMORROW. Prepare on a global journey as you visit country pavilions showcasing the best of construction and design from around the world at INTERNATIONAL PAVILION. The country’s finest Interior Designers gather at THE WORLD OF INTERIOR DESIGN featuring the vignettes of IDr. Tony Adriano, IDr. Leo Almeria, IDr. Chat Fores, IDr. Eric Paraz, Hubilla Design Group, IDr. Cai Lim-Regala, IDr. Mark Perez and IDr. Claudine Yao-Diez. Get the latest and up-to-date information about the industry’s latest technologies at the WORLDBEX LAB and meet with world-class innovators and tech giants at WORLDBEX BUSINESS MATCHING. Finally, the PROJETO IDEAS & DESIGN COMPETITION is back for another round of creative inter-school competition with the theme “Convention and Expo Center in Interactive Architecture.”


Gathering the country’s experts and leaders in the building and design industry, the WORLDBEX Summit 2024 provides a strategic goal for the global sustainability movement through a series of talks, seminars, conferences, and workshops. WORLDBEX continues to be a powerful catalyst to align leaders, develop solutions to problems, introduce new strategies, and fuel collaboration across the industry. Join us in this year’s WORLDBEX Summit as we bring you the country’s most sought-after shakers and movers as they take us to unparalleled opportunities in building and design.

Revolutionizing the craftsmanship of Filipino artisan produce and celebrating the rich and colorful tradition of the country, WORLDBEX Likha pays homage to homegrown flairs in traditional weaving, pottery, finishing textures, and textiles. WORLDBEX is a proud venue for local industry artists to showcase Filipino creativity and mesmerize the world – uniting people as strong resilient communities bound by living traditions passed on to new generations.

Don't miss these extraordinary opportunities to ascend innovative boundaries! Register for WORLDBEX 2024 today and join us on this exciting journey towards the future of the building and design industry. WORLDBEX 2024 is organized by Worldbex Services International, the leading event organizers in the country. Register for free through

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We look forward to seeing you at WORLDBEX 2024!

Charting a stronger course: Metro Manila office to steer clear of 20% vacancy

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Colliers continues to note deals from traditional and outsourcing firms implementing a mix of flight-to-quality and flight-to-cost measures

Leading diversified professional services and investment management company Colliers (NASDAQ, TSX: CIGI) said in a recently held market briefing that the Metro Manila office market performed better than expected compared to initial projections. “In 2023, net take-up has more than doubled compared to the previous year as transactions continue to outpace lease surrenders. Despite new supply driving its marginal increase, vacancy posted as of end-2023 has averted the 20-percent level and is forecasted to stay within the sub- 20% level in 2024,” said Kevin Jara, Colliers Director of Office Services – Tenant Representation. Colliers continues to note deals from traditional and outsourcing firms implementing a mix of flight-to-quality and flight-to-cost measures. The office market has also seen more expansions (50% of total transactions) and new entrants (10% of total transactions) in 2023. Navigating the sub-20% vacancy landscape

As of end-2023, Metro Manila office vacancy reached 19.3%, marginally higher than the 18.7% recorded in Q3 2023, driven by completion of new office buildings and lease surrenders from non-renewals and pre-terminations. Despite this increase, the posted year-end vacancy remains lower than our initial projection of 21.2%. “In 2024, vacancy is expected to reach 19.6% as we project stronger demand for office space despite low pre-commitment levels in upcoming properties and expected surrenders from pre- pandemic leases. Assuming sustained demand from key office market drivers (i.e., traditional and BPO companies), Colliers expects that the office vacancy will remain in the two-digit territory for the next five years and projects a 14.3% vacancy by end-2028,” said Jara. Net take-up exceeds forecast, to increase by 20% in 2024

Given demand continuing to outpace surrenders, net take-up or absorption reached 279,800 square meters in 2023, higher than our initial forecast of a 220,000 square meters net take-up and the 110,500 square meters recorded in 2022. “Colliers is optimistic that net absorption will sustain its momentum in 2024 as we continue to receive inquiries for new setups, expansions, and relocations within the capital region,” said Vida Samaco, Colliers Senior Manager of Office Services – Tenant Representation. “In 2024, we project net absorption to reach 336,000 square meters, with the 20% increase based on pre-pandemic, pre-POGO average annual growth rate.”

Occupiers exercise flight-to-value strategy

With the prevailing tenant-leaning market, existing occupiers continue to secure new and high- quality office spaces in primary CBDs at lower rents, as evidenced by the rollout of their expansion and relocation plans. Based on Colliers’ data, 40% of transactions with known motivations were relocations and out of these relocations, 60% have implemented flight-to- quality/value (i.e., relocations to newer, higher-grade buildings). Traditional, shared services, and third-party outsourcing companies were seen implementing this strategy in Fort Bonifacio, Makati CBD, and Ortigas CBD. Colliers encourages tenants planning to expand or relocate their operations to take advantage of newly completed office buildings in business hubs that offer rental discounts. To capture future demand, landlords with presence in better performing submarkets may consider redevelopment of aging properties and/or building more quality and green spaces, given that sustainability is now a minimum requirement for occupiers in securing spaces.

Negros Biodiversity a Focus for World Wildlife Day on 3 March

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Negros is the fourth largest in the Philippines and is known for sugarcane, white sand beaches and breathtaking national parks, such as the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes. “Funding our protected areas is a good way to prevent the extinction of the Philippine Leopard Cat, Visayan Spotted Deer and other endangered species,”

Famed for its sizzling beaches and sweet sugarcane fields, the island of Negros also hosts some of the country’s rarest wildlife. 

“The Philippine Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), Visayan Spotted Deer (Rusa alfredi) and Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons) once roamed freely throughout the island, but have become endangered because of hunting and habitat loss,” explains Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Incorporated (PhilBio) Executive Director Lisa Paguntalan. “Now they’ve been pushed into the most remote parts of Negros, like the misty forests of Kanlaon Volcano.” 

Within a span of about 200 years, Negros lost 96% of its original forest cover. Adjacent islands such as Cebu experienced similar forest loss, driving animals such as the Cebu Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons cebifrons), Ticao Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides panini ticaensis) and possibly the Negros Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus arcanus) to extinction. 

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson gives the thumbs up for the conservation of Negros island’s wildlife at the MOU signing held on 7 July 2023. 

Negros Oriental Governor Manuel Sagarbarria led the signing of an MOU to conserve Negros Oriental’s biodiversity last 18 September 2023. 

Visayan Spotted Deer (Rusa alfredi) are the largest of the Philippines’ deer species. Classified as endangered,
only a few hundred hold out in the remote forests and mountains of Negros. 

Visayan Warty Pigs (Sus cebifrons) are threatened by habitat loss, hunting and genetic contamination from free-range domesticated pigs. Considered critically-endangered, they are found only on the islands of Negros, Cebu, Panay, Masbate, Guimaras and Siquijor. 

“However, some of these extinct animals might still be alive,” shares Lisa, who was part of a team that helped rediscover the Philippine Bareback Fruit Bat (Dobsonia chapmani) – a species thought extinct since the 1970s – in Cebu in 2001 and Negros in 2003. 

Starting out as a programme of international conservation organization Flora & Fauna International in 1991, PhilBio was eventually registered as a foundation in 2006 and now works to conserve lesser-known endangered animals across the Philippines, including Cebu, Mindanao and Negros, which hosts notable Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) including the Northern Negros Natural Park, Bais Bay and Apo Island. 

To help conserve the biodiversity of Negros and sustain it through a stable flow of financing, the Biodiversity Finance Initiative of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and United Nations Development Programme (DENR-UNDP BIOFIN) recently partnered with PhilBio and the provincial governments of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in Negros Occidental on 7 July 2023. “Our province shall continue to support biodiversity financing for the conservation and protection of the environment,” says Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson. Another MOU was signed in Negros Oriental on 18 September 2023. “This agreement fortifies our conservation efforts through sustainable financial mechanisms,” says Negros Oriental Governor Manuel Sagarbarria. “These two MOUs will help find, access, combine and prepare sources of biodiversity funding, including those from national and sub-national government agencies, plus businesses,” explains BIOFIN Philippines Country Manager Anabelle Plantilla. “They should also help insert provincial biodiversity conservation programs into the plans of national government agencies, regional councils, and other relevant groups.”

“We’re glad to work with PhilBio and our two Negros LGUs through the DENR-UNDP BIOFIN. The DENR is always ready to work with the LGUs to help in the sustainable management of our Protected Areas and wildlife – not just in Negros, but nationwide," 

says DENR Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and concurrent OIC BMB Director Marcial Amaro, Jr.

More Funds Allotted for Negros Biodiversity Projects

Over the past few years, the biodiversity conservation budgets of both provinces have been rising, proving that Negrenses are serious about saving their wildlife. Crucial to the budget increase is the crafting of the Negros Island Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NIBSAP). This roadmap was developed in 2018 with assistance from the DENR-UNDP BIOFIN and since then, both provinces have used the NIBSAP as a tool for biodiversity budget advocacy. 

From 2023 to 2024 alone, the biodiversity budget allocation of Negros Occidental grew from PHP297M to PHP366M. 

The annual biodiversity conservation budget of Negros Oriental grew from just PHP3M in 2018 to over PHP20M this 2024. 

These funds enabled a wide range of conservation initiatives, ranging from a wildlife field course hosted by the LGU of Negros Oriental, to the purchase of a 10-hectare plot covering seven waterfalls in Negros Occidental’s Mambukal Sanctuary for long-term protection. 

Both provinces are also promoting ecotourism to help fund the management and improvement of Negros Island’s protected areas, including the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park, a haven for birdwatchers, Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park, the Visayas’ top mountaineering destination, plus the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape, known for whale and dolphin watching safaris. 

“Conservation isn’t politically delineated,” adds Lisa. “Birds, bats and other wildlife rarely stay within political boundaries so they deserve to be given ‘corridors’ or interlinked habitats which are protected and properly managed. We hope this can be done throughout Negros within this decade.” 

Developing finance solutions for biodiversity conservation in Negros Island is just one of the many ways that DENR-UNDP BIOFIN is supporting global biodiversity conservation by mainstreaming conservation funding not only at the national level, but also at the local level. 

Since 2014, BIOFIN has been working with the DENR and many allies to finance the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), the country’s roadmap to conserving its biodiversity. Its current target is to narrow down the national budget gap for environmental projects, estimated at PHP19 billion yearly. 

Active in 41 countries, BIOFIN works to close the financing gap for the conservation and sustainable use of the planet’s biological diversity by generating revenues, realigning and avoiding unsustainable expenses and improving biodiversity management efforts.

“We envision a future where the biodiversity of Negros and other Philippine islands not just thrives, but regularly attracts droves of eco-tourists. This World Wildlife Day, let’s renew our commitment to protect Philippine biodiversity by highlighting the importance of investing in the environment,” concludes UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran. 

About the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN)

BIOFIN was launched in 2012 and seeks to address the biodiversity finance challenge in a comprehensive manner – building a sound business case for increased investments in the management of ecosystems and biodiversity, with a particular focus on the needs and transformational opportunities at the national level. For more information: About the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. 

On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. 

In the Philippines, UNDP fosters human development for peace and prosperity. Working with central and local governments as well as civil society, and building on global best practices, UNDP strengthens capacities of women, men and institutions to empower them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the objectives of the Philippine Development Plan. Through advocacy and development projects, with a special focus on vulnerable groups, UNDP works to ensure a better life for the Filipino people. Learn more at or follow at @UNDPPH.

Sip, Laugh, and Learn with Birch Tree’s "Cowmustahan!" Series

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In today's fast-paced world, Birch Tree Fortified Choco recognizes the importance of meaningful connections and valuable life lessons. That's why they are thrilled to introduce "Cowmustahan!", an engaging and heartwarming YouTube series that is an enchanting world of fun and wisdom served in a glass. Join them on a journey of discovery as they explore the heartwarming tales of its characters and the profound lessons they impart in each episode.

More than just a kid’s show, "Cowmustahan!" is a delightful rendezvous with Berty - the curious, playful, and kind baby cow, and Mama Betty - the nurturing, empathetic, and cheerful mom cow. Together, they are the heart and soul of the "Cowmustahan!" Series. 

With each episode, they share valuable life lessons that resonate with the heart of Birch Tree's target market.

Each "Cowmustahan!" episode unveils a unique lesson that brings a smile to your face and a glow to your heart. Whether it's about the importance of helping out in the house, the joy of being a good friend, or the spirit of perseverance, Berty and Mama Betty offer insights that resonate with young and old alike. Along with each episode’s feel-good payoff, Birch Tree Fortified Choco acts as the enabler of optimism and good vibes through its nutritionally fortified goodness and delicious taste.

Of course, the star of the show is Birch Tree Fortified Choco itself. As we all know, sometimes life's flavors can get a little bland. Birch Tree Fortified Choco is here to save the day! It brings that touch of sweetness and delight that cuts through the taste fatigue, making every sip an adventure in itself.

Not only that, this delectable chocolate milk drink is also a nutritional powerhouse. 

Packed with immunity support nutrients and energy boosting nutrients, it's the perfect way to keep the kids going and growing.

We invite you to follow Birch Tree on all their social media accounts for delightful updates regarding "Cowmustahan!" and Birch Tree Fortified Choco. Be a part of the “Cowmustahan” community and share the joy of life's little lessons together.

Ready to embark on this heartwarming and delicious journey with Berty and Mama Betty? Watch the "Cowmustahan!" Episodes on YouTube and join in on the fun and valuable life lessons while enjoying a glass of Birch Tree Fortified Choco.

Instituto Cervantes Celebrates Women’s Month with the Film Series Espacio Femenino

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This March 2024, Instituto Cervantes will showcase their annual film series ‘Espacio Femenino,’ to honor the works and culture created by women for women. Screening will be at 2 PM on the following dates: March 7, 14, 16, 21, and 23 for the general audience and will take place at Instituto Cervantes Intramuros branch. Viewing is free for all with a first come first serve seating arrangement.

Espacio Femenino will present four feature films and three short films, which were directed by women to showcase their stories of recent years. The series will have both fiction and nonfiction films, and plays on the theme of disorderly imaginaries, all of which will highlight the characters of their authors in displaying quality Spanish cinema accomplished with a female signature.

On 7 March, Thursday, the film series officially starts with África 815 (2015), a creative documentary written, produced, and directed by Pilar Monsell using her father’s photographs and diaries. The documentary reconstructs the complex stories of her father during his military service in the Spanish colony of the Sahara in 1964. The archival work intricately pieced together the experiences of Manuel Monsell’s life through the perspective of the narrator in contrasting the myths of romantic love and the ideal family with the true desires and the need to find oneself. Pilar Monsell is a filmmaker, editor, scriptwriter, visual artist and researcher best known for her experimental cinema, film-performance or memory and archive film.

The film series will continue on 14 March, Thursday, with La mami (2019), written and directed by Laura Herrero Garvín to unfold the raw realities of escort ladies at the Barba Azul cabaret in Mexico City. This particular piece takes on a social, ethical and tremendously human portrait of the world of call girls. The film mainly follows Doña Olga, known as "Mami" --a former cabaret performer with more than 45 years in the business who now is in charge of the women’s restroom. Multiple stories come to life as the routine, struggles, and conversations of the cabaret girls take its place in the intimate space for women. La mami was awarded at multiple film festivals and was the winner of the Best Film at the Cinema Tropical Awards or the FIPRESCI award from film critics.

On 16 March, Saturday, three short films take the stage with Cortos en femenino: Oro rojo (2021), written and directed by Carme Gomila; Escamas (2020), co-written and directed by Katherina Harder, and Sorda (2021), written and directed by Nuria Muñoz Ortiz and Eva Libertad. Oro Rojo is an animated social commentary on the issues of environmental exploitation, racism, and capitalism through the lives of three Moroccan immigrant women working in the countryside of Huelva. Delving into the concept of intimate representations in self-discovery, Escamas follows the story of Alicia, a woman who had to undergo mastectomy due to breast cancer, and her neighbor, Lucia, a transsexual woman, as they find acceptance with the help of one another. The final segment of cortos en femenino, Sorda, is the first sign language film with a Goya award nomination that tells the story of a young couple, Angela and Darío, facing their new challenge of having a child as Angela also struggles to fight the war of being a deaf woman in a prejudiced society.

The fourth film will be on 21 March, Thursday, with the showing of Las cinéphilas (2017), the first feature length documentary in a trilogy about art and its meaning in the passage of time, written and directed by María Alvarez. It focuses on three retired women, living in Buenos Aires, Madrid, and Montevideo as they explore their passion for cinema. Las cinéphilas dismantles the stereotypes traditionally associated with a male-centered culture of cinema told through the eyes of the camera and the stories of these women.

Espacio Femenino will conclude the series on 23 March, Friday, with Viaje al cuarto de una madre (2018), an award-winning debut film that encompasses the relationship between a mother and daughter as they learn their own identity as women and as individuals. Leonor and her mother Estrella’s journey to self-discovery starts as their relationship falters when Leonor decides to leave their home. It reflects on the roots of family ties as everyday gestures and communication change their perspectives of their identity while they learn to live separately. Viaje al cuarto de una madre has won the Youth Award at the San Sebástian Festival and the Asecan Award for Best Film.

The film series, presented by Instituto Cervantes de Manila in collaboration with the Mostra Internacional de Films de Dones de Barcelona, and the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, will be in Spanish with English subtitles. Entrance is free. For further information and updates on the film series, please visit Instituto Cervantes’ Facebook site ( or log on into:

For further information about the cultural program of Instituto Cervantes de Manila, please visit their website (, or follow Instituto Cervantes on the following social media pages: (Facebook: InstitutoCervantesManila; Instagram: institutocervantesmanila).

MPTC HOLIDEALS 2024: MORE THAN 100,000 motorists qualify to win

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

MPTC is thrilled to announce that the excitement for MPTC Holideals 2024 has reached new heights, with over 100,000 participants now qualified to win extraordinary prizes. In their extended holiday promotion, MPTC gives its motorists another reason to enjoy the drive as they stand to experience the joy of winning a brand-new car or amazing cash prizes. 

In partnership with Chevrolet Philippines, two lucky winners will get to drive away with a brand-new Chevrolet Tracker LS. In addition to these sleek rides, MPTC is also giving away more than P3 Million worth of cash prizes, with 10 winners walking away with P100,000 each, while 40 winners take home P50,000 each. 

Joining the promo is a breeze, as all the motorists have to do is use the MPT DriveHub app, link their Easytrip RFID account, reload and pass at least four times through any MPTC tollways: 

CCLEX, NLEX, NLEX Connector, CALAX, SCTEX, CAVITEX, and CAVITEX C5 LINK during the promo period. For each reload of P200 denomination via the MPT DriveHub App, users earn an additional 1 point (non-cumulative). The accumulated points act as golden tickets, increasing the chances of winning in the grand raffle draw. New users may simply download the MPT DriveHub app and link an Easytrip or CCLEX RFID, to instantly receive 2 points. MPT DriveHub app is available via the App Store 

( or Google Play Store (

"We're gearing up to raffle off cash prizes and two brand-new cars! Don't miss your shot at winning; simply download the MPT DriveHub app and link your Easytrip RFID account. With DriveHub, you can easily monitor your balance, reload, access the 24/7 hotline, receive advisories, and stay updated with other useful information while using our tollways. Given that 

most of our motorists use smartphones, having the DriveHub app is our way of enhancing customer support through a digital platform that's readily available for tollroad users," stated Mr. Rogelio L. Singson, President, and CEO of MPTC. 

Don’t miss out on this longest holiday celebration ever. Promo runs from December 8, 2023, to March 7, 2024. Per DTI Fair Trade Permit No. FTEB-179965 Series of 2023.

For the latest updates and more details, please visit website,, or 

follow us on Facebook:,,,,,,

Thursday, February 29, 2024

"Forty-gether Kasama ang Paborito mong Kapitbahay": 7-Eleven celebrates 40 years in the country

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Ring in the bells, because it’s our paboritong kapitbahay’s anniversary!

7-Eleven, the Philippines’ leading convenience store, has always been a go-to destination for essentials, quick snacks, and affordable meals for all Filipinos. This familiarity is thanks to the delightful years spent with the 7-Eleven community spanning over four decades.

What started as one store in Kamias cor EDSA, Quezon City in 1984 gradually grew to nine humble branches in 1989, now has over 3,700 stores nationwide, celebrating its 40th anniversary. 

Over the years, each branch has become a community hub for shared experiences—meeting landmarks, date places, or just regular hangout spots. 

In those four decades, 7-Eleven also came up with iconic treats such as Big Bite, Slurpee, and GULP to treat everyone’s taste buds to a delicious, yet affordable delight. They also partnered with reputable brands such as Romantic Baboy, Lugang Café, Manam, Pancake House, and so many others to bring quality meals more available for all. 

Aside from these, the brand also evolved to be a trusted digital services provider with its CLIQQ app wherein customers can purchase items cashless, earn points, and more. ATMs are also present at most branches so customers can easily withdraw or inquire their balances as well as e-wallet services for top-ups and bills payment. 7-Eleven is loved all over the country because they have been consistently providing that signature convenience as the country’s paboritong kapitbahay. To mark this momentous 40th year, and as a nod to the vibrant community that grewt over the decades, 7-Eleven is celebrating being forty-gether kasama ang paborito mong kapitbahay with exciting promos and discounts. 

Kickstarting the festivities is a sweet treat from City Cafe, where coffee-loving customers can sip and savor a medium cup for only P40 on February 29, 2024. Those with a penchant for the iconic Big Bite will also appreciate a delectable P10 discount from Tender Juicy when they pair a Big Bite TJ hotdog with a red drink (GULP medium, C2 Apple 355ml, and Sting Strawberry 320ml) from February 14 to March 12, 2024. Lastly, 7-Eleven loyal customers can unlock a treasure trove of savings with up to 50% off on selected beverages, and snacks such as Kopiko Lucky Day PET 180ml on February 29 only; Lays Cheddar & Sour Cream 170g and Gardenia Chocolate Muffin on February 29 to March 2. Customers can also expect big savings in other items such as Snail White Whipp Soap 100g, Absolut Vodka 700ml and Selecta Pint Double Dutch 450ml (BUY 2, SAVE P40) until March 19, 2024. Truly, nothing beats spending milestones together because 7-Eleven makes every trip to the store guaranteed tipid and sulit.

As the celebrations roll in, the 40th anniversary celebrations are set to amplify all there is to love about the brand that everyone grew up with. The 7-Eleven community can expect year-round thrilling payday sale events and exciting e-raffle promos where they can bag incredible prizes like dreamy travel opportunities, latest gadgets, and so many more. 

Cheers to 40 years with 7-Eleven and like us on 7-Eleven Philippines Facebook, follow @711ph on Instagram, and @711philippines on Twitter and TikTok, and visit our website for more information.

Monday, February 26, 2024

New Survey Reveals Filipino Emergency Medical Professionals Often Overlook Life-Threatening Brain Condition

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The disregard for encephalitis despite symptoms, coupled with low confidence in recognizing the condition, underscores the urgent need for medical training.

A new survey commissioned by Encephalitis International, the peak global body for encephalitis, reveals that Filipino emergency medical professionals often overlook encephalitis, a life-threatening neurological condition characterized by brain inflammation, despite the presence of common symptoms.

Survey results showed that over half (54%) of local respondents did not consider infectious encephalitis, and three-quarters (74%) did not consider autoimmune encephalitis as a diagnosis when presented with a list of accepted symptoms for each condition. The survey findings are released in line with World Encephalitis Day on February 22, 2024.

Moreover, despite encephalitis leading to death in up to 40% of cases, 66% of the respondents did not consider death as a potential patient outcome resulting from delayed recognition and treatment.

"In the wake of these alarming survey findings, it is clear that much more must be done to bridge the gap in encephalitis awareness and expertise.

Encephalitis International is determined to increase this awareness among medical professionals through the development of globally accessible training programmes which will provide the tools for them to better recognise and treat encephalitis.

Of course, we cannot do this alone and will continue to work alongside international entities, such as the World Health Organization, to elevate encephalitis as a global health priority,” shared Dr. Ava Eason, Chief Executive of Encephalitis International.

The condition can happen to individuals of any age, sex, and ethnicity, with symptoms varying depending on the type. Symptoms of infectious encephalitis encompass altered consciousness, behavioral changes, fever, and headaches, while autoimmune encephalitis presents with memory issues, psychiatric symptoms, altered consciousness, and personality changes.

With the risk of death or permanent brain impairment when the disease strikes, first responders are essential in promptly considering encephalitis during health emergencies to mitigate the worst-case patient outcomes.

Misdiagnosis in patients leads to worse patient outcomes

The survey results reveal the reality for encephalitis patients in the country. Roschelle Del Rosario, caregiver based in Bulacan and mother to 23-year-old patient named Alex, shared their struggle with his rapid symptom progression despite medical intervention.

Initially experiencing insomnia, hallucinations, agitation, personality changes, appetite loss, and seizures, Alex was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, a second opinion in May 2023 revealed autoimmune encephalitis.

But diagnosis was just the beginning. Alex's health rapidly declined, leading to a four-and-a-half-month coma following the misdiagnosis.

Roschelle highlighted the extensive research required into treatment options., which due to limited local resources, is largely dependent on international organizations like Encephalitis International, who is committed to funding research that aims to advance recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of the condition as well as rehabilitation and quality of life of all people affected and their families..

“Alex had his whole life ahead of him as a graduating college student and the top of his class when his symptoms appeared. Today, he's a fighter battling encephalitis.

He's overcome his comatose state and is even able to use his mobile phone again after losing his cognitive and motor skills due to the disease. Eight months into this journey, he still faces significant challenges like hallucinations and memory loss.

Sometimes, you'll talk to him and the next second, he'll ask who you are. It's a tough road, but we still consider ourselves fortunate because, even though treating encephalitis in the country is difficult, we've found dedicated professionals who are willing to help and learn more about this disease so Alex can regain his health and have a chance at a normal life again,” shared Del Rosario.

Supporting emergency medical professionals with training for diagnosis

Further survey results found that only (35%) a third of local emergency medical professionals surveyed strongly agreed that their training had given them the confidence to recognise encephalitis. More than three-quarters (79%) somewhat or strongly agreed that they would benefit from more training.

Dr. Ferron Ocampo, an Adult Neurology Fellow of the Philippine Neurological Association and an advocate for encephalitis awareness, recognizes the challenges regarding the lack of training in encephalitis recognition and management in the country due to its rarity.

Priority in resource allocation, including education and training, is given to more common conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

However, Dr. Ocampo stresses the importance of advocating for encephalitis awareness because this condition needs immediate attention, as delayed diagnosis can lead to worsening of the patient's condition and serious consequences if not treated promptly.

“Encephalitis is a neurological emergency that can have devastating consequences if not diagnosed and treated promptly. However, not all medical professionals are aware of the symptoms and are confident in managing them.

As we celebrate World Encephalitis Day, various international and local stakeholders should collaborate to prioritize providing training and resources to medical professionals worldwide in order to enhance encephalitis detection, diagnosis, and treatment,” Dr. Ocampo shared.

In line with this urgent need for education, Encephalitis International is launching its largest fundraiser yet, "Don’t Delay. Give Today." This initiative aims to promote early recognition and treatment to prevent death and disability from

encephalitis by developing accessible, accredited training modules to provide more robust information and training on encephalitis. Emergency medical professionals in the Philippines and globally can access training opportunities by signing up for free professional membership.

MIAS 2024: Bridging the Future of the Automotive Industry

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), the Philippines’ largest annual motoring event, returns for another thrilling edition on April 4-7, 2024 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila and SMX Convention Center Manila. This 2024, MIAS celebrates its 19th year as it continues to widen its reach in the automotive industry, embodying this year’s theme — Bridging the Future. 

With the overwhelming support from the automotive industry and fans across the country, MIAS 2023 attracted more than 149,000 visitors and featured more than 200 car displays. The 2024 MIAS is co-presented by BPI Auto Loans and Shell, and supported by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) and Petron. Participating passenger car and commercial vehicle brands include BAIC, BAW, Bestune, Changan, Chery, Chevrolet, DAF, Dongfeng, Foton, GAC, GWM, Hongqi, Hyundai, Hycan, JAC, Jetour, JMC, Lynk & Co, Kinglong, MG, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Omoda & Jaecoo, Peugeot, Seres, Subaru, Suzuki, and Weichai.


MIAS 2024 will feature a combined exhibition floor space of 41,000 square meters at TWO world-class venues simultaneously - World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTC) and SMX Convention Center Manila (SMX) throughout the four-day exposition. A single ticket enables access to both MIAS venues. 

FREE shuttle service will be provided throughout the day at designated pickup and drop-off points. This makes parking and visiting both WTC and SMX on the same day easy and convenient for the price of just one Php150 ticket. With dual venues, this year’s MIAS promises to offer better insights into the latest automobile technologies. Car buyers can make well-informed vehicle choices by experiencing the latest models the automotive market has to offer.


MIAS 2024 is a world-class auto event with car launches to take place during the MOBILITY MARATHON. The country's top car brands will debut their latest vehicles along with show-stopping performances. Visitors get to check out the country's finest show cars at the MIAS-Petron Custom Classic Car Competition. Participants vie for “Best of Show” by displaying their well-restored and highly-customized vehicles, and share some useful tips on how to set up your own dream show car. MIAS will be the best marketplace to check out and test drive your dream car at the TEST DRIVE ZONE. From big trucks, off-road and camping rigs, to reliable commercial vans, MIAS 2024 will take you on an exhilarating adventure of off-road and outdoor driving at the TRUCK ZONE. See the breathtaking driving of British precision driver, Russ Swift, holder of three Guinness World Records — parallel parking in the tightest space, J-turn in the tightest space, and the fastest donuts—as he drives the latest Subarus at the RUSS SWIFT STUNT SHOW.


Founded in 1996 by Worldbex Services International, the leading event organizers in the country, the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) is widely recognized as one of the most popular and influential expositions in the country. MIAS continues to raise the bar in the industry, and promises to keep its track record of record-breaking visitor count. MIAS will be showcasing world-class automotive technology for the Filipino market. 

Be part of the Manila International Auto Show 2024 this coming April 4 to 7, 2024 from 10am to 9pm at two venues - World Trade Center Metro Manila and SMX Convention Center Manila. Get your exclusive promo tickets through

MIAS 2024 is organized by Worldbex Services International and for the benefit of the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.

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