Friday, April 26, 2024

BNI Philippines 2024 set July 5-6 in PICC and Okada

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Business Network International (BNI) Philippines proudly announces the much-anticipated Philippine National Conference (PNC) 2024, scheduled July 5-6, 2024 at the Philippine International Convention Center and Okada Manila. This milestone event marks the 10th year of BNI Philippines' commitment to fostering meaningful connections and driving business growth.

At the helm of this gathering is Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, renowned globally as the world’s largest business networking organization. With over 11,100 chapters spanning 76 countries, BNI has facilitated unparalleled opportunities for collaboration and commerce. Dr. Misner, a distinguished New York Times Bestselling author and recognized authority on networking, will deliver insights from his latest work, "The 3rd Paradigm: A Radical Shift to Greater Success," alongside his wealth of experience garnered from prestigious platforms such as Forbes and CNN.

Dexter Ortega, National Director of BNI Philippines, proudly announces the lineup of speakers joining Dr. Misner, including Mac Srinivasan, Global Markets President of BNI; Phil Ber, Entrepreneur and Business Coach; Kevin Barber, Board of Director at BNI Foundation; and a lineup of esteemed local luminaries including Joe Magsaysay, Paco Magsaysay, Jeff Bareiro, Anna Lacson, Donald Lim, Paul Soliman, and Louie Ocampo Gutierrez.

With 41 chapters nationwide and a membership base of 1,554 dynamic entrepreneurs representing diverse sectors of the Philippine economy, BNI Philippines is poised to elevate the networking landscape to new heights. Non-members are cordially invited to partake in the transformative power of BNI's referral-based business model.

For more information and registration, please visit

For sponsorship visit 

Sponsorship deck |

Exhibitor deck |

EATS HERE! MAFBEX Returns For a Culinary Journey!

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Worldbex Services International continues to celebrate diverse industries with its premier food and beverage event, the Manila Foods and Beverage Expo (MAFBEX).

Celebrating its 18th year milestones this 2024, the Manila Foods and Beverages Expo (MAFBEX) is coming back this June 12 to 16, 2024 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, providing the next level of culinary journey for food enthusiasts and businesses sectors from all over the world to showcase their love and passion for a gastronomic and flavorful experience.EATS HERE, a play on words on “It’s here!” and “Eat” is the MAFBEX theme for this year’s show. MAFBEX 2024 will showcase a series of competitions and highlights that will surely satisfy your tastebuds. World-renowned chefs gather for an exclusive one-on-one learning opportunity that will spice up your cravings for new menu ideas at the Chefs of the World, a stage show featuring the very best from the F&B industry. MAFBEX is hosting the return of the Culinary Cup 2024: Home Chef Edition, the battle for the next home cook chef champion!

Experience the unique culinary flair from the Young Hoteliers’ Exposition (YHE), featuring students from De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde and other culinary institutions that will keep your appetite entertained during the event. MAFBEX will also feature zones and areas that focus on certain demographics, such as the Brew District, Wines & Spirits, International Pavilions and the Franchise Zone.

Join us in MAFBEX 2024 as we continue to be an avenue for local businesses and introduce their product to a wide array of audience not just from the Philippines, but all across the world.

This event helps bring in more opportunities for food and beverages sectors, MSME’s and students to grow and connect with global influencers and biggest brands in the industry

Featuring only the best, MAFBEX will surely deliver another record breaking event foot traffic as we remain to be the pillar of the food and beverage industry for many years to come. Get your tickets now and learn more about MAFBEX 2024 VIA

MAFBEX 2024 is organized by Worldbex Services International and for the benefit of ABS CBN Foundation Incorporated.

How To Get Quality Customer References

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The value of customer references cannot be overstated in today’s business climate; they serve as testimonials to the efficacy and quality of a product or service. Establishing credible, effective customer references requires a strategic approach and a commitment to nurturing strong customer relationships. These references can significantly bolster a company's reputation and support sales initiatives. Below, you’ll find essential strategies and insights into cultivating and maintaining this vital business resource.

Establishing a Strong Relationship with Your Customers

To secure valuable customer references, building trust with clients is paramount. Genuine appreciation and recognition for their patronage are essential, ensuring they feel valued beyond mere testimonials. This involves attentive customer service, ongoing dialogue, and understanding their needs. Responding to feedback demonstrates a commitment to improving service and valuing customer input. Personalization strengthens connections, tailoring interactions to individuals to show respect and understanding. This personal attention fosters a willingness in customers to provide references. Establishing a robust relationship enables candid conversations when requesting testimonials. Trustworthy and satisfied customers are more likely to endorse products or services enthusiastically, resulting in authentic and persuasive references. This approach outlines how to get quality customer references effectively.

Creating a Robust Customer Reference Program

Creating a structured customer reference program is key to gathering high-quality testimonials efficiently. This program should outline how to identify potential references, reach out to them, and capture their insights effectively. Recognition of customers' efforts is crucial. Establishing a simple process for documenting and tracking feedback helps build a reliable repository of references for promotional purposes. Training your team on the importance of references and how to engage customers in the program is essential for success. Equipping them with the right skills ensures confident interactions with customers. Regula revaluation and refinement of the program are necessary. Feedback drives improvements that enhance participation and streamline the process for both customers and company representatives. 

Incentivizing Customers for Their Time and Help

Recognizing the value of customer time, and offering incentives for references is effective. Incentives can vary, including discounts, special access, or public recognition, aiming to express gratitude without compromising testimonial authenticity. It's best to surprise customers with incentives after they've provided a reference. Acknowledgment in community forums or events can also deepen relationships and set examples for others. Choose incentives that match contributions and align with your company ethos, showcasing respect for customers and their input. 

Tailoring Your Request to Match Customer Experience

Different customers offer different perspectives, so tailoring your reference request is key. A long-time customer might share a detailed case study, while a newer one could provide a quick video testimonial. Understanding this helps set appropriate expectations and guide customers in sharing experiences that resonate. When asking for a reference, personalize your request and respect the customer's time. Explain why their story matters and how it can assist others. Offer various formats like written reviews or videos to accommodate different preferences and ensure authenticity. 

Leveraging Social Proof Through Case Studies and Testimonials

Harnessing social proof, like customer case studies and testimonials, can significantly influence potential clients by showcasing real-life successes with your product or service. Case studies delve into detailed customer journeys, illustrating before-and-after scenarios to highlight positive outcomes. 

Testimonials capture genuine enthusiasm, whether written or in video format, fostering immediate emotional connections. While obtaining quality customer references may seem complex, with careful planning and a deep understanding of your customer base, you can cultivate a pool of advocates who provide credible endorsements, benefiting your business in the long run. Overall, the concerted effort to collect customer references pays off significantly. Through strong relationships, a structured reference program, appropriate incentives, personalized requests, and the strategic use of social proof, businesses can amass a trove of customer endorsements that strengthen brand credibility and drive growth.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

2nd International Conference on Language Endangerment

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

𝐏𝐀𝐍𝐀𝐖𝐀𝐆𝐀𝐍 𝐒𝐀 ππ€π†π’π”π’π”πŒπˆπ“π„ 𝐍𝐆 𝐏𝐀𝐏𝐄𝐋-ππ€ππ€ππ€π‹πˆπŠπ’πˆπŠ


(2nd International Conference on Language Endangerment)

MB Auditorium, Philippine Normal University

Lungsod Maynila, Pilipinas

9–11 Oktubre 2024

Pagbibigay-lakas sa mga Katutubong Mamamayan tungo sa Pagpapasigla ng mga Wika (Empowering Indigenous Peoples towards Revitalizing the Languages)


Ang Ika-2 Pandaigdigang Kumperensiya sa Nanganganib na Wika ay sama-samang itinataguyod ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), Language Study Center ng Philippine Normal University (LSC-PNU), Departamento ng Linggwistiks ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Diliman (UP-Lingg), at Departamento ng Filipino ng De La Salle University (DLSU-Filipino). Ito ay tatlong araw na in-person na kumperensiya na magsisilbing venue para sa mga eksperto, iskolar ng wika, mananaliksik-wika, at mga miyembro ng katutubong pamayanang kultural o indigenous cultural communities (ICC) upang magbahaginan ng mga pag-aaral at karanasan, at magpalitan ng idea sa pagtugon sa mga isyung may kaugnayan sa panganganib ng wika. 

Layunin nitong mabigyang-lakas at kakayahan ang mga katutubong mamamayan o indigenous peoples (IP) sa pamamagitan ng kanilang pakikisangkot sa pagbuo ng mga patakaran, programa, at pananaliksik para sa pangangalaga ng kanilang wika. Kinikilala ng ICLE 2024 ang angking kakayahan at kakanyahan ng mga IP sa pangangalaga ng kanilang sariling wika at kultura. Sa International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL) 2022-2032 Global Action Plan (GAP), tinukoy ang mga IP bilang isa mga key targets na pangkat na mahalagang maisangkot sa mga gawaing pangwika. Bilang mga IP, sila ang mangunguna sa pagbabago, sila ang may karapatan at tungkulin na magsalin o magtransmit ng kanilang mga wika sa susunod na henerasyon. Ngunit hindi nila ito magagawang mag-isa kung walang tulong mula sa mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan, institusyon, organisasyon, eksperto, mananaliksik, at iba pang entidad.

KayΓ’, sa Kumperensiyang ito, itatampok ang mga pag-aaral na nakatuon sa mga nabuo/binubuong patakarang pangwika, pagdodokumento ng wika, pagpapasigla ng wika, IP education, community-based programs, at ibang pang paksang makatutugon sa pangangalaga ng katutubong wika. 

Target na Kalahok:

Ang Kumperensiya ay inaasahang dadaluhan ng mga Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMR), elders, culture bearers, guro, mananaliksik, at kinatawan ng mga organisasyon, institusyon, at ahensiya ng pamahalaan na mula sa iba’t ibang panig ng Pilipinas. 

Pagpaplano at Patakarang Pangwika

- ahensiya ng pamahalaan

- kolehiyo at unibersidad

- pribadong institusyon

- non-governmental organizations (NGO)

· Pagdodokumento at Deskripsiyon ng Wika

· Community-Based Programs

- programang inisyatiba ng komunidad 

- paglilipat ng wika

- pagpapasigla ng wika

· Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd)

- pagpapaunlad ng wika

- kagamitang pampagtuturo

- estratehiya sa pagtuturo

 · Mother Tongue-Based-Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE)

· Pagbuo ng resources

- ortograpiya

- diksiyonaryo

- glosaryo

- aklat

Ang isusumiteng Abstrak ay kinakailangang naglalaman ng sumusunod:

1. Abstrak na hindi lalampas sa 400 na salita.

- pamagat ng abstrak

- teksto ng abstrak

- keywords

- sanggunian at footnote (kung aplikable)

2. Format para sa isusumiteng abstrak:

- naka-Word file sa A4-sized bond paper

- 1 inch margin sa lahat ng gilid

- double space

- Times New Roman, 12 font size

3. Ang abstrak ay maaaring nasa wikang Filipino o Ingles.

4. Ang dokumento ay nakaayon sa format ng KWF Manwal sa Masinop na Pagsulat, kung ang abstract ay nasa wikang Filipino.

Paanyaya sa pagsusumite ng papel-pananaliksik:

Inaanyayahan ang publiko, lalo na ang mga guro, mananaliksik, iskolar ng wika, at miyembro ng mga katutubong pamayanang kultural o indigenous cultural communities (ICC) na magpasa ng kanilang mga pag-aaral na tumatalakay, ngunit hindi limitado, sa sumusunod na paksa:

5. Ito ay dapat na orihinal na akda at hindi pa naisusumite upang ipresenta sa iba pang kumperensiya o ilalathala sa mga publikasyon.

6. Ang abstrak ay maaaring indibidwal o grupo (2–4 na tao) ng mananaliksik. 

7. Ang mananaliksik ay maaari lamang magsumite ng hanggang dalawang abstrak—isa para sa indibidwal at isa para sa grupo.

Ipadala ang panukalang papel-pananaliksik sa o

. Ang huling araw ng pagsusumite ng abstrak ay sa . Para sa iba pang detalye, bisitahin ang Facebook page ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino at Pandaigdigang Kumperensiya sa Nanganganib na Wika 2024.

Monday, April 22, 2024

SM Prime Embarks on a Unified Waste Management Program for an #SMWasteFreeFuture

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), one of the leading integrated property developers in Southeast Asia, is embarking on a unified waste management and segregation campaign in response to the growing global crises on waste. SM Prime aims to bring all its property groups and stakeholders toward an #SMWasteFreeFuture. 

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), humanity generates more than 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste annually, of which 45 percent is mismanaged. Without urgent action, municipal solid waste will double to almost 4 billion tons each year by 2050. On December 14, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 30 as the International Day of Zero Waste.

The following year, UNEP inaugurated the First International Day of Zero Waste, to bolster actions to address the global pollution crisis. It aims to encourage global action and bring the world’s attention to zero waste. 

Strong foundations 

SM Prime’s founding leader, Henry Sy, believed that “business growth and social development must go hand in hand.” The company follows this guiding principle and has formed a sustainability policy that commits to the following: Resource Conservation and Efficiency, Disaster Resilience, Climate Advocacy, Social Integration, and Transparent Reporting. 

Anchored on these sustainability commitments are the SM Supermalls’ Environmental Programs on Waste Management. Through its corporate social responsibility arm, SM Cares, SM Supermalls has pioneered longstanding programs such as the Trash to Cash recycling market, and provided support to the annual International Coastal Clean Up, among other national events.

(Photo caption) The largest haul and biggest participation to-date: The 38th International Coastal Clean-up had 17,000 volunteers across 15 SM Malls in 12 locations nationwide. It is an annual community-driven partnership between SM Supermalls, SM Cares, the DENR, LGU’s and the volunteers from the SM community. 

(Photo caption) Scaled to perfection: One of the first recycling markets the country, Trash-to-Cash’s valuable example that waste can have monetary benefits. The recycling market is held every first Friday and Saturday of the month in all SM Supermalls to encourage waste segregation and recycling among SM customers, tenants, and the community. The recycling market is open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

In the hotel and tourism sector, SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation (SMHCC) has taken the lead in mitigating global food waste by implementing sustainable initiatives across its properties in the Philippines. Their key initiatives include the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Sustainable Diner Program, that aims to transform and help the food service sector minimize its impact on the environment thru resource efficiency, plastic refusal and food waste management and contribute to the world’s future food security. 

(Photo caption) Closing the loop: SMHCC’s sustainability efforts are anchored on the 7Gs or Seven Green Goals, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). The overall thrust for sustainability is cascaded to the rest of properties, ensuring that it is embedded at every step of the hotel’s operations, ensured by property Sustainability Champions.

To support these programs, SM Prime also recently unveiled its waste-to-fuel partnership with GUUN Co. Ltd. (GUNN) to implement the Japanese technique of reducing landfill impact. The technology converts non-recyclable and hard-to-recycle packaging into alternative fuel. 

(Photo caption) No time to waste: Sorting through the amount of trash at the GUUN Facility in Cebu. Unfit for recycling and reuse, the waste material recovered avoids the landfill and is then reconverted to fuel resource. 

A Vision for an #SMWasteFreeFuture 

To mark the International Day of Zero Waste on March 30, 2024, SM Prime is releasing its vision for an #SMWasteFreeFuture. “As a community, we strongly believe in our ability to contribute to solving today's waste issues,” said Hans “Chico” Sy, Jr., President of SM Engineering Design and Development Corporation (SMEDD) and SM sustainability champion. 

SM Prime’s announcement of its vision of an #SMWasteFreeFuture demonstrates the company’s strong commitment and sustainability stewardship, by inviting its stakeholders to engage in activities that will help spread zero-waste awareness and work for a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach on waste management.

“We understand that this may seem like a daunting challenge to overcome However, by joining forces, we can create a world that our future generations truly deserve – if we have the courage to take on this journey together,” said Sy. 

SM Prime remains committed to its role as a catalyst for economic growth, delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities, thereby enriching the quality of life of millions of people. SM Prime is pursuing the next horizon on integrated property development and onward to building sustainable cities of the future.  

All within 15 minutes: Urban planning concept city to rise in Pasay

An artist’s render of a 15-minute city, where work, food, housing, education and cultural activities are easily within reach.

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

For the modern urban dweller, 15 minutes is a lot of time. 

A lot of productive things can be done – a high-intensity, interval training (HITT) workout or run a 1.5-kilometer route, clearing your emails, meditating, catching up on the news, or preparing a quick smoothie – all within 15 minutes. 

But for the Metro Manila commuter, 15 minutes is barely enough to get from point A to point B. During rush hour, it is most likely that within this time, you still haven’t moved an inch.

Ever heard of the 15-minute city? It’s a modern urban planning concept that puts people and the planet first. The term was coined by Paris-based urbanist and Sorbonne University professor Carlos Moreno wherein he said that the ideal neighborhood or city is built in such a way where work, food, housing, education and cultural activities can be easily accessed within 15 minutes, whether by foot or by using a bike.

Pasay City, in its forward-looking 360-hectare smart city development, aims to create an innovative tropical 15-minute city for over 300,000 residents. 

Situated at the edge of a densely-packed and overpopulated metropolis perpetually in a traffic gridlock, this city will provide respite to its residents and visitors with sustainable, inclusive, safe, and healthy living where all their needs can be accessed within reach. 

Among its intended features, the project is envisioned to have low carbon and safe mobility networks with multimodal public transport services and enhanced infrastructure that prioritizes active mobility like walking and biking. There will be parking lots equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, dedicated bike lanes, easily accessible public transport hubs, and unimpeded pedestrian walkways.

An artist’s rendition of a soon-to-rise 15-minute city in Pasay

This assures lower transportation costs, less carbon emissions, and most importantly, healthier and happier people. No more long and tiring queues at the EDSA bus carousel or sitting hours on end in the middle of EDSA traffic. 

The project has been thoughtfully planned and designed for many years, and finally it has received the green light by government to proceed. In fact, no less than Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda highlighted how the Pasay-led project is expected to earn billions in real estate assets for the government. 

Revenues from the project will generate a massive multiplier effect on our gross domestic product (GDP) and an estimated 300,000 new jobs from 2027 to 2040. By 2035, it is projected to employ 4% of the National Capital Region’s (NCR) total work force.

The Pasay 360 Project will be a city that nurtures lives and livelihood, is expected to revitalize the economy, and hone the next generation of Filipino leaders. It can be a source of pride for Filipinos as we push towards the 22nd century. 

A school renovation project amplifies the potential of deaf community

A dedicated teacher from PSD provides a hands-on lecture inside their newly rehabilitated school building.

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Being hearing-impaired is a challenge in itself, navigating a world where communication relies heavily on spoken words. 

In the Philippines, this challenge further creates a gap, as opportunities for the deaf are limited, particularly in education and employment. The struggle is intensified as only a few secondary learning institutions are catering to their unique needs, with affordability and facility conditions further hindering their pursuit of skills and knowledge. 


A personal advocacy 

Shery Funcion, the Principal of the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, is no stranger to these challenges. 

Her dedication to the cause began with her college thesis, focusing on job opportunities for deaf learners. Since then, she has immersed herself in various organizations and volunteer activities, gaining firsthand insights into the limited opportunities available to deaf learners. 

She eventually became a SPED teacher, before taking on the role of principal in PSD. 

"The immersive experience really showed me how important these projects are for our students—kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbibigay ng mga pasilidad sa mga mag aaral lalo na sa mga bingi," she underscored the importance of providing facilities for students with hearing impairment. 


A facility that produces opportunities 

The collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education's Schools Division Office of Pasay City equips students with in-demand skills that will prepare them for employment upon graduation.

In the century-old PSD, their senior high school laboratory building serves as the training ground for students. Its classrooms and halls, no matter how old, have always played their role in honing and preparing deaf students to have solid career prospects after PSD. 

Amidst the competing priorities within the school and the broader Philippine educational system, the facility barely had enough funds for the rehabilitation and major repairs it needed. For years, students and teachers worked around issues ranging from dim lighting and leaking roofs to uneven floors. These not only presented structural concerns but also hindered the overall learning experience of students. 

"Our deaf learners need special accommodation to fulfill their special educational needs. They need to have a conducive learning environment so we can optimize the activities and learning programs," Funcion stressed. 

Funcion further shared that the 2023 collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI)—the social good arm of the SM Group, and the Department of Education's Schools Division Office of Pasay City could not have come at a better time. 

 "The rehabilitation of the Home Economics (HE) laboratories is crucial because students need to fulfill their performance tasks. These are vital components of our senior high school program to ensure that they acquire essential skills and competencies for employment post-graduation from PSD." 

Through the collaboration, PSD has been provided with the much-needed facilities in dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food and beverage preparation, ICT, and dance. 

For Funcion, their Henry Sy. Sr. building serves as a great beginning that will help pave equal opportunities and create a future where deaf students’ abilities will shine within and beyond the four walls of classrooms. 

Through the collaboration, PSD has been provided with the much-needed facilities in dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food & beverage preparation, ICT, and dance.

Henry Sy Foundation promotes inclusive education

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Revitalizing the Philippine School for the Deaf

Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) hand signs a gratitude message to Henry Sy Foundation (HSF), Department of Education, and Pasay Local Government after they collaborated for the revitalization of the 12-room laboratory building of Senior High School students.

The Philippines’ Magna Carta for Disabled Persons ensures the rehabilitation, self-development, and self-reliance of persons with disabilities. The country provides educational assistance to people with disabilities from primary to tertiary education, including vocational or technical training.

One such school is the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City. For over a century, the school had demonstrated the transformative power of education in empowering and unlocking the capabilities of those with diverse disabilities to live fulfilling lives.

Though standing as a testament to the Philippines' long-standing commitment to differently-abled education, the school, one of Southeast Asia's oldest institutions for the deaf, suffers from the effects of time and wear, compromising its ability to fulfill its mission.

The school lacked basic facilities and accessibility features: converted classrooms, timeworn corridors, limited space for vocational training, inadequate furniture, dilapidated walls and ceilings, broken tiles and faucets, and dim lighting. It was also prone to flooding due to drainage problems, and it had only one functional toilet with a broken door infested by termites.

Teachers conduct lectures on electronics in a more conducive laboratory after the rehabilitation of the school building

Revitalizing a legacy

In a transformative partnership, the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education's Schools Division Office of Pasay City joined forces to breathe new life into the Senior High School building and a four-story, 12-classroom structure. This initiative, executed under the DepEd's adopt-a-school program, stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in revitalizing educational infrastructure for the benefit of the community.

Previously hindered by infrastructural limitations, the century-old school now features enhanced learning spaces dedicated to various subjects, including dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food & beverage preparation, ICT, and dance. A dance studio with a dressing room and a conference room were also refurbished.

Through the social good collaboration, the laboratory for baking and cookery has been equipped with new tools and furniture, helping conduct more hands-on classes.

To enhance safety and accessibility, ramps and railings were installed throughout the campus, ensuring ease of movement for all students. Aside from revitalizing 10 classrooms, the SM group also refurbished the conference rooms, and the lobby with a reception area to provide a comfortable environment.

Differently abled students from PSD focus as they attend their beauty and cosmetology class in their new building.

Helping instill good hygiene and encourage healthy habits, a handwashing station, and separate male and female toilets were rehabilitated with clean, functional cubicles, urinals, and PWD-friendly facilities.

The covered court was restored with a spacious stage, creating a conducive space for outdoor learning and recreation. 

The rehabilitation of the facilities at the PSD was undertaken, not just to address the physical challenges but also to cultivate an environment where every student can thrive. The project stands as a testament to the SM and Henry Sy Foundations’ continued pursuit of inclusivity and its commitment to empowering differently-abled individuals through education.

SM Foundation school building program head Juris Soliman and SMFI Project Supervisor Ar. Caren Lopez (fourth and fifth from left) with PSD Principal Shery Funcion and SDO Pasay City SGOD Sylwyn Tenorio (sixth and seventh from left) with the team behind the school’s refurbishment.

Farming futures

Jayson and Juanito proudly showcase a selection of produce at the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market.

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

While modern agricultural techniques boost yields for some, there remains a number of Filipino farmers who struggle to keep pace. These experienced hands find themselves falling behind in a market demanding higher production, clinging to familiar yet often inefficient methods passed down through generations.

One farmer from Pampanga, Jayson Garcia, sought to disrupt this prevailing narrative in his family. He knew that he had to chart a new course forward for his farm and innovate to remain competitive within the rapidly evolving landscape of modern agriculture.

“Noon, mahirap ang magtanim,” he recalled their life before joining SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan. “Para bang tsambahan, basta pag itinanim mo ‘yan, hintayin mo na lang mamunga. Mas mahirap pa lalo kapag nagkaroon ng kalamidad,” he added. 

SM Foundation’s training program focused on high-value crop cultivation was the breakthrough Garcia needed to revitalize his farming techniques. These included selecting the best seeds and caring for them as well as strategic planting schedules. 

Jayson attends the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market to observe best practices and gain insights into new agricultural techniques.

The livelihood program also gave way for him to discover alternative sales channels that enhanced his earning potential while extending fair prices to his customers. The knowledge and confidence he gained led him to expand his farm, and in effect, increased his monthly income to more than Php25,000.

Aside from directly selling his harvests, he is now planting a variety of vegetables–on his farm, including lemongrass, malunggay, and madre de cacao, which he sells online to small businesses that process the produce into other products. 

Embracing new techniques

Sharing the same story of hope is another KSK farmer from Pampanga, Juanito Dela Cruz. Despite his age, he actively pursued and adopted modern farming techniques. Building on his current success, he shared the importance of adaptability for farmers, calling for others to try and explore new practices. 

From a modest monthly income of Php10,000, Juanito experienced an upsurge in his earnings, notably through participation in the Weekend Market at SM City Clark, yielding around Php30,000 weekly. “Kailangan maging bukas tayo sa makabagong pamamaraan ng pagsasaka para makahabol tayo sa demands ng panahon ngayon—ito ang itinuo sa akin ng SM Foundation-KSK,” he said. 

Juanito, alongside his wife, actively participates in the SM City Clark Weekend Market. They credit the market with contributing to their increased profitability.

The SM Group’s KSK program has changed the lives of roughly 30,000 Filipino farmers, including Jayson and Juanito. Through its initiatives, farmers who once lost hope have been able to embrace modern farming techniques, leading to adaptability in the face of the evolving agricultural landscape. 

The SM Group, through SM Foundation, remains steadfast in its commitment to spreading social good. This dedication extends to SM’s forthcoming endeavors to be led by its future smart city property development – with focus on enhancing positive social impact in the communities where SM operates. 

Filipinos love concerts, but venue infrastructure gaps are a threat to the experience

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Countries with better, bigger, and more competitive concert venues have reaped economic benefits, especially with the massive and significant influence of popular international acts like pop superstar Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and Coldplay’s World Tour in consumer behavior and spending. 

Driving tens of thousands of ‘Swifties’ and concert enthusiasts, the success of these concerts was an economic stimulus for countries worldwide, including Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Japan.  Filipino fans alike had to spend big and travel miles to watch the exclusive performance of superstar Swift in Singapore’s National Stadium while others went to Japan’s Tokyo Dome and Sydney’s Accor Stadium in Australia. The massive concert gigs boosted the respective country’s economies, benefitting entertainment, hospitality, retail, and transport industries significantly. 

While Singapore’s strategy for a Southeast Asia exclusive Swift performance piqued interest and likewise piqued its neighboring countries, the strategic move sparked conversations and brought to light what the Philippines can improve on in terms of concert venues.

1. Location is key

The Philippines doesn’t lack in big venues. In fact, it boasts of venues that can rival Singapore’s National Stadium and Japan’s Tokyo Dome. Accessibility to the location as well as public transportation and nearby commercial establishments are key.

2. Concert Experience 

Photo credit to Stanley Quek. An empty Singapore National Stadium, viewed from the front stage.

Singapore’s pride, the National Stadium, has innovative features such as the world’s largest free-spanning dome, a retractable roof and comfort cooling technology for spectators’ convenience. Its innovation, strategic location, and efficiency bring positive 

and immersive experiences for enthusiasts and concert fans, making it a magnet for entertainment acts from all over the world. A similar concert venue and experience is something that Filipino concertgoers are hoping the country can replicate. 

3. World-class concert amenities and facilities

Accessing the venue's amenities and facilities should offer a premium music experience for concert enthusiasts or convenience in a sporting event. 

Architectural “Eyecon” SM Mall of Asia Arena prides itself on having exceptional world-class amenities unique in the Southeast Asia region. –Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

Take for example the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena – a flexible indoor arena developed in 2012 by leading integrated property developer SM Prime – that has been a top-of-mind venue for all sorts of events and offers a unique concert experience. With a full house seating capacity of 20,000, it has been a haven for thrilling sports events, remarkable OPM shows, and unforgettable international superstar performances. 

Meanwhile, the SMDC Festival Grounds in ParaΓ±aque City is likewise an enormous outdoor venue that can accommodate at least 50,000 people. Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour and Rivermaya The Reunion were among the performers that have graced the stage recently.

4. Achieving Filipinos’ concert dreams

One of the most forward-looking plans of SM Prime is its 360-hectare smart city development which is envisioned to bring in a centerpiece to the country’s entertainment and sporting events – larger in capacity and a more enhanced venue infrastructure that would attract legendary icons in the entertainment scene and compete against Southeast Asia and the world’s best. It will feature an estimated 70,000-capacity stadium and concert arena connected to one of the island’s main destination paradises called Central Park. The sizable arena is envisioned to be the Philippines’ biggest concert venue, with world-class facilities and sustainable features, comparable to other big concert venues worldwide. Once that’s built, Filipinos won’t have to fly overseas because they can watch top-tier performances right from the comfort of their home country.

An artist’s render, visual sketch of the proposed concert venue at Pasay 360 project.

Without a doubt, Pinoys live and breathe entertainment shows. In fact, Filipinos are the 4th top concert spenders in Asia-Pacific according to digital payments company Visa, proof of how passionate we are about concerts. By investing in the development of modern, smart, and accessible concert venues, Filipino concert enthusiasts can continue to embrace and celebrate live performances with the convenience, comfort, and enjoyment they deserve. Beyond entertainment, well-curated, smart, and innovative concert facilities can further drive economic benefits to the Philippines’ national and local economies, including ancillary local spending in retail, tourism, and hospitality.

Jobs on the Rise: New Urban Developments Are Driving Employment Growth

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Photo credit to Anamul Rezwan. Construction jobs are generated from new urban developments.

Cities worldwide, while diverse in demographics and culture, share a common pursuit of progress through new urban developments. These projects not only enhance convenience amid urban congestion but also stimulate local economies and communities through various socio-economic activities like job creation.

Whether in the form of public transportation, cutting-edge business districts, or towering residential communities, a single new development requires a whole host of jobs from pre-construction, to construction, and completion. These range from real estate developers and planners to construction workers and suppliers – all requiring extensive collaboration for successful project development.

Hudson Yards: Direct and indirect employment opportunities

Photo credit to Following NYC. Featuring ‘Vessel’, a honeycomb-like structure and visitor attraction in the Hudson Yards Development in Manhattan, New York City. 

The cycle of job creation doesn’t stop after completion. A new development also drives indirect employment opportunities generated from industries attracted or related to the development. 

Such is the case for Hudson Yards, New York City’s 28-acre mixed-use development and considerably the United States’ biggest megadevelopment in history. It had created thousands of construction jobs that resulted in transforming Manhattan’s iconic skyline and becoming home to diverse shops, offices, cultural institutions, and hotels and residences. Ongoing operations and management of these facilities are expected to contribute to its large-scale economy, such as hosting over 55,752 workers daily and about $19 billion annually to the city’s GDP. 

Dubai and Songdo IBD: Creating economic opportunities afresh

Meanwhile, cities like Dubai and Songdo International Business District (IBD) generate jobs by creating economic opportunities from the ground up. They used land reclamation as an urban development strategy to address land scarcity and high population density challenges.

Photo credit to Kadir Avşar. A closer aerial view of the Palm Islands. 

Dubai's ambitious projects, including the Palm Islands, the World Islands, and Burj Al Arab, have turned it into an ultramodern metropolis for commerce and tourism. In 2023, it drew over 30,000 new businesses, driving demand for talent in finance, legal, and digital technology sectors.

The Songdo IBD is an ongoing smart city built on reclaimed land in Incheon, South Korea. It’s designed to be an international business and residential hub with sustainable features. As of 2020, the 1,500-acre development hosts about 30,000 residents, 33,000 jobs, and 70% fewer emissions than any other development.

SM’s Integrated City Developments: Empowering local communities and residents

SM Prime contributed photo. An aerial view of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) featuring its iconic Globamaze and thriving network of retail, business, residential, and hotel developments. 

The SM Group, a leading conglomerate in the Philippines, has an ecosystem of interests spanning retail, banking, property, and mall developments across the country, making it the largest employer with over 140,000 employees.

For every SM mall development by SM Prime Holdings, the integrated property developer of the Group, the local economy is invigorated because of the opportunities created by supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that comprise about 68% of its mall tenants. For instance, SM City Bataan, SM Supermalls’ 83rd mall, employs about 96% of its mall administration staff who are residents called BataeΓ±os, including two in leadership roles. It also proudly showcases local industries by partnering with homegrown businesses like family-owned brands and locally managed franchises. 

Job security, stable income, and tax revenues contribute to the local workforce’s quality of life; and SM Prime ensures to manifest these waves of progress in its developments, especially in its future plans for smart cities in the Philippines to be spearheaded by its ongoing 360-hectare development in Pasay City.

New urban developments are catalysts for growth, innovation, and avenues for increased prosperity, shaping local economies through job creation and improved lives. The success of these city centers requires a network of opportunities – from its pre-construction supply chain to empowering businesses for individuals to thrive and contribute to the communities.

SM Prime invests in future sustainability leaders with scholarship program

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Future sustainability leaders. Strengthening its commitment to both educational access and sustainability stewardship, SM Prime welcomes ten scholars from UPLB, who are taking up degrees in either Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology or Bachelor of Science in Forestry.

Inspired by the late Henry Sy Sr.'s belief in the power of education and driven by their commitment to sustainability, leading integrated property developer SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime) has launched a scholarship program in partnership with the University of the Philippines Los BaΓ±os (UPLB).

Aptly called the "SM Sustainability Scholarship," the initiative reflects SM Prime's commitment to both educational access and sustainability stewardship.

The program will fully support ten deserving students through their undergraduate studies at UPLB, providing them with the opportunity to pursue degrees in either Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology or Bachelor of Science in Forestry. These fields align with SM Prime's focus on building resilient communities and fostering a sustainable future.

The scholarship recipients, meticulously chosen for their academic excellence and dedication to sustainability, were formally recognized during a meet-and-greet gathering at UPLB, marking the start of their journey as SM Sustainability Scholars.

SM Sustainability Scholarship. In the photo are the SM sustainability scholars with the University of the Philippines Los BaΓ±os’ Office of Scholarships and Grants Director Assoc. Prof. Ariel L. Babierra, Ph.D., College of Forestry and Natural Resources’s Prof. Marilyn Combalicer, College of Human Ecology Dean Dr. Jennifer Amparo, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr, Janette Malata-Silva, Scholarship Affairs Officer Ivy Salarde and SM Prime AVP Rida Reyes-Castillo with the rest of the SM team.

Each scholar will receive a full scholarship covering tuition fees, a monthly living allowance, and a book allowance, ensuring they can focus on their studies without financial worries.

During the gathering, College of Human Ecology (CHE) Dean Dr. Jennifer Amparo expressed that the pursuit of sustainability is most effectively undertaken collaboratively.

“CHE is one of the colleges that puts a premium on interdisciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity because we believe that in sustainability, you don’t work in silos. We need to work together and build each other’s skills, know-how, and also our programs together to ensure sustainability,” she said.

“I would also like to thank SM Prime for putting emphasis on this scholarship. SM Prime did not just provide the finances or scholarship. They invested the time to really meet our scholars and provided other support mechanisms to ensure that our scholars thrive in their academic lives. This is also a manifestation of SM’s commitment to sustainability by really developing our future sustainability leaders,”she added.

College of Forestry and Natural Resources’ Prof. Marilyn Combalicer also extended the college’s support to the scholars on behalf of the college’s dean, Dr. Marlo Mendoza: “We hope to continue nurturing such meaningful collaboration and initiatives that enhance our educational experience and initiatives for our students. Rest assured that we will continue providing support to our students in ensuring their growth and success in both academia and beyond.”

SM Prime’s AVP Rida Reyes-Castillo meets the SM sustainability scholars.

Meanwhile, SM Prime AVP and Head of Marketing, PR and Corporate Communications, Rida Reyes-Castillo, echoed that the fundamental values of the company are intricately interwoven with both education and sustainability.

“SM Group’s founder, Mr. Henry “Tatang” Sy, Sr. believed that education is a great equalizer, and he envisioned that sending one child to college would create ripples of social good not just for families but for an entire community,” she said. “The improvement of the well-being of the youth and the partner communities is something that we at SM invest in.”

For decades, the SM group has embraced the responsibility to contribute to nation building through social good programs that are geared towards quality education, sustainable agriculture, healthcare, and disaster response. By helping improve the quality of life of the people in these host communities, social development and investment go hand in hand with business growth to achieve a better future for all.

This is a paid partnership with SM Prime Holdings.

See photo caption guide below. Download the high-resolution photos here:

See AVP event highlights here:

Video courtesy of SM Prime

SM scholars recall the beginning of their SM scholar journey

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A moment that changed lives

Some moments fade with time, certain experiences leave an indelible mark, shaping not just our paths but our very identities. For Atty. Marmie Deniega and Amanda Hora, the SM scholarship application wasn't just a gateway to education; it was the moment that shaped the life they live today.

The first to obtain a degree in the family

A family legacy, SM scholar Amanda Hora becomes the first in her family to earn a degree.

Amanda’s unforgettable story as an SM scholar began when she stumbled upon a Facebook post about the SM scholarship application.

“It has always been my dream to pursue a quality education without the burden of tuition expenses. I enrolled in a university in Senior High School because of a scholarship, and Iknow that the only way to continue my college years at the same university is to obtain another full scholarship. That is why I never hesitated to apply for the SM scholarship, hoping to be accepted,” she said.

In the quiet hours of the night several years back, an email from the SM Foundation lit up her phone’s screen, informing her that she had been selected for their scholarship program.

The acceptance was a mark that she was a few steps away from fulfilling another goal: “I pursued college because I wanted to become the first in our family to get a college degree.”

“My parents did not finish their studies due to financial difficulties, but they’ve always been supportive of my dreams and aspirations. Also, I believe in the importance of quality education. It is something that nobody can take away,” she added.

Amanda snaps a photo with her family as she graduated cum laude with a degree in BS accountancy in 2023.

The scholarship opened doors throughout her college years. Beyond the academic realm, she had the opportunities to join competitions, intern at prestigious firms, and build a network that extended far beyond the classroom.

She shared: “As a scholar, the foundation’s programs and webinars allowed me to hear inspiring stories from other scholars, mentoring and motivating us to pursue our goals. When COVID-19 affected the country and whenever there were calamities, the SM Foundation looked after us. They provided us with tools that are essential for remote learning. It made me feel that I am part of a bigger family and that I am not alone in this journey.”

These experiences paved academic and personal growth. As she graduated cum laude with a degree in BS accountancy in 2023, she aims to contribute to the community by creating a ripple effect of kindness.

“I would use my knowledge to find ways to provide livelihood programs, especially in areas or communities where it is much needed. I would also advocate for financial literacy to help people effectively manage their finances and build resilience, especially during unpredictable life events. I would also use my story to inspire the youth, especially the current and future scholars, and remind them to never give up on their dreams,” she shared.

Scholar makes an impact on the community

Atty. Marmie Deniega (fifth from left) with her colleagues from IBP-Cebu Chapter.

Much like Amanda is CPA-lawyer Marmie Dyan Deniega.

Raised by a single mother amid financial struggles, the pursuit of a college degree seemed like an unattainable dream until she chanced upon a TV commercial that introduced her to the SM College Scholarship.

Recalling vividly the moment, she shares: “My mother and I were watching the television. The commercial for SM Foundation came in, and the application deadline was flashed through the screen. Coincidentally, it was on that day itself, so I rushed and submitted my application at the nearest SM Mall."

The scholarship became the cornerstone of Marmie's academic success. She graduated with cum laude honors in Accountancy from the University of San Jose-Recoletos, crediting the scholarship for providing not only financial support but also the freedom to focus on her studies.

The scholarship not only shaped her academic journey but also fueled a sense of responsibility, which proved valuable when she pursued a law degree with the help of her aunt and part-time jobs.

Now successful in her field, Atty. Marmie travels and enjoys various leisure activities. Beyond this, she is thankful to have the capability to support her family.

Now, she proudly serves as an Attorney III at the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) of Mandaue City, actively contributing to her community's development. She is one of the people who played a pivotal role in streamlining business permit processing in their city, making it more accessible to constituents.

As a firm believer in spreading social good, she finances the education of her siblings while actively engaging in community-based projects. She also stands as a resource speaker in schools for several crucial topics, such as the Anti-Bullying Law.

Apart from legal aid work in far-flung areas in Cebu, through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter, she also volunteers with Law Inc., an organization helping victims of Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC). She conducts seminars across various locations in Cebu, shedding light on the intricacies of VAWC.

In the confines of her office, clients naturally turn to her for legal advice, seeking guidance on various matters: “It cannot be helped that clients will also seek legal advice from me, hence I also make it a point to help them, to the best of my ability, and within the boundaries set by law."

Amanda and Marmie's stories are not just individual triumphs but testaments to the impact of education. Each year, countless dreamers like them are empowered to pursue their academic aspirations and chart their paths to success through the SM College Scholarship Program.

As the application for the SM College Scholarship Program opens from Feb. 1 to March 31, 2024, countless more lives stand to be touched.

Diwata Pares Overload is the Pare King or Queen?

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"Pares" is a beloved Filipino street food dish that originated in Metro Manila. It consists of tender beef simmered in a flavorful soy sauce-based broth, typically seasoned with garlic, ginger, and other spices. The dish is often served with garlic fried rice ("sinangag") and a clear beef broth on the side, creating a comforting and satisfying meal.

What makes pares unique is its combination of sweet and savory flavors, achieved through the use of soy sauce and sugar in the broth. The name "pares" itself is derived from the Filipino word for "pair," referring to the pairing of the beef and rice.

Originally considered a humble dish sold by roadside eateries ("karinderya") and food stalls, pares has gained popularity across the Philippines and is now commonly found in eateries, fast food joints, and even upscale restaurants. It has become a staple comfort food for many Filipinos, enjoyed any time of the day.

Dubbed the 'Pares King' by patrons, Deo Jarito Balbuena, aka "Diwata," known for his beloved beef brisket cubes, was recently apprehended for a lingering 2018 legal issue at his Pasay City stall. Despite bailing out, his hurdles continue, including permit issues, yet Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano granted a reprieve. 

"Pares" is a beloved Filipino street food dish that originated in Metro Manila. It consists of tender beef simmered in a flavorful soy sauce-based broth, typically seasoned with garlic, ginger, and other spices. The dish is often served with garlic fried rice ("sinangag") and a clear beef broth on the side, creating a comforting and satisfying meal.

What makes pares unique is its combination of sweet and savory flavors, achieved through the use of soy sauce and sugar in the broth. The name "pares" itself is derived from the Filipino word for "pair," referring to the pairing of the beef and rice.

Originally considered a humble dish sold by roadside eateries ("karinderya") and food stalls, pares has gained popularity across the Philippines and is now commonly found in eateries, fast food joints, and even upscale restaurants. It has become a staple comfort food for many Filipinos, enjoyed any time of the day.

Dubbed the 'Pares King' by patrons, Deo Jarito Balbuena, aka "Diwata," known for his beloved beef brisket cubes, was recently apprehended for a lingering 2018 legal issue at his Pasay City stall. Despite bailing out, his hurdles continue, including permit issues, yet Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano granted a reprieve. Balbuena's journey, from a stabbing victim to street food mogul, reflects resilience. Authorities pledge scrutiny, ensuring proper permits for his thriving business. For this street food icon, the battle for his renowned dish persists.

While pares stalls are commonplace, Diwata's exceptional following and market position stand out significantly.

It's uncommon for a pares stall owner to garner a devoted following like Diwata's, attributing this to her strong product quality and strategic positioning, which are challenging to replicate.

 Diwata's effective marketing, brand identity, and business model, emphasizing their substantial impact on social media and resulting sales growth.

Furthermore, the efficient organization of Diwata Pares' stall, noting their ability to handle a high volume of customers in a busy location through structured and systematic processes.

Located along J.W Diokno Blvd., Pasay City near GSIS, Diwata Pares Overload operates 24/7.

Scanning the Needs, Barriers, and Opportunities in Islamic Financing

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The Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) and the UP Strategic Research and Management Foundation (UPSTREAM) signed a memorandum of agreement on April 4, 2024, at the UP Mindanao Gaisano Conference Room to undertake an action research study on Islamic financing in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The study, to be conducted by the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS) under its Escaping the Middle-Income Trap Chains-for-Change (EMIT C4C) program, will identify the needs, barriers, and opportunities related to Islamic financing, starting with PEF projects in the region.

Islamic finance or Shari’ah-compliant financing refers to instruments and services that abide by Islamic law. Its development will help promote financial inclusion and create solutions for Muslims residing in the Bangsamoro region.

“PEF would like to look at the current landscape of Islamic financing and what can be our role in helping the poor through this instrument,” PEF Executive Director Roberto Calingo said.

In the past, PEF has supported social enterprises involved in Islamic financing and partnering with other advocates such as the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development - Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD-MRI) and the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation.

Calingo signed the MOA with UPSTREAM President Dr. Sylvia Concepcion and UP EMIT C4C Senior Research Analyst Jane Lynn Capacio.

Under the agreement, PEF and the EMIT C4C team will gather data, conduct discussions and deliberations, and write the report. UPSTREAM, meanwhile, will monitor the implementation of the action research project.

UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies is a policy research unit that connects disciplines and scholars across several units of the UP System.

UP Strategic Research and Management Foundation, a non-stock, non-profit organization in Davao City, is one of the two accredited foundations in UP Mindanao and supports the School of Management (SOM) with its funds and resources generated through grant projects, research, consultancies, and training services conducted by the SOM faculty.

The Peace and Equity Foundation aspires to drive positive change in poor Filipino household communities by investing in social enterprises that will provide them with viable livelihood and better access to basic services. We work with partners who share this vision by developing models and best practices that will steer social enterprises to scale up. Founded in October 2001, our Foundation is the steward of an endowment fund and registered as a non-stock, non-profit organization based in Quezon City, Philippines.

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