SM Cares recognized by the prestigious Albert Sussman Award for shelter project

SM Cares-ICSC Award

Marissa Fernan, Vice President of SM Prime Holdings, receives the ICSC Foundation Albert Sussman International Community Support Award from Scott Harris, ICSC Managing Director of Asia-Pacific at the awarding ceremonies held in Las Vegas, USA, May 20, 2018.  

The shelter project by SM Prime for the survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) earned recognition from the Albert Sussman International Community Support Award of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Foundation.

The award was conferred during the Global Retail Real Estate Convention (RECon) held last May 20, 2018, in Las Vegas.

The Albert Sussman International Community Support Award is considered as the highest honor in the community support award program of the ICSC Foundation, a global trade association of the shopping center industry.

The award was intended to acknowledge outstanding humanitarian work of the retail industry players in the community and recognizes the industry’s most innovative and impactful initiatives, including outstanding community support programs of institutions, social responsibility, and community outreach efforts by retail establishments, their management companies, or retailers.

Last year, SM Cares also received recognition from ICSC Global Awards 2017 for Asia-Pacific in an awarding held in Bangkok, Thailand, October 24, 2017.

The award will allow CFC-ANCOP to receive an additional financial grant from the ICSC Foundation as the NGO partner of SM Cares.

SM Cares-ICSC Trophy 2018

SM Prime Executive Committee Chairman Hans T. Sy spearheaded the SM Cares Housing Project with a total of 1,000 shelter units donated in areas that were heavily-hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in November 2013.

The housing project was jointly undertaken by SM and its service providers, tenants, employees, and selected communities who all pitched in to build disaster-resilient shelters.

SM likewise worked with several NGO partners for its community development with livelihood and values formation activities integrated into the program. The shelters were then turn-over to the beneficiaries for free.

Hans Sy said that “the award is a recognition of the valuable contribution of our partners and hundreds of volunteers who painstaking  contributed in rebuilding communities and making it as vibrant as they are today.”

The mall giant believed that the award served as a testament to the courage and resiliency of the human spirit in the face of the biggest tragedy.

“We have shown to the world how people could bounce back after a tragedy and how communities composed of strangers could thrive and grow together with the help of well-meaning groups and advocates,” Sy said.

Sy also underscored that the award will serve as the company’s inspiration to continue the work as stewards of the communities where their malls operate are also located.

This project has made us proud, said Sy, “because it showed bayanihan at its best with people working together in order to uplift the lives of our fellow Filipino who were impacted by the disaster and rebuild their lives and communities for the better.”

There were a total of 1,000 houses created by SM cares for Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors in the Visayas. These villages were located in Bogo, Cebu (200 houses), Concepcion, Iloilo (200 houses), Tacloban (400 houses0, and Ormoc (200 houses).


Bringing play to the displaced children of Mayon

Play It Forward Resilience (PIFR), Unilab Foundation’s therapeutic play program for children in vulnerable areas, in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), recently provided psychosocial support to students and parents from San Jose Elementary School (SJES) and evacuees from Calbayog Elementary School (CES) in Malilipot, Albay, in response to the Mayon volcano eruptions.

‘Sanay na po kami’

Since January 2018, the Mayon volcano eruptions have dominated the news. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert level to 4 (hazardous eruption within days), and ordered the evacuation of residents, especially those living within the six-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ). Reports say approximately 21,000 families or 81,200 individuals have been evacuated.

Nag-start mag-erupt ang Mayon volcano noong January 14. ‘Yun din yung araw na lumipat ‘yung from Calbayog and part of San Roque, pumunta sila dito sa school namin para mag-evacuate. Alam na nila ang gagawin. Calbayog is within the six-kilometer danger zone,” explains Sincletica Buena, Principal and Camp Chief of SJES.


As the designated evacuation site in Malilipot, Albay, SJES now caters over 1,000 learners. Because the evacuees are sheltered in the classrooms, DepEd has designated Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS) for classes. Students from SJES take the morning shift, from 6:00am to 12:00nn, while the displaced students from CES are scheduled for 12:00nn to 6:00pm.

“Naapektuhan po talaga ang pag-aaral ng mga bata. Kasi isipin po natin, ‘yung one day na teaching, ginagawa lang natin dito’ng half day. Although lahat ng subjects natuturo sa kanila, kaya lang nasu-shorten ‘yung time,” shares Marilou Arizapa, Principal of CES.

Rosario Bien, a Grade 1 teacher in SJES adds, “’Yung ibang mga bata, may masakit ang ulo, nahihilo, minsan nagkakaroon ng lagnat, kasi na-se-stress din sila, kahit hindi sila yung masyadong apektado ng Mayon kasi na-displace sila sa kanilang classroom.”

Although parents like Precy Bitara say that her children are used to evacuations every now and then, both the teachers and students suffer. “’Yung ibang bata talaga, parang may trauma na sila siguro sa naranasan na nila, kaya natatakot sila,” shares Bitara.


The power of play

Studies show that children can use play not only to cope with difficult emotions, but also as a way to accelerate healing and recovery from trauma.

To address the need for psychosocial support, the DepEd tapped PIFR for two days of play for the students in Malilipot, Albay.

Play It Forward is a science- and evidence-based program that provides opportunities for children to express and understand their feelings through a play curriculum and a structured or mobile play space.

Twenty-six teachers and Disaster Risk and Reduction Management coordinators from DepEd Region V and DepEd Albay Division received training on PIFR from March 25 to 26, 2018, enabling them to become PIFR facilitators equipped to provide basic psychological first aid to parents and children.

Bien, who facilitated play sessions for her Grade 1 students, shares, “Ang paglalaro po kasi, nawawala ang problema sa kanila. Instead na isipin nila na natakot sila nung pumutok yung bulkan, mas na-enjoy nila yung karanasan nila sa paglalaro.”

Joseph John Jimenez Perez, Project Development Officer II of the DepEd Sorsogon Province, was also trained as a volunteer facilitator. Perez affirmed, “It gives them a sense of normalcy, [since] the evacuation center is definitely a very abnormal situation: this is not their home, this is a learning institution. So through play, it gives them a sense of normalcy that everything will be okay.”


Building resilience, one child at a time

After the play days, teacher-facilitators began preparations to cascade their experience and knowledge to their respective divisions.

A total of 209 students from SJES and CES, from Grades 1 to 6, participated in the PIFR play days on March 27 and 28. In addition, 59 parents also learned about how disasters and crises situations like the volcanic eruption can have severe effects on children, and how understanding and caring for them can help with healing and renewed growth.

PIFR has brought the intervention to disaster-stricken areas: post-Yolanda Tacloban in 2016; Isabela, which was devastated by Super Typhoon Lawin in 2017; and Typhoon Nina-hit Marinduque also in 2017. The program also held play days for children who were affected by the 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Surigao City last year.

Aside from providing response, this year, PIFR is set to build resilience among children in the 10 most vulnerable areas in the Philippines, including Pampanga and Eastern Samar.

Unilab Foundation, Inc. is the corporate foundation of United Laboratories. True to the belief that quality healthcare is for all, it is Unilab Foundation’s mission to build a healthier Philippines, one person, one community at a time.

Learn more about Play It Forward Resilience at www.unilabfoundation.org.


Project 4Eu&As for Boracay youth launched

In spite of the impending closure of Boracay to tourists starting April 16, 2018, the Philippine Red Cross Boracay-Malay Chapter launched a project for the youth in partnership with youth organizations in Italy, Belgium, Indonesia and Portugal. 
The 23-month project is called: “Forward Looking Cooperation in Youth Work: A Dream Getting Through’’ also known as 4Eu&As (pronounced or read as For You & Us) and funded by the European Union program Erasmus +.
The Philippine Red Cross -Boracay Malay Chapter will implement the project in coordination with Italy-based youth organization TDM 2000 International, and with partners that includes the ARS for Progress of People in Belgium, Gerakan Kerelawanan Internasional (GREAT in Indonesia), Synergia in Portugal, and the Philippine Red Cross -Boracay Malay Chapter.
The initiative is a follow-up to EuroAsi: Capacity Building in Youth Work, a project implemented from 2014 to 2016.
The goal of the 4Eu&As is to create mobility program among Europe and South East Asian countries by sharing best practices, methodologies, and policies with other countries who are already involved on similar programs implementation. Its key component are local projects and initiatives that will benefit the local community.
The program enjoined youth participants from five countries and were expected to attend three different training courses and one seminar.
“The project is expected to benefit the more than 2,000 Red Cross Youth members in Boracay and Malay,” explained Rona Liza Inocencio, administrator of the local Red Cross chapter.

The project will contribute in the professional and personal development to the youth, added Inocencio, “because it will help foster active youth participation, especially in local development.”

The ultimate aim of the project implementers is to share the opportunity to the youth in the community and to enable them to create initiatives that will benefit the populace. 
Through the project, youth beneficiaries will also be able to acquire trainings and will have the opportunity to establish collaboration, networking and long-term partnership with youth organizations from Europe and Asia. 

Staging of O’Layra a success

It was a successful staging of the O’Layra: Princesa cang Dagat at the University of the Philippines Visayas Auditorium last April 13, 2013 after viewers overflowed to catch the staging of the production.

The story was based from a radio drama by Antique writer Russel Tordesillas which was originally aired over DYKA (Radyu Kauswagan Antique). The students under the Communication and Media Studies of UP Visayas used the story as a dance adaptation to highlight Western Visayas culture.

The story by Tordesillas was inspired by local folk tale regarding a fabled golden boat used by supernatural beings that traversed the waters of Panay and how O’Layra, locally believed to have truly existed as a tamawo or enchanted princess, journeyed into the world of mortals and resided on a Bubog tree located in Carit-an, Patnongon town in the Province of Antique.

The original script for the production was written and directed by Professor Kevin Pison Piamonte from the Division of Humanities of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The O’Layra was selected as an adaptation piece in order to help spread the story and popularize local and traditional tales of Western Visayas.

The staging also brought to public consciousness the allure of esoteric myths which has rapidly diminished as a result of globalization and modernity. The students under the subject CMS 145 (Advertising Campaign) hoped to have reignited the interest of the viewers on stories that were previously significant among people in local communities but are now forgotten.

The successful staging of O’Layra was attained because of its production team composed of: Robert Rodriguez, Choreographer; Crista Sianson-Huyong, Composer & Musical Director; Roman Sanares, Production Designer; and Kristine Javier, Costume Designer.

Food & Dining

Food, Drinks, Music: This is what Festive Walk Parade is all about!

It finally embraced what it has been named for – the Festive Walk Parade with ‘Festive Nights,’ a series of weekend night party starting Thursday up to Sunday evening from 10PM till past midnight and up to the wee hours.
“This is what Festive Walk Parade must be like” said a family who were dining Thursday night to celebrate a graduation.
All tables were occupied at the Iloilo Business Park with a band playing music, street food smokin from the grill, and lots of laughter revealing the Ilonggos penchant for outdoor dining along the 1.1-kilometer dining strip.
Asked how they felt about the newest ‘Festive Night,’ a group of young professionals quipped “this is what Festive Walk Parade is all about. It has finally come to life; festive and lively atmosphere unlike the set before.”
“Remember Ilonggos love the streets”, they added as they enjoyed a mix of foodie by “Nice to Meat You” and “Scalloops in Iloilo.”
For a limited time, the streets of Festive Walk Parade have been converted into a Calle Street Food Market inviting passers-by to experience outdoor dining at food trucks and pop-up food joints who offer sumptuous food options and an array of delicious grilled specialties from chicken, pork, beef and innards, as well as other Ilonggo specialties such as scallops, oysters, mussels, and many more.
“Festive Nights encapsulates our vision of elevating the lifestyle and nightlife scene here in Iloilo – something we have been known for with our mall developments,” – Kevin Tan, SVP and head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.
“It is through this events that we want to give Ilonggos, especially the younger market, a taste of what we are about to bring once we open our new mall, the Festive Walk Mall, this year,” Tan added.
The 12 food joints on food trucks at the Calle Street Food Night Market has tripled foot traffic at the Megaworld and enhanced the festivity with Nice to Meat You, Scalloops in Iloilo, Spoon & Pork, Ayra, House of Spam, Lechon Republic, Pakpak Co., Dakoba Sausages, Wrap N’ Roll, Holy Grill, Quick and Dry and Fort in the City.
Since its opening, the Festive Walk Parade was teeming with people and diners bringing boosting customers for permanent establishments, such as: Grillers, JipBab, Bistro Carcossa, Pizzaro, Café Panay, 13th Street Espresso, Assi Fresh, and Teodorico’s.
Two new establishments also opened: Ayra Brazilian Steak House and Bottleground.


Media and bloggers night at the Bottleground at the Festive Walk Parade, Iloilo Business Park.


Ayra Brazilian Steakhouse offers an innovative dining experience for meat and steak lovers. Go and ask what to do with that blue and orange tumbler at the table.
The Bottleground, on the other hand, is a cozy and intimate bar for evening conversation over brandy or mixed drinks.
Summer evenings at the “City of Love” is getting hotter and more exciting with “Festive Nights.” Enjoy weekend night street party with a dynamic fusion of food and entertainment at the Festive Walk Parade.



INTÉGRÉ introduces beds solutions to PH; launches Beds ‘N All

Beds ‘n All by INTÉGRÉ, a new brand known for its lite-handy designs has opened its showroom at the heart of Iloilo City’s business district – Central Park along Taft North, Mandurriao, entry point to Megaworld Iloilo.
The showroom is established as the first store to open in the Philippines and it is envisioned to build its distributorship from the Visayas to other parts of the country.
The materials by INTÉGRÉ were created to adapt to different interior motifs that can be tailor fitted for rooms with various styles and designs; useful and functional especially for condominiums that is fast shaping Iloilo City’s urban landscape.

Ribbon-Cutting: Beds ‘N All opened office and showroom at the Central Park, Taft North, Mandurriao, Iloilo City, March 24, 2018. Attended by family and friends of Mary Precy Aguilar-Lego, one of the shareholders. From left: Rev. Fr. Narciso Landar, who led the blessing; Iloilo City Councilor Mandrie Malabor joining the family during the opening led by Preciosa Aguilar, Carmen Villanueva,  lawyer Maricar Villanueva-Hiballes, and staff Geilyn Jalbona.


Convenience and ease is top of the mind for Beds ‘n All by INTÉGRÉ. Its beds boost comfort and it requires no special tools to assemble. Every merchandize are do-it-yourself and easy-to-assemble offering ease whether you’re a corporate dweller in a bachelor’s pad or studio-type condominium or a laid-back middle-income earner in suburban townhouse or subdivision.
Beds ‘n All by INTÉGRÉ offers quality material made from solid pine wood and oak using sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices observing rigorous quality standards required in Europe and the United States.
You can also find bedroom accessories, furnishings and wall papers, including pillows, pillow cases, linens and sheets that complements your bed designs at Beds ‘n All by INTÉGRÉ.

Beds ‘N All by INTEGRE showroom is located at the Central Park Complex, Taft North, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.


Beds ‘n All by INTÉGRÉ can also customize products in order to suit design specifications with a minimum order quantity required. It is open to retailers and product distributors in the Philippines.
Re-conceptualize, redesign and renovate your rooms and Beds ‘n All by INTÉGRÉ has the bedroom solution for you.
Financial Literacy, Insurance

Sun Life remains PH No. 1 insurance company

Sun Life

The Philippine Insurance Commission has affirmed the No. 1 spot for Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. having attained the highest total premium income of P32-billion in 2017.
It is Sun Life’s seventh consecutive year to occupy the top spot demonstrating sustained leadership in the insurance sector.
“This milestone is one we attribute to our clients, whose trust and support inspired us to keep improving and innovating,” expressed Alex Narciso, president of Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) Inc.
“We also have our advisors, employees and partners to thank, for it is through their hard work and passion that we are able to touch the lives of more Filipinos,” added Narciso.
Sun Life attributed its sustained success from the intensive effort undertaken by its advisors who served more clients in 2017 despite of the challenges that subjected the market and the financial condition of the period.
Its advisors settled P2 billion in Annualized First Year premium (AFYP) in the last quarter of 2017, the company’s highest in the past five years.
The previous year saw the Sun Life group of companies growing its client base to over 3 million, while its advisory force has also hit over 11,000.
“We are on track to realizing our RI5E PH vision of having 5 million clients by 2020”, said Sun Life Philippines CEO and Country Head Riza Mantaring.
“We are happy to see a growing appreciation for financial planning among Filipinos and this is a big step towards ensuring a brighter future for themselves and our country as a whole,” Mantaring underscored.
For 2018, Sun Life is setting its sights on tapping broader markets, launching new products, and offering more digital tools, while continuously enhancing its services to clients.
“Sun Life’s mission remains the same, and that is to help Filipinos achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives,” said Mantaring and “we look forward to exploring more ways to make this a reality for all of our clients.”