Sunday, October 31, 2021

Enchanted Christmas at SM Masinag

The atrium of SM City Masinag turns into a charming oasis of reds, greens, and golds as they launch their Christmas centerpiece, which is aptly named, Enchanted Christmas.  

Giant embellishments of peonies, roses, Christmas balls adorn towering Christmas trees at the center of the display. Lighted butterflies swirl the trees, the rustic swings, and the entire centerpiece. Tall-lighted gazebos and entrance arch entice shoppers to take photos of this beautiful holiday indoor scenery. Poinsettias, gift boxes, and huge bows are spread on the patches of greeneries at the centerpiece.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Mondelēz International Puts the “We” in Well-being as Need for Holistic Well-being Surges

Putting People Well-being First

Well-being Challenge achieved 5 million steps and 4,800 kilometers 

Company Activates Annual Purpose Day in the Philippines

Mondelēz International (NASDAQ: MDLZ) celebrates its Purpose to empower people to snack right by focusing on well-being for its colleagues, consumers, and communities during its third annual Purpose Day. The event, which is held around the anniversary of the global snacking company’s founding on October 1, mobilizes nearly 31,000 colleagues to activate a key element of the company’s purpose in unison around the world.  This year’s theme is “Let’s put the ‘we’ in well-being.” 

Given the strains of the pandemic, well-being has never been more urgent. According to IPSOS’ 2021 Global Well-being Survey, only one-third of people say well-being is fully or slightly integrated into their company’s business and talent strategy. Top employee well-being issues include work-life balance (61%), mental health (61%), work environment/culture (47%), and burnout (43%). 

With the importance of holistic well-being climbing rapidly, the company has chosen to focus its annual Purpose Day activities exclusively on well-being in the areas of mind, body, and connection, including:

MDLZ Master Class held last Sept. 30 on LinkedIn Live for colleagues and the public focused on demystifying personal well-being with the following thought leaders present: 

  • Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO, Mondelēz International 
  • Anh Tran, M.D., M.P.H. and Global Director of Health, Mondelēz International
  • Clif Smith, Mindfulness Leader, EY, and bestselling author of Mindfulness Without the Bells and Beads 

Healthy Habits Challenge where colleagues can complete simple micro-actions in the areas of mind, body, and connection to enhance their well-being

40 Local Well-being Volunteer Events were possible and which benefited community well-being, from harvesting vegetables for disadvantaged communities to promoting physical activity for kids  

35 Local Well-being Chats highlighting local efforts such as new well-being product innovations, mindful snacking, mental health, meditation, and nutrition.  

The company celebrated Purpose Day in the Philippines by having three activities to promote the well-being of its people. The first was a Walk/ Run/ Bike competition where as many as 18 colleagues were given prizes for having the most number of steps and kilometers during a 2-week challenge period. In total the company achieved more than 5 million steps and 4,800 kilometers for the bike and run challenges with half of its workforce participating. With October being Mental Health Month, a virtual session was also held which featured Dr. Shake Hocson of the Far Eastern University, who provided tips to colleagues on how to take care of their mental health during this pandemic. Lastly, a Passion Showdown was held, where colleagues submitted causes they are passionate about, for a chance to win funding for a donation. The winning cause was to support the Children’s Joy Foundation. 

About Mondelēz International

Mondelēz International, Inc. (Nasdaq: MDLZ) empowers people to snack right in over 150 countries around the world. With 2020 net revenues of approximately $27 billion, MDLZ is leading the future of snacking with iconic global and local brands such as OREO, belVita, and LU biscuits; Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka, and Toblerone chocolate; Sour Patch Kids candy and Trident gum. Mondelēz International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, Nasdaq 100, and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit or follow the company on Twitter at

About Mondelez Philippines 

Mondelez Philippines Inc. has been providing consumers with delicious snack products for the past 58 years - since 1963. Its product portfolio includes Tang powdered beverages, Eden cheese, mayonnaise, and sandwich spread, Cheez Whiz spread, Oreo cookies, Tiger energy biscuits, belVita breakfast biscuits, as well as Toblerone and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates. The company employs about 450 people in the Philippines, with a manufacturing facility in Parañaque City. Visit

Summit SuperSHEroes Come in Pink!


100+ Leaders of Breast Cancer Patient Groups Band Together

Last September 11, 2021, Olympic Gold Medalist Hidilyn Diaz surprised a group of Breast Cancer patient advocate leaders on the last day of the 2-day Patient Power Summit led and organized by the ICanServe Foundation Inc.

A SuperSHEro herself, Diaz related her humble beginnings,  how she hurdled the battles that got in the way of her dreams with the grace and determination of a champion’s heart.  Diaz emphasized, “Hindi ako sumuko. (I didn’t give up).”   She said the formula was simple “level up your game to reach your goal.” As a sports icon and an authentic leader in her field, she said the goal should always be to become a  survivor and a victor.

Crisann Celdran, co-founder and Chairman of the ICanServe Foundation

In a gathering of cancer advocate leaders that represented 34 breast cancer patient groups from all over the country, the mission was beyond helping navigate a patient through wellness. “We continue to believe that early detection saves lives and we need to continue to make strides. But we also see the need to reach out and help each other, to share cancer resources, to work together to make an even bigger difference, to possibly come up with sustainable solutions for the breast cancer community,” Crisann Celdran, co-founder and Chairman of the ICanServe Foundation. She opened the summit with a call to the forerunners of the community to work closely together, elevate the advocacy and work towards speaking as one.

Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, founding Chairman of the ICANSERVE Foundation, pointed out this is a unique time in the health space where one witnesses the most number of founders of cancer patient groups carving a new path. “It’s a historical moment in the cancer space, as we witness the evolution of a new frontier we call the patient movement. We’re all founders, pioneers, and first or second-generation volunteers. We have to be navigators for each other, as we shape a future, free of cancer,” Alikpala said.

Cancer patient leaders in attendance belonged to organizations that were independently created, hospital-based, or founded with the help of a cancer doctor or a socio-civic group. Yet they all shared the same concerns from psychosocial, the drastic interruption in family life,  to financial, to lack of access to quality care and affordable or free cancer diagnostics, treatments, palliative, and survivorship care. ICANSERVE President Nikoy de Guzman also observed they shared the same burning desire to serve, “walang survivor na hindi lumaban.” 

The patient leaders vowed they will not rest nor be complacent till breast cancer is diagnosed in its early stage cancer when it’s most curable, till every patient with cancer, no matter the stage, age, income bracket, religion, ethnicity, are given quality care and a chance to be with family for longer. Till seeing the end to breast cancer.

The Patient Power Summit was made possible and successful through the help of partner brands and organizations such as Bio-ONCO, AIA Summit, In the Pink, Pfizer Philippines Foundation, Nestle, Mondelez Philippines, and Skincare for Hope.

To find out more information about how you can support breast cancer advocacy, like and follow the official ICanServe Foundation Facebook Page,, and ICANSERVE on Instagram and Twitter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Planning for your Financial Freedom


The pandemic that caused a lot of trouble to both the economy and the health system around the world can be regarded as a great equalizer. No one is spared from the effects of it. The rich feeling the downturn in their investments, the middle class either losing their job or getting lower income due to the revenue plunge of their employers, and the poor being the most vulnerable because of the disruptive effect of the pandemic to their livelihood.

No one can say they were ready for what happened in 2020. Now that everyone is slowly picking up the pieces and trying their best to live with the virus towards the new normal, here are some tips to turn finances around and repair one’s credit. 

Understanding Your Current State. It is important to know your current financial stand to appreciate the situation and prepare how you will go about it. Look closely at what your present financial capacity is and evaluate what your current standing is. Are you on track to growing your assets, or are you in a situation when you have more debts to pay than what you are earning? Assessing your current situation will help you identify the next steps to turn your finances around and plan to mitigate existing challenges.

Knowing Where You Want to Go. After determining your existing hurdles and leads, define where you are heading and put a timeline on when you think you should get there. Knowing your course would help you prepare and identify the resources you will need to get there, the time you will require to achieve your goals, and perhaps the help you might need to further boost your success. Like planning for an important project, it will be helpful to come up with a blueprint of your vision as it will put more order on how you should go about achieving your objectives for the future.

Doing What You Need To Do. Now that you have defined your destination, it is time to create your personal project plan. Putting in the activities or the roadmap to where you want to go gives you a clear picture of how to go where you want to go. Parallelly, it allows for you to identify the resources you will require for each step you will go through as defined in the plan – the right people to connect to, opportunities to explore to help increase your financial capabilities like investments in the form of a new business venture, insurance, cash bonds, forex trading, stocks, cryptocurrency and other forms of financial investment depending on your risk appetite and readiness to get into a venture based on your defined timeline. Similarly, it allows for you to identify steps that will help you mitigate your current liabilities like paying off debts, setting up a realistic budget to spend for your needs, assessing your spending for those that are not really needed, reconsidering if you really need a credit card – things that will help you control the flow of money outwardly.

As you start filling up the activities, timeline, and resources you will need to build your plan, it will also be important to define key success measures that will tell you that you are meeting your set targets and lead you to your ultimate goal. One example of a success measure is defining your disposable amount from your total income against the amount that you can set aside for future needs. A disposable amount will be allotted for paying the necessities, debts, and other obligations. The amount for future needs will be allocated to savings, investments, emergency funds, and some amount to celebrate special events and mini successes that will be beneficial for your total wellbeing. 

Keeping Yourself Motivated. After putting together all of this important information in your project plan, you should already have a good appreciation of what it looks like to go on a journey of financial readiness and wellness. But before you say you are ready to move ahead, do not forget the primary reason why you are doing this. Ask yourself what your general purpose is why do you want to turn your finances around and repair your credit. Know your higher intention aside for having better credit. The path to getting to your target will be very difficult, that at times, you will feel like you would like to give up and limit yourself to achieving the easier way to get things done. Having an answer to your why will allow you to keep yourself motivated and see through the challenges that await your path to success. It's best to always find someone so you could both talk to win.

Do you want to increase your chances of achieving financial freedom? Learn more here.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Vibal Launches Quiz App


Vibal Group continues to make headway in making online teaching and learning more user-friendly and convenient for schools, teachers, and students by developing new dynamic applications. This October, Vibal releases the VSmart Quiz App where students can keep their memory sharp and their minds well-tuned—all while having fun competing with other students. 

VSmart Quiz

Quizzes are effective in training and practicing our minds in analytical thinking, regardless of the platforms. It forces our brain to regain the information we learned and helps us imprint them in our memory for good. VSmart Quiz exactly does that. It is a free mobile application where users can answer questions on different subjects. The application has thousands of questions that cover topics about history, culture, politics, science, arts, sports, technology, entertainment, pop culture, and more. The questions are distributed according to three difficulty levels: low, medium, high so the users may test their knowledge as they progress through the app. Choose the difficulty level that best suits your mood. 

There are also four modes for playing. Solo mode lets you challenge yourself to an exciting brain game. You may test yourself and earn points as you go from one level to another. Versus mode lets you play with another player. You may challenge a random player in a battle of wits and earn more points. Group mode lets a maximum of five players answer the questions for three rounds. Versus group mode lets one group compete with another group. All modes have a time limit for each question so be sure to be sharp in reading the questions and choices!

The group and versus group modes let you create your own group, come up with a group name, and even select a group avatar. Teachers may also use the application to conduct a quiz bee through the Group or Versus Group mode.

The application is available to download at the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Users only need to register using their email address or Facebook credentials and they are good to go!

Friday, October 15, 2021

SM Supermalls launches The SM StartUp Package for aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs


100 Small business owners invited to set up shop in SM malls

It has been almost two years since the pandemic brought Filipino life and many livelihoods to a screeching halt. According to a 2020 Asian Development Bank (ADB) study of 1,804 Philippine MSMEs, 70.6% were forced to temporarily close with 66.2% reported to have temporary staff cuts during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bucking these statistics and the odds created by the changes in the landscape, the enterprising Filipino found many opportunities in online businesses, with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recording over 88,000 new e-commerce registrations at the end of 2020. This figure is projected to be a million e-commerce enterprises by 2022 (from 500,000 in 2020). By taking advantage of the online space, MSME owners have become unsung heroes of the economy, all the while providing for their families and making their business dreams a reality. 

SM Supermalls very well understands the potential of each Filipino to be successful business owners because of their founder, the late Mr. Henry Sy’s own inspiring story. Sy, fondly called “Tatang” in SM, started as a small business owner with his first footwear shop ShoeMart.

It is said that because of this, it is in SM’s DNA to enable and inspire small businesses like the one it once was. This October 15, not coincidentally Tatang’s birthday, SM launched The SM StartUp Package, which aims to provide small online businesses the valuable support they need so they can set up their shop in an SM mall.  This is available to the first 100 digital-based MSME owners who currently don’t have a shop inside SM or any other physical store in general.

The package offers features such as start-up-friendly rental rates and use of kiosks or carts free of charge; marketing assistance to give the brand free exposure in SM online assets and ad spaces inside malls; financial assistance with BDO; and mentorship from SM experts on operations and marketing.

The Start-Up Markets, as they will be called, will be situated in prime mall locations within 13 regional and premier malls in major cities: SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall, SM Pampanga, SM Clark, SM Grand Central, SM Sta. Rosa, SM City Cebu, SM Iloilo, SM Bacolod, SM CDO Downtown Premier, and SM Lanang Premier.

"We created The SM StartUp Package because we saw how Filipinos persevered in the past year. Very much true to the spirit of Henry Sy, who always said he worked harder during bad times,  many MSMEs did not let the pandemic stop them from providing good service and products -- even from their own homes. We want to give them a chance to further grow their businesses and brands, and enable them to start their SM shops which they can one day grow into business empires, just like our founder once did.,” said SM Supermalls President Steven T. Tan.

Following Tatang’s legacy

The late founder Mr. Henry Sy is also proof of an entrepreneur’s resilience and hard work. After arriving in the Philippines at just 12 years old from China, he helped sell products in his father’s retail store. When he saved enough money, he was able to open his first business in 1958: a footwear shop called ShoeMart, which would later become the foundation for today’s 77 SM Supermalls. 

The success of the mall didn’t come without challenges. A notable one was when Mr. Sy opened SM Megamall in Edsa in 1985 during a turbulent time in the Philippines. Instead of letting the political and economic climate discourage him, it pushed him to work harder to overcome the crisis. This disposition would carry over in the next few decades and would inspire a new generation of MSME owners to look for opportunities even during adversity. 

This is evident in the stories of entrepreneurs like Chizmozza founder Hannah Ramos, who sold her mozzarella recipe online before opening her food cart at SM, Ian Darcy, who started his namesake fragrance brand after being forced to resign from his marketing job; and Oishii Maki chef Ramon Molina, who started a sushi and maki business at SM after working as an Overseas Filipino as a Japanese Chef in 5-star hotels. 

Starting with just one humble ChizMozza cart in SM North Edsa in 2016, the small business has steadily grown and now has a total of 21 branches, situated in various SM malls, nationwide. Seen in the photo is ChizMozza founder, Hannah Ramos - a true believer in the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinos, as well as how SM continues to help entrepreneurs like her become even more successful with the recent launch of its SM Startup Package.    

“I took a chance to grow Chizmozza from an online store to having one humble food cart in SM North Edsa back in 2016. Now Chizmozza has 21 SM branches. They saw the potential of our unique cheese products and through our mutual hard work and perseverance, we grew, even through the pandemic.” Hannah shared

These are just some of the stories behind successful MSME owners and how they were able to succeed when empowered with the right resources. The SM StartUp Package will allow more people to level up their online start-up, inspiring them to follow in the footsteps of “Tatang” so they can take more confident steps even during these uncertain times.

During the virtual launch of the SM StartUp Package hosted by Sam Yg last Oct 15, SM Supermalls President Mr. Steven Tan was joined by three young successful MSMEs; Nina Cabrera from Colourette, Patty Ang from Patton, and Jerald Sze from 365 Designs Retailing, who talked about how their business began online and how they successfully grew it at SM Supermalls. 

Other notable guests during the launch included Ms. Jean Pacheco, Assistant Secretary of DTI, and the SM Super Team composed of BDO Network Bank’s SVP and MSME Business Head Karen Cua, BDO Acquiring FVP Merchant Partnerships and Retail Sales Head Bob Tolentino, SM Supermalls VP for Corporate Marketing, Grace F. Magno, and AVP for Leasing Strategy and Operations, Gina T. Katigbak, who discussed details of the SM StartUp Package.

For more information, visit or follow @smsupermalls on all social media accounts to find out how to sign up for The SM StartUp Package.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Malilimutin: Dahil nga ba sa katandaan?


Early detection of dementia is critical -- expert

A medical expert has sounded the alarm on early and proper detection of dementia in the Philippines which is often misinterpreted as an aging problem or being ulyanin and malilimutin in Filipino terms. 

In the first episode of a webinar series called “Malilimutin: Dahil nga ba sa katandaan?" 

Neurologist and dementia specialist Dr. Jacqueline Dominguez shared her knowledge on dementia and how to differentiate it from mere forgetfulness on the part of the patient. 

HI-Eisai sponsored the webinar to raise awareness on dementia and related types of diseases. 

"Dementia is a collection of symptoms with a decline in cognition, change in behavior, and impairment of daily function," Dominguez said in the live webinar held last Thursday (Sept 9).

She enumerated the types of dementia, including the most common one, Alzheimer's disease. Other types are frontotemporal, Parkinson's dementia, dementia due to traumatic brain injury, and dementia due to depression and other medical conditions. 

For her part, digital influencer Nina Rayos acknowledged that there is still a lack of awareness when it comes to dealing with dementia. 

Rayos is known on social media through her vlogs featuring her mother, Donya Toyang, who has been clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 

She shared how it took seven years before her family learned that Donya Toyang was forgetful, not due to old age, but was inflicted with the disease.

"My mother started to show early symptoms of [Alzheimer's disease] in 2012, but we only just had her diagnosed in 2019. We didn't really think about it so much back then, thinking that maybe she's just simply getting old. She forgets a lot of things, and she always misplaces house keys and money," Rayos said. 

What triggered her to finally bring her mother to the hospital was when the latter was hallucinating. 

Rayos recalled how Donya Toyang started to become confused about basic day-to-day activities such as cooking and began to forget important details in her life such as the name of her children and granddaughter and the fact that her parents and other loved ones already passed away. 

Dominguez said disorientation or hallucination is one way to differentiate mere forgetfulness from dementia. She said that is most likely dementia when someone's moment of disorientation already makes it hard for her to go back to reality and determine what's real or not.

"Early diagnosis prevents the disease from progressing. Elders suffering from dementia are treated badly because the family doesn't understand their situation," Dominguez explained. 

Dominguez then highlighted the importance of the role of family and relatives in spotting the aforementioned symptoms. She said it’s the patients’ loved ones that can help direct them to appropriate medical responses to their condition.

Meanwhile, Dominguez said other symptoms to watch out for are extreme cases of memory loss wherein the potential patient could no longer remember a lot of things; when the person is already having difficulty in performing tasks that she or he is used to doing; when the person is already having poor judgment. 

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to help slow down the progression of Dementia. Visit your doctor at the earliest sign/symptom to give you or your loved one the best treatment possible.

The “Malilimutin: Dahil nga ba sa katandaan?" Facebook Live last September 9 and 23, 2021 webinars are available at the HI-Eisai Pharmaceutical, Inc. Facebook page.

September 9 - 

September 23 -

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Hearty Meals for a Healthy, Happy Family

Trust the Filipino to put the most positive of spins on the most difficult of times. And that is exactly what many Pinoy families are doing in this pandemic, which is leaving people little choice but to hole up at home rather than risk their health outside. While this situation is less than ideal, many Filipino families are nonetheless using the extra time they are spending at home to bond with one another—usually over food, whether for a kingly breakfast, a sumptuous lunch, a mouthwatering merienda, or a delectable dinner. 

But as COVID-19 showed yet again, there is no substitute for good health, and that is something you and your family can best ensure by sharing food that is both hearty and healthy. To be clear, this doesn’t mean saying goodbye entirely to all-time Pinoy favorites, like adobo or liempo or sinigang. These delicacies will forever be part of the Filipino dining table, and you can continue to feast on them from time to time. That said, do explore other food choices for the family and try out meals from the usual ones Filipinos have grown to love. 

With that in mind, Umbria has prepared some recipes that you and your family can prepare together and eat later at the dining table while you spend some much-deserved quality time. Here are two of them, and they happen to be a perfect match: a sandwich with beef and mushrooms and a leveled-up potato soup. Both are easy to prepare and are all sorts of hearty and healthy. 

Beef Mushroom Sandwich

     Beef Mushroom Sandwich


30 grams of sukiyaki beef

50 grams of portabella mushrooms

1 tablespoon of soy sauce



Umbria Truffle Oil

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce


1. Marinate the sukiyaki beef for at least 30 minutes with soy sauce and Worcestershire Sauce.

2. Once the beef is marinated, start cooking the mushrooms. Add some butter and sauté them in a pan. When done, set the mushrooms aside.

3. In the same pan, heat some butter again. Then, add the beef.

4. Season the beef with salt and black pepper.

5. While the beef is cooking, start preparing the bread. Put some mayonnaise on the bread.

6. Once the beef starts caramelizing, add the mushrooms.

7. Add salt and two teaspoons of Umbria Truffle Oil.

8. Stuff the bread with the beef and mushroom.

Serve and enjoy with a hot serving of potato leak soup with truffle oil. 

Potato Leek Soup with Truffle Oil

     Potato Leek Soup with Truffle Oil


3 medium potatoes (400grams)

35 grams of leaks

750 mL of stock 

125 mL Cream 

White pepper

Umbria truffle oil


1. Peel the potatoes and then cut into 12 slices. 

2. Slice the leaks

3. Put some butter in a hot pan and sauté the leeks. 

4. Add the potatoes when the leaks start becoming translucent. Stir until the potatoes are covered with leeks and butter.

5. Season with salt and white pepper. 

6. Once the potatoes are becoming glazed, you can now pour the stock.

7. Let it boil. Wait around 30 minutes.

8. Once cooked, blend it and then strain. 

9. Add cream. Then, season with salt and white pepper. Stir.

10. Add half a tablespoon of Umbria truffle oil.

Serve and enjoy, preferably with a beef mushroom sandwich. 

Pandemic or not, two of the most valuable things in life will always be a loving family and a healthy body. And one of the best ways to enjoy both is to bond over food, but preferably with healthy food choices always on the plate. Umbria is distributed in the Philippines by Dygen Food Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Dyna Drug Corporation and available at


Monday, October 4, 2021



September 29 is World Heart Day all around the globe. 

More than just a celebration, World Heart Day was established in the hopes that it could reach more people and be able to spread awareness about the perils of heart diseases and stroke.

Sanofi recognizes that this is a unique time to be worried about heart health and learn more about the steps that should be taken to ensure risk-free living, especially under a cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s heartbreaking to see those with comorbidities battle a critical to severe form of the virus- forcing them to put their lives on hold, be isolated from family, friends, and people who matter most to them,” Amal Makhloufi Benchouk, the Philippines Country Lead for Sanofi, shared in her opening remarks.

Statistics have shown that 7 out of 10 people are diagnosed with hypertension, and 2 out of 10 hypertension patients die. Sanofi continues to respond to the challenge of dealing with comorbidities during this time, by emphasizing the need to address the lack of awareness and limited access to cardiovascular disease management. 

“Cardiovascular Disease remains the number 1 killer in the world, resulting in about 18.6 million deaths worldwide and over 520 million people globally living with cardiovascular disease that has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” she remarked.

Sanofi’s mission has led them to create the Empower Hypertension Program, which aims to deliver awareness, prevention, and management to patients. The program provides enlisted patients with free coaching sessions led by nurse educators to arm them with information that tackles myths and facts about the disease, among others.

Sanofi has also partnered with Omron, a leading medical electronics company, to extend a 20% to 25% discount to patients, encouraging them to procure the technology to monitor their blood pressure regularly.

Sanofi remains committed to its mission to promote hypertension management at the early stages and to inspire individuals to take control of their own health.

To learn more about the program, visit or thru their Instagram account