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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Cebu Pacific Takes Flight for Pride

Flight 5J 905, Cebu Pacific's very first Pride flight, flew from Manila to Boracay on June 5, 2023 and was operated by a crew of LGBTQIA+ members and allies.

Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB), the Philippines’ leading airline, kicked off its Pride Month celebration with the launch of its very first Pride flight,  highlighting the airline’s unwavering commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and equity for every Juan.

The CEB Flight 5J 905, which flew from Manila to Boracay, was operated by LGBTQIA+ members and allies. The team includes Captain Bensie Tan, Captain Bettina Mercado, First Officer Lorenz Montinola, First Officer Chezka Carandang, Christopher Ian Mau, Kevin Jason Baetiong, Kimberly Naval, NiƱa Marudo, and Mikee Vitug.

Flight 5J 905, Cebu Pacific's very first Pride flight, flew from Manila to Boracay on June 5, 2023 and was operated by a crew of LGBTQIA+ members and allies.

Passengers on board were treated to Pride-themed giveaways, fun games, and an exclusive chance to win a free roundtrip domestic flight ticket, among others.

“We take great pride in the diversity and inclusivity that define Cebu Pacific's culture. Throughout the years, we have created a safe space for every Juan and have consistently progressed towards celebrating individuality. This year, we are thrilled to pay tribute to our moment makers from the Pride community by featuring them on a special flight—a truly remarkable way to kick off the celebration of Pride Month.” ~Candice Iyog, CEB Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer

The Pride Flight is only the first installment of CEB's lineup of events dedicated to Pride Month. Throughout June, CEB will host various training and online courses, all aimed at fostering equity and advocating for gender sensitivity in the workplace.

Flight 5J 905, Cebu Pacific's very first Pride flight, flew from Manila to Boracay on June 5, 2023 and was operated by a crew of LGBTQIA+ members and allies.

Flight 5J 905, Cebu Pacific's very first Pride flight, flew from Manila to Boracay on June 5, 2023 and was operated by a crew of LGBTQIA+ members and allies.

To further support the cause, several fundraising events have been planned to help the non-profit organization Golden Gays. The funds raised from these activities will be dedicated to extending assistance to the elderly members of the Golden Gays.

In 2019, CEB played a pivotal role in shaping Philippine aviation by employing the first transwomen cabin crew, Jess Labares and Mikee Vitug. The milestone serves as a testament to the airline’s steadfast commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace environment.

Join Cebu Pacific as it takes flight for Pride Month and celebrates diversity and inclusivity. For more information, visit

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

SM Cares unveils Pocketful of Sunshine exhibit, captivates moments of courage and hope

Representatives from SM Cares, SM City Clark, Kythe Foundation, Fotoklase, Focus Bulacan, Fujifilm volunteers, and UP Aviation Society during the launch of Pocketful of Sunshine Exhibit at SM City Clark.

A heartwarming exhibit, showcasing the unforgettable moments from the Pocketful of Sunshine fly-by event, was unveiled at SM City Clark on June 2, 2023. Organized in collaboration with SM Cares, SM City Clark, Angeles City Flying Club (ACFC), and Kythe Foundation, the exhibit aims to celebrate the indomitable spirit of courageous children with disabilities.

The Pocketful of Sunshine exhibit features a collection of photographs captured during the extraordinary fly-by event, which took place on March 19, 2023. Around thirty-one (31) children had the remarkable opportunity to embark on a breathtaking adventure in ultralight aircraft. These captivating images was taken by volunteer photography groups such as Fotoklase, Focus Bulacan, Fujifilm Photographers, and UP Aviation Society, that beautifully portray the joy, courage, and wonder experienced by the children during their airborne journey.

(L-R) SM City Clark Assistant Mall Manager John Louie Mutuc, Angeles City Flying Club President Tonet Rivera, SM Supermalls Senior Vice President Engr. Bien C. Mateo, Angeles City Vice Mayor Vicky Vega, Kythe Foundation Executive Director Dr. Angie Sievert-Fernandez, and SM Cares Asst. Vice President Richard A. Caluyo

To mark the launch of this touching exhibit, a ceremonial ribbon cutting was held, graced by the presence of Engr. Bien C. Mateo, SVP for SM Supermalls and Director of SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities; Dr. Angie Sievert-Fernandez, Executive Director of Kythe Foundation; Mr. Tonet Rivera, President of Angeles City Flying Club; and Angeles City Vice Mayor Vicky Vega, symbolizing the opening of a world filled with boundless dreams and possibilities for children facing cancer and chronic illnesses.

"We are honored to showcase the incredible moments captured during the Pocketful of Sunshine fly-by event. This exhibit serves as a testament to the resilience and bravery of these extraordinary children. It is our collective hope that their stories of courage will inspire others to believe in the power of dreams and create an inclusive environment for all.” ~Engr. Bien C. Mateo, SVP for SM Supermalls and Director of SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities

SM Cares unveils Pocketful of Sunshine exhibit, captivates moments of courage and hope

SM Cares unveils Pocketful of Sunshine exhibit, captivates moments of courage and hope

SM Cares unveils Pocketful of Sunshine exhibit, captivates moments of courage and hope

The Pocketful of Sunshine exhibit promises to be an uplifting and heart-touching event, celebrating the strength of these young warriors. Their remarkable journey, immortalized through the lens of compassionate photographers, serves as a reminder of the importance of collective support and fostering accessible experiences for children facing health challenges.

Mall-goers can visit the exhibit from until June 8, 2023 at The Event Centre near Foodcourt of SM City Clark. 

SM Cares is the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, supporting initiatives focused on communities and the environment. Aside from the program on PWDs, its advocacies include Programs for the Environment, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the SM Bike-friendly initiative.

To learn more about these programs, visit

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Cebu Pacific officials with the awardees in the 10th CEBBIZ Awards during the awarding ceremony at Dusit Thani Manila.

Cebu Pacific officials with the awardees in the 10th CEBBIZ Awards during the awarding ceremony at Dusit Thani Manila.

Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB), the Philippines’ leading carrier, recognized its top performing corporate and government accounts at the 10th edition of the CEBBIZ Awards.

A total of 24 accounts from the country’s top 1,000 companies, government agencies, small and medium enterprises, and labor and shipping sectors were conferred with the CEBBIZ Award in a ceremony held at Dusit Thani Manila in Makati City.

A special award was also given to the Department of Budget and Management - Procurement Service as CEB’s invaluable partner for 2022.

The CEBBIZ Awards is an annual event that aims to recognize CEB’s top corporate account producers. The 2023 ceremony, which recognized the previous year’s top producers, was the first since 2019 after the awards were suspended for three years due to the pandemic.

“Through these awards, we hope you will all accept our gratitude for keeping Cebu Pacific strong despite the challenging times, and for helping the airline soar high again.” ~Arlene Tena, CEB Director for Passenger Sales and Distribution, told the awardees during the awarding ceremony

To further show appreciation for their efforts, CEB took the awardees on a tour around Albay to explore the province’s stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and vibrant culture. The tour was in partnership with the Provincial Government of Albay, Albay Provincial Tourism, Culture, and the Arts Office and Misibis Bay Resort Philippines.

CEB is firmly in place for full recovery this year as it restores its pre-COVID network and capacity, aided by its unbeatable seat sales, widest domestic network, and reinstatement of its international destinations.

The airline currently flies to 35 domestic and 23 international destinations across Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Local farmers in Calabarzon to receive training on modern farming techniques

KSK Trainees at Tabangao Ambulong, Batangas City, Batangas

SM Foundation, Inc. (SMFI) has taken another step in its mission to enhance the agriculture and entrepreneurial skills of farmers. The organization recently launched the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture Program (KSK-SAP) across various locations in Calabarzon. 

Beginning with its launch in Padre Garcia, Batangas on April 13, 2023, the program has since been extended to Silang, Cavite, Batangas City, San Pablo, Laguna, and Calamba City. SMFI is also set to provide free agri-skills training to local farmers in other parts of the region to help other beneficiaries uplift their families and communities.

Empowering local farmers 
The local farmer-beneficiaries will undergo a two-phased program, spearheaded by its partner school Moca Family Farm RLearning Center, Inc.  
The said program kicked off with an immersive 14-week training program, designed to equip participants with essential skills and knowledge in agriculture. The modular training curriculum covers topics on the latest agri-technology updates, capacity building, financial literacy, product development, and market opportunities. Through these comprehensive modules, KSK-SAP aims to empower and enhance farmers’ agricultural practices and explore avenues for sustainable growth. 

As a highlight of the program's first phase, KSK-SAP farmers will join the SM Sunday Market, a collaborative initiative between SM Foundation and SM Supermalls. This platform offers trainees a valuable opportunity to showcase their agricultural produce and gain firsthand experience in institutional selling. Through this market opportunity, participants can not only generate income but also cultivate their expertise and experience in the sales and marketing aspects of their agri-businesses.

To prepare for the second phase of the program, SMFI will also assist the farmers in formalizing their respective groups. To boost their earning capactiy and contribution to economic growth, the foundation will support them in creating a sustainable and profitable farming community through the assistance of its partner agencies. 

KSK-SAP originated from the vision of SMFI’s founder Henry "Tatang" Sy Sr. to establish a sustainable initiative that would uplift the farming skills, food security, and livelihood know-how of low-income Filipino farmers. Over the years, the program has evolved into a comprehensive training program that generates opportunities for skills development, employment, and livelihood.

Since its inception in 2007, KSK-SAP has helped more than 28,000 marginalized farmers from rural and urban areas across the country, fueling their entrepreneurial and farming capabilities. As a result, some of the program's graduates have turned into seasonal suppliers for the SM group and other local markets.

SM Foundation’s KSK-SAP is conducted in partnership with SM Supermalls, TESDA, DA, DSWD, DOST, DTI, DOT and partner farm schools.

SM Prime’s second annual integrated report receives multiple recognition from international organizations

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), one of the leading integrated property developers in Southeast Asia, has been recognized by three international award-giving bodies for excellence in transparent Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting for its 2021 Annual Integrated Report entitled "Together, We Rise".

SM published its sustainability reports since 2013 even before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandated sustainability reporting in the Philippines. SM Prime further promotes transparency and accountability by informing investors and stakeholders of its ESG performance and impacts, decision-making processes, and competitive positioning value in the sector.

“We are honored to receive these awards as a recognition of our commitment to provide transparent reporting in our sustainable practices. We value all our stakeholders, and we strive to enrich the quality of life of the Filipino people.” ~Mr. Jeffrey Lim, SM Prime President

At the summit of international recognitions, SM Prime bagged accolades from the biggest and most coveted awards competition in the business world called Stevie® Awards. The Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards recognizes business innovation across the entire Asia-Pacific region, whereas IBAs is one of the first and most highly anticipated awards programs of the Stevie Awards that features a wide variety of categories relevant to every facet of the workplace that is open to all kinds and sizes of organizations globally. SM Prime was awarded the Bronze Stevie® Winner at the 2023 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards program and Silver Stevie® Winner in the 2022 International Business Awards (IBAs).

Also, in the regional scene, the company won a Silver Rank in the Asia Sustainability Reporting Rating (ASRRAT) 2022, a sustainability report ranking by the National Center for Sustainability Reporting (NCSR). ASRRAT’s rating system employs criteria based on GRI Standards compliance, GHG disclosures transparency, and alignment with and support of the UN SDGs, among other factors. 

The international recognitions are a testament to SM Prime’s active role in championing sustainability across its operations as it continues to be a catalyst for economic growth, delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities, thereby enriching the quality of life of millions of people. 

A boost in delivering quality healthcare

A resident of Cauayan City, Isabela undergoes a routine checkup in Brgy. District 1 Health Center

In 1971, the Philippines launched the Community Health Organization Program to classify health services into primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. As part of this initiative, barangay health stations were created to ensure that primary healthcare improves the overall health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. 

Since then, these local health centers have played a crucial role in improving the health outcomes of Filipinos. They have not only provided general healthcare services but also served as agents during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped with the vaccination rollout. Additionally, they continue to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent diseases, particularly among vulnerable populations.

Adequate facilities for improved healthcare

SM Foundation (SMFI) has made it its mission to provide adequate facilities and upgraded equipment to boost health centers as they fulfill their mandate of delivering quality health care, even amid the pandemic.

Pursuing its mission, SMFI and UNIQLO Philippines traveled to the cities of Tuguegarao and Cauayan in Cagayan Valley and upgraded two health facilities serving thousands of Filipinos. Beyond the new infrastructure, health workers see it as a chance to put forth the services they have always drawn from the heart.

In Brgy. District 1, Cauayan, Midwife Tarita Ann Ballasteros has tended to patients from low-income households, who barely have money to spare for the fare going to the facility and to buy medicine. She would then give the best care she can offer to compensate for the limitations of their center.

“Nakikita ko ang sitwasyon nila na ultimo pamasahe, wala sila. Iniisip ko, wala man lang akong maibigay na gamot sa kanila. Para sa akin, hindi ko man sila lubos na mapagaling, lalabas sila sa facility na magaan ang pakiram dahil sa tinatawag nating TLC (tender loving care). It takes time to prepare and attend to the next patient. Kailangan pa namin takpan ng kumot o ilock ang pinto ng center para magkaroon ng privacy ang mga pasyente. Dahil dito, isa lang ang naaaccommodate namin. Minsan, hindi sila komportable dahil nakikita ng iba yung procedure na ginagawa namin sa kanila. Malaki ang connection ng renovation ng center sa pagsasaayos ng kalusugan ng aming komunidad. Kaming mga health workers ay mas eager na sa pag-pasok sa trabaho at mas marami na kaming pasyenteng mabibigyan ng serbisyo at matutulungan. Dahil maganda na at maaliwalas, nakakatulong ito para gumaan ang pakiramdam ng pasyente bago pa man sila gamutin.” ~Tarita Ann Ballasteros, Brgy. District 1, Cauayan, Midwife

Before, they had to use curtains as improvised medical partitions or lock the health center’s door to provide comfort to women seeking reproductive health care or pregnant mothers coming in for prenatal checkups.

Through the upgrade, the Brgy. District 1 Health Center had its own room for maternal and child health services, equipped with necessary medical tools. It was also fitted with a breastfeeding area and a designated space for immunization.

The upgrade served as the boost they needed to complement the TLC they have always given their community.

A change for the better

Sharing the same passion for health care service is Corazon Tanguilan, a Barangay Health Worker from Brgy. Cataggaman Pardo Health Center in Tuguegarao City. 

“As a healthcare provider, hindi po namin gaano iniisip ang kalakihan ng aming health center. Ang importante po ay taos pusong pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa patients namin. Nasa kalooban po namin kung paano namin gagawing maayos pagpapatakbo ng aming operasyon. Sira po ang aming mga tiles. Mahirap po ito dahil baka madulas o mapaano ang aming mga pasyente na kadalasan ay buntis at mga bata. Kaya nilagyan na lang po namin ito ng masking tape para makaiwas sa aksidente. During immunization days, may mga pregnant mothers na darating for prenatal check-up. Ine-entertain namin sila dahil hindi namin puwedeng pauwiin ulit at pabalikin pa. Mahalaga po ang sapat na espasyo para maisagawa ang infection prevention and control measures. Kaya mainam po ang ginawa ng SM Foundation na pagpapalawak ng health center namin para sa kaligtasan ng patients namin. 27 years na po ako sa serbisyo at bihira po ang health center na naka-aircon at well-ventilated. Kaya ngayon pong naisaayos na po ito, tiyak po ako na mas maeengganyo ang constituents ng  namin na pumunta sa aming Center.” ~Corazon Tanguilan, Barangay Health Worker from Brgy. Cataggaman Pardo Health Center in Tuguegarao City

Through their dedication, they strived to accommodate the healthcare needs of their patients despite unfortunate working conditions–from broken tiles, cracked wall paint, and damaged cabinets to limited electric fans for ventilation.

Due to the center’s layout and space limitations, it became even more difficult for them during the pandemic. With sick children, pregnant women, and TB-DOTs patients, it felt like a weight was pressed against their chests as they hoped to safely accommodate all patients while implementing social distancing.

As their center was rebuilt from the ground up, they felt relief and gained renewed optimism to improve their operations.

In addition to the installation of new equipment and facilities, complemented by cosmetic improvements such as fresh paint and tiles, the upgraded health centers now include designated rooms for maternal care, medical check-ups, and TB-DOTs treatment. The spacious and well-ventilated lobby provides a warm welcome to the people of Tuguegaraonos, encouraging them to pursue healthy living and become valuable contributors to the growth of their city. 

NY-Based Bartending Expert on the Versatility, Unique Flavor Profiles of Tanduay Rums

Tanduay rums come in a wide range of different expressions, with each product offering its own unique flavor.

“From the complex Double Rum that has aged up to 18 years, to the Especia Spiced Rum that has a touch of sweetness and is very approachable - you can drink them just by themselves. I use both at Blu, and they are so easy to work with. They make my job easier. The future between Tanduay and I is bright, I look forward to collaborating with the brand as much as possible.” ~Jeremy Le Blanche, New York-based concept beverage director and bartending veteran

Le Blanche has been in the bartending industry for 11 years. He studied hospitality for five years before working as a barback/bartender, another four years for degrees, and one year for his bartending license.

“For the past 8 years, each of my roles was an amazing experience. I learned a lot every single day. From Switzerland to London, London to New York - my most important focus was to never settle, always keep growing and setting new goals for myself.” ~Jeremy Le Blanche, New York-based concept beverage director and bartending veteran

Le Blanche shared that traveling around the world opened his mind and made him discover new horizons.

“I became intrigued with mixology and culinary professions. I love how I get to be      creative and innovative with my cocktails but also strive for consistency, so every     customer gets the perfect cocktail whether it’s made by me or anyone on my team. I love that my role allows me to push the boundaries of what’s possible and to make my cocktails an immersive sensory experience for our guests.” ~Jeremy Le Blanche, New York-based concept beverage director and bartending veteran

Le Blanche said that New York is a great city to showcase creativity as it is constantly growing, evolving, and always has an incredible energy at any hour.

Asked how Tanduay would stack up against other brands, Le Blanche said that the product is “very good, very clean.”  He shared that Tanduay Double Rum and Especia Spiced Rum by Tanduay are his two favorite expressions at the moment.

The rum market, however, is very competitive.

“It is all about marketing now to make Tanduay grow in the US, so more people know about it and have the chance to try it.”

Le Blanche explained that one can make the most amazing cocktails, but it will not be picked up by the public if it is not promoted well. 

“The same goes for restaurants and bars or anything - being excellent isn’t enough, you have to be unique and have great marketing to connect with people.”

Le Blanche first learned of Tanduay when he met its New York brand ambassador, Matt Robertson, on social media.

“He came to Thyme bar to meet with me and we had an instant camaraderie that we have been able to build on over the years. The New York team at Tanduay is amazing and are very supportive. When I first tried the product itself I thought wow, this is very high quality rum and will be easy to incorporate into my cocktails.”

Le Blanche likes the fact that the rum is from the Philippines as it gets people’s attention.

“It’s unique and makes it easy for me to suggest something new to people. Once they try one of our Tanduay rum cocktails - they usually want to order another.”

“Learning that industry experts like Jeremy likes the flavor profile of Tanduay rums and see their potential in cities like New York is a testament to the brand’s strict adherence to quality and focus on product research and development. It is also a testament to Filipinos’ craftsmanship and ingenuity as all Tanduay products are proudly made in the Philippines and use the best sugarcane in the country.” ~Marc Ngo, Tanduay International Business Development Manager and Senior Brand Manager

Founded in 1854, Tanduay is an iconic brand in the Philippines. It has received numerous international awards for its various rum products and continues its domination of the rum category in the country. It was named the World’s Number 1 Rum for five consecutive years by Drinks International Magazine, based on its sales. It has also received the “Brand of the Year” award for seven consecutive years.

Cebu Pacific Takes Flight for Pride

Flight 5J 905, Cebu Pacific's very first Pride flight, flew from Manila to Boracay on June 5, 2023 and was operated by a crew of LGBTQIA...