Sunday, June 28, 2020

Former HSBC Head of Mortgages Backs Philippines’ First Mortgage Broker, Nook

Former HSBC Head of Mortgages, Steve Martinelli, has backed fintech, Nook, the Philippines’ first mortgage broking firm. He joins other top banking executives along with Australian entrepreneur, Chris Elder, as the group capitalizes on the growing yet underserved markets of South East Asia.

As an emerging market, the Philippines has one of the highest GDP growth rates in the region and strong residential real estate loans growth which makes it the ideal location for the firm to expand from. The fintech has already tapped some of the biggest banks in the country for its lending panel as it moves fast to capture market share and change the way the country applies for home loans. 

According to a survey done by New Perspective Media Group in 2019, property assets remain the top investment choice for most Filipinos who are still considering property as an investment in the country, specifically in locations such as Metro Manila, and outer areas such as Cavite and Laguna.
“Having Steve join the firm is a big win for Nook. His distinguished career and seasoned experience will help to accelerate Nook’s growth, as well as secure future investment capital.” ~Chris Elder, Nook Founder, and Chief Executive Officer
A 25-year veteran of the mortgage lending industry, Martinelli was also a former executive at Aussie Home Loans where he served as GM for Distribution and Operations. Aussie Home Loans, Australia’s largest mortgage broking firm where Steve served was part of the senior team during its fast growth years. He was also a Foundation Director for General Motors’ financial ‘startup’ GMAC-RFC and was COO and Head of New Zealand for Bluestone Asset Management.

Nook is streamlining the home loan process in a country that has traditionally been very manual in its loan application process. It’s a throwback to a previous era in countries like Australia.
“For board members like me, Nook is an opportunity to bring lessons learned during the growth years of mortgage broking in Australia as it became established as the number one way to apply for a home loan in the country. It’s like a ‘do over’ for us which is a great boost to Nook as it looks set to replicate history and establish mortgage broking in the Philippines. We realized that there is indeed a sizeable number of Filipinos who would pursue their dreams of buying a home if the process were quicker, easier and more simple. This is the problem that Nook solves.”  ~Steve Martinelli, Former HSBC Head of Mortgages

Demonstrating the market’s need for alternative housing loan services, Nook saw a large spike in new housing loan applications and inquiries during the pandemic lockdown period. Nook offered one of the very few ways people could still move ahead with a housing loan in the Philippines during the community quarantine, showing how technology can truly be transformative and enabling for consumers. Using Nook, a potential borrower can find a suitable housing loan and receive assistance throughout the application process – all done virtually and for free.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has damaged large parts of economies around the world, the pandemic has actually been ideal timing for Nook as the country quickly moves to adopt technology and looks for easier and safer ways to complete daily life. Although the firm is looking to establish more offline channels through corporate partnerships, the shift to digital in the country has definitely been a boost to the company.

For Nook, the backing of more experienced executives strengthens its future growth plans. The company states that it has grown tremendously since its launch at the beginning of the year, a testament to the conveniences of the home loan service it brings.

For more details, visit Nook’s official website at or advisors Alamat Capital –

Savor the Food once again at Century Park Hotel Manila

Under the new normal, WHO's standard protocols on social distancing, sanitation and other measures will be implemented to ensure the safety of the guests. The COVID-19 pandemic has put everything at a standstill, including being restricted to dining options such as cooking and eating at home, takeout or delivery. With the government’s recent approval for restaurants to open for dine-in, the long wait for all Century Park Hotel patrons and diners will be over on July 1, 2020.

The food adventure continues with the reopening of the Atrium Lounge. Families and friends can share delightful moments once again in this award-winning dining outlet over their culinary favorites from the hotel’s Café in the Park and Tsukiji Restaurant.
Explore a wide selection of Filipino dishes and international cuisines. For your seafood cravings, try our Grilled Prawns, Pan-fried Salmon Fillet and Blue Marlin Supreme which will definitely reintroduce your palate to the sumptuous and luscious taste – the true mark of Century Park dining experience. Reuniting with your loved ones after several months of staying home will be more heartwarming and filling when spent with our savory platters of meat such as Grilled Lamb Chops, Sirloin Steak Café de Paris and Country Crispy Chicken, among others.
Sushi Sashimi
Salmon Shioyaki
Sirloin Steak Cafe de Paris

Have an oishi good time with our Japanese gustatory classics from the Century Tsukiji Restaurant. Make your own bento from our scrumptious menu of appetizers, rice meals, grilled and fried dishes. Our yummy special maki and other sushi selections will also satisfy your cravings.
Cali Maki
Century Park Burger

Food gets all the better with the hotel’s elegant setup and homey atmosphere. While reveling in our culinary pleasures, behold the magnificent view of the Grand Staircase and fountain where you can also take some selfies or ‘groufies’.
The Atrium Lounge will be open daily from 9:00AM to 6:00PM.
Prior to reopening, Century Park Hotel ensured that all diners will get to enjoy dining-in again while maintaining peace of mind.  During the months of lockdown, every corner of the property was thoroughly disinfected, adhering to our commitment to keep our guests safe based on the World Health Organization’s standards.  The hotel is more than prepared to give you a gustatory treat that is both fancy and sanitary.  Health and safety protocols such as contact tracing, social distancing and wearing of masks will also be enforced.
The tables are all set for this much-awaited day. We cannot wait to serve your orders again and witness delightful moments take shape. Come and dine at Century Park Hotel!
Launched in 1976, the Century Park Hotel remains as one of the finest hotels in Manila. It is owned and operated by Maranaw Hotels and Resort Corporation and enjoys a mix of local and international patrons. The renowned establishment has over 500 rooms in varied types and facilities for a complete dining and leisure experience. To know more about Century Park Hotel, visit or contact and telephone number: (632) 528-8888.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Pizza Hut celebrates delivery riders through Rider’s Pizza Day

Pizza Hut will be celebrating Riders’ Pizza Day on June 30, 2020 to show appreciation to delivery riders.
Pizza Hut values the everyday modern-day delivery hero, which is why they decided to honor their riders through this initiative.
“Pizza Hut values the everyday modern-day delivery hero, which is why we decided to honor their hard work through this initiative. It’s our own simple way of giving back to our delivery partners for helping us bring food safely to countless Filipino homes” ~Lorent Adrias, Pizza Hut Marketing Manager

 As a show of their appreciation to delivery riders, Pizza Hut will be celebrating Riders’ Pizza Day on June 30, 2020. On the said date, delivery riders will be given a box of free pizza for every ala carte order of a Large Super Supreme Pan Pizza that they deliver.

Under the promo, Pizza Hut will give a box of Regular Hawaiian Supreme Handstretched Pizza for free to the corresponding delivery rider for every ala carte order of a Large Super Supreme Pan Pizza, one of Pizza Hut’s most beloved pizza flavors made with nine delicious toppings on Pizza Hut’s signature Pan Pizza. Orders can be made through Pizza Hut’s hotline 8911-11-11 for metro manila orders, #11111 for provincial orders, via their website, or through their food delivery partners GrabFood and FoodPanda.

Don’t miss out on the latest deals and promos from Pizza Hut by visiting their official Facebook page at


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Turn your Summer Vacation into a Relaxing Staycation

For many, summertime is the time many plan their family vacations and discover new destinations. Allowing optimal time to venture to new places, catch some sun and spend more time with our friends and families. Me and my partner are lucky enough to have a vacation in Breathtaking Island of Batanes before the pandemic takes over our lives up now for almost 3 months now.

While many have already been spending a lot more time with their families than they ever imagined during the coronavirus outbreak, whether you love it or have grown tired of it, you’ve likely run into problems of keeping your family entertained. Between, possibly working from home, managing your kids schoolwork and maintaining a functioning household, this time probably hasn’t felt much like a vacation.

With social distancing guidelines likely to remain in effect in many cities during the summer, activities and entertainment options, lodging, dining will be extremely limited. The truth is, you really don’t have to totally give up on enjoying the summer at home with your family. Here are some tips to make your local staycation feel exciting for the whole family.
Fit Focused Days
Plan local hiking trips or long walks or bike rides close to home. Enjoy the local parks and embrace the architecture in the neighborhood. A quick Google search of interesting facts can help you to plan what you want to go and see. Being a tourist in your own city will help you have a greater appreciation for your hometown. If you have kids, try setting up a challenge for them to identify certain plants, landmarks or wildlife when you’re out walking. It will make the walks more engaging. Having prizes ready for them helps with the motivation, too.  Additionally, backyard games are a blast—sprinklers, hula-hoops and jump rope are things kids love.
Embrace the farmers markets
Heading out for a trip to the local farmers market is such a treat, and also a great way to shop locally.  At this point, many of them have adopted social distancing guidelines, which means it’s also a safe bet for a family outing. The market usually has beautiful fresh, and seasonal options to explore, maybe there are some fascinating new fruits and vegetables you can’t find at your usual grocery store. Also, getting the kids involved in selecting ingredients for your meals may help spark their interest in healthier eating (an added bonus!).  Breaking your usual grocery shopping routine by browsing the stalls in beautiful weather will help spark that holiday vibe.
Create your own at-home retreats
With a little planning, you can make your own backyard or home feel like a perfect vacation spot. All you need to do is set a theme. For a spa weekend, buy or make your favorite products, and set up time to relax and treat yourself. Turn-off or put away all of your tech distractions, set up a space outside or in a quiet room for a peaceful setting. You can even make spa water but cutting up some cucumber or fruit to add some flavoring to your water. Want to create your own yoga retreat? Turn to your favorite online trainer, set up your mat in a designated space, light some candles or incense, and be sure to practice daily, with relaxing music. It’s all about being creative.
Travel with your cooking:
With travel on the back burner, consider themed cooking nights to help transport your taste buds to any destination. It can be really fun to make drinks, shakes and meals with ingredients from places that are on your future travel list. Enjoy a nice Italian wine with your pasta one night, try cooking a beautiful curry meal or ordering take-out from a restaurant you’ve never tried before. Take it a step further and print out some fun-facts online or rent a movie about the particular culture you’ll be indulging that night—the possibilities are endless and it’s a great opportunity to learn about other cultures through food.
Finally, take time to plan out your staycation in the same way you would with a vacation. Having an itinerary of what you want to do helps to prevent the lazy, do-nothing blues from taking over. A vacation is about rest, relaxation, discovery and recreation-- all of those things can be accomplished right where you are. Studies have shown a positive correlation between associates taking vacation time and an overall better wellbeing, so no matter what’s on your itinerary, make sure to thoroughly enjoy yourself!
About Samantha Clayton
Samantha Clayton is the vice president of Sports Performance and Fitness Education at Herbalife Nutrition. She has direct responsibility for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Herbalife Nutrition independent distributors and employees and leads a team that designs nutrition protocols for elite athletes.
Clayton is a certified personal trainer with specialty certifications in group fitness, youth fitness programming, senior fitness and athletic conditioning. Through group training sessions, fitness educational tools and the Herbalife Nutrition-sponsored blogs I Am Herbalife Nutrition, Clayton ensures that consumers understand the vital role exercise plays in living a healthier and happier lifestyle.
She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the Company’s corporate wellness program.
Having performed at the highest athletic level, Clayton represented Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Before the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials–a silver medal for the 200m and bronze for the 100m–as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997.
Samantha Clayton is also a mother of four, and lives in Los Angeles with her family.

By Samantha Clayton, OLY, ISSA-CPT – Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness, Herbalife Nutrition
About Herbalife Nutrition Ltd.
Herbalife Nutrition is a global company that has been changing people's lives with great nutrition products and a proven business opportunity for its independent members since 1980. The Company offers high-quality, science-backed products, sold in over 90 countries by entrepreneurial members who provide one-on-one coaching and a supportive community that inspires their customers to embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle. Through the Company’s global campaign to eradicate hunger, Herbalife Nutrition is also committed to bringing nutrition and education to communities around the world.
For more information, please visit

Herbalife Nutrition also encourages investors to visit its investor relations website at as financial and other information is updated and new information is posted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

SUN Talks: RISE TOGETHER to a Bright New World

Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. (“Sun Life”) is enjoining Filipinos to begin their journey to recovery with a campaign dubbed “Rise Together to a Bright New World.”
As we all know the COVID situation has impacted so many aspects of our lives, it's a bit normal as a regular Filipino to be feeling overwhelmed, concern, and anxious about the situation. 
The campaign was launched as part of Sun Life’s annual commemoration of Financial Independence Month every June. It features initiatives ranging from online financial literacy sessions to digital tools, all of which aim to empower Filipinos to get back on track in their financial goals, as well as their health and wellness aspirations.  

“Rise Together to a Bright New World” is rooted in an online survey conducted by Sun Life among its clients from May 11 to 29, 2020 to know how the pandemic has affected them, and so the company could respond to their needs appropriately. Results showed that their top concerns were the physical health of their family (71%), the health of the economy (71%), their children's education (69%), providing support for an elderly member of the family (61%), and the ability to save for the future (63%).
Asked about what negative impact the pandemic has had on their lives, the respondents shared that it affected their financial situation (48%), the ability to socialize with friends (44%), and getting enough physical ability (31%).

But while 63% of the respondents expressed concern about the current situation, 68% remained hopeful about the future. In a separate survey, 62% are putting in place recovery plans with 68% saying that they will start saving more and building their emergency fund, 57% looking for more financial advice, and 53% investing in family’s health.
Empowerment through financial literacy
A pioneer of financial literacy multimedia campaigns, Sun Life has launched Sun Talks, a series of online financial literacy sessions held in webinar format and as Facebook live streams.

The webinar series featured Wealth Coach Chinkee Tan, Life, and Personal Finance Guru Randell Tiongson, Sun Life Chief Business Development Strategy Officer Michael Manuel, and Sun Life Distribution Support and Strategy Head Jenny del Mundo, who shared how Filipinos can pursue their financial goals and what financial instruments such as insurance and investments they can utilize. Meanwhile, health and wellness took center stage in the webinars with Dr. Anne Louise Gabriel-Chan of Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, Dr. Candy Drilon-Dalman of Centro Holistico, Life and Corporate Coach Kimi Lu, and Sun Life Health and Accident Head Lirio Ang-Torres.
Meanwhile, Sun Life Brand Ambassadors Piolo Pascual, Matteo Guidicelli, Enchong Dee, and Inigo Pascual were featured in Facebook Live events, where they shared about learnings amid the pandemic as they faced issues specific to their respective life stages. Experts from Sun Life were likewise on hand in each session to give practical tips on how viewers can stay on track in their financial journey. These talks, along with other relevant content and tools, are available in a hub called STORES or Sun Talks Online Resource at
The learning will continue in the Sun Talks Virtual Conference happening on June 27, 2020 starting at 10am. The whole day virtual gathering will tackle money matters and health and wellness, and will also have sessions specifically for business owners and overseas Filipinos. It features a prominent lineup of speakers, including Business Speaker and Consultant Francis Kong, Wealth Coach Chinkee Tan, Strength and Conditioning Specialist Chappy Callanta, Personal Development & Wellbeing Coach Avril Rodriguez, Nurture Wellness Village Founder Cathy Turvill, Department of Trade and Industry Director Jerry Clavesillas, Stephane Sanchez of CX Advisory, Professor Eric Soriano, entrepreneur RJ Ledesma, Economics professor Dr. Alvin Ang, overseas Filipino and financial literacy advocate Pablo Santos. Sun Life’s very own will likewise share their expertise, including Sun Life President Alex Narciso, Chief Marketing and Client Officer Mylene Lopa, Head of Distribution Support and Strategy Jenny del Mundo, and Head of Business Support Cary Casipit.

Enhancing digital capacity
To further enable Filipinos to take concrete steps towards recovery while staying safe in their own homes, Sun Life has likewise been boosting its digital capacity. 
Sun Life recently launched a digitally-enabled sales process that will allow Filipinos to stay financially protected from the safety of their own home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this process, clients can connect virtually to get professional financial advice from Sun Life advisors to learn about the insurance products that fit their needs and avail of these solutions. For those who have no Sun Life advisor yet, they can simply go to to connect with one and receive a free consultation.
Meanwhile, the company’s website,, houses tools such as the Life Insurance Calculator, Investment Calculator, and e-Quote, which can help users check their progress in their financial journey. 
Sun Life has also expanded its suite of digital insurance products for registered Lazada members. To know more about the products, registered Lazada members simply need to visit As for those who wish to invest in mutual funds, they may go to to open an account and start investing in the Sun Life Prosperity Funds.
Onward to a Brighter Future
“Rise Together to a Bright New World” was inspired by the courage of Filipinos to rise above challenges. Sun Life, which is marking its 125th anniversary in the Philippines this year, has been with Filipinos through triumphs and struggles through the years. The company remains confident that they will pull through as they always have, and that better days are on the horizon.
This message is encapsulated in a digital video entitled “Rise Together”, which will soon be released on Sun Life’s Facebook page, Related materials will likewise be posted on TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and YOUTUBE.

About Sun Life
Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2020, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,023 billion. For more information, please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.


Shopee Sees “Online-First” Shift for Food Products, as Filipinos Adapt to the New Normal

Consumers do a larger share of food shopping online, with a 2.5 times increase in users who buy food items on Shopee multiple times a month.

Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, highlights significant changes in the food and grocery market as Filipinos become more “online-first” for food products. In particular, people are doing a larger share of food shopping online, with a 2.5-times increase in users who buy food items multiple times a month on Shopee. Sellers and brands adapt to this "new normal" by offering a wider variety of online food products and using live streaming to assure buyers of quality in real-time.
“Social distancing has been a big part of our lives, and we have seen major changes in the way people think about and shop for their daily needs. In particular, buying food and groceries has become ‘online-first’ as consumers view e-commerce as a one-stop channel. Sellers and brands are adapting quickly, with Shopee as a vital platform for them to reach new customers. We see this as long-term evolution, and Shopee will continue to lead this trend in the years ahead. The Covid-19 situation and social distancing measures have created major changes in consumers’ lifestyles, affecting how brands and sellers conduct their businesses. We are committed to helping the Filipinos during this time of need, and we will continue to improve our platform to provide the daily necessities of every consumer, brand, and seller.” ~Ruoshan Tao, Head of Marketing at Shopee Philippines
Shopee outlines four major trends in the food and grocery market in the Philippines:
1. Consumers become “online-first” for food products
Filipinos see e-commerce as the preferred channel for food and groceries, marked by:
    More Filipinos are shopping for food online: Shopee has observed a 2.5-times increase in the number of users who buy food products multiple times a month. This shows that Filipinos are shifting a larger share of food and grocery shopping online to reap the convenience of e-commerce.
    People shop for food around the clock: E-commerce is making it more convenient for consumers to shop for food items at any time. As a result, shopping activity stays high throughout the week, peaking on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
 2. Food and grocery shopping evolve as people adapt to Covid-19 pandemic
People are also buying a wider variety of food items online, as they make lifestyles changes at different stages of social distancing and the Covid-19 pandemic:
    High demand for staple foods and baking supplies in March: The onset of social distancing motivated people to ensure ready food supplies at home, with demand for staple foods and baking supplies increasing by 70 times.
    More “offline” food products bought online: Filipinos became more comfortable with buying food and groceries online as social distancing continued. In April, demand for beverages and alcohol grew 8 times on Shopee.
   Top products: Caramelized sugar syrup, evaporated milk, and food flavorings for baking.
3. Rural and male consumers among the most active online food shoppers
As buying food products online becomes a norm, Shopee has observed that shopping activity is proliferating among rural and male consumers:
    Spike in grocery demand among rural consumers: Consumers outside Metro Manila are also seeing e-commerce as a key channel for food and groceries because of reduced access to physical stores. Shopee’s food shopping activity from areas outside of Metro Manila increased 2.5 times in the past few months.
    Men are doing more grocery shopping and cooking: Male food shopping activity increased up to three times from 2019. Men appear to be doing more home cooking and grocery shopping in recent months, with seasoning products and baking ingredients as the most popular among male users on Shopee.
4. Brands and sellers digitalize with Shopee, use new tools to sell food online
Brands and sellers are adapting to the new “online-first” environment through Shopee. They are offering an extensive range of food products and leveraging new tools to sell online:
    Offering more choice and variety: Shopee has seen steady growth in the number of brands and sellers offering food products online, creating more buyers’ preference. On Shopee, the array of food products on the platform has doubled from 2019.
    Using new tools to sell food online: Brands and sellers use live streaming to sell food products more effectively. In recent months, Shopee Live has become a vital tool for sellers to showcase new items and assure product quality in real-time, driving more views and sales.
Download Shopee for free through the App Store or Google Play.
About Shopee
Shopee is the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It was launched in 7 markets in 2015 to connect consumers, sellers, and businesses in the region.
Shopee offers an easy, secure, and engaging experience that is enjoyed by millions of people daily. It offers a wide product assortment, supported by integrated payments and logistics, as well as popular entertainment features tailored for each market. Shopee is also a key contributor to the region’s digital economy with a firm commitment to helping brands and entrepreneurs succeed in e-commerce.
Shopee is a part of Sea Limited (NYSE:SE), a leading global consumer internet company. In addition to Shopee, Sea’s other core businesses include its digital entertainment arm, Garena, and digital financial services arm, SeaMoney. Sea’s mission is to better the lives of consumers and small businesses with technology.


The Longest-Running Campus Comedy Variety Show in the Philippines is Back!

[L-R] LIVE AIDS 34 Production Manager and SAMASKOM President  Danielle Asuncion ,  Mrs. Tan ,  Kaladkaren , and LIVE AIDS 34 Director  Bill ...