Gabay Guro’s 9th year continues to give tribute to our dear teachers

Teaching is a noble profession. Hearts, minds and character are formed by teachers.  Next to my parents, I owe a lot of who I am now to some of the best teachers I have had. They have not just taught their subject matter well but in encounters outside the classroom, they have shared their thoughts with me. Much of what I do now is inspired by their words.

To this day, we find inspiring stories of teachers who brave dangers, walk several kilometers each day, wade through rivers, and climb steep mountains just to get to their schools where children are eager to learn.

It is but fitting that we find ways to pay tribute to our unsung heroes who often stay unnamed. Nine years ago, a small group of PLDT executives met over coffee to discuss an advocacy for teachers that would become a catalyst for change in the lives of teachers. Gabay Guro was born and became the CSR arm under the PLDT-Smart Foundation. It continues to thrive on the spirit of volunteerism from its PLDT and Smart executives.

PLDT Gabay Guro executive volunteers Gary Dujali and Chaye Cabal-Revilla

Continue reading “Gabay Guro’s 9th year continues to give tribute to our dear teachers”


Register for the Digital Business Summit: Empowering Success Online

Are you a start-up owner or a small- to medium-sized business owner? You probably spend a lot of time focused on your business operations. You may have some online presence, maybe a website or a social media account on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. But are you maximizing that online presence?

It is usually hard to find the time to catch up and learn about how to maximize your online engagement. But you need to be active online. As more and more people go online for different reasons, including online shopping and online searches before making a purchase, it is important that you meet your customers where they are — on cyberspace — and engage them.

Now there is a way for all of you, entrepreneurs and businessmen! The Digital Business Summit 2014 (DBS), with the theme “Empowering Success Online”, is a series of online conferences from November 18 to 27, 2014 through different webinars covering the following topics:

  • Social media marketing 
  • Search marketing 
  • Mobile marketing 
  • E-Commerce 
  • Content marketing 
  • Online advertising
The online speakers are both international and local digital marketing and e-commerce experts. Representatives from top digital agencies, who are immersed in digital marketing and e-commerce on a daily basis across a wide number of industries, will share what they know and answer your questions. Most important of all, this summit meets you where you are. There is no need to take a flight to the summit venue. Wherever you are online, you can join the summit.

All the presenters in these webinars have used online engagement in campaigns for their own businesses to generate even more value. In these webinars with you, they will share their knowledge and know-how so you can learn how to combine digital strategy with your usual marketing tactics.

Here’s an infographic showing the presenters so far. There may be additional speakers but they will be added directly to the DBS website.

Summit Fees and a US$10 Campaign

The fee to join the Digital Business Summit is US $100. That fee gives the participant access to all webinar sessions. On top of the webinars, all participants get a 3-month access to Hootsuite Pro and Hootsuite University for free. 

But wait! There is more! 

You can get access to the Digital Business Summit, with all the perks that come with its regular fee, at only US$10. Here’s how:

1. On November 14 (Friday), the team behind the summit will offer 90% off on its price to access  the Digital Business Summit 2014.

2. Price of US$10 is available only for 12 hours.

3. Duration / Hours of Campaign:

7AM – 7PM Philippine Time
10AM – 10PM Australia Time

Summit Schedule

Below is an infographic showing the summit schedule of webinars as of this writing.

How to Reserve your Seat

Reserve your seat and find out more details on the summit by going to
(but don’t forget — it drops to only US$10 for 12 hours this Friday, November 14, Friday).

Check out also the summit’s Facebook page and follow their Twitter account @digibizsummit.


Stories of Hope in the time of Typhoon Yolanda

In times of disasters, there is often no end to news of destruction and loss of lives. Oftentimes it is so hard to find the positive in the face of utter despair. This was what so many went through when Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the Philippines exactly one year ago on Nov. 8, 2013. It is estimated that damage to the areas affected reached over 35 billion pesos.

But there is HOPE.

And over lunch with some people from Procter & Gamble (P&G), I heard some of these stories and how P&G, together with other partners, are some of the private sector organizations that are bringing hope back to people and places

Next to the devastating loss of loved ones, one thing that greatly affected those in Yolanda’s destructive path was the loss of a source of livelihood for thousands. Looting became rampant in the aftermath of the super typhoon and store owners stood helpless as looters took their goods and food items even in their presence. It is actually a tribute to many store owners who later said that they allowed the looters to get everything as they understood the desperate situation they were all in.

Dranix East, P&G’s distributor in the area, was also badly hit by Yolanda. But it quickly sprung into action together with P&G to start the rebuilding of lives. Calling their effort “Hope Stores”, P&G had prefab sari-sari store stands, painted orange (Tide color, I immediately thought), made. The only requirement in the selection process was that the recipients of the Hope stores should have been previous store owners. This was because sustainability could only happen if the beneficiary already had previous store experience. For each orange Hope Store, P&G stocked it with PhP 1,000 worth of their popular, fast-moving products (Safeguard, Whisper, Joy, etc) to jumpstart the livelihood of the recipients.

Eventually, with additional partners like USAID, Rebuild and Coca-Cola coming in to join P&G’s efforts, the Hope Stores expanded. As USAID builds houses, a section of the ground floor is also converted into a sari-sari store. Then P&G donates PhP 3,000 worth of their products as initial capital for the recipients.

We got to ask P&G several questions and it was but natural that one question would crop up. Did P&G put any conditions like lockouts on the recipients? Amazingly, there were none. P&G said that had they imposed conditions like exclusivity, it would be restrictive on the recipients and would prevent them from selling other items that they could make a profit on. The company believed in open competition and said that as long as they helped unconditionally, they knew that the goodwill would come back in some other way to them in the future. I think all donor companies should emulate this kind of thinking.

Watch this video about 3 people (Noemi, Annalyn and Reden) whose lives are now being slowly brought back to a new normal through the efforts of P&G and its partners.

About Procter & Gamble 

Three billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Mach3®, Bounty®, Dawn®, Pringles®, Folgers®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Oral-B®, Actonel®, Duracell®, Olay®, Head & Shoulders®, Wella®, Gillette®, and Braun®. The P&G community consists of over 135,000 employees working in over 80 countries worldwide. Please visit for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.


Philips Lighting Innovation Concepts gives us a glimpse of the future, now!

Who says lighting is boring?????  Philips Philippines’ Lighting Division recently showed me just how exciting their lighting products have become.

By shifting to LEDs, Philips has already moved consumers away from inefficient and more costly lighting into more energy-efficient lighting in offices and homes. And at a recent fun, fun blogger event where they introduced six innovation concepts in lighting, I realized that Philips has crossed from functional, hardware store basics into interior and exterior design that incorporates Flexibility, Controllability, Alternative Energy, Connectivity, Dynamism and Materials Integration elements.
Landmarks here and abroad that are lighted up by Philips LEDs
The whole presentation, featuring the entertaining and funny Gabe Mercado, was seamlessly integrated into a moving diorama that drew us into the mini stories while holding us spellbound as each concept was presented experientially.
Alternative Energy

Wouldn’t you love the idea of lights on streets, parks, stadiums brightening up as cars and people move closer to them and dim as you move away? By detecting motion, these kind of lights only go to maximum brightness when they are needed and dim when idle.

Solar-powered LED lighting is what Philips is experimenting with now. Solar panels convert solar energy to electrical energy and store it in the battery. At night, the battery is discharged and electrical energy is released. Philips solar-powered LED lights are easy to install and maintain. In fact their local application which is close to our hearts is in Yolanda-hit areas. With electricity posts down, Philips was able to provide light for Yolanda survivors by harnessing the power of the sun.

Sample of the solar light that Philips used in Yolanda-hit areas


Imagine controlling your lights at home remotely. With Philips Hue, it is already possible to do that using one’s smartphone and Android devices. Not only that. You can choose the mood color you want and when you want it turned on.

I can already think of some uses for Philips Hue:
* Mood lighting – red for a party or romantic ambiance, blue to relax and calm you down after a long day, green to rest the eyes, and white for general purposes
* Keep intruders away – turn lights in different rooms on and off even if you are at the office or on a trip so it looks like there are people at home.


Who has not fumbled in the dark for a light switch? I have. Not just at home but in the restrooms of restaurants and other public places. Now, how would you like a light switch with presence, light and temperature sensors that detect the body’s magnetic field and automatically open with a striking wall-wash lighting effect. Perfect for commercial establishments and high-end residential units, the Antumbra comes in three types of panels — Antumbra Button, Antumbra Touch, and Antumbra Display — that allows the user to perform different functions.

Watch this video.


Baguio City Hall. People Power Monument. Transformation Sculpture (BGC). Starbucks on 32nd Ave. (BGC). NLEX. What do they have in common? They are all lighted up by Philips Color Kinetics.

Historical and modern landmarks all over the world are now enhanced with lights that can  be changed depending on the occasion. Check out below how the Empire State Building can change.

And right after Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda, locally) hit the Philippines, the Empire State Building lit up with our flag colors in support of all those affected. Here is a screenshot from its Twitter account.

More and more landmarks are starting to use Philips’ powerful LED lights and advanced digital control technology to create breathtaking imagery. Used for interiors and exteriors, Color Kinetics transform spaces and trigger the imagination. 
Materials Integration

Can you imagine cloth panels that move and come alive with lights? That is now possible with Philips Materials Integration using Kvadrat Soft Cells. In Philips’ website, these luminous panels are described as follows:

Luminous textile is a revolutionary new way to enhance interiors with light, texture and dynamic visual content. A totally unique ambient lighting system, it integrates multi-coloured LEDs seamlessly within beautiful white or coloured textile panels. The result is a “mood wall” that can integrate lighting into a building’s architecture and emphasise the concept of any room. And because of the range of fabrics and the sheer flexibility of the content, its creative potential is phenomenal.

Can’t imagine it yet? Watch this video and be amazed.

These acoustic textile panels have superior sound absorption, reducing unwanted sounds and limiting sound propagation that causes disturbances from unnecessary noise.

Can you imagine a house of the future where you did not need to paint your walls anymore because the panels can just change color depending on your mood? I sure can!


Organic LEDs (OLEDs) are used by Philips to create an interactive display of lights.

Its Living Shapes mirror, for example, contains OLEDs that sense when someone moves closer to it. When it detects the outline of the person, it shuts off the OLEDs that are in the person’s field of vision. It then becomes a mirror with warm lights all around the person’s reflection.

Philips also demonstrated its Living Sculpture concept which will be perfect in homes, offices, buildings, clubs, restaurants and just about anywhere where it serves as ever moving brightly lit chandeliers. The design, arrangement, setup and operation of Living Sculpture is totally up to the consumer who can control light in so many different ways. To create the unevenness of each light diode, rods of different lengths are attached to the baseplates with a Lumiblade OLED on top.

With lights moving, changing colors, and transforming shapes, Philips has made lighting not just functional but interactive, mood-changing and fashionable. Designers can arrange three-dimensional arrays of OLEDs in open spaces like ceilings and walls, add movement to any surface, or make panels throb rhythmically or illuminate interactive displays.

The world of infrastructure will totally change in coming years as colorful, moving lights are integrated into art, design and lifestyle.

I’m excited to see the many ways how…


Alere: Bringing Careers in Health Care to the Philippines

A leading health care solutions company based in the United States, Alere, which focuses on servicing patients with chronic diseases by providing them with near-patient diagnostic care and managing their supplies reorders, has come to the Philippines.

Alere Philippines has set up office at the Fort after having acquired a company established in Manila and felt it was a perfect match. They wanted to establish their service center platform here. Our English-speaking labor force as well as access to many healthcare-related graduates makes Alere’s presence here logical, practical and forward-looking.

Alere Home Monitoring President, Jon Russell, says it all in this video:

At the moment, the services the Philippines will be providing is the backend, i.e., Alere Philippines will be processing the ordering of diagnostic supplies by its customers, mainly in the US. By having it done here, where the time difference is almost exactly opposite that of the US, customers can place orders even outside working hours there and still have people here processing their orders so that the shipping process continues all day round worldwide.

We did a tour of the Alere offices which can hold 200 seats per floor. They plan to get another floor in the building, bringing capacity up to a maximum of 400 seats eventually. They operate normal office hours right now but eventually may move into a 24/7 work hour operation.

For those who want a career with Alere, they are currently open to hiring. Having a healthcare background (nurses, therapists, medical technologists, pharmacists, etc) is an advantage although they are also getting peope from other backgrounds. I asked how their salary structure is and I was told that they are competitive and is around the 70% percentile. Jon Russell says they are trying to develop careers, not jobs, as they hope to bring in more services into the Philippines down the road.

Alere Philippines is located on the 11th Floor of W Building, 32nd Ave. corner 5th St in Bonifacio Global City.


Sun Shorts: A Preview from Sun Life

Consider this a heads-up!

Beginning July 25, 2012, Sun Life Financial and five Filipino filmmakers will showcase five (5) short films. The series is the Philippines’ installment of a regional film project called Experience the Sun, a collaboration of Sun Life Financial and film makers in Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Philippine installment, entitled SUN SHORTS, features the way the chosen five filmmakers interpret how life is brighter under the Sun.

The filmmakers involved in Sun Shorts

I was fortunate to sit beside Sun Life’s lady President & CEO, Riza Mantaring. Actually, I saw her featured by Ces Drilon in Pipol. At that time, I was already very impressed by her achievements. At the event, I got to talk for some time with her.

Riza Mantaring, Sun Life President & CEO
I may be tooting the female psyche but having a woman at the helm oftentimes makes a difference in the creativity of an organization. Sun Life, as far as I know, is the first insurance company to break out of the conservative and traditional mold to try a bold and different venture like going into digital media for their campaigns.

Beginning July 25, 2012 and every few weeks after that, one Sun Shorts film (about 5 minutes max) will be featured in

Here’s a sneak peek (photos and teaser captions, in quotes, taken from Sun Life’s website).


Unitel’s veteran producer-storyteller Jun Reyes (The Last Journey of Ninoy, Crying Ladies) makes a trip down memory lane to tackle a love that transcends the test of time and shines brightly amidst the darkness of war in ‘1945’.”

Life in a Day

“Most sought-after commercial director Jolly Feliciano departs from light-hearted themes to posit a lifetime of possibilities thru the eyes of a sick young boy whose hope burns brightly as the sun in ‘Life in a Day’.”

Oh My Goth!

“Director-playwright Chris Martinez (Here Comes the Bride, Kimmy Dora, 100) takes on the humorous side of the generational divide as an old woman’s faith and penchant for superstisions clashes with a young man’s cool confidence in a future well planned in ‘Oh My Goth!’.”

The Debt

“Up and coming filmmaker Nic Reyes follows the travails of a young man whose penchant for “quick fixes” led him into tight-hole situation and finds enlightenment and redemption from a surprising character in the action-packed ‘The Debt’.”

Sun Dance

“Multifarious artist Jerrold Tarog (Senior Year, Nino, Shake Rattle and Roll, Aswang) lets his “Sun Dance” pump up the beat of friendship that empowers three young women to tackle life’s ebbs and flows with grace and elegance. These shorts show how much friends bring the brightness of sun into our lives.”

Sun Shorts Promo

Everyone who watches Sun Shorts films online get a chance to win a trip to San Francisco, USA. All you need to do is like the video and post a comment.

Sun shorts digital films are produced by Sun Life Financial Philippines in collaboration with Unitel Pictures and supported by Star Magic, Cinema One and Sun Life Foundation. More details may be found at