February 28, 2022 3:53 p.m.
With COVID-19 cases declining, various local government agencies have recommended that Metro Manila’s pandemic restrictions be downgraded to Alert Level 1 this March.
This means traveling, without regard for age and co-morbidities, will now be allowed. Dining in at restaurants, visiting tourist attractions and entertainment venues, and going for staycations are now possible at full on-site capacity. However, owners and organizers should ensure minimum health measures, like proper ventilation, wearing of face masks, and proper handwashing, are implemented.
When this happens, will you be ready to pack your bags and travel up north for a quick weekend getaway? Shake off the cabin fever – prepare for that long overdue road trip and enrich yourself with better countryside views, the fresh air, and local delicacies.
Here’s a quick guide to help you prepare for this much-needed break:
1. Bring your vaccination and booster cards.
To be sure, it is recommended that adults and vaccinated children have their vaccination and booster cards ready for inspection. Depending on where you’re coming from, some local government units (LGU) might check for Negative RT-PCR/Antigen tests. For example, Baguio City still requires this for children aged 12 to 17 years old.
2. Tourist passes
Depending on the LGU, there might be areas that still require tourist passes. Best to check for the latest updates on your destination’s websites before hitting the road.
3. Still observe health protocols
For your safety, especially when you are traveling with family and friends, it would still be recommended to always wear your face masks, observe social distancing, and always disinfect with isopropyl alcohol and disinfectants.
4. Pre-book your accommodations
If you’re planning to stay longer than a day, it is recommended that you confirm accommodation with establishments ahead of time. Check for their requirements and restrictions so you and your travel buddies will be ready. This saves you the hassle of looking for a place to stay when you are already at your destination. With everyone wanting for a break, these hotels and resorts might even be fully booked!
5. Prepare your vehicle
If you are planning to bring your own car, it would be best to have it checked by your suking mechanic. For those of us who stay and work at home, it is recommended to have our vehicles serviced first for good measure. If your car is in tip-top shape, checking for BLOWBAG (brakes, lights, oil, water, battery, air, and gasoline) is a necessity before going on that long drive. Have your back-up water, tools, and early warning device (EWD) on the ready for any incident.
6. Plan your trip
Aside from securing accommodations and preparing your itinerary, it is also important to plan your routes and stopovers. Program your destinations on Waze or Google Maps. For emergencies when travelling north or south, always keep the expressways’ hotline handy. Good thing that there is only one hotline for the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), and Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway (CAVITEX) at 1-35000.
7. Check and reload your Easytrip account
When the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) was mandated by the government in 2020, toll operators like NLEX improved their RFID services to ensure the safety and convenience of motorists. One of these providers, Easytrip Services Corp, continues to uphold this mandate through its improved RFID account management. As the innovation arm of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), MPT Mobility’s Easytrip now offers various services for its registered users under myeasytrip web. Through the myeasytrip Customer Account Management System (CAMS), registered users can now do the ff:
– Check their balance and passages
– Generate their statement of account (SOA)
– Get the latest updates and advisories from Easytrip
– Get a chance to participate and win in different promos
Reloading is also much easier as most of the Easytrip’s reloading merchants credit the loads in quick-time. For a list of reloading merchants, please check here. If you still don’t have an Easytrip RFID, subscription and sign up are so easy, just click here.
MPT Mobility will soon launch a new mobility-related services app, MPT DriveHub. All of MPT Mobility’s services like Easytrip will be on this app. MPT DriveHub will be available for download on Google Play Store and Apple App Store on March 1.
MPT Mobility president and general manager Raul Ignacio has announced, “The digital solutions our business units will offer are all about improving mobility for Filipinos, addressing a variety of customer needs and providing life conveniences via a digital interface.” This is something to look forward to, especially when planning for trips.
With these reminders, you and your loved ones can surely have a safe and relaxing trip. Always keep yourself healthy and safe travels.
Niantic, NBA, NBPA team up for NBA All-World
June 29, 2022 7:31 p.m.
NEW YORK — Niantic announced a partnership with the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association to create an original augmented reality mobile game: NBA All-World.
NBA All-World is a first-of-its-kind game that will place NBA fans into the real-world metaverse.
NBA All-World is a free-to-play officially licensed geolocation basketball game where players can find, challenge, and compete against today’s NBA ballers in their neighborhoods, then recruit them to their team before proving themselves on the court.
“NBA All-World represents an industry first in sports games, as an original, real-world AR game that will appeal to casual and core NBA fans alike,” said Marcus Matthews, Senior Producer at Niantic.
“We’re creating and designing a game that empowers players to represent where they’re from and showcase the culture of their neighborhood.”
“Through our partnership with Niantic, NBA All-World will provide fans across the globe the opportunity to fully immerse themselves into the energy and excitement of the NBA,” said Matt Holt, Head of Consumer Products at the NBA.
“Evident in the name of the game itself, we look forward to engaging with our fans around the world through this captivating experience.”
“NBA-All World gives us the opportunity to bring NBA players into Niantic’s real-world metaverse, opening up paths for fans to interact with them in a new way,” said Josh Goodstadt, EVP of Licensing for THINK450, the innovation engine of the NBPA.
“Niantic has proven experience building games that encourage engagement in local communities, and having our players integrated into NBA All-World adds to that immersion.”
Additionally, NBA All-World will embrace the fashion of the NBA, with users having the ability to outfit players in the game with custom apparel.
Players can sign-up to be notified when NBA All-World is available in their country by visiting NBAAll-World.com.
Those who sign up will be able to experience an exclusive All-World AR web experience and be the first to be notified about securing their codename for global launch.
8 facts about foodpanda on its 8th birthday in PH
June 28, 2022 8:23 p.m.
Thanks to online food and groceries delivery services, getting your food is so much easier now. With platforms like foodpanda, you can order instantly and enjoy a delicious meal within minutes. And nothing beats the excitement of getting a call from a Kuya or Ate Ka-Panda rider/biker/walker to tell you that your order has arrived.
As the leading quick commerce digital platform, foodpanda lets you order from your favorite restaurants and shops offering a wide variety of choices – meals, snacks, groceries, and other daily essentials. With 8 years of delivering food and more in the Philippines, life would never be the same without our favorite pink panda brand that has captured the hearts (and tummies!) of many Filipinos. But aside from satisfying your cravings, your curiosity will also be captured by these mind-blowing facts about the country’s go-to online food and groceries delivery app.
As foodpanda turns 8 this year, we’re treating you to some interesting trivia that you probably don’t know about them yet.
- From orange to pink
If anything, foodpanda is best associated with their logo – the pink panda. But you’d be surprised to know that it was originally orange before they made the switch to pink, back in 2017. The fuschia-pink look is definitely a lot of fun, and clearly shows that foodpanda is ever-growing, expanding, and not afraid to take that big leap to cater to all of your food needs.
- Leadership at a crucial time
Transitions are hard enough to begin with, but to do it at the most crucial of times would require exceptional skills – one that Daniel Marogy, managing director of foodpanda Philippines, proved to have when he joined the team a day before the lockdown. “That was a very challenging time for me, but it was made bearable because of the competitive foodpanda team led by very compassionate leaders and dedicated team members who helped me steer the ship in the right direction,” shares Dan.
- Revolutionizing the food delivery space
foodpanda was the first online delivery service in the Philippines to house all of your favorite restaurants in an app and deliver food right at your doorstep with just a few taps on your mobile phone. Before foodpanda, do you remember how you would collect delivery hotline numbers, so you know who to call when ordering food? Or how frustrating it is that some of your faves are not available for delivery? Now, Ka-Panda riders not only deliver the meals you’re craving, but so much more – you can shop for groceries from pandamart, pick-up your ordered food if you’re in the area, or enjoy exclusive discounts for dine-in offers from their restaurant partners.
- Putting the digital in digital delivery
It’s called quick commerce for a reason because in as fast as 30 minutes or even less, your order is already at your door. The reason behind this fast delivery service, aside from having a massive fleet of riders, bikers, scooter-riders and even walkers, is that foodpanda pioneered the use of internet connection to their vendors. Prior to that, other online food delivery services had to manually use fax and call center agents to relay the orders to the restaurants, so imagine how long it would take. As the first one to automate the ordering process, they definitely transformed the way online food deliveries work so your food will be delivered still hot and fresh – just the way you like it.
- Shining the spotlight on “dark” kitchens…
The term ‘dark kitchen’ might sound a bit scary, but a delivery-only restaurant is all there really is to it. It means these food brands do not have physical stores; just take-out outlets designed to deliver only. For foodies who are tired of eating from the same restaurants, you might want to try foodpanda’s concept brands for your next meal. They are present in key cities in Metro Manila and the North Luzon area. (Extra fun fact: some of these brands are created by foodpanda so you can only get it exclusively from their platform).
- You can never go wrong with pizza and burger!
Any time is pizza and burger o’clock. It’s probably why these two fast-food staples hold a special place in foopanda’s 8-year journey in the country. The very first order to be placed in the app is none other than everyone’s OG snack, pizza, while topping the order list in the app are burgers. As the leader in the online food delivery marketplace, foodpanda continues to offer food items that will meet the fast-paced lifestyle and current needs of their consumers.
- Employee #1 is still with them
Kristine Luneta, who is part of the Commercial team, currently holds the title of foodpanda’s longest-tenured employee. Like the company, she is also celebrating her 8th year anniversary with them as their employee #1. When asked what made her stay for that long, Kristine shared, “I am drawn to how progressive the mindset is and how connected the people are.”
- FP = For the People
Making a difference in the community is also part of the company’s advocacies. One of the many initiatives they do to nurture and help the communities they serve is the ‘BuyAnihan Palengke’ program, aimed at assisting enterprising Filipinos become resellers of fresh produce sourced directly from local farmers. To date, more than 10,000 kilograms of fresh produce have been sold to consumers at an affordable price through various partnerships with local government units since the program was launched last year. Watch out for their next food bazaar exhibit to get your stash of fresh fruits and vegetables.
For 8 years, foodpanda has been a prominent presence in the digital food space in the Philippines – and they vow to continue deliver food, groceries, and more for many years to come. Celebrate with foodpanda’s Pau-tastic birthday: be on the lookout for surprises and announcements for special treats made just for you!
Hamilo Coast: Nurturing nature for 15 years and beyond
June 27, 2022 1:35 p.m.
The current rate at which individuals observe sustainability practices is far from halting climate change.
Whether it is reducing the use of disposable items or saving more energy, environmentally conscious activities will only yield significant results if everyone is “cast in the same mold,” so to speak.
That said, high-impact global sustainable development lies within the responsibility of the government and large organizations—conglomerates among them.
Understanding such a role, SM Prime Holdings, Inc., one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia, has incorporated its sustainable practices in its developments early on.
Through SM Prime’s Costa Del Hamilo Inc., a leader in the leisure resort industry and the movers behind Hamilo Coast – this premium seaside complex in Nasugbu, Batangas, fosters a tangible connection with nature.
Marking its quindecennial year, Hamilo Coast looks back at its milestones and achievements with its core emphasis on sustainable development.
“Sustainability has been at the forefront of our vision in providing a resort lifestyle. We strive to practice both environmental and social sustainability in our operations through our partners and commnunities,” Franklin M. Bolalin, Assistant Vice President for Hamilo Estate Management, said.
Disaster risk reduction
Every year, the country deals with an average of 19 typhoons, with some often resulting in damages to properties and loss of life.
Coastal defenses such as seawalls and breakwater structures are often implemented to resist storm surges. In the case of Hamilo Coast, mangrove trees are the key.
Hamilo Coast’s 100,000 square-meter or equivalent to 10 hectares mangrove belt is one of the largest mangrove areas in the municipality.
The sustainable beach resort town has since planted 50,000 mangrove propagules, protected hand-in-hand with the conservation organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines.
Apart from disaster mitigation, mangrove trees also benefit the climate by absorbing greenhouse gases (GHGs) and carbon dioxide.
This capacity nurtures the ecosystem and biodiversity in the area, providing habitat for a wide array of species.
Hamilo is home to rich marine life and abundant flora and fauna.
Its conservation programs and various sustainability initiatives have nurtured and conserved its precious biodiversity.
There are about 96 various bird species found at the estate. Among these bird species are the rough-crested Malkoha and the Philippine eagle-owl.
From growing local plants to conducting regular coastal clean-up drives, coastal resource conservation initiatives are active in Hamilo Coast. With the help of WWF, they can increase their fisheries’ biological capacity and monitor their Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)—the Pico de Loro, Etayo and Santelmo coves which are among the three MPAs for Costa Del Hamilo’s Sustainable Development Project.
Hamilo has been working with WWF since 2007 monitoring the health and viability of Hamilo Coast area.
In recognition of its conservation efforts, Hamilo Coast was cited by the World Wide Fund for Nature as its longest Sustainability Partner in 2020.
“Over the years, our partnership with SM significantly contributed to the impact we are making in our work in Hamilo Coast. From liquid waste and coral monitoring, to our present work on integrated waste management and food sheds, we hope that this continuing partnership would help us realize our vision of making Hamilo a holistic model of sustainability”, says Katherine Custodio, WWF-Philippines’ Executive Director.
Green buildings development
The path towards a sustainable future is paved with many interventions, including zero waste, dematerialization, zero emissions and resource efficiency practices.
For its part, Hamilo Coast makes its intention to be a premiere sustainability community possible by making sure its buildings are designed with the environment in mind.
Some of the estate’s facilities are powered by alternative sources of energy. For example, its lamp posts use solar power more than traditional ones to function.
Natural lighting and ventilation are also noticeable in some of its residential areas, which benefits the environment as well as its tenants. Additionally, Hamilo Coast implements a solid waste management plan that consists of recovery of materials and vermicomposting, among others.
At Hamilo Coast’s core is how a distinct beachfront home can harmonize with its surrounding environment.
As people crave for a more relaxed environment, closer to nature and the outdoors amid a work-from-home setup pushed by the ongoing pandemic, Hamilo homes give access to invigorating landscapes, coves to explore and the calming sea.
Fifteen years later, Hamilo Coast has surpassed its reputation as a weekend respite.
It is now one of the best settlement options for people looking to live the coastal life in a sustainable community.