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Planning to throw a hybrid holiday party? Here’s what to do

Illustration by Yiffy Gu

December 16, 2021 2:08 p.m.

For this year’s celebration, many people are excited to gather in person again as the country stays on Alert Level 2 which means there are lesser restrictions and more fun activities to do. However, the Department of Health (DOH) urges employers to still hold Christmas parties virtually for the second time during the pandemic.

This means creative ideas for gathering from a distance will still be key to helping friends, family, and colleagues celebrate together—finding ways to tie in virtual events and hosting in-person activities. This is where a happy medium introduces itself: the hybrid party, in which some people gather in person and others connect virtually to celebrate together.

While people  still can’t celebrate Christmas like they used to pre-pandemic, a Twitter report showed that the holiday season remain to be a “joyous occasion” for Filipinos based on their vibrant conversations in the platform. It’s just a matter of recreating traditions in more accessible, safe, and secure ways.

Hybrid events may look and feel different, but they can still be fun, festive, and memorable with a little thoughtful planning.

“At HP, we’ve really harnessed technology and figured out how to continue connecting while miles apart and still keep that fun interactive experience like we’re just chatting and sitting in one table,” says Christian Reyes, Philippines Managing Director of HP Inc.

Whether you’re planning a simple Christmas dinner with friends, family Noche Buena, or an office holiday party, here are fun, creative ways to bring everyone together this year, wherever they are.

Share the ambience

Engage your virtual guests’ senses to create an experience that feels delightfully different from their day-to-day Zoom meetings and mimics what’s happening in the room. For example, if your in-person decor includes Christmas lanterns and fake poinsettia, send virtual guests smaller-scale versions for their home office and have them download Pinoy-themed and other festive Zoom backgrounds. Browse through various designs and print holiday craft activities and decorations for in-person guests on a high-quality home printer like the new HP Smart Tank 700 series available at Lazada and Shopee.

Send links to the same activities to remote guests so everyone can get creative together. Prepare home-style Bibingka, one of the Christmas food staples, as a gift for all attendees. If you want to make it a little more exciting, send virtual guests the ingredients so they can also make their own special versions.

Pre-record holiday-themed videos to watch together

Pre-recording content can help create communal experiences and level the playing field between in-person and online guests. A company might record an uplifting holiday message from the CEO, or prepare special performances from members of the team who are not afraid to showcase their amazing talents. For family get-togethers, ask some to film their greetings or special messages to the one they pick as Secret Santa.

Host a hybrid game or karaoke night

With the onset of virtual gatherings, many platforms have popped up to offer a variety of fun activities and games to choose from. Mentimeter and Kahoot are two of the most used for questions, polls, quizzes, and the like where responses from participants are showcased in real-time. You can create your own trivia quiz or choose from their templates. Zoom even have built-in apps that also deliver the same interactive experience. If the group feels more like singing Christmas carols, you can also host a hybrid karaoke party over Zoom. You can even mail virtual guests their own karaoke mic.

Organize a multi-location gift exchange

Draw names or use the free Secret Santa generator Elfster to match up gift givers and recipients. Ask everyone to mail their gifts well in advance — no peeking! — and then have everyone open their presents during your live event. Play a Spotify  holiday playlist with suggestions from all of your guests during gift opening.

Book a hybrid or virtual experience everyone can join

Or, instead of physical gifts, give experiences people can do together. Set up a holiday dessert tutorial or partner with a local business to arrange charcuterie workshops. Guests can post pictures of their creations on social media, and the one with the most likes wins a prize. Other experiences to explore include a virtual tour of your Christmas decorations at home or in the office and inviting a live band to serenade the guests.

Capture everything in fun video playback

Apart from taking virtual group photos and being creative in adding image filters or actual photo booth-like props, what makes an experience extra memorable is if you can capture the whole session and be able to replay it after or in the next year’s celebration as a look-back. You can task the most skilled in editing among the team or family to add some other video and sound effects that would make the recording more fun to watch and share on social media.

Whether you’re imagining something immersive or trying simple touches like festive Zoom backgrounds and a shared holiday playlist, we can all agree that the most important consideration for any celebration this year is staying connected while being mindful of each other’s well-being and safety. It’s being able to spread nothing else but love and care no matter what. This, after all, is the spirit of Christmas.

For more information about HP, visit HP.com.

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Globe offers affordable, longer roaming services as Japan reopens doors, S. Korea resumes tourist visa application

June 17, 2022 8:22 p.m.

Prepare your passports and get ready for the reopening of international travel! As you explore the world, no need to worry about connectivity overseas as Globe Roaming has the right data packs for you, whether for a 3-day or 30-day stay.

Japan is now accepting travelers from the Philippines, which is among the 98 “blue” countries whose travelers are no longer required to get tested or quarantined for COVID-19 upon arrival. For those traveling to Japan, Globe is currently offering 5G services through SoftBank.

You can also start applying for a short-term tourist visa to visit your favorite K-pop paradise, South Korea, where Globe is offering 4G and 5G roaming services through SK Telecom and KT Corp.

“The world is gradually opening up two years since the pandemic put travel on hold. More Filipinos are now opting to spend more time in other countries to make up for lost time in terms of travel, and they will be on the lookout for the safest and most convenient way to stay connected. As they explore the world once again, Globe will be with them and deliver data roaming that’s within their reach, even for longer travel periods,” said Coco Domingo, Vice President, Globe Postpaid and International Business.

As Filipinos prepare to maximize their trips abroad, Globe has introduced discounted data roaming called Roam Surf Longer Stay.  You can now enjoy more gigabytes for more days while spending less.

Simply choose from 3, 5, 7, 15 or 30-day offers which come with 3GB up to 20GB data, and get up to 50% off (vs the daily Roam Surf rate).

To avail of Roam Surf Longer Stay, simply dial *143# and press the call button. And then do the following steps::

●        For Postpaid, choose Roaming & Intl > Roaming > Data Promos

If you’re a Postpaid subscriber, it is best to subscribe to a Globe data roaming pack a few hours prior to your departure from the Philippines. Note, however, that if you wish to use Roam Surf 399, no prior registration is required. You just need to turn on your mobile data and data roaming upon landing at your country of destination.

●        For Prepaid, choose MyAccount > Roaming & Intl > Roaming > Data Promos

●        For TM, choose Roam > Data Roaming Promos

You should already be subscribed before turning on mobile data and data roaming on your phone in a foreign country.

This easy-to-use roaming service not only becomes more affordable the longer you are abroad but is also very convenient.  You can safely connect from your phone without lugging around another device such as a pocket WiFi or buying a local SIM.

“Roam Surf Longer Stay is meant for cross-country travels as it is currently available in over 70 countries worldwide. Longer Stay promos also give you bigger savings the longer you use it,” Domingo said.

Globe is all set to provide connectivity requirements of Filipino tourists with the expected surge in global travel.  Despite strict travel restrictions during the height of the global health crisis, Globe accelerated its roaming rollout, particularly 5G, to more countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe as part of its commitment to deliver a #1stWorldNetwork.

This innovative service is part of Globe’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which highlight the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development under SDG No. 9.

To learn more about Globe, visit www.globe.com.ph. For more info on Roam Surf Longer Stay, visit https://glbe.co/PostpaidRSLS (for Postpaid) or https://glbe.co/RSLongerStay (for Prepaid).

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Keep your passwords secure with Google; celebrate World Password Day on May 5

May 2, 2022 9:42 p.m.

Much of our lives now revolve around the internet. This means having different accounts in different social media platforms, applications, and websites. With this, it is only imperative to have strong passwords to ensure security.

Strong passwords help prevent personal information and files from being compromised. Ideally, they need to be long and complex with at least 12 characters, made up of a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Passwords must exclude personal information that others may easily know, like birthdays or names of pets.

It should also be unique for every account so others remain safe when one gets compromised. For added protection, activating 2-Step Verification is also one way to get extra security.

Creating different passwords and trying to remember all them can be hard, that’s why it’s important to use a password manager.

With Google Password Manager, not only can you easily generate strong passwords, you can save, manage and keep them secure across multiple accounts.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Google Password Manager makes it simple to generate strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts when you’re using Chrome browser, on Android and Chrome on iOS.
  1. Google Password Manager helps remember all your saved passwords. You will only need to remember your Google account password – the only password you’ll ever need to remember – and let Google Password Manager take care of the rest. It autofills your secure password every time you visit a site or sign in with your Google account logged in.
  1. Google checks 1 billion passwords for breaches, daily. Google Password Manager will notify you in real-time about unsafe or stolen passwords, and help you fix them in a single tap. If you get an alert from Chrome saying that a password and username combination that you use has been published on the internet as a result of a data leak on a third party website or app, all you need to do is tap “Check passwords” and follow the prompts to change your password for each compromised site.
  1. Using a password manager can help reduce the hassle of remembering, resetting, or worrying about passwords. Often, you can run a Password Checkup anytime to tell you if any of your passwords have been compromised in a third-party breach; being reused across different sites; or should be strengthened. You can quickly update any weak or compromised accounts with stronger passwords using Google Password Manager.
  1. To free people from having to manually enter passwords into the password manager, Google introduced the Password Import feature in 2021, which allows you to easily upload up to 3,000 passwords at a time from various third party sites into Google Password Manager. You can also ​​store up to 10,000 passwords in your Google Account. Once you’ve imported your passwords, you can run a password checkup to how strong those passwords are, in one go.

This World Password Day (May 5) and beyond, remember to always keep your accounts secure. As passwords remain a part of our digital lives, take advantage of tools like Google Password Manager to make it easier to keep yourselves secure online as well.

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LG Monitor Madness on 5.5 Lazada Live

May 2, 2022 9:36 p.m.

As working from home and hybrid work setups are becoming the norm, the requirement for high-performance monitors that provide eye comfort increases exponentially.

To meet this need, LG focuses its 5.5 Lazada grand celebration into the different monitor lineups they offer.

The goal is to help more individuals get access to new monitors that improve productivity and offer stunning picture quality.

The 5.5 Lazada grand celebration will be hosted by LG brand ambassador Luis Manzano together with Arri of Shoppertainment and Kyra Tan of LG Electronics, Product Manager for IT Monitor.

For the duration of the promo, select LG products in Lazada will have a 10% discount and free shipping. Special bundles will also be sold off and 500 Peso vouchers will be given away. The Lazada Live event will focus on 4 monitors that LG offers, each of which have their own unique strengths that will help consumers.

The LG Ultragear 32-inch Full HD Gaming Monitor offers high performance whether you’re a professional gamer or a hobbyist. An ultra-fast speed of 165Hz allows gamers to see the next frame quickly and makes the image appear smooth.

You can respond quickly to opponents and aim at targets easily.

The regular price of the 32” Ultragear is P20,199, but just for 5.5, it has a special price of P18,179. Each purchase also includes a P500 voucher. 

LG 24-inch Full HD Monitor is a cost-efficient upgrade to increase your productivity at home. It provides true color with wide angles.

Its IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology highlights the performance of liquid crystal displays. Response times are shortened, color reproduction is improved, and users can view the screen at virtually any angle.

This is one of LG’s most affordable monitors with an SRP of P8,399. With the 10% promo, the price is just P7,559 and also includes a P200 voucher for free shipping. 

LG Ultrawide 34-inch Full HD IPS Monitor gives you all the space you need to multitask effectively.

The 21:9 UltraWide Full HD display with a resolution of 2560×1080 offers more screen space compared to 16:9 Full HD resolution displays.

The extra room allows you to keep multiple windows open and reduce the need to flip back and forth between them.

The original price is P19,899, but will be down to P17,909 for the duration of the promo period.

It also includes free shipping and a P500 voucher.LG 22-inch Full HD Monitor is another affordable monitor if you want to upgrade.

This is actually one of the freshest sizes this 2022 in LG’s monitor line-up. It offers 1080p Full HD resolution that delivers brilliant images that pop with vibrant details.

You can mount it on a wall or use an ergonomic stand to help you get a comfortable fit. The 22-inch monitor will have a special price of P6,999 for the 5.5 grand celebration.

As a special treat to viewers, LG will also be raffling off four monitors during the event. LG monitor models 22MP410-B.APH, 24MP400-B.APH, 32GN500-B.APH, and 34WP500-B.APH will be given away through the course of the grand celebration.

Don’t miss out on your chance to win! Catch Lazada’s 5.5 grand celebration on Thursday, May 5, 11AM both on Lazada Live and Facebook Live.  

You can visit lg.com/ph for more information. You can purchase LG monitors from authorized retailers or in LG’s flagship online stores in Lazada and Shopee. 

LG is a Big Winner at This Year’s Red Dot and CES 2022 Innovation Awards

LG Electronics has taken home 25 honors from this year’s Red Dot Award, continuing its success at the prestigious annual design awards program.

Among the company’s impressive haul were three Best of the Best accolades for the LG washer and dryer with an upgradability option, a new LG lifestyle OLED TV and the LG DualUp Monitor Ergo.

LG PuriCare AeroTower air purifier and the LG tiiun were recognized in the Innovative Product category.

Other LG products honored at this year’s awards include the LG One:Quick Flex all-in-one display solution, LG UltraGearTM gaming laptop, LG OLED evo Gallery Edition and other OLED evo TV models, all lauded for their aesthetically pleasing and user-centric designs.

The Red Dot Award is one of the most prestigious competitions for product design, communication design and design concepts, with the distinctive Red Dot winner logo seen as a respected mark of quality around the world.

This year, approximately 7,800 products were submitted for the jury’s consideration.

Meanwhile, LG Electronics also swept up a grand collection of CES® awards at the 2022 event across its home appliance, home entertainment and business solutions categories.

In all, LG tallied approximately 150 awards and accolades from various publications covering the first-ever physical/virtual hybrid CES event.

Among the top honors earned were 24 CES Innovation Awards and the 2022 CES Editor’s Choice awards from USA TODAY’s consumer product reviews division, Reviewed.

LG was recognized as the most-awarded brand by USA TODAY/Reviewed with LG’s OLED evo C2 Series, PuriCare™ AeroTower, DualUp Monitor, Soundbar S95QR and Washer and Dryer Pair earning recognition based on four key criteria: innovation, technology, design and value.

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