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.
The search is over for the perfect cup of Joe! Experience coffee time at its finest at SM Supermalls this July
July 11, 2023 1:27 p.m.
Filipinos love their coffee! It’s a staple beverage among Pinoys for a reason: a cup of Joe fuels their day and boosts their energy.
This is why SM Supermalls makes everyone’s coffee time a leveled-up experience with only the best deals and promos for the love of a perfect cup of Joe!
Grab the best in-store coffee time deals
From July 1 to 16, coffee lovers can get over 800 deals available on artisan and specialty iced coffee from well-loved coffee shops at SM. There will also be hot bundles and pairings for those who love their coffee piping hot.
Where art, coffee, and locals come together
A consideration among avid coffee drinkers is having the ambiance to the perfect cup and conversation. Look no further because trendy spots are up at SM! Your favorite malls will set up booths where coffee-preneurs can sell their products. Treat your senses to different blends and varieties of coffee made by a pop-up of small and medium businesses owned by the locals in your area. These spots will have comfortable lounges and eye- catching art backdrops.
Baristas will also show off their skills at the Barista Face-Off, while musicians fill the lounge with mellow music on weekends from July 1 to 16.
Let your #CoffeeTok skills shine through
If you are on TikTok, this is your sign to make the most creative content about coffee! AweSM prizes are at stake for the best Coffee Hangout TikTok entries, with the most likes and views.
For details on how to join, go to @SMSupermalls on all social media.
Enjoy an adventurous ride and sip at the same time
Just outside the malls, SM will be dressing up designated areas for a Coffee Time Biker’s Pit Stop. Bike, stop, and sip your fave drink as SM creates a special stop where bikes may be temporarily parked near the café or at the malls with available open areas or al fresco.
Whether it’s a morning pick-me-up or a midday break, SM Supermalls makes coffee time even more special with its own blend of caffeinated activities from July 1 to 16.
To know more about Coffee Time at SM, check out www.smsupermalls.com or follow @SMSupermalls on social media.
Women bartenders on creating cocktails with Tanduay, defying stereotypes, thriving in a male-dominated field
March 29, 5:30 p.m.
As renewed interest in cocktails continue to grow, bartenders are also taking the spotlight, and in El Nido and Siargao, two bartenders are paving the way for women to shine in a male-dominated industry.
Sharleen Antonio works with her husband and fellow bartending professional, Larry Guevara, in one of Palawan’s top beach destinations. Riza Delguime, meanwhile, is a bartender for a leading resort in the country’s surfing haven.
Creating Tanduay-Infused Cocktails
Both women have been bartending for years and share a preference for Tanduay in creating cocktails.
“It’s very easy to mix in cocktails because of its unique and bold character. I usually go for the classic Tanduay Dark Rum in my root beer and rum with a squeeze of fresh lemon,” Antonio said.
She shared that they used Tanduay rums in her bar management class back in college, so she is very familiar with the brand. Collaborating with the brand, she came up with three Tanduay-infused cocktails that are perfect for any time of the year — the Mango Basil Mojito, Tanduay Espresso Martini, and Tanduay Old Fashioned.
Delguime likes Tanduay’s sweet and strong flavor. Foreign customers would usually ask what rum brand she uses in her cocktails and would then request drinks infused with Tanduay rums.
“I have my own signature cocktail, which is perfect when I mix it with Tanduay. We have female guests here in the resort who would request for cocktails that are not too strong, and I would make one for them also using Tanduay,” she said.
Delguime further shared that the bartending scene in Siargao has always been “good and clean.”
“There are different varieties of bars here like sports bars and pool bars, and they are all super busy because of the many tourists who visit our island,” she said.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Antonio shared working in a male-dominated industry wasn’t easy in the beginning. Women bartenders used to be seen as just “cotton candies” behind the bar to attract male clients and rake in tips.
“While I may have experienced some catcalling and received some indecent proposals from male guests in some instances, I have to say that I have been lucky to have always worked with my husband behind the bar. In 2016, we joined Pilipinas Got Talent Season 5 to show that there is more to bartending than meets the eye,” she shared.
Advice for Aspiring Bartenders
Delguime advised aspiring bartenders to just be themselves.
“That would be the key to your success. Bartending is fun, and you get to entertain guests,” she said.
Antonio, meanwhile, has made it her advocacy to educate people about bartending as hospitality and F&B professionals.
“Gone are the days when women were simply considered as bar backs or force multipliers during busy bar shifts. Or worse, simply as ornaments behind the bar,” she noted.
Antonio wants to motivate, inspire, and empower women bartenders and those who would like to start a career in the bartending industry. She and her husband have been conducting workshops and seminars around the country to help aspiring bartenders better their craft.
“It is my wish that female bartenders will continue to flourish and leave their own mark in the field we all so love and are passionate about,” she said.
First in Manila! All immersive experiences lead to SM with its 3D Whale Shark billboard, Space Tunnel, Golden Gateway, dazzling light shows
November 2, 2022 8:43 p.m.
A 3D Whale Shark Billboard, Space Tunnel, Golden Gateway and Dazzling Light shows
take over the Holidays in Manila.
SM Supermalls celebrates not just joyful, but also fun, immersive and experiential holidays.
This year, we take you to the deep oceans with SM Megamall’s first-ever 3D Whale Shark LED billboard, see the Northern lights at the Aurora Trail of SM City North Edsa, Sparkle at the Light show and Holiday fireworks at SM Mall of Asia, enter the Golden gateway of SM Aura Premier and explore the outer space at the Mega Space Odyssey.
NORTH EDSA’S AURORA TRAIL
The illuminating lights of the Aurora Borealis is at the North this Christmas. Walk and indulge in a family friendly immersive experience at the Aurora trail ascending the giant holiday tree with a magical array of lights, forestry, rein-bears & holiday polar express.
MEGA SPACE ODYSSEY & 3D WHALE SHARK
Travel to majestic galaxies in outer space and take photos and videos with your space explorer friends.
Experience the first-ever immersive 3D LED tunnel in Manila on October 21 to December 25 at the ground level Mega Fashion Hall (at the back of the Giant Christmas Tree).
SM Supermalls introduces the new 3D technology along EDSA by screening a hyper-realistic 3D Whale Shark at SM Megamall’s LED billboard.
Bringing you the first in the Philippines, High-Definition Immersive content at the heart of the bustling metropolis.
Netizens are awestruck of a larger-than-life Whale Shark peeking out of a digital billboard spanning over 2,000 square foot.
The Mega Whale Shark was first teased on April 27 but customers, tourists and motorists can catch the short preview every 15 minutes starting April 28 at peak hours from 12nn to 10pm daily.
Watch out for the new 3D content this Christmas.
The Philippines has the 2nd largest population of whale shark in the world at over 1,950.
MOA SPARKLE OF LIGHT SHOW AND HOLIDAY FIREWORKS
Feel the Christmas spirit as you watch the brightest and merriest indoor Christmas tree music and lights show.
Be in awe as you watch over one hundred thousand lights set to music.
Catch the show DAILY, every hour from 10am to 10pm until end of December at the Central Atrium.
Enjoy the most awaited and better than ever fireworks display at the MOA Complex every Friday and Saturday from November to December 2022. Make sure to experience this magical moment with your families and loved ones.
AURA’s GOLDEN GATEWAY and NIGHTS OF DAZZLING LIGHTS
Tucked behind the giant Christmas tree is a golden gemstone-shaped immersive experience.
In partnership with global smartphone brand TECNO Mobile, technology and art meet to transport all who enter this enclosure into scenes of an opulent holiday palace and fantastical golden worlds.
Simply present P1,000 in single or collected receipts and enter a whole new world filled with glitz and glamour.
The theatrical room isn’t the only technological experience the mall has. Equally spectacular is a choreographed light and sound display at SM Aura Premier’s Skypark at Level 5.
Visitors of the Skypark enter a space with tall tree-like sculptures made of strings of lights. As they go through a forest of lights, a jaw-dropping musical show will entrance and excite them.
Visitors can stop and enjoy the choreographed audio and visual performance at 7pm on all Sunday nights of December, including December 25th itself.