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PLDT Home empowers Filipino arts, launches support for #TheFutureIsCreative campaign with new single “Muling Pagbangon”

Creative talent is the very fiber of Filipino culture, which ultimately also fuels the engine of Philippine economic growth. 

Following the pandemic’s heavy blow to the country’s creative industry, telco leader PLDT Home is expressing support for the sector’s recovery through its “The Future is Creative” campaign. 

To kickstart the initiative, it collaborated with young Filipino-American hip-hop prodigy Alex Bruce and the internationally acclaimed Philippine Madrigal Singers for an OPM anthem of hope titled Muling Pagbangon.

Muling Pagbangon inspires optimism for a brighter tomorrow when Filipinos rise triumphant over the present adversities, through passion and creativity. 

“Despite the Philippine Arts industry being one of the sectors that have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipino artists are coming together to show how important art can be in empowering our pandemic-stricken fellowmen. For us, this proved that nothing can stop Filipinos from forging stronger collaborations, making even more meaningful, greater art, and preparing a nation for a future full of creativity that’s nurtured from home,” said Al S. Panlilio, President and CEO of PLDT and Smart.

The song and its music video, shot entirely by the artists in their homes, debuted at the recent “The Future of Cities is Creative” virtual conference, a collaborative project of various government agencies and private sector organizations, the Philippine Creative Cities Network (PCCN) initiative of the League of Cities of the Philippines led by Bacolod City Mayor Bing Leonardia, Arts and Culture and Creative Industries Bloc led by Rep. Christopher de Venecia, and supported by PLDT Home, to rally support for Pinoy artists who endured economic dislocation.

At the digital conference, cultural icons like Lea Salonga, Virgilio Almario, Vilma Santos, Kidlat Tahimik, as well as Carlo Ople discussed the unifying role of digital technology in the nation’s cultural life and the artist’s economic prospects. They say, more than just serving as a venue for connecting Filipino artists with their worldwide audience, the strong internet connection now available to homes can also serve as a meeting ground for Filipino creatives and city executives to come up with innovative solutions to local community problems – even amid lockdowns.

Part of the topics discussed during the conference are programs that city executives could put in place to prepare for becoming a creative city, which includes enabling local communities with first-rate internet connectivity, nurturing their local creatives, and leveraging creative industries to drive sustainable economic growth.


Limited-Edition Tanduay Heritage Rum Celebrates Brand’s Tradition of Excellence

6:26 p.m. April 11, 2024

Tanduay commemorates 170 years of mastery at rum-making with the launch of the Tanduay Heritage, a blend of rums matured through inter-island tropical aging.

“Tanduay Heritage pays homage to our Spanish roots in rum-making, back to our founding in 1854 during the Spanish period in our history. It also represents the brand’s strive for excellence throughout the years as it is blended from Tanduay’s finest reserves from different parts of the country,” said Roy Sumang, Tanduay International Business Development Manager.

Crafted From the Philippines’ Finest

While Tanduay Heritage is a Spanish-style rum, it is 100% crafted by Filipinos and was made in the country’s different islands. It is made from the reserved rums of Tanduay’s aging warehouses in Quiapo, Cabuyao, and Negros, and were column-distilled in Batangas and Negros.

The molasses used in making Tanduay Heritage also came from Negros, and the reserved rums that went into it were aged up to 19 years in oak barrels that were once used for bourbon.

For its packaging, Tanduay Heritage comes in an accordion-type gift box in black with streaks of gold, symbolizing a treasure that is being unveiled. Its bottle is also black and has a natural cork.

A Taste of Tanduay Heritage

Tanduay Heritage has a dark amber color, with elegant and sweet aromas of dried tropical fruits, vanilla, oak, and caramel. It has a medium, smooth, and fruity body and tastes of toffee, creme caramel, pepper, oak, and honey. It has a warming medium-long finish manifesting nuances of molasses cookie and raisin. It is bottled at 40% ABV.

Only 10,000 bottles of the Tanduay Heritage were made in a one-time production. It is available only until supplies last.

“This is one of the most expensive rums that we are introducing. In the U.S., it will retail at around $80 and here in the Philippines, it will be around PhP4,000,” Sumang said.

Tanduay Heritage is now available for purchase at select local and international stores. It will be available at by April. For inquiries, please call Roy Kristoffer Sumang or Rianna Juarez at 8790-0500.

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Henry Sy, Sr.: The legacy endures

Henry Sy, Sr.

October 26, 2023 2:23 p.m.

The story of Henry Sy, Sr., who profoundly changed the way Filipinos shop, dine, and entertain themselves through his SM mall and retail chains, is the stuff of legends. 

Indeed, the well-documented and eventful life story of the Father of Philippine Retailing has been told and retold over the years, providing a rich source of lessons and inspiration to many Filipinos, especially those who are valued partners of the SM Group.

Amelia Manas, co-founder and chairperson of Bruno’s Barbers, did not have the pleasure of directly interacting with Tatang, as Sy was fondly called, but recalls seeing him from afar in one of malls that he had built.

Even then, Manas was inspired to pursue the growth and diversification for Bruno’s Barbers, guided by Tatang’s example of how big things such as SM can come from small beginnings.

Manas draws parallels with the story of Bruno’s Barbers that also started from a single branch in Alabang and has now grown to some 70 branches, of which 35 percent are in SM Malls.

“There is the story of how Henry Sy, Sr. and his family would gather for weekend lunch. We do the same. And like them, we also always end up talking about business,” Manas shared with a smile.

For her son Marco Pascual, who took over the reins of Bruno’s Barbers as president in 2019, Tatang also demonstrated by example how it is important to work for a vision that goes beyond just the business.

“As leaders, what we bring to the table should be beyond oneself. His life and accomplishments will always be an inspiration for me because of his contributions to the economy of the country and the Filipino people,” said Pascual.

Following Tatang’s footsteps, Bruno’s Barbers contributes what it can by providing jobs to some 1,200 people which creates a positive ripple effect for their families and lives that they touch.

 “We at Bruno’s Barbers continue to be aligned with SM. We want to be closer to our customers while providing livelihood for our countrymen,” he said.

“The growth we are experiencing with SM continues to be exciting. With their 2026 goal of 100 malls, we hope to continue reaching new markets in the country which otherwise would have been difficult to penetrate, especially those outside of the Metro Manila area,” Pascual added.

Bruno’s Barbers’ Amy Manas and son Marco

Like Pascual, Adrian Dimacali, Director of the group behind the popular and fast-expanding chain of Mary Grace Cafes that was founded on the baking skills of his mother, Grace, was also encouraged by Tatang’s oft-retold rags-to-riches story, of how rewards inevitably come from honest hard work and discipline.

“I remember one time, my Mom and I were meeting someone and I saw a picture of Henry Sy, Sr. and his family. We were reflecting on how difficult the business was and questioning whether we should keep building. I told her, we are just opening restaurants, they are opening big malls,” he said, “They are doing their part to keep the economy going, to provide opportunities to tenants. I guess we have to keep opening too, to help our people and our suppliers.”

Mary Grace Café opened its first SM branch at SM Southmall in 2012 and from there expanded its SM footprint to 20 cafes out of 73 all over the country and then 31 out of 70 kiosks.

“Now we have a five-year plan because when you reach a certain point, you have to protect what we have built,” said Mary Grace, “That is always my prayer because it is a gift, this business of ours. Good thing that I have my daughter and my sons with me and each have their own talents that make the business whole!” 

Indeed, an example of a family working together like the one nurtured by Tatang, whose diverse companies are now ably run by his children. 

Mary Grace Café’s Adrian and mother Mary Grace Dimacali

Malou Fores, the driving force behind the acclaimed Mamou restaurants, and her husband Jorge “Oye” Araneta Fores, who is in charge of finance and marketing for the chain, can certainly relate to the challenges as well as the rewards from harnessing the power of family to grow an enterprise from the ground up.

And like the Dimacalis, they are constantly inspired by Tatang’s compelling and unique growth story that has lost none of its significance from every retelling.

Jorge shares that Tatang – who had an SM Department Store in the Araneta Center – was a regular visitor to the Cubao home of his uncle, Araneta Group CEO Jorge Araneta, and he recalled how he and his siblings and cousins were not allowed to disturb them while they had their discussions over a hearty home-cooked meal.

“That must have been about 35 years ago when they would have one-on-ones in the house. I was moved by that sight, of these two people I admired who saw each other as equals and partners, not one who is a lessor and one who is a tenant. There was mutual respect,” he said.

Malou and Jorge Fores apply the same principle of partnership and collaboration in the way they are growing their business, seeing SM Supermalls, for example, as an integral partner in the success of Mamou, which now has six restaurants including the latest branch at SM’s S Maison at Conrad Manila.

“I always see business as something that is a partnership. I have worked on both sides, as a mall manager and now as a lessee. I know that for a relationship to work, you cannot say I am a landlord and you are a tenant. It has to be a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Jorge.

That business principle has paid dividends for the SM Group and promises to do the same for the celebrated Mamou.

Mamou’s Malou and son Raul Fores

For Eric Teng, CEO of The Mango Tree and Gengki Sushi, what Tatang went through to grow his empire from the Shoemart store in Manila showed them that to succeed, one must be willing to work harder than everybody else.

“Do it for family. For their security. For their future. Don’t quit. The harder times are just part of life that we overcome,” said Teng.

“I totally agree with Tatang on the value of hard work. Being able to see things others cannot and lead everyone through hard times to thriving times is a gift [of Tatang that] I wish I have. You can’t go wrong by working hard. And we must surround ourselves with people who are equally driven by the same life principles,” added Teng.

Resto PH’s Eric Teng and son Grant

George Mirani, chair of the dominant Mirani Group that retails and distributes internationally recognized fashion and lifestyle accessories brands in the Philippines, certainly shares similar life principles with the Sy family whom they have known for decades.

Indeed, the SM Group has been instrumental in the continuing success of the Mirani Group, which operates 70 concession spaces for timepieces, 31 stores for timepieces such as Watch Republic and Times, and 35 stores for top fashion brands including Parfois, Triumph, Etam, Ever New, and Yves Rocher in SM Supermalls.

Mirani, however, started the group’s relationship with SM back in 1974 when as an 18-year-old, he would sell houseware, gift products, and a number of small appliances such as oven toasters to what was then Shoemart.

Over the succeeding years, as the SM Group rapidly expanded, the Mirani group did, too, diversifying from housewares to distribution of one brand after another. Today, it is one of the most formidable groups in the retail and distribution business, thanks in large part to its partnership with the Sys.

 “What you learn from Tatang through doing business with Tessie [Sy-Coson] is to think ahead,” said Mirani. “From 1976 to until about 1986, we were all, at that time, short-sighted business people. Nobody knew about transformation, where things were headed after the [Ninoy Aquino] assassination. But then there was this gentleman opening a mall. I remember that, at the time, people were saying Tatang was going to go broke and wouldn’t be able to pay the banks,” he shared.

Tatang certainly proved his naysayers wrong, and the opening of SM North Edsa at that time catapulted him to a higher level, Mirani said. And it has continued to reach higher goals long after Tatang’s passing, taking along partners such as the Mirani Group.

Mirani Group Chair George Mirani

Indeed, it seems likely that the SM Group continues to grow, with the reins firmly in the capable hands of Tatang’s children. The smooth transition of the family and the greater SM family, including tenants and partners, is Tatang’s greatest legacy.

In honor of its 65th anniversary, SM is reconnecting with its tenants who have gained valuable insights from Tatang and have grown their own businesses to pass on to the next generation. 

To know more about SM’s 65th-anniversary activities, visit and follow us at @smsupermalls on social media. 

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Lush Lips by The Icon Clinic: More than Just lip service

June 22, 2023 1:39 p.m.

There are countless songs and stories written about the desire to turn back the clock. Many people want to slow down the aging process and hold on to their youth for a little while longer.

While signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, and thinning lips are inevitable as one advances in age, and while it is impossible to turn back time, experts like the medical team of The Icon Clinic can help reverse various signs of aging safely.

Having fuller lips gives one a more youthful appearance, and if one desires to have that bee-stung look, they can seek the help of medical practitioners to undergo a procedure like Lush Lips by The Icon Clinic wherein lip fillers are injected into the lips to give them more volume.

According to Dr. Eric “Yappy” Yapjuangco and his team of specialists, lip fillers are made up of hyaluronic acid, a sterile, biodegradable, clear and colorless material used widely to enhance volume. Lush Lips, a newly-launched service by The Icon Clinic, is an in-clinic procedure, which usually takes 15 to 30 minutes and the patient may go home after. 

While the market is flooded with self-administered hyaluronic pens, Doc Yappy cautions the public against using them.

“Lip fillers should be administered by experienced healthcare practitioners to minimize adverse effects. The hyaluronic acid pens available in the market may not be FDA approved and may not be safe at all to be administered into the lips, let alone be self-administered. I would not advice doing this. It may cause adverse effects like allergic reaction to the product, infection, and may ruin the lips. Also, there are people who are not good candidates for lip fillers like those with oral sores or oral infections,” he said.

Doc Yappy attributes the rising popularity of lip fillers to celebrities and bloggers who have openly admitted to getting them. It is considered by many as a positive thing because it removes the stigma of wanting to enhance one’s appearance through cosmetic procedures. 

When asked about the difference between lip fillers and topical lip plumpers, Doc Yappy said, “Lip fillers give volume and shape that lasts for 8 to 12 months (case to case basis). Topical lip plumpers give temporary difference in how the lips would appear, but not as much as having a lip filler. Most lip plumpers will give you that ‘bee stung’ appearance. For longer lasting results, best to have filler injection.”

For people who believe they may have undergone one too many lip filler procedures and are not happy with the results, Doc Yappy assures them that this procedure is reversible as long as what was used was a hyaluronic acid-based filler. 

For those who are interested in getting lip fillers, Doc Yappy has this to say, “Look for a clinic that uses FDA-approved products, research on the appearance of the lips that you want to achieve and discuss it with your healthcare provider/injector if this is achievable to manage your expectations.”

For more information about Lush Lips and other procedures offered by The Icon Clinic, please visit

Watch the video for Lush Lips:

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