I was recently privileged to sit down with Paolo Ortiz who is the second generation of the families running and managing the top Filipino sportswear company in the country which is more popularly known for its primary sports brand – Accel (pronounced /əkˈsel/). I met him at his main warehouse in Pasig City and together with three other journalists and bloggers, we all casually talked to Paolo to hear his thoughts and experiences regarding the company and brands they have given to the Filipino public since its inception in 2002.
Hey! I remember owning a pair of Accel rubber shoes. Back then, probably around 2005, I always thought Accel was an international brand. “Well, what didn’t I know then?” So, I should shout, “Proudly Filipino!”
There are presently 342 outlets nationwide of Sporteum Philippines, Inc., the company that manufactures, markets and sells the Accel line of sportswear, most of which are concession-oriented and outright stores, while around 10 are company-owned specialty boutique shops. By research, I also found out Lazada is also selling the Accel brand though I do not know if it is a direct sale from Sporteum. But no franchising for now.
The sportswear brand Accel is more known for its rubber shoes (Yep! That’s old school terminology, kiddos!), particularly in the area of Philippine basketball since Sporteum has been a licensee of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) for quite some time – jerseys, caps, sports sandals and bags.
Besides sports shoes, Accel also has sports sandals, shorts, indoor shoes, basketball shoes, caps and other accessories as its more marketable brand categories. You have past and present Accel endorsers like Asi Taulava, Manny Pacquiao before he became famous, including the likes of Bearwin “DaBear” Meily (Filipino actor), Rey Saludar (boxing), Dennis Orcollo (billiard), Engelberto Rivera (bowling), Onyok Velasco (boxing), Treat Conrad Huey and Ceil Mamiit (tennis), La Salle Green Archers (2007 83rd UAAP), Gilas Pilipinas, Maico Buncio (superbike), Gary David (basketball), Natasha Alquiros (women’s football), and Diego Dalisay (tennis).
As prominent is Accel to men’s sports, the sportswear company is now aggressively marketing its women’s line for the past two years, starting with women’s sport shoes and following it with women’s sports apparel – footwear, sports sandals, apparel, leggings, sports bra and more.
While interviewing Paolo Ortiz, I learned that he actually finished with a degree in Landscape Architecture and ventured out on his own before joining the family business two years ago. Sporteum was founded by three families, namely the Ortiz, Laroza and Go families, with Willie Ortiz more known with the Accel brand. Prior to setting up Sporteum, these three sportswear industry stalwarts actually came from another well-known sportswear company, Rubber World, which as I recall was the first distributor of Addidas in the country. This only means these founders have been in sportswear industry for decades.
Accel has only one market – the Filipino market. They are competing head-on with internationally known brands like Addidas and Nike but are priced well below these expensive sportswear products so that the average Filipino can afford Accel – with equal quality and durability to the international brands. A local brand, World Balance, may well be its direct local competitor but Accel outpaces it in variety, availability and affordability. This is because ever since they started, Sporteum’s goal was to be the No. 1 Filipino sports brand. Today, I believe that to be very true.
A new addition to the Accel brand is not a sub-brand but rather a new technology, which they call Quantum Plus (or Quantum+ as it is popularly labeled). This is a patented technology inside select Accel sportswear products that provides a healthy balance of ionized charge. Something similar to magnets and infrared (IR) in wearables like bracelets and necklaces, Quantum Plus balances out the negative charges for us urban dwellers; rural folks have a balanced diet of these charged ions. From sport shoes to apparel, Quantum Plus is (still) in its promotional stage despite being launched sometime early 2014. Wearing something with Quantum Plus is like placing nature’s energy in your shoes to boost your stamina, whether it involves casual sports or extreme ones. If you go to one of Accel’s outlets, the Quantum Plus products are visibly labeled with a large, prominent tag. Of course, there are no scientific or medical claims for endurance and strength but global research will tell you a balance of charged ions can provide a healthy balance for the body. In fact, one of the interviewers attested giving her extra endurance on her regular jogs when she started using Accel with Quantum Plus.
The prevailing market of Accel products have always been the Gen X (generation), seeing that the company began as the official licensee of PBA in its early days. But Sporteum is slowly developing products for the Millennial market, especially the women’s segment. Besides conducting surveys for new and upcoming designs, they also rely on feedback from their endorsers and other athletes.
September next month is the anniversary of Accel. Paolo says they have promotions in store which he did not want to reveal – not just yet. Sporteum will continue to add Quantum Plus in more of their products and continue to support Filipino sports with the likes of PBA, UAAP, NCAA, Shakey’s V-League, PBA D-League, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Sportswriters Association, PBA Press Corps and the UAAP-NCAA Press Corps.
Source of text from an interview with Paolo Ortiz, Operations Director of Sporteum Philippines, Inc.
Photos by @raffypekson
Starting August 1, 2016, the US-formatted emergency number “911” will now be operational in the Philippines. This a replacement of the existing Patrol “117” that has existed since 2003 and is managed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), referred to as the “Emergency Network Philippines (ENP).”
Patrol 117 call centers nationwide have handled some 15 million calls since its inception. However, the majority of 117 calls are prank calls, leading the DILG to urge local government units to issue ordinances penalizing those who make hoax 117 calls.
Historically, 117 was solely used in the Metro Manila area by the Philippine National Police for the reporting of ongoing crimes as part of a program called the “Patrol 117 Street Patrol Program” in cooperation with the Foundation for Crime Prevention. Efforts to expand the capabilities of 117 began in the 1990s, starting with the addition of emergency medical services to the scope of 117 in Metro Manila through a private-sector initiative called Project EARnet (Emergency Assistance and Response network).
Government involvement in the expansion of 117’s scope began in late 1998, when the DILG announced the formation of Emergency Network Philippines, a project that sought to support a national emergency telephone number in order to enable the faster delivery of emergency services to the Filipino people.
By virtue of Executive Order No. 226, 117 became the official national emergency telephone number of the Philippines on July 14, 2003.
The P1.4 billion project was completed on August 2, 2003, with the opening of a new 117 call center in Quezon City, serving the entire Metro Manila area. Four more 117 call centers were opened in 2006, and the full 117 network, consisting of sixteen networked call centers, was rolled out in 2007.
Sources of text and image: Wikipedia | LSGH ’81 Viber Group
PRESS RELEASE — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other travelers can now credit their Viber Out accounts directly in international airports via TravelersBox kiosks. The kiosks allow travelers to deposit their leftover foreign coins and bills into various eWallets and online accounts such as Viber before departing for their next destination. Also included are PayPal, iTunes and Google Play.
TravelersBox kiosks can help OFWs get value for their leftover foreign currency by converting coins and bills into real digital money with Viber. With more than 75 kiosks in 8 countries (note: the press release says eight but the TravelersBox website counts only six — see addedum below), the company had announced further expansion throughout Asia this year. In the Philippines, the kiosks are located in Manila at NAIA Terminal 1 (near Starbucks) and Terminal 3 (International Departure Gates).
Robi Kopel, FinTech Lead at Viber, says “Our goal at Viber is to connect users all over the world. We’re very happy to be working with TravelersBox to offer a way for travelers to convert their left over currency to Viber Out credit to contact loved ones.”
ADDENDUM (By Miniphilippines.com)
Viber is part of the Rakuten family, a Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company based in Tokyo, Japan. Its B2B2C e-commerce platform Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce site in Japan and among the world’s largest by sales.
Viber calls are always free over 3G/4G or WiFi when both parties have Viber. Viber Out allows users to call both mobiles and landlines worldwide at low rates even if when the recipient doesn’t have Viber.
TravelersBox is a service that allows you to make the most of your spare foreign change. By depositing your leftover foreign currency into a TravelersBox kiosk, you can redeem it for gift cards from your favorite brands, deposit it into your Viber account, or donate it.
According to their website, TravelersBox charges a 7% fee while offering great exchange rates. The company will always be cheaper than the local money exchanges at the airport.
The TravelersBox kiosks in the following countries accept its respective currencies:
- Turkey – Turkish Lira, USD, Euro and Russian Ruble.
- Georgia – Georgian Lari and Euro.
- Italy – Euro.
- Philippines – Peso and USD.
- Israel – Euro, USD, GBP and Turkish Lira.
- Canada – Canadian Dollar, USD and GBP.
According to the TravelersBox website, depositing money in the kiosk is 100% safe. TravelersBox is authorized by the local banks and port authorities in each location, such as TAV and DHMI (General Directorate of State Airports Authority of Turkey), SEA, GTAA, TAV and Central Bank of Georgia.
Once you complete your deposit with the TravelersBox kiosk, you’ll get an e-mail confirmation with instructions for redeeming your cash. Simply click on the link provided in the e-mail and follow the instructions. Your deposit will be available to you within 48 hours.
Sources: Press Release from Viber Philippines | TravelersBox website
Photo/images: Viber-PR | travelersbox.com
On April 21, 2016, Sharp Philippines launched one of its most innovative series of LED/flatscreen televisions at the Grand Ballroom of the Shangri-La Hotel Makati. It was attended by hundreds of Sharp dealers nationwide with media people in tow. The grand event was held during lunch time while an evening affair was to be conducted with the attending dealers.
Blog Ownership: https://miniphilippines.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/sharp-aquos-xu-series-launched-4k-tv-with-8k-resolution/ (Do not plagiarize.)
Sharp AQUOS XU first 4K TV with 8K resolution. What this means is that the Sharp AQUOS XU series achieves its 8K resolution on a 4K Ultra HD panel. This is the result of Sharp’s laboratory testing using a test pattern with 7680 x 4320 pixels. All these are combined with Sharp’s proprietary Qualtron Pro 4-Color Technology and its newest upscaling technology, the X8-Master Engine Pro. The result of all these is a true-to-life detail with the most vivid color expression and deepest contrast.
The Sharp AQUOS XU series displays more color than most conventional TV models around. The Rich Color Pro Technology enhances the 4-color technology with a direct backlight that expands color by 40 percent; hence, the true-to-life detail and most vivid color expression. The Sharp AQUOS XU also uses another technology, the Ultra Dynamic Range Pro which also uses the direct backlight to achieve the darkest blacks and the brightest whites to achieve awesome contrast.
For all television sets, glare has always been a consideration. Sharp AQUOS XU anti-glare technology is called N-Black Anti-Glare Technology which reduces the reflection on the screen and increasing color reproduction.
Sharp AQUOS XU Smart Remote is what ups the ante. It has a touch pad and a slide bar for quick access to features such as Google Voice Search and Netflix. Not only that, the Sharp AQUOS XU works with the latest Android TV platform, becoming a true entertainment system. With the Google Voice Search function in 61 languages, you can stream movies and TV shows, listen to music, play Android games and get access to Netflix, YouTube and more. Not to mention having access to over 600 Android apps and games.
The one thing Sharp did good in its Sharp AQUOS XU is to incorporate Google Chromecast as a built-in feature, allowing you to cast (meaning wirelessly stream) whatever is on your laptop, desktop, table or smartphone. I don’t have the Sharp AQUOS XU system but I had to buy the Google Chromecast dongle that connects to my LED TV so I can cast Netflix, iFlix or HOOQ while working on my laptop. It’s truly awesome that Sharp decided Google Chromecast has to be built-in.
The Sharp AQUOS XU series comes in a 50-inch, 58-inch and 65-inch 4K Ultra-HD Android-power TV and is now available at leading appliance stores, nationwide. For more information, visit www.sharp.ph or its social media accounts in Facebook and Instagram.
Source: Press Release from Ardent Communications
Photos by @raffypekson.
The Perfect Pint brewpub just recently opened another of its gastronomic and gastropub-o-nomic (is there such a word?) The first one was a year ago at the 32nd Street of Bonifacio Global City (BGC); and the next? The Perfect Pint at Molito Lifestyle Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. My blogger-friends dared to trek the bustling super hi-way of the south to end up a little early than expected.
The Perfect Pint craft beers have been around my palate for more than a year. I’ve invited and brought a lot of friends and relatives to its place in BGC and would venture in tasting one type of craft beer after another. But The Perfect Pint gastropub offers more than just craft beer; it made sure the food was beyond contemporary. How? It partnered with one of the more famous chefs in the country: Chef Gene Gonzalez of the Café Ysabel fame (friends would smile when I quip my famous phrase – SentiSabado, anyone?) The Perfect Pint food pairing is exactly what it is – food paired by a famous chef for each kind of craft beer. If you’ve been to food and wine pairing, and not everyone goes for wine, then this is your place to be. Beer enthusiasts love The Perfect Pint because it serves a unique ensemble of food.
The Perfect Pint brewing process is where its Molito branch becomes different. High up the second floor encased in glass walls is where The Perfect Pint craft beer is made. Brothers Alec, Noel and Raymond Tempongko, owners of The Perfect Pint, proudly toured us guests around the second floor where The Perfect Pint fermentation rooms are located. Master brewer Alec Tempongko explained to us each step in each room until at last four perfectly brewed craft beer flavors were loaded into the familiar-looking beer-on-tap dispensers. But I heard from master brewer Alec that The Perfect Pint craft beer flavors were six, not just four: Thirsty Dog Wheat Beer, Hoppy Road IPA, Street Smart Pale Ale, Oakey Dokey Bourbon Barrel Porter, Black Mamba Stout and Holy Grail Double IPA. The latter was the best for me, someone who likes strong beer with that distinctive brewed taste. And just for that evening, they came up with The Perfect Pint Anniversary Pale Ale.
The Perfect Pint craft beers are exclusively distributed at The Perfect Pint branches. I’m already thinking that other bars, pubs and gastropubs will be asking to serve their homebrewed flavors very soon, like my neighborhood Bugsy’s Sports Bar and Grill. Yeah?
Now, you have The Perfect Pint BGC and The Perfect Pint Molito to choose from – central Metro Manila or the south.
Source: Press Release
Photos and images: The Perfect Pint | @raffypekson