Bits and Snippets of the Philippines

Basic Reading of Global Filipinos

Archive for July 2015

Globe Gives Away Free SIM Cards to All Foreign Tourists and OFWs

leave a comment »

Globe Telecom, in partnership with Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines, announced today to give away free SIM cards to all foreign tourists and Overseas Contract Workers (OFW) visiting or coming back to the country, respectively. Starting tomorrow, July 30, 2015, Globe will start issuing the free SIM cards to incoming foreign tourists and OFWs through its booths inside the airports of NAIA, Cebu, Davao, Kalibo, Iloilo, and Clark. Tourists can present their non-Philippine passports or foreign resident cards, while OFWs can show their Seaman’s book or OFW E-card. This free SIM cards promo will end on December 31, 2015.

So, how many free SIM cards is that going to be? Roughly about 2.23 million!

The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is the marketing arm of the Philippine’s Department of Tourism (DOT). The board was tasked to promote the Philippines as the top tourist destination in Asia through its “Visit the Philippines Year 2015” tourism campaign, with a goal of garnering 5.5 million foreign tourists arriving in the Philippines. With this goal, it has partnered with Globe Telecom, the first telecommunications company it has done so, through the International Business Group of the telecom giant to offer various services to the millions of tourists visiting the Philippines, and for the OFWs returning home. The two entities conducted the formal contract signing at the Aracama in the Fort Strip of Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City this morning in front of a backdrop that said:

Staying Connected – More Fun in the Philippines.

Buffet lunch at Aracama was served with the main course being three kinds of lechon: Original lechon, Spanish lechon and Truffle lechon. Of course, I tried all three and concluded the Spanish style was the best tasting one. Kudos to Chef Fernando Aracama for this kind of gastronomic treat!

After lunch, Tracy Abad opened the event by describing who the two entities were and a description of the partnership that was about to happen. However, I was still curious if what they were going to announce was a smartphone app, a website or something else. Tracy Abad is currently the morning show host for Mellow 94.7, a Philippine FM radio station. She was the TV show host with the now-discontinued QTV of GMA Network.

Opening remarks were delivered by the representing officers of both entities. First on the stage was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of TPB Domingo Ramon Enerio III who gave a synapse of inbound tourism in the country.

Summarizing what he said, there were a total of 2.23 million tourists who arrived in the Philippines between January and May this year, an 8.15% leap compared to last year of the same period. The average stay of a tourist in the country is 10 nights and the average tourist spends more than $100 a day. That’s a whooping 93.9 billion Pesos in tourism earnings for the first five months of 2015.

I did some Google-ing (is there such a word?) and found out that between 1991 and 2015, the highest recorded foreign arrivals in the country was December last year at 487,654 tourists while the lowest recorded foreign arrivals was February of 1991 at 63,628. Also during the event, Enerio enumerated the top 10 countries for incoming foreign tourists come from, mainly:

  1. Korea
  2. USA
  3. Japan
  4. China
  5. Australia
  6. Singapore
  7. Canada
  8. Taiwan
  9. UK
  10. Malaysia

But another Google-ing led me to tourism.gov.ph and the top spending markets based on visitor earnings were not the same. The top three countries in the government website was the same but the 4th highest was listed as Australia, not China which was in 5th place. Then, it was more different for the 6th to 9th place, namely: (6) Canada, (7) UK, (8) Singapore, and (9) Spain. Taiwan was missing from the website’s top 10 list. Okay, maybe I’m reading the stats on the website differently.

After Enerio, the Senior Vice President for International Business of Globe Telecom Rizza Maniego-Eala entered the stage and spoke of the need to help the promotions board hit their 5.5 million tourist target, and Globe’s role to do so. This is when she announced their intent to give away free SIM cards to every incoming foreign tourist and OFW – the first campaign in a series of more campaigns to come.

Called the Globe Traveler SIM, it is a local prepaid SIM card that offers the same services as every prepaid customer of Globe enjoys – local rates for calls, text messaging, and mobile internet services, giving foreign tourists and OFWs a more cost-efficient way to communicate and connect rather than using an international number which charges expensive roaming rates for calling, text messaging and internet browsing while in the Philippines. For example, they can use the Globe Traveler SIM and call the U.S. for as low as $0.40 per minute. That’s low compared to high roaming charges – for example, AT&T would bill an American $2.50 per minute to call from the Philippines to anywhere in the world, including home country USA.

Eala adds, “We are happy to be the first telco partner of the Tourism Promotions Board in their thrust to make the Philippines the ultimate destination hub for tourists worldwide. Offering free SIMs is our way of helping travelers further enjoy their stay by enabling easy, affordable and hassle-free communications.”

A question-and-answer portion followed for people in media and guests to ask for more information about the partnership. Then, a table was set where both Enerio and Eala sat down to formally sign the partnership contracts while everyone witnessed, video-taped and snapped photos of the moment.

For more information on the FREE Globe Traveler SIM, please visit the Globe Traveler SIM website. For jetsetters, backpackers, and thrill-seekers, Visit the Philippines Year 2015 provides a year-round calendar guide for all adventures, whether it be food trips, walking tours, or festivals. For information on activities and events, please log on to www.visitph2015.com.

Sources and references of text: Globe Press Release | tourism.gov.ph | AT&T

Photos and images: Globe Press Release | tourism.gov.ph | @raffypekson #capturebyKata

_

Written by Raffy Pekson II

July 29, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Government & Politics, ICT, Travel & Tourism

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sorsogon Declares American Travel Blogger Persona Non Grata

with 3 comments

Was it miscommunication or a political move by the Provincial Board of Sorsogon? Because according to news reports from Sorsogon, American travel blogger Nathan Allen made derogatory remarks against the Donsol Tourism Office on this April blog post entitled “I Dreamed of This.”

Sometimes, work really becomes personal and emotional. Should it be so? Shouldn’t we separate work from personal matters? Was pride and ego part of this paltry issue? But who’s pride and ego was hurt, anyway?

It’s more fun in the Philippines… NOT!

According to CNN Philippines’ report, Allen went to Donsol as an ordinary tourist, not an invited guest of the municipality. Hence, he has no right to criticize the tourism officials when Allen did not receive the attention he expected.

“He (Allen) said that he only expressed his disappointment over the matter and clarifies that never did he expect a special treatment nor was he angry for not getting it as he perfectly understood that his visit was unexpected.”

However, in the resolution filed by Board Member Franco Ravanilla declaring Allen as persona non grata, “Allen should have supplied himself first with information of the place he intended to visit, citing that most information are readily accessible online.”

Allen is actually doing the Philippines a lot of good by exposing, promoting, marketing and selling its tourism destinations. Geez!

Before the persona non grata resolution was filed, CNN Philippines reported that “the Bicol office of the Department of Tourism Bicol, through Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla, demanded an apology from Allen, pointing out that Donsol Tourism Office is not managed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Bicol.”

“But Allen was surprised that despite his apology and all his clarifications, Maria Ravanilla’s son, Sorsogon Board Member Franco Ravanilla, still filed the resolution declaring Allen persona non grata in Sorsogon.”

Read the entire story at CNN Philippines and make up your own mind as to WHO IS RIGHT and WHO IS WRONG.

Photo of Nathan Allen via idreamedofthis.com.

_

GMR-Megawide Consortium Bids to Manage 5 Airports in Philippines

leave a comment »

The Philippine government in December 2012 initiated an international competitive bidding process for the management and development of the Mactan Cebu International Airport or MCIA. In December 2013, GMR Infrastructure in partnership with Megawide Construction Corporation of Philippines emerged as the highest bidder after offering a bid premium of 14.4 billion Philippine Pesos (approximately US$ 320 million). The consortium, called GMR Megawide Consortium (GMCAC), has taken full operational control for the renovation and modernization of MCIA in November 2014.

Now, GMCAC is in a race with five other companies to acquire operations of five other airports in the country worth 108.19 billion Pesos or US$ 2.4 billion under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

As defined by www.ppp.gov.ph, PPP is a contractual agreement between the Philippine Government and a private firm targeted towards financing, designing, implementing and operating infrastructure facilities and services that were traditionally provided by the public sector. It embodies optimal risk allocation between the parties – minimizing cost while realizing project developmental objectives. Thus, the project is to be structured in such a way that the private sector gets a reasonable rate of return on its investment.

These PPP projects include the development, operations and maintenance of the five regional airports. The airports involved are located in the following cities:

  • Bacolod-Silay
  • Iloilo
  • Davao
  • Laguindingan
  • New Bohol (Panglao)

GMR was founded by G.M Rao of India and has since then evolved as a major player in the global infrastructure sector, particularly in high growth areas such as airports, energy, transportation and urban infrastructure. GMR operates two airports in India and one in Cebu, 15 power generation assets, 6 operations highways, a foray of property development and construction, promotion of sports teams, and various corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in education, health and hygiene, and community development.

Megawide Construction Corporation is a publicly-listed construction firm in the Philippines and is recognized for its use of advanced construction methods and technology. The company’s brand of engineering excellence has turned it into the country’s leading construction firm. Its vision, innovation and commitment of a group of young, dynamic and highly trained engineers. Megawide projects include residential, office and commercial, hotels and casinos, PPP and social infrastructures, mixed use and industrial infrastructures. Michael Cosiquien is Megawide’s Chairman and CEO while Edgar Saavedra is its President and COO.

Sources: moneycontrol.com | gmrgroup.in | megawide.com.ph | ppp.gov.ph

Title photo from commons.wikimedia.org.

_

Best Travel Photographer Contest Launched by AirAsia and Nikon

leave a comment »

AirAsia in cooperation with ThinkDharma Inc., the exclusive distributor of Nikon cameras, got together to launch the first AirAsia Travel Photographer for 2015. Four newbie photographers and office workers will be coached and assisted by multi-awarded photographers from the Philippines and Malaysia as they all travel across Asia for one week starting July 21, 2015.

AirAsia Philippines Chairperson Maan Hontiveros was present during Thursday’s event held at the function rooms of ActiveFun in Bonifacio Global City. She introduced the four mentors and coaches of the contest, namely:

George Tapan – a self-taught photographer, Tapan served as director of photography of Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Magazine for eight years, won the ASEAN Tourism Association Award in 1999, won the gold prize for Pacific Asia Tourism Association twice, and first place in the Places Category for the National Geographic Photo Contest in 2011.

Christian Raymond Cruz – a graphic designer and one of the pioneers of landscape photography in the Philippines, also a self-taught photographer who spent the last seven years traveling the country and the world to capture the best nature scenery, and spends time sharing his knowledge and experience under the Redefining Vision Landscape Photography Workshops.

Philip Anthonie (Parc) Cruz – started as a hobbyist photographer in 2005, Cruz spent a lot of time tagging along with other photographers until he found his niche – portraits and cinematic shots. He is a privileged part of Nikon’s pool of endorsers and has since traveled around the Philippines and the world while imparting and encouraging other photo hobbyists to develop their creativity through visual images.

Adam Lee – an award-winning portrait and travel photographer who was trained in Los Angeles, he spent the last seven years assisting organizations to use photography as a means to tell stories and build communities. Lee is AirAsia’s resident photographer who contributes a large portion of his work to the airline’s in-flight magazine, marketing and communications, social media and brand management. Lee has won three silver awards and two honorable mentions in the Prix de la Photographie Paris 2014 competition and awarded the 27th ASEANTA Award of Excellence for Best Asean Tourism Photo in 2013.

The selected newbie photographers who will partner with these four photography masters are:

Marie Velvet Lagman-Macasaet – Marie is 36-year old an Executive Assistant to the SVP and Country Manager of VXI Global Solutions and mom to a 5-year old boy named Paco. She recently finished a half-marathon and bathing in an onsen (Japanese hot spring) while backpacking in Tokyo. She enjoys hiking, trekking and scuba diving. She is partnered with Coach Adam Lee.

Sarah T. Garcia – Sarah is a Front Office Agent at the Lancaster Hotel n Madaluyong City and loves to eat, love everything extraordinary and loves art. She is partnered with Coach George Tapan.

Paul Vincent Delfin – Paul is a Barista of Starbucks at the Greenbelt 3 branch. He’s into Indie music, loves football and loves long trips. He is an eager photography enthusiast as a form of art. He is partnered with Coach Parc Cruz.

Antonio Nepomuceno III – a marketing professional of Toyota in Taytay, Rizal, he is definitely a car enthusiast who is outgoing and loves the company of people, a necessity for his type of job. He is partnered with Coach Raymond Cruz.

Each team will be traveling around some exotic places in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to help everyone capture their best entries in categories that include landscape, food, portrait, architecture and travel. Winners will be awarded with over 200,000 BIG Points, AirAsia’s global loyalty program, or its equivalent free flights to any of AirAsia’s 100 destinations.

Online voting through www.airasiatravelphotographer.com will be opened to the public starting August 20, 2015 with Nikon cameras and BIG Points to be given away to lucky voters. The grand winner will be announced on September 11, 2015.

During the launch, AirAsia and Nikon drew lots to pick four lucky bloggers who will accompany each team in their respective trips to Asian destinations. My colleague in the Philippine Bloggers Network or PBNet Edel Santiago of The Kitchen Goddess blog won a spot among the four chosen bloggers.

Source: Press release – Manila, 16 July 2015

All photos by @raffypekson

_

Written by Raffy Pekson II

July 23, 2015 at 12:01 am

Posted in Fashion & Lifestyle, Food & Beverage, Incentives & Promotions, News & Articles, People, Planes, Transportation, Travel & Tourism

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Foreign Banks Open in the Philippines

leave a comment »

The entry of more foreign bank opening to operate in the Philippine can only mean increased competition to the local banks. The latter will have to find more creative ways to keep their customers away from their foreign rivals. They could partner with these foreign imports, improve their service specific to the Filipino habits and lifestyles, or tap into the market which really doesn’t benefit from all these new foreign banks – the low income consumers and small businesses.

Recently, the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas or BSP (Philippine Central Bank) has allowed the entry of four new foreign banks into the country, on top of the 28 now operating. These four new foreign banks are:

  • Cathay United Bank
  • Industrial Bank of Korea
  • Shinhan Bank
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The 28 foreign banks now operating in the Philippines are the following:

  1. ANZ Banking Group
  2. Bangkok Bank
  3. Bank of America
  4. Bank of China
  5. Bank of Singapore
  6. Barclays Bank
  7. BNP Paribas
  8. Citibank
  9. DBS Bank
  10. Deutsche Bank
  11. ING Bank
  12. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank
  13. J.P. Morgan International Finance
  14. Japan Bank For International Cooperation
  15. Korea Development Bank
  16. Korea Exchange Bank
  17. Mega International Commercial Bank
  18. Mizuho Bank
  19. Rothschild (Singapore)
  20. Standard Chartered Bank
  21. State Bank of India
  22. Taiwan Cooperative Bank
  23. The Bank of New York Mellon
  24. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
  25. The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank)
  26. The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC)
  27. UBS
  28. Wells Fargo Bank

Source: GMA News Online | Wikipedia.org

Title photo from Wikipedia.org.

_

Did You Know That Globe Has a Flat Rate for Unlimited Data Roaming Service for Prepaid Customers

leave a comment »

Globe Telecom has been offering its flat rate for unlimited data roaming service of P599 per day to its prepaid customers, providing over 97% of its total mobile customer base uninterrupted access to the internet in over 50 countries worldwide—over 4 times bigger than the footprint of competition.

With Globe Prepaid Roam Surf, prepaid customers can access the internet abroad for an entire 24-hour cycle, making their data connectivity experience more seamless and worry-free.

Prepaid customers traveling to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Nauru, Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAW, Uganda, United Kingdom, and USA can avail of Globe Prepaid Roam Surf.

Roam Surf for Globe Prepaid offers customers the ability to choose from three variants,

  • P599 for 24 hours
  • P1797 for 3 full days
  • P2995 for 5 full days

Customers can dial *143# and access the International and Roaming menu to register to the service without having to memorize registration keywords.

In 2014, Globe launched the flat rate for unlimited data roaming service of P599 per day to its postpaid customers, paving the way for a boost in its data roaming business with its customer base growing by two-fold as a result of strong take-up of the service and the increasing appetite for data connectivity while abroad.

Source of text from globe.com.ph.

Photo from globe.com.ph.

_

Madonna to Perform in Manila on February 2016

leave a comment »


_

ADDENDUM: Click here for ticket prices!

_
MMI Live and Globe Telecom recently started posting photos and posters in their favorite social media accounts of Madonna’s Manila concert.

The Rebel Heart Tour is the tenth worldwide concert tour by Madonna, in support of her thirteenth studio album, Rebel Heart. The Philippines is one of the lucky countries that will be part of Maddona’s Rebel Heart Tour, slated on February 24, 2015 at the Arena Concert Hall of the Mall of Asia.

Madonna’s 43-city tour (44 if you include the two concerts in New York City) in 18 countries begins on September 9, 2015, in Montreal, Canada at the Bell Centre and continue throughout Europe, finally concluding on March 27, 2016 in Brisbane, Australia at Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

 

Date City Country Venue
9-Sep Montreal Canada Bell Centre
12-Sep Washington, D.C. United States Verizon Center
16-Sep New York City United States Madison Square Garden
19-Sep New York City United States Barclays Center
21-Sep Quebec City Canada Videotron Centre
24-Sep Philadelphia United States Wells Fargo Center
26-Sep Boston United States TD Garden
28-Sep Chicago United States United Center
1-Oct Detroit United States Joe Louis Arena
3-Oct Atlantic City United States Boardwalk Hall
5-Oct Toronto Canada Air Canada Centre
8-Oct Saint Paul United States Xcel Energy Center
11-Oct Edmonton Canada Rexall Place
14-Oct Vancouver Canada Rogers Arena
17-Oct Portland United States Moda Center
19-Oct San Jose United States SAP Center at San Jose
22-Oct Glendale United States Gila River Arena
24-Oct Las Vegas United States MGM Grand Garden Arena
27-Oct Inglewood United States The Forum
29-Oct San Diego United States Valley View Casino Center
4-Nov Cologne Germany Lanxess Arena
7-Nov Prague Czech Republic O2 Arena
10-Nov Berlin Germany Mercedes-Benz Arena
14-Nov Stockholm Sweden Tele2 Arena
16-Nov Herning Denmark Jyske Bank Boxen
19-Nov Turin Italy Pala Alpitour
24-Nov Barcelona Spain Palau Sant Jordi
28-Nov Antwerp Belgium Sportpaleis
29-Nov Mannheim Germany SAP Arena
1-Dec London England The O2 Arena
5-Dec Amsterdam Netherlands Ziggo Dome
9-Dec Paris France Bercy Arena
12-Dec Zürich Switzerland Hallenstadion
14-Dec Manchester England Manchester Arena
16-Dec Birmingham England Barclaycard Arena
20-Dec Glasgow Scotland The SSE Hydro
20-Jan Atlanta United States Philips Arena
23-Jan Miami United States American Airlines Arena
27-Jan San Juan Puerto Rico Coliseo de Puerto Rico
24-Feb Manila Philippines Mall of Asia Arena
5-Mar Auckland New Zealand Vector Arena
12-Mar Melbourne Australia Rod Laver Arena
19-Mar Sydney Australia Allphones Arena
26-Mar Brisbane Australia Brisbane Entertainment Centre

 

Tickets will be on sale starting Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 10:00AM through SM Tickets and other outlets.

TICKET PRICES REVEALED!

Text sources and photo: MMI Live | Madonna.com | Wikipedia.org | @akosynixon | @sinosicat

_