Monday, September 30, 2019

The SM Store Share Shoes Program brings joy to kids in Isabela

Students of Diasan Elementary School in Echague, Isabela celebrate after receiving their new pair of shoes.

Shoes are essential in one’s journey through life, especially for students. With a pair of good shoes, they will not only be able to fulfill their daily tasks with ease, but it can also inspire them to work hard and take little steps to achieve their dream.

For most students in the city, a school bus or a stroll down the sidewalk are their usual commute. But for students in the province, it is a different story.
Samantha, a student from the Diasan Elementary School, shared the hardships she and her classmates face to reach school.

Malayo po ang nilalakad namin ng nakapaa. Madulas po ‘pag umuulan at mahirap, maputik ang daan. ‘Yung mga iba po na nakatira sa may bundok, naglalakad po sila ng malayo. (My classmates and I have to walk a long way to get to our school. When the rainy season comes, the slopes become slippery and dangerous which makes it harder for us. The others who live near the mountain walk even farther),” Samantha said.

Diasan Elementary School is tucked in the middle of the Barangay Diasan, a remote farming community in Isabela with over 600 residents. Students like Samantha have to walk an hour or more on rough terrain to get to and from school and are sometimes forced to skip classes if the river is swollen due to heavy rains.

Despite the challenges, one would be surprised at the great lengths they are willing to go to for their education. The simple gift of a new pair of shoes will allow them to walk to and back to school in comfort and safety.

These are the kinds of stories that inspired the SM Store’s Share Shoes program to reach to the community to continue its mission of bringing joy - through the gift of shoes that can help make the journey of the students easier and more comfortable.

Sharing the gift of new shoes
Most students in Diasan have not set foot in a mall before, let alone a shop selling shoes, so as a treat for the kids, employee volunteers from The SM Store, Savemore and SM Foundation transformed one of the classrooms into a shoe store. They assisted the kids in choosing and fitting their very own shoes from the display of clogs, sneakers, sandals, flats and slip-ons donated by The SM Store MLC Shoes and Bags, and SM’s retail affiliates Crocs and Simply Shoes.

The employee and community volunteers also set up a “Feet Washing Corner” before the shoe fitting to impart the importance of taking care of one’s feet. The kids could not hide their joy as they selected and tried on their new footwear.
Apart from receiving new shoes, the kids were treated to fun games and groceries from Savemore. The kids even gamely participated in a Zumba dance number led by The SM Store Cauayan employee volunteers. Wearing their new pairs of shoes, the kids enjoyed the activities knowing their feet were comfortable and secure.

Taking steps to a brighter future
Samantha said that having a pair of shoes is important to protect their feet from injuries.

Masaya po ako nu’ng nakita ko ‘yung mga kaibigan ko na suot na nila ‘yung sapatos kasi ‘di na sila mahihirapan maglakad ng isang oras papunta ng iskul (I was so happy to see my friends wearing their shoes because now, they won’t have a hard time walking an hour to school),” Samantha said.

Teacher in charge Domenador Mayuyo Jr. shared that for some of the kids, it was their first time to own a pair of shoes, with many of them walking to school wearing slippers or barefoot.

“It’s the first time for some of our students to receive a pair of shoes. Having a new pair of shoes is like a dream come true for them. It is a blessing for them to receive new pair of shoes that they can use to go to school,” Mayuyo said.
Through the gift of new shoes, The SM Store hopes to inspire these kids to take those important steps toward achieving their goals.

Promoting the culture of sharing and purposeful giving
The shoe donation was also accompanied by a medical mission through the partnership of The SM Store with the SM Foundation, Caritas Philippines and the Diocesan Social Action Center of Ilagan. Residents of the community were able to avail of medical and dental consultations, laboratory works, and had X-ray and ECG examinations, and medicines courtesy of the SM Foundation’s Mobile Clinic, all for free.

The activity was a part of the SM Share Movement, a program promoting a culture of sharing and purposeful giving among SM shoppers all year long. Since 2015, the SM Share Movement has collected over 1.3 million donations composed of shoes, clothing, books, school kits, disaster kits and toys.

The SM Store’s Share Shoes program encourages its shoppers to donate brand new and pre-loved footwear not just to help kids walk safely and reach their desired destinations, but to also inspire them to take important steps toward achieving their goals.

“We would like to thank all the shoppers and our partners who donated and participated in The SM Store’s Share Shoes Movement. This wouldn’t be possible without you. Given the rough terrain and the challenges that these students of Diasan face just to get to their school, the new pair of shoes is a great help to them,” said Cielito Velasquez, Assistant Branch Manager of The SM Store Cauayan.

Through the #SMShareMovement Project, the SM Store remains committed to its promise to give back to communities and to be a partner in their development. Through the simple but valuable gift of shoes, they can continue to be a part of Barangay Diasan’s journey as the children take steps toward a brighter future.

Find out more about the #SMShareMovement’s quarterly donation drives and ways to contribute to upcoming projects, by liking The SM Store Facebook page and by following @TheSMStore on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Tummy Finds: The GRID Food Market, Rockwell

Family time is eating time. And we, The ANG Foodie family are always ready and on the look-out of what’s new around the area.  

We discovered something new from our recent visit to Powerplant Mall in Rockwell. From a far, I saw a bright, shiny and sophisticated corner called The GRID and I’ll classify it as high-end food court. It’s not the typical food court that we see around the malls. I find the place sleek and classy yet contemporary. One interesting part of this food market was the almost identical stalls. They all look the same unlike other food market where we see huge icons or colorful backgrounds and logos. At The Grid, there’s no individual branding to get confused with, you’ll get to focus more on the food.  Sometimes, the loud signage and decors of the stalls can give you hard time deciding what food to pick.

The Grid is located at the 2nd floor expansion wing of Rockwell. There are 12 identical stores to explore, depending on your mood or cravings for the day. The Grid Food Market is a place for delightful dining experience. I really love their concept of serving great food from established players in the local food league. It’s not actually a fast food because they serve real time fresh flashy dishes.

Going straight to our gastronomic lunch experience, we enjoyed every bite of the food and every sip of the Sangria.

The Grid offers familiar tastes such as Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Spanish, American, and Filipino cuisines, as well as stalls serving coffee, cocktails and pastries.

We're able to try the following food stalls...

Stall 3 Tsukemen, Abura Soba & Ramen by TSUKE-MEN

If you're looking for Japanese rice bowls, you must try these three. The Tendon Tempura is a complete meal of seafood bowl. I really like everything inside my bowl, it has fish, eggplant, crab stick, and of course the tempura with the head! The Katsudon and Gyudon satisfied our hungry young foodie.

Tendon Tempura Php 365

Gyudon Php 320

Katsudon Php280

Stall 5 Korean Chicken, Kimchi and Bulgogi by GOCHU-GANG

And if you are up for Korean night, stall number 5 will surely cover your cravings. We decided to try their common dishes such as Japchae, beef stew, spicy noodles, and Samgyupsal. The Pork Samgyupsal will rock your taste buds, they serve marinated grilled pork along with kimchi and fresh lettuce. You'll enjoy this if your not in the mood to do your own grilling. While the "Fire" noodles can set your mouth on fire, be sure to ready yourself before it landed to your mouth.

“Fire” Noodles Php 330

Japchae Php 290

Korean Beef Stew Php 340

Pork Belly Samgyupsal Php 430

Stall 7 Laksa, Asian BBQ, & Chicken Rice by BABU

I tried a little bit of everything. My top pick from this stall was the Classic Laksa, a bowl of seafood noodles with rich soup flavor. So perfect for rainy season. And if you are looking for a complete set meal, the Nasi chicken and salmon can surely fill up your empty stomach.

Nasi Lemak Fried Chicken Php 350

Crispy Spring Roll Php 165

Nasi Lemak Grilled Salmon Php 490

Classic Laksa Php 375

Stall 8 Tapas & Pintxos by RAMBLA 

RAMBLA, as well-known Spanish bar and restaurant have its own stall inside The Grid. Cold cuts paired with wine is the best afternoon Gambas, Jamon Serrano refreshing Sangria Croquetas de Jamon was filled with Chorizo with White Wine P550

Calamares Andaluza Php 290

Gambas al Ajillo Php 625

Jamon & Tortilla Php 250

Chorizo with White Wine Php 550

Croquetas de Jamon Php 170

Sisig Croquetas Php 190

Cold Cuts and Cheese platter from Happy Barrel (also by Rambla)

Workshop by Le Petit Souffle from Century Mall offers a variety of pastries that works well to capping your gastronomic adventure.

17- Layer Caramel Cake

Basque Cheesecake

17- Layer Strawberry Shortcake

The Grid 
R2 Level Expansion, Power Plant Mall, Makati
Operating Hours: Monday-Friday 11:00am – 10:00pm, 
Saturday-Sunday 11:00am – 11:00pm

Friday, September 27, 2019

Healthy Digestion, Healthy You

If more people really thought about how much their digestive systems do for them every day, they might be more inclined to take better care of their digestive health.  Your digestive system has a huge job - it breaks down the foods that you eat in order to make nutrients and energy available to the body, and it is responsible for steering unwanted waste out of the body, too.  On top of that, your digestive tract is a key player in immunity – the cells lining your digestive tract help protect your body against bacterial and viral invaders that could make you sick.

And, your brain and your digestive tract are in constant communication with one another. An incredible amount of information travels between your gut and your brain – so much so, that the nervous system that resides in your digestive tract is often called the body’s “second brain”.   This system alerts the “first brain” if you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have, and also keeps tabs on your hunger level and your mood.

And yet, many people abuse their digestive system – by filling it with highly processed foods, or eating too much, or eating too fast – and pay little attention to it until something goes wrong.

Key Components to Digestive Health
In the most general sense, what you eat and the way you live your life influences the health of your digestive system.  A nutrient-rich, balanced diet helps to nourish all of your body’s cells, including those in your digestive tract.  Fiber, fluids and regular exercise all help to keep you regular, and taking care of your “second brain” by keeping your stress levels in check can also help to promote digestive health.

Fiber and Fluids Support Digestive Health
Perhaps one of the most important dietary components for digestive health is adequate dietary fiber.

Most people think of fiber as the substance that helps to keep the digestive process moving.  And certain fibers do just that.  But not all fibers function exactly the same way, which is why we often talk about two types of fiber – insoluble and soluble fiber – both of which contribute to digestive health, but in different ways.

Insoluble fiber – sometimes called “roughage” - isn’t broken down by the body but it absorbs water, which adds bulk. This type of fiber - found in vegetables, bran and most whole grains - helps to speed the passage of waste through your digestive system, which helps keep you regular.

Soluble fiber– found in foods like apples, oranges, oats, barley and beans – thickens and swells up when it comes in contact with liquid.  So, when you eat these foods, they swell up in the watery environment of your stomach and help to fill you up.  But another important feature of soluble fiber is that it functions as a prebiotic – which means that it encourages the growth of the good bacteria in your digestive tract.

Your digestive system houses tens of trillions of microorganisms - made up of thousands of species – taken together, this bacterial colony is sometimes called the “gut microbiome”.

These bacteria help your body extract nutrients from your food, they help with the production of certain vitamins, and they protect the health of the digestive tract by keeping out dangerous foreign invaders.  But this mini ecosystem residing in your gut appears to do even more – there is evidence that your gut microbiome may also influence your body weight, memory and mood, too.  So, it’s important to provide these bacteria with their preferred source of fuel – in the form of soluble fiber.

You can also introduce beneficial bacteria into your system directly – in the form of probiotics found in certain foods.  Fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, pickles and sauerkraut, miso paste and olives are all-natural sources of beneficial bacteria.

Since soluble fibers dissolve in water – and insoluble fibers trap it – it should come as no surprise that adequate fluids are important in keeping your digestive system running smoothly. But you also need water to produce saliva and digestive juices, and to transport nutrients to your cells, so taking in adequate fluids every day is vitally important to your digestive health.

Exercise and Stress Reduction Support Digestive Health
Regular exercise also supports digestive health in a couple of ways.  As your muscles contract and your breath deepens during activity, the natural contractions of your intestinal muscles are stimulated, too, which helps to move food through your system.  Exercise is also a well-known stress reducer, so it can help reduce digestive upsets that can occur in response to negative emotions.

The connection between your brain and your second brain in your digestive tract is something youve probably experienced in the form of a gut reaction”.  When stress or anxiety strikes, your brain sends a signal to your gut - and the next thing you know youve got a churning stomach.

The signals travel in the other direction, too – from gut to brain.  When something in your digestive system isn’t quite right, an alert is sent to your brain, often before you even notice anything is wrong.  Either way, this brain-gut connection suggests that keeping your digestive system in tip-top shape is vital to your sense of well-being.

The diet and lifestyle steps you take to keep yourself healthy are the same ones that promote digestive health, too. A diet that includes plenty of fiber from colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains, adequate hydration, and regular exercise are all key factors.  And take time to enjoy your meals – you’ll be more relaxed, and less likely to overeat, too.

About Herbalife Nutrition:

Herbalife Nutrition is a global nutrition company whose purpose is to make the world healthier and happier. The Company has been on a mission for nutrition - changing people's lives with great nutrition products and programs - since 1980. Herbalife Nutrition offers high-quality, science-backed products, one-on-one coaching with an Herbalife Nutrition independent member, and a supportive community that inspires customers to embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Herbalife Nutrition’s targeted nutrition, weight-management, energy and fitness and personal care products are available through its independent distributors in more than 90 countries.

Herbalife Nutrition supports the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists community organizations focused on providing good nutrition. Herbalife Nutrition is also proud to sponsor more than 190 world-class athletes, teams and events around the globe.

Herbalife Nutrition has more than 8,300 employees worldwide. To learn more, visit

Thursday, September 26, 2019

‘Engineer for the poor’ is 2019 St. Teresa of Calcutta awardee

Auke Idzenga has been helping farming communities in Negros and other parts of the country since 1985 when he migrated to the Philippines

The Junior Chamber International Manila, Asia's oldest leadership development organization, and the Alfonso Yuchengco Foundation, recently held the 37th St. Teresa of Calcutta Award (STCA) in Makati City, in recognition of individuals who have dedicated their lives to uplifting society’s marginalized groups.

"We are honored to present the award to Mr. Auke Idzenga, who, apart from embodying Saint Teresa's message of profound love for the poor, is also an inspiration for helping in improving the lives of others," said JCI Manila president LA Sevilla.

Awardee, Dutch-born Auke Idzenga migrated to the Philippines in 1985 and saw the need for access to potable water and irrigation in poor rural communities and upland farms and villages.

Idzenga helped set up the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI) in 1992, a non-governmental organization, to address the challenges in agrarian reform areas. He developed and promoted the hydraulic ram pump technology that now provides clean, affordable water to many of these upland communities.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Strengthening efficiency and security: Eastern Communications launches upgraded cloud services and cyber defense

Fostering business efficiencies and security, Eastern Communications, one of the premier telecommunications companies in the country, introduces its newly upgraded and most advanced products and services in partnership with global allies DOSarrest and Cloud Sigma.

According to the Global Connectivity Index (GCI), Philippines’ digital connectivity has improved from Starter to Adopter status and ranked 57 out of 79 countries in 2018. This is reportedly due to expanded smartphone and computer use, higher speed 4G coverage, and national planning with “cloud first policy” in government’s aim of reducing expenses through cloud technology.

Connectivity plays a vital role in businesses today as it allows companies to adapt and have efficient operations. With the transformation emerging in the business environment, security threats arise, and flexibility becomes a challenge.

Cost-effective business operations
Cloud service is starting to get recognized in the business landscape. It is a cost-effective method of storing and sharing company data and applications securely over the Internet instead of computer hard drive.

Eastern Communications joined forces with international cloud service provider Cloud Sigma to launch its public cloud solutions providing the full spectrum of infrastructure and IT Services. Established in 2009 in Switzerland, CloudSigma has been providing a pure-cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) that enables the digital industrial economy through its enterprise-class hybrid cloud servers and cloud hosting solutions in Europe, the U.S., Asia, and Australia.

Big companies can get the best of cloud service such us Public Cloud, one of the most customizable services available in the market, a type of computing in which a service provider makes resources available to the public via the internet and accessible by anyone who wants to pay for subscription or use it for free.

Protecting enterprises from cyber threats
Cyber threat landscape is constantly changing. Local companies and even institutions have been victims of several data breaches and cyberattacks, affecting their business security and operations. 

Eastern Communications partners with Canada-based cybersecurity solutions provider DOSarrest in the aim of equipping Filipino companies with the right technology against cyber threats. DOSarrest was founded in 2007 and has been mitigating Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks for a global customer base with its leading-edge cloud-based DDoS protection.

With this partnership, companies of all sizes can now secure their business from basic to the most sophisticated DDoS attacks. Eastern Communications has various cybersecurity solutions such as Web Application Firewall (WAF) that blocks any Layer 7 threat like cross-site forgery, cross-site scripting, among others; while Content Delivery Network (CDN) generates faster loading of a website, which saves companies money yet enhances website performance at the same time.

“It’s always been Eastern Communications’ High-Tech promise to provide the best and right solutions especially to businesses that aim for utmost productivity and efficiency without compromising security. And through our partnership with reputable global firms in the industry like DOSarrest and CloudSigma, we’re looking forward to helping companies here in the country to elevate their business connectivity and harness the long-term benefits our services can offer,” shared Product and Innovation Head Edsel Paglinawan.

Eastern Communications’ upgraded cloud services and cyber defense is now available in the market. For more information, visit

Thursday, September 19, 2019

OPPO Officially Launches the Newest A9 2020: The Smartphone that Promises a Full Entertainment Experience

Leading smartphone brand OPPO rings in the month of September with two big news: the launch of the all-new OPPO A Series 2020 in the Philippines and the first ever endorser of the A Series 2020, the all-around entertainer, Alex Gonzaga. The OPPO A Series 2020, which includes the OPPO A9 2020 and OPPO A5 2020 handsets, is the brand’s latest offering for the entry to mid-level smartphone market. 

The A series plays a vital role in the continuous growth of OPPO in the Philippines as it is one of the best bestselling series of the brand in the country. Despite being young in the local market, OPPO has been growing rapidly gaining the trust and love of the Filipinos, which led the company to become one of the market leaders in the country with a total of 28% of market share in Q2 of 2019, as per the recent Canalys report.

The all-new OPPO A series 2020 includes two handsets – the A9 2020 and the A5 2020. A9 2020 is priced at PHP 15,990. The blind pre-order scheme started last September 14 and will run until September 19. The actual pre-order starts from September 20 to 27. Customers can avail their very own A9 2020 on September 28 in OPPO stores and authorized dealers nationwide with a free XSound Wireless Bluetooth Headset that is worth PHP2,099. The A5 2020 will arrive in the Philippines in October.

“We named this fresh new lineup the OPPO A Series 2020, in celebration of the beginning of the new decade, while also commemorating the success of the A series over the past ten years,” says OPPO Philippines Marketing Director, Raymond Xia. “This new name also reflects our vision for the years to come. It highlights the brand’s latest technologies, stunning design, superb photography, powerful performance, and overall promise of catering to the voice of the younger generation.” 

The newest OPPO A Series 2020 inspires users to actively “play”, as it offers an outstanding entertainment experience to help users ease away from the stress of daily life, just like how the first-ever A Series 2020 endorser, Alex Gonzaga, does so with her highly interesting and entertaining daily life adventures. 

“We are truly excited to introduce Alex Gonzaga as the newest endorser of the upgraded OPPO A series. Her outgoing and engaging personality, along with the fact that she is one of the favorite entertainers in the industry today, make her a perfect fit for the all-new OPPO A9 2020 that’s packed with amazing entertainment features that will surely keep you entertained,” shares Raymond Xia.

Versatile Camera Tech Brings Users Even More Photography Options

The OPPO A9 2020 comes with a multipurpose Quad Camera setup, including a 48MP Main Camera + 8MP Ultra-Wide Lens + 2MP Mono Lens + 2MP Portrait Lens. These offer an all-around use that can satisfy users’ needs for all shooting angles and scenarios, including the upgraded Ultra Night Mode 2.0 that also works in wide angle mode.

The 48MP primary lens improves image clarity with higher resolution, helping capture more details. The 8MP 119° ultra-wide-angle lens makes it easier to capture a larger shot in a smaller space. The Mono lens and Portrait Lens allow users to add retro, grainy, and atmospheric filters to portrait shots, creating more personalized images for users, offering new styles unique to the all-new A series 2020.

The A9 2020 is equipped with a 16MP selfie camera that uses AI Beautification technology for tailor-made selfies. This technology automatically identifies skin tone, age, gender, and skin color. It differentiates users for customized beautification. An all-new algorithm for smoothing out blemishes on the skin and sharper features create a make-up free look.

OPPO’s latest stabilization technology also meets the growing demand for high-quality action videos, with a built-in gyroscope on the two handsets allowing for more stable shooting. There are also improved video filters that allow users to create their own movies, ideal for creating eye-catching content in the era of short video apps.

Outstanding Hardware and Software for Exceptional Experience and Performance

A large capacity 5000mAh battery enables all-day use, capable of supporting 19 hours of continuous usage. The battery is also able to handle reverse charging, freeing active and on-the-go users from the worries of rapid battery drain.

In terms of audio, the OPPO A Series 2020 comes with dual stereo speakers that offer higher volumes and improved sound quality, even at high volumes. The sound feels full-bodied and clearer, with an immersive surround sound effect through the Dolby Atmos® audio technology. 

On top of that, the OPPO A Series 2020 packs an ultra-powerful performance, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 platform, with an 8-core 64-bit processor, 8GB of RAM, and Game Boost 2.0.  Especially for the gaming experience, the Game Boost 2.0 accelerator technology offers improved Frame Boost and Touch Boost, both of which provide lightning-fast game play response, by reducing touch screen latency and lag and delivering an overall better user experience.  

To add, the high capacity and versatile memory options provide more space to record beautiful life moments. The new A series 2020 is equipped with a 128GB high memory capacity and a three-card (Dual Sim + MicroSD) slot that can support up to 256GB of memory.              

Intelligent Design That’s Both Attractive and User-Friendly

The OPPO A Series 2020 is also equipped with a more compact Waterdrop screen, with a 31.4% decrease in overall area compared to the previous generation. A 6.5” full screen has an 89% screen-to-body ratio, which also uses toughened Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3+ that is twice as hard, versus that of the third generation, and offers better resistance to scratches. A Sunlight Screen improves screen readability under strong direct light and ensures true colors shine through dim or dark environments, while a blue light filter relieves eye fatigue and better protects users’ eyesight in low light.

The all-new A series 2020 is equipped with 3D gradient design and comes in two colors: Marine Green and Space Purple. 

Purchasing of the new A9 2020 is made easier for customers. For Home Credit, customers can pre-order the A9 2020 handset starting September 20 with flexible payment terms of 6 and 9 months with a guaranteed 0% interest. It will also be available online. The A9 2020 will be available for an exclusive pre-order in Lazada starting September 20 to 27. It will officially be available starting September 28 in all OPPO concept stores and authorized dealers nationwide, including e-commerce partner sites Lazada, Shopee, Akulaku, and Argomall. The A9 2020 will retail at PHP15,990.

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