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November 23, 2017

World Vision shifts to recovery aid for returning families in Marawi

World Vision commits to support early recovery efforts for Marawi as thousands of its displaced families start returning to the city.

"We will continue to stand with the people of Marawi, especially with the children who are at the heart of our response," assures Rommel Fuerte, World Vision's National Director in the Philippines.

In coordination with the government, local partners and the conflict-affected communities, World Vision continues its humanitarian efforts to address the evolving needs of the affected people.

"We have started our post conflict assessments in some areas of Marawi. Our next steps will be based on the result of the said activity. We will ensure the participation of the affected population and will continue to engage local partners in the implementation of early recovery interventions," explains Ajab Macapagat, Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director. World Vision targets to help at least 1,000 families in the city, focusing on livelihood, psychosocial and education interventions.

Following the Philippine President's declaration of Marawi's liberation from the armed groups which attacked the city last May, the government continues to facilitate the homecoming of families to the cleared barangays or villages.

The 5-month armed conflict has displaced about 400,000 people and affected more than 80,000 school-aged children. It has also disrupted the livelihood of more than 69,000 farmers and around 118,000 workforce.

Macapagat further explains, "The early days of the response focused on home-based IDPs in Iligan City, Balo-i and Munai in Lanao del Norte and Lumbayanague, Marantao and Piagapo in Lanao del Sur. Now that the government has cleared several areas in Marawi, the response will now shift in helping the families as they reintegrate themselves in the city."

39-year old Raisa is one of the many displaced mothers who now face the daunting task of rebuilding their lives from the rubble. She takes care of her three children and is also 5-months pregnant. 

"Some people were afraid of us after the Marawi crisis started so more than the relief items, it matters that people come here, talk to us and listen to us," shares Raisa.

She has been attending World Vision's women and young child space (WaYCS) in the outskirts of Piagapo in Lanao del Sur.

"The 10-day WaYCS has also been a good venue for me to mingle with other mothers and get support as I take care of my children, especially the baby inside me," she explains. 

Her child Hanzela, also joined the child-friendly space and was given a learner's kit.

To date, the organization, through its local partners Ecoweb, Mindanao Tri-partite Youth Core (MTYC), Rawaten, Lanao Youth Council and Tapukan Farmers' Movement for Progress and Concord, Inc. has reached at least 40,000 people through its multi-sectoral interventions. 

About 20,000 children were served through setting up of 14 child-friendly spaces and provision of learner's kits while 4,000 families or approximately 20,000 people were given hygiene kits that included toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear for both children and adults, sanitary napkin, nail cutter, malong, bath and laundry soaps and other non-food items like mosquito net, fleece blanket and plastic mat. World Vision, through the departments of education and social welfare, has provided 12 temporary learning spaces and 1,000 5-gallon water.

'Things I Like App' makes it easy to shop for gifts

Every holidays and celebrations, anniversaries and birthdays, these are times when we express ourselves not only in our words but through our actions, giving gifts.

Every year, I take a lot of time choosing gifts I think my family members and friends will like. 

This holiday season, everybody is doing making list, planning and thinking of Christmas gifts for family, relatives, friends, officemates and love ones. Gifts for geeks and athletes? Gadgets? Ideas for home cooks, beer connoisseurs, and wine lovers? And even goodies for your favorite pet?

Gift them with the things they like! 

'Things I Like App' makes it easy to shop for gifts. 'Things I Like' is a modern app that changes the usual way of receiving and giving gifts to your special someone.

This is the ultimate guide to easy find the perfect gift for anyone and everyone. Things I Like is a modern-day wishlist app. You will know exactly what your friends like and really want. Forget about guessing gifts to give. With Things I Like, you can find the perfect gift for your friends and loved ones.

Through this application, you can share the things you want for every moments of your life. By giving hints of what you like, your friends, family and special someone will know what you really want.

Download the app now!

Google Play: 

App Store: 

How it works?

Step 1: Create an account using the app.
Step 2: Follow your friends.
Step 3: Get to know your friends' bucketlists.
Step 4: Post a wishlist on your profile.

Check this out, download and shop!

Google Play: 

App Store: 

Happy Holidays! Enjoy shopping with 'Things I Like App'! 

November 22, 2017

Passengers and bikers share why Angkas matters

With yesterday’s announcement that Angkas had suspended operations while seeking dialogue with the LTFRB, Manila has lost not only a crucial mode of transportation, but also a beloved one.

This comes at a difficult time for metro dwellers, with the upcoming holiday season bringing traffic to a fever pitch. Given the continued growth of car sales (a record 420,000 units were sold last year, with 65% percent of the vehicles hitting the roads of Metro Manila), a solution to the gridlock doesn’t seem obtainable. 

In 2015, then-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan mentioned that the country’s every day potential income loss had grown to at least 3 billion pesos due to the worsening traffic. With the recent incidents involving the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT), which serves approximately half a million passengers every day, Angkas was and would have been a saving grace. 

Angkas gave passengers a safer, more professional alternative to the habal-habal that have long plied Metro Manila roads. It required safety training, skills assessment, background checks and a professional license before onboarding bikers to its platform, and offered safety gear, transparent prices and personal accident insurance to both its passengers and its bikers.

It is unfortunate that, due to restrictions in regulatory laws in the Philippines, Angkas was deemed illegal, and voluntarily suspended its services in order to engage with regulators. The move has caused strong sentiment among the public, who rallied to support the motorcycle app by sharing how Angkas not only helped them get their time back from traffic but also provided stable jobs to many.

Here are just a few stories shared by Angkas users about how the app transformed their lives.

Bianca Dalisay, posted on Facebook how through Angkas, she no longer needed to wake up at 4 a.m. to avoid spending 3 to 4 hours in traffic during her commute to Makati. It has even helped those who need to be at their workplaces quickly, like those in the medical profession, do their jobs better.

In Cebu, a city also known for heavy traffic, Angkas has become the preferred mode of transport as opposed to the older habal-habal, as posted by Berniemack Arrellano on Facebook.

Riding Angkas has also saved some riders from missing critical appointments, such as flights. Juliane Paulene Laguilles mentioned how hopeless she was while being stuck in traffic on the way to the airport. She then saw an Angkas poster and tried the app. 

In the face of a personal tragedy, Angkas was also there for commuter Pan Cho, who shared on Facebook how the app helped him to get the money he needed for his mother’s funeral service. He needed to be at the insurance company located in Cubao before the cut-off time at 1 pm. 

Angkas has not only aided thousands of commuters but also provided stable jobs for its bikers, giving them professional training and the opportunity to earn more for themselves and their family. 

In a long post on Facebook, biker Roderick Manabat thanked Angkas for the many blessings it has brought his family.

RJ Pinlac shared how being an Angkas biker has helped him as a working student.

Meanwhile, Ferds Llaguno, another working student who recently graduated in Criminology in Cebu thanked Angkas for helping him to pay off his tuition fee debt. Through his continued work as an Angkas biker, he had hoped to eventually take his board exam, a dream that would not be possible for someone with a minimum wage job who is also burdened with debt and needing to support a family. 

The loss of Angkas is also tremendous for women like Ehlie Roxas, a full-time student. Instead of her husband being able to help care for their child part-time, she posted, he now has to take a full-time job to make ends meet. 

A photo of a family enjoying a meal at a fast-food chain on Facebook says it all. “Can you provide the simple things in life that make a family happy?” shared Rhey Chel Ann, the wife of an Angkas biker. 

Managing traffic in a growing city like Metro Manila is certainly no easy task. With more cars on the road increasing traffic congestion, Angkas hopes to work with the LTFRB to be a part of the solution. It has reached out to the agency with a plea for two-wheeled vehicles to be included under the TNVS or Transportation Network Vehicle Service category. Many citizens have also joined this call, sharing their stories online and urging regulators to engage with Angkas.

Sitti celebrates Birthday with ‘BOSSAGURL’

Sitti invites everyone to join her as she celebrates her birthday with the staging of ‘BOSSAGURL’ on November 25 (Saturday), 8pm, at The Music Hall @ Metrowalk in Ortigas. 

“I am grateful for all the love and support I am receiving from my family, friends, and fans. They give me strength to go on with life. I can survive life’s challenges because of them. The birthday concert marks another milestone in my life and career. I hope the concertgoers will have a great night; chilling out and jamming along with me and my guests. Bossa nova inspires me. I am forever thankful to this captivating music genre,” Sitti enthuses.

A pre-show featuring the new artists of Asian Artists Agency, Inc. is added as a musical treat to the concertgoers. Performers include Miko and Gab, Selena Marie, Wilbert Ross, Aiana, Drei Raña, and Mastermind. Miko and Gab released the chart-topping single Hugot; Selena is dubbed the Ukulele Girl; Wilbert is a Hashtag member; Aiana has viral covers of Titibo-Tibo by Moira dela Torre and Dahil Sa ‘Yo by Iñigo Pascual; Drei is a promising singer; and Mastermind is the online dance superstar.

Joining Sitti onstage is Filipino heartthrob based in Indonesia Leo J. Consul. There are other surprise guests. 

With a ticket at P500, you can have one free drink (first come, first served). For tickets, you can call (02) 4511786 or 0995-0845315.

Sitti is a talent of Asian Artists Agency. For inquiries, please call (02) 855-4765 or (02) 405-4423, email, and visit

BPI-Philam improves customer access with Financial Technology

“Digital Transformation” is a buzzword taking over a lot of tech companies in the Philippines and all over the world, but the use of technology to revolutionize how companies reach their customers isn’t unique only to tech giants.

In celebration of Bancassurance month, BPI-Philam shares how fintech shouldn't just be at the fringes of the business and the customer journey, it should lead it.

“Revolutionizing financial security and insurance is not only about improving products – it’s also about improving our customer’s experience every time they interact with us,” said Surendra Menon, BPI-Philam CEO. “People used to have to take ten or twenty steps before they get their hands on the policy that they want. Technology has helped us cut those steps significantly, and it has allowed us to fulfill our mission of making insurance easy to get and easy to have.”

Front-end automation

BPI-Philam saw the opportunity to modernize insurance selling practices through the Interactive Point of Sale (iPoS), a first in the life insurance industry. Every Bancassurance Sales Executive (BSE) is equipped with this technology to guide customers through the insurance process quickly and efficiently.

"iPoS was birthed to replace bulky equipment and reduce physical paper trail documents for prospects and their transactions," said Christian Ventura, Head of Process and Systems Support for BPI-Philam. "Not only is the old way taxing for both BSEs and customers, it makes the customer journey difficult and riddled with error. This discourages insurance applications."

The iPoS eliminates the need for physical application forms and papers. Every BSE in any BPI branch nationwide carries a tablet with the iPoS app. Through this app, the BSE can instantly access product information, assess the client's need and risk profile, and generate a suitable proposal and policy number efficiently. Once the policy is submitted the BSE can easily track the status of a client’s policy application through a dedicated web portal they can access anytime.

iPoS also allows BSEs to capture, sign, and submit documents with ease through eSignature and ID Capture eliminating the need for photocopies.

"The iPoS shortened the usual transactions that used to be manually inputted through a computer and jotted down on paper," Ventura said. 

"Upon our adoption of the portal, we saw an 80% improvement on the speed of policy application reviewing process. This means that most transactions made went straight through with less error and delay."

Ventura also said that since its use, BSEs reported experiencing fewer rejections as customers were enticed to commit to acquiring insurance policies because of the convenience it offered. They were not required to return to their bank's branch nor were asked to repeat the entire transaction if there was a lack of certain requirements. 

Aside from helping in sales, the iPoS also helps its BSE improve and outperform their targets through an embedded activity monitoring module.

Modern client servicing

The company followed this up with Interactive Client Assistance and Requirements eSubmission – (iCARE), an interactive iPad application which was engineered to aid BSEs in after-sales servicing. Through the app, customers can easily file for requests and other transactions regarding their policies with ease even offline. It also guides customers in telling them what necessary documents they need to submit at one point of the process.

Prior to iCARE's adoption, there was an average 48% of unclean (incomplete, error-laced) policy transaction requests. Past 2016, this average dropped to a meager 6%. This means a faster rate of approval for new applications and any policy data change, providing customers with even more convenience.

Both the iCARE and iPOS utilize 256-bit encryption to strengthen security measures against data privacy risks.

Fraud is also minimized and deterred as transactions made by BSEs are tracked from start to finish.

"This makes our BSEs literal one-stop shops for transactions while helping them improve and sharpen their skills," said Ventura.

Continual access even online

Extending the ease of access to insurance online, BPI-Philam also opened its first Facebook page to the public.

"For this year's bancassurance month, we had surprises in each BPI branch for our customers, we’ve also recently launched a new platform through Facebook where we can reach them," said Menon.

He underscored the importance of opening new channels to make themselves more accessible to customers and prospects who are digital natives and are expecting consistent customer care online.

“With these portals, better service with BPI-Philam simply means quicker, cost-efficient transactions secured across modern platforms for convenience,” Menon concludes

Experience ease in planning for the future, visit or better yet, drop by any BPI branch across the country to know more. 

Need help in taking your first steps to financial success? Check out for tips, you can also send a message for additional assistance too!


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