April 30, 2020

World Vision and Shell Foundation distribute tons of fresh vegetables in Metro Manila and CDO

World Vision Development Foundation (WVDF) today provides 16,800 kilos of vegetables to the residents of Quezon City, Malabon City, Manila City and Cagayan de Oro City, four of the hard-hit cities under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Children and communities receive fresh vegetables and other relief goods from donors of World Vision Philippines

In collaboration with Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), the child-focused organization packed and distributed fresh vegetable packs containing okra, sayote, cabbage scorpio, wombok, potatoes, squash, eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, bitter gourd, string beans, carrots and chili pepper to 5,750 households and 60 frontliners in Quezon City, Malabon City, Manila City and Cagayan de Oro City. 

PSFI’s Ani Para sa Bayani (translated Harvest for Heroes) project aims to help struggling small farmers sell their produce and to also ensure that frontliners and the vulnerable communities have access to nutritious foods. 

"Nutrients in vegetables could help strengthen our body's immune system to fight diseases including COVID-19. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables," shared Carleneth San Valentin, World Vision's technical manager for health. 

Staff and volunteers of World Vision Philippines pack and distribute tons of fresh vegetables to Quezon City and Malabon City

San Valentin explains that while we continue to implement interventions on COVID-19, programmes that address undernutrition and malnutrition especially among children under-5 years old in the country, whether nutrition specific or nutrition sensitive, need to continue. 

Nanay Nerissa, a mother of two from Malabon City shares that since the implementation of the extended community quarantine, his husband is not able to drive his pedicab and even get extra work and earn a living because they cannot go out. She adds “Umaasa kami ngayon sa paminsang minsang kita dito sa ulingan. Mahirap din para sa dalawang anak ko na bata pa, 10 at five years old dahil kung walang kita, sa relief lang kami umaasa.” (We are currently relying on the irregular income from selling charcoal. It is especially difficult for my two young children, 10 and five years old, while we do not have a stable source of income, we rely on relief goods.)

Her 10-year old son Ric, who is a World Vision sponsored child says he misses going to school but since classes are suspended, he sometimes helps his mother repack charcoal aside from cooking rice and cleaning the house.

PSFI Executive Director Sebastian Quiniones Jr. says, "This pandemic is allowing all to show the best of humanity, especially during this season of Lent where we are commanded to love one another. We at PSFI have always believed in the power of unity and collaboration, and this successful partnership with World Vision and Filipino farmers has manifested that." While the collaboration begins by supporting farmers in Luzon and assisting vulnerable communities in Metro Manila and Cagayan de Oro City, the organizations hope to extend their collaboration to other areas in need of assistance.

"Thanks to Pilipinas Shell Foundation for partnering with us in sending much needed help to families especially their children affected by COVID-19. We pray that God will continue to bless you even more as you generously give back to our communities," World Vision national director Rommel V. Fuerte said.

As of today, World Vision has provided 458 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits catering to 2,140 frontliners. It also helped install nine (13) tents to be used as isolation and triage areas for COVID-19 referral hospitals in Metro Manila, Misaims Oriental, Pangsinan and Bicol Region and two (2) huge mobile storage units each with an area of 320 sq meters for the Quezon City Risk Reduction and Management Council and Office of the Civil Defence. At least 2,000 families have also received sanitation kits that include bath soaps, alcohol, toothbrushes for children and adults, toothpaste, face mask and mouthwash. World Vision has also reached over 1.4 million people nationwide on awareness raising on COVID-19 including infection prevention and control (IPC) measures.

In a recent advisory, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) gave the go signal to local governments to use a portion of their development fund to address the threat of the pandemic, which includes the provision of food assistance and relief goods for affected households.

Meanwhile to slow down the spread of COVID-19, the Philippine government has extended the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to May 15, 2020.

Life lessons from the pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has been putting a large amount of stress on everyone. However, we must also remember that this is not going to last forever and that if we are open to it, we can learn many life lessons that can help us live better lives.

Strive to be empathic and give what you can – no amount or donation is too small.

Here are some valuable lessons we can take from the health scare and enhanced community quarantine.

Be prepared for any scenario. The best defense we can have against life’s uncertainties is to be ready for anything. Have an emergency fund and insurance for chaotic times like these. If you haven’t yet, build up a savings plan or take out health insurance— these are a couple of the best ways to deal with financial setbacks that may be caused by unforeseen events.

Make adjustments to your lifestyle. Since restaurants and gyms have been either limited or closed, this pandemic has been teaching us to eat better, get enough sleep, and make time to exercise even at home. Remember, what you do every day essentially affects how long and how well you’ll live. It’s always better to establish good habits sooner rather than later. 

Be a friend of the environment. COVID-19 has been a wake-up call to how badly we’ve been treating the environment. With the enhanced community quarantine in place and limited cars on the road, nature has been healing, as evident in the smog-free skies. Taking even small steps like carpooling, recycling, and planting more trees can help further restore the balance of nature.

Take time for yourself. Participating in the rat race entails multitasking and promotes staying busy as a measure of success. Taking breaks to unplug and recharge is usually seen as weakness. However, overexerting yourself is unhealthy so it’s best to listen to your body. You are not required to stay busy. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is the gift of time. Use it wisely to honor your needs, whether that is reading a book or simply having more time for family.

Share your blessings with others. We should try helping those who find it hard to get by. In addition to the numerous deaths and cases, the pandemic has brought on negative economic implications: small businesses are closing, many people are losing their jobs and are finding it hard to take care of themselves and their families. We must strive to be empathic and give what we can – no amount or donation is too small. In the same vein, now is also a good time to show Pinoy pride and support local businesses.

For more information on AXA Philippines insurance products, visit www.axa.com.ph.

Huggies Philippines launches Huggies Club: Facebook Live to connect Moms at home to medical experts

MANILA, Philippines, 30 April 2020 – A trusted parenting partner for moms everywhere, Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies® brand will be launching Huggies Club: Facebook Live, a series of online forums that aim to help guide expectant, new, and experienced moms through every step of their motherhood journey.

Starting this Saturday, May 2 at 8pm, and hosted on the Huggies Philippines Facebook page, each session will feature a medical expert and a fellow parent who will cover a variety of topics that aim to guide and equip viewers with useful tips and uplifting advice as they go through the delicate stages of motherhood; from prenatal to postnatal, whether they have an infant or a toddler. The first few sessions will specifically focus on helping them navigate the unique circumstances they find themselves in today. A live Q&A segment will follow to give viewers a chance to ask questions for either expert or mom.

By connecting them to these medical professionals and parents with relatable situations or experiences, Huggies hopes to be a reliable support system for moms and their kids, offering them a safe space to comfort and care for each other during these stressful and challenging times. As they practice home quarantine, social distancing, and more stringent sanitation, moms remain constantly on the lookout for information online that help address their pressing concerns and queries.

“We understand that the COVID-19 situation has really impacted the physical, mental, and emotional health of moms,” says Huggies Marketing Manager Bernice Ilacad-Jalgalado. “That is why we are carefully and continuously coming up with efforts like Huggies Club: Facebook Live to make more moms feel at ease as they provide comfort and care for their babies in these trying times.”

Like and follow Huggies Philippines Facebook page to stay updated on the latest announcements and updates. 

For more information, visit https://www.huggies.com.ph/.

April 29, 2020

ING continues to support clients during ECQ and extends help in the fight against COVID-19

The extended community quarantine (ECQ) across Luzon due to COVID-19 has seen many Filipinos gradually shifting to the use of online banking, especially as movements of non-essential personnel and goods have been limited to control the spread of the pandemic. Transferring money, monitoring finances and managing funds are now increasingly done from the safety of people’s homes.

According to Nicholas Mapa, Senior Economist at ING Bank, growth of the Philippine economy can fall to as low as -0.1% if the situation does not improve by May. This means that major economic drivers like consumer spending, OFW remittances and local trade and tourism are slowly declining, therefore ultimately affecting the way people manage their finances during this time. 

“In many ways, we now see that Filipinos have a higher awareness of the need to build their savings and keep an emergency fund. As an all-digital bank, we want to continue being our customers’ partner towards financial security. That is why we have decided to keep the ING Savings interest rate at 4% per annum*. This way, we hope to give our customers the assurance that their money will continue to grow with ING as their sustained savings or for any emergency needs,” said Hans Sicat, country manager of ING Bank in the Philippines.

“Our mobile app continues to be accessible 24/7 in our promise to provide simple, easy and convenient banking services to Filipinos. We know that managing your money digitally is highly necessary at this time, so it is important for us to maintain our no-fees policy when customers transfer funds from ING to other local banks.”

In addition to keeping the interest rate, ING Bank together with its global processing and support centre ING Business Shared Services, Manila have committed to donate €100,000 to several healthcare and non-governmental organizations in response to the immediate needs. True to its long-standing partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), ING is also supporting the UNICEF donation drive initiative to provide aid to the local healthcare sector in the Philippines. 

Hans added: “We remain hopeful that things will get better soon and we will continue to support all our clients and the local communities as we power through this challenging time together.”

More details of this offer can be found on https://ing.com.ph/promos/4-percent-interest 

*4% interest rate per annum for balance up to P10 million, till July 31, 2020

Ateneo helps frontliners, affected communities amid COVID-19 outbreak

With the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, the need to support our healthcare workers and the underprivileged has been of tantamount importance to stave off the spread of the virus. 

The Ateneo de Manila University has been actively playing a part in making a difference in the lives of frontliners and those adversely affected by the declaration of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) brought about by the pandemic. 

Just last April 15, Ateneo opened its doors to 23 medical and support staff from the Quirino Medical Center, one of the government hospitals that are leading the battle against COVID-19. The dormitory inside the Institute of Social Order was picked to house the healthcare workers (HCWs). Under the “Project Panunuluyan: Kanlungan at Bayanihan” Ateneo will provide board and lodging for the HCWs, plus a point-to-point shuttle service to and from the hospital, until May 15, 2020. 

Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, president of the Ateneo de Manila welcomes several medical and support staff from the Quirino Medical Center.

"We consider it a privilege to be of service somehow to our [healthcare workers] by providing this place where they can rest, reflect, and renew their body and spirit," Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, president of Ateneo de Manila University said. "This is panunuluyan during Easter time, a time to open ourselves to how the Spirit is entreating and moving us in the world today.”

Aside from providing temporary shelter to our health care workers, Ateneo is also offering psychological support through the Ateneo Bulatao Center for Psychological Services. The center provides free online counselling and psychological first aid to frontliners who need assistance amid these difficult times. 

Ateneo has also provided over 12,500 meals to the health care workers of the Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, East Avenue Medical Center, and the Mandaluyong City Medical Center.

In addition, Ateneo has helped in providing personal protective equipment to our health care workers in 96 health institutions. The University, in close coordination with the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH), also gave hazardous material (hazmat) suits to The Medical City. The specifications of the hazmat suit design came from ASMPH Dean Dr. Cenon R. Alfonso, M.D., and produced by Marie Alexene Cabantac and Dennie Tan Ruiz using a fabric called Taslan 80 gsm which makes the suits reusable after proper decontamination.

Dr. Lourdes “Des” Jimenez (center), Chairperson of The Medical City’s Emergency Room Medicine and Dr. Menandro Sandoval (right), Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health Alumnus and ER Medicine staff, received the hazmat suits donation.

The Areté Makerspace team has also assembled more than 1,600 face shields for the use of healthcare professionals in various hospitals in Metro Manila and around the country.

“We are one with our frontliners as they bravely face this disease. What we’re doing for them is just our own little way to help them with their burden as they continue to lead this fight against COVID-19. We are proud to support them and will continue to do whatever we can to make a difference in their lives,” Villarin said.

Meanwhile, Ateneo has also been taking part in assisting communities affected by the declaration of the ECQ. Over 44,600 families have already been given food and relief packs containing various essential goods. 

Tanging Yaman Foundation has also been helping fishing communities in Visayas by purchasing their products. This past Holy Week, Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ and the Ateneo-Jesuit consortium ordered 38 tons of assorted bulad or dried fish that were also added to the relief packs that were given to poor families here in Metro Manila. 

In partnership with the De La Salle Brothers and the Philippine Jesuits, Ateneo has also helped provide a safe shelter to 446 individuals. 

“We believe that this is an opportunity for the entire Ateneo community to come together and help people who need it most. And I am proud that many in our community are stepping up to extend a helping hand during this crisis,” Villarin added.

To know how you can help, visit giving.ateneo.edu.

Alfamart Ph continues Super Minimart openings to serve more communities

Amid the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Alfamart, the first and only Super Minimart chain in the Philippines, has resumed its expansion to cater to the needs of local communities.

The newly opened Alfamart branch in Bagong Silang, Caloocan enforces strict social distancing in compliance with ECQ rules. Having “walking distance” Super Minimarts nearby keep residents from having to go out too far just to get supplies.

What was once a simple and mundane task has been made more challenging and risky by the ECQ. 

Grocery shopping is now much more complicated than it used to be, as people now have to contend with curfews, checkpoints, social distancing, and quarantine passes to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To help address these concerns and alleviate the burden on individual households, neighborhood minimarts like Alfamart have become more popular destinations for these errands, as they are closer to home. 

In the recent week, Alfamart opened eight new stores across Luzon; namely, in Tabun, Angeles, Pampanga; Barangay 176, Bagong Silang, Caloocan; Poblacion, Floridablanca, Pampanga; Palico, Imus, Cavite; Silangan, Rosario, Cavite; Daan Sarile, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija; Saog, Marilao, Bulacan; and Grand Valley Subdivision, Angono, Rizal.

Ten more stores are opening in other locations in May.

Alfamart Philippines COO Harvey Ong pointed out that the expansion amid the ECQ is more about following through on Alfamart’s advocacy to improve communities. “The ECQ has been very challenging for everyone, especially those living in communities that are significantly farther from malls, supermarkets, and groceries,” Ong said. “We want to bring that safe, convenient, and comfortable shopping experience closer to home through our Super Minimarts,” he continued.

Ong also highlighted how Alfamart is doing everything it can to reduce health risks, and inconveniences, for both employees and customers. “Our stores follow strict sanitary and hygiene protocols. We also provide PPEs for our frontline and backend staff,” he said. “Also, as part of our walk-to-work philosophy, we hire our store crew locally. As much as possible, we prefer our employees to be within walking distance of their assigned stores. This helps manage their travel time,” he further explained.

Ong enumerated other measures that ensure the store staff are taken care of such as free shuttle rides, proper coordination with checkpoints for expedited supply chain deliveries, proper scheduling and shorter operating hours.

Alfamart frontline staff disinfecting incoming customers to minimize transmissions. As seen in the photo Alfamart branches are operating at limited hours, instead of the usual 24/7, amid the ECQ.

Alfamart frontline staff restocking personal hygiene shelves. Keeping the shelves stocked amid the ECQ is a fully operational distribution center that delivers needed supplies to over 800 stores.

Most Alfamart employees are local hires from within the community. The Super Minimart chain has been encouraging a “walk-to-work” philosophy even before the ECQ.

“In these trying times, everyone is called to be vigilant and serve. Alfamart will do its part to help the community by keeping as many of our existing stores open and reaching out to more communities so we can serve more people,” he concluded.

April 28, 2020

Makati innovates financial aid distribution amid COVID-19 through GCash

With the help of GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, the City of Makati will disburse the second tranche of financial assistance to over 8,000 drivers to help them cope with the national health crisis and aid them in providing for their families.

According to Makati City Mayor Abby Binay, each of the 8,376 jeepney, tricycle, and pedicab drivers in Makati will receive P2,000 via their GCash accounts. Broken down, the beneficiaries are: 5,952 registered tricycle drivers, 598 pedicab drivers, and 1,826 jeepney drivers who are part of the Makati Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (JODA).

This is the second tranche of the local government’s initiative to provide P16.7 million financial assistance to the city’s transportation sector via electronic means to ensure transparency and to avoid physical transactions in light of the dangers brought by COVID-19.

The first tranche of the financial aid was disbursed three weeks ago via manual cash distribution, but the City of Makati found that handing out financial aid via GCash is much faster and more efficient versus having city hall employees go through each house to send money.

“Drivers who are Makatizen cardholders will receive their financial aid through their GCash e-wallets. We will also course through GCash the cash grant for our citizens who have yet to receive their Makatizen Cards. It’s a big help for both the city and its residents not only because it’s a faster way of transferring money for everyday use, but also because it also promotes public health by avoiding physical contact,” said Makati City Mayor Abby Binay.

Health experts around the world have found that paper money increases the risk of viral transmission since harmful bacteria and viruses can survive on its surface for several days. Given the safety protocols implemented by the government this past month, digital fund transfers are becoming the norm.

Establishments ranging from grocery stores to organizations collecting donations have shifted

to digital financial services like GCash for a more efficient way of transacting and transferring money amid the pandemic. Government units also are encouraged to utilize such platforms to promote accountability and health safety in the distribution of financial aid to intended beneficiaries.

Makati is the first city in Metro Manila to implement contactless financial assistance through GCash and the Makatizen Card.

Likewise, the City of Makati will be creating GCash accounts for non-Makatizen card holders based on the mobile number and other information that they have provided to the local government.

Once they receive the financial aid, beneficiaries can opt to use their card or e-wallet to buy food, medicines, and other products from grocery stores, convenience centers, and even pharmacies. They may also use the funds to pay their utility bills or government dues, or even transfer cash to their loved ones through the GCash app.

Recipients of the financial aid may also cash out or withdraw the money through authorized GCash Cash In/Cash Out agents. They only need to present a government issued ID and a text message showing the remittance of the financial assistance to their Makatizen card or GCash e-wallet.

Through its digital wallet, GCash has paved the way for 20 million Filipinos to have a safer and more efficient way of transacting either online or offline. With roughly 70,000 partner merchants across the archipelago, GCash users can dispense with the use of paper bills whenever they need to buy their essentials to protect themselves from the virus.

“We at GCash always strive to provide relevant services to our customers. Seeing our platform being used by local governments as a conduit for financial assistance to help their citizens cope with the national health crisis encourages us further to focus on creating impact to the ways of people, businesses, government institutions, and organizations especially during these very challenging times,” GCash Chief Technology and Operations Officer Pebbles Sy said.

HBO Asia Original Series ‘The Head’ Premieres June 12 on HBO GO and HBO

WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks recently announced the premiere date and released the trailer of the brand-new HBO Asia Original, The Head, produced in association with Hulu Japan and THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO. 

The series will premiere on 12 June at 9pm on HBO GO and HBO.

The Head is a survival thriller set in the Polaris VI international polar station in Antarctica during its long, dark Antarctic months, engulfed by the cold, the wind and the vast expanses of ice. A select group of scientists from different countries are in charge of maintaining the base operational during the long polar nights. But in the midst of winter, the station suddenly stops communicating with the outside world. With dialogues in English and Danish, the suspenseful storyline develops over six hour-long episodes and is directed by Jorge Dorado (“The Pier”, “Mindscape”).

The Head’s international cast include Tomohisa Yamashita (“Code Blue”), John Lynch (“The Terror”), Katherine O'Donnelly (“Mary Queen of Scots”), Alexandre Willaume (“Below the Surface”, “Tomb Raider”), Laura Bach (“Sprinter Galore”), Sandra Andreis (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”), Amelia Hoy (“Killing Eve”) , Chris Reilly (“Allied”, “Everest”), Richard Sammel (“Inglorious Bastards”) and Tom Lawrence (“The King”, “The Crown”), in addition to the special collaboration

The series was shot in a two-thousand-square-meter studio in Tenerife, Spain, where the purpose-built set of the Polaris VI research station where most of the action takes place was erected, reproduced to actual scale, based on information about the layout and operation of this type of scientific facility, which enabled the show-runners to film long shots of the characters wandering around inside the station with complete authenticity. The production crew also travelled to the rugged landscapes of Iceland to shoot the series' exteriors, although most of the story is set inside the polar station, which provides a particular feel of encapsulation.

The Head was presented in a forum session at Series Mania in 2017, a prestigious international festival in France, and garnered enormous interest among representatives from the media and entertainment industry.


Winter has fallen on the South Pole. The sun will soon disappear for the next six months. A small team of scientists, known as the Winterers, will remain at the Polaris VI Antarctic Research Station to continue their innovative research. 
Their work is crucial in the fight against climate change and they are under the command of renowned biologist Arthur Wilde (John Lynch). But when spring comes, summer commander Johan Berg (Alexander Willaume) returns to the station only to find most of the team dead or missing. 
A killer is on the loose and Annika (Laura Bach), Johan's wife, is missing too. If he wants to find her alive, he will have to trust Maggie (Katherine O’Donnelly), the young doctor who is profoundly shaken and apparently the sole survivor from the group… or, is there someone else who survived?


An HBO Asia Original production, in association with A THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO and HULU JAPAN / Creators: Àlex Pastor & David Pastor / Directed by: Jorge Dorado / Screenwriters: Àlex Pastor & David Pastor and Isaac Sastre / Production Director: Anna Vilella / Production Design: Alain Bainée / Cinematography by: David Acereto / Original Score by: Federico Judid / Executive Producers: Laura Fdez. Espeso, Javier Méndez, Ran Tellem, Bernat Elías, Mariano Baselga, Kazufumi Nagasawa, Jorge Dorado, Àlex Pastor & David Pastor

The Head will premiere on HBO and HBO Go onJune 12, 2020.

Filipino startups step up, harness the power of tech to help combat COVID-19

Manila, Philippines — The impact of COVID-19 left many businesses navigating the digital space. Some are caught off guard while others utilize their expertise in technology. Take it from Filipino startups who have been stepping up to help combat COVID-19 in their own ways. To provide tips on how they’re doing it, startup founders gathered for a QLITAN, a bi-weekly networking event hosted by QBO Philippines since 2016.

MyKuya volunteer runners serve as frontliners at this time by helping run errands for those stuck at home and vulnerable to COVID-19. Photo credit: MyKuya

But this time, QLITAN was held online. In this virtual event, founders shared how they are responding to the crisis. Headlining the session titled “Startup Survival Guide — Adapting to the New Norm” are Moritz Gastl, vice-president of Growth of First Circle, a startup which provides business financing and access to credit; Shahab Shabibi, co-founder of MyKuya, an app that allows on-demand services such as grocery deliveries; Gabby Dizon, CEO and cofounder of mobile and blockchain game studio Altitude Games; Stefano Fazzini, CEO of online grocery delivery service MetroMart; and Bonnie Factor, founder of Leading with Success.

These startups are now using this opportunity to create a lasting difference — banding together and using technology not only to ease people’s burdens but even potentially save lives.

“Startups are called to do what they do best — they are rising up to this challenge by deploying innovative solutions, moving quickly, and showing us how we can harness the power of technology for the greater good. We are seeing startups from different industries working hard at this time, from logistics to ecommerce to fintech and edutech,” said Katrina Chan, director of QBO.

Startups aiding the government on the battle against COVID-19

Now more than ever, the tech capability of startups can help the government in a number of ways. The Department of Science and Technology with Developers Connect helped launch the RapidPass system where frontliners manning checkpoints can easily inspect vehicles and individuals by scanning QR codes.

Senti, a startup specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning, provides the knowledge-base for the chatbots that the Department of Health deploys in different channels to address COVID-19-related inquiries. Local tech company Multisys, on the other hand, developed the online and mobile platform StaySafe.ph which aims to help the government in conducting efficient contact tracing.

To enable faster response from local government units (LGUs) in the fight against COVID-19, Limitless Lab, in partnership with The Asia Foundation, developed LGU vs COVID PH. The platform is an easy-to-use, updated, and reliable dashboard of all COVID-19 related information which LGUs can use and refer to.

Startups offering convenience, on-demand services

Unknown to many, some of the essential needs met at this time are also powered by startups. MetroMart enables people who are stuck at home to have their goods delivered right at their doorstep. To further harness its capability, MetroMart launched MetroMart Cares, a special online store for grocery donations in partnership with World Vision and Gawad Kalinga. Another startup, Zagana, helps bridge the gap for local farmers and consumers in need of fresh fruits and vegetables.

MyKuya also provides convenience during the quarantine by helping run errands for those stuck at home and vulnerable to COVID-19. Some of its services include meal delivery, bills payment, and pharmacy and grocery runs. AIDE, a home healthcare platform, connects patients and medical professionals straight from their smartphones.

Even outside the Metro, startups continue to thrive. Pandalivery, an on-demand food delivery service available in Camarines Sur and Albay, expanded its service by including groceries and medicines to help amidst the quarantine. Streetby, an app that allows different merchants to continue to reach households in areas in Mindanao including Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Davao, General Santos, and Iligan.

Startups connecting the world, bringing communities together

Aside from providing essentials, startups are also mobilizing their resources and skills to aid in addressing challenges brought about by COVID-19. QBO incubatees Container Living and Kumu are harnessing the power of their community.

Container Living, a startup which converts containers to buildings in its effort to lower carbon footprint and costs, saw the opportunity to pivot their innovation to address the overcrowding of medical facilities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Container Living CEO Mac Evangelista spearheaded Rapid Deployment (RAD) Hospitals alongside its team of local architects, professionals and engineers to build scalable, easy-to-deploy, isolation and intensive care facilities for COVID-19 patients.

Filipino startup Container Living spearheads the creation of Rapid Deployment Hospitals to aid in the overcrowding of medical facilities due to COVID-19. Photo credit: Container Living

Livestreaming app Kumu launched Kumu Lives Streaming Service which conducts private live streams for free in an effort to enable Filipino communities, here and around the world, to hold events and gatherings online amid the quarantine, and Social DistanSING, a livestreaming initiative for a cause which brought together artists and celebrities online to share their talents and help raise funds for families affected by COVID-19. To date, Kumu’s cause has raised an estimate of Php1.2 million pesos for charity.

“At a time when most of us are relying on technology to stay connected and keep working, these startups are showing us how it can be done. They are, in a way, frontliners in their own rights, taking initiative to tackle this crisis by leveraging their strengths in technology to help our country move forward despite the challenges brought by this pandemic,” added Chan. “Our mantra at QBO is ‘Filipino Startups Changing the World’. We have always believed that our homegrown ventures and innovators can make a meaningful contribution to solving critical challenges and create impact. Now, our startups are showing what they’re capable of, and we hope that everyone will take notice, and recognize the crucial role that Filipino startups can play in bringing fresh ideas into action and will continue to support them in future.”

Photo shows startup founders Shahab Shabibi, co-founder of MyKuya; Gabby Dizon, CEO and cofounder of Altitude Games; Moritz Gastl, vice-president of Growth of First Circle; Stefano Fazzini, CEO of MetroMart; and Bonnie Factor, founder of Leading with Success with moderator Rocky Chan and QBO Head of Operations Natasha Bautista and QBO Director Katrina Chan during the first virtual QLITAN session held amidst COVID-19. 
(Photo credit: QBO Innovation Hub)

For its part, QBO also harnesses the power of tech by continuously providing support and learning opportunities to Filipino startups, making sure they are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to push forward despite the threat of COVID-19. For more information, visit facebook.com/QBOphilippines/ and qbo.com.ph/.

About QBO

QBO (‘ku-bo’) is an innovation hub or a platform for the startup community to collaborate, develop talent, and grow. It provides startups with support and resources through events and capacity building programs as well as focused interventions designed to improve access to markets, knowledge, capital, and talent. QBO is the country’s first public-private initiative for startups, created through a partnership between IdeaSpace, J.P. Morgan, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry.

Spurred on by the vision of Filipinos startups changing the world, QBO’s mission is to create a globally competitive startup ecosystem in the Philippines.

April 27, 2020

Life tips to move forward in the time of COVID-19

Self-quarantine and social distancing can bring down the iron wall for those who have families in far-flung areas. 

While public gatherings and celebrations are cancelled, the ties of the Filipino family are stronger than calamities and maladies. While there are restrictions set-in-place, who said we can’t make this experience fun and productive for you and your family? 

Photo Credit: LBC Express Inc.

Here are some tips to help you make the best out of this situation.

1. Take the quarantine seriously

Going home to provinces may actually be more dangerous than staying at home as you risk carrying the virus into an otherwise Ncov-free community. The first line of defense is discipline and presence of mind in trying times like this. Airports, bus terminals, and exit points of the city can easily be the petri dish for the virus. Trust us, your family would want you away and safe than close and endangering everyone! 

2. Maintain an open line

Nothing causes panic more than not knowing so keep your families updated on your situation. Take that video call to check in on how they are doing; allot your patience into repeating the same details to each of your titas. Appreciate your mother reminding you to wash your hands every thirty minutes; or Facetime with your bunso to ease your homesickness. Telcos are promising a speed bump on their services to ensure everyone stays connected and have a more seamless workflow.

3. Show your loved ones you care across borders

Malls are temporarily closed down and only the necessary establishments are in operation. This means that your family’s supplies might fall short–with a bigger household and everyone staying in– one of the ways to let them know you care is to surprise them with a nice care package. TNVS are still on the road but if your family is outside the metro, reliable courier services like LBC still offer their services. Another option that you may want to explore is LBC’s Instant Peso Padala, where one can drop by on their select operating stores and send money to the province. Staying at home should not equate to feeling paralyzed and helpless to reach your family.

(Our insider tip: Some of your friends might not have the kitchen skills to keep themselves afloat during this quarantine. You can send them groceries as well and they’ll thank you for it).

4. Plan Ahead

With workplace disruptions and work-from-home set-up made available by companies nationwide, probably this is also the time to wear your digital hat on and explore the possibilities of earning money while staying at home. Since everything is going digital nowadays, it might be the perfect time to declutter and set-up your own mini business. Organize your closet and find stuff you would want to sell online. Who knows? LBC is also ready for you to make someone’s day by delivering your pre-loved items. Maybe the money you earn can also be a fundraising activity to help an organization in this trying time.

We should do our best to take part in initiatives that will benefit our society as a whole. While movements are restricted, let’s find ways to continue moving forward as a community to fight COVID-19. Stay indoors! Don’t risk the safety of your loved ones.

Logistics play an important role in our daily lives. Filipinos all over the world deserve a reliable and trusted service to depend on at this most difficult times. LBC is your partner to help you move things forward with you, your family and business.

For the latest updates on LBC’s services, visit https://www.lbcexpress.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/LBCExpress/.

April 24, 2020

World Vision Acknowledges Corporate Partners and Individual Sponsors for over PHP60M Funding for COVID-19 Emergency Response

Amidst the current health crisis, World Vision in the Philippines has allotted the total amount of ₱60,254,512.70 from different funding sources and donations including corporate partners and individual child sponsors to fund its ongoing COVID-19 Emergency Response. 

“World Vision is so grateful for the support of all our generous donors in the battle against COVID-19. Like in our past initiatives, your donations are definitely a big help to the Filipino children and their families, and even to the frontliners that we are assisting during these difficult times,” said Rommel V. Fuerte, World Vision National Director.

One month on in its health emergency response, World Vision has served and assisted over 1.4 million people nationwide.

Proceeds directly went to World Vision’s implementation of COVID-19 response including the distribution of 13 triage tents to the hospitals and the provision of basic Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the frontliners.

In some of the affected communities in Metro Manila, World Vision also provided Sanitation Kits that include alcohol, mouthwash, face mask, and reading materials about hygiene and handwashing to the families in need. Disinfectant Kits were also supplied to the health facilities in the poorest of the poor communities, and most importantly, bestow temporary income to the most vulnerable families through unconditional cash distribution.

In collaboration with Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), the child-focused organization also packed and distributed 16.8 tons of fresh vegetable packs containing okra, sayote, cabbage scorpio, wombok, potatoes, squash, eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, bitter gourd, string beans, and chili pepper to over 5,250 families and 60 frontliners in Manila, Quezon City and Malabon City.

Among the corporate companies which supported World Vision included Accenture, Aidea Inc., BHP Shared Services Philippines, Inc., Chek Hup, Colgate Palmolive, ComCo Southeast Asia, DTCC, Ellite Ads Corporation, Emerson Electric (Asia) Ltd., Frankie & Friends, GCash, Giftaway, Gifted PH, Grab Philippines, ING Foundation, Inc., Investagrams, Lazada, Lexus Manila, Inc., Ligo, Medtronic Philippines, Inc., Merck Inc., Microsourcing, Mirth & Yift, Mondelez, PayMaya, PCCW Solutions, Inc., Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., Seaoil Philippines, Inc., Security Bank, Shopee, Storm Technologies, Inc., ticket2me, Unilever, and Zalora.

To help and learn more about World Vision’s initiative against COVID-19, please visit https://www.worldvision.org.ph/coronavirus-health-crisis/.

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, their families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by its Christian faith and values, it is dedicated to working with the world’s most vulnerable people. It serves and collaborates with all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. 

Be a Smart Shopper! 5 Shop from Home Tips For Every Filipino : Catch the 5.5 Shopee Mart Sale from April 22 to May 5 and enjoy deals as low as ₱5 and Free Shipping with P0 minimum spend

In the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak, we must stay healthy and safe. Shopping at home is the most convenient way to get your daily essential needs, and there’s no better way to get your shopping done from home than with Shopee! Here are some tips to make your #ShopeeAtHome experience easier and help you decide better:

1. Plan ahead and ready your list

Make a list and check it twice. This will give you an overview of what items you really need to buy and help you manage your budget. It will also ensure that you don't forget essential personal care items like antibacterial soaps and shampoos before hitting the checkout button. Take a look at Shopee’s collection and sale pages to see the variety of great deals that are available. Shopee’s collections also make it easier for you to find the items on your list, and get great deals to boot!

2. Choose healthy
A healthy lifestyle starts with smart choices when buying food. Make sure to fill your pantry with nutrient-packed meals and drinks. Shopee offers a variety of food products packed with essential vitamins and minerals. You can use its search filter function for easy access to its wide range of food and beverage items, health supplements, and more.

3. Order in bulk

Save more money and get additional discounts when you buy in bulk. Find shop vouchers and bundle deals that give you an extra discount when you purchase more items from the same shop. Items marked as Wholesale can also help you save--if you buy the specified number of items, you can get them at a discounted price.

4. Invest in your family's protection

During this Enhanced Community Quarantine, it may be difficult to find disinfectants and protective gear in local grocery stores. Luckily, Shopee provides a wide range of health products on their Flash Deals and branded collections including face masks, hand sanitizers, alcohol, and anti-bacterial cleaners. Not only is there a lot of variety to choose from, but you’ll also get great discounts. 

5. Look for best deals and bargains 

Don’t fret! Shopee offers the best deals on all your essential needs with 5.5 Shopee Mart Sale. Starting from April 22 - May 5, you can now #ShopeeFromHome and get deals as low as ₱5 and a Free Shipping with P0 minimum spend on your favorite essential goods. Score even better deals when you use discount vouchers, cashback vouchers, and Shopee coins. Even more vouchers await you when you shop using ShopeePay. In addition, top brands like P&G, Wyeth, Nestle, Unilever, Enfagrow, and Abbot will be giving discounts at up to 50% off. 

Visit https://shopee.ph/5-5 for more information.

Download the Shopee app for free via the App Store or Google Play.


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