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Cebu Hosts the 26th Visayas Area Business Conference (VABC)



Business Chambers from all over the Visayas converge in Cebu this September for the 26th Visayas Area Business Conference (VABC) 2017. The key conference in the region, VABC is organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). It is an annual project that brings together business leaders and influencers from all over the Visayas to tackle pertinent trends, issues and ideas.

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The 26th Visayas Area Business Conference Working Committee Chairs and CCCI officers, led by its Overall Chairman Dr. Edward Gaisano, posed for posterity during the 26th VABC Press Conference held at City Sports Club, Cebu City last August 25.

The theme, “Connecting ideas. Connecting economies.” was chosen by this year’s Working Committee to emphasize the need for connectivity in both the virtual (idea) space and the physical space (infrastructure and technology). It is also about the importance of business networks, synchronicity and connections in order to bring inclusive growth to the region.

In a press conference last Friday (Aug 25), 26th VABC Chair & CCCI Past President Dr. Edward Gaisano said that the theme would serve as the individual, professional purpose of an entrepreneur in connecting to their business advocacy.

With 23 local chambers in Visayas, incumbent President Melanie C. Ng further stated that this business conference is a way of finding a way of connectivity to be able to collaborate more the products and services with the rest of the chambers.

Hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with PCCI, the event promises to be one of the most exciting regional conferences to date with top-tier speakers such as Amb. Gregory Slayton, Managing Director, Slayton Capital, Member of the Board of Advisors at Google, and Bloom Energy; Chester Cokaliong, Founder and CEO of Cokaliong Shipping Lines; Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship ; Mr. Cecilio K. Pedro, President of Lamoiyan Corporation; Mr. Jose “Joey” Ma. Concepcion III, President & Chief Executive Officer of RFM Corp. and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Mr. Leandro H. Gazmin, Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness of the Department of Agriculture.

As Guest of Honor and Speaker, the conference will feature an address from H.E. Zhao Jianhua, Ambassador Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of the Philippines.

There will be more resource speakers, talks and activities during the two-day conference from September 28-29, 2017, happening at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino plus other venues: Alta Vista Golf & Country Club for the golf tournament and Golden Prince Hotel & Suites for the Chamber Management Workshop.

The VABC’s Committees are led by Overall Chairman Dr. Edward Gaisano. For the Program & Program Flow Committee is to be chaired by Vice President for Business Development and Management Services Division Virgilio “Nonoy” Espeleta; Michelle Varron, Publicity & Promotions Committee Chair; Vice President for Membership Development Division Christian Paroan chairs Registration & Documentation Committee, Past President Tess Chan & Trustee Benny Que as Venue Management Committee Chairs ; Mr. Nimrod Quiñones as Golf Tournament Committee Chair; Ways & Means Committee Chair is to be chaired by Past President Prudgie Gesta & Board Treasurer Ronald Po; Ms. Meanne Solomon & Consul Antonio Chiu as Exhibition and Expo Committee Chairs; Mr. Felix Taguiam, Bert Mendoza and Vice President for External Affairs and Relations Division Teodoro B. Locson, Jr. will chair Logistics, Transportation and Hotel Accommodation Committee and for the Chamber Management Workshop will be handled by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

By connecting ideas and economies, this year’s VABC held in Cebu hopes to bring together the different business chambers in a united front to work towards a vibrant and cohesive business ecosystem.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Area Vice President for Visayas and CCCI Past President Jose Ng shared that 3 years ago, the 23rd VABC was held at Cebu and hosted by Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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US-Based Pinoy Doctors to Hold Free Surgical Mission in Palawan




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A US-based association of Filipino physicians is set to conduct the first-ever medical and surgical mission in Palawan for this year at the newly-constructed Aborlan Medicare Hospital (AMH) in Barangay Ramon Magsaysay in the town of Aborlan.

The medical mission would be from Jan. 22 to 24, Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. said on Saturday.

It will be led by the North Texas Association of Philippine Physicians (NTAPP) in cooperation with Governor Jose Alvarez, 3rd District Congressman Gil Acosta, 3rd District Board Member Albert Rama, and the municipal government of Aborlan.

Acosta said the NTAPP was composed of 44 Filipino physicians who arrived Sunday to bring free medical and minor surgical services to indigent residents of Aborlan town.

These are circumcision, harelip, breast-lumpectomy, biopsy, simple mastectomy, herniorrhaphy, hysterectomy-myomectomy, oophorectomy, appendectomy, colon resection with end to end anastomosis, amputation for gangrene, thyroidectomy, lysis adhesions, colostomy, cesarean section and tubal ligation.

Dr. Maria Arlin Josue, AMH chief, said they had already prepared for the medical and surgical mission, and were excited for the residents of Aborlan.

“Para sa mga nais makibahagi sa naturang aktibidad, maaaring makipag-ugnayan sa mga Operation Centers ng Rescue 165 na nakatalaga sa mga munisipyo sa lalawigan (For those who want to avail of free medical and surgical services they offer, residents can coordinate with the Operation Centers of Rescue 165),” she said.

Josue added they are grateful that the first medical and surgical mission in the province for this year chose Aborlan as it will surely help a lot of residents who lack funds to pay even for minor surgeries.

AMH is a 50-bed capacity medicare hospital in the first class municipality of Aborlan, located 69 kilometers from the capital of Puerto Princesa.

Its construction was funded cooperatively by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA, the Palawan government, and the local government unit of Aborlan.

It was part of 15 others being constructed in different municipalities in the province, including the island town of Coron.

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Fiesta Señor and Sinulog 2018 Goes Digital



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Amid the digital era, organizers of the Sinulog festival have decided to tap social media to help deliver the message on the real essence of the celebration, which is the devotion and gratitude to the Holy Child Jesus, Sto. Niño.

Sinulog Foundation Inc. has launched the Sinulog 2018 app, where users can plot their own Sinulog route and schedule, as well as take a good look at various Sinulog activities, parade contingents, and the official route maps.

The app also enables the user to vote for this year’s Sinulog festival queen of their choice.

“One of the goals for the Sinulog 2018 is to bring back the essence of Sinulog to the Sto. Niño, especially to the younger generation who generally just wants to party,” said Stephanie Villarica, Sinulog Foundation Inc. Marketing and Promotions head.

In coordination with the social media teams of the Cebu Provincial Government and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the organizers are also exerting efforts in expanding social media presence.

Both government institutions will serve as reliable sources and will provide real-time updates during the celebration.

Aside from downloading the Sinulog 2018 app, Sinulog head secretariat Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes also encourages the public to download prayer apps.

Sinulog activities

Dubbed as “Kalingawan sa Plaza,” nightly activities are held at the Plaza Independencia for free. Fresh farm produce are also sold around the area.

The organizers also stressed that there will no longer be booths and Sinulog activities held along the Fuente Osmeña circle.

The Cebu City Government recently banned all parties and sale of liquor within 300 meters of the route.

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GCash to Raffle off 10 iPhone X for The SM Store Shoppers



The SM Store shoppers nationwide are in for a treat as GCash mobile wallet is set to raffle off 10 iPhone X from February to April this year.

To qualify, existing and new GCash App users just need to pay their The SM Store purchases using the GCash scan to pay feature which all The SM Stores in the country started accepting last December. Each single receipt value of at least P500 is equal to one raffle entry. Promo is valid on a monthly basis from January 15 to April 15, 2018 per DTI-FTEB Permit No.0579 Series of 2018.

Distribution of prizes, draw schedules, and valid entries are as follows:

Spend Period

Jan 15 – Feb 15, 2018

Feb 16 – March 15, 2018

March 16 – April 15, 2018

Draw date

Feb 20, 2018

March 20, 2018

April 20, 2018

Number of iPhones




While monthly winners are no longer qualified for the succeeding raffle draws, others may still get a chance to win the following month by transacting using GCash scan to pay in The SM Store again.

The winners will be notified by GCash through registered mail, mobile number (SMS and phone call) for instructions on how to claim their prize. The announcement of raffle winners will also be done through the Official GCash Facebook Page ( according to announcement schedule.

How to use GCash scan to pay:

  1. Download the GCash app on your smartphone and sign up, or update the GCash app to the latest version and login.
  2. Click “Pay QR” on the dashboard, then click “Scan QR Code” to access the QR scanner. You can also swipe left from the dashboard to access the scanner immediately.
  3. Scan to pay in The SM Store during payment
  4. Input the amount to be paid as stated by the merchant’s POS and frontliner
  5. Confirm the payment details of the transaction
  6. Upon success of payment, an sms will be received by the customer and the merchant front liner indicating that payment has been done.

Not yet a GCash subscriber? Register to GCash now by downloading the GCash App or by dialing *143#, select GCash and register.

Learn more about GCash by visiting Follow its social media channels:,, and

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Calape’s ‘Fishyalan’ Opens in February




In an effort to offer an alternative tour site to mall and resorts goers, the local government unit of Calape and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is set to open its ‘fishyalan’ next month.

Located at BFAR’s Central Visayas Multi-Species Nursery Demonstration and Training Center at Barangay Bentig, the ‘fishyalan’ is a unique place for visitors to hang out and learn new fisheries technology.

This way, BFAR can also better disseminate its advocacies, as well as information about its different programs and projects toward the development of the fisheries sector in the region.

Calape Information Officer Nicolas Sendrijas said when they open ‘fishyalan’ to the public, an entrance fee of P20/person will be collected.

The rate for children 12 years old below is P15, while rental for fishing gear with bait is P5 wherein visitors pay for the fish they catch.

They can opt to cook it there or they may bring it home.

Sendrijas, also the President of the Association of United Development Information Officers in Bohol (AUDIO-Bohol), held their first out-of-town Bisita Opisina and agency familiarization program hosted by LGU Calape at the Conference Room of BFAR’s Central Visayas Multi-Species Nursery Demonstration and Training Center on January 11.

The people’s organization, Bentig Farmers-Fishermen’s Association, is set to undergo a training on entrepreneurship to be conducted by the University of San Carlos (USC) Business Administration.

When operational and at the end of the fiscal year, the net income generated will be shared 50-50 between the PO and LGU Calape, according to Sendrijas.

As of now, worth P3 million of milkfish ( bangus, ) siganid (kitong) , pompano (talakitok) , tilapia, mangrove crab, and grouper (pugapo) have been stocked in the two fish ponds of fishyalan.

The Memorandum of Agreement for the operation of fishyalan was signed by Calape Mayor Nelson Yu and BFAR Regional Director Allan Poquita. (ecb/PIA7-Bohol)

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