Yearly Archives: 2017

RLC now biggest solar power producer in malls

Robinsons Place Dumaguete’s rooftop solar panels was commissioned in April 2016 and has a total of 5,920 solar panels which produces an annual yield of 1,725,680kW-Hr.

Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC), a subsidiary of JG Sumit Holdings Inc., is further increasing the solar power generation capacity of its malls as the dominant renewable energy generator among Philippine property developers.

To date, Robinsons Land has almost 48,000 rooftop solar panels in its 11 malls, most of which are outside Metro Manila, allowing it to produce over 15 million kilowatt hours (KWH) of clean energy annually. Continue reading

The future is in knowledge

“THE world is changing fast, we can’t fall behind. We have to prepare for the future. The future is not very far.”

This was the statement delivered by Antonio “Yobie” Benjamin, one of the pioneers among Filipinos in Silicon Valley, during the recently-concluded 5th Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) 2017 international conference and startup competition on August 24 and 25 in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

The tech guru, who is formerly from Malabon City, Metro Manila, is chief technology officer (CTO) of clickSWITCH and Emeritus CTO of – two finance-oriented startups among many other tech and entrepreneurship engagements. He is a successful venture investor and innovator in life sciences, IoTm FinTech, sustainability and consumer products, Continue reading

VIRAL: Canadian tourist to donate P1.2M in equipment to Coron hospital

HEARTFELT DONATION. Canadian tourist John Abou-Samra will be donating P1.2 million worth of hospital equipment to the Coron District Hospital. Photo courtesy of John Abou-Samra

MANILA, Philippines – John Abou-Samra, a Lebanese-born Canadian, has been saving up for a grand cruise around the world in time for his retirement in late 2017. But his plans changed after his visit in June to Coron, Palawan.

Palawan has been recognized by global award-giving bodies for its wreck diving spots, pristine waters, and rich marine ecosystem.

Samra wanted to find these out for himself.

Samra, who just came from a trip to El Nido, Palawan, was having the time of his life in Kayangan Lake, Coron, when his trip took an ugly turn. Continue reading

Why this new enclave in El Nido should be your next beach destination

EL NIDO, Palawan – If the gloomy weather is making you crave for the beach, here’s a getaway for all seasons.

The Lio Estate, a new development of AyalaLand Hotels and Resorts Corp. in a largely untouched corner of northern Palawan, is shaping up to be the next preferred beach destination in this tourist hub.

Accessible via a 55-minute direct flight from Manila, the enclave, the “first eco-masterplanned community” in El Nido, is a one-stop destination where guests may have both an adventure and a peaceful respite from the daily grind. Continue reading

DENR, NIA to get bigger 2018 budget

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) got the House of Representatives’ nod for a higher 2018 budget.

DENR’s budget proposal for next year, amounting to P27.1 billion, is 1.77 percent higher compared to this year’s allocation of P26.6 billion.

Secretary Roy Cimatu expressed gratitude to the lawmakers for their continued support to the DENR, as well as to Rep. Corazon Nunez-Malanyaon of the first district of Davao Oriental, for sponsoring the agency’s budget at the plenary. Continue reading

SM Prime to open mall in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – SM Prime Holdings Incorporated is set to open its first mall in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Friday, September 15 – its 64th nationwide.

SM Prime told the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Wednesday, September 13, that SM City Puerto Princesa will have 54,000 square meters (sqm) of gross floor area (GFA), bringing its total retail space in the Philippines to 7.9 million sqm. Continue reading

DoH sends assistance to remote locations

HEALTH services were brought to the municipalities of Cuyo, Agutaya and Magsaysay in Palawan, including nearby island barangays, considered as “critical areas” due to their remote location, said Department of Health –Mimaropa (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) regional director Eduardo C. Janairo.

Janairo said they visited the three far-flung areas to monitor ongoing DoH projects and monitor existing health facilities requiring renovation and improvement. Continue reading

SM Puerto Princesa set to open Sept. 15

Glass walls at the main entrance and linear overhang create an inviting appearance.

Known as the Philippines’ last ecological frontier, the province of Palawan is a natural wonder with its vast tracts of tropical rainforests and a huge expanse of marine wilderness.

In the heart of Palawan lies the city of Puerto Princesa, a tropical paradise with a bustling urban center ideal for business with leisure trips. Lush rainforests and white sand beaches are simply hours away from the city proper, where a banking, commercial, IT, and BPO boom have made it one of the country’s fast developing cities.

Glass walls at the main entrance and linear overhang create an inviting appearance.

Continue reading

Silicon Valley tech guru on AI’s effects on PH BPOs

ANTONIO BENJAMIN. The Fil-Am Silicon Valley entrepreneur speaks at 2017 Geeks On A Beach conference in Palawan. Photo by Edd K. Usman/Rappler.

Filipino-American tech gurus in Silicon Valley, United States, continued to sound off alarms on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the Philippines’ cash cow, the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

The latest to give his expert take is Antonio “Yobie” Benjamin, one of the pioneers among Filipinos in Silicon Valley who parlayed their digital geekery into money-making startup machines. Benjamin, 58, formerly of Malabon City, Metro Manila, is chief technology officer (CTO) of clickSWITCH and Emeritus CTO of – two finance-oriented startups among many other tech and entrepreneurship engagements. Continue reading

Malaysia, Philippines talk security Palawan meet

KUDAT: Malaysia, in an effort to further enhance relationship with the Philippines, has conducted a bilateral partnership programme in the Province of Palawan yesterday.

The Malaysian delegates, led by Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) deputy chief of intelligence staff Assistant Commissioner Hashim Justin, visited the Mangsee Island, which was located near the maritime border of Kudat, Sabah and southern Philippines. Continue reading

Brontispa longissima no longer a threat to Palawan coco industry

Image result for Brontispa longissima no longer a threat to Palawan coco industryBrontispa longissima, the two-colored leaf beetle that feeds on young leaves of seedlings and mature coconut palms, has been fully-controlled in Palawan.

Raul Aguilar of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) here said once a serious problem of coconuts in the province, the leaf beetle, has already been subdued through biological pest control (BPC) using black earwig. Continue reading

What to do in the Jewel of the Philippines: Palawan

Constantly rated as one of the best islands in the world, Palawan, in the South West of the Philippines, has it all. Beaches, snorkeling, island hopping, scuba diving, hiking, and amazing local and international food.

Most people start in Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan, which is a great spot to head off to the rest of the island. With plenty of daily flights, it makes for an easier and cheaper place to fly into then El Nido or Coron. A lot of people come here to jump on a live aboard boat for diving trips to the UNESCO world heritage site of Tubbataha Reefs National Park.  Continue reading

SM Prime eyes 10 new malls in 2018, says exec

Image result for sm puerto princesaHENRY Sy-led property developer SM Prime Holdings, Inc. is planning to add 10 new malls across the country in 2018, exceeding its existing annual target of five to six malls.

“Every year, we’re opening five to six [new malls]although I think next year it would be more because they’re opening smaller malls next year,” Cora Guidote, SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) senior vice president for Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, told reporters on the sidelines of a forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) on Friday. Continue reading

Inside Culion, the Philippines’ “Island of No Return”

What used to be the gate that separates lepers from the healthy now welcomes visitors to Culion. All photos by Jessica BartolomeCULION, Palawan – A tall gate stands firm a few steps away from the port of Culion Island in Palawan, welcoming visitors to Barangay Libis.

Hermie “Pastor” Villanueva, a 47-year-old tour guide, stood under the gate. “Leproso,” he said, gesturing to one side of the gate. “Sano,” he added, indicating the other side.

More than a century ago, the gate served as a boundary between two worlds — that of the “leproso” (leper) and that of the “sano” (clean). It warned that you’re about to enter a leper zone. Continue reading

Bloodless war on crimes

Image result for drug operation in mimaropaThe “One Time, Big Time” operations against illegal drugs and other crimes can be carried out without spilling blood.

Policemen in the provinces of Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan (Mimaropa) showed the way when they conducted the so-called “One Time, Big Time” operations Friday and arrested 233 drug personalities, including a policeman, without bloodshed. Continue reading

Limestones, moody waters, and a dash of history at the Calamian Islands

Kayangan Lake.CORON, Palawan — The chilly water was a welcome respite from the heat, coming up to our hips as we disembarked from our boat to the turquoise sea below.

We were on Taraw Beach, our first stop after arriving in Coron. The tour has barely started and we were already drenched.

Taraw Beach boasts of white sands and clear waters on the edges of a towering piece of rock you have to crane your neck to see. Continue reading

Palawan to boost rice production by opening loans to farmers

Image result for Palawan to boost rice productionsA measure that seeks to grant fertilizer loans to farmers in Palawan has been approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to boost the province’s rice productivity.

Resolution No. 13296 was approved to establish the Productivity Rice Reform Development (PRRD) project under the Livelihood Component of I-HELP (Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood and Protection of the Environment). Continue reading

Philippine environmental activists hail cancellation of undersea park in Palawan

Image result for undersea park in PalawanEnvironmental activists and netizens have hailed the cancellation of an undersea attraction and resort project that Nickelodeon plans to build on Palawan, an island province dubbed as “the last ecological frontier” in the Philippines.

In January, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN Nickelodeon) unveiled its plan to build a 400-hectare park on Coron, Palawan. Continue reading

Geeks on a Beach 2017 opens in Palawan

Image result for geeks on the beach palawanSome 400 participants from government and the private sector, including successful technology entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia and Silicon Valley, gathered in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for Geeks on a Beach 2017, which started today.

For two days, participants will get to listen to valuable insights from big names in the startup and technology community. There will be keynotes, panels, and discussions with separate breakout tracks in between. Continue reading

DENR vows to curb illegal-wildlife trade

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will strictly monitor wildlife shipments entering or leaving the country’s airports and seaports as part of an intensified campaign against poaching and wildlife trafficking.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu recently issued a memorandum directing all regional directors of the DENR to beef up surveillance at ports of entry in order to curb wildlife trafficking. Continue reading

Dora no Explorer: Nickelodeon axes Palawan resort plan after outcry

coron palawamAmerican children’s television network Nickelodeon said Wednesday it had abandoned plans for a themed resort on an island known as the Philippines’ last ecological frontier following a backlash from environmentalists.

Nickelodeon said in January that it would build an “undersea attraction and resort” on Palawan island that would let fans “interact with the brand and the iconic characters they love,” including SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. Continue reading

Massive highway planned for Philippines’ Palawan Island