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Food, Lifestyle

The Jollibee Group Backs the Waste Recovery Campaign of LLDA


Partnership for the Planet. The Jollibee Group has pledged support to the LLDA’s waste recovery program to help mitigate the adverse effects of plastic waste on Laguna de Bay. Photo by LLDA.

By sponsoring environmentally conscious initiatives like the Laguna Lake Development Authority’s (LLDA) “Abot-Kamay Para sa Laguna de Bay: Mission in Action–Solid Waste Recovery,” the Jollibee Group is demonstrating its continued commitment to environmental stewardship.

In observance of Earth Day 2024, the LLDA carried out a solid waste collection operation in Barangay Sucat, Muntinlupa City, on April 30, 2024. This year’s Earth Day, with the theme “Planet vs. Plastics,” called for more worldwide awareness and initiatives to cut plastic manufacturing by 60%. The LLDA has continuously backed these kinds of environmental projects and concentrated on reducing the negative impacts that plastic waste has on Laguna de Bay and the ecosystems that surround it.

“The Abot-Kamay campaign not only exemplifies a localized response to a global crisis but also serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a cleaner and healthier Laguna de Bay for future generations,” said LLDA Acting General Manager Atty. Senando Santiago.

The Jollibee Group sent employee-volunteers from select stores of Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, and Burger King to participate in the said waste recovery activity. In addition, the Company also provided meals to all 200 volunteers from different organizations.

Pepot Miñana Jr., Jollibee Group Chief Sustainability and Public Affairs Officer, underscored the importance of the Company’s active participation in these initiatives as a manifestation of its global sustainability agenda called Joy for Tomorrow: “As stewards of our environment, we recognize that our commitment to sustainability extends beyond the confines of our facilities, and requires collective action from all stakeholders. Participating in lake clean-up drives is a tangible expression of our dedication to preserving natural resources and safeguarding the communities we serve. This collaboration with local organizations and the government amplifies our impact and cultivates a shared sense of responsibility for our planet.”


Jollibee Group Employee Volunteers. Some 100 employee-volunteers from Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, and Burger King joined the clean-up of Laguna de Bay in Sucat, Muntinlupa City. The Jollibee Group also provided meals for all the 200 volunteers from different organizations.
 

Employee volunteers for the planet

Fostering a behavior of shared responsibility for the environment is an essential part of Jollibee Group’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Since 2023, the Jollibee Group, through its corporate development arm the Jollibee Group Foundation, Inc., has implemented a mangrove reforestation program with a string of tree-planting activities held in several coastal provinces.

In Lemery, Batangas, and along the coastlines of Alaminos, Pangasinan, and Carmen, Cebu, more than 200 employee-volunteers from the company’s operations, manufacturing, and logistics divisions—which include the brands Jollibee, Greenwich, and Red Ribbon—planted 2,250 mangrove propagules and 1,700 mangrove seedlings.

Employees of the Jollibee Group and local JGF implementation partners planted about 1,400 mangrove propagules at the Bued Mangrove Ecopark in Alaminos, Pangasinan, on May 9, 2024.


Beyond Spreading Joy. Jollibee Group employee-volunteers signed their pledge of dedication in support of LLDA’s solid waste recovery program. Many employees of the Jollibee Group are active ambassadors of the planet, actively participating in various initiatives that help protect the environment.

The Jollibee Group will keep encouraging staff volunteerism to assist different environmental preservation and protection programs and activities in the future.

“We hope that through employee volunteerism and engagement, we can inspire more partners and customers worldwide to embrace environmental stewardship and create changes that will positively impact the people and the planet,” Miñana added.

To learn more about Jollibee Group, visit www.jollibeegroup.com

Entertainment, Lifestyle

At Ortigas Malls, Independence Day honors Filipino musicians, culture, and heroes

Araw ng Kalayaan, or Independence Day, honors the heroes of the past and present who have battled for the freedom of the Filipino people. Ortigas Malls has planned a number of events and activities that celebrate our rich cultural heritage and history as we approach the yearly vacation.

Shoppers shouldn’t miss the amazing Independence Day activities that GH Mall, Tiendesitas, and Estancia will be kicking off on June 12:

Greenhills

Starting at 10am, GH Mall will hold a Pagtaas ng Watawat (flag-raising ceremony) at the East Wing Atrium of GH Mall. A Marching Band will also energize shoppers at 12pm.

From 3pm to 6pm, there will be an entertaining and educational Likhang Sining at Kalayaan presentation by the Tanghalang Tula, Kundiman at Katutubong Sayaw. This wonderful display of talent will highlight our beloved Filipino culture through different facets of art.

Shoppers can also marvel at the extraordinary Philippine flag display at GH Mall made out of 1,400 origami flowers courtesy of Origami Philippines. The origami flowers symbolize the enduring bonds and deep-rooted friendships that define Filipino culture. Feel free to take photos in front of the display and share it on social media!

Tiendesitas

Known for being a home of local goods and handicrafts, Tiendesitas is celebrating Independence Day with a whole day of musical performances. Start the day off with a heart-thumping Marching Band performance at Level 1, Food Village from 10am to 11:30am. Musika’t Kalayaan at Level 2, Food Village will delight shoppers with Filipino tunes from 3pm to 9pm.

Estancia

Estancia Mall will also showcase local music for its Independence Day celebration. From 10am to 7pm, shoppers can sing and dance to their favorite P-pop songs at the P-Pop Music Fest: Hiraya at 2/F East Wing. They can also catch the Independence Day Marching Band performance on the ground floor of the East Wing from 11am to 12pm. 

See these lively and patriotic celebrations if you want to spend your Independence Day at Ortigas Malls. Make sure to use the Ortigas Malls app to register for the Ortigas Community Card in order to have first access to incredible offers, savings, and benefits.

Make sure to like and visit the Greenhills Mall, Estancia Mall, and Tiendesitas official Facebook sites for additional details and updates on the activities held by Ortigas Malls.

Lifestyle, News

A NEW “FACTORY SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS” APPROACH FROM TETRA PAK TO ASSIST IN REDUCING ENERGY AND WATER CONSUMPTION

The ‘Factory Sustainable Solutions’ solution from Tetra Pak is a new factory-wide strategy for optimizing water, energy, and cleaning-in-place (CIP).

The ‘Factory Sustainable Solutions’ business is a recent addition to Tetra Pak’s wider sustainability offering. It provides food and beverage (F&B) producers with a customized combination of cutting-edge technologies and industry-leading plant integration capabilities. In order to assist clients in achieving their sustainability goals and cutting expenses associated with operations, it aims to assist food and beverage businesses in optimizing their use of energy and resources.

Food and beverage companies, who have historically relied on fossil fuels and energy-intensive procedures, are facing mounting pressure to maximize resources and boost energy production from renewable sources. This occurs at a time when operating costs are going up because of increased raw material costs, new CO2 levies, and water waste fines. It will be crucial to find answers to these problems, as companies seek to their manufacturing and supply chains for assistance in cutting costs.

Complementing its resource-efficient equipment and services portfolio, Tetra Pak’s ‘Factory Sustainable Solutions’ embodies a systematic, factory-wide approach. Solutions can be integrated at any stage to recover and reduce the consumption of resources, such as energy, water, and chemicals. Optimized resource consumption reduces long-term operational costs and related greenhouse gas emissions, while supporting compliance against ever-tightening sustainability standards.

The Tetra Pak Factory Sustainable Solutions team will support customers by finding the right technologies and integration solutions for their needs, advising them on the best practice set-up for their line or facility. This results in a tailored pipes and installation diagram that optimizes water, energy, and CIP according to the specific needs of the customer’s operations.

The ‘Factory Sustainable Solutions’ offering boasts state-of-the-art technologies, such as:

  • Nanofiltration, developed by Tetra Pak, reclaims caustic cleaning liquid used for CIP. This technology allows for the recovery of clean chemicals and water for future reuse, enabling up to 90% recovery of the total spent liquid.
  • Reverse Osmosis, developed by Tetra Pak, uses proprietary membrane filtration technology to improve resource efficiency across multiple applications, including milk separation and water reuse.

Tetra Pak is also collaborating with innovative technology partners to offer additional solutions, including:

  • HighLift™ heat pump technology, in collaboration with Olvondo Technology A/S, can be integrated into operations to facilitate the reuse of waste heat to produce steam across plant equipment, including the Tetra Pak Direct UHT unit, at pressures up to 10 bar. 
  • High-temperature heat pumps, in collaboration with Johnson Controls, which up-cycles processed waste heat to use elsewhere in the factory.
  • Solar thermal collectors, in collaboration with Absolicon, utilize the sun as an unlimited source of clean and renewable energy to power hot water and steam delivery – at temperatures above 150°C – making it suitable for UHT applications.

Stefano Vittor, CEO at Olvondo Technology A/S, says, “By incorporating our HighLift heat pump technology into its Factory Sustainable Solutions business, Tetra Pak is offering an impactful solution to reduce carbon emissions across the food and beverage industry. We’re delighted to be part of this collaboration and play a role in the change Tetra Pak is driving.”

Fredrik Norrbom, Director, Sweden at Johnson Controls System and Service AB, added, “Approximately two-thirds of industrial energy use is driven by heat demand, derived largely from fossil fuels. Heat pumps are vital for increasing energy efficiency and delivering net zero heating when combined with renewable electricity. We are proud to collaborate with Tetra Pak on smart building solutions to help customers achieve sustainability targets while helping the industry make critical progress on emissions reduction.” 

Nicole Uvenbeck, Director of Factory Sustainable Solutions and OEM Components at Tetra Pak, says, “This launch is an incredibly exciting and significant milestone for us at Tetra Pak – especially our team who have been working hard to push the boundaries of the impact and value such an approach can bring for our customers.

To date, we have mainly focused on machine and line optimization, and we have realized the overwhelming benefit of replicating this at a factory level, providing a more holistic optimization approach. Factory Sustainable Solutions is an evolution of our expertise, spanning water, energy, and CIP recovery. This will redefine how we support our customers in achieving their sustainability ambitions while reducing operational costs.”

Fiona Liebehenz, Vice President of Key Components, Plant Solutions and Channel Management at Tetra Pak, says, “I’m extremely proud of the team. Our customers are under more pressure than ever to operate as efficiently as possible regarding resource usage. This is, for many, an existential challenge to secure the future of their operations. Through working with them and understanding their individual needs and objectives, we’re providing them  fit-for-purpose equipment enriched with our holistic food & beverages application knowledge to address that challenge, delivering tangible improvements in a financially advantageous way.”

Tetra Pak’s Factory Sustainable Solutions expertise and guidance are available worldwide as the firm begins today. Tetra Pak wants to keep growing and improving its product line in order to meet the constantly changing needs of its clients in every market.

More information about Tetra Pak is available at www.tetrapak.com.  

  youtube.com/user/tetrapak 

  @tetrapak 

https://www.linkedin.com/company/tetra-pak/

Lifestyle, News

Putting money into public health


The birthing facility in Brgy. Irawan, Palawan was given a new lease on life with the improvements done by SM Foundation, enabling the facility to secure necessary licenses to resume operations.

Given the difficult lessons learned from the most recent pandemic, investing in healthcare has never been more crucial.

During the peak of COVID-19, one of these lessons exposed the fragility of health institutions collapsing under the weight of enormous medical demands. The need for the public and private sectors to step up was evident, but the need to plan forward rather than just react to potential health crises is even more pressing.

This highlights the significance of accessibility and the efforts made by the private sector to narrow the socioeconomic divide in healthcare. Better community access to high-quality primary healthcare in collaboration with national and local governments is what this implies for SM and its foundations.

Mission NOT impossible

Medical missions allow access, especially of remote or economically disadvantaged communities, to medical care, education and support.  SM Foundation’s (SMFI) medical missions provide free consultations, basic laboratory tests, dental check-ups and proper dosage of appropriate medicine. SM Foundation reached an important milestone by conducting more than 1,600 medical missions, benefiting nearly 1.3 million patients year-to-date.

“Patients who once endured long queues at crowded healthcare facilities now find relief as we bring healthcare services to remote barangays or provide them conveniently at our malls and properties,” Connie Angeles, SM Foundation Executive Director for Health and Medical Programs said.

And more than just a structure

While health facilities offer a venue for the conduct of medical services, fixing it up through thoughtful and meaningful design could do more for the community than just provide space. Rural health centers are considered as lifelines, offering a comprehensive range of health services at a minimal cost or even free to the most vulnerable.

“These opportunities to rebuild health centers do more for human well-being. The refurbishment of public healthcare facilities not only enhance their capabilities by way of improvements and new equipment but also make these facilities more responsive and conducive to the health needs and recovery of those they serve,” Ms. Angeles said.

Furthermore, the renovation allows public health centers to meet PhilHealth Accreditation standards, resulting in an increase in PhilHealth utilization and helping decongest city hospitals and minimizing the spread of communicable diseases.

Through these accredited health centers, patients could avail themselves of PhilHealth benefits such as primary care, maternity care and pharmacy needs at the barangay level. These efforts also result in increased capitalization for local governments.   

Many sectors also benefit from these renovations including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, terminally ill patients and women and children to name a few.

SM Foundation’s 200th rural health center in Laguna is a classic example. “Marami kaming programa na hindi namin malagyan ng lugar kasi kulang ang space kaya’t naghahagilap kami kung saan ito ipu-pwesto,” said Dr. Elmira Montesa who leads the Santa Cruz Rural Health Unit (SCRHU). [We have many programs that we can’t accommodate because there is not enough space and we are scrambling for places for these.]

Following the Department of Health’s (DOH) guidelines, SM Foundation elevated the

SCRHU. The rehabilitation transformed the center into a welcoming space, featuring comfortable waiting areas, a reception area for health workers and designated facilities for breastfeeding mothers, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. It has a mobile play cabinet for children coping with illnesses. SM also included a rainwater catchment system to the renovated facility to contribute to water conservation.

In 2023, SM Foundation breathed new life into UP-PGH’s post-COVID & PulmoCare hub.

Prior to the rehabilitation, UP-PGH Division of Pulmonary Medicine chief Dr. Lenora Fernandez recalled that the facility struggled to expand its services to meet the growing needs of the community.

“PGH does have many donors but they have so many competing priorities, too. Those patients who continued to suffer from debilitating shortness of breath in silence still lacked essential services such as pulmonary rehabilitation equipment,” Dr. Fernandez said.

The newly refurbished facility now has a new lobby to receive patients and spacious rooms with dedicated areas for rehabilitation, ultrasound, cardiopulmonary exercise testing and virtual consultation. Dr. Fernandez expressed optimism about the future of the hub and sees the number of patients served growing every year.

In Brgy. Irawan, Puerto Princesa, a community birthing facility’ serving thousands of residents and indigenous people, had to halt operations in 2018 as it was unable to meet government health requirements.

“Kahit ilang kilometro ang layo nito sa mga kapwa ko katutubo, ito ang pinakamalapit na birthing facility dito sa aming lugar. Kaya malapit ang loob ng komunidad sa facility, lalo na ng mga kapwa ko katutubo. Noong kami ay nahinto, may mga pagkakataon na may nanganganak na sa loob ng sasakyan,” midwife Narcisa Jagmis, a member of the Tagbanua tribe, and who leads the birthing facility said.

[Even though it is several kilometers away from my fellow natives, this is the closest birthing facility here in our area. When we were stopped, there were times when someone was giving birth inside the car.]

SM Foundation supported the community by revamping the birthing facility in 2023, enabling it to obtain the required licenses to resume operations. Dedicated rooms and spaces for storage, scrub-up, breastfeeding, consultations, birthing, clean-up and sterilization, as well as labor and recovery wards were added. It also introduced a rainwater harvesting system and installed energy-efficient lighting fixtures and appliances.

Another SM affiliate, BDO Foundation, also achieved a major milestone as it rehabilitated its 160th rural health unit (RHU) in 2023. This involved renovating exteriors, layout and interior design, lobbies and waiting areas, offices, birthing clinics, consultation rooms, treatment rooms and pharmacies as well as installing breastfeeding stations for nursing mothers, play areas for children, and waiting lounges for senior citizens.

BDO Foundation also installed new signages, furniture, and fixtures to help health workers accommodate more patients in environments conducive to good health and well-being. The improvement of facilities empowers doctors, nurses, and midwives to provide quality primary healthcare services more often and more efficiently to their constituents. The initiative also benefits mothers, infants and children, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and indigenous peoples living in remote areas.

Officers from BDO Unibank and BDO Network Bank also suggested health centers that required support. The DOH, local government representatives, and health authorities supported the project by offering advice on RHU renovations. The BDO Foundation assisted health centers in obtaining accreditation from PhilHealth and favorable DOH assessment ratings in healthcare delivery through the rehabilitation program. One of the objectives of the Philippine Health Agenda is to enhance the healthcare delivery system.

A total of 364 health centers and medical facilities have been constructed or renovated by the combined efforts of the SM Foundation and BDO Foundation.

By continuously granting fair access to high-quality basic services, the organization hopes to effectively contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing) and pave the way for a brighter and healthier future.

For more information, please visit www.sminvestments.com

For inquiries, please contact: [email protected] 

Food, Lifestyle

All Four of the Jollibee Group’s Manufacturing Locations Have Completed Clean Energy Integration


Moving forward with clean energy. Leaders from the Jollibee Group and First Gen Corporation have culminated the four-site solar project at the Jollibee Worldwide Services-Logistics plant last May 6. In attendance were (L-R)  Michael Ong, Jollibee Group’s Vice President and Head of Supply Chain; Joseph Tanbuntiong, Jollibee Group’s Chief Business Officer; Hon. Eric Olivarez, Mayor of Parañaque City; Hon. Maria Kristine Esplana, District 2 City Councilor; Vincent Martin Villegas, First Gen Corporation’s Senior Vice President and Pi Energy’s Chief Operating Officer; Atty. Voltaire dela Cruz, City Administrator; and Ashley Antonio, Jollibee Group’s Vice President and Head of Logistics.

The Jollibee Group has installed almost 16,800 solar panels at its four primary manufacturing locations in the Philippines, demonstrating how serious it is about using renewable energy.

This solar energy project, which the Jollibee Group and First Gen Corporation collaborated on, was completed on May 6 with a switch-on ceremony at the Jollibee Group’s logistics center in Parañaque City.


The Jollibee Group partnered with First Gen Corporation to install over 16,800 solar panels that generate over 9 megawatts of solar power at four of its key supply chain facilities. The fourth and final site (in photo) was completed last May 6 at the Jollibee Group’s C3 facility in Laguna.

“This is a significant milestone in our sustainability journey at the Jollibee Group. These initiatives are more than just technological advancement, but more importantly a shared commitment to preserving our planet and furthering our collective responsibility to create a more sustainable future,” said Michael Ong, Jollibee Group Vice President and Head of Supply Chain.

The shift to renewable energy for supply chain first materialized in November 2023 with the powering up of the Jollibee Group’s Zen3 facility in Canlubang, Laguna. Continuing its commitment, the Jollibee Group then added clean energy options to its largest manufacturing site, the Canlubang Baking Facility (CBF). The two solar projects have combined capacity of 5.05 Megawatts.

Rounding out the list are two newly solar-energized sites: Jollibee Worldwide Services-Logistics (JWS-L) in Parañaque and the C3 manufacturing site in Laguna, which have a combined energy capacity of 4.05 megawatts.


Jollibee Group’s state of the art JWS-L site in Parañaque City is the third plant to incorporate solar power as one of its energy sources this year with the installation of 2,100 solar panels.

All four manufacturing facilities can reduce their power consumption from the grid with a combined average of approximately 15 percent a year, a significant step towards a greener future. 

The use of renewable energy in Jollibee Group’s manufacturing sites are part of the Company’s global sustainability agenda called, Joy for Tomorrow. This sustainability agenda, which serves as the Jollibee Group’s strategic framework, treats the planet responsibly and builds a sustainable future in response to the United Nation’s urgent call to action. Under this agenda is a focus on Planet, of which energy efficiency is a priority area.

“We are pleased to have partnered with the Jollibee Group on their sustainability journey, helping them develop their capacity to generate solar energy. We look forward to continuing our partnership to help the Jollibee Group bring not just the joy of eating to consumers, but also a sustainable and regenerative future,” said Vincent Martin Villegas, First Gen Corporation senior vice president and concurrent chief operating officer of Pi Energy.

With the greatest portfolio of clean and renewable energy-powered power plants is First Gen Corporation, a division of the Lopez-led conglomerate First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH).

In addition to renewable energy, the Jollibee Group continues to focus on packaging sustainability and waste reduction for all of its businesses.

Entertainment, Lifestyle, News

BingoPlus completes its first cleanup effort along the coasts of Anilao

In support of the 1st Saksi Ngayon Bouyanihan and Coastal Clean-up Drive, BingoPlus, your go-to entertainment platform in the nation and provider of your favorite online tongits, bingo, and perya games, searched the shores of Villa Estelita’s beachfront in Anilao, Batangas alongside a number of organizations.

The event organizer, Saksi Ngayon, came up with the Bouyanihan event name to unite people in the shared spirit of environmental stewardship and support. The word “bouya,” which is the Filipino word for buoy, is combined with the word “bayanihan” to refer to the clean-up drive. BingoPlus, Saksi Ngayon, Hotel Sogo, the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, independent professional divers, and community members came together for this event.

BingoPlus began cleanup mid-morning, meeting up with other participants at the beachfront. Several trash bags were gathered at the meet-up area by the one-hour mark, where attendees meticulously decided on which was the oddest item in the pile. During the cleanup, BingoPlus also gave out merchandise to event-goers who were taking a break from the summer sun.

Once the shores of Villa Estelita were cleaned up, BingoPlus and Hotel Sogo were invited to take a speedboat out into the waters where buoys with their respective brand logos were going to be set up by professional divers. These buoys are meant to provide boats with a place to moor as an alternative to using anchors that have a possibility of destroying corals and disturbing the local aquatic life.

Saksi Ngayon recognized BingoPlus’ support and participation at the end of the cleanup with certificates of participation and acknowledgement, thanking the brand for its partnership.

Despite its reputation as an advocate for Philippine amusement and leisure, BingoPlus makes sure to uphold its environmental and community obligations. The brand’s investment in culture also encompasses the flora and fauna that contribute to the distinctive and internationally renowned biodiversity of the Philippines. BingoPlus viewed the clean-up campaign as a chance to demonstrate environmental responsibility and community cooperation.

Digiplus Interactive Corp.’s core brands, BingoPlus and ArenaPlus, firmly establish the company as the nation’s leading provider of gaming and entertainment. Visit www.bingoplus.com and www.arenaplus.net for additional updates, or get the apps right now from Google Play and the App Store.

Food, Lifestyle

The JGF-ASHI Partnership Advances the Agro-Entrepreneurship Path of Filipino Farmers


The Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) has partnered with microfinance institution Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI) since 2013. In 2022, one of the farmer groups supported by ASHI, AGAP (ASHI Grameen Agricultural Program) became the first group in Luzon to have delivered various vegetables directly to Chowking branches in Laguna. Angel Dorado, ASHI’s Business Development Department Head said this progress is attributable to the change in mindset among the AGAP farmers.
 

According to 2021 data issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Filipino farmers continue to be among the poorest in the nation, with roughly one in three of them living below the poverty line.

The World Bank stated in 2022 that enhancing farmers’ access to financial services and markets is essential to raising their standard of living.

Through its Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), the Jollibee Group Foundation, the social development arm of the Jollibee Group, has pledged to improve the lives of smallholder farmers in the nation in response to the appeal to assist Filipino farmers. In order to assist smallholder farmers in transitioning from producers to agro-entrepreneurs capable of supplying corporate markets like the Jollibee Group, the FEP brings together stakeholders from many sectors.

JGF has always been focused on pursuing innovative solutions that will make a lasting impact on the communities we serve and ensure food security and access. As we envision every Filipino family having food on the table alongside our goal to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’ Zero Hunger (SDG 2), we find it important to uplift the lives of our smallholder farmers, the very people who bring food to our table,” said JGF President Gisela Tiongson.  

To do this, the Foundation partners with various institutions that assist and advise farmers in every step of their agro-entrepreneurship journey to increase and maintain a steady income. To facilitate this assistance, FEP introduced the Agro-Enterprise Clustering Approach (AECA), which aims to achieve inclusive agricultural productivity by guiding cooperative and associations in the country in the clustering and collective marketing of their agri products.

Microfinance institution Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI) is among JGF’s reliable partners. ASHI became an FEP partner in 2013, and they saw AECA as an opportunity to assist more farmers by combining it with their financing services.

Financial Goals

Arnolfo Pan, Area Manager of ASHI Grameen Agricultural Program (AGAP) Luzon, has been with ASHI for 20 years and has been part of FEP for 12 years now.

“Dahil sa FEP, na-encourage ako lalo matuto ng farming. Natuto ako mag-marketing at magkaroon ng negosyo at mag-set ng financial goals (I was encouraged to learn more about farming. I also learned to do marketing, have a business, and set financial goals because of this program).”

Taking a holistic approach to empowering farmers, ASHI also improves the capability of its farmer-beneficiaries through training, consultations, and seminars that aim to boost their confidence as entrepreneurs. ASHI now combines financing and non-financing services, including financial literacy training, values formation, farmer organizing activities, and linkage to markets to empower the farmers to become self-sufficient while being proactive members of their clusters. 

Like FEP, ASHI also hopes to give the farmers a better grasp of the demands and makings of the institutionalized farmers market and the capacity to empower other smallholder farmers needing assistance.  

“Bilang anak ng isang magsasaka, tumutulong rin akong magturo ng makabagong agricultural practices sa ibang tao. Isa sa mga naituro ko sa iba kong kapamilya at mga ASHI members ay kung paano paangatin pa ang buhay nilang magsasaka upang maging farmer entrepreneur, at kung paano makakatulong sakanila ang ASHI dahil hindi nalang pa-lending ang ginagawa namin (As a farmer’s son, I also help educate people on new agricultural practices. One of the many things I shared with my family and my co-ASHI members is how to improve their livelihood as farmers by becoming a farmer entrepreneur. And how ASHI can help them transition to one as we offer other farmer support besides financial assistance),” Pan added. 


Empowering farmers. Taking a holistic approach to empowering farmers, ASHI now combines financing and non-financing services, including financial literacy training, values formation, farmer organizing activities, and linkage to markets to empower the farmers to become self-sufficient while being proactive members of their clusters. 
 

Farmer Entrepreneurs

In 2022, AGAP became the first group in Luzon to deliver directly to Chowking branches in Laguna.

Angel Dorado, ASHI’s Business Development Department Head, said this progress is attributable to the AGAP farmers’ mindset change.  “Pag pasok ko sa department na ito at sa FEP, new challenge para tulungan ang mga farmers. Dati mas individual sila mag-isip. Ngayon, importante na ma-develop sila into cluster na merong one goal, one dream, and one mindset (Being part of this department gave me a new challenge to help our farmers. Before, they had individual approaches to farming. Now, we needed to put them into clusters with one goal, one dream, and one mindset).”

Currently, 94% of FEP farmer groups are certified under the Philippine Good Agricultural Practices (PhilGAP), ensuring that crop production complies with food safety standards. This was made possible by the mentoring and training they received from FEP and other partner organizations.  

30 FEP farmer groups nationwide have supplied the Jollibee Group with 11 million kilograms of fresh veggies valued at over P500 million in sales as a result of these activities.

Not only do these achievements guarantee Jollibee Group a sustainable supply chain, but they also improve the lives of farmers and their families. Pan proudly stated that he used the program’s assistance to finance his nephews’ schooling, build a home, and purchase a car, among other things.

Like Dorado, the AGAP farmers have become determined to achieve and scale their business even more. “Mas lumalabas na ideas nila. Pangarap na nila na araw-araw na sila maka-deliver, na maging mas maayos pa ang samahan nila dahil  nakikita na nila ang benefit ng ginagawa natin sa kanila na mapaayos ang kanilang buhay (They now begin to think of more ideas. They also have dreams of consistently being able to deliver and to have better relations with their cluster because they now see the benefit of the program in uplifting their lives),” he said.

Lifestyle, Sports

In its third year, Vermosa Green Run becomes greener, leaner, and more generous

On Sunday, June 30, the much awaited running event with a sustainability theme, the Green Run at Vermosa, returns for its third year, promising to be even more impactful and to give back to the community in many ways.

The Run, which was started in 2022 with the goal of celebrating life and promoting health in the wake of the epidemic, is accessible to runners of all skill levels over a range of running lengths. Beginners can participate in a 3K run, moderate runners can enter a 5K category, serious runners can enter a 10K challenge, and elite runners and athletes in training can enter a 21K half-marathon. A 1K Dog Run where companion dogs and their owners can interact and get active together is being held for the second year in a row. In response to the demand for this enjoyable addition from last year, Green Run is expanding the number of places available for “furries” and their “fur parents” this year.

Fueled by its 2024 theme of ““Go Greener, Get Leaner, Give Back: Run Towards a Brighter Future”, The Green Run will kick off new Vermosa initiatives on its third year. To further the Estates’ advocacy for the environment, young athletes and animal welfare, Vermosa will implement “Carless Weekends” in designated zones to lessen the carbon footprint at Vermosa. It will also launch the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub Velocity Running Club with weekly running activities for its members and classes conducted by Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub (AVSH) coaches, to sustain a life of fitness and overall wellness.

The third version of the Green Run also added two more partner-beneficiaries this year. The Haribon Foundation will be joined by the Pawssion Project, a non-profit organization that rescues animals suffering from abandonment, abuse, injury or neglect and Takbo Kabitenyo, a running team from Cavite that aims to inspire the youth and promote sports and a healthy lifestyle. Part of the registrants’ fees will go to the support of future young runners from Cavite.

“The Green Run has always been an exhilarating experience for runners – be they casual, serious or elite. The freshness of the air in Vermosa, the lush foliage and the clear pathways have been hailed as real boons by participants. On its third year, the experience will be even better as the whole Vermosa Estate continues to blossom with new features. The Athletes House in the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub is now accommodating guests, the FIFA-certified football pitch is operational and the new Ayala Mall Vermosa is now open with more food outlets. More importantly, the northern part of Vermosa is being rapidly developed. Runners will find more amenities and conveniences this year,” said Moses “MJ” Aragones, Vermosa Project Development Manager.

According to Mr. Aragones, Vermosa’s annual The Green Run demonstrates its dedication to the environment and to its vision and goal, which include encouraging sports and a healthy lifestyle. “We are committed to health, fitness, and the growth of Philippine sports,” Aragones continued. “Our Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub is a state-of-the-art, professionally-managed sports facility with an Olympic-sized pool that meets FINA standards, a warm-up pool, an IAAF-standard 400-meter track oval, a football field, an athletes’ lounge and dormitory, and a Sante Fitness Lab.”

Those interested in participating in Green Run can register at ayalaland.myruntime.com.

Lifestyle, News

The employee-focused culture of Eastern Communications has earned them the Great Place To Work Certification™


Eastern Communications celebrates its most loyal employees through the “Araw ng Parangal” longevity awards, honoring those who have dedicated their service from five to over thirty years.

Eastern Communications is pleased to declare that it has received its 2024 Great Place To Work® CertificationTM, a distinguished honor determined by employee input. Remarkably, 92% of Eastern’s workers said they felt welcomed when they first started working there.

The certification is based on real-time employee feedback about the company culture and the leadership practices that have been shown to produce market-leading revenue, employee retention, and greater innovation, according to Great Place To Work®, the world’s foremost authority on workplace culture. By receiving this honor, Eastern Communications is now recognized as one of the best places to work in the Philippines.

“Great Place To Work Certification™ is a highly coveted achievement that requires consistent and intentional dedication to the overall employee experience,” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, the Vice President of Global Recognition at Great Place To Work. She emphasizes that Certification is the sole official recognition earned by the real-time feedback of employees regarding their company culture. “By successfully earning this recognition, it is evident that Eastern Communications stands out as one of the top companies to work for, providing a great workplace environment for its employees.”

“At Eastern, we make sure we build a transformational community, one that cultivates our employees’ growth while celebrating each employee’s unique talents and skills. Our culture thrives on the strong connections between our team members, and earning the Great Place To Work Certification™ affirms all our combined efforts. This recognition belongs to our incredible Ka-Eastern family—whose dedication, passion, and relentless hard work truly make us a great place to work,” said AC Cometa, Eastern Communications’ Human Resources Head.

Ka-Eastern: Employees at the Heart of Eastern Communications


Eastern Communications earns two Bronze Stevies at the 2024 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards held at Shangri-La The Fort Hotel, Manila on May 24, 2024

Eastern Communications, a pioneering Philippine telecommunications company, bridges high-tech with high-touch, emphasizing human connections. This 145-year-old telco champions a people-centric approach, deeply valuing its employees, known as “Ka-Eastern.”

The company’s Heart of Service value encourages employees to go beyond their tasks, fostering meaningful interactions with customers and stakeholders.

Eastern’s dedicated Learning & Engagement team alongside an internal core committee organizes various activities that focus on generating camaraderie, supporting a healthy lifestyle, and increasing employee satisfaction. These activities, such as fun runs, online games, community engagements, and celebrations, are done both virtually and in person. Through its Longevity Awards, the company also recognizes employees who have dedicated many years of service to Eastern.

Eastern Communications invests in the growth of its people through regular skills training sessions. By providing valuable learning tools and opportunities to enhance their skill sets, the company boosts productivity, empowers its team, and ensures everyone feels valued and appreciated.

Empowering its people also earned Eastern Communications recognition at the 2024 Asia Pacific Stevie Awards, where the company won two Bronze Stevies for thought leadership and infrastructure initiatives.


[From L to R] Eastern Communications’ VP & Head of Product & Innovation Edsel Paglinawan, DSCN Consultant Albert Tuason, and AVP & Head of Network Planning, Engineering and Implementation (NPEI) Delfin Lopez at the 2024 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards

Eastern Communications’ Brand Communications Head, Hannah Lazatin, emphasizes how Eastern’s winning initiatives focused on digital transformation, future-proofing businesses, nation-building, and boosting economic growth.

Join Eastern’s Growing Team!

Job searchers are 4.5 times more likely to discover a terrific boss at a recognized workplace, according terrific Place To Work study. These companies also pay their workers fairly and have higher employee satisfaction and advancement rates.

Are you hoping to progress in your career with a company that values its employees? Go to Eastern Communications Careers Careers to view our careers page.

Lifestyle, Sports

Running for Change: Run2Plant Encourages Fitness-Based Environmental Action

The second year of Run2Plant: Para sa Greener Pinas, a virtual run initiative by Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), a non-profit organization dedicated to upholding human dignity through community-based efforts to improve social, physical, and economic well-being in the Philippines, officially begins under the One To Tree (OTT) program.

Run2Plant, co-presented by Anytime Fitness and Pinoy Fitness, offers Filipinos a fresh, accessible, and ecologically friendly method to run, especially in honor of June’s Philippine Environment Month. RAFI promises to plant one to three trees with each registration, contingent on the run package selected by the participant.

Funds donated from the simulated race will go toward reforestation efforts in Batangas, with the goal of planting 6,000 native trees, expanding forest cover, and mitigating the serious effects of climate change, all in the name of creating a “Greener Pinas.”

Last year’s Run2Plant had 700 participants from different parts of the country. In partnership with the Bagacay Tree Growers Association, runners contributed to adopting 1,450 native trees in Borbon, Cebu, yielding a total of 9,900 kilograms of potential carbon sequestered per year.

Registration for Run2Plant: Para sa Greener Pinas is ongoing. Here are the steps:

  1. Download the Pinoy Fitness App in Google Play Store or Apple Store. Choose and register on RUN2PLANT Virtual Run on the app.
  2. Select your preferred distance and sign up.
  3. Wait for the confirmation email and complete the payment process via online bank deposit. Registration fees are:

Participants can either finish a 5K, 10K, or 21K run at their own pace and anywhere in the Philippines from June 1 to 30, 2024 by using any GPS-tracking running app, watch, or treadmill.

Registered participants will also have free access to treadmills in 48 Anytime Fitness branches nationwide from said dates where they can complete the virtual run by signing up to tinyurl.com/Run2PlantAFRegis.

To complete the task, runners simply snap a picture of their performance using a treadmill or running app and upload it to Run2Plant. A Run2Plant finisher’s medal and completion certificate will be awarded to participants who successfully complete their selected distance.

Run2Plant seeks to make everyone’s future better and more environmentally friendly by fusing the health advantages of running with the objective of planting trees. Visit https://tinyurl.com/Run2Plant to sign up for Run2Plant: Para sa Greener Pinas, and follow One To Tree on Facebook page for updates.