The future in farming

Jayson and Juanito proudly showcase a selection of produce at the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market.

Modern farming methods increase yields for some farmers, but many Filipino farmers are still unable to keep up. These seasoned workers are clinging to tried-and-true, frequently ineffective techniques that have been passed down through the generations while they find themselves falling behind in a market that demands increased output.

Jayson Garcia, a Pampanga farmer, aimed to challenge the dominant narrative among his family. He was aware that, in the quickly changing world of contemporary agriculture, he would need to innovate and set a new direction for his farm in order to stay competitive.

“Noon, mahirap ang magtanim,” he recalled their life before joining SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan. “Para bang tsambahan, basta pag itinanim mo ‘yan, hintayin mo na lang mamunga. Mas mahirap pa lalo kapag nagkaroon ng kalamidad,” he added. 

SM Foundation’s training program focused on high-value crop cultivation was the breakthrough Garcia needed to revitalize his farming techniques. These included selecting the best seeds and caring for them as well as strategic planting schedules.

Jayson attends the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market to observe best practices and gain insights into new agricultural techniques.

The livelihood program also gave way for him to discover alternative sales channels that enhanced his earning potential while extending fair prices to his customers. The knowledge and confidence he gained led him to expand his farm, and in effect, increased his monthly income to more than Php25,000.

Aside from directly selling his harvests, he is now planting a variety of vegetables–on his farm, including lemongrass, malunggay, and madre de cacao, which he sells online to small businesses that process the produce into other products.

Embracing new techniques

Sharing the same story of hope is another KSK farmer from Pampanga, Juanito Dela Cruz. Despite his age, he actively pursued and adopted modern farming techniques. Building on his current success, he shared the importance of adaptability for farmers, calling for others to try and explore new practices.

From a modest monthly income of Php10,000, Juanito experienced an upsurge in his earnings, notably through participation in the Weekend Market at SM City Clark, yielding around Php30,000 weekly. “Kailangan maging bukas tayo sa makabagong pamamaraan ng pagsasaka para makahabol tayo sa demands ng panahon ngayon—ito ang itinuo sa akin ng SM Foundation-KSK,” he said.

Juanito, alongside his wife, actively participates in the SM City Clark Weekend Market. They credit the market with contributing to their increased profitability.

Jayson and Juanito are two of the approximately 30,000 Filipino farmers whose lives have been transformed by the SM Group’s KSK program. Farmers who had given up thanks to its activities were able to adopt contemporary farming methods and become more adaptive in the face of the changing agricultural world.

The SM Group is unwavering in its dedication to advancing social good through the SM Foundation. This commitment continues SM’s upcoming initiatives, which will be spearheaded by its planned smart city real estate development, with an emphasis on boosting beneficial social impact in the areas in which SM operates.


Lampara Books launches new Filipino children’s books at the Philippine Book Festival 2024

Lampara Books, the home of Easy-To-Learn Books, is launching a new batch of children’s books and educational materials at the Philippine Book Festival (PBF) 2024.

From April 25-28 at Booths C20 – C23 at the World Trade Center, Lampara will unveil exciting new titles that promise a fusion of culture, imagination and education that kids will love.

Here are the new releases:

1.       ABC Pilipinas

Written by Eugene Y. Evasco with illustrations by Cha C. Gatchula, this book offers a captivating exploration of the Philippines’ natural and cultural heritage through the Filipino alphabet.

2.       Og Uhog

An Honorable Mention at the PBBY-Salanga Writer’s Prize in 2002 and a finalist at the National Book Awards in 2003, this comical book is about a snotty-nosed boy named Og who seemingly never has any time to blow his nose. Authored by Christine S. Bellen-Ang with illustrations by John Ronnel Popa, this second edition features whimsical illustrations, offering readers a delightful blend of laughter and life lessons.

3.       Mamay Esing

Crafted by Jobert Grey Landeza and illustrated by Arli Pagaduan, this story, an Honorable Mention at the PBBY-Salanga Writer’s Prize in 2021, introduces readers to the legendary healer of Sorsogon. Through an unexpected encounter with engkantos, this story explores the timeless values of love and family, leaving a lasting impression on readers of all ages.

4.       Ang Kuwento ni Mimosa

Penned by Bimbo Papasin and brought to life by Aldy C. Aguirre’s illustrations, this book follows Pitsy’s journey of faith and growth as he awaits his transformation into a Mimosa tree. Through challenges and perseverance, this enchanting tale inspires readers to embrace their true potential.

5.       Burnay, Ang Batang Palayok

Written by Augie Rivera and illustrated by Danielle Florendo, this book, which won 2nd Prize at the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 1993, tells the story of a clay pot’s journey to self-discovery. This timeless tale teaches valuable lessons about self-worth and acceptance, accompanied by reimagined illustrations in its second edition.

6.       PaaasaaaluuuBONG!!!

Authored by John Romeo Venturero and illustrated by Lui Buan, this story explores themes of familial love and sacrifice amidst the Overseas Filipino Workers phenomenon. Through Bong’s heartwarming journey, readers are reminded of the power of love and the importance of cherishing moments with loved ones.

PBF attendees can look forward to engaging in various activities such as book signings by authors and illustrators, interactive storytelling sessions, and exciting booth activities.

Additionally, Lampara Books presents remaining titles from Eugene Y. Evasco’s Big Books series that are designed to make reading fun and worthwhile for children as they improve their reading skills.

With themes ranging from cultural appreciation to moral lessons, these titles promise to ignite young minds and foster a lifelong love for reading.

Aklat ng Halagahan

–        Bayanihan Para kay Umang

–        Bilib Kami sa Iyo

–        Mahal Ko Ang Pilipinas

–        Mga Sagisag ng Pilipinas

Aklat ng Konsepto

–        Ang Pitong Alitaptap

–        Pasasalamat ni Haribon

–        Pasasalamat ni Haribon

–        Pista sa Aming Bayan

Don’t miss these exciting opportunities! See you at the booths of Lampara Books at the Philippine Book Festival 2024.


Addressing climate change challenges requires the involvement of youth, according to ChildFund Philippines

ChildFund Philippines gathered its partners from ReINa Federations of Parents Associations, Inc. and community members of Infanta, Quezon for a tree growing activity in one of the Project Greenlight areas.

Through its climate action program, Project GREENLIGHT, ChildFund Philippines assists young people in Infanta, Quezon. The program’s goal is to address climate change issues and reduce the risk of climate-related disasters, highlighting the crucial role that young people play in promoting climate action in their community.

Project GREENLIGHT incorporates Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EbA) and Nature-Based Solutions (NbS) into Infanta, Quezon’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) program in collaboration with the municipal government and ReINa Federations of Parents Associations, Inc.

Project GREENLIGHT represents a comprehensive approach to climate action, acknowledging that climate change is a complex and interconnected issue. “It integrates education, community engagement, and sustainable livelihood development to help the next generation of local eco-leaders combat climate change, especially since the Philippines is prone to various climate hazards and risks due to its geographical location and human activities,” said Erwin Peter Galido, Program Specialist – Disaster Risk Management of ChildFund Philippines. “Our ultimate goal for this project is to eventually make this a national program and support more Filipino youth taking action to mitigate climate change impacts,” he added.

The initiative employs a classroom-to-forest approach to support the youth in taking an active role in environmental protection and conservation, efficient energy consumption, waste management, awareness raising, local policy advocacy, and climate action. It involves taking students out of traditional classroom settings and into natural environments, such as forests, wetlands, or parks, to learn about environmental concepts, ecological systems, and conservation practices firsthand.

“We believe in the power of these young individuals to make a meaningful difference in their communities and beyond. With Project GREENLIGHT, we aim to work hand-in-hand with them to actively contribute as catalysts for climate action, particularly in communities vulnerable to the impacts of disasters, and for a more sustainable and eco-friendly world,” said Anand Vishwakarma, CEO & Country Director of ChildFund Philippines.

Project GREENLIGHT Eco-scouts Lu By Ron Broto and Ramiline Resplanador stressed the importance of youth participation in climate action during their training on production of quality planting materials and nursery establishment in Infanta, Quezon.

Youth leaders and advocates in the program, called Eco-scouts, highlight the importance of youth engagement in creating sustainable solutions to address climate change.

“This immersive approach gives us a better understanding of why we need to combat climate change now more than ever,” said Ramiline Resplanador, one of the Eco-scouts. “Throughout the implementation, we are learning the impacts of deforestation and degradation on our community, and so we encourage other children to become better stewards of our planet,” she added.

Lu By Ron Broto, another Eco-Scout, shared, “I apply what I learn from the project by encouraging my family to switch to more sustainable ways of living, including waste segregation, plant growing, and efficient energy consumption.” He added that the project also enhanced his leadership skills to educate more members of the community about climate change, helping them make conscious choices that have a positive impact on the environment.

The project’s approaches and tools will enable individuals and communities to adapt to the challenges of climate change while simultaneously promoting sustainable development. This includes the promotion of climate-smart agricultural practices, green jobs and livelihoods (e.g., zero waste stores), and renewable energy, among others.

In order to enhance climate resilience in Infanta, Quezon, which is vulnerable to natural disasters due to its diversified topography, ReINa Federation and the government of Infanta, Quezon have been essential partners in the program’s pilot implementation.

The government of Infanta emphasizes that climate awareness should lead to action. “It is imperative to get commitments on the ground and to act with more urgency. By thinking globally and acting locally to adapt to our community’s needs, we can effectively utilize our resources to mitigate climate change impacts,” said Ron Pallugna Crisostomo, Municipal Government Department Head I – Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer of Infanta, Quezon.

ChildFund Philippines advocates for increased multi-sectoral partnerships with business entities, non-governmental organizations, and other relevant parties in order to extend the implementation of Project GREENLIGHT to additional communities around the nation.

Go to for further details on how to become involved.


Pasay’s urban planning concept metropolis is set to rise in about fifteen minutes

An artist’s render of a 15-minute city, where work, food, housing, education and cultural activities are easily within reach.

Fifteen minutes is a long time in the eyes of the modern metropolitan resident.

In just fifteen minutes, you may accomplish a lot of worthwhile tasks, like meditate, clear your inbox, jog a 1.5-kilometer route, perform high-intensity interval training (HITT), read the news, and make a smoothie.

However, 15 minutes is hardly enough time for a commuter in Metro Manila to get from point A to point B. You have probably not moved an inch in this time, especially during rush hour.

Do you know about the 15-minute city? It’s a contemporary idea for urban development that prioritizes both people and the environment. The phrase was first used by urbanist and Sorbonne University professor Carlos Moreno of Paris. He stated that the perfect neighborhood or city is one in which jobs, dining, housing, entertainment, and educational opportunities are all conveniently located within a 15-minute walk or by bike.

Pasay City, in its forward-looking 360-hectare smart city development, aims to create an innovative tropical 15-minute city for over 300,000 residents.

Situated at the edge of a densely-packed and overpopulated metropolis perpetually in a traffic gridlock, this city will provide respite to its residents and visitors with sustainable, inclusive, safe, and healthy living where all their needs can be accessed within reach.

Among its intended features, the project is envisioned to have low carbon and safe mobility networks with multimodal public transport services and enhanced infrastructure that prioritizes active mobility like walking and biking. There will be parking lots equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, dedicated bike lanes, easily accessible public transport hubs, and unimpeded pedestrian walkways.

An artist’s rendition of a soon-to-rise 15-minute city in Pasay

This assures lower transportation costs, less carbon emissions, and most importantly, healthier and happier people. No more long and tiring queues at the EDSA bus carousel or sitting hours on end in the middle of EDSA traffic.

The project has been thoughtfully planned and designed for many years, and finally it has received the green light by government to proceed. In fact, no less than Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda highlighted how the Pasay-led project is expected to earn billions in real estate assets for the government.

The project’s revenues are expected to provide an enormous multiplier effect on our GDP and around 300,000 additional jobs between 2027 and 2040. It is anticipated to employ 4% of all workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) by 2035.

It is anticipated that the Pasay 360 Project will reinvigorate the economy, foster livelihoods, and develop the next wave of Filipino leaders. Filipinos may take pleasure in it as we advance toward the twenty-second century.

Entertainment, Lifestyle

Filipinos adore concerts, but the experience could be compromised by inadequate venue infrastructure

Better, larger, and more competitive concert venues have benefited economies, particularly in light of the enormous and noteworthy impact that well-known worldwide artists like Coldplay’s World Tour and pop sensation Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour have had on consumer spending and behavior.

The success of these concerts, which attracted tens of thousands of ‘Swifties’ and concertgoers, served as an economic booster for nations all over the world, especially Southeast Asian nations like Singapore and Japan. admirers from the Philippines had to put out a lot of money and travel far to see the superstar Swift perform exclusively in Singapore’s National Stadium; other admirers traveled to Sydney, Australia’s Accor Stadium, and Tokyo, Japan’s Tokyo Dome. The enormous concert performances greatly benefited the retail, transportation, hotel, and entertainment sectors while also boosting the economy of the corresponding nations.

While Singapore’s strategy for a Southeast Asia exclusive Swift performance piqued interest and likewise piqued its neighboring countries, the strategic move sparked conversations and brought to light what the Philippines can improve on in terms of concert venues.

1. Location is key

The Philippines doesn’t lack in big venues. In fact, it boasts of venues that can rival Singapore’s National Stadium and Japan’s Tokyo Dome. Accessibility to the location as well as public transportation and nearby commercial establishments are key.

Photo credit to Stanley Quek. An empty Singapore National Stadium, viewed from the front stage.

2. Concert Experience

Singapore’s pride, the National Stadium, has innovative features such as the world’s largest free-spanning dome, a retractable roof and comfort cooling technology for spectators’ convenience. Its innovation, strategic location, and efficiency bring positive and immersive experiences for enthusiasts and concert fans, making it a magnet for entertainment acts from all over the world. A similar concert venue and experience is something that Filipino concertgoers are hoping the country can replicate.

3. World-class concert amenities and facilities

Architectural “Eyecon” SM Mall of Asia Arena prides itself on having exceptional world-class amenities unique in the Southeast Asia region. –Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

Accessing the venue’s amenities and facilities should offer a premium music experience for concert enthusiasts or convenience in a sporting event.

Take for example the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena – a flexible indoor arena developed in 2012 by leading integrated property developer SM Prime – that has been a top-of-mind venue for all sorts of events and offers a unique concert experience. With a full house seating capacity of 20,000, it has been a haven for thrilling sports events, remarkable OPM shows, and unforgettable international superstar performances. 

FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 held in SM Mall of Asia Arena – Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

Meanwhile, the SMDC Festival Grounds in Parañaque City is likewise an enormous outdoor venue that can accommodate at least 50,000 people. Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour and Rivermaya The Reunion were among the performers that have graced the stage recently.

4. Achieving Filipinos’ concert dreams

One of the most forward-looking plans of SM Prime is its 360-hectare smart city development which is envisioned to bring in a centerpiece to the country’s entertainment and sporting events – larger in capacity and a more enhanced venue infrastructure that would attract legendary icons in the entertainment scene and compete against Southeast Asia and the world’s best. It will feature an estimated 70,000-capacity stadium and concert arena connected to one of the island’s main destination paradises called Central Park. The sizable arena is envisioned to be the Philippines’ biggest concert venue, with world-class facilities and sustainable features, comparable to other big concert venues worldwide. Once that’s built, Filipinos won’t have to fly overseas because they can watch top-tier performances right from the comfort of their home country.

An artist’s render, visual sketch of the proposed concert venue at Pasay 360 project.

Entertainment shows are undoubtedly the lifeblood of Filipinos. Given how enthusiastic we are about concerts, Visa, a digital payments corporation, reports that Filipinos spend the fourth most on concerts in Asia-Pacific. Filipino concert goers will be able to continue to embrace and celebrate live performances with the ease, comfort, and enjoyment they deserve if investments are made in the creation of contemporary, intelligent, and accessible concert venues. Beyond only providing entertainment, carefully planned, astute, and creative music venues may boost the national and local economies of the Philippines by stimulating ancillary local spending in the retail, tourism, and hospitality sectors.

Lifestyle, News

Launching a Unified Waste Management Program for a #SMWasteFreeFuture, SM Prime

The largest haul and biggest participation to-date: The 38th International Coastal Clean-up had 17,000 volunteers across 15 SM Malls in 12 locations nationwide. It is an annual community-driven partnership between SM Supermalls, SM Cares, the DENR, LGU’s and the volunteers from the SM community. 

In response to the mounting waste crisis worldwide, SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), one of the top integrated property developers in Southeast Asia, is starting a unified trash management and segregation program. SM Prime wants to move all of its stakeholders and property groupings toward a #SMWasteFreeFuture.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that every year, people produce over 2 billion tons of municipal solid trash, of which 45 percent is improperly managed. In 2050, municipal solid trash will quadruple to about 4 billion tons annually if nothing drastic is done. The International Day of Zero Waste was declared on March 30, 2022, by the United Nations General Assembly.

With its announcement of its #SMWasteFreeFuture vision, SM Prime has demonstrated its strong commitment to sustainability stewardship. By inviting its stakeholders to participate in events that will promote zero-waste awareness and push for an environmentally sound and sustainable approach to waste management, the company is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability.

Strong foundations

SM Prime’s founding leader, Henry Sy, believed that “business growth and social development must go hand in hand.” The company follows this guiding principle and has formed a sustainability policy that commits to the following: Resource Conservation and Efficiency, Disaster Resilience, Climate Advocacy, Social Integration, and Transparent Reporting.

Anchored on these sustainability commitments are the SM Supermalls’ Environmental Programs on Waste Management. Through its corporate social responsibility arm, SM Cares, SM Supermalls has pioneered longstanding programs such as the Trash to Cash recycling market, and provided support to the annual International Coastal Clean Up, among other national events.

Scaled to perfection: One of the first recycling markets the country, Trash-to-Cash’s valuable example that waste can have monetary benefits. The recycling market is held every first Friday and Saturday of the month in all SM Supermalls to encourage waste segregation and recycling among SM customers, tenants, and the community. The recycling market is open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

In the hotel and tourism sector, SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation (SMHCC) has taken the lead in mitigating global food waste by implementing sustainable initiatives across its properties in the Philippines. Their key initiatives include the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Sustainable Diner Program, that aims to transform and help the food service sector minimize its impact on the environment thru resource efficiency, plastic refusal and food waste management and contribute to the world’s future food security.

Closing the loop: SMHCC’s sustainability efforts are anchored on the 7Gs or Seven Green Goals, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). The overall thrust for sustainability is cascaded to the rest of properties, ensuring that it is embedded at every step of the hotel’s operations, ensured by property Sustainability Champions.

To support these programs, SM Prime also recently unveiled its waste-to-fuel partnership with GUUN Co. Ltd. (GUNN) to implement the Japanese technique of reducing landfill impact. The technology converts non-recyclable and hard-to-recycle packaging into alternative fuel.

No time to waste: Sorting through the amount of trash at the GUUN Facility in Cebu. Unfit for recycling and reuse, the waste material recovered avoids the landfill and is then reconverted to fuel resource. 

A Vision for an #SMWasteFreeFuture

To mark the International Day of Zero Waste on March 30, 2024, SM Prime is releasing its vision for an #SMWasteFreeFuture. As a community, we strongly believe in our ability to contribute to solving today’s waste issues,” said Hans “Chico” Sy, Jr., President of SM Engineering Design and Development Corporation (SMEDD) and SM sustainability champion.

SM Prime’s announcement of its vision of an #SMWasteFreeFuture demonstrates the company’s strong commitment and sustainability stewardship, by inviting its stakeholders to engage in activities that will help spread zero-waste awareness and work for a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach on waste management.

“We understand that this may seem like a daunting challenge to overcome However, by joining forces, we can create a world that our future generations truly deserve – if we have the courage to take on this journey together,” said Sy.

As it continues to create creative and sustainable lifestyle cities, SM Prime is dedicated to its position as an engine for economic growth, improving the lives of millions of people in the process. SM Prime is working to create sustainable cities of the future by exploring the next frontier in integrated property development.


Employment Growth Is Being Driven by New Urban Developments

Photo credit to Anamul Rezwan. Construction jobs are generated from new urban developments.

Despite differences in population and culture, cities all around the world strive for advancement through new urban developments. Through a variety of socioeconomic activities, such as the development of jobs, these projects not only improve convenience in the midst of urban congestion but also invigorate local economies and communities.

A single new development, whether it takes the shape of state-of-the-art business districts, public transportation, or tall residential communities, necessitates a wide range of employment from planning to completion. These include suppliers, builders, and real estate developers and planners; all of them need close cooperation to ensure the successful development of projects.

Hudson Yards: Direct and indirect employment opportunities

Photo credit to Following NYC. Featuring ‘Vessel’, a honeycomb-like structure and visitor attraction in the Hudson Yards Development in Manhattan, New York City. 

The cycle of job creation doesn’t stop after completion. A new development also drives indirect employment opportunities generated from industries attracted or related to the development.

Such is the case for Hudson Yards, New York City’s 28-acre mixed-use development and considerably the United States’ biggest megadevelopment in history. It had created thousands of construction jobs that resulted in transforming Manhattan’s iconic skyline and becoming home to diverse shops, offices, cultural institutions, and hotels and residences. Ongoing operations and management of these facilities are expected to contribute to its large-scale economy, such as hosting over 55,752 workers daily and about $19 billion annually to the city’s GDP.

Dubai and Songdo IBD: Creating economic opportunities afresh

Meanwhile, cities like Dubai and Songdo International Business District (IBD) generate jobs by creating economic opportunities from the ground up. They used land reclamation as an urban development strategy to address land scarcity and high population density challenges.

Photo credit to Kadir Avşar. A closer aerial view of the Palm Islands. 

Dubai’s ambitious projects, including the Palm Islands, the World Islands, and Burj Al Arab, have turned it into an ultramodern metropolis for commerce and tourism. In 2023, it drew over 30,000 new businesses, driving demand for talent in finance, legal, and digital technology sectors.

The Songdo IBD is an ongoing smart city built on reclaimed land in Incheon, South Korea. It’s designed to be an international business and residential hub with sustainable features. As of 2020, the 1,500-acre development hosts about 30,000 residents, 33,000 jobs, and 70% fewer emissions than any other development.

SM’s Integrated City Developments: Empowering local communities and residents

SM Prime contributed photo. An aerial view of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) featuring its iconic Globamaze and thriving network of retail, business, residential, and hotel developments.

The SM Group, a leading conglomerate in the Philippines, has an ecosystem of interests spanning retail, banking, property, and mall developments across the country, making it the largest employer with over 140,000 employees.

For every SM mall development by SM Prime Holdings, the integrated property developer of the Group, the local economy is invigorated because of the opportunities created by supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that comprise about 68% of its mall tenants. For instance, SM City Bataan, SM Supermalls’ 83rd mall, employs about 96% of its mall administration staff who are residents called Bataeños, including two in leadership roles. It also proudly showcases local industries by partnering with homegrown businesses like family-owned brands and locally managed franchises.

The local workforce’s quality of life is influenced by tax revenues, steady employment, and job security. SM Prime makes sure that these advancements are reflected in all of its developments, particularly in its plans for future smart city initiatives in the Philippines, which will be led by its ongoing 360-hectare development in Pasay City.

New urban projects shape local economies through the production of jobs and better living conditions. They are also sources of innovation, growth, and opportunities for enhanced affluence. A network of opportunities is necessary for these city centers to succeed, from their pre-construction supply chain to enabling enterprises so that people can prosper and give back to their communities.


The Jollibee Group’s Farmer Entrep Program Honors Women Farmers

Celebrating women in agriculture. Women represent more than 30% of farmers under the Jollibee Group Foundation’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), which enables smallholder farmers to enhance their technical and business skills so they can improve their harvest and their livelihood.

Women have made major contributions to agriculture, a field generally associated with men, yet these achievements are sometimes overlooked. According to official data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, from 2007 to 2016, roughly 25% of workers in the agricultural sector are women. However, a report from the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) suggests that this figure may not accurately reflect real participation on the ground.

A significant portion of women may be underreported in the agricultural industry since, according to the PCW’s website, “women’s work in agriculture is normally considered to be extensions of their household tasks and therefore not reported as work.”

The Jollibee Group highlights the stories of three female farmers in this article as evidence that women may prosper in the agricultural industry.

Celebrating women farmers

Maricel Sevilleja of San Jose, Nueva Ecija; Noralyn Lopez of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur; and Bernadeth Carandang of Magallanes, Cavite are among the women farmers under the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP) of the Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF), the social development arm of the Jollibee Group.

The FEP was started in 2008 to help smallholder farmers become entrepreneurs—they learn technical and business skills so they can improve not only their produce, but also their source of livelihood. JGF partners with various organizations to provide the training and interventions, such as helping famers form clusters, so they can collectively meet the volume and quality requirements of buyers like the Jollibee Group.

Sevilleja, now 41 years old and a mother of two, started farming in 2006 when her parents became too old to farm. “Farming is not only for men. We can do what men can,” she said. “Farming may be hard but when you think about it, no work in this world is easy. We only need to learn how to love and enjoy our work.”

“To my fellow women farmers, don’t be afraid to grow and learn more about modern farming. For those who would like to become farmers, welcome! Let’s show the world that women can be great farmers too.”

Like Sevilleja, Noralyn Lopez is also a farmer’s daughter. But farming wasn’t her first choice for work. “Six years akong nagtrabaho as office staff. Tumigil ako last year at nagsimulang tumulong sa tatay ko sa pag-supply ng onion sa Jollibee Group,” she shared.” (I worked as an office staff for six years. I stopped working last year to help my father in farming onions to supply to the Jollibee Group.)

Lopez also shared her encouraging experience: “Wala naman ng gender issue. May gender equality naman na po. Ang mga kasama naman namin sa farming, itinuturing naman na akong kapatid.” (There’s a sense of gender equality. My colleagues see me as their sibling.)

Thriving in agriculture work. Bernadeth Carandang (middle in sky blue) and other women farmers proudly show their harvested onions. Aside from being a farmer, Bernadeth is also a teacher and a leader of the Mag-Samakame farmers’ cooperative in Cavite.

Bernadette Carandang shares the same sentiment. “Kaming mag-asawa, parehong magsasaka. Hindi limitasyon ang pagiging babae para sa ganitong larangan,” she said. (My husband and I are both farmers. Being a woman should never be a hindrance for this type of work.)

Before becoming a farmer, Carandang used to work in an electronics company. Today, she’s also a teacher and a farmer leader of Mag-Samakame cooperative in Cavite. She emphasized the need for sustained programs that help farmers improve their livelihood, such as the FEP.

Helping farmers to become entrepreneurs

“Tinuruan ako ng FEP na gawing matatag na negosyo ang pagsasaka,” Carandang shared. “Bukod sa kaalaman sa makabagong pagsasaka dahil sa mga bigay nitong teknikal na kaalaman, ang paghubog sa aking kamalayan na ang pagsasaka ay isang profession ay hindi matatawaran.” (FEP taught me to turn farming into a stable business. Apart from the technical skills in modern farming that I have learned from them, I have also developed the mindset that farming is a profession. This to me is invaluable.)

The Jollibee Group sources its veggies, including tomatoes, green bell peppers, and white onions, directly from smallholder farmers in the Philippines, including Sevilleja, Lopez, and Carandang, for use in a few of its products, including Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, and Mang Inasal. FEP farmers have produced sales of P370 million over the past five years.

“The Jollibee Group is one of the few institutional buyers. That’s a lot of money you’re making. Currently, we are planning to coordinate with our local government unit to make our connection with institutional buyers more transparent,” Carandang stated. (The Jollibee Group is our first institutional buyer; as a result, our income has increased.) We hope to work with our local government unit to strengthen our relationship with institutional buyers.

Capacitating women in agriculture. These women farmers from San Jose, Nueva Ecija, receive agro-entrepreneurship training from JGF and representatives of local government units.  

But one of the greater challenges that must be addressed these days is how the younger generation perceives farming.  “Sabi ko nga sa mga estudyante ko, ‘Ano ang gusto niyo maging pag dating ng araw?’ Walang may gusto mag farming. Ngayon, tinuturuan ko sila na ang agriculture ay hindi pang mahirap. Ito ay business. Kung may farmer, may pag-asa,” Carandang said. (I asked my students, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ No one wants to become a farmer. Now I’m teaching them that farming is not a poor man’s job. It is a business. When we have more farmers, we have more hope for the future.)

To learn more about Jollibee Group, visit

Lifestyle, News

An improvement project at a school increases the deaf community’s potential

A dedicated teacher from PSD provides a hands-on lecture inside their newly rehabilitated school building.

Navigating a world where spoken words play a major role in communication can be difficult for someone with hearing loss.

This issue further widens the gap in the Philippines, where there are few options for the deaf, especially in the areas of work and education. Their quest for knowledge and skills is made more difficult by the fact that there are so few secondary educational institutions that can meet their particular demands. In addition, the cost and state of the facilities further impede their efforts.

A personal advocacy 

Shery Funcion, the Principal of the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, is no stranger to these challenges. 

Her dedication to the cause began with her college thesis, focusing on job opportunities for deaf learners. Since then, she has immersed herself in various organizations and volunteer activities, gaining firsthand insights into the limited opportunities available to deaf learners. 

She eventually became a SPED teacher, before taking on the role of principal in PSD. 

“The immersive experience really showed me how important these projects are for our students—kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbibigay ng mga pasilidad sa mga mag aaral lalo na sa mga bingi,” she underscored the importance of providing facilities for students with hearing impairment. 

A facility that produces opportunities 

The collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education’s Schools Division Office of Pasay City equips students with in-demand skills that will prepare them for employment upon graduation.

In the century-old PSD, their senior high school laboratory building serves as the training ground for students. Its classrooms and halls, no matter how old, have always played their role in honing and preparing deaf students to have solid career prospects after PSD. 

Amidst the competing priorities within the school and the broader Philippine educational system, the facility barely had enough funds for the rehabilitation and major repairs it needed. For years, students and teachers worked around issues ranging from dim lighting and leaking roofs to uneven floors. These not only presented structural concerns but also hindered the overall learning experience of students. 

“Our deaf learners need special accommodation to fulfill their special educational needs. They need to have a conducive learning environment so we can optimize the activities and learning programs,” Funcion stressed. 

Funcion further shared that the 2023 collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI)—the social good arm of the SM Group, and the Department of Education’s Schools Division Office of Pasay City could not have come at a better time. 

“The rehabilitation of the Home Economics (HE) laboratories is crucial because students need to fulfill their performance tasks. These are vital components of our senior high school program to ensure that they acquire essential skills and competencies for employment post-graduation from PSD.” 

Through the collaboration, PSD has been provided with the much-needed facilities in dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food & beverage preparation, ICT, and dance.

The partnership has given PSD access to much-needed resources in the areas of dressmaking, hair care, cooking, electrical work, bartending, food and beverage preparation, ICT, and dancing.

For Henry Sy, their Funcion. The Senior Building is a fantastic starting point that will help create equitable opportunities and a future in which the ability of deaf students will be recognized both within and outside the classroom walls.


Alsons Dev Provides Engaging Family Activities at Northtown Center

Northtown Center is an integrated town center with retail, commercial, and institutional components.

This summer, Alsons Development and Investment Corporation (Alsons Dev)’s Northtown Center in Cabantian, Davao City, promises exciting events and activities.

Spreading areas for sports, play, and outdoor fitness, play and sports 

Participating in outdoor activities enhances vitality overall, mental and physical health, and social connection. Two hectares of open space at Northtown Center are currently used as public spaces for strolling, bicycling, running, and organized sports.

Over 50 kids and teens participated in the Dayaw OCR Junior held at Northtown Center.

Just recently, Alsons Dev partnered with a local sports event organizer, Team Kwago, to hold two obstacle course races or OCR events in Northtown Center. The first race held on March 17 was the Dayaw OCR Junior, a 800-meter race for kids and teens with 15 obstacles to invigorate the young athletes. The following Sunday, the main event was held for seasoned adult athletes and sports enthusiasts. Dayaw OCR highlighted a four-kilometer course with 20 obstacles designed to challenge participants of various skill levels. The race attracted over a hundred attendees, including athletes from General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, and Manila, competing in the team, elite, and open divisions.

The Dayaw OCR is a qualifier event recognized by the Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation (POSF), with the top contenders from the race being considered for the National Team for Obstacle Sports.

Pop-up park for events

Nothing brings people better than food. Festive food bazaars are slated on April 24 to 30 and May 23 to 31 in Northtown Center to encourage community interaction and provide more recreational opportunities.

Davao Kalsada’s Summer Bazaar is expected to gather several budding foodpreneurs who will showcase their culinary creations for everyone to enjoy. The bazaar will also feature family-friendly activities and attractions like a giant inflatable playground, live bands, and open mic events.

Davao City’s first CityMall branch at Northtown offers shopping, dining and leisure options to residents of Cabantian and neighboring communities.

A community mall for convenience and leisure

Skip the traffic! Neighborhood shopping centers like CityMall Northtown offer nearby residents a walkable haven for essentials, local finds, and neighborly connections.

Embrace everyday pleasures like a fast lunch at FoodWorld or a grocery buy at MerryMart. You can mix & combine your favorite fast food items from Greenwich, Mang Inasal, and Jollibee in this one-stop food court. Now that they’re open, kid-friendly businesses like Fun Nation and Playville provide a fun and safe space for kids to play and socialize.

Northtown Center is a part of Northtown, a 150-hectare township project developed by Alsons Dev, Davao’s leading domestic real estate developer. While CityMall Northtown is open daily from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, the Northtown Center grounds are available to the public from 4:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Visit Northtown’s Office Facebook Page Northtown Davao for more information on the latest lifestyle hub in Davao.