Connect with us

HotSpot

Unboxing the mystery box

Wonderful things like this are really hard to come by in mystery boxes. This, when she could have bought an actual sex toy that, well, comes in discreet packaging.

Vernon Velasco

Published

on

On YouTube, there are people who shop for mystery boxes in the Deep Web and literally pay—eyebrows lift here—a thousand dollars for them!

What do they get? A screwdriver (what taints it, blood or bleach?). An iPhone 4 box. A defunct camera with an SD card. A spent seven-iron. Some sinister set of numbers. A rotting appendage.
There’s also a mashed dark matter in a clear plastic bag. Unsure of what it is, a YouTuber waited a bit, then wretched in the background. “Shit?”

It could be worse.

More often than not, the boxes contain sundries of useless things. And, boy, they reek; it’s all over these YouTube guys’ faces upon unboxing, the kind called for in terrifying plot twists when the police stumble upon some dead fella in state of decay.

Apparently the mystery is what they pay for. The thrill. The feeling that this bloodied rubber duck must be something. Where do these articles point us to? A state secret? An age-old Divine agenda? An unsolved murder case? The answer to the existential question, “Are we alone in the universe?”

“Who sent these things” is everybody’s guess in the comment section. These human beings are of equal mystery. Whoever they are, they must be very happy because how else can you earn a grand for pieces of crap?

Which is not to say good things won’t come in mystery boxes. Take this middle-aged woman who talked about her sex toy.

“I got it from a mystery box,” she said. She was a motormouth and, judging from her totally made-up self, must be the type who leads a solitary life with a cat and gets turned on when her pet canoodles with his teddy plaything.

I didn’t quite catch what particular sex toy it was. But gleaning from the woman’s gesture, it sure was long, “it moves like Mick Jagger,” and sounded like “oldies” in reverse. Dildo?
“I’m loving it,” she said, adding that “wonderful things like this” are really hard to come by in mystery boxes. This, when she could have bought an actual sex toy that, well, comes in discreet packaging.

“Try it!” the woman egged her friend on, as casually as when people their age talk their senior friends into taking a colonoscopy.

Her friend, apparently discreet, seemed aware of the scene they must now be making. Chuckling, she shushed her friend by expressing approval in a hush, but reminded her that, when talking about something nasty in public, by all means they must do it with grace.

“I mean try buying a mystery box,” she said.

Truth is, I have always wanted to try ordering a mystery box either online or from a friend who said his girlfriend is not for sale. If he could throw in a few bottles of decades-old whisky or a car key, that would be swell.

Or buy it from somebody who is at least as obsessed as I am with making mysteries and building suspense with absolutely no end goal, say a modern-day Salem witch who ships cursed objects to random addresses, or some unknown person who would send me not necessarily a mystery box, but a mystery item whose riddle would take me all of my natural life to crack.

Once, a stranger sent me a mystery item in the guise of some wee piece of alien technology which, I believe, he deliberately left in the public washroom: a SIM card.

This was the mini variant, Globe. But what got the best of me was that it has a crooked letter C inscribed on one side. Classified?

I am obsessed with signs and patterns; I have, at one time, chanced upon the image of Jesus Christ between the strands of Jolly Spaghetti, and, to this day, I wonder if God was telling me something.

Whatever information was on the SIM card, would it finally answer where the Yamashita treasure is on the face of the Earth? Would it answer the existential question: “Are Batman and Robin an item?” Is the Sim card supposedly owned by one of the President’s mistresses? Or is it the President’s per se and, thus, holds the clues to his method to madness or at least his “sexting” language—gentle, proppy, one befitting 70s gay porn? Or was this left by a lone-wolf terrorist, and therefore I could now realize my dream of becoming a hero?

I briskly plugged the plastic chip into my phone and read one of the messages:
“kala ko taung dalawa? Kala ko importante ako sau? Kala ko di mo ko iiwan? Kala ko b mahal mo ko?! Kng mhal mo ko bakit mo ko ginagani2??!!!”

What sorcery is this?

Advertisement

HotSpot

Access for all

As long as we are here to make sure that the rest of our competitors are also on their feet, then at the end of the day, the benefit will go to the customers.

TDT

Published

on

radius president Exequiel Delgado

Tell us about Radius. What are your services, your product offerings and your relationship with Meralco?

Well, Radius Telecoms is a 100-percent subsidiary of Meralco. It operates mainly on the franchise area of Meralco, which is really Metro Manila, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite and some parts of Bulacan offering data and Internet service. We’re 100-percent fiber company. And our focus is really enterprises and offering them our data and Internet services.

A partner or a competitor?

Aside from corporate customers, our customer base also includes carriers. In areas where they cannot put up their facilities, they order from us. In the same manner that in areas where we don’t have facilities, we order from them. These are fiber facilities put up in areas where, maybe, they have difficulty in putting up facilities. Because there are some areas where not everybody’s allowed.

So there’s a healthy relationship among carriers to cooperate as it is needed to serve the public.

They are not allowed because they don’t have franchise there or other reasons?

Yeah, maybe there’s a business reason, maybe the people who are in charge of the areas are no longer allowing additional facilities to be installed because they think it’s already enough. So if that situation occurs, there’s no stopping us from talking to each other, making sure that we support one another.

These facilities include cell towers?

No, since we’re not operating any mobile service. These are mostly fiber optic cables that are either attached to the poles because we’re a subsidiary of Meralco. A big portion of our facilities is really on the poles. And, in areas where attachment to the poles is not allowed, we dig the streets and put in conduits and put the fiber underground.

Do you think that the industry is already saturated for a third player?

Well, I believe there’s always room for something or someone better. As long as you’re trying to offer something better, then customers will be willing to open up and try. The intent of Radius is really to improve the customer experience. And as long as we are here to make sure that the rest of our competitors are also on their feet, then at the end of the day, the benefit will go to the customers.

Having 7,100 islands is really no joke. The fact that we’re not a contiguous piece of land makes it even more challenging.

The Philippines is always called the outlier for Internet sloth. What is causing this? You know, slowness?

Well, it’s a combination of a lot of things. Majority of the websites that are being accessed by Filipinos are abroad. You know, even on the Internet access, we have this colonial mentality. We’re so fascinated with what’s abroad. Unlike our neighbors in Korea or Japan where the content is mainly local, it remains local. For majority of Filipinos, you know, the website sometimes would be accessed outside the Philippines, which makes Internet expensive because the content is not localized.

How does slow Internet impact productivity and affect businesses?

Never in the history of businesses has telco played a very crucial role because almost everybody now wants to be connected. Why? It’s a global marketplace. Yeah. You’re no longer selling your services within the Philippines. You’re selling your services all over the world. And the Internet speed is very critical because it allows you to market your products globally. So, you know, if the Internet is fast, then the exchange of information is going to be fast. And it’s going to, you know, result in more business activities.

Talking about the speed, do you think that because the Philippines is an archipelago with more than 7000 islands, is that a factor that affects Internet speed as far as infrastructure and other services are concerned?

Yeah, that’s why you have a situation where, in the cities, the Internet speed is bearable. But when you go outside the city, it becomes unbearable because it takes a lot of money to put up these facilities all over the country. Having 7,100 islands is really no joke. The fact that we’re not a contiguous piece of land makes it even more challenging. But, you know, we’re not stopping. I think the solution is not Radius. But, if all the carriers work together to make sure that we improve Internet services here in the Philippines, then, you know, our collective effort will come to fruition.

There’s no government investment in this area?

In fairness to the government, I think they’re doing their share like the DICT. With its new leadership, it is trying to put up a broadband network all over the Philippines. Once that is established, it’s going to improve connectivity.

In other countries the government is investing in telcos like providing facilities or cell towers, unlike here where it’s all private initiatives.

Yeah, the competition is so fierce in the Philippines. I think we’re one of the few countries where towers are not being shared. That’s why I think the government is trying to embark on a common-tower policy, you know, to make sure that, you know, we minimize the investment.

What’s your take on the common-tower initiative of the government?

I think eventually it will benefit the consumer because rather than the two carriers putting up their own, there’s a common tower and a firm that will put up these towers and eventually they will just lease the facilities.

Well you stated that Radius is only offering data services and not voice services. Aside from that how are you different from existing telcos?

Aside from data and Internet services, a big focus right now is access to the cloud. You know, there are a lot of cloud providers like AWS, Azure, 365, Google Cloud services — a lot of these companies in the Philippines are now trying to access these cloud providers to put in their data. So part of the focus of Radius is to allow these companies to access these cloud services in a fast, secure and better way.

Tell us about your expansion plans

We have just finished our expansion in Clark. We hope to be in Cebu by the first quarter 2020. The team went to Iloilo, and they were amazed at the progress in that part of the country. We’re also looking possibly at Davao. Just little by little — baby steps, before we decide to run. We’re looking at areas where businesses are flourishing because that’s where I think Radius has the competitive advantage because we are focused on what we want to achieve. And we’re focused on the markets that we want to serve.

The services that you’re offering, you’re targeting more the business establishment. How about the consumer market?

Well, the retail market eventually will be indirectly involved because we’re launching a partnership with Cignal, which is also part of the group because right now, Cignal is being offered through satellite dishes. What we intend do is focus on MDUs or condominiums, and wire up these condominiums with fiber optic and then allow Cignal to offer IPTV and Internet services. The intent is that Cignal is going to be the customer-facing entity. We’ll just be supporting them through our fiber facilities and Internet services.

So that explains the different services or products that you have?

Well, the data products are really about connecting branches either through leased lines, MPLS. Normally companies connect their branches to their head offices. The other one is through the Internet. It’s not a direct connection to their specific companies, but it’s a direct connection to the Internet, and that’s where they meet. And then the third one is really access to the cloud, meaning for companies who have mobile users, people who have to go out of the office just to access their applications. And we provide products that will allow them to. You know, security is a very important concern right now of the company. So the services we provide is a fast and secure way to access these platforms.

What are these products that you offer in that area?

The first product is RCE (Radius Cloud Express), a service that allows them to access the cloud and the other one is SD One, software-defined wide-area network. You know, these are new technologies that will allow companies to connect to other branches in the coming years.

On new technologies because we have to keep abreast with the times and make sure that we are competitive globally.

Radius has been existing since 2000. But now is the only time you decided to expand. Why is that?

Well, we have a new president for Meralco. And his really vicious vision is really to expand outside the comfort zone. So we have decided to be comfortable to be uncomfortable. That’s the mandate of our president.

Radius is a subsidiary of Meralco, and Meralco is part of the MVP group, which owns also Smart Communications and PLDT. How would that play out?

There is no conflict because the mandate that was given to me is to find a way to work with PLDT. Because, you know, since telecoms is a very important component of how businesses are operating these days, they don’t rely on just one carrier. You rely on multiple carriers. So the vision of our chairman is to be able to go into the market with both PLDT and Radius, backing each other up. So in customers where PLDT is very strong, Radius is going to be there as the backup. in situations where Radius is the strong partner of the customer, then we will be bringing PLDT. Because we believe that if we partner together, if we can find a way to make this work, then we will almost be unbeatable. Because if we combine our facilities, if we combine our resources, we’ll be able to serve the total requirements of the market. There would be times where we would be competing with each other, but I’d like to keep that to a minimum. We’d like to focus on opportunities where we can really help each other. And I think the fact that we have common owners on top will make that task easier.

What areas are there do you think there are opportunities for you to collaborate?

In the BPO, in the banking sector, definitely in the retail sector. I think it’s a matter of just focusing on a few of these verticals. We cannot be, and I don’t intend for us to partner in all the industries. But if we can find two, three or four major customers on whom we can create an impact it will be a huge plus for both companies.

The immediate plan really is just expansion. Just focusing on areas where businesses are flourishing. You know, trying to support the government’s efforts to help in the digitalization of the whole country. You know, we’d like to believe that we’re a company that will ignite innovation because we believe in the Filipino, we believe in the Philippine enterprise. And Radius is going to be here to make sure that they have the tools that will be necessary to compete.

What are the infrastructure that will be required for this expansion?

We’re rolling out fiber all over the country. Because at the end of the day, this is the major component of what we do. You know, we connect cities, we connect buildings, we connect businesses. So that’s going to continue. Of course, we’re going to be heavily investing on equipment. On new technologies because we have to keep abreast with the times and make sure that we are competitive globally. Apart from the customer base, we’re also serving these foreign telcos, these foreign carriers who are customers here in the Philippines. So majority of them are customers and we provide connectivity on the Philippine side to make sure that their global customers are connected.

What impedes startups to invest

It’s the return on the investment. It’s very difficult. You never know especially if you’re a start up, getting permits from local government units just to put up all these facilities is a pain. You hear of the other carriers complaining about permits and putting up towers, we’re also having the same problems. Every time we put up fiber facilities and attach them to poles, we need permits from the barangay, from the city. It slows down the work. This is one of the major challenges more than the cost. It’s really trying to be patient and working together. It has improved over the last few months that I’ve arrived.

Continue Reading

HotSpot

Faster internet connection soon

To boost its expansion, Radius is looking to acquire new international carrier partners, particularly in major commercial business districts.

Komfie Manalo

Published

on

Radius Telecoms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco), is expanding its presence in central Luzon and the Visayas, as well as emerging growth centers in the country to provide fast and reliable internet services that would eventually contribute to national growth.

In an interview over the Daily Tribune’s Straight Talk roundtable discussion, Radius president Exequiel Delgado said the expansion plan is aligned with the company’s efforts to refocus its plans to target both the domestic and foreign businesses.

“Part of my mandate when I took over as president of Radius six months ago was a directive from Meralco’s new president (Ray C. Espinosa) is to take on new challenges and not sit on our laurels by accepting and going out of our comfort zone,” Delgado stated.

He continued, “So I have to be comfortable being uncomfortable by taking on a new direction of Radius.”

Delgado was referring to the company’s shift in strategy and offering their services to enterprises more, especially those not in traditional Meralco franchise areas. In the past, Radius has offered its products, including data, internet, managed services, and cloud services to clients within areas served by Meralco.

It has collaborated with local and international carriers, service providers and top corporations by providing them an end-to-end fiber optic platform, data communications, business applications over a robust, reliable and secure network.

But with its present direction, the company will now offer those services to enterprises and soon retail consumers, in central Luzon and central Visayas where there is potential for growth. Radius is scheduled to start operations in Clark, Pampanga, early next year and Cebu within the first quarter of 2020.

“We are also looking at growth areas in Iloilo and other parts of the Visayas where we anticipate opportunities,” Delgado added.

To boost its expansion, Radius is looking to acquire new international carrier partners, particularly in major commercial business districts.

When asked why they see central Visayas as the next wave for development, Delgado said the new administration has opened the potentials of that region that is often neglected by previous governments.

“The new administration has a new pair of eyes and must have looked at that part of the Philippines from a different angle. Now we are seeing growth areas in that region and we want to play a part in its development,” Delgado added.

Recently, Radius partnered with NetFoundry, USA to introduce a new and cost-effective way of reaching the cloud through Radius Cloud Express (RCE).

Radius is the only telecommunications carrier in the Philippines that delivers end-to-end fiber optic services to enterprises and corporations, enabling service providers and companies to transmit digital information and business applications over highly reliable, secure, and cost-effective communication superhighway. While Radius’ robust and fully redundant network runs on 100 percent fiber, Radius Cloud Express offers a solution to use any available internet connectivity to extend your network wherever. With RCE, applications can be bridged to the cloud, whether its public (AWS, Azure, Google) or private anywhere in the world.

The Radius/NetFoundry co-branded connectivity and app solution (Radius Cloud Express) requires no hardware or physical networks, making it stand out from traditional approaches.

Organizations can spin up Zero Trust, application-specific networks “in minutes,” even in a multi-application environment, that integrates seamlessly with leading DevOps tools while simultaneously providing reliable cloud connectivity.

NetFoundry VP and MD of Asia-Pacific Dipesh Ranjan said, “Radius Telecoms has decided to differentiate itself from a traditional telco and has built its services around applications in the modern and multi-cloud world, where data must be reliable, secure and delivered anywhere, anytime without depending on traditional methods and networks.”

NetFoundry (NaaS) built a global software platform which enables customers to simply and powerfully orchestrate network resources, without building and managing the underlying compute (which NetFoundry provides in a consumption-based, as-a-service model). The resulting solution allows customers to spin up a global, secure, private, cloud-orchestrated network in minutes and embed or integrate the networking with their applications or services.

Delgado commented, “The partnership with NetFoundry allows Radius and its customers the availability of fast, secure and efficient access to cloud-based connectivity services which can vastly improve and facilitate the way communications is conducted with business partners.”

Continue Reading

HotSpot

Business-like internet for businesses

Radius, a Meralco company, enables enterprises to communicate and interconnect geographically dispersed locations efficiently over its robust and reliable fully redundant fiber-optic network, offering them data and Internet services.

TDT

Published

on

In an age when everybody wants to be connected, never in the history of businesses have telecoms played a more crucial role than now.

It is a global market. No longer are you selling your services within the Philippines; you are selling your services all over the world. And the Internet speed is very critical because it allows you to market the products globally.

I believe there is always room for something or someone better. As long as you are trying to offer something better, then customers will be willing to open up or try.

Internet with immense bandwidths equate to faster business activities. Your employees do not have to wait forever to download important files.

Without sacrificing effectiveness, they can work and collaborate remotely, thereby reducing their travel cost—and, thereby, your cost (if we’re talking about office space and hardware cost).

It allows your office to function at a higher capacity just when you thought you had enough bandwidth to cover all the phantom and “unaccounted-for” devices connected to your system (because there are far more devices [anything that needs Internet to function, which isn’t limited to standard smartphones, desktops and laptops] tapping into the line).

Increased bandwidth also widens flow of traffic, significantly saving you time and cost.

A reliable Internet service allows the business owner to move his business processes to the cloud.

Radius, a Meralco company, enables enterprises to communicate and interconnect geographically dispersed locations efficiently over its robust and reliable fully redundant fiber-optic network, offering them data and Internet services.

It is the only telecommunications carrier in the Philippines that delivers its services on an end-to-end fiber optic platform covering 26 cities and 86 municipalities, including Metro Manila; enabling local and international carriers, service providers and top corporations on data communications and business applications.

According to Delgado, aside from data and Internet services, a big focus right now for Radius is access to the cloud.

“You know, there are a lot of cloud providers like AWS, Azure, 365, Google Cloud services—a lot of these companies in the Philippines are now trying to access these cloud providers to put in their data,” he said. “So, part of the focus of Radius is to allow these companies to access these cloud services in a fast, secure and, you know, better way.”

The retail market, according to Delgado, will eventually be indirectly benefiting from Radius, it launching a partnership with Cignal, also a Meralco company.

“What we intend to do is focus on MDUs or condominiums, and wire up these condominiums with fiber optic and then allow Cignal to offer IPTV and Internet services. The intent is that Cignal is going to be the customer-facing entity. We’ll just be supporting them through our fiber facilities and Internet services,” Delgado said.

But is the market already saturated for a third (big) player?

“I believe there is always room for something or someone better. As long as you are trying to offer something better, then customers will be willing to open up or try,” Delgado said. “The intent of Radius is really to improve customer experience. As long as we are here to make sure the rest of our competitors are on their feet, at the end of the day the benefit will go to the customers.”

Continue Reading

HotSpot

Going National

We are 100 percent fiber company and our focus is really enterprises and offering them data and internet services.

TDT

Published

on

With today’s technological advancements, businesses that are not utilizing high-speed internet are letting opportunities to pass right by them. A high-speed data connection is important for companies to efficiently function.

For instance, in the Philippines, financial inclusivity is sometimes as elusive as having a reliable internet connection. As such, businesses that want to champion financial inclusion also need to revamp their internet services. But luckily, a Meralco subsidiary is now ready to provide parts of the Philippines with good internet services.

In every history of business, telecom companies played a crucial role because everyone needs to be connected. But in the Philippines, the internet was more costly compared to its neighboring countries.

Thus, the idea of establishing Radius Telecom came around.

Data and internet services firm Radius Telecom, a full subsidiary of Meralco Utility Company, has been operating since early 2000 on the franchise area of Meralco in Metro Manila, Batangas, Laguna and some part of Bulacan.

“We are 100 percent fiber company and our focus is really enterprises and offering them data and internet services,” Radius Telecom Exequiel Delgado told the Daily Tribune.

“Currently, you are no longer selling your services within the Philippine area only. Instead, you are selling your services all over the world and the internet speed is very critical,” Delgado said.

According to Delgado, Radius aims to provide a fast internet connection that allows businesses to market their products globally.

“Fast connections will result in better business activities,” he noted.

Aside from data and internet services, Radius also focuses on allowing companies to easily access their cloud storage.

“You know that there are a lot of cloud providers like PWS, Azure, 365, Google cloud services, and a lot of companies in the Philippines are trying to access these cloud providers to put in their data,” Delgado said.

“Part of the focus of Radius is to allow these companies to access this cloud services in a fast, secure, and a better way. So, that’s where…the main focus of the Radius,” he added

Improving customer experience

Currently, there are several telecommunications firms vying to provide the best internet services to local businesses.

“Radius is here to improve customer experience. That’s why competition is important. We are here to make sure the rest of our competitors will always be on their feet at the end of the day so that the benefits will go to the customer,” Delgado said.

Delgado said the Philippines is currently experiencing fierce competition in terms of providing internet services.

“I think we are one of the countries where power is not shared. This may be the reason why the government is trying to embark on a common power policy to minimize further investments,” he noted.

Even though they will be competing against sister firms PLDT and Smart Communications Inc., Delgado assured that there is no conflict in the line of their services.

“There is no conflict because the mandate given to us is to find ways to work with them because telecom is a very important component to our businesses in operating these days we don’t rely on one carrier, we rely on multiple carriers,” he explained.

“The vision of our chairman is to be able to go in the market with PLDT and Radius backing each other up,” he added.

Expansion plan

Radius recently finished its expansion in Clark, Pampanga, which has improved the coverage of TV5 in the area.

By 2020, Radius hopes to operate in Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo.

“Just little by little…baby steps before we. You know, we were looking at areas wherein businesses are flourishing. Because that’s where I think Radius has a competitive advantage because we are focused on what we want to achieve and we are focused on what we want to sell,” Delgado said.

Moreover, Radius is also looking at tapping the retail market through its partnership with Cignal TV.

“Right now, Cignal’s been offered through satellite dishes. What we intend to do is focus on condominiums and wire up these condominiums with fiber optic and then allow Signal to offer IPTV and internet services,” Delgado said.

In essence, the budding telco firm is going to bundle internet services and cable connection.

Moving forward, Radius is poised to be one of the industry’s big-ticket players backed by its thrust to uplift local businesses and consumers.

Continue Reading

HotSpot

Five staycations your ‘barkada’ will love

Fortunately, everything is now available on the Internet and there are apps that cater specifically to people looking for the perfect getaway.

Raye Sanchez

Published

on

NORDIC Grande is a stay in Tagaytay perfect for those who do not want to go too far from the city.

Routines and responsibilities can sometimes get so overwhelming that you start to lose your drive. Staycations are a great way to unwind and destress from the harshness and negativities of the real world. It’s the perfect opportunity to rest and, at the same time, regain your energy.

And what more if you have your friends with you, right? The company of your most cherished is the cherry on top. Being with your barkada — who know and understand you and would not judge you — is what makes vacations perfect. They make you see that you shouldn’t take life too seriously all the time.

 

Fortunately, everything is now available on the Internet and there are apps that cater specifically to people looking for the perfect getaway. A popular choice nowadays is Airbnb, an online marketplace for lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences. The app is usually a tourist’s go-to place for finding cheaper alternatives to hotels and other accommodations. And in this case, the app serves as a lookbook for properties perfect for staycations.

 

Here’s a list of some places that have everything a barkada would need and more from Airbnb listings.

Nordic Grande – 33.5 SQM + Free Netflix + PS4 (Tagaytay)

Located  in Tagaytay for those who do not want to go far from the city, this is a studio-type property that can accommodate seven guests maximum. It has six beds and one bathroom. You get the whole apartment to yourselves. It has a homey feel to it and the theme of the place is inspired by Nordic countries (Northern Europe and North Atlantic). Stay at this place for P2,000 a night.

Barkada plus points for Nordic Grande is that it has a PlayStation 4 gaming console, free 5mbps wifi, 42” Smart TV with free access to Netflix and remote-cont rolled air conditioning system.

To fuel up, the kitchen has an induction hotplate and cookware, microwave, rice cooker, toaster and an electric kettle to make sure no one goes hungry. All you need to do is bring something to cook.

The property can house seven people max and the sleeping arrangements include a double-sized bed, a queen-sized sofa bed and space for two more floor mattresses, provided with four fresh bed linens. If it does not suffice, bed linens are available upon request. The bathroom arrangement includes a separate toilet and bidet, shower with  water heater, toiletries and four sets of towels.

The main event is that there is a pool. The  unit is located at the Tagaytay Prime Residences and condominiums usually have swimming pool amenities. Guests who book the Airbnb unit will be able to use these amenities. Unfortunately for the big cliques out there, only four people from each unit can use the pool.

For more information, look for the listing on the Airbnb app.

Best Value: Condo With Balcony Garden For 5 Pax (Quezon City)

This Airbnb listing is perfect for people who love taking Instagram-worthy pictures. The corner balcony was designed to look like a whimsical garden and angled perfectly to showcase the best view of the city.

Booking this unit will give you access to the whole space and most especially, the beautifully-designed private balcony. Free wifi is also provided as well as air conditioning and a washer and dryer for clothes.

Sleeping amenities include one single bed, four bunk beds and one mattress. Bathing essentials are also provided as well as cooking wares but the host highly discourages cooking food that will leave a smell in the unit.

To use the pool, guests must pay a fee of P150 at the administration office for maintenance. Parking lots are also available 24/7.

If guests forget to bring something or has to buy a few things, there is a shopping mall at the ground floor, complete with spas, supermarket, banks, ATMs, restaurants, shops and a convenience store.

The unit is located in Quezon City and you can stay at the place for only P1,986 per night.

American Heritage Baguio Home With Big Pine Tree Lawn (Baguio)

Known to be the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio is the go-to place for people who want to experience the cold, crisp weather not many of us, Filipinos, experience. Baguio is the solution for those who want to take a break from the sun’s intense heat or to experience a chilly Christmas.

This unit may be a splurge but it will be worth it because it is simply beautiful. It can accommodate up to eight people with five spacious beds. It also has a garden area and a bonfire pit which is rare for an Airbnb unit.

Another great thing about this property is it’s a 100-year-old heritage private vacation home, excellently maintained and designed to look like a modern and cozy American home. Teacher’s Camp, Baguio Botanical Garden and several restaurants and bars are a walkable distance away from the house, which is also a five- to 10-minute jeepney ride to SM Baguio, Camp John Hay and Session Road.

The place is priced at P4,100 per night.

Kamp Maysawa (Rizal)

For a change, why not try roughing it up a little? At least you’ll have your friends who you can laugh at when they fall off the hammock or slides down the ladder-like staircase. This property is perfect for people who love camping or for those who would like to try.

Kamp Maysawa is located at the foot of  Mt. Sapari and Mt. Binutasan. From the parking area, guests would still have to walk 15 to 20 minutes in order to reach the place but if you have a 4×4 then bring your vehicle with you. You’ll have the campsite all to yourselves which is a plus although the place isn’t fully developed yet.

There is a waterfall nearby which can serve as your endpoint for a great and adventurous walk. It also has a private swimming pool with running spring water. For that ultimate roughing-it-up feel, there’s only one bedroom with one double bed, one couch, two floor mattresses and three hammocks for everyone. The place can accommodate six people and an additional fee of P250 will be charged for an extra head.

Guests will still have the means to cook their meals accordingly because the listing has a kubo (hut) with a dirty kitchen and kitchenware such as stove and gas, barbecue grill, a cooler with ice and many more.

There is a tent spot and a campfire pit for people who want to complete their camping experience. The place also has board games and cards for entertainment purposes because the place doesn’t have a mobile signal.

Book Kamp Maysawa for P2,500 per night.

Kwentong Dagat Resort Liwliwa Zambales 1 (Zambales)

In desperate need of vitamin sea after inhaling all the smog of the city? This property by the ocean will surely cure your lungs with the fresh breeze as well as your mind with the calmness and vibe of the place.

Located at Liwliwa in San Felipe, Zambales, Kwentong Dagat Resort is a quaint yet charming stay for people longing for the sound of the waves and the feel of sand beneath their feet. Their accommodations are designed to look like nipa huts which is perfect for the ‘Gram. Despite its rustic feel, the rooms are air conditioned so everyone is comfortable.

The place also serves great home-cooked vegan Filipino meals which are hard to find. Should you wish to cook your own meal, a stove, grill and other cooking necessities are available in the area.

Just ask the people who tend to the resort who are present 24/7.

Stay at Kwentong Dagat Resort for P4,400 per night.

Continue Reading

HotSpot

Postcards from ‘here’

Dinah S. Ventura

Published

on

The round of celebrations come Christmastime is something we, fun-loving Filipinos, look forward to. It is reunion season, when families, friends and relatives celebrate the joys of togetherness.

Yet even as the world shrinks with all the innovations in technology, the spaces between people have somehow seemed to widen – families move around more, parents leave to work faraway and children grow up.

The holiday season gives us reason to shed these distances and come together for a reason: to celebrate peace, love and joy. What better way to do it than with staycations?

The animal kingdom courtesy of one uber-popular fairytale offers us, mere humans, an important clue to living well: Hakuna-matata.

The Swahili phrase simply means “no trouble” or “no problem.” It is, as well, what we all want to have – even if, more often than not, life succeeds in giving us the opposite.

So, for this issue, we thought it fitting to bring this philosophy right in the thick of the most stressful, crazy-busy times of the year.

Do we think this is possible?

Well, yes. If you thought our so-called mall culture was all about pure commercialism, think again. This propensity to escape the heat and pollution has bred a whole new lifestyle that has served as a guiding force for exactly those proponents of commerce and property giants.

This Christmas season, we not only give a nod to the way developments in the last decade have helped shape the way we live, but also how technology has enabled people to bridge distances.

Because of these developments, it is now possible to have what used to be impossible: hassle-free holidays where families can save and spend more time with each other and where connections – virtual or not – can remain unbroken.

This season, nurture yourself and your relationships well, in any way you can.

Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone!

Continue Reading

HotSpot

Globe pushes for social changes through digital technology

TDT

Published

on

Businesses play an important role in helping address some of the most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges that the country is currently facing, prompting the need to bring purposeful innovations for societal impact to the spotlight.

Globe, one of the biggest players in the Philippine market, harnesses the power of digital technology to accelerate social changes and create significant social impact. Huge investments in the local telecommunications industry during the past two decades have given mobile access to a much larger percentage of the population, opened the floodgates of data and increased efficiency of both large corporations and micro, small and medium enterprises.

ICT aso opened the doors to technologies that can address various societal problems such as financial inclusion for unserved and underserved Filipinos through GCash mobile wallet as well as access to medical advice via KonsultaMD hotline.

“For us to be relevant, we must continue to contribute to the progressive development of our markets and communities,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP for Corporate Communications. “We do our best to bring about the change needed to make a genuine impact through social innovations that utilize technology.”

However, solving the country’s multitude of problems requires all the help it can get. Globe, through its Globe Future Makers (GFM) program, for instance, taps startups interested in using tech for social good by providing mentorship, marketing assistance and networking opportunities, among others.

GFM was implemented in 2017 to influence and build a whole ecosystem of social innovators who can help create a positive impact on society with the help of technology. It is aligned with the social innovation program of the Singtel Group of Companies for Asia Pacific.

This year, Antipara Exploration and Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation (AIDFI) emerged as the top social innovators for GFM. Both have developed technological tools to help solve some of the country’s most exigent social challenges.

Antipara is an underwater 3D geospatial mapping and analytics company for maritime and environment inspection. It created an algorithm that provides information for marine zoning and management which can be used for various projects such as tourism, building of ports and designation of marine protected areas and for damage assessment and maritime examination through 3D inspection of undersea infrastructure such as cables, pipes and foundations.

Globe, being also an advocate of marine biodiversity and eco-tourism, is currently working with Antipara in checking the waters around major tourist spots in the country, beginning with Siargao.
On the other hand, AIDFI operates the Hydraulic Ram Pump, a water-powered pump that brings water from lower to higher-elevated villages or farms with no electricity or fuel and emits zero pollution. AIDFI also developed an app to monitor water delivery, technical repairs, money collection and meetings.

Recently, AIDFI adapted a solar-powered, coin-operated water kiosk that serves households and releases 20 liters of water for only one peso to ensure fairer water distribution and better collection for the water association compared to public tap stands.

We now see how mobile applications can be integrated since the program is about shared value. Globe is active in communities or schools that have no easy access to water which the ram pump can help solve. “We are already discussing this with Globe, and we are excited about the areas for possible cooperation,” said AIDFI co-founder and chief executive officer Auke Idzenga, a Dutch national who has been in the country since 1985.

Likewise, Globe helps uplift the nation’s education through the Global Filipino Schools program which empowers public schools with ICT-trained teachers, new gadgets and critical infrastructure. It also provided ICT infrastructure support to HOPELINE, the 24/7 emotional crisis intervention hotline.

Aside from employing technology, Globe also tries to safeguard the public against the negative aspects of ICT. As the leader in digital entertainment and lifestyle, Globe came out with the #PlayItRight campaign against pirated and illegal content and encourages the public to firmly stand behind content creators, respect their hard work and help sustain their jobs.

On the other hand, the Digital Thumbprint Program (DTP) teaches Filipino youth about the impact of their online behavior through workshops on cyber security, safety, online responsibility and leadership and empowerment. DTP was recently adopted by the Department of Education as part of the Values Education subject in K-12.

To learn more about Globe’s sustainability efforts, visit www.globe.com.ph/about-us/sustainability.html.

Continue Reading

HotSpot

Sweet getaway

Pauline Songco

Published

on

Everybody deserves a break. It may sound ambiguous, but really, we all do.

Imagine waking up one day where neither work nor study is in your list of to dos. You look out the window and see the magnificent skyline of the city you’ve always dreamed of exploring. Sounds inviting, I know. But the hardest part is when you realize all the preparations and amount that you have to spend for plane tickets, accommodations, transportation and food. Thinking about it just makes you redo plans, or worse, postpone it.

But why don’t you just bring the vacation closer to you? That is now possible with a staycation, a trend which has been growing in popularity among Filipinos these past years.

A portmanteau of “stay” and “vacation,” “staycation” was widely used across the United States in May 2008, a time when the price of petrol went so high that many Americans refused to go about their day and chose to stay in the comforts of their homes. But written history tells us that the term has been used much earlier. In July 1944, the Cincinnati Enquirer published an ad using “staycation,” particularly for a full-page advertisement of Felsenbrau Supreme beer.

Filipinos have adopted this trend and it is undeniably becoming more popular by the day. With a simple click, you can take your time off at a hotel with your family or book a cheap vacation with friends at a nearby yet quiet city without having to experience the inconvenience of planning trips internationally.

Best of all, you get to have time together without worrying about the nitty-gritty of preparing food for everyone or braving the holiday traffic just to get from one mall to another, trying to complete your Christmas gift list.

These days, with many hotels connected to commercial areas, traffic is cut from the stressors of the season, giving you more time to relax or bond with your loved ones.

So why is a staycation a good idea?

Saves money. Accomodations, transportations, itinerary and food expenses easily add up on when you’re traveling overseas. Staycations, however, are a lot cheaper. You can just spend the money you usually allot for visa or travel taxes for your food or gas.

More time to relax. Opting for staycations rather than a few days abroad is less hassle because you’ll spend minimum time traveling. Don’t overwhelm yourself with planning since itineraries can be near you. Hence, it is easier to plan and you don’t have to worry about applying for multiple visas, expensive airline tickets and travel taxes.

Rediscover your city. You may just stick to the places you know because of your hectic schedule. But a staycation is the perfect opportunity to go around and discover Metro Manila’s hidden gems like new restaurants, museums or historical sites that could be the country’s next big attractions.

Shopping. Maybe retail therapy is all you need. There are some hotels around the city which are strategically located near malls or outlets, some of which occupy the first two floors of the property. Taking a day or two to shop can be relaxing.

Busy days may take a toll on us and staycations come as the best way to relax in a jiffy. Slow things down and explore parts of the Philippines that you’ve never been to. It’s the best gift you can give yourself.

Continue Reading

HotSpot

Get “Better than Cash” rewards when you use PayMaya QR at PayMaya Preferred partners this holiday season

TDT

Published

on

As the Christmas season goes into full swing, the shopping lists of Filipinos everywhere are also steadily growing—gifts for family and friends, treats for yourself, and groceries for your feast at home. Add to that the much-needed gas for the holiday traffic rush and for travel to parties and out-of- town trips.

What if there was a way to make your holiday shopping more convenient and more rewarding?

Beginning this holiday season, PayMaya is the preferred payment option at your favorite supermarkets, retail stores, fast food restaurants, gas stations, and pharmacies—offering PayMaya Preferred exclusive promos and discounts that will definitely give you better value for your money than cash or credit card.

By simply using PayMaya QR to #ScanToPay for your purchases at select PayMaya Preferred partner merchant locations, you get amazing offers that are available exclusive to PayMaya QR users. You can enjoy this on top of your cashback promos from PayMaya and other deals from your favorite establishment.

“As more Filipinos use PayMaya for all their payment needs, especially during the holiday season, we’re ramping up our efforts to give our customers an even more rewarding experience at our PayMaya Preferred partner merchants. With these awesome exclusive deals offered by our partners whenever you use PayMaya QR, PayMaya is enabling a shopping experience that is truly
better than what cash can give them this holiday season and beyond,” said Raymund Villanueva, Head of Growth and Brand Marketing at PayMaya.

Better than cash deals beyond the Holiday season

You can enjoy your better than cash perks at PayMaya Preferred partners even beyond the holiday season, as PayMaya is looking to work with more partner merchants to offer the best deals and rewards for all.

For customers, this means a more rewarding experience at your favorite merchants through exclusive deals on top of PayMaya’s ongoing promos. For PayMaya Preferred merchants, on
the other hand, this means driving more business to their stores and branches, as they offer a better payment experience to their customers.

“We are thrilled to roll out more PayMaya Preferred promos in the coming months and work with merchant partners in offering customers an easier, more convenient, and more rewarding way to pay—taking us a step closer to a more digital and cashless society,” Villanueva added.

To start getting more out of your holiday shopping and purchases, #ScanToPay with the PayMaya app now. If you don’t have your own PayMaya account yet, it’s never too late to go cashless.

Download the PayMaya app for free on iOS or Android now and avail of great deals, promos, and offers. For more information on exclusive deals and offers available to users, visit www.paymaya.com/deals or follow @PayMayaOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

PayMaya, the digital financial services arm of Voyager Innovations, is the only financial technology company in the Philippines that offers integrated consumer and merchant payment solutions with the widest on-ground branch network. It is the first to give millions of Filipinos an e-wallet that allows them to pay cashless transactions at any time of the day, anywhere in the world, and from any device. It is the financial technology arm of Voyager Innovations, the leading technology company in the country backed by PLDT, KKR, Tencent, World Bank’s IFC and the IFC Emerging Asia Fund.

Get P100 more for groceries for your Christmas feasts

Grocery shopping for your Christmas party spread? Let PayMaya help you cook up a better feast for your loved ones. Shop at Robinsons Supermarket, Easy Mart, and Selections to enjoy P100
cashback once a week when you spend a minimum of P500 via PayMaya QR. To add to that, you can also get a chance to be among the 14 lucky winners of a 1-minute shopping spree worth P10,000. Landers also offers PayMaya customers a 5% cashback of up to P2,500 every month on no minimum spend when you #ScanToPay via PayMaya QR for your purchases. Meanwhile, PayMaya users who will get an SMS containing a unique voucher code from Landers can get their free membership until December 31.

Enjoy more perks when you dine out

Enjoy more perks when you dine out with family and friends by using PayMaya QR at BonChon. Get a P100 voucher for a minimum spend of P200 when you #ScanToPay via PayMaya QR. You can enjoy this deal twice a month and even stand a chance to win one year’s worth of BonChon chicken for your K-food cravings.

Drive up better rewards for your trips

Paying for gas, especially for all the trips you will be taking this season, does not have to be painful anymore because PayMaya QR drives up better rewards for you. #ScanToPay at Total, Metro Oil, and Marz Fuel to get P5 cashback for every liter*, up to P1,000 a month, until Feb 2020.

More perks to help you live better

Live well to live better with the help of PayMaya. When purchasing your medicines or vitamins, keep in mind that paying via PayMaya QR is preferred at Mercury Drug as you can get P100 cashback once a week for a P500 minimum spend until February 2020.

Unwrap the best holiday shopping deals

This Christmas season, unwrap better PayMaya Preferred deals when you start your holiday gift-shopping at Robinsons DepartmentStore and Toys ‘R Us. More exciting deals from KFC, Rustans Supermarket, Shopwise, Wellcome, and Powerfill are also waiting for you in December!

Continue Reading