Tuesday, August 23, 2016

GATORADE: Intensity has taken on a new look.

The world’s number one sports drink recently unleashed Gatorade Fierce—its latest product line-up composed of an exciting new flavor, Green Apple, bundled with the popular Tropical Fruit and Grape flavors.

“Fierce continues to pack the scientifically proven hydration benefits of Gatorade,” Pepsico Philippines Marketing Manager for Hydration Tony Atayde said. “The Fierce range is specially designed for intense athletes who know and love Gatorade but are looking for a bold, more intense flavor.”

Gatorade Fierce was earlier launched in the US with NBA star Paul George. For its local debut, PBA’s very own The Beast, Alaska Aces’ Calvin Abueva joins Gatorade’s growing roster of top caliber athletes and sports superstars. The former San Sebastian Stag and PBA Rookie of the Year is known for his all-around intensity on court which helped Alaska finish with the best cumulative record during the 2012-2013 season.

Atayde added, “Proper hydration is a fundamental part of winning and staying on top of your game. Our Gatorade Fierce line is an integral part of bringing a wide variety of flavor options to athletes all over the country that know, to rehydrate, replenish and refuel, NOTHING beats Gatorade.

Monday, August 22, 2016

UNICEF Heroes for Children Run 2016…

How important are the first 1,000 days in a child’s life?

According to Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF’s country representative, “For 70 years, UNICEF has worked to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged, vulnerable, and exclude children around the world. Despite the many gains, the lives and future of children are still in jeopardy. In the Philippines, one out of three children under age of five, suffers from chronic malnutrition – the effects of which can be permanent, irreversible and even fatal after two years of age. UNICEF believes every child should have a fair chance at life.” 

Coach Rio Dela Cruz, Ms. Lotta Sywander and Ms. Anne Curtis, UNICEF Brand Ambassador
That is why, for two consecutive years, UNICEF have pressed-on to its goals to address the prevailing malnutrition problem among children which started even before they are born, which includes in the first 1,000 days of a child. The First 1,000 Days Program covers the prenatal and early childhood interventions to prevent undernutrition, including quality care for mothers, proper nutrition and complementary feeding, and life-saving treatment for severe acute malnutrition. 

According to UNICEF, everyday, 95 children die from malnutrition in the Philippines
Last year, there were around 3,000 runners participated in the UNICEF Heroes for Children Run and with the successful turn out, UNICEF raised the goal a notch higher to further strengthen the advocacy and more support will be raised to fund this noble cause. According to coach Rio Dela Cruz of Run Rio Inc, the official Race organizing Partner, all the proceeds of this event will go to UNICEF, so that more children will experience the fullness of life, a basic right many poor Filipino children often times misses out. 

Ms. Anne Curtis, UNICEF Brand Ambassador 
Ms. Anne Curtis, UNICEF brand ambassador for more than seven years, decided to elevate her involvement with the organization last year by starting the UNICEF Run for Heroes. The idea of coming out with a fun run for UNICEF was triggered by a deep compassion she experienced when she had a short visit with one of UINICEF assisted community in Tacloban, Leyte. 

21k Finishers shirt...
 During her short immersion, she witness how the mothers with their babies are being taken cared-off by health professionals. UNICEF made sure that pregnant mothers get their pre-natal check-ups and babies get vaccinated. These mothers are also given nutritious food, vitamins and minerals, and that health systems are in place so that these basic health services are administered effectively. In her time with them, Anne experienced a little R&R with the children in pre-school and spent time teaching kids in their school work. She even candidly mentioned that if she’s not a celebrity, being with these children and helping them is an occupation she wanted to do. 

Ruth Floresca of WriteBreathLive and Ms. Anne Curtis
Anne’s visit to Tacloban, even though short, moved her to launch a fundraising event, thus UNICEF Heroes for Children came to be. The organization in its 70th year in the Philippines have helped thousands of poor children all over the country. But there are thousands more who are deprived from the help they needed and there is so much work to be done. The UNICEF Heroes for Children Run hopes to raise more awareness and support so that these children in vulnerable stage received all the health and nutrition they needed to become productive citizens of this nation someday. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RAK of AEGIS on its 5th comeback…

The Aegis Band, popularized by their iconic hit songs such as “Basang-basa sa Ulan, Halik, Bakit and many others, was given due recognition when PETA veterans Myk Salomon, Maribel Legarda and Liza Magtoto, thought of a brilliant idea to create a musical play using all the AEGIS songs, and that's how RAK of AEGIS came about.  RAK of AEGIS was a fitting title, patterned from the equally successful Broadway musical Rock of Ages that was even made into a motion picture (Starring Tom Cruise) a few years back.

Ruth and Noy - Aged, and still Rockin'...
This was over two years ago when it; first launched their debut performance which made this theater master piece an overnight success.  Now on its 5th comeback, RAK of AEGIS is storming once again the crowd with its exceptional spectacle of the Pinoy love story in the setting of Manila’s marginalized informal settlers surrounded by its typical environment of garbage and flooding. The plots and story lines were creatively sync to the music and songs of the AEGIS band.

My son, Gab...
I consider myself to be musically inclined and I really do appreciate good music that matched my taste and style. However, the AEGIS songs, as much as these are very popular among pinoys, is not the kind I would spare some money to buy their CDs. But the popularity of it resonates all over and crosses all classes and the lyrics and style speaks to the very culture of the pinoys.
Gab with Ms. Sweet Plantado as "Mary Jane"
About a month ago, for the first time, I was able to watch RAK of AEGIS. It was a special screening that gave recognition to CONVERSE Shoes, which happens to be the casts’ official shoe apparel costume. This makes a lot of sense because the shoe brand practically represents the image of the general public, and this too, crosses all social classes.

Gab with Ms. Alisah Bonaobra as "Aileen"
The characters in the story are the typical everyday people, struggling to survive the life in a flooded slum area. The story describes the distinctive characteristic of Filipino complacency in facing problems. These people are the ones who would choose endure the discomfort of the obstacles rather than solving it. Instead of finding lasting solutions, they settle for quick-bucks and short-lived fames, in the expense of the vulnerable.

Gab with Mr. Pepe Herrera as "Tolits"
However, in spite of their pathetic attitudes, love and genuine concern for each other abounds in the story. Values of perseverance are also impressed, reflected by the characters who showed exemplary talents with much confidence that what they have can bring them better lives in the future. It also highlights values of being true to one self, and learning to see and appreciate the “good-nature” in people who are often neglected. This proves that often times, life’s wisdom can be found in the most simplest of things.

Gab with Mr. Jimi Marquez as "Jewel"
After watching the play, I can say that I’m now a convert and I admit that I, too had an episode of LSS of the song “Basang-basa Sa Ulan”, as my family and I went home. For those who haven’t watch it yet, you still have until August 28, 2016. The Show runs Tuesdays to Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays to Sundays 3:00pm and 8:00pm at the PETA Theater Center. 
Gab with Mr. OJ Mariano as "Kiel"
For tickets go to ticketworld.com.ph or call 891-9999 or you can contact PETA at 725-6244 or email them at petatheater@gmail.com.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Beeffalo by Hot Rocks in Antipolo…

Have you been to Beeffalo Marikina, lately? Almost two years ago, my wife and I had a gastronomical experience when we were first introduced to the owners Louie Abad, his wife Girlie, and their long time friend and business partner, Caren Diaz who welcomed us to their restaurant. The dishes were spectacular, most especially the grilled ones which were cooked outdoors.

It was our first time to visit that part of Marikina which used to be remote and isolated. Today, that part of the city where there were very few establishments, is now a bustling avenue of resto bars, boutiques, and restaurants. Now, who would know that this remote place would soon be an area full of life? 

After a few years of operation in Marikina, The Hot Rocks visionaries ventured and introduced Beeffalo on the other side of town in Antipolo. Many of the diners are part of the same crowd who frequented the Marikina branch and have been loyal since. After only a few months of operation, the Antipolo branch instantly captured the preference of foodies from all over.

My wife and I, who are likewise big fans of Beeffalo food, visited the Antipolo branch a few weeks ago to once more experience the food which we missed so much (because we live quite far). We checked the menu and we were delighted to see new dishes added. 

Broccoli Soup - P120
We had a bowl of soup as introduction and started with the Broccoli Cheese variant, which is thick and very flavorful. The soup was not so smoothly refined, which I found to be good because you can actually feel the small bits of Broccoli which goes well with cream cheese. This dish comes with garlic toasted bread. When you visit, you may also try their equally delicious Roasted Pumpkin soup. 

Garlic and Mushroom Pizza - P195
I tasted a different pizza flavor before at Beeffalo Marikina and tried the Garlic and Mushroom Pizza this time. It may not be their signature dish, but it will surely make an impression once you experience it. The mushrooms are yummy and the mozzarella cheese taste so great. The size is good for three people and for P195, this pizza is definitely a sure winner and value for money. 

Baby Back Ribs - P765
But what made me travel from Alabang to Antipolo is one of Beefalo's signature dishes: their famous Baby Back Ribs! Painstakingly marinated with special herbs and spices (according to Louie who says the same thing about all their dishes he doesn't know all the ingredients of hahaha) for 48 hours, then oven baked to perfection, and after which is smothered with Beeffalo's signature rib sauce. This is also available in single serving with Java Rice for only P285.

Beeffalo Porter House Steak (250g) P395
The next dish, my wife's favorite, is a Tagaytay beef half-inch porterhouse steak. Cooked in a medium rare consistency, you get the best of the beef with its juice. This one is served with mashed potatoes, fresh veggies plus special dip mixed in, as Louie would always say ... Special Herbs and Spices. The steak is so flavorful and tender. Take note, it's not Angus ... its BatAngus beef! 

Sizzling Beef in Tamarind Gravy - P330
We also tasted for the very first time, Beeffalo's Sizzling Beef in Tamarind Gravy that is actually a deconstructed Beef Sinigang, minus the sabaw (soup). This is really out of the ordinary and certainly something Filipino sinigang-lovers should try. It tastes exactly like Sinigang in Tamarind but with sour gravy instead of soup. I'm sure this one will be another Beeffalo hit soon. 

Grilled Three-Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Soup - P225
Chicken Wings in two variants; Regular spice and Hot and Spicy - P195
Cheese Steak Sandwich  - P245
If the beef and ribs are too much for you, you may want to try their dishes catered for the light to heavy snackers. The Three-Cheese Sandwich is something you'd want to eat in between meals. It is served  with warm tomato soup. If you're not a fan of beef or pork, but prefer chicken instead, you can try Beeffalo's chicken wings with mashed potato on the side. If the Porterhouse steak is too much, go for Beeffalo's Cheese Steak Sandwich with special cheese dressing and french fries. 

Gabi Ice cream...
 Of course, a perfect lunch would not be complete without dessert. The Gabi Ice cream is certainly an exceptional one. This vanilla ice cream with the flavor of gabi rootcrop is definitely a must try! 

Aside from the delicious food we just had, the "after-lunch" fellowship and story sharing was extended. With the awesome food Beeffalo serves, truly, there are a lot of things to talk about. The owners are on high gear of bringing more to the restaurant. For one, the Marikina branch is currently under renovation but is still Business As Usual. The Hot Rocks group is also eyeing to put up a potential branch in the south of Metro Manila, soon!  

Beeffalo Marikina is located at Gil Fernando Avenue Marikina City while Beefalo Antipolo is at M.L. Quezon Avenue, in front of Antipolo Doctors Hospital. For inquiries, you may reach them at Tel. 534-1160 or Mobile 0939113077.

Friday, August 5, 2016

WeatherPhilippines: Empowering Filipinos for a #WeatherWiserNation

Last year, I was introduced to a group called WeatherPhilippines Foundation (WPF). I was invited by this group to attend a forum composed of bloggers and social media influencers to be immersed on what the foundation is all about, and how it complements the weather information dissemination of our current national weather bureau – PAGASA.  For those who missed reading that, here is the link. And for those who have not time to read it, let me just share a short context about what WPF is. 

My first engagement with WPF last year at Anvia Cove, Bataan
WeatherPhilippines is a non-profit organization initiated by Aboitiz Foundation, Union Bank, and the MeteoGroup, which provides a premier weather sensing and forecasting system through satellite weather stations mounted in strategic locations across the country. These state-of-the-art weather equipment deliver more localized and accurate data which can be access through a mobile (free) app or via the WPF website, www.weather.com.ph . 

WPF's #weatherwiser Social Media conference at Robinson's Summit Hotel at Cebu

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cobra Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific draws country's hottest celebs...

There is a big difference how celebrities in Hollywood maintain their young attractive physique between celebrities here in the Philippines. US celebs spend tons of money on surgeries and chemical agents to give an instant sculpted bodies so that they'll look good parading their looks at the Red Carpet in their Oscar's evening gowns. However, Pinoy celebs do it the hard way by beating their ass down in gyms, swimming pools and cycling routes, not just to look good but to qualify for the next Ironman 70.3 competition. 

Launching of Asia Pacific Cobra Ironman 70.3, at Shangri-La, Makati...
This coming August 7, 2016, celebrity fans will cheer on to their favorite celebs not for a rendering cover of a popular song but for their performance in the up coming Asia Pacific Cobra Energy Drink 70.3 Ironman triathlon competition. As these triathletes race along the shores and roads of Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City and Talisay, Cebu you'll be witnessing celebrities like Kim Atineza, Dingdong Dantes, Piolo Pascual, Mateo Gudicelli and many others compete among the toughest triathletes not just here in the country but from around the globe. 

Mateo Gucelli, Mrr. Wilfred Uytengsu with representatives of sponsors; Cobra, Ford, Globe, Cebu Provincial Administrator...
 July 7, 2016 Manila Philippines – close to 3,000 participants from 43 countries, led by very strong line up of pros will converge in Cebu on August 7, 2016 for the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships presented by Ford at Shanri-La Mactan Resort and Spa. Title holders Tim Reed and Caroline Steffen will banner a world class field of 35 professional tirathletes that will also feature 2,869 equally determined competitors in the Filipino elite, CEOs, age group and relay divisions. 

Mr. Fred Uytengsu, President and Founder of Sunrise Events Inc.
Excitement for the prestigious event has been high since it was first announce that Cebu will be hosting the 2016 Asia Pacific Ironman 70.3 Championship event. The event sold out 2,900 slots in 28 minutes when registration opened in October 2015. Produced and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and backed by Cobra Energy Drink as title sponsor, the tournament will offer the biggest prize money ever in the Philippines at $75,000 and the highest points earned. 

Atty. Mark Tolentino, Provincial Administrator, Cebu
“We truly honored to be chosen as the host for the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, marking the first time that this elite is held in Asia, outside of Australia and New Zealand, said SEI president Wilfred Uytengsu Jr. 

“On its 5th year in Cebu, the province will be ready to welcome all the participants and their families with the traditional Cebuano warmth and festivities. “ Atty. Mark Tolentino, Provincial Administrator of the Province of Cebu. 

Mr. Kenneth Cobonpue...
At the same time, 50 slots to the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee will be up for grabs, giving participants extra motivation to vie for top honors. But for those who will target just to finish it, finishers will awestruck with the Finisher's Medal designed by no other than Mr. Kenneth Co-bon-pue. 
Truly, more and more pinoys are engaging into the fitness lifestyles. Not just because we want to look good in our instagram pics but also test ourselves enduring our daily obstacles and other "show business" gigs along the way. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cebu Pacific and UNICEF unite to CHANGE for GOOD…

Last June 16, 2016, Cebu Pacific and UNICEF launched the Change for Good campaign. Basically, it is a resource development drive to fund UNICEF’s program 1,000 Days Health and Nutrition program. This program focuses on the health of the first 1,000 days of children which is critical to their optimum growth during childhood stage. The idea is for the flight crews to appeal to the passengers to donate and collect whatever change they have in their pockets regardless of currencies. These loose change will be pooled together to be given to UNICEF.

Launching of Cabu Pacific-UNICEF Change for Good Campaign at Crown Plaza, Ortigas Center, Pasig City...
For me, I think this is a great way to expand UNICEF’s potential market.  When I was with World Vision, I thought of a concept similar to this one. I proposed a project to insert a leaflet brochures to be inserted on PAL’s Mabuhay Magazines and it will reinforced by an appeal coming from the flight crews. These leaflets are the kinds where I donor can fill-up if he or she desires to sponsor a child. Unfortunately, this project didn’t materialized because PAL’s corporate social responsibility thrust was not focused on children’s education at that time. Plus the company was preoccupied by the tension coming from issues of transition of ownership of PAL from Lucio Tan to Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corporation. 

Ms. Anne Curtis, UNICEF Ambassador
Last week, my wife and I were invited to attend a two day media event in Cebu by Weather Philippines Foundation – WPF via Cebu Pacific. The 10 years of experience in fundraising for World Vision before prompted my curiosity to really observe how Cebu Pacific execute the fundraising appeal. So, after the snack offering rolled off, a flight attendant delivered a quick intro about the appeal and another flight crew pass through along the isle collecting loose change from passengers.

Other than the usual delays brought about by NAIA's air traffic congestion, the flight was relatively great! :)
It was a quick run and it’s good that there are people who responded. However, I noticed that the presentation of the campaign was read once and in a haste, with minimal emotion. It was delivered much like the way they read the routine Civil Aeronautics and Aviation Board safety protocols and guidelines which many don’t pay attention to.  And also, it was not mentioned that any currency can be donated. For me, it would be a good idea to say it because there are foreign tourists on-board with foreign currency which is relatively higher in value. Since it was a quick appeal, many passengers seated at the farther end were not able to grasp what the donation bag being pass around is all about. And some who did get it reacted a little too late thereby missing the flight attendant’s passing. In short, the appeal was not as engaging as I expected it to be.

Mr. "Pure Energy" Gary Valenciano, rendering songs at the launch...
Cebu Pacific, which marked its 20th year of operations this year, chose UNICEF’s First 1,000 days Health and Nutrition Program as the beneficiary of its change for good partnership. The first 1,000 days of a child are crucial to physical and mental growth and is the foundation of the child’s ability to grow and learn and earn later in life.

Ms. Anne Curtis, Mr. Lance Gokongwei, CEO CEB, Ms. Lotta Sylvander, UNICEF Philippines Country Representative with Cebu Pacific Flight Attendants
to learn more about UNICEF's First 1,000 Days Health and Nutrition program and ways how you can help, You can log on to www.unicef.org/Philippines or visit their FB fan page at   https://www.facebook.com/unicefphilippines

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Binahon Agroforestry Farm and Resource Center

Nestled on the foothills of Mount Dulang-dulang of the Kitanglad mountain ranges in Lantapan, Bukidnon, the Binahon Agroforestry Farm and Resource Center is an eight hectare organic farm that was toiled from a barren grassland where only cogon grass and weeds used to thrive. Mr. Henry and Mrs. Perla Binahon, natives of the province decided to leave their careers in the government as a forester and as animal Science expert at the DENR, and pursued the call to go back home to their native land to re-start their careers -- this time, as husband and wife farmers. 

Located at Sito Bol-ogon, Brgy. Sonco, Lantapan City, Bukidnon
The Binahons started their adventures in organic agriculture in 1992, from a two-hectare land that was acquired for only 15 thousand pesos paid in three staggered payments. In the early months, results of their labor were far from ideal and revenue was not even enough to replace the small nipa hut they built on the mountain. However, these setbacks did not deter them from their goals and persistently beat their backs to pursue what they came there to do. Luck suddenly turned on their favor when they were able to grow and harvest 50 kilos of cabbages from the farm. And from then on, better things and new opportunities came which made the two hectare grew to become an eight hectare agro-forestry farm. 

With Mr. Henry Binahon, Sayentistang Magsasaka
Trained as foresters and agriculturists from the University of the Philippines Los Banos, the couple were determined to pursue their passions using the principle that the only way vegetation can thrive is through diversity of plants and other living creatures by naturally applying ecological balance to the land.

Sir Henry demonstrates the strength of Abaca plant...
Last June 2016, I was part of a group of bloggers and social media influencers who were invited to visit the Binahon Agroforestry Farm. This was an initiative of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) of the Department of Agriculture (DA). The task is to immerse ourselves in organic farming, learn its benefits, and create public awareness via social media campaign through blog posts and other social media tools. 

The place is a five-hour drive from Cagayan de Oro City, passing through Malaybalay, Bukidnon and is situated at Sito Bol-Ogon, Barangay Sonco. The area is at an altitude of 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) above sea level and it serves also as a base camp or a jumping point towards the trail head for those who wish to scale the peaks of Mount Dulang-Dulang. Sir Henry belongs to the Tigibanam Indigenous People (IP) which are natives of the mountain and is confident to claim that Mount Dulang-dulang (2,941 meters) is the Philippines’ second highest peak and not Mount Pulag, Benguet (2,922 meters). 

Mt. Dulang-dulang or D2, Philippines 2nd highest peak...
As an IP, Sir Henry lives through the Indigenous principle that diversity is natures’ natural occurrence. He further expounded that “monoculture” is not natural and it is one of the reasons why pestilence occurs. It is nature’s way to deconstruct monoculture of plants being overly populated in one area. This phenomenon also holds true in humans which explains the presence of dengue, because there is an over population of human species concentrated on one particular area. 

 A diversified vegetation that allows various vegetables and fruit trees thrive together...
Contrary to the old-school belief that trees consume the nutrients for small plants if they’re planted near to each other, Sir Henry debunked that thought by explaining how diversity of plants and trees are beneficial to each other. He presented a simple ecological cycle where pests of vegetables are controlled because insects of a nearby tree or other types of plants eat the pests. Fruits and leaves of trees that fall to ground are eaten by earth-worms and the waste of the worms serve as the best form of natural fertilizers to vegetables that grow nearby. 

Different types of trees filled the agroforestry farm...
Our group of bloggers spent one whole morning with Sir Henry touring the eight-hectare farm, scaling rolling hills and crossing a river. Most of the full grown trees were planted by Sir Henry himself many years ago. These trees have already self-propagated themselves naturally thereby populating the area to become a natural forest. The farm have also become a bird sanctuary bringing with them other seeds not original to Sir Henry’s list, which contributes to the flora and fauna of the farm.

Rattan vines clings to the trees and serve as natural guy-line support during typhoons
Further on at the higher part of the Binahon Farm is the majestic view of Mount Dulang-dulang. On the rolling hills, one can appreciate the variety of livestock roaming around freely such as chickens, ducks, and peacocks. These animals are also grown organically and are fed with vegetables and natural feeds. On this part is also the greenhouse nursery of lettuces ready to be planted on farm plots. The farm specializes in carrot growing where they also produce other carrot-based products like carrot-cake, carrot-muffin, carrot-juice, carrot-cookies and carrot concentrates where all of us had a sample taste of these products. Apparently, the only carrot product the farm doesn’t have at that time is the carrot itself, because it was freshly harvested and sent to other parts of Mindanao and Cebu

Freshly baked Carrot Muffins...
The Binahon Agroforestry Farm is one of ATI’s learning sites, which employs agricultural students from different colleges and universities in Northern Mindanao. These students are spending time to be trained, not just on farming but also on the production of naturally-concocted pesticides. Mr. Binahon emphasized that in order for farmers to escape poverty, they should practice diversity of produce and learn to be entrepreneurs. He believes it is not enough for farmers to become good producers because they should be good businessmen as well. 

This is where they processed carrot-based products
The morning tour was certainly wasn’t enough to cover the whole place and there is so much more to see. The Binahon farm is open to anyone who wish to learn and experience organic farming. They offer accommodations good for one hundred people. Visitors and guests can avail of their organic farming tour complete with board and lodging. 

Binahon Agroforestry Farm can accommodate 100 guests...
For more information, you may reach Binahon Agroforestry Farm and Resource Center at mobile: 09178796890, email: hbinahon@yahoo.com. You may also get in touch with Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) at (63-2) 929-8541 to 49 or you log on to www.ati.da.gov.ph


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sun Life’s Money for life: How well are we planning for our future?

Despite the presence of dozens of insurance companies in the country, it is very alarming to know that the Philippines scores among the lowest rank in receptiveness in the Asian region with regards to being “insurance” conscious. Sun life Philippines, the leader in Insurance and investment business have recognized these facts and are diligently finding ways of bringing the message across through various campaigns and investment products. 

Sun Life's Money for Life Ambassadors...
Last June, Sun Life of Canada (Philippines) launches its five-year growth plan dubbed as “Rise PH”. This aggressive campaign hopes to target to serve five million clients by year 2020. After President Benigno S. Aquino III exited his post as the 15th president of the republic, he left our country with a huge leap in economic growth. After three decades as the “sick-man” of Asia, it is now the fastest growing economy in the region, even surpassing China in terms of growth-rate.

Money for Life launch at Shangrila Makati...
However, these positive economic statistics is yet to be felt by the people on the lower scale of the society and it will take a positive and aggressive push to continue the momentum so that we will see a more tangible effect. Nonetheless, Sun Life have felt that this is the opportune time to break the culture of apathy among the working class society and view life in a new perspective. 

The Bus of the Future offers riders a glimpse of what lies ahead if they invest in Sun Life...
According to Sun Life, financial literacy is the key to transform the minds of the present generation towards financial consciousness. However, for some who are “awakened” and have started to do their own initiatives, like putting up savings account, halt their potential to go further to improve the financial dilemma. Somehow, seeking the advice of a professional Registered Financial Planner or RFP would be more costly, so they try gambling their resources in some investment. Some made good hits but many failed miserably thereby getting frustrated to be engage in any form of Investment.  

It allows rider an experience of 360-degrees virtual reality video...
The Money for Life is a comprehensive, customizable financial planning program that will ensure that the client will have sufficient funds for every stage of his life. To help inspire the public to create their own Money for Life plan with a financial advisor, Sun Life created a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) video, transporting them in different scenarios based on their chosen life-stage. This will enable the viewer live the dream for a minute and be encouraged to start planning for their future through Money for Life and Sun Life’s life insurance and investment products.

These VR can be experienced by riding the Sun Life’s “Bus of the Future”. These buses are currently touring some parts of the major cities in the country, mostly schools and malls to help public see a “virtual” future of their own life can be if they plan their resources wisely. However, for those who failed to visit the Bus of the Future in their own locality, one can simply log onto the website: moneyforlife.com.ph, so they can instantly begin their own financial planning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alomah’s Place: Organic Farm / Adventure Farm

Outdoor adventures are the reasons why Trails Unlimited was born because I love sharing the various outdoor stuff that I do to encourage more people to be active and seek a healthier lifestyle. Years ago, when I was still as strong as an ox, I would climb mountains with friends almost on a weekly basis. Those were the days where I can load my pack filled with 35 kilos of equipment and carry it on my back for hours while hiking. Truly, the journey going up to the summit is as good and enjoyable as reaching it.

The water fountain at the middle of the fish pond is gravity fed that comes from the mountain...

Alomah's Place is a Two-hectare Organic farm land...

Now that my life has become busier, hiking gigs also became less and less. I really miss going on those kinds of trip. Form packing up gears, sleeping in tents for days, and cooking food high up in the mountains, these moments were priceless. During these times I often wish I could bring my kids with me for them to experience it too.

Fresh pick with the morning dew...

Located at Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
Last month, I was invited to a blogging event that featured five organic farms in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. It was organized by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) of the Department of Agriculture as part of their public campaign on food safety and food security. In this trip, I was able to bring one of my sons, Gab, along so he can write a story for Family Matters magazine where he is a contributing writer. I’ve been to this part Mindanao before and I knew it will be high up in the mountains. So, I guessed this was the adventure trip I was wishing for in a long time.
Del Monte Pineapple Plantation covers 14 kilometer long...
At Alomah's Green house Nursery. Lettuce seedlings ready for transplant...

Preparing for this trip brought us sheer excitement and joy indeed. I even bought Gab a new pair of trekking sandals and parka shorts to complement the adventure trip. I also gave a few tips in loading his pack so that he will not strain his shoulders in carrying them. Our flight to Misamis Oriental was pleasant and we arrived at Lagundingan Airport where ATI's van was standing by, ready to shuttle us to Bukidnon.

Varieties of fern trees and pine trees are also abundant in the farm...  

The African Night Crawlers (Earth worms) are essential for the Alomah's Place in producing the best natural Fertilizers.
 Our destination is the Alomah’s Place and it is located at Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. On our way there, we passed along Camp Philips, were the small community of staff and employees of the world famous Del Monte Pineapple plantation live. Soon after, we passed by the vast farm of Del Monte which stretches up to 14 kilometers long. Both on our left and right sides were acres and acres of pineapple plantations. Our van driver, Kuya Ren, told us that planes are used in pesticide dusting the entire place. I can’t help but imagine the tons of chemicals that are being dumped and absorbed by the plants and the soil every time they do that.

This is Cyclone. He already won eight trophies in Horse-Show Competitions...
Gab was euphoric because he was able to drive the horse all by himself...
 After an hour of trek driving, we reached Alomah’s Place. This farm is one of ATI’s learning sites that feature organic agriculture. But more than just an organic farm, it is also a tourist destination where guests can avail of its awesome outdoor adventure activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. To start with, Alomah’s Place has several horses which one can get some horse-back riding experience. These are not the usual small horses being rented in Baguio or Tagaytay, where the handler would asses a rider first if he or she is too heavy for the horse to carry

Catch fresh organically grown Tilapia at the pond...
Some of these vegetables are replanted on plastic pots which are for sale...
 These fine horses are actually much bigger and already won numerous awards in Horse Show competitions. The farm owner, Mr. Benjohn Mahistrado, is a skillful rider who allows daring guests to ride these fine horses with him along the steep valleys and along shallow river beds of in and around his farm. This definitely gives one the ranging cowboy experience. For some who wish to have a more relaxing and laid-back nature tripping, the fish pond is filled with organically grown tilapia, and one can enjoy catching them on a bamboo raft. These tilapia are fed with lettuces and duck weeds that make them healthy to eat.

Fresh Romaine Lettuce ready for harvest. The ones that didn't pass commercial quality are fed to the Tilapia...
Free-range chicken that are also organically grown...
 Moms will also have their share of adventures as they can experience harvesting lettuces, bell pepper and other vegetables which are grown free from chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. These vegetables are so fresh and safe to eat, one can tear a leaf from the plants and eat them where they’re planted. Alomah’s Place also feature different kinds of herbs such as 16 different types of mint! It was my first time to see and taste how a bubble gum mint and choco-mint taste like and they're quite amazing! In addition, the Tarragon, Spearmint and Stevia Tea is one of Alomah’s signature welcoming drinks which is very soothing and refreshing. And the preparation of these drinks is also very interesting.

Peppermint is just one of 16 varieties of mint
These are just among the 16 different kinds of mint herbs...
In a mug of hot water, put four to five leaves of Taragon, Spearmint and Stevia to make a soothing fresh herb tea...
 The accommodation of Alomah’s is another part that made this trip quite exciting. It features various types of sleeping styles, depending on the level of adventure one seeks. The farm offers Cabin / dorm types that accommodate  four to six people, outdoor tents that are securely pitched on the adjacent camping grounds and, of course, the “Tent-Floor”, which is located at the second floor of the Octagon Bamboo Pavilion. It’s for those who wish to experience sleeping inside the tent but under a bamboo roof. Gab and I braved to sleep in one of the tents outside to really feel the true camping experience; something that I really missed doing. At this time, the temperature was like 16 to 18 degrees Celsius with zero-visibility of fog all over the place. Yes, it’s cold because Dahilayan is situated 1,163 meters above sea level. It is almost as high as Baguio (1,500 meters).

Nipa Hut Cabins good for 4 to 6 people... 
Feel the true camping experience with their Tent accommodations...
Octagon Pavilion. The second floor holds the "Tent Floor"...
The Tent Floor offers five dome type tents Each tent can accommodate two persons comfortably...
 A few minutes from Alomah’s is the famous adventure park in Northern Mindanao which is the Dahilayan Adventure Park. During warm seasons, people from all over visit this adventure park that offers some of the best rides such as various types of ziplines from a novice 350 meter leisure lines, Flying Lizard Canopy glider, Python Roller Zipride to Asia’s longest dual Ziplines with its heart-pumping 850 meter length 100 meters above ground. There are more to experience in this park for a reasonable fee. However, accommodation rates may not be as friendly for some. That is why many who visit Dahilayan Adventure Park stay at Alomah’s Place where there are more affordable lodging rates.

Dahilayan Adventure Park's signature ride. Asia's longest Dual Zip line. (Photo credit: www.coconutinsider.com)

enjoy the rides or just relax with positive vibes being emitted by the vast pine tree forest in the park
But for people who prefer the “Farm adventure”, Alomah’s has more than enough to offer. Because it allows guests to be exposed to the beauty of organic farming. Mr. Benjohn, his wife Grace and son Diego are hands-on owners of the whole property. Many guests often mistaken them to be servants of the farm because they are the farmers themselves.

Alomah's Place is owned and managed by the Mahistrado family. Seated are Sir Benjohn, his son Diego and wife Grace...
For those who wish to visit Alomah’s Place and want to learn more about organic agriculture, you may reach Mr. Benjohn Mahistrado at 09177153560 or 09088972466. To learn more about other ATI organic agriculture learning sites, visit www.ati.da.gov.ph

A dream come true Camping trip for me... :)
Given a chance, I will definitely visit Aloma’s Place again, bring the whole family, and insist everyone to sleep in the tents.


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