Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Decathlon Philippines Opens at Festival Mall, Alabang

Ask a typical Filipino a few years ago to name whatever sports he could and he would just probably mention what's well-known here like basketball, volleyball, and badminton. Nowadays, Pinoys have thankfully gotten into a wider range of sports and other physical activities such as running, yoga, frisbee, and many more. 

French sporting goods giant, Decathlon, recognized and is tapping this growing market by opening its very first store in the Philippines. Decathlon is one of the biggest sports retailers worldwide. It was established by entrepreneur Michel Leclerq in 1976 in Lille, France and currently operates over 1,200 stores in over 30 countries. The Manila store, located at Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, is already their 16th in Southeast Asia and houses equipment and gear for over 70 sports inside its 3,000+ square meters venue.

According to Decathlon Philippines’ Country Manager and CEO Hans Iff, "As a brand, we want to be able to promote sports in the country. This means not only the sports popular in whatever market we go to, but also other sports. We want to be able to introduce new sports to our customers." 

Aside from popular ones we are already familiar with, the store also carries items for sports that are projected to take off in the country such as rollerblading, dance, and fishing. In the future, the store also plans to include local sports such as arnis and sipa

One of the unique features of Decathlon is the basketball court and sports playground located just outside the establishment. Inside, there’s also a tennis and badminton court, an area to try out skateboards and rollerblades, and an area for biking. 

"Ultimately, the store was designed to enhance customers’ brand experience, inviting them in to touch, feel, and see the quality of our products, the latest innovations, while discovering new sports," adds Iff.

The Philippines is considered an emerging sports market along with tremendous growth as seen during President Benigno Simeon Aquino's term. According to a report by the World Bank, the country’s gross domestic product is expected to grow between 2017 and 2018, which makes welcoming new global brands like Decathlon very feasible.

"We have been interested in the Philippines for quite some time now," explains Iff. "As the country’s economy has gotten more robust and consumers are becoming more wellness-conscious, it is the right time to invest." Filipinos are also generally getting more conscious about fitness and are getting more and more into sports. According to a McKinsey report, the sports industry in the Philippines is projected to multiply four times over the next twenty years, reaching €1 billion by 2026.

He adds, "With more interest in sports and a younger, more health and wellness-conscious population, the business environment in the Philippines seems like a very good place to invest in. We’re very positive that the concept will be well-received here."

During the store's formal launch, guests got to see why the retail giant attributes its success to the concept of hiring "sports leaders" who recognize passion as part of the business. These are individuals responsible for sales as well as for recommending products according to each individual customer. They are also allowed to decide on the inventory and type of products sold for the sport assigned to them. To do that, they must actually practice the sport that they are assigned to. 

"We believe that the best way to serve people passionately or who want to be passionate about a certain sport is to be passionate ourselves. That’s why when someone applies to be a sports leader, it’s required for them to be knowledgeable about and to enjoy the sport," explains Iff.

The importance of knowing about a certain sport is also reflected in its 40 in-house consumer focused brands. The Passion Brands such as Kalenji (for running), Quechua (for camping and hiking), Nabaiji (for swimming and aqua sports), and Geonaute (watches and sports electronics) all represent different sports or a group of sports and are developed by a team of experts.

Iff says each Passion Brand is conceptualized by experts who really practice the sport that they are designing for. "They are responsible for the research, design, development, and testing of their products."

The Decathlon team, when searching for the location of their first Philippine outlet, chose Festival Mall for its convenience and the lifestyle of the Alabang market. "[This] is a very active community. Sports really are alive here, so we couldn’t think of a better location for our first store than Festival Mall. Plus, the mall provides very good parking for our customers and is very easy to go to," states Iff.

Festival Mall is a Filinvest Lifemall. It is the center of attraction within Filinvest City and is considered the heart of the city. The Filinvest mall group is also ensuring that its upcoming mall developments in other locations such as Il Corso in City de Mare, SRP Cebu, FORA in Tagaytay, and Main Square in Bacoor, among others, will constantly resonate the same value of a Filinvest Lifemall. And as its new branding and tagline goes, “It’s where the City’s heart beats”. It is a premier development in Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.  It is the only mall with five anchor stores: Shopwise Supercenter, SaveMore, Robinsons Department Store, Ace Hardware, and Handyman. It has over 700 shops, a total of 2,300 multilevel parking slots, various food outlets, and indoor amusement rides.

At Decathlon, they offer sports for all, all for sports! Drop by, soon, and check out the wide variety of merchandise being offered there!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Pescos, Lorenzo impress at Manila leg of 41st National MILO Marathon


Manila, Philippines, 30 July 2017 – New faces graced the first place podium of the 41st National MILO Marathon Manila leg on Sunday, July 30. Winners Rafael Pescos and Cinderella Lorenzo stole the spotlight from their rivals in the 42km centrepiece event of the country’s oldest and grandest footrace. Each of them took home the top purse of P50,000 in cash and a trophy, and booked their slots to the National Finals in Cebu City on December 3 to try and claim the MILO Marathon King and Queen titles.

Pescos did not lead from the start, but gained ground on his opponents to place first with a time of 2:38:27. Erick Panique (2:43:10), and Noel Tillor (2:47:31) finished at second and third place, respectively. 

It is the 23-year-old Cebuano’s first time to win in the 42km category of the National MILO Marathon. Last year, he fell short of his goal in the National Finals in Iloilo as he struggled with the flu, but he was hungry to prove himself better. “For six months, I really trained and put in the hard work to prepare for the Manila qualifications. Even if I am not familiar with the race route in Manila, I was determined to fight and finish strong,” said Pescos. He added that the most important values he learned from his experience are confidence and belief in self to achieve his dreams, as well as generosity to others – he will share part of his prize money towards the training fund of his running team.

In the distaff side, Lorenzo clocked in at 3:16:15 to clinch first place. Lany Cardona (3:23:38) followed in second place and Lizane Abella (3:29:48) came in third. This race was Lorenzo’s first time to run the 42km distance and in true impressive fashion, the 28-year-old mom led all the way from start to finish. “Training wasn’t easy, but through sacrifice, perseverance and discipline, I was able to accomplish this great achievement today, together with my kids who also ran in their first 3K race,” she said. “I encouraged them to join me today for a learning experience through running. They are my inspiration, as well as my husband who is also my coach, and the rest of my family, too.”

More than a staunch advocate of Philippine sports and Filipino athletes, the National MILO Marathon is also a platform that empowers children nationwide. For the past 7 years, the National MILO Marathon’s Help Give Shoes advocacy, in partnership with Department of Education, has inspired 70,000 aspiring athletes to fulfill their dreams by donating brand new pairs of running shoes. This year, the Help Give Shoes advocacy will be donating 5,000 pairs to underprivileged school children.

The National MILO Marathon will continue in Angeles (August 6), Tarlac (August 13), Naga (August 27), Lucena (September 03), Lipa (September 10), Tagbilaran (September 24), Roxas (October 1), Iloilo (October 8), General Santos (October 15), Davao (October 22), Butuan (November 12), and Cagayan De Oro (November 19). The National Finals in Cebu City will be on December 3.

The 41st National MILO Marathon is endorsed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Department of Education, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Don’t miss the last few days to score fresh deals at Robinsons Supermarket’s Freshtival


Robinsons Supermarket's Freshtival is coming to a close, but shoppers still have a few days to score a wide array of fresh items that are conveniently available and easily affordable.

Mark your calendars!
Now on its 4th year, Freshtival continues to further promote the supermarket’s fresh section products by also giving shoppers exciting discounts, freebies, and special offers in July.

Every Monday, shoppers can buy a kilo of Supersavers Pork Barbeque to get an additional half a kilo free. They can also get P10 discounts on every kilo of Robina Farms Pork Pata Front, Robina Farms Pork Rib Shoulder or the Supersavers Pork Chop Skin-On Bone-In.

Shoppers can enjoy a kilo of Magnolia Assorted Chicken Cut Ups for only P110. Those who purchase Magnolia Free Range Chicken on July 28 can get additional 15 Robinsons Rewards Card Points.

Fruit lovers will have more reasons to drop by Robinsons Supermarket every July weekend with a buy 1, take 1 promo on Fuji Apples and Grapes. Kids can also get an early start to healthy eating with a free apple in select Robinsons Supermarket branches. Shoppers may also enjoy Whatta Tops Chocolahat or Mango Graham while saving P5. 

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of July, shoppers can get 2 free packs of Supersavers Cheese Slice 90g when they purchase CDO Highlands Premium Beef Patties 452g and free Magnolia Popsies Choco 65ml for every pack of Purefoods Tender Juicy Jumbo Hotdog 1kg. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

MILO launches 41st season of the National MILO Marathon

Wow, 41 years! It means, when it started, I was only in the Pre-school! That's how long MILO has been organizing marathon races in the Philippines.  I still remember when I was very young; my older cousins would cut-out MILO race forms in the newspapers and together with the aluminum lids of MILO cans they register in C.O.D. Cubao for the MILO Marathon. There were very few runners then (700 people) running along the whole stretch of EDSA, Roxas Boulevard, Espana, Taft Ave. and Magsaysay Boulevard. The first one in 1974 was won by a Golf Caddy named Numerio Titong. He clocked in at 3hrs. 4min. 10sec. with a worn-out Marcelo Ladies Rubber Shoes

Milo Marathon Organizers: Caoch Rio Dela Cruz, Mr. Joey Uy, Nestle Business Executive Officer, Mr. Ricky Ballesteros, 41st Milo Marathon Cebu Finals Race Organizer and Milo Philippines Sports Executives, Mr. Robbie De Vera and Mr. Lester Castillo.

Over the last decade, we have witnessed the exponential growth of the running community in this country. Before, organized running events offers only two categories which are the 21k and 42k distances, and short distance fun runs were happening only in town fiestas. Today, every running events offers wide range of categories where all levels can join in. However, as much as there are now countless running events happening around the metro and in other regions, there is one running event is known to be as the most coveted running race and this is the MILO Marathon.

Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of Philippines Sports Commission, Milo Executives, Mr. Ricky Ballasteros with Sponsors  

Milo Marathon is notably to be the pinnacle of marathons in the Philippines much like the Boston Marathon in the US. For one reason is that it is the only Marathon event in the country that is recognized by the International Federation of Athletic Association or the IFAA. They are the regulating body that measures the distance and standards of every marathon events which are the basis to qualify marathoners to other prestigious marathons around the world like the Boston Marathon.

Finisher's medals for 10k, 21k and 42k...

Recently, Nestle Philippines, the makers of MILO launched the 41st MILO Marathon at the I’M Hotel in Makati City that was attended by personalities in the running and sports community and members of the media. This year, MILO were happy to announced the new roads and features of the running event. Long time organizer of MILO marathon, RunRio Events, Inc. presented two new areas namely, Laoag City in Luzon and Roxas City in the Vizayas were added to the 16-leg tourney. The Additional Location will provide runners with new and exciting challenges, showcasing the great running experience the National MILO marathon is known for. And for the first time, the finals will be held at the sceneic route of Cebu City.

Coach Rio Dela Cruz, President of RunRio Events Inc.

16 tournament legs...

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Charitable Heart Behind GENKI SUSHI Philippines…

GENKI SUSHI is a Japanese brand that is quite famous for its unique food service that utilizes an un-manned conveyor technology called Kousoku Express Train System. The first time I ate there more than a year ago, not only was the experience a novelty, the food selections were also delicious. Each cubicle accommodates a family of four to six people and has a tablet conveniently placed for each table. The tablet presents all the available menus and a diner will just simply order the dishes by pressing each picture of the food on the screen.

Kousoku Express Train System...


The other week, I was invited to a food tasting event at the newly opened Genki Sushi branch in SM Aura where some of the newest menu items were also featured. These dishes were served via the iconic train delivery service just a few minutes upon ordering. The bite-sized pieces would certainly sit well with kids and kids-at-heart because of their delectable and colorful presentations. 

Genki Sushi SM Aura branch...

These are some of the new dishes at Genki Sushi …

Miso Soup

Favorites such as the famous Chirashi Don, Seared Salmon with Black Pepper, Chicken Teriyaki Don, River Eel Rice Bowl, and various sushi choices remain and new menu items have likewise been introduced. There’s the tasty Kushi-Age, 5 different kinds of deep fried skewered meat and vegetable in special Japanese batter; Coconut Shrimps, deep fried shrimps in panko bread crumbs rolled in coconut flakes; Deep Fried Salmon Skin and 4 new selections of sumptuous sushi trios. 

Coconut Shrimp

Seared Salmon

Sushi Trio

Sushi Spreme Patter

At the event, I met Mr. Eric Teng, the owner of Genki Sushi Philippines and CEO of Mother Spice Food Corp. His son, Patrick, recently passed away due to a post-operative complication early this year. The family was unaware that their promising young doctor had been supporting several charities, including a foundation dedicated to help the quality of life of children with special needs. 

Kids and parents of Heart At Play Foundation

Thus, children and their parents from the group called The Heart At Play Foundation were also invited during the store launch to dine and enjoy the food at Genki Sushi. According to Sir Eric, the company is establishing a CSR group with the primary mission of helping the foundation that became close to Patrick’s heart.

As a father who also has a child with special needs, I was happy to have the privilege of taking photos of the kids’ heartwarming smiles that will surely touch anyone’s hearts. I observed that they, too, were amazed with how the Kousoku Train Express delivers their food. For sure, Genki Sushi’s uniqueness will remain a fascination for every customer with a heart at play.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Dude Perfect Show


Have you ever come across the saying that you should do what you love and you’ll never work a day? Some of us chose to create delightful dishes, construct tall buildings, design fashionable clothes, but some dudes chose to turn their silly dares and tricks into an epic career. And you can watch them turn this into reality through The Dude Perfect Show!

The Dude Perfect Show is all about a group of friends challenging the impossible with a bunch of stunt-based tricks and dares. Those bottle flips? They can do it from a balcony, from a moving car to a high skinny rail and they can even do it 15 times straight. Those trick shots? They can do it from a roof or even through a moving ATV. In short, with anything that they do, they are sure to give it a Dude Perfect twist. You will be seeing more of that in this season, where they will get to share their stunts with celebrity guest stars like Luke Bryan, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Aaron Rodgers. They will also be creating more awesome battle videos like Giant Basketball Arcade, Lawnmower Race and Epic Snow Battle!

Get to know more of Tyler Toney “The Bearded Guy” who is the hyper-competitive captain of the group; Cody Jones “The Tall Guy” who is known as the jokester with a lovable personality; Garrett Hilbert “The Purple Hoser” who is also the dad of the group; the Twins, Coby and Cory Cotton who runs the business and production side of Dude Perfect; and lastly, Panda who loves to climb telephone poles and Go-Kart racing, in this season of The Dude Perfect Show!

It is pretty obvious that these dudes really made a career out of having fun. From making a living out of imagining and executing impressive athletic feats in their web videos and now, having their own TV show, there’s just no stopping for these guys. This just goes to show how we should all dare the impossible and maybe go a little crazy sometimes.

Go and catch these exciting set of cast and mind-blowing tricks on the premiere of The Dude Perfect Show this July 26, Wednesday at 9 pm! With new episodes every Wednesdays at 9 pm only on KIX!

KIX is available on (Cablelink Ch. 54, Cignal TV Ch. 264, Destiny Cable Ch. 63, Gsat Ch. 18, and SKY Cable Ch. 63.).  For more information, you can log on to or

Thursday, July 6, 2017

How Effective is the DSWD?

I started my community development journey more than 15 years ago when I joined World Vision and was immersed in the realities of poor peoples’ lives in far flung areas all over the Philippines. As I engaged with them, I began to question the role of the government in helping the marginalized members of society rise up from their current conditions. It wasn’t hard to deduce why NGOs like World Vision thrive in this country because the social development arm of the government is not doing enough to alleviate poverty and needs other development groups to do the job for them.
If this is not transparent enough, then ask the people who benefited from this project...

I guess then, judging was easy coming from somebody fresh out of the corporate world and just starting to learn about community development. Thankfully, when I got to work with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) teams during calamities and relief operations, my perception about the work they do in the grassroots level eventually changed. I realized that doing development on the government side has a different set of complexities and dynamics unseen by the public eye, which could be better understood given a chance.  

This Health Center is serivicing three naighboring barangays in Dolores, Quezon

Of course, I cannot also dismiss the fact that many shortcomings and limitations are the ones commonly highlighted by mainstream media. The truth is, there are also a lot of great things in this country we should be thankful about in terms of DSWD’s accomplishments in areas where government’s help is needed the most. Unfortunately, a lot of the milestones are often hidden in “reports” that are only circulated within the agency. If there is any news being sent out, appropriate packaging is often neglected thereby losing public receptiveness and, eventually, interest. 

Fiberglass fishing boats made by fishermen themselves. Photo taken at Atimonan, Quezon

Last week, I was invited by DSWD Region 4A to join a learning tour in communities they assist through programs such as the Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT), and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which has gained so much controversy and scrutiny coming from almost all sectors of the society. 

With Kuya Ferdy, President of Fiberglass Fishing boats Association in Atimonan...

My son, Gab and I, together with  other bloggers as well as representatives of other NGOs and the academe got to visit the towns of Dolores, Candelaria, Lucena, Atimonan, and Gumaca to witness first-hand how these programs are being implemented and how they impact the lives of marginalized constituents. The community tour involved a series of lectures and stories not from development experts but by the beneficiaries themselves. These are mothers, farmers, fishermen, and Indigenous Peoples – the ones mostly affected greatly by calamities and insurgencies. Our visit to these areas highlighted how DSWD programs are continuously changing the lives of the poor for the better. 

A Badjao Community in Lucena is learning Handicrafts using beads for potential livelihood...

The tour was a personal encounter with the beneficiaries themselves. Each of us had the privilege to have one-on-one conversations with some of them and even for just a short while, we were able to learn a lot of valuable lessons on development and human transformation much better than any organizational development consultant can share.  Even with my 15 years’ experience engaging with the grassroots communities, new interactions with them always generate life wisdom. 

Farm-to-market road was constructed by the community themselves and is now servicing adjacent barangays...

Our two-day stay in the provinces of Quezon was certainly not enough to capture everything in one blog post. I hope I can go back again and spend more time with them so I can learn more. Through their stories, I hope more Filipinos can appreciate how these poor people are striving and making the most out of the government resources being extended to them. 

DSWD Region 4A Social Marketing Team with Bloggers and Social Media influencers...

During the time of Martial Law in the seventies, the poverty rate in this country went up to almost 60 percent. Over time, this has gone down to 20 percent. Coinciding with this statistic, many of the non-government organizations giving assistance to the poor are slowly being phased out in many communities because the Philippines has been tagged as “lesser priority” in terms of development compared to other countries like those in Africa. These reports actually equate to the condition of a country that is slowly rising above poverty.  And as much as we, as a people, have a long way to go, it is comforting to know that many of those in the poverty line refuse to accept that they are a burden to the society. Instead, they are contributing entities that this nation can likewise capitalize on.  


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