As the COVID-19 pandemic hampered agricultural links to consumers, a number of Filipinos have developed an interest in urban farming and gardening. While it may seem like a simple hobby that can be used to while away time during the crisis, learning how to grow food in our own backyards can significantly help sustain food needs in order to be more food-secure.

To help encourage more people to become plantitos and plantitas and raise awareness on food security, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and the Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) have teamed up to produce a web series called Kalye Mabunga . The series is in support of the government’s ongoing “Plant, Plant, Plant” campaign that encourages people to attain food security at the household level by making available healthy, nutritious food in their own homes.

Each 10-minute episode tackles topics such as choosing which vegetable, fruit, and herbs can be planted in an urban setting. Urban dwellers, especially those with limited spaces, can learn about city space farming, garden maintenance, and proper habits. Episodes on making gardening supplies out of recycled materials, as well as using plants for art projects, aim to encourage parents to get their children interested in plants.

Aside from planting, viewers can also learn how to cook healthy vegetable dishes. An episode on medicinal herbs can help provide more natural remedies for common sicknesses.

Partner guests will also share best practices on how they successfully developed their own backyard farms.

In addition, the series will also feature special episodes for young kids that will aim to educate them about food and farming to make them appreciate the value of agriculture even at a young age.

Kalye Mabunga will run from July 17 to September 24, every Friday at 8 p.m, at the Smart Communities Facebook page.

The online series is supported by the Department of Education Philippines, Bangsamoro Development Agency, PLDT-Smart’s Gabay Kalikasan, and TV5 Alagang Kapatid Foundation, Inc.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Titanomachy International, Inc. (Titan), the Philippines’ leading basketball specialty concept store, announced today a multiyear merchandising partnership to relaunch the official online NBA Store in the Philippines.

Operated by Titan, will go live Thursday, Aug. 6, and will provide fans across the Philippines with access to official NBA products on all mobile devices. will offer a comprehensive selection of authentic NBA merchandise from all 30 teams, including jerseys, shirts, footwear, headwear, outerwear, accessories, and equipment from brands including Nike, Jordan Brand, Mitchell & Ness, New Era, Herschel, Spalding, and Stance.

“Our partnership with Titan provides an exciting opportunity to engage and deliver an enhanced digital retail experience to NBA fans in the Philippines,” said Lesley Rulloda, NBA Asia associate vice president of global merchandising. “We look forward to providing passionate Filipino fans with unprecedented access to authentic NBA products through the relaunch of the league’s online store.”

“At Titan, our mission is to inspire consumers to love the game through the best basketball products, stories, and experiences,” said Mike Ignacio, managing director of Titanomachy International, Inc. “Our newly-forged partnership with the NBA will enable us to cater to a wider range of Filipino basketball fans and equip them with new ways to express their love for their favorite teams, players, and league.”

As the league’s 25th branded international online store, will offer special collections and exclusive product releases highlighted by locally designed apparel. During the launch, will showcase the NBA Philippines Tees Collection, featuring four unique designs inspired by the country’s premier NBA fanbase and passion for the game of basketball.

Fans can visit and sign up for the newsletter to get access to exclusive offers on authentic NBA merchandise and follow on Facebook and Instagram for more information on NBA product launches and brand highlights.

Filipinos can also watch NBA Republika Huddle on the NBA Philippines Facebook page, designed as a platform for local influencers, sports personalities, and fans to discuss the latest events and happenings around the league.

For all the latest NBA news and updates, visit and follow NBA Philippines on Facebook and Twitter.

Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, today announced key findings on how the spending habits and behaviors of Filipino consumers are changing as operating in the ‘new normal’ takes shape across the globe. These findings come from a Visa survey of consumers from across 40 countries worldwide, including the Philippines.

According to the study, 70% of Filipinos said they intend to stick with digital payment methods instead of reverting back to cash even when the current emergency is over. This is similar to Asia-Pacific respondents (78%) and higher than the global shoppers (68%).

Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines & Guam, said, “We approached the study with the intention to gain a timely, deeper, and clearer understanding of how Filipino consumer behaviors are changing in the current environment.  In this new normal, we’re seeing a shift – Filipinos are becoming more digital, and the COVID-19 situation has forced consumers to adopt this change in behavior.”

Based on the findings, 73% of Filipino consumers said they are most likely to increase or sustain their current online shopping, similar to global shoppers (72%).

“Based on our data, we see that one in six active Visa cardholders who have never made an eCommerce transaction in 2019 are shopping online for the first time this year. They are shopping for essential goods and services such as groceries, drugs, and pharmaceutical goods and making bill payments for their telecommunication services. They are also making purchases for business services, showing a shift in small business owners making eCommerce purchases for business-related services,” added Wolbert.

When it comes to the shopping experience, 37% of Filipino respondents said online shopping is a more positive experience than shopping at a physical store, higher than the global response (35%).

“The shift to eCommerce means that it is even more crucial that we work with our partners to streamline the online shopping experience for Filipinos in the country. Currently, we are working with new partners, including SMEs who have onboarded eCommerce platforms to enable digital payments acceptance and help drive a seamless and secure online shopping experience for Filipino consumers,” added Wolbert.  

The study also shows cashless habits are forming across the globe with 42% of Filipino respondents saying they prefer paying with cashless methods.  This trend for the Philippines is slightly lower than Asia Pacific (61%) and global (59%).

“We hope these findings will spark conversation and drive collaboration amongst the payment ecosystem and beyond, as together we navigate these uncharted waters in the Philippines. Visa will continue to utilize its data, drive innovative practical solutions, and leverage the power of our global network to help businesses in the Philippines grow stronger as we enter the different phases of recovery,” Wolbert concluded. 

Award-winning and trailblazing communications, digital and public relations agency ComCo Southeast Asia continues its mission in igniting social change even amidst the quarantine economy by holding the 1st Philippine-wide “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”.

The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”, ComCo Southeast Asia’s latest initiative co-presented by Eastern Communications and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet, and Teleperformance, is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way especially during this period of crisis. An initiative open to bloggers in the Philippines, it aims to highlight the triumph of the human spirit by encouraging them to share their challenging journey and reflections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bloggers were invited to a storytelling competition where they could share their own plights, experiences, and life lessons through their blogs. As they submit their stories, ComCo Southeast Asia evaluated all blog entries and selected the Top 40 Storytellers based on writing and creativity (70%), use of media (25%), and blog engagement (5%).

The initiative received an overwhelming response from the blogging communities all over the country. More than 70 bloggers from Albay, Bacolod, Baguio, Bulacan, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iligan, Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, Laguna, Metro Manila, Quezon Province, and Rizal participated in the cause.

Winning the Write to Ignite Blogging Project are: Kurt Comendador of Kuku Notebook from General Santos at 1 st Place, Carla Araniego of Blissful Guro from Malabon City at 2 nd Place, and Cris Ruffolo of Lady with Backpack from Liloan, Cebu at 3 rd Place. All of them received cash prizes (PhP 20,000 for 1 st Place, PhP 15,000 for 2 nd Place and PhP 10,000 for 3 rd Place), Electrolux CompactGo Bagged Vacuum Cleaners and merchandise items from participating brands. Consolation prizes were also given to the top 40 storytellers.

The Top 3 Winners of ComCo Southeast Asia’s Write to Ignite Blogwriting Contest (from left: Carla Araniego from Malabon City – 2 nd Place, Kurt Comendador from General Santos City – 1 st Place, and Cris Ruffolo from Liloan, Cebu – 3 rd Place)

Part of the prize of the top 3 winners is the opportunity to donate PhP 10,000 to any of the charitable institution or non-government organization (NGO) accredited by ComCo Southeast Asia. These are Humanility, SOS Children’s Villages, and World Vision Philippines’ COVID-19 Emergency Response.

Participating blogs were evaluated by an elite pool of judges composed of distinguished professionals in the fields of communications, marketing, digital and social media, and advocacy. Chaired by Ferdinand Bondoy, Regional Integration and Chief Executive Director of ComCo Southeast Asia, the board of judges also include:

  • Ken Abadiano, esb电竞数据投注电脑版 Manager of Dragonpay
  • Ana Arcega, Lead Copy Writer of Jobstreet
  • Bea Castro, Brand Communications Specialist of Eastern Communications
  • Carl Cuevas, esb电竞数据投注电脑版 Communications Officer of UnionBank
  • Via Del Rosario, esb电竞数据投注电脑版 Communications Assistant Manager of Electrolux
  • Elaine Gallardo, esb电竞数据投注电脑版 Communications Manager of Sun Life Asia Service Centre
  • Joan Icotanim, Brand Communications and Administration Director of ComCo Southeast Asia
  • Tricia Cusi Jimenea, Business Development and Market Expansion Director of ComCo Southeast Asia
  • Genesis Lamigo, Communications Manager of World Vision
  • Nadine Leoncio, Brand Lead of AirAsia
  • Kai Pioquinto, esb电竞数据投注电脑版 Communications Manager – Asia Pacific of Emerson
  • Maia Melencio, Partnerships & Resource Innovations Manager of Unilab Foundation
  • Rachel Syfargo, Brand Communications and Operations Director of ComCo Southeast Asia
  • Kathreen Joy Velandres, Brand Manager of Primer Group
  • Lynn Ventenilla, Senior Director of Communications and esb电竞数据投注电脑版 of Telepeformance
  • Gregg Yan, Director and Founder of Best Alternatives

“What can we do? This is the question that gave birth to the Write to Ignite Blogging Project. We want to do something for the blogging community so they could share their stories and truly write again. We want their readers and the nation as a whole to be inspired about these stories and how can these ignite them to move forward. We thought of how our brand partners could extend the things they do during the quarantine economy and reach out to their publics. And we are overwhelmed with everyone’s response. I guess people are looking for something to connect to, to realize that their plights are not different from the rest, and to spark their souls. And I can see that by connecting to one another and working together, we will soon rise from this crisis,” said Ferdinand Bondoy.  

“Write to Ignite Blogging Project” was made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications as co-presenter, and with Electrolux, Jobstreet, and Teleperformance as major sponsors.

Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights, and consulting group, has identified five key behavioral shifts that consumers across Asia are expected to make in a post-COVID-19 world, as well as changes that businesses will experience as economies slowly start to reopen across the region.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a turning point in our history – not only for the healthcare system but also for business models that are changing the way they run their operations to adapt to the new normal,” Vicky Abad, Chief Client Officer at Kantar Philippines, said. She added that Asia is in a unique position compared to the rest of the world. Asia was at the center of the SARS pandemic that happened 15 years ago making its people ahead of the curve when it comes to the needed behavior change. Another factor that differentiates Asia, according to Abad, is its sense of societal cohesion and community-based mindset and culture. Lastly, the region has been showing its openness to change, especially in adapting new technology for e-commerce, the use of robotics in hygiene practices, and improved data-sharing to aid contact tracing efforts. 

Abad discussed how the ongoing pandemic has altered the behavior of consumers in Asia, as they adapt to new ways of living, working and playing. She then shared Kantar’s insights on the five consumer behavior shifts that are here to stay even in the post-COVID era.


In a post-COVID-19 world, consumers will start paying more attention to investing in goods and services that offer stability, safety, hygiene and defense instead of seeking only lifestyle protection. As expected, people will invest in physical shields and protective spaces that offer safety outside their home. Career and investment decisions moving forward will also be driven by fear of experiencing another large-scale global crisis. While there is willingness to share data to safeguard the welfare of the majority, consumers will not be sacrificing their community’s digital security.


After the pandemic, consumers will have a hyper focus on slowing down and nurturing self-growth, giving emphasis to science and in-home solutions. Significant strides to improve and promote mental and emotional health will be done in a post-COVID-19 world as homes become equipped with spaces or areas designed to promote wellness.

Abad noted that time will no longer be a “luxury commodity.” Instead it will be an abundant resource that many will use to safeguard their health against life-threatening illnesses by seeking immune boosting ingredients and leading a healthier and active lifestyle. This shift will make wearable technology an “essential” item for many

3. Connections

From static relationships, people across Asia will embrace new and fluid networks after the pandemic. Many witnessed random acts of kindness during this challenging time. This level of optimism will fuel empathy and support, which will bring people with similar experiences closer, and they will be recognized as “Generation COVID”.

According to Abad, people will be more conscious of interactions with their peers and will limit their physical footprints and activities to avoid getting sick. Organizations and businesses will have to make remote working arrangements as part of the norm without sacrificing the company’s productivity.

Social distancing measures will also restrict netizens’ contact with their loved ones, which will fuel their creativity in establishing a level of digital intimacy despite their distance.

4. Flow

Consumers will value long-term convenience such as accessibility and flexibility, alongside short-term convenience of speed and efficiency in a post COVID-19 world.

Having undergone a prolonged period of uncertainty, people will develop a renewed appreciation for essential products and services, especially those that offer security of supply through premium subscription models. Products and services without subscriptions will force consumers to reach out to organizations and companies while maintaining a safe distance and a healthy respect for personal space. Consumers will pivot and adapt to unexpected and fluctuating circumstances, but they will also expect businesses to quickly change direction to meet their shifting needs.

The pandemic brought out the good in people. Ordinary citizens will continue to step up and support the marginalized and underprivileged groups as the whole world heals and recovers from the pandemic. 


After COVID-19, consumers will seek experiences that are practical, creative, and provide in-home fun. Many will search for experiences that provide wellness benefits, as well as fun and enjoyment. To achieve this, people will invest more on devices and platforms to embrace leisure and entertainment that will satisfy their mood and get rid of boredom at home. 

“There will also be a resurgence of analog experience as it satisfies consumers’ need for human-to-human connection that they were deprived of during the crisis period,” added Abad.

According to Abad, businesses must, therefore, prepare for these shifts and adapt accordingly to avoid being alienated from the rest of the post-COVID-19 world. Companies must be mindful and ready to shape their business models according to the new consumer behaviors to survive, thrive, and ensure relevance in the new world.

The Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc. (MRSGI)  is launching its first Virtual Metro Community Bazaar on July 6  which will last until July 31, 2020.

In celebration of National Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Month, the virtual bazaar is spearheaded by MRSGI n partnership with Vicsal Foundation Inc. (VFI). VFI is the non-stock, non-profit private domestic corporation that champions the CSR initiatives of MRSGI owner and operator, Vicsal Development Corporation.

With the theme “We Rise as One Metro Family” , the activity is part of the ongoing efforts of MRSGI and VFI to extend care to vulnerable communities across the Philippines.

“Family is at the core of everything we do at Metro, and the current health situation has shown us how strong this familial foundation is. We are grateful for our Metro family, because they ensure that our local communities receive support during these challenging times,” states Frank Gaisano, MRSGI chairman and CEO. “Through the First Virtual Metro Community Bazaar, we invite our shoppers to take part in this continuing cycle of malasakit by supporting CSR brands that help uplift fellow Filipinos.”

A bevy of food selections and lifestyle merchandise from select social enterprise brands, fun learning activities, and live Metro Community Talks featuring MRSGI's CSR partners will be available via the First Virtual Metro Community Bazaar site,, and The Metro Stores page on Facebook.

Up for grabs are gourmet food products created by Caritas Margins, a program that provides skills and entrepreneurship training to marginalized sectors; as well as Moringa Tea from GreenEarth Foundation. Featured organizations include Caritas Manila, a church-based social enterprise that markets micro-entrepreneurs’ products; and Caritas Segunda Mana, a donations-in-kind program.

Foodies will enjoy healthy and portion-controlled meals from MDF Diet2Go; Bukidnon’s adlai rice from Kiboa Ridge Farms; and tasty snacks from SeaKid. Shoppers can also avail of fresh produce from MAD Market and Blessed Earth Farm.

Aside from shopping for food products, Metro’s own Suisse Cottage is opening its doors to teach baking-for-livelihood learning sessions. Everyone can now follow Metro’s easy-to-bake recipes and create their own batches of goodies.

Sustainable lifestyle products from Coca Cola’s Women Artisans of Tondo and local brands Bambuhay, Likha Lokal, and Wow Carmen Handicraft are also available.

Also participating are humanitarian organizations COVID Manila Project, Bahay ng Diyos Foundation, DSWD Haven for the Elderly, and Habitat for Humanity; The Philippine Red Cross, which provides essential health assistance; St. Arnold Janssen Kalinga Center, a community-based program that helps the poor through bathing-clothing-feeding, educational skills, and employment-livelihood initiatives; dance and performing arts companies 8 Movements and Daloy Dance Company, education publisher REX Book Store, Inc. and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, which facilitates livelihood activities for Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs).

The event is supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.

For more information about the Virtual Metro Community Bazaar, please log on to


Gamers who got deep into Animal Crossing: New Horizons and now stuck in quarantine might want to check out the new KFC Island that was made by Ogilvy Philippines and KFC Philippines. 

The virtual island is full of different attractions that remind customers of their favorite meals through features like a mini-restaurant.

“People haven't been going out in the real world but they sure are hanging out in Animal Crossing. So if they can’t dine in the stores, we thought it's just apt that we open a KFC branch right on their gaming tablets. It comes in perfect timing too! Because our creatives are addicts of Animal Crossing,” says Eia Garcia, creative director at Ogilvy.

"This lockdown, KFC Dine-in is open for a limited number of people. So we thought it's just apt that we open a KFC branch right on their gaming tablets. It comes in perfect timing too! Because our very own Ogilvy creative team is composed of addicts of Animal Crossing,” says Garcia.

Ogilvy meticulously designed the consumer experience of the whole island. while KFC released a promo in-game: a free bucket of 8-piece chicken redeemable in the real world.

To enter the KFC Animal Crossing Island, follow @kfcphilippines on Facebook and wait for the daily Dodo code.






As the community quarantine eases up in the metro and beyond, Waze, the community-driven navigation platform, is working closely with its Crisis Response team and its volunteer Map Editors to keep drivers safe globally in the wake of the pandemic. In the Philippines, Waze reveals the latest updates with these new in-app features:

1. New Notification
For the past few months, the “Luzon quarantine” notification appeared every 24 hours on the app to remind Luzon-based users of the ongoing Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Since various areas have now relaxed the regulations to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), a “Drive only if necessary” notification will now appear on the app to remind users to “Stay safe and healthy. Follow local travel guidance and only drive if you must.”

2. Drive-Thrus and Curbside Pickups
Users can now locate the nearest store offering drive-thru and/or curbside pickups on the app. To support restaurants and other businesses, Waze began identifying places that allow drive-thrus and/or curbside pickups so that Wazers will know where they can safely get their essential items while avoiding as much contact as possible.

3. COVID-19 Donation Centers
As more Filipinos have been helping each other in the midst of the pandemic, Waze contributes by plotting donation centers on the map. Waze now allows users to search for the nearest donation drop off center by typing “Donation center drop-off” in the destination search bar. Wazers can also choose among the other drop-off centers found in the search results.

4. Updated Reference Laboratories
In April, Waze added COVID-19 Reference Laboratories to its map. Waze has successfully pinned 59 reference laboratories and will continue to add more as they are made available by the Department of Health.

5. COVID-19 Landing Page
As part of Waze's response and recovery efforts, Waze is making their COVID-19 Impact Dashboard available externally so that governments, academics, and the interested public can gain more insight into local driving trends. On this page, governments around the world can also contribute data on both medical testing center and emergency food distribution center locations to help improve Waze maps for users.

Waze continues to help Filipinos whether on or off the road. Drivers are highly encouraged to take precautions, follow local guidelines, and report real-time accidents, hazards, blocked roads, weather conditions, and more that will help fellow Wazers safely reach their destinations.


Visa (NYSE: V) announced a commitment to support 10 million small businesses across the Asia Pacific in an effort to get local communities back to business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visa is introducing a range of programs and solutions to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) drive efficiency and sales by accepting and making payments digitally to meet increased demand for cashless payments – both online and in-store. Visa also formed the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI) focused on economic and societal issues, including pandemic challenges SMEs face and closing racial and gender opportunity gaps.

The 10 million pledge is part of a global program that will see Visa supporting 50 million small businesses worldwide. Small businesses will play a vital role in helping communities recover – they account for more than half of global employment and are among the most affected by the pandemic in the Asia Pacific, SMEs account for more than 90 percent of businesses and employ 50 percent of the workforce.

In addition to the economic impacts, COVID-19 is accelerating the use of digital commerce experiences, from people seeking new ways to pay that do not involve touching a terminal, to a boom in eCommerce, as stay-home orders result in shopping online instead of in-store. In the Asia Pacific, 41% of consumers made five or more eCommerce transactions in the past three months. Three-quarters of consumers in the region have said they will keep using digital payments instead of going back to cash, even after the global pandemic has subsided.

“Commerce across the Asia Pacific, including the Philippines, is shifting further into digital in the wake of COVID-19, from more people ordering essentials online to people looking for secure, touchless ways to pay in person,” said Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines & Guam. “Visa’s role as a payments network means we can help SMEs adapt to these new ways of managing and growing their business, ensuring that these crucial players can recover.”

To help small businesses, Visa is focusing initially on four strategic areas to promote digital commerce and economic growth, with plans to continue to create products and services as the needs of entrepreneurs change over time. These areas include:

Empowering digital-first businesses: Visa has built localised online resource centres – now available in more than 20 countries and territories – providing tools, partner offers, and information on how to start, run and grow a digital small business. Visa is teaming up with leading eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and Boutir to help local businesses get online. Visa will be expanding its global partnership with IFundWomen to the Asia Pacific, providing grants and digital training to women-owned small businesses in India.

Encouraging digital payments : Deploying easy to adopt touchless payment technology – rapidly, and at scale – is critical to enabling faster, more secure commerce. Visa is working to introduce low-cost digital payment acceptance, including solutions that do not require point-of-sale systems and can enable a merchant’s mobile phone to become a payment terminal. Visa and its partners have launched tap to phone solutions in Malaysia, with more Asia Pacific markets such as Australia, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, and Vietnam to follow. Visa is also supporting SMEs to make business-to-business (B2B) payments digitally. By digitalising procurement payments through the use of a Visa Business Card, SMEs can utilise reconciliation tools and benefit from higher efficiency and data insights, in addition to managing their working capital effectively. Visa has curated special partner offers for SMEs using these business cards, which include access to cloud accounting platforms, digital marketing and professional courses.

Incentivising neighbourhood support : Visa partnerships encourage consumers to shop locally and remind them that where you shop matters. The Visa Back to Business Project – an online tool that helps consumers identify businesses that may be open in the wake of the pandemic or a natural disaster – is now live in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S., and further expanding globally. Visa has launched its new ‘Where You Shop Matters’ initiative in Australia and New Zealand that champions and enables entrepreneurs while encouraging consumers to support small businesses. Visa will be expanding the initiative to other Asia Pacific markets such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Developing positioning and policy : In addition to the initiatives Visa is undertaking, the company today announced the formation of the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute. This new institute comprises Visa experts and partners who will help address underlying problems and provide insights for SMEs' growth and closing racial and gender gaps. Key projects in the next six months will address topics including post-crisis recovery and resilience, urban mobility, closing equality opportunity gaps, and insights into the gig economy.

The Visa Foundation announced last April, that it will provide US$210 million in COVID-19 relief funding to address the longer-term needs of the small and micro business community over the next five years.

As the trusted engine of commerce, Visa is committed to using its global network to help the world adapt, rebuild, and get everyone back to business. 


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