When the COVID-19 pandemic started affecting the country, businesses all over the country came up with ways to extend help to those who are in need. The companies’ CSR programs significantly contributed to helping health facilities and frontliners and providing food and financial assistance to affected communities.

Top business leaders in the Philippines are converging to share their experiences and learnings during the pandemic at World Vision’s two-day virtual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Summit on October 13 and 14, 2020.   World Vision’s CSR Summit entitled “Doing Good is Good Business” will talk about the value of doing Corporate Social Responsibility amid the pandemic. The speakers of the two-day online event consist of distinguished business leaders in the country.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, their families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by its Christian faith and values, it is dedicated to working with the world’s most vulnerable people. It serves and collaborates with all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

World Vision’s CSR Summit is free for everyone and will be streamed live on World Vision Philippines YouTube channel on October 13 and 14, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

The first day of the summit will showcase ways on how a business can survive by protecting its stakeholders like suppliers, partners, and employees. The speakers’ line-up includes Ms. Maribeth Marasigan of Aboitiz Foundation, Mr. Guillermo Luz of Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, Mr. RJ Cabaluna  of Grab PH, and Mr. Carlos Barrera of Lazada E-Services Philippines Inc.

Meanwhile, the second day of the conference will talk about how CSR affects brand positioning and awareness, and how to successfully engage the employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Speakers of the second day are Norman Agatep, APR of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), Angela Totanes of Robinsons Supermarket Corporation, Anna Legarda-Locsin of Procter & Gamble, Louisa Mila V. Echevarria of People Management Association of the Philippines, Pamela Donato of Conduent, and Ms. Kit Sison of Willis Towers Watson.

The World Vision CSR Summit will be moderated by Ritzi Villarico-Ronquillo, APR, IABC fellow of PRSP and Aneth Lim, a board trustee of World Vision.

“Corporate social responsibility programs keep the Filipino 'bayanihan' spirit thrive, and World Vision and its partners are honored to present these in the upcoming World Vision CSR Summit. We hope that this will help the business sector and other organizations as they work for communities and the most vulnerable children especially those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we will heal as one,” said Mr. Rommel Fuerte, World Vision national director.

Award-winning mobile application Free Bee, which is powered by technology services provider PLDT Global Corporation, is launching an online video series for overseas Filipinos to help them stay informed, entertained, and healthy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Entitled Rated Global Pinoy , this hour-long lifestyle online talk show will feature topics that are close to the hearts of Filipinos around the world. 

“This online campaign is meant to make our kababayans feel that they are not alone. We are going beyond connectivity to creating a venue where we can help Filipinos worldwide find ways to support their emotional needs while they are in a long-distance setup,” said Albert V. Villa-Real, chief commercial officer at PLDT Global.

“Through these video series, we hope to deliver meaningful content that hopefully will make our OFWs feel closer to home,” he added.

Free Bee also aims to strengthen the connection of OFWs with their loved ones back home by enabling longer, ad-free calls in key migrant destinations such as the United States, Canada, India, South Korea, among others, at affordable rates.

This premium, reliable, and affordable call plans are tailored to suit the needs of Filipinos with families living or working abroad and help them maintain strong family ties.

Launched in 2017, Free Bee has also partnered with other companies and organizations all over the world to provide services such as Smart, TNT, and Sun load top-ups, online bills payment, application for insurance and loan products, and lifestyle guides for Filipinos overseas.

Kalaro a digital esports platform, will be launching on October 12, 2020. It will be Asia’s fist fully-integrated end-to-end Esports online platform that was created by an internationally-experienced team of Filipino tech experts.

The-AsiaGroup.com Inc. officially announced also its alliances from top corporate brands namely National Computer Systems (NCS) of Singapore, ERNI from Switzerland, and local companies Union Bank of the Philippines, DragonPay, GCash and Globe Labs.

On its launch in October, the nationwide online sign-up will be made available to esports fans and players. Interested gamers can join Kalaro using their mobile number, Facebook, Twitch, Razer, or Google accounts.

 “We are thrilled to finally unveil Kalaro to be the catalyst in rapidly developing world-class Filipino esports talents. With the incredible support we are getting from our partners and the gaming community, we’re excited to realize the synergy Kalaro will create among corporate brands and more than 30+ million Esports enthusiasts in the Philippines,” said Renalyn B. David, board of directors member of The-AsiaGroup.com Inc./ Pnex Int’l Corporation.

NCS handles the technology cloud infrastructure to ensure that Kalaro is globally available to all Filipinos 24/7. They also handle the various integration requirements of Kalaro so that it can connect online to all other apps like Facebook, GCash, DragonPay, Twitch, and other 3rd-party systems.

On the other hand, ERNI is responsible for the design of the User Interface (UI) and overall User Experience (UX); translating these designs into actual working systems for Kalaro users to enjoy. Together with the in-house tech experts of The-AsiaGroup.com, Kalaro has achieved the global standards in software (app) design and development.

“Kalaro was able to capture the aspirations of all the eSports stakeholders and present it in a creatively designed User Interface (UI) which results in a fun, easy to use and with a comprehensive set of features fitting to the demands of tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zs,” said David Nithyananthan, co-founder of The-AsiaGroup.com Inc./Pnex Int’l Corporation.

The digital platform also paves the way for corporate brands to collaborate with Kalaro's stakeholders. They can have storefronts inside Kalaro to enable them to promote and sell their products online to Kalaro users. Brands can also sponsor gamers, streamers, teams and leagues. Kalaro members can electronically transact 24/7 anywhere around the globe. This e-wallet feature of Kalaro is powered by Union Bank of the Philippines, DragonPay, GCash, and Globe Labs.

On its launch in October, the nationwide online sign-up will be made available to Esports fans and players. Interested gamers can join Kalaro using their mobile number, Facebook, Twitch, Razer, or Google accounts.

“We at Pnex Int’l Corporation are both proud and excited to launch our Esports platform, initially, to the Filipino gaming community. The more than 30 million Filipino gamers are a huge market and Kalaro will surely be their gaming companion. Our team has done an incredible job in creating a world-class product we Filipinos can all be very proud of,” said Marvin Alberto, president of Pnex Int’l Corporation.

The timeliness of Kalaro seems to be in perfect alignment with the need to boost the Philippine economy. Kalaro can mobilize the 30+ million Filipinos gamers market for some economic activities which would give jobs to corporate brands who will focus on this market segment, create work-from-home opportunities for streamers & gamers, spark some consumer spending and at the same time hone future esports world champions.

Esports entertainment company Ampverse today announced a pre-Series A funding round to accelerate the growth of esports across Southeast Asia, in what was an oversubscribed round.

Ampverse’ investor base includes high-profile investors from across the global gaming, media, technology and finance sectors. This round of investment comes off the back of a successful accelerated growth strategy, which resulted in 150% year-on-year revenue growth for Ampverse, from H1 2019 to H1 2020.

Ampverse’s strategic investors include Robert Gilby, former managing director at Disney Southeast Asia, Axel Wehr, partner at Firestartr and formerly of Bain Capital Private Equity, Alex Khan, group managing director international, Unruly, Matt Sutton, former CEO of ADA, a division of Axiata Group and current entrepreneur-in-residence at INSEAD and David Ng, CEO and founder of goGame.

Further investment has been made from Vulpes Investment Management, an early stage investor in two Singapore-based unicorns PropertyGuru and Trax, via the Vulpes Special Opportunities Fund, launched this year to invest in companies that represent a strong growth opportunity in a post covid-19 world.

Ampverse will use the capital raised in the pre-series A round to drive further regional expansion across Southeast Asia, supported by a 100% headcount increase over the next 12 months, and a programme of M&A investments across local markets. The development of proprietary technology solutions and a bespoke content studio will also be driven by the investment. Video gaming is a growing cultural marker, especially in Southeast Asia which represents the fastest growing gaming market globally, where the vast majority (82%) of the urban online population are gamers (NewZoo). 

Founded in 2019, Ampverse works with brands to drive awareness, engagement, consideration and purchase among Gen-Z audiences in the Southeast Asian region. Ampverse’s ecosystem includes a suite of owned-and-operated esports teams, gaming channels, original content programming, publishing assets and merchandise.

Ferdinand Gutierrez, Co-Founder and CEO at Ampverse is bullish about the performance of the esports sector in Southeast Asia. He commented, “The video gaming industry is displaying remarkable potential with vast opportunities for growth in Southeast Asia. We believe that when communities flourish, awesome things happen, and we built the Ampverse brand based on the belief that hyperlocal communities have the power to drive change.

“Looking back, we’ve had a tremendous year, from our expansion into new markets, to acquiring major esports teams, to working with some terrific brands and now attracting the interest of a dynamic pool of investors. And this is only the beginning. We’re excited to continue this momentum, scaling across the region while driving a hyperlocal growth strategy in each market,” he continued.

Over the past 10 years, Twitter and K-Pop have grown side by side to become a true dream team. Today, #KPopTwitter is one of the largest global conversations on the platform. Despite the global COVID outbreak, the love for K-Pop remains strong with over 6.1 billion K-Pop related Tweets in the past 12 months worldwide. With over 300 K-Pop Topics (by artist names) that can be followed on Twitter, fans around the world can easily see the best Tweets and join the global conversation about their favorites. To celebrate 10 years of #KPopTwitter success, Twitter has partnered with K-Pop Radar to release K-Pop data across 20 markets and show how the global K-Pop community passionately share their love and connect with their favorite artists.

YeonJeong Kim, Head of Global K-Pop Partnerships at Twitter said, “All we can say is thank you -- it’s been a pleasure to watch and participate in the growth of K-Pop over the past 10 years. When K-Pop artists want to reach a global audience, they go on Twitter to connect with their passionate fans who want to be the first to see and talk about what’s happening. These fans -- many who are young and based all over the world -- are flocking to Twitter to join these fun #KPopTwitter conversations to feel connected to a global fan community.”

Twitter has also organized an exclusive “Decade of #KPopTwitter” global live party in Twitter’s Blueroom, bringing together several of the K-Pop pioneers (Sunmi, Wonder Girls), global top stars (Kihyun and Hyungwon, MONSTA X), and fast-rising artists (Bang Chan, Stray Kids) in a fun talk-show format to discuss the past 10 years of K-Pop and Twitter. K-Pop fans can submit questions using the #AskKPopTwitter hashtag and join the live stream at @TwitterLive or @TwitterKorea starting at 11 AM PHT on September 22, 2020.

Twitter continues to be the go-to source among fans for all things about K-Pop. This is especially true as legends PSY, Super Junior, Big Bang, and Girls Generation; today’s superstars BTS, EXO, GOT7, and BLACKPINK; and next-generation talents Stray Kids, ATEEZ, TXT, and IZONE are on Twitter. K-Pop fans use Twitter to get the latest updates from the artists they love; connect with other stans anytime and anywhere in real-time, and express their appreciation for the ‘Hallyu (Korean Wave)’ culture that has taken the world by storm.

 #KPopTwitter is truly a global community as the top 20 markets with the most K-Pop-related conversations (from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) cover every region in the world today. In particular, the Philippines ranked as the 5th top market by unique voices on Twitter and the 4th top market by Tweet volume.

While BTS is the most mentioned K-Pop artist in every market (except for Thailand where GOT7 topped the leaderboard), the rest of the top 10 most-mentioned K-Pop artists varied by market, showing the diversity of the K-Pop fandom on Twitter around the world (from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020):

Y eonJeong added, “Even during this COVID-19 pandemic when K-Pop concerts, global tours, and fan appreciation events have been canceled, we haven’t seen any drop in #KPopTwitter conversations. K-Pop stans want to stay connected with each other and have their voices heard on Twitter, whether they are cheering for their favorite artist’s new song or participating in movements like #BlackLivesMatter. We can’t wait to see what the next 10 years of K-Pop and Twitter bring to the world.”


A new Nielsen study indicates that the news cycle related to COVID-19 transmission no longer influences trends on the FMCG market in Southeast Asia — rather, new socio-economic and behavioral patterns have come into play and are shaping the future state of the industry. The basket reset, homebody reset, rationale reset, and affordability reset, underpinned by worsening unemployment situations and uncertain financial prospects in Southeast Asia, are the new drivers of consumption patterns.

The study presents how behavioral responses could differ according to the circumstances and level of personal impact the pandemic has had on consumers. Predictions are made across the spectrum of two, polarised consumer groups: viz. Insulated spenders and constrained spenders. See Chart 1. Across Asia, nearly two out of every five consumers (38%) said they have been impacted by Covid-19, versus 32% of consumers globally.

Basket reset . Nielsen anticipates that consumers will start to re-prioritize what goes into their baskets, and that broad-based adjustment reflects a fundamental consumption reset. Throughout measured Southeast Asian markets, key FMCG categories like alcohol (-9%), health care (-3%), personal care (-5%), and beverages (-8%) are seeing sales declines in the year-to-date period ended in June. Nielsen believes these trends reflect signs of consumers pulling back and minimizing added basket expenses brought on by the pandemic. Stockpiling behavior hasn't persisted to the extent of March and April, reflecting the lack of correlation we had previously seen between news stories on the rates of virus transmission and FMCG sales spikes. It also signals that the basket composition is being reset, and consumers will place additional scrutiny on basket decisions now and moving forward. 

“As consumer response deviates from the news cycle, the building blocks of the everyday shopping basket have bent in the face of economic downturn and transformation of the workforce,” says Scott McKenzie, head of the Nielsen Intelligence Unit. This caution will alter where and how households continue to pad their pantries and shelves amid COVID-19. According to McKenzie, “Decisions will need to be made to reconcile purchase habits people have had in place for years alongside today’s new reality where health and value priorities compete side by side.”

Homebody reset. Another consumer shift that Nielsen predicts will reshape FMCG markets is the evolving routines of consumers at home. ‘Do-it-yourself’ (DIY) behaviors and demand for in-home branded experiences have persisted even beyond living restrictions and store re-openings in many Southeast Asian markets.

In the Philippines 24% of consumers switched pack sizes, suggesting that they are seeking FMCG that suit homebound lifestyle. Across Southeast Asia consumers continued to demonstrate a focus on in-home consumption, where food and dairy saw strong uptake in markets like Singapore (up by 42.6% vs last year), the Philippines (11.4%) and Malaysia (6.8%). [1] In Malaysia, sales of hair colourants increased by 22.8% as consumers opted for hair grooming at home, similarly in Singapore at home eating led to an increase in consumption of processed frozen food (sales up by 113.7%). In Vietnam, 82% of consumers said to reduce out-of-home consumption occasion [2] , corresponding to heightened sales of instant noodles (up by 14.1% vs last year), sterilised sausage (17.9%), meal maker (7.4%), and mayonnaise (31.0%).

“Companies that can intelligently align with DIY behaviors will succeed in empathizing with current consumer interest in creative, cost-conscious, and safe consumption. Consumers are already willing to do the legwork to bring product experience into the safety of their homes. Therefore, companies have the opportunity to seize that interest and respond with affordable, accessible, and branded take-home experiences , ” says McKenzie.

Rationale reset. Consumers may soon redefine the significance and meaning of the FMCG goods they buy. As measured via The Conference Board conducted in collaboration with Nielsen, 83% of consumers in Asia Pacific said they were cutting down their expenses in Q2 2020 (vs. 73% in pre-pandemic Q4 2019), and among surveyed consumers who have changed their spending, 30% or more are spending less on takeaway meals, holidays, out-of-home entertainment and new clothing. Nielsen predicts that consumers will turn to consumer goods as a means to fulfill emerging entertainment and experience gaps in smaller ways.

Analysis in the U.S. highlights examples of how consumers of key leisure and lifestyle activities hold the potential to trade up their FMCG product repertoires to compensate for the larger dining or vacation experiences they can no longer safely access. U.S. consumers who went on foreign travel in the last 3 years are 21% more likely to purchase artisan bread and 11% more likely to purchase sushi than the average American. Similarly, Americans who visited restaurants in the last 12 months are 15% more likely to purchase cheese party platters and 10% more likely to purchase alcoholic beverage mixes than the average American. Across Southeast Asia, there are already signals of strong demand for FMCG categories that could benefit from this rationale reset: key segments in Singapore have experienced an acceleration in sales during the year-to-date period ended in June including snacks (+25%) and alcohol (+15%).

“Consumers throughout the region are constrained to spend as every purchase holds greater significance, while those consumers who remain insulated too will justify premium spending based on benefits and convenience,” says Vaughan Ryan, Nielsen’s Managing Director for Consumer Intelligence in Asia.

Affordability reset . With less disposable income in their pockets, consumers will search for ways to optimize their basket spend to prioritize both health and value needs. More than one-third (36%) of surveyed consumers in multiple markets around the globe have noticed a decline in promotions across stores they’ve shopped at, and retail measurement confirms it. Nielsen has observed a historically low level of trade promotion activity across various countries. Channel preferences are also shifting as the criteria for affordability evolves in the minds of consumers. In Malaysia, mini-marts are gaining importance with almost 18% rise in sales in June 2020 (versus 9% last year) as these outlets provide close-to-home access for everyday grocery shopping at desired pricing in comparison to distanced large-format stores.

In Vietnam, Modern Trade channel posted positive sales growth in YTD June 20 (+13% value sales vs last year) with the number of stores on constant rise (+35% stores on Jun 20 vs Jun 19), driven by the mini-mart format (+51% stores on Jun 20 vs Jun 19).

“As consumers become more discerning in their purchasing decision, FMCG companies need to think about their offering tailored to consumers’ priorities, simplify omnichannel fulfillment and enhance shopping experiences in the new reality,” notes Vaughan Ryan.

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Nielsen is divided into two business units. An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population.



Shell Companies in the Philippines (SciP) has donated health kits and office equipment to 15 schools in Batangas to help them prepare for the new remote-based mode of education in alignment with the requirements of physical distancing in response to the threat of Covid-19.

The donations were coursed through the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Brigada Eskwela program, an annual nationwide initiative originally intended to maintain and refurbish school facilities, but now repurposed to strengthen the schools’ capacity to provide students with self-learning modules.

Among the recipients are the elementary schools of Tabangao, Ambulong, Libjo, San Isidro, Malitam, Wawa, Sta. Clara, Bolbok, Sta. Rita, Calicanto, and Julian Pastor Memorial. The national high schools of Libjo, Malitam, and Sta. Rita also benefited from the donations along with the Tabangao Integrated School.

“Pandemic or no pandemic, the students in these schools represent the future of our nation,” says Pilipinas Shell president and CEO Cesar Romero. “At Shell, we believe in the Filipino spirit of bayanihan , and it’s only right that we do our part as members of the community to help in every way we can.”

Romero says it is not enough to simply overcome today’s extraordinary circumstances, but it is also equally important to safeguard a prosperous future for the country by ensuring the continued educational development of the youth. For 106 years, Shell has remained committed to this future by being the Philippines’ partner in nation-building, working to help the country address the present challenges for a brighter tomorrow.

Each school received an Internet modem to enable educators to provide learning assistance to students learning from home. Also sent were two printers and 15 boxes of bond paper to enable teachers to print out the learning modules, saving students from shouldering the financial burden.

Shell also donated 16,118 face masks for students. Meanwhile, 611 health kits inclusive of face masks, face shields, PPE suits, and Messy Bessy dishwashing products were given to teachers to ensure that all health, safety and sanitary protocols are observed as protection against COVID-19.

The face masks and the PPEs were produced by members of the SIBBAP Multipurpose Cooperative, beneficiaries of a PSFI livelihood development that retrained seamstresses from Ambulong, Batangas to help bolster PPE supplies during the pandemic.

Dr. Victoria Fababier, DepEd’s chief education supervisor for the school governance and operations department, expressed their gratitude to Shell, the company’s social development arm Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), and the Malampaya Foundation, Inc. (MFI).

“You can be sure that we will value these gifts,” she said. “Not only will these items reach the intended recipients and benefit our students, but your act also inspires us to better serve them as educators.”

Despite the ongoing transformation of Shell’s Tabangao Refinery into an import facility, similar to Shell’s existing Northern Mindanao Import Facility that services the southern parts of the country, the company remains committed to supporting the local community.

“We are very thankful that, despite any adjustments that the company must be undergoing during the transition period, Shell continues to help us,” said Fababier.

AirAsia, at the core of its being, operates to ensure “Now Everyone Can Fly”. For many years, it has successfully helped guests achieve their travel and lifestyle aspirations. This, however, has been disrupted by the global pandemic that has affected the aviation and tourism industries.  Despite the present challenges, AirAsia remains committed to that dream. It continues to fly special repatriation and cargo flights, as well as commercial flights to select domestic and international destinations. Each flight that is mounted is dedicated to the heroes of our time: overseas Filipino workers, employees reviving the economy, and frontliners battling the pandemic, those who need to get home to care for their families, and those who need medical supplies transported.

AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla says, “The pandemic has forced governments to resort to lockdown measures that limit human connection, including forms of humanitarian action. But throughout the past months, we have realized the very purpose of our mounting flights: We fly so that Everyone Can Fly Now. "We continue to fly so that crucial operations by the government, both local and abroad, will not be hampered. We fly for Filipinos who need to travel back home immediately and affordably. And we fly so that our economy will be given that urgent boost to recover quickly. AirAsia is proud to be given the opportunity to be at the forefront of this historic moment in world history.”                               

AirAsia has launched nearly 500 special recovery and cargo flights in the Philippines since the community quarantine period started in March. These were in partnership with private and government agencies, including the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration, Department of Foreign Affairs, and local government units.  Over 25,000 passengers and 600,000 kilograms of cargo have been flown to nearly 30 domestic and international destinations. These include Davao, Cebu, Tagbilaran, Bali, and Gujarat, among others.

The safety and the wellbeing of guests and cabin crew remain AirAsia’s priority. The airline has enhanced its safety protocols, aligned with authorities’ requirements, and complied with recommendations of international bodies. It continues to arrange recovery flights and has gradually resumed its commercial domestic flights and international flights.                                                     

AirAsia is waiving flight change fees when making travel arrangements. Guests may make an unlimited number of flight date changes for flights booked until October 31, 2020, with a travel period up to December 31, 2020.

Stay at home. This has been the universal advice of Philippine public officials and health experts as a line of defense against Covid-19. 

The country's tourism officials are developing a variant of that advice as they work to gradually revive domestic travel amid the pandemic:  Travel at home.

Players in the tourism and technology industries recently put their heads together to provide insights and draw up guidelines for protocols for safe and sustainable tourism in the new normal.  

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that while the country is still dealing with the health crisis, “there has never been a better time to push for developing more inclusive technology to help tourism stakeholders manage disasters.”

Al Panlilio, president and CEO of Smart Communications, Inc., said the telco is one with the tourism industry in finding ways “to gradually and safely revive the confidence and excitement of Filipinos to travel and discover the beauty of the Philippines.” Tourism is a major source of livelihood, so helping the industry recover from the impact of Covid-19 will benefit many Filipinos, he said.

Adaptability and empathy are words that come to mind in dealing with the current situation, said Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT and Smart public affairs group head. “Adaptability means change, as in shifting to digital tools. At the same time, have empathy. Understand your customers and design tools and activities that will address their concerns,” he said.

The leaders shared their experience with community-backed sustainable tourism and explained how digital technology can be an essential tool in promoting local tourism even during the pandemic.

The dialogue comes as the Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the citation of Palawan as Best Island in the World, for the fourth time, by the renowned Travel + Leisure magazine. Boracay ranked 14 th in the world and fifth in Asia.

Palawan is set to resume tourism activities in three towns, with safety and health protocols in place. These are Coron, San Vicente, and El Nido, home to Hidden Beach, named one of the 30 Best Beaches in the World by Conde Nast Traveler.

A recent study shows that Filipino travelers are looking at destinations closer to home amid health concerns, thus spurring domestic tourism to lead the recovery of the industry.

Filipino travelers also prefer online booking, digital payments, and self-service processes such as contactless check-in, according to the study, conducted jointly by the DOT, the Asian Institute of Management Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

The study further said that domestic tourism is the biggest contributor to the tourism industry, accounting for about 10.8 percent of the 12.7 percent gross domestic product (GDP).

During the dialogue, Max Limpag, founder of InnoPub Media, cited projects of the Digital Tourism program, which provides digital boost to local projects and tourism activities. Rolled out in 2012 jointly by Smart and InnoPub Media, the program involves the development of mobile applications, onsite installation of interactive tourism markers, and the provision of training sessions for tourism stakeholders to enable the delivery of tourism, cultural, and historical information to mobile devices.

Joselito “Boboi” Costas, founder of Grassroots Travel, and Jomelyn Manigos. vice president of Bojo Aloquinsan Ecotourism Association, shared their insights on the benefits of community-backed sustainable tourism. 

Other speakers were executives from PLDT and PayMaya. PLDT vice president Carlo S. Ople shared his expertise in digital marketing and how it can be harnessed by tourism players to further boost their business and initiatives. Marvin Santos, PayMaya Philippines enterprise head for the public sector, discussed the crucial role of fintech and digital payments as the future of transactions in the new normal.

Forbes magazine has ranked the Philippines among the seven countries “that have the potential to become a major tourist destination in a post-COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the DOT website.

To nurture this potential, the department has been airing promotional videos showcasing spectacular sceneries and exciting activities, such as underwater virtual tours and cooking lessons by celebrity chefs. The campaign calls on Filipinos to “Stay at home, dream, and wake up in the Philippines.”

With the cooperation of government agencies, LGUs, and the private sector, Puyat said, “we can begin to rebuild the tourism industry as we have envisioned it to be: sustainable, safe and still more fun in the Philippines.”

Fast-growing insurer FWD Life Insurance Corporation (FWD Insurance) has announced the launch of its own FWD Flagship Store in Lazada, Southeast Asia’s leading e-commerce platform.

Through the FWD Flagship Store, the insurer will be making their KanDüü plans accessible so more customers can shop digitally for insurance plans anytime. KanDüü is an insurance product suite covering policyholders so they “can do” what they want freely, and with no hesitation.

“In light of the evolving COVID-19 situation where everyone is highly encouraged to stay at home, we at FWD want to make our KanDüü insurance plans easily accessible to more Filipinos. Offering these plans on Lazada supports our goal of bringing financial protection to customers, at their utmost convenience,” FWD Insurance president and Chief Executive Officer Li Hao Zhuang said.

“When customers shop online at the comfort of their homes, we also hope to make them feel more secure amidst these uncertain times. That’s why we are offering these affordable plans with superior coverage, and exciting rewards as well—all in support of FWD’s vision of changing the way people feel about insurance,” Li Hao added. 

KanDüü is available for customers between the ages of 18 and 50 years old and comes in three variants: KanMend, KanLive, and KanGuard.

For an affordable price, KanDüü offers life, critical illness, or accident and terrorism insurance coverage complete with rewards. Each product also has its own distinct features that fit people’s unique lifestyles and varying needs.

KanMend is a life insurance policy that provides a critical illness benefit in case the insured is diagnosed with any of the 42 covered critical illnesses. KanMend policyholders are also able to claim a reward, which is six months of access to KonsultaMD, a health hotline service providing 24/7 unlimited telemedicine access to licensed Filipino doctors providing medical advice, anytime, anywhere. 

On the other hand, KanLive is a life insurance policy that provides a death benefit to beneficiaries in case of the policyholder’s death. This policy has a reward of one year of unlimited medical consultation, courtesy of Aventus Medical Inc., a healthcare service provider with 12 branches located in Metro Manila, Cebu, Laguna, and Pampanga.

Lastly, KanGuard protects customers in case of accidental death or terrorist attack anywhere in the world. KanGuard provides a cash benefit as financial support for the beneficiaries in case of the policyholder’s death or total and permanent disability. The plan comes with a one-year subscription to Assist America Global Emergency Services, a provider of emergency medical services for travelers worldwide.

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