Building capabilities of insurance professionals

Business partners, employees, and friends of AXA Philippines, one of the leading insurance companies in the country, recently gathered for the much-awaited inauguration of their newest state-of-the-art training facility, the AXA Academy.

Housed at the 11th floor of the Bank of Makati Building on Ayala Avenue extension in Makati City (a stone’s throw away from their main offices), the AXA Academy serves as the main training facility for AXA agents, driven by its aim to elevate the skills and capabilities of local insurance professionals to an unmatched level of excellence.

Leading the inauguration rites, together with AXA chairman Solomon Cua, was Insurance Commissioner Atty. Dennis Funa, the event’s guest of honor. Funa noted that the AXA Academy will help improve education of insurance professionals who are engaged in a noble vocation to spread financial literacy, in order to help Filipinos achieve their financial goals.

Following the solemn and inspiring dedication ceremony, AXA Philippines CEO Rahul Hora in his remarks extolled the values that make AXA stand out in the competitive insurance industry. “Our strength is our people, as insurance is a people business,” Hora said. “Whether distributors or employees, the most important thing is the foundation on which their capabilities are built.”

Hora further said that the AXA Academy is “a symbol of our commitment, a symbol of what our people mean to us as an organization—how we’re extremely passionate in building the competencies of our employees.”

Exuding a very modern and professional ambiance, the AXA Academy’s design and lay-out is purposely meant to be flexible and technology driven, providing a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing environment for learning or socials. At almost 1000 square meters, the AXA Academy—with its six (6) training rooms of varying sizes plus two (2) meeting rooms—can handle up to eight ongoing running sessions with a maximum capacity of over 300 participants in total. Other facilities include a reception and focus area, a trainer area, a pantry, and a hallway lounge.

For more information, visit



Citi sees continued growth opportunities in Asia

Citi sees continued growth opportunities_photo

Citi remains bullish about the growth prospects in Asia, as global investors turn to the region in the face of volatility in Europe and North America and general uncertainty in the markets.

Citi shared key investment trends and macroeconomic views during the Citi Investor Conference 2018 at the Citi Plaza building in Taguig.

“Global fund managers are looking carefully at Asia, and China is a big part of that,” said Julia Raiskin, head of Investor Sales, Asia Pacific, at Citi. “Interest in the region is partly due to the inclusion of 200 large cap Chinese stocks in the MSCI, as well as the opening of the China Bond Connect.”

According to Raiskin, global fund managers are investing in equities and fixed income as top choices, with local currency bonds becoming increasingly attractive. “Investors are looking into more liquid markets – Hong Kong, Australia and, gradually, ASEAN,” she said. “Intra-Asia flows are also increasing with key corridors flowing from China, Japan and Korea to ASEAN.”

Citi notes that intra-Asia trade corridors have the potential to pick up slack from China and U.S. supply chains that may be threatened.

“This region represents a much bigger opportunity as it is currently under-penetrated,” said Johanna Chua, head of Asia Pacific Economic Analysis at Citi. “Industries are well developed, but the long-term savings industry and asset management is not. So we’re seeing bigger allocations towards Asia from fund managers.”

Philippine equities are underweight in Citi’s global equity allocation due to broad-based, cyclical upswings and the performance of other economies, explained Chua. But recent data has been good, given increased government spending and the peso stabilizing. “There’s a lot of traction growth,” Chua said. “The growth story is there.”

To spur further growth, Citi says the key is more foreign direct investments. “We need more FDI. The Philippines is still conservative with regards to foreign financing,” Chua said.

Infrastructure is seen as a key growth driver, especially the government’s ongoing ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. Additional growth drivers include services exports such as tourism, manufacturing with preferential tax treatments, and agricultural development and energy.

“As the contracts of the IPPs (Independent Power Producers) expire in 2020, power and energy will potentially be huge growth drivers for the Philippine economy,” said Paul A. Favila, head of Markets and Securities Services.

Overall, Citi explained that last year was a good year for everybody and moving forward, 2018 is progressing well. “There are a lot of good things going for the Philippines,” said Chua. “It’s one of the only economies without any fuel subsidies and domestic demand story in the Philippines has traction, especially on the investment side.”

Citi’s GDP growth projection for the Philippine economy is 6.9% in 2018.

A special cooking class on the use of local vegetables

The Hub Series at Discovery Primea’s Flame Restaurant will feature sustainable cuisine in an intimate cooking class on sophisticated and delicious dishes with focus on vegetables.

Supporters of the sustainable food movement and cooking enthusiasts looking for new ways to use local produce and hone their home cooking skills are invited to the cooking class led by Mesa ni Misis’ founder Juana Manahan Yupangco and Discovery Primea’s executive chef Luis Chikiamco at 2:30-5:30 p.m. on Sunday, 5 August 2018.

A collaboration between The Hub Series and Mesa ni Misis, the cooking class hopes to inspire a renewed interest and a deeper appreciation of wellness, healthy eating, and locally grown produce by turning simple ingredients into spectacular dishes. Participants can look forward to an afternoon learning the basics of preparing the most humble vegetables, as well as useful culinary techniques to bring out their best flavors.

Modern and creative recipes inspired by the travels and experiences of Yupangco and Chikiamco include Vegetarian Moussaka, Monggo Stew, Kangkong Dip, Vegetable Ravioli and Sayote Pie.

Fee for each participant in the Hub Series at Flame with Mesa ni Misis is P2,800 net. Limited seats are available and a 50 percent non-refundable down payment is required to book a seat. For payment details, reservations, and inquiries, please e-mail, or call the Marketing Communications Department at Discovery Primea at +63 2 955 8888.

For more information on upcoming activities, visit or follow Discovery Primea on Facebook and Instagram.


For more information, contact Margaux Hontiveros

Director of Marketing Communications

Discovery Primea

Telephone: +63 2 955 8888 loc. 7240

Voting for World Luxury Hotel Awards 2018 begins August 1

TDLCI_Voting for World Luxury Hotel Awards 2018_photo

Club Paradise Palawan

Club Paradise Palawan, a tropical paradise in beautiful Coron and a premier property owned by Discovery World Corporation and managed by The Discovery Leisure Company, is calling its loyal and satisfied guests, friends and partners to vote for them in the coming World Luxury Hotel Awards 2018.

Voting starts on August 1, 2018 and ends August 31, 2018.

The World Luxury Hotel Awards (WLHA) recognize service excellence and outstanding service delivery. They are considered the “pinnacle of achievement in the luxury hotel industry categories as voted by guests, travelers and industry players alike”.

Club Paradise Palawan proudly won two awards from WLHA in 2017 namely Continent Winner in the Luxury Private Island Resort category and Country Winner in the Luxury Family Beach Resort category.

This year, Club Paradise Palawan is vying for the following categories: Luxury Wedding Destination, Luxury Family Beach Resort, and Luxury Private Island Resort.  To show your support, please visit starting August 1, 2018 to cast your vote.

Club Paradise Palawan is an exclusive island resort in Coron, Palawan along the Biosphere Reserve of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It boasts of pristine white sand beaches, charming accommodations, delightful international cuisine and colourful, rich marine life. Guests can engage in a variety of exciting outdoor activities or simply relax to take in the calming sights and sounds of paradise.

For more information, visit

Bristol at Parkway Place by Filigree at crest of south’s property growth

FILINVEST CITY_Bristol at Parkway Place_photo

The 40-story Bristol at Parkway Place is the tallest residential tower in
Filinvest City, Alabang.

Choosing a real estate investment to add to one’s growing and diversifying portfolio can be tricky. Many factors have to be considered in selecting from a variety of upscale property projects in the market. But for discriminating real estate investors, one premium condominium development stands out—Bristol at Parkway Place by Filigree, the new gold standard in luxury real estate in the country.


Bristol at Parkway Place is worthy of any investor’s consideration. In fact, since launch, Bristol’s investment value has progressively improved. Its units’ worth has steadily increased owing to Filinvest City’s growth trajectory, providing early investors excellent returns of up to 30 percent. Bristol’s competitive price, though, is just one of the many attributes that attract buyers.

“As residents steadily make Bristol at Parkway Place their home, they can already enjoy a handsome return on their investment,” says Kate Ilagan, Filigree head. “With its strategic location, high-end features and amenities, Bristol truly possesses all the high value attributes that make it a remarkable property asset.”

Embodying central living, the 40-story Bristol at Parkway Place is strategically situated at the gateway of the dynamic Filinvest City in Alabang, a masterplanned central business district that continues to transform the landscape of Metro South with its land values more than doubling in the last five years. Filinvest City also bares the distinction of being the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED-certified business district in the country, thereby cementing its status as a future-proof, green-oriented community.

Filinvest City’s benchmark-setting increases in land value may be attributed to continuous construction and completion of office buildings, resulting in the influx of corporations locating in the Metro South. Another factor is the ease of access to the city—thanks to the Skyway. Soon, travelling from the Metro South to North and vice versa will be made hassle-free with infrastructure projects like the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road via Skyway and the North-South Rail Commuter Railway. Undeniably, with its location and proximity to main thoroughfares, residents of Bristol not only will live a life of luxury, but also one of utmost convenience at the heart of a bustling metropolis.

The unit offerings of Bristol at Parkway Place make it an even more desirable and most valuable real estate investment for Filipino entrepreneurs and expatriates alike. Bristol comes with aptly-sized and thoughtfully designed one-, two-, and three-bedroom units—ranging from 53 square meters to as much as 168 square meters—all well-appointed, with balconies, and built to the highest standards and finishes.

Its ground floor has been dedicated to specialty stores that make it convenient for residents to shop and dine. Almost everything a resident desires is but an elevator ride or a short walk away: restaurants, retail outlets, and other essential establishments.

Backed by Filigree’s unwavering commitment to deliver its projects on time and without compromise, Bristol at Parkway Place has already started turning over units in the first half of 2018. Indeed, Bristol may be the best upscale real estate investment today as it takes luxurious, central living to new heights and offers residents great value for their money.

“Homeowners in the Metro South are now embracing the condo living lifestyle and the luxury and modern conveniences it brings,” Ilagan continues. “No doubt, Bristol at Parkway Place is fast-becoming the top-of-mind choice for those seeking only the finest and most valuable in upscale, high-rise residential projects.”


For more details on Filigree’s Bristol at Parkway Place, visit or call (02) 809-6517.

Design Center leads conversations on holistic health, equal opportunity

The Design Center of the Philippines celebrated recently World Industrial Design Day 2018 with the one-day event Designing Wellness at Robins Design Center on Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.

The annual World Industrial Design Day (WIDD) is an initiative of the World Design Organization, of which the Design Center. It spotlights a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and underscores the role of design in achieving the objective. For 2018, with the focus on UN SDG Number 3, holistic health and well-being were highlighted.

In partnership with Robins Design Center, Designing Wellness featured talks, workshops and exhibitions at the Schema, Perchand La Europa showrooms.

Leo Lallana of On-Off Group facilitated a Design Thinking workshop that taught participants to “fail forward” and to come up with solutions tailor-fit for pain-points of businesses.

Participants were presented different challenges during the workshop. One challenge asked them to come up with designs that took into account the insights of their chosen partners.  Activities emphasized empathy and the active seeking of innovative solutions to problems at hand.

Reimon Gutierrez talked about his philosophy of art as a tool for self-discovery in his Life by Design workshop. He encouraged participants to “visualize wellness”, helping them with the process by instructing them to describe various objects given to them.

The second part of the event, Design Talks, featured talks by homegrown design champions.

Kicking off the series of talks, Melanie Go explained that building biology “addresses the ecological nature of the building – a step forward in harmony and balance with nature” and made the home “our third skin.”

“These homes are meant to protect what’s going on inside and what’s going on outside. We should think about the home as a living organism,” Go said.

A co-founder of Holy Carabao Farms, Go said the well-being of the soil, the animals and the people involved were top priorities in the practice of holistic farming.

Waves for Water Philippines director for operations Jenica Dizon emphasized the importance of immersing one’s self in the source of the problem he/she wanted to solve. She encouraged her audience to help effect change while doing what they were passionate about.

“It’s really hard to advocate for health, for wellness, when people don’t have basic needs,” Dizon noted as she talked about how her passion for aquatic activities evolved into her advocacy to provide clean water for everyone after she saw the plight of indigent communities. She showed the audience the water filter that Waves for Water provided communities to make water clean.

Arooga Health founder Dominique de Leon and Innovable, Inc. chief design officer Christina Guanzon stressed the need for accessibility of design, particularly in relation to their respective advocacies, mental health and a safer world for everyone, able-bodied or not.

“We don’t have convenient access to mental healthcare,” De Leon lamented as he discussed the impetus for Arooga Health, an online application that champions improved mental health policies in the workplace. “Hopefully, together, we could design a future that we’re all excited to see,” he said.

“In designing products, you have to design for any possibility,” Guanzon said. She said, as a hearing-impaired person herself, the difficulties she faced in a world that was mainly accessible to differently abled individuals served as the inspiration for Early Action Response System (EARS), a device that would enable deaf wearers to detect threats in their environment.

“To all the designers here, we encourage you to make design inclusive even on the basic level,” Chief Fireball and co-founder of Kick Fire Kitchen Niña Terol said during the fireside chat she moderated.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of sparking the much-needed conversation in ensuring that the physical, mental, social and psychological dimensions of an individual and the community are top priorities in designing wellness,” Design Center of the Philippines Executive Director Rhea Matute said.

The Design Center also partnered with the Saint Brother Jaime Hilario Institute and the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies of the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde in therecent PWD Entre-ployment Expo 2018.

With a grant from the Embassy of the United States in Manila, the expo promoted equality in employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

Design Center set up an institutional booth at the Henry Sy Hall in De La Salle University that featured its key services of the agency. It also facilitated a workshop, Do the Dough, that taught the 27 participants techniques they could apply to homemade air-dried dough to create various products that they could sell for a profit.

“The Design Center believes in accessibility as embodied by our accessible design services,” Matute explained. “We hope to continue playing an active role in the advancement of employability of Filipinos, regardless of their conditions.”

Prices of second-hand commercial vehicles soar amid TRAIN

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Prices of second-hand commercial vehicles have risen by as much as Php150,000, a result of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN).

This was revealed by top buy-and-sell website OLX based on second-hand commercial vehicles ad postings on the portal, from January 2017 to April 2018. Speculations on the TRAIN Law fuelled the price increase on the 3rd quarter of 2017 and continue long after it was implemented early this year.

The TRAIN Law has influenced the resale value of one to two-year old cars with an average increase of P90,000. Among these are units with original retail price of P1million and above such as Toyota Innova, Honda CR-V, Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero and Ford Everest.

The first tax reform package of the present administration, the TRAIN Law provides for the increase in take-home pay of Filipino workers by reducing income tax rates while increasing and rationalizing tax rates in other goods and services. For automobiles, TRAIN simplifies excise tax but lower-priced cars continue to be taxed at a lower rate while more expensive cars are taxed at a higher rate.

“The data we released is our way of guiding buyers in determining which second-hand vehicles have significantly increased in price,” says OLX Head of Cars Xervin Maulanin. “This will also help them evaluate the difference in buying pre-owned versus brand new cars.”

Meanwhile, no significant effect can be seen on prices of entry level passenger cars like Toyota Vios, Honda City and Hyundai Accent.

Additionally, Maulanin also notes, “Despite talks about the TRAIN Law in the third quarter of 2017, the demand for second-hand cars continued to increase.”

Even with the price hike, OLX’s data indicates a steady market for pre-owned vehicles, from high-value to entry level, as the ad posting for second-hand vehicles continues to be on the upswing.