I Love Israel: Israel’s OurCrowd and Philippine investment firm establish partnership

If you are looking for breakthroughs within Israel-Philippine ties related to business or economics, be delighted over the news that an Israeli firm partnered with a local firm that will create opportunities for growth with regards to investing, according to a Manila Standard news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Standard report. Some parts in boldface…

OurCrowd, Israel’s most active venture platform, and Einhorn Resources Inc, a Philippine investment firm, today announced a partnership that will provide Einhorn clients direct access to OurCrowd’s exclusive investments and mentorships to facilitate growth of Philippine startups.

The partnership was signed in Tel Aviv, Israel, between Dan Bennett, OurCrowd’s General Partner & Managing Director of Australia and Asia, and Jean Henri Lhuillier, Einhorn Resources Inc. CEO.

This new partnership is an exciting opportunity to extend our pipeline into the vibrant investment community in the Philippines and to help nurture its startup ecosystem,” said Dan Bennett. “Einhorn Resources’ deep knowledge of the Philippine investment landscape will be instrumental to bringing our top-tier technology talent to that part of the world.

“Not only are we raising money for these opportunities both in Israel, the US and beyond, but this is an important opportunity for corporates and family offices to invest from the Philippines and to attract technology that will benefit their core business.” 

This collaboration, the first of its kind in the Philippines, provides Einhorn clients direct access to one of the world’s leading online venture platforms. OurWorld currently has $1.9 billion in commitments and has deployed capital to more than 347 portfolio companies and 39 funds in five continents. It also has 200,000 registered members from 195 countries which it allows to participate in vetted and early-stage firms and funds.

Currently, plans are being made to set up a regional incubator that will give growth opportunities to Philippine startups looking for Israeli tech expertise.

We are excited to work with OurCrowd to pave the way for stronger ties for investment opportunities, traditional companies and tech solution collaborations,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier. “The partnership aims to open the funnel to a Philippine network of investors who can choose relevant companies to invest in as well as customize an online portfolio.”

Indeed, the OurCrowd-Einhorn partnership is a very welcome development and its impact will be felt in the years to come. Both the Philippines and Israel endured hardships related to the COVID-19 crisis over the past few years but there are efforts to not only recover economically and socially, but also emerge stronger from the pandemic. The economy of the Philippines is growing but more opportunities related to investing are needed and this is where the OurCrowd-Einhorn partnership comes in. To the local entrepreneurs reading this, please pay close attention to the above excerpt and start considering looking to Israel for opportunities and innovations in business. This partnership is truly a blessing from the Lord for both Israel and the Philippines! 

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel and pray for President Marcos and all the other government officials who recently took office. Pray also for Israel constantly.

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

Panda Express Muntinlupa City branch set for July 1, 2022 opening

If you are fond of American Chinese meals with the fast food touch, then you might be interested to know that Panda Express is about to open its Muntinlupa City branch at one of the gasoline stations along the southbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) on July 1, 2022, according to a report by Malaya.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Malaya news report. Some parts in boldface…

The south area of the metro is attracting some good fortune. Panda Express—the world’s largest American Chinese dining concept—is set to open another store in the south on July 1, with its Shell SLT branch, the first location in Muntinlupa and along the South Luzon expressway.

The new branch will be the 10th Panda Express branch in Metro Manila since it set foot in the country in 2019.

“This back-to-back store openings in the south is all attributable to the heartwarming support that Panda Express has received from Filipino customers since 2019. Guests from Muntinlupa and nearby areas, as well as city travelers heading south can now stop over at our new location to satisfy their craving for savory, wok-cooked American Chinese dishes,” said Ned Bandojo, Business Development Head of Jollibee Group Foreign Franchised Brands.

The Panda Express menu includes a variety of entrées with regional Chinese influences—from its bestselling The Original Orange Chicken, a wok-tossed crispy chicken coated in sweet tangy sauce to other must-try entrees like Broccoli Beef, Savory Shrimp and Black Pepper Steak.

For the newcomers reading this, Panda Express started in Glendale, California in the United States in 1983 and expanded worldwide with over two thousand branches. In the South Metro Manila area, they have branches in Parañaque City and Las Piñas City.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Are you willing to take the trip south the SLEX just to eat at the Shell gas station branch of Panda Express? When was the last time you ate at an American Chinese restaurant? Do you wish that Panda Express would someday open a new branch within the Alabang area of Muntinlupa?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

I Love Israel: Joint Economic Commission (JEC) established by Israel and the Philippines

Trade between Israel and the Philippines could improve and help develop each other economically in the years to come as the two nations strengthened their ties further by establishing the Joint Economic Commission (JEC), according to a recent report by BusinessWorld.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the BusinessWorld report. Some parts in boldface…

THE Philippines and Israel said they formed a Joint Economic Commission (JEC) that will explore pathways to improving trade.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel Economy and Industry Minister Orna Barbivai in Jerusalem on June 7 that created the JEC.

The MoU seeks the establishment of a bilateral consultative mechanism that will develop and strengthen trade, enhance investments, and advance economic ties between the Philippines and Israel,” the DTI said.

“In establishing a JEC, the two countries agree to exchange information on economic issues, identify and implement cooperative projects, organize consultations, missions, and official visits and enhance cooperation and linkages with their respective private sector,” it added.

The DTI said the MoU will seek to explore industries where the two countries can collaborate with a view towards diversifying trade and investments.

He added that priority sectors for promotion include agribusiness/agriculture production, energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy, infrastructure and public-private partnership (PPP) projects in infrastructure, real estate development, logistics, artificial intelligence, information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) including shared services, electronics manufacturing, and digital infrastructure.

Mr. Lopez told reporters via Viber that the initial investments from the investment promotion and protection agreement (IPPA) between the Philippines and Israel could bring around $150 million in investment in 2022.

“Early harvest could be around $150 million this year,” Mr. Lopez said.

Also signed on June 7, the IPPA provides the framework for a closer investment relationship between Israel and Philippines. It also specifies investment protection elements such as national treatment, most favored nation treatment, free transfers, rules-based expropriation and compensation, and investor-state dispute settlement.

The DTI also recently signed an MoU seeking to strengthen cooperation with the Israel Innovation Authority.

This newest development is undoubtedly critical as both the Philippines and Israel share the same goal of recovering from the damage of the COVID-19 crisis and emerging stronger economically and socially. The JEC between the two nations is something we must be thankful to God for.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Over 500,000 foreign tourists counted since the borders were reopened

If you are looking for encouraging news about our country and its struggle to rise up from the COVID-19 crisis, be aware that more than half a million foreign visitors have been counted since the Philippines reopened its borders months ago, according to a recent news report by BusinessWorld.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the BusinessWorld article. Some parts in boldface…

FOREIGN VISITORS have totaled 517,516 as of May 25, since the reopening of borders with minimal quarantine requirements in February, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).

The DoT said in a statement that the US was the top source of arrivals between Feb. 10 and May 25 with 104,589, followed by South Korea with 28,474 arrivals, and Canada 24,337.

Australian nationals, British, and Japanese were next on the list with 23,286; 20,846; and 13,373 respectively,” the DoT said. 

“Other foreign visitors during the early months of the year include Vietnamese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Italians, Irish and French,” it added.

On Feb. 10, the Philippines started accepting nationals that do not require visas to enter the country. Since April 1, borders have been opened to all nationals

“The DoT is looking forward to an uptick in tourist arrivals in the coming weeks following the further easing of entry requirements,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Starting May 30, the DoT said fully vaccinated and boostered inbound foreign visitors will no longer be required to have a pre-departure test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The looser entry rules are authorized by Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 168.

However, the DoT said arriving passengers are still encouraged to obtain travel insurance. All types of vaccination certificates, regardless of country of origin, will also be accepted.

“Based on the resolution, the visitor must be at least 18 years old and must have received the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and at least one booster shot,” the DoT said.

For the newcomers reading this, more tourists from overseas means better opportunities for local businesses to make more money and recover whatever losses they had as a result of lockdowns and quarantine-related business restrictions. Tourism-related businesses like hotels, resorts and connected transportation and food-and-beverage services badly need the spending of foreign visitors.

In relation to this tourism industry development, be aware that there were foreign participants in the recent Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) which was a big sports even that attracted hundreds of participants on May 1 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Speaking of the said location, I personally saw lots of hotels, restaurants (note: read my feature articles about Gourmet Garage Subic and Xtremely Xpresso), stores and other leisure facilities that operated as if the country is back in the pre-pandemic days. The more foreign tourists coming in plus the more local tourists engage in holidays, special events and travel in the country, the better it will be for local businesses to recover (plus pay their fees, taxes and keeping their hard-working employees longer) and the nation as a whole. I believe that the Philippines will continue to rise socially and economically from the pandemic.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction about this tourism-related development? Do you believe the Philippines will be able to attract 2 million foreign tourists by the end of 2022? Do you run a business that catered to foreign tourists?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Looking for a new home or investment opportunities? Watch out for South 2 Residences in Las Piñas City

There is no doubt that the Philippines is socially and economically recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. Business and economic readings of the nation in 2021 showed improvements over 2020. Apart from rising business confidence, there is also growing confidence in real estate and investments. That being said, SM Development Corporation (SMDC) is making a bullish bet at the Southmall complex in Las Piñas City with their project South 2 Residences, according to a business article published by Manila Bulletin. To the potential investors and searchers of new homes reading this post, I urge you to pay close attention.

Artistic image of the project as published through the Manila Bulletin.

To put things in perspective, posted below are selected excerpts from the Manila Bulletin article. Some parts in boldface…

South 2 Residences is a master-planned developments that unlocks so much more than just ease and comfort, having everything within reach, in a strategic location where all key destinations are made accessible. This gated vertical community in Las Pinas city is poised to give investors and future residents wide-ranging rewards that cover it all.

Integrated living keeps destinations close and health risks at bay – Owning a home surrounded by essential establishments has proven itself vital during this time of a global pandemic. There is a massive and even potentially life-saving difference between having to ride in a car to go places, and simply taking a few steps for a grocery run or your bank errands.

Located in the Southmall Complex in Las Pinas City, SMDC’s South 2 Residences is orbited by several key lifestyle, commercial, and office destinations. This includes retail shops, leisure and entertainment stations, and a plethora of dining options at SM Southmall. There are also banking establishments such as BDO and Chinabank, health institutions such as The Medical City Clinic, and office spaces at the SM South Tower.

“It is much more important now to have easy and fast access to essential facilities such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, drug stores, supermarkets, and places of worship,” writes Andrew Frondozo, Head of Project Management at Santos Knight Frank, in the real estate expert’s Global Buyer Survey 2021: The Philippine Edition. “This increased realization is no longer for the middle-aged or the elderly, but younger people even.”

Living in a 15-minute city like South 2 Residences, where important destinations are all within walking distance, also means your car can stay parked, helping you save money as oil prices shoot up.

Artistic view of the South 2 Residences amenities as published through the Manila Bulletin.

Accessibility, well-appointed spaces, and more – SMDC’s South 2 Residences is accessible to all parts of the metro through convenient road networks such as the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Emilio Aguinaldo Hi-way, and the Metro Manila Skyway. It is also close to the Skyway Extension, LRT-1 Cavite extension, and C-5 Southlink.

Upon reaching the property, one can immediately get a sense of grandeur from South 2 Residences’ imposing presence in the neighborhood. The impression only gets stronger as you enter the hotel-like lobby, adorned with impeccable design and décor.

South 2 Residences, likewise, presents a full range of resort-style amenities, including landscaped swimming pools, children’s play areas, pocket gardens, a gym, and high-speed elevators.

If you are eager to learn more details and check out the showroom gallery of South 2 Residences, you should visit https://smdc.com/properties/south-2-residences/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are  a resident of Las Piñas City, what do you think about South 2 Residences? If you are an investor or if you have the means to buy a unit where you and your family can live in, are the declared amenities and accessibility to SM Southmall ideal to you? Does the idea of living in a new community in close proximity to Alabang-Zapote Road sound like a turn-off to you?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Better than Streaming: My first time in two whole years to watch a movie inside the local cinema

I finally did it! After two years of living with the COVID-19 crisis, I finally returned to the local cinema at Commercenter in Alabang recently where I saw The Batman on the big screen. The day was March 5 (Saturday) and it was a very notable experience for me personally and I can say that the theatrical experience is still better than watching movies via streaming.

To be very clear, it has been months since the cinemas all over Metro Manila reopened and as the months passed by, moviegoers have gradually returned in relation to what films were screened, what the local Alert Levels were and what health protocols were implemented. The reopening of cinemas went a long way since the 1st quarter of 2021 (for references click here, here, here and here) and the Philippine cinema industry as a whole is trying to recover what was lost over the past two years. At one point, the movie theaters employed over 300,000 employees nationwide.

On my way to watching The Batman at the cinema with my ticket!

Going back to my return to the local cinema, I want to make clear that currently the cinemas will only accept people who have been fully vaccinated (meaning two doses of most COVID-19 vaccine brands were injected) which is why vaccination cards/passes are required for verification BEFORE any ticket will be sold. As such, I showed to the theater ticket seller my vaccination card and eventually I was allowed to purchase a ticket for The Batman which was P320 (more than US$6). I should state that it was also there at the Commercenter cinema where I last saw a movie in 2020…just before the first lockdown happened.

More on rules, it has been declared already that food and drinks are prohibited in Commercenter’s cinemas and that moviegoers are to wear their masks on as they watch a movie. Again, the prohibition on food and drinks at the said cinema were in effect when I viewed The Batman on March 5. According to a March 9, 2022 report by the Manila Bulletin, some theaters allowed their moviegoers to have food while watching.

For transparency, these are the rules for you to see.

While having no food and drink was a bummer for me as a paying moviegoer, I decided to just let things be and focus strongly on the narrative of The Batman which has a running time of almost three hours! That being said, as the movie went on, I was compelled to really focus on the story, the details and the dialogue (note: I turned my smartphone off as soon as I sat down). I also realized something that movie theaters can instantly provide that streaming apps and the home-based theater cannot – complete privacy and immersion.

In other words, there no distractions from external forces (examples: smartphone updates through the Internet, in-home telephone ringing, a noisy neighbor, someone knocking on the door, the house doorbell ringing, a motorist driving a car with an overly loud sound outside the house, etc.) and as such I experienced this strong engagement in watching the Matt Reeves-directed Batman movie. I also noticed that not only does Colin Farrell looks truly unrecognizable as the new cinematic Penguin, there were two moments I noticed he sounded and spoke like Robert de Niro!

I should also state that there were several other moviegoers who occupied seats on rows behind and in front of me. Clearly the attendance of that very screening was below 50% which only reminds me that the pandemic is still ongoing here in the Philippines. Fortunately, everyone was well behaved and in-theater noise and distractions were non-existent.

After waiting until the very end to see the very short and cryptic end-credits scene, I finally left the cinema satisfied and entertained. I found The Batman a worthy movie to watch on the big screen but to judge its quality and emphasized my observations about it, I would do that in a possible movie review.

Nothing like looking at what films are being shown before you reach the ticket counter.

My return to watching a movie in the local cinema was a really interesting experience. It was also my first time in many years to watch a movie on the big screen without consuming any drink or food. Still, I got my money’s worth overall and I really hope that what I paid will keep helping not just Commercenter cinema but the entire movie theater industry to achieve economic recovery with the pandemic still ongoing. The more people who get fully vaccinated, and the more fully vaccinated people who get boosted, the better it will be for movie theaters in terms of qualified moviegoers.

When it comes to spending time inside Commercenter, be aware that the mall has really nice places to enjoy delicious meals before or after you watch a movie at their cinema. You love ramen and Japanese meals, go to Sigekiya Ramen. You want to try Greek cuisine? Visit Akrotiri. You like good food and wine? Visit The Black Pig.

To those of you reading this, if you have the means and if your local cinemas are allowed to operate, I encourage you to buy tickets and watch your desired movie on the big screen inside the cinema. I suggest you stop streaming temporarily and help the movie theaters achieve economic recovery from this pandemic. For The Batman, I say screw HBO Max and HBO Go!

Remember this: Streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming. What you pay for movie tickets will help not only the cinema operators and their respective employees, you will also help the local authorities by means of tax collection and keeping the local area in order.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Muntinlupa City extends Business Permit Renewal anew to March 31, 2022 without penalties

The City Government of Muntinlupa has announced another extension on the business permit renewal period up to March 31, 2022.

Muntinlupa Business Permits and Licensing Office has posted on its Facebook page regarding the extension of the assessment and payment of Business Permit Renewal.

“Per City Ordinance No. 2022-318, the deadline for both the assessment and payment of Business Permit Renewal is extended up to March 31, 2022. Renew your business permits now to avoid penalties,” BPLO noted.

Meanwhile, all transactions are now back at City Hall. Previously, taxpayers proceed to Muntinlupa Business Permit Renewal Hub located at Muntinlupa Sports Center, Brgy. Tunasan.

The extension has been approved by the City Council and Mayor Jaime Fresnedi following the request of BPLO. The licensing office noted the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic to the taxpayers.

BPLO added that the initiative aims to help taxpayers who “may not be able to immediately comply with the mandatory documents which are the basis for the prudent and correct imposable taxes” due to the pandemic.

The extension covers payment of all local taxes, fees and other charges without penalty.

Further, business owners may renew their business permit online via the Business E-payment System (BESt) which can be accessed thru Muntinlupa City official website (www.muntinlupacity.gov.ph).

Muntinlupa BEST is an online platform which allows locators to accomplish business permit applications and transactions through any internet-enabled device. Taxpayers can accomplish transactions including application for New Business Permit, Renewal of Business Permit, Application Status Inquiry, Billing and Payment, and Payment History.

Another option for business locators is the Business Permit Application Self-Service (BPASS) kiosks which are located across the city’s major malls.

Business permits may also be delivered by the city government’s official courier service partner, Keridelivery Inc, to the doorstep of business owners.

Mayor Fresnedi thanked the taxpayers for their continued support in doing their part for the recovery of the city and the local economy.

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The above information was sourced from an official press release. Some parts were changed for this website.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  HavenorFantasy@twitter.com as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

San Miguel Corporation’s P14-billion SLEX Elevated Extension Project Inaugurated

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is back in the news again as its ambitious South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Elevated Extension Project was inaugurated recently by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, GMA Network reported.

For the newcomers reading this, SMC under the leadership of CEO and President Ramon S. Ang is the same corporation behind the improvements made to the Metro Manila Skyway which ultimately benefited many travelers with improved accessibility and reduced travel times. Ang was present during the inauguration of the SLEX Elevated Extension Project which is worth P14 billion and is almost 4 kilometers long.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday led the inauguration of the newly completed South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Elevated Extension Project, which is seen to ease traffic and boost economic growth in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces.

In his remarks during the inauguration ceremony at Alabang Northbound Entry in Muntinlupa City, Duterte lauded the formal opening of the SLEX Elevated Extension Project “at a time when our economy is slowly opening up and recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“I am personally excited of this expansion projection which is expected to promote greater mobility, help ease traffic, and redound to the economic growth and productivity in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas,” the President said.

For his part, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and CEO Ramon Ang said the northbound and southbound lanes of the P14-billion SLEX Elevated Extension project can accommodate 200,000 cars per day.

The four-kilometer project connects Skyway in Sucat, Parañaque to SLEX at Susanna Heights in Muntinlupa, bypassing the Alabang viaduct and providing motorists a direct access to Skyway 1, 2, and 3.

“With this, travel time between Muntinlupa and Balintawak will now be reduced from two hours to just 30 minutes. This will go a long way in addressing traffic congestion,” Ang said.

“Since we soft-opened the southbound SLEX Extension last December 10, 2021 motorists in the south have seen a major improvement in the traffic situation. It has provided relief to thousands of motorists who go home every day to Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas. With both the southbound and northbound section of the SLEX Extension now fully operational, travel to and from the south is easier and faster than ever,” the SMC chief said.

Originally, the project was set for completion by December 2020, a little over a year since it began.

However, this was pushed back when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the Philippines in March 2020, necessitating quarantine restrictions which slowed work progress.

And here is the related video about the inauguration…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you often travel on the Skyway Elevated Extension? How was your travel experience on the Skyway and the elevated extension going north or south? Do you hope to see San Miguel Corporation keep funding and improving major infrastructure projects in the years to come?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Sony is clearly behind as technology giants move on with their respective ecosystems

As I am writing this post, the shockwaves caused by the Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal are still being felt. As many Xbox-haters and PlayStation fanboys online could not help but become uneasy and restless because of the deal’s effects on them, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer had officially talked with Sony’s top executives and described what happened via his Twitter account.

From Phil Spencer himself.

Take note of Spencer’s words “existing agreements” and “our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.” Existing agreements most likely refer to what Activision Blizzard made with Sony which I believe are years-long deals on games with regards to platform releases, marketing, post-release downloadable content, etc. Of course, such agreements can last long but NOT FOREVER. The business benefit for PlayStation from Activision Blizzard will someday come to an end. 

As for Microsoft’s desire for keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation, that clearly means that the corporation of Xbox is technically in-charge of not just the COD franchise but on the decision making, marketing and releasing its games on specific platforms. Sony and its PlayStation team are not in the driver’s seat here anymore. Whatever deals Activision signed with PlayStation before the acquisition will expire and they certainly will not be renewed once Microsoft and its Xbox team takes over. In due time, future COD games as well as other upcoming games and new intellectual properties of Activision Blizzard will become Xbox-exclusive in accordance to what Spencer declared before

We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re going to support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players. We love those communities and will continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have either contractual things, or legacy on different platforms, that we’ll go do. But if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists, and that’s our goal, that’s why we are doing this,

This brings me to my next point – Sony as a global business entity is way behind Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon when it comes to establishing ecosystems that result tremendous business growth and reaching billions of customers worldwide respectively. The decades-old console-focused approach by Sony with PlayStation was indeed successful but not great enough to help it grow big time. Not even their Hollywood business nor Spider-Man could lift them up greatly. The weird thing was that Sony in previous decades had established an old ecosystem before PlayStation began.

To put things in perspective, posted below is a long excerpt from a recent Nikkei Asia article. Some parts in boldface…

The 10% drop in Sony’s stock price this week following Microsoft’s announcement that it will buy game content developer Activision Blizzard shows the market has belatedly awakened to an existential flaw in Sony’s kingdom. It lacks an ecosystem.

In terrifying contrast, Microsoft is a formidable ecosystem whose component elements, such as devices, operating system, browser, search engine, applications, content, cloud memory, work hand in glove to suck in captive users and never let them go. The ecosystem effect is all too familiar to owners of PCs that run on the Windows OS, which maddeningly redirects users to Microsoft’s Edge browser and Bing search engine against their will.

It is no accident that five of the world’s seven largest companies by market capitalization — Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet/Google, Amazon and Meta/Facebook — are ecosystems. Every consumer decision to buy a device, be it a PC, smartphone, Kindle reader, or game console, entails a surrender to an interconnected ecosystem. Promiscuity among ecosystems is possible but, by design, not easy. The ecosystems are at war and want to make you their captive.

Ironically, Sony was early to recognize the strategic significance of the ecosystem effect. Its decision to acquire CBS Records and Columbia Pictures in the late 1980s was inspired by the notion that controlling entertainment content could somehow push device sales, such as Betamax VCRs and Sony Walkman.

What Sony overlooked was that it would be self-defeating to make its controlled content exclusively available on Sony devices. Very few consumers would buy a Walkman just because it was the only way to listen to Michael Jackson. And Sony’s refusal to license Michael Jackson to non-Sony device users would perversely shut down third-party royalty revenue from the controlled content. Sony saw, but misunderstood and misapplied, the ecosystem effect between devices and content.

Sony’s next, more costly, wrong turn was its failure to anticipate and keep up with the morphing of portable audio devices like the Walkman launched in 1979 and iPod in 2001 into the iPhone debuted in 2007. The iPhone integrated, in a single handheld device, all of the functions formerly provided by the multiple discrete products in Sony’s consumer electronics lineup: phone, TV, camera, video and audio player and recorder, clock, calculator, and so on.

Sony’s stock price plunged from 30,000 yen ($260) per share in 2000 to 1,668 yen in 2009. Sony and the entire Japanese consumer electronics industry are still in disarray from the iPhone paradigm shift.

Unlike Sony, Apple founder Steve Jobs was a master at creating and orchestrating an ecosystem. In particular, he understood when to link content exclusively to a device and, just as important, when not to. Even now, Apple’s iOS is available only on Apple devices, unlike Microsoft’s device-agnostic Windows OS.
Initially, Apple’s iTunes music store platform was available only on Apple’s own devices. Then, in October 2003, “the day that hell froze over,” Jobs made the strategic decision to make iTunes compatible with and freely downloadable by non-Apple devices.

The result was not only to massively increase the audience and revenues of the iTunes platform. Non-Apple device users discovered how great iTunes was and that it worked even better on an iPod, leading to a surge in new iPod owners conveniently prepped for the coming transfiguration of the iPod into the iPhone.

The same interplay between devices and content is at the center of intense competition in the $180 billion global PC gaming industry. Dedicated gamers have a choice among three game-specific consoles — Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch.

The choice of device, in turn, entails a menu of device-specific exclusive content. Xbox and PlayStation each offer about 2,000 titles, but the bestselling 200-300 games for each tend to be exclusive to one or the other. A gamer’s choice of console implies a decision about preferred content.

But the relationship between game devices and content is evolving rapidly, tracking changes elsewhere in the internet universe. Games today can be played on any device, PCs and smartphones, not just a dedicated game console.

Gaming is now mobile. Game content is increasingly being streamed, just like Netflix and Amazon Prime. You can play games on YouTube. And an Xbox can be used as a PC to surf the Internet and do your homework.

The immediate threat to Sony posed by Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is that Microsoft will make the content it is acquiring — global blockbusters like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft — exclusive to Xbox users and invite defections from PlayStation users who want to keep playing their favorite games.

But this is just one element of the multifaceted ecosystem effects Microsoft can deploy to squeeze Sony. Sony should be nervous, for example, that it has no cloud or streaming capability of its own and relies on Microsoft’s own Azure platform to deliver streaming content to Sony users.

Sony’s game and network services segment now accounts for 30% of its revenues. It is hard to see how Sony can compete in the long-term in a narrow game-specific segment without credibly competing with the likes of Microsoft, Alphabet/Google and Amazon across the board in all segments of the device-content spectrum.

From a financial point of view, Sony is not only behind the tech giants with ecosystems. Sony simply does not have the major financial muscle needed to pull off massive acquisitions of game publishers (massive meaning more than $5 billion per each acquisition) that each have lots of game developers, intellectual properties and technologies. The Japanese giant does have a business ecosystem but it’s too small and too narrow compared to its Western competitors. This also means Sony reaches much less customers worldwide.

In a possible response to Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal, Sony can try to acquire its fellow Japanese gaming entities like Capcom, SEGA or Square Enix and integrate the entity(s) into PlayStation, but that will require not just a whole bunch of money but also willingness to not just make big offers the other party cannot turn down, but also the willingness to overcome all the legal obstacles, solve all the complications, absorb all the employees, fund future projects already in development, etc. If the PlayStation team is willing on building up its very own exclusive properties, they could expand the work forces as well as the projects of their very own game studios.

The Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal is very hard to match not just because of the financial value and organizational weights involved, but also because the said deal covers consoles, Windows PC, mobile devices, cloud gaming, browser gaming and much more. The PlayStation ecosystem is still console-focused and so far team PlayStation released only a few of its games on PC. Is Sony even working to improve PlayStation Now? Are the PlayStation executives realizing that their 3rd party marketing deals won’t lift up their corporation and consumer base anymore? Has it occurred to the PlayStation executives that future games of the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon franchises (both of which are permanently identified with Sony’s gaming brand due to exclusive games released on the first PlayStation console) will be released only on Xbox platforms?

As mentioned in the Nikkei Asia article above, business ecosystems are not perfect and they have their flaws that affect customers in bad ways. As such, the ecosystem powers and organizers should do their work to be more user-friendly and be more consumer-oriented. Still, the ecosystem approach to business has proven to be very effective with regards to reaching the widest number of consumers worldwide as well as driving business growth to new heights, not to mention generating economic benefits for business partners involved (example: credit card companies whose users buy on Amazon, Xbox network, Google, etc.) No amount of sales of Final Fantasy games and Street Fighter games exclusive to PlayStation consoles will ever match that. 

As for the console fanboys who still hate Xbox, they should learn to stop living with fantasy and wake up to reality. Time to grow up.

In ending this piece, posted below are videos related to Xbox and the Activision Blizzard deal…

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Muntinlupa City extends Biz Permit Renewal to February 15, 2022 without penalties

The City Government of Muntinlupa officially extended the business permit renewal period from January 20 to February 15, 2022.

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi has approved City Ordinance No. 2022-311 extending the filing and renewal of Business and Tricycle Permits up to the closing hours of February 15. The extension also covers payment of all local taxes, fees and other charges without penalty.

The Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) requested for the extension of time of filing and renewal of permits noting the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic to the taxpayers.

Previously, the Business Permit Renewal was scheduled from January 3-20.

Taxpayers may proceed to Muntinlupa Business Permit Renewal Hub located at Muntinlupa Sports Center, Brgy. Tunasan or opt to process their application online and via off-site channels

Strict health standards and distancing protocols are implemented in the Renewal Hub which include sterilization and disinfection of submitted documents using UV box, body temperature check, installation of alcohol sprays, and monitoring by compliance officers.

A One-Stop Shop arrangement in the Business Permit Renewal Hub has been installed in the venue for the convenience of taxpayers.

Business taxpayers can pay using Debit Cards in the Renewal Hub. Mobile ATMs and a Closed Circuit Television System are also installed across the venue. Free shuttle service is provided for clients going to and from the venue with pick-up points located at Muntinlupa City Hall Quadrangle.

Further, business owners may renew their business permit online via the Business E-payment System (BESt) which can be accessed thru Muntinlupa City official website (www.muntinlupacity.gov.ph).

Muntinlupa BEST is an online platform which allows locators to accomplish business permit applications and transactions through any internet-enabled device. Taxpayers can accomplish transactions including application for New Business Permit, Renewal of Business Permit, Application Status Inquiry, Billing and Payment, and Payment History.

Another option for business locators is an off-site channel via the Business Permit Application Self-Service (BPASS) kiosks located inside the city’s major malls.

Business permits may also be delivered by the City Government’s official courier service partner, Keridelivery Inc, to the doorstep of business owners.

Mayor Fresnedi extends his thanks to the business tax payers in doing their part for the recovery of the city and the local economy.

The list of requirements is posted in the city’s website www.muntinlupacity.gov.ph.

For inquiries, you may call BPLO Muntinlupa at 8317-9964 or email them at bplo.muntinlupa@yahoo.com.

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The above information was sourced from an official press release. Some parts were changed for this website.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  HavenorFantasy@twitter.com as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

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