Last September 17, 2021, a celebration of unified glow was held. Mestiza Philippines launched Samantha Bernardo as their new Brand Ambassador in a virtual press conference and a meet & greet with our friends from the media, bloggers, and influencers. Samantha truly showcased her glowing confidence by answering the questions from the guests who happily participated in the program’s games & gimmicks. Everyone had fun, good vibes, and enjoyed special gifts from Mestiza. 

“I am Samantha Bernardo and I am so honored to be Mestiza Philippines’s newest brand ambassador. I am one with the brand in promoting our message to young Pinays out there na with Mestiza, “Achieve ang Healthy Glowing Skin.” Kaya naman sama-sama nating i-achieve ang healthy glowing skin and together we can be confident and fearless to face the world.” says Filipina beauty queen who exemplified the same glowing confidence from the pageant she joined to this virtual event.

That glowing confidence made her win the first-runner up of Miss Grand International 2020 and the perfect choice to be the face of the brand. Mestiza Philippines passionately advocates for self-confidence and individuality among the new generation of young women in the country.  It was notable for the brand to be represented by their newest “Grand Ambassador” who embodies these attributes backed up by a beautiful story of confidence and perseverance. Martina Salimbangon, Mestiza’s Head of Content hosted the event and welcomed Samantha with pride and joy, “I am proud to introduce to you the new face of our product and the torchbearer of this glowing brand.”

Samantha took the lead in re-introducing the variety of soaps and their benefits to the skin. Its best-selling product “Original” variant is suitable for sensitive skin with 33% extra premium virgin coconut oil while their “Prime” variants are designed to help young Pinays with common skin issues like having oily to dry skin – Earth Brown, Green Serenity, Bountiful Violet, and Scarlet Rose all contain 40% extra premium VCO which makes this variation of soaps a total stand out in the market. Sam was also excited to launch a new line of skincare products with the brand soon.

Get your own Mestiza variant and be part of the glowing community of #MestizaFam, available in all leading supermarkets and drugstores nationwide. 

Kent L. Bradley M.D., MBA, MPH – Chief Health and Nutrition Officer, Herbalife Nutrition

I moved a lot as a child. By the age of nine, I had lived in six cities. I know what it is like to make a real connection with another person. Entering a new school and meeting people for the first time can be unsettling. This doesn’t change as you grow older. We all want to feel like someone has connected with us.

When I was 16, I moved to another high school. Although I had made several friends, what I really needed was sAs a kid, I traveled about a lot. I had lived in six cities by the time I was nine years old. I understand what it’s like to form a genuine bond with another individual. It might be nerve-wracking to start a new school and meet new people. As you get older, this does not change. We all want to know that someone cares about us. When I was 16, I transferred to a different high school. I had made a few friends, but what I really needed was someone to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Fortunately, I encountered a few grownups who were actually capable of forging the kind of bond that can dramatically alter your trajectory.

Mirror Neurons: Why the Quality of Our Social Relationships Matter

Any human being’s ability to reach their full potential depends on their ability to form meaningful connections. We are hardwired to communicate with one another. Mirror neurons: how our brains build human connection is the subject of a growing corpus of knowledge.

These neurons reflect an action that we observe in another person and make us imitate that action or have the urge to do so. These Doashedoes neurons provide a brain mechanism that explains the old saying: “When you smile, the whole world smiles with you.” In other words, our social environment shapes us deeply. Our well-being depends largely on our relationship with others. It is a scientific fact that social connections have a positive impact on our lives.

The quality – and not just the quantity – of our social relationships matter. Let’s say, you want to become a musician. Wouldn’t you want to take music classes, under a great music coach, and spend quality time with fellow musicians?

The Power of Meaningful Connections

Everyone wants to be heard. However, our own thoughts and the activities around us often distract us from actually listening. But the shock of giving someone your undivided attention could be the key to making a meaningful connection. A term that has been used for the ability to pick up clues that will allow you to quickly develop a relationship and connect with another person is known as social intelligence.

A person can have “book smarts,” but can they read another person? Are they able to understand the story of the person in front of them? Genuine curiosity makes all the difference. Being empathetic and curious, attentive to clues, both verbal and nonverbal, helps establish that meaningful connection. A curious mind will also listen actively and be truly interested in what you have to say.

Psychologists and researchers such as Daniel Goleman talk about attunement, the attention that goes beyond momentary empathy to a full, sustained presence that facilitates rapport. When we are attuned to someone, we offer our total attention and listen fully. We seek to understand the other person rather than just making our own point. This is one of the key qualities of an effective coach.

How a Coach Helps Someone Reach Their Full Potential

A coach is someone who has learned the art and science of establishing a meaningful human connection. And at Herbalife Nutrition, that’s what our independent distributors are passionate about learning more about from our team of experts.

Our distribution partners know the importance of making meaningful connections and empowering others. They are armed with training and skills to help others on their journey to becoming a better version of themselves. People, especially those with difficult goals, sometimes have an inner voice that is often not overly supportive.

This can be countered by the coach’s voice of encouragement and hope. When coaches are better attuned with their clients, they have the tremendous ability to synchronize actions, and therefore support an individual towards more positive outcomes. The good news is that the skill of attunement can be learned while guided by specific techniques.

About Herbalife Nutrition Ltd.

Herbalife Nutrition (NYSE: HLF) is a global company that has been changing people’s lives with great nutrition products and a business opportunity for its independent distributors since 1980. The Company offers high-quality, science-backed products, sold in over 90 countries by entrepreneurial distributors who provide one-on-one coaching and a supportive community that inspires their customers to embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle. Through the Company’s global campaign to eradicate hunger, Herbalife Nutrition is also committed to bringing nutrition and education to communities around the world. For more information, please visit

Despite the efforts taken to move the economy forward, the impact of Covid-19 has rocked enterprises and diverse industries in a short amount of time, and there are still businesses and establishments that are feeling its long-term impacts, such as in the hospitality industry.

“As early as March 2020 last year, we at Hotel Sogo were working on measures to assist improve the situation in our hotels. We proceeded to investigate, invest, and develop new ways to strengthen our safety measures, particularly in terms of cleanliness and sanitation, from that moment forward,” stated Ms. Sue Geminiano, Hotel Sogo Corporate Marketing Manager.

In addition to the new and improved normal protocols, such as non-contact equipment and thermal scanning, SOGO’s management has implemented some significant changes and innovations in its branches, such as ultraviolet disinfection of rooms, lobbies and air-conditioning equipment, increased ventilation, and microbiological testing ( Methods of indicating the presence and number of microorganisms), Covid sniffer dogs, reducing contact points, and applying antibacterial coatings on frequently touched surfaces.

Through the 11 So Safe innovation of Sogo Hotel, the safety and well-being of guests and their employees are the first. “This ongoing pandemic has helped us take more measures to emphasize safety. The innovations I’m talking about are around the 4 main methods of preventing the spread of the virus and protecting our guests (such as reducing contact points, improving air quality, disinfecting And testing) to develop and improve facilities. It is very important to test all these agreements to ensure that all these innovations are truly effective to ensure the safety of our guests; we want our guests to feel safe when they stay at Sogo Hotel. Even after the pandemic, we will continue to protect our guests and make more upgrade deals, “Ms Geminiano added.

More than just a hotel In addition to the hotel innovations implemented, Sogo Hotels has also stepped up its efforts to help its compatriots through its corporate social responsibility program Sogo Cares. Sogo Hotel is helping poor communities who need basic needs such as food, medicine and water.

“Recently, we donated food packs with sheets and towels to the victims of the Manila fire. We also donated bottled water, bedding, pillows, surgical masks, pillowcases and Mattresses and other necessities, we also provide assistance in different community food pantry in Bulacan and Quezon City. In these difficult times, our team will definitely help those in need. Even for this GCQ, Sogo Hotel continues to accept frontline staff, needed and repatriated OFWs, seafarers and economic workers from all Sogo Hotel branches. Ms. Geminiano said: “We also provide services for those who want to stay for a long time for work reasons.”

As of 2015, in six (6) years, Sogo Hotels has performed more than 400 medical missions, more than 100,000 beneficiaries, led more than 600 donations and more than 170,000 beneficiaries through its Sogo Cares People corporate social responsibility program.

For more details, visit or like and follow Hotel Sogo on Facebook (, Twitter (@hotelsogo), and Instagram (@hotelsogo).

Astrotel Donation to Port Area

Several houses were damaged in the Port Area, Manila due to the fire incident about a month ago. Since then, life has not yet returned to normal for Barangay 650 Zone 68 Pier 15 Port Area Manila residents.

The affected families temporarily stayed in their tent along 11th Street Railroad Drive, located behind the Philippine Red Cross office.

Through Astrotel Avenida’s Branch Manager, Mr. John Henry Lacanilao, and their Sector Head, Mr. Marlon Hermos, they donated about 1,000 linens, 150 bottled water, five boxes of clothes, and 1,000 hygiene kits to the affected families.

With the help of Barangay Chairman Salik Arongo and his constituents, the donations became successful last July 9, 2021.

Astrotel is one of the brands under the umbrella of Global Comfort Group Corporation (GCGC). It is a group of companies handling different hotels with advocacy to extend help and provide assistance to our fellow Filipinos who are in need.

Last, ECQ Astrotel opened its doors to healthcare workers and OFW’s. The hotel offered free accommodation for modern heroes to ensure their safety against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Truly, Astrotel is not just a location to unwind and relax. It is your home away from home; with Astrotel, you have your place and your space.

To know more about Astrotel, you can reach them at 0998-510-1000 or visit them on You can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram @astrotel_ph.

Global technology leader ABB has the infrastructure to help the Philippines achieve its target of having electronic vehicles (EVs) account for 10 percent of road transport vehicles by 2040.

Department of Energy (DOE) Director for Energy Utilization and Management Bureau Patrick Aquino said support infrastructure is one of the challenges that they need to hurdle to realize this goal.

“Under the 2018-2040 Philippine Energy Plan, EVs are expected to account for 10 percent of road transport vehicles by 2040 in the clean energy scenario,” he said during the forum, “The Future of E-mobility Is Now”, which was held on the second day of the ABB Digital Summit.

Aquino was one of the resource speakers during the forum, along with Electronic Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) president Edmund Araga and ABB Product Marketing Specialist Engr. Ace Bisnar. ABB Asia Pacific Manager for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Kumail Rashid also joined the event during its question and answer segment.

ABB has been leading the way to a zero-emission mobility future. It has developed electrification solutions from EV chargers for the home to fast-charging roadside stations.

The company also offers electrical distribution solutions and battery energy storage systems — infrastructure that are essential to enabling an e-mobility future.

Bisnar added that ABB can provide remote support to monitor EV chargers in different areas.

“It’s not just putting the EV charger on the area, but also making sure that it is working 100 percent,” he said.

The latest available data shows that the transition to EVs from conventional vehicles has been slow so far. Aquino shared that from 2010 to 2019, only 11,950 EVs were registered, accounting for a mere 0.09 percent of registered vehicles.

This is why organizations such as the EVAP are closely working with the government and other sectors to further e-mobility in the country.

“We never stop promoting, and continue sustaining its ground” Araga said during the Summit.

This is the first time that ABB Philippines has staged the ABB Digital Summit, a four-day online event that features global speakers from ABB, with special guest resource persons from different organizations and associations

The event, which runs from July 26-29, is being held by ABB in partnership with European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP), Energy Managers Professionals Association in the Philippines (EMPAP), Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines (IIEE), Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance (PE2) and Philippine Green Building Council (PGBC).

About ABB

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. 
ABB’s Electrification Business Area is a global leader in electrical products and solutions, operating in more than 100 countries, with over 200 manufacturing sites. Our 50,000+ employees are dedicated to transforming how people live, connect and work by delivering safe, smart and sustainable electrification solutions. We are shaping the future trends of electrification, differentiating through technological and digital innovation while delivering an outstanding experience through operational excellence for our customers across utilities, industry, buildings, infrastructure and mobility. For more information visit

The country’s major industrial hub, Calabarzon continues to expand faster than the country’s average growth over the past two years.

Making the region to become the center of property developments, from commercial infrastructure such as malls and offices, to residential properties ranging from lavish lots to socialized housing units.

Eight years ago, Lumina Homes — Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc.’s affordable housing arm — anticipated this growth as it launched its flagship project, Lumina Batangas, in Barangay San Vicente, town of Sto. Tomas. With a total development area of 32 hectares, Lumina Batangas had eight phases, with over 4,500 house-and-lot units and total actual move-ins of 4,100. The said project has officially been sold out as of December 2019.

Since the launch of Lumina Batangas in 2012, the company has since developed in other nearby progressive towns, including Tanauan, Lipa, Bauan, Rosario, and San Pascual.

This year, Lumina goes back to where its ongoing success started, as it launches another signature development right at the heart of Sto. Tomas.

The 27-hectare development will offer a roster of rowhouses, townhomes, duplexes, and single-firewall homes, with amenities such as shuttle service, mini gardens and playground covered multi-purpose hall, and provision for commercial area.

Like all other Lumina house and lot projects, the new development pushes for ease and convenience in terms of transportation and logistics. It is located only 1.3 kilometers away from the National Highway and has an access road going to Tanauan and Lipa in Batangas, and San Pablo in Laguna. Via Star Tollway and South Luzon Expressway, it is only 45 minutes away from Alabang in Metro Manila.

Also intended for the working class, the housing project will rise about nine kilometers away from one of the country’s fastest-growing industrial parks, the First Philippine Industrial Park, and other techno parks and manufacturing companies in the Batangas-Laguna corridor.

More significantly, the proposed site is located only 100 meters away from the Parish and National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, a known pilgrimage site and a significant landmark that attracts thousands of visitors from the neighboring towns and provinces.

More than being a reasonable home investment for young start-up families or low-income earners, the new Lumina project promises to keep one in touch with the progress that Calabarzon continuously achieves, making one’s life achievements also more perceivable through the years.

For more information, contact 0999.886.4156 follow @luminahomesofficial on Facebook and visit Lumina Homes’ official website at

Thousands of businesses nationwide are also having a crisis due to COVID-19, with severe impact especially on small and micro businesses, forcing many entrepreneurs to stop operations temporarily, while inducing others to close their businesses permanently.  Others, however, manage to thrive.

The microfinance arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), BPI Direct BanKo, recently launched a multimedia campaign called Project Ngiti, with the tagline, “May ngiti ang bukas mo”. 

The campaign features entrepreneurs who found ways to pivot and continue to operate amid the ongoing global health crisis. BanKo hopes that it will inspire more entrepreneurs to make use of financial products and services to help them bounce back.

“The number of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country is indicative of the Filipinos’ burning entrepreneurial spirit. Amidst the current challenges, we want microentrepreneurs to know that BanKo is here to support them in keeping and growing their businesses,” said Rod Mabiasen, Jr., BanKo Financial Inclusion and Microfinance Solutions Head. 

For its first features, Project Ngiti puts the spotlight on two inspiring clients who availed of BanKo’s NegosyoKo loan—Filipina microentrepreneurs Manelyn Dela Cruz Rabulan and Teresita Negrido. Their stories will be posted on BanKo’s social media pages and in their branches around the country.

Ms. Dela Cruz owns Manelyn Ice Cream, which she and her husband have patiently grown for over a decade. They started their business in 2010 with a small capital of P5,000 in a bid to augment the growing expenses of their family. Back then, Manelyn Ice Cream could only afford six carts and a few ice cream machines until they took a loan from BanKo to invest in equipment to expand their production. 

Seeing her dream of growing her business become a reality was every bit as sweet as her ice cream itself. From six carts in 2010, Manelyn Ice Cream had 12 carts moving around the streets of Biñan, Laguna, to GMA, Cavite, by the end of 2019.

When the pandemic hit and the government imposed strict lockdowns in early 2020, Manelyn Ice Cream was unable to continue selling on the streets. “The lockdown really affected our sales. Since we were not allowed to go out, we had to stop our operations,” she said.

The need to survive compelled her to find ways to adjust to the situation. She marketed her product on Facebook and luckily found customers there. 

“My husband and I learned a lot from this crisis. First, we should practice saving while our business is doing well so that we will be prepared during rainy days. Second, we should take

care of our staff because they are the ones who will help you get back on track. And third, we should trust God,” she said.

As the pandemic has shaken even large multinational corporations, many small entrepreneurs are understandably skeptical about their ability to carry out their business plans. Ms. Dela Cruz, however, believes this should not stop them from pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. 

“The pandemic taught me about the importance of having practical knowledge of your chosen business so that when the time comes that you have to lay-off, you are able to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. One should also know that there will be people or organizations that will help us, just like how BanKo helped us grow our business and buy our own space,” she said.

Coffee for delivery

For her part, Teresita Negrido is another inspiring woman who pursued her entrepreneurial dreams and created her own coffee brand, Pure Angel Coffee. From selling only 200 boxes a day when she first started in 2017, she reached an average of 5,000 boxes per day by the end of 2019. 

Pure Angel Coffee was borne out of Ms. Negrido’s hope to sip and enjoy a cup of coffee without triggering her hyperacidity. 

Determined to find a solution, she tapped her relative, who is in the food production business, to find a way to neutralize the acidity of the coffee and develop a blend that will allow people to enjoy drinking coffee without having to deal with stomach discomfort. While it was initially meant for purely personal consumption, she eventually started giving samples to family and friends.

“People loved it. They started asking for orders themselves, and that was when I realized that I wasn’t alone in needing a product like it. There’s an entire market that could benefit from what we developed,” she said. 

Before the pandemic, she used to run a small stall in Muñoz Market, which turned into a bigger office after she tapped BanKo to support her business expansion plans. But when the pandemic lockdowns came, she, too, was caught off guard. 

“It was quite unexpected and we had to close our office to manage our poor cashflow and declining onsite customers. We reached out to them through text, call, and chat, and my kids were the ones who are delivering our products to them. We also had to secure a permit just so we could deliver continuously,” she said. 

When the government eased quarantine restrictions, she tried reopening her Muñoz Market office for a month, but it did not fare well as people were still wary about going out. 

Ms. Negrido remained undeterred, saying: “We should never let the situation get the best of us. We have to move and find solutions or many people will lose their jobs. They need us.”

Recalibrating her business strategy, Ms. Negrido shifted to e-commerce, which enabled her to sell around 1,000 to 2,000 boxes every week. She also offered free coffee to help promote her products to more people.

“If not for the loan from BanKo in December, I would not have been able to purchase supplies from the manufacturer in bulk. The loan allowed us to sustain operations today,” she said. 

With these inspiring stories, Mr. Mabiasen, Jr., said BanKo aims to introduce more financial products and services in the coming years that will enable more Filipinos to realize their entrepreneurial goals and for more businesses to grow. 

“Microentrepreneurs are fueling our economy through their creativity, hard work, and innovations. And we remain committed to help them become more successful and for their businesses to become more sustainable through our financial solutions,” Mr. Mabiasen said.


1. UVC Disinfection of Rooms, Utensils, Key Cards & Cash

Sogo was the first hotel, as early as March 2020, to use UVC (254nm) to fight Covid-19. Taking the cue from hospitals abroad, remote-controlled carts have been deployed for room disinfection. Compartments for utensils, key cards and cash were also fitted with UVC LEDs but kept away from personnel since 254 nm UVCs, while great for killing viruses may harm the skin and eyes.

2. FAR UVC Disinfection at Elevator Lobbies

After extensive research, Sogo has acquired and tested the FAR UVC 222 nm lamps that effectively kill viruses while being harmless to humans. Just recently (2020 Q4) produced commercially, it is quite expensive and is sold by only a few manufacturers abroad. Sogo is the first hotel to install these revolutionary excimer lamps in all its elevator lobbies.

3. UVC Disinfection for Room Aircons

All room aircons are to be fitted with specially manufactured UVC LEDs. Through germicidal irradiation, the UVC light attacks the DNA/DNR of micro-organisms, killing bacteria and viruses, and preventing their spread. As it is turned on with the aircon, room air is always sterilized each time it passes through the unit, ensuring the best possible room air quality for our guests.

4. Ventilation ACR is Doubled in Lobbies & Hallways

The ACR (Air Change Rate) or the number of times the air is replaced for all general spaces is set at ≥ 4 per hour by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers). Sogo is doubling its current ACRs for intensified inflow of covid-free fresh air to accelerate indoor air replacement.

5. Covid Sniffer Dogs for Screening of Employees

Dubai and Helsinki Airports have deployed Covid sniffer dogs to screen passengers and report a > 94% accuracy rate with dogs detecting the virus days before symptoms even start. Sogo has tied up with a leading K9 company, to have specially-trained Belgian Malinois dogs regularly screen its personnel for Covid.

6. Thermal Scan Controlled Doors
For most branches, guests on their own, can get scanned before entry and if within the safe temperature limit, main doors will open automatically without need of any contact.

7. Microbial ATP Fluorescence Testing of Surfaces

ATP (Adenosine TriPhosphate) Testing measures ATP content to indicate the presence and amount of microorganisms. Each branch has an Anti-Covid Team that regularly swabs high touch point surfaces that pass through ATP Fluorescence Detectors to verify microbial presence and effectivity of the new protocols.

8. Anti-Microbial Coatings on Furnishings, Fixtures & Touch Points
Widely used in hospitals and mass transports in China, Hong Kong and Japan, these Polymer coatings are formed after spraying millions of nano-capsules with contact killing and anti-adhesion features that lasts for weeks. It effectively kills bacteria and viruses, including H1N1 and Covid. Sogo applies this over all furnishings and touch points.

9. Reduced Touch Points with No-Contact Fixtures (with photos of no-contact fixtures)
A Sogo study shows that pre-pandemic, guests had a minimum of 59 Touch Points (TPs) during a typical hotel stay. Due to new protocols that include contact-less fixtures, TPs have been reduced by 40.7% with the goal to achieve a reduction of 66.1% with more advanced technology centered on cellphone use.

10. Multi-Stage Air Purifying Equipment in Lobbies

To further sanitize indoor air, Sogo installed air-purifying equipment having several levels of filters: Pre-filter, Activated Carbon, HEPA (H11), with built-in Cold Catalysts, Ion Generators and UVC lights that eliminate allergens and pollutants such as dust, pollen, odor, bacteria, viruses, and even reduces carbon dioxide levels.

11. No-Contact Key

Specially designed key (keychain) to avoid touching. This is one of our giveaways included in some of our promos.