SHELL’S 2ND VIRTUAL ART INTERACT SPOTLIGHTS MINDANAO | Creating stories of hope in isolation

October 20, 2020

Mindanao is hailed for its abundant natural resources and breathtaking landscapes. But beyond its pristine beaches and lush mountains is a burgeoning community of creatives who are injecting their unique Mindanaoan identity into art and using it as a force for good. As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, Mindanaoan artists are stepping up to create stories of hope while in isolation. Following the theme of “HOPE IN OUR ART,” Pilipinas Shell’s 53rd National Students Art Competition (NSAC) held the second leg of Virtual Art Interact last October 17, in collaboration with creative collective Fringe Manila. Virtual Art Interact is also a platform where creatives can share their insights about their profession for the next generation. While the pilot event focused on the Luzon art scene, this recent forum put the spotlight on the growing community of creators in Mindanao. Since NSAC’s inception, Shell has acknowledged the vital role of visual artists, illustrators, sculptors, and other imaginative talents in shaping the youth and country’s future—especially now. “Through NSAC, we pledge our support to keep artists and art institutions alive. We want to amplify the youth’s voices, and continue the conversation on art’s importance,” said Sankie Simbulan, Country Social Performance and Investment Manager of Pilipinas Shell.  Simbulan continued, “The ethnic and cultural diversity of Mindanao and its rich history have given birth to a young generation of artists whose voices need to spread and be heard throughout the Philippines.”  Andrei Pamintuan, Creative Director of Fringe Manila and host of Virtual Art Interact, added, “This is a great opportunity to share stories from Mindanao. It’s important to be inclusive, especially for platforms like this, so that we can showcase the diversity of what’s happening in the Philippines.” Having survived many conflicts and calamities, Mindanao has proven itself to be a region of resilience—with artists at the helm of inspiring hope that propels the community forward.  Through his projects with Mindanao local governments, Zabala has been championing a fresh perspective of the region that does not let its past define its future. “At work, our goal is to recreate Mindanao’s image using art. For example, we created a campaign called ‘Zoom in Zamboanga City’ that is inspired by our rich history, nature, tourist spots, native patterns, and more,” Zabala explained. Being no strangers to crises, Zabala and fellow Mindaoan artists immediately heeded the call to once again inspire hope and courage as COVID struck the country. He shared, “The pandemic is a challenge for everyone. People have lost jobs, families have gone hungry, and mental health is affected. As public servants and artists, our work should never stop. We have since created several campaigns that promote generosity and kindness in the community.” Zabala, who did a live demonstration of digital illustration during the event, also discussed the many themes present in today’s art. “There are so many stories now about struggles and difficulties, both personal and in our country [Ang daming stories ngayon tungkol sa struggle]. As creatives, we use art to express our emotions and what we are going through.”  Zabala also pointed out one essential, if often overlooked, role that artists perform during crisis: “We also act as historians who visually piece together this moment in time—including all the contemplation and uncertainty it holds. When we look back on this period someday, art will help us make sense of it.” Isko Andrade, a former contestant and three-time winner of the NSAC, shared how he overcame the more discouraging moments during the pandemic. “COVID-19 has affected my career as an artist because of cancelled shows and exhibits, but I choose not to dwell on the negative side [Maraming nag-iba since nagka-COVID. Na-affect yung career ko as an artist kasi madaming cancelled shows at exhibits, pero di lang ako tumitingin sa mga negative].  “‘The pandemic has given me time to focus on myself, my craft, and taught me to appreciate and find inspiration in everything—whether they’re big or small [Pero ngayong pandemic, nakafocus ako sa sarili ko at sa art ko. Na-appreciate ko din ang bawat bagay, maliit man o malaki].” The Bulacan-based Andrade looked back on how opportunities presented themselves to him in the middle of adversity. One such door was his win during the NSAC competition in 2014. His winning oil on canvas piece, entitled ‘Ipinagkakait na Kalayaan,’ was in itself an example of triumph over adversity:  this life-changing canvas depicts paintbrushes ready to be buried, and was inspired by the death of his mother and the pains that come from being part of a broken family.  He said, “As a young student artist from the province, I had simple dreams of finishing college and getting a normal job. I didn’t think I could ever win NSAC, but it was such a big help for me and my family. I was able to pursue my art, and I learned to dream bigger. [Dati, pangarap ko lang sa probinsya ay makatapos ng pag-aaral at kumuha ng trabaho. Nakakatuwa dahil di ko akalain na mananalo ako sa NSAC. Sobrang laking tulong ng NSAC. Nakatapos ako ng pag-aaral at natuto akong mangarap ng higit sa pangarap ko.]” Zabala concurred that creative platforms such as NSAC are bringers of hope that can keep communities alive during the most difficult times. He said, “Art is a great tool for healing. It’s cathartic. We can use it to give people something to hold on to as they live through the pandemic.” Simbulan reminded the audience to remember and explore its rich heritage to mine stories for encouragement. She said, “As Filipinos, we have a wealth of culture and creativity that can act as reservoirs of hope and fuel for economic recovery. We can all learn a thing or two from artists—how to create more with less, how to discover new perspectives in the mundane, and how to find the silver lining amid this isolation..” The next and final leg of Shell Virtual Art Interact is set to happen on November 7 and will focus on the Visayas region. Meanwhile, the awarding of the NSAC, which currently has 1,300 entries, will take place on November 27. For more information, keep posted on Shell Philippines’ website and social media accounts.  Website: Facebook: Shell

IDC execs highlights CDO developments and environmental sustainability in estate industry

July 22, 2019

MANILA - Italpinas Development Corporation (IDCTM) Chairman & CEO, Architect Romolo V. Nati, together with IDC’s Director for Design and Construction, Engr. Giuseppe Garofalo, were invited at a sit-down interview at the PTV4’s headquarters last June 7, 2019 with the Philippines’ largest and most influential weekly business and news magazine, BizNewsAsia.      Hosted by Ms. Elizabeth Lee and Mr Tony Lopez, the founder, president, chairman and CEO of BizNewsAsia, the sit-down interview offered an opportunity to discuss with IDC’s guests about the rising trend and current condition of Philippine real estate industry.       Arch. Nati shared his insights on the topic, mentioning IDCTM as an example of a rising real estate development company, in different areas of the Philippines, emphasizing the importance of his company’s vision that is “creating design-driven sustainable developments in emerging cities, accessible to the new middle class”.      Alongside his vision, Arch. Nati shared the latest news regarding IDC’s eco-friendly developments being Primavera City, located uptown Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao and the high-rise mixed use green buildings, Miramonti Green Residences, located in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.      Both the projects have been awarded as Best Mixed-use Development in the Philippines by Asia-Pacific International Property Awards which is a highly acclaimed award in the worldwide property industry.       Primavera City, that will future six mid-rise towers and a high rise tower, is going to be developed in 4 phases the first of which, Citta’ Verde is nearing completion and its phase 2 Citta’ Bella recently awarded a license to sell.  Arch. Nati said Primavera City’s Citta’ Bella will be followed by Citta’ Grande and by the 7th tallest tower, Citta’ Alta.      The construction of the first phase of Miramonti Green Residences, a 21 storey green building, strategically located in an Industrial park in Sto. Tomas, between Metro Manila and the port of Batangas City, is ongoing and the company is currently accelerating the process to obtain the required permits to start the second phase. This will be featuring other 2 buildings with same number of storey and adopting, as in all IDC’s projects, the best principles of passive building technology: shadow and sunlight control, wind cooling and shape performance.      Following this information, the interview then discussed the importance of eco-friendliness in construction and its appeal to possible tenants and future owners.       Arch. Nati ended his interview by sharing the news that Italpinas Development Corporation has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a share sale.       The offering involves up to 33.3 million preferred shares with an over-allotment of 10 million shares to be taken from the unissued authorized capital stock of the corporation at an offer price of P15 per share. At 43 million shares, the company could raise as much as P645 million.

Allianz Sees Continuous Growth in Insurance Market in PH, Rest of Asia

July 21, 2019

While insurance penetration (premiums as a percentage of GDP) fell by 5.4% in Asia (ex-cluding Japan), the Philippines along with Vietnam, Laos, Sri Lanka, and India registered double-digit growths. This is according to the Allianz Global Insurance Report prepared by Allianz Research.      Allianz Research is projecting a 9.4% growth per annum over the next decade in Asia, ex-cluding Japan. Around 60% additional premiums are expected to be generated in the re-gion. In the Philippines, a market growth of 12.3% is foreseen (13.5 in life and 8.3 in p&c).       “Allianz’ strong performance in the Philippines reflects the country’s economic growth and strong macroeconomic fundamentals, and we are looking to leverage on the continuous ex-pansion of economic activity in the country,” said Alexander Grenz, newly appointed presi-dent and chief executive officer of Allianz PNB Life.      Premiums in the Philippines grew by 17.7% in 2018, way above the regional average. In fact, 2018 marked the best year since 2013. Life insurance, which accounts for more than 70% of the premium pool (without health), had a growth rate of 20.4%. It grew almost twice as fast as property-casualty (+11.1%).       For 2019, Allianz Research foresees a slowdown to around 10% premium growth, still well above regional or global averages. It noted that the Philippines’ insurance market has still plenty of room to grow: Premiums per capita stood at Php3,000.00 in 2018 (at par with neighboring Indonesia), penetration at 1.9%; it is, for example, already 3.7% in China. In-surance premiums in property-casualty and life are expected to grow by 14% this year and 12.3% over the next decade.      Allianz PNB Life is still the fastest-growing life insurance company in the Philippines, ac-cording to the report of the Insurance Commission. Its premium income grew by 69% in 2018 and its annualized premium income for 2018 stood at a historic high.      Grenz, who previously served as the chief operating officer of Allianz PNB Life, said that as today’s business environment goes through rapid changes, the company is hands-on to build a more diverse business model.      “We all know how fast-paced the insurance industry is; the pressure and expectations are high from all sides ‐ our customers, our investors, our regulators, and among ourselves. Late last year, for instance, we have seen changes in reserve requirements for banks to ad-dress the spike in inflation. This resulted in liquidity shortage in the Bancassurance indus-try. Even though we are still performing better compared to our competitors, we definitely need to catch up in the second half of the year,” Grenz said.      Grenz has more than 15 years of experience in global Insurance and Asset Management. He has a multinational track record in the areas of Finance, Insurance and Asset Manage-ment and has held various executive positions for Allianz in different countries.      As he heads Allianz PNB Life, Grenz said he plans to focus on simplifying insurance for the customers. “Simplification of insurance will be our priority. We will simplify the language of insurance to make it understandable to more customers and make it easy to access with the superior technology Allianz can provide,” he explained.       Grenz is, likewise, moving to tap Allianz’s global investment fund managers from PIMCO and Allianz Global Investments (AGI) to provide superior technical solutions and investment strategies.       “Our goal is to have a well-defined output that should create value for our customers. It’s the customers’ perception, which counts and defines our success. With PIMCO and AGI, cus-tomers are assured they have access to superior product solutions and technical advise,” he said.      Furthermore, Grenz is steering the company toward a digital future. Recently, the company opened its Allianz Digital Studio, which will pioneer the next-generation of innovation and solutions and make the delivery of insurance products and services faster and more effi-cient for both its internal and external customers.       “Our digital and customer-centric initiatives in the pipeline are geared toward enhancing the Allianz customer experience and differentiate us in the market,” he concluded.

Globe supports athletes with cerebral palsy; helps nationwide search for pioneer players of CP Rascals

July 10, 2019

They may have physical challenges like cerebral palsy (CP) but the ailment was never a hindrance in bringing out the best in individuals who have big hearts and the passion to succeed, especially in sports like football.      “Sabi ng mga nanay na isama ko daw yung anak ko (sa football practice) at subukan lang. Tapos nagulat na lang ako na nasisipa niya yung bola. Hindi ko ine-expect na magagawa niya yun dahil di naman siya involved sa kahit anong sport dati. Sabi ko tuloy na dapat pala dati ko na siyang sinasali sa mga ganito (The mothers told me to bring my child and just try it out. I was surprised that my child can kick the ball. I didn’t expect that he can do it because he was never involved in any sport before. I realized that I should have brought my child before to this kind of activity),” said Marinela S. Kaabay whose eldest child Kenneth has cerebral palsy among other disabilities. The activity Kaabay referred to was the 1st CP Football Day where kids with cerebral palsy from Metro Manila and nearby provinces gathered for a friendly game of football at the La Salle Greenhills in Mandaluyong City. Around 50 CP individuals, including Kaabay’s child and four others from her area, ran and kicked the elusive ball to their hearts’ content despite the scorching afternoon heat.      The 1st CP Football Day is just one of the efforts to have more children with CP get into sports. It received a big boost when Globe Telecom entered into a partnership with the Henry V. Moran Foundation, the Philippine Sports Association of the Differently Abled (PHILSPADA), and CP Football Philippines, the prime movers of CP football in the country.      Globe gave the foundation and its beneficiaries the much-needed communications platform to reach individuals with CP who live in various parts of the country who may be interested in football. The program also complements Globe Telecom’s “TM Sports Para sa Bayan,” a long-term program that helps kids develop and grow in a sport that they love.      “We want to use the power of sports to make a difference in the lives of individuals especially those who belong to the marginalized sectors of society.  Over the past several years, Globe has gone beyond business by offering basketball and football development programs to underprivileged kids.  This time, we want to extend our support to individuals with cerebral palsy and help them pursue their dreams,” said Miguel Bermundo, Head of Globe Citizenship and Advocacy.      CP Football is similar to a regular football game but the rules were tweaked to make the sport more attractive, accessible and fit for those with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions. The playing field is smaller and game time lasts for one hour with a 15-minute half-time break.      Aside from having fun, the 1st CP Football Day also saw the formal introduction of CP football in the Philippines as well as the search for CP individuals with the potential to become members of the “CP Rascals,” the team that will represent the Philippines in the 2022 Asian Para Games.      To support the search as well as the training, living expenses and other needs of the players, interested groups and individuals may send their donation to the following: Account Name: The Henry V. Moran Foundation, Inc. Account Number: 2251-0005-33 Bank Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands Bank Address: Greenhills Missouri Branch Missouri cor. Nevada Sts. North-East Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila Swift Code: BOPIPHMM      Dr. Anna Raganathan, Consultant Psychologist and Board Member of the International Federation of CP Football, said that based on research, individuals with cerebral palsy who have consistent exercise can recover to become almost normal. “Even when they get physical therapy already, the addition of sports can make them stronger and help them avoid injuries because they get to develop their bones and muscles.”      She also told the parents that they don’t have to worry if their kids are still too young or won’t be selected as a member of CP Rascals. The program will continue even after the first team is already formed and it will even become the training ground of CP individuals who want to start young. “It’s about time that everyone should look at the abilities of individuals with cerebral palsy rather than their disabilities,” Dr. Raganathan added.      It was, perhaps, a tiring afternoon for the kids who sweated it out via football together with their cheering parents and supporters. But other than the sweat and the exhausting physical efforts exerted by the kids to play football, Dr. Raganathan emphasized that aside from having the right to play sports, more importantly, CP kids also have the right to have fun.      To know about Globe Telecom’s sustainability programs, please visit:   link and

ADB Development Asia features Romolo Nati as Expert in Sustainable Design

July 7, 2019

Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) Chairman and CEO, Architect Romolo V. Nati sheds light on the importance of Sustainable Design in real estate.  Arch. Nati, an expert in green architecture, emphasized the advantages of developing sustainable buildings for emerging cities.  Nati cited the importance of sustainable development and climate resiliency in the real estate sector, and the need to integrate sustainable features in the design framework of resilient buildings in an article featured by Development.Asia by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).      Development.Asia is a knowledge collaboration platform for sharing and promoting expertise, best practice and technology related to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Nati has been chosen as one of the few industry Expert in the country, sharing solutions in Sustainable Design. (Know more about article at       Philippines can be a role model for sustainable development in Asia. Architect Nati believes that sustainable design will reap the most benefit in the country. Architect Nati applies nature-based design, known as biomimicry – a concept that emulates the process, systems, and strategies present in nature – to his projects. And uses an advanced design technology called parametric software that allows the designer to factor in local conditions so that the building orientation, shape, and features are maximized for natural ventilation and natural light. Each design is unique and adapted to a specific location and project.       IDC has marked its legacy as the first green mover in Cagayan de Oro with its flagship project, Primavera Residences. With the passion to further strengthen its green advocacies in the city, IDC pursued to showcase its green initiative with its latest development, Primavera City. And further expanding in Sto. Tomas, Batangas with its project, Miramonti Green Residences.  All three developments of IDC had been awarded by the prestigious International Property Awards-Asia Pacific. Its latest development, Miramonti Green Residences received the citation in the Best Mixed-Use Development category in the International Property Awards-Asia Pacific 2019-2020. While IDC’s first two projects, Primavera Residences and Primavera City, both located in Cagayan de Oro, are recipient of the same category with  Primavera Residences winning recognition in 2015, and  Primavera City winning the award in 2017.


Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Cagayan Times.