Cebu City News

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Cebu City - Archived News

Cebucity-aerial view.jpg
Aerial View of Cebu City


Winner of P294.6M lotto draw bought ticket at Pit-os outlet

by Oscar C. Pineda

WHOEVER bought the winning ticket in last weekend’s lotto draw will be P294.6 million richer.

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) branch officer-in-charge Glen Rada confirmed yesterday that the winner bought the ticket at a lotto outlet in Barangay Pit-os, Cebu City.

“We sent a message to this terminal, congratulating (the outlet owner),” said Rada.

Lotto agent Rosalie Tariman, owner of the lotto outlet in Sitio Lower Centro, Barangay Pit-os, said the lucky 6/55 lotto ticket was bought from her outlet last Saturday.

Rada said they have no way of knowing what time the ticket was bought or if the number combination was chosen by the winner or provided by a machine-generated “lucky pick” combination.

“We don’t know the winner’s background, or if the prize was already claimed,” said Rada.

Rada said the winner will have to claim the prize at the PCSO main office in Manila. The winner gets the full amount since the prize is tax-free.

Lotto agents don’t get a share of the winnings. They only get commissions from daily sales, which is 7.5 percent of the game earnings and five percent from digital games.

Rada also noted an increase in lotto ticket sales when the lotto jackpot prize started to climb before the Saturday draw.

Better road discipline needed

Elias O. Baquero, Jill Tatoy-Rabor and Razel V. Cuizon

ORGANIZERS of the Green Loop experiment in Cebu City yesterday welcomed the chance to make more people aware of the need to give pedestrians, bikers and people who don’t own cars a safe share of the road.

But they and some drivers who bewailed the traffic that built up also observed some hitches, including the need for better road discipline.

“Overall, the participants were 99 percent satisfied,” said Marc Canton of the Movement for a Livable Cebu (MLC).

For almost four hours, the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) observed heavy but moving traffic in portions of Osmeña Blvd., Escario St., Gen. Maxilom Ave. and Gorordo Ave., where the road-sharing experiment took place.

“Traffic was heavy but it was moving,” said Citom Executive Director Rafael Christopher Yap.

Canton said that during the experiment, they noted some concerns such as the lack of road discipline among both pedestrians and motorists.

“There was really inconvenience and some suggested that we should do it during midnight, but we have to it during the intended time and when there are vehicles and pedestrians on the road because that’s an experiment,” he said.

Even with all the reminders before the experiment, some of the participants, Canton said, still did not follow traffic rules.

For two hours, Canton observed the traffic flow and behavior of the public at the corner of Gen. Maxilom Ave. and Gorordo Ave.

At least 30 Citom traffic enforcers were also deployed in the major intersections of the four roads to supervise the traffic flow.

Only two lanes were open to private and public vehicles, while the other two were intended for pedestrians, bikers and skaters.

Other activities were also done on the sidewalks of the four roads to encourage the public to participate. The road-sharing experiment started at 3 p.m. and ended at 7 p.m.

Police estimated some 500 persons took to the streets, many of them bikers and skateboarders.

“It was peaceful. Everything went smoothly,” said Cebu City Intelligence Branch Chief Romeo Santander.

Traffic built up around Fuente Osmeña rotunda and on Escario St., he said.

About 40 police personnel were deployed on the roads covered by the experiment.

Traffic on the four roads worsened around 6 p.m., as families either headed home from their trips to the beach or the mall, while others headed for churches.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella was reportedly among those caught in the heavy traffic.

Before the experiment, the MLC, in its Facebook page, posted a message from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which expressed support for the Green Loop experiment.

It said that the road-sharing initiative “should be replicated around the world, backed up by appropriate legal frameworks for all of the world’s clogged-up cities.

The IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law stands ready to assist.”

Korean rice burger gains popularity in Cebu

( Joel Locsin/BM, GMA News

Here's something to try for the health-conscious who visit Cebu province: Korean rice burgers.

The P80 concoction is served at an establishment at a reclamation area in Mandaue City, GMA Cebu's Bexmae Jumao-as reported.

It replaces the traditional bun with rice with seaweed, and includes the popular Korean staple kimchi (fermented vegetables), along with corn, chicken, and mayonnaise.

"Pasok siya sa budget ko and at the same time it doesn’t taste like it has a lot of MSG and the same time you have meat, you have vegetables and it’s very affordable ... it’s only P80," said customer Dyna Dizon.

While kimchi is usually spicy and sour, the kimchi used in the burger, said another customer is sweet—as if adapted to Filipinos' tastes.

The report said the rice burger appears to be a hit with both Filipino and Korean diners for the last three years.

"It's tasty, it's food and you will like this better than the bread," said proprietor Jaehan Kim.

World Bank approves Cebu City’s $141M loan

(SDR/Sunnex/With RVC)

CEBU - The World Bank approved on Saturday the US$141-million financial package for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project.

The financial package, consisting of loans from the World Bank ($116 million) and the Clean Technology Fund or CTF ($25 million), will help finance the construction of a 23-kilometer BRT system on a major transport corridor in Cebu City, the Washington-based lending agency said in a statement.

The Philippine Government will provide counterpart financing for the project amounting to US$87.5 million.

“We are so happy with the news and it showed that the World Bank trusts us,” Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said in a phone interview. He asked those involved in the project to speed up work on all the requirements.


Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) executive director Rafael Christopher Yap said that the City Government and the Department of Transportation and Communication have to work on the detailed engineering design study.

They will determine, among others, how the stations will look and the lots that need to be acquired.

“We are so excited to see progress in this project and after the loan was granted, it assures that there is already a sense of finality,” Yap added.

The corridor spans from Bulacao to Talamban in the city and will include transit ways, stations, terminals, a depot and other facilities.

“The World Bank Group is supporting this project because we believe its impact is going to be far-reaching and transformational not only for Cebu but for the country as a whole,” said World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi.

330,000 passengers

“When successfully implemented, Cebu BRT will provide an on-the-ground demonstration of how this system can address people’s need for a reliable, efficient and comfortable transport—something that other cities in the Philippines and beyond can learn from.”

The BRT system is expected to carry 330,000 passengers daily. Like trains, the BRT runs on its own dedicated lanes, carrying large numbers of travelers faster, safer and more reliably, the World Bank statement said. Unlike trains that run on rails, BRT uses buses, making the system simpler and cheaper to construct, operate and maintain.

The project will also install a computerized traffic management system in the entire city to ensure smoother overall traffic flow and will provide other improvements to integrate the BRT with other modes of transport.

Pioneered by the Brazilians in Curitiba in 1974, BRT systems are growing in popularity throughout the world for their efficiency and affordability.

Over 150 cities operate or are developing BRT, including Bogota, Boston, Cleveland, Hartford, Las Vegas, Oakland, Ottawa and Jakarta.

Local labor

“The BRT is an integrated system of facilities, equipment, services and amenities that collectively provides high-quality, high-performance rapid transit…Part of the reason for BRT’s cost-effectiveness is that it can be built quickly using local labor and materials,” said Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

With a population of 2.5 million, Metro Cebu serves as the regional, financial, and administrative center of the Central Visayas.

With rising incomes, Cebuanos are buying more motor vehicles, resulting in traffic congestion, rising number of traffic accidents, increasing air and noise pollution, and more emissions of harmful gases that contribute to climate change. The new BRT system will help Metro Cebu address these challenges.

As an example, the new BRT system is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 115,000 metric tons per year by 2020 and 192,000 tons by 2025.

The Cebu City Government started discussions on the proposed BRT system to address Cebu’s transport challenges during the time of then mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Tommy Osmeña on DAP funds: I’m most resourceful

By Doris C. Bongcac, Tonette Orejas |Inquirer Central Luzon, Inquirer Visayas

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Former Cebu Rep. Tomas Osmeña on Thursday admitted receiving P124 million in funds sourced from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), calling it an act of resourcefulness that should not be misconstrued by Cebuanos as immoral. Osmeña told the Inquirer that as congressman for the second district of Cebu City from 2010 to 2013, he only received P70 million in pork barrel funds, which was why he sought other sources of project funding. “That’s my job as a congressman—to get money wherever I can get money,” he said. “At least among the Cebuano legislators, I’m the most resourceful. But one thing for sure, I did not go to any fictitious nongovernment organizations,” he added. Osmeña said he did not personally receive the money as his role was limited to identifying the projects and looking for sources of funding. He said he could not remember the particular projects funded by DAP, but most of the money went to road improvement projects in both south and north districts in Cebu City. Osmeña said he would ask the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to furnish him a list of his projects funded by DAP. Among Osmeña’s DAP-funded projects were the improvement of the Busay Road at the cost of P12 million and the Pulang Bato Road at P10 million. Both are located in the mountain villages in Cebu City. He said Cebuanos should not hate him, a neophyte congressman, for being resourceful. “The Supreme Court says DAP is illegal but to me, it’s not immoral. There was just a shortcut by DBM,” said Osmeña, an ally of President Aquino. As a congressman, Osmeña said, his main task was to lobby for funding regardless of where it would come from. “If we will not lobby [for funds], the ones who will suffer are the probinsyanos (people from the provinces) because all the funding will go to Manila,” he said. Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez also admitted that the City of San Fernando and the rest of the province’s third district have received more than P154 million for emergency and regular projects when he was city mayor and representative. Rodriguez, however, said he was not aware that these were funded through the DAP, noting that most of these projects were coursed through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Rodriguez’s statement came after his name was included among the Liberal Party leaders whose local governments received DAP funds. “I have repeatedly mentioned before and during the [2013] campaign that the national government helped us in putting up many needed infrastructure projects, like the City College building, pedestrian overpasses, repair of the breached tail dike, all benefiting our people here,” Rodriguez said by phone.

Sun.Star Cebu wins 3 Globe Media Excellence Awards


CEBU CITY – Sun.Star Cebu bagged three of the nine Globe Cebu Media Excellence Awards (CMEA) held Thursday at the Cebu Marriott Hotel.

The 3rd Globe Cebu Media Excellence Awards is part of the celebration of the annual Cebu Press Freedom Week.

The Explanatory/Investigative Story of the Year for Print/Online was awarded to Rebelander Basilan, Davinci Maru, Gerome Dalipe and Cherry Ann Lim of Sun.Star for their story “Cordova: Cybersex Capital?”

Sun.Star SuperBalita Cebu’s Atty. Ruphil Bañoc received the Columnist of the Year award for his column “Silot sa Pagpanapaw”.

Arni Aclao of Sun.Star Cebu was adjudged Photojournalist of the Year for his Typhoon Yolanda photo, “Madridejos”.

The other awardees are: Reporter of the Year (Print category) Ador Mayol (Cebu Daily News) - “4-Part Series: Children Need Time to Heal” Reporter of the Year for Television Patricia Andrea Pateña (TV5) - “Kuwang sa Pangga” Explanatory/Investigative Reporter of the Year for Television Patricia Andrea Pateña (TV5) - “Kuwang sa Pangga” Reporter of the Year for Radio Astra Zina Logarta (dyHP) - “Alternative learning system gilusad sa CPDRC alang sa mga inmates nga wala kahuman sa pagtungha” Blogger of the Year Ruben Licera ( Social Media Advocate of Year Ruben Licera

Out of the 533 entries, 49 made it to the final nominations list of the Globe Cebu Media Excellence Awards this year. The awards pay tribute and give recognition to print, broadcast, and digital media practitioners who have excelled in their respective fields.

The judges’ decisions for print and broadcast categories were based on the following criteria: Content (50 percent) - adherence to truth and responsible journalism as manifested in the accuracy, fair, and balanced presentation, and depth of reporting; Style (25 percent) - ability to communicate clearly and effectively as shown by the writing style, clarity, logical presentation of issues, coherence, and fluidity of ideas; and Social Impact (25 percent) - involves the impact of the articles on effecting change.

For bloggers, the criteria were: Consistency of content on the advocacy (50 percent), reader friendly presentation and design of content (20 percent), and social impact (30 percent).

For social media advocates: Content (50 percent); Consistency of content on the advocacy (50 percent); Reader Engagement (20 percent) - number of comments to the post; and Social Impact (30 percent) - retweets, shares, favorites, likes. (Sunnex)

Japanese commits suicide in Cebu

By nnie Perez, ABS-CBN News Central Visayas

CEBU CITY - Due to financial constraints, a Japanese national in Cebu took his own life, leaving behind his live-in partner and a one-year-old daughter.

Kiyoshi Nakahigashi, 55, a former car dealer, was found dead inside his home in Sitio Lumboy, Barangay Mambaling.

He allegedly took his life through asphyxiation.

He left a suicide note for his live-in partner and daughter, saying that he loves them very much and that he is sorry that he cannot provide for them.

Before his death, Nakahigashi's business reportedly went bankrupt and his house was robbed last month. Among the items stolen in the robbery was his passport.

He left behind his partner, Tiffany Villamor, 28, and their daughter.

Villamor said they were running out of solutions to gain money in order for their family to survive. Both of them do not have jobs. Kiyoshi was also into illegal drugs.

The homicide section of the Cebu City police has already informed the Japanese Consulate on the matter. They are hoping that Kiyoshi's family will be informed immediately so they can proceed with further investigation.

Exporters urged to tap domestic market before 2015

By Malou M. Mozo

Cebu City, Cebu – Exporters here are being urged to tap local markets before ASEAN integration in 2015.

“The global community will be looking at the ASEAN economy, particularly with the integration of the region by 2015. Cebu exporters should begin positioning themselves in the local market now or they might start to flail once goods from our ASEAN neighbors start to come in,” said Cebu-Gifts, Toys, Houseware (Cebu-GTH) former president Pete Delantar.

In an interview, Delantar noted that the domestic market has continuously expanded in the last two years.

Delantar, who owns Nature’s Legacy which produces houseware and accessories made of recycled materials, admitted that while his company’s home furnishings brand has gained foothold in the European market for several years because of their “green products” branding, the market there has “slowed down” as observed by minimal orders from foreign buyers.

On the other hand, he said the local market has become a huge feasible market for his company’s products.

“The local market with a current 100 million population and a middle income market that has more disposable income than in the past, is no longer a market that we can simply overlook,” observed Delantar.

He urged exporters and manufacturers in Cebu to start marketing their products by participating in trade shows, or have their items displayed at Tindahang Pinoy, a flagship project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Cebu-GTH launched over a year ago.

There are 75 companies displaying products at Tindahang Pinoy from some 40 companies when it started. Thirty-five of these companies are Cebu-GTH members, 25 are startup companies wanting to test the market, and the rest are producers in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)’s one town, one product (OTOP) programs.

Regional products from Leyte, Bohol, Camotes Island and Masbate are also on display at the store.

An average of about 200 people, mostly tourists brought around by tour guide partners and travel agencies affiliated with the Cebu Association visit the store every month, most of which are tourists brought by tour guide partners and travel agencies affiliated with the Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Delantar said Tindahang Pinoy averages monthly sales of some P400,000 which falls shorts of its P600,000 to P800,000 month sales target.

He also pointed to the month-long Great Cebu Sale, organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) during the annual Cebu Business Month celebration held in June, and the Tubod Furniture Show which is organized by the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF), as among the events when exporters sell their products for the local market.

“Participating in shows and creating linkages with other export players and other suppliers will help strengthen our positioning in the domestic market. We can always assure our local buyers that the products they buy here are the same export quality products that we sell overseas,” said Delantar.

The Henry Hotel shakes up Cebu

By Cris Evert B. Lato (Inquirer Visayas)

CEBU CITY—In an industry where almost all rooms come from the same cookie cutter mold, there is one hotel that attempts to stand out in a sea of hotel monotony.

For one, The Henry Hotel is housed in a building painted in black with a big sign on top that reads: “Quirky hotel below.”

A big red statue, of “Henry” himself, greets guests at the hotel lobby. Front desk staff members are garbed in black and white with bow ties and wide-rimmed eyeglasses without lenses.

“What we offer is an out-of-the-box hospitality experience. When I say that, it means that our brand of service is intimate and highly personalized. Definitely not the typical hospitality service you know,” said manager Mirro Reperuga.

While no two rooms look the same, the interiors appear like modern-meets-vintage-meets-contemporary artistry.

“We stick to our proposition that The Henry is like no other [hotel in the city]. Each room has different a make up. We pay particular attention to detail,”said Reperuga.

Materials are locally sourced but are combined with that signature European hip.

The hotel, located along Maria Luisa Road in Barangay Banilad in Cebu City, was built in early 2012.

It was positioned to be a leisure hotel that catered to the upscale market and the corporate world, said Reperuga.

It has 38 rooms ranging from 36 square meters for a “Big Room” (their smallest) to 108 sq m for an “Extra-Extra Large Room”.

Owned by Innovoterra Properties and managed by Hospitality International Inc., Reperuga said it was a conscious decision for hotel owners to be generous with space, a primary advantage The Henry holds over other hotel properties in Cebu.

“We’d like our hotel to be a destination where people travel to be able to stay in the hotel. Yes, we are little off-center but this also serves as our attraction,” said Reperuga, whose career in the hospitality industry began in 1994.

He said the hotel is also located in an area where there was still much to see and experience after 9 p.m.

“The area around most hotels are dead spots after nine [in the evening]. Here, we take pride in the food establishments operated by reputable owners,” he said.

The hotel has a partnership with Rica’s Restaurant, which provides the hotel’s restaurant and room service.

The restaurant, which exudes an Alice-in-Wonderland feel, is open until midnight.

On the second floor is the Scrapyard Lounge, a nightlife destination. The hotel’s function and meeting rooms are also on the second floor.

It is located in the same compound as Cable Car and Antica Osteria, an Italian restaurant and deli. It is also a few steps away from Giuseppe Pizzeria and Sicilian Roast and the Michelâ’s Deli and Café.

As a general manager, Reperuga said he takes guest feedback very seriously. His daily routine includes reading reviews on booking sites and replying to comments.

“We make guests feel that they are valued. There are some guests who will not talk. They just walkout when they are not happy. We are learning from the guests. They are our best teachers,” he said.

“Whatever it takes to really excel and live up to our promise, we will do,”added Reperuga.

Reperuga said the Internet is an important sales tool for the hotel.

Trip Advisor ( ranked The Henry No.2 among 71 hotels in Cebu City in 2013. Online presence in booking sites such as Agoda, and Expedia generate good occupancy for the hotel.

“A huge chunk of the business comes from online platforms,” he said.

Reperuga said they are ready for cutthroat competition in the city’s hotel industry and they are doing it with substantial attention to details only The Henry can offer.

Easy Taxi ‘fully operational’ in Cebu


DESPITE other available mobile taxi booking services, those behind the operations of Easy Taxi hope to be different by paying attention to a passenger’s experience.

Easy Taxi, which is funded by German startup incubator and venture capital investment firm Rocket Internet, announced Friday that it became fully operational in Metro Cebu, partnering with several taxicab operators to offer their services.

Aside from that, Easy Taxi Cebu City manager Kristoffer Montebon said they want to serve Cebuanos the best way they can and extending the service to malls is one of the ways they are making the service available.

Easy Taxi has signed an agreement with Ayala Center Cebu allowing the mall’s customers to book a taxi at the concierge booth of the mall. They plan to make similar arrangements with Parkmall, Banilad Town Center and Robinson’s Cybergate.

Biggest worldwide

Montebon said they can claim to be the world’s largest taxi booking app as they are operational in four continents, 33 countries, 162 cities, over 10 million users and 185,000 drivers registered.

A user books a cab using Easy Taxi’s mobile app by confirming their location and adding details. Once a request is confirmed, a user just waits for the app to send a confirmation that includes the details of the cab, driver and its current location.

He said Easy Taxi connects drivers with passengers to ensure a safe ride. To assure users of their safety, Montebon said they follow a strict screening process before accepting drivers. These include a minimum number of years with an operator, English proficiency, overall appearance and understanding of how the mobile app works. Each driver gets a smartphone, SIM card, stickers for the taxicab and a manual.

“They now have access to technology that they did not have before,” he said.

The app allows the user to track the driver’s progress and share all the details of the trip to their contacts.

Easy Taxi has partnered with operators VNM, Sun Taxi, Michaela, Mike Angelo, Green Planet, Sarefen, 6Sense, Juscar, Catz, Worldwide, Emersons and Airland.

To promote the use of the app, the booking fee of P20 is waived until Oct. 4. Although the booking fee cannot be reflected in the printed receipt of the taxicabs, Easy Taxi Philippines CEO Daniel Torres said the app has a feature that emails the user all the information, including the payment, which he said can used as be proof of payment if it is needed.

Torres believes they have the biggest fleet so far and that they work hard to build a relationship with their operators.

He admitted that their app uses similar technology and processes with other taxi booking apps.

Customer experience

“It all comes down to the customer experience. In our entire operation, we make sure to have a close relationship with our drivers, make sure our drivers are happy with the service and reward them for good conduct,” he said.

Easy Taxi also has a partnership with Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app so that drivers and passengers alike can plot their course. The trip can also be monitored by a passenger’s contacts. Both Waze and Easy Taxi announced a partnership to promote safe driving in the country.

Safety for female passengers is what has Land Transportation Franchise Regulatory Board 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon supporting Easy Taxi, who said the safety of female passengers riding alone in taxicabs has been one of their advocacies.

Michael Lee, operator of the Sun Taxi fleet, said the drivers find the app especially useful during lean hours because they won’t have to drive around the city in search of passengers. He admitted though that during heavy rains, they have trouble accepting bookings because they do not want to risk getting caught in flooded streets.

Torres said they are working on other features for the app, such as a fare estima

Cebu City Archived News

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