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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Molo Church, Iloilo City
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The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog In Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Aklan.
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Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.

Cash gift sought for residents reaching 90th, 95th birthdays

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The elderly in this city need not wait to reach the centennial age to avail of cash incentives once the proposed ordinance, granting benefits and privileges to residents celebrating their 90th and 95th birthdays, is approved.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), in its regular session on Tuesday, approved on first reading the proposed ordinance that will grant 90-year-olds with PHP5,000 and PHP10,000 for 95-year-olds.

The money will be given just one-time once the elderly will turn 90 or 95.

“Living for almost a century old is very challenging in this modern time. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle has become a great endeavor,” said proponent Councilor Lyndon Acap in pushing for the ordinance.

He said that while centenarians are entitled to avail of PHP100,000 from the national government and another PHP10,000 as provided for in the city ordinance, yet the benefits seemed to be “useless”.

“That benefit supposedly is for them to enjoy. So how can they enjoy if they are already bed-ridden and some could not even recognize the money,” he said in a follow-up interview.

He added that giving them the said amount is a way for them to avail of the cash incentives without waiting to become centenarians.

He recalled that the late councilor Armand Parcon passed an ordinance two years ago increasing the PHP10,000 incentive to centenarians to PHP50,000 but it was vetoed because it might affect the delivery of other services.

Acap said that the city is progressing and senior citizens also need little support.

Once passed, the qualified senior citizen has to submit the same requirements when thy process for the national incentive.

Added to those, they have to be residents of this city for at least five years.

As of 2018, Iloilo City 59,293 registered senior citizens.

The proposed ordinance is now with the committees on appropriations and the elderly for appropriate action.

39K vacancies up for grabs in Iloilo job fair

By Gail Momblan (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- A total of 39,305 vacancies are available in the one-day job fair to be facilitated by the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) in Iloilo this June 7.

Francisco Heler, PESO-Iloilo chief, said 8,025 job vacancies for local employment are up for grabs.

Also available are 31,374 jobs in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), tutorial, real estate, bank and microfinance, hotels and restaurant, retailers, medical fields, construction, hospitality; seaman, second cook, oiler, for sea-based agencies tanker; bale seaman and wiper for container; and master, chief officer, second and third officer for bulk carriers.

Heler said the job vacancies are expected to rise to 40, 000 as more companies expressed their intent to participate in the job expo. On Tuesday, a total of 150 companies already confirmed their participation.

Heler said an estimated 900 to 1,000 applicants had pre-registered at their extension office located at the third floor of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol here.

“This excludes those who pre-registered in different municipalities where the participants can also pre-register,” he said.

He also encouraged applicants to prepare their certificate of employment, clearances, and resume on the day of the expo.

The PESO chief also expressed his gratitude to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Social Security System, and special lanes for Persons With Disability (PWD) and Indigenous Peoples (IPs), among others, which will establish help desks during the job expo.

A total of 12 municipalities and the Newtrals Philbikers Organization in the province also extended their support to the job expo by offering free rides to jobseekers who will travel from municipalities to the Capitol.

An employment orientation will also be held on June 7 to teach participants on financial literacy and other topics, to help them in their employment, Heler said.

Tourism officers to meet with stakeholders for MICE preps

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Accommodation and food sectors will be meeting with the City Tourism and Development Office (CTDO) on Thursday to determine packages to be included in the kit to be distributed to organizers of meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibits (MICE).

“Hotels will meet to agree on a certain percentage while our food sector will also come up with what they can offer when you come to Iloilo to have your conventions, meetings or conferences,” said Junel Ann Divinagracia, City Tourism Officer, in an interview Tuesday.

Divinagracia said that they have done researches on packages of other MICE destinations such as Davao and Manila at the national level and Singapore and Malaysia as part of benchmarking.

However, Iloilo City will come up with a unique package that could not be found in other MICE destinations. Among others, there will be attractive discounts, which normally could not be found in ordinary transactions.

“We hope to complete our kit by July because we set our tentative launching at the local level in October,” she added.

They have yet to finalize national and international launching.

Prior to the May 30 meeting, Divinagracia said they also met with the transportation, security and the academe. She said they will meet again after the meeting on Thursday.

She added that once the packages for these various groups are ready, they will submit these to the Department of Tourism (DOT) for consolidation and come up with a very nice and attractive kit.

In a previous interview, Divinagracia said 50 to 70 percent of the 1.2 million tourist arrivals last year were due to MICE.

She added that arrivals in this highly urbanized city are already MICE-driven because most of the tourists are delegates of conventions.

P8.7-B earmarked to develop Iloilo port

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILED) is looking at the support of both the city and provincial governments of Iloilo for the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Board to act swiftly on a project of a private firm to improve the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex in Loboc, Lapuz, this city with a budget of PHP 8.7 billion.

In a phone interview Monday, Francis Gentoral, executive director of ILED, said the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) intends to upgrade the Iloilo Port once its unsolicited proposal, dubbed the “Original Proponent Status” is approved.

During their May 24 briefing in Manila, they were told that the ICTSI wanted to upgrade the port into a world-class level by “maximizing big ship capability; installing ship-to-shore gantry cranes; and continuously upgrading yard capacity aligned to traffic studies”.

It also intends to build a terminal for cruise ship passengers, to meet the objectives of the National Tourism Development Plan.

Present during the briefing were Senator Franklin Drilon, Iloilo City Lone District Representative and now mayor-elect Jerry P. Treñas; Congresswoman-elect Julienne Baronda; and ILED chairperson Narzalina Lim, Jocelyn Perez, Terence Uygongco, Rex Drilon, and Gentoral.

“We thought at ILED to encourage local governments to write a letter that supports the acceleration of the process,” he said.

They were informed that the proposal is now with the PPA Board for review but for now they have no idea what will be the next step of the ports authority.

Once the PPA approves the proposal, ITCSI can already start with the groundwork next year, he added.

Gentoral said that once the proposal is realized, it will create a significant impact on Iloilo. He said Iloilo can already send agriculture products to other outbound markets.

With this, he cited the need to improve agricultural productivity to be able to export.

The export potential of agriculture products is expected to get a boost once the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project will start operations in 2022. Its irrigation component is expected to cover an initial 31,000 hectares of rice land.

“This early we are seeing a heightened shipping activity in the province due to the economic development that has taken place in the province for the past years,” Drilon said.

Treñas, as incoming mayor of Iloilo City, committed to upgrading the road network going to and from the port to accommodate bigger traffic. “One priority project is to update the land use plan to capture the expansion of road networks that are needed for the port,” Gentoral added.

Moreover, if the traffic limit of the Iloilo Port is about to be reached, the ICTSI is also willing to develop the port of Dumangas, which has been pushed by the provincial government of Iloilo for development.

“Our advocacy is to fast-track the processing of the unsolicited proposal so they can already start. If approved this year, they can start the ground running by January next year,” Gentoral said.

Lim also offered to mobilize all the business associations in Iloilo to throw their support behind the ICTSI proposal.

Razon firm plans to invest P8.7 billion in Port of Iloilo


BUSINESSMAN Enrique Razon’s International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) is willing to plunk in P8.7 billion to develop the Port of Iloilo in Iloilo City, particularly the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex in Brgy. Loboc, Lapuz, Iloilo City.

In a briefing before Ilonggo political leaders and business groups on May 24, 2019 in Makati City, ICTSI Global Corporate Head Christian Gonzalez said the investment aims to upgrade the Iloilo port complex once the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) acts on its unsolicited proposal which is up for review by the PPA Board.

Among those present in the briefing were Senator Franklin Drilon, Mayor-elect Jerry Trenas, Congresswoman-elect Julienne “Jam Jam” Baronda, and Ilonggos business community represented by Narzalina Lim, Jocelyn Perez, Engr. Terence Uygongco, Rex Drilon and Francis Gentoral of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILED).

Gonzalez said that when the traffic limit in the Iloilo port is about to be reached, the port in Dumangas, Iloilo will be developed.

Fourth district Rep. Ferjenel G. Biron earlier welcomed ICTSI’s desire to improve Dumangas port which is located in his constituency.

Biron has also included the development and upgrading of the Dumangas port into international standards in his campaign platform.

Biron added that he will lobby with the PPA to consider ICTSI’s plans for the Dumangas port development project.

During the briefing, Gonzalez revealed ICTSI’s objective to modernize Iloilo Port to world class levels:

- maximizing big ship capability;

- installing ship-to-shore gantry cranes; and continuously

- upgrading yard capacity aligned to traffic studies.

The form also plans to build a terminal for cruise ship passengers, to meet the objectives of the National Tourism Development Plan.

Gonzalez said that with their development plans, Iloilo can be the major regional transhipment hub for the Visayas.

Additionally, the agri-aqua products of Iloilo can be shipped to domestic and foreign markets in refrigerated containers, driving costs down, making them very competitive.

In an interview with the Daily Guardian on Air over Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo on May 25, 2019, Treñas also welcomed ICTSI’s keen interest in developing the port of Iloilo.

Treñas said he will ensure full cooperation of the Iloilo City government so that the road network to and from the port is upgraded to accommodate the expected traffic.

Local incentives will also be reviewed to make it attractive for exporters and importers to use the port.

ILED chairperson Narzalina Lim offered to mobilize all the business associations in Iloilo to throw their support behind the ICTSI proposal and write a letter to PPA to accelerate the process of review and approval of the Original Proponent Status of ICTSI.

In a statement, Drilon said ICTSI’s plan “is very timely given that Iloilo is poised to become a major exporter of agricultural products once the Jalaur River Multi-purpose Project is completed in 2022.”

The megadam project will irrigate 31,000 hectares of rice land, doubling the rice production of Iloilo.

The senator also urged the PPA to act on ICTSI’s unsolicited proposal.

Iloilo City works on tourism shift from festivals to MICE

(Politiko Visayas)

Iloilo City is now implementing a shift in its tourism promotion efforts from being a destination for festivals to one for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE).

The city government is using as a guide the P50-million, three-year marketing plan launched by the Department of Tourism in Region 6 last February.

“Statistics show that before we are festival-driven but now we are MICE-driven because most of the tourists that come here are attendees of the regional conventions in the city,” said City Tourism and Development Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia (

“The product portfolio of Iloilo City now does not only include arts and culture, culinary, and faith, but also the MICE. We are thankful with tourism stakeholders here especially the accommodating sector for their cooperation,” she added.

Divinagracia noted conventions held in Iloilo have been attracting more tourists and have eventually overtaken festival tourism since last year.

Of the 1.2 million tourist arrivals in Iloilo City last year, 50 to 70 percent are attendees of various conventions, she said.

She added the temporary six-month closure of Boracay Island in 2018 also boosted the MICE tourism in Iloilo City as some conventions in Boracay were diverted there.

Divinagracia said they will launch MICE packages by October 2019, since they will be expecting two to four large conventions every month in Iloilo.

She added a MICE alliance composed of tourism stakeholders has been created to prepare for the influx of conventions in the metro.

For its part, property giant Megaworld Corp. is now gearing up to become the center of conventions.

Jennifer Fong, vice president for sales and marketing of Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park (IBP), said the IBP plans around 1,000 hotel rooms, up from 475 rooms, in the next five years, to accommodate travelers and guests.

The IBP also houses the Iloilo Convention Center which can accommodate to 3,700 persons. Fong said the park is 60 percent complete.

Meanwhile, Divinagracia said other budget hotels and destinations are also stepping up their efforts to prepare for the MICE tourism.

“We want to balance it. We have been talking to other hubs and destinations and they are also stepping up their efforts. We are helping them so that they will not be left behind,” she said.

SM opens office building in Iloilo

By Arra B. Francia

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. has opened a new office tower in Iloilo City targeted toward business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, as its seeks to boost the presence of outsourcing companies in the area.

Located along Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue, the Sy-led property developer said the Strata Tower offers 23,000 square meters (sq.m.) in total leasable area. Office spaces will be located on 13 floors, while the ground floor will house retail shops such as SM Savemore Supermarket.

“Strata Tower aims to establish BPO and office presence within the city and its neighboring towns,” the company said.

The office building is located across SM City Iloilo, and is accessible to the mall through a covered bridgeway on its second floor.

Strata is one of SM Offices’ 35 operational office properties covering a combined gross floor area of about 642,000 sq.m. across 20 locations.

The office group accounted for about nine percent of SM Prime’s revenues in the first quarter of 2019, alongside other leasing businesses such as hotels and convention centers. The segment saw its revenues rise 14% to P2.3 billion.

Overall, SM Prime’s consolidated revenues climbed 14% to P26.5 billion, resulting to a 16% increase in net income to P8.8 billion.

Shares in SM Prime fell 1.52% or 60 centavos to close at P38.80 each at the stock exchange on Friday.

Visayas Minerals and Energy Summit opens in Iloilo City

By Lilibeth A. French (JBG/MGB6/laf/PIA6- Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, May 24 (PIA) -- Some 200 to 300 delegates across the country are attending the 9th Visayas Minerals and Energy Summit which opens on May 23, 2019 here.

The Philippine Society of Mining Engineers (PSEM) Visayas Chapter organized the event which will end on Saturday, May 25.

PSEM, Inc. is an association of Mining Engineers in the Philippines that works for the advancement and welfare of individuals in the profession.

Its main goal is to give projects and improve chances to individuals in the profession to work dependably as experts for the advancement of a suitable minerals industry with regards to practical improvement, according to a report from the Mines Geosciences Bureau Region 6 (MGB6).

The three-day event will be highlighted by paper presentations of stakeholders from the public and private sectors focusing on the theme “Minerals and Energy – Indispensable in the Government’s Build, Build, Build Program.”

A Mining Engineers' Assembly is slated in the afternoon of the first day which will begin with an update from the PSEM president.

Paper presentations on May 24 include the following topics: MGB Updates-Policy Directions for the Mining Industry; Coal and Nuclear Energy Program of the Philippines; Government’s Build, Build, Build Program; The Iron and Steel Industry in the Philippines; Cement Industry Capacity Expansion Projects to Support Build, Build, Build Program of Government; and Sustainability of Aggregate Supply in the Country for the Government’s Infrastructure Program and Policy Direction.

Other topics are Geological Considerations in the Government’s Infrastructure Development; Ease of Doing Business; and Rehabilitation and Restoration on Mined-out Areas: Philex Sibutad and Bulawan Project Experiences.

DOH6 to launch 1st mall-based clinic in PH

By Leonard T. Pineda, I (JBG/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, May 23 (PIA) -- The Department of Health - Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) 6 is set to launch on May 28, 2019 at Robinsons Place Iloilo the country’s first mall-based clinic that will provide preventive and promotive health care.

In a press conference held recently at the Eon Centennial Hotel here, Joseph Carlo Carillo, DOH-6 Nurse V, said that the facility aims to serve the unmet health needs of clients by improving access to health services.

“This is part of the commitment of DOH to ensure access and availability of our services. Our clients are provided these services at the most convenient time for them,” he said.

Dubbed as “kNOwTell,” the clinic aims to ensure that the reach of health information is expanded through health information sharing or “what you KNOW you TELL,” while keeping private information confidential or “No Tell.”

“However, it will not bear the word ‘clinic’ to remove the barrier to health access,” he said, adding that "a person does not need to be sick" to access and avail services of a health facility.

He said that kNOwTell is a venue for health education and counseling in order to be healthy and to stay healthy.

The mall-based health facility will be open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Services that will be offered include pregnancy testing; pre-natal check-up (to include physical check-up, vitamins and pregnancy counseling); Family Planning (FP) services (short or long acting FP commodities); and HIV screening, counseling, and testing.

Likewise, clients can also avail psycho-social risk assessment, counseling (to include psychometrician services and referral); “Brief Advise” 5 (counseling on tobacco, alcohol and drugs); and screening, counseling, and referral for chest X-ray.

According to Carillo, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays will be considered “Teen Days” as there will be special services and workshops that will be conducted targeting this particular age group.

The facility will be situated in the 3rd floor of Robinsons Place Iloilo, beside Fun Time.

NFA Iloilo puts up 11 palay buying stations

By Lilibeth A. French (JBG/NFA/laf/PIA6-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA) -- The National Food Authority (NFA) has 11 buying stations strategically located in the different areas of the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras to ensure that farmers can avail of the government’s incentives and support price for palay.

The buying stations are located at NFA Main Office in Jaro, Iloilo City, Dumangas Grains Center, Pototan Grains Center, San Dionisio Warehouse, Brgy. Punong in Passi City, Brgy. Jibolo in Janiuay, Poblacion in Barotac Viejo, Brgy. Mapili in San Enrique, Suclaran Warehouse in Guimaras, and Jordan Warehouse in Guimaras.

Buying station in Brgy. Punong in Passi City is open every Tuesday; in Brgy. Jibolo and Brgy. Pasig every Wednesday; in Poblacion, Barotac Viejo every Thursday; and Brgy. Mapili every Friday.

Currently, the NFA buys palay at a support price of P17.00/kg and provides additional incentives of P3.00/kg for buffer stocking; P0.20/kg drying incentive; P0.20/kg delivery incentive and P0.30/kg for Cooperative Development incentive fee.

“This means an individual farmer can get a maximum of P20.40/kg while members of farmer cooperatives/organizations will get a maximum of P20.70/kg. of palay sold to NFA,” said NFA-Iloilo provincial manager Oliver Cambas in a press report.

Cambas encouraged farmers to sell “clean and dry” palay to enjoy the maximum buying price of P20.40/kg and P20.70/kg.

He added that they have also eased requirements for their procurement program, requiring farmers only a Farmer’s Passbook/Master Passbook as proof of their legitimacy.

Farmers who are selling their produce to NFA for the first time can deliver up to 200 bags even without a Farmer’s Passbook, however, their succeeding deliveries will be covered by a passbook.

Under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law which took effect March 5 this year, NFA has shifted its focus on buffer stocking, which is sourced solely from local farmers, for calamities and emergencies.

DAR gathers farmers in WV

(PIA/ DAR-Public Assistance and Media Relations Service)

ILOILO CITY, May 21 – Agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Western Visayas gathered for a symposium in Iloilo City.

The event held in Iloilo City, May 6, was led by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) - Regional Office 6.

Some 134 ARB organization representatives participated in the conference to include the 42 participants from Iloilo, 30 from Antique, 27 from Capiz, 22 from Aklan, and 13 from Guimaras.

Also in attendance were the provincial agrarian reform program officers II and the regional and provincial chief agrarian reform program officers.

DAR Undersecretary Karlo S. Bello of the Field Operations Group also attended the event.

The conference aims to capacitate and create awareness to farmer group leaders and members, specifically on the principles of land amortization; cooperative tax exemption and privileges; and available credit programs.

The resource speakers were from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), and Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

LBP-Agrarian Office Center representative Lemuel Sembrano discussed matters pertaining to land amortization, while lawyer Roumilia Alpasan-Base of the CDA focused on the pertinent policies on cooperative taxation.

The benefits of the ARB Insurance Program were discussed by a team from the PCIC led by Vice President Antonio Uy II.

It was also an opportunity for the farmers and farmer-leaders to reconnect and to expand their knowledge and share their experiences in enhancing the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

Likewise, the conference hoped to widen the participants’ information on the different programs and services offered by DAR and other partner agencies to the ARB organizations.

Catholic leaders lead AIDS candlelight memorial in Iloilo

By Leonard T. Pineda, I (JBG/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, May 20 (PIA) -- Catholic leaders in this city spearheaded the commemoration of this year’s International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM) on May 19.

The Philippine Catholic HIV and AIDS Network (PhilCHAN)-Iloilo, which is under the PhilCHAN of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in collaboration with the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6, led the IACM at St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in Jaro district here.

Sr. Mila Grace Silab, SPC, PhilCHAN-Iloilo chair and president of St. Paul University Iloilo, said the IACM commemoration is part of their mission to spread and raise awareness on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and aquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

“We are spearheading the activity to strengthen our support to our brothers and sisters living with HIV and promote our mission to raise awareness,” she said.

The event started with a Eucharistic celebration at 5:00 p.m., followed by a short program and the Candlelighting Ceremony.

“It was an evening of songs and prayers. There was also be a special presentation by the group ‘Little Theater’ from the University of San Agustin,” she said.

She added that the PhilCHAN gave the group a session tackling HIV which enabled them to come up with an original play.

“The script was based on the session provided to the group,” Silab said.

During the Candlelighting Ceremony, the participants were grouped into sectors including faith-based organizations, support groups, health sector, business, youth, government agencies, civil society organizations, among others.

Rev. Fr. Dan Vicente Cancino Jr., executive secretary of the Commission on Health Care of CBCP, also attended the event and delivered the inspirational message.

Silab said that various multi-sectoral partners from the different government and private agencies, organizations, hospitals, and schools also joined the event.

This year's local theme is "One Big Fight for PLHIV Health and Rights."

CCP launches the encyclopedia of PH art in Iloilo


PASAY CITY, May 19 -- The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will hold the regional launch of the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art (2nd edition) on May 24, at 5 pm, at the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA).

CCP vice president/artistic director Chris Millado, who is also the project director of EPA, will give an introduction; followed by series of talks by Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson, EPA editor-in-chief, Dr. Ruth Pison, associate area editor for the EPA’s dance volume; and Elmer Gatchalian, creative director.

The event is expected to gather writers, artists, and key representatives of cultural organizations and institutions from Iloilo and other provinces in Western Visayas.

Initially launched at the CCP, the CCP EPA is the most comprehensive and authoritative reservoir of information on Philippine art and culture. Divided into twelve volumes, the encyclopedia covers the different Philippine art forms, such as architecture, visual arts, film, music, dance, theater, broadcast arts, and literature, as well as the study of the peoples of the Philippines.

The second edition of the EPA was initially launched at the CCP last November 28, 2018, over 20 years after the original nine-volume edition came out. The volume on broadcast arts is the latest addition.

Written by more than 500 brilliant scholars and experts from different regions of the Philippines, the CCP EPA seeks to contribute to the enrichment of Filipino-oriented scholarship and help shape Filipino identity and nationhood.

The CCP EPA is now available for pre-order at the ILOMOCA at a discounted price until May 15 only. For reservations, call (033) 501-8622 or (033) 501-8621. ILOMOCA is located at Casa de Emperador Festive Walk Parade, Mandurriao, Iloilo City, Iloilo.

Firm inks deal for power in Iloilo


MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), the power firm of tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., has sealed a deal with Kepko SPC Power Corp. (KSPC) to supply electricity to Iloilo.

Under the one-year interim power supply agreement, KSPC will deliver 5 megawatts (MW) of electricity to MORE Power, with the option for another 5 MW.

MORE Power said KSPC, which operates a 2×100 MW Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustor (CFBC) coal-fired power plant in Naga City, Cebu, had agreed to provide “reliable power” to the city “at a much lower rate” than its current supplier.

“We are happy to be in partnership with Kepco SPC as we commit to bring more to the lives of the Ilonggos by delivering cheaper power,” MORE Power President and Chief Operating Officer Roel Castro said.

In February this year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11212, granting the Razon-owned firm a franchise to establish and operate as a power distributor in Iloilo City.

The franchise calls for a two-year transition period, which entails negotiations on the use of facilities to prevent blackouts throughout the city.

Founded in 1923, Panay Electric Co. Inc.’s (PECO) franchise to supply electricity to end-users in Iloilo City expired on Jan. 18, 2019.

But PECO continued to operate under the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission, which will expire on May 25.

Hotel industry benefits from Iloilo City’s MICE tourism

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The hotel industry in this city is benefitting from the growing meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibits (MICE) tourism, the new direction that is being pursued by the local government here.

“Before, Iloilo City was festival driven, now we are MICE driven because most of the tourists are delegates of conventions,” said City Tourism and Development Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia in a recent press conference with selected media held at the C’s by L’Fisher at the Iloilo Business Park Festive Walk Mall in this city.

Divinagracia said 50 percent to 70 percent of the 1.2 million tourist arrivals last year were due to MICE.

She said that with the six-month closure of Boracay Island in 2018, some of the conventions were diverted to Iloilo City. It was also fortunate she said that stakeholders from this part of the country have prepared destinations for tourists who opted to divert to Iloilo rather than proceed to Boracay.

“It was of great help that we are ready,” she said.

In a follow-up interview Thursday, Divinagracia said a MICE alliance composed of tourism stakeholders has been created. Last week they met with lawyer Helen Catalbas, Tourism Regional Director, where they were asked to submit their packages.

“We will be lobbying, we will be bidding for international events here in Iloilo,” she said.

Jennifer Palmares-Fong, vice-president for sales and marketing of the Megaworld Iloilo Business Park (IBP), stated that they are preparing for the influx of guests due to MICE.

“Right now we have a total of 475 hotel rooms and we will be adding. By the end of 2022 we will have 1,000 rooms to accommodate travelers here,” Palmares-Fong added.

Courtyard by Marriot Hotel and the Richmonde Hotel have a total existing capacity of 475 rooms, with an additional 405 hotel rooms courtesy of Belmont Hotel Iloilo.

Harold Brian Geronimo, Megaworld’s senior vice president and head of public relations and media affairs, said there are boutique hotels coming in at the IBP. They will be constructed in a nine-hectare commercial district just beside Courtyard.

He said that with their current capacity, IBP can only cater to around 10 percent of the close to 4,000 hotel rooms needed for big conventions.

Currently, there are only around 4,700 hotel rooms in the city including those of small businesses.

Once they increase to 1,000 hotels rooms, still the number only represents 20 to 30 percent of the total room capacity of the entire city, he added.

“IBP cannot accommodate everyone. Everyone else in Iloilo will really benefit and IBP inspires smaller businesses to really upgrade,” he stated.

Palmares-Fong said that the coming in of Megaworld is “not a threat” because they have a focused market. While they cater to MICE executives, their staff and those that they could not accommodate spread to other hotels.

“We are not killing small businesses, we are actually helping because it brings business to the city,” Palmares-Fong said.

She added that the vision of their chairman for the township to be able to cater and make Iloilo as a convention city is “taking place already”.

Divinagracia said the MICE tourism is a big help to budget hotels. “They are very happy because in 2018, they have high occupancy rate due to regional conventions,” she added.

This year, the city has many upcoming conventions. She added that every month they expect two to four big conventions happening in Iloilo City.

Apart from boosting the hotel room capacity, Geronimo said they also beefed up security in consideration of the upcoming conventions.

They are also building a transportation hub to serve a lot of routes such as from the airport, ports, and other routes from the provinces.

The tourism officer added that last February, Senator Franklin Drilon requested the Department of Tourism to prepare a travel mart to further promote Iloilo.

Iloilo levels up from festival destination to top MICE hub

By Rhick Lars Vladimer Albay (PN)

ILOILO City – “In the past, Iloilo’s tourism has been largely festival-driven. Now, we have the potential to be a premier MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) destination,” Iloilo City Tourism and Development Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia recently said at a media roundtable held at C’s by L’Fisher in Festive Walk Mall, here.

Divinagracia explains that despite still being known as the city of the Dinagyang Festival, introducing Iloilo as an emerging MICE hub brings the potential of a year-round surge in tourist arrivals, compared to the seasonal draw of the much-hyped festival – celebrated annually in late January.

The city official shares that for the next year, Iloilo City is girding to host at least two to four large conventions every month, adding that around 50 to 70 percent of the city’s 1.2-million tourist arrivals last year can be attributed to confab delegates. According to a study by the Department of Tourism (DOT), MICE attendees are seen to spend six times more compared to a typical tourist – the industry being a potent economic multiplier.

Among the headway heralding this rapid growth in the local MICE industry are the introduction of new direct flights to and from Iloilo, a thriving and competitive hotel and hospitality sector, and robust infrastructure.

Just this February, Sen. Franklin Drilon and the office of DOT undersecretary Art Boncato championed and announced a three-year P50-million marketing plan to promote Iloilo as a world-class MICE destination.

“In the next three years, we [are set] to focus our marketing efforts in promoting Iloilo as one of the premiere MICE hubs in the country,” added Divinagracia.


Megaworld’s 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park township is quickly emerging as the center of this MICE development, being home to the Iloilo Convention Center and two respected hotel brands – with one more major hospitality label in the horizon.

The Iloilo Convention Center, with its 3,700-seat capacity main hall on the ground floor and 500-seat function rooms on the second floor, sits strategically between the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo and Richmonde Hotel Iloilo.

Currently, the city has around 4,700 DOT-accredited hotel rooms, and the Megaworld township is set to add more than 400 rooms in the next four years.

By 2023, Iloilo Business Park will add 405 more hotel rooms to the existing 475-room capacity of both Richmonde Hotel Iloilo and international hospitality brand Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, with the grand unveiling of the property giant’s own Belmont Hotel Iloilo. This is on top of the boutique hotels that the township is set to host in its 9-hectare commercial district, set to rise beside the Courtyard by Marriott soon.

“In the next five years, Iloilo Business Park will have around 1,000 hotel rooms in the township alone. This will further help bridge the gap in the hotel requirements of the city as we remain optimistic on the growth of MICE tourism,” said Jennifer Palmares-Fong, vice president for sales and marketing, Megaworld Iloilo Business Park.

Megaworld senior vice president and head of public relations and media affairs Harold Brian Geronimo added that dedicated transport hubs are also set to rise inside the township, slated to include shuttle services to and from the Iloilo International Airport, routes to Antique and Southern Iloilo, as well as premium P2P services to Boracay Island.

Despite all the growth and development in the local MICE sector seemingly centralized at Iloilo Business Park, both Palmares-Fong and Divinagracia brushed off fears that the Megaworld township will “monopolize” this emergent industry, saying there is enough of the market to go around – enough even to benefit the small and medium businesses in the city.

“With us coming in here, Megaworld has become a multiplier of sorts for the economy of the city,” Palmares-Fong told the media. “Iloilo Business Park has led in supporting the growth of the MICE industry here, but we are not [hogging] the business. I believe all, the entire local hospitality industry, can benefit from all this growth. It’s all for the city.”

“At the end of the day, not all delegates can be accommodated by Iloilo Business Park, there will always be spill over [to the other tourism stakeholders],” she continued. “We each have our own target markets and demographics we cater to, there is room for everyone to benefit from this growth.”

Divinagracia, for her part, claims that talking to other businessmen involved in the hotel industry of Iloilo, most are really thankful for the presence of Megaworld and Iloilo Business Park, seeing its vital boost to the local economy.

“Budget hotels are actually really thankful for the existence of the Iloilo Business Park,” Divinagracia explained. “Here in Iloilo, their occupancy rates are even higher compared to bigger hotels in the city, whole-year round even, largely because of the year-round conventions and events in Iloilo, some of which hosted inside this township.”

Led by the DOT Region 6, an Iloilo MICE City Core Group has been created to ensure the implementation of this burgeoning tourism plan. The Iloilo City MICE marketing plan is set to be implemented within a three-year period with the first year focusing on the creation of an Iloilo City MICE desk, a MICE Alliance, and a venture into a series of MICE roadshows.

“Our concept for Iloilo Business Park s to really make it a tourist destination for Iloilo City. Iloilo Business Park is certainly more than just a township, and we are proud to take an active role in making Iloilo City the country’s premier MICE destination,” Palmares-Fong concluded.

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