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PH to make its debut at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2024.

The National Book Development Board (NBDB) and its partner, The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), are set to make a historic debut at the 2024 Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) from April 8 to 11, 2024 at the BolognaFiere Exhibition Centre, Bologna. This is a milestone for the Philippine children’s book sector, as it marks the country’s first-ever participation at the world’s biggest international fair for children’s content.

With the Philippine children’s book sector thriving and highly sought-after in the local publishing industry, this debut offers a long-awaited opportunity to showcase the country’s children’s content, which is among the most widely translated genres, to a global audience.

A curated selection of 103 books, exploring themes such as culture, diversity, identity, peace, community, and the environment, will be featured at the Philippines’ country stand at the BCBF.

The delegation includes acclaimed artists Beth Parrocha (The Pencil Who Would Not Write, Bulul), Liza Flores (The Secret is in the Soil), and authors Russell Molina (Tuwing Sabado, Sandosenang Kuya), and Mary Ann Ordinario (My Muslim Friend, War Makes Me Sad).

It aims to not only present the talent of Filipino creators but also to secure translation rights, expand networks with foreign publishers, and foster collaborations between local and international counterparts.

Additionally, Philippine comics will take center stage at the BCBF’s Comics Corner, courtesy of Avenida Books founder and Trese publisher Nida Ramirez, who has been honored with a fellowship from the BolognaFiere Group.

Establishing the country’s presence in the BCBF—as well as in the upcoming Asian Festival for Children’s Content, where it will be the Country of Focus, and the upcoming Guest of Honor role in Frankfurter Buchmesse 2025, shall help solidify the Philippines as an emerging creative content capital in Southeast Asia. We cannot wait to introduce our children’s book industry to the global stage—the many Filipino authors and publishers exploring themes of peace identity and community,” notes Executive Director, Charisse Aquino-Tugade.

Since its inception in 1964, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been the premier platform for professionals in children’s content worldwide, providing opportunities for networking, rights selling, and cross-media adaptation, along with educational activities.

This year, with over 1,500 exhibitors from around 100 countries, including the Philippines, the fair anticipates over 25,000 visitors. The Philippines’ country stand, designed by the award-winning artist and illustrator Aldy Aguirre, is located at Hall 29, Stand B24-C23.

For industry professionals interested in attending, tickets for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair can be purchased at For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @nbdbphilippines.

Vinyl Gold Rush.

More and more audiophiles keep digging their hands for hours to score the vinyl record they have been searching for so long. Audiophiles crowded the first "One Stop Record Fair" for this year which kicked off at the new Greenhills Mall in San Juan City recently.

The quarterly music event "One Stop Record Fair" featured over 30 vinyl record sellers, such as Bunnygod Records, Tambai Records, Lennox Records, Kapitan Plaka, Musique Vibe Records, Mamsy Records, Plakatons, Ohmandys, and Perfect Day Records, among others. Vinyl records from as early as the 60s to 2020s were discounted up to 50 percent and sold for as low as 200 pesos, but everyone is welcome to negotiate and ask for discounts. First pressings are often sold for an expensive price so it's good to note for next time to bring additional cash.

Got no turntable and other audio equipment yet? Fret not because cassette tapes and compact discs (CDs) were also available at the record fair. Audio-Technica had a booth selling their audio gear such as turntables and speakers. Notable titles which are sold at the event are Bob James Trio's "Feel like Making Love" and "The World's Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings" both from UG34 Music; Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham's "Buckingham Nicks (Japan Pressing" and "City Pop Avenue" by Paper Moon Project from Bunnygod Records; Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians' "Shooting Rubberbands At The Sky (US First Pressing) and Charles Mingus' "Mingus at Monterey (Japan pressing mono)" from New Vintage Culture and other unique records sold.

Cubil's wife Keiko Necesario, who is also a singer-songwriter, joined him on stage to sing their song "Una." Meanwhile, director and actor Bobot Mortiz launched his 8-track vinyl album "Goin' Standard," a collection of standards popularized by Frank Sinatra, at the record fair.

"I am happy with the outcome of this event. One Stop Record Fair is indeed successful. I can say that 'our events are always successful, and it was different from previous fair since it was more fun and more people came,'" said Sari Osorio, the organizer of the record fair.

Osorio noted that the people are also more excited this time because they already know what the record fair offers and they want to get a look at what has been added to the mix since the last fair. Get ready to get digging because the next “One Stop Record Fair will be in June 2024.


The Philippine Book Festival is back, and it's bigger than ever!

For the second year running, the National Book Development Board Philippines (NBDB) is bringing together publishers, authors, artists, educators, and readers at the country’s biggest traveling book festival.

Taking place at the World Trade Center in Pasay from April 25 to 28, 2024, the PBF is a four-day celebration showcasing the richness of Philippine literature, culture, and arts. This unique book fair integrates education, entertainment, tourism, and shopping into a single family-friendly event.

In addition to the extensive collection of published works and titles from the Philippines, this year's festival offers a diverse range of talks and workshops.

Highlights include "A Day with Gwy Saludes," featuring an exclusive book signing and meet-and-greet session with the author. Historian and bestselling author Ambeth Ocampo will lead "Ambeth Without the Overcoat," a book signing session. National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Ricky Lee, will present "Trip to Quiapo," while "Dahling Nick: A Tribute to National Artist Nick Joaquin" will honor the renowned writer.

Other sessions include "Aklat Para Sa Accla: New Trends in Boys Love and Girls Love," "Comics Can Change the World" with Patti Ramos, and "Zine-making 101," a workshop on crafting independently-produced "fanzines" led by Komiket's Bunny Luz.

Attendees can anticipate the comeback of the Rare Book Collection by the National Library of the Philippines, which will feature a new selection of rare manuscripts and facsimiles; the Book Bar–a library of sorts filled with award-winning books; Cosplay Filipiniana, a cosplay competition allowing fans to portray their beloved Philippine literary characters; and Guhit Pambata, an exhibit highlighting the creations of some of our best children’s book illustrators.

This year, the PBF will launch the Tabuan Food Hall, wherein guests can feast in between pages.

The festival brings back its four popular realms: Kid Lit, a land just for children, Komiks, which puts the spotlight on Pinoy komiks, Booktopia, home to an abundance of fiction and non-fiction titles, and Aral Aklat, which is devoted to textbooks and educational materials. There will be a Creators Lab, Main Stage, and Kids-at-Play that highlight exciting talks, activities, and workshops more specific to the interests of readers and fans of those genres.

Panels, puppet shows, storytelling with surprise television and movie celebrities, and live performances are also scheduled throughout the four-day festival.

This year, we have more authors and we bring together the best of Philippine content for the entire family. The country needs more reading spaces that encourage conversation, creation and collaboration. Ang Philippine Book Festival ang nagsisilbing panghikayat ng NBDB sa iba pang mga organisasyon na lumahok at makiisa sa mga programang nagtutulak sa mga Filipino na magbasa dahil ang aklat ay para sa lahat,” said NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade.

The event is longer this year to give ample time for teachers, librarians, and organizations to research the books they need for their schools. Similar to last year, NBDB is working closely with the Department of Education (DepEd) to train more than 750 book evaluators and procurement officers to scope and evaluate books to purchase for public school libraries and library hubs. Evaluators from all over the country will fly in to source educational books for the students of their regions.

A Feast for the Eyes
The festival will be a feast for the eyes too as it features the designs of talented graphic designer and children’s book illustrators Marc Vincent Soriano, Liza Flores, and Beth Parrocha. Parrocha designed the four realms, finding inspiration in the four major elements: water for Kid Lit; earth for Komiks; fire for Aral Aklat; and air for Booktopia. Each realm has its color as well—pink, purple, yellow, and aqua—to make it easy for guests to figure out which part of the festival they’re in.

I had fun doing all the visuals. It’s a great opportunity for any artist to be given the whole World Trade Center as a canvas for my art,” Parrocha said.

A Stronger Culture of Reading
The Philippine Book Festival is part of the National Book Development Board’s effort to promote a culture of reading and develop the publishing industry in the Philippines.

The Philippine Book Fair is a program that, on the one hand, is about celebrating Philippine culture, but on the other hand, encompasses our agency’s long-term plans: improve access for every Filipino reader, democratize distribution, and enable our publishers and authors to keep producing Philippine books,” said Chairperson Dante Francis Ang II.

Register now at or scan the QR code. No worries, because entrance is free! The fair is open to the public from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on April 25-28, with no entrance fees. For more information on the Philippine Book Festival and to register for free, visit


NBDB urges focus on readership and literacy initiatives; ramps up efforts to boost reading among Filipinos.

The National Book Development Board (NBDB) urges policymakers, educators, community leaders, and stakeholders to prioritize readership and literacy initiatives, while also involving parents in efforts to make reading more accessible to all segments of the population.

This call follows the release of the 2023 National Readership Survey (NRS) results, showing a notable decline in non-school book readership among Filipino adults and children. The survey revealed adult readership at 42% and children at 47% in 2023. Access to books emerged as the primary reason for the decline, with limited awareness of public libraries and constraints like time and distance cited as barriers to visits.

These results have prompted the NBDB to reaffirm its commitment to bolstering existing programs and policies to reignite a love for reading among Filipinos.

These findings, which provide a much-needed nuanced understanding of Filipinos’ reading habits and preferences, reinforce the fact that access to quality books remains a pressing issue in book publishing and education, so the sectors’ focus now clearly has to be on addressing gaps in access,” said NBDB Chairperson Dante “Klink” Ang II.

Moreover, Chairperson Ang stated that the NBDB and its partners will examine various proposals to develop meaningful policy directives aligned with the objectives of Republic Act No. 7743, which aims to establish congressional, city, and municipal libraries, along with barangay reading centers nationwide. According to a 2018 study by the National Library of the Philippines, only 3% of LGUs have local libraries across the country.

One of the main hindrances to reading revealed by the survey is access to reading facilities such as public libraries, particularly in the provinces. Some of them are really beyond the reach of those living in mountainous areas, for example. Besides expanding the Book Nook project, we will also work to bring libraries closer to the people,” Chairperson Ang added.

Meanwhile, NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade emphasized the significance of enhancing NBDB's readership efforts, particularly through initiatives like the Book Nook project. This project establishes reading and storytelling centers across the Philippines, featuring locally published books and serving as distribution hubs for publishers. By offering quality books in various Philippine languages, the Book Nook project addresses access and literacy issues in a single space, fostering education and community engagement in a safe and inclusive environment where visitors can participate in activities, borrow books, and take them home at no cost.

Additionally, the Philippine Book Festival (PBF) promotes a robust reading culture while providing guidance on institutional book purchases. Like the Book Nook project, the PBF brings quality books to readers nationwide while facilitating collaboration between major buyers of educational resources and Philippine publishers.

To encourage involvement in the local book economy, NBDB launched Booklatan sa Bayan, inviting both avid and passive readers to explore literature and culture. NBDB collaborates with reading advocacy groups such as the Reading Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc., and the Adarna Group Foundation, Inc., to synergize efforts in enriching the nation's reading culture.

Programming must work hand in hand with policy. Besides readership programs, we will push for policies that democratize distribution and enable publishers to publish more affordable books,” Executive Director Tugade emphasized.

These survey findings should serve as a call to arms: an opportunity to acknowledge and better understand the current state of readership, to reframe the problems they pose in a way that we are pushed to act and change them rather than dwell on them. If attitudes toward reading are less than desirable, then the responsibility to create environments that make reading possible lies with us. The NBDB is hopeful and renews its commitment to better its programs and policies,” Executive Director Tugade added.

The NBDB highlighted that, according to the survey findings, overall attitudes towards books and reading remained positive. The majority of respondents recognized the importance of books beyond educational and professional contexts. Key insights from the survey included the most popular non-school book (NSB) genres among adults (the Bible) and children (picture books), the preferred reading language (Filipino for both age groups), preferred formats (printed books for both age groups), and primary considerations when selecting NSBs (availability for both age groups).

The NBDB enlisted the Social Weather Stations (SWS) to conduct the 2023 National Readership Survey from November 14th to 20th, 2023, with a sample size of 2,400 adults aged 18 and above, and 2,400 children aged 8-17. This survey is the most comprehensive examination of Filipinos' reading habits and preferences and is expected to provide invaluable insights for the agency's readership-focused initiatives.


How You Can Fall in Love with Your Own Hair.

Have you ever seen anyone, whether it be a random person passing by, an influencer, a celebrity, or basically anyone, with gorgeous hair to the point you just think, “Wow, I wish my hair was like that”? In general, there are constant trends, such as people changing their hair to keep up with the trend.

Yes, it goes beyond just makeup and clothes, but there are even trends when it comes to hair, like getting a perm in the 1980s, doing a blowout in the 1990s, having fully straight hair in the early 2000s, and even right now in the 2020s, curtain bangs, even when it comes to hair coloring, that also impacts it, like a full dye, ombre, balayage, and so on.

But at the end of the day, you need to remember that your hair is an extension of you. You need to pick what you like, not some trend or beauty standard. What do you like for yourself and for your hair? Your natural locks are already swoon-worthy; they’re already enough. But of course, it’s hard to just immediately tell yourself that, and it magically takes effect. Sincerely, it does take time. So, with that said, here’s what you need to know when it comes to falling in love with your own hair!

Photo credit: Thiago Matos on Pexels.

Embrace Your Natural Texture
You really need to keep in mind that your hair's natural texture is unique to you, so celebrate it! Yes, so what if you don’t have some other texture, that’s fine. Just love and embrace what you have! Besides, regardless of your texture, it’s not too hard to replicate other textures, thanks to styling and even hair extensions. Whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair, learn to appreciate and embrace its natural texture. But before you try to replicate another style or just fall head over heels for your current texture, do you know it?

Do you know what type of texture your hair actually has? For example, is your hair constantly frizzy? Then, there’s a chance that you might have naturally wavy or curly hair without even realizing it. It’s so important to know your hair type, and you need to understand that there are so many different types, too. For all you know, you might actually have the hair type you’ve always dreamt of.

But be sure to educate yourself, such as looking into 1B Hair: What Is It and How to Care For It if you have that hair type. Overall, embrace what you have, learn what you have, and understand how to care for it.

Practice Self-Care
In a way, that goes with what was said above: You need to learn how to properly take care of your hair. One of the best ways so it doesn’t feel like a chore would be to just incorporate self-care rituals into your hair care routine to nurture and pamper your locks. Just give yourself the chance to treat yourself to regular deep conditioning treatments, scalp massages, and hair masks to keep your hair healthy, hydrated, and vibrant.

Photo credit: Nataliya Vaitkevitch on Pexels.

But why? Well, you could say that pampering yourself is good for the soul and hair, too. When you pamper yourself, you’ll look and feel better, and these are things your hair will need anyway. Seriously, just take the time to indulge in luxurious hair care products that make you feel special and pampered, turning your hair care routine into a self-love ritual.

Celebrate Your Hair Journey
Like other aspects of you, if you think about it, your hair is just another extension of your growth and how far you’re coming along. Because it’s not exactly the easiest to just accept yourself and even get your hair the way you want it, that’s why it’s important to at least just celebrate.

Yes, you should celebrate the milestones and moments that have shaped your relationship with your hair, whether it's overcoming challenges, embracing new styles, or discovering the beauty of your natural texture. You absolutely deserve to take pride in the progress you've made and the confidence you've gained along the way.

You Need to Have Confidence in Your Style
This might sound like generic advice, but honestly, there’s so much truth to it. You probably want something else, like a different hairstyle, because you think that will give you confidence. But would having totally different hair actually do that? Most likely, no, it won’t. Building confidence is hard, and that on its own is already quite the journey.

Regardless, you still need to understand that confidence is the ultimate accessory that complements any hairstyle. How can you do this, though, with the hair you already have? Well, to truly embody confidence in your appearance, you must stand tall, own your unique style, and embrace your natural beauty.

Seriously, you need to radiate self-assurance and poise as you rock your favorite hairstyles, knowing that true beauty comes from within and shines through when you embrace and celebrate yourself authentically.

Think About the Heritage of Your Hair
Keep in mind that hair is a deep part of so many cultures, just about every culture out there. Think about the ancestry behind your hair, too! In general, your hair carries a lot of history and tradition. Because it’s so deeply rooted (no pun intended), you should take pride in the unique characteristics and qualities of your hair that reflect your cultural background and heritage.

Photo credit: Toa Heftiba Sinca on Pexels.

In fact, you should celebrate the diversity and richness of hair textures and styles around the world, recognizing the beauty in all forms of hair expression. Your hair is what makes you, well, you! Your family shares the hair, too, and there’s just such a big story to tell. Embrace that because your heritage is beautiful, just as you are!

Just Focus on Healthier Habits
At the end of the day, how healthy your lifestyle is is going to have the biggest impact on your hair, skin, nails, body, and even your mentality. You basically have no choice but to adopt healthy habits if you truly want healthier hair—hair that you’ll adore.

It’s far easier than you may think it is. Seriously, it’s all about eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support hair health, staying hydrated, and protecting your hair from damage caused by heat styling, harsh chemicals, and environmental factors. That's literally it! Sure, you still need high-quality hair products and a good hair care routine, but don’t underestimate the impact healthy habits have!


Logistics Made Easy with ML Moves.

When we talk about pawning jewelry and money lending, the first name that comes to my mind is M Lhuillier. I guess most Filipinos can relate to this because after all, M Lhuillier is a household brand when it comes to pawn-broking and money-related services.

Established in the 1980s as an ordinary pawn and jewelry shop, M Lhuillier opened its very first branch in the oldest city in the country, Cebu City. The company now has over 3000 branches nationwide and have expanded their services through the years. From its humble beginnings, M Lhuillier has evolved into one of the largest and most respected financial institutions in the Philippines, offering services such as money lending, quick cash loans, micro-insurance, money transfer, and bills payment.

In 2015, M Lhuillier took a giant step by venturing into the logistics retailing sector with the addition of ML Moves to its wide range of products and services. With ML Moves, M Lhuillier branches serve as drop-off points and pick-up hubs to businesses and individuals with logistics needs. They cater to both walk-in and e-commerce transactions and accept deliveries to both local and international destinations.

Here's how ML Moves works:

  • Drop off your item at a M Lhuillier branch near you that offers the ML Moves service. Present it to the staff for checking, fill out the necessary form, and pay the corresponding fee.
  • Shipping will be fulfilled by local courier partners and DHL Express (for international destinations).

    RETURNS (Lazada and Shopee)
  • Once your return/refund request has been approved, drop off the item at any M Lhuillier branch. Your item will be sent back to the seller without you having to shell out for the shipping fee.

BRANCH PICK-UP (Lazada and Shopee)
  • You can opt to have your packages dropped at your nearest M Lhuillier branch so you can have the flexibility to pick it up any time you want. No more guessing what time your parcel will arrive or waiting at home all day for 'Kuya Rider'!
  • Shopee costumers within Metro Manila also have the option to pay the COD amount at the M Lhuillier where they will pick up their parcel. This gives the customer ample time to prepare for their payment.

SELLERS' DROP-OFF (Lazada and Shopee)
  • For selected Lazada and Shopee sellers, selected M Lhuillier branches can be used as drop points for their parcels. Lazada and Shopee couriers will then periodically pick up the batched parcels ready for delivery to the line haul carriers.

ML Moves is all about speed and convenience – truly an innovative solution to our constantly evolving logistic needs. At the same time, this latest addition to the company's wide range of product and services goes to show that M Lhuillier continues to be the bridge between families and stays true to its promise of being the “Tulay ng PaMLyang Pilipino”.


Annual Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study reveals significant decline in cash payments amid rise in cashless transactions.

The cashless wave continues to gain momentum in the Philippines as consumer habits shift away from cash dependence, and more towards usage of cashless payments. This is according to Visa’s latest Consumer Payment Attitudes Study, which indicates a notable decline in cash usage to 87%, from 96% in 2022.

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study is an annual study covering payment behaviors of Filipino consumers when it comes to digital payments, digital banking and the future of commerce. The latest edition is in its 10 th year running and was based on interviews conducted in October to November 2023 with 1,000 Filipino consumers aged 18-65 years old, spread across different cities/regions and income brackets, with the minimum monthly income being PHP 12,000.

The cashless wave continues.

Driven by the younger (Gen Z and Gen Y) and more affluent segments, Filipino consumers are increasingly embracing cashless transactions, going without cash for an average of 10 days. Specifically, card payments usage was at 70% (including swipe / insert, online, and tap-to-pay / contactless payments) in 2023, while mobile wallets usage stood at 87%, on par with cash transactions.

43% of Filipinos who were surveyed now carry less cash in their wallets mainly due to the growing consumer habit of using cashless and contactless payments, alongside the increasing acceptance of cashless payments among stores & merchants.

Supermarkets (88%), food and dining (86%), and bill payments (82%) are the leading merchant categories that consumers observed to have opened up acceptance of cashless payment methods compared to a year ago.

Filipinos are becoming more comfortable with cashless payments, and we are confident that they will continue to embrace new innovations in the digital payment landscape,” says Jeff Navarro, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines. “With growth attributed to increasing payment acceptance across merchants for cards, both dip and contactless, as well as mobile wallets, Visa remains committed to ensuring a seamless transition to a cash-lite society by providing secure and convenient digital payment solutions.”

Growing acceptance and usage of contactless payments among Filipinos
Contactless payments – including contactless cards, QR codes, and mobile wallets – are driving the growth of cashless payments in the country.

According to the study, about 9 in 10 Filipinos are aware of and interested in using contactless cards and QR codes when paying for their transactions. Specifically, 32% of Filipinos used contactless cards for their payments in 2023, mainly driven by the affluent population. Meanwhile, 55% used QR codes, with at least 50% adoption across age groups except for consumers aged 59-65 (31%).

Visa Country Manager Jeff Navarro highlights the results
of the latest Consumer Payment Attitudes Study.

Among mobile wallet users, paying through QR codes is the most preferred method for 38% of consumers, making mobile wallets the most preferred funding source for QR payments. Scanning the QR code in-store is the preferred mode of payment by 78% of its users.

When travelling overseas, Filipinos prefer to use cards for cross-border payments, where 55% of consumers prefer debit and credit cards for the convenience, time savings, and hassle-free user experience. An emerging trend is the use of QR codes for cross-border payments, with 37% of Filipinos currently aware of and have tried using it. Meanwhile, 69% of those who have not tried it have expressed interest in using it in the future.

Road to a cashless society
With the shift to digital forms of payment, 52% of consumers are confident to go without the use of cash, and rely on cashless payment methods entirely for at least a week. Moreover, 1 in 3 consumers (37%) believe that the Philippines will be a cashless society by the year 2030 – if not sooner.

Mr. Jeff Navarro, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines.

Our study shows that the cashless wave is maintaining its momentum in the Philippines. We are moving closer to achieving a cashless Philippine society, but we still have some way to go,” said Navarro. “Visa plays a strategic role in the payment ecosystem to drive financial and digital inclusion by partnering with the government, banks and financial institutions, and fintechs to support the development of digital payments in the Philippines. We are supporting the digitization journey in the Philippines – such as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap – by providing consumers and businesses with convenient, seamless and safe digital payment solutions.”


Fujifilm Expands Presence with New Office in Cebu City.

In response to the surging demand for its products and services, FUJIFILM Philippines Inc. (FFPH) and FUJIFILM Business Innovation Philippines Corp. (FUJIFILM BI PH) have announced the relocation of their offices to a larger space in Cebu City.

Fujifilm BI PH Hideaki Kato and FFPH President Masahiro Uehara at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new office, strategically situated at Mercedes Benz Tower, Mindanao Ave Cebu Business Park, Cebu City, marks a significant move for the global leaders in innovation. This expansion aims to strengthen Fujifilm's foothold in the region, enabling the brand to better cater to the local market and provide an enhanced experience for customers.

The Cebu City office will serve as a hub for after-sales support, featuring a local repair center for digital cameras and endoscopy products. Additionally, it will host a showroom showcasing advanced cameras, cutting-edge printing machines, and business software solutions, offering customers an interactive experience with Fujifilm's latest innovations in imaging and document management technology.

Mr. Masahiro Uehara, President of FFPH, expressed confidence in the strategic move, stating, "This relocation reinforces our commitment to swiftly expand our local operations, making our products and services more accessible to the southern part of the country."

President Masahiro Uehara, Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia,
and Fujifilm BI PH Hideaki Kato.

Adding his perspective, Mr. Hideaki Kato, President of FUJIFILM BI PH, mentioned FUJIFILM BI PH has almost 60-years’ experience in the Philippines and continuously provides document process innovation for Cebu customers. He also highlighted the synergy between the two entities, stating,"We are proud to unveil this new office, bringing us closer to our customers in Cebu and emphasizing the collaboration between FUJIFILM Business Innovation Philippines and FUJIFILM Philippines."

Fujifilm, renowned for its relentless pursuit of technological advancements and customer-focused solutions, leverages its photographic industry expertise to push growth in healthcare, materials, and business innovation. The company's new group purpose, "Giving our world more smiles," underscores its commitment to creating a brighter future in society.


New Survey Reveals Filipino Emergency Medical Professionals Often Overlook Life-Threatening Brain Condition.

A new survey commissioned by Encephalitis International, the peak global body for encephalitis, reveals that Filipino emergency medical professionals often overlook encephalitis, a life-threatening neurological condition characterized by brain inflammation, despite the presence of common symptoms. Survey results showed that over half (54%) of local respondents did not consider infectious encephalitis, and three-quarters (74%) did not consider autoimmune encephalitis as a diagnosis when presented with a list of accepted symptoms for each condition. The survey findings are released in line with World Encephalitis Day on February 22, 2024.

Moreover, despite encephalitis leading to death in up to 40% of cases, 66% of the respondents did not consider death as a potential patient outcome resulting from delayed recognition and treatment.

"In the wake of these alarming survey findings, it is clear that much more must be done to bridge the gap in encephalitis awareness and expertise. Encephalitis International is determined to increase this awareness among medical professionals through the development of globally accessible training programmes which will provide the tools for them to better recognise and treat encephalitis. Of course, we cannot do this alone and will continue to work alongside international entities, such as the World Health Organization, to elevate encephalitis as a global health priority,” shared Dr. Ava Eason, Chief Executive of Encephalitis International.

The condition can happen to individuals of any age, sex, and ethnicity, with symptoms varying depending on the type. Symptoms of infectious encephalitis encompass altered consciousness, behavioral changes, fever, and headaches, while autoimmune encephalitis presents with memory issues, psychiatric symptoms, altered consciousness, and personality changes.

With the risk of death or permanent brain impairment when the disease strikes, first responders are essential in promptly considering encephalitis during health emergencies to mitigate the worst-case patient outcomes.

Misdiagnosis in patients leads to worse patient outcomes
The survey results reveal the reality for encephalitis patients in the country. Roschelle Del Rosario, caregiver based in Bulacan and mother to 23-year-old patient named Alex, shared their struggle with his rapid symptom progression despite medical intervention. Initially experiencing insomnia, hallucinations, agitation, personality changes, appetite loss, and seizures, Alex was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, a second opinion in May 2023 revealed autoimmune encephalitis.

But diagnosis was just the beginning. Alex's health rapidly declined, leading to a four-and-a-half-month coma following the misdiagnosis. Roschelle highlighted the extensive research required into treatment options., which due to limited local resources, is largely dependent on international organizations like Encephalitis International, who is committed to funding research that aims to advance recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of the condition as well as rehabilitation and quality of life of all people affected and their families..

Alex had his whole life ahead of him as a graduating college student and the top of his class when his symptoms appeared. Today, he's a fighter battling encephalitis. He's overcome his comatose state and is even able to use his mobile phone again after losing his cognitive and motor skills due to the disease. Eight months into this journey, he still faces significant challenges like hallucinations and memory loss. Sometimes, you'll talk to him and the next second, he'll ask who you are. It's a tough road, but we still consider ourselves fortunate because, even though treating encephalitis in the country is difficult, we've found dedicated professionals who are willing to help and learn more about this disease so Alex can regain his health and have a chance at a normal life again,” shared Del Rosario.

Supporting emergency medical professionals with training for diagnosis
Further survey results found that only (35%) a third of local emergency medical professionals surveyed strongly agreed that their training had given them the confidence to recognise encephalitis. More than three-quarters (79%) somewhat or strongly agreed that they would benefit from more training.

Dr. Ferron Ocampo, an Adult Neurology Fellow of the Philippine Neurological Association and an advocate for encephalitis awareness, recognizes the challenges regarding the lack of training in encephalitis recognition and management in the country due to its rarity. Priority in resource allocation, including education and training, is given to more common conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, Dr. Ocampo stresses the importance of advocating for encephalitis awareness because this condition needs immediate attention, as delayed diagnosis can lead to worsening of the patient's condition and serious consequences if not treated promptly.

Encephalitis is a neurological emergency that can have devastating consequences if not diagnosed and treated promptly. However, not all medical professionals are aware of the symptoms and are confident in managing them. As we celebrate World Encephalitis Day, various international and local stakeholders should collaborate to prioritize providing training and resources to medical professionals worldwide in order to enhance encephalitis detection, diagnosis, and treatment,” Dr. Ocampo shared.

In line with this urgent need for education, Encephalitis International is launching its largest fundraiser yet, "Don’t Delay. Give Today." This initiative aims to promote early recognition and treatment to prevent death and disability from encephalitis by developing accessible, accredited training modules to provide more robust information and training on encephalitis. Emergency medical professionals in the Philippines and globally can access training opportunities by signing up for free professional membership.


Pru Life UK welcomes every future & every new year with PRU Love!

With a strengthened commitment to providing better financial protection for every Filipino, Pru Life UK celebrates the start of the Year of the Wood Dragon. Over 200 Pru Life UK leaders, agents, clients, and employees joined and wished everyone PRU Love during the festivities held at the heart of its Escolta branch in Binondo Manila.

PRU Life UK ushers in good luck through its annual traditional Lion Dance
at its China Jade office located in the historic street of Escolta.

The leading insurer maintains its top position in New Business Annual Premium Equivalent & total Premium Income from Variable Life Insurance products according to the Insurance Commission’s Life Insurance Sector Quarterly Statistics for Q3 2023. Read the recent NBAPEreport.

Pru Life UK’s products are made accessible through its over 42,000 digitally-empowered agency workforce and like-minded partners.

Leading life insurer PRU Life UK kicks off the Year of the Wood Dragon in the bustling streets of Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world.

The Company recently launched PRULove for Life – an affordable, limited-pay, whole-life participating plan for as low as Php 87 per day* with lifetime coverage up to age 100 and flexible payment terms of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years to pay. To know more about PRULove for Life, talk to your Pru Life UK agent today or visit Pru Life UK's website.

Pru Life UK is also committed to driving up financial awareness, literacy, and inclusion in the country by leading industry discussions and programs for the community. Its PRUBabies campaign seeks to protect 175,000 newborns with free insurance coverage against select infectious diseases such as Dengue, Typhoid, Measles, and Malaria.

*Payment amount calculated for a 10-year plan for a 20-year-old customer


Top 5 Travel Blogs for Women Seeking Adventure and Cultural Experiences.

The realm of travel blogging has blossomed into a vibrant community, offering a plethora of perspectives and insights for every kind of traveler. For women in particular, who are seeking not just a journey but an amalgamation of adventure, cultural immersion, and personal growth, travel blogs can be a beacon of inspiration and guidance. These blogs do more than just share travel tips; they tell stories of empowerment, adventure, and the transformative power of experiencing new cultures. In this article, we explore the top 5 travel blogs that resonate with women who are eager to embark on journeys filled with adventure and rich cultural experiences. Each blog, with its unique voice and focus, offers a wealth of information, from hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path experiences to practical advice for solo travel and cultural immersion.

Sharmini's Journeys
Sharmini's Journeys stands out as a top choice for women who are looking for a blend of adventure and cultural immersion. Her blog is a treasure trove of insights, from off-the- beaten-path destinations to culturally rich experiences. What makes blog unique is the emphasis on sustainable travel and engaging with local communities. Her posts are not only about the destinations but also about the people, their traditions, and ways to travel responsibly. The blog’s stunning photography and detailed travel guides make it a must-visit site for women who are seeking a deeper understanding of the places they visit.

Photo credit: Hugo Heimendiger.

In addition to destination guides, Sharmini offers practical tips for solo female travelers, focusing on safety, budgeting, and making the most of each travel experience. Whether you're planning a solo adventure or a cultural exploration, her blog provides valuable resources and personal anecdotes that resonate with women travelers. The blog's engaging narrative style makes you feel like you're journeying alongside Sharmini, making it a personal and informative resource for adventurous women.

Sharmini's journeys also delves deeply into the cultural aspects of travel, offering insights into local customs, cuisine, and traditions. Her blog posts often feature interviews with locals, providing readers with an authentic perspective on the destinations she visits. This focus on local interaction and cultural exchange is particularly enriching for women travelers seeking a deeper connection with the places they explore. Her blog not only inspires travel but also fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures around the world.

Wanderlust Chloe
Wanderlust Chloe is a delightful blog that caters to women looking for adventure with a touch of luxury. Chloe's adventures span across the globe, from the beaches of the Caribbean to the mountains of South America. Her blog is a mix of thrilling adventures, cultural experiences, and recommendations for luxury stays and fine dining. What sets Wanderlust Chloe apart is her ability to balance adventure with comfort, making her blog ideal for women who enjoy exhilarating experiences without compromising on luxury.

Photo credit: Aaron J. Hill.

Each of Chloe's travel stories is accompanied by vibrant photography and detailed travel tips, including what to pack, where to stay, and how to navigate local cultures. Her blog also includes sections on sustainable travel and wellness, reflecting the growing trend of responsible and health-conscious travel. For women who want to explore the world in style while embracing new adventures, Wanderlust Chloe is a go-to resource for inspiration and practical advice.

Beyond the thrill and luxury, Wanderlust Chloe's blog is also a testament to personal growth through travel. Chloe often shares her personal journey, reflecting on how her travels have shaped her worldview and personal identity. This personal touch adds depth to her blog, making it relatable and inspiring for women who see travel as a means of self-discovery and personal development. Her stories are a blend of adventure, introspection, and the pursuit of joy in every journey.

The Blonde Abroad
The Blonde Abroad is a popular travel blog that specializes in solo female travel and offers a wide array of cultural experiences. Kiersten, the blog's creator, focuses on empowering women to explore the world independently. Her blog covers destinations across continents, providing a diverse range of cultural insights and adventure options. From exploring ancient ruins in Europe to participating in traditional festivals in Asia, The Blonde Abroad is a blend of adventure, culture, and female empowerment.

Photo credit: Leonardo Marcal.

Kiersten's travel guides are comprehensive, covering everything from packing lists to local etiquette. Her blog also addresses common concerns of solo female travelers, offering tips on safety, networking, and making the most out of solo trips. The Blonde Abroad stands out for its in-depth content, stunning visuals, and Kiersten's passionate advocacy for solo female travel, making it a top choice for adventurous women seeking cultural enrichment.

The Blonde Abroad also stands out for its commitment to eco-friendly and sustainable travel practices. Kiersten often shares tips on how to travel responsibly, reduce environmental impact, and support local communities. This aspect of her blog resonates with environmentally conscious travelers who are mindful of their footprint while exploring the world. Her approach to travel is holistic, combining the joy of discovery with the responsibility of sustainable tourism.

Be My Travel Muse
Be My Travel Muse, created by Kristin Addis, is an inspirational blog for women seeking off- the-grid adventures and deep cultural connections. Kristin's journey from a corporate job to a solo female traveler is both inspiring and relatable. Her blog focuses on less-traveled destinations and immersive experiences, encouraging women to step out of their comfort zones and explore the world authentically.

Photo credit: Josh Hild.

The blog offers detailed destination guides, personal travel stories, and practical tips for adventurous travel, all from a female perspective. Kristin's commitment to responsible travel and her focus on connecting with local cultures and environments resonate deeply with women who are seeking meaningful travel experiences. Be My Travel Muse is not just a travel blog; it's a community of adventurous women who share a passion for exploring the world in unconventional ways.

Kristin’s blog, Be My Travel Muse, frequently addresses the challenges and triumphs of solo travel, offering encouragement and practical advice to women facing apprehensions about traveling alone. Her honest accounts of solo travel experiences, including the highs and lows, provide a realistic perspective that is both empowering and reassuring. Her blog is not just about travel; it's about the transformative journey of self-reliance and empowerment that solo travel can bring to a woman's life.

World of Wanderlust
World of Wanderlust is the creation of Brooke Saward, a travel blogger who has turned her passion for travel into a full-time career. Her blog is a mix of solo adventures, cultural encounters, and luxury experiences, appealing to a wide range of women travelers. Brooke’s expertise in balancing solo travel with social experiences makes her blog a great resource for women who are new to traveling alone or looking to add a social aspect to their journeys.

Photo credit: Mathias Reding.

Her travel guides cover a wide range of destinations, offering insights into local cultures, must-visit attractions, and hidden gems. Additionally, World of Wanderlust features lifestyle content related to travel, including book recommendations, home décor inspired by global travels, and personal growth articles. This comprehensive approach makes it a well-rounded blog for women who view travel as an integral part of their lifestyle and personal development.

In World of Wanderlust, Brooke also explores the intersection of travel and mental well- being, discussing how travel can be a form of therapy and personal healing. Her blog touches on topics like overcoming travel anxiety, finding joy in solo travel, and using travel as a way to reconnect with oneself. For women who view travel as a pathway to mental clarity and emotional strength, Brooke's insights offer a unique perspective, blending the thrill of exploration with the nurturing aspects of self-care and introspection.

In conclusion, these top 5 travel blogs offer more than just travel advice; they are gateways to a world of adventure, cultural richness, and personal transformation. Each blog, with its unique narrative and focus, serves as a source of inspiration and guidance for women seeking to explore the world on their terms. Whether it's finding the courage to travel solo, seeking out unique cultural experiences, or embracing sustainable travel practices, these blogs cater to a wide spectrum of interests and concerns. They not only inspire women to embark on their travel adventures but also empower them with the knowledge and confidence needed to navigate diverse experiences. As the travel landscape continues to evolve, these bloggers remain at the forefront, guiding, inspiring, and shaping the journeys of women travelers around the globe. For anyone looking to embark on an adventure or immerse themselves in new cultures, these blogs are invaluable resources that offer a window into the vast possibilities that travel holds.


Shake Off the Stress | 4 Hacks to Lift Up Your Mood on Busy Days.

There are days when everything at school or work goes as planned, and then there are days when the stress keeps you from being productive. These are the times many dread the most because it disrupts one from being in the zone.

To help you get through these days, try out these simple hacks that can help lift your mood up even on your busiest day.

Photo credit: Ivan Samkov on Pexels.

Call a friend
Sometimes, a friend’s listening ear and empathic voice are the balms you need to get through your day. Lean on your support group and don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Photo credit: Sam Lion on Pexels.

Watch cute animal videos
Have you ever watched videos of tiny animals being all cute and silly on your feed? These videos might just melt your heart and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Turns out, studies prove that watching these videos helps reduce anxiety levels by up to 50%!

Photo credit: Askar Abayev on Pexels.

Schedule something fun after work hours
Try this no-fail hack on your worst work days. Rally your friends and have an after-work karaoke sesh, game night, dinner, or gig night. Having something to look forward to after the day’s battles can really help manage your stress.

Photo credit: Engin Akyurt on Pexels.

Have a snack break
Snack breaks are the perfect excuse to escape your desk, huddle with your teammates, and vent your stress away. You also get to recharge with delicious snacks, and who doesn’t like that?

Speaking of snacks that help you recharge, have you tasted Kropek ni Mang Juan in Spicy Fried Pusit flavor? It offers a “kakaibang” snacking experience with its light and “crispy sarap” texture, and a “saktong anghang at alat” flavor of fried squid. It’s a one-of-a-kind snack that can satisfy your tastebuds.

Kropek ni Mang Juan in Spicy Fried Pusit flavor.

Try it on your next snack break! Get Kropek ni Mang Juan in Spicy Fried Pusit flavor from a convenience store near your office and share it with your colleagues. You may just discover your new go-to recharge work snack!

Don’t let a bad mood ruin a work day. Next time you find yourself needing something to lighten up the vibe and help you refocus, try one (or all) of these mood-lifting hacks!

#PushLangWithMangJuan! Learn more about Mang Juan’s light and lutong-sarap good vibes snacks on its Facebook and TikTok pages.

Mang Juan is a snack brand from Universal Robina Corporation (URC), maker of well-loved Pinoy snack and beverage products such as C2 Cool and Clean, Great Taste Coffee, Jack ‘n Jill Piattos, Magic Crackers, Maxx, Cloud 9, and many others. To learn more about URC, visit its website (, Facebook page (@URCPhilippines) and TikTok account (@URCPhilippines).