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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.”