New owner of Davao’s first mall takes over, touts dev’t plan

March 29, 2019

DAVAO City -- Homegrown New City Commercial Center (NCCC) vowed to turn this city’s first shopping mall into a prime and iconic destination, saying it will hire the services of Filipinos who designed Singapore’s Marina Sands Bay, Hokada and Galaxy Macao.     NCCC, which formally took over Victoria Plaza on Wednesday after it sealed the acquisition on March 12, presented a five-phase development of the 9.6-hectare property, where Victoria Plaza currently stands.     Victoria Plaza was owned by Sunrise Investments and Development Corporation of the Limso Family.    Sharlene Faye Lim, LTS president and chief executive officer, said the area will be a mixed-use development with eight high-rise condominiums, serviced apartments, retail strips, lush green space, and a five-star hotel.     LTS (Lim Tian Su) operates the NCCC chain of stores in the city. It has expanded to other areas in Mindanao and Palawan.     Lim said the development could run from seven to 10 years and it will be partly funded by a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). The last phase of the development will involve the reconstruction of the original mall, she added.     Lim said all the more than 300 mall tenants will continue to operate but at an area that will be provided by NCCC within the sprawling property. The tenants have also signed new contracts with the LTS/NCCC.     Walter Melicor, chief financial officer of Elements Habitare, said the site would be a showcase of Davao’s icons -- Waling-waling orchid and the pitcher plant.    “We will create iconic buildings,” said Melicor, whose firm is responsible for the design of Singapore’s Marina Sands Bay.   He said Victoria Plaza has a sentimental value to be enhanced,  referring to the mall's 26-year-old structure, which was inaugurated on March 16, 1993. (PNA)

Sorsogon tourism goes digital with #SoSorsogon travel app

October 25, 2018

The Provincial Government launched its travel guide #SoSorsogon on Oct. 19 as one of the highlights of Sorsogon’s popular Kasanggayahan Festival.   Sorsogon Gov. Robert Lee Rodrigueza said the mobile guide will play a key role in the province’s efforts to promote its extraordinary places and experiences.   He added that it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of partners like PLDT and Smart Communications (Smart).   Earlier this year, the Provincial Government of Sorsogon entered into a partnership with PLDT and Smart to enhance network capabilities and implement the digital tourism program in the province. With faster connectivity speeds in Sorsogon, important tourism, culture and heritage information are now accessible to a wider audience.   Tourism potential   “When a place or destination is so beautiful, so awesome, so breathtaking, so exciting, then it’s ‘So Sorsogon.’ When food is so delicious, then it’s ‘So Sorsogon,’ he cited, adding the tourism tagline #SoSorsogon aims to emphasize how remarkably delightful it is to experience the province.   Darwin Flores, Smart Vice President and Head of Community Partnerships, said he sees a big potential in Sorsogon as an upcoming destination.   However, digital tourism efforts like the newly-launched travel guide that comes in the form of a mobile app, should be done in conjunction with online and social media campaigns, he added.   The best ambassadors of a place are always the people who live there, cited Flores, as he enjoins Sorsoganons to use the #SoSorsogon app and other digital tools to spread word on the province’s stunning destinations.   #SoSorsogon travel app   The #SoSorsogon travel app points visitors to must-visit places and top experiences in the province, said InnoPub founder Max Limpag. It also provides information on accommodation and transportation and lists tourism and emergency contacts in the province.   Limpag said the Provincial Government can also use the app to inform local and foreign travellers of new tourism products through mobile app notifications.   Since the travel app will be downloaded on the phone, Sorsogon Provincial Tourism Officer Bobby Gigantone said it is very easy to use.   He asked Sorsoganons to download the app so they would be informed of updates particularly about tourism from the Provincial Government and share these with their friends.   In partnership with government units, the digital tourism program of Smart and InnoPub is a nationwide initiative that harnesses technology to deliver tourism, cultural, and historical information to mobile users.   The program was launched in 2012 and has since been implemented in Antique, Baguio City, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and Metro Manila, among other areas. It involves the creation of tourism apps and the installation of interactive markers in selected tourist and heritage landmarks to trigger the download of more information. (Selrahco)

Stakeholders converge for National Caravan on World Water Day

March 22, 2013

The United Nations proclaimed the first World Water Day on March 22, 1993. Since then it is celebrated every year to highlight the need to protect fresh water sources around the world. The theme for the 2013 celebration is Water Cooperation which focuses on the need for countries that share fresh water sources to cooperate in the management of their resources. “In line with this year’s World Water Day theme of Water Cooperation we organized the National Water Caravan to involve the water regions in all regions of the country,” said Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Administrator Eduardo C. Santos in his message delivered by Engr. Edgardo C. Demayo, OIC/Sr. Deputy Administrator. “This show of force and number is an imperative given our current position in the order of national priorities and in view of our continuing mandate to develop potable water supply systems in the countryside,” he added. LWUA designated certain water districts as convergence points, one of which was the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD), said Ladele A. Sagrado, COWD public affairs manager. The theme for the simultaneous national observance of World Water Day for 2013 was “Tubig Para sa Lahat, Lahat Para sa Tubig.” “The goal of this activity is to enhance awareness of all stakeholder s on the importance of water as a finite resource which needs to be judiciously used and conserved to attain sustainability for future generations,” said Rachel Beja, COWD general manager. Among the water districts which converged on Cagayan de Oro for the water caravan were Balingasag, Claveria and Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental; Wao from Lanao del Sur; Tubod, and Baroy from Lanao del Norte; Malaybalay, Maramag, Valencia and Manolo Fortich from Bukidnon; Mambajao from Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro City. Present during the program led by COWD were COWD Board Chairman Ruben Vegafria, Board Member and immediate past chairman Joel Baldelovar, COWD GM Rachel Beja, COWD AGM Ray Tablan and Jong Batar, and Rio Verde Water Consortium Vice President for Operations Joffrey E. Hapitan. The affair was co-hosted by the NorMin-Natural Resources Management Council, Inc. (Normin-NRMC).   “We are happy to be part of the World Water Day convergence by helping reduce our water footprint,” said Engr. Hapitan. “As bulk water supplier for Cagayan de Oro, we are appreciative of our role in reducing our rising consumption of ground water by processing raw water from our rivers through our treatment plant. In this manner, we can give our ground water sources time to recover and recharge in consideration of the future users of this valuable resource.” The highlight of the program was the simultaneous reading by all stakeholders present of the Commitment for Water Cooperation and the turnover of a commemorative World Water Day Plaque to COWD and Normin-NRMC by Engr. Demayo in behalf of LWUA. In 2013, in celebration of the International Year of Water Cooperation, World Water Day is also dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water. “Cooperation must be our byword. This is essential to preserve our ecosystems, to eradicate poverty and to advance social equity, including gender equality,” noted Irina Bokova, Director- General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Water Day 2013.  The official celebration of World Water Day was hosted by the Kingdom of The Netherlands in The Hague. A wide variety of key stakeholders from inside and outside the ‘water box’, have been invited. The celebrations included a multi-stakeholder dialogue on 21 March, a High Level Forum on 22 March, and several public events focusing on water cooperation as a foundation for peace and sustainable development. The High Level Forum aimed to raise the profile of “water cooperation” on the agendas of policy and decision makers, water professionals and the wider public, and transmit the main messages of the thematic consultation on water for the post-2015 development agenda to the UN High-level Panel, with recommendations on how water cooperation can contribute to the agenda's success.   FRESH WATER FACTS:  Freshwater makes up a very small fraction of all water on the planet. While nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent is fresh while the rest is saline and ocean-based. On top of this, a mere one percent of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields. In essence, only 0.007 percent of the planet's water is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people. Due to geography, climate, engineering, regulation, and competition for resources, some regions seem relatively flush with freshwater, while others face drought and debilitating pollution. In much of the developing world, clean water is either hard to come by or a commodity that requires laborious work or significant currency to obtain. In the last century, fresh water use has grown more than twice as fast as the population. Water Is Life Wherever they are, people need water to survive. Not only is the human body 60 percent water, the resource is also essential for producing food, clothing, and computers, moving our waste stream, and keeping us and the environment healthy. Unfortunately, humans have proved to be inefficient water users. (The average hamburger takes 2,400 liters, or 630 gallons, of water to produce, and many water-intensive crops, such as cotton, are grown in arid regions). According to the United Nations, water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world's population living in water-stressed regions as a result of use, growth, and climate change. The challenge we face now is how to effectively conserve, manage, and distribute the water we have.  To celebrate this important day, you can check out your fresh water footprint and take the "Change the Course" pledge. Every three years since 1997, for instance, the World Water Council has drawn thousands to participate in its World Water Forum during the week of World Day for Water. Participating agencies and NGOs have highlighted issues such as a billion people being without access to safe water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water. Cooperation is essential to strike a balance between the different needs and priorities and share this precious resource equitably. Since water cuts across all sectors, stakeholders that are not traditionally considered to be water managers must participate. Water cooperation between different social groups, economic sectors, regional governments, countries, and present and future generations, is crucial not only to ensure the sustainable and equitable use of water but also to create and maintain peaceful relations between people.


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