Tuesday, October 3, 2017


The Innovation Olympics 2017 is a competition that challenges the next generation of agriculture, business and technology leaders to develop innovative solutions to real-life challenges of smallholder vegetable farmers.

Last September 29, 2017 we saw the breed of young and intellectual minds a eight groups of students presented their own technological solutions. With the theme “New Technologies to Improve the Productivity of Vegetable Farmers”, the East-West Seed Innovation Olympics encourages students to tackle real-world problems experienced by local farmers and challenge them to come up with innovative technology solutions to help improve farmer’s productivity.

As an agriculture graduate myself, I was so amazed by these students. We might be tackling the same farmer’s dilemma but several years ago, when I was a student our approach to solving the problems was so much different by how these students presented their proposed solutions. Yes! Through the use of digital technology. 

The Innovation Olympics 2017 was conceptualized by East-West Seed Companyin celebration of its 35th Year Anniversary. As part of its core values, that is, “Learning and Innovation”. The goal was to involve more people in the mission of serving smallholder farmers by harnessing new technologies to improve the productivity in vegetable farming.

Among thirteen (13) project proposals presented, eight groups made it to the final pitch which was held last 29 September 2017 at The REDREC Auditorium, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Laguna. The eight teams are:

1. TINDEROW (UPLB) – An online platform that aims to have an efficient transaction between the buyers and the farmers. The said platform is convenient for consumer and farmers as it eliminates the value-addition among the middlemen of the value chain.

2. MINERVA (UPLB) – A modular and intelligently automated aquaponic system that will serve as an alternative source of income for the farmers. By using several existing artificial intelligence, as well as microcontrollers and sensors for automation, the farmers will be able to focus on their arms while their aquaponic system is running by itself.

3. LIGHT AGRITECH (UPLB) - The introduction of "smart solar-powered irrigation system"aims to save water and improve crop production of our vegetable farmers as it automates the irrigation of a vegetable farm.

4. LAGUNA SANGRE (UPLB) - the project will utilize cropping systems technologies in crop intensification and diversification to optimize the land utilization.

5. i-AGRI VENTURES (UPLB)- it aims to provide an affordable, effective and sustainable means of increasing the total productivity of tomato farms through monitoring the soil moisture content to avoid the effect of insufficient and excessive water in tomato and developing a postharvest facility that may decrease post-harvest losses and increase market value of the crop.

6. AGRIVIZ (Asian Institute of Management) - an agricultural e-commerce platform that aims to incorporate data analytics and disseminate information to improve the productivity and profitability of Filipino vegetable farmers.

7. AGRISSIVE (UPLB) - an organically made agrochemical solution which can be a culmination of two agricultural inputs: pesticide and fertilizer.  Such product can be a convenient tool for ensuring the quality and safe consumption of the produce as well as another source of income for the community in times of need.

8. TEAM OPPA (UPLB) - the technology is a simple contraption that utilizes different sensors and data to inform the farmer about the details of his vegetable farm through SMS or text messaging.

Each of the projects presented were evaluated based on: entrepreneurial approach, business innovation, improving farmer's quality of life, and in improving the farmers' standard of living.

The board of judges were composed of technical experts from the East-West Seed Group chaired by it Vice-President Mr. Simon Jan de Hoop.  Other members were Mr. Juan Santos, Ms. Anne Isabelle Sam, Ms. Mary Ann Sayoc, Ms. Maaike Groot, and Mr. Henk Hermans.

Finally,the top three innovative ideas that emerged as the big winners are: 1.)Team Agriviz of the the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). Their e-magsasaka business model converts farmers’ mindset to being market-driven rather than production-driven; 2.)
Team i-Agri Ventures of UP Los Banos effectively defended their innovative idea of a “multi-crop dryer” that hopes to significantly increase farmers’ revenue by increasing the market value of thee crop and reducing post-harvest losses; and 3.)Team Oppa, also of UP Los Banos, came out with a technology that could increase the yield of farmers by as high as 87.5% using the very popular text messaging. Their contraption makes use of the weather, predicting rain pattern and effectively informs the farmers farm information in 30 seconds which normally takes 2-3 hours.

The 3 winning teams were provided with an initial seed money of P150,000. For 120 days, they will implement their project in their selected farming community.

The East-West Seed Company, accordingly will be hands-on in monitoring the progress of the student's projects. Given their technical expertise, they will also provide guidance and assist the top groups.

In January 2018, the team with the project that exemplified entrepreneurial innovation and made the most significant impact in their adopted farming community will be declared as the EWS Innovation Olympics Grand Champion and receive PhP 250,000 cash prize.

About East-West Seed

East-West Seed is an integrated vegetable seed company engaged in the development, production and distribution of tropical vegetable seeds. 

For many years, the company has recognized that access to quality seeds and sharing knowledge go hand in hand. East-West Seed is actively involved in farmer training and extension to support farmers with knowledge and skills in profitable vegetable production.

Today, East-West Seed is one of the 10 largest vegetable seed companies in the world, with a leading position in the most important Southeast Asian countries and rapid expansion into India, China, Africa and South America.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Search for Most Innovative teaching and learning resources in science

Here We Go! 
Educators, Join Na! 
National Search for #InnoBox
Innovations in a Box) 

For Complete Guidelines email innobox.seidost@gmail.com or Like them on FB InnoBox for more information.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ramen Nagi Manila Opens at Solenad 2, Nuvali

I am a big fan of noodles and Japanese noodles in particular because of its unique taste and flavor which suits the picky eater me. But since I live in the province, at times just to satisfy my cravings I have to travel all the way to the Metro and endure the long queues at Japanese restos.

Well I am so glad now because recently Ramen Nagi Manila opened its 16th restaurant at Nuvali. Oh! What a relief, I no longer need to travel for hours and their new place is somewhat more convenient for me to go. I can be there anytime to satiate my appetite more often.

What I like most with Ramen Nagi is that you can customized your ramen, any which way you want. On your table there is a ready check-list with boxes and description that you can just tick. And they will have your ramen prepared the way you want it. But if you’re a first-timer and not sure about anything, just check the “Chef Recommendation” box to go for the standard way, their chef will take care of it and next time, you’ll know which taste to adjust.

They have four standard ramen – Butao King, Black King (garlic, squid ink), Red King (Spicy) and the Green King (basil,cheese).

When we went there with some friends on the soft-opening day, I go for the basic which is my usual preference, nothing more nothing less because I can’t endure spicy taste and I’m also not fond of food with so-rich flavors. I just made sure, the shoulder pork belly cut was there.

Along with your ramen, there are also available side dishes like the Pork Katsu Roll, Chicken Karaage, and the Aurora Shrimp which we ordered. YOu may also opt for additional tamago (egg) and the nori (seaweed sheet).

You need not go in hurry to consume your ramen because the delicious taste and flavor will always be there up to the very bottom of your bowl, even when the broth cooled down a bit. Because they have big serving (yah! Its already too big for me), I am just always slowly enjoying everything.

Like and follow Ramen Nagi Manila on Facebook and Instagram for more of your favorite Japanese ramen.

Their Nuvali store is located at Solenad 2 Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna (just near the newly built Ayala Mall, facing the national road going to Tagaytay).

Thursday, September 28, 2017

PSBank wins back-to-back for excellence in Customer Experience

Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank), the thrift bank arm of the Metrobank Group, is the only Philippine bank recognized at the recently held Customer Experience Asia Excellence Awards for its exceptional customer experience strategy. The Awards ceremony, organized by the International Quality and Productivity Center, was held in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore last Sept. 12, 2017.
The Bank bagged third place (Bronze Award) for both the Customer Experience and Best Customer Experience Team categories for the second straight year. It also received an Honorable Mention for the Best Social Media Strategy category. 

It is the only Philippine bank that joins the big boys league composed of DBS Bank Ltd., Maybank, CIMB Niaga, Singtel, Dell, Mumbai International Airport, Ping An Group, Orchard Turn Developments Pte Ltd. , Central Provident Fund Board and Mobitel—companies that were recognized for delivering exceptional customer service in the Asian region.

“As the banking industry’s landscape continues to transform at an unprecedented pace due to technology and different customer demands, the one thing that remains constant is customers continue to value exceptional service. At PSBank, providing the best customer experience has been at the forefront our business. The Bank recognizes that understanding the customers, their needs, and providing a unique experience that puts them at the center of what we do is vital to sustain our existence,” said SVP and Marketing Group Head Emmanuel Tuazon.

“These awards are testament that we are in the right path of our journey in providing exceptional customer experience to our clients. And for that, we are simply grateful,” he added.

The Best Customer Experience Award category honors and recognizes organizations that promote an exceptional end-to-end customer experience by putting their customers at the heart of every process, people and technology. Meanwhile, the Best Customer Experience Team category recognizes the group of individuals who have provided interactive and friendly customer service through face-to-face and different touch points to create excellent customer experience for their organization. The Best Social Media Strategy category acknowledges companies that use social media as a strategic channel for excellent customer interaction, engagement, service support, marketing and sales promotion leading to a seamless end-to-end omnichannel customer experience.

About PSBank
PSBank is a key player in the Philippine consumer banking industry. The Bank emerged as the 2nd strongest bank in the Asian Banker's AB500 annual ranking 2016-2017 edition. PSBank is the only savings bank that has consistently cornered a spot in the list of the top 10 strongest banks in the country for six consecutive years. We have expanded our network to 250 branches and more than 600 ATMs nationwide.

About Customer Experience Awards
Customer Experience Awards is born out of a simple vision; to create an event which will honor the highest level of achievement in customer experience across the Asian community. Presented at our flagship Customer Experience Asia Summit, the Awards pay tribute to organizations and inspiring role models that lead the way. These Awards form the industry’s benchmark and provide an opportunity for CX professionals to gain recognition for their achievements and initiative. Judged by an Executive Panel of experts, each Award will celebrate the success of pioneers in the space of Customer Experience.

This year, the award-giving body received 148 entries across 12 awards categories.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Award-winning Marvel Creative Day Out to stage its second year in the Philippines Opens entries for Marvel-inspired creative art, fashion, and product designs

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The award-winning Marvel Creative Day Out is back! In partnership with the National Commission of Culture and the Arts, this one-day Marvel creative and inspirational event, planned for September 25 at De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, will take you closer to your favorite epic stories of Marvel Super Heroes. This year’s event will not only showcase the world of Marvel comics but also fashion and other product designs for the first time.

Marvel Creative Day Out will continue to showcase local talents with acclaimed Filipino Marvel artists. Back for the second year, Leinil Francis Yu, penciller for comic books “Secret Invasion” and “The Avengers” and Harvey Francis Tolibao, penciller for comic books “Iron Man” and “X-men” will once again share the stage with Marvel Asia’s VP of Brand Development C.B. Cebulski to share the dynamic Marvel Universe that has evolved from a comic-book brand to the global entertainment brand that it is now. Allen Au-Yeung, VP of Creative for Disney China, will also visit here for the first time to share how Marvel stories and characters come to life in fashion and product design. 

Whether you’re a fan, an artist, or a designer (fashion/product), Marvel invites you to be a part of this ultimate celebration by expressing your love for the brand in the form of your creative work, which will be showcased in the event’s exhibition. Get creative with your Marvel submissions - anything from sketches, paintings, sculpture, installation, digital art, fashion designs in clothing and accessories or products designs. Submissions are open until September 15. To submit, you can go to: http://bit.ly/2wekNoU

Stay tuned for more details on the inspiring talks and workshops at Marvel Creative Day Out 2017. See you on September 25 for yet another celebration of Marvel creativity!

Unilever and PCIEERD explore possible partnership

A team of research and development specialists from Unilever Philippines visited the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) explore areas for possible research collaboration particularly for the production of new products or improvement of existing with S&T innovations.

The team was led to facilities that they can access for their R&D activities, namely:

• Advanced Device and Materials Testing (ADMATEL)

• Nanotechnology Laboratory (NANOLAB)

• Food Innovation Center (FICs)

• Packaging Technology Division in ITDI

• Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC)

• Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT)

• Modular Innovation Center for Oils, Blends, and Sauces

PCIEERD Executive Director Carlos Primo David facilitated the discussion on possible partnership, stating that the Council is now geared to having more interaction with the industry to make sure that government resources will be put in good use.

In general, collaboration with DOST could start in addressing Unilever's current challenges in the food and personal care sections, that is in nutrition content and use of local flavors and ingredients.

DOST-PCIEERD and Unilever Philippines are yet to set another meeting to further discuss the possible collaboration.

Also on August 1, a facility tour was conducted for exchange students from Tokyo Tech High School of Science and Technology and De La Salle University-Integrated School to explore the current trends in research areas related to energy production and its impacts to the environment.