Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brunei tops international ASEAN science lab competition

For the first time in five years, Brunei topped the ASEAN Plus Three Junior Science Odyssey (APTJSO), cutting short the four year streak of consistent top winner Philippines.

Topping the 5th APTJSO, held at the University of the Philippines – Los Banos, are Teo Siang Jun, Mohammad Ariff Zikry Mohammad Haziq, and Haji Ahmad Nizam Noor Manina from Brunei Team A.

Cupping the overall second and third places are two teams from the Philippines., represented by the Phillippine Science High School Central Visayas and Cagayan Valley Campuses. Philippines Team A composed of Jose Benjamin dela Cruz, Mark Ely Namoro and Hannah Keren Duque of PSHS-Cagayan Valley Campus landed second overall champion.

Coming third is Philippines Team D composed of Francis Jether Siao, Joseph Karl Salva Jr. and Sean Dominic Abella from PSHS-Central Visayas Campus. 

The APTJSO is an annual educational competition in the field of Science and Technology for young gifted students who are 13 to 15 years within the ASEAN Plus Three Region. The competition is designed to carry on the overall goal of the competition to develop the gifts and talents of young individuals in the S&T fields and to nurture future scientists and engineers within the APT region. Component contests of the competition are project pitching, laboratory skills assessment and poster presentation.

On the other hand, the Philippines dominated the competition in terms of medal haul as it snatched 15 medals from the different component contests in the competition. Chinese Taipei scoured 9 medals while Brunei got a total of 7 medals. 

In the Laboratory Skills Assessment, a competition that tested their adeptness in conducting experiments, Brunei got the gold medal, followed by Philippines and Chinese Taipei. 

In the project pitching category, where the students gave proposals on how to mitigate the effects of the climate change in the rainforest, Team Apitong got the highest award. Group Apitong is composed of Jose Benjamin dela Cruz of the Philippines, Dong Rui of China, Chalernphon Neugleuthai of Laos, Nguyen Phuong An of Vietnam, Alexandra Parrthena Papadopoulos of Sweden, Sieng Sunhan of Cambodia, and Ismail Muhd Adiib of Brunei. They are followed by Group Anahaw composed of Aisyoul Khorni Muhammad Hazim of Malaysia, Tran Minh Huyen of Vietnam, Pawarisa Sittichai of Thailand, Sithiktiya Chey of Cambodia, Chen Meng-Fu of Chinese Taipei and Francis Jether Siao of Philippines. Group Almaciga obtained the third place, composed of Baek Ji Hun of Korea, Bajan Dionela Jitka Quinagoran of Philippines, Ko Wei Ting of Chinese Taipei, Moe Hnin Oo of Myanmar, Mahammad Amin Abidah Syahmina of Brunei, and Somavattey Im of Cambodia. 

China netted the poster presentation, followed by Indonesia and Korea. 

Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary for Science and Technology Services Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara expressed her congratulations to the winning teams, prodding them to use their knowledge, learnings and experience from the APTJSO to pursue a STEM career and contribute to society.

“The energy, determination, and enthusiasm you have showed in this competition is a good fuel for the measures you want to take in taking on climate change by the horn,” she said during the awarding ceremony. 

UPLB Chancellor, Dr. Fernando Sanchez, Jr., on the other hand, reminded the participants how big an issue climate change is as well as their roles in being part of the solution to the said problem.

“Climate change is no longer something theoretical that may happen in the future, but a serious issue whose devastating effects we have clearly observed and experienced. It is also now an issue which many of our scientific minds are noew trying to find solutions to,” he said.

Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute Director Dr. Josette Biyo, meanwhile, was elated with the landslide medal haul of the Philippines. 

“You have made your mark not just as gifted individuals but as citizens of the planet. Your ideas have been heard and we hope that this activity has urged you to become disciples of science,” she said.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Father's Day treat from McDonald’s for all Dad's

Filipinos have countless reasons to thank their dads on Father’s Day – for going the extra mile to make everyone laugh, for nights spent working on school assignments, and for the secret fries and sundae treat when mom was away. For all their hard work, dads deserve this one day in a year to take it easy and just relax. 

On Father’s Day, June 19, from         3-5 PM, McDonald’s will treat dads to free 1pc Chicken McDo for every Happy Meal purchase. This promo will be offered exclusively in all McDonald’s stores in SM branches and is valid for front counter transactions only. For complete mechanics,visit

Planning to treat dad to Chicken McDo on Father’s Day? Share your special moment by using the hashtag #PaChickenMcDoForDad and tagging @McDo_PH on Twitter and Instagram.

Below is the complete list of participating McDonald’s stores:

1. SM Aura                       25. SM Manila
2. SM Bacoor                     26. SM Marikina
3. SM Bacolod                    27. SM Marilao
4. SM Baguio                     28. SM Masinag
5. SM Baliwag                    29. SM Megamall
6. SM Batangas                   30. SM Muntinlupa
7. SM BF Paranaque               31. Sm Naga
8. SM Bicutan                    32. SM North EDSA
9. SM Cabanatuan (STO)           33. SM Novaliches
10. SM Cagayan de Oro            34. SM Pampanga
11. SM Calamba                   35. SM Rosales
12. SM Cauayan                   36. SM Rosario
13. SM Cebu                      37. SM San Jose del Monte
14. SM Clark                     38. SM San Lazaro
15. SM Daet                      39. SM San Pablo
16. SM Dasmarinas                40. SM Santa Rosa
17. SM Davao                     41. SM Seaside Cebu
18. SM Fairview                  42. SM Southmall
19. SM General Santos            43. SM Sta. Mesa
20. SM Iloilo                    44. SM Sucat
21. SM Lipa                      45. SM Taytay
22. SM Lucena                    46. SM Trece Martirez
23. SM Mall of Asia              47. SM Valenzuela
24. SM Makati

Monday, June 6, 2016

10-year old SM Mall of Asia expands into one of world’s largest and most exciting malls

A mall as successful as SM Mall of Asia is entering a new phase, reinventing itself, this time, into one of the biggest and most exciting destination malls in the world.

SM and SM Prime Chairman Henry Sy who once called this mall, the greatest project of his life, had a vision to build one of the largest malls in Asia which will not just be a shopping complex but a premier destination.

Sy’s vision was for shoppers and tourists alike to come together to have a unique leisurely experience. “The mall will be a major Asia Pacific destination,” Sy said at that time.

SM Mall of Asia opened in May 2006 as the flagship development of SM on its 60-hectare reclaimed land along the scenic Manila Bay in Pasay City. The mall introduced the first Olympic-size skating rink and the first IMAX theatre in the country. It also opened the Science Discovery Center now called The Exploreum and a state-of-the-art Bowling Center.

Ten years later, the mall is set to once again revolutionize the Philippines’ concept of a mall.

Steven Tan, Senior Vice President for SM Supermalls recalled that when the design team was going through the redesign process for SM Mall of Asia, SM Prime Holdings President Hans T. Sy wanted it to have the “wow” factor.

“Mr. Hans Sy didn’t just want to expand the mall without giving a reason to the people. He said, if there was going to be an expansion, we have to ensure the success of the mall,” Tan said.

Designed by Miami-based firm Arquitectonica, the enigmatic “wow” would finally come in the form of a FIFA World Cup-size soccer field mounted on the mall’s roofdeck. A botanical garden that blends with a spectacular view of the bay will also be built.

“I’ve seen the perpsectives and the view from up there will be breathtaking. There will be an unobstructed view of the sea and it is beautiful,” Tan said.

With over 700 tenants, SM Mall of Asia is considered one of SM’s most successful malls, enjoying an occupancy of between 98% and 100%. This has prompted the company to do the redevelopment of the mall in phases. The Olympic-size skating rink which will be on the third floor is targeted to be ready by the end of the year. A food hall, dolled up with designer furniture in tune with the mall’s modern look, will also open on the third level.

New brands are also set to come in including Swedish clothing giant H&M which is slated to introduce a 3,000 square meter flagship store that promises to be something unique.

The mall will also have a “warmer” look and feel, according to Tan where the interior will adopt a different color scheme and introduce wooden panels.

The mall also recently unveiled a “solar carpark” which was visited recently by no less than environment advocate and former US Vice President Al Gore. The 2.7 megawatt MOA solar carpark, in partnership with Solar Philippines, is nearly twice the size of the 1.5 MW SM North Edsa Solar Carpark, making it one of the world’s largest on-site solar projects. Comprised of 10,426 solar panels and 40 inverters, it supplies nearly 20% of the mall’s power needs.

To add to the dynamic developments in the 60-hectare MOA complex, Conrad Manila, SM Prime’s deluxe hotel is set to open in June this year with a new retail podium called S’Maison which will house unique concept stores as well as luxury retail stores, fine dining restaurants and state-of-the-art cinemas.

Another latest development, the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Museum is taking shape which will give visitors a unique experience in learning the history of the 250-year old global trade route where the Philippines and Mexico played major roles. The museum will highlight the galleon trade’s impact on today’s commerce, banking, travel, and cultural exchange. The dome will showcase the actual process of building a galleon, while exhibiting relics such as porcelain, gold, and other goods that were traded in the Spanish era.

With such new and exciting additions, MOA will add about 250,000 square meters to its floorplate, spanning a total of over 650,000 square meters which will count as one of the largest in the world, a fitting milestone to a mall that has touched the lives of millions in the last 10 years.