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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

World Health Tourism Congress hosted by the Philippines

It is a genuine concern for patients that sets the Filipino health care worker apart. Some will say that this is because malasakit or the capacity to empathize with people, especially the sick, is deeply ingrained in our collective cultural psyche. But couple the quality with excellent professional training, and it is not surprising that Filipino health professionals are among those most sought after throughout the world.

Thus, it is good news that the Philippines won the bid to host the fourth World Health Tourism Congress in 2009. The noteworthy global event will be held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza on March 26 to 28, and would serve as a key networking venue for leading health and wellness providers. Aside from a three-day conference and workshop, one-on-one business sessions between buyers and sellers make it possible to acquire supply contracts, establish market linkages, and agree on mutually beneficial transactions.

Attendance to the event is by invitation only, so that only serious solution providers and buyers can join. Among the solution providers that have been invited to participate are hotels, spas, health resorts, airline and air ambulance companies, medical services agents, inbound tour operators specializing in health tourism, and general and specialist hospitals and clinics. Cosmetic dentistry, plastic surgery, orthopedic and sports medicine are specializations that are expected to grow with the successful promotion of medical tourism.

Among the speakers at the press launch was Hadi Malaeb, managing partner of event organizer Aura International Dubai.

Although 92,000 medical tourists from the Arab world visited the Philippines in 2007, the number is expected to grow as the country is given prominence as a premium medical destination at the congress. Among the corporate buyers expected to attend the event are health officials from oil-producing Middle Eastern countries that are among the biggest spenders for medical travel. An additional boost for medical tourism is anticipated with the participation of international insurance companies whose network managers decide where to send their clients, third party medical agents mostly from North America and Western Europe who incorporate travel and tours with medical treatment for their clientele, and outbound tour operators who are on the lookout for health and wellness destinations. To emphasize the immense potential of medical tourism, Malaeb cited a 2006 study by the consultancy firm Globalysis that placed the health and wellness industry revenue at US$40 billion in 2006. The figure is projected to climb to US$60 billion in 2012.

In the Philippines, medical tourism brought in revenues of US $350 million since the program was launched in 2006. The target figure for year 2012 is US $1 billion. Undeniably, promoting the Philippines as a wellspring of healthcare and wellness through such events as the World Health Tourism Congress will be invaluable in reaching this goal.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

World-class SMX Convention Center at Mall of Asia

Companies and groups organizing major events, exhibits, trade shows, and conferences have found a perfect venue at the SMX Convention Center, the largest convention center in the country.

A three-storey, 46,647-square meter building, the SMX Convention Center features open exhibition areas, multifunctional halls, and flexible meeting rooms with modern exposition amenities at par with the region’s Meeting, Incentive, Convention & Exposition (MICE) industry standards.

It is strategically located at the 67-hectare Mall of Asia Complex, envisioned to be the country’s premiere business and entertainment destination. A fast-rising integrated urban center, the Mall of Asia Complex takes pride in its harmonious mix of office, retail, leisure, residential, and tourism components.

The SMX Convention Center carries a design that allows for maximum use of space and gives organizers and exhibitors’ flexibility and options in terms of specific area requirements. The exhibition area at the ground level has a floor area of 9,130 square meters, divisible into four halls while the function area at the third level has a floor area of 7,100 square meters divisible into five function rooms with ten meeting rooms.

Complementing these are first-class services and amenities such as WiFi capability, a dedicated exhibition and convention team capable of responding to every clients’ needs from technical assistance to personalized customer service, from consultancy to event planning and implementation; hotel catering or budget buffets and set menus; excellent security services; safe parking spaces cheaper than hotel rates; and screened and professional suppliers for booth and special designs, AV equipment and logistics. Also soon to add to the SMX’s amenities are a business center, a travel café, cyber and deli café, and an executive cafeteria lounge.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Insular Life opens Cebu Business Centre

The Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd. (Insular Life) broke ground recently for its new corporate center in Cebu, the Insular Life Cebu Business Centre.

The J.T. Mañosa & Associates-designed “green building” is a 12-story structure that will feature terraced greenery, landscaped rooftop gardens and water features.

The terraced gardens will conveniently house the air condition condensing units on every third floor. It will also have an increased floor-to-ceiling height, an estimated 3.86 meters, to maximize the use of natural light and contribute to energy consumption. Two landscaped gardens and a view of the Cebu cityscape will enliven a roof deck design that also accommodates a restaurant.

The Insular Life Cebu Business Centre, located at the Cebu Business Park, has a gross area of 19,500 sq.m. The building features minimal use of interior columns to maximize space use and allow for flexibility for end user needs.

It will have six elevators and two basement levels that will house a drivers’ lounge, parking spaces, a storage area, sanitary rooms, utility equipment area and an emergency power generator to serve an estimated 230 persons per floor.

The Insular Life Cebu Business Centre is slated for inauguration in 2010, in time for Insular Life’s 100th anniversary celebration.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. bags top award

A prestigious international finance publication has awarded the Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. (BDO) as the Best Bank in the Philippines.

In ceremonies held in the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong in July, Euromoney cited the merger between BDO and the former Equitable PCI Bank as “a real success of the historic deal.”

With the merger, BDO now has a much more extensive branch network and will benefit from Equitable’s traditional strengths in the middle markets and in credit cards.

By the end of 2007, BDO’s total deposits grew to $10.8 billion from $9.6 billion and it reported double-digit growth in low cost deposits. Net income grew to $142 million, up from $128 million in 2006. Capital base rose to $226 million (P10-billion) with a Tier 2 debt offering.

In a press statement, BDO president Nestor V. Tan said that the bank has already consolidated its resources with that of Equitable from which to build a stronger bank.

Total resources stood at P617.4 billion at the start of the year, and it is targeted to expand by 24 percent to P763.5 by end 2008.

At the end of 2007, BDO was ranked second among all banks, the same position it held in 2006.

It was ranked first in terms of gross customer loans, and third in terms of deposits (P444 billion) and total capital (P59.8 billion).

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

7th National Coconut Festival

The 7th National Coconut Festival, with the theme Kasaganaan at Kaunlaran sa Pinagyamang Niyugan, will be held Aug. 7-10 at the Mega Trade Hall II, Mega Mall in Mandaluyong City.

Philippine Coconut Authority administrator Oscar G. Garin said there will be a host of coco health products that will be launched during the festival which will be highlight of the 22nd National Coconut Week.

These products are: coco sap beverages to be introduced by Millicent Secretaria, senior science research specialist, PCA Davao Research Center; reduced sugar coco spread – Teresita Santos, president, ProSource Int’l, Inc.; coco skim milk beverages – Jun Castillo, president, Coconut House; coconut flour (gluten-free) based pimiento buns – Sopriana Flores, national purchasing manager – Julie’s Bakeshop; and fiber-rich and low sugar food products – Grace Ramat – science research specialist, PCA product development. There will also be lectures on the latest coconut technology.

The event is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corporation (PADCC), Minola Premium Coconut Oil, SenBel Fine Chemicals Co. Inc., Julie’s Bakeshop, Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), Atlas Fertilizer Corporation, CITEM, MegaMall, Megatrade Hall and the Philippine Coconut Authority Employees Multi Purpose Cooperative. (PCA-EMPC).

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