Plaza Marcela marks 26th anniversary with outreach program for disadvantaged children

Thursday, April 27

 Plaza Marcela, a beloved shopping center named after the Alturas Group of Companies (AGC) family matriarch, recently celebrated its 26th anniversary by organizing an outreach program for disadvantaged children in Bohol. The event was part of AGC’s golden anniversary festivities, marking the group’s efforts in serving the people and uplifting lives. 

The department store is one of the subsidiaries of AGC which includes Island City Mall, Alturas Mall, and Marcela Farms. It has been providing quality products and services to Boholanos for over two decades.

For the celebration, Plaza Marcela organized a free medical consultation along with an art workshop led by Sylvia Gonser, a member of the Baji Arts Collective Group in Bohol.

Around a hundred children from Brgy. Cogon joined the event, which introduced the young ones to the different primary colors and the art of mixing paints. They used recycled circular piggy banks as their canvas, promoting the importance of recycling and creativity.

Additionally, the kids were treated to lunch and snacks, and engaged in games, adding more fun and excitement to the activity. The program concluded with the announcement and awarding of the top ten promising artists and the distribution of gift packs, providing a memorable experience and a token of appreciation for the children's participation.

"We are delighted to celebrate our 26th anniversary with the children, as we strongly believe that providing opportunities for them to learn and create contributes to the overall development of the community. We remain committed to giving back to the Boholanos by offering services and events that cater to their needs and interests," said Ms. Mary Grace Bernaldez, Sr. Supervisor of Alturas Corporate Marketing. 

As an expression of gratitude for the continuous support of the Boholanos, Plaza Marcela will also be offering promos that shoppers will surely enjoy, such as the Grand Anniversary Blowout. Four winners of P50,000 each and one winner of P100,000 are drawn every month. The second draw will be on June 24, 2023, at Island City Mall. 

Moreover, an Alturas Night will be held in celebration of the Saulog festival’s Maoy sa Mayo on May 1 at CPG Sports Complex in Tagbilaran. It will feature The Juans, Adie and Bandang Lapis.  

For more information about Plaza Marcela's outreach program and other events, please visit

Filipino winners in Zayed Sustainability Prize call for more entries to increase chances of Philippines winning in the 2024 Cycle

Speaking online before 517 viewers from various parts of the Philippines, social entrepreneur Illac Diaz, and science and math educators Ma Regaele Olarte and Jason Albaro recounted their respective experiences in explaining their projects where they used free, cheap local materials, and local technology but which nevertheless turned their projects into sustainable ones that benefitted the communities around them and across the world. 

Past winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize from the Philippines were invited as guest speakers to the recently concluded webinar for aspiring nominees.

Zayed Sustainability Prize is still accepting submissions for their 2024 Cycle until May 23, 2023, through their online portal.  Candidates can submit their entries in one of these six categories - Health, Food, Energy, Water, Climate Action, and Global High Schools.

Illac Diaz, social entrepreneur

Illac won in 2015 for his Liter of Light project – a sustainable lighting project - which used recycled plastic soda bottles, water, bleach, and simple technology to build bottle lights that marginalized communities used to light their homes, businesses, and streets. To date, more than 350,000 bottle lights have been used by over 145,200 families in more than 15 countries where electricity is scarce. Illac’s NGO My Shelter Foundation is training cooperatives on how to build this technology. Illac is the first Filipino and first Asian to score this Award.

Illac commented, “Liter of Light has expanded to 32 countries, with 212 staff, and helping almost one million people a year. This would not have been possible if we did not win the Zayed Sustainability Prize back in 2015. Filipinos are known for their ingenuity and creativity, especially in addressing social and environmental issues. Despite the abundance of talent and ideas, many Filipinos often face limited opportunities and resources to bring their ideas to fruition.”

He added, “I am honored to have been the first Filipino winner of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in 2015. Now, eight years later, we are passing the torch to a new generation of change-makers. Through this call to action, we hope to amplify the voices of other environmental heroes from the Philippines. I want to encourage our local organizations and high schools to apply for the Zayed Sustainability Prize. It is an incredible platform and opportunity to share our unique innovations with a world that is looking for real, replicable solutions for climate adaptation.”

Illac advised, “It took us three tries. In applying, humility is there, in the fact that the first time, you might not get in. Some innovations are not understood immediately. It takes a bit of patience. The second time for us, we got into the finals. The third time, we won. Your ideas may be groundbreaking and they may not have heard of it before. You might not win immediately with the Zayed Sustainability Prize, but it allows you to be understood by other organizations in the UAE which would recognize you for your work. It is a journey with some pitfalls, so don’t despair.  

Why is the Zayed Sustainability Prize important? Because they do not just award and disappear. They really develop a relationship over time. They are still talking to us, are still friends with us, sharing opportunities with us.”

“This is the chance for us to take the lead, to dominate in energy, food, in industry. This kind of work is really from a Bayanihan spirit, coming all together, to build rather than a pure charity. It is about time the world sees how our ideas in the Philippines can contribute to the global citizenry, to leapfrog from being global beneficiaries to becoming global benefactors. Your ideas can make it, you can even make it much bigger. This could be a life-changing technology, not only for yourself but for millions of other people.”

Muntinlupa National High School

In January 2019, Muntinlupa National High School won the Global High School category, East Asia and Pacific region, making them the second winner from the Philippines. Their entry, called ReVAMP (Revitalized Algae Micro-farm Projects), proposed the building of a scalable solar-powered micro-farm with photo-bioreactors to produce high-value products from green algae (Chlorella Vulgaris) that can be used in food, energy, and medicine. It’s also a source of biofuel. Regaele and Jason used their US$100,000 prize money to make bioreactors and build their algae micro farm - the first in the Philippines.

The prize money for global high schools is meant to be invested into the winning project to make it grow. Ma Regaele Olarte said, “Our US$100,000 prize went to the project so we can expand it. We also benefitted from the project because we advocated for this as science educators. We have a passion for what we're doing. It is very rewarding for us to do this, helping not only the school. If it flourishes, we can help the whole Philippines, especially in the field of green energy. This will be another part of the project when we go to the next phases of its implementation.”


Jason Albaro meanwhile revealed that Project ReVAMP has an ongoing patent registration. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) advised Muntinlupa National High School to register the project as an invention. The school, under the Department of Education (DepEd) NCR, has a tripartite partnership agreement with DOST-NCR and I AM SAM Foundation, with the support of the University of the Philippines.  He said, “We are still starting in the Philippines. We’re doing this gradually so we can give better results.”

Their joint advice to interested candidates, “We joined the Zayed Sustainability Prize twice. Always give your best in whatever you’re doing. Don’t give up. Continue to dream big. Have faith in yourselves, in your bright ideas. This might be your big chance to make something big. We urge all high schools, educators, parents, and students to give yourselves this chance. The Zayed Sustainability Prize recognizes effort, so it’s better if you’re working in a team. Judges in the Zayed Sustainability Prize are experts in their own fields. Start your proposals by providing solutions and implementing them in the future. Choose a category when you submit your proposal, it should be a solution to an identified problem in your community.”

Auke Idzenga, CEO of Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc

Auke Idzenga, CEO of Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. who was a finalist from the Philippines in the Water category 2020 Cycle, also spoke at the webinar. He commented, “AIDFI being a finalist in the water category of the Zayed Sustainability Prize resulted in a question if we were willing to implement projects for the Beyond 2020 Program, on which we immediately said yes. On two different islands here in the Philippines, we implemented two drinking water systems utilizing AIDFI ram pumps in previous waterless communities, tremendously improving the situation of some 18,000 villagers. We fully support the idea of new friendships and cooperation under this program and are eager to expand our ram pump projects to other countries as well in collaboration with the Zayed Sustainability Prize.”

Auke explained, “The Zayed Sustainability Prize is a prestigious award and they really pick out the best of the best. If you become a winner, you really have shown the technology works on the ground. if you have several projects working on the ground, then participate.”

About the Prize

The Zayed Sustainability Prize organizers are urging innovators from three sectors - - global high schools, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and non-profits - -  to have the determination to submit their innovative and sustainable solutions and have that one big chance to snatch one of the 10 awards and be recognized on a global stage. They can submit their entries in one of these six categories -Health, Food, Energy, Water. Climate Action and Global High Schools.

For the Health, Food, Energy, Climate Action and Water categories, organizations should demonstrate that they are improving access to essential products or services and have a long-term vision for better living and working conditions.

For the Global High Schools category, their projects should be student–led, with emphasis placed on the students being actively involved in the planning, implementation, and monitoring processes.

Now in its 15th year, the Prize’s US$3 million fund rewards winners US$600,000 in each category. The Global High Schools category is split into six world regions, with each school able to claim up to US$100,000 to start or further expand their project. The six world regions of the Global High Schools category are The Americas, Europe & Central Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia & Pacific.

There is a three-stage evaluation process, beginning with the due diligence conducted on all submissions to ensure that they meet the Prize’s evaluation criteria. This identifies the qualified entries and results in the selection of eligible candidates. Following this, evaluations are undertaken by a Selection Committee consisting of category-specific panels of independent international experts. From this shortlist of candidates, the finalists are chosen and then sent to the Prize Jury who unanimously elect the winners, across all five categories.  

Winners of the 2024 Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced at an Awards Ceremony in December 2023.

Pedicab Band to Bring Their Unique Sound to Indie-Rock Event in Cebu

Cebu City, Philippines - The local music scene in Cebu is about to get a significant boost with OTOMATIK: Pedicab Live in Cebu. Headlined by Manila-based electronic rock band Pedicab, the event also features promising local acts from Cebu.

Pedicab is known for their unique blend of indie-rock, electronic, and punk music. Their high-energy performances and catchy melodies have won them a large following nationwide. They have released several critically acclaimed albums and have won numerous awards for their music.

Joining Pedicab on stage will be some of the most exciting indie-rock acts in Cebu, Luxxx, Ala Ahkbar, The Line Divides, Sunday, The Pervs, and Awkward Dancer. These bands have been making waves in the local music scene and are expected to deliver a riveting performance.

The event will take place on April 29, 2023, at the Playground in From Here, Crossroads Cebu. Doors will open at 7 PM. Presale tickets are at P600 and are available until April 26, 2023. You can visit the John Bottles Events FB page for details. However, walk-in tickets are also available at the venue for P750.

The event is organized by John Bottles Events, PAWN Records, Counterflow Productions, and LILA Events Ph—a collective of music enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to promoting the indie music scene in the region. They aim to provide a platform for local artists to showcase their talents and connect with music fans in Cebu and beyond.

"We are thrilled to bring Pedicab and some of the best indie-rock bands in Cebu together for this event," said Bobbi Olvido of John Bottles Events. "This is an opportunity for music lovers to experience the vibrant and diverse music scene in Cebu and discover new artists."

The event is co-presented by From Here, Crossroads Cebu, and Soupstar Music. It is also made possible the following sponsors, PRworks Visayas-Mindanao (Philippines) Alba Uno Hotel, ACES Eye Referral Clinics, Phinance, International Pharmaceuticals Inc., Hearty Meals by Bea, Hibla Natives, Baihaus , Kinaham ni Masyong, Good Habits Cartel, Kusina La Madera, Mr. Xavier Go, Dr. Robbie Decilio, Mr. John Mark Maglana and Mr Jud Sala of Poverty Studios.

For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, visit the @JohnBottlesEvents on Facebook.

Unboxing New Books | GROWTH DIARY OF GOOD KIDS Books

Friday, April 21


PURPOSE: 1. Provide children different kinds of interesting and educational stories; 2. Help children to cultivate a good habbit with rightouse personality; 3. Start reading easy English-language stories for preparing their English education. Help your kids away from Phone!! Some parents experience difficulties in educating kids between six to twelve years old. Let your child read these 10 books. It's better than punishment. This series of books (10 books per series) targets 6-12yrs old children who are in the critical period when both their bodies and brains are growing fast. TITLES: “Growth Diary of Good Kids”: 1. Good Habits with All My Life 2. Share Your Gratitude 3. I Am Really Self-Controlled 4. I Am Really Great 5. To Be Honest 6. Brave to Face Difficulties 7. Learning Is Not Scary 8. To be Lenient 9. To Be Independent 10. Parents Are Not My Servants



I vlogged about this day, I really did shave my head for the first time. 


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