All within 15 minutes: Urban planning concept city to rise in Pasay

A lot of productive things can be done – a high-intensity, interval training (HITT) workout or run a 1.5-kilometer route, clearing your emails, meditating, catching up on the news, or preparing a quick smoothie – all within 15 minutes.

But for the Metro Manila commuter, 15 minutes is barely enough to get from point A to point B. During rush hour, it is most likely that within this time, you still haven’t moved an inch.

Ever heard of the 15-minute city? It’s a modern urban planning concept that puts people and the planet first. The term was coined by Paris-based urbanist and Sorbonne University professor Carlos Moreno wherein he said that the ideal neighborhood or city is built in such a way where work, food, housing, education and cultural activities can be easily accessed within 15 minutes, whether by foot or by using a bike.

An artist’s render of a 15-minute city, where work, food, housing, education and cultural activities are easily within reach.
Pasay City, in its forward-looking 360-hectare smart city development, aims to create an innovative tropical 15-minute city for over 300,000 residents.
Situated at the edge of a densely-packed and overpopulated metropolis perpetually in a traffic gridlock, this city will provide respite to its residents and visitors with sustainable, inclusive, safe, and healthy living where all their needs can be accessed within reach.
Among its intended features, the project is envisioned to have low carbon and safe mobility networks with multimodal public transport services and enhanced infrastructure that prioritizes active mobility like walking and biking. There will be parking lots equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, dedicated bike lanes, easily accessible public transport hubs, and unimpeded pedestrian walkways.

An artist’s rendition of a soon-to-rise 15-minute city in Pasay
This assures lower transportation costs, less carbon emissions, and most importantly, healthier and happier people. No more long and tiring queues at the EDSA bus carousel or sitting hours on end in the middle of EDSA traffic.
The project has been thoughtfully planned and designed for many years, and finally it has received the green light by government to proceed. In fact, no less than Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda highlighted how the Pasay-led project is expected to earn billions in real estate assets for the government.
Revenues from the project will generate a massive multiplier effect on our gross domestic product (GDP) and an estimated 300,000 new jobs from 2027 to 2040. By 2035, it is projected to employ 4% of the National Capital Region’s (NCR) total work force.
The Pasay 360 Project will be a city that nurtures lives and livelihood, is expected to revitalize the economy, and hone the next generation of Filipino leaders. It can be a source of pride for Filipinos as we push towards the 22nd century.

SM Prime Embarks on a Unified Waste Management Program for an #SMWasteFreeFuture

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), one of the leading integrated property developers in Southeast Asia, is embarking on a unified waste management and segregation campaign in response to the growing global crises on waste. SM Prime aims to bring all its property groups and stakeholders toward an #SMWasteFreeFuture.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), humanity generates more than 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste annually, of which 45 percent is mismanaged. Without urgent action, municipal solid waste will double to almost 4 billion tons each year by 2050. On December 14, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 30 as the International Day of Zero Waste.

The following year, UNEP inaugurated the First International Day of Zero Waste, to bolster actions to address the global pollution crisis. It aims to encourage global action and bring the world’s attention to zero waste.

Strong foundations

SM Prime’s founding leader, Henry Sy, believed that “business growth and social development must go hand in hand.” The company follows this guiding principle and has formed a sustainability policy that commits to the following: Resource Conservation and Efficiency, Disaster Resilience, Climate Advocacy, Social Integration, and Transparent Reporting.

Anchored on these sustainability commitments are the SM Supermalls’ Environmental Programs on Waste Management. Through its corporate social responsibility arm, SM Cares, SM Supermalls has pioneered longstanding programs such as the Trash to Cash recycling market, and provided support to the annual International Coastal Clean Up, among other national events.

(Photo caption) The largest haul and biggest participation to-date: The 38th International Coastal Clean-up had 17,000 volunteers across 15 SM Malls in 12 locations nationwide. It is an annual community-driven partnership between SM Supermalls, SM Cares, the DENR, LGU’s and the volunteers from the SM community.

(Photo caption) Scaled to perfection: One of the first recycling markets the country, Trash-to-Cash’s valuable example that waste can have monetary benefits. The recycling market is held every first Friday and Saturday of the month in all SM Supermalls to encourage waste segregation and recycling among SM customers, tenants, and the community. The recycling market is open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

In the hotel and tourism sector, SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation (SMHCC) has taken the lead in mitigating global food waste by implementing sustainable initiatives across its properties in the Philippines. Their key initiatives include the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Sustainable Diner Program, that aims to transform and help the food service sector minimize its impact on the environment thru resource efficiency, plastic refusal and food waste management and contribute to the world’s future food security.

Closing the loop: SMHCC’s sustainability efforts are anchored on the 7Gs or Seven Green Goals, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). The overall thrust for sustainability is cascaded to the rest of properties, ensuring that it is embedded at every step of the hotel’s operations, ensured by property Sustainability Champions.

To support these programs, SM Prime also recently unveiled its waste-to-fuel partnership with GUUN Co. Ltd. (GUNN) to implement the Japanese technique of reducing landfill impact. The technology converts non-recyclable and hard-to-recycle packaging into alternative fuel.

No time to waste: Sorting through the amount of trash at the GUUN Facility in Cebu. Unfit for recycling and reuse, the waste material recovered avoids the landfill and is then reconverted to fuel resource.

A Vision for an #SMWasteFreeFuture

To mark the International Day of Zero Waste on March 30, 2024, SM Prime is releasing its vision for an #SMWasteFreeFuture. “As a community, we strongly believe in our ability to contribute to solving today’s waste issues,” said Hans “Chico” Sy, Jr., President of SM Engineering Design and Development Corporation (SMEDD) and SM sustainability champion.

SM Prime’s announcement of its vision of an #SMWasteFreeFuture demonstrates the company’s strong commitment and sustainability stewardship, by inviting its stakeholders to engage in activities that will help spread zero-waste awareness and work for a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach on waste management.

“We understand that this may seem like a daunting challenge to overcome However, by joining forces, we can create a world that our future generations truly deserve – if we have the courage to take on this journey together,” said Sy.

SM Prime remains committed to its role as a catalyst for economic growth, delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities, thereby enriching the quality of life of millions of people. SM Prime is pursuing the next horizon on integrated property development and onward to building sustainable cities of the future.

A school renovation project amplifies the potential of deaf community

A dedicated teacher from PSD provides a hands-on lecture inside their newly rehabilitated school building.

Being hearing-impaired is a challenge in itself, navigating a world where communication relies heavily on spoken words.

In the Philippines, this challenge further creates a gap, as opportunities for the deaf are limited, particularly in education and employment. The struggle is intensified as only a few secondary learning institutions are catering to their unique needs, with affordability and facility conditions further hindering their pursuit of skills and knowledge.

A personal advocacy
Shery Funcion, the Principal of the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, is no stranger to these challenges.

Her dedication to the cause began with her college thesis, focusing on job opportunities for deaf learners. Since then, she has immersed herself in various organizations and volunteer activities, gaining firsthand insights into the limited opportunities available to deaf learners.

She eventually became a SPED teacher, before taking on the role of principal in PSD.

“The immersive experience really showed me how important these projects are for our students—kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbibigay ng mga pasilidad sa mga mag aaral lalo na sa mga bingi,” she underscored the importance of providing facilities for students with hearing impairment.

A facility that produces opportunities

The collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education’s Schools Division Office of Pasay City equips students with in-demand skills that will prepare them for employment upon graduation.

In the century-old PSD, their senior high school laboratory building serves as the training ground for students. Its classrooms and halls, no matter how old, have always played their role in honing and preparing deaf students to have solid career prospects after PSD.

Amidst the competing priorities within the school and the broader Philippine educational system, the facility barely had enough funds for the rehabilitation and major repairs it needed. For years, students and teachers worked around issues ranging from dim lighting and leaking roofs to uneven floors. These not only presented structural concerns but also hindered the overall learning experience of students.

“Our deaf learners need special accommodation to fulfill their special educational needs. They need to have a conducive learning environment so we can optimize the activities and learning programs,” Funcion stressed.

Funcion further shared that the 2023 collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI)—the social good arm of the SM Group, and the Department of Education’s Schools Division Office of Pasay City could not have come at a better time.

“The rehabilitation of the Home Economics (HE) laboratories is crucial because students need to fulfill their performance tasks. These are vital components of our senior high school program to ensure that they acquire essential skills and competencies for employment post-graduation from PSD.”

Through the collaboration, PSD has been provided with the much-needed facilities in dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food and beverage preparation, ICT, and dance.

For Funcion, their Henry Sy. Sr. building serves as a great beginning that will help pave equal opportunities and create a future where deaf students’ abilities will shine within and beyond the four walls of classrooms.

Through the collaboration, PSD has been provided with the much-needed facilities in dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food & beverage preparation, ICT, and dance.

Henry Sy Foundation promotes inclusive education Revitalizing the Philippine School for the Deaf

Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) hand signs a gratitude message to Henry Sy Foundation (HSF), Department of Education, and Pasay Local Government after they collaborated for the revitalization of the 12-room laboratory building of Senior High School students.

The Philippines’ Magna Carta for Disabled Persons ensures the rehabilitation, self-development, and self-reliance of persons with disabilities. The country provides educational assistance to people with disabilities from primary to tertiary education, including vocational or technical training.

One such school is the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City. For over a century, the school had demonstrated the transformative power of education in empowering and unlocking the capabilities of those with diverse disabilities to live fulfilling lives.

Though standing as a testament to the Philippines’ long-standing commitment to differently-abled education, the school, one of Southeast Asia’s oldest institutions for the deaf, suffers from the effects of time and wear, compromising its ability to fulfill its mission.

The school lacked basic facilities and accessibility features: converted classrooms, timeworn corridors, limited space for vocational training, inadequate furniture, dilapidated walls and ceilings, broken tiles and faucets, and dim lighting. It was also prone to flooding due to drainage problems, and it had only one functional toilet with a broken door infested by termites.

Revitalizing a legacy

In a transformative partnership, the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education’s Schools Division Office of Pasay City joined forces to breathe new life into the Senior High School building and a four-story, 12-classroom structure. This initiative, executed under the DepEd’s adopt-a-school program, stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in revitalizing educational infrastructure for the benefit of the community.

Teachers conduct lectures on electronics in a more conducive laboratory after the rehabilitation of the school building

Previously hindered by infrastructural limitations, the century-old school now features enhanced learning spaces dedicated to various subjects, including dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food & beverage preparation, ICT, and dance. A dance studio with a dressing room and a conference room were also refurbished.

Through the social good collaboration, the laboratory for baking and cookery has been equipped with new tools and furniture, helping conduct more hands-on classes.

To enhance safety and accessibility, ramps and railings were installed throughout the campus, ensuring ease of movement for all students. Aside from revitalizing 10 classrooms, the SM group also refurbished the conference rooms, and the lobby with a reception area to provide a comfortable environment.

Differently abled students from PSD focus as they attend their beauty and cosmetology class in their new building.

Helping instill good hygiene and encourage healthy habits, a handwashing station, and separate male and female toilets were rehabilitated with clean, functional cubicles, urinals, and PWD-friendly facilities.

The covered court was restored with a spacious stage, creating a conducive space for outdoor learning and recreation.

The rehabilitation of the facilities at the PSD was undertaken, not just to address the physical challenges but also to cultivate an environment where every student can thrive. The project stands as a testament to the SM and Henry Sy Foundations’ continued pursuit of inclusivity and its commitment to empowering differently-abled individuals through education.

SM Foundation school building program head Juris Soliman and SMFI Project Supervisor Ar. Caren Lopez (fourth and fifth from left) with PSD Principal Shery Funcion and SDO Pasay City SGOD Sylwyn Tenorio (sixth and seventh from left) with the team behind the school’s refurbishment.

Jayson and Juanito proudly showcase a selection of produce at the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market.

While modern agricultural techniques boost yields for some, there remains a number of Filipino farmers who struggle to keep pace. These experienced hands find themselves falling behind in a market demanding higher production, clinging to familiar yet often inefficient methods passed down through generations.

One farmer from Pampanga, Jayson Garcia, sought to disrupt this prevailing narrative in his family. He knew that he had to chart a new course forward for his farm and innovate to remain competitive within the rapidly evolving landscape of modern agriculture.

“Noon, mahirap ang magtanim,” he recalled their life before joining SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan. “Para bang tsambahan, basta pag itinanim mo ‘yan, hintayin mo na lang mamunga. Mas mahirap pa lalo kapag nagkaroon ng kalamidad,” he added.

SM Foundation’s training program focused on high-value crop cultivation was the breakthrough Garcia needed to revitalize his farming techniques. These included selecting the best seeds and caring for them as well as strategic planting schedules.

Jayson attends the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market to observe best practices and gain insights into new agricultural techniques.

The livelihood program also gave way for him to discover alternative sales channels that enhanced his earning potential while extending fair prices to his customers. The knowledge and confidence he gained led him to expand his farm, and in effect, increased his monthly income to more than Php25,000.

Aside from directly selling his harvests, he is now planting a variety of vegetables–on his farm, including lemongrass, malunggay, and madre de cacao, which he sells online to small businesses that process the produce into other products.

Embracing new techniques

Sharing the same story of hope is another KSK farmer from Pampanga, Juanito Dela Cruz. Despite his age, he actively pursued and adopted modern farming techniques. Building on his current success, he shared the importance of adaptability for farmers, calling for others to try and explore new practices.

From a modest monthly income of Php10,000, Juanito experienced an upsurge in his earnings, notably through participation in the Weekend Market at SM City Clark, yielding around Php30,000 weekly. “Kailangan maging bukas tayo sa makabagong pamamaraan ng pagsasaka para makahabol tayo sa demands ng panahon ngayon—ito ang itinuo sa akin ng SM Foundation-KSK,” he said.

Juanito, alongside his wife, actively participates in the SM City Clark Weekend Market. They credit the market with contributing to their increased profitability.

The SM Group’s KSK program has changed the lives of roughly 30,000 Filipino farmers, including Jayson and Juanito. Through its initiatives, farmers who once lost hope have been able to embrace modern farming techniques, leading to adaptability in the face of the evolving agricultural landscape.

The SM Group, through SM Foundation, remains steadfast in its commitment to spreading social good. This dedication extends to SM’s forthcoming endeavors to be led by its future smart city property development – with focus on enhancing positive social impact in the communities where SM operates.

Filipinos love concerts, but venue infrastructure gaps are a threat to the experience

Countries with better, bigger, and more competitive concert venues have reaped economic benefits, especially with the massive and significant influence of popular international acts like pop superstar Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and Coldplay’s World Tour in consumer behavior and spending.

Driving tens of thousands of ‘Swifties’ and concert enthusiasts, the success of these concerts was an economic stimulus for countries worldwide, including Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Japan. Filipino fans alike had to spend big and travel miles to watch the exclusive performance of superstar Swift in Singapore’s National Stadium while others went to Japan’s Tokyo Dome and Sydney’s Accor Stadium in Australia. The massive concert gigs boosted the respective country’s economies, benefitting entertainment, hospitality, retail, and transport industries significantly.

(insert preferred concert image here if any) (taylor swift)

While Singapore’s strategy for a Southeast Asia exclusive Swift performance piqued interest and likewise piqued its neighboring countries, the strategic move sparked conversations and brought to light what the Philippines can improve on in terms of concert venues.

1. Location is key

The Philippines doesn’t lack in big venues. In fact, it boasts of venues that can rival Singapore’s National Stadium and Japan’s Tokyo Dome. Accessibility to the location as well as public transportation and nearby commercial establishments are key.

2. Concert Experience

Photo credit to Stanley Quek. An empty Singapore National Stadium, viewed from the front stage.

Singapore’s pride, the National Stadium, has innovative features such as the world’s largest free-spanning dome, a retractable roof and comfort cooling technology for spectators’ convenience. Its innovation, strategic location, and efficiency bring positive and immersive experiences for enthusiasts and concert fans, making it a magnet for entertainment acts from all over the world. A similar concert venue and experience is something that Filipino concertgoers are hoping the country can replicate.
3. World-class concert amenities and facilities

Accessing the venue’s amenities and facilities should offer a premium music experience for concert enthusiasts or convenience in a sporting event.

Architectural “Eyecon” SM Mall of Asia Arena prides itself on having exceptional world-class amenities unique in the Southeast Asia region. –Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 held in SM Mall of Asia Arena – Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

Take for example the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena – a flexible indoor arena developed in 2012 by leading integrated property developer SM Prime – that has been a top-of-mind venue for all sorts of events and offers a unique concert experience. With a full house seating capacity of 20,000, it has been a haven for thrilling sports events, remarkable OPM shows, and unforgettable international superstar performances.

Meanwhile, the SMDC Festival Grounds in Parañaque City is likewise an enormous outdoor venue that can accommodate at least 50,000 people. Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour and Rivermaya The Reunion were among the performers that have graced the stage recently.

4. Achieving Filipinos’ concert dreams

One of the most forward-looking plans of SM Prime is its 360-hectare smart city development which is envisioned to bring in a centerpiece to the country’s entertainment and sporting events – larger in capacity and a more enhanced venue infrastructure that would attract legendary icons in the entertainment scene and compete against Southeast Asia and the world’s best. It will feature an estimated 70,000-capacity stadium and concert arena connected to one of the island’s main destination paradises called Central Park. The sizable arena is envisioned to be the Philippines’ biggest concert venue, with world-class facilities and sustainable features, comparable to other big concert venues worldwide. Once that’s built, Filipinos won’t have to fly overseas because they can watch top-tier performances right from the comfort of their home country.

An artist’s render, visual sketch of the proposed concert venue at Pasay 360 project.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/band-playing-on-stage-2747446/

Without a doubt, Pinoys live and breathe entertainment shows. In fact, Filipinos are the 4th top concert spenders in Asia-Pacific according to digital payments company Visa, proof of how passionate we are about concerts. By investing in the development of modern, smart, and accessible concert venues, Filipino concert enthusiasts can continue to embrace and celebrate live performances with the convenience, comfort, and enjoyment they deserve. Beyond entertainment, well-curated, smart, and innovative concert facilities can further drive economic benefits to the Philippines’ national and local economies, including ancillary local spending in retail, tourism, and hospitality.

Jobs on the Rise: New Urban Developments Are Driving Employment Growth

Cities worldwide, while diverse in demographics and culture, share a common pursuit of progress through new urban developments. These projects not only enhance convenience amid urban congestion but also stimulate local economies and communities through various socio-economic activities like job creation.

Whether in the form of public transportation, cutting-edge business districts, or towering residential communities, a single new development requires a whole host of jobs from pre-construction, to construction, and completion. These range from real estate developers and planners to construction workers and suppliers – all requiring extensive collaboration for successful project development.

Hudson Yards: Direct and indirect employment opportunities

Photo credit to Following NYC. Featuring ‘Vessel’, a honeycomb-like structure and visitor attraction in the Hudson Yards Development in Manhattan, New York City.

The cycle of job creation doesn’t stop after completion. A new development also drives indirect employment opportunities generated from industries attracted or related to the development.

Such is the case for Hudson Yards, New York City’s 28-acre mixed-use development and considerably the United States’ biggest mega development in history. It had created thousands of construction jobs that resulted in transforming Manhattan’s iconic skyline and becoming home to diverse shops, offices, cultural institutions, and hotels and residences. Ongoing operations and management of these facilities are expected to contribute to its large-scale economy, such as hosting over 55,752 workers daily and about $19 billion annually to the city’s GDP.

Dubai and Songdo IBD: Creating economic opportunities afresh

Meanwhile, cities like Dubai and Songdo International Business District (IBD) generate jobs by creating economic opportunities from the ground up. They used land reclamation as an urban development strategy to address land scarcity and high population density challenges.

Photo credit to Kadir Avşar. A closer aerial view of the Palm Islands.

Dubai’s ambitious projects, including the Palm Islands, the World Islands, and Burj Al Arab, have turned it into an ultramodern metropolis for commerce and tourism. In 2023, it drew over 30,000 new businesses, driving demand for talent in finance, legal, and digital technology sectors.

The Songdo IBD is an ongoing smart city built on reclaimed land in Incheon, South Korea. It’s designed to be an international business and residential hub with sustainable features. As of 2020, the 1,500-acre development hosts about 30,000 residents, 33,000 jobs, and 70% fewer emissions than any other development.

SM’s Integrated City Developments: Empowering local communities and residents

SM Prime contributed photo. An aerial view of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) featuring its iconic Globamaze and thriving network of retail, business, residential, and hotel developments.

The SM Group, a leading conglomerate in the Philippines, has an ecosystem of interests spanning retail, banking, property, and mall developments across the country, making it the largest employer with over 140,000 employees.

For every SM mall development by SM Prime Holdings, the integrated property developer of the Group, the local economy is invigorated because of the opportunities created by supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that comprise about 68% of its mall tenants. For instance, SM City Bataan, SM Supermalls’ 83rd mall, employs about 96% of its mall administration staff who are residents called Bataeños, including two in leadership roles. It also proudly showcases local industries by partnering with homegrown businesses like family-owned brands and locally managed franchises.

Job security, stable income, and tax revenues contribute to the local workforce’s quality of life; and SM Prime ensures to manifest these waves of progress in its developments, especially in its future plans for smart cities in the Philippines to be spearheaded by its ongoing 360-hectare development in Pasay City.

New urban developments are catalysts for growth, innovation, and avenues for increased prosperity, shaping local economies through job creation and improved lives. The success of these city centers requires a network of opportunities – from its pre-construction supply chain to empowering businesses for individuals to thrive and contribute to the communities.

SM Prime invests in future sustainability leaders with scholarship program

Future sustainability leaders. Strengthening its commitment to both educational access and sustainability stewardship, SM Prime welcomes ten scholars from UPLB, who are taking up degrees in either Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology or Bachelor of Science in Forestry.

Inspired by the late Henry Sy Sr.’s belief in the power of education and driven by their commitment to sustainability, leading integrated property developer SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime) has launched a scholarship program in partnership with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

Aptly called the “SM Sustainability Scholarship,” the initiative reflects SM Prime’s commitment to both educational access and sustainability stewardship.

Video courtesy of SM Prime

The program will fully support ten deserving students through their undergraduate studies at UPLB, providing them with the opportunity to pursue degrees in either Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology or Bachelor of Science in Forestry. These fields align with SM Prime’s focus on building resilient communities and fostering a sustainable future.

The scholarship recipients, meticulously chosen for their academic excellence and dedication to sustainability, were formally recognized during a meet-and-greet gathering at UPLB, marking the start of their journey as SM Sustainability Scholars.

SM Sustainability Scholarship. In the photo are the SM sustainability scholars with the University of the Philippines Los Baños’ Office of Scholarships and Grants Director Assoc. Prof. Ariel L. Babierra, Ph.D., College of Forestry and Natural Resources’s Prof. Marilyn Combalicer, College of Human Ecology Dean Dr. Jennifer Amparo, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr, Janette Malata-Silva, Scholarship Affairs Officer Ivy Salarde and SM Prime AVP Rida Reyes-Castillo with the rest of the SM team.

Each scholar will receive a full scholarship covering tuition fees, a monthly living allowance, and a book allowance, ensuring they can focus on their studies without financial worries.
During the gathering, College of Human Ecology (CHE) Dean Dr. Jennifer Amparo expressed that the pursuit of sustainability is most effectively undertaken collaboratively.

“CHE is one of the colleges that puts a premium on interdisciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity because we believe that in sustainability, you don’t work in silos. We need to work together and build each other’s skills, know-how, and also our programs together to ensure sustainability,” she said.

“I would also like to thank SM Prime for putting emphasis on this scholarship. SM Prime did not just provide the finances or scholarship. They invested the time to really meet our scholars and provided other support mechanisms to ensure that our scholars thrive in their academic lives. This is also a manifestation of SM’s commitment to sustainability by really developing our future sustainability leaders,” she added.

College of Forestry and Natural Resources’ Prof. Marilyn Combalicer also extended the college’s support to the scholars on behalf of the college’s dean, Dr. Marlo Mendoza: “We hope to continue nurturing such meaningful collaboration and initiatives that enhance our educational experience and initiatives for our students. Rest assured that we will continue providing support to our students in ensuring their growth and success in both academia and beyond.”

SM Prime’s AVP Rida Reyes-Castillo meets the SM sustainability scholars.

Meanwhile, SM Prime AVP and Head of Marketing, PR and Corporate Communications, Rida Reyes-Castillo, echoed that the fundamental values of the company are intricately interwoven with both education and sustainability.

“SM Group’s founder, Mr. Henry “Tatang” Sy, Sr. believed that education is a great equalizer, and he envisioned that sending one child to college would create ripples of social good not just for families but for an entire community,” she said. “The improvement of the well-being of the youth and the partner communities is something that we at SM invest in.”

For decades, the SM group has embraced the responsibility to contribute to nation building through social good programs that are geared towards quality education, sustainable agriculture, healthcare, and disaster response. By helping improve the quality of life of the people in these host communities, social development and investment go hand in hand with business growth to achieve a better future for all.

This is a paid partnership with SM Prime Holdings.

See photo caption guide below. Download the high-resolution photos here: https://bit.ly/4bLkYvv

See AVP event highlights here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1h4uWMsYylmpLrW9og-PqkdO0Oxy8Hbyu?usp=drive_link

A moment that changed lives SM scholars recall the beginning of their SM scholar journey

Some moments fade with time, certain experiences leave an indelible mark, shaping not just our paths but our very identities. For Atty. Marmie Deniega and Amanda Hora, the SM scholarship application wasn’t just a gateway to education; it was the moment that shaped the life they live today.

The first to obtain a degree in the family

A family legacy, SM scholar Amanda Hora becomes the first in her family to earn a degree.

Amanda’s unforgettable story as an SM scholar began when she stumbled upon a Facebook post about the SM scholarship application.

“It has always been my dream to pursue a quality education without the burden of tuition expenses. I enrolled in a university in Senior High School because of a scholarship, and I know that the only way to continue my college years at the same university is to obtain another full scholarship. That is why I never hesitated to apply for the SM scholarship, hoping to be accepted,” she said.

In the quiet hours of the night several years back, an email from the SM Foundation lit up her phone’s screen, informing her that she had been selected for their scholarship program.

The acceptance was a mark that she was a few steps away from fulfilling another goal: “I pursued college because I wanted to become the first in our family to get a college degree.”

“My parents did not finish their studies due to financial difficulties, but they’ve always been supportive of my dreams and aspirations. Also, I believe in the importance of quality education. It is something that nobody can take away,” she added.

Amanda snaps a photo with her family as she graduated cum laude with a degree in BS accountancy in 2023.

The scholarship opened doors throughout her college years. Beyond the academic realm, she had the opportunities to join competitions, intern at prestigious firms, and build a network that extended far beyond the classroom.

She shared: “As a scholar, the foundation’s programs and webinars allowed me to hear inspiring stories from other scholars, mentoring and motivating us to pursue our goals. When COVID-19 affected the country and whenever there were calamities, the SM Foundation looked after us. They provided us with tools that are essential for remote learning. It made me feel that I am part of a bigger family and that I am not alone in this journey.”

These experiences paved academic and personal growth. As she graduated cum laude with a degree in BS accountancy in 2023, she aims to contribute to the community by creating a ripple effect of kindness.

“I would use my knowledge to find ways to provide livelihood programs, especially in areas or communities where it is much needed. I would also advocate for financial literacy to help people effectively manage their finances and build resilience, especially during unpredictable life events. I would also use my story to inspire the youth, especially the current and future scholars, and remind them to never give up on their dreams,” she shared.

Scholar makes an impact on the community

Atty. Marmie Deniega (fifth from left) with her colleagues from IBP-Cebu Chapter.

Much like Amanda is CPA-lawyer Marmie Dyan Deniega.

Raised by a single mother amid financial struggles, the pursuit of a college degree seemed like an unattainable dream until she chanced upon a TV commercial that introduced her to the SM College Scholarship.

Recalling vividly the moment, she shares: “My mother and I were watching the television. The commercial for SM Foundation came in, and the application deadline was flashed through the screen. Coincidentally, it was on that day itself, so I rushed and submitted my application at the nearest SM Mall.”

The scholarship became the cornerstone of Marmie’s academic success. She graduated with cum laude honors in Accountancy from the University of San Jose-Recoletos, crediting the scholarship for providing not only financial support but also the freedom to focus on her studies.

The scholarship not only shaped her academic journey but also fueled a sense of responsibility, which proved valuable when she pursued a law degree with the help of her aunt and part-time jobs.

Now successful in her field, Atty. Marmie travels and enjoys various leisure activities. Beyond this, she is thankful to have the capability to support her family.

Now, she proudly serves as an Attorney III at the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) of Mandaue City, actively contributing to her community’s development. She is one of the people who played a pivotal role in streamlining business permit processing in their city, making it more accessible to constituents.

As a firm believer in spreading social good, she finances the education of her siblings while actively engaging in community-based projects. She also stands as a resource speaker in schools for several crucial topics, such as the Anti-Bullying Law.

Apart from legal aid work in far-flung areas in Cebu, through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter, she also volunteers with Law Inc., an organization helping victims of Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC). She conducts seminars across various locations in Cebu, shedding light on the intricacies of VAWC.

In the confines of her office, clients naturally turn to her for legal advice, seeking guidance on various matters: “It cannot be helped that clients will also seek legal advice from me, hence I also make it a point to help them, to the best of my ability, and within the boundaries set by law.”

Amanda and Marmie’s stories are not just individual triumphs but testaments to the impact of education. Each year, countless dreamers like them are empowered to pursue their academic aspirations and chart their paths to success through the SM College Scholarship Program.

As the application for the SM College Scholarship Program opens from Feb. 1 to March 31, 2024, countless more lives stand to be touched.

DOWNLOAD THE PHOTOS HERE: https://bit.ly/495FFAv

Personal Collection Recognized in Prosple’s Top 100 Employers for Fresh Graduates

Personal Collection (PC), a leading Filipino-owned direct selling company, was recently recognized as one of the 2024 Top 100 Employers for Fresh Graduates in the Philippines by Prosple, a careers and education technology company, solidifying the company’s steadfast commitment to nurturing an inclusive and empowering workplace for every Filipino worker.
PC acknowledges that the modern workforce, comprising Gen Z and Millennials, has evolving needs. JobStreet by SEEK’s latest report reveals that Filipino employees prioritize work-life balance, positive workplace culture, and comprehensive benefits when selecting employers. Understanding this need, PC is actively taking strides to better align its work environment with these ideals. The company is committed to fostering inclusivity and embracing technological solutions that contribute to its ongoing efforts to enhance overall employee experience.
“This recognition underscores our dedication to empowering young Filipinos to kickstart their careers and bring the Great Life to their families. We are committed to creating a positive workplace that supports each team member in reaching their goals and building a successful career with us.” Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer Ruby Jaucian shared.
Personal Collection is the only direct-selling company included in the top list of Prosple, alongside other multinational companies. The award was based on employer popularity among fresh graduates and the quality of their career opportunities.

PC employees wave the pride flag in support to the company’s move to extend
their HMO benefit to same-sex and common law partners of employees

In line with continuously building a workplace that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, Personal Collection recently extended its health benefits for same-sex and/or common-law partners of PC employees. Employees can now enroll their partners as primary dependents in their Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)—regardless of sex and civil status. PC’s support for LGBTQIA+ employees started way back in 2021, when same-sex and/or common-law partners were permitted to be dependents in the company’s Group Life Insurance.

(from left to right) PC’s Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer Ruby Jaucian, PC’s President and CEO
Jerome Tuguin, PeopleStrong’s Associate Vice President for Customer Success Priyanka Yadav,
and PeopleStrong’s President for Customer Success Prakash Rao

In addition, Personal Collection also aims to further enhance its operational efficiency and foster people development. Recognizing the pivotal role that technology plays in improving employee experience, PC forged a strategic alliance with PeopleStrong, a progressive HR technology solutions provider.
Through this partnership, Personal Collection launched the Great Life Employee Experience (GLEE), a digital platform that strives to streamline the company’s people processes and enhance employee experience, from talent acquisition and onboarding to performance management, succession planning, learning and development, employee movements and talent analytics. An AI chatbot will also be available to answer employee queries immediately and later give more value-adding information to employees. By leveraging People Strong’s innovative HR platforms, Personal Collection aspires to create a more dynamic, efficient, and engaging workplace environment.
Ruby Jaucian stressed, “These benefit enhancements and technological advancements represent just a portion of our commitment to delivering greater value to the modern Filipino workforce. We commit to continuously champion equality, excellence, people development, and innovation.”
To learn more about Personal Collection Direct Selling Inc., visit their:
LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/personalcollection-direct-selling-inc/ Website: https://www.personalcollection.com.ph

About Personal Collection
Personal Collection Direct Selling, Inc. is one of the leading direct selling companies in the Philippines with over 650 branches nationwide. With hundreds of quality products in nine different categories, it has given life-changing opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Filipino dealers, empowering them to reach the Great Life for their families.