Friday, March 27, 2009

PBSP holds 2nd Olango Challenge

Sun*Star Cebu
Thursday, March 26, 2009

TO help raise funds for the construction of a classroom in Olango and raise awareness of Cebu’s unique marine life, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) will hold the 2nd Olango Challenge Open-Water Marathon Swimming on April 18.

The event, which is expected to attract 80 swimmers from all over the country, also aims to help build a classroom in Candagsao Elementary School.

“This will help raise money for the children of Olango,” said PBSP-Visayas Regional Committee chairman Antonio Aboitiz, who joined Lex Reyes of Pasa and Lapu-Lapu City representative Rudy Villanobos during a press conference at the Casino EspaƱol yesterday.

The competition also aims to introduce open water marathon swimming, which is now an Olympic event, as a sport where Filipinos should stand out.

“This is also a way to discover long distance swimmers,” said Aboitiz.

Last year, the event crossed the Hilutungan channel but this year, the organizers have decided to make it spectator-friendly.

The 6.4-kilometer route will start from the Pacific Cebu Resort, passing through some of Mactan’s best beaches before ending at the Tambuli Beach Resort.

Marshals and safety personnel will be closely guarding the swimmers on shore and in the water. Swimmers will also be pulled out of the water if they stay for more than three hours.

“Safety is our highest concern. We don’t want a good thing to turn bad,” said Aboitiz.

Registration for this annual swimming contest, which has a cut-off age of 14 years old, will be P500 for the competitive swimmers and P2,000 for the fun swimmers.

The registration will be until March 27 though swimmers can register on the day itself but they will have to pay a higher fee.

The winner of the marathon swimming event will take home P15,000, while the second and third placers will earn P10,000 and P5,000, respectively.

Aboitiz, who also swam in last year’s event, promised a different kind of competition next year and in the other future installments of the open-water marathon.

“Next year there will be something different again,” said Aboitiz.

Those who want to know more about the swimming event may visit the site’s blog at www.olangochallenge.wordpress.com. (EKA)

From left: Mr. Rudy Villanobos of the City Government of Lapu-Lapu; Mr. Jose Antonio Aboitiz of PBSP; Mr. Alexander Reyes of PASA.

2nd Olango Challenge set April 18

By Jonas Panerio
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 12:59:00 03/26/2009

IN their effort to improve the living conditions on the island of Olango on the eastern side of Cebu, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in cooperation with the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) will host the 2nd Olango Challenge on April 18.

The 6.4-kilometer open water swimfest will start at the Pacific Cebu Resort and end at the beachfront of the Tambuli Beach Resort. The fund-raising event is expected to attract more than 80 of the country's long distance swimmers along with some amateurs as well. At stake is P15,000 each for the winner in the men's and women's open. The runners-up will receive P10,000 and P5,000 each.

The event was launched yesterday at the Casino Espanol, which was attended by Antonio Aboitiz of the PBSP, Lex Reyes of PASA and Rudy Villanobos of the Lapu-Lapu City government. According to Aboitiz, the event aims to raise funds for the construction of additional classrooms in the Candagsao Elementary School on Olango Island.

The event also hopes to highlight the importance of having a clean marine environment, raise awareness on the magnitude of preventable drowning incidents and open-water swimming marathon as a sport.

This year's event follows in the footsteps of the successful 1st Olango Challenge held in May of last year where 72 swimmers from the competitive, fin and fun categories swam the 5 km race course which spanned the Gilutungan Channel from Olango Island to the shores of the Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort and Spa.

The top two male and female winners last year represented the country in the marathon swimming event of the 1st Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia last year.

The minimum eligible age is set at 14 years old. Registration fee is pegged at P500 for current members of PASA, TRAP, PFF and Phil SPADA. Registration is open until March 27, at the 4th floor of the PLDT Building in Mabolo.

Swimming: PASA suppports Olango Challenge

Positive News Media

MANILA, March 23 (PNA) -- In partnership with the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA), Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) will host the 2nd Olango Challenge on April 18.

More than 80 seasoned, competitive as well as amateur swimmers from all over the country are expected to join the Philippine’s only open water marathon swimming event.

This year’s Olango Challenge is designed as a 6-kilometer coastwise swim rather than a channel crossing, and will begin at the pier of Pacific Cebu Resort and will end at the beachfront of Tambuli Beach Club.

The OLANGO CHALLENGE is an annual fund raising event for the benefit of the children of Olango.

The event highlights the importance of having a clean marine environment, raises awareness on the magnitude of preventable drowning incidence in the Philippines and promotes open-water marathon swimming as a sport in which Filipino swimmers should excel.

Last year, the 1st Olango Challenge fielded more than 70 swimmers who swam 5 kilometers across the Gilutungan Channel from Olango to Mactan.

Proceeds will be used to fund the construction of a classroom –an addition to the classroom funded by last year’s 1st Olango Challenge -at Candagsao Elementary School on Olango Island.

The minimum eligible age is 14 years old. Cash prizes are 15K, 10K and 5K for first, second and third placers, respectively. The registration fee is PhP 500 for current PASA, TRAP, PFF and PhilSPADA members.

Registration for competitive swimmers is open until March 27, 2009. Entry forms area available at PBSP located at the 4th Floor PLDT Building, Juan Luna Ave., Mabolo, Cebu City, or at PASA, Rm. 201, Bldg. B, Philsports Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.

Forms may also be downloaded at http://olangochallenge.wordpress.com.

You may also call Riva at (032) 232-5270 or email at olangochallenge@gmail.com.

Some aspects of the swim have been changed from the 1st Olango challenge and here is a summary of relevant information:
Don't take the challenge on unless you are comfortable in the water and consider yourself physically fit.
The swim is a line of 6 kilometers, following the reef contour of the area.
The swim will take place from the pier of Pacific Cebu resort and will end at the beachfront of tambuli beach resort. The first swimmers will enter the water at 1:00 pm. swimmers will swim with a favorable current at their backs.
It will be at a depth where the swimmer will be able to see the seabed and the diverse marine life found therein.

The registration fee for a fun swimmer is P2,000. Fun swimmers are allowed to use fins and masks/snorkels. Complete the swim and you get a t-shirt.
Many interested people are pledging per kilometer payments in support of their friends who are swimming. Some have turned this into a wager, essentially "I will double my pledge if you make it" or that kind of arrangement. Marshalls and safety personnel will be on hand on land and in the water closely monitoring all swimmers. Kayakers and paddle bancas will stay close to the swimmers.
The cut off age is 14 years old.
Anyone who has been in the water for longer than 3 hours will be extracted.
All proceeds generated will go to PBSP's Olango Island Development Program.
A medical certificate is required, this may be obtained from a company doctor.
Further information and instructions can be found at the event blogspot
Payment can be made by cash or check. Make checks payable to "PBSP". (PNA)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cebu’s first green fair

Cebu’s first green fair
March 24, 2009 13:35:00 Cebu Daily News

In a step to solidify its corporate social responsibility, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa is spearheading the “Go Green Cebu Fair” from March 27 to 29 at the resort’s The Marquee.

The first green fair in Cebu is the most comprehensive conference and exhibit on the subject of going green.

Corporate executives, government agencies, suppliers, non-government organizations and other advocates will discuss and learn the impact of businesses and individuals on the environment.

A panel of speakers will share their expertise and best practices on environment protection and conservation.

Environment Undersecretary Lucille Sering will open the seminar series with a talk on the department’s various green initiatives.

Other topics to be tackled on the first day include “Developing Green Building Rating System for the Philippines” by Architect Chris dela Cruz; “Green Initiative: the Key for Sustainability and Taking Care of the Environment” by Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival; “Green Practices on Permaculture and its Contribution to Households” by Joel Lee and “Children’s Environmental Awareness” by Maricris Sarino.
A coastal clean-up dive will open the second day. The afternoon sessions will be devoted to topics such as: “Hybrid Cars” by Bobit Mamawal; “Bantay Kalikasan” by Winnie Dimalig; “Community Engagement in Sustainability of Cebu’s Water resources” by Architect Socorro Atega, “Solutions for Sustainable Future to Rheinland Philippines” by Eric Santos and “Philippine Business for Social Progress and Aboitiz Foundation Environmental Thrusts” by Antonio Aboitiz.

An exhibit showcasing green products and other initiatives will also be held at the venue. Exhibitors include Philippine Business for Social Progress, UV Rheinland Philippines, ASWPC Weddings, Cebu Holdings Inc., Powerbooks, Bright Academy, Artizans, Arkane International Corp., Naturescast, APY Cane Incorporated, Island Souvenirs, Cebu GlobeNet and Avatar Accessories.

For inquiries and ticket reservations, please call the Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa at 2318267 or email gwen.hufano@shangri-la.com.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Go Green Cebu Fair

Become responsible stewards of the environment by joining the first ever Go Green Fair in Cebu. Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa promotes awareness on Green initiatives through a series of seminars and exhibition on March 27-29, 2009.

For more information, please call Gwen Hufano at 231.8267 or email gwen.hufano@shangri-la.com.

Tickets to the Go Green Cebu Fair are available at the PBSP Visayas Regional Office. Please call (032) 232-5270 or 232-5283 and look for Ella or Jessie. Email jmcubijano@pbsp.org.ph for the Go Green Cebu Fair packages.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The 2nd Olango Challenge

Dear Friends,

It is with great pride that Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), along with the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA) present the 2nd OLANGO CHALLENGE, a fund and awareness raising swim for the benefit of the people of Olango Island. This is the second open-water marathon swim in the Philippines, and for this year, the course will take a northward bearing of approximately six kilometers and running parallel to the Mactan Island shoreline facing the Gilutongan Channel.

Last year’s 5-kilometer swim across the Gilotungan channel successfully contributed to the Olango Island Development Program (OIDP) where proceeds from the funds raised allowed for the construction of a classroom for Canadagsao Elementary School, Barangay Talima, on Olango Island. The goal of the OIDP is to improve the lives of some 2,300 families on Olango Island in the delivery of basic social services, the availability of sustainable income opportunities and the rehabilitation of the unique environment of the island. The OIDP has gained fround towards its goals but continues to require financial support to sustain the program’s operations. As such, the OLANGO CHALLENGE will allow for further construction of classrooms, fund livelihood projects and establish more marine sanctuaries on Olango.

PBSP and PASA will be pleased to receive interested swimmers, competitive and enthusiast alike, to the 2nd OLANGO CHALLENGE, which will once again be proudly held in the Province of Cebu. On April 18, 2009 - a hundred swimmers will swim again, supporting the people of Olango. This is not just a race in the spirit of competitive sport, but more importantly assists the OIDP to achieve its goals for the people of Olango Island, whose lives are shaped by the sea that surrounds them. The 2nd OLANGO CHALLENGE will provide a venue for boosting efforts being undertaken to help fulfill the core mission of PBSP – that of uplifting Filipinos from poverty.

We invite your participation to become part of this unique event. Come and swim with us!

Jose Antonio Aboitiz
Chairman, PBSP in the Visayas

Mark P. Joseph
President, PASA
Deputy Secretary General, Philippine Olympic Committee

Visit the 2nd Olango Challenge blog site:


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Taking on the Mactan challenge

First posted 23:18:24 (Mla time) February 21, 2009
Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MACTAN, Cebu, Philippines—When the Creator populated the seas with rich marine life, he decided to give the Gilutungan channel facing this tourist enclave more than its fair share.

Magnificent sharks, numerous species of corals, gliding manta rays, bright aquarium fish and graceful dolphins are just some of the citizens of this vital waterway that separates Mactan from the island of Olango.

With such a rich tapestry of colors and vibrant life under the sea, it is no wonder that this small coastal barangay about 30 minutes away from Cebu City has become a major tourist capital.

No less than international chains such as Hilton and Shangri-la decided to invest in large resort hotels here to cater to the steady train of local and foreign visitors.

These international and local firms realize, however, that the money-toting visitors will stop coming if they do not take care of the fragile marine ecosystem that supports the billion-peso tourism industry here.

Lose them and they lose their revenue.

This realization spurred the revival of Oceancare, a marine environment advocacy group composed of different groups with a stake in the health of Mactan.

It is dedicated to protect and rehabilitate the marine environment of Mactan island and the connected ecosystems.

A similar group was actually set up in 2003 but it fell by the wayside because of factors such as lack of commitment and focus.

The present crop of members has thus committed itself to not repeating the mistakes of the past.

Oceancare president Jose Antonio Aboitiz tells the Inquirer that the group was reconvened in July last year through the efforts of the Philippine Business for Social Progress because of the urgent need to take major steps to keep environmental degradation at bay while ensuring continued livelihood for the over 23,000 families who live in the area.

“We are organizing the different stakeholders and educating them so that they will realize that they are sitting on a marine ecosystem that is so valuable,” says Aboitiz, who also chairs the Visayas committee of PBSP. “We have a vested interest in together improving the environment.”

Aboitiz says Mactan can boast of being one of the best dive sites in the country and among the most accessible especially to foreigners, considering that it is just around 20 minutes from the Mactan International Airport.

“It really is quite unique,” says Aboitiz, an avid diver himself.

Since PBSP spearheaded the revival of Oceancare last year, the membership has been growing steadily. It now counts the major hotels and resorts among its members, as well as the souvenir shops, restaurants, real estate developers, dive shops and scuba diving schools.

Raymond Bragg, general manager of the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, says Shangri-La is an active partner in Oceancare because its programs tie in nicely with Shangri-La’s own ongoing efforts to not just take care of its immediate environment, but also to touch the lives of the community in which Shangri-La operates.

For Bragg, who also sits as vice president of Oceancare, the motivation is simple: If we do not take care of the environment, we will not have a beautiful resort.

With more hotels and resorts coming together, it is hoped that there will be equitable rules and guidelines for the management of the marine environment.

This means that there will be even more strict enforcement of prohibitions on throwing trash into the sea and the excessive extraction of marine resources like fish and shells.

It is also the group’s goal to bring about more order in the holding of water sports or recreation activities just so that swimmers or divers on one part of the marine system will not be over by the jet ski, for instance, from another resort.

Aboitiz says that there are also serious efforts to establish a recompression facility on Mactan Island to treat decompression sickness. This will help bring in more divers to the island since they know that there are appropriate medical facilities on hand in case they get sick.

“We also want to see more marine protected areas on both sides of the channel to further improve the marine life,” he says.

Oceancare certainly has its work cut out for it, especially since it takes years for any efforts to bear fruit. But Aboitiz is confident that the seeds of closer cooperation have been planted for the benefit of Mactan Island.

“This is a kind of work that goes beyond boundaries and political groups,” Aboitiz says. “We are all just working together to bring the marine environment of Mactan to its full potential.”

PBSP calls on businesses for help

Sun*Star Cebu
Thursday, February 19, 2009

EVEN though the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) implements programs that assist various communities, an official of the group said there is still “more to be done” to help underprivileged Filipinos.

Jose Antonio Aboitiz, chairman of the PBSP Visayas executive committee, said the goup cannot do everything.

“That is why we need everybody’s help,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

As part of its priority for this year, Aboitiz said PBSP will focus on increasing its membership to be able to expand to more areas and raise more funds.

During the 21st Visayas Annual Membership Meeting last Wednesday, Aboitiz reported that PBSP was able to reach 200,000 Filipinos nationwide under its poverty reduction program. Last year, the Visayas group was able to help 27,000 families.

PBSP has programs related to education, health services, access to clean water, job creation and environmental conservation.

Aboitiz said that at the end of 2008, the PBSP was able to raise about P75.8 million from members’ contributions and P247.6 million from donor agencies.

Last year, PBSP installed potable water sources, provided support for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs for job creation, widened access to family healthcare and upgraded the services of local healthworkers.

In his report, Aboitiz described the PBSP as a “unifying force” in the country’s business community as it implements workable solutions to address poverty, ignorance and environmental concerns.

Aboitiz told member-companies that venturing into social development should remain the priority of businesses.

He said PBSP’s efforts can be measured in the number of people who have benefited from its projects. (DME)

NGOs to get training on teaching kids formation school lessons

Sun*Star Cebu
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A FORMATION school curriculum, which used to be accessible only to the upper end market, is going to be adopted by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) as part of its education programs for “economically disadvantaged” families.

The Pearl Principle Formation Program, which was first started by the Centre for International Education (CIE) two years ago, will be implemented by PBSP’s partner cooperatives and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and targets children from four to eight years old.

Last week, PBSP’s Visayas Executive Committee Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz signed a memorandum of agreement with CIE, represented by its president Nelia Sarcol.

Aboitiz said the Pearl program will help develop children to become passionate, ethical, action-oriented and results-focused leaders of society.

Aside from value formation, the program will also aim to develop a sense of appreciation for life.

In an interview last week, Virgilio Paralisan, CIE’s assistant vice president for administration, explained the Pearl program is a special and high standard curriculum and uses unconventional methods of teaching.

Paralisan added the Pearl program implements a “same intelligence” approach when teaching the children.

“There is no social-economic structure, so everybody is treated equally and education should be an equalizer,” he said.

But Paralisan clarified that the Pearl program, when implemented by a partner cooperative or NGO, will not be for free.

Social enterprise

Instead, it will be a social enterprise similar to public schools where minimal fees will be collected.

He said parents who invest on their children’s education are the ones more likely to want their children to finish school.

Under the PBSP program, the Tabok Workers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TWMPC) has been pre-qualified to implement the program for the dependents of its members.

CIE will be helping TWMPC come up with a business plan and identified teachers of the cooperative will be trained during this year’s teachers’ summer camp. (DME)

Give more, PBSP Chair Manny Pangilinan challenges companies

Positive News Media
Feb 16, 2009 - 1:44:04 PM

MANILA, Feb. 17 (PNA) -– Difficult times call for bold measures, including giving even more money and resources to social development projects that are designed to help free the majority of Filipinos from the grip of poverty.

According to Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of the Philippine Business for Social Progress, the country’s largest corporate-led social development foundation, the global economy is in the middle of a serious crisis and consequently, corporate profitability is adversely threatened.

But this should not prevent the private sector from doing its share in reducing the incidence of poverty in the Philippines. On the contrary, companies should find ways to even increase their funding support for social development.

“It is precisely at this time when that support is most needed, when people are out in the streets without a job, when reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development must not be set aside in the midst of a downturn,” said Pangilinan in a speech during the recent Annual Membership Meeting and 38th Foundation Day Celebration of the PBSP.

“With a difficult period ahead of us, we should be compelled to do more and to give more, both for altruism and our own survival. There will be new needs and urgent calls that we must respond to, some of them outside our corporate paradigm and comfort zone,” Pangilinan said, “We will need to marshal more resources and work more strategically and synergistically to help those who are most needy.”

“The times offer us the opportunity to commit more support for programs that will mitigate the plight of many, if not the majority, of our countrymen. As we see it, our current programs are the appropriate response in this critical situation, and must be vigorously pursued,” added Pangilinan, who also chairs the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.

PBSP has certainly done its share.

Pangilinan reported that last year, PBSP member companies contributed P75.84 million for social development projects – the largest contribution so far realized in the foundation’s 38-year history and it was able to generate P247.6 million from donor agencies and partners during the year.

Over P300 million went to fund various projects nationwide, reaching 200,000 poor Filipinos through its education, enterprise development, health and water, and area resource management projects.

PBSP’s membership increased to 238 and it reached out to over 300 companies to help them implement their own corporate citizenship programs.

“We can thereby say with confidence that we have played our part in the war on poverty and its many dimensions, thus helping our country meet its Millennium Development Goals,” Pangilinan said.

PBSP remains steadfast in its commitment to pursue its projects even as the adverse effects of the financial crisis are already starting to be felt.

Among the projects PBSP has lined up for this year are:

1. Expansion of area resource management program to 250 communities to reach 250,000 Filipinos.

2. Make schooling accessible to more children, improve facilities and train teachers, particularly in Mindanao.

3. Connect 1,000 schools to the Internet by the end of 2010.

4. Create 24,000 jobs this year by reaching out to more micro, small and medium-scale enterprises.

5. Help prevent tuberculosis and provide access to potable water.

To pursue these projects, PBSP plans to increase assistance through grants and financial advances by 35 percent from P301 million to P417 million; allot P200 million in development loans to micro, small and medium scale enterprises, up from P41 million in 2008; increase revenues by 28 percent to P468 million from P365 million and increase expenses by 36 percent, which will go to grants, donations and project-related expenses.

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is the largest corporate-led, non-profit social development foundation in the Philippines. PBSP is at the forefront in the fight against poverty through trailblazing programs developed and implemented with the strategic commitment of more than 230 PBSP member-companies, and corporate citizenship partners.
PBSP operates nationwide, with programs in Education, Enterprise Development, Health and Water, and Area Resource Management. Working with partners and communities, PBSP’s programs assist the poor towards self-reliance and improved quality of life.(PNA)