Saving Lives One Nation at a Time

Aster DM Healthcare is one of the fastest growing private sector healthcare providers in the Middle East and India. Founded in 1987, the Dubai-headquartered healthcare conglomerate now operates a network of more than 290 establishments covering an array of healthcare verticals – from hospitals, medical centers, pharmacies, diagnostics and specialty centers, healthcare consultancy service, academics & research to a medical college and an advanced medical city.

Looking at the success of the company will lead you to think that this health care business is managed just like any other organization, with profit and returns in mind. Unknown to many, Aster DM Healthcare was actually built because of one man’s desire to help.

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Dr. Azad Moopen with the children of Save the Little Hearts program

What started as a medical mission turned out to be a life-long mission for Dr. Azad Moopen, one of the leading business icons in Dubai, UAE, and a healthcare trailblazer in the Middle East and India. He is the chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, which now has its footprints across boundaries, having operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, and several locations across India.

Business and compassion are often seen at two opposite worlds. But the doctor-turned-entrepreneur has dared to combine business and compassion to create a better world for the afflicted in the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia. An entrepreneurial philanthropist, Dr. Moopen’s drive to help more people leads to the continued expansion of his health care network.

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Dr. Azad Moopen visits children with congenital heart disease

During his medical mission in Dubai, he saw the need for better qualified doctors and better healthcare structure. In an interview, he recalled that “people had to wait for long hours to see a doctor and the situation was even more pathetic for those in the lower socio-economic group.” Providing his services for free, Dr. Azad will treat as many patients as he can in one day. Seeing how the people flocked to get treatment, he realized he could not do it alone. He then set-up a medical clinic and brought his doctor friends from India. He saw that the numbers of patients grew steadily that’s why he continued to expand so he can carry on helping more people.

In five years, there were six doctors assisting him in looking after the patients, and added five more clinics in 1997 this time with adjoining pharmacies. In his aim to provide proper healthcare to more people, especially to the needy, the number of clinics grew progressively until it reached its phenomenal growth that we see today.

His business and Foundation clearly shows that everything that Dr. Moopen touches is built around one sole purpose: The welfare of the people. This is the heart of everything that Dr. Moopen’s Foundation and Aster DM Healthcare do. It exists to treat people well whoever and wherever they may be.

Dr. Moopen is a living example that wealth and care do work together.  He is able to find that balance between his profession and commitment on giving back to the society. His deep concern with humanitarian causes paved the way for him to actively invest in causes that have gone a long way in touching the lives of people.

Dr. Moopen’s entrepreneurial achievements have served as a catalyst to his philanthropic ventures. He has introduced social and philanthropic initiatives that are able to cross boundaries. His Foundation engages in  charitable and humanitarian activities that include establishing community dialysis centers, cancer radiation centers, early cancer detection centers, free pediatric and adult cardiac surgeries, and establishing special needs schools for the physically and mentally challenged. Through these programs, Dr. Moopen is able to reach those in need, whether they are in Dubai and other Middle East countries, India, and parts of Africa and Asia, including the Philippines. 

One can say that Dr. Moopen is saving lives one nation at a time. Through his Foundation’s ‘Healing Touch’ umbrella, Dr. Moopen goes out of Dubai and extends its reach as part of its promise to deliver ‘Care beyond Boundaries.’ The organization launched its program called ‘Save the Little Hearts,’ in African countries, Oman, India, and the Philippines. Through the ‘Save the Little Hearts’ program, Dr. Moopen is able to provide free medical assistance to children with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD).

The Foundation’s Country Representative, Joyce Alumno, shared that, to-date, the Foundation breathed new life to 23 Filipino children with Congenital Heart Disease by providing free surgeries to these children.

“Dr. Moopen has recognized the plight of CHD kids in the Philippines. Unfortunately, many families with CHD children either have no financial means to get surgery or have no access to hospitals capable of treating CHD,” Alumno explained.

“These children, they could have a bright future ahead of them. They could be good members of the society, if only they are able to get life-saving heart surgeries. And the Foundation – Dr. Moopen – would want to make that happen,” she said. 

And because charity begins at home. Dr. Moopen extended support to his employees who were affected by the recent earthquake in Nepal. Dr. Moopen, his Foundation, and the Aster DM Healthcare medical centers, provided assistance to those who were affected.  Lakpa Tamang, one of the many individuals and families helped, thanked the team for the assistance provided. Tamang shared that they were able to rebuild their homes and through Dr. Moopen’s team’s help, all those who needed medical assistance were cared for one by one.

“I am thankful for the team and Dr. Moopen. They were very generous in helping us deal with the challenges during this time. Dr. Moopen’s employees donated their one day’s salary to help us,” Tamang said.

“As a healthcare provider, our business is to save lives. However, we also believe that in the process, we must go beyond and also try to touch their lives. Having our operations in several locations in different countries, we have realized how important it is to reach out to people across geographies and provide our services to those who really need it,” Dr. Moopen said.

‘Save The Little Hearts’ program is a small step to begin the activities they planned towards enhancing the health and wellbeing of the community at large, according to Dr. Moopen. His foundation aims to extend their not-for-profit activities here with a large gamut of services aiming to promote overall wellness in the Philippines.

For more information about Aster DM Healthcare and DM Foundation, visit www.asterdmhealthcare.com and www.drmoopensfoundation.org, respectively.

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Teqube: Responding to Filipinos’ Digital Needs

Teqube, a subsidiary of the Tao Group of Companies, continues to find ways to reach consumers and present offerings to answer their digital requirements. Housing leading handset brands like Lenovo, Nokia, LG, and even offers cellphone accessories, Teqube recently launched the its concept store and the first gadget store in the country that offers devices and accessories based on consumers’ lifestyle.

Located at the 3rd Level, Arcadia Building, Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, this new addition is designed to be fun and welcoming. They can ask Teqube’s friendly gadget consultants to check out live units and devices that they can enjoy.

As part of its opening celebration, Teqube will be raffling off 10 Teqube Bluetooth speakers work P1,200 for 10 consecutive days starting on November 13, 2015. Just visit the store to join. For those who are purchasing a minimum of P7,000, a Lenovo A269i Smartphone is up for grabs for only P20.00. This offer is open to the first 20 customers of Teqube from November 13 to 15, 2015 only.

Teqube holds promo for the opening of its store in Sta. Rosa Laguna

“Our new store in Laguna brings to life our mission of delivering the following to our customers: innovation, quality, and customer experience. Just like in any of our stores, we have our customers’ needs in mind when the store was conceptualized. We want to have a hub for them to fully experience the products and experience the lifestyle fit to their needs,” shares Angela Gutierrez, Business Head for Tao Tech Retail.

Divided into different modules, the concept store captures the lifestyle of today’s consumers. The Power Play fits those who are looking for products that provide performance that they can rely on wherever they go. Huawei Y3c, Lenovo A328, Samsung J1, LG Leon, Microsoft Lumia 535 are featured in this section. For those who are looking for the perfect companion for the music loving Filipinos, they may check out the Sound Vibe module. This is where they can find Lenovo A319, Lenovo A7000, OPPO Mirror 5, Sony C4, and LG Magna.

And, because we are the selfie capital, there should be a dedicated module for those who would want to vividly capture their favorite moments. They have Lenovo Vibe Shot, Lenovo S90, Lenovo Vibe X2, Nokia Lumia 930, and LG G4 to choose from. For those who are into games, Lenovo Phab Plus, Lenovo A5000, Lenovo P70, LG G4, and Oppo R7 Lite are featured in the Game On module. This is the venue for the top-of-the-line gadgets to get consumers’ senses in high gear.

The new store has a free Wi-Fi and also offers a gadget on demand service, which means, if it’s not in their store, Teqube will purchase it for you.  For those who are spending P15,000, they can check the units at the unboxing area so they can have a better appreciation before they purchase.

As part of its opening celebration, Teqube will be raffling off 10 Teqube Bluetooth speakers work P1,200 for 10 consecutive days starting on November 13, 2015. Just visit the store to join. For those who are purchasing a minimum of P7,000, a Lenovo A269i Smartphone is up for grabs for only P20.00. Hurry because this offer is open to the first 20 customers of Teqube from November 13 to 15, 2015 only.

Prestigio arrives in the Philippines

Another mobile brand enters the smartphone market in the Philippines.  This time it’s the European brand Prestigio, a brand known for providing high-quality products with cutting-edge technology at prices within reach .  The one only European mobile brand that’s now in the market, Prestigio entices the Filipino mobile consumers to #ExperienceRefinement with the introduction of its first lineup of smartphones.

“Prestigio is taking the first step to enter this fast-growing and competitive smartphone market. The Philippines is our very first official distributor in Asia, demonstrating our confidence that we will be able to extend our global reach into the Filipino mobile market. After seeing Prestigio gain strong traction in several markets as a credible alternative to established brands at extremely competitive prices, we now look forward to replicating this success in the Philippines,” said Mr. Sergey Bezruchenok, Product Development Manager of Prestigio Global.

The international brand has massively gained popularity in Europe, the Middle East, as well as several regions of Africa – currently represented in 32 offices and sold in 70 countries. After successfully leaving footprints in the international arena, Prestigio hopes to make an impressive mark in the Philippine smartphone market with the introduction of its Multiphone smartphone line: the 3 Series Multiphone 3450 Duo and 3502 Duo, the 5 Series Multiphone 5454 Duo, 5550 Duo, and 5508 Duo, and its Windows Phone 8.1 Multiphone 8500 Duo.

We at Prestigio are all very excited about our products entering one of the most dynamic, aggressive and competitive smartphone markets in Asia, if not the world,” Jojit Alcazar, Prestigio Managing Director said. “In bringing this new range of smartphones to the Philippines, we hope to let Filipinos experience refinement, and a taste of unparalleled European design, aesthetics, technology and performance. As we usher in the Multiphone series to the local market, we seek to deliver the optimum mix of the highest quality and advanced technological features with competitive pricing.

Alcazar said the Prestigio Multiphone series is perfectly targeted at the growing number of cost-conscious but intelligent smartphone buyers in the Philippines, who want a phone that can keep up with various kinds of lifestyles. “We understand the unique and different needs and behavior of Filipino mobile consumers, which is why Prestigio has come up with a range of options that will fit their lifestyle and budget,” Alcazar added.

Leading the Prestigio Multiphone series is the exciting new phablet, the 5550 Duo. A 5.5-inch display is more than just a trend in modern smartphone development: it’s an absolute advantage that allows users to enjoy the ultimate opportunities of mobile Internet. Watching video streams in HD quality, and playing online games are simple tasks for the powerful processor of the Multiphone 5550 DUO. The quality of image and video playback on a large 5.5’’ high-end IPS display is just amazing, and comes with the advanced Gorilla Glass 3 protection. What’s more, for a big phone, it sports a very slim and sleek body with clean lines and soft-touch finishing to ensure superior look and feel.

Watching video streams in HD quality, and playing online games are simple tasks for the powerful processor of the Multiphone 5550 DUO
Watching video streams in HD quality and playing online games are simple tasks for the powerful processor of the Multiphone 5550 DUO

Extremely powerful, the Multiphone 5508 Duo delivers performance which is miles ahead of the competition with its best-in-class Octa Core processor. Offering outstanding energy efficiency, one can enjoy long hours of business and personal usage with unlimited multitasking, superior imaging, complemented by the latest Android 4.4 KitKat, crystal  clear content delivery on an IPS screen with DragonTrail Glass protection. What’s more, the 5508 Duo is built with a light body, minimalistic design and metal finishing that conveys a premium look. It also comes with a back case – a stylish accessory to complement your gadget.

Performance and power made possible by its best-in-class Octa Core processor
Performance and power made possible by its best-in-class Octa Core processor

The Multiphone 3502 Duo, on the other hand, makes each smartphone experience enjoyable with its advanced smartphone features at a price one can easily reach. Fans of widescreen will be in for a treat, as the 3502 Duo offers a sharp and spacious 5.0” IPS display, quad core processor, enhanced camera, Dual SIM and Android KitKat. It sports a curved body and soft-touch finishing for superior look and feel. With its stylish design, a set of pre-installed applications and a reasonable price, the 3502 Duo makes it a perfect smartphone for today’s on-the-go lifestyle.

Perfect smartphone for today’s on-the-go lifestyle
Perfect smartphone for today’s on-the-go lifestyle

Catering to those in need for speed, the new Multiphone 5454 DUO boasts of a powerful mix of design, engineering and network solution with the latest 4G LTE technology. It brings the most advanced performance that anyone could ever ask of a smartphone, giving you the ability to do more: streaming without interruption, seamlessly play multi-player games, browsing faster than ever before, downloading a full-length HD movie in seconds. Its cutting-edge mobile features perfectly matches the high speed 4G network and Snapdragon processor on board that gives mind-blowing performance.

Most advanced performance that anyone could ever ask of a smartphone
Most advanced performance that anyone could ever ask of a smartphone

Windows phone enthusiasts can revel in the Multiphone 8500 Duo, packed full of features that help you capture and share what matters most as well as work on the go: crystal clear 5.0” IPS display with Gorilla Glass protection, quad core CPU, 8.0 MP advanced camera,  fast internet connection, Dual SIM and the latest Windows phone features built-in. It is a smartphone that was reinvented around you with a smart technology to inspire your world and let you express yourself. Its exquisite body is covered with soft-touch texture.

This is for those Windows phone enthusiasts
This is for those Windows phone enthusiasts

The Multiphone 3450 Duo, meanwhile, boasts of impressive features that offer the best value for money. Advanced yet affordable, the 3450 Duo carries the latest smartphone features: sharp 4.5” IPS display, powerful Quad core processor, 8.0MP camera, Dual SIM, all powered by incredible Android 4.4 KitKat. Its elegant and compact design means it will fit perfectly in your pocket, as well as fitting in with your style.

Impressive features that offer the best value for money
Impressive features that offer the best value for money

All products in the Multiphone series come with dual SIM capabilities, to enable one to keep personal and business calls separate, but conveniently carry only one phone. Prestigio’s offerings are also built with superb camera features, allowing one to capture exceptionally high-quality photos and videos.

The Prestigio MultiPhone line up comes with the following retail prices: 3450 Duo (Php 5,699.00), 3502 Duo (Php 6,199.00), 5454 Duo (Php 8,799.00), 5550 Duo (Php 8,999.00), 8500 Duo (Php 9,699.00) and 5508 Duo (Php 13,899.00).

Prestigio does not stop at providing style and performance – it also offers MultiStore, a marketplace providing an easy access to a great number of free, discounted and downloadable applications that are specially designed and carefully selected to be used on Prestigio devices worldwide. Taking particular consideration on each customer’s needs, Prestigio lets one avail of free service at any service center in any country that has Prestigio presence.

Prestigio is distributed in the Philippines by Veracity Mobile, a consumer electronics and solutions distribution company initially folded into Veracity Synergy Solutions — an established telecommunications services and solutions provider in the Philippines. To know more about Prestigio’s Multiphone smartphone products, visit http://www.prestigio.ph.

Hi-Precision Diagnostics Offers the Gift of Health

It’s that time of the year when we celebrate and give thanks to our parents. This year, give them a priceless treat that they really need – the gift of health.

Hi-Precision Diagnostics, a leading diagnostics center in the country, is offering an opportunity to show love and appreciation to moms and dads by keeping them happy and healthy for a long time, plus a chance to give them a relaxing getaway.

The center, known to have the largest network of diagnostics centers in the country, has introduced the Parents Package, aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of all Filipino mothers and fathers. Offered at an affordable price of only P795 per person, the Parents Package comprises of Complete Blood Count (CBC), SGPT, Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), Uric Acid, Lipid Profile, Creatinine, and Complete Urinalysis.

What’s more, customers who avail the Parents Package from participating branches of Hi-Precision Diagnostics, Hi-Precision Diagnostics Plus, and Hi-Precision Diagnostics International will have a chance to bag a trip out of town that the whole family can enjoy.

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Three lucky customers will win an overnight stay at the Red Ginger Farm in Tagaytay, a top destination for those looking for refuge from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila. Best known as a relaxing sanctuary, it boasts of wide, expansive gardens, a luxurious swimming area, a fishing pond where the whole family can enjoy, a restaurant specializing in local and foreign home-cooked comfort food, and other amenities.

The prize already includes an overnight stay with breakfast, for a maximum of eight family members including the winner.

Customers who avail the Parents Package from now until June 30, 2015 will automatically get a raffle coupon to qualify them for the promo. Completed raffle coupon must be dropped in drop boxes found in participating Hi-Precision Diagnostics branches by June 30, 2015. Raffle draw is on July 8, 2015 at the Hi-Precision Diagnostics Head Office in Quezon City.

Winners will be announced through Hi-Precision Diagnostics’ social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the company website, and will be notified via registered mail. Prizes can be claimed in any Hi-Precision Diagnostics branch nearest to the winner.

In Metro Manila, participating branches include: Del Monte, East Ave., V. Luna, Las Piñas, N.S. Amoranto, Pasig, Pioneer, Sucat, and T.M. Kalaw. Provincial branches that are participating include: Bulacan, Cavite, Angeles, and San Fernando. One can also avail this promo in Hi-Precision Diagnostics Plus in Alabang, Rockwell, Bonifacio Global City, and Sta. Rosa, as well as in Hi-Precision Diagnostics International located in Taft.

For more information about Hi-Precision Diagnostics, visit www.hi-precision.com.ph or contact their hotlines, (02) 741-7777 or (02) 863-9999.

Aiming for World-Class Tourism Services

Aiming for World-Class Tourism Services

Davao is improving its tour guide services to attract more visitors, create more jobs, and put the province on the map as a global travel destination.

“Davao is considered one of safest cities globally, with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, best seafood, and amazing eco-tourism attractions,” said GeneRose Tecson, president of The Guide Union for Inbound Destination and Ecotourism (GUIDE), Inc. “Tour guides are recognized as important ambassadors, and by providing them with world-class training, we hope to take a big step towards making Davao one of the region’s most desirable cities for tourists.”

To upgrade the quality of its services, GUIDE Davao recently concluded a series of training program on tour guiding services using the tourism skills grant from the Department of Tourism (DOT). Funded by the Government of Canada and administered by Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the Philippines Improving Competitiveness in Tourism (PICTourism) program, it was designed to support the government’s effort to achieve inclusive growth and create employment opportunities in tourism.

“More than providing financial assistance to support professional skills training, the grant will usher in jobs and opportunities for growth for young Davaoeños,” Tecson said. “Using what we learned from the training, we seek to expand training and mentoring to junior tour guides in various cities and municipalities in the Davao region and help develop a new breed of tourism industry workers.”

Doing mock sea tour guiding
Tecson said that while members of their group are licensed and accredited by the DOT and have received previous trainings, they seek to benefit from more relevant training courses to achieve world-class status. With the help of the skills grant, they conducted workshops on personality development, quality in communications, security awareness, train the trainers, and professional tour guiding.

For the personality development, quality in communications, and train the trainers, the group enlisted the services of Davao-based Joji Ilagan Career Center Foundation, Inc. Meanwhile, to improve their skills on tour guiding techniques, the group was trained by U.S.-based multilingual tour manager and tourist guide trainer Maricar Donato.

As a result of the trainings, GUIDE Davao generated more awareness on their group, increasing its membership by up to almost 50 percent. With the help of DOT-ADB-Canada grant, GUIDE Davao hopes to improve its services and training programs to align with the standards of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Tourism as well as the newly-implemented standards of the DOT.

GUIDE Davao also hopes to become a key driving force in making their province known more globally, with tour guides as Davao’s fifth icon. Davao is best known for its Durian fruit, the Waling Orchid, Mount Apo and the Philippine Eagle.

Melawares Crowns New “Cusina Idols”

Armed with their cooking skills and fueled by their passion for food, a cooking enthusiast and a culinary student bested other finalists on the most exciting culinary competition to date, “The Next Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge,” hosted by Melawares, the popular high-quality melamine tableware, and Urban Kitchen, the complete restaurant and food service solution.

Winner for the Cooking Enthusiast Division Mercedita “Neneth” Madrona

Mercedita Madrona bagged the title in the Cooking Enthusiasts Division with her innovative fish recipe, Adobo Marinated Hito in Sisig Wraps, while Kimberly Jane Solejon emerged victorious in the Culinary Students Division after serving her winning dish Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Chinese Sausage Stuffing.

Winner of Culinary Students Division Kimberly Jane Solejon

As the “Cusina Idol” champions, each winner received a total of P250,000 worth of kitchen showcase from Melawares, Perfect Dining, Bestware or Urban Kitchen. Meanwhile, the other finalists went home with P25,000 worth of kitchen showcase.

Serving as their cooking arena was the Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy in Pasig City, where other gastronomic dishes were featured. In the Cooking Enthusiasts Division, finalists whipped up Fish Tortilla with Mom’s Most Requested Salad, Escalope Sea Bass with Celeriac Puree and Red Wine Sauce, Pan Seared Tuna with Cream Cheese, Tomato and Squash, and Crispy Fish Nest with Hoisin Chili Fillings. Finalists in the Culinary Students Division, on the other hand, brought to the table Pancetta-Wrapped Chicken Breast with Brussels sprouts and Mashed Roasted Squash, and Cheesy Chicken Tarts.

The Cusina Idols finalists were asked to cook and present their star dishes on the spot within one hour, and were judged based on the taste of their dishes (50 percent), cleanliness and preparation (20 percent), and plating and presentation (30 percent).

Adobo Marinated Hito in Sisig Wraps

Before advancing to the final round, the competitors underwent a rigorous preliminary round, after purchasing P500.00-worth of Melawares, Bestware, Perfect Dining, and Urban Kitchen products and filling out an online contest registration found at the Melawares Cusina Club Facebook page.

Pan-roasted Chicken Breast with Chinese Sausage Stuffing

Each contest participant was required to cook one original main entrée dish choosing between fish and chicken. Using Melawares, Perfect Dining, Bestware or Urban Kitchen products for the final plating, they took photos of their entries and posted it to the Melawares Cusina Club Facebook page. Winners were chosen based on the plating, cleanliness and preparation, and number of Facebook shares.

“It is no secret that Filipinos are foodies at heart, with some of our best chefs making waves at the international food industry. However, while the culinary talents of our Filipino cooks are unquestionable, food presentation poses a challenge to most. Fortunately, Melawares and our other lines are now making it easier to serve not only genuinely delicious food, but beautiful and appetizing-looking as well. With the Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge, we are excited to see the best and brightest culinary stars in the Philippines,” said Chriselda Chua, Marketing Manager of CDC Manufacturing Corporation, makers of popular tablewares brand Melawares and other quality tableware since 1969.

From a company that sourced its products through importation, CDC Manufacturing Corporation now carries four brands, namely, Melawares, the classic brand that carries high-quality melamine tableware products, Bestware, its affordable line of tableware products, Urban Kitchen, the company’s modern brand that carries food service products outside of melamine tableware, and Perfect Dining, the company’s exclusive brand for the SM chain that carries high-end melamine products, on top of being the leading manufacturer of customized dinnerware for Quick Service Restaurants serving the biggest names in the food industry.

For more information about the Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge, visit www.melawares.com.

PH Hotels Ready for Global Market — ADB – Canada

Philippine hotels and resorts in key island destinations are ready to compete in the global marketplace, according to the initial findings of a team of International Accommodation Assessors (IAAs) who joined the Department of Tourism (DOT) in conducting a national review of accommodation standards last month.

The team of IAAs composed of ten experts from different countries said Philippine hotels and resorts including the small players have ‘very high standards’ in keeping the unique Filipino hospitality, one of the country’s competitive advantages.

“The warmth of welcome for guests in all types of accommodation is almost unique among international destinations. There is a real potential for the Philippine tourism industry. Some hotels and resorts need to invest to improve, but the new rating system can help identify where to focus that investment,” the initial report noted.

New standards under the Hotel and Resorts Quality Assurance and Accreditation System aim to assist visitors in terms of the quality, service and comfort provided by accommodation businesses of all sizes and types in the Philippines.

The system which was launched last year reviewed 144 hotels and resorts in the country’s main island destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Davao and Palawan. The DOT tapped international assessors to ensure that the review is based on accepted international standards.  The review itself is part of a technical assistance funded by the Government of Canada and administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) aimed at improving competitiveness in the tourism sector, in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration. ASEAN member countries include the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei.

Undersecretary Maria Victoria V. Jasmin, Chairperson of the DOT Project Steering Committee, said the technical assistance is crucial in helping the department to implement Improving Competitiveness in Tourism, a roadmap designed to increase foreign tourist arrivals to ten million by 2016.

“Data will be carefully analyzed in order to further strengthen and develop the accommodation standards system and enable us to compete at the highest international levels in the future,” said Undersecretary Jasmin.

Undersecretary Jasmin added, “these new standards will help guide Philippine hotels and resorts on where they could invest to further improve their businesses. They are shown to be equally effective in identifying excellence, enabling the finest properties and managers to show the way for others. The standards clearly identify examples of best practice for use by all types and levels of accommodation.”

Hotel owners and senior managers in all the properties visited welcomed the new set of standards as they see it as a significant improvement on the old standards introduced in 1992. “Owners and managers welcomed the introduction of the internationally understood one to five star grading approach. They understood that not everyone can be, or should be, five stars and that some of the most successful hotels and brands internationally hold two or three stars,” Undersecretary Jasmin said.

Final results of the assessment will be released in September 2014.