Ateneo Batch ’77 marks Ruby-letter Day

All roads lead to the Ateneo de Manila University Campus in Loyola Heights on Dec. 2, 2017, for the annual Grand Alumni Homecoming.

But for Ateneo de Manila University Class ’77, the event promises to be extra special. The group – the first batch to go co-ed in an institution that had been famously an all-male bastion – marks its 40th Ruby Jubilee.

College class representative Irma Cecilio is calling for healthy attendance on that day. At press time, almost 100 class members have confirmed their participation.

Not one to let the occasion pass without celebration, the group launched a year of fever-pitch activity, kicking off last March 26, 2017 (the same date the class graduated), with Mass at the College chapel, followed by lunch at Cervini Lounge.

On August 8, the group turned over to batchmate, Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle, several violins, computers and art kits, bought with funds raised as well as the generous support of Security Bank Corporation, headed by still another classmate, Alfonso “Yogi” Salcedo Jr., to benefit the first group of beneficiaries of the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation. The program took Cardinal Tagle’s long-held dream closer to providing needy youngsters with the tools to develop self expression.

The female students, who took their place beside their male counterparts in 1973, comprised about 6 percent of the total student population numbering about 2,000 and some 25 percent of the freshmen group.

Batch ‘77’s female members went on to high powered careers, among them Susan Zamora-Prado, EVP and CFO of Development Bank of the Philippines; Evelyn Tang-Uy, three-term mayor of Dipolog City who led it to receive an APEC Model City Award; Cynthia Concepcion-Baga, one of only three Papal awardees in the Philippines to receive the Cross of Honour; Marissa Fernan, VP for Visayas and Mindanao of SM Prime Holdings; Maria Agnes J. Angeles, former EVP of Planters Development Bank and a prominent Jaycees International figure; Lisa Guerrero Nakpil, a respected figure in art circles and expert in art investment; and Margie T. Logarta, who covered the Asian travel and hospitality industry for 25 years and now interviews the country’s top corporates for The Manila Times.

The boys also did their batchmates proud, with Luis Antonio Tagle, one of three Summa Cum Laude recipients that year and now Archbishop of Manila and trusted lieutenant of Pope Francis; bank executives Alfonso L. Salcedo Jr., president and CEO of Security Bank and Justo Ortiz, chairman and CEO of Union Bank of the Philippines; Raul Hernandez, Philippine ambassador to South Korea, as well as shipping luminary Tony Moraza, president and CEO of Aboitiz Power Corp.

The graduation of Batch ’77 also marked the centennial of national hero Jose Rizal’s graduation from the Ateneo (Ateneo de Municipal as it was known then) in 1877, finishing at the head of his class with the distincton of sobresaliente.

The homecoming, themed “Return to the Hill”, begins with the Tribute to Ateneo Heroes on Sacred Heart Hill at 3.30 p.m., Mass at the Church of the Gesu at 4.30 p.m., Marian Procession to the High School Covered Courts at 5.30 p.m., and Program at 6.30 p.m. Dinner, priced at P500, completes the milestone day.

For more details, contact the Ateneo Alumni Relations at tel 426-6001.

Dr. Marcelito C. Custodio; 75

Dr. Marcelito “Mars” C. Custodio of Manhattan, New York; Hopatcong, New Jersey; and Manila, Philippines, passed away on November 2, 2017, with his loving family at his side. He was 75.


Born in the Philippines in 1942, he finished secondary schooling at De La Salle and completed college and medical school at the University of the Philippines. He immigrated to the United States in 1969 and continued his medical training at St. Barnabas and Newark Beth Israel Medical Centers in New Jersey and MD Anderson Medical Center in Texas.  


Board certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology, he started his practice in New Jersey and was Chief of Oncology at Christ Hospital and Irvington General Hospital in New Jersey for many years. He was loved by his patients, respected by his colleagues, and received numerous accolades and recognitions for his medical and humanitarian achievements.  


Retiring in 2002 at age 60 to start the next phase of his life, he pursued his art and supported various causes—serving on the boards of Ma-Yi Theater Company, Apicha Community Health Center (formerly the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS), and Society of Philippine American Artists. He joined medical missions through the University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society in America (UPMASA), providing medical care to underserved rural areas in the Philippines.  


He is survived by his wife Cora; his children Christian and his wife Andrea; Victoria and her husband Randy; Paolo and his wife Yvanna; and his grandchildren Carson, Robbie, Olivia, and Jonas.  


The wake will be held at The Church of St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan on Saturday, November 11, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. and a funeral mass will follow at 10:00 a.m.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in memory of Mars to Ma-Yi Theater Company, Apicha Community Health Center, or Society of Philippine American Artists.

Travel across Southeast Asia in just a few clicks


BANGKOK — Southeast Asia is one of the world’s busiest travel destination today. And with the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) Economic Integration moving forward, more and more tourists will find their way to Southeast Asia.


But while the dynamic region proved to be an attractive tourist magnet, it is also one the most difficult to navigate.


Travel isn’t just about booking your plane ticket and hotel. Planning for a trip entails a tedious research on your destination and how to get there. It goes down to the very intricate details of finding transportation to move you around the city or transfers to other places or if you are in the well-connected Asean, your next country of destination.


And with Southeast Asia still being fixated with traditional modes of transportation, moving around Asean can be quite difficult for inexperienced foreigners. Timetables and route schedules are not published and you can barely find them on the internet.


There are language barriers and dealing with operators and ticketing agencies can be cumbersome. Or worse, you can be scammed or overcharged by scalpers taking advantage of tourists.


A multi-awarded startup wants to challenge that.


Here comes 12Go.Asia (pronounced like “want to go”), an e-ticketing platform for all forms of public transportation across Southeast Asian countries.


Founded in 2012, Singapore-based is now operating in at least eight Asean countries namely, Malaysia, Thailand Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and the Philippines. Its main operation is in Bangkok, Thailand, a bustling travel and tourism hub in Asia.


Since its founding, the e-ticketing platform, which targets 95% of Westerners, has served 500,000 travelers already.


The platform works with over 400 railways, ferries, buses, flight, transfers and vans, and other tour operators.


Making the traditional efficient hopes to build from the tricky traditional mode of transportations in Asia by helping it become efficient by infusing technology and building data systems.


While the locals may be adept with the traditional routes and transport systems in their respective countries, the system or the lack of system can be confusing for foreign visitors.


At present, the platform allows users to book intercity transfers and international connections ahead of their of time or at least a day before departure. This makes travel planning easy.


For example, one can arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and visit Singapore as well by booking an international bus for as low as P 622.00 or $ 12.8.


In Bangkok, considered to be an major transportation hub, one can go to cities in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam by booking direct or combination of different transportation modes such as trains and VIP buses.


Flights can also be booked on the platform, making it a single entry point passengers, operators and agents.


“Our ultimate goal is to connect door-to-door the whole ASEAN region from transfers to flights under the same standard ticket. This is why our team is managing and connecting operators from many countries Asia with customers from all over the world,” said in a statement.

Just show up

Booking is easy. Just log on to and choose your departure city and destination. Click on the dates and presto, you will be provided with transport options to choose from. Payment can be through credit cards or Paypal.

The platform allows users to book in their preferred language and currency.

After a successful payment, you will receive a voucher which you will use to claim your seat or ticket depending on the mode of transportation. For buses, you may just present a printed copy of your voucher or show the e-ticket on your smartphone or tablet.

However, some transportations modes like trains in Bangkok for example still require the physical ticket. But worry not, secures it for you and you may claim the ticket in their office at the railway stations.

With more operators working with and more passengers booking, the young company hopes to build an efficient transport network in Southeast Asia that traveling easy for locals and tourists alike.

‘The Next Big Thing’: Power Mac Center Spotlight presents Romantic Restored Films from all Decades

If you’re looking for a unique entertainment experience, look no further than Circuit Makati. The renowned entertainment district, known for hosting most of the country’s biggest concerts and events has now partnered with ABS-CBN Sagip Pelikula to introduce a one-of-a-kind film night– Spotlight Movie Box, a movie experience for avid fans of Philippine cinema.

On October 14 to 15, romantic movie fans get to enjoy their favorite local cult hits at the Power Mac Center Spotlight for an exclusive movie-marathon featuring romantic classics like Nasaan Ka Man, Got2Believe, Forevermore, and One More Chance.

Power Mac Center Spotlight, is an intimate and flexible performance venue designed to offer one-of-a-kind experience for audiences.

“We’ve rounded up these all-time romantic films for a one-off movie screening inside the Power Mac Center Spotlight—a venue known mostly for hosting theater performances, and have now converted into a cinema house just for the occasion,” explains Mel Ignacio, Assistant Vice President of Ayala Land “Our intent is to show the versatility and possibilities that our venue could offer.”

One More Chance, directed by Cathy Garcia Molina stars John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonza, Derek Ramsay and Maja Salvador and tells the story of a long time couple who go on their separate ways but is given a second chance at love. Got 2 Believe is a classic 00s hit starring Claudine Baretto and Rico Yan, which tells the story of a cynical photographer who meets a wedding planner who changes his mind about the idea of ‘happily ever after.’ Forevermore, starring Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa tells the romantic story of a young engineer who returns to his hometown where a woman who has been in-love with him since childhood is given a chance to spark a romance. And Nasaan Ka Man, a romantic thriller with stellar performances from Claudine Baretto and and Jericho Rosales.

There’s definitely a lot to look forward to in Circuit Makati in the coming months. Whether you’re an avid movie-goer, a fan of Philippine cinema or simply out to exploring hidden gems of the city’s premier entertainment district.

Feed maker PFMC responds to gov’t call for agri development


Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio (right) joins the Excel Feeds team led by Engr. Terence Uygongco, Philippine Foremost Milling Corp. VP-Trade-Feeds during the 19th Davao Agri Trade Expo.

The Philippine Foremost Milling Corporation (PMFC), one of the country’s leading flour and animal feed makers, has responded to President Duterte’s call on the private sector to help more livestock raisers, fisherfolk and farmers.

PFMC officials said the company is expanding its existing micro-entrepreneurial program called “Pig Tiwala” to cover more areas in Luzon and benefit more hog raisers.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio (right) joins the Excel Feeds team led by Engr. Terence Uygongco, Philippine Foremost Milling Corp. VP-Trade-Feeds during the 19th Davao Agri Trade 2016, “Pig Tiwala” provides qualified hog raisers 20 heads of piglets including hog feeds to grow them. Through the program, a hog raiser is entrusted with a value of as much as P175,000 per growing cycle. The company gets paid only upon harvest and sale of grown fatteners.

On top of the seed capital, hog farmers are supplied basic vitamins, technical assistance by PFMC veterinarians, and marketing support to ensure good margins.

To date, “Pig Tiwala” has benefitted more than 400 hog raisers in Bulacan and Pampanga, but PMFC said it will expand the program to cover Laguna, Isabela and other parts of Luzon.

“We will continue this advocacy to promote the value of ‘tiwala’ and entrepreneurship to help Filipino hog farmers,” said Jojie Angeles, PFMC’s executive proponent.

PFMC’s shared value or investment in the program is now close to P116 million, an amount used for piglets and company manufactured hog feeds that have been distributed among its farmer-partners since the program started last year.

With more than 25 years in the industry, PFMC supports government’s mission to increase productivity and meet growing demand for meat and other food products.

A world-class manufacturer of quality animal feeds, PFMC’s known brands include Excel Feeds, Amigo, Lechon for swine, poultry and aqua, and Iron Claw for game fowl feeds.

Reshape the future today at THE FUTURE CITY: An Interactive Digital Park


An extraordinary learning experience awaits young and the young-at-heart at the Future City. Put your seatbelts on as we take off to the future and explore how we can help reshape your child’s future today through one-of-a-kind interactive installations that will put your eyes and minds in awe.

Open for just one weekend, The Future Park together with NESTLÉ NANKID OPTIPRO FOUR,—a milk designed specifically for your child’s growth and development that helps secure your child’s healthy future through the power of Optimized Protein, launches FUTURE CITY: An Interactive Digital Park.

From September 9-10, this pioneering digital park opens its doors to guests as a way to educate and empower children and their parents about how their decisions today, can affect their future.

Future City uses technologies from all over the globe. The park contains 6 unique and engaging stations that will give guests the chance to participate in one-of-a-kind experiences that will surely nurture the minds of the kids and kids at heart.

The Future City visually illustrates how science has become the blueprint for brighter, safer future for our children. Guests can begin their exploration and discovery at the Future Dome where they will be given a glimpse of the technological advances that will soon define future cities—from towering smart skyscrapers, solar powered walls, interactive cityscapes, and autonomous vehicles.


Visitors of Future City will be given access to several stations that will surely broaden the mind. A Sketch Village where the patterns you color come to life, a Checkpoint where you can assess your future health, and interactive walls and floors featuring digital games.

After the guests go through these stations, seeing what the future can be and how it can be affected with the choices and lifestyle we make, from there, they will be ushered into a room that highlights an interactive wall demonstrating the evolution of science for nutrition and development, and how scientific advances have helped secure a child’s healthy future.

A big point of apprehension about the future, especially for parents, is their child’s health. Family history plays a big part in determining what diseases and conditions will be inherited by their kids and educating yourself about what can be done to prevent these from being passed on is the key to ensuring your child’s better future health. To that end, the Family Health Screener can help parents assess these possibilities, which will also be unveiled at the pop-up interactive digital park.

All in all, the Future City is a fitting fusion of interactive material and abstract concepts demonstrated in a visual and engaging way for kids and the kids at heart to appreciate and enjoy.

The interactive nature of The Future City is central to the entire exhibit’s message, not just in terms of technology and infrastructure, but for bigger and far more essential choices for your child’s health and development. Exploring the science behind the different elements that drive our lives—the environment we move in, the things we eat, the activities we do—it helps us understand just how relevant all these our to securing a brighter, safer, healthier future for generations to come.

Never settle for anything less especially when it comes to your child. Give your child optimum nutrition and reshape their future today.


Future City: An Interactive Digital Park is an event by The Future Park, sponsored by Nestlé NANKID Optipro. Future City: An Interactive Digital Park will be open to public on September 9-10, 2017 (Saturday to Sunday), 10:00 am to 9:00 pm at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura, Taguig City.

NANKID OPTIPRO FOUR is not a breastmilk substitute. It is a powdered milk drink suitable for healthy children above 3 years of age.

Serviam sets LSE session Oct. 21-22

Do you have everything and yet feel empty inside? Are you a Christian but feel constantly defeated? Are you searching for your purpose? If your answer to these questions is yes, this may just be for you.


Serviam Catholic Charismatic Community will hold its 17th Life in the Spirit Experience (LSE) on Oct. 21-22, 2017 at Buklod ng Pag-Ibig Healing Center at 97 Balete Drive Extension, New Manila, Quezon City.


The seminar is open to everyone, aged 18 years and above, desiring to have a deeper understanding of who they are and why they were created.


Now on its 14th year of fruitful service to God through others, Serviam was founded by His Eminence, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, and well-known church leader, the late Antonio “Sonny” B. de los Reyes. The LSE is part of its evangelization program.


The Life in the Spirit seminar is a formation experience, an introduction into a life lived in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. It is surrendering to a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and being aware of and cooperating with God’s desire for an active personal role in every aspect of life.


For more information, please contact Ms. Belle Linco at 09209155157 or Ms. Annie Macale at 09172064693 or the Serviam Secretariat at 722-7691 or

St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish: The gift of 50 years

Churchgoers frequenting St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish have noticed a flurry of activities the past months all leading to the golden anniversary celebration of the parish on August 1, 2017.


With this year’s theme, “Grateful for our 50th … forging a renewed and stronger Christian community”, it is heartwarming to know that Magallanes residents are unselfishly devoting their time, energies as well as resources to mark the major milestone of St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish.


St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish was established on June 7, 1967, upon the suggestion by the first few residents of Magallanes Village led by Mrs. Corazon Arcenas and the endorsement by Msgr. Ferdinand Mempin, then parish priest of Saint Joseph the Worker in Palanan, Makati. It is interesting to note that Msgr. Mempin’s parents were some of the first residents of Magallanes Village.


Rufino Cardinal Santos approved the choice of St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori as the principal patron of the proposed parish, with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. James the Apostle as secondary patrons.


Ayala y Companía donated the church and rectory areas to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Thus, the patrons were chosen to honor the father of Don Jaime, Don Alfonso Zobel, the father of Don Enrique, Don Jacobo  (Santiago Apostol) and their great-grandmother Carmen de Ayala y Roxas.


On August 2, 1967, Cardinal Santos laid and blessed the cornerstone for St. Alphonsus Church on the 5,616 sq.m. lot donated by the Ayalas at Humabon Place. He also established the parish of Magallanes Village in a decree of erection signed on the same day. Originally, the parish of Magallanes included Dasmariñas Village, Magallanes Village and Forbes Park.


The parish flourished under the care of its pastors: Msgr. Ferdinand Mempin, Msgr. Nicanor Bautista , Msgr. Benedicto Aquino, Msgr. Ernesto Cruz,  Rev. Fr. Benito B. Tuazon with Fr. Edwin E. Mercado was Parochial Vicar who eventually also became its parish priest and Rev. Fr. Isidro T. Marinay with Fr. Richard Garrido as Parochial Vicar.


Unfortunately, on September 9, 2004, the church burned down. Miraculously, a large wooden image of the crucified Christ remained intact.  The original 1968 structure designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin then had to be rebuilt.  September 9, 2005 marked the groundbreaking to start construction of the new church designed by Architect Dominic Galicia.  Under the leadership of Father Benny Tuason who rallied the parishioners, the present structure was completed by 2007. Two years later, typhoon “Ondoy” would flood the interior of the church as well. These trials only proved to make the parish stronger.



This is indeed a time of remembrance and glorious celebration. When the church was but a shell of ruins after the fire, the Manila Symphony Orchestra came to hold a performance entitled Concert at the Ruins to raise funds for the rebuilding of the church over a decade ago. This time, on August 2, 2017, the 50th anniversary of the parish, the Manila Symphony Orchestra revisits the same venue—now transformed into a beautiful structure which accommodates a larger of number of parishioners assembling here for praise, prayer and thanksgiving.


For the past two years, the parish has been led by the dynamic team of Msgr. Claro Matt Garcia with Fr. Lorenzo Ruggiero as Parochial Vicar. Msgr. Claro Matt Garcia, reorganized the Parish Pastoral Council, revived the BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) this year with 2017 being the Year of BEC and re-focused on the Education and Social Services Ministries. Fr. Lorenzo Ruggiero, Parochial Vicar, has given several talks for spiritual nourishment. His charismatic ways make him well-liked by parishioners of all ages, especially the youth.


The gift of 50 years has made the parish reflect on its history and appreciate all that God has given.  And in His goodness, God continues to give. On July 27, 2017, the Vatican has declared St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish a Jubilee Church. Pilgrims shall be invited to walk through its Holy Doors from August 1, 2017 to August 1, 2018, marking the Feast of its Patron, St. Alphonsus—Doctor of the Church, Founder of the Redemptorists, Patron of Moral Theologians, devotee to the Blessed Virgin Mary and humble servant of God.

SYKES Asia, QBE, QuintilesIMS Early Winners in 2017 BPO Classics


SYKES Asia got off to an explosive start even as QBE and QuintilesIMS picked up early wins in the opening of the 2017 BPO Classics last Sunday at Makati Coliseum.

SYKES opened with a 69-43 beating of Microsourcing in the Recreational Plus division of the league organized by One Unite Sports & Events, Inc.

Jonjett Hernandez paced SYKES with 13 points while Christian Dayao added 11 points off the bench along with seven rebounds.

Japeth Agum added nine points and five boards even as Noel Rivera contributed seven points and 12 boards and John Jole-Jole six points, six rebounds and nine blocked shots.

Despite getting outrebounded by Microsourcing, 68-50, SYKES still owned the paint with a 34-18 edge which led to lead as big as 30 in the fourth period.

Microsourcing, which drew 13 points and 15 rebounds from Roman Urubio, was doomed by a measly 26-point output in the first three quarters.

Meanwhile, QBE turned back Converga, 76-64.

The starters carried bulk of the load for QBE, who ran the floor en route to 18-6 advantage in fastbreak points and 20 off turnovers.

Noel Sabordo led all scorers with 18 points and four rebounds while Arod Rodriguez added 13 points and 12 boards.

Dennis San Pedro also unleashed a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards while Joel Godoy chipped in 10 points, six rebounds and four dimes.

A big second half assault separated QBE from Converga, which was led by Vito Gaucena who had 14 points and seven boards, for good.

In the first game, QuintilesIMS dropped Ingram Micro, 55-47, in a low scoring affair.

After a slow first half for both sides, QuintilesIMS picked up the pace with a 20-9 third quarter run to take over the game and stun Ingram Micro.

Andrew Angbeng carried QuintilesIMS with 13 points while JC Navarro and Jerico Antiporda provided 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Ingram Micro outscored QuintilesIMS in the fourth, it couldn’t come closer to 3 points with a 13-3 run with 1:32 left its last threat.

But they weren’t the only winners of the day as Khristine Dignomo Corpus from Ring Central was crowned the 2017 Ms. BPO Classics. Ingram Micro also took home the Cobra Energy Drink Power Up Battle Cry award.

The league of BPO companies, backed by Titan, Cobra Energy Drink, AtletA Sportswear, Pocari Sweat and Philip Monitors, and media partners SLAM Magazine, and Basketball TV, kicked off with a simple opening ceremonies hosted by Martin Javier.

Unilab’s Sekaya steps up health R&D through S&T

The Sentrong Katutubong Yaman (Sekaya), an affiliate of United Laboratories, Inc. (Unilab), the leading pharmaceutical and healthcare company in the Philippines, is tapping into the country’s rich biodiversity to develop natural medicinal products with the help of science and technology (S&T).


Sekaya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology to enhance research and development (R&D) on health, especially in medicinal plants.


The MoU signing was held during the recent inauguration of the Sekaya Research and Development plant at the Unilab Pharma Campus in Mamplasan, Laguna. The facility is envisioned to become a collaborative R&D center for local medicinal plants and as a platform to develop natural products based on science to help the indigenous communities and small farmers benefit from the country’s rich resources.


“Indigenous communities and farmers, who are among the poorest in the country, have a lot to gain from the development of plant-based natural products in terms of livelihood and health benefits,” said Dr. Eliseo Banaynal, Executive Director of Sekaya.


Agricultural research points out that lack of access to modern technology and technical expertise are among the barriers that prevent Filipino farmers from being competitive and from increasing their income. Through the Sekaya facility, small farmers can tap the expertise of scientists and gain access to innovative technologies and processes.


The Philippines is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world or the world’s top biodiversity-rich countries, which host two-thirds of the Earth’s biodiversity and contain about 70 to 80 percent of the world’s plant and animal species. The country ranks fifth in terms of number of plant species and home to five percent of the world’s plants (about 10,000 to 13,000 species of plants described and recorded).


“The Philippines’ rich biodiversity should be protected at all cost, at the same time we should make sure that benefits from it will redound to the Filipinos. Unilab, through Sekaya with the help of science and technology, will support communities in cultivating and developing practical applications for the country’s natural resources that will be beneficial to them,” said Joey Ochave, Senior Vice President of Unilab.


For the DOST’s part, PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya underscored the government’s call for continuous development of the country’s biodiversity for health-related discoveries, particularly plant-based medicines. DOST, through PCHRD, has been at the forefront of the government’s efforts to develop herbal medicines to maximise the potential of medicinal plants which abound all over the country.


“We could not have found a better partner than Unilab in this collaborative R&D initiative. The company has always been guided by its commitment in supporting initiatives and programs that would help Filipinos live healthier lives—most especially those who belong to the base of the pyramid,” added Montoya.


According to PCHRD, experts have identified over 1,500 indigenous medicinal plants in the Philippines. Globally, there is renewed interest and demand for herbal medicines in recent years. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that eight out of 10 people worldwide use herbal medicines.


It is stated under the Global  Strategic Plan for Biodiversity of the Convention on Biological Diversity cites that, “by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”


Environment protection and stewardship is a priority under the MoU. It cites that Sekaya and PCHRD “commit to work together as stewards of Philippine biodiversity, particularly in the development of plant-based natural products”.


Also present during the signing of the MoU and the inauguration of the Sekaya R&D Pant were Dr. Rowena Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development; Honorable Carmencita Ongsiako-Reyes, Governor of Marinduque; Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Professor at the Ateneo de Manila University Department of Chemistry; Dr. Dolores Ramirez, National Scientist; Dr. Teresita Borromeo, Professor and Head of the Plant Genetic Division of UP Los Banos; and Dr. Cecilia Maramba, Director of the National Institutes of Health.