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.

A weekend of love set at Marriage Encounter

Spend a memorable weekend with your spouse in the romantic city of pines and bring back the good old days when love started to bloom.

The Serviam Catholic Charismatic Community will be holding its Marriage Encounter #20 (ME#20) on August 25 – 27, 2017 at the Assumption Sabbath Place, Baguio City.

The Marriage Encounter or ME is a beautiful experience for spouses, giving their marriage an opportunity to grow through open and honest communication, face-to-face sharing, and heart to heart dialogue, in a comfortable, relaxed setting.

Leave the cares of the world behind and focus on yourself and your spouse. The ME is not a clinic, religious retreat, group therapy, or workshop. You will just spend time together and discover a deeper relationship in your marriage!

Married couples of all ages are invited and encouraged to experience this wonderful weekend encounter. For inquiries or reservations, please call Dan & Au Lazaro or Allan & Vangie Tarroza at 0917-5041950/0927-8732837

You may also contact: Serviam Catholic Charismatic Community, Unit 301 Sunrise Condominium I , 226 Ortigas Ave., San Juan City, Tel. # 722-2989/722-7691, or email serviam.community@gmail.com or visit: www.serviamccc.org.

Interactive Art Exhibit opens at KCC

From Left: National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) Head of International Affairs Anne Luis; Korean Copyright Commission Director JEONG Jae Woo; Instituto Cervantes de Manila Director Carlos Madrid; Korean artist NA Hyoung-min; Kim Chun Bae; UP Professor Aldrin Lee; and KCC Director LEE Jincheol

EIGHTEEN art installations and interactive media art from Korea were opened to the public last June 8 at Korean Cultural Center’s (KCC) ‘Moving Korea’ Exhibit.


The exhibit opened with a short artist’s talk of NA Hyoung-min and performances by KCC’s Musical Class Team.


NA Hyoung-min studied Oriental Painting in Seoul National University where he also earned his Master’s Degree. He is currently serving as a professor in College of Fine Arts at Kyung Hee University.


His works “The Winter Poetry,” “The Moon,” and “The Ring around the Moon” were inspired by Daeboreum or the First Full Moon Holiday in Korea.


Through moving objects, from where the ‘MOVING KOREA’ exhibition takes its name, spectators are given an idea of how interactive media art communicates. The artworks allow visitors to wander through various displayed artworks and be part of the process of creating art.

NA Hyoung-min’s artist’s talk
NA Hyoung-min’s artist’s talk

The artists hope that the spectators will feel the different versions of art through their individual senses and actions.


The ‘Moving Korea’ exhibition will run until July 14, 2017 at the Korean Cultural Center Exhibition Hall. Admission is Free. For more information, contact (02) 555-1711 or email curator@koreanculture.ph

‘We face each other every day’ by Vakki. The movement of viewers will be reflected onto the wall of exhibition area by capturing their face using a camera.

NutriAsia offers new Filipino flavors on the road


People from across age groups recently trooped to the Joy Ride! by NutriAsia food truck in Luneta, eager to have a taste of both traditional and new Filipino comfort food made with quality products of NutriAsia.

According to Dang de Leon, corporate marketing consultant at Nutri-Asia Inc., the food truck goes around the metro serving reimagined local food fare. “We tweak classic Pinoy comfort food to make the taste more appealing to millennials,” she explains, saying that the brand has partnered with GalaStars Culinary, which is headed by renowned chef Ernest Reynoso Gala, “because they know what young people want.”

Chef Gala is very excited about collaborating with NutriAsia. He points out, “They have so many wonderful products and as a chef, I have a lot of fun being creative with the recipes I am developing.”

The chef appreciates the fact that the leading condiments brand in the Philippines offers well-known products like Datu Puti and Mang Tomas, and that its excellent pre-mixes make cooking a lot easier, especially for harried homemakers.

The Joy Ride! by NutriAsia’s bill of fare offers meals like Adoburrito, with a choice of Spicy Adobo and Humba Adobo, a dish popular in the Visayas. The Adoburrito wrap is a combination of the popular adobo and burrito, created with highly mobile young professionals in mind.

 Acknowledging that each and every region in the country has its own version of adobo, NutriAsia, de Leon avers, puts their Datu Puti adobo series to maximum use.

 Other food choices at Joy Ride!, de Leon discloses, are based on crowd favorites, usually a combination of dishes that are well-liked in the metro as well as in the provinces.

 De Leon recommends the Pinoy Chicken Slider served with pan de sal and the Siga Bagnet Wrap, which is prepared using Mang Tomas Siga, a spicy version of the regular Mang Tomas sauce. It also has Datu Puti vinegar and cucumber to give it a kick.

 Meantime, the crowd favorite, Skinny Chix, is street food made crunchier and more flavorful by using NutriAsia’s recently launched, first-in-the-market Golden Fiesta Big Crunch Fry and Shake, a breading mix in smoked barbeque, cheese, and sour cream variants.

On the other hand, Chef Gala reveals that food preparation is done in GalaStars Culinary—from weighing and chopping to marinating, etc.—then brought into the food truck. “We cook everything on-site so that the food is fresh when served.”

 Chef Gala has nothing but compliments for NutriAsia’s products. “When one has excellent condiments to work with, it is easy to adjust the taste and formulate the recipes. Cooking becomes ‘masarap masaya’.”

 Prices at Joy Ride! range from P40 to P80. The brand makes their offerings as affordable as they can because they want everyone to have a taste of their food creations. The serving portions are likewise larger than average, perfect for sharing.

 Apart from making condiments and sauces, NutriAsia, de Leon reveals, has ventured into beverages. “We have pick-me-ups in mangosteen, guyabano, kamias, dalandan and kalamansi. These are locally sourced Pinoy fruits that we have bottled into natural juices.”

 Watch for the Joy Ride! by NutriAsia, which started rolling out in Metro Manila this month, serving people at food parks, employees of business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, and customers at bazaars, events, and universities.

De La Salle University conferred AUN quality mark certification

AUN assessors reviewed documents and interviewed over 300 respondents during their formal visit.

Two months after its 13-17 March formal visit, a team of six assessors from the Asean University Network (AUN) has conferred upon De La Salle University the AUN Quality Mark at the Institutional Level. DLSU is the first university in Asean to earn the certification.


The visit culminated a year’s preparation that required DLSU to submit a Self-Assessment Report as well as hundreds of documentary exhibits. During the validation visit, six of AUN’s most experienced assessors from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand toured the Taft and Laguna campuses, reviewed documents, and interviewed over 300 respondents, from the Brothers, Board of Trustees, President and Chancellor, to faculty, staff, students, and alumni.


They used the AUN’s framework for Quality Assurance at the Institutional Level. It comprises four key areas: Strategic (overall governance), Systemic (quality assurance systems), Functional (teaching, research, service), and Results (outcomes, including financial and market performance). These four areas are further divided into 25 criteria and 111 sub-criteria. To earn the AUN quality mark, an institution must score at least 4 out of 7 across all four key areas. DLSU was rated 5 (“more than adequate”) in Strategic, Systemic, and Functional areas, and 4 (“adequate) in Results.


The certificate marks another quality milestone for DLSU, whose departments have been undergoing AUN-QA Program-Level assessment since 2008. By next year, half of DLSU’s departments will have had their flagship programs internationally assessed, by far the most in the country. AUN-QA was established in 1995 as ASEAN’s quality assurance network in higher education, responsible for promoting quality assurance in higher education institutions, raising the quality of higher education, and collaborating with both regional and international bodies for the benefit of the Asean community.


67 Australia Awards scholars set to study in Australia

Australia Awards Scholars 67



67 emerging leaders from the Philippines are set to take up postgraduate studies at world-renowned universities in Australia through the prestigious Australia Awards Scholarships.

From 9 to 11 May 2017, the scholars underwent a pre-departure briefing at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Manila. They were briefed on living and studying in Australia, and oriented on the requirements of the program.


The pre-departure briefing included finalizing the scholars’ ‘re-entry action plans’. These plans allow Australia Awards scholars to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired in Australia to undertake programs and projects to contribute to development in the Philippines on their return, in their chosen government office, non-profit organization or community.


“The Australia Awards Scholarships offers you, the next generation of global leaders here in the Philippines, an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development, while engaging with Australian expertise and culture. At the end of your scholarship, you will return with new ideas, knowledge and skills that will enable you to influence reforms in the Philippines as leaders in your chosen field” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely, said.


The scholars will be heading to Australia next month to commence their studies in important areas for Philippine development such as economics, trade, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and public policy.


Two dozen of the awardees are from partner government agencies of the Australian Government including the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Finance, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Civil Service Commission, among others. The rest of the scholars are from the private sector, civil society, other government agencies, media and the academe.


The Australian Government has been supporting the Philippines’ best and the brightest to advance their education in Australian universities since the 1950s. The Australia Awards Scholarships are open to talented Filipinos– regardless of gender, ethnicity or disability – who are passionate about leading positive change in the Philippines.


An Australia Awards recipient receives a full scholarship package including travel and cost of living allowance, tuition and other fees such as health coverage and supplementary tutorial assistance. Upon return, he or she will be invited to be a member of the Global Alumni Network.

Jehovah’s Witnesses to hold regional conventions

Jehovah’s Witnesses are holding a three-day convention in more than 70 areas in the country entitled “Don’t Give Up!”


The lectures, which are based in the Bible, are designed to help the people endure despite prolonged illness, depression, loss of a loved one, unjust treatment, persecution, and other personal problems, according to Danilo Calso, convention spokesperson of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Philippines.


Calso said there will be multimedia presentations, interviews and demonstrations that are intended to provide comfort and hope to the people who are coping with life’s anxieties.


He said they are holding free Bible-based lectures every year as part of their public service to the community.


In Metro Manila, starting June 2-4, 2017 and every Friday to Sunday until August 18-20, 2017, series of conventions will be held at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Novaliches, Quezon City.


This year 2017 marked also the first in the history of the Philippines Branch to present the program in full Japanese. This will be held on August 19-20, 2017 at Amoranto Theater in Quezon City.


The convention will also be presented in English, Filipino, Punjabi, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, Filipino Sign Language, Iloko, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray-waray, Pangasinan and Bicol and other local dialects in the Philippines.


Admission is free and no collection will be taken.

For the date and venue of the convention near your area, please visit jw.org.


R&D center for local medicinal plants inaugurated

Photo shows (from L to R) Dr. Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology; Dr. Dolores A. Ramirez, National Scientist; Dr. Teresita Borromeo, Professor and Head of the Plant Genetic Resource Division, UP Los Baños; Dr. Cecilia Maramba, Director of the National Institutes of Health; Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Ateneo de Manila University; and Dr. Eliseo Banaynal, Executive Director of Sekaya.
Photo shows (from L to R) Dr. Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology; Dr. Dolores A. Ramirez, National Scientist; Dr. Teresita Borromeo, Professor and Head of the Plant Genetic Resource Division, UP Los Baños; Dr. Cecilia Maramba, Director of the National Institutes of Health; Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Ateneo de Manila University; and Dr. Eliseo Banaynal, Executive Director of Sekaya.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and Filipino scientists were in full force during the recent inauguration of the Sentrong Katutubong Yaman (Sekaya) Research and Development plant, a facility that is envisioned to become a collaborative research and development center for local medicinal plant products.

Sekaya, an affiliate of United Laboratories, Inc. (Unilab), the leading pharmaceutical and healthcare company in the Philippines, was built as a platform to develop natural products grounded on science to help the indigenous communities and small farmers to protect and benefit from the country’s rich plant resources.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through PCHRD, has been at the forefront of the government’s efforts to develop the herbal medicine landscape to maximize the potentials of plant-based medicines.

EU Delegation to host national debate

Coming off from the Europe Day celebration last week where the theme was promotion of rights of children and youth, the EU Delegation to the Philippines will again show its commitment to children and youth rights as they host yoEUth debate on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 at De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila.


“The future of the world and of the Philippines is with the children and the youth. We want to hear their voices,” said Ambassador Franz Jessen, Head of the EU Delegation.


The yoEUth debate will focus on the issues of human rights in business and economic freedom.


Representatives from nine schools from all over the Philippines, and three interns from European Union Member States, are participating in the event co-organized by the EU Delegation, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), and DLSU Manila.


DLSU Manila, University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, UP Visayas,Ateneo de Davao University, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Mindanao State University, University of San Carlos Cebu and Xavier University Cagayan de Oro have signed up to participate. The debate will be in town hall and Asian parliamentary formats.


Senator Kiko Pangilinan will give the keynote speech, while Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chair Chito Gascon will head the team of adjudicators. The EU community will be widely present, with The Netherlands Ambassador Marion Derckx and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Guenter Taus sitting as judges, and European students attending.


YoEUth Debate moderators will be the tandem of Lasallian debaters Mikee De Vega and Jason Dizon, 2016 champions of the 36th World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC, Greece), the world’s largest annual debating tournament.

For more information, please contact FNF Project Assistant Danika Sarion at 8196086/ 87 or 0917 5423725.


Race to raise

Race to raise
From left to right: Guillaume D’Aboville, Vanessa Bandoy Hans, Carmela Serina Pearson, Colin Pearson

Racing has never been this good. Have you ever thought cycling for over 3000 miles across a country in just 9 days was impossible? Join the journey of these four hopefuls as they become the first mixed relay team to represent Southeast Asia and the Philippines in the world’s toughest and longest time trial race – Race Across America (RAAM). Currently on its 36th year, the annually held race will start in Oceanside, California and will run through 12 states, four rivers (the Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio), and three major mountain ranges (the Sierra, Rocky, and Appalachian) to reach the finish line located in Annapolis, Maryland. This competition is open to both amateur and professional cyclists who may choose to compete solo, two-, and eight-person relay teams as long as they qualify the fitness test and have a strong passion for cycling.


Team David’s Salon, is comprised of two males and two female cyclists: Guillaume D’Aboville, a Frenchman living in the Philippines for more than three decades, Colin and Carmela Pearson, a Filipino-British couple, and Vanessa Bandoy Hans, a young French-Filipina. They are strongly supported by David’s Salon, Inc., Fuji Haya Electric, and LS Korea, who will accompany them in their journey to Maryland.


RAAM is more than just a test of strength, endurance, and team dynamics, but it is heavily anchored in social responsibility. Over the past 5 years, racers have raised over $2 million per year for the charities of their choice. Team David’s Salon is no different for they want to raise both awareness and funds for a foundation close to their hearts.


On November 8 2013, the Philippines was ravaged by the strongest storm that ever made landfall in the planet. Typhoon Haiyan, locally named as Yolanda, caused widespread destruction of property, loss thousands of lives, and over seven million individuals were displaced and left in despair. Hans, whose family originated from Guiuan, Eastern Samar, was the first municipality to experience its landfall, remembers waiting in Manila for several days before receiving news of safety from her relatives; however, many were not as fortunate as them. It may have not taken the lives of her family but it ruined their homes and prized possessions.


Immediately after the calamity, the French Embassy and the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines created a response team called France-Philippines United Action (FPUA) to address the needs of the victims.


With only three years under its wing, FPUA has achieved remarkable results that benefited thousands of individuals. The organization was able to built two villages and provide over 200 disaster-resilient homes for the survivors in Daanbantayan, Northern Cebu. This was made possible through the numerous donations it gathered from companies in France and in the Philippines and the foundation’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross.


Even though it has been almost four years since its landfall, many are still living in extremely precarious conditions. Currently, FPUA is focused on building its third rehabilitation village in Bogo City, Northern Cebu which will benefit 46 families. The Foundation is committed to continue its mission to build resilient communities and provide safe, decent living for all. In line with this, FPUA also developed Health and Child Welfare programs for the communities.

With the numerous programs their charity of choice has made, the four cyclists wish to raise funds for the sustainability of the projects. This time trial is not only a matter of breaking their personal record but also committing themselves to a great cause.