Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Zark’s: Upgrading Your Burger Experience

Eight years ago, young entrepreneur, Rolandrei Viktor “Zark” Varona discovered a vacant 20- sqm. commercial space along Taft Avenue. At that time, the former OFW, who had just concluded a two-year stint in the kitchens of a cruise ship already owning a franchise for a noodle shop that unfortunately did not work. After six months, he revisited the spot and knew that the location held much potential for a burger joint.

“We did a study and found out that during that time, walang casual dining burger joint. So, I filled the gap sa market, yung need sa market na I think may potential mag scale up. Hindi naman ako nagkamali. Sinimulan ko yung Zark’s.”, Zark recalls.


Arising from this observation, “Zark” Varona has found the middle ground in offering hamburgers that truly satisfy even the most gargantuan appetites, yet at prices that do not break the bank. Thus, Zark was born.


The burger market, highly concentrated in the youth market, seems to have embraced Zark’s wholeheartedly!

IT'S FRESH. IT'S HUGE. IT'S GREAT

Consistent with Zark’s Burgers’ tagline “Fresh. Huge. Great.” The burgers come out fresh in huge servings, offering a great and filling dining experience with a sporty theme in mind.

Recently, Zark’s taking burgers to the next level with its all-new burger offerings starting at Php109! Among the burgers included are:

The New Orleans favorite, Ragin Cajun, is your pick for something spicy!


Ranch Time, for burgers topped with Zark’s version of Cajun dressing.


Floyd Chicken Sandwich is boneless deep-fried chicken oozing with garlic cream cheese in six different herbs and spices.


Sloppy J wins with its homemade chunky meat sauce.


Aside from these, Zark’s is also famous for:

The Deep-Fried Bacon Wrapped. Quarter pound deep-fried cheeseburger with their signature Barbeque Rhum sauce.

Luther Burger. Double cheeseburger with two bacon strips sandwiched in honey-glazed donuts.

Thunder Mac & Cheese. Burger topped with mac & cheese and bacon strips.

Jawbreaker. Triple cheeseburgers with two slices of spam and bacon strips smothered in cheese sauce.

Tombstone. Eight all-beef patties, four slices of stacked American cheddar, topped with overflowing cheese sauce.

Are you hungry yet?

With these very affordable burger with big servings, Zark’s is quite popular.


“I think it’s really the value for money. The principle is to be fair, not only with my suppliers, not only with my team members, but also with the customers. I don’t want to rip them off, ganun yung values ko. I give them the values sa ibabayad nila. And I think they appreciate (naman) what we serve to them,” Zark explained.

“I think it’s the right time for us to announce to everyone that we are here; we’re taking the Zark’s brand to the next level and we’re the number one casual dining burger joint.”


At present, there are currently 32 branches nationwide -- with four currently in Visayas. With eight more opening including Davao and Cagayan de Oro. Expansion in the North furthers as a new store in Clark opens, going forward by city. This is the pace that Zark prefers for the growth of all his company-owned branches.


 “We have developed a system, built our own commissary, strong and competent management team. Along with that, yes. We are opening our doors for franchising.”

For franchising inquiries, please feel free to contact franchise@zarksburgers.ph

For more information about Zark’s Burgers, follow them on FB: https://www.facebook.com/ZarksBurgersPH/

Photos: Official Zarks FB

Coca-Cola plants a greener future in Hinatuan

Along the rocky terrain of Mindanao’s eastern coast, in the town of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, is a lush 10-hectare community farm that has been cited as one of the model farms by various government agencies, including the Department of Agriculture (DA). Despite the unpredictable weather, which includes month-long monsoon rains and even longer dry spells, the farm has yielded fruits and vegetables beyond what the land and its surrounding areas has ever seen.

Arsocena Cabiling, farmer and mother, holds up harvested corn in their fields in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

This verdant bounty and pockets of rain forests belies the fact that most of Hinatuan lies on limestone bedrock. The constant salty winds blowing from the Pacific Ocean, alongside the lack of access to fresh water has contributed to the less than ideal environment for agricultural cultivation and has restricted most farming activities to coconut and corn production. The lack of water source also discounts the possibility of livestock-raising.

“In 2012, we decided to farm better with the assistance from various stakeholders. We made sure that every help we received would be maximized,” said Arsolino Cabilin, chairman of the Tagasaka Coconut Farmers Association (TACOFA).

In that same year, TACOFA became a recipient of the Coca-Cola Agos Program in partnership with Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI). Through this project, the community was able to effectively shift to a more sustainable farming system – organic farming.

The Coca-Cola Agos Program installed a modified version of a simple technology called ram pump that allows lowland water to be brought to elevated areas without the need for electricity.

Making barren landscapes lush with the Coca-Cola Agos Program

“The unpredictable weather made it difficult for us to veer away from planting only coconuts and corn. There were times when it would suddenly have three weeks of no rain, sometimes it would stretch for two and a half months. Vegetables could not hold it out that long without rain,” said Dina Bayarcal, a TACOFA member and former treasurer. “We would fetch water from the river and manually bring it to the farm and water the plants. That’s the only thing we would do the whole day during a dry spell,” Bayarcal added.

Large tracts of land are now watered in more efficient ways with the help of the ram pumps that draw water from the river.

With the availability of water through the ram pumps, TACOFA was able to diversify its crops that now include cantaloupes, watermelons, soybeans, corn, coconuts, and other vegetables that are grown throughout the year. The association is even putting up a coco fiber rope and coir (coconut fiber) production facility.

Today, TACOFA membership has grown to over 100 farmer members tilling and developing the 10-hectare land, tapping its water source from the Coca-Cola Agos Program. The organization even plans on leasing some of the neighboring farms in order for them to expand their production.

“With a secure source of water, through the Coca-Cola Agos ram pumps, we were able to think of ways on how to better improve the way we farm. Access to water opened us to an endless possibility of options on what we can plant and raise,” said Cabilin. “We are also looking at ways on how we can further add value to our products.”

This year, the association has completed its coco coir production facility that would enable them to produce ropes, fiber mats, and coir logs – natural and biodegradable ways of preventing soil erosion, and contour farming. Tagasaka’s coconut nurseries have even boosted its contribution to the Department of Agriculture’s continuing effort to rehabilitate the ageing coconut industry, with seedling mortality rates now reduced from 55 to 20 percent.

Coca-Cola Agos Program: A gift to the next generation

Colorful murals are painted on the exterior walls of the water reservoir of Coca-Cola Agos Program.

TACOFA serves as the association for managing the Coca-Cola Agos Program after the ram pumps were turned over to the community. As the recipient organization and on behalf of the whole community, they are responsible for the maintenance and assurance that the ram pumps will continue to serve its purpose. Prior to the turn-over, TACOFA underwent workshops and orientations conducted by AIDFI on how to maintain and manage the ram pump as well as their natural environment. Two members of the organization also underwent hands-on mechanical training and have been certified by AIDFI to maintain the ram pumps for the community.

The organization serves as the unifying body for all household and farm recipients of the Coca-Cola Agos Program. They work hand-in-hand in taking care of the gift of water brought about by the installation of ram pumps for their community. They envision the project to serve the water needs of now and preserved for the next generations of TACOFA members.

“The Coca-Cola Agos ram pump is a gift to us, and it will be our gift to the next generation. Today, we will show the people the many ways one can farm; we will show those who have given much to us that we are grateful for their gift,” said Cabilin. “And we will show the next generation that with hard work, perseverance, and unceasing faith, things can and will be better.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

BPO pioneer ePerformax celebrates 15 years in the industry

As one of the newest industry nearly two decades ago, the BPO industry has grown by leaps and bounds. One of its leading pioneer companies is the ePerformax. It has been 15 years since they started its journey here in the Philippines. Since then ePerformax has helped the country grow its contact center and BPO industry. They have grown to be the best performing contact center for their clients and the best place to work for their employees.


It has always been the company’s vision to maximize the potential of every employee by giving them rigorous training and enough room to grow their career in the direction they choose. Now, ePerformax is gearing up for the future of the industry with confidence it can help employees evolve to the next level – to handle the increasingly more complex customer interactions for ePerformax’s clients. “We have accomplished what we set out to accomplish in the last 15 years,” ePerformax President and CEO, Teresa Hartsaw said to employees and their families during the company’s 15th Anniversary Grand Family Carnival. “You are the ones making ePerformax possible.”


What separates anyone working at ePerformax from everyone else in the industry is the company’s “PERFORM culture.” Our culture of performance maximizes everyone’s potential and provides opportunity for growth and career advancement. “I have seen a lot of people grow and have been fortunate to help them advance their careers,” ePerformax General Manager of its Global Communications & Management Academy, Justin Myers said. “I think that’s the key. We are looking for people who can perform, and we are looking for people who want to capitalize on their talent. We look for talented individuals and then we help them develop their global communications, consultative, leadership, and management skills.”


During the ePerformax 15th Anniversary Grand Carnival at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, the company held a job fair for aspiring employees. Applicants were evaluated on site and were able to attend and participate in all of the festivities if they were invited to start training.  Preparing candidates to apply for a client program at ePerformax is the training goal of the company’s Global Communications & Management Academy.  “We probably have the longest training among other contact centers in the country today,” Justin Myers said. “Recruits must be willing to give us their potential, and they are assured we will provide them with the training they need to be successful. It is pretty much finding a diamond in the rough and creating a beautiful gem.”


ePerformax’s 15th Anniversary event welcomed new trainees, celebrated tenured employees, and featured many employees’ talents and passion beyond their work. The afternoon started with a motorcade of floats designed and created by ePerformax employees from different departments and created a spotlight for each department’s nomination for the ePerformax Anniversary King and Queen. Once the parade floats arrived at the concert grounds, the Anniversary King and Queen contestants were asked tough questions in front of the audience of nearly 4,000. They were judged on their answers, composure, and confidence.  Whether ePerformax employees are vying for the position of Anniversary King or Queen or resolving customer problems, ePerformax challenges employees to “deliver their best.”


 “This is a business of global professionals and the requirements for superior communication and performance are much higher than most professions out there,” Teresa emphasized. “We talk to people around the globe, helping them solve their problems.  Most people have no idea how tough your job is,” to which all of the employees in attendance agreed with a resounding cheer at the statement. “It is a great job, but it is a tough job, and we’re going to prepare every one of you to be successful as the course of our industry evolves to the next level in partnership with Artificial Intelligence.” Teresa added. The evening was filled with more cheers as everyone watched all the talent segments. And it even got more exciting when the winners for the Anniversary King and Queen, eP’s Got Talent, and the Best Float were to be announced. All the winners stood proud for their co-workers as the crowd cheered on and got ready for the after-party.

The party was a grand celebration, but in another way, it was a kickoff. “In fact, I have been saying to everyone that after 15 years of hard work and success, it feels like we are at the beginning again with a lot of new technology and challenges. That’s why we must look toward the future,” Teresa emphasized. “Artificial Intelligence is advancing at such a rapid pace. It is increasing the self-service options and replacing basic representative functions. That’s both good and bad. Good for the customer because self-service is typically more efficient and good for the company because it is less expensive.  The bad will be if the BPO industry does not evolve with the changing needs of the clients and customers, much of what we do today will no longer be a viable service. ePerformax is planning on being very viable by focusing on skill development at all levels of the company and adapting fast to these changes now, so we can continue to grow and celebrate our successes in the future.”

SparkUp is BusinessWorld Digital Successor

For more than a decade BusinessWorld is part of my daily work habits. Updating my data base is always on time thanks to a newsprint whose forte is in economic reportage. Aside from Statistics, there are also interesting topics to better understand the world of business and keep you up to date to the latest happenings in the world. But that’s my worklife two years ago. I kind of miss holding the BusinessWolrd newspaper that has a crisp sound as you turn it into the next page.

BusinessWorld is the country’s leading business newspaper, and in this age of disruptive innovation, they need to level up, thus it now has a newest succsessor: SparkUp.


Last June Sparkup was officially launched at the which was attended by the media, students, staff of BusinessWorld and s and special guests speakers.


SparkUp is a space for the community of young, passionate, and wildly aspiring go-getters. Its assets include the website sparkup.ph, social media pages including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @SparkUpPH, and a quarterly published magazine.


The direction for a digital-first multimedia platform came from Lucien C. Dy Tioco, Executive VicePresident of Philippine Star Media Group, which BusinessWorld is part of. “SparkUp will prove to be a useful platform for business-minded millennials and centennials because it will not only serve as a source of business knowledge, but also a community where they can share ideas and inspire each other to turn business concepts into reality,” he said.

Created and designed for the next generation of business people, SparkUp will not only turn BusinessWorld’s text-driven reports into creatively executed insights, but will bring forth original content to excite its readers.

Its daily content hashtag will be categorize in the following stories:

#MoneyMonday – Tips on money management, with the latest news on saving, investing, and spending;

#TrendingTuesday – Insights on the latest trends and their impact on entrepreneurs and consumers;

#WorkingWednesday – Workplace stories and tips for the Gen Y and Gen Z's work ethics and career outlooks;

#TakeoverThursday – An insider tour of a day in the life of the members of the Sparkommunity;

#FreshFriday – Stories on the lighter side of business.

Aside from stories created by its team of journalists. SparkUp will also deliver insights from industry icons called Sparkfluencers who are young and trending business influencers who have made it to the top. They will write columns and speak live in events to foster learning and inspiration.

In order to boost awareness of business terms, SparkUp also introduces Sparktionary. This built-in dictionary provides digestible definitions through interactive executions readily available for every reader.

Signing up to SparkUp via sparkup.ph/signup will give users additional capacities, such as contributing their own content, highlighting passages of interest, taking down notes, bookmarking stories, and participating in a gamified platform.

As the first and only of its kind, SparkUp turns the need for daily business fix into a fun game. Logged-in users can earn as much coins as they can, especially when engagement in the website increases. In addition to this, badges can be collected by following a set of parameters, such as getting your contributed story to the home page, this leads to the accumulation of more coins which can be instantly used to buy items at the Marketplace, including actual copies of the print issue and passes to SparkUp events.

SparkUp will also regularly hold a series of events aimed at empowering the Sparkommunity.

Among these events are entrepreneurial summits, pocket forums, campus activations, start-up competitions, and case-study activities. These will enable members of the Sparkommunity to learn, meet up, network, and find potential partners.


To know more about SparkUp, visit www.sparkup.ph and follow @SparkUpPH.

Ragnarok Online Philippines: Closed Beta Testing Starts Today

Today is the day that all RO fans have been waiting for as Ragnarok Online (RO), the most popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) in the Philippines which revolutionized the landscape of online gaming will once again open the gates of Rune Midgard.


We have been waiting for this day as publishing partner companies Electronics Extreme Ltd., and ELITE begin its CLOSED BETA TEST today, June 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm. Now, beta testers will get firsthand experience and involvement on this phase by helping the ROPH team in providing the best MMORPG experience.

During the Ragnarok Online’s Q & A Session, last May 12, 2017, Kamphee “Ken” Phiromwad, Managing Director of Electronics Extreme, and ELITE CEO Johnny Paek revealed some of the most awaited game details:

It will be protected by EasyDefender (Solid proof from Thailand), this improves the game experience with its anti-bot and cheat protection systems;

FREE TO WIN: All Key-items could be dropped in game. All you need is teamwork and assiduity. It will provide everything that gamers need to advance and thrive in-game;

An special Revo-Classic version of the game starting with the 2-1 class, with class 2-2 and high class expected within 6 months and 1-2 years, respectively;

The return of the demised Morroc Town;

Monsters will be back to their original spawn point and will ignore the level differences between players and monsters;

Guild Wars will be released within the first 3 weeks with Godly Items not be immediately available but will soon be released;

Customized events for the Philippines;

Revival of team competition through the Ragnarok World Championship; and

There will be 2 available servers in CBT, namely, Thor and Loki.

ELITE, ensures that there is a continuous improvement of game experience through gathering of data during and after CBT. There is also a 24/7 customer support that will be available to handle all concerns that the players may encounter.

For more updates and details, kindly check out their official website at https://ragnarokonline.com.ph or the official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RagnarokOnline.com.ph/ or you can follow them on their Twitter page/Instagram at  @ragnarok_ph


Kapuso Primetime Queen Marian Rivera on Garantisadong Ginisarap dishes

Marian Rivera-Dantes is used to playing different characters: Primetime Queen, recording artist, brand ambassador, style icon, and philanthropist. But her favorite roles by far have been those behind the camera: as wife to Dingdong and mom to Baby Zia.


As a modern homemaker, who manages her time between work and family, Marian has found comfort in cooking as one of the best ways to make her family feel loved and to improve her culinary skills. On her social media pages, the Kapuso actress has posted some of her own culinary creations that range from baby food for little Zia, stews, soups, and veggies. And on days when Marian is short on time, stir-fry dishes have become her go-to choices for easy, yummy meals.

Topping her stir-fry list are Chopsuey and Fried Rice made with AJI-GINISA® Flavor Seasoning Mix, as seen in the seasoning’s two new TVCs which began airing last June 4, 2017.


In both versions, Marian dances and sings to the tune of her hit song, “Sabay-sabay Tayo,’ while she adds AJI-GINISA® to each dish to make them more delicious and “Garantisadong Ginisarap.”

Like Marian, you can also whip up “Garantisadong Ginisarap” dishes – even non-vegetable ones – by adding a touch of AJI-GINISA® to your favorite stir-fry recipes.

Visit http://www.ajinomoto.com.ph/recipes/ and like facebook.com/AjiGinisaPH and facebook.com/CookmunitybyAjinomotoPH for more dishes to try.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Baskin-Robbins opens two new stores in Pasig

Ice cream lovers near or in Pasig City have so much to rejoice as Baskin-Robbins, the world’s favorite ice cream brand, spreads more fun and excitement with the opening of its two new stores in Pasig, one in Ayala Malls The 30th (Ground Floor) and another in SM East Ortigas (Ground Floor).

Definitely a crowd favorite, Baskin-Robbins offers a wide variety of ice cream flavors to choose from, including a new flavor every month. In addition to innovative flavors, Baskin-Robbins specialty frozen desserts, cakes and thirst-quenching beverages are also available to satisfy your sweet tooth. Baskin-Robbins ice cream cakes can be customized to your preferred design, size and ice cream flavor making it a show-stopping dessert for all kinds of parties and celebrations.

Baskin-Robbins in Ayala Malls The 30th (Ground Floor)

Baskin-Robbins in SM East Ortigas (Ground Floor)

Mark your calendars and plan to stock up on your favorite ice cream flavors on every 31st day of the month when all Baskin-Robbins branches offer a whopping 31% off on pints, quarts and half gallons!

Wednesday is Pink Day at Baskin-Robbins! Don’t forget to wear or carry something pink when you drop by any Baskin-Robbins store on Wednesdays to get a free scoop of your favorite ice cream flavor with every purchase of a double junior scoop.


Established in 1945 by founders and ice cream enthusiasts, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins, in Glendale, California, Baskin-Robbins is recognized as the world’s favorite ice cream brand. It is also the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, providing quality and value to foodies everywhere with more than 7,300 branches located in nearly 50 countries around the world.
                                                  
Indulge in your cravings of this international favorite. Visit the newest Baskin-Robbins stores in Ayala Malls The 30th and SM East Ortigas!


Other Baskin-Robbins shops are located at Central Square, Bonifacio High Street, Uptown Place Mall and SM Aura in Bonifacio Global City; Greenbelt 5, Glorietta 2 and Glorietta 5 in Makati; Trinoma Mall, SM Fairview and SM North EDSA (2/F and The Block) in Quezon City; SM Southmall in Las Pinas; Solenad in Sta Rosa, Laguna; SM DasmariƱas in Cavite; and SM Pampanga.


For more updates, check out www.baskinrobbins.ph or its social media accounts: facebook.com/baskinrobbinsph, Twitter, and Instagram @baskinrobbinsph. 

Zark’s: Upgrading Your Burger Experience

Eight years ago, young entrepreneur, Rolandrei Viktor “Zark” Varona discovered a vacant 20- sqm. commercial space along Taft Avenue. At th...