Asus continues search for ‘incredible’ smartphones, launches​ ​AI-powered ZenFone 5 Series in Manila, Opens 100th store Philippine-wide

ZenFone 5
ZenFone 5 (Edd K. Usman)

Taiwanese technology titan AsusTek (Asus) Computer, Inc. continues its search for what it dubs the “incredible” in  smartphones, launching in the Philippines its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered ZenFone 5 Series.

Asus branded the event #Backto5PH as a nostalgic nod to its original ZenFone 5 smartphone it unveiled in January 2014.

     It was named ZenFone 5 mainly of its 5-inch screen display.

Hundreds of Asus fans, dealers, members of the news media, and the blogging community filled up the event venue at One Esplanade, Pasay City, in a rousing welcome for the latest of the company’s smartphone lineup.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen
Asus CEO Jerry Shen unveils their latest generation ZenFone 5 Series during launch in the Philippines. (Edd K. Usman)

No less than Asus CEO Jerry Shen came all the way from Taipei, Taiwan, as he led recently the introduction of ZenFone 5, ZenFone 5Q, and the flagship ZenFone 5Z.
The first two mobile devices are already available for Asus fans to buy in smartphone stores nationwide, while the third will be in the Philippine market sometime in June this year.
In his brief speech, Shen called the Philippines as one of his personal favorite countries.
He thanked Filipinos for their continued support for the brand, not only its smartphones, obviously, but the various products it was already globally known-for, such as motherboards, laptops, among other electronic innovative products for their complete ecosystem.
“We are (sworn) to deliver the incredible in everything we do…(to) make customers happy,” said Shen. “We have achieved so many great innovations in the smartphone industry.”

(A day after the launch, the company opened its 100th store in the country.)


Movie celebrity Gerard Anderson
Movie actor celebrity Gerald Anderson, Asus brand ambassador. (Edd K. Usman)

Meanwhile, to endear Asus more to Filipinos, the company enlisted movie and entertainment celebrity Gerald Anderson, who confided his love for Asus smartphones, as Asus brand ambassador.
Anderson, a native of Mindanao from General Santos City, said he used in his trip in Paris, France, his Asus ZenFone Max M1 which is billed as the “battery king for photographers.”
“I did not have to bring a charger as the Max lasted me more than a whole day,” the popular entertainer said.
Shen voiced his appreciation for Filipinos.
“Thank you very much for your continued support. Our story is not done, this is just the beginning. Today, we have our new champion, the ZenFone 5, our most intelligent smartphone,” the Asus CEO said.

Shen said the ZenFone 5 uses AI and data analytics to provide users…with an intelligent camera, our most recent achievement.”

At the event on April 14,

George Su, Asus Philippines country manager, recalled that “10 years ago we started our search for the incredible in this country.”
With your help, Asus has become even stronger, he added. Now, he said, ZenFone 5 is the next generation intelligent devices.
Asus first introduced the ZenFone 5 Series at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spaind, held from February 26 to March 1, 2018.
MWC combines the biggest exhibition of mobile products for the global mobile industry and conferences with speakers from various top companies.
At the Philippine launch, Marcel Campos, head of Asus Global Marketing Operations, revealed the prices of the three ZenFone 5 smartphones.
He said ZeFone 5Q is at P17,995; ZenFone 5, P19,995; and ZenFone 5Z, P29,995.
The ZenFone 5Q is a mid-range device; it has 6-inch FHD+ IPS display with a 2.5D curved glass. It comes with four cameras: a 16MP in front and a 20MP rear shooter.
Each of the ZenFone 5Q’s camera is accompanied by an 8MP wide-angle sensor for its primary lens. Inside is a Snapdragon 630 octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. It runs on Android 8.0 Oreo and Asus ZenUI 5.0, has dual SIM (Dual Standby), fingerprint scanner and Face Unlock. It is powered by a 3300mAh battery.
An obvious look-alike of Apple’s iPhone X, ZenFone 5 has 6.2-inch FHD+ IPS display with a Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor.
Asus billed the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 5Z as its “most intelligent” smartphones and, now, Filipinos can have their hands on the three devices.
The ZenFone 5Z sports a 6.2-inch, dual camera with 19:9 all-screen display. It has a 90 percent screen-to-body-ratio, packed in a 5.5-inch body size.
Asus said it is “the first-ever smartphone to harness the power of the latest Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with AIE.” (Edd K. Usman)


White spot syndrome –cause of shrimp industry degeneration, finally cured


Shrimp is one of the favorite dishes usually served in Filipino feasts. Shrimp industry is one of the highest grossing industry when it comes to fishery due to its high demand around the world. However, nowadays, shrimp supply is degenerating compared in the last decades.

In the recent study of Mary Beth B. Maningas, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Lab in Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences, there are three kinds of disease found in shrimp which cause death in a span of two weeks up to one month.

Based on her study, it is found out that the shrimp supply degeneration started in 2002 but the outbreak happened in 1993 in China.

Shrimp Aquaculture Industry Potential

Mary Beth ManingasDr. Maningas said that China, Thailand, and Vietnam are the ‘Top Shrimp Producers’ worldwide including the Philippines in 1990 ranked as 3rd highest shrimp producer reached 90,000 metric tons.

Shrimp industry produces an estimate profit of 25-B in the Philippines, 1.6-T in Asia, and 1.8-T worldwide.

Pathogens of the Shrimp Aquaculture Industry

The supply degeneration in the shrimp industry is due to the diseases found in them categorized as ‘virus’ and ‘bacteria’.

As explained by Dr. Maningas in Tuklasin Natin, the virus cannot thrive and survive without its ‘host’. Virus is non-curable. In fact, when the shrimp is positive of virus in span of 2 to 10 days, the shrimp could die once it was infected of virus.

While the bacteria is ‘curable’ through the administration of antibiotic. However, constant use of the same antibiotic may eventually cause the shrimp to become resistant. In the span of one week to one month, the shrimp could die once it has bacteria.

In Dr. Maningas’ presentation conducted in PCCAARRD, viruses found in shrimp are White Spot Syndrome, Taura Syndrome, Infectious Hypodermal and Haematopoietic Necrosis, and Laem-Singh virus. While bacteria found in shrimp are the Vibrio Harveyi and Vibrio Parahaemolyticus.

These diseases were first found and confirmed in China in 2009, Vietnam in 2010, Malaysia in 2011, Thailand in 2012, Mexico in 2014, and in the Philippines it was proven that have already existed.

Currently, the Research and Development Team of Dr. Maningas found out that in Bataan Site 1 (73%), Bataan Site 2 (27%), Bulacan (31%), Cebu (25%), Bohol (20%), Sarangani (7%), and General Santors (3%) are the provinces in the Philippines where the Shrimp White Spot Syndrome virus is found.

White Spot Syndrome in shrimp has caused the shrimp industry 365,000 metric tons per cropping profit losses.

Shrimp Disease Management and Prevention

Maningas Mary Beth

Dr. Maningas stressed that the only solution of these diseases is close observation and monitoring by the shrimp harvesters and the government. Conduction of disease management and prevention should be done. Unfortunately, nowadays it would be impossible to follow through an intensive shrimp testing as these test are costly because government-operated and accredited diagnostic centers are only few.

The accuracy of the AHPND results is highly related to the mortality of live shrimp to be tested in AHPND Diagnostics Centers and these centers are usually miles away from shrimp harvesters.

Philippine Shrimp Industry Needs



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In the research and studies done by Dr. Maningas and her team in relation to the Shrimp Industry in the country, it is recommended that the Philippines need the quick, affordable, easy-to-use, and produces accurate results of shrimp testing (AHPND testing).

The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) diagnostic tools were developed in Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan. Before, the intervention of Dr. Maningas’ project, the testing kit usually came from Taiwan and Thailand.

It was in 2011 when diagnostic tools were developed for the White Spot Syndrome virus and in 2014, diagnostic tools for the bacteria.

Result of the Research and Development Study of Shrimp White Spot Syndrome

Through the project “Pathology and Development of Molecular Detection Kit for EMS/AHPND causing bacteria” funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), the Engineering faculty of University of Sto. Tomas together with the Research and Development team of Dr. Beth Maningas, managed to create the Juan Amplification and the JAmp Detection Kit.

Jamp Alert

The Juan (One) Amplification has the ability to detect whether a shrimp has AHPND. This is a prototype diagnostic kit and heat block using loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). This enables the heat to go up to 90o which stays in 5 minutes and then eventually cools down to 65o.  

This technology is easy to prepare, easy-to-use, and affordable for Php300 per testing and can produce results in just one hour.

LAMP is 10 times more sensitive compare to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) commonly used in Diagnostic Centers. It also has the capability to detect the AHPND-causing bacteria.

The Juan Amplification and the JAmp Detection Kit costs Php50,000 and can test up-to 50 reactions.

Shrimp harvesters is required to bring 5 to 10 pieces of shrimp samples per hectares for testing in Diagnostic Centers.


Government Intervention

According to the economist and former Department of Education Undersecretary Antonio Valdes, it is vital for the Philippine government to have an efficient agricultural program. An efficient and effective policies and programs in Agro-industrial may dictate whether the country has the ability to feed its growing population without the need for money remittances from OFW and food importation.

Just like the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology, which uses science and technologies to address existing and future problems.  PCAARRD contributes to provide solutions in the agriculture sector, they are dedicated to make technologies available to the citizens.

In fact, funding research and development studies and/or projects of different scientists, researchers, professor is part of PCAARRD’s many endeavors. Among them are Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, Professor, Forest Resource Management of Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños, who published his study called “GIS-based Inventory and Sustainability Assessment of Rubber and Cacao in Major Production Areas of the Philippines”; Dr. Carlos C. Baylon, DOST-PCAARRD Mussel R & D Program Leader and Professor, University of the Philippines-Visayas in the project “Longline Culture of Mussels”; Dr. Mary Beth B. Maningas, Project Leader, PCAARRD-DOST Pathobiology and Molecular Detection of Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease Causing Bacteria in the Philippines, Department of Biological Science, University of Sto. Tomas for the Detection Kit for Early Maturity Syndrome in Shrimps. The continued support of PCAARRD ensures the increase of production of farmers and fishermen in the country.

While sometimes, in the process of their research and studies, researchers and scientists found out many loop holes when they are already in the field. As they find policies, practices and implementation in agricultural sector and industries that is needed to change, tweak, or must be corrected. (Cathy Cruz)

Cathy at PCAARRD2

DoE and Girl Scouts for Energy Conservation and Environment Protection

DoE and Girl Scouts for Energy Conservation and Environment Protection

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is inked between the Department of Energy (DoE) and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) to help young girls and Filipinas to be in forefront of energy and environment conservation.

DoE Secretary Alfonso Cusi emphasizes the importance of women’s perspective in science, innovations, and technology.

“We at DoE recognizes that we should take a holistic approach to train female students, as young as those in elementary to appreciate energy.”

Cusi also hopes that this partnership will encourage more young girls and women to take up Science, Technology, Energy, and Mathematics courses.


DoE and Girl Scouts for Energy Conservation and Environment Protection2

Meanwhile, GSP National President Susan Locsin, express gratitude to the DoE for the opportunity to work together, promises that this would greatly help not only the girl scouts but the Filipinos in general. That they are going to share the knowledge the DoE will impart with other people.

“We would like to encourage other girls in the home, in the community, and the whole nation to be able to disseminate information about energy conservation and basically, just to keep our planet for the next generation,” Locsin stressed.

DoE and Girl Scouts for Energy Conservation and Environment Protection3

The MoU will target GSP 2.2 million members all over the Philippines. Training and educational package provided by DoE will be delivered in GSP’s council camps, district camps, provincial camps, regional camps, and national camps in 97 regions all over the country.

Highlighted projects in the MoU are the Eneready, a career talk for grade 9 and 10 students which aim to break gender-stereotyping in electronics and science-based technical fields; development and dissemination of information, educational and communication materials on the Eneready program for GSP, particularly senior girl scouts provided by the DoE; and implementation of other activities that will promote energy conservation.

Locsin hopes that thru this program everyone will realize that “anybody, especially women, can achieve and can do anything as much as men can do.” # (Ehlorra Mangahas)

Lunar Triple Treat


Philippines is in for a triple astronomical treat on January 31, Wednesday due to a lunar eclipse which will exhibit the Super moon, Blue moon, and Blood moon in just one night.

To make Filipinos enjoy the lunar exhibition, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) release an advisory regarding the best time to observe and watch the sky.

In Manila, the Moon will rise at 5:42 PM on January 31. The major phases of the eclipse are as follows: Penumbral eclipse begins at 6:49 PM; Partial eclipse begins at 7:48 PM; Greatest eclipse at 9:29 PM; Partial eclipse ends at 11:11 PM; and Penumbral eclipse ends at 12:09 AM.

PAGASA also reminds Filipinos that it is safe to watch and observe this phenomenon and no special device is needed. A livestream of the event will be uploaded in PAGASA Facebook and Youtube pages.

To maximize the moon watching, Engr. Dario dela Cruz give some tips, “Mas maganda na away from the city lights at malinaw o walang harang and Silangan or Eastern side.”

While this event is purely a visual enjoyment, PAGASA debunked myth in relation to this rare event, including whether it causes the Mayon volcano to erupt and other natural disasters.

Engr. Dela Cruz further clarifies, “walang correlation ang earthquake o pagsabog ng bulkan sa paglabas ng Super moon. Hindi dapat i-consider and paglitaw ng 3 lunar event sa pagsabog ng bulkan.”

While it has no correlation to volcano eruption and earthquakes, the Super moon affects the tides. Dela Cruz said that this event will add three (3) inches on water level during high tide.

Furthermore, a clear sky is expected during the lunar event per weather forecast. The moon is viewable all over the country with the moon 30% brighter. (Ehlorra Mangahas)

DOST & 3M: A Technology-based Collaboration


In hopes of preparing students and youth to be more updated in technology and innovations, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the multinational company 3M Philippines, Inc. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

The signing of the MoU is led by DOST Secretary Prof. Fortunato De La Peña and 3M Phils. Inc., President & Managing Director Ariel Lacsamana. This collaboration is expected to fully benefit the target students and youth, as well as the Filipinos, and especially the Philippines.

Secretary dela Peña hopes that this partnership with 3M would greatly benefit the country. He expressed his gratefulness to the company, saying that “this collaboration is important, urgent, and timely.”

Lacsamana said that he is very thankful for the opportunity to work with the government, especially the DOST.

3M Phils., Inc., is a science and technology innovation company, that takes pride in their advanced technology, research, and as a multinational company.

As a manufacturing company, 3M is into retail market center (hardware, bookstore/office/pharmacy, mass market, and general trade), industrial market (automotive & transportation, general industrial and metal & woodworking), infrastructure, construction and energy markets (energy & safety, building & construction, and infrastructure market).

Lacsamana stressed that “it is great that we could be aligned with DOST to improve the lives of the Filipino people.”

This partnership is effective for five (5) years and can benefit students from Science high schools around the country, and students in Grade 11 & 12 in the STEM strand. While teachers and faculties will benefit as well from training centers.

Projects included in the MoU are joint student research with mentors from 3M and renowned researchers; science immersions; access to 3M offices, plants, and their science equipment; and co-training and co-development with students and DOST.

Furthermore, one of the emphasized projects is the food processing centers and training. This targets regions across the Philippines which aims to encourage and support local products.

As well as proper education regarding food handling, food safety (microbiology), and processing. Which Lacsamana hope that through this project, “it’s making sure that technology can reach the regions.”

While there is a long way to go and many projects are needed, La Peña and Lacsamana hope that this partnership would also encourage other corporations to collaborate with government agencies.

Not only because to fulfill the company or corporations’ social responsibilities but with the vision of helping the Filipinos and the Philippines for a better life. (Ehlorra Mangahas)

Lenovo K6 Note powers a richer entertainment experience

Lenovo’s newest phablet offers power, form and function for an excitingly flexible mobile experience.

Lenovo’s newest phablet offers power, form and function for an excitingly flexible mobile experience.

Don’t let a dead smartphone ruin the day. Built for entertainment, the Lenovo K6 Note’s large 4000mAh Lithium-polymer battery gives users enough battery capacity to stream their Spotify playlist all day and Netflix videos all night. Enjoy a more immersive audio experience with Dolby Atmos, which complements the Lenovo K6 Note’s 5.5-inch full-HD IPS display.

Take share-worthy photos with the Lenovo K6 Note’s 16MP rear camera with Phase Detection Auto-Focus (PDAF) for sharp details and vivid colors. The Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) dual-LED flash automatically adjusts to create natural-looking skin tones and consistently vibrant colors.

The K6 Note

With the Lenovo VIBE K6 Note’s 8MP camera, taking clearer and sharper selfies uploaded on social media will earn more likes and followers. Breeze through the day-to- day tasks without a hitch with the Lenovo K6 Note’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 64-bit 1.4GHz octa-core processor, Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS and 4GB RAM. With the phone’s built-in fingerprint reader, there’s no need to worry about unauthorized access to one’s data, photos and other files.

“We want to bring the modern Filipino smartphone user infinite entertainment everywhere with the Lenovo K6 Note through its outstanding pro-mode camera features, Dolby Atmos (R) speakers and a long-lasting 4000mAh battery,” said Dino Romano, country manager of the Lenovo Mobile Business Group.

Lenovo Mobile Business Group Philippines Country Manager Dino Romano and Lenovo Mobile Business Group Philippines Marketing Manager Vincent dela Cruz

The Lenovo K6 Note sports a sleek, all-metal unibody design in sophisticated dark gray, gold and silver versions. Get a free Bluetooth audio headset with every purchase of the K6 Note, available at Lenovo stores and authorized dealers nationwide for only P11,999. Buyers can also enjoy financing options such as six months zero interest via credit cards or low monthly payments via Flexi Finance through selected dealers.

The all-new Lenovo K6 Note is a power packed smartphone that delivers endless fun and entertainment in the palm of the hand. Featuring a massive battery, blazing fast processor speeds, enhanced 4G LTE connectivity and smooth performance, the Lenovo K6 Note enables users to keep up with today’s fast-paced digital lifestyle.

From Ardent Comm PR

Posted and Edited by Peter Paul Duran


Ant Financial and Ayala Corporation to promote equal access to financial services in the Philippines with investment in Globe Telecom’s Mynt

MANILA and HANGZHOU – February 17, 2017 – Leading Philippine mobile operator Globe Telecom today announced that Ant Financial Services Group, one of the world’s leading digital financial services providers, has entered into a strategic partnership with Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc. (Mynt), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Capital Venture Holdings (GCVHI) under Globe Telecom, and Ayala Corporation, one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines, to accelerate financial inclusion and upgrade payment services in the Philippines.

Ant Financial, parent company of Alipay, and Ayala Corp have signed the definitive documents to enter into an investment via subscription to new shares in Mynt, which operates GCash and Fuse Lending. GCash is an internationally-acclaimed micropayment service which can be used to buy prepaid load, pay bills, send money, make donations, shop online, and purchase goods without the need for cash. Fuse Lending offers personal and business loans to unbanked and underserved Filipinos through the use of mobile technology, alternative data, and innovative credit scoring methods.

Subject to the closing of the transaction, Ant Financial, will own a substantial minority interest in Mynt while Ayala Corp will acquire a minority interest. GCVHI will hold the remaining equity interest.

The fresh capital infusion will help Mynt achieve its vision of becoming a world-class online and offline payment provider as well as scale up its mobile wallet services and quickly expand its digital financial services.

The deal represents Ant Financial’s first-ever investment in the Philippines and demonstrates the company’s confidence in Mynt and its management team to upgrade digital financial services in the region. With this partnership, Ant Financial, whose suite of digital financial services includes Alipay, will share with Mynt its know-how in using technology to provide equal access to financial services.

“A world-leading digital financial services provider has decided to partner with us. We are confident that having a strategic partner for Mynt will help fulfill our mission of providing financial services in a non-traditional manner that will benefit the majority of our population who are unbanked. With this partnership, we are set to democratize financial services in the Philippines,” said Ernest Cu, Globe President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We look forward to working with Mynt’s innovative management team to provide simple, secure, low-cost and accessible digital financial services to unserved and underserved individuals and small and micro enterprises in the Philippines, thus helping individuals to live a better life and helping SMEs to grow and create more jobs,” said Eric Jing, Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial. “Ant Financial is committed to building an open, technology-based ecosystem with our partners.”

“We are happy to be part of Mynt and capture the exciting opportunities in financial technology,” said Ayala Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. “We believe this is a great platform to redefine the country’s financial services space amidst a robust consumer market and an increasingly digital environment. With the combined strengths of Ayala, Globe, and Ant Financial, we believe we can help more Filipinos gain access to safer, more convenient, and extensive payment and lending platforms.”

Leveraging the power of mobile and digital technology, Mynt is pioneering initiatives that provide financial services that previously were not available to most Filipinos. It is currently the biggest mobile money base in the Philippines with over 3 million registered customers and ₱1 billion worth of transactions per week.  Mynt is also the only company in the Philippines that serves as a one-stop shop for fintech services for consumers, merchants, and organizations through GCash and Fuse Lending. (Source: Globe Corporate Communications, Angel)

Posted by: Alicia Angelica L. Villanueva