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Russian bringing culture and arts, not just business to Philippines

Expanding tourism and business opportunities are not the only things Russians brought to the Philippines in the ongoing Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibits (PRBFEx) at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC). They also brought culture and arts.

The media in Cebu, like Sun.Star Cebu and the Cebu Daily News, focused in particular on the unveiling of the bust of Leo Tolstoy, the celebrated Russian novelist who wrote “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” and advocated ideas on civil disobedience during the 19th century, at the CICC plaza during the opening of the four-day conference on October 21, 2010.

A 30-strong Russian delegation — led by Vice Governor Igor Metelsky of St. Petersburg, Russian Federation and sculptor Gregori Pototsky — arrived earlier to participate in the business forum that included an exhibit of both Philippine and Russian products.

Pototsky, who sculpted and installed the Tolstoy bust, delivered a talk on culture during the forum. He also demonstrated how to make a bust with Cebuano businessman Luis ‘Kiting’ Moro as his on-the-spot model. He had installed some 56 monuments in different countries to promote stronger cultural ties between Russia and the world.


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Russian vodka attracts attention in Phil-Russian forum

FREE-tasting of the best Russian vodka has become an attractive sidelight for Filipinos checking out the ongoing Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibits (PRBFEx) at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).

The Russian Prestige Vodka, named “The best vodka in 2009” in a Moscow international competition, has joined the exhibits designed to stimulate trade and investments between the Philippines and Russia. The PRBFEx is positioning the Philippines as an entry point for Russian trade and cultural relationships with countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Alexander Komolov, a consultant of the Philippine Russian Business Assembly (PRBA) and is marketing the Russian Prestige Vodka, joined the 30-strong delegation from Russia led by Vice Governor Igor Metelsky of St. Petersburg, Russian Federation and celebrated Russian sculptor Gregori Pototsky who arrived in Cebu to participate in the four-day business forum and exhibits.

Komolov is offering free-tasting of his premium vodka that won the Moscow international competition in April 29, 2009. The competition attracted more than 70 samples from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. All contestants were tough selection during closed “blind” tastings. The samples were evaluated by professional tasters vodka distillery industry organoleptic characteristics (color, taste, aroma).

The forum, which is on its second day, has scheduled discussions for tourism, education, energy, real estate and retirement facilities, labor placement and outsourcing, and trade promotion and development. There are also trade exhibitions, architecture and art show and a photo exhibit throughout the CICC until Saturday.

Vodka came to Russia in the late 14th century. In 1386, the Genoese ambassadors brought the first aqua vitae or “the water of life” to Moscow and presented it to Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy. According to a legend, around 1430 a monk called Isidore from Chudov Monastery inside the Moscow Kremlin made a recipe of the first Russian vodka. Having a special knowledge and distillation devices he became an author of the new type of alcoholic beverage of a new, higher quality.

This “bread wine” as it was initially known, was produced for a long time exclusively in the Grand Duchy of Moscow and in no other principality of Rus’ (this situation persisted until the era of industrial production). That’s why this beverage for a long time was associated with Moscow. Until the mid-18th century, it remained relatively low on alcohol content, not exceeding 40% by volume. It was mostly sold in taverns and was quite expensive.

By the 1860s, due to the government policy of promoting consumption of state-manufactured vodka, it became the drink of choice for many Russians. In 1863, the government monopoly on vodka production was repealed, causing prices to plummet and making vodka available even to low-income citizens. By 1911, vodka comprised 89% of all alcohol consumed in Russia.

Today, Russian Prestige has become one of the premium vodka in what is now known as the Russian Federation.

“Increased appreciation for culture and heritage that will lead to better understanding between the two nations is important to stimulating tourism, trade, and investments,” said Honorary Russian consult Armi Lopez-Garcia.Gov. Garcia, for her part, said the forum has expanded from a “simple business forum” to a “real cultural and arts exchange.”

St. Petersburg Vice Gov. Igor Metelsky, for his part, thanked the Cebu Province, its sister province, for its contribution to the forum. He said the forum was a “very good tradition” and opens up opportunities and strengthens ties between the Philippines and Russia.

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RP as Russian entry point to ASEAN

“Think ASEAN,” goes the title of one recent book of marketing guru Philip Kotler. The book advocates the rethinking of marketing strategies of Western countries and global corporations toward the “ASEAN community 2015.”

This seems to be the direction as a 30-strong Russian delegation participates in the four-day Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibits that opens today (October 21, 2010) and ends on October 24, 2010.

Here is an excerpt of Ehda Dagooc’s story today in The Freeman:

“The first Philippine-Russian business forum last year strengthened these ties. Now we are moving forward towards making the Philippines as an entry point for Russia’s efforts to develop its relationship with the rest of Asia,” said Honorary Russian Consul Armi Lopez-Garcia.

“As coordinator for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) the Philippines is a strategic entry point to South East Asia and the rest of the region as we also develop broader regional relations between Asia and the Russian Federation,” she added.

The second annual business forum between the two countries will set the stage for deepening economic engagements between the Russian Federation and Asia as businesses across both regions explore cross–border collaboration opportunities.

Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim and Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, along with Russian Federation Ambassador H.H. Nikolay Kudashev, will cut the ribbon to open the four-day PRBFEx which starts today and serves as a business and networking platform bridging businesses across the Russian Federation, the Philippines, and Asia.

Economic observers are looking forward to economic growth in Asia and Russia that will see both increasing their presence and weight in the global economy, said Consul Garcia.

Russians have become an important market for the Philippines, especially for Cebu. In fact, hotel players have even employed Russian staff to cater specifically for this emerging travel market.

The Philippines, being the closest tropical destination in the eastern part of Russia, is expecting a surge of arrivals from this area, given that the distance is only a five-hour flight.

The Russian market been constantly eyed by Philippine Tourism as an emerging travel market in the Philippines, even described to be among the top high-spenders.

The 2nd Philippine-Russian Business Forum is organized by the Philippine Russian Business Assembly Inc. and the Embassy of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Province of Cebu and the Department of Tourism.

The Philippine Exhibits and Themeparks Corp. is co-organizing the event in association with the City of Mandaue, Department of Trade and Industry, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cebu Business Club, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cebu FAME, Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation, and the Cebu Gifts, Toys and Housewares (GTH).


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Cebu’s strategic location in southern Philippines

NEO has carved a respectable market niche in the Visayas and Mindanao as faces the global competition.

Ehda Dagooc of The Freeman wrote about Dell, the global technology company, making Cebu as a gateway to southern Philippines. This is a logical move for Dell because of Cebu’s strategic location in central Philippines.

Aside from being a progressive metropolis with an international airport and seaport that connects it with major economic powerhouses in Asia, Europe, the United States, and Australia, Cebu is nearer to the major urban centers in other Visayas provinces and in Mindanao.

Thus Ms. Ehda wrote:

“Dell, which does not only boasts of its quality technology hardware, but also for its superior technology solution products, is now targeting the SME market in Southern Philippines by partnering with the Cebu-based IT solutions provider Ng Khai Development Corporation.

According to Dell Global BV, country manager of the Philippine Representative Office Christopher “Chris” Papa, the Philippines offers good growth opportunities for the company, especially the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

With about 980 thousand businesses and over 80 million population in the country, Papa said there is a big untapped market for Dell here.

Dell’s partnership with Ng Khai backs the global technology giant’s bid to expand its regional coverage.

‘Cebu being the second biggest growth center in the Philippines next to Metro Manila, boasts of large-scale manufacturing companies, IT parks and complexes ranging from business process outsourcing, technical support, IT consultancy, up to web development. It is also a major gateway to other major commercial districts as well as the prominent academic community in the Philippines,’ Papa said.

Papa expressed optimism that Dell will be able to address the growing demands of the local business communities across industries for high-end technology offering and solutions.

The recently inked partnership will enable Ng Khai to provide for the IT needs of customers in the Southern Philippine market, as Dell’s Premier Partner in the region.”

Indeed, the market for various products and services in Cebu and southern Mindanao is vast as recognized in the experience of PRworks clients GT Cosmetics, the International NKYR Academy (INA), and NEO, the Filipino laptop maker.

Since last year, PRworks had been helping the three companies (two are based in Cebu while NEO is based in Metro Manila) access and make their presence felt in the Visayas cities of Bacolod, Iloilo, and Tagbilaran as well as Mindanao urban centers particularly the cities of Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga.

This is a vast and growing market far away from the Philippine capital of Manila.

GT Cosmetics, which produces and sells among others beauty and whitening soap products, has for instance carved a respectable chunk of the Visayas-Mindanao market despite the massive marketing campaigns of its Manila-based competitors.

INA, on the other hand, increased enrollment of students from neighboring Visayas provinces and Mindanao wanting to improve their skills and knowhow in massage. This is in line with INA’s vision of upgrading the quality of the wellness industry in the country.

Meanwhile, the Filipino maker of quality laptops NEO is carving a market ahead of the global competition not only in Metro Manila and Luzon, but more so in Cebu, other Visayas provinces and in Mindanao.

Based on their experiences, PRworks is all the more convinced of the vast potentials on the Visayas- Mindanao market not only for its clients or even Dell, but also for other global as well as Cebu and Manila-based companies.

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4 Mindanao ports to be privatized


THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is keen to push ahead with its decision to privatize at least five state-controlled ports, including four in Mindanao as part of the Aquino administration’s strategy to allow the private sector help the government in funding infrastructure projects.

The first targets will include the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex, those in Cagayan de Oro, Ozamiz, Zamboanga and General Santos, as well as the roll-on, roll-off ports belonging to the Strong Republic Nautical Highway.

The PPA owns and controls more than a hundred ports all over the country. At the same time, however, PPA General Manager Juan C. Sta. Ana said he would continue to improve the operations of profitable government ports.

“We subscribe to the basic notion that the private sector is the engine of growth. For this reason, we should continue to encourage more private-sector participation in the management, operation and development of ports,” Sta. Ana, in a statement, said.

Over the past years, the PPA was only able to privatize a handful of ports. The most recent was the Batangas Port, which has been idle for two years before its takeover by Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI), and the Manila North Harbor. Some of the port holdings privatized included the Manila International Container Terminal operated by the International Container Terminal Services Inc. and the Manila South Harbor of ATI. The PPA, one of the most profitable of the government-owned and -controlled corporations, was able to devolve some of the local ports to municipal governments the last few years.

Sta. Ana said the government is reducing its presence in these port facilities in line with the government’s private-public partnership.

He added he expects all of the PPA’s more than 100 ports to be privatized before the end of the Aquino administration in 2016.

Three of the five ports already have private cargo-handling operators.

A subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) operates Davao port; Oro Port runs Cagayan De Oro port; and Asian Terminals Inc and ICTSI jointly operate General Santos.

These ports handle the bulk of local and international trade in Visayas and Mindanao.

For now, the port of Cagayan de Oro and Mindanao International Container Terminal Port (MICTP) ranked second only to Cebu City in terms of revenue collection in the Visayas-Mindanao region.

During the first quarter of this year, MICTP posted more than fifty percent increase in its containerized cargo handling compared to last year. Data showed that containerized volume reached 37,940 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) during January to March, way above previous year’s 24,868 TEUs.

MICTP Seaport Department Head Dante Clarito attributed the increase to the continued growth of the manufacturing sector and the robust mining industry in the region.

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The Russians are arriving …

Yup, they are arriving for the Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibits (PRBFEx) tomorrow (October 21, 2010) at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) …

Check out …

Gregori Pototsky is a world renowned sculptor who has installed 55 monuments in different countries. He is in Cebu to attend the Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibits (PRBFEx) and unveil the bust of famous Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.

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Cebu products to be shown in Philippine Russian exhibit

Honorary Russian Consul Armi Lopez Garcia and Doris Isubal-Mongaya, managing director of PRworks Inc., sign the memorandum of agreement engaging PRworks Inc. to help generate publicity and interest in both in the Philippines and Russia about the conduct of the Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibits (PRBFEx). Looking on are Russian members of the Philippine Russian Business Assembly (PRBA) and Marissa Nallana of the Philippine Exhibits and Trading Co. (PETCO) and Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).

A variety of products and services from both the private and government sectors will be awaiting visitors to the four-day Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibition (PRBF) at the Cebu International Convention Center.

Aside from the government offices like the Visayas regional offices of the Department of Tourism and Department of Trade and Industry, exporting companies will also be showcasing their best products on October 21-24.

Visitors will witness Cebu-made export-quality products such as well-crafted furniture manufactured by members of the Cebu Furniture Industry Foundation–Kristine International and Natures Legacy; gifts, toys and houseware products of some 33 member-companies of the Cebu-Gifts, Toys and Housewares Exporters and Manufacturers; as well as fashion accessories from the members of Cebu Fashion Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters (Cebu-Fame.)

The exhibit will also be a potpourri of tourism products and services from various industry players such as hotels, resorts, tour and travel operators, airline companies and health and wellness providers among others.

Aside from promoting business and trade, the PRBF intends to strengthen cultural ties between the Philippines and Russia through a photo exhibit, dubbed “Philippines and Russian insights,” which is among the major components in the exhibition.

“To make business with foreign traders, you need to understand their culture, psychology and way of thinking.  That’s what we hope to accomplish through this photo exhibition—to make Filipino and Russian businessmen understand each other, know more about their countries, their culture, art, etc.,” said PRBA committee on culture chairman Tania Arkhanghel’skaya.

Russian and Filipino world-class photographers who have already signified their participation in the exhibit include Alexander Efremov, Evgency Globenko, Konstantin Kokoshkin, Nick Degtyarev, Bob Lim and Jan Gonzales.

The 2nd PRBF is organized by the PRBA, Embassy of the Russian Federation and the Philippine Exhibits and Themeparks Corp. It is being held in cooperation with the Province of Cebu, City of Mandaue, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cebu Business Club and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Filed under: Events, News, , , , , , , , ,

Don Bosco relic to visit Cebu in December

CEBU, Philippines – The relic of St. John Bosco is expected to be taken to Cebu and other parts of the Philippines as part of the planned international event.

Fr. Fidel Orendain SDB recently told Cebu-based members of the newly-formed Bosconian International Chamber of Commerce (BICC) that top Salesian officials in Italy are embarking on an international tour of the saint’s relics.

Cebu will be an important part of the tour this December which aims, among others, to promote the Bosconian way.

In a press statement, BICC-Cebu members are awaiting for updates on the relic’s tour preparations with the expected arrival of District Customs Collector Ronnie Silvestre from Rome.

Silvestre is arriving in time for a general meeting tonight at the Cebu Grand Hotel of Bosconians doing business in Cebu.

Silvestre attended the Fourth Assembly of the World Federation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco at the Via Della Pesana IIII, Rome from September 29 to October 3, 2010 together with two other alumni in the Philippines – Teddy Javier and Jun Bernad of Don Bosco Mandaluyong.

Silvestre, who is a past national federation president of Bosconians in the Philippines, is from Don Bosco Pampanga.

According to Silvestre, the three of them reported on activities in the Philippines and participated in the election of the world alumni organization.

Right after the start of his stint as Cebu customs collector, he began helping organize the Cebu BICC chapter which is part of an international network of Bosconian businessmen and professionals.

The BICC chapter in Cebu is seen as a potential hub for international business networking among hundreds of thousands of past Don Bosco pupils here and abroad.

He said that this development should help stimulate business and investments in Cebu.

For the local customs bureau, this should invite more legitimate importations in the months and years to come among businessmen “doing business the Bosconian way.”

Charter members and officers of the Cebu chapter, who will be inducted by Silvestre on October 16, 2010 at the Laguna Garden, are nevertheless looking forward to the awaited visit of Saint John Bosco’s relic in December.

The relic is expected to arrive in Bacolod City and will be in Cebu for a week before it will be taken to Manila, said Fr. Orendain.

It will be placed in a special case and brought around in a specially made van. (FREEMAN)

Check out the following link in The Freeman …

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