BIZ BUZZ: ‘The cups of truth’
Who needs costly election surveys when you can simply run to the nearest 7-Eleven … and count some cups?
It is hardly scientific nor 100-percent accurate but Jose Victor Paterno, CEO of master license holder Philippine Seven Corp., told reporters on Thursday he was especially proud their “7-Election” campaign correctly called the winning presidents in the past three elections.
For those unaware, the promo allows people to buy their favorite hot or cold drinks in special cups bearing the names of their preferred presidential candidates.
It was meant to be a “fun” promotion that was open to anyone, even those unqualified to cast their votes.
Anyway, the 2022 polls were no different for the 7-Elections, thanks to the company’s growing sample size—apologies, we meant store network—of over 3,000 branches.
President Marcos won the recent 7-Election, with a 43-percent margin against the official tally of 59 percent.
Former Vice President Leni Robredo finished second place with 24 percent of the cups—below her actual 28-percent margin.
There were some variations between candidates Isko Moreno, 8 percent versus the actual 4 percent and Manny Pacquiao’s 6 percent versus the actual 7 percent. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson captured 5 percent of the cups against the official 2 percent.
Paterno said the 2016 elections were more challenging since former President Rodrigo Duterte was not well-known earlier in the campaign.
But he claims 7-Election saw the trend earlier than the rest. In fact, he said one of the company’s directors asked him point-blank if their stores were actually cheating.
“We never heard of this guy. He’s not reflected in the surveys,” Paterno recalled the board member complaining.
It turns out the cups runneth over with truth and Duterte won the elections.
The 7-Election campaign will likely continue and with a bigger “sample size” in 2028. The company plans to open over 300 stores in 2022 alone and will continue to expand in the coming years.
—Miguel R. Camus
Solaire North rising
After slight delays caused by the pandemic, tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. is going full blast with the development of his second integrated gaming resort in Quezon City, right along the Vertis North complex and very close to the future Light Rail Transit 1, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 7 and MRT 3 common station.
Recently, Bloomberry Resort Corp.’s second property, officially called “Solaire Resort North,” formally topped off, which means that the last beam has been placed, signifying completion of the main vertical structure. If everything goes as planned, the tycoon’s newest integrated resort will open its doors to the public by 2023.
We heard that it will be a 33-story skyscraper, possibly one of the tallest in the area. D.M. Consunji Inc. is the contractor for this project.
Just like Bloomberry’s first property along Manila Bay in Parañaque City, Solaire Resort North is expected to offer hotel, gaming, restaurants and bars, meeting facilities and retail areas.
To recall, in 2015, Bloomberry unit Sureste Properties Inc. bought from the National Housing Authority 15,676 square meters of land in the Vertis North area. Excavation work started in 2019 but hard lockdowns at the height of the pandemic slightly delayed construction activities.
The Solaire North Project was recognized by the local government of Quezon City as a priority project due to its potential impact on job creation. But management will have to be extra stricter in screening visitors, especially minors, given the proximity of this area to some schools.
Guiguinto, Bulacan rising
Few have heard of Czark Mak Corp. (CZM), but this company owned by the Wongchuking family is going in full swing as it ramps up construction of its Acrocity development in Guiguinto, Bulacan.
Earlier this week, it unveiled its new hotel located just a few kilometers from the North Luzon Expressway, on the 20-hectare T12 Polo Land Industrial Estates complex.
It is here where the group began by opening a premium dining establishment, Mt. Fuji Japanese Restaurant, through its hotel and restaurant arm Transcendental Relection Group in November last year.
Last Monday, CZM led by its chair Caesar Wongchuking and Guiguinto Mayor Agatha Paula “Agay” Cruz unveiled Acro Residences, a low-rise, affordable business hotel with 102 rooms spread across three floors, in Barangay Tabang.
It is also equipped with a café (Café de Margaux), a rooftop bar (Homecourt), function rooms and retail establishments on a 945-square meter footprint.
Acro Residences is expected to be fully operational by the fourth quarter of 2022 and will be open to both business travelers and families from both inside and outside the province.
Apart from the hotel, the group is currently erecting Flavors From Home Chinese restaurant located across Mt. Fuji. The new restaurant is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023 and is seen to attract more diners to experience what Acrocity has to offer.
CZM director Keith Wongchuking said their vision for Acrocity was to provide a complete infrastructure and build a community that would foster connections and sustain a lifestyle of work and leisure combined.
“We’ve been in business in this district of Bulacan for decades and we’ve seen it slowly blossom into one of the most rapidly developing cities in the province thanks to the many infra projects that the district representatives, provincial government and local government units have undertaken and are currently doing to improve the quality of life of Bulakeños,” Wongchuking said.
—Daxim L. Lucas
Stranger than ‘Stranger Things’
The Netflix hit show “Stranger Things” was recently released and fans went out of their way to show their love on social media. It topped streaming charts even though the new season was shown after three years due to pandemic-induced delays.
“Unfortunately, the desire of ardent fans to see new episodes as soon as possible has been actively abused by fraudsters,” cybersecurity firm Kaspersky said.
It observed the proliferation of spam emails and phishing pages that trick unsuspecting “Stranger Things” fans into giving their personal information. Worse, their money could be stolen through these scams.
Fans were offered to watch new episodes for only $1 (about P56), which is much cheaper than paying a Netflix subscription. But victims end up paying more.
“To access this offer they were asked to register a new account and enter their address and bank details. After entering their information, fraudsters then drained victims’ wallets, without the victims gaining access to the new season of their favorite series,” Kaspersky said.
Kaspersky also found some emails selling Stranger Things merchandise that have “dubious quality.” These promotional emails were also sent without the consent of the recipients.
“It may not necessarily be a phishing page, but the fact that the ads for these products were promoted through spam and the domain itself was only recently created raises suspicions about the safety of buying from this page,” the firm explained.
Kaspersky reminded the public to refrain from clicking on suspicious links and double-check the authenticity of the website before entering personal data.
—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad
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