Author - Mara Cantonao

Regular Mall V. Outlet Mall

As any battle-scared shopper would tell you, “Live for discounts!”

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And like any other helpful shopaholic, he or she would point you to outlet malls.

Say what? Outlet malls? Like any other typical Western phenomenon engulfing this country, the concept was imported from the United States. Cebu has one now, simply called, The Outlets.

THE OUTLETS AT PUEBLO VERDE

THE OUTLETS AT PUEBLO VERDE

Outlet malls are made up of outlet stores, which are essentially manufacturer-branded stores like Adidas or Nike. “Like in the regular malls,” you say. Well yes and no. Sure you can find the mall brands that you normally patronize or obsess about, but Outlet Mall shops have the reputation of giving you better deals than stores at the regular malls.

Why?

Two main things:

1. Outlet stores carry old and new items. The out of season items they carry would not be available at the regular anymore but these are available at the outlet stores and they offer them at a significantly reduced price; and

2. Because it is cheaper to open an outlet store over a normal retail store at the regular mall. Regular malls have excessive fees because a regular mall offers many other extra amenities for the shoppers. These amenities are not available at most outlet malls which operates on the basic. This can only be good news for the shopper because lower rent for the outlet stores means they can offer their products at a cheaper rate.

In Cebu, and for the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao area, the only outlet mall existing so far is The Outlets at Pueblo Verde. It’s located just before the entrance to MEZII. The Outlets carries a lot of brands and sure enough, most of the products are sold at high discounts.

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THE OUTLETS AT PUEBLO VERDE

Aside from a wide selection of outlet stores carrying popular brands, restaurants are present in the area too. And even a boxing gym! Work-out before a marathon shopping, anyone?

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Plus, if their motto is to be believed, they are on sale every single day of the year! That’s more than any regular mall could offer, for sure.

Now, before you splurge all your 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses, remember that Christmas comes earlier at outlet malls.

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Lunch Around The World at The Marriott

At Marriott Cebu’s Garden Cafe, lunch is a colorful international affair.

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When you only have lunch time to go around the world, an eclectic plate and palate is your best bet and greatest weapon!

My first stop was at the salad station, fronting a wall of wines, and flanked by the fresh fruits station.

I started with an appetizer of half a citrus from the Americas, Korea’s tangy kimchi, and chunks of Greek cheese from the antipasti station that I ate with a small portion of Marriot’s version of NYC’s oh-so-scrumptious Waldorf salad.

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I spent my second trip to the buffet at the Japanese station and enjoyed some melt-in-your-mouth Salmon. I would have gone for seconds except that the other stations had beckoned and sadly, I only have one stomach.

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A third trip landed me at the Thai curry station where I get to choose my own ingredients with the assistance of a chef on stand-by! Minutes later, a steaming bowl of curry was delivered to my table.

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The Filipino cuisine and the meat-loving countries are also greatly represented with chicken, pork, and beef dishes cooked into familiar comfort eats such as caldereta and roasts.

Dessert was a hearty episode as it brought me right back at home, wherever you consider that to be! Homemade and unpretentious desserts in shot glasses and generous slices of cakes and pies.

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Before I knew it, lunchtime has come and gone and instead of the usual afternoon sun, the skies started drizzling over Marriott’s pool area, the view from the Garden Cafe. Now that almost all the continents have been covered for lunch, time to think about dinner!

Cebu City Marriott Hotel’s International buffet starts at 12nn – 2pm and is priced at P850 per person.

May I Have Your Attention, Please!

Get people to give your article a second chance, a second glance.

“Headlines are a special breed of difficulty because they have to accomplish so many things in such a small amount of space.”

Headers, captions, post titles, are more important than your article itself because your readers will always make it the measure of whether your article is boring or interesting. Here’s the deal, no matter how awesome and well-researched your article is, if your headline is weak, no one will read it.

Now, you ask, what makes a better headline? The truth is, it’s more simple than you think it is! Yay!

All you need to know are the most basic THREE:

1. Make the encounter SHORT and SWEET.

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According to Digital Marketing institution, Hubspot, the ideal headline should have a maximum character count of of 65 words, before it get’s cut off in search engines.

Get your headline to bear only one thought. Never ramble as this will just confuse your audience. But also make sure that your headline actually describes your article. The surest way for an article to remain unread is when your headline didn’t get the memo about what the article is talking about.

So, keep it short, sweet and specific.

You only have 6 words with a total of 65 characters to show your potential readers the stuff that your article is made of, so make the most out of it! Emojis, anyone? ☺☺☺

2. Be NEGA Nancy.

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Ironically enough, Hubspot says that the words: NO, WITHOUT and STOP, lead to many more shares.

The presumption is to always be positive and perky, right? But being goody-two-shoes don’t get readership clicks. Rather, tickle your reader’s curiosity with negative wording. Prey on your reader’s insecurities by telling them how they are doing their life administration wrongly and unless they read your article, they will be doomed. Works every time!

3. Use NUMBERS.

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This is still a numbers game even from this angle. Headlines with numbers (digitally-written) fare well than those without. Numbers draw readers to your article and their favorite number is… 7! They hate 13. Also, (aside from 7, I guess) rounded numbers also work better than non-rounded ones.

Don’t make the number too much either. Otherwise, it would scare your readers. I mean, who in their right minds would click, “500 ways to organize your closet,” right?

If all else fails, go to www.co-schedule.com. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Don’t worry, I’m from the Internet!

In Digital Marketing, while content is king, community management is the king’s heir. What happens when your perfect pitch was able to achieve viral levels of reach due to the ads you employed it with. When the crowd notices you and they start coming, you need crowd control. Or, community management in the online parlance.

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We have all been there at some point in our lives when something breaks down and we need to do that dreaded thing called “Calling Support.”

After we’ve punched in the hotline number, a robotic voice clip directs us to do one million things, but if you’re patient it finally reveals the secret to talk to a real person which is, “Press 0.” A chirpy voice greets us and asks how he/ she may help. While you were readying to shout Hallelujah at this juncture, you need to know that the word ‘help’ in these instances isn’t exactly equated to “making things easier for you” nor “offering their services to make this world a better place to live.”

More often than not, “help” for these voices at the other side of the phone means “I will try to see if the response matrix provides an answer, otherwise you are doomed on your own. Sorry don’t care.”

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What’s the next best thing to do aside from throwing your phone across the room (which by the way, really helps in getting out all that tension)? Hunt for the company’s social media sites and prepare to break their community manager’s picnic.

And this works because brands are invested in their online reputation. They are very sensitive to netizen’s comments because these have the ability to reach a lot of people in a short time. Deleting them would be futile, as the platforms have relatively democratic policies with regard to user content.

Just ask Justin and his experience with shampoo brand Head and Shoulders:

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And Chip, who isn’t seeking any redress but simply to connect with Applebee’s, who at one point of this adorable virtual friendship, even helped him pick out his Halloween costume:

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And in the local scene, international chain Mcdonald’s tries to pacify this complaining customer:

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So you see, the real king here is real time marketing. When the spotlight is on you, you have to perform and you must perform well.

A little care goes a long way in social media.

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Suit Up Cebu for the Otaku Fest is Back!

Drop your sched and block it for Cebu Island’s most-awaited cosplay happening on February 21st! Dubbed as OTAKU FEST 8.0: ALTERNATE UNIVERSE, this cosplay event at the UP Grounds aims to gather over 2,000 cosplayers and enthusiasts for a full day of fun under the sun and moon from 8am – 8pm.

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This is Otaku Fest’s 8th year and it promises to be more colorful than ever with special guests Liui Aquino, Lyron Aquino and Ae Ri of Team M.A.R.C.H. Philippines. Liui, one of the country’s most popular cosplayers, will be playing Hiccup from How to Train your Dragon during the exclusive meet and greet portion. He will then play Tadashi from Big Hero 6 for the rest of the event.

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Liui as Hiccup of How to Train Your Dragon

 

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Lyron Aquino A.K.A. Ly Chii of Team March Philippines

 

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Ae Ri of Team March

 

K-pop stars FameUS will also hold a special performance at the event. FameUS is a six-member Korean pop boy group under KN Entertainment. Cebuano BL1SS fans will definitely feel blissful with the chance to meet FameUS and get signed merchandise! Limited FameUS merchandise are available at the venue from 2:00PM onwards.

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Official rates for # ‪#‎UPOtakufest‬ are as follows:

○ Regular rate: P80 (12 years old and above)

○ Children aged 4 years old and below: Free

○ Children aged 5 – 11: P40

○ Senior Citizens: P40

○ UP High School Students: P40

*Please present respective IDs

More questions? Here’s the official FAQ event poster.

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See you there!

Give Effective Feedback With A Sandwich!

Yes, you read it right. A sandwich can help motivate your friend, co-worker or anyone (whether hungry or not) to take in the feedback you are giving.

First of all, there are two types of feedback, the negative and the positive.

Giving a negative feedback is tricky. It is a powerful tool that can propel business or personal relationships forward. Or it can break them. That’s why you need to know HOW to give them.

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What you see is sometimes NOT what you get

SOCIAL MEDIA TO THE CONSUMER’S RESCUE

How many times has it happened to you when food being advertised on TV or food porn pictures on Facebook automatically brings your salivary glands into overdrive. You get an insatiable craving for that food that you have little choice but to promise yourself to dine there at the next possible opportunity, like immediately that night.

And when you finally get a hold of the supposedly big-portioned burger oozing with juiciness with melting cheddar dripping all over, reality sinks in. Whatever you saw on the ad is nothing like whatever it is you are holding in your hand. The so-called quadruple-pounder of 100% Angus beef burger is a sad version of it’s pimped-up self on the media.

When false advertising happens, it is your right as a consumer to bring it to the attention of the Department of Trade and Industry. Among the objectives of The Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7I394) is to protect the interest of the consumer against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices.

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